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Gil McDougald

September 30, 2000

Lucille McDougald spoke for her husband. Former New York Yankee infielder Gil McDougald is hearing impaired, and while his cochlear implant helps him connect face-to-face, he is still a little uncomfortable with the telephone.

Lucille conducted the interview herself, and relayed Gil's thoughts to us. He didn't speak of his own accomplishments. It was all about the team, about "playing ten years for the New York Yankees...in the 50's, when the game was very competitive, when the guys were like a family."

He spoke about the relationships which continue today, about the eight pennants and five world championships, and about being in the lineup every day.

While he still enjoys baseball and gets a kick out of what Tiger Woods is doing, McDougald's first love is basketball, and he would have pursued a hoops career, if not for the fact that he "wasn't tall or enough or quick enough" to be successful.

A year after winning the 1950 Texas League MVP, McDougald was named the American League Rookie of the Year, beating out a teammate, fella by the name of Mickey Mantle. He batted .306 that year, and became the first rookie to hit a World Series grand slam, leading the Yankees with seven RBI in the series.

Handy at second base, third and short, McDougald appeared in 53 World Series games, with 45 hits, seven homers and 24 RBI, and singled in the winning run in the 1958 All-Star game. McDougald is also known for hitting the line drive which struck Cleveland pitcher Herb Score in the face, prematurely ending his career, in the 1957 All-Star game. Declining a chance to continue his career with the expansion Washington Senators, Gil retired a Yankee in 1961.

The McDougalds have lived in New Jersey since Gil's playing days, moving recently to Wall from Spring Lake. With the team's permission, McDougald started Yankee Building Management in 1954, which he ran with a partner until '87. He also coached baseball at Fordham University, in the Bronx, from 1966 to '75.

Now happily retired, McDougald is active in the cochlear implant community, and speaks occasionally for the Denver-based Cochlear Corporation. He doesn't show up for every Yankee Stadium oldtimer's game, or every tribute; just the important ones, like the ones honoring his old mates, Dr. Bobby Brown, Yogi, and Joe DiMaggio.

Howard Cole



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