View Full Version : Bill James NL 1940-1949 All Decade Teams
12-15-2011, 08:21 PM
NATIONAL LEAGUE 1940 - 1949
First Team Second Team Third Team
C - Walker Cooper Ernie Lombardi Phil Masi
1B - Johnny Mize Phil Cavaretta Frank McCormick
2B - Eddie Stanky Lonnie Frey Billy Herman
3B - Bob Elliott Stan Hack Whitey Kurowski
SS - Marty Marion Pee Wee Reese Eddie Miller
LF - Stan Musial Enos Slaughter Augie Galan
CF - Tommy Holmes Johnny Hopp Pete Reiser
RF - Dixie Walker Bill Nicholson Mel Ott
P - Bucky Walters Rip Sewell Johnny Vander Meer
P - Mort Cooper Claude Passeau Hank Borowy
P - Harry Brecheen Kirby Higbe Jim Tobin
Win shares is the name of the metric Bill James describes in his 2002 book Win Shares.
It considers statistics for baseball players, in the context of their team and in a sabermetric way, and assigns a single number to each player for his contributions for the year. All pitching, hitting and defensive contributions by the player are taken into account. Statistics are adjusted for park, league and era.
A win share represents one-third of a team win, by definition. If a team wins 80 games in a season, then its players will share 240 win shares. The formula for calculating win shares is complicated; it takes up pages 16–100 in the book. The general approach is to take the team's win shares (i.e., 3 times its number of wins), then divide them between offense and defense.
On a team with equal offensive and defensive prowess, hitters receive 48% of the win shares and those win shares are allocated among the hitters based on runs created. An estimation is then made to decide what amount of the defensive credit goes to pitchers and what amount goes to fielders. Pitching contributions typically receive 35% (or 36%) of the win shares, defensive contributions receive 17% (or 16%) of the win shares. The pitching contributions are allocated among the pitchers based on runs prevented, the pitchers' analogue to runs created. Fielding contributions are allocated among the fielders based on a number of assumptions and a selection of traditional defensive statistics.
In Major League Baseball, based on a 162-game schedule, a typical All-Star might amass 20 win shares in a season. More than 30 win shares (i.e. the player is directly responsible for 10 wins by his team) is indicative of MVP-level performance, and 40+ win shares represents an exceptional, historic season. For pitchers, Win Shares levels are typically lower—in fact, they often come close to mirroring actual wins.
Win shares differs from other sabermetric player rating metrics such as Total player rating and VORP in that it is based on total team wins, not runs above average.
George William “Bill” James (born October 5, 1949, in Holton, Kansas) is a baseball writer, historian, and statistician whose work has been widely influential. Since 1977, James has written more than two dozen books devoted to baseball history and statistics. His approach, which he termed sabermetrics in reference to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), scientifically analyzes and studies baseball, often through the use of statistical data, in an attempt to determine why teams win and lose. His Baseball Abstract books in the 1980s are the modern predecessor to websites using sabermetrics such as Baseball Prospectus and Baseball Primer (now Baseball Think Factory).
In 2006, Time named him in the Time 100 as one of the most influential people in the world. He is currently a Senior Advisor on Baseball Operations for the Boston Red Sox. In 2010, Bill James was inducted into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame.
After four years at the University of Kansas residing at Stephenson Scholarship hall, James joined the Army in 1971. He was the last person in Kansas to be sent to fight in the Vietnam war, although he never saw action there. Instead, he spent two years stationed in South Korea, during which time he wrote to KU about taking his final class. He was told he actually had met all his graduation requirements, so he returned to Lawrence in 1973 with degrees in English and economics. He also finished an Education degree in 1975, likewise from the University of Kansas.
The Bill James Baseball Abstracts
An aspiring writer and obsessive fan, James began writing baseball articles after leaving the United States Army in his mid-twenties. Many of his first baseball writings came while he was doing night shifts as a security guard at the Stokely Van Camp pork and beans cannery. Unlike most writers, his pieces did not recount games in epic terms or offer insights gleaned from interviews with players. A typical James piece posed a question (e.g., "Which pitchers and catchers allow runners to steal the most bases?"), and then presented data and analysis written in a lively, insightful, and witty style that offered an answer.
