Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 4/27/12

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 27: (L-R) Special advisors Reggie Jackson and Hall of Famer Yogi Berra of the New York Yankees talk prior to the MLB spring training game against the Cincinnati Reds at Legends Field on February 27, 2003 in Tampa, Florida. The Reds defeated the Yankees 9-3. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Bill "Moose" Skowron, the popular New York Yankees first baseman of the 1950s and '60s, died early Friday morning at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Ill., after a long battle with lung cancer.

He was 81.

Skowron, who died of congestive heart failure as a result of the cancer, was a four-time all-star and was the Yankees' starting first baseman from 1955-62. He played 14 seasons in the majors.

The former football fullback and punter for Purdue University signed with the Yankees in 1951 for a $25,000 bonus. He went on to have a .282 batting average, hitting 211 home runs with 888 RBIs.

Teammate Yogi Berra said there few better men than Skowron.

"He was a dear friend and a great team man," Berra said. "A darn good ballplayer, too. I’m going to miss him."

Skowron's greatest moments with the Yankees were during the postseason. In eight World Series, he hit .293 with eight homers and 29 RBIs in 39 games.

In Game 7 of the 1956 World Series, he hit a seventh-inning grand slam after going hitless in the first six games. Two years later, he singled home the winning run in the 10th inning of Game 6 to force a seventh game. He followed that with an eight-inning three-run homer in a victory in Game 7 as the Yankees came back from 3-1 series deficit.

"Moose will always be remembered as being one of the key members of the Yankees' dynasties in the 50's and early 60's," said New York Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. "He was a winner in every sense of the word, and someone the Yankees family cared deeply for. Baseball lost one of its finest ambassadors, and on behalf of the entire organization, I extend my deepest sympathies to his wife, Cookie, and his entire family."

Skowron also played for also playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1963), Washington (1964), Chicago White Sox (1964-67) and California (1967).

"Moose was a Yankee all the way," said Ralph Terry. "He was a true professional who always worked hard and took the game as serious business. I am proud to have been able to call him a good friend. I remember during spring training when I was 18, he took me for my first pizza."

The Yankees announced they will hold a moment of silence in Skowron’s honor prior to Friday night's game at Yankee Stadium vs. the Detroit Tigers.

Skowron, born in 1930, is survived by his wife, Lorraine (also known as Cookie); daughter Lynnette, sons Greg and Steve, granddaughter Addyson and grandsons Jordan, Grant and Blake. Skowron is also survived by his brother Edward.

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