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Otto "Jack" Saltzgaver

Otto “Jack” Saltzgaver debuted at age 29 in 1932 with the fabled Bronx Bombers where he played until 1937. He posted a .271 batting average across 94 games in 1934 while playing third base.

The Ottumwa Daily Courier published a story on August 1, 1942, detailing that Saltzgaver made $340 for every hit he made with the Yankees. In comparison, Babe Ruth made $341.93 for every hit he had during his career in New York.

The 5’11”, 165-pound Saltzgaver made his Major League debut on April 12, 1932 in the Yankees’ 12-6 drubbing of the Philadelphia Athletics at Shibe Park. He walked twice and scored both times on home runs off of the bat of Babe Ruth.

Born on January 23, 1903, Saltzgaver broke into professional baseball with the Ottumwa in the Mississippi Valley League in 1925. After two seasons in Ottumwa, he played for three years with Oklahoma City in the Western League, and then two seasons with St. Paul of the American Association where he hit .340 in 1931 for the Saints.

Saltzgaver played for the American Association’s Kansas City Blues from 1938 to 1944. He played in the Double-A all-star game in Indianapolis, Indiana on July 14, 1938. A nineteen-year-old Ted Williams also played in the game.

Saltzgaver split 1945 between Kansas City and the Pittsburgh Pirates and hit .325 across 52 games at the age of 42. He went on to manage the Blues two years later. He managed the Wilmington Blue Rocks of the Interstate League in 1946 and 1947, and then the Little Rock Travelers from 1948 to 1950. His 1946 team won the division title, but lost to the Harrisburg Senators in the finals.

After retiring from baseball, Saltzgaver worked for the City of Keokuk as a supervisor of the skating rink from 1958 to 1968. He took on the role of superintendent of Oakland Cemetery in Keokuk between 1968 and 1971. He died at a Keokuk hospital on February 2, 1978. He was survived by his wife Mary, a son, a daughter, and six grandchildren.

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