Editors considered James's pieces so unusual that few believed them suitable for their readers. In an effort to reach a wider audience, James self-published an annual book titled The Bill James Baseball Abstract beginning in 1977. The first edition of the book presented 80 pages of in-depth statistics compiled from James's study of box scores from the preceding season, and was offered for sale through a small advertisement in The Sporting News.
Over the next three years James's work won respect, including a very favorable review by Daniel Okrent in Sports Illustrated. New annual editions added essays on teams and players. By 1982 sales had increased tenfold, and a media conglomerate agreed to publish and distribute future editions.
While writers had published books about baseball statistics before (most notably Earnshaw Cook's Percentage Baseball, in the 1960s), few had ever reached a mass audience. Attempts to imitate James's work spawned a flood of books and articles that continue to this day.
In 1988, James ceased writing the Abstract, citing workload-related burnout and concern about the volume of statistics on the market. He has continued to publish hardcover books about baseball history, which have sold well and received admiring reviews; these books include three editions of The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract (1985, 1988, 2001, the last entitled The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.)
During the years after the annual Abstract ceased publication, James has published several series of new annuals:
The Baseball Book (1990–1992) was a loosely-organized collection of commentary, profiles, historical articles, and occasional pieces of research.
The Player Ratings Book (1993–95) offered statistics and 50-word profiles aimed at the fantasy baseball enthusiast.
The Bill James Handbook (2003–present) provides past-season statistics and next-season projections for Major League players and teams, and career data for all current Major League players. Results for the Fielding Bible Awards, an alternative to the Gold Glove Awards voted on by a 10-person panel that includes James, are also included.
The Bill James Gold Mine (2008–present) is a collection of new essays and never-before-seen statistics, as well as profiles of players and teams.
In 2008, James launched Bill James Online. Subscribers can read James’ new, original writing and interact with one another—as well as with James—in a question-and-answer format. The web site also offers new “profiles” of teams and players full of facts and statistics that hope to one day map what James has termed “the lost island of baseball statistics.”
Among the statistical innovations attributable to James are:
Runs Created. A statistic intended to quantify a player's contribution to runs scored, as well as a team's expected number of runs scored. Runs created is calculated from other offensive statistics. James's first version of it was: Runs Created = (Total Bases * (Hits + Walks))/(Plate Appearances). Applied to an entire team or league, the statistic correlates closely to that team's or league's actual runs scored. Since James first created the statistic, sabermetricians have refined it to make it more accurate, and it is now used in many different variations.
Range factor. A statistic that quantifies the defensive contribution of a player, calculated in its simplest form as RF = (Assists + Put Outs)/(Games Played). The statistic is premised on the notion that the total number of outs that a player participates in is more relevant in evaluating his defensive play than the percentage of cleanly handled chances as calculated by the conventional statistic Fielding Percentage.
Defensive Efficiency Rating. A statistic that shows the percentage of balls in play a defense turns into an out. It is used to help determine a team's defensive ability. Calculated by: 1 - ((Opp. Hits + Reached on Error - Opp. Home runs) / (Plate appearances - Walks - Strikeouts - HitByPitch - Opp. Home runs)).
Win Shares. A unifying statistic intended to allow the comparison of players at different positions, as well as players of different eras. Win Shares incorporates a variety of pitching, hitting and fielding statistics. One drawback of Win Shares is the difficulty of computing it.
Pythagorean Winning Percentage. A statistic explaining the relationship of wins and losses to runs scored and runs allowed. In its simplest form: Pythagorean Winning Percentage equals Runs squared divided by the square of Runs plus the square of Runs Allowed. The statistic correlates closely to a team's actual winning percentage.
Game Score is a metric to determine the strength of a pitcher in any particular baseball game.
Major League Equivalency. A metric that uses minor league statistics to predict how a player is likely to perform at the major league level.
The Brock2 System. A system for projecting a player's performance over the remainder of his career based on past performance and the aging process.
Similarity scores. Scoring a player's statistical similarity to other players, providing a frame of reference for players of the distant past. Examples: Lou Gehrig comparable to Don Mattingly; Joe Jackson to Tony Oliva.
Secondary average. A statistic that attempts to measure a player's contribution to an offense in ways not reflected in batting average. The formula is (Extra bases on hits+Walks+Stolen Bases)/At bats. Secondary averages tend to be similar to batting averages, but can vary widely, from less than .100 to more than .500 in extreme cases. Extra bases on hits is calculated with the formula (Doubles)+(Triplesx2)+(Homerunsx3) or more easily, (Total Bases)-(Hits).
