Nellie Fox

Jacob Nelson Fox (December 25, 1927 – December 1, 1975) was an American professional baseball player. Fox was one of the best second basemen of all time, and the third-most difficult hitter to strike out in Major League Baseball (MLB) history.[1] Fox played in the big leagues from 1947 through 1965 and spent the majority of his career as a member of the Chicago White Sox; his career was bookended by multi-year stints for the Philadelphia Athletics and, later, the Houston Astros.

Fox was an American League (AL) All-Star for twelve seasons,[a] an AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) for one season, and an AL Gold Glove winner for three seasons. He had a .288 major-league career batting average with 2663 hits, 35 home runs, and 790 runs batted in. He hit .300 or more six times, and led the AL in singles eight times (seven consecutive seasons) and in fielding average six times as a second baseman. His career fielding percentage was .984. In 1959, when the "Go Go" Chicago White Sox won the American League Pennant championship, he hit .306 with 149 singles and 70 RBI. He coached for the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers after his playing career. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.[1]

Nellie Fox
Nellie Fox 1960.jpeg
Fox in 1960
Second baseman
Born: December 25, 1927
St. Thomas Township, Pennsylvania
Died: December 1, 1975 (aged 47)
Baltimore, Maryland
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 8, 1947, for the Philadelphia Athletics
Last MLB appearance
July 24, 1965, for the Houston Astros
MLB statistics
Batting average.288
Hits2,663
Home runs35
Runs batted in790
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction1997
VoteVeterans Committee

Early years

Fox was born on Christmas Day 1927 in St. Thomas Township, Pennsylvania, a rural area just west of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in south central Pennsylvania. He was the youngest of three sons born to a carpenter who grew up on a farm and liked to play town baseball in St. Thomas. Despite his short stature, with the help of his father, he distinguished himself as a baseball player at a young age, even playing with his father on their St. Thomas team.

Fox at age 16 in 1944, thought that he had a good chance to sign on with a professional baseball team due to player shortages from World War II. His mother wrote a letter on her son's behalf to Connie Mack the owner/manager of the Philadelphia Athletics which enabled him to attend an open tryout that spring for the Athletics in Frederick, Maryland. Fox caught the attention of Mack who signed him to a professional contract.[2]

Professional baseball

Minor leagues

Fox started his professional baseball career with the Lancaster team of the Pennsylvania Interstate League and the Jamestown Falcons where he hit .314. He played a range of infield and outfield positions, ultimately settling at second base. He came back with Lancaster in 1945 and was known as the best second baseman in the league. The Philadelphia Athletics bought his contract that year, but Fox did not get to play for them then because he was called to service and was stationed in Korea in 1946.[2]

Major leagues

Nellie Fox 1953
Fox in 1953

Fox's major league career began in 1947 when he started to play for the Philadelphia Athletics, but he played mostly in the minor leagues, appearing in a total of ten MLB games in 1947 and 1948.[3] In 1949, the Philadelphia Athletics set a major league team record of 217 double plays, a record which still stood as of 2012.[4] Fox appeared in 88 of the Athletics games that season, and contributed to 68 of the team's double plays.[3]

Fox's career took off after he was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Joe Tipton on October 29, 1949. He spent the next 14 seasons with the Sox, making 12 AL All-Star teams[3] and 15 of 16 AL All-Star Game selections beginning in 1951 (two All-Star games were played in 1959 through 1962[5]) when he batted .313.[3] The White Sox finished in third place in each season between 1952 and 1956, followed by second-place finishes in 1957 and 1958 (Baseball-Reference.com lists Billy Pierce and Minnie Miñoso as the top White Sox players during most of those years, as reflected by wins above replacement (WAR), but Fox had the team's highest WAR in 1957).[6]

1959 season

Fox's best season came in 1959, when he received the AL Most Valuable Player award (not until Dustin Pedroia in 2008 would another American League second baseman receive such an honor) on a White Sox team that won its first AL pennant in 40 years. He batted .306, had an on-base percentage of .380, and led the AL in singles. He also started and had four hits in two All-Star games and won his second Gold Glove. The Al López-managed White Sox had the best record in baseball, going 94-60 to finish five games ahead of the Cleveland Indians and a surprising 15 ahead of the New York Yankees. It was one of just two seasons the Yankees did not win the pennant between 19491964.

In the World Series, Fox batted a team-high .375 with three doubles, but the Sox lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games. In Game 5, Fox scored the only run when Sherm Lollar hit into a double play in the fourth inning (this was only the second time that a World Series game did not have an RBI). It was Fox's only postseason experience, and the White Sox did not make it back to the World Series until they swept the 2005 World Series from the Houston Astros.

