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Arky Vaughan

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Arky Vaughan

A photo of Arky Vaughan.

Joseph Floyd "Arky" Vaughan (March 9, 1912 - August 30, 1952) was a professional baseball shortstop.

Born in Clifty, Arkansas, Vaughan made his major league debut in 1932 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He quickly built a reputation as a superb hitter, batting .318 in his first year, and knocking in over 90 runs in 1933, 1934 and 1935. Over the following decade, he asserted established himself as one of the finest hitting shortstops to ever play the game, batting over .300 in every season through 1941, and regularly being at or near the top of the league in runs scored, RBI, batting average, stolen bases and walks.

In the 1941 All-Star Game, Vaughan hit two home runs, becoming the 1st player to hit 2 home runs in an All-Star Game, but was upstaged by a ninth-inning, three-run homer by American Leaguer Ted Williams. The only other 4 players to hit 2 home runs in one All-Star Game were Ted Williams of Boston AL (1946), Al Rosen of Cleveland AL (1954), Willie McCovey of San Francisco NL (1969), and Gary Carter of Montreal AL in 1981.

Vaughan was traded prior to the 1942 season to the Brooklyn Dodgers and was not as spectacular in his new city, despite leading the league with 20 stolen bases in 1943. Vaughan missed three years (apparently to watch the family ranch when his brother was in the military service during World War II) before returning in 1947. He played in his only World Series that season, losing to the New York Yankees, and left the majors after the 1948 season. His last year in baseball was 1949 with the PCL's San Francisco Seals. He retired with 1173 runs scored, 96 home runs, 926 RBI, 118 steals, a .318 batting average (the second highest mark for a Hall of Fame shortstop, behind Honus Wagner's lifetime average of .327) and a .406 on base percentage. His best personal year came in 1935 when he hit .385 (a 20th century record for National League shortstops) with 19 home runs and 99 RBI.

An avid outdoorsman, Vaughan was fishing in Lost Lake, near Eagleville, California on August 30, 1952, when a storm brewed up rather suddenly. Arky and a friend were caught up in the turbulence, the boat sank, and the two men drowned. He was just 40 years old.

Vaughan was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985. In 1981, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included him in their book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time. In his New Historical Baseball Abstract, Bill James has argued that Vaughan is the second best shortstop in Major League history, behind fellow Pirate and mentor, Honus Wagner. In addition, Vaughan is also the 26th greatest non-pitcher in major league history, according to win shares.

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Preceded by:
Paul Waner
National League Batting Champion
1935
Succeeded by:
Paul Waner
Preceded by:
Pete Reiser
National League Stolen Base Champion
1943
Succeeded by:
Johnny Barrett

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