Score in 1955
Born: June 7, 1933|
Rosedale, New York
Died: November 11, 2008 75) (aged|
Rocky River, Ohio
|April 15, 1955, for the Cleveland Indians|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 4, 1962, for the Chicago White Sox|
|Earned run average||3.36|
|Career highlights and awards|
Herbert Jude Score (June 7, 1933 – November 11, 2008) was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher and announcer. He pitched for the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox from 1955 through 1962. He was television and radio broadcaster for the Cleveland Indians from 1964–1997. Score was inducted into the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame in 2006.
Herb Score was born in Rosedale New York in 1933. At 3, he was run over by a truck and later had rheumatic fever. As a teenager, he starting playing basketball and baseball at Holy Name of Mary School until he moved with his family to Lake Worth, Florida. In 1952, he threw six no-hitters for the Lake Worth Community High School baseball team, when the school won its only state baseball championship.
On June 7, 1952, his 19th birthday, he signed a baseball contract with the Cleveland Indians. He was sent to Indianapolis of the American Association where he made 10 pitching starts. In 1953, he moved to Cleveland's Class A affiliate, Reading (Pennsylvania) of the Eastern League. There he met and became lifetime friends with future outfielder Rocky Colavito from the Bronx, New York. For the 1954 season, both were promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis. Score was named The Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year and began to be referred to as "left-handed Bob Feller".
MLB playing career
Cleveland Indians (1955–1959)
In 1955, Score came up to the Major Leagues (with Colavito) as a rookie with the Cleveland Indians at the age of 21. He quickly became one of the top power pitchers in the American League, no small feat on a team that still included Bob Feller, Bob Lemon and other top pitchers, going 16–10 with a 2.85 Earned run average (ERA) in his first year. He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine on May 30, 1955. Score struck out 245 batters in 1955, a Major League rookie record that stood until 1984, when it was topped by Dwight Gooden (Score, Gooden, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Don Sutton, Gary Nolan, Kerry Wood, Mark Langston, and Hideo Nomo were the only eight rookie pitchers to top 200 strikeouts in the 20th century). It was the first time in MLB history a regular starting pitcher averaged over one strikeout per inning.
In 1956, Score improved on his rookie campaign, going 20–9 with a 2.53 ERA and 263 strikeouts, while reducing the number of walks from 154 to 129, and allowed only 5.85 hits/9 innings, which would stand as a franchise record until it was broken by Luis Tiant's 5.30 in 1968.
Injured by Gil McDougald's line drive
On May 7, 1957, during the first inning of a night game against the New York Yankees at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Score threw a low fastball to Gil McDougald with Jim Hegan catching. McDougald lined the pitch to the mound and struck Score in the face, breaking Score's facial bones and injuring his eye. The ball caromed to third baseman Al Smith, who threw McDougald out before rushing to the pitching mound to Score's aid. McDougald, seeing Score hit by the baseball and then lying down and injured, also ran immediately to the pitching mound, instead of first base, to help Score. McDougald reportedly vowed to retire if Score permanently lost his sight in one eye as a result of the accident. Score eventually recovered his 20/20 vision, though he missed the rest of the season.
He returned early in the 1958 season. Though many believe Score feared being hit by another batted ball, and thus changed his pitching motion, Score himself rejected that theory. Score would tell Cleveland sportswriter Terry Pluto (for The Curse of Rocky Colavito) that, in 1958, after pitching and winning a few games and feeling better than he'd felt in a long time, he tore a tendon in his arm while pitching on a damp night against the Washington Senators and sat out the rest of the season.
In 1959, he'd shifted his pitching motion in a bid to avoid another, similar injury. "The reason my motion changed", Score told Pluto, "was because I hurt my elbow, and I overcompensated for it and ended up with some bad habits." As a result of the changes Score made in his pitching delivery, his velocity dropped and he incurred further injuries. Score pitched the full 1959 season, going 9–11 with a 4.71 ERA and 147 strikeouts.
In the book The Greatest Team Of All Time (Bob Adams, Inc, publisher. 1994), Mickey Mantle picked Herb Score as the toughest American League left-handed pitcher he faced (before the injury). Yogi Berra picked Herb for his "Greatest Team Of All Time".
Chicago White Sox (1960–1962)
Score was traded to the Chicago White Sox on April 18, 1960 and pitched parts of the following three seasons before retiring. He finished with a major league career record of 55–46, 3.36 ERA, and 837 strikeouts over eight seasons in 858 1⁄3 innings pitched.
MLB broadcasting career
Score retired from playing baseball in 1962. Beginning in 1964, he was employed as a television and radio play-by-play announcer with the Cleveland Indians for the next 34 years, first on television from 1964–1967, and then on radio from 1968–1997, the longest career for an Indians play-by-play announcer. Score was revered by the Indians fans for his announcing style, including a low voice and a low-key style, as well as a habit of occasionally mispronouncing the names of players on opposing teams. Score's final Major League Baseball game as an announcer was Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.
Retirement and death
On October 8, 1998, while driving to Florida after being inducted into the Broadcasters Hall of Fame the night before, Score was severely injured in a traffic accident. Score pulled into the path of a westbound tractor-trailer truck near New Philadelphia, Ohio, and his car was struck in the passenger side. He suffered trauma to his brain, chest and lungs. The orbital bone around one of his eyes was fractured, as were three ribs and his sternum. He spent over a month in the intensive care unit, and was released from MetroHealth Hospital in mid-December. He was cited for failure to stop at a stop sign.
He went through a difficult recovery, but managed to throw out the first pitch at the Indians' Opening Day on April 12, 1999. He suffered a stroke in 2002, and died on November 11, 2008 at his home in Rocky River, Ohio, after a lengthy illness. He is interred at Lakewood Park Cemetery in Rocky River. The Indians wore a patch on their uniform during the 2009 season to honor him.
Awards and honors
- 1952 Florida State Baseball Championship (Lake Worth Community High School)
- International League MVP – 1954
- Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year – 1954
- American League Rookie of the Year – 1955
- Two-time American League All-Star – 1955, 1956
- Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame – 2006
- Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame (class of 1992)
- Cleveland Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame (class of 1996)
- Cleveland Press Club Journalism Hall of Fame (class of 1998)
- Ohio Broadcasters Hall of Fame (class of 1998)
- "Herb Score, Big League Star who Pitched at Lake Worth, Dies at 75." Palm Beach Post, November 11, 2008
- "What Took You So Long?". Sports Illustrated. June 7, 2010. Retrieved June 7, 2010.
- Plain Dealer, April 19, 1960
- Scholz, Karin. 1998. Herb score hospitalized after truck slams auto. Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), October 9, 1998.
- Score has condition upgraded, stays in intensive care. 1998. Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), October 10, 1998.
- Hoynes, Paul. 1998. Score moved out of intensive care. Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), November 13, 1998.
- 1998. Score out of hospital, still doesn't recall crash. Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), December 12, 1998.
- Associated Press. 1998. Score, in hospital, cited for failure to yield. Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), October 12, 1998.
- Crump, Sarah. 1999. First pitch Score's on opening day. Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), April 9, 1999.
- Cleveland Plain Dealer Nov. 11, 2008
- MLB.com, Nov. 11, 2008
- Indians HOF – Indians.com
- Cleveland Sports HOF
- Cleveland Broadcasters HOF
- Cleveland Press Club
- Ohio Broadcasters HOF
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
- Herb Score at Find a Grave
- New York Times Obituary
- Obituary in Cleveland Plain Dealer
- Herb Score – Sports Illustrated, May 30, 1955 (cover).