Do You Know Who This Guy Is?

Max West with Boston

August 22, 2013 • 342 views

Recently when you ask someone to name a baseball player to come out of Temple City they immediately say Ryan Tucker and forget about Rocky Biddle. When you ask someone from El Monte to name a baseball player they immediately say Fred Lynn and forget all about guys like Doug Griffin, Albie Pearson, and Tom Morgan.

At Alhambra pretty much only one name comes first to mind and that is Ralph Kiner’s. Yet the first Moors player to ever reach the Majors was a left-handed hitting outfielder first baseman named Max West.

West, born in 1916, played seven seasons in the MLB with the National League Boston Braves, Cincinnati Reds, and Pittsburgh Pirates. His career batting average was .254 with 77 home runs and 340 runs batted in.

Offered a scholarship by USC he turned it down and signed with Sacramento Solons of the Pacific Coast League. After one season there, and two more with the San Francisco Missions his contract was purchased by the Boston (Bees) Braves in 1938.

In 1939 he hit .285 with 19 homers and 82 Rbis. In the 1940 All-Star Game, in St. Louis, he subbed for an injured Mell Ott, and hit a three run homer off of the Yankees Red Ruffing.

After the 1942 season he was drafted by the Army Air Corps and was a member of a B-29 crew in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

Returning in 1946 he was traded by Boston to Cincy, and after being out of the bigs in 1947, he returned in 1948 to play 72 games for the Pirates. A fixture in the Pacific Coast League West hammered 230 career home runs while playing for Padres and Los Angeles Angels through 1954.

After baseball he and Kiner partnered to run a successful sporting goods store in Alhambra. He retired in 1980 and died of brain cancer on December 31st, 2003 at the age of 87.

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