Milton Joseph Bolling
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 180 lb.
- School Spring Hill College
- High School McGill-Toolen Catholic High School
- Debut September 10, 1952
- Final Game July 28, 1958
- Born August 9, 1930 in Mississippi City, MS USA
- Died January 19, 2013 in Mobile, AL USA
The Boston Red Sox signed Milt Bolling as an amateur free agent before the 1948 season and assigned him to the Class B Roanoke Red Sox. The 17-year-old rookie shortstop got off to a rough start, hitting only .184 in 85 games. Milt plied his trade with several teams in the minors until September 10, 1952, when he made his major league debut with the Boston Red Sox at Briggs Stadium in Detroit. Following his eleven-game trial in 1952, Milt earned the starting shortstop job for the Sawx in 1953. He responded by hitting a career-high .263. His OPS+ of 77 was just barely above his career average as he did not have a high OBP (.318) or slugging percentage (.353). He also suffered an ankle injury that hampered him the rest of his career.
In spring training 1955, the snake-bitten infielder dislocated his left arm during a play at second base in which a collision with Del Rice almost destroyed him. Milt was traded to the Washington Senators in 1957 and concluded his seven-year American League career with the Detroit Tigers in 1958 with a .241 lifetime average. With Detroit, Milt joined his younger brother, Frank, in the middle infield. Their brief union enabled them to become one of four brother double play combinations in baseball history (through 2008), joining the 1945 Phillies' Garvin and Granny Hamner, the Pittsburgh Pirates' Eddie and Johnny O'Brien (early 1950s) and the Baltimore Orioles' Cal and Billy Ripken in the late 1980s.
Bolling spent eleven seasons in professional baseball from 1948 through 1958. Altogether, he appeared in 940 games with 3,081 at bats and 734 hits, including 49 home runs, for a .238 batting average. He had an uncle, Jack, who was in pro ball from 1936 through 1946. Jack was with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1939 and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1944.
Milt, who like his brother Frank, was a graduate of Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL, remained in baseball as a longtime scout for the Red Sox from 1965 until retiring in 1994. He died on January 19, 2013, the same day as Hall of Famers Stan Musial and Earl Weaver.
- Jeremiah "Pepper" Woolsey: "Milt Bolling", in Mark Armour and Bill Nowlin, eds.: Red Sox Baseball in the Days of Ike and Elvis: The Red Sox of the 1950s, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2012, pp. 219-225. ISBN 978-1933599243