The Obit For Johnny Sturm

Former Roosevelt High star and New York Yankees player Johnny Sturm dies

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Former New York Yankees player and coach Johnny Sturm, who as a rookie in 1941 batted leadoff during Joe DiMaggio's record 56-game hitting streak and later helped the Yankees defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers in a "Subway Series", died Friday (Oct. 8, 2004) of congestive heart failure at his home in St. Louis. He was 88.

The Roosevelt High star was a softball and baseball standout in the Muny League. Sturm led the Trolley semipro league here in home runs and was signed by the Yankees in 1935.

Sturm climbed through the Yankees farm system, playing in Binghamton, Albany, Louisville and Kansas City before joining the big club in 1941.

Yankees manager Joe McCarthy assembled a lineup of veterans that featured future Hall of Famers such as DiMaggio, Bill Dickey, Red Ruffing and Lefty Gomez. McCarthy eventually inserted rookie Phil Rizzuto - another future Hall of Famer - at shortstop, and Sturm at first base.

Sturm opened at first base on May 14 and DiMaggio began his hitting streak the next day. Sturm finished the season hitting .239 in 124 games but improved in the World Series against the Dodgers. He hit .286 and was one of two players to hit safely in each game of the series.

Sturm enlisted in the Army in 1941 and lost the tip of his right index finger in a tractor accident at Jefferson Barracks.

Sturm attempted a brief comeback with the Yankees in 1946 but had his career ended by a broken wrist. He began a short career managing for the Yankees in the minor leagues from 1946-50 in Ventura, Calif., and Joplin, Mo.

Sturm was a scout for more than 20 years. He was the first head scout for the Houston Colt .45's and later worked for the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox.

- Keith Schildroth

STURM, JOHN P., fortified with the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church, on Friday, October 8, 2004; beloved husband of the late Florence H. Sturm (nee Knobbe); son of the late Andreas and Anna Sturm; dear father of Annette (Edward) D'Angelo, Mary Margaret (James) Noll, and John Andrew (Judith) Sturm; grandfather of Eric Pfeffle, Andrew Pfeffle, Katherine (Ryan) Sather, Janet (Gregory) Fisher, Julie Marie Sturm, Jennifer Ann Sturm, and Jacquelyn Michelle Sturm; brother of Peter (Margie) Sturm, the late Catherine (still surviving Anthony) Dohr, the late Andrew Sturm, Ann Fuhler and Mary Ludwig; brother-in-law of the late Harry, August, Anthony, Vincent, Alphonse (still surviving Til), Sister Margaret, Sister Marie and Frances Knobbe and Rose Wilken; our dear uncle, great-uncle, great-great-uncle, cousin and friend to many.

Mr. Sturm was a veteran of New York Yankees Major League Baseball, life member of the Association of Professional Baseball Players, Greater St. Louis Hall of Fame, Major League Scouts Association, life long member of Mt. Pleasant Homing Pigeon Club, Divine Providence Partner, Legion of Maria Tessera, Maryknoll Fathers, Anheuser-Busch American Legion Post 299, life member of Disabled Veterans Post #1, and member of the Kolping Society.
Funeral Monday, October 11, 2004, 9:30 a.m. from JOHN L. ZIEGENHEIN & SONS, 7027 Gravois, to Immaculate Heart of Mary Church for 10 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial. Interment SS Peter and Paul Cemetery. Contributions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary School Tuition Fund appreciated. VISITATION SUNDAY 3-9 PM.
(published: 10/10/2004)