There are light hitters, and there are light hitters. Billy Goodman was certainly not a member of the first camp, but he may have a claim on being one of the game’s best in the second. His 1952 Topps card lists the Red Sox player at a generous 165 pounds while some reporters claimed he would routinely dip below 150 late in the season.
He played every position except pitcher and catcher and won the 1950 AL batting title (.354) despite not having a fixed position to play. He had only achieved regular playing time that year when he replaced an injured Ted Williams in left field and bounced around as injuries provided opportunity. With the end of the season in sight, the team’s selfless third baseman Johnny Pesky benched himself so Goodman would get the minimum number of at-bats to claim the title.
Goodman was a very good player, an almost identical duplicate of Johnny Pesky in the Boston lineup. Striking out only 5% of the time, he is one of only 14 players appearing in the ’52 Topps set to maintain a career .300 batting mark.
Often used to plug injuries on the Boston roster, Goodman himself was once hurt in one of the more unique ways in baseball history. The skinny utility player began arguing with a first base umpire. Fellow Boston outfielder Jimmy Piersall decided no good would come from this and promptly lifted the still arguing Goodman off the ground and carried him back to the dugout. The maneuver may have been a bit rough as Goodman tore rib cartilage and missed almost a month of baseball.