Sunday, August 18, 2013
WSC Vintage: Charlie Berry
Charlie Francis Berry's father, Charlie Joseph Berry, played one season in the minor leagues (Union Association) in 1884, with the Altoona Mountain City, the Kansas City Cowboys and the Chicago Browns which disbanded and moved to Pittsburgh to become the Stogies, which also disbanded. While he was with the Chicago Browns, Charlie's father played in the first site of South Side Park. By the third site of South Side Park, the residents were the Chicago White Sox, who abandoned the site for the newly built Comiskey Park in 1910. South Side Park lived on as a home site for the Chicago American Giants of the Negro Leagues.
Charlie Francis Berry was the epitome of a two sport athlete. In 1925, he led the NFL in scoring with seventy-four points. That year Berry kicked a thirty yard field goal to upset the best college football team, a group of All-Stars from Notre Dame. The game cemented the NFL as a legitimate alternative to college football, but the game led to the NFL stripping the Pottsville Maroons of their championship title in 1925. That year also saw Charlie's first games in the MLB, as a Philadelphia Athletic.
Berry put his MLB career on hold until his NFL career was over. In 1928, he caught games for the Boston Red Sox. In 1931, Berry would rack up a career high one hundred one hits. He started the 1932 season in a slump and was traded with Jack Rothrock to the White Sox on April 29, 1932. The Pale Hose gave up Smead Jolley, Bennie Tate, Johnny Watwood and $7,500 to Boston.
Charlie spent the rest of 1932 and 1933 with the South Siders, playing in one hundred fifty-eight games and sporting a .278 average to go along with one hundred thirty-eight hits and fifty-nine RBI. Berry did amass nine errors behind the plate with Chicago.
On December 12, 1933, Charlie was traded back where he began his career, to the Philadelphia Athletics, with $20,000 for George Earnshaw and Johnny Pasek. Berry's MLB career would end with his only appearance in a game in 1938, on September 8th.
After his playing career, Charlie managed in the minor leagues and coached college football. His best career took off after that detour though. Berry was an official in the NFL, an umpire in MLB and was an official for college games. In 1958, Charlie became the only man to officiate the World Series, the NFL Championship and the College All-Star Game in the same year. Charlie was also elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980.