NEW YORK (AP) — Gil McDougald, an All-Star infielder who helped the New York Yankees win five World Series championships during the 1950s, has died. He was 82.
McDougald died Sunday of prostate cancer at his home in Wall Township, N.J., the Yankees said in a statement Monday night.
McDougald spent his entire 10-year major league career with the Yankees and played a key role on one of baseball’s greatest dynasties.
He was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1951 and teamed with Hall of Famers such as Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and manager Casey Stengel to lead New York to eight American League pennants from 1951-60.
“Gil was a great guy, well-liked by the team and a hell of a ballplayer. He was a good fielder and was always a fierce competitor,” Ford said in a Yankees statement.
McDougald also was involved in a famous play that led to a tragic injury. In 1957, his line drive hit hard-throwing Cleveland pitcher Herb Score in the right eye, breaking bones in Score’s face and damaging his eye.
Score, the 1955 AL Rookie of the Year and a 20-game winner in ’56, missed the rest of the season and never had much success after that.
A versatile infielder who played second base, third base and shortstop, McDougald batted .276 with 112 home runs and 576 RBIs during his career. He eclipsed .300 twice, in 1951 and ’56, and had a career-high 83 RBIs in 1953, when the Yankees won the last of five consecutive World Series titles.
Three times, McDougald finished in the top 10 in AL MVP voting (1951, 1956, 1957). He was selected to six All-Star games, including both contests in 1959. He singled home the decisive run for the American League in the sixth inning of the 1958 game at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium.
“Before I was traded to the Yankees, Gil and I played against each other in the minors in the Texas League. He was always one of the most serious guys out there, and he loved to win. But Gil was also a person who got along well with everyone. He was always in good spirits,” former Yankees pitcher Bob Turley said.
Born in San Francisco, McDougald is survived by his wife, Lucille, their seven children, 14 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Private funeral services will be held Friday in New Jersey, the Yankees said.