Flip got his nickname as a quick-wristed softball pitcher on Miami’s sandlots. A tough guy and amateur boxer, Rosen had his nose broken eleven times. Determined, exuberant, and prematurely gray, Rosen came up in 1947, but his glove work was so bad that he posed no immediate threat to slick-fielding Indian third baseman Ken Keltner. But in 1950, his first full season, he led the AL with 37 homers (a league record for rookies at the time), and he honed his fielding skills sufficiently to lead the AL in assists. In 1953, with his shirt sleeves cut to show his bulging biceps, Rosen led the AL in homers (43) and RBI (145), but lost the batting title to Mickey Vernon on the last day of the season. He was the unanimous choice for AL MVP.
In the 1954 All-Star Game, played in Cleveland, Rosen cracked two consecutive home runs. Nagging injuries – including whiplash suffered in an auto accident – and booing from Cleveland fans caused Rosen to quit at age 32 to sell stocks and bonds. He reentered baseball 20 years later as president of the Yankees, then the Astros, and then president and general manager of the Giants. His maneuvering brought San Francisco from last place in 1985 to the NL West title in 1987.