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renna, big bill renna, 1955 topps #121, KC A's

Player: Renna, Bill

Card: 1955 Topps #121

Position: OF

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“They didn’t want us to lift weights or do activities like swimming. They said those exercises used the wrong muscles, so they frowned on them. They had us doing sit-ups and push-ups and even the running was limited, because they were afraid of us getting shin splints or turning an ankle.” (Bill Renna on Health in MLB)

William Beneditto Renna (October 14, 1924 – June 19, 2014) was an outfielder in Major League Baseball, playing mainly as a right fielder for four teams in part of five seasons spanning 1953–1959.

Bill’s parents both lived in Oakland and worked in a cannery at the time of the 1930 census. His mother, Christine van den Akker, was of Dutch ancestry, born in Holland, and his father William G. Renna, who was a Pennsylvania native with two Italian immigrant parents.

Renna was a journeyman outfielder who played in 370 games over six seasons for three American League teams. He batted over .300 for the Yankees, served as a backup for Boston’s Ted Williams, and in 1954 led the league in turning double plays as a right-fielder. His career, Rich Marazzi once wrote, was “a blend of mediocrity and magnificence.”

His first hit was on April 19, 1953 in Philadelphia, in his second game. He was inserted after Gene Woodling was ejected by umpire Ed Hurley for too strenuously arguing a strike three call. When he came to bat in the top of the eighth, the Yankees had a 3-2 lead, two outs, and the bases loaded on three walks. He singled to left field, driving in Phil Rizzuto and Mickey Mantle and taking second base on an error by the left fielder.

Bill won a World Series while with the New York Yankees in 1953, though he did not play in the series. In 1954, after being traded to the Athletics, Renna got into 123 games, with 474 plate appearances: his on-base percentage was .302 and his 53 RBIs was second-best on the team. After baseball he worked in the concrete business.

Renna entered the baseball record books while playing for the Kansas City Blues of the American Association. On June 29, 1952, the Blues belted 10 home runs against the St. Paul Saints to set a league mark for most home runs in a single game by one team. Kansas City amassed 53 total bases and hit six homers in an inning (also AA marks) en route to a 17-4 win. Roy Partee hit three homers (including two in the big inning) while Renna, Vic Power and Kal Segrist added two apiece and Andy Carey hit one.

(excerpted from SABR, This Great Game, BR Bullpen & Wikipedia)


1954 Topps #112
1956 Topps #82
1958 Topps #473
1959 Topps #72


Bill is also part of the Military Service during Wartime Tour – go to the Next Stop

Bill is also part of the Born in San Fran/Oakland/Sacramento Tour – Go to the Next Stop

Bill is also part of the New York Yankee Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop

Bill is also part of the Boston Red Sox Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop

Bill is also part of the Athletics Player Tour – Go To the Next Stop

See Renna’s baseball cards at TCDB

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Also see:

Jeff Pico*: 3 year MLB career, pitched shutout in debut

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