|Born: November 16, 1910|
|Died: July 20, 1959 (aged 48)|
|September 14, 1936, for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|Last MLB appearance|
|April 21, 1946, for the New York Giants|
|Runs batted in||261|
|Career highlights and awards|
Morrie (Morris) Arnovich, known as Snooker, (November 16, 1910 – July 20, 1959) was a stocky Major League Baseball outfielder. He was a line drive hitter and he played seven seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies, the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Giants between 1936, and 1941, and again for one game in 1946.
Early and personal life
Arnovich was born in Superior, Wisconsin. One of the most religious Jewish major leaguers, Arnovich kept kosher his whole life. He attended Superior High School in Superior, Wisconsin. Arnovich was a two-time All-Wisconsin basketball star at the University of Wisconsin–Superior.
Arnovich's professional baseball career began at age 22 with the Superior Blues, the champions of the newly revived Northern League in 1933. A shortstop that year, he hit .331 and slugged .495 with 17 steals. He was fifth in average and fourth in homers, with 14. His .918 fielding was best of any shortstop with 50 or more games that season, and he made the unofficial All-Star team listed by the Spalding Guide. Returning to Superior in 1934, Arnovich hit .374 to take the Northern League batting title, and his 21 homers tied for fifth. He hit three homers in one game that year.
In 1936, he hit .327 with 19 homers and 109 RBIs. He tied for the league lead in homers and was one RBI off of the top pace. He got a cup of coffee with the Phils that season and hit .313 in late-season action. By this time Arnovich had moved to the outfield, and he would not play any other position in the Major Leagues. He primarily played left field.
In 1937, he hit .290 and had a career-high five double plays from the outfield. In 1938, he had a career-high 18 outfield assists, third of all outfielders in the league, and he led all NL left fielders in assists with 16. He also led all NL left fielders in double plays, with five, and in range factor/game, at 2.58. He was referred to as the "Son of Israel", or the "Next Jewish Star".
When Phil Weintraub entered the armed forces, Arnovich took his spot in the lineup. In 1939 he was the top contact hitter in the National League most of the season before fading late and still finishing fifth in the league with a .324 batting average, and sixth in the league with a .397 on base percentage. He also led all NL left fielders in putouts, with 314, and in range factor/game, at 2.47. He made the NL All-Star team in his best season. He came in 18th in NL MVP voting.
At the age of 29, Arnovich was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Johnny Rizzo in June 1940 and had a disappointing season, though he continued to hit for solid contact (.284); he failed to homer and his lack of power was not good for an outfielder. He made his only World Series appearance that season. He was sold to the New York Giants in December 1940, and had a .280 batting average in 85 games.
Arnovich tried to volunteer for the United States Army, but was turned down because he was missing a pair of molars. He got false teeth and volunteered again after Pearl Harbor; this time he was permitted in and spent the next four years in the Army. He was a Staff Sergeant for the Army in the Pacific Theater of Operations. While in the Army, Arnovich played for and managed the Fort Lewis baseball team, before becoming a postal clerk in New Guinea.
Out of condition and now 35 years old, Morrie played in one game for the New York Giants in 1946 and was sent down to the Jersey City Giants, where he went 5 for 25 in 10 games before being released in June 1946. In 1947 Arnovich hit in the .370s in the Three-I League and Western Association, then batted .353 in limited time in the 1948 Southeastern League before retiring at the age of 37.
Arnovich coached basketball for a Catholic high school in Superior after retiring, then ran a jewelry store and a sporting goods store. It was reported in the Superior Evening Telegram in 1949 that Arnovich, who had managed in the Cubs minor league organization, had signed on as a referee in the new National Basketball Association. It is not known if he actually served as an NBA referee in its inaugural season.
- Berger, Ralph. "Morrie Arnovich". SABR. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
- James, Bill (2010-05-11). The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. ISBN 9781439106938. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
- "Pete McEntegart: A walking Encyclopedia". Sports Illustrated. June 9, 2004. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
- Morrie Arnovich Stats | Baseball-Reference.com
- Baseball in Wartime - Morrie Arnovich
- "Morrie Arnovich Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
- Levine, Peter (1993-09-09). Ellis Island to Ebbets Field: Sport and the American Jewish Experience. ISBN 9780195359008. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
- The Big Book of Jewish Sports Heroes: An Illustrated Compendium of Sports History and The 150 Greatest Jewish Sports Stars. SP Books. 2007. ISBN 9781561719075. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
- "Career Batting Leaders through 2010". Career Leaders. Jewish Major Leaguers. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube Warning: Template:Baseballstats cube= parameter should be updated to a numeric value.
- This article incorporates text from the Baseball Reference Bullpen article, freely-licensed under the GFDL