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Wes Westrum

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Wesley Noreen Westrum

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[edit] Biographical Information

Known as a fine defensive catcher and a good handler of pitchers, Wes Westrum played more than a decade in the majors with the New York Giants. He later went on the manage the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants.

Signed by the Giants in 1941, Westrum missed three seasons (1943-1945) seasons while still in the minors due to military service during World War II. He reached the majors late in the 1947 season after hitting 22 homers with the Minneapolis Millers that year and spent most of the next two years as a backup catcher with the team. He also was with the Jersey City Giants for part of the 1949 campaign and hit an International League record 5 grand slams in just 51 games with the club.

Westrum became the Giants' regular catcher in 1950 and had an excellent year at the plate, hitting 23 home runs and driving in 71 runs. He went on to catch every game for the Giants in the 1951 and 1954 World Series and was a National League All-Star in 1952 and 1953. Despite being only a .217 career hitter, he had a good eye at the plate and finished with a 35% career on-base-percentage.

After finishing his playing career in 1957, Westrum remained with the Giants as a coach when they moved to San Francisco the next year. After six seasons on their staff, he was a part of one of the more unusual swaps in baseball history: he was "traded" to the New York Mets for coach Cookie Lavagetto. He eventually replaced Casey Stengel as the Mets' manager in 1965 when Stengel, 76, broke his hip and was forced to retire. He remained at the helm of the team for just over two seasons, stepping down late in the 1967 campaign.

Westrum returned to the Giants coaching staff from 1968 to 1971 and replaced Charlie Fox as the team's skipper in 1974. Under his leadership, the club improved from fifth place to third in 1975, but he was replaced by Bill Rigney after the season.

Westrum appeared on the first Sports Illustrated cover in August 1954. He was the catcher, Eddie Mathews was the batter, and Augie Donatelli was the umpire.

Westrum died of cancer at age 79.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 2-time NL All-Star (1952 & 1953)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 2 (1950 & 1951)
  • Won a World Series with the New York Giants in 1954


Preceded by
Casey Stengel
New York Mets Manager
1965-1967
Succeeded by
Salty Parker
Preceded by
Charlie Fox
San Francisco Giants Manager
1974-1975
Succeeded by
Bill Rigney

[edit] Year-By-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1965 New York Mets National League 19-48 10th New York Mets replaced Casey Stengel (31-64) on July 25
1966 New York Mets National League 66-95 9th New York Mets
1967 New York Mets National League 57-94 -- New York Mets replaced by Salty Parker on September 22
1974 San Francisco Giants National League 38-48 5th San Francisco Giants replaced Charlie Fox (34-42) on June 28
1975 San Francisco Giants National League 80-81 3rd San Francisco Giants

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