A part-time player for the New York Yankees from 1951-1956, Cerv enjoyed a fine run in Kansas City from 1957-1959 before being dealt back to the Yankees in 1960. The best year of Cerv’s career was 1958 when he hit .305 with 38 home runs, 104 RBI and 93 runs scored for the A’s. He earned a spot on the all-star team that year and finished fourth in MVP voting. The season was an outlier in a decent career. He hit 20 home runs the next year, but only had two other seasons in 12 years where he crossed double digits in the power category. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 1961 expansion draft. However he only played 18 games for Los Angeles before being traded back to the Yankees. He finished his career in 1962 with Houston.
Cerv is part of a famous baseball anecdote shared in Ken Burns’ Baseball documentary. As the story goes, Yankees’ manager Casey Stengel sat down next to Cerv in the dugout one day, leaned over and said, “there’s not many people that know this, but one of us has been traded to Kansas City.”
Cerv was a veteran of World War II who served in the navy in the Pacific during the war. After his baseball career concluded, Cerv coached the baseball teams at Southeast Missouri State as well as John F. Kennedy College in Wahoo, Nebraska. He was also the men’s basketball coach at Kennedy.
It is obvious he did not fill out his questionnaire. I am guessing he had a grandkid or a great grandkid do it for him. Still, interesting to note Lou Gehrig (or Lie Gerig as the person wrote) was his favorite player. I am guessing he must have enjoyed playing for the Yankees and certainly must not have been upset being repeatedly traded back there. As noted, Cerv played on five Yankees’ teams that won the World Series, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1956 and 1961.
Bob Cerv – career stats