Billy Goodman Essentials
Bats: Left Throws: Right
Height: 5-11 Weight: 165
Born: March 22, 1926 in Concord, NC USA
Died: October 1, 1984 in Sarasota, FL USA
Debut: April 19, 1947
Last Game: September 30, 1962
Full Name: William Dale Goodman
The versatile Goodman led the AL in batting with a .354 mark in 1950, one of five times he hit .300. He hit .290 or better 11 straight years (1948-58). But despite his steady hitting and versatile fielding, Goodman never quite achieved stardom.
He was an 18-year-old free agent when he played his first year of pro baseball with the Atlanta Crackers in 1944. His first season would be a memorable one as the young outfielder would lead the Southern Association in runs scored with 122 and triples with 13. Billy also was near the leaders with a .336 batting average.
The United States Military Service would call in 1945 and Bill would spend this year with the Navy in the South Pacific helping finish up World War II. He would get back in time in 1946 to appear in 86 outings, again with the Atlanta Crackers, hitting at a .389 pace with 129 hits in 332 at-bats. This would get Goodman a longtime home, as the Atlanta club would send him to the Boston Red Sox, before the 1947 season in an unknown transaction.
Starting out as the regular first baseman for the powerful 1948 Red Sox, he led AL first basemen in total chances per game in 1948 and in fielding in 1949 while hitting .298. Because the lefthanded batter had no home run power and was capable at almost every position, he moved aside to accommodate the arrival of slugging first baseman Walt Dropo in 1950. He moved to left field for the second half of the season when Ted Williams fractured his elbow in the 1950 All-Star Game, and proceeded to finish the year with a .354 average to win the 1950 American League batting title.
He took over as the regular at second base in 1952 after Bobby Doerr retired, and he led AL second basemen in total chances per game. He kept the job through 1956, finishing third in the AL in batting in 1953 (.313) and second in walks in 1955 (99). After leading the league’s second basemen in errors in 1956 and starting out batting .063 in 1957, he was traded to the Orioles for Mike Fornieles. From then on, he played mainly third base, backing up George Kell for a year and then moving on to the White Sox in 1958. He was a dependable reserve on the White Sox’ 1959 pennant-winners.
Goodman was with the Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox and expansion Houston Colt 45s at the end of his big league days, and shared third base with Bubba Phillips for the pennant-winning 1959 White Sox. Defensively he was in over 600 games at second base, 400-plus at first base, over 300 at third base and 100 more in the outfield along with a handful at shortstop.
He remained in baseball for a time as a minor league manager (1963-65) and coach for the Atlanta Braves (1968-70) and was also a scout before retiring. He additionally owned an antique store in Sarasota, FL, the city where he died October 1, 1984, at age 58.
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