Mickey Vernon

James Barton "Mickey" Vernon (April 22, 1918 – September 24, 2008) was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) first baseman who played for the Washington Senators (1939–48, 1950–55), Cleveland Indians (1949–50, 1958), Boston Red Sox (1956–57), Milwaukee Braves (1959), and Pittsburgh Pirates (1960). He also was the first manager in the history of the expansion edition of the Senators (now the Texas Rangers), serving from 1961 through May 21, 1963, and was a coach for four MLB teams between 1960 and 1982.

He retired as a player in 1960 with 2,495 hits, and holds the major league record for career double plays at first base (2,044). He has the American League (AL) record for career games (2,227), putouts (19,754), assists (1,444) and total chances (21,408). The lanky Vernon was listed as 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and 170 pounds (77 kg); he batted and threw left-handed.

Mickey Vernon
Mickey Vernon 1961
Vernon in 1961
First baseman / Manager
Born: April 22, 1918
Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania
Died: September 24, 2008 (aged 90)
Media, Pennsylvania
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
July 8, 1939, for the Washington Senators
Last MLB appearance
September 27, 1960, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
MLB statistics
Batting average.286
Hits2,495
Home runs172
Runs batted in1,311
Managerial record135–227
Winning %.373
Teams
As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards

Early life

Mickey Vernon was born in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, and attended Villanova University, before making his major league debut on July 8, 1939. He was the father of Gay Vernon.

During World War II, he served in the United States Navy, missing the 1944 and 1945 seasons. He served with major league players Larry Doby and Billy Goodman on Ulithi in the South Pacific in 1945; both Goodman and Vernon personally inspired Doby to become a major league baseball player; Doby became the first African-American to break the baseball color line in the American League in 1947 with the Cleveland Indians.

Baseball career

Playing career

Vernon played for 14 full major league seasons (400 at bats or more) in his 20-year career. He wound up batting over .335 twice, over .300 five times, and over .290 nine times. He was a two-time American League batting champion. In 1946, his .353 batting mark eclipsed Ted Williams' .342 by 11 points. Then, in 1953, Vernon's .337 average denied Cleveland's Al Rosen (.336) the Triple Crown by just one one-thousandth of a point.[1] The following year, 1954, Vernon had a career high 20 home runs, 97 RBIs, and a career high 14 triples. He led the AL in doubles with a total of 33. He also had 294 total bases, which was second in the AL, behind Minnie Miñoso.

Over time, Vernon became one of the best-liked ballplayers, mainly through his unique personality and charismatic, but quiet, style. On September 1, 1960, after a season spent as the Pittsburgh Pirates' first-base coach, Vernon was placed on the active list when MLB rosters expanded to 40 men. He appeared in nine regular-season games as a pinch hitter for Pittsburgh, notching an RBI single and an intentional walk in his nine plate appearances to become one of only 29 players in baseball history to have appeared in a major league game in four decades. By his final game played, on September 27, 1960, he was, at 42, the oldest player in the National League by almost a year, and one of the most popular figures in the game. He appeared in 2,409 MLB games without playing in the postseason, third most in history behind Ernie Banks and Luke Appling.[2] Notably, however, during Vernon's time on the active list, the Pirates clinched the NL pennant on September 25, and by the time the 1960 World Series began, Vernon had resumed his full-time coaching duties. He earned a World Series ring when the Bucs triumphed in seven games over the New York Yankees.

Vernon posted a career .286 batting average with 172 home runs and 1,311 RBIs in 2,409 games. The left-hander averaged 88 RBIs a year, and had 11 seasons with 80 or more, 3 with 90 or more. He scored 1,196 runs with 137 stolen bases and a .359 on-base percentage. His career slugging percentage was .428, with a career high of .518 in 1953. He compiled 2,495 hits, with 490 doubles and 120 triples, in 8,731 at bats. He had 3,741 career total bases, with his career high coming in 1953 (315).

