24 March, 2009
Jacob Nelson Fox was a Major League Baseball second baseman for the Chicago White Sox. Fox was born in St. Thomas Township, Pennsylvania. He was selected as the MVP of the American League in 1959. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.
Fox began his career with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1947, though he was never a full-time starter during his three seasons with the team. Traded to the White Sox October 29, 1949, Fox's career took off. He spent 14 seasons with Chicago, making 10 All-Star teams. He played his final two seasons (1964-65) with the Houston Colt .45s and Astros.
With the White Sox, Fox played next to a pair of slick-fielding shortstops, Venezuelans Chico Carrasquel (1950-55) and Hall-of-Famer Luis Aparicio (1956-62), and was, year after year, a member of the best defensive infield in the League. Fox won Gold Gloves in 1957, 1959 and 1960.
Only 5-foot-9, he made up for his modest size and minimal power — he hit only 35 home runs in his career, and never more than six in a single season — with his good batting eye, excellent fielding, and base running speed. Fox was perennially one of the toughest batters to strike out, fanning just 216 times in his career, an average of once every 42.7 at-bats which ranks him 3rd all-time. He led the league in most at-bats per strikeouts a phenomenal 13 times in his career. Although not known as a great hitter (lifetime .288 batting average), he batted over .300 six times, with 2,663 hits, 355 doubles, and 112 triples. He also led the league in singles for seven straight years, in triples once, and in hits four times.
After his playing career, Fox was a coach for the Astros (1965-67) and the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers (1968-72).
Nellie Fox died of lung cancer in Baltimore, Maryland in 1975.