Charles John Grimm (August 28, 1898 – November 15, 1983), nicknamed "Jolly Cholly", was an American professional baseball player and manager. He played in Major League Baseball as a first baseman, most notably for the Chicago Cubs; he was also a sometime radio sports commentator, and a popular goodwill ambassador for baseball. He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates early in his career, but was traded to the Cubs in 1925 and worked mostly for the Cubs for the rest of his career. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Grimm was known for being outgoing and chatty, even singing old-fashioned songs while accompanying himself on the banjo.
As a manager for the Cubs, he led the team to National League championships in 1932, 1935 and 1945. He also served as the Cubs' Director of Player Personnel, then the club's title for general manager, from his resignation as field manager in mid-1949 through early 1950. However, Grimm was not comfortable in his front-office post and resigned in February 1950 to manage a Double A team, the Dallas Eagles of the Texas League.
Grimm was also a major baseball figure in Milwaukee. He was hired by Bill Veeck to manage his Milwaukee Brewers, then the Cubs' top farm team, during World War II. He returned to the Brewers in 1951 when they were a farm team of the Boston Braves. He was highly successful as a manager during each term, winning the regular season American Association title in 1943 and 1951, and the playoff championship in 1951. On May 30, 1952, Grimm was promoted from Milwaukee to manager of the big league Braves; he would prove to be the last skipper in the history of the Boston NL club. He then managed the Milwaukee Braves for their first three years after their move to Wisconsin in March 1953. Being of German extraction, he was popular in the Beer City, but left the Braves the year before they went to – and won – the World Series in 1957.
He was brought out of retirement to direct the Cubs again in early 1960, but the team got off to a slow start, and owner P.K. Wrigley made the novel move of swapping Grimm with another former manager, Lou Boudreau, who was doing Cubs radiocasts at that time. Grimm had done play-by-play in the past, so he gave it one more go in 1960, before stepping back to the ranks of coaching and then front office duties.
It was in 1961 that Wrigley began his "College of Coaches", of which Grimm was a part but was never designated "Head Coach". One of the Cubs' coaches during that 5-year experiment was baseball's first black coach, Buck O'Neil.
After his retirement from baseball, he lived adjacent to Lake Koshkonong, near Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Grimm died in Scottsdale, Arizona at age 85, from cancer. His widow was granted permission to spread his ashes on Wrigley Field.
By Dean Hanley
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