Born in Melbourne, Karl Joseph "Sneezer" Schneider was a brilliant cricketer and footballer for Xavier College, captaining the school's first eleven and first eighteen teams.
He made his first-class debut for Victoria in 1923, playing against Tasmania on the Melbourne Cricket Ground. In an amazing match, the Victorians piled on an incredible 1059, to which Schneider contributed 55.
Unable to cement his spot in the Victorian state team, he moved to Adelaide in 1925 in the search of greater opportunities at first-class level. On arrival from Victoria he stayed at the home of Norwood and East Torrens Cricket Club Secretary, the legendary Thomas S Hill.
The move was an instant success as he not only became an important player for his adopted state, but South Australia also went on to win the Sheffield Shield in his first season.
Despite being very small in stature, Schneider was also a very good footballer and like so many other East Torrens cricketers over the years, he decided to play with the Norwood Football Club. Cleared by the Victorian Football League, after being a state representative for the Victorian Amateurs, he joined fellow state cricketers Eric Johnson , P.K. Lee and Henry Whitfield at Norwood.
A clever two-sided footballer, he played mainly as a rover or goal-sneak and was particularly dangerous near goals. Schneider was a great exponent of the place kick, a skill he had developed while at school.
By now a highly regarded opening batsman, he was selected in the Australian team to tour New Zealand in 1928. Schneider became ill near the end of the tour and died of tuberculosis a few months later at the young age of 23.
A modest and popular competitor, his death was a tragic loss to sport in general.
* Photo courtesy of Ken Piesse
R Cialini Jan 2014