Hank Sauer

From BR Bullpen

Hank Sauer.jpg

Henry John Sauer
(The Honker)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 4", Weight 199 lb.

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Despite not becoming a regular in the majors until after his 31st birthday, outfielder Hank Sauer hit 288 home runs in his career and won the 1952 National League Most Valuable Player award.

The brother of Ed Sauer, Hank was originally signed by New York Yankees scout Paul Krichell and began his minor league career in 1937. Playing for the Butler Yankees the next year, he led the Pennsylvania State Association with 135 hits, 29 doubles, and a .351 batting average. Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds following the 1939 season, he had cups of coffee with the big league club in 1941 and 1942, appearing in 16 games over the two summers. During World War II, he missed all of 1944 and much of 1945 while serving in the coast guard.


In his first full season back after the war, Sauer hit .282 with 21 home runs and 90 RBI for the Syracuse Chiefs in 1946. The next summer, he hit .336 with 50 homers and 141 RBIs for the Chiefs en route to being named Minor League Player of the Year by The Sporting News. In 1948, at age 31, he finally became a regular in the outfield for the Reds and hit 35 home runs, at that time a club record.

Early in the 1949 season, Sauer was dealt to the Chicago Cubs and hit 11 homers in his first month with his new team. He quickly became immensely popular with Chicago fans, earning the nickname "The Mayor of Wrigley Field". At age 35 in 1952, he hit .270, led the National League with 37 home runs and 121 RBI. Despite the fact that he played for a fifth-place, .500 club, he was named NL MVP, the first time in baseball history a player from a second-division team won the award. Two years later, he hit a career-high 41 home runs and slugged .563.

Sauer was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals prior to the 1956 season but only hit 5 homers as a part-time player. Released following the season, he was signed by the New York Giants and hit 26 home runs as a 40-year-old in 1957. He moved with the Giants to San Francisco, CA and ended his playing days as a player-coach for the Giants in 1959. He was later a Giants scout and managed the Phoenix Giants in 1970.

Sauer suffered a heart attack and died while playing golf at age 84. In 2008 he was elected to the International League Hall of Fame.

In addition to his brother, his son, Hank Sauer Jr., also played pro ball but never reached the majors.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 1947 Minor League Player of the Year, Syracuse Chiefs, International League
  • 1947 MVP International League, Syracuse Chiefs
  • 2-time NL All-Star (1950 & 1952)
  • NL MVP (1952)
  • NL Home Runs Leader (1952)
  • NL RBI Leader (1952)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 7 (1948-1952, 1954 & 1957)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 6 (1948-1952 & 1954)
  • 40-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1954)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 3 (1950, 1952 & 1954)

1951 1952 1953
Roy Campanella Hank Sauer Roy Campanella

Related Sites[edit]