Nicknames: Gene, Ellie
Positions: c, of, 1b
Teams: Kansas City Monarchs (1948-1950), minor leagues (1950-1953), military service (1951-1952), major leagues (1955-1968)
Height: 6' 2'' Weight: 196
Born: February 23, 1929, St. Louis, Missouri
Died: December 14, 1980, New York, New York
Beginning in 1948, at age nineteen, the future New York Yankees' star played three seasons in the Negro Leagues with the Kansas City Monarchs as an outfielder-catcher. He posted batting averages of .283, .270, and .319 while hitting with good power. In 1950 he also played in organized baseball with Muskegon in the Central League and hit .283 for the last half of the season. After two years of military service he joined Kansas City in the American Association, where he hit .286. In 1954, with Toronto in the International League, he hit .330 with 22 homers, 21 doubles, and a league-leading 16 triples. The next season he went up to the Yankees, and for the next 13 years he was one of their most indispensable players. His best years were 1961, when he hit .248 with 21 homers, and 1963, when he hit .287 with 28 homers and 85 RBIs. Although an all-time Yankees favorite, he ended his major-league career in 1968 with the Boston Red Sox, finishing with a .274 lifetime major-league batting average.
Source: James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.