In 1931 on this day, November 11, Henry John “Dutch” Dotterer, a catcher for the Nashville Vols during the 1955 and 1957 seasons, was born in Syracuse, New York.
He began his professional career with Lockport, New York, of the PONY League in 1950, and played for two more seasons before military service. In 1953, in the first year of a two-year commitment to the U. S. Navy in Bainbridge, Maryland, he became friends with Willie Mays who was playing for the Ft. Eustis, Virginia, Army team.
Resuming his professional career, he split time between Memphis and Nashville in 1955, Dotterer batted only .221, but after a full season in Havana in 1956 Dotterer returned to Nashville for 1957. By May 1 he was hitting at a .391 clip and by July 10th he was seventh in the league at .319 and chosen for the Southern Association All Star team. Dotterer ended the season with a .303 batting average.
Sent to Seattle for 1958, he earned a late-season call to the Cincinnati Reds, appearing in four games. Dotterer had 339 plate appearances in five years in the majors including 22 with the expansion Senators. The Reds had traded him to the Kansas City Athletics but was not protected in the expansion draft and was selected by Washington.
With Washington in 1961, his last season in the majors, Topps mistakenly printed a photograph of his younger brother, Tom, with Dutch’s biographical and statistical information on his baseball card. Tommy never made it to the majors but played outfield and shortstop for Nashville in 1959.
His father, Dutch Dotterer, Sr. was a long-time scout with the Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees, and Reds. Dotterer retired from baseball in 1961 after two years with Syracuse. He passed away on October 9, 1999 in his hometown at the age of 67.
© 2014 by Skip Nipper. All Rights Reserved.