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Sunday, April 29, 2012

'Here Lies a Big, Big Man'

When baseball was truly "America's pastime" ...

When the New York Yankees ruled the world ...

... first base was owned by Moose.

Ah, those were the days ...
Bill ‘Moose’ Skowron, hero of the Yankees’ 1958 World Series team, dead at 81 from congestive heart failure
By Bill Madden, New York Daily News

Bill (Moose) Skowron, the hulking and popular Yankee first baseman of the 1950s and ’60s and the hero of their come-from-behind 1958 World Series triumph over the Milwaukee Braves, died of congestive heart failure early Friday morning at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Ill. Skowron had also battled lung cancer for several years. He was 81.

Skowron, a five-time All-Star, was the Yankees’ regular first baseman from 1955-62, averaging 18 homers and 75 RBI as a Bomber. He finished his career with a .282 average, 211 homers and 888 RBI. He was especially lethal in the World Series, hitting .293 with eight HRs and 29 RBI in 39 games over eight Fall Classics.

In the 1956 World Series, Skowron had been held hitless by the Dodgers until the seventh game when he came to bat with the bases loaded in the seventh. He hit a grand slam into the left field stands to break the game open. Two years later, Skowron spurred the Yankees to rally from three games to one against the Braves by singling in what proved to be the winning run in the 10th inning of their Game 6 4-3 victory. He then hit a decisive three-run eighth-inning homer off Yankee killer Lew Burdette for the 6-2 Game 7 win. [link]
The obituary is accompanied by the most memorable photo to ever come out of major league baseball:

That's Yankee greats Roger Maris, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, and the Moose.

How kids in the day longed to be every one of them.

Moose, you done good.  You allowed us to dream.

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The post header - "Here Lies a Big, Big Man" - comes from a hit song from that time. "Big Bad John."