All-Time Indians: Bill Wambsganss

Name: William Adolph Wambsganss Position: Second Base
Tribe Time: 1914-1923 DOB: 03/19/1894
Accolades: Top 25 MVP (1922)
Stats G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS SB% OBP SLG AVG OPS ISOP
Best Season (1921) 107 410 80 117 28 5 2 47 161 44 27 13 7 65% .359 .393 .285 .752 .107
Career 1170 4191 556 1083 159 50 6 429 1360 376 295 122 60 67% .308 .325 .258 .633 .066
Post Season Career 7 26 3 4 0 0 0 1 4 3 1 0 0 0% .241 .154 .154 .395 .000

Wambsganss was part of what was possibly the rarest play in the history of Major League Baseball. In 1920, he became the only player in the history of baseball to turn an unassisted triple play in the World Series. There have been just eight total in American League history and Indians players have made three of them, including the first ever (Neal Ball in 1909) and the last (Asdrubal Cabrera, 2008). Like most unassisted triple plays, Wamby caught a line drive with the runners going, touched second and tagged the runner coming from first.

Despite being only known for this one play, Wambsganss was actually one of the best second basemen in Indians history. He directly took over for one of the most popular Indians of all time, Napoleon Lajoie, and helped lead the Tribe to their first World Series appearance and win in 1920. He then played for Cleveland for a decade, producing some of the most impressive numbers as a second baseman over that time. After he was traded in 1924 to Boston, the Indians were out of a decent secondbaseman until 1933 and the appearance of Odell Hale. The trade sent him, as well as Steve O’Neill, Dan Boone and Joe Connelly to the Red Sox for George Burns (the Indians first MVP), Chick Fewster (Wambsganss immediate replacement) and Roxy Walters.

During the World Series that he is so famous for, Bill also lead the team in at bats, playing in all seven games and scoring 3 runs and knocking in one. This is made even more impressive seeing that he only got on base six times during the entire series. Bill Wambsganss died in 1985.

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona.

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