Monday, April 30, 2012
Honoring Moose Skowron... a man of many teams
Moose Skowron passed away this weekend.
He was a great Yankee and one of my mother's favorite players growing up.
He played 9 years with the Yankees, playing in the World Series in 7 of those years, winning 4.
He made 5 All Star teams as a Yankee and was a fixture at Old Timers Day for decades.
But guess what? He was a 5 time World Champion and a 6 time All Star.
It seems strange to think of him playing for other teams, but he logged five years in the big leagues after his time with the Yankees ended.
He looks strange in Dodger blue, doesn't he?
Well he looked stranger to the Yankees when he homered in the 1963 Series and helped lead the Dodgers to victory over his former team.
There is something unsettling about Moose Skowron in a Senator uniform. Remember it was the Washington Senators that were the topic of the musical Damn Yankees.
The premise of the play was that the Yankees had such a stranglehold on the pennant that it took a deal with the Devil to make a champion out of the lowly Senators. The play opened in 1955, when Skowron was a member of the Yankees. And now here he is stuck in Washington, needed the Devil to make a winner out of them.
(Yes, I realize that the Senators franchise from the musical was the one that became the Twins and the team that Moose played for became the Rangers. Settle down.)
OK, they were Chicago White Sox pinstripes but he looked happier there. And why not?
The White Sox were contenders, regularly winning 90 games in the 1960s.
And in 1965, as the Yankee dynasty crumbled, Skowron made the All Star team and his White Sox won 95 games, finishing second to the Minnesota Twins. (Formerly the Senators, but NOT the Senators that Skowron played for. You following?)
No longer the Los Angeles Angels, they were the California Angels.
A man I associate with old fashioned Yankee baseball and clashes with Brooklyn was a member of an expansion team playing near Disneyland.
Among his teammates were Jay Johnstone and Aurelio Rodriguez, who would both play in the World Series for the Yankees under George Steinbrenner.
He was mainly a Yankee but brought his power bat from New York to L.A. to Washington to Chicago back to California.
You will be missed, Moose Skowron, by more than New York fans.
And one final note. How did he get the name Moose?
Because he was as strong as a moose?
He had a haircut as a youth that resembled Mussolini.
Moose was the shortened version of that.
He was wise to go by the short version.
Rest in peace, Moose.