Ralph “Putsy” Caballero – a native New Orleanian who became the youngest third baseman in major league history – died Thursday, his son Ricky confirmed.
He was 89.
Caballero, who attended Jesuit and Loyola, was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies as a 16-year-old on Sept. 9, 1944. Less than a week later, he was in the majors.
At age 22 in 1950, Caballero was a part of a youthful 1950 Phillies team that became known as the “Whiz Kids” and reached the World Series. Caballero’s teammates included Robin Roberts and Richie Ashburn.
Caballero played parts of eight seasons in the majors. After he retired from baseball, he owned and operated an exterminating company in New Orleans.
An online post from this summer indicated that Caballero was one of the last 24 surviving players of Major League Baseball during World War II.
Caballero was honored twice by his hometown. He was a 1994 inductee into the Allstate Sugar Bowl Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame and a 2009 inductee into the New Orleans Professional Baseball Hall of Fame.
Funeral arrangements are pending.