Hal Trosky

The 1940 Cleveland Indians were heavily favored to win the American League pennant. But the players despised their manager, Oscar Vitt, who made a practice of openly berating them. Led by first baseman Hal Trosky, the “Crybaby” Indians petitioned owner Alva Bradley for Vitt’s removal. Vitt lasted out the year, but Trosky and others were roundly criticized. This incident tarnished Trosky’s reputation late in a superb career as one of the league’s top sluggers and as Cleveland’s all-time first baseman.

Trosky batted .330 as a rookie in 1934, exhibiting his lefthanded power with 35 homers, 45 doubles, and 142 RBI – second in the AL to Lou Gehrig. In 1936 he put together a 28-game hitting streak, led the league with an Indians-record 162 RBI, and reached career highs of .343 and 42 HR. He drove in 100 or more runs six straight years. He twice hit three HR in a game, and his 216 HR put him second, behind Earl Averill, on the Indians all-time list.

After the 1941 season, Trosky announced a premature retirement, due to migraine headaches. He returned to his Iowa farm, but during 1943 he made known his wish to play again. He was sold to the White Sox after being declared 4F by the military. He hit just 10 HR in 1944, sat out a season, played in 1946, and then became a White Sox scout. His son, Hal Jr., made two appearances as a White Sox pitcher in 1958.