Fox records seven straight hits in doubleheader

Part of the INSIDE PITCH series
Written by: Steven Walters

By 1956, White Sox second baseman Nellie Fox earned a reputation of being a tough out after leading the league in hits twice and striking out only 96 times over nine seasons.

Fox took that reputation to a whole new level on Aug. 23, 1956, when he recorded seven straight hits over the course of a doubleheader against the Yankees.

The left-handed hitting Fox was putting together a typically strong 1956 campaign, coming into the game with 151 hits, a .305 batting average and only 12 strikeouts on the season.

Rip Coleman started the game for the Yankees and was greeted by a leadoff single by Luis Aparicio. Fox, the White Sox’s two-hole hitter, followed him with a single to put runners at first and second.

After a double steal by Aparicio and Fox, clean-up hitter Minnie Minoso drove both players home for an early White Sox lead.

Coleman surrendered three runs on five hits in one inning before being replaced by Don Larsen.

Fox came up again in the top of the second and singled home Aparicio, who had singled and swiped second. A fourth inning single was next for Fox, and with two outs in the sixth and runners on first and second, Fox singled again, scoring Bob Keegan, for his fourth-straight hit.

In his last at-bat of the game, Fox tagged Larsen for a two-out, two-run triple. The White Sox would win 8-3 as Fox went 5-for-5 with four RBI and two stolen bases.

Game 2 of the doubleheader featured a similar start for the White Sox offense. Fox singled to collect the first hit of the game, then scored on a Larry Doby triple. The Sox touched up Yankees starter Bob Turley for three runs in the first, knocking him out after one-third of an inning. Fox batted again in the second and hit a two-out single to center field, marking his seventh straight hit on the day.

Yankee pitching finally retired Fox in the third inning and kept him quiet the rest of the day, though the White Sox eventually won 6-4.

Fox finished the two contests 7-for-10 with a triple, four RBI and two runs scored. Including a hit the night before in his last at-bat against Boston, Fox fell just four hits shy of the then-major league record of 12 straight hits.

Though they won the series 3-1, the White Sox (85-69) finished the season in third behind the Indians and Yankees.

Fox ranked third in the American League behind Harvey Keunn and Al Kaline with 192 hits at the season’s end. Living up to his reputation as one of the AL’s toughest outs, he hit .296 and struck out only 14 times in 721 plate appearances.

The 15-time All-Star would go on to win the AL MVP Award in 1959, hitting .306 with 34 doubles, 70 RBI and a .380 OBP, while striking out only 13 times.

Fox finished his 19-year MLB career after the 1965 season with the Houston Astros, helping nurture future Hall of Famer Joe Morgan at second base. Fox compiled a .288 average, 2,663 hits and 790 RBI while striking out only 216 times in 10,351 plate appearances. Also known as a very good defender at second base, he won three Gold Glove Awards despite playing about half of his career before the award was established in 1957.

In 1975, at the age of 47, Fox passed away. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1997.

“The Hall of Fame is for special people who contributed to baseball and made it a better game,” Joe Morgan told the Associated Press in 1997. “Nellie Fox made it a better game than it was before he came along.”

Steven Walters was a public relations intern in the Hall of Fame’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development

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Part of the INSIDE PITCH series