[Discuss George Strickland]
George Strickland
George Bevan Strickland    (aka Bo)
Born: 1/10/1926 in New Orleans, LA USA
Weight: 175 lb.      Height: 6'1"
Bats: R                 Throws: R

Batting Pitching Fielding Salaries Achievements HoF Manager
YearAgeTeamLgGABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOIBBHBPSHSFDPBAOBPSLGOPS
195024PITNL2327030002038110.111.226.111.337
195125PITNL1384545998127947426583369.216.318.333.651
195226PITNL76232174162522422145125.177.248.284.533
195226CLEAL31888194018001415010.216.324.295.619
195327CLEAL123419431191745470051520124.284.362.379.741
195428CLEAL1123614277123637215562110610.213.314.313.627
195529CLEAL130388348195234104960031418.209.302.273.575
195630CLEAL8517122361231701222700516.211.299.292.591
195731CLEAL8920121478211903262911115.234.323.308.632
195933CLEAL1324415510515234811516420367.238.313.302.615
196034CLEAL3242470013004811001.167.255.238.493
10 Seasons 97128243056338427362841210361453411551555.224.313.311.624

Post Season

YearAgeTeamRoundGABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOIBBHBPSHSFDPBAOBPSLGOPS
195428CLEWS390000000002000000.000.000.000
1 Post Seasons 39000000000200000.000.000.000.000
YearAgeTeamLgWLGGSCGSHOSVIPHERHRBBSOERAIBBWPHBPBKBFPGFR
No Pitching Records Found

Post Season

YearAgeTeamRoundWLGGSCGSHOSVIPHERHRBBSOERAIBBWPHBPBKBFPGFR
No Post Season Pitching Records Found
YearAgeTeamLgPosGGSInnPOAEDPPBFP
195024PITNL3B1001001.000
195024PITNLSS1902223170.978
195125PITNL2B1303340081.000
195125PITNLSS125022238637890.943
195226PITNL1B1010001.000
195226PITNL2B4509512711300.953
195226CLEAL2B100000
195226PITNL3B1051021.000
195226PITNLSS28047908240.945
195226CLEALSS30064956180.964
195327CLEAL1B100000
195327CLEALSS1220238400171030.974
195428CLEALSS112108973.119332121610.961
195529CLEALSS1281261050.122136014840.976
195630CLEAL2B282521673692210.986
195630CLEAL3B26799.21320130.971
195630CLEALSS281716332562100.978
195731CLEAL2B4833323.2108934220.980
195731CLEAL3B19111081425031.000
195731CLEALSS2312118.224462130.972
195933CLEAL2B421545110.900
195933CLEAL3B8072642691316110.971
195933CLEALSS50484408014511420.953
196034CLEAL2B20211011.000
196034CLEAL3B12660411001.000
196034CLEALSS14455.1619150.962
10 Seasons 9614714267156924651455580.965

Post Season

YearAgeTeamRoundPosGGSInnPOAEDPPBFP
195428CLEWSSS332369110.938
1 Post Seasons 332369110.938
YearAgeTeamLeagueSalary
No Salary Records Found
YearAgeLeagueAward
No Awards Found
YearAgeVotersBallotsRequiredVotesPct.InductedCategory
No Hall of Fame Votes Found
YearAgeTeamLgDiv#GWLPct.Div RankPly/Mgr
196438Cleveland IndiansAL17333390.4526N
196640Cleveland IndiansAL23915240.3855N
Seasons 11248630.4295.500

Player Discussion

[George Strickland Topics] Remembering Indians SS George Strickland
tomhamilton : March 1, 2010 09:32 PM

From ESPN:

I saw an obituary in the Times yesterday for George Strickland, a player in the 1950s:

Strickland played 10 seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1950-52) and Cleveland Indians (1952-57, 1959-60). A defensive specialist, he led American League shortstops in double plays in 1953 and in fielding in 1955. He also shared the major league record for shortstops for double plays in a game (five) in 1952.

