You may know Bill Skowron better as "Moose" (or as character actor John C. Reilly). While his nickname would seem self-evident, it was apparently given to him by his childhood friends because of a Mussolini-esque hairstyle. The former Purdue University footballer took four years to make it to the bigs with the Yankees, which speaks more to the depth of the team than his development. He had been the American Association's Player of the Year in 1952 for the Kansas City Blues. Still, he was just 23 when he cracked New York's lineup. Casey Stengel platooned Moose at first base with Joe Collins, with great results: the rookie hit .340 in 215 at-bats. His playing time gradually increased, and he topped .300 in each of his first four seasons. 1956 was his first 20-home run season, a plateau he would reach four times in his career.
1957 was the first of five consecutive All-Star seasons for Skowron, with 1960 representing the greatest year of his career: .309 AVG, 34 2B, 26 HR, 91 RBI. In all, the first sacker spent nine seasons with the Yankees and participated in seven World Series, with the Bombers coming out ahead in four of them. He clouted 7 HR and 26 RBI for the club in postseason play, including a grand slam off of Brooklyn's Roger Craig to blow open Game Seven of the 1956 Series.
Following the 1962 campaign, the Yanks sent Moose westward to the Dodgers, where he hit a career-low .203 with 19 RBI in 89 games. He did redeem himself by helping L.A. sweep his former team in the Fall Classic, hitting .385 with a solo home run off of Al Downing in Game Two. Skowron split 1964 between the Senators and the White Sox, rebounding to bat .282 with 17 HR and 79 RBI. He spent two more years playing in his native Chicago (adding a sixth All-Star nod in 1965) before finishing his career as a California Angel in 1967. The former White Sox player now works in Community Relations for the team.
Fun fact: Moose played 1,463 of his 1,478 career games at first base. He also played a dozen games at third base and two at second base, with mixed results. In two games at the hot corner in 1958, he made five errors (leading to two unearned runs) and only one putout! Four of those errors came on just two plays. Incidentally, Oriole pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm no-hit the Yankees in the first of those two games. Not a good couple of games for Moose and the Yankees.