|Bill "Moose" Skowron|
December 18, 1930|
|Died: April 27, 2012
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|April 13, 1954 for the New York Yankees|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 1, 1967 for the California Angels|
|Runs batted in||888|
|Career highlights and awards|
William Joseph "Moose" Skowron Jr. (December 18, 1930 – April 27, 2012) was a Major League Baseball player, primarily a first baseman for the New York Yankees. After retirement, he was a Community Relations Representative for the White Sox.
Early life and university career
Skowron was born in Chicago, Illinois, and was of Polish descent. His father was a garbage collector. After his grandfather gave the seven-year-old Skowron a haircut that looked like the dictator's and his friends jokingly called him "Mussolini", his family shortened the nickname to "Moose." The name stuck throughout his career.
Skowron attended Weber High School in Chicago, then went to Purdue University, where he was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, on a football scholarship, but found himself better suited to baseball when he hit .500 as a sophomore in 1950, a record in the Big Ten Conference that lasted ten years.
Professional baseball career
Following his sophomore year at Purdue, Skowron was signed to play baseball for the Austin (MN) Packers in the Southern Minny League (Class AA-level town-team baseball). Skowron did so well in Austin that the Yankees made a contract offer. Ending his collegiate career, Skowron signed with the New York Yankees in September 1950 as an amateur free agent and played his first game for the Yankees on April 13, 1954. He wore uniform number 53 in the 1954 season, but switched to #14 in 1955 and stayed with that number for the rest of his years with the Yankees. In the beginning, he was platooned at first base with Joe Collins, but from 1958 on he became the Yankees' full-time first baseman. He played in seven All-Star Games as a Yankee: 1957, 1958, twice in 1959, twice in 1960, and 1961. (The All-Star game was played twice yearly from 1959-1962.)
On November 26, 1962, he was traded by the Yankees to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Stan Williams. He kept his Yankee uniform number, 14, on the Dodgers. Although Skowron floundered against National League pitching, batting just .203 in 237 at bats with four home runs, he stunned his former team in the 1963 World Series, as he led the Dodgers with a .385 average and a home run, as Los Angeles swept New York in four straight games.
On December 6, 1963, he returned to the American League when he was purchased from the Dodgers by the then Washington Senators). The Senators gave him uniform number three. On July 13, 1964, he was traded by the Senators to the Chicago White Sox. He took uniform number five on the Sox at first, but with the 1965 season went back to his old uniform number on the Yankees and Dodgers, 14. In 1965 he played in his eighth All-Star Game. On May 6, 1967, he was traded by the White Sox to the California Angels. He kept his uniform number 14 on the Angels. He was released by the Angels on October 9, 1967.
Skowron made the last out of the 1957 World Series, but the following year he knocked in the winning run in game six of the 1958 World Series. Skowron also hit a three-run double in game seven to propel the Yankees to a World Series win, and a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit. He also scored the only run in game seven of the 1962 World Series against the San Francisco Giants.
While playing for Austin, Skowron met and married Virginia Hulquist.
On June 12, 1980, he was inducted into the National Polish-American Hall of Fame and resided in Schaumburg, Illinois.
Skowron died on April 27, 2012, in Arlington Heights, IL from congestive heart failure after a long battle with lung cancer at the age of 81. At the time of his death, he had worked as a White Sox community relations representative since 1999.
- Moose Skowron, interview by Peter Sagal, Wait Wait… Don't Tell Me!, NPR, week of September 6–12, 2008.
- Effrat, Louis. "Skowron Denies He Is a Holdout; First Baseman Says He Is Happy but Wants Raise Yankee Infielder to Talk Money With Hamey Today", The New York Times, February 1, 1961. Accessed April 11, 2011.
- Blum, R. (April 27, 2012). "5-time champion Moose Skowron dead at 81". Yahoo!. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
- "Former White Sox player and Community Ambassador Bill 'Moose' Skowron passes away," Chicago White Sox press release, Friday, April 27, 2012.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Baseball Almanac
- Baseball Digest
- Baseball Library