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Charlie Neal

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Charles Lenard Neal

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[edit] Biographical Information

Charlie Neal is one of the least-remembered Dodger stars from the 1950's and early 1960's even though he won a Gold Glove, was named to several All-Star teams and once finished in the top ten in the MVP voting. He was also one of the original New York Mets and played briefly for the Negro League Atlanta Black Crackers.

Neal was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950, but didn't make it to the major league team until 1956. As a middle infielder, he had little chance of depriving Jackie Robinson or Pee Wee Reese of a job in the early 1950's. As a rookie at the age of 25 in 1956, he hit .287 in 62 games. In the World Series that fall, he appeared in one game.

He became the regular shortstop in 1957, as Reese moved over to third base. Thereafter, he was primarily a second baseman until his last season in the big leagues, when he played mostly third base.

1959 was Charlie's biggest year. At age 28, he was named to the All-Star team and won a Gold Glove. He was 8th in the MVP voting and the Dodgers won the World Series. Neal hit .370 and slugged .667 in the World Series, batting second in the lineup behind Jim Gilliam. Neal was an All-Star again in 1960, although his numbers dropped off.

Traded in December of 1961, he became one of the original Mets on the 1962 team that lost 120 games. Neal's contribution, though, was respectable, as he hit .260 with 11 home runs and 9 triples, and his range in the field was above average. The next year, 1963, was his last in the majors as he slumped to .211 split between the Mets and the Reds. His last year was the first on the Reds of Pete Rose, who won the NL Rookie of the Year Award as a second baseman that season.

He died in 1996 in Texas.

The most similar player, based on similarity scores, is his contemporary Billy Martin, whom he outlived.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 2-time NL All-Star (1959 & 1960)
  • NL Gold Glove Winner (1959)
  • NL Triples Leader (1959)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1958)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (1959)
  • Won a World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1959

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