Delmer Ennis was an American left and right fielder in Major League Baseball who played most of his career for the Philadelphia Phillies. From 1949 to 1957, Ennis accumulated more runs batted in (RBIs) than anyone besides Stan Musial and was eighth in the National League in home runs. In 1950 he led the National League with 126 RBIs as the Phillies won their first pennant in 35 years. He held the Phillies career record of 259 home runs from 1956 to 1980, and ranked 10th in NL history with 1,824 games in the outfield when his career ended.
Del was the elder of two sons born to George and Agnes Ennis. Del and his younger brother George and family lived in Philadelphia and he attended Olney High School where he was a standout full back on the football team and played catcher, outfielder and first base on the baseball team.
Del was scouted as a high school player and after some delay was signed a minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1942. His first season in the minors Del hit .346 with 18 home runs and 93 runs batted in.
At the end of the season, however, Del enlisted in the US Navy and was sent to Guam as a warrant officer. While he did not like Guam but he did get to meet and play some baseball with other military major league players such as Linwood "Schoolboy" Rowe, Johnny Vander Meer, and Billy Herman.
Del was discharged at the end of the war in 186 and returned to the Phillies where he started in left field. By the end of that first year, Ennis was named to the 1946 All-Star team and finished the season with a .313 batting average, 17 home runs, and 73 runs batted in. He was named The Sporting News Rookie of the Year. He finished eighth on the National League Most Valuable Player ballot.
Ennis was part of the Phillies "Whiz Kids" the name given that group of young Phillies players who in 1950 won the team’s first National League pennant in 35 years. Twenty-five-year-old Ennis was the power behind the team. The “Kids” included, along with Ennis, Robin Roberts, Curt Simmons, Willie “Puddin’ Head” Jones, Granville "Granny" Hamner, Emory "Bubba" Church, Richie Ashburn, Stan Lopata, Ralph “Putsy” Caballero, Bob Miller, and Stan Hollmig, all of whom were younger than 25. The Whiz Kids carried the Phillies into first place.
Ennis played several more season in the big leagues, but never regained the success of the 1950's team. In fact, he was booed by the Phillies fans, even though he was a "home town" kid. He played for the Phillies for 11 seasons, was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and finally he retired from the Chicago White Sox in 1959.
After retiring from baseball, Del began a successful second phase of his life on a suggestion from his former roommate, Stan Musial. He became the owner and operator along with the Phillies' traveling secretary, John R. Wise, of Del Ennis Lanes, a bowling alley which was opened in 1958. Both retired from the bowling-alley business after 33 years and the 36 lane establishment closed it's doors.
Ennis also raised and raced greyhounds; the names of his dogs were those of former teammates from the 1950 Whiz Kids: Granny, Richie, Bubba, Puddin’ Head. Ennis, along with Robin Roberts, was also instrumental in starting “Dream Team” activities – fantasy-camp activities where men from all walks of life would enjoy a week playing baseball with former major-league stars.
Taken from the obituary available on Philly.com:
"Del Ennis, the home-grown slugging outfielder with the Phillies' 1950 National League champions, died of complications from diabetes at his Huntingdon Valley home. He was 70."
Ennis and his wife, Liz raised six children. At the time of his death he also had 13 grandchildren; and one great grandchild.
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