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crespi, creepy crespi, 1942 play ball #23, Cardinals

Player: Crespi, Frank

Card: 1976 (1942) Play Ball #23

Position: 2B/SS

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Frank Angelo Joseph "Creepy" Crespi (b. February 16, 1918 in St. Louis, MO – d. March 1, 1990 in Florrisant, MO) was a Major League Baseball player who played infielder from 1938-1942 for the St. Louis Cardinals. He made his major league debut on September 14th, 1938 playing second base for the Cardinals.

In 1951, longtime Cardinals star shortstop Marty Marion praised Frank as the best defensive second baseman he'd ever played with. "For one year—1941—Crespi was the best second baseman I ever saw. He did everything, and sensationally."

Frank Crespi's nickname, 'Creepy', is widely considered one of the more colorful and unusual nicknames in baseball history. In a 1977 radio interview with future hall-of-fame broadcaster Jack Buck, Frank was asked if people still called him by his nickname (answer was yes). Jack followed up with, "Why do they call you that?" he replied, "the best one is (from) some sportswriter. He said the way I creep up on a ball, because I run low to the ground after a ground ball."

In 1942, the Cardinals won the National League pennant and played the New York Yankees in the 1942 World Series. Frank played in one game in the World Series, serving as a pinch runner in game 1, and scoring a run. The Cardinals won the series, four games to one.

Crespi was drafted into the army in early 1943. Though he qualified for a deferment as the sole supporter of his elderly mother, he refused, claiming, "I don't think I'm too good to fight for the things I've always enjoyed."

During an Army baseball game in Kansas, he suffered a compound fracture of his left leg while turning a double play. Soon afterwards, he broke the same leg during a training accident, and later he broke it a third time during an impromptu wheelchair race while in the hospital. While he was recuperating at the hospital, a nurse accidentally applied 100 times the appropriate quantity of boric acid to his bandages, causing severe burns on Crespi's leg and leaving him with a permanent limp. According to Marty Marion, a total of 23 operations were performed on Crespi's leg.

In an attempt to qualify for the major league pension plan, Crespi applied various times as coach. Unable to obtain the position, he became a budget analyst for McDonnell Douglas, where he worked for 20 years.

Interestingly, after his retirement from McDonnell Douglas, Crespi discovered that he had not been retired from baseball, but rather had been on the disabled list, when the major league had first implemented its pension plan during the 1940s. This discovery entitled him to his major league pension.

(excerpted from Baseball Almanac, BR Bullpen & Wikipedia)


Image from Golden Rankings 1942 Cardinals


Frank is also part of the Military Service during Wartime Tour – go to the Next Stop

Frank is also part of the St. Louis Cardinals Players Tour – Go to the Next Stop

“Creepy” Crespi is part of the Great Italian American Player Nicknames Tour – Go to the Next Stop

See all Frank’s baseball cards at TCDB

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