William Joseph Klaus (December 9, 1928 – December 3, 2006) was a shortstop and third baseman in Major League Baseball who played with the Boston & Milwaukee Braves (1952–53), Boston Red Sox (1955–58), Baltimore Orioles (1959–60), Washington Senators (1961) and Philadelphia Phillies (1962–63). He played the end of the 1963 season in Japan for the Chunichi Dragons. Born in Fox Lake, Illinois, he batted left-handed and threw right-handed. He is the older brother of infielder Bobby Klaus who played in 1964 and 1965 for the Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets.
A master defensively, Klaus had good range, a strong and secure arm, and an ability to throw across his body quickly. A modest hitter, his greatest offensive contribution came via the bunt and the hit-and-run, but his defense was good enough by itself to keep him in the majors a while.
In his 1955 rookie season with the Red Sox, Klaus had a career-high .283 batting average with seven home runs and 60 RBI (also a career-high), and finished second in American League Rookie of the Year voting behind Herb Score. A year later, he put almost identical numbers (.271, 7, 59), and in 1957 he belted a high-career 10 home runs.
In an 11-season career, Klaus was a .249 hitter with 40 home runs and 250 RBI in 821 games. He had 626 hits in 2513 at bats.
By Dean Hanley
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