Six Most Senior Former MLB Players (50 or More Games) Each Competed for New York Yankees or Brooklyn Dodgers
On a live New York Sports Tours virtual tour experience last month (now available on demand), 88-year-old Larry Cutler spoke highly of former New York Yankees third baseman Bobby Brown.
As a standout teenaged baseball player from the Bronx in 1947, Cutler had introduced Babe Ruth on Babe Ruth Day at Yankee Stadium. Cutler says the 22-year-old Brown was the one Yankee who came up to him on the field that day to offer words of encouragement.
In Major League Baseball (MLB) action that afternoon, the Yankees lost, 1-0, to the Washington Senators. But Brown led both teams in hits, with three in five plate appearances.
Set to turn 96 on October 24, Brown is the oldest living World Series champion from a New York City team. In eight seasons in the majors, all with the Yankees, Brown played on four World Series title teams (1947, 1949-1951). He batted an impressive .439 during his 17 World Series games.
Six months after Babe Ruth Day, Brown helped lead the Yankees to the World Series championship over the Brooklyn Dodgers. The same year, Brown was studying to be a medical doctor. A week after the Series, Brown was back at classes at Tulane University. He would go on to a long career as a Texas cardiologist before serving for a decade as the sixth president of MLB’s American League.
Brown is now retired in Texas. Anne R. Keene, a friend of New York Sports Tours, spoke with Brown in March about the novel coronavirus pandemic. Keene is the author of The Cloudbuster Nine, a nonfiction account of a World War II baseball team of MLB players when they were fighter-pilot cadets.
Brown had also served in the Navy, before he turned pro. Later, Brown served in the Korean War, departing the Yankees during the 1952 season. That year, the club won what would have been Brown’s fifth World Series championship. In 1954 at age 29, after he returned to action for the Yankees, Brown retired as a player to focus full-time on medicine.
Brown and the five other oldest living former players who competed in at least 50 MLB games have something else in common. They were members of the American League’s Yankees or National League’s Dodgers. One also played for the city’s New York Giants. Each was primarily a pitcher, catcher or infielder. Five saw military service and the sixth used his engineering degree to work for a military plane manufacturer.
- Eddie Robinson (born December 15, 1920) | Robinson served for three years in the Navy between stints as a Cleveland Indians first baseman. After the war, he played for a dozen more MLB seasons, including for the Yankees during their World Series loss to the Dodgers in Robinson’s second season in New York.
- Eddie Basinski (November 4, 1922) | Over his first two MLB seasons, in 1944 and 1945, second baseman Basinski played in 147 games for the Dodgers. He had worked for aircraft maker and defense contractor Curtiss-Wright after graduating from the University of Buffalo with a mechanical engineering degree.
- Tim Thompson (March 1, 1924) | In 1954, after service in the Navy during World War II, catcher Thompson played 10 games for the Dodgers in his rookie MLB season. In 1964, six years after the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, Thompson rejoined the team as a scout.
- Art Schallock (April 25, 1924) | Like Thompson, Schallock turned pro after serving in World War II. Starting in 1951, Schallock was a left-handed pitcher for the Yankees on three consecutive World Series championship teams.
- Wayne Terwilliger (June 27, 1925) | After duty for the Marines in World War II, Terwilliger played second base in New York for both the Dodgers (1951) and Giants (1955-1956). He was on the Dodgers team at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan when the Giants’ Bobby Thomson recorded one of MLB’s most famous home runs — a three-run, walk-off blast known as The Shot Heard ‘Round the World that clinched the National League pennant for the Giants.
Watch Babe Ruth Day 1947: A Historic Live Experience, here on demand.