How Nellie Fox’s mother got him a tryout with the Philadelphia A’s

Parents are your biggest fans. Nellie Fox’s mother wrote a letter to Connie Mack when her son was 16 asking for a tryout for young Nelson.

A few weeks later he traveled the 60 miles by train from tiny St. Thomas Township to Frederick, Maryland, the site of the A’s training camp. Fox wore a pair of borrowed cleats and the jersey of the St. Thomas team that he and his father both played for.

At that point he was a runt, weighing no more than 145 pounds. He looked like a bat boy. But Mack liked the way Fox hustled and he was impressed at how the teenager made contact on almost every pitch he swung at. He signed Fox to a contract but Nellie’s career took a detour when he was drafted into the Army. Finally, in 1947 the little second baseman debuted for the A’s and he eventually played nearly 2,300 games in the majors at second base, most of them in a White Sox uniform. 

The way Nellie saw it, he never had any other options than baseball.

“I had to be a ballplayer,” Fox said. “I wasn’t very good at school and I didn’t have any outside hobbies. I played ball. That’s what I did.”

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Visit the Helmar website to register and bid on exclusive handmade baseball cards.

One thought

  1. This geezer is one of my faves. There is some good oddball memorabilia of him around including 1960-63 White Sox picture tickets, and 50s Bowman and early topps cards. The Senators had him as a coach in late 60s, early 70s into the early Texas Rangers era, along with Ted Williams as manager. That’s the way to go in my opinion, big name coaches with high profile. ________________________________

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