Walt Dropo

Walter Dropo (Serbian: Валтер Дропо, Valter Dropo; January 30, 1923 – December 17, 2010), nicknamed "Moose", was an American college basketball standout and a professional baseball first baseman. During a 13-year career in Major League Baseball, he played for the Boston Red Sox (1949–1952), Detroit Tigers (1952–1954), Chicago White Sox (1955–1958), Cincinnati Redlegs (1958–1959) and Baltimore Orioles (1959–1961).

Walt Dropo
Walt Dropo 1953
Dropo in about 1953.
First baseman
Born: January 30, 1923
Moosup, Connecticut
Died: December 17, 2010 (aged 87)
Peabody, Massachusetts
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 19, 1949, for the Boston Red Sox
Last MLB appearance
May 17, 1961, for the Baltimore Orioles
MLB statistics
Batting average.270
Home runs152
Runs batted in704
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Youth

Dropo's Serbian parents emigrated from Mostar, then part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (now part of Bosnia and Herzegovina), to start a new life. His father, Savo, worked at the local textile mill while also running their Connecticut family farm. Walter was raised in Moosup, Connecticut, where he played sandlot baseball with his brothers Milton and George, and attended Plainfield High School in the Central Village district of Plainfield, Connecticut, before attending the University of Connecticut.

College career

While at the University of Connecticut Dropo played for the football team, basketball team and baseball team. Dropo left UConn as the school's all-time leading scorer in basketball. Dropo was drafted in the first round of the 1947 BAA Draft by the Providence Steamrollers with the fourth overall pick. Dropo was also drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 9th round of the 1946 NFL Draft.[1]

Professional career

Listed at 6'5", 220 lb (100 kg), Walter turned down offers from the Bears[1] and the Providence Steamrollers, in order to sign with the Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 1947.[2] He debuted on April 19, 1949, and in 11 games batted .146 (6-for-41).

In 1950, Dropo led the league in RBIs (144) and total bases (326), while batting .322 and hitting 34 home runs, (second only to Al Rosen 37). In addition, his .583 slugging percentage and 70 extra base hits were second only to the .585 – 75 of Joe DiMaggio, and his .961 OPS finished third in the league, after Larry Doby (.986) and DiMaggio (.979). Dropo finished sixth in American League Most Valuable Player award, and earned AL Rookie of the Year honors, ahead of Whitey Ford. His efforts that season led to his only All-Star appearance.

In 1951, Dropo fractured his right wrist and never had another season the equal of his 1950 campaign. After another one-plus season, he was traded to Detroit on June 3, 1952. After being traded, he collected 12 consecutive hits to tie the MLB record. Included in the streak was a 5-for-5 game against the Yankees (July 14) and a 4-for-4 performance in the first game of a doubleheader against Washington (July 15). In the second game, he went 4-for-5, hitting on his first three at bats and popping out on his fourth at bat on the 7th inning, matching an American League record of 16 hits in three games. In that season, he hit a combined 29 home runs and 97 RBIs, but would never again hit over 19 homers (1955) or bat over .281 (1954).

In a 13-season career, Dropo batted .270 (1,113-for-4,124) with 152 home runs, 704 RBIs, 478 runs, 168 doubles, 22 triples and five stolen bases in 1,288 games. Defensively, in 1,174 games as a first baseman, he compiled a .992 fielding percentage.

Career highlights

  • Rookie of the Year (1950)
  • All-Star (1950)
  • Top 10 MVP (sixth, 1950)
  • Led league in RBIs (144, 1950)
  • Led league in total bases (326, 1950)
  • Tied an MLB record with 12 consecutive at-bats with a hit (July 15, 1952)
  • Tied an MLB record with 12 consecutive plate appearances with a hit (July 15, 1952)
  • Tied an AL record with 15 hits in four games (July 16, 1952)
  • Dropo was the first rookie to top 100 RBIs with more RBIs than games played (144 in 136 games, 1950)
  • Red Sox rookie record for home runs in a season, with 34.
  • The first Red Sox player to be named the American League Rookie of the Year, followed by Don Schwall (1961), Carlton Fisk (1972), Fred Lynn (1975), Nomar Garciaparra (1997), and Dustin Pedroia (2007).

