Infobox MLB retired
January 1, 1924
deathdate=death date and age|1990|11|8|1924|1|1
debutteam= Boston Braves
New York Yankees
Runs batted in
* Boston Braves (1947-1952)
Chicago White Sox(1957-1961)
New York Yankees(1961)
World Serieschampion: 1961
*National League pennant: 1948
*American League pennant: 1959
Clifford Earl Torgeson (
January 1, 1924 Snohomish, Washington– November 8, 1990 Everett, Washington) was an American, left-handed hitting and throwing first baseman in Major League Baseball. He had a 15-year career (1947-1961), playing for the Boston Braves (1947-1952) and Philadelphia Phillies(1953-1955), both of the National League, and the Detroit Tigers(1956-1957), Chicago White Sox(1957-1961) and New York Yankees(1961) of the American League.
He was known by his middle name, Earl, and his nickname was the “The Earl of Snohomish,” a nickname originally owned by Hall of Famer Earl Averill, also of Snohomish, Washington.
Not a flashy hitter - his best batting average for a full season was .290 and his highest home run total was 24 - he nonetheless had a stellar batting eye and, consequently, good on-base percentages. His career .OBP was .385 (the league average for the years he played is .339) and in by|1950, when he led the
National Leaguein runs with 120, his .OBP was .412. Most years that he played over 100 games, he was in the league's top 10 for drawing walks. His peak years for drawing walks were by|1950 and by|1951, when he drew 119 and 102, respectively. On April 22, by|1959, during an inning against Kansas City where his White Soxscored 11 runs on only one hit, fittingly, Earl chipped in with a pinch-hit walk.
Despite not having the numbers associated with first basemen of the current era -- e.g., 30, 40, or more home runs per year -- Torgeson was well above par for
National Leaguefirst basemen for the early 1950s. In by|1950, for example, the only two National Leagueregulars at first base to outpace him were Ted Kluszewski, with 25 home runs, and Gil Hodges, with 32 home runs. Torgeson’s 23 home runs that year were far ahead of the other firstbasemen in the league. Eddie Waitkusof league champion Philadelphia had 2; Tookie Gilbertof New York had 4; Preston Wardof Chicago had 6; Johnny Hoppof Pittsburgh had 8; and Rocky Nelsonof St. Louis had only 1.
Earl was a regular player for 9 years, and he would have been a regular in 1949 if not for an injury. Then he played another 5 years as a role player, in particular being a rugged batter to bring in off the bench. As a pinchitter, as per earlier in his career, his batting eye was key to his value. Even when his hits were few, he still got on base. In by|1961, for example, playing out the string for the
New York Yankees, he hit only .111 in 18 at-bats, but drew 8 walks for a .385 .OBP.
Torgeson also deserves some mention for his basestealing. Although his highest total for a year was only 20, it came during a period in baseball when almost no one stole bases, especially not first basemen. For the short period (1950-1952) that they had
Sam Jethroe(who won basestealing crowns in by|1950 and by|1951) and Torgeson, the Braves had the best basestealing tandem in baseball. In by|1950, with a combined total of 50 steals, the Jethroe-Torgeson duo stole more bases than every other team in the National League, except for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
(From 1959 T.C.G. card # 351 found in a wall of my 1920's home while remodeling:)"Earl TorgesonHt: 6'3", Wt: 190, Bats: L, Throws: L, Born: 1/1/24, Home: Anna Maria, Florida.Earl posted a .389 aver. in the '48 series with the Braves.Earl gets plenty of wood on the ball and is rated as one of the more dangerous hitters in the A.L."
Top 500 home run hitters of all time
List of Major League Baseball runs scored champions
Chicago White Sox all-time roster
* [http://www.thedeadballera.com/Obits/Torgeson.Earl.Obit.html The Deadball Era]
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