Frank Malzone: Former Bronx Born Italian / American All Star (1955 - 1966)

Frank James Malzone was born on February 28, 1930 in the Bronx, New York. His father Frank was born in Salerno Italy & his mother Pauline was born in America. The two met while Pauline was on an extended visit to Italy. Frank Jr. was one of four Malzone children.

In the 1940's, Malzone attended Samuel Gompers High School on Southern Blvd. just off 149th St. Malzone planned to be an electrician if his baseball career didn't work out.

After trying out for the New York Giants & being told he was too short to for the big leagues, he didn't give up. In 1947, the five foot ten, third baseman was spotted by a Boston Red Sox bird dog. He was signed, for $150 a month salary by the Sox. 

In 1949, Frank married his wife Amy, while playing in the minor leagues at Oneonta, NY. They remained married for 57 years, until her death in 2006.

Military Service: Before getting to the major leagues in the early 1950's, Malzone served two years of Military service, during the Korean War. Although he wanted to stay in the states, he was stationed in Hawaii. He was scheduled to go off to Korea but a colonel saw he was a minor league ball player & changed his orders.

 Word got out that Ted Williams was asking Joe Cronin "who's that spaghetti eater you got out of Hawaii?" in the armed forces league. People began to be interested in who Malzone was. 

MLB Career: Malzone was already 25 years old when he debuted with the Red Sox, for a brief call up in 1955.

Two years later, he became the Red Sox regular third baseman and had a fantastic rookie season. 

He batted .292 (10th in the AL) while driving in a career high 103 runs (3rd in the AL). Malzone hit 15 HRs with 31 doubles five triples & posted a .323 on base % playing in 153 games. 

1957 All Star: He made the All-Star team & even AL third baseman George Kell of the Tigers said Malzone deserved the start over him. Malzone went 0-2 in the AL's 6-5 win in St. Louis.

came in second to Tony Kubek in the Rookie of the Year voting. Malzone was seventh overall, in the MVP voting as well. 

He won his first Gold Glove at third base & became the first player in modern baseball history, to lead his position in games played (153) putouts (151) assists (370) errors (25) fielding & double plays. On September 24th, 1957, he tied an MLB record making ten assists. 

In 1958 he followed up with another All-Star season, batting .295 coming in second in the league with 185 hits. He hit 15 HRs with 30 doubles 87 RBIs while leading the league in games (154) & at bats (627). At third base he won his second Gold Glove, this the first year a Gold Glove was issued in each league. He posted a .954 fielding %, leading the league in assists (378) games (154) & errors (27). 

1958 All Star: This year he got the start at third base in the NL's 4-3 win at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. In the 6th inning he led off with a base hit then scored the games winning run on Gil McDougald's base hit off Bob Friend.

 In 1959 he hit .280 having another All-Star year, hitting a career high 19 HRs with 34 doubles (2nd in the AL) 169 hits (6th in the AL) & 92 RBIs (10th in the AL). Malzone won another Gold Glove in 1959 & was the last third baseman to win the award before Brooks Robinsons’ won an incredible 16 straight. 

1959 All Star Game: In the first All Star game he was back up to Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew & went 0-2 in the NL's 5-4 win at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. In the second of two All Star games of that year, he got the start at third base, batted 7th & drove in a run with a double off the Dodgers, Don Drysdale in the 5-3 AL win at the LA Coliseum.

Malzone also set another defensive record at the time for third baseman, as he led the league in double plays five straight seasons. As he entered the sixties, he dropped in numbers the first two years of the decade. He helped a young Carl Yastrzemski make a transition in left field replacing Ted Williams. 

Quotes- Carl Yastrzemski: “When I first came to the big leagues in 1961, Frank was the guy who took me under his wing. I struggled when I first came up, and he took care of me and stayed with me. He was a real class guy, a very caring guy, and I owe him a lot. You aren’t going to find too many people like him.”

In 1962 Malzone had a career high 21 HRs with 95 RBIs & 20 doubles while batting .283. 

He returned to have a good 1963 season as well, batting .291 with 15 HRs & 71 RBIs. Malzone spent eleven seasons as the Red Sox third baseman, winning three Gold Gloves making six All Star teams. 

After the 1965 season Malzone was released, he would be replaced by future Met & another Bronx born player, Joe Foy. 

Trivia: In his eleven seasons with the Red Sox the club never finished above third place & would finish seventh or worse in his final four years.

Malzone signed with the Los Angeles Angels in what would be his final season as a player. In 82
games he batted just .206 & retired at age 35. 

Career Stats: In his 12-year career in 1441 games, Malzone hit .274 with 1486 hits 133 HRs 239 doubles 21 triples 337 walks & 728 RBIs. He drew 337 walks for a .315 on base % & posted a .714 OPS.

He posted a .955 career fielding average, making 196 errors in 4388 chances. He ranks in the top twenty in Red Sox history in hits, HRs, games played, doubles, runs, and RBIs. 

Retirement: After his playing days, Malzone was a scout for the Red Sox for 35 years, and a long-time consultant for player development. 

Honors: He was elected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1995.

"As far as my personal achievements with the game I would say when you play ten full years and make the All-Star team eight times that is quite an accomplishment for myself. The only thing that I regret is that I never got to play in the post-season."


 Family: Frank & wife had a daughter whom they lost at just 15 months old. They would have four more children, three sons & one daughter. Frank & his wife lived outside of Boston in Needham Mass.

Passing: Malzone passed away, due to natural causes on December 30th 2015 at the age of 85.

Comments

Anonymous said…
mY FATHER WAS A GRADE SCHOOL FRIEND OF fRANK mALZONE.
hE RECENTLY PASSED AND i FOUND THE bASEBALL cARD OF fRANK WHEN HE WAS ON THE aNGELS.
Please contact me and I will send this to you if you are related to him.
510-828-1031
J J Healy

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