(Redirected from Al Neal)
Albert Richard Neil last name frequently listed as Neal
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 195 lb.
- High School Herbert Hoover High School
Neil served in the Navy during World War II, with destroyer escorts. Hal Doerr convinced him to play pro ball, while Neil was working for the phone company. Starting in the St. Louis Cardinals organization, he split 1947 between the West Frankfort Cardinals (.216/?/.330 in 97 G) and Pocatello Cardinals (.270/?/.508 in 99 G). He tied for 6th in the Pioneer League in triples (10) and tied Roy Vinbladh for third in home runs (17).
He won the Pioneer League Triple Crown with the Pocatello Cardinals in 1948, when he hit for a .390 average with 25 homers and 151 RBIs in 123 games. He also led the league in slugging (.668), hits (202) and doubles (43, 9 more than runner-up Svend Jessen). In 1949, he split time between the Winston-Salem Cardinals (.297/?/.536 in 57 G) and Omaha Cardinals (.268/?/.402 in 69 G).
In 1950, he moved on to the New York Giants system, playing for the Knoxville Smokies, and hit .307/.433/.594 while leading the Tri-State League with 33 homers and 146 RBI (in 149 games). He was 10 home runs ahead of runner-up Frank Sacka, tied for 4th in doubles (31), tied for 4th in triples (10), was second in walks (106, 6 behind Ralph Rowe) and easily led in slugging as well as leading in OBP. His .979 outfield fielding percentage was .001 behind leader Rowe.
Playing in the same circuit for the Spartanburg Peaches (in the Cleveland Indians chain) the next year, he hit .324 and once again led the league in home runs (44, 13 ahead of runner-up Dusty Rhodes) and runs batted in (154). His RBI, home run, total bases (345) and extra-base hit total (86) all wound up as all-time league records. He got his one full season of A ball in 1952, split between the Wichita Indians (.263/.400/.473, 18 HR, 28 2B) and Reading Indians (.310/.420/.452 in 15 G). Moving on to the Milwaukee Braves organization in 1953, Neil spent the year with the Wichita Falls Spudders and led the Big State League with a .356 average (9 points ahead of Perry Roberts), 185 hits (one ahead of two others), 126 runs (2 ahead of Walt Dunkovich), 39 home runs (3 more than Howard Boles) and 137 RBI (19 more than runner-up Roy Sanner) in 137 games. His .443 OBP, 43 doubles (3rd) and .680 slugging (2nd, .002 behind Boles) were near the lead.
Neil split 1954 between Knoxville (.326/.441/.596, 22 HR, 97 RBI in 102 G) and the Schenectady Blue Jays (.324/.490/.486 in 14 G). He paced the Tri-State League in what was his final pro season, and was only 7 shy of RBI leader Butch Hobson. In 1,050 minor league games, he hit .317 with 213 homers, 794 runs and 961 RBI.