Nine to Know – All Oscar edition

by Bill Chuck on February 25, 2012

Oh, how disappointed you must be after seeing the headline to this collection to realize that I’m only providing you with nine players whose name is Oscar.

  1. Oscar Charleston is the only Oscar in the Hall of Fame. Charleston was inducted by the Negro League Committee as player in 1976. In 60 league games in 1921, he batted .434 while leading the Negro National League in doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases. Bill James ranked him as fourth-greatest player of all time in his New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. As a member of the St. Louis Giants of the Negro National League, Charleston became the first black player to hit a home run at Sportsman’s Park, the longtime home of the St. Louis Cardinals and Browns.
  2. Oscar Grimes is one of two Oscars to have been All-Stars. Grimes was an infielder who played for the Indians, Yankees, and A’s from 1938-1946. The lifetime .256 hitter made the All-Star team in 1945 when he was playing for the Yankees and entered the break hitting .271. He did not play in the game.
  3. Pitcher Oscar Judd is our other All-Star. Known as “Ossie,” in spite of the fact that his full name was Thomas William Oscar Judd. Judd, who was a 33-year old rookie, pitched for the Phillies and Red Sox from 1941-1948 and finished with a lifetime 40-51 record with a 3.90 ERA. He made the All-Star team in 1943, the first Canadian to do so, but did not pitch as Joe McCarthy, the AL manager used only three pitchers. Judd was chosen as the result of his 7-4 record and 2.63 ERA.
  4. Oscar Stanage had a 14-year career as a catcher for the Tigers and Reds from 1906-1925. From 1911 to 1915, Stanage caught 560 games, 125 more than any other American League catcher.
  5. Ossie Vitt who played third, second and left for the Tigers and RedSox from 1912-1921 was the only Oscar who was a manager. Actually, Oscar Melillo was also a manager but he was known as “Ski” which as a nickname is certainly less connected to Oscar than Ossie. Vitt was a lifetime .238 hitter but had pretty good numbers as the Indians manager 262-198 from 1938 to 1941. Vitt was a teammate of Oscar Stanage and in Stanage’s SABR Project bio it was written, “ In a 1938 feature article in the Sporting News, Vitt recounted how Cobb treated him unmercifully until Stanage stepped in. According to Vitt, Stanage, called Big ‘O’ by his teammates, told Cobb: “if you don’t lay off little ‘O’ Big ‘O’ is going to hit you so hard he will drive you right back to Georgia.” Not wanting to incur the wrath of Stanage the Georgia Peach never again harassed Vitt during their seven years as Tiger teammates.”
  6. There have been three recent Oscars in baseball including Oscar Robles who briefly played for the Dodgers and Padres from 2005-2007. Robles hit .260 in 163 big league games. Robles has played the last three seasons in the Mexican League for Diablos Rojos del Mexico.
  7. Oscar Villareal pitched for the Diamondbacks, Braves, and Astros from  2003-2008. Coming out of the bullpen, Villareal had a lifetime record of 24-15 with a 3.86 ERA. Last season he pitched for Monterrey in the Mexican League and for the Albuquerque Isotopes of the PCL.
  8. Oscar Salazar was a utility guy for the Padres, Orioles, and Tigers from 2002-2010 with a lifetime .269 average with 14 homers and 62 RBI. Last season he played for the New Orleans Zephyrs of the Pacific Coast League.
  9. Last but not least, is my favorite Oscar, the wonderful Oscar Gamble who played for the Yankees, Indians, Phillies, WhiteSox, Padres, Rangers, and Cubs from 1969-1985. Over a 17-year major league career, Oscar hit .265 with exactly 200 homers and 666 RBI. Gamble also walked 610 times and whiffed only 546 times. Despite being 5’11, Phill Rizzuto nicknamed him the “Big O.” Of course everything is relative since Rizzuto was 5’6″. While Gamble might be remembered as getting the last hit in Connie Mack Stadium (10/1/1970 for the Phillies) a walkoff single to center scoring Tim McCarver, that hit is not his claim to fame. As you can see, Oscar was renowned for the greatest Afro in baseball history.

While I could never grow an Afro like Oscar, we took the other route and he now emulates me. 



Good luck to Moneyball nominated for six Oscars, including best picture. Here’s the trailer (if you can’t see it, head to Billy-Ball.com):

In 1943, “The Pride of the Yankees” earned 11 Oscar nominations, the most of any baseball movie. Here’s the opening to the film, once again if you can’t see the embedded video, head to Billy-Ball.com.

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  • Brian

    Great column, Bill.
    Even better picture.
    I was surprised, in a look at BBReference.com, to find that there never was an Oscar Meyer (or Mayer for that matter), just because.
    However there was an Oscar Major who played SS for Montreal in the International League in 1917, then for and Quebec in the EAst Canada League in 1923 and then for Outremont in the Quebec Ontario Vermont league in 1924.
    A reach.

  • http://www.billy-ball.com Bill Chuck

    Oscar Meyer was too much of a hot dog for my taste.

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