Joe Adcock

Joe AdcockAlthough he was played out of position, platooned, and frequently injured, Adcock retired as the twentieth most prolific home run hitter of all time and seventh among righthanded hitters. A natural first baseman, the 6’4″ 220-lb slugger platooned with Ted Kluszewski when he joined the Reds in 1950, then switched to left field to keep both bats in the lineup. But Adcock wanted to play first base, his natural position and he had the courage to tell Cincinnati manager Rogers Hornsby that. When The Rajah informed him that Kluszewski was the first baseman, Adcock asked to be traded, which he was in 1953 to the Braves.

With Milwaukee in 1953, he returned to first base and appeared in a career-high 157 games. On July 31, 1954, he hit four home runs and a double in a game against the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. His 18 total bases still stand as the one-game record. A broken arm in 1955 and broken leg in ’57 held him to half-seasons, but in his healthy 1956 campaign he hit .291, with 38 homers and 103 RBI. He was often platooned in later years, but in 1961, when he played in 152 games, he had 35 home runs and a career-high 108 RBI. Traded to the Indians in 1963 and sent to the Los Angeles Angels the next year, Adcock played through the ’66 season as a platoon player and pinch-hitter.

In 1967 he became manager of the Cleveland Indians, but when the team finished eighth he was fired. Ironically, the main criticism of his managing was that he insisted on platooning the team’s top sluggers, Leon Wagner and Rocky Colavito.