Later seasons

Fox played his final two seasons (1964–65) with the Houston Colt .45s and Astros. Joe Morgan later said that he looked up to Fox's example as a rookie with the Astros; Fox and Morgan were both diminutive second basemen. Morgan grew up hitting with a Nellie Fox model bat, which had a large barrel and large handle. With the Astros, Fox convinced Morgan to switch to a bat with a thin handle to leverage his power.[7]

Fox was 5-foot-9, he made up for his modest size and minimal power — he hit only 35 home runs in his career, and never more than six in a single season — with his good batting eye, excellent fielding, and baserunning speed. Fox was perennially one of the toughest batters to strike out, fanning just 216 times in his career, an average of once every 42.7 at-bats which ranks him 3rd all-time.[1] He led the league in most at-bats per strikeouts a phenomenal 13 times in his career. In 1951, Fox hit more triples (12) than he had strikeouts (11). A solid contact hitter (lifetime .288 batting average), he batted over .300 six times, with 2,663 hits, 355 doubles, and 112 triples. He also led the league in singles for seven straight years, in triples once, and in hits four times.[3]

Defensive skills

Fox was one of the best second basemen in the major leagues.[1] He played next to a pair of slick-fielding White Sox shortstops from Venezuela, Chico Carrasquel (1950–55) and Luis Aparicio (1956–62). He was the first major league Gold Glove Award winner for a second baseman in 1957, and he received two more Gold Glove awards in 1959 and 1960. Between August 1956 and September 1960, Fox played a major-league record 798 consecutive games at second base. In 1959 and 1960, the Aparicio-Fox middle infield duo won two Gold Gloves twice for their respective positions, starting a select list of eight shortstop-second baseman combinations who have both won Gold Gloves in the same season.

Fox led the league's second basemen in defensive games played each season between 1952 and 1959. He also led second basemen in putouts between 1952 and 1961, and in assists several times during his career. Fox finished among the top five second basemen in fielding percentage every year between 1950 and 1964, and currently ranks second in career double plays as a second baseman.[3]

Coaching seasons

Fox was a coach for the Houston Astros (1965–67) and the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers (1968–72). In the late 1960s, Fox appeared to have a chance to manage the Senators when Jim Lemon's post came open following the team's purchase by Bob Short. However, around the same time the Washington Redskins named Vince Lombardi as their football coach, so Short felt pressure to hire a manager with a very well-known name and selected Ted Williams for the position.[8]

Death

Fox lived in St. Thomas Township, Pennsylvania after his playing days were over. He co-owned and managed Nellie Fox Bowl[9] in Chambersberg after retiring from baseball. Fox was diagnosed with skin cancer in 1973. In October 1975, he was admitted to the Baltimore Cancer Research Center and treated for lymphatic cancer.[10]

He died on December 1, 1975 at the age of 47.[2][9][11] He was buried at the St. Thomas Cemetery in his hometown of St. Thomas, Pennsylvania.

Legacy

SoxRetired02
Nellie Fox's number 2 was retired by the Chicago White Sox in 1976.

Jim Lemon, who played for the White Sox with Fox in 1963, said that Fox's cancer "had to be incurable – because if it wasn't, Nellie would have beat it."[11] Former White Sox manager Al López described how Fox had found success through hard work rather than natural ability: "He wasn't fast and didn't have an arm, but he worked hard to develop what he needed to make himself a good all-around ballplayer. If you had eight Nellie Foxes, all with his spirit and determination, I think you'd have a winning team."[11] On May 1, 1976, Fox's uniform number 2 was retired by the White Sox; he is the second of ten White Sox players to have his uniform number retired.[12]

Fox was not selected to the Hall of Fame in his initial period of eligibility. In his final ballot cast by baseball writers in 1985, he gained 74.7 percent of the vote, just shy of the 75 percent (traditionally baseball percentages were rounded off) required for election by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. However, in 1997, the Hall of Fame's Veterans Committee elected him. He had the required 75% of the committee's vote in 1996, but the committee was allowed to vote in only one former MLB player; Jim Bunning was inducted after receiving one more vote than Fox.[13] Prior to his Hall of Fame election, a group of fans formed the Nellie Fox Society to promote his case for induction. The group grew to as many as 600 members, including Richard M. Daley, James R. Thompson, George Will and several former MLB players.[14]

