Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Forgotten Stars Pt 3: Frank Malzone

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.
The Red Sox of the 1950's were fairly forgettable to be honest.  There were not a lot of great players beyond Ted Williams and the teams by and large struggled.  A lot of the players that did play in Boston were largely overshadowed because their teams were so bad.  Such was the case with third-baseman Frank Malzone.

Malzone's career started a little late.  He missed the 1952 and 1953 seasons due to military service or he would have started a few years earlier.  Malzone made his Major League debut in 1955 at the age of 25.  He did not start playing regularly though until 1957, but that year he emerged as a very good player.  Malzone made the All Star game in his first full season as well as winning the Gold Glove, which had just started that season.  Malzone hit .292/.323/.427 with 15 home runs and 103 RBIs, finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting in an awful vote.  Tony Kubek of the Yankees won it despite playing 26 fewer games while hitting .297/.335/.381 with three home runs and 39 RBIs.  Malzone really should have won it.

Malzone made it into six All Star games and won three Gold Gloves in his career.  He regularly hit 15-20 home runs per season and was a leading run producer for the team.  Malzone finished his career with a line of .274/.315/.399 with 133 home runs and 728 RBIs.  Not exceptional numbers, but fairly impressive for the time period, especially at third base.

Had it not been for his relatively short career, Malzone may have received some Hall of Fame consideration.  However he only played nine full seasons and was basically washed up at the age of 36.  But given the dearth of third basemen in Cooperstown, he may have been able to get some votes had he played a few years longer.

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