Louis Alexander Novikoff
(The Mad Russian)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 185 lb.
- Debut April 15, 1941
- Final Game June 10, 1946
- Born October 12, 1915 in Glendale, AZ USA
- Died September 30, 1970 in South Gate, CA USA
Lou Novikoff was a lovable eccentric and had the nickname "The Mad Russian". He supposedly once tried to steal third when the bases were loaded, saying that he had gotten a good jump on the pitcher.
He broke into baseball with a .351 season for the 1937 Ponca City Angels - he was 3 points behind Western Association leader Dutch Mele. It was the only season in his first five in which he failed to win a batting title. The next year, 1938, he hit .367 to lead the Three-I League; his 119 RBI topped the circuit as well. In 1939, for the Tulsa Oilers, he topped the Texas League at .368. He also spent time in the American Association and Pacific Coast League. The 1940 season saw him dominate one of the top minors, the PCL - Novikoff, with the Los Angeles Angels, led the league at .363, 22 points ahead of Steve Mesner. He cracked 41 homers, 14 more than the runner-up, and drove in 171 runs, 60 more than Rip Collins.
In 1941, Novikoff hit .370 for the Milwaukee Brewers to lead the American Association; he had started the season in the majors for the first time, with the Chicago Cubs but Brewers owner Bill Veeck requested his services in Milwaukee and Chicago agreed to the deal. After a good year in 1942 for the Cubs, he began to decline and returned to the minors after World War II.
He roomed in the Pacific Coast League with Tony Criscola. Criscola told Dick Dobbins for his book The Grand Minor League: "I roomed with Lou's clothing. I don't know what he did or where he went. I know he was often coming in when I was getting up."
- 1939 Minor League Player of the Year, Tulsa Oilers, Texas League & Los Angeles Angels, Pacific Coast League