Rosen, Albert Leonard

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ROSEN, ALBERT LEONARD (Al ; "Flip"; 1924– ), U.S. baseball player. Rosen was born to Louis and Rose in Spartanburg, s.c., where his grandfather, a Polish immigrant, ran a department store. The family moved to Miami, where Rosen and his brother, Jerry, were raised by their mother and grandmother after their parents divorced. Rosen learned boxing in order to fight off antisemites in the neighborhood, and despite having his nose broken 11 times, was good enough to win the middleweight championship in a Florida high school tournament. Rosen attended Florida Military Academy, and was a four-sport man, excelling at football, basketball, boxing, and baseball. At 16, he was given a tryout with the Cleveland Indians. He attended the University of Florida and later the University of Miami, where he was an all-round athlete. Rosen spent two years in the Navy during World War ii, emerging in 1946 as a lieutenant. He debuted in the Major Leagues on September 10, 1947, and became the Indians' full-time third-baseman in 1950, having an outstanding rookie season: he hit 37 home runs, enough to set an American League rookie record and lead the al in home runs in 1950, becoming the first al rookie to win the home run title. Rosen also had 100 walks, 100 runs and 116 rbis. His 37 hrs was a rookie record that stood until 1987. Rosen drove in 100 or more runs for five consecutive seasons (1950–54), and finished in the top seven in rbis from 1950 to 1954 and the top seven in walks from 1950 to 1955. In 1953 Rosen failed to achieve by a whisker the exalted Triple Crown. He won the al home run title with 43 and the rbi crown with 146, but his .336 batting average fell .0011 short of winning the American League batting title, which went to Mickey Vernon, whose teammates conspired to help him win. He was also first in runs (115), total bases (367), slugging (.613), ops (1.034), runs created (153), extra base hit (75), and times on base (290). He was the first unanimous al mvp in history. Rosen was elected to appear in the All Star Game from 1952 to 1955, winning mvp honors in 1954 when he hit two hrs and had five rbis. Rosen's lifetime batting average was .285, with 192 hrs and 717 rbis in 1,044 games. He also appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1955. "When I was up there in the majors," he once said, "I always knew how I wanted it to be. I wanted it to be, 'Here comes one Jewish kid that every Jew in the world can be proud of.'" Rosen suffered a broken finger in 1954 and had several other nagging injuries that forced him to retire in 1956. He later served as president of the New York Yankees (1978–79), Houston Astros (1980–85), and San Francisco Giants (1985–92), being named Major League Executive of the Year in 1987.

[Elli Wohlgelernter (2nd ed.)]