Born: April 19, 1918|
Died: December 9, 1999 81) (aged|
Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania
|September 23, 1941, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 1, 1949, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Runs batted in||529|
|Career highlights and awards|
George John Kurowski (April 19, 1918 – December 9, 1999) was a third baseman in Major League Baseball who played his entire career for the St. Louis Cardinals (1941-49). Kurowski batted and threw right-handed. He debuted on September 23, 1941, and played his final game on October 1, 1949. In a nine-season career, Kurowski posted a .286 batting average with 106 home runs and 529 RBI in 916 games played. Kurowski's childhood nickname came from his already white hair.
A native of Reading, Pennsylvania, Kurowski overcame several personal problems. Kurowski overcame childhood osteomyelitis, which made him miss a part of a bone on his right forearm. Before he started his baseball career, his older brother died in a mine accident, and his father died from a heart attack during spring training in 1942. His most productive season came in 1947, when he posted career-highs in average (.310), home runs (27), RBI (104), runs (108), doubles (27), slugging % (.544) and on-base % (.420).
An All-Star during five consecutive seasons (1943–47), Kurowski exceeded the 20 home run mark three times to set a major league record for a third baseman (1944–45, 1947), and hit over .300 three times (1945–47). He also led the National League three times in putouts, twice in fielding %, and once in double plays. In four World Series appearances, Kurowski hit .253 (21-for-83) with one home run and nine RBI in 23 games, as the Cardinals were World Champions in 1942, 1944 and 1946. His only home run in the Series, in 1942, off Red Ruffing, broke a 2–2 tie in the ninth inning of Game Five to clinch the title for St. Louis over the New York Yankees. He also appeared five times in the MVP ballot, in 1942 and from 1944 through 1947.
In 1949, Kurowski developed arm and elbow problems and his playing career ended. After that, he coached and managed in the minor leagues for 18 years until 1972. He gained induction into the National Polish-American Hall of Fame in 1988.
In an article in 1976 in Esquire magazine, sportswriter Harry Stein published an "All Time All-Star Argument Starter," consisting of five ethnic baseball teams. Kurowski was the third baseman on Stein's Polish team.
Kurowski died in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania, at age 81.
Notes and references
- "The Baseball Biography Project.". Retrieved 2008-10-30.
- Charlton, James; Shatzkin, Mike; Holtje, Stephen (1990). The Ballplayers: baseball's ultimate biographical reference. New York: Arbor House/William Morrow. p. 592. ISBN 0-87795-984-6.
- The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. Free Press. p. 568. ISBN 0-684-80697-5.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
- Baseball Almanac
- Baseball Library
- BR Bullpen
- Whitey Kurowski at Find a Grave
- The Deadball Era