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Thread: Sam Mele - 2nd-ever Twins Manager and 10-year MLB Outfielder dies at 95

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    Sam Mele - 2nd-ever Twins Manager and 10-year MLB Outfielder dies at 95

    Sam Mele has passed away at age 95. He managed the Twins to a World Series appearance in 1965 and took over as Twins Manager midway through their inaugural season of 1961. At age 39, Mele succeeded Cookie Lavagetto, previously the Washington Senators manager for the franchise's last four years in the nation's capitol (1957-1960). Lavagetto made the transition to Minnesota to be the Twins' first manager, but was fired after only about the first 2/5 of that season. Mele managed the team for the final 101 games of 1961 and began a seven year run as the Twins' skipper. with the team improving rapidly and bearing little resemblance to the perennial cellar-dwelling Senators. Mele benefited from an influx of young talented players such as Tony Oliva, Bob Allison and Jimmie Hall and the maturing of young veterans like Harmon Killebrew, Camilo Pascual and Jim Kaat. The Twins became a winning and a contending team during Mele's reign as his 524-436, .546 winning percentage managing record attests. Mele managed the Twins to the cusp of a World Series championship with the Twins a nearly even match for the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 1965 world's title as the Series went the distance - to the full seven games. The Dodgers' legend, Sandy Koufax outdueled Minnesota's Jim Kaat in the decisive Game Seven.
    Mele had a good career as a MLB outfielder that began in the Post-WWII Era of 1947. His MLB playing debut at age 25 was delayed by his military service during World War Two. In late 1945-1946 Mele was an Italian-American kid from Astoria, Queens, NYC and one of thousands of newly discharged GIs trying to find their way in transition from wartime to peacetime, but unlike most of them Mele was bound for some pretty big things and a memorable playing and managing career. Mele's best year may have been his rookie season with the Red Sox as he hit .302 with 73 RBI in '47, his only .300 season. He was an everyday player through 1953, before becoming more of a spare outfielder/pinch hitter in his final three seasons through 1956. He hit a solid, if unspectacular .267 with 80 home runs in 1,048 career games. He played for the National League's Cincinnati Reds and five American League teams. Aside from his rookie campaign of 1947, Mele had a four-season peak of 1950 to 1953 where he enjoyed his best seasons. In 1951 he led the American League in Doubles with 36 and drove in a career high 94 runs. He followed that year with a career high in home runs (16) in 1952. Over the course of his career he moved around quite a bit playing for the Red Sox, Senators, White Sox, Orioles, Indians and Reds, but the Minnesota Twins were the only team he ever managed.
    Wikipedia listed Mele among the 15 oldest living major leaguers until the time of his passing.

    - from Dennis Orlandini (philliesfiend55)-
    Last edited by philliesfiend55; 05-03-2017 at 05:23 PM.

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