By RONALD BLUM AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Moose Skowron, a five-time World Series champion
and one of only two players to hit three home runs in Game 7s, died
Friday of congestive heart failure at Northwest Community Hospital
in Arlington Heights, Ill. He was 81.
Skowron helped the New York Yankees win four titles in the 1950s
“There weren’t many better guys than Moose,” said former
teammate Yogi Berra, the only other player with three Game 7 homers
in the Series. “He was a dear friend and a great team man. A darn
good ballplayer, too.”
Skowron became a star first baseman with the Yankees and went on
to appear in eight All-Star games over six seasons.
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig called him “an integral part of
the wonderful Yankee teams of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.”
“He was a wonderful storyteller and an important link to a
great era in baseball history,” Selig said.
After Skowron’s playing career he returned to Chicago, where he
was born and had worked for the White Sox since 1999 in the team’s
community relations department, making appearances.
“We all have lost a dear, dear friend today,” White Sox owner
Jerry Reinsdorf said. “While Moose may have become a star in New
York with the Yankees, he was a Chicagoan through and through. I
certainly will miss his priceless stories about Casey Stengel,
Roger Maris, Hank Bauer and of course, his good friend, Mickey
Mantle. … My guess is that right now Mickey, Roger, Hank and
Moose are enjoying a good laugh together.”
Skowron played for the Yankees from 1954-62, then won a fifth
title with Los Angeles in the first season after he was dealt to
the Dodgers for Stan Williams. He hit .282 in 14 major league
seasons with 211 home runs and 888 RBIs, also spending time with
the expansion Washington Senators (1964), the White Sox (1964-67)
and the California Angels (1967). He was an All-Star from 1957-61,
appearing in both games in 1959 and 1960, then was picked one final
time in 1965.
He was beloved by Yankees fans for his clutch performances in
three World Series Game 7s. He hit a seventh-inning grand slam off
Roger Craig in a 9-0 win over Brooklyn in 1956, and a three-run
homer against Lew Burdette in the eighth inning of a 6-2 win over
Milwaukee in 1958. He also had a leadoff drive in the fifth inning
off Vernon Law in 1960, when the Yankees overcame a four-run
deficit at Pittsburgh to take a 7-4 lead only to lose 10-9.
Skowron had a .293 World Series average with eight homers and 29
RBIs in 39 games.
Born William Joseph Skowron on Chicago’s North Side, he said he
was given the nickname Moose when he was 7 after his grandfather
gave him a haircut that caused friends to call him “Mussolini” _
after the Italian fascist leader. The nickname was shortened to
After attending Weber High School, Skowron went to Purdue on a
football scholarship and signed with the Yankees.
He hit .304 or better in each of his first four major league
seasons and five times overall. He topped 20 homers four times but
never reached 100 RBIs, getting a high of 91 in 1960.
“Moose could really hit the baseball _ especially home runs to
right field,” former roommate Bob Turley said. “I was glad Moose
was on my team because he always wanted to win.”
In addition to his Game 7 feats, Skowron had an RBI single in
the 10th inning of Game 6 in 1958 that gave the Yankees a two-run
lead and they held on to beat the Braves 4-3.
“Moose will always be remembered as being one of the key
members of the Yankees’ dynasties in the 50’s and early 60’s,”
Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said. “He was a
winner in every sense of the word, and someone the Yankees family
cared deeply for.”
He is survived by wife Lorraine (nicknamed Cookie), daughter
Lynnette, sons Greg and Steve, brother Edward and four
grandchildtren. Funeral arrangements were pending.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)