He was the son of a city garbage collector from Chicago, who came from a Polish background. As a kid, he received a nickname – the result of a bad haircut – for which he would be most recognized for. Before pitcher Mike Mussina came to the Bronx in 2001 with his own nickname “Moose”, there was already another. For this Throwback Thursday, we look at the career of Yankees’ first baseman Bill “Moose” Skowron.
Bill Skowron was signed by the Yankees in 1950 and played in his first major league game in September 1954 for the Bombers. During the early years of his career, “Moose” platooned at first base until 1958 when he became a full-time player. He played the position steady for five seasons in the Bronx before being dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1963.
He helped the Yankees to four World Series Championships (’56, ’58, ’61, and ’62) and then won another World Series with the Dodgers in 1963 in a sweep over his former Yankees teammates. In that series, he lead the Dodgers with a .385 average while adding a home run.
Skowron made the last out of the 1957 World Series, but knocked in the winning run in game six of the 1958 World Series the following year. He also hit a three-run home run in game seven to propel the Yankees to a World Series win, and a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit. Skowron scored the only run in game seven of the 1962 World Series against the San Francisco Giants, helping the Yankees capture another title. He was an eight-time All-Star, and hit 211 homers and over 800 RBIs throughout his career that spanned some 14 seasons with five clubs.
“Moose” was a part of some classic Yankees teams during that era, in particular the 1961 Yankees who were considered one of the greatest teams in the history of the franchise. With names like Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Whitey Ford, Skowron was often forgot about as a key member of those teams.
While Yankees fans through the years will always talk about other big names who have donned the pinstripes, Bill “Moose” Skowron certainly deserves a place in Yankees history. He was an integral piece at a time in which it seemed like New York owned the world of baseball.