Monday, February 22, 2010

#485 Nellie Fox

#485 Nellie Fox
Just a week after posting Luis Aparicio, we come across his good friend and longtime double play partner! I love it when things work out that way.

Fun facts about Nellie Fox:

-A native of St. Thomas, PA, Nellie signed with the Philadelphia Athletics at age 17 in 1944.

-He broke in with the A's in 1947, but played only 98 games for them in three seasons before being traded to the White Sox.

-In 1951, his second year in Chicago, Fox broke out with a .313 average and 32 doubles to make the All-Star team for the first of 11 straight seasons (he would add another All-Star nod near the end of his career to make it a dozen).

-Nellie was notoriously difficult to strike out, never exceeding 18 whiffs in a season and totaling 216 for his career. To put that in perspective, Arizona's Mark Reynolds set a new single-season
record with 223 last year! Fox's average of one strikeout per 42.7 at bats in third-best in the modern era.

-Whitey Ford famously claimed to have struck out Fox only once, and claimed that it was because the umpire made a bad call. Actually, the second baseman whiffed five times in 177 recorded career matchups between the two. Another Hall of Famer, Jim Bunning, struck out Fox just once in 158 meetings!

-Proving his worth as a contact hitter, he led the American League in hits four times and also topped the loop in triples in 1960. He hit ten that year, one of four seasons in which he reached double-digits in three-baggers.

-Was well-regarded in his time, winning three Gold Gloves at second base and finishing in the top ten in MVP voting six times.

-Speaking of the MVP, Fox won the award in 1959, when he led the "Go-Go Sox" to the A. L. pennant with a .306 average and .380 on-base percentage. He also walloped a personal-best 34 doubles and was second on the club with 70 RBI despite hitting only two homers. He hit .375 with three doubles in the World Series, but Chicago fell to the Dodgers in six games.

-Joined the fledgling Houston team as a player-coach in 1964 and played his final game the season after that. In parts of 19 seasons he hit .288 with 2,663 hits, 355 doubles, 112 triples, 35 home runs, and 790 RBI. He continued to coach with the Astros through 1967 and was on the Rangers' coaching staff from 1968-1972.

-Nellie died prematurely, as skin cancer claimed him in December 1975, just weeks before his 48th birthday. The White Sox retired his #2, and he was posthumously enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.
#485 Nellie Fox (back)


  1. The guy was in the lineup virtually everyday during those 154 game years-- a real "gamer" and one of the most respected players of his era

  2. Legend has it that Astro owner Roy Hofheinz was upset because Nellie would spit tobacco juice on the Astrodome's Astroturf carpet around the coaches box. He supposedly called the dugout and told Fox to knock it off.

    Nellie also was said to spray sliding runners with juice around 2nd base.

  3. Brox - Heck, some years he went above and beyond 154!

    Bob - That's a hell of a story. To think that some people see gum chewing as a bad habit!