Baseball Digest Birthdays: Frank Malzone

This post first appeared on BaseballDigest.com
On September 20th, 1955 Frank Malzone made his first major league start, playing in both ends of a doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles. On that day he went 6 for 10, including having four hits in the first game. Over the next eleven years, Malzone solidified himself as one of the Red Sox greats in an era where the team finished above fourth place just once.

Born on February 28th in 1930, the Bronx, NY native was signed by the Boston Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 1947. after tearing up the minor leagues for a few seasons, Malzone missed two years to military service. He quickly rediscovered his stroke when he returned in 1954. For his career, he hit .299 in the minor leagues. After briefly being called up in 1955 and 1956, Malzone became a permanent fixture in 1957. In his rookie year he hit .292 with 15 homers and was the runner up in the Rookie of The Year Award to the Yankees’ Tony Kubek.

In a September 1957 issue of Baseball Digest, Arthur Daley wrote about Frank Malzone’s career choices between Con Ed and the Boston Red Sox. Click here to check it out!

Over the next eight seasons, Malzone was named to the AL All-Star squad seven times and awarded the Gold Glove three times. In fact, he won the Gold Glove the first three seasons it was awarded. He had a .281 average and he averaged 16 homers a season during those eight seasons. He compiled a impressive pile of numbers that, at his retirement, ranked him among the top 10 in many Red Sox hitting records.

By 1965, Malzone’s offense began to wane, and for 1966 the 36 year old third baseman was playing his final season with the California Angels. After retirement, Malzone returned to Boston and spent the next 35 years serving as a scout. His talents were passed on to his son, John Malzone, who played and coached in the minor leagues with the Red Sox. Frank Malzone currently works as a player development consultant for the team. In 1995, the Red Sox honored Malzone by inducting him into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame during its inaugural year.

Also Born On This Day:

Aroldis Chapman(b. 1988) has already earned himself high expectations for his future at just 23 years old. Chapman defected from Cuba when their national team played in the Netherlands in July of 2009, and was pitching with the Cincinnati Reds by August of 2010. In September of last season his fastball was clocked at 105.1 MPH, which is the fastest record pitch in MLB history.

Jim Wohlford(b. 1951) logged fifteen seasons in the big leagues with four teams. He may be best remembered for his quote, “Ninety percent of this game is half mental.” A long time reserve player, Wohlford primarily played left field.

Terry Turner(1881 – 1960) spent the majority of his 17 season career with the Cleveland Naps and Indians. In celebration of the Cleveland Indians 100 Year Anniversary, he was named to their list of 100 Greatest Indians. He led the league in fielding percentage at third base and shortstop for three years each.

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