Friday, February 09, 2007

Hank Bauer

Hank Bauer (pictured left of Stengle), a key component of seven New York Yankees World Series championship clubs, died Friday after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 84.
Bauer played 14 seasons in the Major Leagues from 1948-61, his first 12 with the Yankees. A three-time All-Star outfielder, he batted .277 with 164 home runs and 703 RBIs in 1,544 games, and helped the Yankees to nine American League pennants.

A strong runner and fielder with a powerful arm, Bauer became an accomplished Major League manager after his playing career. He earned Manager of the Year honors at the helm of the Baltimore Orioles in 1964 and 1966, including one World Series title.

Bauer was traded to the Kansas City Athletics as part of a deal that brought Roger Maris to the Yankees prior to the 1960 season. While Bauer's association with the club ended, his friendships with many Yankees teammates endured for decades.

Bauer guided the Kansas City Athletics in 1962 and 1963, then moved on to spend five years with the Orioles before finishing his managerial career with Oakland in 1969. In eight seasons as a big-league manager, Bauer compiled a record of 594-534.

The youngest of nine children, Bauer was born to a blue-collar background in East St. Louis, Ill., and went on to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps. Battling malaria in the South Pacific, Bauer earned 11 campaign ribbons, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts in 32 months of combat.

His gruff military background translated to his playing career, which delivered him to the Yankees for a 1948 debut.

As a tough presence in the clubhouse, Bauer is said to have chastised a young Mickey Mantle for not running out a ground ball, yelling, "Don't fool with my money" -- a reference to the regularity with which Bauer cashed Yankees World Series checks.

Indeed, many of Bauer's most memorable moments with the Yankees came in October. Bauer contributed a game-saving catch to rob the Giants' Sal Yvars in the 1951 Fall Classic, and set a World Series record with a 17-game hitting streak from 1956-58.


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