James Barton Vernon
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 2", Weight 180 lb.
- School Villanova University
- High School Eddystone High School
- Debut July 8, 1939
- Final Game September 27, 1960
- Born April 22, 1918 in Marcus Hook, PA USA
- Died September 24, 2008 in Media, PA USA
Mickey Vernon was one of baseball's ouitstanding ballplayers for parts of four decades, mainly for the hapless Washington Senators. Vernon closed his stellar 20-year career, at age 42, with almost 2500 hits. He broke into the Bigs as baseball's youngest player in 1939 and finished as its oldest player in 1960. Vernon is one of a small number of players whose career spanned four decades.
In 1958, at the ripe old age of 40, Vernon hit .293 with a 37 OBP as a regular for the Indians. In Hall of Fame voting by the BBWAA, he got as high as 25% of the vote. In the 2007 voting by the Veterans Committee, he received 17% of the vote.
Possessing excellent bat control and an eagle eye, he led the league twice in batting average and three times in doubles; 4 times in on-base percentage and was a 7-time All-Star selection and posted a .359 on-base percentage. In all, he batter over .300 five times although the expansive Griffith Stadium affected Vernon's home-run totals -- limiting him to only 55 career home runs, while hitting 117 on the road.
Losing two of his prime years -- 1944 and 1945 -- to military service during World War II also limited his career statistics. Had he played these seasons, his all-time hit totals would have approached 2,900. Vernon holds the major league record by participating in the turning of 2044 double plays. An absolute workhorse and almost never injured, Vernon made over 600 plate appearances for eleven seasons, and had over a 40 percent OBP four seasons. Even while approaching the age of 40, his OBP hovered between 37 and 40 percent, amazing figures for an aged batsman. As good a hitter as he was, Vernon was probably an even better fielder. The Yankees and Senators reportedly once seriously discussed a DiMaggio for Vernon trade .
After making quick stops with the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians and Milwaukee Braves, he retired as a player after the 1959 season and became the first base coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960. With the Pirates fighting for the National League pennant, Vernon was activated as a player in September when rosters were expanded. He appeared in 9 games, all as a pinch-hitter, going 1 for 8 with 1 RBI and 1 walk.
Vernon then returned to DC to become the expansion Senators' first manager in 1961. He managed the Senators from 1961 to 1963, coached with the Pirates again in 1964 and also with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1965. He then managed the Vancouver Mounties (1966-1968), Richmond Braves (1969-1970), and Manchester Yankees (1971). Vernon was a minor league batting instructor for the Kansas City Royals in 1973 and 1974 and Los Angeles Dodgers in 1975 and 1976. He returned to the big leagues as a coach for the Montreal Expos (1977-1978) and New York Yankees (1982). He was also a coach for the Columbus Clippers in 1979 and 1983-1985.
The most similar players to Mickey Vernon, based on the similarity scores method, are first basemen with high averages, a lot of doubles, and long careers such as Mark Grace, Bill Buckner, Al Oliver and Keith Hernandez.
- 7-time AL All-Star (1946, 1948, 1953-1956 & 1958)
- 2-time AL Batting Average Leader (1946 & 1953)
- 3-time AL Doubles Leader (1946, 1953 & 1954)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1954)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1953)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (1953)
- 200 Hits Seasons: 2 (1946 & 1953)
|Washington Senators Manager
Year-By-Year Managerial Record
|1961||Washington Senators||American League||61-100||9th||Washington Senators|
|1962||Washington Senators||American League||60-101||10th||Washington Senators|
|1963||Washington Senators||American League||14-26||--||Washington Senators||replaced by Eddie Yost on May 22|
|1966||Vancouver Mounties||Pacific Coast League||77-71||6th||Kansas City Athletics|
|1967||Vancouver Mounties||Pacific Coast League||77-69||4th||Kansas City Athletics|
|1968||Vancouver Mounties||Pacific Coast League||58-88||12th||Oakland Athletics|
|1969||Richmond Braves||International League||56-83||8th||Atlanta Braves|
|1970||Richmond Braves||International League||73-67||5th||Atlanta Braves|
|1971||Manchester Yankees||Eastern League||61-75||8th||New York Yankees|
- Double plays, first baseman, career, 2044
- Rich Westcott: "Mickey Vernon", in Mark Armour and Bill Nowlin, eds.: Red Sox Baseball in the Days of Ike and Elvis: The Red Sox of the 1950s, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2012, pp. 166-173. ISBN 978-1933599243
- Rich Westcott: "Mickey Vernon", in Clifton Blue Parker and Bill Nowlin, ed.: Sweet '60: The 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2013, pp. 248-253. ISBN 978-1-93359-948-9