Joseph Wilbur “Billy Joe” Adcock was born on 30 October, 1927 and died on 3 May, 1999at the age of 71 in Coushatta. Joe was an American first baseman and right-handed batter in Major League Baseball, best known for his years with the powerful Milwaukee Braves teams of the 1950s, whose career included numerous home run feats. A sure-handed defensive player, he also retired with the third highest career fielding percentage by a first baseman (.994). Joseph’s nickname “Billy Joe” was modeled after Vanderbilt University basketball star “Billy Joe Adcock” and was popularized by Vin Scully.
Joseph Adcock was born in Coushatta, Louisiana. Joseph was signed by the Cincinnati Reds after a successful run at Louisiana State University, but Ted Kluszewski had firm hold of the team’s first base slot. Joseph Adcock played in left field from 1950 to 1952, but was unhappy and demanded a trade, which he received. Joseph’s first season with the Braves was capped by a mammoth home run into the center field bleachers at the Polo Grounds on 29 April, 1953, a feat that had never been done before and would only be accomplished twice more, by Hank Aaron and Lou Brock.
On 31 July, 1954, he accomplished the rare feat of homering four times in a single game, against the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, and set a new record for most total bases in a game (18) that stood until broken by Shawn Green in 2002.
Another notable home run was the blast that ended the epic duel between Lew Burdette and Harvey Haddix on 26 May, 1959, in which Haddix took a perfect game into the 12th inning. Joseph Adcock did not get credit for a home run, however, because Aaron – who was on first base – saw Felix Mantilla, the runner ahead of him, score the winning run and thought the hit had only been a double and walked back to the dugout, causing Adcock to be called out for passing him on the base paths.
Joseph Adcock was often overshadowed both by his own teammates Aaron and Eddie Mathews, and by the other slugging first basemen in the league, Kluszewski and Gil Hodges, but he did make one All-Star team (1960) and was regularly among the league leaders in home runs. In 1956, he finished second in the National League in home runs, runs batted in, and slugging average. After playing for the Cleveland Indians (1963) and Los Angeles/California Angels (1964-66), Joseph Adcock managed the Cleveland Indians for one year (1967) and managed 2 more years in the minor leagues before settling down at his 288-acre (1.2 km²) ranch in Coushatta to raise horses.
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