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Joe Adcock

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Joseph Wilbur Adcock

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[edit] Biographical Information

First baseman Joe Adcock was one of baseball's top sluggers in the 1950s and early 1960s, clubbing 336 homers during a 17-year career, primarily with the Milwaukee Braves.

Nicknamed "Billy Joe", Adcock spent one year at LSU on a basketball scholarship before being signed by the Cincinnati Reds. He came up to the majors with the Reds in 1950, but with Ted Kluszewski entrenched at first, he was forced to move to the outfield. Unhappy there, he demanded a trade and was sent to the Milwaukee Braves before the 1953 season. There he joined a lineup that included Eddie Mathews and was further strengthened with the addition of rookie Hank Aaron the next season.

During a July 31, 1954 game, Adcock may have had the best single offensive performance in major league history. Facing the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, he hit four home runs along with a double. In 1956, he had the best year of his big league career, finishing second in the National League in home runs (38), RBI (103), and slugging percentage (.597). He appeared in the World Series with the Braves in 1957 and 1958.

Adcock is perhaps best remembered for breaking up baseball's longest no-hitter on May 26, 1959. After Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitched twelve perfect innings, he hit a home run in the 13th inning to drive in Felix Mantilla and give the Braves the win. However, it was not scored as a homer as he inadvertently passed Hank Aaron on the basepaths and was called out.

In 1960, Adcock earned his only trip to the All-Star Game and ended the season seventh in the NL in batting average (.298), homers (25), and slugging percentage (.500). The next year, he was fourth in the NL with 35 home runs and sixth with 108 RBI. After the 1962 season, he was traded to the Cleveland Indians, who after one year traded him to the Los Angeles Angels, where he spent the last three years of his playing days.

During his career, Adcock had 10 grand slams and 28 multi-homer games. He was also the first player to hit a home run over the grandstand roof at Ebbets Field and one of three players to hit a homer into the centerfield bleachers of the Polo Grounds (Hank Aaron and Lou Brock are the others). During his time with the Braves, he wore number 9. He once angrily chased much smaller and obviously fearful Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Ruben Gomez into center field after being hit by a pitch.

After retiring, Adcock was skipper of the Cleveland Indians in 1967, a team that finished eighth, and spent two more years managing in the minors. Near the end of his playing career, he had begun breeding thoroughbred racehorses, and following his baseball days, he devoted himself to that pursuit full-time. He died in 1999 after suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • NL All-Star (1960)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 7 (1954, 1956, 1959-1962 & 1964)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 2 (1956 & 1961)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1956 & 1961)
  • Won a World Series with the Milwaukee Braves in 1957


Preceded by
George Strickland
Cleveland Indians Manager
1967
Succeeded by
Alvin Dark

[edit] Year-By-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs
1967 Cleveland Indians American League 75-87 8th Cleveland Indians
1968 Seattle Angels Pacific Coast League 71-76 8th California Angels

[edit] Further Reading

  • Gregory H. Wolf: "Joe Adcock", in Gregory H. Wolf, ed.: Thar's Joy in Braveland: The 1957 Milwaukee Braves, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2014, pp. 20-26. ISBN 978-1933599717

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