Rudy York

Preston Rudolph York (August 17, 1913 – February 5, 1970) was a professional baseball player and manager. He played all or part of thirteen seasons in Major League Baseball for the Detroit Tigers (1934, 1937–45), Boston Red Sox (1946–47), Chicago White Sox (1947) and Philadelphia Athletics (1948), primarily as a first baseman. York was born in Ragland, Alabama. He batted and threw right-handed.

With one-eighth Cherokee ancestry and less-than-perfect fielding abilities, York prompted one sportswriter to declare: "He is part Indian and part first baseman".

Rudy York
Rudy York 1945
York with the Detroit Tigers in 1945
First baseman / Manager
Born: August 17, 1913
Ragland, Alabama
Died: February 5, 1970 (aged 56)
Rome, Georgia
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 22, 1934, for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
September 20, 1948, for the Philadelphia Athletics
MLB statistics
Batting average.275
Home runs277
Runs batted in1,152
Teams
As player
As manager
Career highlights and awards

Early life

York's family moved from Ragland, Alabama, to Aragon, Georgia, when Rudy was a small boy. Rudy's mother moved the family to the Cartersville, Georgia, area sometime in the late 1920s. They lived in the American Textile Company (ATCO) mill town on the outskirts of Cartersville, where Rudy began working in his early teens.

Baseball career

Amateur career

In his mid-teens, York played baseball with older men on the ATCO mill team and received local attention for his prowess at the plate. York became the team's star player from 1930 to 1933.

Professional career

Minor leagues

York received a tryout and was signed as a second baseman by the Knoxville club of the Southern League in April 1933 but was released after appearing in just three games. Rudy returned to the Atco community and briefly resumed play with the mill team. He spent most of June of that year playing for a semi-pro team in Albany, Georgia, before returning to Atco for another brief stint with the mill team. In early July, Detroit scout Eddie Goosetree signed him for the Tigers. Assigned briefly to Shreveport of the Dixie League, he finished the 1933 season with Beaumont of the Texas League.

First taste of the majors

After playing most of the 1934 season with the Fort Worth Cats of the Texas League ("on loan" from Beaumont), York had a brief stay with the Tigers at the end of the 1934 season. He played three games, two as a catcher, and batted just six times and tallied one hit – a single. Although he was on the Tigers' roster for the 1934 World Series, he saw no action in the Fall Classic. At the end of the year, he was shipped back to Beaumont. As a first baseman, York was selected the MVP of the Texas League in 1935 while with Beaumont, and he won the same award in the American Association in 1936 when he played for Milwaukee.

In the majors to stay

York went back to Detroit to stay in 1937. Since there was no room for a rookie first baseman on a team that already had Hank Greenberg, York started the season at third base but his defensive liabilities were just too much to overlook. After a brief try in left field, he was benched in favor of more experienced outfielders.

After being inactive for much of the month of June, Rudy was reinstalled at third base in the hopes that his big bat would come alive and help keep Detroit in the pennant race. While Rudy's bat did start to come around in July, by the end of the month he was back on the bench when regular third baseman Marv Owen returned from a broken wrist.

In early August, Tigers manager Mickey Cochrane decided to put Rudy behind the plate in the place of Birdie Tebbetts, a good defensive catcher who was barely hitting. Cochrane had himself been the Tigers' regular catcher until his playing career was ended that May when he was hit in the head by a pitch from the Yankees' Bump Hadley. As a rookie catcher, Rudy startled the baseball world. On the last day of August 1937, York belted two home runs, giving him 18 for the month and surpassing the record of 17 set by Babe Ruth in September 1927. York also collected 49 RBI that month breaking by one the mark set by Lou Gehrig, and finished his rookie season with a .307 batting average, 35 home runs, and 101 RBI in only 375 at bats. Later in the season, Cochrane insisted that the rookie try to become the team's regular catcher.

