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Bob Elliott

Bob Elliott

On July 15, 1945, Bob Elliott, a Pittsburgh Pirate, hit for the cycle. After the 1946 season, he was traded to the Braves in a lopsided deal for 37-year-old second baseman Billy Herman, a future member of the Baseball Hall of Fame who was named Pittsburgh’s playing manager for 1947. But Herman was aghast at the cost — Elliott — the Pirates had paid for him. “Why, they’ve gone and traded the whole team on me,” he said. Herman played only 15 more Major League games and the other three players made a total of 127 appearances with the Pirates.

With a friendlier hitting environment at Braves Field, Elliott exceeded the 20 home run mark three times in his five years in Boston, equalling Whitey Kurowski for the most 20-HR seasons by an NL third baseman.

In his 1947 MVP campaign, Elliott did not lead the NL in any offensive category; however, he batted .317 (second in the NL), with 22 home runs and 113 runs batted in, all team highs.

In 1948, when the Braves won the pennant, Elliott batted .283 with 23 homers and 100 RBI and made his sixth All-Star team. He also led the Major Leagues with 131 walks, breaking the club record of 110 set by Billy Hamilton in 1896; it remains the franchise record. Batting cleanup, he hit .333 in the 1948 World Series, which Boston lost in six games to the Cleveland Indians; he had a pair of home runs in his first two at bats in Game 5, an 11-5 victory, and was 3 for 3 with a walk in the final 4-3 loss in Game 6.

Although his numbers declined somewhat after that, Elliott enjoyed productive years from 1949 through 1951, including a season batting .305 with 24 HRs and 107 RBI in 1950, his sixth 100-RBI campaign. He was named to his last All-Star squad in 1951, his final year with Boston. By the early 1950s he had broken Kurowski’s NL record for career home runs at third base, though Eddie Mathews surpassed him within a few seasons.