No. 263 Bob Elliott (Number 21 Third Base)

I always think about Bob Elliott as a member of the Boston Braves, but he was a Pittsburg Pirate longer and started his career there. I knew Elliot started off as an outfielder. After playing 3 seasons, two as a mediocre starter, Bob Elliot came to spring training and Frankie Frisch said he was going to play third. Lee Handley the regular third baseman from the year before was off in the military for World War II according to Elliott’s SABR biography. However, while Handley didn’t play in 1942 or 1943 he is not shown as being in the military. He could have worked for a defense contractor or something like that.

Elliott actually turned into a sold third basemen. Basically, he was an average third baseman, but that is darn good when taking over the position in his fourth major league season. Elliott received MVP votes for his first four seasons at third base, the war years. Playing third base for me, worked will for Elliott. He didn’t have a lot of power and was overall a good hitter, but never a great hitter. In 1946 when the stars came back Elliott didn’t have a very good season. So, the Pirates traded him and Hank Camelli to the Boston Braves for four players. One of the players was Billy Herman who was at the end of his career and didn’t produce much.

Two things happened with the Braves. Billy Southworth, according to Elliott’s SABR biography, told Elliott he had plenty of talent and had to hustle more. Another, perhaps more important was the fences were closer and Elliott who had a personal record of 10 homeruns in a season hit 22. He also showed patience at the play increasing his walks. He then had the best three years of his career starting at age 30.

Elliott was MVP in 1947 and the Braves won the pennant in 1948. He had five good to great years with the Braves. Then the Braves knew when to get rid of him as they traded him to the Giants for the 1952 season. Elliott, now age 35 had two more seasons, but wasn’t the player he was earlier, so retired after the 1953 season.


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