Arky Vaughan

Joseph Floyd Vaughan
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1985
Primary team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Primary position: Shortstop

Arky Vaughan was the premier shortstop of his era and one of the best in baseball history. He hit .300 or better in each of his first 10 major league seasons—all with the Pittsburgh Pirates—and led the National League in runs and triples three years apiece, as well as triples once.

Vaughan was born in Arkansas, and although his family moved to Fullerton, Calif., when he was an infant, he was nicknamed "Arky" when he was a child because he spoke with an Arkansas accent, picked up from his family.

He was a noted high school athlete who received interest from colleges for his football talent, but he signed a baseball contract with the minor league Wichita Aviators in 1931. He hit .338 in his only season in the minors, then joined the Pirates in 1932 at the age of 20.

Vaughan rose to stardom quickly, and played in his first of nine straight All-Star Games in 1934. He hit .364 in his career in midsummer classics, highlighted by a two-homer, four-RBI game in 1941. That performance was overshadowed by Ted Williams' game-winning home run in the ninth inning, however.

Vaughan's best season was 1935, when he led the NL in batting, slugging and on-base percentage. His .385 average that year was the highest in the 20th century for a National League shortstop.

Vaughan was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers in late 1941, and though he led the NL in runs and stolen bases in 1943, he was never as great a player as he was in Pittsburgh. He clashed with fiery manager Leo Durocher in 1943 and sat out the next three years. He said the absence was so he could devote his time to his California farm in support of the war effort.

After Durocher's suspension from baseball for the 1947 season, Vaughan returned to the Dodgers and hit .325 in 64 games as a 35-year-old. He retired from the majors for good after the 1949 season.

Vaughan died tragically in 1952 at the age of 40, when a sudden storm capsized his fishing boat on a lake near his California home. Vaughan tried to save his companion, who could not swim, and they both drowned. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1985.

Fellow Arkansan and Hall of Famer Travis Jackson played against Vaughan and later described him as “a quiet and solid sort of guy. He never raised any fuss, he just played ball hard all the time.”

"A .300 hitter, year in and year out, and he could run and field with the best of them. "
Buddy Hassett

Career stats

Year Inducted: 1985
Primary Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position Played: Shortstop
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Birth place: Clifty, Arkansas
Birth year: 1912
Died: 1952, Eaglesville, California
Played for:
Pittsburgh Pirates (1932-1941)
Brooklyn Dodgers (1942-1943)
Brooklyn Dodgers (1947-1948)
At BatsAB
Home RunsHR
Stolen BasesSB
Batting AverageBA
On Base %OBP
Slugging %SLG