New Jersey is more than the land of Bruce Springsteen, Tony Soprano, and the Meadowlands. It is also the home state for three players in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
In a career spanning 1888 to 1901, Billy Hamilton played for the Kansas City Cowboys, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Boston Beaneaters. The Newark native holds the record for most runs scored in a single season—198 in 1894. During that season, Hamilton also tied George Gore’s record of most stolen bases in one game—7. Gore set the record in 1881 with the Chicago White Stockings.
The Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Hamilton in 1961.
Leon Allen “Goose” Goslin and Joseph Michael “Ducky” Medwick received their inductions in 1968. Goslin, a native of Salem—in the southern part of New Jersey—grew up shouldering chores on his family’s 500-acre farm in nearby Fort Mott. For Larry Ritter’s book The Glory of Their Times, Goslin recalled baseball interfering with farm work. “I always played ball around the sandlots here when I was a kid,” said Goslin. “I’d ride 10 miles on my bike to play ball, play all day long, and then get a spanking when I got back ’cause I’d get home too late to milk the cows.”
When he got to the major leagues, Goslin received the nickname “Goose” from sports editor Denman Thompson, according to Goslin’s Society for American Baseball Research biography. A left fielder for the Washington Senators, Goslin won the 1928 American League batting title with a .379 batting average. He beat Heinie Manush of the St. Louis Browns by .001.
Goslin played for the Senators, the Detroit Tigers, and the Browns in a career lasting from 1921 to 1938. His pedigree includes a .316 lifetime batting average, 1,609 RBI, and two World Series championships—1924 Senators and 1935 Tigers.
Medwick, a native of Carteret, New Jersey, enjoyed a 17-season career, including stints with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Brooklyn Dodgers, the New York Giants, and the Boston Braves. Also a left fielder, Medwick compiled a .324 lifetime batting average that includes 2,471 hits, 540 doubles, and 1383 RBI. In 1937, Medwick won the Triple Crown Award and the National League Most Valuable Player Award. Medwick’s Cardinals and Goslin’s Tigers faced each other in the 1934 World Series; the Cardinals won.
Medwick’s hometown furthers the legacy of its favorite baseball son with Joseph Medwick Park. It is Carteret’s largest recreational facility—88 acres, including two Little League fields. One is synthetic, the other has natural grass. Medwick’s portrait hangs in Carteret’s Borough Hall.
A version of this article originally appeared on www.thesportspost.com on November 1, 2013.
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