Al Rosen played only seven full years in the big leagues before a finger injury forced his early retirement at age 32. But in his day, the Cleveland Indians star was an MVP — he came within a single of winning the Triple Crown in 1953 — and he was arguably the best third baseman in the American League. He was also very likely the best Jewish baseball player between Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax, and if he had played a few more years, his name might be as much of a household name as theirs.
But circumstance conspired against him.
As Joe Posnanski writes:
He didn't really get started in pro baseball until after he served in the Navy for World War II. Then from age 22 to 25 he utterly dominated in the minor leagues. He was probably ready to be a star, but the Indians already had Ken Keltner at third base.
Keltner is one of the best third basemen not in the Hall of Fame — Bill James even named a tool for determining whether someone was Hall-Worthy after him, the Keltner List. So Rosen wasn't blocked by a scrub. But when he finally got his opportunity, he made the most of it.Read More »from Happy Birthday Boy! Leap year legend Al Rosen turns 88 — or is it 22? — today