Chuck Diering played for the Cardinals during baseball’s golden years — that 40-year period from 1920 to 1960 that produced the likes of Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and, of course, our own Stan Musial.
Mr. Diering, an outfielder, never reached that level of a fame, but in his day, he was known as a ball hawk with tremendous speed.
Charles Edward Allen Diering died Friday (Nov. 23, 2012). He was 89.
Mr. Diering’s son Bob found his dad on Thanksgiving after he taken a fall in his Spanish Lake home. Chuck Diering died at a hospital several hours later. Doctors said he suffered cerebral hemorrhaging.
“We’re saddened by the news, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” said Cardinals spokesman Ron Watermon. “He was a hometown product, a hometown hero, and he will be missed.”
Mr. Diering grew up playing baseball on streets and playgrounds of St. Louis.
When he graduated from Beaumont High School in 1940, he was recruited by both the city’s professional teams — the St. Louis Browns and Cardinals. Mr. Diering chose the Cardinals because a friend’s dad worked for the organization as a scout.
But then Mr. Diering put his career on hold for four years to serve in the Army during World War II.
When he returned to the major leagues, he played for the Cardinals for five years, then went on to stints with the New York Giants and Baltimore Orioles.
The biggest moment of Mr. Diering’s career came in 1954, when the Orioles named him their Most Valuable Player in their first year in Baltimore after the St. Louis Browns moved there. The honor came with a trophy and some cash.
That year, Mr. Diering had hoped to win the team’s other award: Most Popular Player. That winner would receive a Cadillac. But that award went to pitcher “Bullet” Bob Turley.
Turns out, Mr. Diering was glad about the way things worked out. His granddaughter Kristen interviewed him for a short documentary she posted on Youtube this past summer.
“One thing I can say about it is Bob Turley doesn’t have the Cadillac,” Mr. Diering said at the time. “But I’ve still got my trophy.”
After baseball, Mr. Diering owned a car dealership in Alton. Until his death, he lived in a Spanish Lake home that he built in 1957.
Bob Diering said his dad never lost his love of the game.
“If you wanted to sit down and talk baseball, he would sit there and talk baseball,” Diering said. “He would smoke your ears talking.”
In addition to his son Bob, Mr. Diering is survived by another son, Chuck, and a daughter.
Funeral arrangements are pending.