Jimmie Reese spend a lifetime in baseball. He started in 1920 as a player with the Pacific Coast League’s Los Angeles Angels at age 18. Second baseman Reese was the team’s youngest player; all-time triples leader 40-year old Sam Crawford was the oldest.
Reese played professional baseball for 18 seasons, most of them in the minor leagues. His claim to fame in parts of three big league seasons was his time as Babe Ruth’s road roommate.
After retiring as a player, Reese worked as a scout, coach, and manager in the minor leagues. From 1948-1960, Reese coached for the PCL’s San Diego Padres. In the middle of the 1960 season he was named the team’s manager. He resigned the following season.
In the collection is this letter from Hall of Fame shortstop Joe Cronin written during his term as American League president. When Cronin wrote this letter on August 10, 1961, he and Reese had been in baseball together since 1925. Now more than 35 years later, Cronin wrote to console his fellow baseball lifer.
“Dear Jimmy (sic),
“Seems like only yesterday when you were running around the ball park in Emoryvile, California, and then on to Yankee Stadium associating with such greats as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
“I was very sorry to learn of the change in San Diego and you can be proud of the many devoted years you contributed to the Pacific Coast League.
“Now when old ‘Father Time’ wraps his arms arrow you, you must look and seek other fields to conquer – whether it be your chosen boyhood profession Baseball, or some other line.
“So, Jim, the fan in the bleacher is calling for you to get up to bat. The Manager informs you you’ve got to get off the bench. Get your pen in hand with your head high, ad begin anew.
‘Sincerely, Joe Cronin”
Reese landed on his feet and remained in the game for another three decades. From 1963-1971 he coached for minor league teams in Hawaii, Seattle, Portland and scouted for the Expos. The Angels hired him as a coach in 1972. He held the position and remained in uniform until his death at age 92 in 1994.