James Outman is the inspiration for a second Leading Off with True Blue LA podcast this week. Outman was the eighth Dodgers player to hit a home run in his first major league at-bat. Ernie Koy was the second, and the first position player to do so in franchise history.
Koy played baseball and football at the University of Texas, and was signed by the Yankees in 1933. But as an outfielder, he was stuck in the minors for five years behind an absolutely stacked outfield in New York, which included at times Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Tommy Heinrich, George Selkirk, and Ben Chapman.
The Dodgers came calling in 1938, purchasing Koy from the Yankees, and he pretty much hit right out of the gate. In addition to the debut home run, Koy hit .299/.352/.468 with a 121 OPS+ as a rookie, second in the National League with 15 stolen bases, fourth with 13 triples, seventh with 52 extra-base hits, and ninth in slugging percentage.
Koy played parts of three seasons in Brooklyn, played all three outfield spots, and played five seasons in the majors before joining the Navy for World War II.
In 1960, Koy was among the inaugural class of the University of Texas Hall of Honor. He had two of his sons also play football and Texas, and both later played in the NFL.
Episode link (time: 9:18)