York was the Tigers' starting catcher in 1938, although he also played 14 games in left field. A year later, he shared duties with Birdie Tebbetts. Then, in 1940 the Tigers persuaded Greenberg to switch from first base to left field, moved York to first, and replaced him behind the plate with Tebbetts. The experiment was successful. In that season Greenberg hit .340 with 41 home runs and 150 RBI, and York compiled .316, 33 and 134, for an American League champion team that lost to the Cincinnati Reds in the 1940 World Series in seven games. In the series, York batted .231 (6-for-26) with one home run and two RBI. In addition, York was nominated for the AL MVP Award.

With Greenberg out in the military service, York was the only offensive support for the Tigers in 1941. He hit 27 home runs (including a three-home-run game) with 111 RBI. In 1942, York slipped to 21 HR and 90 RBI, but in 1943 he enjoyed a career season when he led the league in home runs (34), RBI (118), total bases (301), extra base hits (67), slugging percentage (.527) and games played (155), and also he got his second MVP consideration.

York fell below 20 homers in 1944 and 1945 (18 each), and had a poor performance in the 1945 World Series, batting only .179 (5-for-28) when Detroit defeated the Cubs in seven games.

Rudy York 1947
York in 1947

York was traded to Boston in January 1946 for infielder Eddie Lake. It turned out to be a good deal for the Red Sox. York crashed two grand slams in a game against the Browns on July 27 as part of a 10 RBI day, and helped lead Boston to the American League pennant. In that season, York hit .276 with 17 home runs and 119 RBI. He added two decisive homers in the 1946 World Series against the Cardinals: a 10th-inning game-winner in Game One, and a three-run winner in the Game Three. Finally, St. Louis took the series four games to three.

In 1947, York nearly died when a fire, believed to have been started by a cigarette, swept his hotel room.[1] A rare highlight that season came on April 23, when Yankees Allie Reynolds pitched a two-hit shutout against Boston. The only hits were delivered by York. After a slow start, however, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox in the mid-season.

He was given his unconditional release in February 1948, and was picked up by the Philadelphia Athletics, for what would be his final season as a major leaguer. He played in just 31 games, batting just .157.

After the major leagues

After his major league baseball career ended, York continued to play when and where he could. It is believed that his playing career finally ended in 1952 when he batted .258 with two home runs for Benson-DeGraff in Minnesota's Class AA amateur Western Minny league.[2]

Overview

Regarded as a "wood" man rather than a "glove" man, York responded in his own terms slugging his way to major league fame, while his managers tried to figure out the position where he could do the least damage as a fielder. York tried at a variety of positions. He was too awkward at third, too heavy footed for the outfield, extremely wild as a pitcher, and an immobile target as a catcher. From the beginning, though, he was a menacing figure with a bat and amazingly dangerous with the bases loaded—he hit 12 career grand slams, including two in a game.

York was a career .275 hitter with 277 home runs and 1,152 RBI in 1,603 games. In three World Series he hit .221 (17-for-77) with three homers and 10 RBI. He was selected for the All-Star Game seven times. York's .503 slugging percentage as a Detroit Tiger ranks #5 in franchise history behind Hank Greenberg, Miguel Cabrera, Harry Heilmann, and Ty Cobb among players with at least 5,000 plate appearances with the team.[3] His 239 home runs as a Tiger ranks #8 in franchise history.[3]

Post-playing career

York's post-playing baseball career included stints as a manager in the low minor leagues, a scout with the New York Yankees, and hitting coach for the Red Sox' Memphis Chickasaws Double-A affiliate (1958). He then spent four seasons (1959–62) as the first-base and hitting coach for the MLB Red Sox. On July 3, 1959, he served as Boston's acting manager for one game during the interim period between Pinky Higgins' firing and the hiring of Washington Senators coach Billy Jurges as Higgins' permanent successor. Boston lost to the Baltimore Orioles, 6–1, that day.

After his departure from the Red Sox in 1962, he returned to scouting, working for the Houston Colt .45s.