Power/Speed Number. A statistic that attempts to consolidate the various "clubs" of players with impressive numbers of both home runs and stolen bases (e.g., the "30/30" club (Bobby Bonds was well known for being a member), the "40/40" club (José Canseco was the first to perform this feat), and even the "25/65" club (Joe Morgan in the '70s)). The formula: (2x(Home Runs)x(Stolen Bases))/(Home Runs + Stolen Bases).
Approximate Value. A system of cutoffs designed to estimate the value a player contributed to various category groups (including his team) to study broad questions such as "how do players age over time".
Although James may be best known as an inventor of statistical tools, he has often written on the limitations of statistics and urged humility concerning their place amidst other kinds of information about baseball. To James, context is paramount: he was among the first to emphasize the importance of adjusting traditional statistics for park factors and to stress the role of luck in a pitcher's win-loss record. Many of his statistical innovations are arguably less important than the underlying ideas. When he introduced the notion of secondary average, it was as a vehicle for the then-counterintuitive concept that batting average represents only a fraction of a player's offensive contribution. (The runs-created statistic plays a similar role vis-à-vis the traditional RBI.) Some of his contributions to the language of baseball, like the idea of the "defensive spectrum", border on being entirely non-statistical.
In an essay published in the 1984 Abstract, James vented his frustration about Major League Baseball's refusal to publish play-by-play accounts of every game. James proposed the creation of Project Scoresheet, a network of fans that would work together to collect and distribute this information.
While the resulting non-profit organization never functioned smoothly, it worked well enough to collect accounts of every game from 1984 through 1991. James's publisher agreed to distribute two annuals of essays and data - the 1987 and 1988 editions of Bill James Presents The Great American Baseball Statbook (though only the first of these featured writing by James).
The organization was eventually disbanded, but many of its members went on to form for-profit companies with similar goals and structure. STATS, Inc., the company James joined, provided data and analysis to every major media outlet before being acquired by Fox Sports in 2001.
Acceptance in mainstream baseball
Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane began applying sabermetric principles to running his low-budget team in the late 1990s, to notable effect, as chronicled in Michael Lewis' book Moneyball).
In 2003, James was hired by a former reader, John Henry, the new owner of the Boston Red Sox.
One point of controversy was in handling the relief pitching of the Red Sox. James had previously published analysis of the use of the closer in baseball, and had concluded that the traditional use of the closer both overrated the abilities of that individual, and used him in suboptimal circumstances. He wrote that it is "far better to use your relief ace when the score is tied, even if that is the seventh inning, than in the ninth inning with a lead of two or more runs." The Red Sox in 2003 staffed their bullpen with several marginally talented relievers. Red Sox manager Grady Little was never fully comfortable with the setup, and designated unofficial closers and reshuffled roles after a bad outing. When Boston lost a number of games due to bullpen failures, Little reverted to a traditional closer approach and moved Byung-Hyun Kim from being a starting pitcher to a closer. The Red Sox did not follow James' idea of a bullpen with no closer, but with consistent overall talent that would allow the responsibilities to be shared. Red Sox reliever Alan Embree thought the plan could have worked if the bullpen had not suffered injuries. During the 2004 regular season Keith Foulke was used primarily as a closer in the conventional model; however, Foulke's usage in the 2004 postseason was along the lines of a relief ace with multiple inning appearances at pivotal times of the game. Houston Astros manager Phil Garner also employed a relief ace model with his use of Brad Lidge in the 2004 postseason.
James is still (2010) employed by the Red Sox, having published several new sabermetric books during his tenure (see Bibliography, below). Indeed, although James is typically tight-lipped about his activities on behalf of the Red Sox, he is credited with advocating some of the moves that led to the team's first World Series championship in 86 years, including the signing of non-tendered free agent David Ortiz, the trade for Mark Bellhorn, and the team's increased emphasis on on-base percentage. During his time with the Red Sox, Bill James has received two World Series rings for the team's 2004 and 2007 victories.
