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HIGGINS, MICHAEL FRANCIS

HIGGINS, MICHAEL FRANCIS (1909–1969). Michael Francis (Pinky) Higgins, baseball player, was born on May 27, 1909, in Red Oak, Texas, to Michael Francis and Mattie (Orr) Higgins. He grew up in Red Oak, where he is said to have earned his nickname when, confined to bed because of illness, he showed up for a sandlot football game wearing his clothing over pink nightclothes. He entered the University of Texas in the spring of 1927 and there played halfback on the football team of 1928. He played on the Texas baseball team during the 1928, 1929, and 1930 seasons, during which time he was all-conference third baseman. He was captain of the University of Texas team that won the Southwest Conference championship in 1930. He left the university in June of 1930 and signed with the Philadelphia Athletics for what was then a monumental bonus, $5,000. In 1938 Higgins established an American League and major league record by tallying twelve consecutive hits. In the 1940 World Series, he set three fielding records in addition to posting a .333 batting average. His lifetime average was .292.

Higgins played for the Philadelphia Athletics, the Boston Red Sox, and the Detroit Tigers and set four batting and fielding records. He retired from playing in 1946 and became a manager in the Boston farm system. He became the Boston Red Sox manager in 1955 and pulled the team to fourth place in the league, thirty games above their 1954 showing, a feat that earned him manager-of-the-year honors. He managed the team for five years and later returned for two more years on the field before moving into the front office for Boston. He later joined the Houston Astros as a scout. He was elected to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1965. He died on March 21, 1969, in Dallas, having served thirty-nine years in major league baseball as a player, manager, and scout. He was survived by his wife, Hazel, whom he had married in 1935. They had three children. Higgins was buried at Hillcrest Memorial Park in Dallas.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

"HIGGINS, MICHAEL FRANCIS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhi06), accessed September 01, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.