Jerry Schoonmaker

Jerald Lee Schoonmaker (born December 14, 1933) is an American former professional baseball player. An outfielder, Schoonmaker was signed to a $30,000 bonus contract by the Washington Senators of Major League Baseball in 1955 after a standout career at the University of Missouri. However, his career was hampered by the Bonus Rule, which compelled him to spend his first two years as a professional on the Washington roster. Then, after his only minor league season, he sustained a career-ending eye injury in December 1958.

Schoonmaker threw and batted right-handed, stood 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) and weighed 190 pounds (86 kg). A three-sport (baseball, basketball and football) athlete in his hometown of Lebanon, Missouri, Schoonmaker batted close to .400 in his junior season at Missouri (when the Tigers won the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship) and captained the baseball team during his senior season. After signing with Washington, he appeared in 20 games for the Senators in 1955, batting 46 times; then, after spending 1956 serving in the U.S. military, he spent his mandatory second year, 1957, on the Senator roster, playing in 30 contests but registering only 23 at-bats.

In 1958, Washington was finally permitted to send Schoonmaker to the minor leagues for much-needed experience, but he batted only .222 in 139 games, most of them with the Charlotte Hornets of the Class A Sally League. That offseason, he underwent surgery after an errant sliver of metal injured his left eye while he was working at a construction job. His vision compromised, he retired from professional baseball at the age of 25.

All told, Schoonmaker registered nine hits in 69 MLB at bats, including one double, triple and one home run. His homer was surrendered by Steve Gromek of the Detroit Tigers on July 23, 1955.

  1. ^ Minor league statistics, from Baseball Reference
  2. ^ Jefferson City, MO, Post-Tribune, December 18, 1958
  3. ^ Major League Statistics from Baseball Reference
  4. ^ Retrosheet

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