Louis Frank Klein
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 170 lb.
- High School S.J. Peters High School
- Debut April 21, 1943
- Final Game September 30, 1951
- Born October 22, 1918 in New Orleans, LA USA
- Died June 20, 1976 in Metairie, LA USA
Lou Klein was an infielder 18 seasons in organized ball from 1940 to 1959, five in the Major Leagues (1943-1951) and 11 in the minors (1940-1959), losing one year to the Military (1944), two years in the Mexican League debacle (1947-1948) and another to inactivity while voluntarily retired in 1954. He married Estelle Bourda on August 7, 1940. He served in the United States Coast Guard for one year during World War II (1944) (N&C).
Klein was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent in 1940. He played for the Cardinals (1943-1949), the Cleveland Indians (1951) and the Philadelphia Athletics (1951). Klein unexpectedly fought his way into the Cardinal lineup in 1943, playing every inning of every game, batting .287. After losing almost two years to World War II, he returned to lose second base in a three-way battle with Red Schoendienst and Emil Verban. Disgusted, he jumped to the Mexican League on May 23, 1946, along with pitchers Max Lanier and Fred Martin. As a result, he was barred from organized baseball by Commissioner A.B. Chandler on June 15th. After two seasons in Mexico, he signed to play in the outlaw Quebec Provincial League in 1949, but before playing an inning in Canada, he was reinstated on June 5th and became the first jumper to return to the big leagues. But he still couldn't beat Schoendienst out of a job.
Klein managed in the minors from 1955 to 1961. He led the Lafayette Oilers (1955), Des Moines Bruins (1956), Memphis Chicks (1957), Fort Worth Cats (1958-1959), San Antonio Missions (1960), Carlsbad Potashers (1961) and Houston Buffs (1961). Klein was one of the Cubs' "College of Coaches," managing for parts of 1961 and 1962, and again, by himself, for most of 1965. (MC) He returned to the minors in 1966 as manager of the Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs.
Klein was involved in one of baseball's most unusual and least successful experiments. He was one of Phil Wrigley's rotating coaches with the Chicago Cubs during the 1961 and 1962 seasons. Wrigley decided that instead of having one manager, the Cubs would operate with eight coaches who would rotate from minor league positions up to the Cubs and then rotate back. The result was that the Cub players never had any clear direction because each coach had his own style. Catcher Dick Bertell recalls a time when he got 10 hits in a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. At the start of the next series, the Cubs had a new coach - and he wanted to try someone else behind the plate. "Son of a gun. I hit myself out of the lineup", said Bertell. Klein was head coach for 12 games in 1961 and 30 in 1962. The Cubs finished seventh and ninth. He managed them for 106 games in 1965 with only slightly better results. After coaching the Cubs through 1974, he became a scout for the club from October 1974 until his death in 1976. He died at age 57 from a stroke and is buried at St. Louis Cemetery #3 in New Orleans, LA.
|Chicago Cubs Manager
Year-by-Year Managerial Record
Principal sources for Lou Klein include newspaper obituaries (OB), government Veteran records (VA,CM,CW), Stars & Stripes (S&S), Sporting Life (SL), The Sporting News (TSN), The Sports Encyclopedia:Baseball 2006 by David Neft & Richard Cohen (N&C), old Who's Who in Baseballs (1943;1946;1950;1952) (WW), old Baseball Registers (1944-1945;1950-1951;1962-1965 (BR) , old Daguerreotypes by TSN (none) (DAG), Stars&Stripes (S&S), The Baseball Necrology by Bill Lee (BN), Pat Doyle's Professional Ballplayer DataBase (PD), The Baseball Library (BL), Baseball in World War II Europe by Gary Bedingfield (GB) ; The Pacific Coast League: A Statistical History, 1903-1957 by Dennis Snelling; The Texas League in Baseball, 1888-1958 by Marshall D. Wright; The Southern Association in Baseball, 1885-1961 by Marshall D. Wright; The International League: Year-by-year Statistics, 1884-1953 by Marshall D. Wright; The American Association: Year-By-Year Statistics for the Baseball Minor League, 1902-1952 by Marshall D. Wright and independent research by Walter Kephart (WK) and Frank Russo (FR) and others.