Fred “Crazy” Schmit wasn’t crazy.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get on with more important things.
I didn’t just stumble upon Schmit, the long-ago pitcher. I went looking for him. I wanted to find the first pitcher to carry a “cheat sheet” on the mound – someone to show that today’s trend of pitchers tucking info cards into their caps is really nothing new.
Dear readers, meet Crazy Schmit.
Schmit has just a few major league seasons to his name, but there is much to unpack — from his pitcher’s notebook that would make Earl Weaver proud, to his eerily prescient take on baseball matters that remain controversial today to, well, okay, there’s some crazy, too.
I swear, sometimes I think I don’t go looking for these players as much as they come looking for me.
Here are 12 things you should know about Fred “Crazy” Schmit.
1. Frederick Schmit was born in Chicago in 1866.
His parents were immigrants – both arrived in America in 1857. If you dig around in Schmit’s past you’ll quickly discover that newspapers routinely spelled his name Schmidt. Census takers often screwed it up, too. Schmit himself seemed content to spell it whichever way – including misspelling his own name in a self-published book. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Continue reading