Nellie Fox

Position: Second baseman
Teams: Philadelphia Athletics, 1947-1949; Chicago White Sox, 1950-1963; Houston Astros, 1964-1965 

For the 1950s, Nellie fox was “Mr. Second Base” in the American League. A hustling, hard-nosed, two-way player, he was an All-Star a dozen times.

Born in St. Thomas, Pennsylvania, Jacob Nelson Fox (1927-1975) talked his parents into letting him try out for the Philadelphia A’s when he was only 16 years old. Signed by Connie Mack, Fox hit over .300 in each of three full minor-league seasons, but when he reached the bigs in 1949, he managed just a fair .255. Mack swapped him to the White Sox.

Despite his lack of physical stature, Fox was the kind of player who wouldn’t quit. With his trademark mouthful of chewing tobacco, Nellie looked the part as well. Fox was a slap hitter who refused to fan. He was the toughest American Leaguer to strike out in 11 seasons -- a major-league record.

Nellie Fox
Nellie Fox was known as "Mr. Second Base" in the American League
and was a 12-time All-Star.

Only two men in big-league history have been tougher to whiff over their career. Fox, hitting second behind speedster Luis Aparicio, was able to put the bat on the ball and keep the offense rolling. A lifetime .288 hitter, Fox batted .300 or better six times (and .296 twice) and led or tied for the league lead in hits four times. His eight years of leading the AL in singles is the major-league record.

And when the White Sox surprised the world in 1959 by winning the AL flag (only the second time the Yankees had failed to make the World Series in 11 seasons), Nellie Fox was named the league’s Most Valuable Player. It was the first time the White Sox had reached the postseason in 40 years.

Even though Fox didn’t lead the AL in a single offensive category, he was right up there in plenty of them: second in hits and doubles, fourth in batting average, seventh in on-base percentage and triples, and only one walk out of the top ten in that category as well. Nellie’s teammates Aparicio and Early Wynn finished second and third in the voting.

Fox was also a supreme defensive player. Teaming with legendary fluid shortstops Chico Carrasquel and Aparicio, Fox is second only to the greatest fielder of all time, Bill Mazero­ski, in second baseman double plays. Fox holds major-league records for second basemen for most times leading his league in games (eight), putouts (10), and chances (nine). Only two men appeared at second in more games than Nellie, and his consecutive-game streak of 798 at second base is still the major-league record. The Veterans Committee selected Fox for the Hall of Fame in 1997.

Here are Nellie Fox's major league totals:





















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