Gil McDougald

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Gil McDougald
Gil McDougald 1953.jpg
McDougald in about 1953.
Born: (1928-05-19)May 19, 1928
San Francisco, California
Died: November 28, 2010(2010-11-28) (aged 82)
Wall Township, New Jersey
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 20, 1951 for the New York Yankees
Last MLB appearance
October 2, 1960 for the New York Yankees
Career statistics
Batting average .276
Home runs 112
Runs batted in 576
Career highlights and awards

Gilbert James "Gil" McDougald (May 19, 1928 – November 28, 2010) was an American infielder who spent all ten seasons of his Major League Baseball (MLB) career with the New York Yankees from 1951 to 1960. He was a member of eight American League (AL) pennant winners and five World Series Champions. He was also the AL Rookie of the Year in 1951 and a five-time All-Star. He was known for accidentally hitting a line drive that severely injured Herb Score's right eye in 1957.

Early life[edit]

He was born in San Francisco, California, and attended the University of San Francisco.

Major League career[edit]

McDougald played his first major league game on April 20, 1951. On May 3 of that year, he tied a major league record, since broken, by batting in six runs in one inning.[1] Later in the year, in the World Series, he became the first rookie to hit a grand slam home run in the Series. He narrowly beat out Minnie Miñoso in the voting for the 1951 American League Rookie of the Year. His entire major league career was spent on the New York Yankees. He was a versatile player, playing all the infield positions except first base: 599 games at second base, 508 games at third, and 284 at shortstop. He played in five All-Star Games: in 1952, 1956, 1957, 1958, and 1959.

McDougald led all American League infielders in double plays at three different positions - at third base (1952), at second base (1955) and shortstop (1957). He was the double play leader at shortstop despite sharing time at the position with rookie Tony Kubek.

On May 7, 1957, McDougald, batting against Herb Score of the Cleveland Indians, hit a line drive that hit Score in the right eye. It caused Score to miss the rest of the 1957 and much of the 1958 season. While addressing reporters following the contest, McDougald said, "If Herb loses the sight in his eye, I'm going to quit the game." Score regained his vision and returned to pitching in the majors late in 1958.[2] Only two years before, McDougald was struck in the left ear during batting practice by a ball hit by teammate Bob Cerv. Though initially believed to be a concussion (he missed only a few games), McDougald soon lost the hearing in his left ear and later also in his right. He retired in 1960 at only age 32, though not directly because of his hearing loss.[3]

In 1958, McDougald was given the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, which is awarded annually by the Phi Delta Theta fraternity (to which Gehrig belonged) at Columbia University.

His last appearance was in Game Seven of the 1960 World Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates; as a pinch runner in the top of the ninth, he scored on Yogi Berra's ground ball to tie the game at 9–9. The Pirates, however, won the Series on Bill Mazeroski's walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth.

McDougald decided to retire as an active player after the Fall Classic when it appeared that the Yankees were going to leave him unprotected for the 1960 Major League Baseball expansion draft with the strong likelihood that he was going to be selected by either the Los Angeles Angels or Washington Senators.[2]

Personal life[edit]

McDougald was a former baseball coach at Fordham University.

His hearing loss was somewhat restored by a cochlear implant he received during a surgery at the New York University Medical Center in 1994.[4] McDougald later became a paid spokesperson for the manufacturer, Cochlear Americas, including benefits for hearing organizations and testimony before Congress.[3]

McDougald died of prostate cancer at his home in Wall Township, New Jersey, at the age of 82. He is survived by his wife, seven children, and 14 grandchildren.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clifton, Merritt. "The Ballplayers - Gil McDougald". Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  2. ^ a b Goldstein, Richard. "Gil McDougald, Ex-Yankee, Dies at 82," The New York Times, Tuesday, November 30, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Reisler, Jim (September 16, 1996). "Sounds Great to Him". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  4. ^ Berkow, Ira. BASEBALL: The Sweetest Sound of All; McDougald, Yankee Star of 50's, Can Hear Again After Operation, The New York Times, January 4, 1995. Accessed July 14, 2011. "The McDougalds had taken the nearly two-hour train ride from their home in Spring Lake, N.J., and would be going across the street to Bellevue Hospital."
  5. ^ Bollinger, Rhett (29 November 2010). "Yankees' McDougald, '51 ROY, dies at 82". Retrieved 1 December 2010. 

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