Pittsfield Electrics
who Made the Major Leagues

From Baseball's
Canadian-American League
by David Pietrusza
In 1946 Pittsfield Flectrics third baseman Al "Flip" Rosen ripped the cover off the
ball, leading the circuit in homers and RBI's while batting at a .323 pace.

"He was kind of a team leader with the players here," recalls Paul Tamburello.
"They wanted a pay raise, but we couldn't give it. We met on the roof of the
building, of our office."

Perhaps not surprisingly, Rosen retired as an active player following a dispute
with Cleveland management over his salary.

"I can remember Al Rosen," says
Schenectady's Charley Baker, who seemed to
be one of the few hurlers in the circuit not impressed by Mr. Rosen. "I remember
him like it was yesterday. In fact, you know, he had a big reputation, and I can
close my eyes and hear manager Lee Riley saying, "Stick it in his ear!" and that
was the whole solution. You knocked him down, threw him three curves, and bye-
bye Al. He was gone."

"Flip" almost packed it in at Pittsfield. He had to hustle to get into baseball in the
first place. No scouts came knocking on his door. He flubbed a try-out with the
Red Sox. Then he caught on with the Tribe. After returning from the Navy in 1946,
he was promptly cut by Cleveland's Wilkes-Barre and Harrisburg clubs. Scout
Laddie Placek assigned Al to Pittsfield: "You'll play there for sure."

But when Rosen got to the Electrics he was again handed a back-up role. Farm
director "Buzz" Wetzel happened to be in town and gruffly told all hands: "Anybody
who doesn't want to play for Pittsfield can have his release."

Rosen wanted out. When Wetzel saw Al's previous stats, he balked, but Al
persisted mightily, and Wetzel gave in.

When Placek learned that Rosen had been released he rushed all over town
looking for him, finding him venting his ire on a pinball machine. "Laddie stood
beside me," recalled the player they called "the Hebrew Hammer," and kept
repeating, "You'll be a great player some day, a big star. Stick it out." He said it
over and over. Finally I said, "˜Okay."

The rest, as they say, was history. Also from
Wahconah Park came pitchers
Brooks Lawrence and Dick Tomanek, slugging outfielder Jim Lemon, and catcher
Hal Naragon.

Lawrence was a college football team­mate of Jonathan Winters and still
managed to win 19 games for the Cards in 1956. He threw the first official
intentional walk in history on April 12, 1955. (Prior to that records were not kept on
intentional passes.)

Lemon coached for the Twins and managed the Senators in 1968.

Tomanek's father promised he would walk the 20 miles to Cleveland's Municipal
Stadium if his son pitched there. He did. Dick beat the Tigers but won only nine
more games lifetime.

Naragon backstopped for ten seasons for Cleveland, Washington, and Minnesota
and also coached for the Twins and Tigers.