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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
Career 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 bases 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, Mass., and he was laid to rest at Evergreen Cemetery in Plainfield, CT[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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154 news items

ChicagoBears.com

ChicagoBears.com
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 14:04:53 -0700

Walt Dropo, who declined to sign a contract with the Bears to pursue a baseball career, batted .270 with 152 home runs and 704 RBIs in 12 major league seasons with the Red Sox (1949-52), Tigers (1952-54), White Sox (1955-58), Reds (1958-59) and ...

FOXSports.com

FOXSports.com
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 06:07:30 -0700

Also during the last series, Cabrera became the first Tigers player with 11 or more hits over a span of three games since July 1952, when Walt Dropo was 13-for-14 in a two-day stretch that included one game at Yankee Stadium and a doubleheader against ...
 
Hartford Courant
Sat, 25 Apr 2015 13:03:45 -0700

Former NHL player Craig Janney, former Killingly High and Providence basketball standout Tracy Lis, former Derby High and Yale running back John Pagliaro and longtime FCIAC official John Kuczo will be honored with Gold Keys at the 74th Gold Key ...

Journal Gazette and Times-Courier

Journal Gazette and Times-Courier
Tue, 05 May 2015 17:16:12 -0700

Not only that, but the college record is 14 by Larry Patterson of Gonzaga (1977) and the Major League Baseball record (without a walk though) is 12 by Detroit's Walt Dropo (1952). "I didn't know about the IHSA record until Tuesday in the middle of ...

The Epoch Times

The Epoch Times
Thu, 07 May 2015 06:14:23 -0700

No name from that first-round faraway time (aside from Knicks draftee Walt Dropo, who went on to a distinguished Major League baseball career) had any kind of real basketball impact. The records from that primitive time are so shrouded in a time warp ...
 
FOXSports.com
Sat, 18 Dec 2010 18:51:35 -0800

''Walt Dropo was one of the greatest players the Red Sox had in the post-World War II era,'' said Dick Bresciani, the team's vice president of publications and archives. ''He was an outstanding gentleman and did a lot of good things for our ...
 
MLB.com
Mon, 13 Apr 2015 11:33:45 -0700

PITTSBURGH -- Walt Dropo joined the Tigers from the Red Sox in the summer of 1952 in a seven-player trade for Hall of Famer George Kell. Even in those days, that was pressure to perform. The big first baseman held his own for a month and a half through ...
 
MLB.com
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 08:04:01 -0800

Minoso never slowed and as Wight, Ginsberg, ball in hand, and first baseman Walt Dropo converged on the plate, Minoso slid and avoided the catcher's tag. "A different [kind of] triple," he said, with teeth shimmering. Another episode -- perhaps ...
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