Who am I?

Elmer ValoIf I were still alive today it would be my 94th birthday making me the oldest player to ever wear a Minnesota Twins uniform. I was a left-handed hitting outfielder that was born in Czechoslovakia and played in the major leagues for 20 seasons but I only spent a part of one season in Minnesota. In 6,091 career plate appearances I walked 942 times and struck out just 284 times and posted a career .398 OBP which is identical to Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio. So who am I?

Hint: I played for three different franchises that relocated while I was a team member.

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7 Responses to Who am I?

  1. Ira Gordon says:

    Elmer valo

    • jjswol says:

      Correct John. There seems to be a discrepancy on his birth place. B-R says Poland I believe but all other sites including most baseball cards show it as Czechoslovakia.

      • JimV says:

        The confusion on his birthplace comes from a number of sources. First, he was born in a town called Rybnik. Unfortunately, there are two Rybniks–one in Slovakia (which would have been part of Czechoslovakia when he was born in 1921), and the other is in Poland. I don’t know which of those two towns he’s was really born in. The second source of confusion relates to the town in Poland. In the 5 years after WWI–1918-1923, when Czechoslovakia was created and Poland was recreated, the area around Rybnik was the subject of a very bitter border dispute between the two countries. Even when the dispute was settled, it wasn’t necessarily accepted by the “losing” ethnicities. So it’s entirely conceivable that Valo could have claimed to be from Czechoslovakia back then when the official maps now say the town was in Poland. Again, I have no answers–it’s just an interesting footnote to a fun baseball trivia question.

  2. Rick N. says:

    Wow, this is someone I’d never heard of before. Pretty cool piece of Twins history.

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