Saturday, March 5, 2016

Bernie DeViveiros (1901-1994): Baseball's "Doctor of Sliding"

Bernie DeViveiros
Plot 72, Grave 1435

Bernard "Bernie" John DeViveiros was a Major League Baseball player who played shortstop for Chicago White Sox in 1924 and the Detroit Tigers in 1927. During his playing days, he stood 5' 7" tall and weighed 160 pounds. He batted and threw right-handed. His major league career consisted of 25 games with a batting average of .227.

DeViveiros played baseball at Oakland Tech High School in 1919-20 with future pros Johnny Gillespie and Taylor Douthit. He was named the California State Player of the Year in 1920.

Bernie DeViveiros teaches Gene Lamont how to slide
He was dubbed “The Doctor of Sliding” and taught numerous players the bent-leg slide and the fadeaway slide. He was also known as a great bunting coach. He learned the craft of sliding from then-Tiger manager Ty Cobb, as Hall of Fame player known for his base running skills.  After a few stints managing minor league and independent teams,  DeViveiros went to work as a scout for the Tigers in 1946 and remained with the team until he retired in 1972. During his time as a coach, he taught bunting and sliding to George Kell, Al Kaline, Vic Wertz, Hoot Eversm Harvey Kuenn, Rocky Colavito, Dick McAuliffe,  Bill Freehan, Mickey Stanley, Jim Northrup, Willie Horton and Gates Brown.
Bernie DeViveiros' high school photo and a baseball signed "Always Sliding"
Perhaps his most famous contribution was discovering and signing Mickey Lolich, who became a legend when he led the Detroit Tigers to a World Series win in 1968. Lolich ended up winning 217 games in the majors, threw 39 shutouts and struck out 2,832 hitters.

In 1951, DeViveiros wrote an article on Base Running in The Sporting News called "How to Play Baseball."

He died while living at the Altenheim Retirement home in Oakland on July 5, 1994.

Sources: Oakland Tech High School, "Safe by a mile" by Charlie Metro,, Wikipedia,, Corpus Christi Caller Times

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