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Walt Dropo

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Title: Walt Dropo  
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Subject: 1947 BAA draft, 1950 in baseball, List of Boston Red Sox award winners, 1952 Detroit Tigers season, Huskies of Honor
Collection: 1923 Births, 2010 Deaths, American League All-Stars, American League Rbi Champions, American People of Serbian Descent, Baltimore Orioles Players, Baseball Players from Connecticut, Birmingham Barons Players, Boston Red Sox Players, Chicago White Sox Players, Cincinnati Redlegs Players, Connecticut Huskies Baseball Players, Connecticut Huskies Football Players, Connecticut Huskies Men's Basketball Players, Detroit Tigers Players, Louisville Colonels (Minor League) Players, Major League Baseball First Basemen, Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award Winners, People from Boston, Massachusetts, People from Plainfield, Connecticut, People from Windham County, Connecticut, Providence Steamrollers Draft Picks, Sacramento Solons Players, San Diego Padres (Minor League) Players, Scranton Red Sox Players, Sportspeople from Boston, Massachusetts
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Walt Dropo

Walt Dropo
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).

Contents

  • Youth 1
  • College career 2
  • Professional career 3
  • Career highlights 4
  • Death 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Youth

Dropo's Serbian parents emigrated from Plainfield High School in the Central Village district of Plainfield, Connecticut, before attending the University of Connecticut.

College career

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

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

  • 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

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

References

  1. ^ a b Mayer, Larry (April 25, 2013). "These Bears draft picks gained fame in other areas".  
  2. ^ Montville, Leigh (July 19, 1993). "What Ever Happened To...: Walt Dropo".  
  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

  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
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