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George Vico

George Vico

George Steve Vico (August 9, 1923 - January 13, 1994), nicknamed "Sam", was a professional baseball player from 1941-1957 who spent two years in the major leagues with the Detroit Tigers (1948-1949).

Born in San Fernando, California, Vico was a tall 6'4" first baseman. Before reaching the major leagues, Vico played for the Fulton Tigers, Muskegon Reds, and Winston-Salem Twins in 1941 and 1942. His career was interrupted for three seasons (1943-1945) as he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After the war, Vico played for the Salem Senators and Portland Beavers.

In 1948, Vico made it to the major leagues with the Detroit Tigers. In his first at bat in the major leagues on April 20, 1948, Vico hit a home run off Joe Haynes on the first pitch he faced. Vico had another impressive game on August 14, 1948, when he collected 7 RBIs, 2 doubles, a triple and a home run. (If Vito had held up on his second double, he could have hit for the cycle.) Vico was the Tigers' starting first baseman in 1948, playing in 144 games and batting .267 with 139 hits, 23 doubles, 9 triples and 8 home runs. As a rookie, Vico was among the 1948 American League leaders with 9 triples (9th in AL), 7 times hit by a pitch (2nd in AL), 17 sacrifice hits (4th in AL), and 23 times grounded into a double play (2nd in AL).

Vico also had a good season as a fielder in 1948. His Range factor of 8.83 was 1.79 points higher than the average first baseman that year. He had 1,165 putouts, 85 assists, and 112 double plays.

In 1949, Vico's batting average dropped by 77 points to .190. In 67 games, he had only 15 hits. Vico was sent to the minor league Toledo Mud Hens after the 1949 season. Vico continued to play in the minor leagues until 1957 with the Toledo Mud Hens, Seattle Rainiers, Indianapolis Indians, San Francisco Seals, Sacramento Solons and Hollywood Stars.

Vico had a small uncredited acting part in the 1949 movie The Stratton Story playing the part of the "Detroit Ball Player."

Vico was the son of Serbian immigrants. He died at age 70 in 1994 at Redondo Beach, California and is buried at United Serbian Cemetery in East Los Angeles, CA.

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