Homer Happy: Vic Wertz
Vic Wertz played for 17 years in the American League with five different teams. After serving in World War II, he broke into the major leagues as an outfielder with the Detroit Tigers in 1947. By 1949. he was one of the most dangerous power hitters in the league, batting .304 with 20 home runs and 133 RBIs.
Wertz batted .308 with 27 home runs and 123 RBIs in 1950. During the 1950s, playing for the Tigers, the St. Louis Browns and Baltimore Orioles, the Cleveland Indians, and the Boston Red Sox, Wertz hit a combined .277 and averaged 20 home runs and 74 runs batted in per season. His best post-Tiger season came in 1956 with the Indians, when he batted .264 with 32 home runs and 106 RBIs.
In 1958, the Indians traded Wertz with Gary Geiger to the Boston Red Sox for Jim Piersall. He batted .275 for Boston in 1959, and then hit .282 with 19 home runs and 103 RBIs for the Red Sox in 1960. In 1961 he was traded back to the Tigers, and in 1962, as a pinch hitter, he batted .309 with 3 home runs and 14 RBIs. Wertz split the 1963 season between the Tigers and the Minnesota Twins, primarily as a pinch hitter.
For his career, Wertz hit 266 home runs and 1,178 RBIs with a .469 career slugging average and a .364 career on-base percentage. He had a .277 career batting average and was named to the American League All-Star team four times.