It may have taken almost 50 years, but it was worth the wait for Steve Schroer.
One of just two baseball players from Evansville to have ever received a World Series ring, the 1963 North High School graduate is being inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame.
“I am humbled to be recognized as one of the outstanding baseball players to play four years of varsity ball for North High School,” said Schroer, who will be honored before tonight’s 7:30 boys’ basketball game against visiting Harrison. Rene Royalty, Jeff Howerton, Brian Huebner, Kyle Smith, Derek Grimm and the late Jerry Bruner were honored as new hall inductees before Huskies’ boys’ basketball games earlier this season. Blake English will be this season’s final inductee to be honored before North’s home game against West Vigo on Jan. 26.
Schroer, a 6-foot-4 fireballer whose fastball reached 95 mph, posted a
28-1 record with a 0.27 earned run average in his four years with the Huskies, helping lead them to a state championship.
One week after graduating from North in the spring of 1963, he signed as a “bonus baby” with the Los Angeles Dodgers for $85,000. In August, Schroer was called up to the majors. Although he was not on the Dodgers’ active roster for the World Series, he was still given a ring as they swept the New York Yankees in four games. Pete Fox, who played outfield for the Detroit Tigers’ World Series championship team in 1935, is the only other city player to receive a ring.
“Materialistically, it’s my most prized possession, no question,” said Schroer, 67. “I like to say ‘the money’s gone, but I’ve still got the ring.’ I threw batting practice and worked out with them before every ballgame, but when the game started, I sat in the stands. It was tremendous exposure and a great experience.”
During the winter, Schroer was taken off the Dodgers’ 40-man roster and his contract was picked up by the Washington Senators (currently the Texas Rangers). He was on the Senators’ major league roster late in the 1964 and ’65 season. Drafted into the Army, he served as a door gunner in a helicopter in the First Airborne Calvary Division in Vietnam. Returning to the Senators, he was again called up to the majors late in the 1968 season, but again failed to see action. Schroer did not make the Senators out of spring training in 1970 and decided to hang ’em up.
During his career, Schroer said he wasn’t that frustrated because he always thought he would eventually get his chance.
“Looking back, now I’m more frustrated,” he said. “I wanted it to be part of my legacy.”
In the summer of 1960, Schroer joined teammates such as Bob Griese and Dave Schellhase on a Colt League All-Star team (ages 15 and 16) that advanced to the national finals in Ontario, Calif.
“We had some outstanding athletes,” Schroer said.