• Gil McDougald Passes

    Posted by on November 29th, 2010 · Comments (2)

    Via Bill Madden

    Gil McDougald, the versatile 1950s Yankee who, along with Pete Rose, had the unique distinction of being selected to the All-Star team at three different positions, died Sunday at his home in Wall Township, N.J., after a long bout with prostate cancer. He was 82.

    McDougald played a pivotal role on eight Yankee pennant-winning teams from 1951-60, winning Rookie of the Year honors in 1951 when he hit .306 with 14 homers and 63 RBI. He was named to the All-Star team five times, as a third baseman in 1952, a shortstop in 1957 and a second baseman in 1958. But as fine an all-around player as McDougald was, hitting .276 during a 10-year career all with the Yankees, it was his fate to be remembered for hitting a line drive that struck Indians pitcher Herb Score in the right eye on May 7, 1957. At the time, the fireballing lefthander seemed destined for a Hall of Fame career, but was never the same after the incident.

    Two years earlier, McDougald had been struck in the left ear by a line drive off the bat of teammate Bob Cerv during batting practice. It shattered a bone in his ear, eventually causing him to go deaf after his career had ended. The condition was corrected in 1995 when he underwent a cochlea implant performed by Dr. Noel Cohen, head of otolaryngology at NYU Medical Center.

    From 1951 to 1960, McDougal was a big part of the Yankees – see these Yankees stats from covering that time period:

    Player                          RCAA      OWP      PA
    1    Mickey Mantle               704     .806     6053
    2    Yogi Berra                  241     .644     5566
    3    Bill Skowron                125     .636     2971
    4    Hank Bauer                  118     .592     4515
    5    Gil McDougald               100     .567     5395
    6    Gene Woodling                93     .676     1798
    7    Roger Maris                  51     .751      578
    8    Joe Collins                  48     .572     2440
    9    Irv Noren                    27     .562     1649
    10   Hector Lopez                 25     .601      916

    source: Complete Baseball Encyclopedia

    McDougald played on 8 pennant winning teams and has 5 World Series rings. Not a bad career, eh?

    Comments on Gil McDougald Passes

    1. Jim TreshFan
      November 29th, 2010 | 9:54 pm

      Bill James once opined that McDougald was one of the 3 players, along with Mantle and Berra, that made Casey Stengel a genius. His point I believe was that Stengel could play McDougald at any one of three positions—2B-SS-3B—and have (a) one of the league’s best gloves at that position, and (b) one of the league’s best bats at that position.

      McDougald finished 5th in the MVP balloting in 1957. It was an interesting race that year. Mickey Mantle led the league in Times On Base and Runs Scored, Ted Williams led the league in BA, OBP and SA, Roy Sievers led the league in HR, RBI and Total Bases, and Nellie Fox led the league in Base Hits while striking out just 13 times in over 700 PA. And then there was Gil McDougald. 24 writers, 3 from each city, cast their ballots and Mantle won narrowly over Williams and Sievers, with Fox and McDougald close behind. Just how close the voting actually was can be reflected in the 1st Place votes each player received:

      Gil McDougald’s career ended after the 1960 season when he was picked in the expansion draft by the Los Angeles Angels and he decided to retire rather than play for an expansion team. He was 32.

    2. RobertGKramer@AOL.Com
      November 30th, 2010 | 1:42 pm

      The rookie McDougald had one of the weirdest batting stances with his left foot way in the bucket and the bat drooping below horizontal. I believe he is still the only rookie with a grand slam in the World Series!

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