William “Reindeer Bill” Killefer

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William “Reindeer Bill” Killefer
Baseball • West Chester

William “Reindeer Bill” Killefer (1887-1960) spent more than fifty years in major league baseball as a player. manager, coach and scout. He made his major league debut in 1909 with the St Louis Browns. The Philadelphia Phillies purchased his contract in 1911 and he remained a Phillie until 1918. He was a catcher with tremendous defensive skills. In 1913, he led the National League with 166 assists and 130 runners caught stealing. He was the Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander’s catcher and pair teamed up 250 times.

At the end of the 1917 season, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs along with Grover Cleveland Alexander and the Cubs won the National League Pennant that year but lost to the Boston red Sox in the World Series. He served as the player-manager in 1921 and then retired as a player at the age of 33. He played in 1035 games during his career, had a .238 batting average, 240 runs batted in and a fielding percentage of .977.

After retiring as a player he managed or coached for the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Browns, Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies as well as a few minor league teams. After retiring from coaching, he was a scout for the Cleveland Indians, Phillies and Dodgers. When he was scouting for Cleveland, he was involved in the signing of Larry Doby. He was credited with helping the development of such stand out catchers as Bob Farrell, Gabby Harnett, Rick Ferrell and Walker Cooper.

From the time he first became a Phillie he made Chester County his home.

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