(CBS) A caller to the Boers and Bernstein Show on Thursday afternoon who identified himself as 96-year-old Russ from the Northwest Side went way back — way, way, way back — to find quite the player comp for slugging Cubs rookie Kyle Schwarber, a catcher by trade who’s transitioned to left field lately to keep his bat in the lineup every day.
As Boers and Bernstein discussed a Schwarber’s big two-homer day, they wondered who he reminded them of. Harkening back to the 1930s, Russ called in to say Schwarber reminded him of Smead Jolley, who played from 1930-’33, including his first two-plus with the White Sox.
Jolley was listed at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds — fairly big for the era. Schwarber is 6-foot and a hulky 235 pounds. Jolley could smoke the baseball but was an “inept catcher” whom the White Sox then moved to the outfield, according to Russ, who watched Jolley in person.
Jolley was indeed a quality hitter, batting .305 with an .818 OPS in his four-year big league career, according to baseballreference.com.
“He could hit like the devil but was clumsy,” Russ said.
“I remember one game when he made three errors on one play.”
Russ has higher expectations for Schwarber, who’s hitting .330 with eight homers, 25 RBIs and 26 runs in 31 games this season.
“This young man they have is highly intelligent and much, much more athletic,” Russ said. “I think he could develop into a catcher.”
Russ said he’ll celebrate his 97th birthday soon like he often does — talking about his beloved Chicago sports teams.
“I came out of the womb with a Cubs cap on waving a Bears flag,” Russ said. “I’m going to be 97 in a couple days.”
Listen to the full call below.