Monday, August 16, 2010

#336 Woody Held

#336 Woody Held
I don't mean to be cruel or to speak ill of the departed, but doesn't Woody bear a striking resemblance to Howdy Doody?

Fun facts about Woody Held:

-He was born Woodson George Heldt (he dropped the "t" to avoid confusion over pronunciation) in Sacramento, CA. He actually went by "Woodie", regardless of what Topps says. He was a batboy for the minor-league Sacramento Solons in the 1940s, and signed with the Yankees for a $6,000 bonus in 1951.

-Woodie was trapped in the deep Yankee farm system (he hit 109 HR in seven minor league seasons), receiving only five plate appearances in 1954 and one more in 1957 before a seven-player trade in June 1957 gave him an opportunity to play with the poor-sister Athletics.

-Installed immediately as Kansas City's center fielder, Held hit 20 homers in just 92 games as a rookie.

-He was traded to Cleveland the very next year (in a deal that sent future home run champ Roger Maris to the A's) and moved to shortstop. In 1959 he became the first Indians shortstop to hit 20 homers when he socked a career-high 29 and drove in 71 runs.

-1961 may have been his best season, as he hit .267 with 23 doubles, 23 homers, and 78 RBI.

-Woodie stayed with the Tribe for six and a half seasons, long enough to set a team record for home runs by a shortstop with 85. His record lasted 45 years before Jhonny Peralta surpassed it in 2009.

-His last season as a regular was 1965 with the Senators, when he tied for second on the club with 54 RBI.

-Held spent the last four years of his career as a utility player with the Orioles (where he was a member of the 1966 World Series champs, but did not play in the postseason), Angels, and White Sox. He played every position in the infield and outfield except for first base.

-One of the two home runs he hit as an Oriole was a pinch-hit, three-run homer on May 1, 1967 that allowed the team to overcome a 7-5 eighth-inning deficit and win the game.

-In parts of 14 seasons he hit .240 with 179 home runs and 559 RBI. He passed away on June 11, 2009 after a seven-month fight with brain cancer.
#336 Woody Held (back)


  1. Was this guy always considered a infield-outfielder a la the Reds Jimmy Stewart? He certainly seemed to put offensive numbers of someone with a regular position.

  2. holste42 - He was Cleveland's regular shortstop, but just for a few years.