Nelson spent parts of nine seasons in the major leagues, playing for six different teams. One of the best hitters in the International League, Nelson never could put it all together in the majors. He compiled a .249 career average with 31 home runs while playing in 620 games. The numbers were pedestrian compared to what he did in the minors. Nelson twice won the minor league triple crown and hit 28 or more home runs five different times. He hit .326 with 43 home runs and 120 RBI for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1958 and had some success for the Pittsburgh Pirates the following two years. Nelson saw action in 98 games in 1959, hitting .291 with six home runs. He played in 93 games in 1960, hitting .300 with seven home runs. However, his average dropped to .197 in 1961, effectively ending his big league career.
Nelson played in two different World Series. The first was in 1952 as part of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He got into four games that year and finished with no hits and one walk in four plate appearances. He had 10 plate appearances in the 1960 World Series for Pittsburgh. In the first inning of Game 7, he took New York Yankee Bob Turley deep for a two-run home run. The Pirates went on to win the game and the series on Bill Mazeroski’s much more famous home run. Nelson died on October 31, 2006 in Portsmouth, Ohio.
Rocky Nelson – career stats