In 2001, a Pennsylvania state historical marker was dedicated to honor Fox.[15] Bronze statues of Fox and Aparicio were unveiled on the outfield concourse of U.S. Cellular Field in 2006. Fox's statue depicts him flipping a baseball toward Aparicio, while Aparicio is depicted as preparing to receive the ball from Fox.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ MLB held two All-Star Games from 1959 through 1962

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Nellie Fox at The Baseball Hall of Fame". National Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved April 25, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c McLanahan, Bruce. "Fox, Jacob Nelson (Nellie)". Pennsylvania Center for the Book. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Nellie Fox Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  4. ^ Warrington, Bob (October 2, 2009). "A Record with Legs: Most Double Plays Turned in a Season". Philadelphia Athletics. Archived from the original on January 29, 2016. Retrieved April 24, 2011.
  5. ^ Donnelly, Patrick (July 9, 2012). "Midsummer Classics: Celebrating MLB's All-Star Game, 1959–1962". SportsData LLC. Retrieved March 25, 2015. ... all players who were named to the AL or NL roster were credited one appearance per season.
  6. ^ "Chicago White Sox Team History & Encyclopedia". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  7. ^ Anderson, Dave (December 7, 1975). "Nellie Fox: He made it easier for Joe Morgan". Star-News. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  8. ^ Richman, Milt (December 3, 1975). "Nellie: Not everybody could be just like him". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Bigelow, Robert W.; Zminda, Don. "Nellie Fox biography". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  10. ^ Richman, Milton (November 11, 1975). "Nellie Fox Former White Sox battles against cancer". Boca Raton News. UPI. p. 6. Retrieved 2015-10-15.
  11. ^ a b c "Nellie Fox dies from skin cancer". The Gadsden Times. AP. December 2, 1975. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  12. ^ "Retired Uniform Numbers in the American League". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  13. ^ Parasiliti, Bob (March 5, 1997). "Nellie Fox voted into Hall of Fame". The Herald-Mail. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  14. ^ Mandernach, Mark (December 9, 1996). "Cooperstown or Bust". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  15. ^ "Jacob Nelson Historical Marker". ExplorePAHistory.com. Retrieved July 20, 2014.

External links

1951 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1951 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 18th 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, 1951, at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Michigan the home of the Detroit Tigers of the American League. The game resulted in the National League defeating the American League 8–3.

1953 Chicago White Sox season

The 1953 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 53rd season in the major leagues, and its 54th season overall. They finished with a record 89–65, good enough for third place in the American League, 11.5 games behind the first place New York Yankees.

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.

1957 Chicago White Sox season

The 1957 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 57th season in the major leagues, and its 58th season overall. They finished with a record 90–64, good enough for second place in the American League, 8 games behind the first-place New York Yankees.

1959 Chicago White Sox season

The 1959 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 59th season in the major leagues, and its 60th season overall. They finished with a record 94–60, good enough to win the American League (AL) championship, five games ahead of the second place Cleveland Indians. It was the team's first pennant since 1919 and would be its last until their championship season of 2005.

1959 Major League Baseball All-Star Game (second game)

The 1959 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 27th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues composing Major League Baseball. The game was played on August 3, 1959, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers of the NL. The game resulted in a 5–3 victory for the American League. This was the second of two All-Star Games played in 1959, the first game having been played on July 7 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The first Midsummer Classic to be played on the West Coast, this was also one of only two All-Star Games to be played outside the month of July, the other being in 1981.

1959 Major League Baseball season

The 1959 Major League Baseball season was played from April 9 to October 9, 1959. It saw the Los Angeles Dodgers, free of the strife produced by their move from Brooklyn the previous season, rebound to win the National League pennant after a two-game playoff against the Milwaukee Braves, who themselves had moved from Boston in 1953. The Dodgers won the World Series against a Chicago White Sox team that had not played in the "Fall Classic" since 1919 and was interrupting a Yankees' dynasty that dominated the American League between 1949 and 1964.

The season is notable as the only one between 1950 and 1981 where no pitcher pitched a no-hitter.

1960 Chicago White Sox season

The 1960 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 60th season in the major leagues, and its 61st season overall. They finished with a record 87–67, good enough for third place in the American League, 10 games behind the first-place New York Yankees.

1961 Chicago White Sox season

The 1961 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 61st season in the major leagues, and its 62nd season overall. They finished with a record 86–76, good enough for fourth place in the American League, 23 games behind the first-place New York Yankees. Their pitching staff surrendered 13 of Roger Maris's 61 home runs that year, the most of any team.

