Glancing Back, and Remembering Frank Malzone
For a decade from the mid 1950s to the mid 1960s, Frank Malzone gave the Boston Red Sox solid play at third base while providing batting average and power in the middle of the Red Sox batting order. He was a Boston institution whose hitting contributions were generally under-valued as he played in the shadows of future Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski.
Born in the Bronx, Malzone was signed by the Red Sox in 1947. After serving his minor league apprenticeship and two years of military service, he played his first full season with Boston in 1957, hitting .292 with 31 doubles, 15 home runs and 103 runs batted in. He was runner-up to Yankees shortstop Tony Kubek for Rookie of the Year honors. He followed that performance by batting .295 in 1958 with 15 home runs and 87 RBIs, and hit .280 in 1959 with 19 homers and 92 RBIs. His 34 doubles were second in the American League (to Harvey Kuenn of the Detroit Tigers).
From 1960 through 1963, Malzone was the model of consistency for the Red Sox, batting .278 and averaging 16 home runs and 83 RBIs per season. His best season in the 1960s came in 1962, when he batted .283 with 21 home runs and 95 RBIs.
There was a sharp decline in Malzone’s power numbers after the 1963 season. In 1965, he was released by the Red Sox and signed with the California Angels. He appeared in 82 games with the Angels in 1966, hitting .206 with 2 home runs and 12 RBIs. He retired following the 1966 season.
In 12 big league seasons, Malzone batted .274 with 1,486 hits, including 239 doubles and 133 home runs. He was named to the American League All-Star team six times, and was a three-time Gold Glove winner.