Friday, April 27, 2012
The third “M” in one of the most formidable batting orders in history has died. Moose Skowron, the first baseman during the Mantle-Maris era of the Yankees’ dynasty in the early 1960s, passed away on Friday in Chicago. Skowron, 81, was a victim of lung cancer, detected in March 2011.
Casual fans wrongly believed Skowron was called Moose because of his size and physique. He had been a running back at Purdue University, and though he was strong with wide shoulders, he was not particularly big. His nickname was, instead, linked to his appearance as a youngster. After a haircut, his grandfather decided he resembled Italian prime minister Benito Mussolini; hence the nickname that stayed with Skowron for the rest of his life.
Skowron was before my time, but I certainly heard plenty about him through the years. I never heard the story of how he got his nickname though.