1962 Chicago White Sox season

The 1962 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 62nd season in the major leagues, and its 63rd season overall. They finished with a record 85–77, good enough for fifth place in the American League, 11 games behind the first-place New York Yankees.

1963 Chicago White Sox season

The 1963 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 63rd season in the major leagues, and its 64th season overall. They finished with a record 94–68, good enough for second place in the American League, 10½ games behind the first-place New York Yankees.

1997 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1997 followed the system in use since 1995.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected Phil Niekro.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions and selected three people from multiple classified ballots:

Nellie Fox, Tommy Lasorda, and Willie Wells.

Interstate League

The Interstate League was the name of five different American minor baseball leagues that played intermittently from 1896 through 1952.

List of Chicago White Sox nicknames

In the last 100-plus years, the Chicago White Sox have had many players with colorful and memorable nicknames from "Shoeless Joe" Jackson to "Old Aches & Pains" Appling, Minnie the "Cuban Comet" Minoso, "Little Louie" Aparicio, "Black Jack" McDowell, and Frank "The Big Hurt" Thomas. These are some of the best.

Dick Allen: "Wampum"

Sandy Alomar: "Iron Pony"

Luis Aparicio: "Little Louie"

Luke Appling: "Fumblefoot" or "Kid Boots" or "Old Aches & Pains"

Cuke Barrows, Roland Barrows: "Cuke"

Bruno Block, James John Blochowicz: "Bruno"

Ken Boyer: "Cap" or "Captain"

Smoky Burgess, Forrest Harrill Burgess: "Smoky"

Iván Calderón: "Ivan The Terrible"

Norm Cash: "Stormin’ Norman"

Eddie Cicotte: "Knuckles"

Rocky Colavito, Rocco Colavito: "Rocky"

Eddie Collins: "Cocky"

José Contreras: "Commander"

Joe Crede: "Clutch Norris"

Bucky Dent, Russell Earl O’Day: "Bucky" or "Bucky 'Fucking' Dent"

Octavio Dotel: "Ol' Dirty"

Richard Dotson: "Dot"

Brian Downing: "Incredible Hulk"

Red Faber, Urban Clarence Faber: "Red"

Carlton Fisk: "Pudge"

Nellie Fox, Jacob Nelson Fox,: "Nellie", "Little Nel", or "The Mighty Mite"

Freddy García: "Chief"

Ralph Garr: "Road Runner"

Kid Gleason, William Gleason: "Kid"

Goose Gossage, Richard Michael Gossage: "Goose" or "The White Gorilla"

Craig Grebeck: "The Little Hurt"

Bo Jackson, Vincent Edward Jackson: "Bo"

Joe Jackson: "Shoeless Joe"

Bobby Jenks: "Big Bad Bobby Jenks"

Lance Johnson: "One Dog"

Ted Kluszewski: "Big Klu"

Paul Konerko: "Paulie"

Carlos Lee: "El Caballo"

Ted Lyons: "Sunday Teddy"

Jack McDowell: "Black Jack"

Catfish Metkovich, George Michael Metkovich: "Catfish"

Minnie Miñoso, Saturnino Orestes Armas (Arrieta) Miñoso: "Minnie" or "The Cuban Comet"

Blue Moon Odom, Johnny Lee Odom: "Blue Moon"

Magglio Ordóñez: "El Caribe Mayor (The Caribbean Mayor)" or "Mags"

Tom Paciorek: "Wimpy"

Don Pall: "The Pope"

Herbert Perry: "The Milkman"

Bubba Phillips, John Melvin Phillips: "Bubba"

Billy Pierce: "Billy the Kid"

Scott Podsednik: "Pods"

Carlos Quentin: "TCQ"

Tim Raines: "Rock"

Alexei Ramírez: "The Cuban Missile"

Ray Schalk: "The Cracker"

Tom Seaver: "Tom Terrific"

Bill Skowron: "Moose"

Moose Solters, Julius Joseph Soltesz: "Moose" or "Lemons"

Nick Swisher: "Dirty Thirty"

Frank Thomas: "The Big Hurt"

Jim Thome: "Big Jimmy" or "Mr. Incredible"

Javier Vázquez: "The Silent Assassin"

Robin Ventura: "Batman"

Dayán Viciedo: "The Tank"

Ed Walsh: "Big Ed"

Skeeter Webb, James Laverne Webb: "Skeeter"

Hoyt Wilhelm: "Old Sarge"

Walt Williams: "No Neck"

Taffy Wright, Taft Shedron Wright:: "Taffy"

Early Wynn: "Gus"

List of Chicago White Sox team records

This is a list of team records for the Chicago White Sox professional baseball team.

