Frank Malzone is a former third basemen who spent the overwhelming majority of his successful MLB career playing for the Red Sox. Spending ten out of his eleven seasons in the majors with the Sox, Malzone was an established slugger and three time Gold Glove award winner.
Ironically, Malzone was born in the Bronx and was a Yankees fan growing up. Born on February 28, 1930, Malzone learned the game of baseball from his siblings growing up but didn’t start playing for his high school team until his junior year. His original intent was to become an electrician, but he started thinking about playing baseball later on in high school.
The decision ultimately paid off. In 1949 Malzonebegan to climb the minor league ladder, beginning in Class C and playing for the Oneoeta Red Sox. It was while playing here that he met his wife, Amelia Gennerino.
With Oneonta, Malzone batted .329 and led the team in average. He was also ranked amongst the leaders in the Canadian-American League. Things were looking good for Malzone, but in the following season he suffered a setback when he broke his leg and appeared in only two games. In 1951 he returned to the game and played well but still could not advance his career as he was summoned to the United States Army in 1952. He spent all of ’52 and ’53 serving in the military.
With the military, Malzone had the chance to demonstrate his skills as a ballplayer, playing for the Fort Shafter Commandos of the Hawaiian Armed Forces League while he was stationed there. The time there was key in keeping his baseball skills sharp.
Malzone was finally able to return to Triple A ball in 1954 and played in his first spring training in 1955 for the Red Sox. His major league came on September 17 of that year when he was called in as a pinch runner, and his first start came a few days later on the 20th when he played both games of a double header against Baltimore. Though he went 6-10 on the day Malzone would not play another game for the Sox for another six months and, perhaps not entire coincidentally, the Sox lost every single one of the games that Malzone did not play in.
1957 was Malzone’s first full season, and it was a successful one. After struggling through the 1956 season because of the impact that the tragic loss of his 15-month old daughter, Suzanne, Malzone was back in ’57 and drove in 103 runs. In one game he even tied an American League record at the time with 10 assists in a game. That year he was the first player to lead the league at his position, third base, in games played, putouts, errors, assists, double plays, and fielding percentage.
The success continued for Malzone as the years went on. In 1958 he led the league with 627 at-bats and hit for his career-high average of .295. From 1958 to 1961 he led American League third basemen in double plays each year.
1962 was his best season, and was a season in which Malzone hit .283 with 21 homeruns and 95 RBI. Though he was not an all star in ’62, he was eight other times. In 1959, he was the last third basemen to win a Gold Glove Award at the position before Brooks Robinson began his 16-year run on the award. You can see his full line of stats here:
Malzone’s final season with the team came in 1965. After that season he became a free agent and spent one final season with the California Angels in 1966, but Malzone is a career member of the Red Sox. Upon retiring from playing professionally he spent 35 years as a scout for the team an now serves as a player development consultant for them.
In 1995 Malzone was inducted to the Red Sox Hall of Fame and lived as an active member of the community in Needham Massachusetts from 1975 to his passing in 2015.