Life after baseball

Rudy York died from lung cancer in Rome, Georgia, at the age of 56. He was buried in Cartersville's cemetery, Sunset Memory Gardens.

The main Little League baseball field in Atco is named Rudy York Field.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Snyder, John (2009). 365 Oddball Days in Red Sox History. United States: Clerisy Press. p. 384. ISBN 1578603447..
  2. ^ Town Ball, the Glory Days of Minnesota Amateur Baseball, Armand Peterson and Tom Tomashek, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis and London, page 246, ISBN 0-8166-4675-9
  3. ^ a b Detroit Tigers Top 10 Batting Leaders

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Del Baker
Boston Red Sox first-base coach
1959–1962
Succeeded by
Harry Malmberg
1937 Detroit Tigers season

The 1937 Detroit Tigers finished in second place in the American League with a record of 89–65. The team finished 13 games behind the New York Yankees. Their winning percentage of .578 ranks as the 15th best season in Detroit Tigers history.

1940 Detroit Tigers season

The 1940 Detroit Tigers season was their 40th since they entered the American League in 1901. The team won the American League pennant with a record of 90–64, finishing just one game ahead of the Cleveland Indians and just two games ahead of the New York Yankees. It was the sixth American League pennant for the Tigers. The team went on to lose the 1940 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds 4 games to 3.

1941 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1941 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the ninth playing of the mid-summer 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 8, 1941, at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Michigan, the home of the Detroit Tigers of the American League.

1942 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1942 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the tenth 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 6, 1942, at Polo Grounds in New York City the home of the New York Giants of the National League. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 3–1. While the game had been scheduled for a twilight start at 6:30 p.m. EWT, rain delayed the first pitch for an hour, leading to the first All-Star contest played entirely under the lights; the two-hour, seven-minute game ended just ahead of a 9:30 p.m. blackout curfew in New York.Two nights later, the American League All-Stars traveled to Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, to play a special benefit game against a team of players from the U.S. Army and Navy. The contest, which the American Leaguers won 5–0, attracted a crowd of 62,094 and netted $70,000 for the Army Emergency Relief Fund and the Navy Relief Society. Mutual Radio broadcast the second game, with Bob Elson, Waite Hoyt, and Jack Graney announcing.

1943 Detroit Tigers season

The 1943 Detroit Tigers season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fifth in the American League with a record of 78–76, 20 games behind the New York Yankees.

1944 Detroit Tigers season

The 1944 Detroit Tigers season was a season in American baseball. The team finished second in the American League with a record of 88–66, just one game behind the first place St. Louis Browns.

1945 Detroit Tigers season

The 1945 Detroit Tigers was the team's 45th since they entered the American League in 1901. The team won the American League pennant, then went on to win the 1945 World Series, defeating the Chicago Cubs 4 games to 3. It was the second World Series championship for the Tigers. Detroit pitcher Hal Newhouser was named the American League's Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive season.

1945 World Series

The 1945 World Series matched the American League Champion Detroit Tigers against the National League Champion Chicago Cubs. The Tigers won the Series four games to three, giving them their second championship and first since 1935.

Paul Richards picked up four runs batted in in the seventh game of the series, to lead the Tigers to the 9–3 game win, and 4–3 Series win.

The World Series again used the 3–4 wartime setup for home field sites, instead of the normal 2–3–2. Although the major hostilities of World War II had ended, some of the rules were still in effect. Many of the majors' better players were still in military service. Warren Brown, author of a history of the Cubs in 1946, commented on this by titling one chapter "World's Worst Series". He also cited a famous quote of his, referencing himself anonymously and in the third person. When asked who he liked in the Series, he answered, "I don't think either one of them can win it."

In a similar vein, Frank Graham jokingly called this Series "the fat men versus the tall men at the office picnic."

One player decidedly not fitting that description was the Tigers' slugger Hank Greenberg, who had been discharged from military service early. He hit the only two Tigers homers in the Series, and scored seven runs overall and also drove in seven.

