Ex-big leaguer, NBA player Schultz dies

Oct. 30, 2009 at 7:38 PM   |   0 comments

STILLWATER, Minn., Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Howie Schultz, who became the odd man out when the Brooklyn Dodgers broke the color barrier by bringing Jackie Robinson the majors, died Friday. He was 87.

Schultz, a St. Paul native who also played in the NBA, succumbed to cancer, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Schultz joined the Dodgers' organization in 1943 and was the starting first baseman in 1947 when the club sold his contract to Philadelphia to make room for Robinson, the Star Tribune said.

"His first year, Jackie played first base," Schultz told the newspaper in a 2004 interview. "I'm a footnote in history -- the guy who was benched to allow baseball to be integrated."

He had a .241 career batting average with 24 homers and 208 RBI in 470 games with Brooklyn, Philadelphia and Cincinnati.

Schultz, who helped Hamline University in St. Paul to a national basketball championship in 1942, also played for the Anderson (Ind.) Packers of the National Basketball League from 1946-49 and then with the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Pistons and Minneapolis Lakers when that league was absorbed by the NBA.

He and Gene Conley are the only players to play long enough in the major leagues and the NBA to qualify for pensions in both sports.

Schultz is survived by his wife of 64 years, Gloria, and their two children.

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