Simpson in about 1953
|Outfielder / First baseman|
|Born: December 3, 1925|
|Died: April 3, 1979 (aged 53)|
|April 21, 1951, for the Cleveland Indians|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 27, 1959, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Runs batted in||381|
|Career highlights and awards|
Harry Leon "Suitcase" Simpson (December 3, 1925 – April 3, 1979) was an African American outfielder and first baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Athletics, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, and Pittsburgh Pirates in his eight-year career. He played in the World Series with the New York Yankees in 1957, which they lost.
He was born in Atlanta, and died in Akron, Ohio. He was one of the earliest black players in the American League, playing first with the Cleveland Indians in 1951. Casey Stengel once called him the best defensive right fielder in the American League.
That his nickname of "Suitcase" came from his being frequently traded during his playing career is a common misconception. According to the 1951 Cleveland Indians Sketch Book, he was called "Suitcase" by sportswriters after the Toonerville Trolley character, Suitcase Simpson, because of his size 13 shoe with feet as large as suitcases. This is years before his many trades. His real nickname was "Goody", which came from his willingness to run errands and help neighbors in his hometown of Dalton, Georgia.
In 888 games over eight seasons, Simpson compiled a .266 batting average (752-for-2829) with 101 doubles, 41 triples, 73 home runs, 381 RBI, 271 base on balls, .331 on-base percentage and .408 slugging percentage. He finished his career with a .984 fielding percentage playing all 3 outfield positions and first base. In the 1957 World Series, he batted .083 (1-for-12) with 1 RBI.
In popular culture
The character Luther "Suitcase" Simpson in the Jesse Stone novels, and made for TV movies, by author Robert B. Parker, is given the nickname "Suitcase" by his fourth grade gym teacher because of Harry Simpson.
- Cleveland Indians Official 1952 Sketch Book.
- Cleveland Indians Official 1951 Sketch Book.