Though Wertz had a successful 17-year major league career, it is for one long out with Cleveland that he is best remembered: Wertz hit the drive in the 1954 World Series opener that Willie Mays, racing to the deepest part of the Polo Grounds, caught over his shoulder.
A powerful lefthanded hitter, Wertz drove in 133 runs for Detroit in 1949 and 123 in 1950. He once smashed seven home runs over a five-game span. Capable at two positions, he moved from the outfield to first base when he joined the Indians in 1954. Though he missed part of the 1955 season when stricken with a non-paralytic form of polio, he bounced back in 1956, hit four doubles to tie an ML record in a September 26 game, and finished the season with a career-high 32 HR. A 1958 leg injury caused him to miss most of the season, and by 1961 he was back with Detroit. He led the AL with 17 pinch hits in 1962.