1. John R. Mize was born in Georgia in 1913. He was a cousin of Ty Cobb and his second cousin Clare married Babe Ruth.
2. In 1928 he joined the Piedmont College baseball team. At the time he was 15 and still attending High School (obviously eligibility rules were different then). He was good enough to catch the attention of Frank Rickey, Branch Rickey’s brother. After watching Mize play one semipro game in Taccoa Frank Rickey signed him to play for the Cardinals. In case you’re wondering where you know the name “Taccoa,” it’s the name of the town made famous in the TV series “Band of Brothers.” The original members of Easy Company trained there.
3. He joined the Cardinals farm system in 1930 and moved steadily up the chain. In 1932 St. Louis switched him from the outfield to first base because he was considered too slow to track down ball in the outfield.
4. In 1935 he was traded to Cincinnati, but because of a previous groin injury he failed his physical and was returned to the Cards.
5. He made the Cardinals roster in 1936 and remained with St. Louis through 1941. While with the Cards he won a batting title (1939), two home run titles (1939 and 1940), the 1940 RBI title, and picked up a triples title in 1938. In 1938 he had 16 triples and no stolen bases.
6. In 1942 he was traded to the New York Giants for $50,000 and three players: Bill Lohrman, Ken O’Dea, and John McCarthy. He led the NL in slugging and RBIs that season.
7. He lost 1943 through 1945 to World War II while in the Navy. His main Naval job was to play ball.
8. He returned to New York in 1946 and hit .337. In 1947 he led the league in runs and RBIs. He also led the league with 51 home runs. He struck out only 42 times, the only player to hit 50 home runs without striking out 50 times.
9. He won another home run title in 1948 and was traded late in 1949 across town and leagues to the Yankees. That got him to his first World Series.
10. He stayed with the Yanks through 1953. He initially played first base, but by the end of his career was doing a lot of pinch hitting. As a rule he did well enough in the World Series but in 1952 he was great. Mize hit .400, had three home runs and one double in six hits and drove in six runs.
11. He was done after 1953. He did some coaching, but spent most of his time making a living in real estate and running a liquor store. He was chosen for the Hall of Fame in 1981.
12. He died in Georgia in 1993.