Anthony Michael "Tony" Lazzeri (1903 - 1946)

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Managed by: Doug Robinson
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About Anthony Michael "Tony" Lazzeri

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Lazzeri

Anthony Michael "Tony" Lazzeri (December 6, 1903 — August 6, 1946) was an American Major League Baseball player during the 1920s and 1930s, predominantly with the New York Yankees. He was part of the famed "Murderers' Row" Yankee batting lineup of the late 1920s (most notably the legendary 1927 team), along with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Bob Meusel. The native of San Francisco, California, was a member of the original American League All-Star team in 1933. He was nicknamed "Poosh 'Em Up" by Italian-speaking fans, from a mistranslation of an Italian phrase meaning to "hit it out" (hit a home run).

Lazzeri is one of only 14 major league baseball players to hit for the natural cycle (hitting a single, double, triple and home run in sequence) and the only player to complete a natural cycle with a Grand Slam.

Early career

Lazzeri, a second baseman, first gained notice in the Pacific Coast League as a member of the Salt Lake City Bees, where he slugged 60 home runs and had 222 RBI in 1925.

Yankee years

He entered the major leagues in 1926 as a member of the New York Yankees. In his rookie season, he hit 18 homers and had 114 RBI. As a member of the Yankees through 1937, he averaged 79 runs, 14 home runs, 96 RBI and 12 stolen bases, including seven seasons with over 100 RBI and five seasons batting .300 or higher (including a high of .354 in 1929). During this period, the Yankees won six American League pennants (1926, 1927, 1928, 1932, 1936 and 1937) and five World Series championships (1927, 1928, 1932, 1936 and 1937).

Post-Yankee years

After the Yankees released Lazzeri following the 1937 season, Lazzeri signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1938, but saw minimal playing time. The Cubs won the National League championship and Lazzeri got to face his old team in the World Series. After brief stints with the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants in 1939, Lazzeri retired.

Legacy

Although his offensive production was overshadowed by the historic accomplishments of teammates such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio, Lazzeri is still considered one of the top hitting second basemen of his era. He finished his career with a .292 batting average, 986 runs, 178 home runs, 1191 RBI and 148 stolen bases. Despite his hitting 60 home runs in an extended PCL season in 1925, Lazzeri never hit more than 18 home runs in a major league season (a mark he reached four times).

Lazzeri holds the American League record for most RBI in a game with 11, set May 24, 1936, as he also became the first major league player to hit two grand slams in one game. He holds the major league record of 15 runs-batted-in in consecutive games (one more than Rudy York in 1946 and Sammy Sosa in 2002). He also set major league records of six home runs in three consecutive games, and seven in four consecutive games. Lazzeri continues to share the consecutive-game American League record - but the three-game record was topped by Shawn Green of the Dodgers (seven in 2002) and the four-game mark was broken by Ralph Kiner of the Pittsburgh Pirates (eight in 1947). Lazzeri is also the only player in major league baseball to hit a natural cycle with the final home run being a grand slam on June 3, 1932.

In a 1976 Esquire magazine article, sportswriter Harry Stein published an "All Time All-Star Argument Starter", consisting of five ethnic baseball teams. Lazzeri was the second baseman on Stein's Italian team.

Death

Lazzeri died at age 42 from a fall caused, according to the coroner, by a heart attack in his Millbrae, California, home. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991 by the Veteran's Committee. Many believe Lazzeri's fall was actually caused by an epileptic seizure rather than a heart attack.

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Tony Lazzeri's Timeline

1903
December 6, 1903
1946
August 6, 1946
Age 42
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