The Curse of the Billy Goat originated in this Series before the start of Game 4. Having last won the Series in 1908, the Cubs owned the dubious record of both the longest league pennant drought and the longest World Series drought in history, not winning another World Series until 2016.

The Series was a rematch of the 1935 World Series. In that Series' final game, Stan Hack led off the top of the ninth inning of Game 6 with a triple but was stranded, and the Cubs lost the game and the Series. Hack was still with the Cubs in 1945. According to Warren Brown's account, Hack was seen surveying the field before the first Series game. When asked what he was doing, Hack responded, "I just wanted to see if I was still standing there on third base."

1946 Boston Red Sox season

The 1946 Boston Red Sox season was the 46th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished first in the American League (AL) with a record of 104 wins and 50 losses. This was the team's sixth AL championship, and their first since 1918. In the 1946 World Series, the Red Sox lost to the National League (NL) champion St. Louis Cardinals, whose winning run in the seventh game was scored on Enos Slaughter's famous "Mad Dash".

1946 World Series

The 1946 World Series was played in October 1946 between the St. Louis Cardinals (representing the National League) and the Boston Red Sox (representing the American League). This was the Red Sox's first appearance in a World Series since their championship of 1918.

In the eighth inning of Game 7, with the score 3–3, the Cardinals' Enos Slaughter opened the inning with a single but two batters failed to advance him. With two outs, Harry Walker walloped a hit over Johnny Pesky's head into left-center field. As Leon Culberson chased it down, Slaughter started his "mad dash". Pesky caught Culberson's throw, turned and—perhaps surprised to see Slaughter headed for the plate—supposedly hesitated just a split second before throwing home. Roy Partee had to take a few steps up the third base line to catch Pesky's toss, but Slaughter was safe without a play at the plate and Walker was credited with an RBI double. The Cardinals won the game and the Series in seven games, giving them their sixth championship.

Boston superstar Ted Williams played the Series injured and was largely ineffective but refused to use his injury as an excuse.

As the first World Series to be played after wartime travel restrictions had been lifted, it returned from the 3-4 format to the 2–3–2 format for home teams, which has been used ever since. It also saw the return of many prominent players from military service.

1947 Boston Red Sox season

The 1947 Boston Red Sox season was the 47th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished third in the American League (AL) with a record of 83 wins and 71 losses.

1959 Boston Red Sox season

The 1959 Boston Red Sox season was the 59th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished fifth in the American League (AL) with a record of 75 wins and 79 losses, nineteen games behind the AL champion Chicago White Sox.

1998 Major League Baseball season

The 1998 Major League Baseball season ended with the New York Yankees sweeping the San Diego Padres in the World Series, after they had won a then AL record 114 regular season games. The Yankees finished with 125 wins for the season (regular season and playoffs combined), which remains the MLB record.

The 1998 season was also marked by an expansion to 30 teams (16 in the NL, 14 in the AL), with two new teams–the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the American League–added to the MLB. To keep the leagues with even numbers of teams while allowing both leagues to have a new team, the Milwaukee Brewers were moved from the American League Central Division to the National League Central Division. The Detroit Tigers were shifted from the American League East to the American League Central, while the Devil Rays were added to the American League East. The Diamondbacks were added to the National League West, making the NL have more teams than the AL for the first time.

The biggest story of the season was the historic chase of the single-season home run record held at the time by Roger Maris. Initially, the St. Louis Cardinals' Mark McGwire and Ken Griffey, Jr. of the Seattle Mariners started the season on a pace to both break Maris' record. In June, the chase was joined by the Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa, who broke the decades-old record of Rudy York for most home runs in a calendar month with 20 that month. Eventually, Griffey fell off the record pace, but still ended with 56 homers. Both McGwire and Sosa broke the record in September, with McGwire ultimately finishing with 70 homers to Sosa's 66. McGwire's record would last only three years, with Barry Bonds hitting 73 in 2001. The 1998 season was also the first in MLB history with four players hitting 50 or more homers, with Greg Vaughn of the San Diego Padres hitting 50. In a postscript to the record chase, both McGwire and Sosa have since been widely accused of having used performance-enhancing drugs during that period, and McGwire would admit in 2010 that he had used steroids during the record-setting season.The defending World Series champions Florida Marlins finished last in the NL East Division at 54-108, making it the first, and only, time that a team went from winning the World Series one year to finishing with 100 or more losses and last in their division the following year.