List of Gold Glove Award winners at second base

The Rawlings Gold Glove Award, usually referred to as the Gold Glove, is the award given annually to the Major League Baseball players judged to have exhibited superior individual fielding performances at each fielding position in both the National League (NL) and the American League (AL), as voted by the managers and coaches in each league. Managers are not permitted to vote for their own players. Eighteen Gold Gloves are awarded each year (with the exception of 1957, 1985 and 2007), one at each of the nine positions in each league. In 1957, the baseball glove manufacturer Rawlings created the Gold Glove Award to commemorate the best fielding performance at each position. The award was created from a glove made from gold lamé-tanned leather and affixed to a walnut base. Initially, only one Gold Glove per position was awarded to the top fielder at each position in the entire league; however, separate awards were given for the National and American Leagues beginning in 1958.Roberto Alomar leads second basemen in wins; he won 10 Gold Gloves in 11 years with three different American League teams. Ryne Sandberg has the second-highest total overall; his nine awards, all won with the Chicago Cubs, are the most by a National League player. Bill Mazeroski and Frank White are tied for the third-highest total, with eight wins. Mazeroski's were won with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and White won his with the Kansas City Royals. Joe Morgan and Bobby Richardson each won five Gold Glove Awards, and four-time winners include Craig Biggio (who won after converting to second base from catcher), Bret Boone, Bobby Grich, and Dustin Pedroia. Hall of Famers who won Gold Gloves at second base include Alomar, Sandberg, Mazeroski, Morgan, and Nellie Fox.Only one winning second baseman has had an errorless season; Plácido Polanco set a record among winners by becoming the first to post a season with no errors and, therefore, a 1.000 fielding percentage. The best mark in the National League was set by Sandberg in 1991, his final winning season. He committed four errors and amassed a .995 fielding percentage. Grich has made the most putouts in a season, with 484 in 1974. Fox made 453 putouts and the same number of assists in the award's inaugural season; this is more putouts than any National League player has achieved. Morgan set the National League mark, with 417 in 1973. Sandberg's 571 assists in 1983 are the most among winners in the major leagues; the American League leader is Grich, who made 509 in 1973. Mazeroski turned the most double plays by a winner, collecting 161 in 1966. The American League leader is Fox (141 double plays in 1957).

List of Major League Baseball career putouts as a second baseman leaders

In baseball statistics, a putout (denoted by PO or fly out when appropriate) is given to a defensive player who records an out by a Tagging a runner with the ball when he is not touching a base (a tagout), catching a batted or thrown ball and tagging a base to put out a batter or runner (a Force out), catching a thrown ball and tagging a base to record an out on an appeal play, catching a third strike (a strikeout), catching a batted ball on the fly (a flyout), or being positioned closest to a runner called out for interference.

In baseball and softball, second baseman is a fielding position in the infield, between third and first base. The second baseman often possesses quick hands and feet, needs the ability to get rid of the ball quickly, and must be able to make the pivot on a double play. In addition, second basemen are usually right-handed; only four left-handed throwing players have ever played second base since 1950. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the second baseman is assigned the number 4.

Bid McPhee is the all-time leader in career putouts as a second baseman with 6,552. Eddie Collins (6,526) and Nellie Fox (6,090) are the only other second basemen with over 6,000 career putouts.

Second baseman

In baseball and softball, second baseman is a fielding position in the infield, between second and first base. The second baseman often possesses quick hands and feet, needs the ability to get rid of the ball quickly, and must be able to make the pivot on a double play. In addition, second basemen are usually right-handed; only four left-handed throwing players have ever played second base in Major League Baseball since 1950. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the second baseman is assigned the number 4.

Good second basemen need to have very good range since they have to field balls closer to the first baseman who is often holding runners on, or moving towards the base to cover. On a batted ball to right field, the second baseman goes out towards the ball for the relay. Due to these requirements, second base is sometimes a primarily defensive position in the modern game, but there are hitting stars as well.

St. Thomas Township, Franklin County, Pennsylvania

St. Thomas Township is a township in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 5,935 at the 2010 census.It is the birthplace of both Baseball Hall of Fame member Nellie Fox, and United States Army brigadier general and legislator, Charles Thomas Campbell.

BBWAA Vote
Veterans Committee
J. G. Taylor Spink Award
Ford C. Frick Award
Pitchers
Catchers
First basemen
Second basemen
Third basemen
Shortstops
Outfielders
Designated hitters
Managers
Executives /
pioneers
Umpires

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.