Clifford “Earl” Torgeson was born January 1, 1924 in Snohomish. He was a baseball phenom who first learned to play on (Earl) Averill Field. It has been rumored that people of Snohomish petitioned the football coach to encourage him to give up the gridiron game because he had such a bright future in baseball.
In 1941, at age 17, he signed with the Seattle Rainiers. He was sent to the Western International League team in Wenatchee where he hit .332. AS the Rainiers won the PCL Title, Earl got a chance to play in the same lineup with his idol, a 39-year-old Earl Averill who had recently retired from the Majors. In 1943, Torgeson enlisted in the Army and was sent to Europe with the 70th Infantry Division. He was injured in the Battle of the Bulge and was discharged in April 1946. In August, the Boston Braves brought him to the Major Leagues.
As a rookie in 1947, he hit .281 with 16 home runs and earned the nickname of “The Earl of Snohomish”, the title originally bestowed on Hall of Famer and fellow Snohomish native Averill. He played 15 years in the Majors that included three World Series teams: Boston Braves 1948, Chicago White Sox 1959, and New York Yankees 1961. He was a career .265 hitter with 149 homeruns, 740 RBIs, and 133 stolen bases. At six foot three he was a surprisingly fast and agile first baseman.
After retiring, Torgeson served in several Snohomish County positions including Director of Parks, 4 years as a County Commissioner, and 8 years as head of the County’s Emergency Management Department. In 1969 he was Manager of the Seattle Pilots and during that year, he was inducted into the Washington State Sports Hall of Fame.
At age 66, Earl passed away from a battle with leukemia at his home in Everett in November 8, 1990.