Former Red Sox third baseman Frank Malzone dies at 85

Former Red Sox third baseman Frank Malzone dies at 85; a 6-time All-Star in Boston's HOF. (Charlie Riedel/AP)

BOSTON — Frank Malzone, the Boston Red Sox‘s all-time leader among third baseman with homers and RBIs, has died, the team said Tuesday. He was 85.

Malzone died at home in Needham, Massachusetts, of natural causes, the team said.

A member of the Red Sox hall of fame since 1995, he played in Boston for 11 seasons from 1955-65. He hit 131 homers with 716 RBIs during that stretch, the most of any third baseman in club history. The six-time All-Star finished his career in 1966 with the California Angels.

"We mourn the loss of a man we all came to know as ‘Malzie,’ who was venerated by Red Sox fans not only for his great glove at third base, but for his blue-collar dedication to his craft," Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said in a statement.

He was often seen in spring training, many times riding a golf cart along with former Boston pitcher Luis Tiant, pausing to take pictures and chatting with fans at the club’s complex in Fort Myers, Florida. He visited Fenway Park often after he retired from his work as a scout, instructor and in the team’s front office.

He was a frequent visitor to games and shown on the scoreboard among "Red Sox Legends."

"Frank was always there to give me a smile and a great word of encouragement every time I ran into him in my five years with the Red Sox," Boston’s 2007 World Series MVP Mike Lowell said in the statement. "He was always a symbol to me of what a professional and standup member of the organization should be. My heart goes out to his family and may he rest in peace. He will be missed."

Malzone played 150 or more games in seven straight seasons after missing just two games in his initial four with the Red Sox. He made it to the big leagues in 1955 after serving two years in the Army (1952-53) during the Korean War.

Malzone won the Gold Glove three consecutive seasons (1957-59) and played in every game in two straight seasons from 1958-59. His consecutive-game streak of 475 remains the longest in team history since 1920.

A New York native, he is survived by his sons Frank, Paul, John and Jim, daughter Anne O’Neill, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.