Abrams in about 1953.
March 2, 1924|
|Died: February 25, 1997
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
|April 20, 1949 for the Brooklyn Dodgers|
Last MLB appearance
|May 9, 1956 for the Chicago White Sox|
|Runs batted in||138|
Abrams was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and signed by Joe Labate, a scout for the Brooklyn Dodgers, out of James Madison High School in Brooklyn in 1942, and assigned to the Olean Oilers of the Class D PONY League. He played in 19 games that season.
In January 1943, he was inducted into the Army. He was assigned to Battery B 500th Anti-Aircraft Artillery, and served in Europe and the Pacific with two battle stars in the Pacific. Abrams was also awarded the Philippine Liberation Medal with one bronze star. He was released from the service in January 1946.
Abrams was making $90 ($1,000 today) a month in the minors when he got married in 1947, and the most he ever made was $22,000 ($194,000 today) a year with the Baltimore Orioles.
On April 20, 1949, he made his Major League debut with the Dodgers, and then was sent to the Fort Worth Cats of the AA Texas League for the rest of the season, where he hit .333. He split 1950 between the St. Paul Saints of the AAA American Association and the Dodgers. A New York Post headline once read: Mantle, Schmantle. We Got Abie.
In 1950, he changed his uniform number to 18, explaining later: "18 means a lot." The number 18 stands for the Hebrew word for life. He wore this number for the majority of his career.
On October 1, 1950, the Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies were playing a game that would determine which team would win the National League pennant. In the bottom of the 9th inning, with nobody out and the game tied 1–1, Abrams was on second base when Duke Snider hit a single to short center field. He was waved home by third-base coach Milt Stock, and was gunned down at the plate by a perfect throw by Phillies center fielder Richie Ashburn, who had fielded the ball on one bounce. The play resulted in the preservation of the 1–1 tie, and facilitated the Phils' Dick Sisler's 10th-inning pennant-winning home run. Stock was fired after the season for his decision to wave Abrams home.
On June 9, 1952, he was traded by the Brooklyn Dodgers to the Cincinnati Reds for Rudy Rufer and cash. On October 14, 1952, he was traded by the Reds with Gail Henley and Joe Rossi to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Gus Bell.
In 1953, he hit 15 home runs, his career high, and had 13 assists.
In all of his minor league seasons, his lowest batting average was .331.
He played in 567 major league games with the Dodgers, Reds, Pirates, Orioles, and White Sox.
In the late '50s and early '60s, Abrams owned The Blossom Lounge in Garden City South, New York, near Adelphi College, later University. Following the devastating ninth inning loss by his former Dodgers team, again to the Giants in the final game of a three-game playoff for the National League pennant in 1962, he was asked by an Adelphi student what he thought of the just concluded game. "Who was playing?" Abrams asked in all sincerity. In the 1990s, he was working for the Norwegian Cruise Line, giving talks and signing photographs (Brooklyn) while emphasizing his two outstanding on-base percentage seasons.
Hall of Fame
- [dead link]
- Goldstein, Richard (February 27, 1997). "Cal Abrams, Part of Lore Of Dodgers, Is Dead at 72". The New York Times. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
- "Calvin Ross "Cal" Abrams (1924–1997) – Find A Grave Memorial". Findagrave.com. Retrieved January 3, 2011.
- "Cal Abrams". snopes.com. Retrieved January 3, 2011.