Sunday, May 5, 2013

Forgotten Stars Pt. 1: Bill Werber

When a team that has as long a history as the Red Sox it is natural to have players who have been largely forgotten.  These are some players who simply do not get mentioned anymore or are largely forgotten.
(As much as I would love to, I do not own this card)
Boston's fortunes were beginning to change after 1932, the lowest point in team history.  Tom Yawkey had bought the team and was beginning to sink money into it to try to become competitive.  Just over three months after taking the reins, Yawkey bought some players from the Yankees.  Players coming over from the Yankees had generally not performed well in Boston, but this time it worked out.  Yawkey purchased former star George Pipgras and up-and-coming third baseman Bill Werber for $100,000.00 or $25,000.00 less than the Yankees paid former owner Harry Frazee for Babe Ruth.

Werber was no Babe Ruth but he was a very successful third-baseman for the Red Sox for a few years.  As a 25 year old rookie he hit .259/.312/.379 with three home runs and 39 RBIs but stole 15 bases.  He had the best season of his career in 1934 hitting .321/.397/.472 with 11 home runs, 67 RBIs, and a league leading 40 stolen bases.  

Werber would go on to have two more largely successful seasons as the Red Sox third-baseman and lead the league in stolen bases again in 1935.  Werber was then dealt to the Athletics for Pinky Higgins.  

Werber arrived in Boston at a time that fans were desperate for someone to root for.  He was a good third-baseman who possessed a lot of speed.  He was largely forgotten even at the time because Yawkey was busy picking up star player after star player.  The team went from cellar dwellers to the home of future Hall of Famers Lefty Grove, Joe Cronin, Jimmie Foxx, and Rick Ferrell.  But Werber was one of the first pick-ups to make an impact, acquired just three days after Ferrell.

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