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Nellie Fox

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Title: Nellie Fox  
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Subject: Chicago White Sox, List of Chicago White Sox seasons, Billy Pierce, Second baseman, U.S. Cellular Field
Collection: 1927 Births, 1975 Deaths, American League All-Stars, American League Most Valuable Player Award Winners, American Sportsmen, Baseball Players from Pennsylvania, Cancer Deaths in Maryland, Chicago White Sox Players, Deaths from Skin Cancer, Gold Glove Award Winners, Houston Astros Coaches, Houston Astros Players, Houston Colt .45S Players, Jamestown Falcons Players, Lancaster Red Roses Players, Lincoln A's Players, Major League Baseball First Base Coaches, Major League Baseball Hitting Coaches, Major League Baseball Players with Retired Numbers, Major League Baseball Second Basemen, National Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees, People from Franklin County, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Athletics Players, Texas Rangers Coaches, Washington Senators (1961–1971) Coaches
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Nellie Fox

Nellie Fox
Fox in 1960
Second baseman
Born: (1927-12-25)December 25, 1927
St. Thomas Township, Pennsylvania
Died: December 1, 1975(1975-12-01) (aged 47)
Baltimore, Maryland
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 8, 1947, for the Philadelphia Athletics
Last MLB appearance
July 24, 1965, for the Houston Astros
MLB statistics
Batting average .288
Hits 2,663
Home runs 35
Runs batted in 790
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Baseball Hall of Fame
Inducted 1997
Vote Veterans Committee

Jacob Nelson "Nellie" Fox (December 25, 1927 – December 1, 1975) was an American [1] He played for the Philadelphia Athletics, Chicago White Sox, and Houston Astros, from 1947 through 1965.

Fox was an American League (AL) [1]


  • Early years 1
  • Professional baseball 2
    • Minor leagues 2.1
    • Major leagues 2.2
      • 1959 season 2.2.1
      • Later seasons 2.2.2
      • Defensive skills 2.2.3
      • Coaching seasons 2.2.4
  • Death 3
  • Legacy 4
  • See also 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early years

Fox was born on Christmas Day 1927 in St. Thomas Township, Pennsylvania, a rural area in the south central portion of Pennsylvania. He was the youngest of three sons born to a carpenter who grew up on a farm and liked to play town baseball at St. Thomas. Despite his short stature, with the help of his father, he distinguished himself as a baseball player at a young age, even playing with his father on their St. Thomas team.

Fox at age 16 in 1944, thought that he had a good chance to sign on with a professional baseball team due to player shortages from World War II. His mother wrote a letter on her son's behalf to Connie Mack the owner/manager of the Philadelphia Athletics which enabled him to attend an open tryout that spring for the Athletics in Frederick, Maryland. Fox caught the attention of Mack who signed him to a professional contract.[2]

Professional baseball

Minor leagues

Fox started his professional baseball career with the Lancaster team of the Pennsylvania Interstate League and the Jamestown Falcons where he hit .314. He played a range of infield and outfield positions, ultimately settling at second base. He came back with Lancaster in 1945 and was known as the best second baseman in the league. The Philadelphia Athletics bought his contract that year, but Fox did not get to play for them because he was called to service and was stationed in Korea in 1946.[2]

Major leagues

Nellie Fox in 1953

Fox's major league career began in 1947 when he started to play for the Philadelphia Athletics, but he played mostly in the minor leagues, appearing in a total of ten MLB games in 1948 and 1949.[3] In 1949, the Philadelphia Athletics set a major league team record of 217 double plays, a record which still stood as of 2012.[4] Fox appeared in 88 of the Athletics games that season, and contributed to 68 of the team's double plays.[3]

Fox's career took off after he was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Joe Tipton on October 29, 1949. He spent the next 14 seasons with the Sox, making 12 AL All-Star teams[5] and 15 of 16 AL All-Star Game selections beginning in 1951 (two All-Star games were played in 1959 through 1962[6]) when he batted .313.[3] The White Sox finished in third place in each season between 1952 and 1956, followed by second-place finishes in 1957 and 1958 ( lists Billy Pierce and Minnie Minoso as the top White Sox players during most of those years, as reflected by wins above replacement (WAR), but Fox had the team's highest WAR in 1957).[7]

1959 season

Fox's best season came in 1959, when he received the AL Most Valuable Player award and the White Sox won their first AL pennant championship in 40 years. He batted .306, had an on-base percentage of .380, and led the AL in singles. He also started and had four hits in two All-Star games and won his second Gold Glove. The Al Lopez-managed White Sox had the best record in baseball, going 94-60 to finish five games ahead of the Cleveland Indians and a surprising 15 ahead of the New York Yankees. It was one of just two seasons the Yankees did not win the pennant between 1949-1964.

In the World Series, Fox batted a team-high .375 with three doubles, but the Sox lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games. In Game 5, Fox scored the only run when Sherm Lollar hit into a double play in the fourth inning (this was only the second time that a World Series game did not have an RBI). It was Fox's only postseason experience, and the White Sox did not make it back to the World Series until they swept the 2005 World Series from the Houston Astros.

