Tag Archives: Moose Skowron

Yogi Berra Remembered In Photos

Yogi Berra Dies At 90 – A Remembrance In Rarely Seen Photos Of The Yankee Great

Yogi Berra during the 1960 World Series - photo Marvin E. Newman

Yogi Berra during the 1960 World Series – photo Marvin E. Newman

Lawrence Peter “Yog”i Berra died Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at the age of 90 in West Caldwell, New Jersey where he had been living in an assisted-living facility.

While countless obituaries will appear over the next few days recounting Berra’s storied baseball career, business acumen and quotable life, we thought it best not to dwell on Berra’s passing or try and tell all about his amazing life in just a few paragraphs. Yogi’s life story will be be well covered by his former teammates, friends, journalists and colleagues.

We will tell you that Yogi was not a great catcher when he first arrived in the majors. Yogi worked hard with former Yankee catcher Bill Dickey to make himself into a great defensive catcher. Also three American League MVP awards tell you that Yogi was extremely valuable to the Yankees. What those awards will not tell you was that Yogi was one of the best bad ball hitters ever – whether the ball was up by his eyes or literally in the dirt – Yogi could do massive damage on a pitch that most batters would not be able to do anything with.

We decided the best way to remember this Hall of Famer was with some old press photos that appeared long ago in magazines and newspapers and mostly have not been seen since.

Spec Shea Yogi Berra 1947 first start in World SeriesFrank “Spec” Shea and Yogi Berra before game 1 of the 1947 World Series at Yankee Stadium. 1947 marked the first of a record 10 world championships for Berra.

Berra Rizzuto 5 15 50 photo AcmeYogi Berra and Phil Rizzuto enjoy playing cards on a Yankees charter flight from New York to St. Louis, May 15, 1950 – photo Acme

clockwise - Yogi Berra (without cap), Mickey Mantle, Vic Raschi and Allie Reynolds celebrate 3-2 World Series game 6 victory over Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field - October 6, 1952

Clockwise – Yogi Berra (without cap), Mickey Mantle, Vic Raschi and Allie Reynolds celebrate 3-2 World Series game 6 victory over Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field – October 6, 1952. Berra homered in the seventh inning, Mantle homered in the eighth, Raschi got the victory and Reynolds the save.

Yogi Berra Batting sequence 1955 9 6September 6, 1955 – Yogi’s Off And Running – Yogi Berra the New York Yankees formidable catcher, shows the wrist action that provides the power that makes him one of the club’s long ball hitters. Berra currently hitting .273 has pounded out 23 homers and driven in 94 runs. He has hit 18 doubles and two triples. – AP wirephoto  Continue reading

Minnie Minoso Remembered

Minnie Minoso – Speed, Power and Grace

White Sox outfielder Minnie Minoso scores on a short pop fly hit by Nellie Fox. Kansas City Athletics catcher Haywood Sullivan tries to apply the tag,  The White Sox won this first game of a doubleheader 5-3. (Sept 20, 1961) photo: UPI

White Sox outfielder Minnie Minoso scores on a short pop fly hit by Nellie Fox. Kansas City Athletics catcher Haywood Sullivan tries to apply the tag, The White Sox won this first game of a doubleheader 5-3. (Sept 20, 1961) photo: UPI

Months after the Chicago White Sox acquired Orestes “Minnie” Minoso in a three team trade from the Cleveland Indians in 1951, White Sox manager Paul Richards said, “Technically the deal helped everyone.

Minnie Minoso and Eddie Robinson examine Ted Williams bat

Minnie Minoso and Eddie Robinson examine Ted Williams bat

Actually we got the best of it. I wouldn’t trade Minoso for anyone in the league.”

Minnie Minoso and Castro 1958Minoso was a star in Cuba before coming over to the United States and he never forgot his Cuban roots.

