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Ex-Cubs, Dodgers and Braves outfielder Andy Pafko died

Oct 9, 2013, 4:30 PM EDT

You may not know who Andy Pafko was, but you’ve seen him. He shows up ever so briefly here, at the left field wall, at the 27-second mark:

That quick shot of Andy Pafko watching Bobby Thomson’s pennant-winning home run go over the wall is part of one of baseball’s greatest moments (or worst, depending on your point of view). It also inspired the prologue to Don DeLillo’s epic novel Underworld, entitled “Pafko at the Wall.”

Andy Pafko died yesterday at the age of 92.

Pafko was more than a small detail in a grander moment. He was an excellent outfielder. He played in the majors for 17 years. He came up with the Cubs, for whom he played in the 1945 World Series. He returned to the World Series with the Dodgers in 1952 and the Braves in 1957 and 1958.

He was a four-time All-Star who picked up MVP votes in multiple seasons. For his career he hit .285/.350/.449 with 213 homer runs and 976 RBI. Maybe not a guy who, if he was your best hitter, could lead you to the World Series himself, but a good-to-excellent player who would be at home on any pennant winner. A pretty profoundly overlooked player by modern fans, I’d say.

  1. Mark Armour - Oct 9, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    Buzzy Bavasi often said this was one of his favorite deals. Bavasi inherited the GM job from Branch Rickey, who had been forced out of ownership and moved to Pittsburgh. The Dodgers had stars coming out their ears, but needed a left fielder. Bavasi dealt for Pafko at the 1951 deadline, and he was aces for a year and a half on two great teams.

    Missed out on winning the title with Brooklyn, instead getting traded to his hometown and winning with the Braves. By all accounts he loved Milwaukee his whole life, and was revered there.

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  2. mybrunoblog - Oct 9, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    Anyone who hangs around the big leagues for 17 years must have been a heck of a player. I believe Pafko was the last surviving member of the 1945 Cubs world series team. 92 years. Well done Andy. RIP.

    • deepstblu - Oct 9, 2013 at 6:55 PM

      One more ’45 Cub is still living–shortstop Lennie Merullo, who is 96.

  3. tfbuckfutter - Oct 9, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    I recognize the name more because I want to say he was mentioned on The Simpsons or another show I watched frequently.

  4. holleywood9 - Oct 9, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    His card is worth a lot of money. Probably even more now. That said the cubs need to get more players like him to return to promise land again

  5. atlsportingreports - Oct 9, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    Reblogged this on atlsportingreports.

  6. tmohr - Oct 9, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    One of my sainted mother’s favorite players, and from all reports, a true gentleman of the game. RIP.

  7. seserdr1975 - Oct 9, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Andy was one of my favorite players on the ’45 Cubs. Those who played Micro League Baseball, know what I mean. Sad to think that those who played on the last Cubs World Series team, they are almost all gone.

  8. brianincbus - Oct 9, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    I’m glad Brian McCann wasn’t around then, he never would have tolerated the showboating of those players!

  9. tannethrill - Oct 9, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    Bruce Willis was chasing after his Andy Pafko card in Copout with Tracy Morgan.

  10. dlf9 - Oct 9, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    Something I never noticed before … Ralph Branca was pitching from the windup with runners on base. You’d think Whitey Lockman and Clint Hartung would have stolen freely. (Yes, I remembered those names without having to look it up.)

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  12. Devin Rambo - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    I’m going from memory, but I’ve always remembered Pafko for being a bit of a curiosity to baseball card collectors. Collectors trying to put together a complete set of 1952 Topps cards – that’s the one featuring the Mickey Mantle rookie card that goes for a bazillion dollars on eBay – are hard up to find Pafko cards in good condition because he was card #1. That is of course the card most likely to have the edges all roughed up by kids rubber banding their cards together.

    As someone who collected cards pretty hardcore for a while, I always thought it was interesting that Pafko’s card would be more valuable than the one for Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, and Willie Mays.

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