Sunday, May 12, 2013
WSC Vintage: Butch Henline
Walter John Henline, better known by his nickname "Butch", broke through the majors with the New York Giants in 1921. On April 13, 1921, Butch made his debut at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia, against the Phillies, pinch hitting for pitcher Phil Douglas in the fifth inning. Henline struck out in his only appearance in a Giants uniform. He was replaced by pitcher Jesse Barnes in the bottom of the inning.
Butch was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies on July 25, 1921, along with Curt Walker and $30,000 for Irish Muesel. It was with the Phillies that Henline would enjoy the most success. He hit over .300 four different times before being involved in a three team trade, where he ended up on the Brooklyn Robins. Primarily a catcher, Butch did see a little time in the outfield while with the Phillies. In Brooklyn, he was down to being a part-time catcher and no longer moonlighted in the outfield.
Henline wound up with the Chicago White Sox during the 1930 and 1931 seasons. By this time, Butch was a shell of his former self. He only played in three games in 1930 and eleven games in 1931. Only seven of those were in the field. Henline hit a dismal .087 during his two season in Chicago.
Butch retired after the 1934 season, in the minors. He ran a motel in Florida before pursuing a career as an umpire. Working his way through the Southeastern League and International League, he became a National League umpire in 1944. Henline even worked the 1947 All-Star Game. In 1949, Butch took a job as supervisor of umpires in the Florida International League, until it folded in 1954.