George Reichard Sr., 90, railroad engineer, top 1930s city athlete

July 08, 2004|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

George Tracy "Reds" Reichard Sr., a retired railroad engineer who was one of the city's best-known amateur athletes in the 1930s, died of infection complications Sunday at Good Samaritan Hospital. The Towson resident was 90.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Boone Street, Mr. Reichard played sports starting in childhood. In the late 1920s, he joined a baseball team sponsored by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad American Legion Post. Friends recall his hitting balls into the trees at Bloomingdale Oval in Gwynns Falls Park.

In a 1966 Evening Sun article, Mr. Reichard recalled being given a tryout -- as a 16-year-old -- by the International League Baltimore Orioles in 1930: "Fritz Maisel was managing the team then, and I remember his telling me I'd never make it in the pros because of my age."

He was also scouted by the Detroit Tigers but declined to sign because he was still in school, Mr. Reichard said.

"He was one of the most versatile players ever in 1930s in the history of Baltimore high schools," said James B. Burke, a friend who played on a competing Milton Democratic Club team. "He went on to play a good game of golf, too."

Mr. Reichard attended Polytechnic Institute briefly and was given an athletic scholarship to Calvert Hall College High School, where he earned 16 varsity letters in baseball, football, basketball and hockey before graduating in 1935.

The Maryland Scholastic Association named him to the All Maryland team in football for three consecutive years at three positions, center, quarterback and fullback.

"I played whatever they needed," Mr. Reichard recalled.

On Thanksgiving 1934, his defensive play was credited in front-page newspaper coverage of a scoreless tie against Loyola High School at Homewood Field that attracted 4,000 spectators in a driving rain.

He received an athletic scholarship to LaSalle College in Philadelphia. One of the highlights of his football career there was returning a kickoff 98 yards at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, N.Y. He didn't score because he ran out of bounds. He left college in his sophomore year because of a shoulder injury.

Mr. Reichard then went to work for the Patapsco and Back River Railroad, a Bethlehem Steel Co. subsidiary. He became an engineer for the line that hauled steel, ore and other supplies to and from the Sparrows Point plant. He retired in the mid-1970s after 37 years with the railroad.

Mr. Reichard remained active in sports for many years. He played basketball at the Towson YMCA and golf at the Mount Pleasant course. He also played semi-pro baseball for a time with the Calvert Distillery team.

In 1991, he was inducted into the Maryland Old-timers Baseball Association.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home, 6500 York Road, Rodgers Forge.

Survivors include his wife of 64 years, the former Orie K. Wentz; a son, George T. Reichard Jr. of Conewago, Pa.; a daughter, Alberta H. Fisch of Costa Mesa, Calif.; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.