Joseph Paul Ostrowski
(Professor or Specs)
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 0", Weight 180 lb.
- School University of Scranton
- High School West Wyoming High School
- Debut July 8, 1948
- Final Game August 20, 1952
- Born November 15, 1916 in West Wyoming, PA USA
- Died January 3, 2003 in Wilkes-Barre, PA USA
Lefthander Joe Ostrowski sure took a curious route to the majors. After graduating from the University of Scranton in 1938, he taught high school for three years before signing as an amateur free agent with the Boston Red Sox before the 1941 season. He had two very good seasons in the minors. He spent 1941 with the Centreville Red Sox, where he went 10-4 with a 1.77 ERA - that would be the best in the Eastern Shore League. His 1942 campaign was with the Greensboro Red Sox, where he went 21-8 with a 1.65 ERA, helping his team to the Piedmont League pennant and playoff title. His 21 victories led the league and his 1.65 ERA was only 3 points higher than Monk Dubiel, who led the league.
Ostrowski spent the next three seasons (1943-1945) in the United States Air Force in the Mediterranean theater of operations during World War II. Joe was back in time for the 1946 season, appearing in 24 games with the Louisville Colonels of the American Association, going 10-4 with a 2.87 ERA, again helping his club to the league Championship and Playoff title. Joe was back with Louisville in 1947, going 13-11 with a 2.98 ERA.
On November 17, 1947 the Red Sox traded Joe, along with Pete Laydon, Roy Partee, Eddie Pellagrini, Al Widmar, Jim Wilson and $310,000 to the St. Louis Browns in return for Jack Kramer and Vern Stephens.
Ostrowski wound up with the Toledo Mud Hens in 1948 and had his first losing season in the pros, going 6-9 with a 4.54 ERA. He also got his first look at the major league hitters with the Browns and went 4-6 with a 5.97 ERA. He was back with the Browns in 1949 and evened out at 8-8 with a 4.79 ERA. Following two years of being used as both a starter and in relief for the Browns, he was traded to the New York Yankees in June of 1950 and was used primarily out of the bullpen for the World Championship teams of 1950 and 1952. Joe, who contributed a 6-4 record plus five saves in 1951, appeared in one game in the World Series that year, pitching two innings with no decision. He did not appear in the 1950 or 1952 World Series games.
Ostrowski was 2-2 with a 5.62 ERA for the Yankees in 1952 and ended his five-year major league run with a 23-25 record and 15 saves overall.
After one more year with the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League in 1953 (where he went 3-6 with a 2.97 ERA to finish his minor league career with a record of 65-45 with a 2.69 ERA), Joe returned to his old high school as a teacher for 25 years before retiring in 1978 in his hometown of West Wyoming, PA. He died there on January 3, 2003, at age 86.
- Won three World Series with the New York Yankees (1950, 1951 & 1952) (he did not play in the 1950 and 1952 World Series)