Howie Schultz combined Major League careers in baseball and basketball during the 1940s. Nicknamed “Stretch,” the six-foot-six Schultz had already started his professional baseball career while still a student and one of the stars of the basketball team at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Howard Henry Schultz was born July 3, 1922, and grew up in St. Paul. His parents, Leo and Minnie, were also St. Paul natives. Leo Schultz worked for the Montgomery Ward company for thirty-five years, running the shipping-and-receiving dock through the Great Depression. “We had food on the table and clothes on our back,” Schultz said of the Depression years. “We never suffered.”
Schultz was the second of three children. His brother, Louis, was born two years before him, and his sister, Lorraine, two years after him. In 1926 the family moved to a house three blocks north of Lexington Park, home of the St. Paul Saints of the American Association.
Leo Schultz was an avid baseball fan. A member of the St. Paul Municipal Baseball Board and the board for amateur baseball in the state, he spent a great deal of time with friends at Lexington Park, watching the Saints. Howie caught the baseball bug from his dad and attended his first Saints game by the time he was six.
Howie Schultz was sold to Philadelphia in early May when
the Dodgers realized Jackie Robinson could handle the first
base position by himself.
Schultz began playing basketball when he was in the eighth grade in a Saturday morning program at Concordia College in St. Paul. The man who oversaw the program, Dick Siebert, played professional baseball while coaching the Concordia Academy (high school) basketball team in the offseason. Schultz first played on organized baseball and basketball teams as a ninth grader. From there he went to Central High School, playing both sports in his junior and senior seasons.
After graduating from Central in 1940, Schultz enrolled in Hamline University, which was only about a mile from his home. Despite being a small college, Hamline was establishing a national reputation for its basketball team under coach Joe Hutton. Schultz played basketball but not baseball for Hamline.