Born: August 17, 1913, Ragsdale, Alabama,
Died: February 5, 1970
Buried: Sunset Memory Gardens, Cartersville Georgia
- Began his baseball career on the ATCO Fields playing for the Goodyear Plant
- Played in three World Series and six All Star Games
- Inducted in Sports Hall of Fame
Hailed as ATCO’s “Home Run King”, Rudolph Preston “Rudy” York began his baseball career at age fifteen in the North Georgia Textile League on the ball fields at Atco, Georgia, playing for the Goodyear, Clearwater Plant #3 team whose mascot was the “Supertwisters”. In 1933 York signed with the Southern League’s Albany Indians, but played only six games before being let go. Spotted by Detroit Tigers scout Eddie Goosetree, York was signed into the Texas Farm League, and was called up his first year to strengthen the bench of the Tigers during their 1934 bid for the World Series. Returning to Texas, York led the league with 32 home runs, 298 base hits and 117 runs batted in, earning him Most Valuable Player and a call to play in the minor leagues as a Milwaukee Brewer, where he was named to the league’s all stars. In 1937 York played his rookie year in the major leagues with the Detroit Tigers, where he broke one of Babe Ruth’s records by hitting eighteen home runs in the month of August. York was a power hitter, touted with “Herculean strength,” whose home run slams clinched the pennant for the Tigers in 1940 and the Boston Red Sox in 1946.
In a career that spanned over two decades playing for the Detroit Tigers, the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago Red Sox, and the Philadelphia Athletics, York played in three World Series and six All Star games, broke three records, tied two and continues to hold the World Series record for most assists by a first basement (8 in 1945), was inducted into three Sports Halls of Fame in Georgia, Alabama, and Michigan and the prestigious 200 Home Run Club (277), finishing up his career with a batting average of .275. York also patented the “Tracker” glove, and, in an odd aside, holds the unusual record of having broken two windows in the same car with two grand slams, for which he was written up in Ripley’s Believe it or Not!
Click to enlarge photos.
Following his release from the Philadelphia Athletics, York was given a series of short lived, fill in coaching jobs by Hank Greenberg. Returning to Cartersville, Georgia, York took a job with the Forestry Commission as a firefighter and painting houses on the side as he had done in baseball’s off season. A year after York’s death in 1971, Governor Jimmy Carter, in an official proclamation, declared August 17 “Rudy York Day” in Georgia. The next year the city of Cartersville held a formal ceremony in which it dedicated York’s old playing field in Atco the “Rudy York Memorial Field.” Rudy York passed away at age 56 on February 5, 1970.