Harry William Walker, known to baseball fans “Harry the Hat” (October 22, 1916 – August 8, 1999)….was an American baseball player, manager and coach. “Harry the Hat” got his nickname from his habit during at-bats of continually adjusting his cap between pitches….as there were no batting helmets in his day. His batting title came in 1947….when he hit .363 in a season during which he was traded from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies….whereas during the previous year he was one of the stars of the Cardinals’ 1946 World Series championship team….when In the decisive seventh game against the Boston Red Sox….with teammate Enos Slaughter on first base….Harry doubled to left center and Slaughter….who was running on the pitch and taking advantage of a slow relay from the Red Sox’ Johnny Pesky….scored from first base in a “mad dash” with the winning run. He knocked in six runs during that Series, and batted .412.
Harry the Hat lacked his brother Dixie’s power….as he hit only ten home runs in 807 games played over an 11 season span in the National League….while compiling a .296 lifetime batting average and 786 hits with the Cardinals….Phillies….Cubs….and Reds….whereby after his playing days, he was to be famed throughout his coaching and managing career as a batting tutor. Harry and Dixie Walker are the only brothers in MLB history to win batting titles….Dixie won the National League batting title with a .357 average in 1944 while playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers….and Harry in 1947 for the Cardinals and Phillies.
After his career ended….Harry The Hat prepped as a skipper in the Cardinals’ minor league system beginning in 1951….being called up up from AAA Rochester in the International League on May 28, 1955 to replace Eddie Stanky as Cardinals’ manager….however, the change backfired….as the Cards plummeted two places in the standings under Walker….while losing 67 of 118 games. Harry was replaced by Fred Hutchinson at the end of the 1955 season….and it would be another decade before he would again manage in the majors for our “home boys” The Strrohs….Houston Astros that is.