Coaching and managing

Mickey Vernon 1963
Vernon in 1963

Vernon's career as a coach and manager began during his 1960 stint on the staff of his longtime friend, Pirates' skipper Danny Murtaugh.

The following year, in 1961, he returned to Washington when he was named manager of the expansion Senators in their first year of existence. Despite inheriting the name and home field of the 1901–60 Washington franchise, now the Minnesota Twins, the expansion Senators were hastily constructed with an undercapitalized ownership, an MLB roster of castoff players,[3] and an almost-nonexistent farm system. In Vernon's two full seasons at the helm, 1961 and 1962, the Senators lost a combined 201 games. They were 14–26 and last in the ten-team American League when Vernon was fired on May 21, 1963. He finished with a career record of 135–227, a .373 winning percentage.

Vernon remained in the game into the 1980s a major league coach for the Pirates (returning there for a second term in 1964), St. Louis Cardinals (1965), Montreal Expos (1977–78) and Yankees (1982). He also managed at the Triple-A and Double-A levels of the minor leagues, and served as a roving batting instructor for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Royals and Yankees before retiring from baseball.

Death

Vernon died from a stroke at age 90, on September 24, 2008. He had resided in Media, Pennsylvania.

MLB highlights

  • MLB Record: Double plays at first base (2,044)
  • American League All-Star (1946, 1948, 1953-1956, 1958)
  • American League batting champion (1946, 1953)
  • American League leader in doubles (1946, 1953, 1954)
  • American League leader in extra base hits (1954)
  • American League leader in fielding average (1950-1952, 1954)
  • American League top 10 in MVP voting (1946, 1953, 1954)
  • American League top 10 in triples (1941, 1943, 1946, 1947, 1951-1955)

Legacy

In August 2008, he was named as one of the ten former players who began their careers before 1943 to be considered by the Veterans Committee for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009.

Playing in four different decades (1939–60), Vernon ended his career with 2,237 games at first base, second to only Jake Beckley (2,377) in major league history. He led the American League in fielding percentage four times, and the majors twice.

He became one of the few first basemen to finish his career with a .990 fielding percentage, and participated in more double plays than any other.

The Mickey Vernon Museum Collection in Radnor, Pennsylvania, honors Vernon's career, military service, and friendship with Murtaugh, among other artifacts.[4]

Vernon is interred at the Lawn Croft Cemetery in Linwood, Pennsylvania.[5]

See also

References

  1. ^ Goldstein, Richard (14 March 2015), "Al Rosen, Who Missed Triple Crown by a Step, Dies at 91." The New York Times
  2. ^ Baseball Reference
  3. ^ McCue, Andy, and Thompson, Eric (2011), "Mismanagement 101: The American League's Expansion of 1961." The National Pastime 2011, Society for American Baseball Research
  4. ^ The Mickey Vernon Sports Museum
  5. ^ Baseball Almanac

Further reading

  • Klemish, Dawn (February 24, 2007). "Line-drive hitting Vernon won pair of batting titles for Washington Senators". baseballhalloffame.org. Archived from the original on April 23, 2007 – via Wayback Machine.
  • Westcott, Rich (2005). Mickey Vernon: The Gentleman First Baseman. Camino Books Inc. ISBN 0940159945.
  • Westcott, Rich. "Mickey Vernon". SABR.

External links

Achievements
Preceded by
Bill Salkeld
Hitting for the cycle
May 19, 1946
Succeeded by
Ted Williams
Sporting positions
Preceded by
George Detore
Ron Northey
Pittsburgh Pirates first-base coach
1960
1964
Succeeded by
Ron Northey
Johnny Pesky
Preceded by
Joe Schultz
St. Louis Cardinals first-base coach
1965
Succeeded by
Dick Sisler
1939 Washington Senators season

The 1939 Washington Senators won 65 games, lost 87, and finished in sixth place in the American League. They were managed by Bucky Harris and played home games at Griffith Stadium.

1947 Washington Senators season

The 1947 Washington Senators won 64 games, lost 90, and finished in seventh place in the American League. They were managed by Ossie Bluege and played home games at Griffith Stadium.

