White Sox: The Mount Rushmore of Sox catchers

Chicago White Sox catcher Ron Karkovice (R). (Photo credit should read CHRIS WILKINS/AFP via Getty Images)
Chicago White Sox catcher Ron Karkovice (R). (Photo credit should read CHRIS WILKINS/AFP via Getty Images) /
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White Sox
Sherm Lollar of the Chicago White Sox. (Photo by: Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images) /

Mount Rushmore of White Sox catchers: Sherm Lollar

Sherm Lollar signed with the International League’s Baltimore Orioles out of high school in 1943 and by 1945 had his contract purchased by the parent Cleveland Indians. He bounced around a bit from there, traded to the New York Yankees in December 1946 and then to the St. Louis Browns in December 1948.

The move that made Lollar’s career came in November 1951, when he was part of an eight-player trade to the Chicago White Sox. His work with then-manager Paul Richards — a former catcher — turned his career around defensively and he very quietly became the second-best catcher in the American League for much of his stint with Chicago.

He was an eight-time All-Star with the White Sox to go with an appearance with the Browns in 1950 and after having a reputation as a poor defender early in his career won three Gold Gloves while in Chicago.

Lollar provided the punch for the Go-Go Sox pennant-winning club in 1959, leading the team with 22 homers and 84 RBI and hitting a homer with five RBI in the six-game World Series loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 1962, he began to share more time behind the plate with J.C. Martin and became a backup in 1963 before he was released at season’s end.

After his playing career, he coached with the Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics and managed in Oakland’s organization for five more seasons. He died in September 1977 at just 53 years old after a long bout with cancer.

In 12 years with the White Sox, Lollar hit .265 with a .759 OPS in 1,358 games and 4,924 plate appearances, with 124 homers, 631 RBI and 485 runs scored. In 1954, he led the majors by throwing out 68% of baserunners attempting to steal and topped 50 percent in four of his 10 seasons as a starter in Chicago.