Victor Sylvester “Vic” Saier
Born: May 4, 1891 - Lansing, MI
Died: May 14, 1967 - East Lansing, MI
Career BA: .263
Chicago Cubs NL (May 4, 1891 - May 14, 1967)
Pittsburg Pirates NL (1919)
We can definitely file Chicago Cubs first sacker Vic Saier in the “What Might Have Been” category. He was fast, as evidenced by his league-leading 21 triples in 1913, and his 19 steals without being caught in 1914. He could hit for average, batting .288 and .289 in 1912 and 1913. He could get on base, posting an OBP of over .350 in four of his eight big-league seasons. He also had power, clubbing 18 home runs in 1914. What Saier did not have was luck. In the prime of his career, he was actually being compared with Ty Cobb and other diamond deities, but in 1915, Saier suffered a leg injury that drastically marred a budding career.
In his watershed 1913 campaign, Saier was the total package for player-manager Johnny Evers’ Cubbies. He led all starters in hits and homers. Among the Windy City regulars, only third baseman Heine Zimmerman had more RBI and hit for a higher batting average. Michigan born and bred, Saier had a cup of coffee with a local club, the Oldsmobile Nine, and played for the Lansing Senators in the Southern Michigan League. He joined the Cubs in 1911 and eventually solidified the first base position after Frank Chance was forced to retire due to a series of beanings. Saier also used his head, but not as violently. He was enrolled at St. Mary’s Business School when baseball became his vocation. As a player, he brought a cerebral and business-like approach to the game.
Not one for superstar arrogance, Saier was a true gamer who fought through his injuries to play 147 games in 1916. His skills, however, were obviously diminished, most notably, his speed. Saier managed to pilfer 20 bases that year, but was nabbed 17 times. In 1917, bad luck found Saier again. He shattered his leg in a home plate collision, and eventually quit the game after the 1919 season. Vic Saier might as well have raised black cats under a ladder surrounded by broken mirrors. To say that his once promising career was snake bitten would be an understatement. His biography says that Vic was short for Victor. In our view, it was short for victim.
– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players. For more information on their book and/or to order a copy at a special PSA discount, visit http://crackerjackplayers.com/PSA_order.html