Death

Dropo died of natural causes on December 17, 2010, at the age of 87.[3] His funeral service was held at the Serbian Orthodox Church he helped found at 41 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and he was laid to rest at Evergreen Cemetery in Plainfield, Connecticut[4]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Mayer, Larry (April 25, 2013). "These Bears draft picks gained fame in other areas". Chicago Bears. Archived from the original on April 28, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  2. ^ Montville, Leigh (July 19, 1993). "What Ever Happened To...: Walt Dropo". Sports Illustrated. Time Inc. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2009.
  3. ^ Amore, Dom (December 18, 2010). "Walt Dropo Dies; 1950 AL Rookie Of Year With Red Sox, 3-Sport UConn Star". The Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on February 23, 2011. Retrieved December 19, 2010.
  4. ^ "Dropo Heading Back To Moosup One Last Time". courant.com. Archived from the original on 3 May 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2018.

External links

1947 BAA draft

The 1947 BAA draft was the inaugural draft of the Basketball Association of America (BAA), which later became the National Basketball Association (NBA). The fledgling BAA held a joint draft with the established National Basketball League (NBL). Both leagues wanted to control salaries by stamping out competitive bidding by assigning exclusive rights to the team selecting a player. The NBL had already signed 11 players, whom they did not feel should be exposed to the draft. The players included college stars Jack Smiley, Ralph Hamilton, Harry Boykoff, John Hargis, Frank Brian, and Charlie Black. As a trade-off, the BAA teams were allowed to select players before the NBL.The draft was held on July 1, 1947, before the 1947–48 season. The nine remaining BAA teams along with the Baltimore Bullets who joined from the American Basketball League, took turns selecting amateur U.S. college basketball players. In the first round of the draft, the teams select in reverse order of their win–loss record in the previous season, while the Bullets were assigned the tenth pick, the last pick of the first round. Both the Pittsburgh Ironmen and Toronto Huskies participated in this draft, but they folded before the season opened.

1949 Boston Red Sox season

The 1949 Boston Red Sox season was the 49th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished second in the American League (AL) with a record of 96 wins and 58 losses. The Red Sox set a major league record which still stands for the most base on balls by a team in a season, with 835.

1950 Major League Baseball season

The 1950 Major League Baseball season began on April 18 and ended on October 7, 1950 with the New York Yankees winning the World Series championship, over the Philadelphia Phillies. The only no-hitter of the season was pitched by Vern Bickford on August 11, in the Boston Braves 7–0 victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers. This season saw the first use of a bullpen car, by the Cleveland Indians.

1951 Boston Red Sox season

The 1951 Boston Red Sox season was the 51st season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished third in the American League (AL) with a record of 87 wins and 67 losses.

1952 Boston Red Sox season

The 1952 Boston Red Sox season was the 52nd season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished sixth in the American League (AL) with a record of 76 wins and 78 losses.

1952 Detroit Tigers season

The 1952 Detroit Tigers had a record of 50–104 (.325) — the worst record in Tigers' history until the 2003 Tigers lost 119 games. Virgil Trucks became the third pitcher in major league history to throw two no-hitters in one season.

1955 Chicago White Sox season

The 1955 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 55th season in the major leagues, and its 56th season overall. They finished with a record 91–63, good enough for third place in the American League, 5 games behind the first place New York Yankees.

1956 Chicago White Sox season

The 1956 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 56th season in the major leagues, and its 57th season overall. They finished with a record 85–69, good enough for third place in the American League, 12 games behind the first place New York Yankees.

1958 Chicago White Sox season

The 1958 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 58th season in the major leagues, and its 59th season overall. They finished with a record 82–72, good enough for second place in the American League, 10 games behind the first-place New York Yankees.

1958 Cincinnati Redlegs season

The 1958 Cincinnati Redlegs season consisted of the Redlegs finishing in fourth place in the National League standings with a record of 76–78, 16 games behind the Milwaukee Braves. The Redlegs played their home games at Crosley Field. The season started with Birdie Tebbetts managing the club, but after the Redlegs went 52–61, Tebbetts was replaced in August by Jimmy Dykes, who went 24–17 the rest of the way.

