Your Father's Red Sox: Skeeter Newsome
Skeeter Newsome was a utility infielder that filled many needs in his five years with the Red Sox, including the unenviable task of taking over for a pair of Red Sox superstars during the World War II era under player/manager Joe Cronin.
Born Lamar Ashby Newsome on October 18, 1910 in Phenix City, Alabama, the 5' 9" righthander with the memorable nickname made it to the Major Leagues by the age of 24, playing for Connie Mack's Philadelphia A's from 1935-39.
In 1940, Newsome found himself of out the Majors, but he resurfaced the following year in Boston.
A year-by-year analysis of Newsome's Red Sox career shows that he spent the majority of his time at shortstop in 1941, third base in '42, shortstop in '43 and '44, and second base in '45.
Known for his ability to make contact (just 194 K's in 3,716 AB's), Newsome was a scrappy player who finished in the top five for sacrifice hits in the American League in three of his five years with the Red Sox.
After serving as a back-up in his first two seasons, Newsome became an everyday player in 1943 out of necessity, when he took over the shortstop position for Johnny Pesky, who had entered the Armed Services.
In 1945, Newsome moved across the diamond to second base, filling in aptly for future Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr.
That season was the best of Newsome's 12 in the Majors. His career-best batting average of .290 was 45 points higher than his career mark and qualified him for tenth in the league. His 30 doubles were fifth in the A.L.
Newsome also became a part of Red Sox lore during the '45 season when he was thrown out in a game against the A's while trying to stretch a single into a double. While Newsome hustled to second, outfielder Hal Peck's throw hit a pigeon flying over Fenway Park, but the ball deflected to the A's second baseman, who then tagged Newsome out.
The pigeon flew away unharmed, but after the season Pesky and Doerr returned from the war and Boston sold Newsome to the Phillies, where he spent the final two years of his playing career.
Newsome went on to enjoy success as a manager, leading Terre Haute to the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League championship in 1952 before guiding Syracuse to the International League Governorsí Cup title in 1954.
Newsome died on August 31, 1989 in Columbus, Georgia.