George Daniel Crowe (March 22, 1921 – January 18, 2011) was an American professional baseball player who appeared in 702 games in the major leagues as a first baseman and pinch hitter between 1952 and 1961. He also played professional basketball.
|Born: March 22, 1921|
|Died: January 18, 2011 (aged 89)|
Rancho Cordova, California
|April 16, 1952, for the Boston Braves|
|Last MLB appearance|
|April 30, 1961, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Runs batted in||299|
|Career highlights and awards|
Born in Whiteland, Indiana, Crowe graduated from Franklin High School, Franklin, Indiana, and Indiana Central College (now the University of Indianapolis) as a member of the Class of 1943. He was the first Indiana "Mr. Basketball" and served in the United States Army during World War II.
MLB first basemanEdit
Crowe batted and threw left-handed, stood 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and weighed 210 pounds (95 kg). He played for the Boston and Milwaukee Braves (1952–1953; 1955), Cincinnati Redlegs (1956–1958) and St. Louis Cardinals (1959–1961), all of the National League. He hit 31 home runs for Cincinnati in 1957, filling in most of the season for the injured Ted Kluszewski.
He was selected to the 1958 NL All-Star squad but did not play in the July 8 midsummer classic, won by the rival American League 4–3 at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. The previous season, Cincinnati fans had been involved in a ballot stuffing campaign to put all of the team's regulars in the Senior Circuit's starting lineup for the 1957 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Ed Bailey, Johnny Temple, Roy McMillan, Don Hoak, Frank Robinson, Gus Bell and Wally Post were voted into the lineup, but Crowe was beaten out in the tally by future Cardinal teammate Stan Musial.
Crowe also played with the Negro National League's (Rochester) New York Black Yankees in 1948, and played professional basketball for the barnstorming New York Renaissance Big Five (aka "Rens"). In 1947 Crowe played basketball for the integrated Los Angeles Red Devils, a team that also included future Brooklyn Dodgers' star Jackie Robinson.
Minor and winter league baseballEdit
He was a prodigious minor league batsman, never hitting below .334 until he was a 40-year-old player-coach in 1961, his final year as an active player. In 1950, Crowe played for the Hartford Chiefs of the Class A Eastern League, where he won the batting title (.353) and led the circuit in hits and runs scored. He twice led the Triple-A American Association in runs batted in, with 119 (1951) and 128 (1954).
Crowe also played winter ball with the Santurce Crabbers of the Puerto Rico Professional Baseball League during the 1954–55 season, where, as a teammate of Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Buster Clarkson and Bob Thurman, Crowe formed part of the Escuadron Del Panico (the "Panic Squadron") that led the Crabbers to the league and Caribbean World Series championships.
Left-handed second basemanEdit
Crowe played two-thirds of an inning in one game as a second baseman on June 14, 1958, switching fielding positions with Johnny Temple. Still wearing his over-sized first baseman's mitt—Crowe threw left-handed and playing any infield position other than first base is rare for a southpaw—he completed a double play against the batter, pitcher John Briggs of the Chicago Cubs. Although the Cubs won the contest, 4–3, Chicago skipper Bob Scheffing played the game under protest because Crowe had used a non-standard infielder's glove. Scheffing's protest led to a rule change mandating that first basemen moving to a different defensive position must exchange their mitt for a regulation fielder's glove.
MLB totals and milestonesEdit
In 702 games over nine MLB seasons, Crowe posted a .270 batting average (467-for-1,727) with 215 runs, 70 doubles, 12 triples, 81 home runs and 299 RBI. He recorded a .990 fielding percentage as a first baseman. Crowe set a record (later broken by Jerry Lynch and subsequently by Cliff Johnson) for most pinch-hit home runs in major league baseball history with 14.
He was the younger brother of Ray Crowe, who was the head basketball coach of the Crispus Attucks High School teams that won two consecutive Indiana state titles in 1954-55 and 1955–56, led by Oscar Robertson.
- Baseball Reference
- "Standout athlete persevered while facing prejudice". Daily Journal. January 21, 2011. Retrieved February 24, 2012.[permanent dead link]
- "Crowe: A determined man who didn't like talking about himself". Daily Journal. January 21, 2011. Retrieved February 24, 2012.[permanent dead link]
- Baseball in Wartime
- "Crowe's life spanned racial change". Daily Journal. January 26, 2011. Archived from the original on July 14, 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- "Chicago Cubs 4, Cincinnati Redlegs 3", June 14, 1958, Retrosheet
- Preston, JG. "Left-handed throwing second basemen, shortstops and third basemen". prestonjg.wordpress.com. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs
- Negro league baseball statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference (Negro leagues)
- Corbett, Warren, George Crowe. Society for American Baseball Research Bioography Project
- New York Rens statistics @ basketball-reference
- Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame profile
- George Crowe at Find a Grave