August 6, 2013

Walter Arthur "Hoot" Evers

   Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1921, Evers gained the nickname "Hoot" as a child since he was a devoted fan of the films of Richard "Hoot" Gibson, a popular movie cowboy. He graduated from Collinsville High School in Collinsville, Illinois, then attended the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign where he was a star baseball and basketball player. Evers was signed by the Detroit Tigers as an amateur free agent in 1941 and was considered one of the brightest prospects in baseball. After playing one major league game on September 16, 1941, Evers' baseball career was put on hold while he served four years in the military during World War II.

   He returned to the Tigers in 1946, playing 76 games in center field, but missing half the season with a broken ankle. In 1947, the 26-year-old Evers finally played his first full season in the big leagues. He had a .296 batting average and a .344 on-base percentage. He was selected for the American League All-Star team in 1948 and 1950. Evers' career peaked in the three years from 1948 to 1950, hitting over .300 all three years and batting in over 100 runs in 1948 and 1950.

   His best season was in 1950 when he led the American League in triples and was among the American League leaders in most batting categories. That year, he had a .551 slugging percentage, 34 doubles, .959 OPS, 67 extra base hits, .323 batting average, 109 RBIs, 259 total bases, and .408 on-base percentage. He remains the only major league player to hit two triples and hit for the cycle in the same game.

   In 1951 his batting average dropped nearly 100 points from .323 to .224, and his RBI production dropped from 103 to 46. After playing only one game for the Tigers in 1952, Evers was traded on June 3, 1952 that sent George Kell, Johnny Lipon, Dizzy Trout, and Evers to the Boston Red Sox. He became the Red Sox starting left fielder in 1952, and he hit .262 with 59 RBIs. A broken finger in 1952 reportedly hampered Evers' grip, and he never regained his stroke. Evers played four more major league seasons from 1953 to 1956, but he did not hit above .251 or collect more than 39 RBIs. In 1,142 career games, Evers batted .278 with 98 home runs, 565 RBIs, and 1,055 hits.

   After his playing career ended, he worked in the Cleveland Indians organization for several years and was a member of the team's coaching staff in 1970. In 1971, he joined the Detroit Tigers as director of player development. In 1978, he became a special assignment scout for the Tigers in Houston. Evers died in Houston, Texas in 1991. He was 69 years old and had recently suffered a heart attack.

29° 46.636, -095° 37.034

Section 212
Memorial Oaks Cemetery

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