Minoso was signed by Indians owner Bill Veeck after being alerted to his ability by Abe Saperstein, the Harlem Globetrotters impresario, who was always on the lookout for black baseball talent. Minoso had been with the Indians since 1949 but had only gotten into nine games in two years. By 1950 Veeck was out as Indians owner, forced to sell the team to fund his divorce. The new owners considered Minoso expendable. That decision possibly cost the Indians several pennants throughout the 1950’s.

In his rookie season in 1951 Minoso batted .326 and led the league in stolen bases with 31 and triples with 14. In his career Minoso batted over .300 in eight seasons and had one unusual statistic – he led the league in being hit by pitches ten times. Minoso ran the bases with abandon and fielded as gracefully as any player in baseball.

When he retired in 1964 Minnie Minoso’s career average was .298 and he had hit 186 home runs while driving in 1023 runs.

Bill Skowron, Minnie Minoso Nellie Fox and Mickey Mantle July 24 1957 photo: AP

Bill Skowron, Minnie Minoso Nellie Fox and Mickey Mantle July 24 1957 photo: AP

Minoso died Sunday, March 1, 2015 at a gas station in Chicago after suffering a tear in his pulmonary artery, at the age of either 90 or 92. There had always been some doubt to the Cuban star’s actual age.

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Bill Moose Skowron Dies at 81 – An Appreciation of a Kind Man

Casey Stengel and Bill “Moose” Skowron

Bill “Moose” Skowron died today, April 27, 2012 of congestive heart failure in Arligton Heights, IL.

In this news photograph above, the caption says, “Bill Moose Skowron reports for his first day, at Comiskey Park in Chicago, September 19.”

The only problem with this is that Moose’s first game was April 13, 1954 and it was not at Comiskey Park.  And the Yankees did not play in Chicago on September 19, 1954.

So what is the answer to this problem?

After Skowron was signed by the Yankees to a minor league contract to play for Binghamton, Skowron was told to report to Yankees manager Casey Stengel for special tutoring and would remain with the Yankees for the remainder of the season, although he would not be eligible to play. The date to report was Monday, September 18, 1950 in Chicago. The photograph ran in newspapers on Tuesday, September 19, 1950.

Skowron’s numbers speak for themselves. Wearing the number 14 throughout his entire fourteen year major league career, he was a winner who sparked the teams he played for. A .282 career hitter, he hit 211 career homeruns, was an eight time all-star, and a member of eight pennant winning teams, seven with the Yankees from 1955-1962.

The “Moose” most notably belied his nickname.

The five foot eleven, one hundred ninety five pound muscular fire plug often looked as if his gaze alone could knock you down, but was a true gentleman off the field. When entering Yankee Stadium through the players entrance, Skowron would frequently talk with fans and sign countless autographs. Of course many ballplayers did this back in the 1950’s and 60’s, but Moose was especially kind to children and teens.

Skowron gave up a brilliant football career at Purdue University to play baseball. After signing with the Yankees organization in 1950 he was named the minor league player of the year in 1952.

When Skowron did something well, the Yankee Stadium fans would erupt in calls of “Mooooooooooooooose,” which to the uninformed sounded like “boooooo.” “Why are they booing him,” a non-regular vistor to Yankee Stadium might ask, “he just hit a home run!”

When Lou Piniella joined the Yankees in the 1970’s, the tradition of fans elongating the “o’s” in Lou’s name to “Loooooooooooou” would remind anyone who had seen Skowron play of the “Mooooooooooooooose” call from previous years.

from l-r Roger Maris, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Bill Skowron

Moose would end up playing nine productive years for the Yankees until 1962, when he was traded after the season to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Stan Williams.  Skowron’s Dodgers would end up sweeping the Yankees four games to none in the 1963 World Series.

Skowron was a fan favorite in later years at Yankee old-timer games, even if most of the fans in attendance had never seen him play. They loved his nickname.

The players from the Yankee dynasty teams of the 50’s and 60’s are dwindling. As Moose’s passing reminds us, we too get older, our heroes die and our childhood memories are all that remain.