Saturday, February 18, 2017

#155 Charlie Neal

Charlie Neal  Los Angeles Dodgers

Career: Charlie Neal signed with the Dodgers in 1950 but as a middle infielder his spot on the major league roster was blocked at the top by a couple of guys named Reese and Robinson. He broke through in 1956 with Brooklyn and had a a short but very good eight year career. He peaked in 1959 with sparkling work at bat and in the field. He hit .287 with 19 homers and nearly 90 RBI. Add in 17 stolen bases, a Gold Glove and leading the NL with 11 triples and it's not hard to see how he finished in the top ten in the MVP balloting.

In the 1959 World Series against the White Sox Neal had two homers among his 10 hits and a .370 average. His six RBI in the Series easily topped the team.

Neal was an original '62 Met having come to New York in a trade the winter before the club opened play. He was among the few bright spots for the expansion team but in '63 he was slumping and traded to the Reds in July. He retired after that 1963 season.

Neal is also a vet of the Negro Leagues having played with the Atlanta Black Crackers.

In 1960: He was coming off his best season but his numbers dipped across the board. Despite that he again made the NL All Star squad. It was his second and final time for that honor. His average dropped nearly 30 points to .256 and his homers fell off to just eight.

WikiFacts: Neal had 24 triples in his second minor league season, 1951 with Class B Lancaster. No major leaguer has had that many in a year since 1925. Among current players only Curtis Granderson and Jimmy Rollins have had as many as 20 in a big league season season.

The Card: That's really a nice color combo for a Dodgers player in this set. Neal is in Memorial Coliseum. The season highlights give a good accounting of how well Neal played in 1959. Featured are his fielding marks (tied for most putouts in a game in MLB history) and his postseason exploits (big games in the NL playoff against the Braves and the World Series against Chicago). Too bad the card isn't on the cream colored cardboard.

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