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  Legend of the Game



Adolph Schacht


West Seattle Athletic Club Yellowjackets (1922-1941)

Seattle Elks Club (1918-1921)


Adolph Schacht never saw an entire baseball game, he was never on ice skates, he never tucked a football under his arm, and he only had two fights - and lost the second in an overtime round.  But Schacht was one of the best trainers to ever manipulate the muscles of athletes in the Northwest.

Back in 1905 he was running a small athletic club and hiring a downtown referee for his amateur shows.  One night the ref showed up intoxicated but did the job passably.  "Why," wondered Schacht, "can't I referee sober if a drunken man can referee without trouble?"  So started a 36-year career of being a fight referee.  Willie Meehan, a San Francisco heavyweight swapped punches with Adolph after Schacht awarded the fight to his opponent in a Feb 1922 bout.  Meehan, who once won a decision over Jack Dempsey was booked by Seattle police and released on condition he leave town that day.

As a trainer his prize story was working southpaw pitcher Jumbo Jim Elliott.  Strong as a bull at 240 lbs, Elliott thought he needed some of Ad's bone cracking to put him in shape.  Little 130 lb Adolph decided he couldn't dent the broad back with his hands alone, so he pulled out some peanuts, put them down on Elliott's back and crunched down on 'em with his knees.  To Elliott, it sounded like the roof caved in.  Big Jim got up, stretched, said, "That's great, the trouble's all gone." then went on to complete a season with 26 victories.  A master of muscle and psychology.

After years as trainer of the Seattle Pacific Coast baseball league club, Schacht went to the Chicago White Sox in 1933 and remained through 1941.  He kept the White Sox pitchers in fine condition through the years, including Ted Lyons, the aging veteran who had arm trouble in the mid-30's, but blossomed anew under Schacht's care.

During the fall months Adolph kept busy by taking care of the West Seattle Athletic Club football teams that were dominating the semi pro circuit through the 20's and 30's.  Winters he kept the hockey players in condition and worked an occasional fight.  Adolph donated his services to the WSAC free of charge.

Seattle Indians manager George Burns, who had a 15-year career in the majors including an AL MVP award in 1926 as a first baseman proclaimed Schacht the "greatest trainer I've ever seen" when it was announced Adolph would become the White Sox trainer in 1933.  His reported salary:  $5,000 per year.  By comparison, Dizzy Dean of the 1934 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals and future Hall of Famer, earned $7,500 in 1934

In 1934, Schacht returned to train the Yellowjackets football team and brought back with him, autographed baseball's signed by every American League player of 1933.  His collection was displayed in the Vann Bros. restaurant/sporting goods store window.  The collection was of considerable value which included Schoolboy Rowe and Babe Ruth signatures.

In January of 1942, the 57 year old died of a heart attack near his Alki Beach home stowing fishing gear into a small boat with his wife.  He was just a few weeks from reporting to the Sox training camp in Pasadena, California.