The orchestral violinist who played Major League baseball

The orchestral violinist who played Major League baseball


norman lebrecht

January 12, 2022

The death has been recorded, aged 99, of Edwin Frank Basinski, who played 11 seasons with the Portland Beavers.

Between his 87 home runs and 231 doubles, he liked to play violin solos to the crowd.

Before signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1944, Basinski played in the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra.

Obit here.


  • Just to clarify, Eddie Basinski played for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball (MLB). He also played over 10 seasons for the Portland Beavers, a minor league team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL). The quality of PCL play in the 1940s-50s was viewed by many, however, as equal to that of MLB, and Basinski is a member of the PCL Hall of Fame. He also played baseball for several teams in Venezuela.

  • M.Arnold says:

    Geez Norman,
    Eddie Basinski! A blast from my past. Growing up in Brooklyn as a fanatic Dodger fan, I not only remember him but actually saw him play. Never knew he played violin.

  • Greg says:

    The great Frank Miller, principle cellist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, was recruited by Yale University to play on their baseball team which was essentially a farm team for the Yankees. It was only after his brothers persuaded him that a musician’s career lasts longer than a professional athlete that he chose to go to the Curtis Institute. And let’s not forget Charles Ives who not only played baseball but played football (!) for Yale.

    • Haydn70 says:

      Ives played neither football or baseball for Yale. He did, however, pitch a game against the Yale freshmen as a member of the Hopkins Grammar School baseball team.

  • HugoPreuß says:

    The most amazing part of this picture is the sight of his athlete colleagues who are sitting there and listening. I wonder whether a photo like that would be possible today…

  • margaret koscielny says:

    My two favorite things: violin and baseball! Now, most ballplayers are only interested in the extra-curriculum activity of holding out for a bigger contract for more money.

  • Armchair Bard says:

    My nephew has been a demon rugby-player from early childhood. A little later he also took up the viola (yes). Questioned as to whether the two pursuits were compatible, my brother conceded the point: better limit the viola-practice, given the threat RSI could pose to the rugby-playing.

  • Westfan says:

    Great ode to baseball players, Eddie’s name is towards the end. Doubt any of the others were violinists though!

  • Bette says:

    There is something in baseball players that is akin to music. Most appreciate music, many can sing or play an instrument usually a guitar (easy to carry with them on the road). They appreciate
    the discipline of music, like baseball and the joy it brings.