Henry John “Dutch” Dotterer, Jr.
Inducted in 2005
How could a guy with baseball genes as potent as the young “Dutch” Dotterer possessed, NOT be a successful diamond star? After all, his father, the late Henry “Dutch” Dotterer, a Syracuse Sports Hall of Famer (Class of 1992), was a legend of the game, both as a player and a professional scout.
Young “Dutch” was born in Syracuse in 1930, grew up on Grant Boulevard, only blocks away from the old MacArthur Stadium and played ball at Christian Brothers Academy and also at Syracuse University. His pro career began as a catcher in 1950 with Lockport of the late PONY League. Then it was on to Ogden, Burlington, two years in the Army, Nashville, Memphis, Havana and finally with the Cincinnati Reds in 1957. He spent four seasons as a Red (1957 – 1960), one with the Washington Senators (1961) and his final two back in Syracuse with the Chiefs (1962 – 1963).
It seems as if “Dutch” just couldn’t get enough baseball. He spent his off-seasons catching in Cuba, Columbia, Peru, Venezuela and Canada, and still found time to earn a master’s degree in International Relations from Syracuse University.
Remember the catcher who once caught a ball dropped from a helicopter flying 585 feet over Crosley Field in Cincinnati? Yep, that was our own “Dutch”. And how about the only player ever to hit a grand slam home run off Sandy Koufax? That was also “Dutch” And the only player who twice beat the great Warren Spahn with extra-innings pinch hits? Right again. Henry John “Dutch” Dotterer, Jr.
One sportswriter made this observation about “Dutch”: “He wore the tools of ignorance, but in his case, it was a disguise!”
“Dutch” Dotterer, Jr. died in 1999. He is buried in Assumption Cemetery near his father, a short distance from his boy-hood home and the site of old MacArthur Stadium.