1949 Cleveland Indians season

The 1949 Cleveland Indians season was the 49th in franchise history. The club entered the season as the defending World Champions. On March 5, 1949, Indians minority owner Bob Hope donned a Cleveland Indians uniform and posed with manager Lou Boudreau and vice president Hank Greenberg as the World Series champions opened spring training camp in Tucson, Arizona.

1950 Cleveland Indians season

The 1950 Cleveland Indians season was the 50th season in franchise history. The team finished fourth in the American League with a record of 92–62, six games behind the New York Yankees.

1950 Washington Senators season

The 1950 Washington Senators won 67 games, lost 87, and finished in fifth place in the American League. They were managed by Bucky Harris and played home games at Griffith Stadium.

1953 Washington Senators season

The 1953 Washington Senators won 76 games, lost 76, and finished in fifth place in the American League. They were managed by Bucky Harris and played home games at Griffith Stadium. This was their last winning season until 1962.

1955 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1955 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 22nd playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 12, 1955, at Milwaukee County Stadium, the home of the Milwaukee Braves of the National League.

1956 Boston Red Sox season

The 1956 Boston Red Sox season was the 56th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished fourth in the American League (AL) with a record of 84 wins and 70 losses.

1956 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1956 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 23rd playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 10, 1956, at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. the home of the Washington Senators of the American League.

1958 Boston Red Sox season

The 1958 Boston Red Sox season was the 58th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished third in the American League (AL) with a record of 79 wins and 75 losses, thirteen games behind the AL and World Series champion New York Yankees. It would be the last time the Red Sox finished a season above .500, until their "Impossible Dream" season of 1967.

1959 Cleveland Indians season

The 1959 Cleveland Indians season was the 59th in franchise history. The Indians finished in second place in the American League with a record of 89 wins and 65 losses, five games behind the AL Champion Chicago White Sox.

1960 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the team's 79th season. The team finished with a record of 95–59–1, seven games in front of the second-place Milwaukee Braves to win their first National League championship in 33 seasons. The team went on to play the heavily favored New York Yankees, whom they defeated 4 games to 3 in one of the most storied World Series ever.

Dick Gernert

Richard Edward Gernert (September 28, 1928 – November 30, 2017), was an American professional baseball first baseman, outfielder, and coach, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Boston Red Sox (1952–1959), Chicago Cubs (1960), Detroit Tigers (1960–1961), Cincinnati Reds (1961), and Houston Colt .45's (1962). He threw and batted right-handed. During his playing days, Gernert stood 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) tall, weighing 209 pounds (95 kg). His uncle, Dom Dallessandro, was also a Major Leaguer.Although Gernert spent much of the 1950s with the Red Sox, he often found himself sharing the first-base job with players such as Vic Wertz, Norm Zauchin, and Mickey Vernon. A powerful right-handed batter, he was signed to take advantage of the Green Monster at Fenway Park. Gernert batted a career-high .291 in 1956 and topped the 20-homer mark in 1953 and 1958.

In 11 MLB seasons, Gernert played in 835 games and had 2,493 at bats, 357 runs, 632 hits, 104 doubles, eight triples, 103 home runs, 402 runs batted in (RBI), 10 stolen bases, and 363 walks. He posted a .254 batting average, .351 on-base percentage, .426 slugging percentage, 1,061 total bases, 10 sacrifice hits, 13 sacrifice flies, and 12 intentional walks.

Gernert was involved in the first interleague trade without waivers in baseball history, on November 21, 1959, when Boston shipped him to the Cubs for first baseman Jim Marshall and pitcher Dave Hillman. Gernert helped the Reds win the 1961 National League pennant, as a pinch hitter; however, in that World Series, which the Reds lost to the New York Yankees in five games, he was 0-4, in pinch-hitting roles.

After his playing days ended, Gernert was a coach for the Texas Rangers, a minor league manager, and longtime scout for numerous teams, most notably the New York Mets. Gernert died on November 30, 2017, at 89 years of age.

