Red Sox Rookie of the Year winners: Ranking their careers
May 25, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; General view of third base during the ninth inning of the game between the Minnesota Twins and the Boston Red Sox at Target Field. The Twins win 7-2 over the Red Sox. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports
Fifth Place: Walt Dropo
ROY Totals: 136 G, 180 H, .322/.378/.583, 34 HR, 144 RBI, WAR 3.3
Career Totals: 1288 G, 1113 H, .270/.326/.432, 152 HR, 704 RBI, WAR 6.7
In 1950, the third place (94-60) Red Sox led the American League with 1027 runs in a 154 game schedule. The run total was over 100 runs higher than the Yankees total that was number two in the league. The team batting average was .302 or 20 points higher than the Yankees and Tigers. The leading home run hitter was the 27-year-old right-handed slugging Dropo, who smashed 34 and led the American League in RBI at 144.
For comparisons if you have seen Billy Butler he is physically similar to the hulking Dropo. The surprise was the power since Dropo – called Moose for his size and birthplace of Moosup, CT. – had never banged out more than 17 in the minors. The secret? A perfect Fenway Park swing that registered 24 home runs and 93 RBI at the friendly confines that inflated the overall numbers for 1950.
The following season Dropo slumped and Billy Goodman took over at first and Dropo was sent back to the minors for a month before finishing the season at .239. In June, the following season Dropo was shipped off to the Tigers and had one last big home run season finishing with 29 between Boston and Detroit.
Dropo was considered a decent fielder at first with some surprising range for a big man with limited speed – only five steals in his career. Dropo’s only All-Star section was also in that magnificent 1950 season and Dropo did remain active until 1961 while never attaining the lofty numbers of his inaugural season.
When Dropo retired he stayed in the Boston area and was a very successful businessman in a variety of ventures including his son’s fireworks business. I remember meeting Dropo at a few events and can say he was a very engaging fellow.