Solly Hemus was known as a hard nosed player that didn’t mind mixing it up with the umpires or the other team. He debuted on April 27, 1949 with the Cardinals and was traded in 1956 to the Phillies and re-acquired in 1958. He was a favorite of Cardinals owner Gussie Busch. In fact, Hemus wrote to Busch after the trade and told him how proud he was to wear the “birds on the bat”.
When he playing days were over, Busch named him manger from 1959-1961. The outcome wasn’t very good. The team was inconsistent: a seventh place (71–83) finish in his rookie managerial campaign (1959) was followed by a 15-game improvement (86–68) and a leap to third place in his second season (1960). The Redbirds followed with a poor start in 1961 and were mired in sixth place in July (at 33–41) when Hemus was replaced by Johnny Keane. There were stories going around that Hemus told Curt Flood and Bob Gibson they weren’t very good and should look for other work.
He compiled a lifetime batting average of .273 in 969 games, with 51 home runs.