Later seasons

Fox played his final two seasons (1964–65) with the

  • Nellie Fox at the Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Nellie Fox at Find a Grave
  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
  • Baseball Library
  • Nellie Fox at the SABR Bio Project, by Robert W. Bigelow and Don Zminda, retrieved July 11, 2013, which originally appeared in the book Go-Go To Glory--The 1959 Chicago White Sox (Skokie, IL: ACTA Publishing, 2009), edited by Don Zminda.

External links

  1. ^ a b c d "Nellie Fox at The Baseball Hall of Fame". Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c McLanahan, Bruce. "Fox, Jacob Nelson (Nellie)". Pennsylvania Center for the Book. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Nellie Fox Statistics and History".  
  4. ^ "A Record with Legs: Most Double Plays Turned in a Season". Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  5. ^ MLB Hall of Fame plaque, "12-Time American League All-Star" "Nellie Fox at The Baseball Hall of Fame". Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Sportsdata: Midsummer Classics: Celebrating MLB's All-Star Game, 1959–1962, "all players who were named to the AL or NL roster were credited one appearance per season." Retrieved March 25, 2015 [4]
  7. ^ "Chicago White Sox Team History & Encyclopedia".  
  8. ^ Anderson, Dave (December 7, 1975). "Nellie Fox: He made it easier for Joe Morgan".  
  9. ^ Richman, Milt (December 3, 1975). "Nellie: Not everybody could be just like him".  
  10. ^ a b SABR, Nellie Fox biography [5] Retrieved March 25, 2015
  11. ^ Richman, Milton (November 11, 1975). "Nellie Fox Former White Sox battles against cancer". Boca Raton News (Boca Raton, Florida). p. 6. Retrieved 2015-10-15. 
  12. ^ a b c "Nellie Fox dies from skin cancer".  
  13. ^ Baseball Almanac, Retired Uniform Numbers in the American League [6] Retrieved April 10, 2015
  14. ^ Parasiliti, Bob (March 5, 1997). "Nellie Fox voted into Hall of Fame".  
  15. ^ Mandernach, Mark (December 9, 1996). "Cooperstown or Bust".  
  16. ^ "Jacob Nelson Historical Marker". Retrieved July 20, 2014. 


  1. ^ MLB held two All-Star Games from 1959 through 1962


See also

In 2001, a Pennsylvania state historical marker was dedicated to honor Fox.[16] Bronze statues of Fox and Aparicio were unveiled on the outfield concourse of U.S. Cellular Field in 2006. Fox's statue depicts him flipping a baseball toward Aparicio, while Aparicio is depicted as preparing to receive the ball from Fox.

[15] Fox was not selected to the Hall of Fame in his initial period of eligibility. In his final ballot cast by baseball writers in 1985, he gained 74.7 percent of the vote, just shy of the 75 percent (traditionally baseball percentages were rounded off) required for election by the

Jim Lemon, who played for the White Sox with Fox in 1963, said that Fox's cancer "had to be incurable - because if it wasn't, Nellie would have beat it."[12] Former White Sox manager Al Lopez described how Fox had found success through hard work rather than natural ability: "He wasn't fast and didn't have an arm, but he worked hard to develop what he needed to make himself a good all-around ballplayer. If you had eight Nellie Foxes, all with his spirit and determination, I think you'd have a winning team."[12] On May 1, 1976, Fox's uniform number 2 was retired by the White Sox; he is the second of ten White Sox players to have his uniform number retired.[13]

Nellie Fox's number 2 was retired by the Chicago White Sox in 1976.


Fox lived in [10][2][12]


Fox was a coach for the Houston Astros (1965–67) and the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers (1968–72). In the late 1960s, Fox appeared to have a chance to manage the Senators when Jim Lemon's post came open following the team's purchase by Bob Short. However, around the same time the Washington Redskins named Vince Lombardi as their football coach, so Short felt pressure to hire a manager with a very well-known name and selected Ted Williams for the position.[9]

Coaching seasons

Fox led the league's second basemen in defensive games played each season between 1952 and 1959. He also led second basemen in putouts between 1952 and 1961, and in assists several times during his career. Fox finished among the top five second basemen in fielding percentage every year between 1950 and 1964, and currently ranks second in career double plays as a second baseman.[3]

Fox was one of the best second basemen in the major leagues.[1] He played next to a pair of slick-fielding White Sox shortstops from Venezuela, Chico Carrasquel (1950–55) and Luis Aparicio (1956–62). He was the first major league Gold Glove Award winner for a second baseman in 1957, and he received two more Gold Glove awards in 1959 and 1960. Between August 1956 and September 1960, Fox played a major-league record 798 consecutive games at second base. In 1959 and 1960, the Aparicio-Fox middle infield duo won two Gold Gloves twice for their respective positions, starting a select list of eight shortstop-second baseman combinations who have both won Gold Gloves in the same season.

Defensive skills

Fox was 5-foot-9, he made up for his modest size and minimal power — he hit only 35 [1] He led the league in most at-bats per strikeouts a phenomenal 13 times in his career. A solid contact hitter (lifetime .288 batting average), he batted over .300 six times, with 2,663 hits, 355 doubles, and 112 triples. He also led the league in singles for seven straight years, in triples once, and in hits four times.[3]


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