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Walt Dropo
First baseman
Born: January 30, 1923 (1923-01-30) (age 86)
Moosup, Connecticut
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 (born January 30, 1923 in Moosup, Connecticut), nicknamed "Moose", is a former Major League Baseball first baseman and right-handed batter who played with the Boston Red Sox (1949-52), Detroit Tigers (1952-54), Chicago White Sox (1955-58), Cincinnati Redlegs (1958-59), and Baltimore Orioles 1959-61).

Contents

Youth

Dropo's parents emigrated from Mostar, 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, CT, playing sandlot with brothers Milton and George, and attended Plainfield High School in Central Village, CT 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's exploits at UConn led to him being 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.

Professional career

Listed at 6'5", 220 lb (100 kg), Walter turned down an offer from National Football League's Chicago Bears and National Basketball Association's Providence Steamrollers, in order to sign with the Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 1947.[1] He debuted on April 19, 1949, and in eleven games batted .146 (6-for-41).

Dropo enjoyed one of the best rookie seasons ever in 1950, leading 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 only second 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 a disappointing one-plus season, he was traded to Detroit on June 3, 1952. After being traded, he collected twelve consecutive hits to tie the MLB record. Included in the streak was a 5-for-5 game against the Yankees (July 14) and a 7-for-7 performance in the first game of a doubleheader against Washington (July 15). In the second game, he went 4-for-5, matching an American League record of fifteen hits in four 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 thirteen-season career, Dropo batted .270 (1113-for-4124) with 152 home runs, 704 RBIs, 478 runs, 168 doubles, 22 triples, and five stolen bases in 1288 games.

Personal life

Today, Dropo is retired and lives on the North Shore of Boston. He has two daughters, Carla and Tina, along with five grandchildren, Jennifer, Elizabeth, Alex, Sarah and Nicole. Dropo's only son, Jeff, died on January 17, 2008.

Career highlights

  • Rookie of the Year (1950)
  • All-Star (1950)
  • Top 10 MVP (6th, 1950)
  • Led league in RBIs (144, 1950)
  • Led league in total bases (326, 1950)
  • Tied an MLB record with twelve consecutive at-bats with a hit (July 15, 1952)
  • Tied an MLB record with twelve consecutive plate appearances with a hit (July 15, 1952)
  • Tied an AL record with fifteen 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)
  • 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).

Walt Dropo Day (1953)

In 1953, when the Tigers played an exhibition game in Hartford, Connecticut, the townspeople honored him by holding a Walt Dropo Day. The previous season, "Moose," as he was fondly called, had batted .276, clubbed 29 home runs, and batted in 97 runs. Before the exhibition game, Dropo was showered with praise and gifts, including a new car. But when he took the field, he went 0-6 at the plate and made three errors at first.

See also

References

External links

Preceded by
Vern Stephens & Ted Williams
American League RBI Champion
1950
(with Vern Stephens)
Succeeded by
Gus Zernial
Preceded by
Roy Sievers
American League Rookie of the Year
1950
Succeeded by
Gil McDougald







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