As the starting shortstop, he helped the Indians win a record 111 games in 1954 and advance to the World Series, which they lost in four games to the New York Giants. The next year, he led all shortstops in fielding, with a .976 percentage, and had a .284 batting average.


As I read this, a couple of questions occurred to me ...

One, how good a shortstop was Strickland, really? I mean, he seems to have been pretty good, at least. He posted some gaudy fielding stats, and I know (from elsewhere) that he wasn't much of hitter; his only decent offensive season -- when he did hit .284 and drew (as usual) a fair number of walks -- was 1953 (not '55, as suggested above).

In his Win Shares book, Bill James assigned letter grades to every player with at least 5,000 innings at a particular position (through the 2000 season). Of the 193 graded shortstops, fully 53 got grades starting with an A. Strickland's not one of them. He got a B+ for his career, but I suspect that he was, at his best, playing Gold Glove-quality defense. I also know, because I read it somewhere else, that 1960 National League MVP Dick Groat later credited Strickland for teaching him a lot about playing shortstop when both were Pirates.

Now, about the other thing ... You might have noticed that one-year gap in Strickland's service with the Indians. According to the 1960 edition of the Baseball Register, Strickland was "voluntarily retired" in 1958. According to the New York Times that January, Strickland had returned his 1958 contract to the team unsigned, asking to be voluntarily retired for reasons that were "entirely personal."

Strickland doesn't show up again in the Times for more than a year. In 1959 he returned to the lineup in style, homering on Opening Day in Cleveland. He played in 1959 and '60, third base mostly (because in his absence, the Indians had traded for center fielder Woodie Held and turned him into a shortstop). I've not been able to track down Strickland's whereabouts in 1961, but in '62 he coached with the Twins. Then in '63 ... here, I'll let the local paper from yesterday take over:

Strickland was an Indians coach from 1963-69, usually stationed at third base. His first stint as Cleveland's interim manager began on April 2, 1964, one day after manager Birdie Tebbetts suffered a heart attack, and days before the start of the season. The Indians went 33-39 with Strickland at the helm, before Tebbetts returned on July 5.

Cleveland began the 1966 season 27-10, but had slumped to a 66-57 record when Tebbetts was dismissed as the manager on Aug. 19. Strickland took over, and Cleveland went 15-24 the rest of the way to finish 81-81. Strickland went back to his duties as the third base coach when Joe Adcock was hired as the manager.

Strickland, a New Orleans native who was a standout baseball player at S.J. Peters High School in the early 1940s and played two seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans of the Southern Association, was one of that city's more celebrated players.

Nicknamed "Bo," Strickland was one of the more provocative speakers among a group of retired athletes in the New Orleans area who met once a week for lunch and some good-old-days conversation.

Strickland often was the life of the party.

"Everybody wanted to sit near George at those things," said local baseball historian Peter Barrouquere, a former Times-Picayune reporter. "He told the most amazing stories. When (Hall of Fame pitcher) Bob Lemon passed away, he kept us going for 3 1/2 hours with Bob Lemon stories. He had us in stitches."


I skipped the beginning, but trust me: that obituary didn't mention the reason for Strickland's "voluntary retirement," either. I keep coming back to this simply because it was (and still is) so rare. The only other example I can think of between World War II and the 1980s is Jackie Jensen, who quit after the 1959 season -- he led the American League with 112 RBI that year -- supposedly because he didn't like flying. Jensen came back in 1961, struggled, and quit for good.

I've been through every book about the Indians or about the 1960s that I own, and found no mention of Strickland's early retirement. I've contacted someone who's writing an article about Strickland for SABR's Biography Project. He hasn't found anything conclusive. Maybe Strickland was so frustrated by the Indians' contract offer that he just threw up his hands and decided to work a real job for a while. Maybe Strickland wanted to spend time with the son that he and his wife were adopting around that time.

At the moment, though, I think we're stuck with "personal reasons" and I'm not sure that's a terrible thing. Sometimes it's nice to be reminded that there are still a few mysteries left out there.

# of edits: 1
Last edited: March 1, 2010 09:32 PM

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