White Sox: The Mount Rushmore of utility players
By Phil Watson
Mount Rushmore of White Sox utility players: Alex Metzler
For a brief time in the late 1920s, Alex Metzler gave the Chicago White Sox some pop in the batting order while filling in anywhere in the outfield the club needed that day. A regular for just three seasons, Metzler did the bulk of the work in center field in 1927, moved over to left field in 1928 and bounced between the two in 1929, while also spending considerable time in right.
The White Sox purchased Metzler’s contract from Wichita Falls in the Texas League early in the 1927 season and he surpassed expectations by hitting .319 with an .826 OPS with 29 doubles and 11 triples in 134 games.
The 5-foot-9 outfielder had a solid 1928 as well, topping the .300 and .800 marks again with 14 triples and 18 doubles. He slipped to .275 in 1929 and then, at age 27, his production cratered in 1930. Hitting just .177 as a part-time player, his contract was sold to the St. Louis Browns in July.
After the season, the Browns traded Metzler to Milwaukee of the American Association and he played five more years in the minors before retiring.
Metzler had originally signed with the Chicago Cubs and briefly appeared for them in 1925 before he was sold to Wichita Falls. The Philadelphia Athletics acquired him in a trade from Wichita Falls in August 1926, but returned him to the minor-league club in April 1927.
In parts of four seasons with the White Sox, Metzler hit .293 with a .782 OPS in 475 games and 1,944 plate appearances. He hit eight homers with 170 RBI and scored 250 runs, adding 74 doubles and 38 triples.