Prince Hal

Hal Schumacher

Hal Schumacher

the 1930s Giants pitching staff is known for one hurler: Carl Hubbell. He was “The Meal Ticket.” He was “King Carl.” He also shared the mound with Hal Schumacher, known to the fans as “Prince Hal.”

Hal Schumacher was born in 1910 in upstate New York (near Utica). As with many of the players of the era his parents were immigrants (from Germany). He was a good athlete, graduated high school, got a number of calls from baseball teams. Wanting to attend college he enrolled at St. Lawrence University in 1928. He stayed through 1930, then, running out of money for college, he signed his first professional contract. Among other stipulations, it required the Giants to allow him time to finish college.

He split 1931 between New York and minor league teams in Bridgeport and Rochester (Baseball Reference shows only his Bridgeport numbers. I have no idea why.). He went 1-1 in eight games (two starts) with an ERA over 10. In 1932 he split time between starting and relieving and began to establish himself as a key member of the staff. In 1933 he went 19-12 with a 2.16 ERA and for the first time had more strikeouts than walks. The Giants won the National League pennant and Schumacher won game two of the World Series. He took a no decision in the climactic game five.

Schumacher had outstanding seasons in 1934 and 1935 (going a combined 42-10 with an ERA just under three. He developed arm trouble in 1936 and slid back posting only an 11-13 record for the NL champs. He went 1-1 in the Series, getting lit up during game two and throwing a ten inning complete game in game five. The Giants lost the Series in six games.

They were back in the World Series in 1937, Schumacher going 13-12 during the regular season. He took the loss in game three. It was his last postseason play. He remained with the Giants through 1942 pitching about .500 ball and watching his walk numbers go up while his strikeouts went down.  He joined the Navy after the ’42 season and served on an aircraft carrier. he returned to the Giants in 1946. He was 35 and unable to return to anything like his prewar form. At the end of the season he retired.

Upon retirement he went to work for the Adirondack Bat Company. He’d gotten his college degree in business (meaning the Giants lived up their part of the contract) and became Vice President in charge of sales. With his background in baseball he served as a valuable asset for the company, convincing a number of Major Leaguers to use his company’s bats (Willie Mays was one of them). He rose to Executive Vice President of the company and served a term as president of the Athletic Goods Manufacturers Association. He retired in 1967 and went to work for Little League. His job was to organize instructional programs for youth baseball. He died in Cooperstown (as is appropriate) in 1993.

For his career, Schumacher went 158-121 with an ERA of 3.36 (ERA+ of 111). He walked 902 men and struck out 906 in 2482 innings and gave up 2424 hits. That gave him a 1.340 WHIP. In postseason play he was 2-2 with a 4.13 ERA.

Schumacher was never a big star for the Giants (although he made three All-Star games). He was lost behind the bats of Mel Ott and Bill Terry and he existed in the great shadow of Carl Hubbell on the mound. For all that, he was a successful number two pitcher and a major component for three pennant winning teams.


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3 Responses to “Prince Hal”

  1. Glen Russell Slater Says:

    Interesting. When I saw the title “Prince Hal”, I thought that it would be about Hal Chase, who was also known as “Prince Hal”. Which led me to do a little bit of research because I figured that there had to be some coincidence as to why there were so many people named “Hal” who had “Prince” put in front of his name. (Some RESEARCH! It took me two seconds of looking on the internet). Anyway, it turns out that Prince Hal was a character in Shakespeare’s “Henry V”, which is something that I wouldn’t know because I’m kind of a lowbrow, and the last thing that I would know about is Shakespearean facts. (We read MacBeth in high school, which I got through thanks to “Cliff Notes”, and we were taken on a field trip to Manhattan to see “Hamlet”, which I reluctantly admit that I couldn’t make heads or tails out of. I DID enjoy, and understand, Romeo and Juliet, however, so I guess I’m not a TOTAL loss.)

    Anyway, apparently these names were applied by educated ballplayers. Since the public educational system was pretty well dumbed down by the time I was in high school (in the late 1970s), I actually knew less than my grandfather, who quit school in about the 7th grade.

    Anyway, so now I know why both Hal Chase and Hal Schumacher were named “Prince.”

    Also, I enjoyed the article, V.


    • verdun2 Says:

      Prince Hall shows up in Henry IV, part 1 as a drinking buddy of Falstaff, Bardolff, Pistol, and Nim. By Henry V he’s transformed into a good king. I’ve done the first part; so far lacking on the second.
      Also with Hubbell being “King Carl”, a “Prince” was a natural.
      Thanks for reading.

  2. Roger Melin Says:

    A good brief bio on Prince Hal. I recently published a complete biography on him, available at Amazon and many other places. For the record, he doesn’t show up in Rochester stats in 1931 only because he didn’t play any games for them that year. But you are correct, he did spend some time with both Rochester and Bridgeport. Note – there were three “Prince Hal” ballplayers (officially) over the years – Hal Chase (banned from the game), Hal Schumacher, and Hal Newhouser (who made the HOF).

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