Bill Summers (umpire)

William Reed Summers (November 10, 1895 – September 12, 1966) was an American umpire in Major League Baseball who worked in the American League from 1933 to 1959.

Born in Harrison, New Jersey, Summers was raised in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. He left school in the seventh grade, and began working under his father, a mill foreman; he also began boxing as a lightweight, with moderate success in the ring. At age 17, he was employed as a road worker when he stopped to watch a high school baseball game. The umpire who was supposed to officiate never arrived, however, and Summers was asked by Woonsocket high school coach Frank Keaney – who would go on to an extraordinary collegiate coaching career – to fill in. Summers accepted, even though he had never played baseball and was unfamiliar with the rules; Keaney told him that as long as he kept track of balls and strikes, it shouldn't prove difficult. Summers proved adept at the task, and regularly officiated high school, semi-pro and industrial games for the next eight years.

In 1921 he got his first chance at the professional ranks when he was hired by the Eastern League, and he continued in the minor leagues through 1932. He joined the American League staff in 1933, during the period when the major leagues were expanding standard umpiring crews from two men per game to three. Over his career, the firmly authoritative Summers proved adept at handling arguments, using his stocky build (5' 8" and over 200 pounds (91 kg)) to maximum advantage in defusing potentially explosive situations; he had a "slow thumb", rarely ejecting anyone from a game without a warning.

Summers umpired in 8 World Series (1936, 1939, 1942, 1945, 1948, 1951, 1955 and 1959), tying the AL record shared by three other arbiters. He was also the first base umpire for the 1948 playoff game to decide the AL pennant, and he worked in 7 All-Star Games, setting a record (later tied by Al Barlick): 1936, 1941, 1946, 1949, 1952, 1955 and 1959 (second game). He called balls and strikes in all 7 of the All-Star contests, a mark unmatched by any other umpire. He was the home plate umpire on July 27, 1946, when Rudy York hit two grand slams, and again on June 10, 1959, when Rocky Colavito hit four home runs.

Summers was the umpire behind the plate on the famous play in the 1955 World Series when Jackie Robinson stole home prompting Yankee catcher Yogi Berra to furiously argue the safe call.

Late in his career, during his long tenure on baseball's Rules Committee, that body completed a major overhaul of the rule book, revising it entirely into a greatly improved version which organized the rules by logical subsections. In 1955, Summers became the major leagues' senior umpire in service time; he retired following the 1959 World Series, at age 63 the oldest umpire ever to serve on the AL staff, and later gave clinics and lectures at military bases throughout the world.

Summers died at age 70 at his home in Upton, Massachusetts.

Detroit Tigers award winners and league leaders

This is a list of award winners and league leaders for the Detroit Tigers professional baseball team.

Eddie Lake

Edward Erving Lake (March 18, 1916 – June 7, 1995), nicknamed "Sparky," was an American professional baseball player from 1937 through 1956. A shortstop, he appeared in 835 games in the Major Leagues over 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals (1939–1941), Boston Red Sox (1943–1945), and Detroit Tigers (1946–1950).

Over his MLB career, Lake compiled only a .231 batting average, but with his ability to draw bases on balls, Lake had a career on-base percentage of .366 — 135 points higher than his batting average. His 1945 on-base percentage of .412 with the Red Sox led the American League. Lake had over 100 bases on balls in three consecutive seasons. His walk totals were 106 in 1945 (second best in the AL); 103 in 1946 (third in the AL), and 120 in 1947 (third in the AL). He was also four best in the AL in times hit by pitcher in 1946 with four.