1959 Baltimore Orioles season

The 1959 Baltimore Orioles season was the franchise's sixth season in Baltimore, Maryland, and its 59th overall. It resulted with the Orioles finishing sixth in the American League with a record of 74 wins and 80 losses, 22 games behind the AL champion Chicago White Sox.

1959 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1959 Cincinnati Reds season consisted of the Reds finishing in a fifth-place tie with the Chicago Cubs in the National League standings, with a record of 74–80, 13 games behind the NL and World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

Prior to the season the club, after calling themselves the Cincinnati Redlegs for the past six seasons, changed its nickname back to the Reds. The Reds played their home games at Crosley Field.

1960 Baltimore Orioles season

The 1960 Baltimore Orioles season involved the Orioles finishing second in the American League with a record of 89 wins and 65 losses, eight games behind the AL Champion New York Yankees.

1961 Baltimore Orioles season

The 1961 Baltimore Orioles season involved the Orioles finishing 3rd in the American League with a record of 95 wins and 67 losses, 14 games behind the AL and World Series champion New York Yankees. The team was managed by Paul Richards and Lum Harris, and played their home games at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium.

Bud Daley

Leavitt Leo "Bud" Daley (born October 7, 1932), is a former professional baseball player who pitched in the Major Leagues from 1955–1964.

Leavitt was his father's name. Leo was for St. Leo from his mother's Catholicism. He was called Bud because his mother was an only child and she always wanted a child like her cousin, Buddy Walker. As a player Daley made his home in Long Beach, California. He was successful in public relations and a skilled speaker. In the offseason he once appeared in seventy-two towns in six states.Daley was a knuckleball pitcher. who threw curves of two different speeds. He became an All-Star pitcher in 1959 and 1960 for the Kansas City Athletics. During that two-year period, Daley won a total of 32 games, and was 3rd in the American League with 16 wins in 1960. In June 1961, he was traded by Kansas City to the New York Yankees, becoming an impact pitcher as the Yanks won the 1961 World Series over the Cincinnati Reds.

Daley was purchased by the Cleveland Indians from the Sacramento Solons of the Pacific Coast League on August 18, 1955. The purchase price was not revealed. Daley received offers from five other major league clubs. He signed with the Indians because of his friendship with Bob Lemon, whose children Daley used to babysit for.He dropped his first major league start at Briggs Stadium in a 6-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers. Harvey Kuenn hit an 8th-inning home run in a game in which the Tigers reached Daley for nine of ten hits in the first six innings. Daley was optioned to the Indianapolis Indians on July 4, 1956. On September 7 he was one of 7 players recalled from the American Association farm team.On March 31, 1958 Daley was traded, along with Gene Woodling and Dick Williams, to the Baltimore Orioles, for Larry Doby and Don Ferrarese.

On April 18 Daley was traded to the Athletics for pitcher Arnie Portocarrero.Daley put together a 4-game win streak in 1959. On June 6 he beat the Orioles 5-1, for his 5th win of the season. He conceded five hits to Baltimore, and afterwards, had allowed only a single run in his previous four games. Casey Stengel selected Daley as one of seven pitchers

he picked for the American League All-Star team on July 2. Daley pitched a 5-hitter against the Orioles on July 21. The 8-1 win would have been a shutout except for a homer by Walt Dropo, which Daley gave up with two out in the 9th inning. Kansas City earned its 6th straight victory with a 3-0, 4-hitter, thrown by Daley against Boston, on July 25. For the 7th place Athletics Daley achieved a 16-13 record with a 3.17 ERA in 1959. On July 29 Daley was sidelined with an infected knee, which had hurt while sliding. His record was 11-6. He gained his 12th win against the Washington Senators with relief help from Tom Sturdivant. Daley concluded the 1959 season with a 16-13 record.Bob Cerv hit two home runs which assisted Daley in stopping a four-game winning streak by the Detroit Tigers, in May 1960. He earned his 10th victory of the season in June with an 11-7 decision over the Boston Red Sox. He yielded 7 earned runs, 4 of them on 2 home runs and a run scoring single by Ted Williams. Daley suffered his 16th setback against the Tigers on October 2, in a 6-4 loss. He had an equal number of wins.He was traded to the New York Yankees after being relegated to the Kansas City bullpen during the 1961 season. The move impaired his effectiveness as a pitcher. Frank Lane was responsible for trading Daley to the Athletics and then to the Yankees.

