I believe this photograph was taken in 1947, and features the then rookie sensation from Snohomish HS, Earl Torgeson. This slick fielding 1st baseman, was a pretty good hitter, with some pop in his bat, as well as a pretty fair base runner. Tagged with the regal nickname of “The Earl of Snohomish” Earl Torgeson went on to have a fine career, playing with the Braves, Phillies, White Sox, Tigers, and actually finishing his career with the World Champion 1961 NY Yankees.
In 1950, while playing for the Braves, the Earl of Snohomish led the league with 120 runs scored, while hitting .290 with 23 home runs.
When I saw this photograph, I knew I had to do a little research on this fresh-faced, bespectacled Snohomish alumni. Why was he posing with a floor buffer? And why couldn’t he get his own nickname?
Hall of Famer Earl Averill, was the 1st and best of the Earl’s of Snohomish, finishing his career with a .318 average and 6 All Star appearances. Did he appreciate having his Earl of Snohomish moniker bestowed on this youngster? Did it bother him that this Earl’s 1st name was actually Clifford? My guess would be he didn’t mind at all. The more Earls the merrier.
As is usual when it comes to doing baseball research, you sometimes stumble upon a wonderful baseball nugget. In 1949 Earl Torgeson was limited to just 25 games, due to 2 separate injuries that kept him out for the final 4 months of the season. He hit just .260 with 4 home runs. Nothing to write home about, except that he garnered 2 MVP votes. As far as I can determine, this is the least amount of games played by a position player, to garner even 1 MVP vote. I didn’t find anyone that was even close. Some starting pitchers appeared in less games, but not many. In 1940 Yankee pitcher Tiny Bonham received 8 MVP votes, despite appearing in just 12 games. Both records surely never to be broken.