Elmer William Valo
born Imrich Valo
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 190 lb.
- High School Palmerton High School
- Debut September 22, 1940
- Final Game October 1, 1961
- Born March 5, 1921 in Rybnik, Czechoslovakia
- Died July 19, 1998 in Palmerton, PA USA
One of the outstanding contact hitters of his day, outfielder Elmer Valo spent most of his career with the Philadelphia Athletics, where he earned a reputation for playing his hardest every day. He logged twenty ML seasons, from age 19 to 40, with nine different teams.
Born in Czechoslovakia, Valo's family emigrated to the United States when he was six years old and settled in Palmerton, Pennsylvania. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, entering in August 1943 and being discharged in February 1946.
In a 1948 game against the New York Yankees, Valo broke several ribs leaping over the rightfield wall to rob Yogi Berra of a home run. In a contest versus the Chicago White Sox in 1951, Valo charged the plate attempting to score and knocked catcher Gus Niarhos unconscious in the process.
Valo played on three franchises which relocated while he was on the team: the Philadelphia Athletics/Kansas City Athletics; the Brooklyn Dodgers/Los Angeles Dodgers; and the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins. After his playing career ended, he was a Cleveland Indians coach in 1963 and 1964. Valo was a scout for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1969 to 1982.
Possessing an eagle eye as a hitter, he is #63 on the all-time list for on-base percentage - just under 40 percent. His lifetime OBP is higher than his lifetime slugging percentage, and he twice recorded over 100 walks in a season. Throughout his career he was one of the toughest strikeouts in the majors, never fanning more than 32 times in a season, and averaging less than 15 per season over a 20-year career -- an incredible feat.