Duke Maas - BR Bullpen

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Duke Maas

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Duane Fredrick Maas

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[edit] Biographical Information

Duke Maas spent the 1949 season with the with the Roanoke Rapids Jays of the Coastal Plain League and the Dunn-Erwin Twins of the Tobacco State League; the twenty-year-old went 6-7 with a 4.62 ERA for the year. Before the 1950 season the Detroit Tigers picked up the right-hander from Dunn-Erwin. Maas spent 1950 going 12-7 with the Jamestown Falcons of the class B PONY League before being called into the United States military, where he served the next two years (1951-1952) during the Korean War.

Duke had a rough return year in 1953, going 6-16 with the Durham Bulls but in 1954, pitching for both the Wilkes-Barre Barons and the Buffalo Bisons, he popped back with an 18-7 record with a 2.37 ERA. This got Duke his first look at major league hitters and Briggs Stadium in 1955. The 26-year-old went 5-6 with a 4.88 ERA in 18 appearances. He bombed out in 1956, going 0-7 with a 6.54 ERA, but followed that up with a 10-14 record in 1957 that got him traded to the Kansas City Athletics late in the season.

Maas wasn't with the Athletics long, going 4-5 in early 1958, and on June 15th, the A's traded Maas along with Virgil Trucks to the New York Yankees for Bob Grim and Harry Simpson. Duke went 7-3 the rest of 1958 and helped the Yankees to the World Championship. Duke appeared in only one game in the Yankees' 1958 World Series victory over the Milwaukee Braves, giving up 2 hits and 3 runs in one-third of an inning.

The Yankees fell off to a third-place finish in 1959, but Duke had his best year at 14-8 in 38 outings, working both as a starter and in relief. Duke's 5-1 mark, mainly as a reliever, again helped the Yankees to the American League Pennant in 1960, where they were beaten by the National League Pittsburgh Pirates, 4 games to 3, on Bill Mazeroski's blast in the bottom of the 9th inning in Game 7. Again Maas didn't get into much of the Series, pitching two innings and giving up one run.

Duke had brought his record to 26-12 in his time in pinstripes, but he was not protected in the 1960 expansion draft. He was selected by the Los Angeles Angels, with the third overall pick. Showing the Yankees' dominance in those days, all three of those picks were used to grab New York players - Eli Grba, Bobby Shantz and Duke. However, the Angels traded him back to the Yankees for infielder Fritz Brickell before the start of the 1961 season, but after just one more relief appearance for the Yankees, an ailing pitching arm cut short his baseball career at age 32 with a 45-44 major league record and a 4.19 ERA.

Duke had spent eleven active seasons in pro baseball (1949-1961), several of those years in the minors where he went 52-51 in 157 appearances with a 3.50 ERA. Four of his minor league losses came in 1961 when he returned to the minors with the Richmond Virginians in an attempt at rehabbing his ailing pitching arm. Duke died on December 7, 1976 at age 47 in Mount Clemens, MI.

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Baseball Players of the 1950s

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