All-Time Majors Great Stan “Gabby” Anderson

jeffhead

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Jeffrey Reed, Editor, LondonOntarioSports.com

For a dozen seasons, Stan “Gabby” Anderson patrolled right field for the London Majors. One of the classiest men to ever grace the field at Labatt Park, Anderson amassed a .339 lifetime batting average, and was justly recognized as a six-time first team all-star between 1958 and 1965.

IMG_1122 Born in Detroit in 1929, but raised in London, Anderson’s family moved here when he was just three months old.  He quickly impressed the local baseball community as a youngster, and perhaps his biggest baseball thrill stems from warming the bench and even seeing a little action between the white lines as an 18-year-old rookie member of the London Majors. After all, how many teenagers had a front row seat at the 1948 North American Sandlot Championship?

“Manager Clare Van Horne used to bring me up from junior ball to pinch run and pinch hit,” Anderson remembered. “I remember the 1948 series well. I sat on the bench, got in the odd inning.”

Professional baseball also recognized Anderson’s extraordinary talent. In 1950, he was voted Rookie of the Year, batting .335 with the St. Louis Cardinals’ Pony League Peoria, Ill. squad. In 1954, Anderson batted .355 with New York Giants farm club Class D Olean, N.Y., then ended his pro career in 1955.

Because he was born in the U.S., Anderson was eligible for service and his baseball career was interrupted in 1955 for a stint with the U.S. Army. But he finished the ’55 season with the Majors. Also in 1955, Anderson was a founding member of the Eager Beaver Baseball Association. “Almost everyone who ever played for the London Majors had something to do with EBBA,” said Anderson, who was EBBA Vice President in 1965/66 and President in 1967/68.  He helped start the Tyke Division for 9- and 10-year-old ballplayers in 1968.

Anderson-4With professional baseball behind him, Anderson concentrated on terrorizing IBL pitchers. He rejoined the Majors under Frank Colman in 1957, and became a fixture in right field for the next decade. Anderson was a hitting machine. When the Majors played in the Great Lakes-Niagara District League for one season in ’57, Anderson promptly won the batting crown with a .403 average, and was named MVP.

The Majors rejoined the IBL in 1958. Anderson was runner-up in the batting race, hitting at a .389 clip.  He was IBL MVP in 1959, and posted an incredible .420 BA. He hit .391 in 1960 and won his second IBL batting title. In 1963, Anderson was playing manager of London’s IBL entry, the Pontiacs. Tom Burgess managed the Pontiacs in 1964/65, and Russ Evon was skipper in 1966.

Gabby’s brother, Frank, was a talented boxer and hockey player, while his brother, Jerry, also saw some IBL action with London.

Many stars have suited up for the London Majors, but very few let their bats do the talking like Stan “Gabby” Anderson, one of the greatest Majors of all time.

Rightfully, Anderson was inducted into the London Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. And in 2001, the Majors retired his No. 5 jersey.

Jeffrey Reed is author of, EBBA 40 Years of Baseball, and founder of the Intercounty Baseball League media relations office. In 2000 and ’01, he coached 3B and pitched in relief for the London Majors.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office http://www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989. Publisher/Editor of this website and https://londonontariogolf.com.

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!