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Bill Melton

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William Edwin Melton (Beltin' Melton)

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[edit] Biographical Information

Bill Melton played a decade in the majors and was a big star in Chicago, where he spent most of his career, posting double figures in homers in six seasons.

After attending Citrus College, where he also played football , Melton was signed by the Chicago White Sox in 1964 and reached the majors in 1968. He was the team's starting third baseman the following Opening Day (replacing Pete Ward) and clubbed 23 homers that year. However, while he was a success at the plate, he struggled in the filed. In 1970, he made 12 errors in his first 24 games at third. The twelth error, misjudging a routine pop fly, broke his nose, and not long after he returned from the injury, he was moved to right field. From July 23rd to July 28th of that same summer, he struck out in 11 consecutive at-bats over the course of four games. Nonetheless, he ended the year with a White Sox record 33 home runs, sixth best in the American League.

Moved back to third base, Melton had an even better year at the plate in 1971, leading the AL with 33 homers. He hit his final home run of the year on the season's final day, breaking a three-way tie with Reggie Jackson and Norm Cash. He became the first White Sox player to lead the circuit in round trippers, a particularly impressive feat since the club played in Comiskey Park, widely regarded as a pitcher's park. However, the following off-season, he suffered a back injury that caused him to miss most of 1972. He hit 20 home runs in 1973 and 21 in 1974, but in 1975, he hit just 15, and his batting average dropped to .240. Following that season, he was traded with Steve Dunning to the California Angels for Jim Spencer and Morris Nettles. Melton ended his White Sox career as the club's all-time leading home run hitter (at the time) with 154.

After spending a year with the Angels, Melton was traded to the Cleveland Indians, for whom he played his final big league game in 1977. He ended his career with 160 home runs.

Baseball Digest in 1988 reported that Melton was working as a real estate agent in Newport Beach, California. He later went to work for the White Sox marketing department before embarking on a career as a broadcaster for the club. He has been a Sox analyst for Comcast SportsNet Chicago since 2005.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • AL All-Star (1971)
  • AL Home Runs Leader (1971)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 5 (1969-1971, 1973 & 1974)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 2 (1970 & 1971)

[edit] Further Reading

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