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American Heroes
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Ted Kluszewski Ted Kluszewski
Left-Handed First Baseman; Cincinnati Reds 1947-1957; Pittsburgh Pirates 1958; Chicago White Sox 1959- 1960; Los Angeles Angels 1961.

A highly popular baseball player, Ted 'Big Klu' Kluszewski was a powerful, slugging first baseman. He was a symbol of raw strength and probably was one of the strongest men ever to play in the major leagues. Big Klu's arm were so huge that he cut of the sleeves of his uniform because they were restricting his ability to swing the bat.

In 1950, Kluszewski hit 25 homers, drove in 111 runs and hit .307 for the Cincinnati Reds. He seemed to get bigger and stronger the longer he played. In 1953, he hit 40 home runs, had 108 RBI's, scored 97 runs and batted .316 and even with all this power, Klu struck out only 34 times.

In 1954, Ted Kluszewski led the National League with 49 home runs, 141 RBIs, .326 BA; and only struckout a total of 35 times. Again in 1955, Kluszewski powered 47 HR's, scored 116 runs, had 113 RBIs, and batted .314.

Ted Kluszewski was still the Reds' strong boy and in 1956, he hit 35 HRs with 102 RBIs. His trade by the Reds to the Pittsburgh Pirates was met with boo's from his many loyal Red's fans.

Playing for the White Sox, fans cheered for Big Klu in the 1959 World Series against the Dodgers, as Kluszewski hit two homers in the first game and ended with 10 RBI's for the whole series. The Dodgers won the series 4 games to 2.

Ted Kluszewski had a .298 career batting average with 290 doubles and 279 home runs. Ted Kluszewski was a popular ball player during this era and even opposing fans cheered him on. baseballhistorian.com archives All Rights Reserved 'Big Klu'




Preacher Roe Preacher Roe
Pitcher, Throws Left, Bat Right; Pittsburgh Pirates 1944-1947; Brooklyn Dodgers 1948-1954; Born 2/26/1915; Ash Flat, Arkansas

Preacher Roe attended and pitched for Harding College in Arkansas and averaged 18 strikeouts per/game. He was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals and pitched in the minor leagues from 1939-1943.

Roe was waved to Pittsburgh in 1944 and was the Pirates' Opening Day pitcher. He threw a two-hitter but lost 2-0. He led the NL with 148 strikeouts in 1945.

Traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948, he became one of the most successful pitchers in the league. Preacher Roe was known as the southpaw philosopher, relied on his intelligence, and his admitted spitball.

From 1949-1953, Roe was 15-6, 19-11, 22-3, 11-2, 11-3. His 22-3 record, .880 pct in 1951 is the best winning percentage in National League's history. Preacher Roe pitched in two Dodgers World Series.

Edwin 'Preacher' Roe left baseball at the end of the 1954 season, owned and operated, 'Preacher Roe's Supermarket' in West Plains, Missouri. Preacher Roe career: 127-84, .602 pct, ERA 3.43, 17 shutouts in 333 games, 956 K's in 1914 innings. baseballhistorian.com archives




Del Crandall Del Crandall
Catcher Right-handed; Boston Braves 1949-1950; Milwaukee Braves 1953-1963; San Francisco Giants 1964; Pittsburgh Pirates 1965; Cleveland Indians 1966

Del Crandall was called up from the minors by the Boston Braves in June of 1949 and quickly proved one of the best catching finds in years. He appeared in 67 games, batted .268 and worked like a veteran receiver.

Del Crandall attended Fullerton High School in California and was signed by the Boston Braves. When the team moved to Milwaukee, he helped turn the Braves into a National League powerhouse during the 1950s. He was picked for the NL's All-Star squad seven times and won Gold Gloves in 1958-1960. He averaged almost 20 home runs a year from 1953-1960 and finished with 179 lifetime HR's.

