Passing of Moose

I was never much of a baseball fan, but even I knew a little bit about Bill “Moose” Skowron, the slugger and first baseman who peaked from the mid ’50s to early ’60s with the N.Y. Yankees. But I never really knew his batting or fielding record — I just knew his name. For Moose Skowron has to be one of the great baseball names of all time, right up there with Goose Gossage, Miller Huggins, Ty Cobb, Bobo Rivera, Ryne Duren, Yogi Berra, Hoyt Wilhelm, Duke Snider and Mookie Wilson.

These were baseball names, gentlemen. Of their batting averages and RBIs, I cannot say or even be bothered to research. But I know the sound of a great name, and when you added “Moose Skowron” to those line drives and homers and those big shoulders, those intense, close-set eyes and that hulking forehead and all the rest of it, you had a real baseball player.

“Moose” was a childhood nickname that didn’t come from young Skowron resembling or suggesting the physique of a moose, but because his head was shaved as a young kid and his friends thought he looked like Benito Mussolini. By the same standard the guy who co-founded Musso & Franks could also be called “moose” if his head had been shaved as a kid. And the little girls who palled around with Rene Russo when she was seven and eight could have called her “roose.”

Moose Skowron died today at age 81 at his home in Liberty Heights, illinois.

  • FlashDust

    Razor Shines = best name in baseball

  • Jesse Crall

    How about Possum Whitted? I can see him hitting a triple, stealing home, and then beating the shit out of his half sister cum wife.

    Moose must have been a decent guy; I’ve read a ton of stuff about the Yanks from that era (Ball Four, a few Mantle biographies, Roger Kahn’s stuff) and he never came up beyond a mention of his nickname or, well, his RBI totals. Since a happy life makes for a dull biography, Moose’s fleeting presence in baseball histories probably bodes well for his character.

  • lazarus

    No love for Rollie Fingers, he of the handlebar moustache?

    He’s gotta be in the Top 5, and has the perfect pitcher’s name.

    Also, Dizzy Dean.

  • berg

    Moose was mentioned in an ep of Mr. Ed

  • Jeffmc2000

    My favorite baseball player name is a hockey player—former Minnesota North Stars goalie Gump Worsley.

    He looked just like his name, too.

  • Ron Mexico

    Biff Pocoroba
    Steve Balboni
    Buddy Biancalana
    and my all time favorite…
    Rusty Kuntz

  • George Prager

    Boog Powell
    Pete LaCock
    Dick Pole

  • dangovich

    The Oakland A’s championship teams of the 70s had some great names:

    Blue Moon Odom
    Catfish Hunter
    Rollie Fingers
    Sal Bando
    Vida Blue

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