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The tragic death of Snuffy Stirnweiss

George Stirnweiss in 1945

George “Snuffy” Stirnweiss was a war-time middle infi elder with the New York Yankees who won an American League batting championship, and who later died a horrifi c death in a railroad accident, his train plunging into a river.

He would have been 100 last fall, but he only lived to 39 and was adjusting to an anonymous, low profi le career in fi nance after glory days with the Yankees.

He was a stumpy little guy at 5-foot-8, 175 pounds - a prototype middle infi elder of his era. He did not have the athletic body of say, Giancarlo Stanton, to say the least. His nickname was borrowed in part from a popular comic character of the time (Snuff y Smith), and his use of snuff , a type of tobacco inhaled. Of course many players used diff erent variations of tobacco back then, mostly a chaw stuff ed in their cheek. It was a ballplayer thing.

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