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Anthony Michael "Tony" Lazzeri (December 6, 1903August 6, 1946) was an Americanmarker Major League Baseball player during the 1920s and 1930s, predominantly with the New York Yankees. The native of San Francisco, Californiamarker, was a member of the original American League All-Star team in . 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).

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 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 , 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, , , , 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.

Legacy

After brief stints with the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants in 1939, Lazzeri retired. 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 slam 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, Californiamarker, home. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Famemarker in 1991. Many believe Lazzeri's fall was actually caused by an epileptic seizure rather than a heart attack.

Related Links



Notes

  1. Hitting for the Cycle Records by Baseball Almanac at www.baseball-almanac.com
  2. New York Times Tony Lazzeri Obituary at www.baseball-almanac.com
  3. Tony Lazzeri by Paul Votano at www.googlebooks.com
  4. BR Bullpen entry for Tony Lazzeri at www.baseball-reference.com
  5. How Stuff Works entry at entertainment.howstuffworks.com


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