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Nellie Fox, Hall of Fame second baseman

Jacob Nelson Fox was born Christmas Day, 1927 in St. Thomas, Pennsylvania.

Nellie spent the better part of his first two years in professional baseball with the Athletics' minor league team, playing 10 games in the big leagues on short stints. Finally, in 1949 he got the call in July to play second base for the A's. His half-season wasn't a terribly impressive one, and the team unloaded the tobacco-chewing youngster on the Chicago White Sox the following year for power-hitting catcher Joe Tipton. It turned out to be one of the most lopsided trades in history. Fortunately for the White Sox, they ended up with the Fox, who became a regular member of the "Go-Go Sox" team of the 1950s.

From 1950 to 1963, Nellie proved himself one of the most valuable defensive second basemen ever to step on the diamond. In addition to being a three time Gold Glove winner (1957, 1959, 1960), he went to 12 All-Star Games in that 14 year period, always as a starter. He proved to be a tough out at the plate, too, setting major league records for games without striking out and topping .300 six times in the league. As a solid leadoff batter, he led the league in hits 4 times and, despite not being especially speedy, led the league in triples with 10 in 1960.

Nellie is perhaps best known, however, for his streak of 798 consecutive games played, from August 7, 1956 through September 3, 1960. Before that, he had played in 274 consecutive games - Nellie just didn't want to take a break!

In 1959, Nellie had another one of his great seasons on the field - committing just 10 errors - and at the plate, batting .306 with a .380 on-base percentage to boot. With his help, the White Sox made their first World Series since the "Black Sox" series of 1919. Although the team lost the Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Nellie batted .375 and was named the American League Most Valuable Player for the year (he finished in the top 10 in MVP voting 5 other times.)

That year, a strange story unfolded on May 26 when Nellie and teammate Luis Aparicio were taken hostage by spacemen! Actually part of a stunt by White Sox part owner Bill Veeck, the incident took place before the start of a game against the Cleveland Indians. Four midgets dressed in space-age outfits parachuted onto the field and abducted the two infielders, converted them into honorary Martians, and offered their support in fighting the giant Earthlings around them (both Fox and Aparicio stood at 5'9".)

After 14 years with the White Sox, Nellie was offered a big contract if he would be traded to the Houston Colt .45's, still in their infancy as a Major League Baseball team. He agreed, and in 1964 the 36 year old Fox became a Colt .45. That would only last for one year, though - as the Houston squad became the Houston Astros the following spring. Nellie played 21 games as a backup with the 'Stros before hanging up his cleats for good in 1965.

Nellie Fox passed away December 1, 1975 in Baltimore, Maryland. The great second baseman received a lot of support from the Baseball Writers of America Association for election into the Hall of Fame, but in 1985, his final year of eligibility, he fell 6 shorts shy of induction. This proved to only be a minor setback, however, as he was posthumously placed in the Hall of Fame in 1997.

Career Statistics

YEAR   TEAM    G   AB    R    H   2B 3B HR RBI SB CS  BB  SO   BA
1947 PHA AL    7    3    2    0   0   0  0   0  0  0   1   0 .000
1948 PHA AL    3   13    0    2   0   0  0   0  1  0   1   0 .154
1949 PHA AL   88  247   42   63   6   2  0  21  2  2  32   9 .255
1950 CHW AL  130  457   45  113  12   7  0  30  4  3  35  17 .247
1951 CHW AL  147  604   93  189  32  12  4  55  9 12  43  11 .313
1952 CHW AL  152  648   76  192  25  10  0  39  5  5  34  14 .296
1953 CHW AL  154  624   92  178  31   8  3  72  4  5  49  18 .285
1954 CHW AL  155  631  111  201  24   8  2  47 16  9  51  12 .319
1955 CHW AL  154  636  100  198  28   7  6  59  7  9  38  15 .311
1956 CHW AL  154  649  109  192  20  10  4  52  8  4  44  14 .296
1957 CHW AL  155  619  110  196  27   8  6  61  5  6  75  13 .317
1958 CHW AL  155  623   82  187  21   6  0  49  5  6  47  11 .300
1959 CHW AL  156  624   84  191  34   6  2  70  5  6  71  13 .306
1960 CHW AL  150  605   85  175  24  10  2  59  2  4  50  13 .289
1961 CHW AL  159  606   67  152  11   5  2  51  2  3  59  12 .251
1962 CHW AL  157  621   79  166  27   7  2  54  1  2  38  12 .267
1963 CHW AL  137  539   54  140  19   0  2  42  0  2  24  17 .260
1964 HOU NL  133  442   45  117  12   6  0  28  0  2  27  13 .265
1965 HOU NL   21   41    3   11   2   0  0   1  0  0   0   2 .268
     CAREER 2367 9232 1279 2663 355 112 35 790 76 80 719 216 .288
* Bold denotes led league.

Hall of Fame Index
Rube Foster | Jimmie Foxx

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