Photo Story: Veteran Baseball Man Cal Ermer Dies Saturday

  • Saturday, August 8, 2009
  • Tim Evearitt

Chattanooga has lost a great man. Cal Ermer, Jr. (85) passed away Saturday morning following a short illness.

There will be a visitation Tuesday, and the funeral service will be Wednesday at First Christian Church. (Details later) A Marine veteran, Ermer will be buried at the National Cemetery.

Ermer managed the Lookouts from 1952-1957. The Chattanooga Lookouts dedicated the AT&T Field Press Box to Ermer last August.

Born Calvin Coolidge Ermer on November 10, 1923 in Baltimore, Maryland, he was known as much for his ability to play soccer as baseball. For seven years, he coached the College of Baltimore’s soccer team. Former Atlanta Braves general manager, John Schuerholz (also a Baltimore native), recalls that Ermer played soccer against his uncle.

Ermer recalls that his parents were concerned when he chose baseball because they didn’t think he could make a good living. He joined the U.S. Marines where he spent his time playing for their team and when he came out went into professional baseball.

At age 27, he managed the Charlotte Hornets in his last season as an active player. He hit .297 and led the league’s second basemen in fielding (.971) earning him a callup to the Washington Senators at the end of the 1947 season.

In the only game he played, Ermer went 0-for-3. He recalls that he should have finished 1-for-3. There was a runner at first and two outs when Ermer hit a grounder that he would have beaten out at first. Instead, the ball was thrown to second to force out the runner and Ermer was safe at first on a fielder’s choice. Other than that, he never played above Class A.

But Ermer was not destined to play, he was destined to manage.

He spent most of his life in baseball with the Minnesota Twins (formerly Washington Senators). He managed the Chattanooga Lookouts from 1952-1957 in the Southern Association. He married his wife, Gloria, in 1952 and made Chattanooga his home.

As a minor league pilot, Ermer won 1,906 games, losing 1,728 (.524) over 26 seasons.

Most of the photos below were shared by Ermer.

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