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Batting champ in 1946, '53, Vernon dies at age 90

James "Mickey" Vernon, who batted .286 over 20 big league seasons, including two batting titles for the Washington Senators, died Wednesday afternoon at Riddle Memorial Hospital in Media, Pa. after suffering a stroke last week.

Vernon, who was 90, was named last month -- along with nine other players whose careers began before 1943 -- to a Veterans Committee ballot for next year's Hall of Fame induction class.
The results, as well as the Veterans Committee voting on 10 post-1943 players, are to be announced Dec. 8.

Vernon won the 1946 American League batting title with a .353 average and the 1953 crown when he batted .337. The left-handed hitting and throwing first-baseman led the American League in fielding four times and in doubles three times. He finished with 172 home runs, 1,311 RBIs and 137 stolen bases.

Vernon, a seven-time All-Star first baseman, played from 1939 to 1943 and 1946 to 1960 with Washington, Cleveland, the Boston Red Sox, the Milwaukee Braves and Pittsburgh,

He missed the 1944 and 1945 seasons because of military service in the Navy during World War II.

He later managed the Senators in 1961 and '62 and for 40 games of the '63 season, finishing with a 135-227 record.

He closed out his career with the 1960 World Series champion Pirates, spending most of the season as a coach before being activated late in the season and becoming one of a few players to compete in four decades.

After his stint managing the Senators, Vernon became a coach with the Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees. He also managed at the Triple-A and Double-A levels.

Born April 22, 1918, in Marcus Hook, Pa., James Barton "Mickey" Vernon attended Villanova University. He returned to the area after retiring from baseball and made his home there until his death.

Marcus Hook dedicated a life-size statue of Vernon in September 2003 on the very sandlot fields he played as a child, one block from his former home.

He leaves a daughter, Gay. Funeral arrangements are pending.

William Weinbaum is a producer for ESPN's Enterprise Unit. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.