Nellie Fox

Jacob Nelson Fox
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1997
Primary team: Chicago White Sox
Primary position: 2nd Baseman

“Fox is what you’d call a manager’s ballplayer. He does his job expertly and he does it every day. He’s the type of player you can count on. He’s an old pro. A great many times, he is hurting pretty badly from the dumpings he’s taken on the field, but he’s always ready to play,” Hall of Fame manager Al Lopez said.

Jacob Nelson Fox, or Nellie as he would come to be known, was born in St. Thomas, Pa., on Christmas Day 1927. Less than 20 years later, he would make his debut in the Major Leagues at the ripe age of 19 for the Philadelphia Athletics. Trade winds carried him to the Chicago White Sox after the 1949 season, and here truly begins the story of Nellie Fox.

In 1951, after his uninspiring debut season for the Sox in which he hit only .247, Nellie began an eleven season stretch of All-Star selections, playing in a total of 1,691 games. This period also included a 798 consecutive game streak, the 11th longest of its kind in major league history. Over these years, Fox batted .299 and had 561 walks while striking out only 146 times. This would come to be one of Nellie’s defining traits: a refusal to give in at the plate. Fox is one of the toughest outs in Major League Baseball history, recording only 216 strikeouts in over 10,000 plate appearances. In addition to his solidarity at the plate, Nellie was also one of the best defenders to ever play second base.

The Gold Glove Awards were first handed out in 1957 and Fox was the inaugural American League second base recipient. Long lauded for his defensive prowess, Fox would go on to win two more Gold Gloves in 1959 and 1960.

Nellie Fox had arguably the best year of his career in 1959, a season in which he hit .306 and captured the American League MVP award, narrowly edging out his double play partner, Luis Aparicio. This would be the only year Fox tasted the postseason and while the White Sox would lose to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, Nellie rose to the occasion, leading the Sox with a .375 batting average.

In 1975, skin cancer claimed Nellie Fox; he was 47 years old. Twenty-two years later, he entered the Hall of Fame.

"I've never seen anybody who wanted to play more than Fox did. In Spring Training, you had to run him off the field to get him to rest, and I mean literally run him off. "
Paul Richards

Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS
Year Inducted: 1997
Primary Team: Chicago White Sox
Position Played: 2nd Baseman
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Birth place: St. Thomas, Pennsylvania
Birth year: 1927
Died: 1975, Baltimore, Maryland
Played for:
Philadelphia Athletics (1947-1949)
Chicago White Sox (1950-1963)
Houston Astros (1964-1965)
CAREER AT A GLANCE
GamesG
2367
At BatsAB
9232
RunsR
1279
HitsH
2663
Doubles2B
355
Triples3B
112
Home RunsHR
35
RBIRBI
790
Stolen BasesSB
76
WalksBB
719
Batting AverageBA
.288
OPSOPS
.710
On Base %OBP
.348
Slugging %SLG
.363