Anyone involved with Major League Baseball and especially the Chattanooga Lookouts knows who Cal Ermer is. Every baseball season dozens of baseball scouts will file into the press box and AT&T Field and say hello to the white-haired gentleman who anchors the center spot on the front row, paying their respect. And respect is what they should have for this gentle giant of the baseball.
At 84-years-old, Ermer or Cal, as everyone knows and calls him, has been involved with the sport of baseball for 70 years. The former player, coach and one-time big league manager today is still actively involved, employed by his beloved Minnesota Twins as a scout based out of Chattanooga.
Cal toiled in the minor leagues as a player for a few years and made a brief appearance as a bigs before it was deemed that he had a higher calling – that as a coach.
Cal coached the Chattanooga Lookouts during most of the 1950s winning almost 500 games as their manager. During that time he and his family made Chattanooga their permanent home.
Cal went on to briefly manage the Minnesota Twins during the 1967 and ’68 seasons. Team owner Calvin Griffith even confided in Cal looking back one day that he was the best manager ever hired by the Twins.
During the course of his 70-year baseball career Cal has rubbed elbows, coached and advise such names as Joe DiMaggio, Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew and current Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, just to name a very few. And he has a anecdote on each he’s always willing to share.
With such great experience in professional sports Cal has at least a million stories. On any given night he will be telling one of his many stories including an infamous game in the 1960s in Denver when his team was behind by 17 runs. That story is here he got one of his many catchphrases, “Hope Springs Eternal”. Ask him about it sometime
Saturday night before the beginning of the Lookouts’ game against the Huntsville Stars the team rechristened the press box, naming it after Ermer. The baseball legend was presented a plaque at home plate. Inside the press box are photos of Cal from his days with the Lookouts, the dedicating plaque and on the entrance to the press box now adorns his name.
The last place Lookouts who have not given fans that much to smile about this season rose to the occasion and won the game 6-2. It was a befitting honor to the man that’s been a part of the Lookouts’ family for over 50 years. Congratulations Cal, and remember, “Hold ‘em!”
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