Eastern Shore League

The Eastern Shore Baseball League was a class D minor league baseball league that operated on the Delmarva Peninsula for parts of three different decades. The league's first season was in 1922 and the last was in 1949, although the years were not consecutive, and featured teams from Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. The first incarnation lasted from 1922 to mid-1928 (disbanded in July), the second from 1937–41, and the third from 1946–49. Though the level of play was competitive and many future major leaguers gained experience in the ESBL, funding the league remained a constant problem for the rural franchises.

Future major leaguers who played in the ESBL include notables such as: Frank "Home Run" Baker, Mickey Cochrane, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Vernon, and Don Zimmer.

The Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Maryland, pays homage to ESBL players and locals who made the major leagues. Perdue Stadium is the home of the class A Delmarva Shorebirds, an Orioles farm team.

List of Major League Baseball annual doubles leaders

Major League Baseball recognizes doubles champions in the American League and National League each season.

List of Minnesota Twins team records

This is a listing of statistical records and milestone achievements of the Minnesota Twins franchise.

List of Texas Rangers managers

The Texas Rangers are an American baseball franchise based in Arlington, Texas. They are members of the American League West division. The Rangers franchise was formed in 1961, then called the Washington Senators, as a member of the American League. In its 58-year history, the Texas Rangers baseball franchise of Major League Baseball's American League has employed 27 managers. The duties of the team manager include team strategy and leadership on and off the field.Mickey Vernon became the first manager of the Texas Rangers in 1961, serving for just over two seasons. Ron Washington has managed more games and seasons than any other manager in Rangers history. Before 2010, the only Rangers manager to have led the team to the playoffs was Johnny Oates, who also won the 1996 Manager of the Year Award with the Rangers. Ted Williams is the only Rangers manager to have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a player; Whitey Herzog, who was inducted in the Hall in 2010, is only Rangers manager to earn induction as a manager.

In 1963, manager Mickey Vernon was fired and replaced by interim manager Eddie Yost. One game later, Yost was replaced by Gil Hodges. In 1973, Whitey Herzog was replaced by Del Wilber. One game later, Billy Martin took over the role of manager. In 1975, Frank Lucchesi took over for Martin in midseason, who in turn was replaced by Eddie Stanky. After six games, Connie Ryan could not finish the season, so Billy Hunter took over the role of manager, only to be fired with one game to go in the 1978 season and replaced by Pat Corrales. In 1982, Don Zimmer was fired as Rangers manager but continued to run the team for three more games before being replaced by Darrell Johnson. Rangers owner Eddie Chiles said the poor play of the Rangers had nothing to do with Zimmer's firing but was instead 'something personal'. In 1985, after Doug Rader led the Rangers to (exact number of seasons) losing seasons, he was replaced by Bobby Valentine, who in turn was replaced by Toby Harrah during midseason. In 2001, Johnny Oates's poor performance forced the Rangers to hire Jerry Narron as his replacement during midseason.

Buck Showalter was hired as manager of the Texas Rangers on October 11, 2002, following a last-place season under manager Jerry Narron. Showalter managed the Rangers through the 2006 season, before being fired as manager on October 4, 2006. In November 2006, Ron Washington was hired as manager of the Rangers. He managed the team from 2007 to 2014, longer than any other person in the franchise's history, when he announced his resignation on September 5, 2014. Tim Bogar managed the rest of the season on an interim basis. Jeff Banister was hired to lead the team from 2015 to September 21, 2018, when he was fired. Don Wakamatsu replaced him as interim manager. Chris Woodward was later hired as the new manager for 2019.

Michael Vernon (disambiguation)

Michael Vernon (1932–1993) was an Australian consumer activist.

Michael or Mike or Mickey Vernon may also refer to:

Mike Vernon (ice hockey) (born 1963), Canadian former NHL goaltender

Mike Vernon (record producer) (born 1944), British record producer

Mickey Vernon (1918–2008), American baseball player

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