In Memory of Billy Goodman

Billy Goodman, RedSox player and batting champion in 1950
Neil Singelais, The Boston Globe
October 3, 1984

(c) Houston Astros
Billy Goodman, who played just about every position for the Red Sox from 1947 to 1957 and won the American League batting championship in 1950, died yesterday, after a year-long battle with cancer, in Sarasota, Fla., his home the last 34 years. He was 58.

Mr. Goodman led the American League in hitting with a batting average of.354 while playing for the Red Sox in 1950. A skinny left-handed batter with a high-pitched Southern drawl, he collected many of his career 1691 base hits by mastering the art of spraying drives to the opposite field. He had a career batting average of .300 during his 16 years in the major leagues.

During his 11 years in Boston, the Concord, N.C., native hit for .300 or better five times, and between .293 and .298 on three other occasions.

Not noted for his power, he hit only 19 home runs in his major league career. But throughout that career Mr. Goodman displayed his versatility with a glove, playing all four infield positions - first base, second base, third base and shortstop - as well as the outfield. One of his most memorable fielding moments occurred Aug. 14, 1951, during a game with the Athletics in Philadelphia where he helped the Red Sox win the game by converting a line drive hit by Hank Majesski into a triple play.

Mr. Goodman was named to the American League All-Star team in 1949 and 1953. His teammates during that Red Sox era included Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, Walt Dropo, Ted Lepcio, Mel Parnell and Birdie Tebbetts.

In 1957 he was traded from Boston to the Baltimore Orioles. The following year he was traded to the Chicago White Sox, where he played four seasons, including five games in the 1959 World Series. He finished his career with the expansion Houston Colt 45s in 1962. His last contact with major league baseball was with the Atlanta Braves in 1976, when he was an instructor and coach.

In recent years, Mr. Goodman's interests were spent in real estate and farming in Sarasota. He was also known locally for his interest and involvement in youth sports, particularly Little League and Babe Ruth League baseball.

"I knew Billy was sick when I saw him last summer at Fenway Park for the Red Sox Old Timers Game," said Parnell from New Orleans. "He was a great team player and very talented. He had as good bat control as anyone I ever saw. He was smart enough to use the left field wall to get a lot of his hits."

Tebbetts, a Red Sox teammate of Goodman's for four years, said from Anna Maria, Fla., that "Billy was one of the finest men ever to play baseball. I feel badly about it. He was a great hitter and a great guy. And he was one of the best fielding first basemen I ever saw."

Funeral plans were incomplete.

Billy Goodman is Dead at 58; A Batting Champion in 1950
The New York Times

SARASOTA, Fla., Oct. 2 (UPI) - Billy Goodman, whose .354 batting average for the Boston Red Sox in 1950 lead the American League, died Monday night at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. He was 58 years old and had suffered from cancer for the last year.

Goodman, a longtime resident of Sarasota, had a career batting average of .300 in his 16 years in the major leagues. Most of the career was spent with Boston, although he later played for the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox and was with the Houston Colt 45's, the predecessor of the Astros, in his final season, 1962.

William Dale Goodman, a native of Concord, N.C., joined the Red Sox in 1947 as an outfielder but was converted to the infield the next year and spent most of his career there. At one time or another, he played every infield position.

He played in one World Series, in 1959, batting .231 in five games for the White Sox, who lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games.

He is survived by his wife, Evelyn, and a son, Robert, both of Sarasota; a daughter, Kathy J. Goodman of Atlanta, and two brothers.