Happy Birthday, Al Zarilla!

This post first appeared on BaseballDigest.com

After the 1946 World Series loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, the Red Sox began a long, slow decline into mediocrity. Despite the decline, the 1950 squad included an outfield unlike any that has been seen in recent years. An all .300 hitting outfield. Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio and Al Zarilla hit above the .300 mark for the third place Red Sox. In fact, the 1950 squad had .300 hitters at every position except second base and shortstop. The lowest batting average for an everyday player on the 1950 Red Sox was .294! Despite having only one pitcher with an ERA below 4.00, the Red Sox still managed to stay within 5 games of the eventual World Series champion New York Yankees.

When Al Zarilla was traded by the St. Louis Browns to the Red Sox during the 1949 season, the guess here is they saw the early returns and did not anticipate Zarilla would again come close to his career year in 1948. Initially, they were right. Zarilla’s 1949 season was slightly less impressive than his 1948 all star season. However, 1950 proved to be a great season for Al Zarilla as he set career highs in on base percentage and slugging to go along with being a part of the all .300 hitting outfield.

Perhaps seeing what the Browns did earlier, the Red Sox pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Zarilla to the Chicago White Sox for a pair of pitchers who wound up sporting a 1951 ERA above 5.00 between them. The trade proved to be a wash, as Zarilla’s numbers for 1951 missed their mark compared to his previous season in Boston. Within two seasons, Zarilla bounced from the White Sox to the Browns and back to the Red Sox before retiring after the 1953 season.

For rejuvenating his career with the Red Sox and being a member of an all .300 hitting outfield, Happy Birthday to Al Zarilla, whowould have been 90 today!

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