Bob Cerv

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Robert Henry Cerv

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Biographical Information[edit]

“Nobody knows this, but one of us has just been traded to Kansas City." - Casey Stengel, to Bob Cerv, late in the 1956 season

Bob Cerv, a strapping, hulking, part-time slugger and three-time member of the New York Yankees, spent most of his 12-year career with the Yanks and the Kansas City Athletics.

Born in Nebraska, he played college ball for the Cornhuskers after serving in the Navy during World War II and seeing combat action in the Pacific theater. Signed in 1950, he was playing major league ball the next year at age 26, joining the outfield corps with another rookie named Mickey Mantle. Cerv was up with the Yankees each year from 1951 to 1956, but never appeared in more than 56 games. He hit .341/.411/.541 in 85 at bats in 1955 and .304/.396/.530 in 115 at bats in 1956. He hit a pinch home run in Game 5 of the 1955 World Series. In the 1956 World Series, which the Yankees won, he went 1 for 1, singling off Sal "The Barber" Maglie in Game 1.

An above-average hitter with considerable power, he had trouble cracking the Yankees' gifted lineup. Upon being purchased by Kansas City, he finally got to play and put together some strong numbers. He had his best season in 1958, hitting .305/.371/.592 with 38 home runs and 104 RBI in a career best 141 games. He was named to the All-Star team and was 4th in the MVP voting. He was traded back to the Yankees in May 1960, and hit .357 in the World Series against the Pittsburgh Pittsburgh. He batted lead-off or third in the lineup. He was briefly an original member of the Los Angeles Angels in 1961, before being traded yet again to the Yankees, in a deal involving hard-throwing, hard-living relief ace Ryne Duren. The Yanks became World Series champs, but Cerv did not appear in postseason play. In 1962, his last season, he played briefly for the Yankees and the expansion Houston Colt .45s in their first season.

Despite only playing 829 games, Bob hit 105 home runs, with a good career slash line of .276/.340/.481. Similarity scores show current Minnesota Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario most similar to Bob.

Cerv was portrayed by Chris Bauer in Billy Crystal's 2001 film 61*. He died in his native Nebraska at 91.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • AL All-Star (1958)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 2 (1958 & 1959)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1958)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1958)
  • Won two World Series with the New York Yankees (1956 and 1961; he did not play in the 1961 World Series)

Related Sites[edit]