The Mind of Bill James, a biography-cum-chronicle of James's works was published in the spring of 2006. How Bill James Changed Our View of the Game of Baseball was published in February 2007. He was profiled on 60 Minutes on March 30, 2008, in his role as a sabermetric pioneer and Red Sox advisor.
Dowd Report controversy
James was a critic of the Dowd Report, which was an investigation (commissioned by baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti) on the gambling activities of Pete Rose. James, in his Baseball Book 1990, dismissed Dowd's conclusion that the former Cincinnati Reds manager bet on baseball games, for lack of evidence. James reproached commissioner Giamatti and his successor, Fay Vincent, for their acceptance of the Dowd Report as the final word on Rose's gambling.
In 2004, Rose admitted he had bet on baseball and confirmed the Dowd Report was correct. James argued that the evidence available to Dowd at the time was insufficient to reach the coincidentally correct conclusion.
James is a fan of the University of Kansas men's basketball team and has written about basketball. He has created a formula for what he calls a "safe lead" in the sport. He has written a true crime book titled "Popular Crime: Reflections on the Celebration of Violence". James made a guest appearance on the Simpsons episode "MoneyBART".
12-16-2011, 07:08 PM
First Team, Catcher, Walker Cooper
William Walker Cooper (January 8, 1915 - April 11, 1991) was an American professional baseball player. He was a catcher in Major League Baseball who played for six National League teams from 1940 to 1957. He was known as one of the top catchers in baseball during the 1940s and early 1950s.
A native of Atherton, Missouri, Cooper was a solid defensive catcher as well as a strong hitter, making the National League All-Star team every year from 1942 to 1950. After being stuck in the Cardinals' talent-rich farm system in the late 1930s, he finally broke in with the team in late 1940 at age 25 (and reportedly complained to umpire Beans Reardon about the first pitch he saw); but a broken collarbone limited his play to 68 games in 1941. On August 30 of that year, Cooper caught Lon Warneke's no-hitter. In 1942 he batted .281, finishing among the National League's top ten players in slugging, doubles and triples as St. Louis won the pennant by two games; brother Mort won the Most Valuable Player Award. Batting fifth, he hit .286 in the World Series against the defending champion New York Yankees, driving in the winning run in Game 4 and scoring the winning run on Whitey Kurowski's home run in the ninth inning of the final Game 5; he then picked Joe Gordon off second base with no outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, as the team earned its first title in eight years.
In 1943 he raised his average to a career-high .318, and was third in the National League in batting and slugging and fifth in RBI, as the Cardinals repeated as league champions; he was runnerup in the Most Valuable Player Award vote to teammate Stan Musial. In the 1943 World Series he batted .294 as the clean-up hitter, but St. Louis lost the rematch with the Yankees. In 1944 his average dipped only slightly to .317 as the Cardinals won their third straight pennant, facing the crosstown St. Louis Browns in the World Series; again batting cleanup, he hit .318 in the Series and scored the team's first run in the final Game 6, and the Cardinals won another title. World War II service in the Navy led him to appear in only four games in 1945, and before his return the New York Giants purchased his contract following a salary dispute in January 1946; the sale by the Cardinals for $175,000 ($1,967,778 today) was the highest cash-only deal ever to that time; the transactions of Joe Cronin in 1934 and Dizzy Dean in 1938 were larger deals, but also involved other players.
Cooper enjoyed his most productive season at the plate in 1947, when he hit .305 and compiled career highs in home runs (35), RBI (122), runs (79), hits (157) triples (8) and games (140); the Giants set a new major league record with 221 home runs. In that season, Cooper homered in six consecutive games to tie a record set by George Kelly in 1924. After Leo Durocher became Giants manager in 1948, he began revamping the team to emphasize speed, and Cooper was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in June 1949 after starting the year hitting .211. Three weeks later, on July 6, Cooper became the only catcher in major league history, and one of only eleven players, to have hit 10 or more RBI in a single game; he was 6-for-7, including three home runs and five runs. That year, he also led National League catchers in assists for the only time in his career. In May 1950 he was traded to the Boston Braves, where he caught Vern Bickford's no-hitter on August 11 of that year. He remained with the Braves through their 1953 move to Milwaukee, batting over .300 in his first two seasons with the club.
