Wednesday, December 29, 2010

#528 George Altman

#528 George Altman
George sure looks like he worked up a sweat taking his hacks in batting practice.

Fun facts about George Altman:

-George was born in Goldsboro, NC and attended Tennessee State University before signing with the Cubs in 1955. He was the first player in Tigers history to make it to the majors, beating college teammate Fred Valentine by a few months.

-He missed all of 1957 and part of the 1958 season due to military service, but hit .325 at Class A Pueblo upon his return and made the Cubs' opening day roster in 1959 at age 26.

-"Big George" showed some pop early in his career, batting .245 with 12 homers as a rookie and improving to .266 with 13 homers the following year. He boosted his slugging percentage by 72 points from one season to the next. On the defensive side of things, he was also a gifted outfielder as a younger player.

-1961 was his breakout year. He made the first of two All-Star teams and led the National League with 12 triples. He also belted 27 home runs and paced the Cubs with 96 RBI and a .303 average.

-A few highlights from that 1961 season: On August 4, he became the first player to hit two home runs off of Sandy Koufax in the same game. In the first of that year's two All-Star games, he hit a pinch homer off of Mike Fornieles to give the N.L. a 3-1 lead in a game they won 5-4.

-George's power numbers dipped a bit in 1962 (22 HR, 74 RBI), but he boosted his average to .318 and ranked fourth in the league with a .393 on-base percentage. He even stole a team-high 19 bases while repeating as an All-Star.

-Traded to the Cardinals in a six-player deal, Altman had a disappointing 1963: .274 AVG, .740 OPS, 9 HR, 47 RBI in 135 games.

-After slipping further the next season with the Mets (.230 AVG, .594 OPS, 9 HR, 47 RBI in 125 G), he spent 1965-1967 back with the Cubs as a part-time player. Chicago demoted him to AAA Tacoma for much of the 1967 season, his last in American professional baseball. He then signed with the Lotte Orions of the Japanese League.

-George was rejuvenated in Japan, batting .309 with 205 homers in eight seasons with the Orions and Hanshin Tigers and retiring at age 42.

-In parts of nine MLB seasons, he was a .269 hitter with 101 home runs and 403 RBI.
#528 George Altman (back)


  1. 2 hrs in one game off Koufax as a left-handed swinger--impressive! Also impressive was his base stealing ability as a guy who was 6'4'and 200 lbs.

  2. Anon - Yeah, occasionally you get an unlikely base thief. A more recent example is Jeff Bagwell, with 202 career steals including a pair of 30-30 seasons.