Al Rosen, former MVP and Executive of the Year, dies at 91
The baseball lost one of its greatest talents and brightest minds on Friday when former Cleveland Indians infielder and longtime MLB executive Al Rosen died at age 91.
Known as the “Hebrew Hammer” Rosen spent the entirety of his 10-year playing career with the Indians, hitting .285/.384/.495 with 192 home runs and 717 RBIs over 4,374 plate appearances. Rosen was a four-time All-Star, earning selections from 1952-1955, and was voted American League MVP in 1953, beating out the likes of Yogi Berra, Minnie Minoso and Mickey Vernon.
In fact, Rosen was so good in 1953, he came up one point and one step shrot of leaving a bigger mark on baseball history.
A truly remarkable story and season, which unfortunately served as his career peak.
Following the 1956 season, Rosen retired at age 32 due to mounting back problems and leg injuries. If only he’d stayed healthy, we might be talking about a Hall of Fame career. As it is, he was inducted into the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame in 2006.
Immediately following his retirement, Rosen became a stockbroker. However, baseball would call his name again 22 years later when he joined the New York Yankees as team president and CEO. He held that job for two seasons before moving on to the Houston Astros and eventually the San Francisco Giants, where he was named MLB Executive of the Year in 1987.
And yes, that accomplishment did in fact put Rosen in a category of his own.
Rosen was still there to see San Francisco win the World Series championship in 1989, so that’s yet another achievement earned by a man who probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves for a successful and historic career.
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On Saturday, the Indians, Giants and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred mourned Rosen, but also celebrated his life and his contributions to baseball, while honoring his service with the United States Navy during World War II.
“He was an inspiration to us all and had a special presence, strength and intellect,” Indians team president Mark Shapiro said in a statement. “His fierce competitive nature and toughness was legendary.”
“We lost a cherished member of the Indians family last night,” said Larry Dolan, father of Indians owner Paul Dolan. “Watching Al play was a true joy and something Indians fans of our generation still cherish.”
It’s never accurate to say a person saw it all and did it all in life or within their chosen field, but Al Rosen came as close as anybody during a life well lived.
Our thoughts are with his loved ones and his fans.
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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813