What Paul O’Neill was to the Yankees of the 1990s, Hank Bauer was to the Yankees of the 1950s: a hard-nosed outfield gamer with a solid arm, a solid bat, and a penchant for the big hit. Bauer joined the Yankees after serving as a Marine on the Pacific Front during WWII—he fought at Guadalcanal and Okinawa, receiving two bronze stars and two purple hearts—and brought that toughness to the ballpark every day. He was a 3-time All Star, and won 9 pennants and 7 World Series as a Yankee. His 17-game World Series hit streak is a record that stands today. After his playing days ended, he stayed in the dugout and became a 2-time AL Manager of the Year, winning another World Series with the Orioles in 1966. For that, he found himself on the cover of Time. Bauer doesn’t have the stats for the Hall, and his number is not to be found in Monument Park. Fair enough: he was never “The Show.” But the show would not have been the show without him. He won’t be forgotten.
Yogi Berra: “I am truly heartbroken. Hank was a wonderful teammate and friend for so long. Nobody was more dedicated and proud to be a Yankee, he gave you everything he had.”
George Steinbrenner: “Hank Bauer is an emblem of a generation that helped shape the landscape of our country. He was a natural leader and a teammate in every sense of the word, and his contributions went well beyond the baseball field.”