Spring Hill College passes along its sincerest condolences to the family of Badger alumnus and athletic star Francis “Frank” Bolling ‘54 upon news of his passing on Saturday morning following a five-year battle with cancer at the age of 88.
A member of the Alabama Sports (Class of 1982), Mobile Sports (Class of 1990) and SHC Athletic (Class of 1973) Halls of Fame, Bolling graduated high school from McGill Institute in Mobile before beginning his collegiate baseball career with the Badgers. At the prep and collegiate levels of play, he was a standout athlete, earning All-State and All-Conference accolades in both baseball and basketball.
Bolling began his professional baseball career in 1951 as second baseman for a minor league team of the Detroit Tigers before beginning a 12-year career in Major League Baseball where he was given the moniker of “The Flying Tiger" and earned the Gold Glove Award in 1958. In 1954, he was drafted into the U.S. Army for two years, playing for the All-Army Championship Baseball Team. Bolling spent five (1961-66) of his Major League seasons with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, where he was voted to the Milwaukee Braves Wall of Honor in 2019.
His first hit in the majors was a home run, but Bolling considered his grand slam off the Dodgers' Sandy Koufax in 1965 as his hitting highlight. That hit also happened to be the final one hit at Milwaukee County Stadium as the Braves relocated to Atlanta for the 1966 season.
Frank and older brother Milt Bolling formed the Detroit Tigers' double-play combination in 1958, as one of only four infield brother combinations in MLB history. Bolling Brothers Boulevard, the street in Mobile that leads to Hank Aaron Stadium, was named for the Bollings in 1997.
Named by the players to the National League All-Star Team in 1961 and 1962, he played 72 consecutive games without error, just one shy of the then standing record. Bolling finished his career with a .254 batting average, 106 home runs, and 556 runs batted in in 1,540 games played.
Bolling celebrated 60 years of marriage to the late Suanne “Su” Hillman Bolling whom he publicly dedicated many of his awards.
A private Mass of Christian Burial will be Saturday, July 18, 2020, at Little Flower Catholic Church in Mobile and interment will be at Spring Hill Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Little Flower Catholic Church.