Signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, Rocky Nelson reported to club’s Class D affiliate in Johnson City in 1942. After just 53 games in the minors, the slick-fielding first baseman served three years in the U.S. army, before returning to the Cardinals system in 1946.
Though he enjoyed several stints in the majors, Nelson is best known as an International League superstar. Employing an unorthodox batting stance, Nelson became the only player to capture the International League MVP award three times – with the Montreal Royals in 1953 and 1955 and with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1958. He also won two triple crowns: in 1955, he hit .364 with 37 homers and 130 RBIs, and in 1958, he topped the circuit with a .326 batting average, 43 home runs and 120 RBIs.
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