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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 257

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This is the grave of Bob Elliott.

Born in 1916 in El Centro, California, Elliott played baseball at El Centro Community College before signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1936. He was an outfielder but was switched to third base in 1942. He managed to play through World War II because he got whacked in the head by a ball in 1943 that led to significant enough head injuries to be exempted from war service but not enough to stop him from playing more ball. Forbes Field had a ridiculously large left field and so in Pittsburgh, he never hit more than 10 home runs. But before the 1947 season, he was traded to the Boston Braves, and hit at least 15 home runs for the next 5 years, including 23 in 1948. He was the NL MVP in 1947, hitting .317/410/527 with 22 HRs, 93 Runs, and 113 RBIs. He probably really didn’t deserve the MVP. He had a 6.7 WAR that year, which is a good solid year, but hardly groundbreaking. In any case, that award is really the only reason anyone remembers him. He surpassed a 5 WAR in 1948 and 1949 as well. He was really pretty good through 1951, his 6th and final all-star season. He fell off pretty quickly after that, playing 1952 for the Giants and 1953 split between the Browns and White Sox before retiring. He actually briefly held the NL record for career home runs by a third basemen for a couple of years, with all of 161, before Eddie Matthews flew past him.

Elliott managed for a couple of years in the minors after this and got one year in the majors managing a horrible As team in 1960 before new owner Charlie Finley fired him. He later was a coach the expansion California Angels for a year. Elliott had a very unfortunate demise, dying in 1966 of a ruptured vein in his windpipe. He was only 49.

Bob Elliott is buried in Greenwood Memorial Park, San Diego, California.

If you would like this series to visit other NL MVPs of the 1940s, you can donate to cover the required expenses here. Stan Musial is of course just outside of St. Louis while Jackie Robinson is in Brooklyn. Previous posts in this series are archived here.

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