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Joe Vosmik

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Joseph Franklin Vosmik

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[edit] Biographical Information

Joe Vosmik, who had a 13-year career in the majors with a .307 batting average, was born in Cleveland, OH, died in Cleveland, and played half his career for the Cleveland Indians.

Born in 1910, he played sandlot ball and then minor league ball at Frederick. The story is that the Cleveland general manager asked his wife which of the prospects he should sign, and she liked the "good-looking blond boy". He hit close to .400 in his two seasons in the minors. He came up to the Indians at age 20 in 1930, the peak of the lively ball era.

After a cup of coffee in 1930, he became a regular in 1931, hitting .320 with 117 RBI. He was a good doubles and triples hitter in his career, as was shown by 1931 when he hit 36 doubles and 14 triples.

The 1931 Indians went 78-76, and Vosmik was the same age as teammate Mel Harder, who had come up at age 18. Earl Averill, age 29, was also in the outfield, and Willie Kamm, at age 31, played third base. Kamm came to the Indians partway through the season in a trade for Lew Fonseca.

Vosmik was with Cleveland from 1930-1936 (the Indians typically finished 3rd, 4th, or 5th), and his peak years were 1934 and 1935. In 1934, he hit .341 in 104 games, while in 1935, he hit .348, with 47 doubles, 20 triples, 10 home runs, and 110 RBI. He led the league in hits, doubles, and triples at the age of 25. He was an All Star for the only time in his career in 1935, and he was third in the MVP voting. He barely lost the batting championship to Buddy Myer, by less than one point.

He was traded after the 1936 season, still only 26 years old, to the St. Louis Browns. He spent only one year with the Browns, who finished in last place. The outfielders all hit over .320, with Vosmik hitting .325 with 93 RBI, Beau Bell hitting .340 with 117 RBI, and Sam West hitting .328.

Traded to the Boston Red Sox for the 1938 season, he found himself on a much better team, one that finished 2nd in the American League. Managed by Joe Cronin, the team had Cronin at shortstop, Jimmie Foxx at first base, and Bobby Doerr at second base. The team as a whole hit .290, and Vosmik hit .324. Six regulars hit at least .300. Vosmik led the league in hits.

In 1939, Vosmik played in the outfield alongside the rookie Ted Williams. Foxx hit .360 with 35 home runs, Williams hit .327 with 31 home runs, and the other outfielder Doc Cramer hit .311. Vosmik had the lowest batting average of the regular players at .276.

He was purchased by the Brooklyn Dodgers, managed in 1940 by Leo Durocher. They finished second in the league that year, and hit .260 as a team. Vosmik's .282 average was 5th among the regulars, who included Joe Medwick, Dolph Camilli, Pee Wee Reese and Dixie Walker. Pete Reiser was a 21-year-old rookie on the team.

In 1941, Reiser won the outfield job, and hit .343. Vosmik was relegated to backup, hitting .196, and released on July 4. A few years later, in wartime, he came back in 1944 to play 14 games for the Washington Senators, hitting .194. After his playing days, he managed in the minors at Tucson, Dayton, Oklahoma City, and Batavia. After that, he was an appliance salesman.

He died at age 51.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • AL All-Star (1935)
  • 2-time AL Hits Leader (1935 & 1938)
  • AL Doubles Leader (1935)
  • AL Triples Leader (1935)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1931 & 1935)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (1932 & 1938)
  • 200 Hits Seasons: 2 (1935 & 1938)

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