As a member of a talent-rich baseball family, there was no doubt Henry John “Dutch” Dotterer Jr. would be a successful star on the diamond. After all, his father, the late Henry “Dutch” Dotterer (Class of 1992), was a legend of the game, both as a player and a professional scout.
Young “Dutch” Dotterer grew up on Grant Boulevard, only blocks away from the old MacArthur Stadium. He 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. After a number of stops, he finally landed with the Cincinnati Reds in 1957. He spent four seasons with the Reds, one with the Washington Senators (1961) and his final two back in Syracuse with the Chiefs (1962–1963).
Dotterer loved to play baseball year-round. 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.
Dotterer is famous for a number of baseball feats such as catching a ball dropped from a helicopter flying 585 feet over Crosley Field in Cincinnati. He was also the only player ever to hit a grand slam home run off Sandy Koufax and the only player who twice beat the great Warren Spahn with extra-innings pinch hits. One sportswriter made this observation about Dotterer: “He wore the tools of ignorance, but in his case, it was a disguise!”
1957–1960: Played for the Cincinnati Reds
1961: Played for the Washington Senators
1962–1963: Played for Syracuse Chiefs
1959: Appeared in 52 games with Cincinnati and hit .267 with 2 home runs and 17 RBI