Thursday, January 22, 2009

Billy Werber, third baseman in Major League Baseball, has died at the age of 100. Werber died of natural causes on Thursday, January 22, 2009 at an assisted living center in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was moved there after his health deteriorated a month ago.

His son said that when admitted, Werber refused to eat solid foods and would only drink liquids. “He just refused to eat and that was his plan,” Bill Werber Jr. told the Associated Press. He added that his father was “sharp up until four weeks ago”.

Born William Murray Werber on June 20, 1908 in Berwyn Heights, Maryland, he played for the New York Yankees from (1930, 1933), the Boston Red Sox from (1933-1936), the Philadelphia Athletics from (1937-1938), Cincinnati Reds from (1939-1941) and the New York Giants from (1942).

In 1934, Werber became the starting third baseman of the Red Sox. He responded with a career-high .321 batting average, including 200 hits; led the American League with 40 stolen bases, and posted double digits in doubles (41), triples (10) and home runs (11). He led the league in stolen bases in 1935 (29) and 1937 (35). Boston traded him to the Philadelphia Athletics for the 1937 season, and he joined the Cincinnati Reds in 1939.

In an 11-season career, Werber was a .271 hitter with 78 home runs and 539 RBI in 1,295 games. One of the most aggressive baserunners of the 1930s, probably the most aggressive next to Ben Chapman, he stole 215 bases. He was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1961.

His wife Kathryn ‘Tat’ Werber died in 2000, after she and Werber had been married 70 years. Bill Werber Jr. says that his father is to be cremated and services, which will be open to the public, will be held on the weekend of January 31 through February 1.