Card: 1954 Bowman #93
William Robert Serena was Born October 2, 1924 in Alameda, California. He was the son of an Italian immigrant carpenter who came to the USA after World War I. Serena served in World War II, returning in 1945 and getting signed to a baseball contract to play in the West Texas-New Mexico Class C league. He tore up the league, hitting 57 HRs with 190 RBIs in the little ballparks where pitching was no match for him. He hit 28 HRs at AAA Dallas in 1949 and had his contract purchased by the Chicago Cubs.
Bill made his MLB debut in 1949 with the Cubs, hitting his first career HR and playing in 12 games going 8/37 - half his hits were extra base hits.
In 1950 he was the Cubs main third baseman, playing fine defense and finishing the season in the league’s top five in put outs, assists & fielding percentage (.945). At the plate he hit 17 HRs with 20 doubles & 61 RBIs, giving him enough votes to finish fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting. In a strange event at the Polo Grounds on May 1st, he & eleven of his team mates were ejected from a game for taunting Umpire Frank Dascoli.
The next year Serena was batting .333 in May when he fractured his wrist sliding into second base. He stayed in the game to get two hits & drive in a pair of runs but the injury would end his season. In 1952 he returned to hit .274 with 15 HRs 21 doubles & 61 RBIs, playing in 122 games.
In 1953 Serena became a reserve infielder playing third & second base, as Randy Jackson (19 HRs 66 RBIs .285 Ave) put up better numbers and became the regular third baseman. He sat in a dugout with three other Italian American players; Joe Garagiola, Phil Cavaretta & infielder Bob Ramozzotti.
Serena only played one more season (1954) before ending his brief six year MLB career. He returned to the Pacific Coast League (PCL) playing with the San Francisco Seals & Oakland Oaks before retiring at age 32. Next he became a long time baseball scout for 38 years, spending 25 years with the Braves organization alone. He retired from baseball at age 70, in 1994. In 1996 he passed away from lung cancer in Hayward, California.
Bill is part of the Born in San Fran/Oakland/Sacramento Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Serena is also part of the Military Service during Wartime Tour – go to the Next Stop
Bill is also part of the Chicago Cubs Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop
See all Bill’s baseball cards at TCDB
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