Frank “Wildfire” Schulte played 15 seasons in the Major Leagues from 1904-1918, 13 of which were with the Chicago Cubs. He played on 4 pennant winners with the Cubbies, 1906, 07, 08, and 1910, winning World Championships in 1907 and 08.
For his career he hit .270 with 92 home runs. Playing exclusively in the Deadball Era, Wildfire Schulte was one of the few players that swung the bat hard, finishing in the top 6 in HRs 7x in his career. He won 2 HR titles, with 10 in 1910, and 21 in 1911.
1911 was his best personal season, as well as one of the better seasons of any player of his era. Winning the MVP that season, edging out Christy Mathewson and Grover Alexander, Wildfire also led the league with 107 rbi, as well as 308 total bases. He became the 1st 20th Century player to top the 20 home run mark. His 30 doubles, 21 triples, 23 stolen bases as well as his 21 hrs, were not to be seen again until Willie Mays in 1957. His 4 grand slams were a record as well until Ernie Banks hit 5 in 1955.
Schulte was a 5 tool player, possessing a very strong arm while also stealing 233 bases, including home a surprising 22 times, attesting to his speed and base running ability.
Frank Schulte became Wildfire after naming one of his horses Wildfire, after watching actress Lillian Russell perform in a play entitled Wildfire. (Makes me glad she didn’t star in The Hairy Ape)
2 World Championships, 2 home run titles, a dynamic 1911 MVP season, plus a killer nickname don’t quite add up to a Hall of Fame career, but Wildfire Schulte received just 1 Hall of Fame vote, that coming in 1937. Of all the players that I’ve featured in One For The Hall, this one surprises me most. Hall of Fame, not really, but just 1 vote is amazing for a slugger like Wildfire Schulte in the Deadball Era.
As a personal tribute to Wildfire Schulte, I post this 1910 Red Turkey tobacco card, that I have in my collection. (Unfortunately a reprint card, but still a cool looking card in a great looking set) And as member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the Society of American Baseball Research, I dutifully cast another Hall of Fame vote for Frank “Wildfire” Schulte.