Skowron, former White Sox slugger, dies at 81
Chicago native worked for team in community relations
Former White Sox slugger Moose Skowron, a community relations representative for the team, died Friday at the age of 81. Skowron was a victim of lung cancer, diagnosed in March 2011.
Skowron died of congestive heart failure at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Ill.
Famous for his years spent with the powerful Yankees clubs of the 1950s and '60s that featured the likes of Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Yogi Berra, Skowron spent at least parts of his last four big league seasons playing for his hometown White Sox. A Chicago native, Skowron was acquired by the White Sox from Washington in 1964, and played for them until early 1967. He worked for them the past 13 years.
"We all have lost a dear, dear friend today," White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said. "While Moose may have become a star in New York with the Yankees, he was a Chicagoan through and through. I certainly will miss his priceless stories about Casey Stengel, Roger Maris, Hank Bauer and of course, his good friend, Mickey Mantle.
"A few years ago, we started a tradition of holding monthly lunches here at the ballpark, and the laughter and conversation always centered around Moose. My guess is that right now Mickey, Roger, Hank and Moose are enjoying a good laugh together."
The right-handed-hitting first baseman wasted no time making an impression with the South Siders upon his arrival. In 1965, his first full season with the Sox, Skowron was selected to his eighth All-Star Game -- his first since qualifying for five straight years with the Yanks from 1957-61. Skowron tied for the team lead with 18 homers and also drove in a team-best 78 runs in leading the White Sox to a 95-67 record, second-best in the American League.
Skowron had a knack for winning throughout his career, playing in eight World Series and winning five -- four with the Yankees and one with the Dodgers. Starting in 1999, he helped bring that winning nature to the White Sox when he joined the community relations department as part of the organization's speakers bureau, making appearances and greeting fans on behalf of the team. He was part of the front office when the White Sox won their first World Series title in 88 years in 2005.
As for his post-playing career, Skowron served as a representative alongside other White Sox greats such as Carlos May, Bill Melton, Minnie Minoso, Donn Pall, Billy Pierce and Dan Pasqua.
"Moose, a Chicago native who was an All-Star for the White Sox in 1965, continued to contribute to our game as a member of the front office of his hometown team since 1999," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "He was a wonderful storyteller and an important link to a great era in baseball history."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who also played for the club for 10 seasons, described Skowron as "a one-of-a-kind kind of guy."
"Tough news," Ventura said. "Health-wise, we've been getting a lot of rough news, but he was a great man. It's one of those where he was a friend to everybody and everybody loved seeing him when he comes in. We're going to miss him."
For his career, Skowron hit 211 home runs (29 of which were with the Sox) and drove in 888 runs (146 with Chicago).
Skowron attended Weber High School and then Purdue University on a football scholarship before focusing on baseball. He is survived by his wife, Lorraine "Cookie;" daughter Lynnette (husband Steve), and granddaughter Addyson; son Greg (wife Sheryl) and grandsons Jordan, Grant and Blake; and son Steve. Skowron also is survived by his brother Edward (wife Dorothy and daughter Lisa). Visitation services will be held on April 30, with funeral services taking place the following day.