Gerald E “Jerry” Priddy was
born on November 9, 1919 in
Los Angeles, California. He was signed by the New York
Yankees organization in 1937 and played for Rogers of the
Arkansas-Missouri League his rookie year, batting a league
second-best .336 with 83 RBIs and a league-leading 109 runs scored.
The 18-year-old second
baseman advanced to Norfolk of the Class B
Piedmont League in 1938, where he teamed up with shortstop Phil
Rizutto, and batted .323 with a league-leading 36 doubles. In 1939
and 1940, Priddy was with
Kansas City of
the American Association and was called up by the Yankees in 1941,
playing 56 games as a utility infielder. He played 59 games with the
Yankees in 1942 in the same role and was sold to the Washington
Senators in 1943.
Priddy flourished in Washington as the club’s starting second
baseman. In 149 games he batted .271, hit 31 doubles and drove in
62. At the end of the year, on December 15, 1943, Priddy was called
into military service. After being processed at
Fort MacArthur, California,
he was assigned to the Army Air Force at McClellan Field on January
14. Later that year Private Priddy was sent to
where he played baseball alongside Joe DiMaggio for the 7th
Army Air Force Flyers, and also appeared in the Army-Navy Service
World Series in October 1944.
Priddy was discharged from
service on January 15, 1946, having played winter ball for the
semi-pro Rosabell Plumbers in
South Pasadena, California. He was back with the Senators in
1946, but after his average slumped to .214 in 1947, he was traded
to the Browns where he enjoyed two strong seasons before moving on
to the Detroit Tigers. Priddy broke a leg sliding into second base
during 1952. It marked the end of his career and he retired after
the 1953 season.
Priddy played and managed a
couple more years in the Pacific Coast League. He later became a
golf pro on the PGA tour and a public relations man. In 1973, he was
accused of trying to extort $250,000 from a steamship company by
threatening to put a board aboard one of its vessels. He was
convicted and sentenced to nine months
in prison and was released
after he had served half of his term.
On March 3, 1980, Jerry
Priddy suffered a fatal heart attack at
his home in North Hollywood,
California. He was 60 years old.