Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hank Arft Gone 8 Years Now

Henry "Hank" Arft, a first baseman for the St. Louis Browns from 1948-52, died Dec. 14, 2002, at the age of 80 after a bout with cancer.

In 1951, Arft hit .261 with 7 home runs and 42 RBIs, his most productive season in the major leagues. In his career, he hit .253 with 13 home runs. Arft is reported to have written about his days in St. Louis in a St. Louis Browns Historical Society newsletter. At the time Arft played, Bill Veeck was drawing fans to see the team with stunts including Eddie Gaedel, a midget player.
"The Brownie fans were the best ... although Veeck should have owned a circus instead of a ballclub," Arft wrote.

He is also reported to have said, "Who else except a Brownie could say that they played ball with a midget or played in a game that the fans managed?"
Arft retired from baseball in 1953 and became co-owner of Schrader Funeral Home in St. Louis with his wife and brother-in-law.

Sources: AP, Total Baseball

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