Earl Torgeson

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Earl Torgeson
First baseman
Born: (1924-01-01)January 1, 1924
Snohomish, Washington
Died: November 8, 1990(1990-11-08) (aged 66)
Everett, Washington
Batted: LeftThrew: Left 
MLB debut
April 15, 1947 for the Boston Braves
Last MLB appearance
August 23, 1961 for the New York Yankees
Career statistics
Batting average    .265
Home runs    149
Runs batted in    740
Teams
Career highlights and awards
 
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Earl Torgeson
First baseman
Born: (1924-01-01)January 1, 1924
Snohomish, Washington
Died: November 8, 1990(1990-11-08) (aged 66)
Everett, Washington
Batted: LeftThrew: Left 
MLB debut
April 15, 1947 for the Boston Braves
Last MLB appearance
August 23, 1961 for the New York Yankees
Career statistics
Batting average    .265
Home runs    149
Runs batted in    740
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Clifford Earl Torgeson (January 1, 1924 – November 8, 1990) was an American Major League Baseball player from Snohomish, Washington. A first baseman, he played on five teams for 15 years, from 1947 through 1961. He was known by his middle name, Earl, and his nickname was the "The Earl of Snohomish", a nickname originally owned by baseball hall of famer, Earl Averill, also from Torgeson's hometown. In 1950, Torgeson led the National League (NL) with 120 runs scored and in 1957, he led the American League (AL) with a .999 fielding average as first baseman.

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Early years and baseball

Earl Torgeson was born in the lumber town of Snohomish, Washington on New Years Day of 1924. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II from 1943 to 1945. After the war, he played for Seattle in the Pacific Coast League.

Major League baseball

Boston Braves, 1947 to 52

Torgeson made his baseball debut on April 15, 1947 on the Boston Braves. He hit .281 with 16 home runs and 78 runs batted in (RBI's), in 128 games played.

In 1948, he hit .253 with 10 home runs and 67 runs batted in, in 134 games.

In 1949, he hit .260 with 4 home runs and 19 runs batted in, in 25 games.

In 1950, he hit .290 with 23 home runs and 87 runs batted in, in 156 games.

In 1951, he hit .253 with 24 home runs and 92 runs batted in, in 155 games.

In 1952, he hit .230 with 5 home runs and 34 runs batted in, in 122 games.

Philadelphia Phillies, 1953 to 55

In February 1953, he was traded by the Milwaukee Braves to the Phillies. He hit .279 with 11 home runs and 64 runs batted in, in 111 games.

In 1954, he hit .271 with 10 home runs and 54 runs batted in, in 135 games.

In 1955, he hit .267 with 1 home run and 17 runs batted in, in 47 games. In June, he was traded to the Detroit Tigers.

Detroit Tigers, 1955 to 57

In 1955, he hit .283 with 9 home runs and 50 runs batted in, in 89 games.

In 1956, he hit . 264 with 12 home runs and 42 runs batted in, in 117 games.

In 1957, he hit .240 with 1 home run and 5 runs batted in, in games. In June he was traded by the Tigers to the Chicago White Sox.

Chicago White Sox, 1957 to 1961

In 1957, he hit .295 with 7 home runs and 46 runs batted in, 86 in games.

In 1958, he hit . 266 with 10 home runs and 30 runs batted in, in 96 games.

In 1959, when the White Sox won the American League Pennant, he hit .220 with 9 home runs and 45 runs batted in in, in 127 games.

In 1960, he hit .263 with 2 home runs and 9 runs batted in, in 68 games.

In 1961, he hit .067 with 1 run batted in, in 20 games. He was released by the White Sox and signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees.

New York Yankees, 1961

In 1961, he hit .111 in 22 games. in September, he was released by the Yankees and redeployed as a coach.

Major league summary

Torgeson's had a lifetime .265 batting average and .989 fielding average. His best batting average for a full season was .290 and his highest home run total was 24. His career on base percentage was .385 (the league average for the years he played is .339) and in 1950, when he led the National League with 120 runs scored, his on base percentage was .412. Most years that he played over 100 games, he was in the league's top 10 for drawing base on balls (walks). His peak years for drawing walks were 1950 and 1951, when he drew 119 and 102 walks respectively. In 1959, he helped the White Sox win the American League Pennant. In one game in 1959, during an inning against Kansas City where the White Sox scored 11 runs on one hit, he got a pinch-hit walk.

In 1950, the only two National League regulars at first base to outpace him in home run totals were Ted Kluszewski, with 25 home runs, and Gil Hodges, with 32 home runs. Torgeson’s 23 home runs that year were far ahead of the other first basemen in the league. Eddie Waitkus of league champion Philadelphia had 2; Tookie Gilbert of New York had 4; Preston Ward of Chicago had 6; Johnny Hopp of Pittsburgh had 8; and Rocky Nelson of St. Louis had only 1.

Torgeson was a regular player for 9 years, and he would have been a regular in 1949 if not for a shoulder injury in May and broken thumb in August 1949 (also a broken rib when hit by a pitch in 1950). He played another five years as a role player. As a pinch hitter, as per earlier in his career, his batting eye was key to his value. Even when his hits were few, he still got on base. In 1961, for example, playing out the string for the New York Yankees, he hit only .111 in 18 at-bats, but drew 8 walks for a .385 on base percentage.

Torgeson also deserves some mention for his base stealing. Although his highest total for a baseball season was only 20, it came during a period in baseball when almost no one stole bases, especially not first basemen. For the short period (1950–-1952) that they had Sam Jethroe (who won bases stealing crowns in 1950 and 1951) and Torgeson, the Braves had the best base stealing tandem in baseball. In 1950, with a combined total of 50 stolen bases, the Jethroe-Torgeson duo stole more bases than every other team in the National League, except for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

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