George Bullard

George Donald Bullard (October 24, 1928 – December 23, 2002) was an American professional baseball player. The native of Lynn, Massachusetts, was a shortstop and outfielder during a nine-season (1950–1958) career. He played 891 games in minor league baseball and received a four-game, end-of-season trial in the Major Leagues with the 1954 Detroit Tigers. He batted right-handed, stood 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m) tall and weighed 165 pounds (75 kg).

Bullard attended Lynn Classical High School, where he was a teammate of celebrated local athlete and future MLB first baseman Harry Agganis. Bullard was recalled by Detroit after his fifth season in the team's farm system and made his debut as a pinch runner on September 17, 1954, running for Walt Dropo in the ninth inning of a 6–3 loss to the Cleveland Indians. After two more pinch running appearances, Bullard played his only game in the field (at shortstop) and recorded his only plate appearance in MLB on September 25, also against the Indians. He entered the game in the sixth inning. Defensively he handled five chances and made one error. At the plate, he recorded one at bat against Early Wynn, a future Hall of Famer. He reached first base on a force play and did not score a run."I replaced shortstop Harvey Kuenn in the game and I hit the ball hard and got on base," Bullard once said. "It was a big thrill to play. On the Indians that day in Cleveland was my hometown neighbor Jim Hegan, the great Indians catcher. I hurt my hand in the game and was shipped back to Boston for treatment and missed the chance at playing in more games that late September."Bullard played another four season in the Tigers and Milwaukee Braves organizations before leaving baseball in 1958.

Harley Grossman

Harley Joseph Grossman (May 5, 1930 – September 5, 2003) was an American professional baseball player whose career lasted for five seasons (1949–1953) and who appeared in one Major League game as a relief pitcher for the 1952 Washington Senators. A native of Evansville, Indiana, Grossman attended Ball State University; he stood 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and weighed 170 pounds (77 kg).

On Tuesday afternoon, April 22, 1952, at Fenway Park, the 21-year-old rookie was called into service to relieve starting pitcher Joe Haynes in the sixth inning. The Boston Red Sox were leading 5–2, and had two runners on base with two out. Grossman surrendered an RBI single to Vern Stephens and a three-run home run to Walt Dropo, stretching Boston's lead to 9–2, before getting the third out by retiring Faye Throneberry on a ground ball. He then left the game for a pinch hitter. Grossman was charged with two earned runs on two hits in his one-third of an inning of work.

He then returned to minor league baseball, where he compiled a stellar 42–20 win–loss mark over his first three seasons, and he retired after the 1953 campaign.

Leroy Powell

Robert Leroy Powell (October 17, 1933 – April 26, 2014), identified by his middle name on baseball cards but who preferred to be known as Bob Powell, was an American professional baseball player. He threw and batted right-handed, stood 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and weighed 190 pounds (86 kg).

The graduate of Michigan State University signed a $36,000 "bonus baby" contract with the Chicago White Sox in 1955. An outfielder when he signed, Powell was kept on the ChiSox' Major League roster for 1955, 1956 and part of 1957 under the Bonus Rule of the time. He appeared in only two Major League Baseball games as a pinch runner — both times against the Kansas City Athletics. On September 16, 1955, he ran for slow-footed White Sox pinch hitter Ron Northey, who had singled, and was erased on a force play at second base on the first pitch to the next hitter, Minnie Miñoso. On April 20, 1957, he ran for another pinch hitter, Walt Dropo, advanced to second base on a hit by Luis Aparicio and then scored his only MLB run on a single by Nellie Fox. Both Aparicio and Fox are now in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

After seeing Powell throw batting practice for his teammates, 1955–1956 White Sox manager Marty Marion converted him into a pitcher. Powell spent the latter half of the 1956 season serving in the U.S. military, then returned to the White Sox roster for the start of 1957, when he made his final MLB appearance. Chicago was able to send him to the minor leagues later in 1957, but Powell struggled as a pitcher in the Class A Western League — although he batted over .300 in 1957 — and left baseball after the 1958 season.

Moosup, Connecticut

Moosup is a village and census-designated place (CDP) in the town of Plainfield, Connecticut in the United States. The population was 3,231 at the 2010 census.

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