R.I.P. to Rocky Krsnich, a third baseman who played for the Chicago White Sox. He was one of three brothers to play pro baseball and one of two to make the major leagues. He died on February 14 at the age of 91. He played for the White Sox in 1949 and 1952-53.
Rocco Peter “Rocky” Krsnich was born on August 5, 1927 in West Allis, Wis. His brother Mike (1931-2011) played for the Milwaukee Braves in the 1960s, and Nick (1928-2014 I believe) played in the Phillies organization in the early ’50s. Rocky attended West Allis Central High School and was signed by the Phillies. In 1945, at the age of 17, he started his pro career with the Wilmington Blue Rocks of the Interstate League as a shortstop. He hit .266 with a couple of home runs (hit in the same game) but was released on August 5 for reasons I can’t determine.
Krsnich joined the Quincy Gems, which was a Yankees farm team, in 1946. He struggled that season but topped the .300 batting average mark in 1947. The following year, he hit 15 home runs to go with a .272 average for the Norfolk Tars. That winter, his contract was sold to Memphis of the Southern League, which was part of the White Sox franchise.
Krsnich had his best season in 1949 for the Chicks, with a .318 batting average and 20 home runs. The White Sox called him to the majors in September for a tryout. In 16 games, he hit .218 with 3 doubles, 1 triple and 1 home run among his 12 hits. He stayed in the minor leagues for a couple of years and came back to the Sox in 1952. This time, he played in 40 games and slashed .231/.327/.385. He had a few big hits with the Sox in his time. He beat the Boston Red Sox on consecutive days as the White Sox were fighting to stay in 3rd place in the AL. He slammed a base hit against the outfield wall with the bases loaded in the 17th inning to give Chicago a 4-3 win on September 14. The next day, he hit a 2-run single to beat Boston 4-2.
He made his final stop in the majors in 1953, when he played in 64 games with the White Sox and had a .202 batting average. A separated shoulder sidelined him for a few weeks in June of that year, and he was traded to Cincinnati with two other players in exchange for Willard Marshall in December of that year. He never made it back to the majors.
In 120 MLB games, Krsnich hit .215, with 59 hits in 275 at-bats. He hit 3 home runs, including one off of Eddie Lopat, and he drew 30 walks against 24 strikeouts. He played in the minor leagues until 1956. In 11 years, he hit 76 home runs and had 1239 hits overall for a .272 batting average.
In his retirement, Krsnich worked for CIT Corp. in Wichita and then Kansas City as an executive vice president. He was also a jazz fan and a talented oil painter.
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