Ray Blades was first spotted as a teenager playing baseball in 1913 among a group of sandlot players by Branch Rickey. Rickey wasn’t working for the Cardinals at the time as he was employed by the Browns.
In 1920, Rickey was working for the Cardinals when he finally signed Blades to a contract. Blades was 5’7″ and 123 lbs and threw and batted from the right side of the plate.
In 1922, he reached the minor leagues but only played sparing from 1924-1926 due to a knee injury. He was able to hang on with the Cardinals until 1932. He finished with a .301 lifetime average with his best season in 1925 when he hit .342 in 462 at bats. He appeared in the World Series in 1928, 1930 and 1931.
He was a favorite of Branch Rickey and began a career as a coach from 1930-1932. He was a fiery competitor and had a terrible temper which is what he became known for in his future managing duties.
He managed at the top level of the St. Louis organization with the Rochester Red Wings and Columbus Red Birds from 1933–38 and was named skipper of the Cardinals in 1939.
The first thing he did as Cardinals manager was to prohibit players from drinking alcohol. They may not have liked it but they did respond by winning 92 games and finished in second place.
In 1940, the team slumped early by starting with a 14-24 record which got Blades fired on June 7 and replaced by Billy Southworth.
|August 19, 1922 for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 25, 1932 for the St. Louis Cardinals|
Ray Blades died in Lincoln, Illinois at the age of 82 in 1979.
Nice Article from SABR on Blades