Monday, September 24, 2012

Tom Umphlett, former outfielder for the Boston Red Sox and Washington Senators passes away at 81

Tom Umphlett, former outfielder for the Boston Red Sox and Washington Senators died Friday, September 21st, in Norfolk, Va. He was 81.

Umphlett played three seasons in the major leagues from 1953-55, finishing second in the 1953 American League Rookie of the Year voting to Harvey Kuenn. He was part of a youth movement by the Red Sox in the early 1950’s to fill the voids left by Ted Williams’ military service and Dom DiMaggio’s retirement.

“[Lou] Boudreau, the manager, was going for the young talent even in spring training. You had Ted Lepcio at third base, Milt Bolling at short, Goodman at second, and Dick Gernert at first base. I played center field and Jimmy Piersall played right,” he said during a 2008 interview from his home in Ahoskie, N.C.

Williams’ return from the Korean War meant that someone had to go from the crowded outfield, and the Red Sox looked to capitalize on Umphlett’s value after his impressive rookie season.

“You didn't have a choice, back in those days. When a club owned you, they owned you,” he said. “I was in the Mickey McDermott for Jackie Jensen trade. [It was] probably one of the best trades the Red Sox ever made. The Red Sox needed a power hitter, and Jensen did a good job for them.”

Click here to read more about Umphlett's career including his memories of playing with the greatest hitter that ever lived.

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