Obituaries: Baseball's Walt Dropo; French scholar Jacqueline de Romilly; Brian Hanrahan of BBC

Monday, December 20, 2010; 6:07 PM

Walt Dropo

baseball player

Walt Dropo, 87, who played 13 seasons in the majors and won the 1950 American League Rookie of the Year award with the Boston Red Sox, died Dec. 17 of undisclosed causes.

Mr. Dropo's death was announced in a statement from the University of Connecticut, where he was a three-sport star in the 1940s.

In 1950, Mr. Dropo beat out New York Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford to win AL Rookie of the Year honors after batting .322 with 34 home runs and a league-best 144 RBIs in 136 games. He also made his only All-Star team that year.

"Walt Dropo was one of the greatest players the Red Sox had in the post-World War II era," said Dick Bresciani, the team's vice president of publications and archives.

A broken wrist slowed Mr. Dropo in 1951 and he was never able to match his outstanding rookie numbers. The first baseman batted .270 with 152 homers and 704 RBIs during his career. He was traded by Boston to the Detroit Tigers in 1952 and also played for the Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles.

Shortly after being traded to Detroit in 1952, Mr. Dropo tied a major league record that still stands when he got hits in 12 consecutive trips to the plate. During that streak. he also tied another big league mark that's still in place when he totaled 15 hits in a four-game span.

Born Jan. 30. 1923, Mr. Dropo was raised in a small Connecticut village and was affectionately nicknamed "The Moose from Moosup." He played football, basketball and baseball at UConn in a career that was interrupted by three years of military service during World War II.

He graduated in 1947 as UConn's career-scoring leader in basketball, but turned down offers to play professional football and basketball to sign with the Red Sox.

More than 60 years after his college basketball career ended, Mr. Dropo still ranks second in career-scoring average at UConn at 20.7 points per game.

Jacqueline de Romilly

Classics scholar

French scholar Jacqueline de Romilly, a specialist on ancient Greece, a prolific writer and one of the first women to join the prestigious Academie Francaise, died Dec. 18 at a hospital in the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt. She was 97.

President Nicolas Sarkozy called Ms. de Romilly "a great humanist whose voice we will miss." The scholar was known for her works on ancient Greek literature, tragedy and thought. She wrote several books on ancient historian Thucydides.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2010 The Washington Post Company