Former Houston Colt .45 Bob Cerv passed away at age 91 years and 336 days in Blair, Nebraska on April 6, 2017. He was buried in St. John Nepomucene Cemetery, Weston, NE.
Bob Cerv’s time as a Houston Colt .45 wasn’t much, but Houston was the last stop in his 12-season (1951-1962) MLB career. Dealt to Houston by the Yankees during the 1962 first season of the Colt .45s, Cerv played the last 19 of his 829 MLB games as a left fielder/pinch hitter for the Colts. It was enough time for the BR/TR 37-year old muscular Cerv to also register his last 7 hits, 2 homers, and 3 RBI and bring the final career cap totals on each to 624 hits, 105 homers, and 374 RBI. – His 2 walks and 10 Ks were enough to bring those career totals to 212 walks and 392 strikeouts.
The 7 for 31 batting average of .226 that Cerv achieved as a 1962 Colt .45 paled in comparison to his .276 career batting average for 2,261 times at bat, but it probably helped this good young man to make the decision that it was time to hang up his bats, glove, and dreams.
Bob Cerv always intrigued me as a kid. He broke in with the Yankees in the same rookie class of candidates that accompanied the younger phenom that was Mickey Mantle. It was speculation time among Yankee fans and supporters. 1951 was going to be the last season for Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio, and he had been the guy who took over as the new bright star for the Yankees in 1936, who were then already two years past the career of Ruth and looking at only three more years until their shocking loss of Gehrig. Who would take over now? – If not Mantle, then who? Could it be possible that a guy named Bob Cerv could walk that tall?
For five seasons (1951-56), it wasn’t the mediocre Bob Cerv – and he was traded to Kansas City (1957-60) just in time to hit the single super highlight season of his big league career. In 1958, Bob Cerv hit .305 with 38 home runs for the Kansas City Athletics in 141 games. His 157 hits and 104 RBI also were season highs for his MLB career and, at age 33, Cerv seemed to be finally catching some later years second wind. It didn’t last. He hit 20 HR for KC in 1959, but his BA dropped to .285.
By 1960, the Yankees reacquired Cerv from KC, but, in 1961, the Yankees then shipped Cerv off again; this time to the Los Angeles Angels for 18 games before reacquiring him – yet again – to their own 1961 roster.
Bob Cerv may have been one of MLB’s earliest rental players.
In 1962, Cerv got into 14 games for the Yankees before they again “Fedexed” him to another club. And this time, it was the Houston Colt .45s.
Then, after 1962, something happened to bar Bob Cerv from returning to the Yankees for yet another tour of limited service.
Rest in Peace, Bob Cerv!
We shall also pray that your new deal in the heavens was not touched at all by the New York Yankees front office people.
Publisher, Editor, Writer
The Pecan Park Eagle