Del Crandall won recognition as one of baseball's top catchers and was a team leader in the Milwaukee Braves' World Championship team in 1957 and in 1958 when the Braves won their second straight pennant. Crandall was traded to the Giants in 1964 and later played one season for the Pirates and one for the Indians. Del Crandall career: .254 BA, 1276 hits, 179 D's, 18 T's, 179 HR's along with 657 RBI's. baseballhistorian.com archives




Carl Furillo Carl Furillo
Rightfielder, OF, Right-handed; Brooklyn & Los Angeles Dodgers 1946-1960 Born: 3/18/1922, Stony Creek Mills, PA

One of the Brooklyn Dodgers 'Boys of Summer', Carl Furillo was an outstanding fielding right-fielder with an accurate, powerful throwing arm. His batting during the Dodgers pennant drives in the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s was an important factor in their winning six pennants.

Carl Furillo led the National League in batting in 1953, hitting .344. A consistent hitter with a lifetime .299 average, he hit over .290 in 11 different years and over .300 five times.

Defensively, Carl Furillo was one of the all-time best, he led the league in assists in 1950-1951 and there-after base runners stopped testing his rapid throwing arm.

Carl Furillo career stats: .299 BA, 1806 games, 1910 hits, 324 D's, 56 T's, 192 HR's, 1058 RBI's and fanned only 436 times in 6378 at bats. baseballhistorian.com archives - Baseball Players




Hoyt Wilhelm Hoyt Wilhelm
Relief Pitcher, Right-handed, N.Y. Giants 1952-56, Cardinals 1957, Indians 1957-58, Orioles 1958-62, White Sox 1963-68, Angels 1969, Braves 1969-71, Dodgers 1972

Hoyt Hilhelm was the first relief pitcher to be elected to the 'Hall of Fame'. He joined the New York Giants as a 28 year-old reliever in 1952, and was 15-3 with 11 saves and he became the first rookie ever to lead the National League in winning pct-.833 and ERA 2.42. Wilhelm pitched his famous knuckle ball for over 20 seasons, retiring at the age of 48.

Playing for the Baltimore Orioles in 1959, he was moved back into the starting rotation and won his first nine starts, and finished the year at 15-11. Yet, Wilhelm led the American League with a 2.19 ERA, becoming the first pitcher ever to lead both leagues in ERA, quite a feat.

He was traded to the Chicago White Sox in time for the 1963 season and was moved back into the bull-pen. In 1964 he was 12-9, saved 27 games and recorded a low 1.99 ERA. In 1965, at the age of 42, Hoyt Wilhelm hurled 144 innings and picked up 20 saves. Pitching for the Atlanta Braves at age 46, Wilhelm helped them win the NL-West Title. He finished his career with 1,070 game appearances, a all-time major league record.

Hoyt Wilhelm's career: 143-122, a low ERA of 2.52, 227 saves, 1,610 K's in 2254 innings and he walked only 778 batters. As a fact- Hoyt Wilhelm picked up 2 big saves for the New York Giants in the 1954 World Series as the Giants swept the powerful Cleveland Indians in four games; and he was still pitching strong at the age of 48 in 1972; and that's a long time. baseballhistorian.com




Al Smith Al Smith
Outfielder, 3B Right-haded; Cleveland Indians 1953-57, 1964; Chicago White Sox 1958-1962; Baltimore Orioles 1963 Born Kirkwood, Missouri

As a high school star in St. Louis, Al Smith scored ten touchdowns in one game and was a Golden Gloves' boxing champion.

In 1955, for the Cleveland Indians Al Smith led the AL with 123 runs scored, batted .306, 27 doubles and hit 23 home runs. His patience at the plate showed with 93 walks, only 77 Ks, and a .411 on-base-pct.

An excellent fielding baseball player, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox in 1958 and helped the club win the AL pennant in 1959. His best year with the ChiSox was 1961, when he lined 29 doubles, 28 home runs, 93 RBIs and hit .278. Al Smith's career: .272 BA, 1458 hits, 258 Ds, 46 Ts, 164 HRs, 848 Runs, 676 RBIs in 1517 games.




 


Hitting Home Runs
How to hit home runs: I swing as hard as I can, and I try to swing right through the ball ..... I swing big, with everything I've got. I hit big or I miss big. I like to live as big as I can... Babe Ruth

"It is impossible to watch him at bat without experiencing an emotion. I have seen hundreds of ballplayers at the plate, and none of them managed to convey the message of impending doom to the pitcher that Babe Ruth did with the cock of his head, the position of his legs and the little gentle waving of the bat, feathered in his two big paws." 'The New York Daily News'



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