Lou Novikoff

A four-time minor league batting champion and TSN Minor League Player of the Year in 1939, Novikoff could hit, but was a butcher in the outfield. He had trouble locating fly balls, and would leap at a line drive and appear to wrestle it to the ground. A wartime Cub fill-in and an entertaining, storytelling eccentric, he feared touching Wrigley Field’s ivy-covered walls. He once stole third with the bases loaded because, he said, “I got such a good jump on the pitcher.” Known for a prodigious appetite, he was assisted by his pet Russian wolfhound, which reputedly dined only on caviar. Novikoff, who had played softball as Lou Nova, went back to the game after he retired from baseball. He played until he was fifty-three, and was inducted into the Softball Hall of Fame.