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Clyde Vollmer

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1952 Topps #255 Clyde Vollmer

Clyde Frederick Vollmer

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[edit] Biographical Information

17-year-old outfielder Clyde Vollmer was signed as an amateur free agent by the Cincinnati Reds before the 1939 season. Clyde had four very good seasons (1939-1942) in the minors, his best when he hit .366 for the Bassett Furnituremakers of the Bi-State League in 1940. He had hit .310 for the Bassett team as a 17-year-old in 1939 with 6 home runs in 77 games.

On May 31, 1942 during a 12-game stay with Cincinnati, Clyde became only the third player in history (at that time) to hit a home run on the first pitch he saw in the big leagues when the rookie outfielder connected off Max Butcher of the Pittsburgh Pirates. A native of Cincinnati who would hit .251 in 10 seasons, Clyde then spent three years (1943-1945) in military service in the United States Army during World War II. After his military duties Clyde then divided his time between the Reds and minor leagues until being traded to the Washington Senators in 1948.

There were a few more memorable moments in his career. On May 3, 1949, he hit two of seven homers hit by the Senators in a 14-12 victory over the Chicago White Sox. He was traded to the Boston Red Sox early in 1950 and on June 8th tied a major league record with eight plate appearances in a nine-inning game. In July of 1951 Vollmer went on a hitting tear that was described in The Sporting News at the time as "the greatest clutch hitting spree of modern times." He hit 13 homers, including three in one game on July 26th and drove in 40 runs. In one stretch of seven games he knocked in the winning run six times. On July 28th his 16th-inning grand slam home run was the latest inning grand slam home run in big league history. Clyde finished 1951 with personal highs of 22 homers and 85 RBIs.

Vollmer followed up his career year with a .264 average with eleven homers in 1952 but was traded early in the 1952 season back to the Senators. He concluded his major league career in 1954 with Washington with a 10-season .251 average with 69 homers.

Clyde was in the minors for two more seasons (1955-1956) playing with four teams in the high minors, hitting .271 with 11 homers in 1955 and .263 with 13 four-baggers in 1956. But Clyde was 34 years old and had been in the minors, parts or all of eight seasons, and he decided to bow out of pro baseball with a career minor league record of 115 homers and a .290 batting average.

Vollmer went back to Cincinnati, went into the restaurant business and retired in Florence, KY, where he died on October 2, 2006 at the age of 85.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1951)

[edit] Sources

Baseball Players of the 1950s

[edit] Further Reading

  • Chip Greene: "Clyde Vollmer", in Mark Armour and Bill Nowlin, eds.: Red Sox Baseball in the Days of Ike and Elvis: The Red Sox of the 1950s, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2012, pp. 297-303. ISBN 978-1933599243

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