Tony Lazzeri

Lazzeri was a prominent member of the 1927 Yankees’ “Murderers’ Row” lineup and the second baseman on five World Championship Yankee clubs. He had seven 100-RBI seasons and four times hit as many as 18 home runs. His excellent glove, driving leadership, and superior baseball instincts made him the hero of Italian-Americans, as their first superstar. He was known as “the quiet man of the Yankees.” Though an epileptic, he never had an on-the-field seizure in his 12 Yankee seasons.

Playing for Salt Lake City (Pacific Coast League) in 1925, assisted by the altitude and a 200-game schedule, Lazzeri set since-broken pro baseball records for HR (60) and RBI (222) and a still-standing record for runs (202). The following year, he played 155 games for New York. With two out and the bases loaded in the seventh inning, he struck out against Grover Cleveland Alexander in the Game Seven of the 1926 World Series, won by the Cardinals 3-2. The famous incident damaged Lazzeri’s reputation as a clutch hitter. Yet Miller Huggins, his manager, said: “Anyone can strike out, but ballplayers like Lazzeri come along once in a generation.

From 1927 through 1930, and again in 1932, Lazzeri batted .300 or better; his .354 in 1929 put him among the league leaders. On May 24, 1936 he became the first major leaguer to hit two grand slams in one game and set an AL record with 11 RBI.