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Today in White Sox History: January 30

A giant is born

Chicago White Sox v New York Yankees
By the looks of this Spring Training 1958 shot, this blast by Walt Dropo (as did all too often) drifted foul. The catcher taking note is Yogi Berra.
Set Number: X3618


The man who would grow up to be nicknamed “Moose,” Walt Dropo, was born in Moosup, Conn.

Dropo would grow to 6´5´´, 220 pounds (gargantuan for the time, still pretty big today!) and thus earn the double-meaning of his nickname. He came to the White Sox in time for the 1955 season, as part of a Frank Lane effort to add some heavier lumber to the lineup. He was just five years removed from his Rookie of the Year and sixth-place MVP finish for the Boston Red Sox.

However, Dropo really never had another good season in all his career after 1950 (3.3 career WAR, with 2.6 of that eaten up by his rookie campaign). His start with the White Sox in 1955 was the second-best season of his career (19 homers, 79 RBIs, 110 OPS+), but still yielded a mediocre 1.2 WAR. That year, he was benched in mid-May because of a hitting slump, but recovered well enough, clocking four grand slams over the summer.

By mid-1958, Dropo was placed on waivers, where the Cincinnati Redlegs picked him up for spot duty.

Dropo has some interesting comps, resonating with White Sox past. The closest overall player to him in all of major league history (95.9%) was Eddie Robinson, Dropo’s immediate slugging predecessor on the South Side. And the player comp closest to Dropo’s outstanding 1951 rookie season? None other than fellow Rookie of the Year José Abreu, with 96.7% similarity.