Lake was also a solid fielder, leading AL shortstops in assists and double plays in 1945. For the 1945 season, Lake collected 265 putouts, 459 assists, and 112 double plays. His range factor was 5.57 — 63 points above the league average for shortstops. Traded by the Red Sox to the Tigers on January 3, 1946 for first baseman Rudy York, Lake scored 105 runs in his first season for the Tigers in 1946, while York helped lead Boston to its first American League pennant in 28 years.

He is interred at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Hayward, California.

Jim Schelle

Gerard Anthony "Jim" Schelle (April 13, 1917 – May 4, 1990) was an American professional baseball player who played in one game for the Philadelphia Athletics during the 1939 season.

Schelle was born in Baltimore, Maryland and attended Villanova University. He made his professional baseball debut in 1939 with the Federalsburg A's of the Eastern Shore League.

On July 23, Schelle made his one and only major league appearance with the Athletics. In a game against the Detroit Tigers, he came into the game to start the fourth inning in relief of Bob Joyce, with the A's already down 9-1. He proceeded to hit Rudy York with a pitch. He then gave up a single to Pinky Higgins and walked the following three Tiger batters, allowing all five batters he faced to reach base. At that point, Schelle was removed from the game (which ended with the Tigers winning 16-3) and was replaced by Nels Potter. Schelle's final totals were three earned runs allowed without retiring a batter, giving him an earned run average of infinity.

After the 1939 season, Schelle played two more seasons in minor league baseball with the Saginaw Athletics and Flint Gems. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Schelle never returned to professional baseball. He died in Weymouth, Massachusetts at the age of 73.

List of Boston Red Sox coaches

The following is a list of coaches, including role(s) and year(s) of service, for the Boston Red Sox American League franchise (1901–present), known during its early history as the Boston Americans (1901–1907).

List of Major League Baseball single-game runs batted in leaders

In baseball, a run batted in (RBI) is awarded to a batter for each runner who scores as a result of the batter's action, including a hit, fielder's choice, sacrifice fly, sacrifice bunt, catcher's interference, or a walk or hit by pitch with the bases loaded. A batter is also awarded an RBI for scoring himself upon hitting a home run. Sixteen players have batted in at least 10 runs in a single Major League Baseball (MLB) game to date, the most recent being Mark Reynolds of the Washington Nationals on July 6, 2018. No player has accomplished the feat more than once in his career and no player has ever recorded more than 12 RBIs in a game. Wilbert Robinson was the first player to record at least 10 RBIs in a single game, driving in 11 runs for the Baltimore Orioles against the St. Louis Browns on June 10, 1892.As of 2018, every team that has had a player achieve the milestone has won the game in which it occurred. These games have resulted in other single-game MLB records being set due to the stellar offensive performance. Robinson, for example, also amassed seven hits in that same game, setting a new major league record that has since been tied by only one other player. Mark Whiten hit four home runs to complement his 12 RBIs for the St. Louis Cardinals on September 7, 1993, tying the single-game records in both categories. By attaining both milestones, he became one of only two players to hit four home runs and drive in 10 or more runs in the same game, with Scooter Gennett being the other. Tony Lazzeri, Rudy York, and Nomar Garciaparra hit two grand slams during their 10 RBI game, equaling the record for most grand slams in one game. Norm Zauchin has the fewest career RBIs among players who have 10 RBIs in one game with 159, while Alex Rodriguez, with 2,086, drove in more runs than any other player in this group and hit the third most in major league history.Of the eight players eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame who have batted in 10 runs in a game, four have been elected and one was elected on the first ballot. Players are eligible for the Hall of Fame if they have played in at least 10 MLB seasons, and have either been retired for five seasons or deceased for at least six months. These requirements leave three players ineligible who are living and have played in the past five seasons and two—Phil Weintraub and Zauchin—who did not play in 10 seasons.

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