Donald Frederick Mueller (April 14, 1927 – December 28, 2011) was a professional baseball player who played mainly as a right fielder in Major League Baseball for 12 seasons from 1948 until 1959. The first 10 of those years were spent with the New York Giants, for whom he batted over .300 for three consecutive seasons (1953–55) and led the National League in hits (212) in 1954. Mueller, who batted left-handed and threw right-handed, never hit more than 16 home runs in a season. He earned the nickname Mandrake the Magician for being adept at consistently putting the ball in play and delivering hits through the infield. His lifetime batting average was .296.
He was born in St. Louis, Missouri on April 14, 1927. His father, Walter Mueller, was also a major leaguer who spent parts of four seasons during the 1920s with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The younger Mueller was signed as an amateur free agent out of Christian Brothers College High School by the Giants in 1944.
Mueller played a central, but painful, role in the famous October 3, 1951, playoff game that won the NL pennant for the Giants. With New York trailing the Brooklyn Dodgers, 4–1, in the ninth inning, Mueller singled Alvin Dark to third base. With one out, Whitey Lockman doubled to score Dark, but Mueller sprained his ankle sliding into third. He was carried from the field, and missed both Bobby Thomson's game-winning home run that followed Lockman's hit and the 1951 World Series. But in 1954 - when he finished second to teammate Willie Mays in the NL batting race – Mueller batted .389 in the 1954 Fall Classic to help lead the Giants to a four-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians.
Mueller finished his playing career with the 1958–59 Chicago White Sox. Mueller died on December 28, 2011, six months after his wife, Genevieve.
By Dean Hanley
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