On October 3, 1953, The Sporting News named Harvey Keunn and Junior Gilliam as Rookie of the Year for their respective leagues. Keunn, a shortstop for the American League’s Detroit Tigers, finished first in voting with Boston Red Sox Tom Umphlett outfielder, St. Louis Browns shortstop Billy Hunter and pitcher Don Larsen finishing 2-3-4.
Gilliam, who beat out Jackie Robinson for the Brooklyn Dodgers’ second base position prompting Robinson’s move to the outfield, finished ahead of pitcher Harvey Haddix, outfielder Rip Repulski, and third baseman Ray Jablonski, all of the St. Louis Cardinals, in the voting for the National League honor.
Born in Nashville on October 17, 1928, Gilliam hit for a .278 average, stole 21 bases, and led the National League with 17 triples to earn the award. He had played for the Nashville Black Vols and Baltimore Elite Giants before being purchased by the Dodgers prior to the 1951 season. Gilliam spent two seasons with the Montreal Royals (International League, Class AAA), where he was league MVP in 1952
Paper of Record
The Sporting News
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