Alex George (

Alex George

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Alex George ( World War I, six players have made their major-league debut before their 17th birthday. Alex George, the sixth-youngest when he debuted on September 16, 1955, at the age of 16 years, 11 months, 19 days, has the distinction of being the only one to make his first and last major-league appearance before his 17th birthday.

George’s major-league career took up just nine days of his nine-year professional baseball career.

Alex George was born to Alex George Sr. and Elizabeth George in Kansas City, Missouri, on September 27, 1938. The elder George worked for the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department and was the athletic director for the Kansas City Catholic Youth Organization. He was also the head of officials for the Big Eight Conference. His mother was a homemaker to the family, which included daughter Janice.

Alex Jr. was a three-sport standout for Rockhurst High School in Kansas City. He lettered four years in baseball and three each in football and basketball. He also competed in track and field. As a senior he led Rockhurst to league championships in football, basketball, and baseball.

After George was named the Most Valuable Football Player in the Kansas City area for 1954, his football coach described him as “one of the best quarterbacks in high school football.”1

His final high-school baseball season saw Rockhurst go 17-1 and earn a spot in the state tournament. George accepted a scholarship offer to play basketball and baseball for the University of Kansas. In early September 1955, he enrolled and was on campus when he got a phone call from his father. His father told him the Athletics, who were in their first season in Kansas City after moving from Philadelphia, had offered the younger George a contract. George drove home from Lawrence that night.

The next day, he signed the contract and immediately reported to Municipal Stadium. He was in uniform that night as the A’s opened a three-game series with the visiting Chicago White Sox.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, with the A’s leading 13-7, Kansas City manager Lou Boudreau sent George to pinch-hit for rookie shortstop Jerry Schypinski. With two outs and a runner at first base, George faced White Sox reliever Al Papai, who was pitching in the big leagues for the first time since 1950.

George struck out.

“This is a story I love to tell,” George recalled. “Sherm Lollar was a catcher for the White Sox at the time. Firmly entrenched major leaguer. So I approach the batter’s box and get in the batter’s box, and I got to tell you, my knees were shaking so hard, maybe he just felt sorry for me.”

“He scuffles around a little bit, and he says, “You ever hit a knuckleball?’”

“And I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Have you ever seen one?’”

“And I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘That’s all this guy throws. So you know what’s coming.’”

“I said, ‘All right.’ He threw two or three knuckleballs and nothing. And then I fouled a couple off, whatever.”

“And he reminded me, ‘That’s all this guy throws.’ I said, ‘OK.’”

“And I fouled a few more. I eventually struck out and it was a blessing just to get me out of the batter’s box.”

“So I take the field [George was a shortstop] and of course, and I’m sulking a little bit because I didn’t at least get the ball in play and we have two outs. Jim Rivera, who played center field for the White Sox, he hit a line drive headed for left-center, and, out of reflex I just jumped and happened to catch it in the web of my glove for the third out of the inning.”

“As I’m running off the field, Vic Power comes over, he’s playing first base. He comes over and he’s smiling, and pats me on the back. I flipped the ball to him and he said, ‘No, no. You keep this.’ Don’t know whatever became of it. It was nice of him to do that.”2

In recounting his major-league debut, George forgot to mention that he fielded another chance cleanly in the ninth inning. For the second out of the inning, he fielded a grounder off the bat of White Sox shortstop Chico Carrasquel and threw him out.

Two days later, in the series finale against the White Sox, George again pinch-hit for Schypinski. Facing right-hander Sandy Consuegra in the bottom of the eighth, he struck out. At shortstop in the top of the ninth, he handled one chance cleanly.

The next night, (September 19) in Detroit, George made his first start. Batting leadoff, he went 0-for-3. He struck out against Tigers starter Bud Black to lead off the game, and in his second at-bat, he grounded out to short. In the fifth inning he struck out. In the seventh inning, he was pinch-hit for by Vic Power. The Tigers defeated the A’s 4-0 behind Black’s six-hitter.

The teams played a day game the next day and George was again in the starting lineup. He led off the game against Tigers rookie right-hander Duke Maas. George beat out a bunt to the left side of the infield for his first hit (in six at-bats). He went 1-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts in the Tigers’ 7-3 victory.

George did not play in the next three games, before appearing in the A’s regular-season finale on Sunday, September 25, in Chicago. George, who was days away from turning 17, replaced Schypinski at shortstop in the bottom of the seventh. In his only at-bat, he struck out against veteran left-hander Billy Pierce in the bottom of the eighth.

Chicago’s 5-0 victory left the Athletics with a 63-91 record for their first season in Kansas City. The A’s, who had gone 53-101 the previous season in their final season in Philadelphia, finished in sixth place (ahead of the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Senators).

