19 May 1928 1
28 Nov 2010 1

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Full Name:
Gilbert J Mcdougald 1
19 May 1928 1
28 Nov 2010 1
Last Residence: Belmar, NJ 1
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Card Issued: New Jersey 1

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Gilbert James "Gil" McDougald (May 19, 1928 – November 28, 2010) was an American infielder who spent all ten seasons of his Major League Baseball (MLB) career with the New York Yankees from 1951 to 1960. He was a member of eight American League (AL) pennantwinners and five World Series Champions. He was also the AL Rookie of the Year in 1951 and a five-time All-Star. He was known for accidentally hitting a line drive that severely injured Herb Score's right eye in 1957

He was born in San Francisco, California, and attended the University of San Francisco.

He played his first major league game on April 20, 1951. On May 3 of that year, he tied a major league record, since broken, by batting in six runs in one inning.[1] Later in the year, in the World Series, he became the first rookie to hit a grand slam home run in the Series. He narrowly beat out Minnie Miñoso in the voting for the 1951 American League Rookie of the Year. His entire major league career was spent on the New York Yankees, wearing uniform number 12. He was a versatile player, playing all the infield positions except first base: 599 games at second base, 508 games at third, and 284 at shortstop. He played in five All-Star Games: in 1952195619571958, and 1959.

McDougald led all American League infielders in double plays at three different positions - at third base (1952), at second base (1955) and shortstop (1957). He was the double play leader at shortstop despite sharing time at the position with rookie Tony Kubek.

On May 7, 1957, McDougald, batting against Herb Score of the Cleveland Indians, hit a line drive that hit Score in the right eye. It caused Score to miss the rest of the 1957 and much of the 1958 season. While addressing reporters following the contest, McDougald said, "If Herb loses the sight in his eye, I'm going to quit the game." Score regained his vision and returned to pitching in the majors late in 1958, but arm problems led to a premature end to a promising career.[2]

Ironically, only two years before, McDougald was struck in the left ear during batting practice by a ball hit by teammate Bob Cerv. Though initially believed to be a concussion (he missed only a few games), McDougald soon lost the hearing in his left ear and later also in his right. He retired in 1960 at only age 32, though not directly because of his hearing loss.[3]

In 1958, McDougald was given the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, which is awarded annually by the Phi Delta Theta fraternity (to which Gehrig belonged) at Columbia University.

His last appearance was in Game Seven of the 1960 World Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates; as a pinch runner in the top of the ninth, he scored on Yogi Berra's ground ball to tie the game at 9–9. The Pirates, however, won the Series on Bill Mazeroski's walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth.

McDougald decided to retire as an active player after the Fall Classic when it appeared that the Yankees were going to leave him unprotected for the 1960 Major League Baseball expansion draft with the strong likelihood that he was going to be selected by either the Los Angeles Angels or Washington Senators

McDougald was a former baseball coach at Fordham University.

His hearing loss was somewhat restored by a cochlear implant he received during a surgery at the New York University Medical Center in 1994.[4] McDougald later became a paid spokesperson for the manufacturer, Cochlear Americas, including benefits for hearing organizations and testimony before Congress.[3]

McDougald died of prostate cancer at his home in Wall Township, New Jersey, at the age of 82. He is survived by his wife, seven children, and 14 grandchildren

Former Yankee great Gil McDougald, 1951 AL rookie of the year, dead at 82

Gil McDougald

Gil McDougald, the versatile 1950s Yankee who, along with Pete Rose, had the unique distinction of being selected to the All-Star team at three different positions, died Sunday at his home in Wall TownshipN.J., after a long bout with prostate cancer. He was 82.

McDougald played a pivotal role on eight Yankee pennant-winning teams from 1951-60, winning Rookie of the Year honors in 1951 when he hit .306 with 14 homers and 63 RBI. He was named to the All-Star team five times, as a third baseman in 1952, a shortstop in 1957 and a second baseman in 1958. But as fine an all-around player as McDougald was, hitting .276 during a 10-year career all with the Yankees, it was his fate to be remembered for hitting a line drive that struck Indians pitcher Herb Score in the right eye on May 7, 1957. At the time, the fireballing lefthander seemed destined for a Hall of Fame career, but was never the same after the incident. He died in 2008.

"All I remember was him pitching a low fastball away and then seeing a splattered face and blood spurting from Herbie's eye," McDougald recalled. "I don't even remember running to first base. I remember telling (Yankee manager) Casey (Stengel) afterward: 'If Herbie loses his eye, I'm going to quit.' "

"I was the batter on deck," Yogi Berra said yesterday. "It was really awful. Gil was a great fastball hitter and that's what he got. He was really shook up and he went to the hospital right after the game. I'm going to miss him, he was a great guy and a great teammate."

Two years earlier, McDougald had been struck in the left ear by a line drive off the bat of teammate Bob Cerv during batting practice. It shattered a bone in his ear, eventually causing him to go deaf after his career had ended. The condition was corrected in 1995 when he underwent a cochlea implant performed by Dr. Noel Cohen, head of otolaryngology at NYU Medical Center.

"It was as if I was reborn," he said after the operation. "It was unreal. From that moment on, my life changed."

A product of the San Francisco sandlots, McDougald was signed to a $1,000 bonus in 1948 by the Yanks' legendary West Coast scouting chief Joe Devine.

Despite a wide-open, slumped-arm batting stance that one scout described as looking like a "broken banana stick," McDougald made it to the Yankees after only three years in the minors.

"Gil was one tough ballplayer," said Whitey Ford. "He could also be hard-headed. I'll always remember that crazy stance of his and he didn't want to change. He was a great guy to have playing behind you. He played all of those positions and played them well."

On May 3, 1951, McDougald made history by driving in six runs in an inning with a grand slam and a triple in a 17-3 romp over the St. Louis Browns. He led the Yankees in hitting that year, then capped his rookie season by becoming only the third player to hit a grand slam in the World Series, connecting off the Giants' Larry Jansen in Game 5.

Although he was selected to the All-Star team for the first time in 1952, McDougald's average slipped to .263, prompting him to finally change his batting stance to satisfy critics, the most notable being Yankee manager Stengel.

"Stengel and I weren't on very good terms my first five years," McDougald told Baseball Digest in 1999. "He was always getting on me, and after we lost the 1955 World Series to the Dodgers, I confronted him and he told me I played better when he was on my case."

McDougald was the baseball coach at Fordham from 1970-77, when his hearing began to deteriorate.

He is survived by his wife, Lucille, whom he married in 1948, and their seven children.


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