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Walt Dropo
Walt Dropo 1953.jpg
Dropo in about 1953.
First baseman
Born: (1923-01-30)January 30, 1923
Moosup, Connecticut
Died: December 17, 2010(2010-12-17) (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 runs 152
Runs batted in 704
Teams
Career highlights and awards

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).

Youth[edit]

Dropo's Serbian parents emigrated from Mostar, then Kingdom of Yugoslavia (now 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[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Career highlights[edit]

  • 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[edit]

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[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mayer, Larry (April 25, 2013). "These Bears draft picks gained fame in other areas". Chicago Bears. Retrieved April 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ Montville, Leigh (July 19, 1993). "What Ever Happened To...: Walt Dropo". Sports Illustrated. Time Inc. 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. Retrieved December 19, 2010. 
  4. ^ http://articles.courant.com/2010-12-23/sports/hc-jacobs-walt-dropo-column-1223-20101223_1_dropo-family-athletics-gampel-pavilion

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Dropo — Please support Wikipedia.
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191 news items

ESPN (blog)

ESPN (blog)
Mon, 25 Apr 2016 22:27:00 -0700

Teammate Walt Dropo said Williams even saluted his friends in the press box. As he stood on deck and the boos continued, Williams "turned around and spat contemptuously at the crowd." After the game, Williams -- unlike Collins -- didn't apologize. The ...

ChicagoNow (blog)

ChicagoNow (blog)
Sat, 23 Apr 2016 14:22:30 -0700

April 23, 1955 - The White Sox hammered the Athletics 29-6 at Kansas City. The 29 runs was an American League record for years. The Sox hit seven home runs that night. Walt Dropo and Bob Nieman each had seven RBIs. Sherm Lollar and Minnie Minoso ...

SportzEdge.com

SportzEdge.com
Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:02:26 -0700

It's summertime, and that means it's time for another SportzEdge ® Bracket-style, 64-team tournament! Feel the excitement!!! Last year, we changed the course of modern human civilization with the Coolest NCAA Logo Tournament, which became a national ...

SportzEdge.com

SportzEdge.com
Mon, 20 Jul 2015 13:43:40 -0700

It's summertime, and that means it's time for another SportzEdge ® Bracket-style, 64-team tournament! Feel the excitement!!! Last year, we changed the course of modern human civilization with the Coolest NCAA Logo Tournament, which became a national ...

New York Times

New York Times
Sat, 18 Dec 2010 22:30:03 -0800

Walt Dropo in 1950. Credit Associated Press. A right-handed slugger, he played for the Red Sox from 1949 to 1952, then the Detroit Tigers (1952-54), the Chicago White Sox (1955-58), the Cincinnati Reds (1958-59) and the Baltimore Orioles (1959-61).

Patch.com

Hartford Courant
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New York Times

New York Times
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The Guardian
Fri, 20 Nov 2015 05:59:06 -0800

Why did Mike Trout get overlooked as AL MVP? Photograph: Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports. Jonathan Bernhardt. Friday 20 November 2015 08.58 EST Last modified on Monday 4 April 2016 07.45 EDT. Share on Facebook · Share on Twitter · Share via ...
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