In his nine days with the A’s, George appeared in five games, going 1-for-10 with a walk and seven strikeouts. Defensively, he held his own. In his 18 innings in the field, he handled 12 chances, committing just one error. He was part of one double play.

After the season, George returned to Lawrence to begin classes.

“I plan to put on as much weight as possible,” he told a sportswriter. “Then do a little running to get in shape.”3

George joined the Athletics in West Palm Beach, Florida, for spring training in 1956. After playing in several “B” games he was sent to Kansas City’s minor-league camp in Columbia, South Carolina, for reassignment.

He spent the 1956 season with Fitzgerald, Georgia, of the Class-D Georgia-Florida League. His season “started well, then (he) suffered a leg injury. Playing with the injury, his batting average slumped to .210.”4

George, who rebounded to hit .268 with 15 doubles and 2 home runs in 138 games for lowly Fitzgerald, which was 47-92, “did well enough for the Fitzgerald (Ga.) club to warrant promotion.”5

George spent the 1957 season with Seminole (Oklahoma) of the Class-D Sooner State League. He went 1-for-3 with a double in a season-opening 7-6 loss to Shawnee, but suffered a mild sophomore slump. He batted just .239 in 124 games, but he had a .393 slugging percentage with 19 doubles, 11 triples, and 9 home runs.

George blossomed in his third professional season. Playing for Pocatello of the Class-C Pioneer League, he had career highs in home runs (23), RBIs (90), and batting average (.282). He teamed with 18-year-old second baseman Lou Klimchock to form the Pioneer League’s best double-play combination. Klimchock, who was batting .389 with 25 home runs and 112 RBIs, was recalled by the A’s in September and made his major-debut 18 days before his 19th birthday. Klimchock was named the league’s MVP and George was named to the league all-star team.

George slumped in 1959. He started the season with Albany (New York) of the Class-A Eastern League. After hitting .187 in 27 games, he was sent to Sioux City (Iowa) of the Three-I League. In 101 games with Sioux City, he hit .247 with 11 homeruns and 53 RBIs. His combined totals for the season were a .234 batting average with 13 home runs and 58 RBIs in 128 games.

After the season George spent six months of active duty in the US Army at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. After his duty, George rebounded to put together back-to-back solid seasons in 1960 and 1961.

In 1960, with Lewiston of the Class-B Northwest League, he batted .275 with 12 home runs and 56 RBIs in 130 games. The next season, playing for Shreveport of the Double-A Southern Association, he batted .276 with 16 home runs and 68 RBIs in 137 games.

George’s 1962 season was cut short. He opened the season as a utility infielder with the Albuquerque Dukes in the Double-A Texas League. He batted just .195 in 17 games before being released by the Dukes in late May.

George signed with the Washington Senators’ organization for the 1963 season. He was assigned to York (Pennsylvania) of the Eastern League. An article in a local newspaper said, “The infield seems to be York’s strongest point with (Danny) O’Connell at third, (future major leaguer) John Kennedy at short, Alex George at second, and Larry Stankey or (Bill) Edwards at first.”6


The season got off to a good start for George. He was 4-for-4 with three singles and a double in the White Roses’ 6-3 victory over Binghamton on May 5.

On August 7 George was traded to Reading for infielder Gene Giannini. But Giannini refused to report to York “and left for his home in Tennessee. As a consequence, the deal was canceled.”7

The White Roses finished the season on September 5 with a doubleheader loss to first-place Charleston (West Virginia). The White Roses (63-77) finished 20 games behind Charleston (83-57). George finished the season with a .207 batting average with 6 home runs and 43 RBIs in 136 games.

After the season, George, who had been hampered by tendinitis in his throwing arm for two years, retired as a player. He was 24.

Over his eight seasons in the minor leagues, he batted .254 with a .393 slugging percentage in 942 games. He hit 81 home runs and drove in 320 runs.

After his playing career, he embarked on a long, successful career in TV advertising sales in Kansas City.



In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author also consulted,,,, and



1 “Award to Alex George,” Kansas City Times, December 16, 1954: 29.

2 Blair Kerkhoff and Rich Sugg, “Alex George Tells You What It’s Like to Play in the Majors at Just 16 Years of Age,”, June 8, 2018.

3 “Vacation? No, Sir, Say A’s Players,” Kansas City Times, September 26, 1955: 21.

4 Ernest Mehl, “A’s Bringing Up Homebred the Hard Way,” The Sporting News, August 15, 1956: 12.

5 Ernest Mehl, “Many Names, Few Fixtures on A’s Roster,” The Sporting News, November 7, 1956: 16.

6 “White Rose Infield Set for 1963 Campaign,” York (Pennsylvania) Dispatch, April 12, 1963: 15.

7 “Eastern League,” The Sporting News, August 24, 1963: 39.

Full Name

Alex Thomas M. George


September 27, 1938 at Kansas City, MO (USA)

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