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For the minor league baseball executive, see George Sisler, Jr. For the Medal of Honor recipient, see George K. Sisler.

George Harold Sisler (March 24, 1893 - March 26, 1973), nicknamed "Gorgeous George," was an Americanmarker baseball player who played Major League Baseball (MLB) for fifteen seasons, primarily as a first baseman with the St. Louis Browns. Although his career ended in , from until , Sisler held the MLB record for most hits in a single season.

Sisler was elected to the Baseball Hall of Famemarker in . He is one of fourteen players elected to the Hall from the Baltimore Orioles' years as the St. Louis Browns.

Fans and sports writers reaffirmed Sisler's legacy in , when two significant lists were released. That year, Sisler received the eighth-largest number of votes of any first baseman in fan balloting for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team; moreover, editors at the The Sporting News' named Sisler the 33rd best player on their list of "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players".

Life and career

in the unincorporated hamlet of Manchestermarker (now part of the city of New Franklinmarker, a suburb of Akronmarker, Ohiomarker) and having played college ball for coach Branch Rickey at the University of Michiganmarker, where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering, Sisler entered the major leagues as a pitcher for the Browns in 1915. He signed as a free agent after the minor league contract he had signed as a minor four years earlier, and which the Pittsburgh Pirates had purchased, was declared void. The following year he switched to first base, to fully utilise his hitting skills. He posted a record of 5-6 with a 2.35 earned run average in 24 career mound appearances, twice defeating Walter Johnson in complete games victories.

In 1920, Sisler played every inning of each game, stole 42 bases (second in the American League), collected 257 hits for an average of .407, and ended the season by hitting .442 in August and .448 in September. In breaking Cobb's 1911 record for hits in a single season, Sisler established a mark which stood until Ichiro Suzuki broke the record with 262 hits in 2004. Suzuki, however, collected his hits over 161 games during the modern 162-game season (as opposed to 154 in Sisler's era). Also in 1920, Sisler finished second in the AL in doubles and triples, as well as second to Babe Ruth in RBIs and home runs.

In 1922, Sisler hit safely in 41 consecutive games - an American League record that stood until Joe DiMaggio broke it in 1941. His .420 batting average is the third-highest of the twentieth century, surpassed only by Rogers Hornsby's .424 in 1924 and Nap Lajoie's .426 in 1901. He was chosen as the AL's Most Valuable Player that year, the first year an official league award was given, as the Browns finished second to the New York Yankees. Sisler stole over 25 bases in every year from 1916 through 1922, peaking with 51 the last year and leading the league three times; he also scored an AL-best 134 runs, and hit 18 triples for the third year in a row.

1915 M101-5 George Sisler

In 1923, however, a severe attack of sinusitis caused him double vision, forcing him to miss the entire season. While Sisler continued to hit over .300 after he returned in 1924, he never regained his previous level of play. Even so, he continued to hit over .300 in six of his last seven seasons, and led the AL in stolen bases for a fourth time in 1927.

In 1928, the Browns sold Sisler's contract to the Washington Senators, who in turn sold the contract to the Boston Braves in May. After batting .340, .326 and .309 in his three years in Boston, he ended his major league career with the Braves in 1930, then played in the minor leagues. He accumulated a .340 lifetime batting average over his fifteen years in the majors. He stole 375 bases during his career. He became one of the early entrants elected to the Baseball Hall of Famemarker when he was selected in 1939. Outside of St. Louis' Busch Stadiummarker, there is a statue honoring Sisler.

Post-playing career

After his playing career, Sisler reunited with Rickey as a special assignment scout and front-office aide with the St. Louis Cardinals, Brooklyn Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates. Sisler's sons, Dick and Dave, were also major league players in the 1950s. Sisler was a Dodgers scout in 1950 when his son, Dick hit a game-winning home run against Brooklyn not only to clinch the pennant for the Phillies but eliminate the second-place Dodgers. When asked after the pennant winning game how he felt when his son beat his current team, the Dodgers, George replied, "I felt awful and terrific at the same time."

Another son, George Jr., served as a minor league executive and as the president of the International League.

Sisler died in Richmond Heights, Missourimarker in 1973, while still employed as a scout for the Pirates.

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