Chicago Legend Moose Skowron Passes



Skowron Arlington Heights–  Bill “Moose” Skowron, 81, passed recently after a lifetime connected with baseball.  He had been at the Northwest Community Hospital Skowron, who had been ailing, suffered from congestive heart failure complicated by lung cancer. 

Everyone affectionately knew him as Moose and he was known for his great baseball stories along with the reputations of being one of the best clutch hitters of all time.  He had tremendous success in the post season, earning five World Series rings, four with the New York Yankees and one with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He was inducted into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.

Native Detroiter and famed left handed pitcher Billy Pierce said, “Moose was a champion in the game of life.  He will be sorely missed.”

Skowron starred with the Yankees from 1954 to 1962 before playing with the Dodgers, White Sox, Angels and the expansion Washington Senators.  He was named an All-Star four times in his 14 year career.

“There weren’t many better guys than Moose,” said former Yankee teammate Yogi Berra. “He was a dear friend and a great team man. A darn good ballplayer, too.”

Born William J. Skowron in Chicago with humble upbringings, he went to Purdue on a football scholarship.  He signed with the Yankees in 1950 after hitting .500 in his sophomore Big Ten baseball season.  His baseball coach at the time was then Purdue assistant football coach, Hank Stram (NPASHF 1985).  At the time Skowron got a $25,000 bonus and Stram had said, “Forget the matriculation Moose and take the dough.”

After his playing days, Skowron stayed involved in baseball, and was in great demand as a speaker recalling his stories of his Yankee experiences.  His most appreciative audience was present day players.  He was very popular at Yankee old-timer days.

“He was great to be around,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Very energetic, went to some of the fantasy camps we put on, we’d see him every year we went to Chicago He had a real zest for life.  Loved the game, (he) loved to talk about the game.”The Yankees honored their former first baseman before they took on the Tigers in their scheduled games. 

Former Yankee teammate Ralph Terry said, “Moose was a Yankee all the way.”

Another teammate and NPASHF inductee (1982), Toney Kubek, spoke fondly of Skowron, “Casey Stengel had us room together on the road.  Stengel wanted me with a winner, with a mentor who was a consummate professional and knew how to win championships. And that’s what Moose was.”

In 1999, he joined the White Sox full time as a community ambassador.  Besides speaking at the monthly luncheons sponsored by the team, periodically on game days he called bingo games at U.S. Cellular Field in the right-field patio area — in Polish. 

Skowron is survived by his wife Lorraine “Cookie,” and adult children Lynette, Greg and Steve along with four grand-children.  He has one surviving brother, Edward.  Visitation will be held from 2-9 p.m. Monday at Colonial-Wojciechowski Funeral Home in Niles, Illinois A funeral mass is set for 10:00 a.m. Tuesday at the Queen of All Saints Basilica in Chicago.