The Forgotten Yankee
;;;; ;;;;;;; New York Yankee fans
may not recognize the name George Stirnweiss. But the one-time Red Bank resident, a smooth-fielding second baseman nicknamed “Snu;y,” plays a key role
in Kevin Cook’s new book, Electric October
(Henry Holt). The book, about the memorable 1947 World Series between the victorious Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, centers around the teams’ respective
managers and four role players, including
Stirnweiss, who contributed seven hits and
“He was a wartime batting champ [his
.309 average topped the American League
in 1945] belittled as an undeserving
‘cheese champion’ who won his title while
so many stars were in the service,” says
Cook. After the war, Stirnweiss became
Phil Rizzuto’s double play partner and fellow world champion. “Those things added
up to a story I wanted to tell,” adds Cook.
Stirnweiss’s daughter, Rumson resident
Ellen Stirnweiss Pittman, is thrilled with
Cook’s topic. “My dad was an important
part of baseball history, but plenty of fans
today have never heard of him,” she says.
“I hope the book reminds a lot of people
about his life and his baseball career.”
Stirnweiss and his wife, Jayne, who met
in 1942 when he played for the Newark
Bears, raised six children in Red Bank. Stirn-
weiss retired from baseball in 1952, and
coached the Red Bank Catholic football
team to a state title in 1954. Four years lat-
er, Stirnweiss, then 39, died when his New
York-bound commuter train crashed into
Newark Bay near Bayonne. He is buried in
Mount Olivet Cemetery in Middletown.
His daughter, just 16 months old when
Stirnweiss died, has some keepsakes from
her father’s playing career, including the
glove he used in the 1947 World Series. “It’s
on my dresser,” she says. “Every night when
I say my prayers, I look at pictures of my
mom, and my dad’s glove.”—Tom Mackin
starred for the
Yankees in the
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