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Earl Torgeson
First baseman
Born: January 1, 1924(1924-01-01)
Snohomish, Washington
Died: November 8, 1990 (aged 66)
Everett, Washington
Batted: Left Threw: Left 
MLB debut
April 15, 1947 for the Boston Braves
Last MLB appearance
August 23, 1961 for the New York Yankees
Career statistics
Batting average     .265
Home runs     149
Runs batted in     740
Career highlights and awards

Clifford Earl Torgeson (January 1, 1924 in Snohomish, Washington – November 8, 1990 in Everett, Washington) was an American, left-handed hitting and throwing first baseman in Major League Baseball. He had a 15-year career (1947-1961), playing for the Boston Braves (1947-1952) and Philadelphia Phillies (1953-1955), both of the National League, and the Detroit Tigers (1956-1957), Chicago White Sox (1957-1961) and New York Yankees (1961) of the American League.

He was known by his middle name, Earl, and his nickname was the “The Earl of Snohomish,” a nickname originally owned by Hall of Famer Earl Averill, also of Snohomish, Washington.

His best batting average for a full season was .290 and his highest home run total was 24. His career .OBP was .385 (the league average for the years he played is .339) and in 1950, when he led the National League in runs with 120, his .OBP was .412. Most years that he played over 100 games, he was in the league's top 10 for drawing walks. His peak years for drawing walks were 1950 and 1951, when he drew 119 and 102, respectively. On April 22, 1959, during an inning against Kansas City where his White Sox scored 11 runs on only one hit, fittingly, Earl chipped in with a pinch-hit walk.

In 1950, the only two National League regulars at first base to outpace him in home run totals were Ted Kluszewski, with 25 home runs, and Gil Hodges, with 32 home runs. Torgeson’s 23 home runs that year were far ahead of the other first basemen in the league. Eddie Waitkus of league champion Philadelphia had 2; Tookie Gilbert of New York had 4; Preston Ward of Chicago had 6; Johnny Hopp of Pittsburgh had 8; and Rocky Nelson of St. Louis had only 1.

Earl was a regular player for 9 years, and he would have been a regular in 1949 if not for an injury, then he played another 5 years as a role player.. As a pinchitter, as per earlier in his career, his batting eye was key to his value. Even when his hits were few, he still got on base. In 1961, for example, playing out the string for the New York Yankees, he hit only .111 in 18 at-bats, but drew 8 walks for a .385 .OBP.

Torgeson also deserves some mention for his basestealing. Although his highest total for a year was only 20, it came during a period in baseball when almost no one stole bases, especially not first basemen. For the short period (1950-1952) that they had Sam Jethroe (who won basestealing crowns in 1950 and 1951) and Torgeson, the Braves had the best basestealing tandem in baseball. In 1950, with a combined total of 50 steals, the Jethroe-Torgeson duo stole more bases than every other team in the National League, except for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

(From 1959 T.C.G. card # 351 found in a wall of my 1920's home while remodeling:) "Earl Torgeson Ht: 6'3", Wt: 190, Bats: L, Throws: L, Born: 1/1/24, Home: Anna Maria, Florida. Earl posted a .389 aver. in the '48 series with the Braves. Earl gets plenty of wood on the ball and is rated as one of the more dangerous hitters in the A.L."

See also

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