Cooper signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates before the 1954 season but was let go in May after hitting only .200; he was picked up by the Chicago Cubs, and hit well as a backup catcher and pinch-hitter through 1955. He then returned to St. Louis to spend his last two seasons as a Cardinal, ending his career in October 1957. After his daughter, Sarah (Miss Missouri 1957), married Cardinals second baseman Don Blasingame, he noted, "It's time to quit when you've got a daughter old enough to marry a teammate."
In an 18 year career, Cooper played in 1473 games, accumulating 1341 hits in 4702 at bats for a .285 career batting average along with 173 home runs, 812 runs batted in, and a .464 slugging percentage. He led National League catchers three times in range factor, twice in caught stealing percentage, and once in assists, finishing with a .977 career fielding percentage. One of the sport's strongest players in his prime, at the end of his career he ranked among the top five National League catchers in career batting average (.285), slugging average (.464), home runs (173) and runs batted in (812). He also batted .300 over three World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals from 1942-44 as the team won two championships, and ranked tenth in National League history in both games (1223) and putouts (5166) behind the plate when he retired. During his career, he set a record by hitting grand slams with five different teams (a mark subsequently tied by Dave Kingman and Dave Winfield). His .464 slugging average then placed him behind only Roy Campanella (.500) and Gabby Hartnett (.489) among players with 1000 National League games as a catcher, and his 173 HRs and 812 RBI put him behind only Campanella (242, 856), Hartnett (236, 1179), and Ernie Lombardi (190, 990). His older brother, Mort Cooper, was a National League pitcher and his teammate for the first few years of his career, and his son-in-law, Don Blasingame, also was a major leaguer.
After his playing career, he managed the Indianapolis Indians (1958–59) and Dallas-Fort Worth Rangers (1961) of the Triple-A American Association and was a coach for the 1960 Kansas City Athletics, before leaving the game.
Walker Cooper died in Scottsdale, Arizona at age 76.
Batting average .285
Home runs 173
Runs batted in 812
St. Louis Cardinals (1940–1945)
New York Giants (1946–1949)
Cincinnati Reds (1949–1950)
Boston/Milwaukee Braves (1950–1953)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1954)
Chicago Cubs (1954–1955)
St. Louis Cardinals (1956–1957)
Career highlights and awards
8× All-Star selection (1942, 1943, 1944, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950)
2× World Series champion (1942, 1944)
12-18-2011, 10:41 AM
First Team, First Baseman, Johnny Mize
John Robert "Johnny" Mize (January 7, 1913 – June 2, 1993) was a baseball player who was a first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Giants, and New York Yankees. He played in the Major Leagues for 15 seasons between 1936 and 1953, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.
Mize was born in Demorest, Georgia, where he later played baseball for Piedmont College. Mize was known as both "Big Jawn" and "The Big Cat" for his smooth fielding at first base. He had a fine batting eye, and in his early career hit for high averages, leading the National League with a .349 batting average in 1939. In 1938 he batted .363, but Cardinals teammate Joe Medwick took the title with a .374 average. Mize then changed targets and went for power instead of batting average. He led the National League in home runs in 1939 with 28, and in 1940 with 43, also leading the league in runs batted in twice, in 1940 and 1942. At the end of the 1941 season, however, he was traded to the New York Giants by Cardinals general manager Branch Rickey, who famously believed in trading players before their skills began to decline.
In 1941, Mize was involved in a lawsuit against Gum Products Inc. The company manufactured a set of baseball cards called Double Play. Mize sued because he argued that the company did not have his consent to use his image in the card set.
Service and return to majors
Mize spent 1943 through 1945 in military service during World War II. Returning to the Giants in 1946, a broken toe caused him to fall one short of the home run title, won by Ralph Kiner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1947 he rebounded to hit 51 home runs and tie Kiner for the league lead. He also led in runs and RBI, and became the only player to strike out fewer than fifty times while hitting fifty home runs. (This combination of power and control was a mark of Mize's style; he also had seasons of 43 home runs and 49 strikeouts, and of 40 home runs and 37 strikeouts.)
In 1948, Mize and Kiner again tied for the league home run championship with 40 each. Mize was traded to the New York Yankees late in the 1949 season after expressing discontent with the amount of his playing time.
Mize spent the last five years of his career with the Yankees, mostly as a part-time player, ending in 1953. He was, however, considered a valuable contributor to their winning an unprecedented five consecutive American League pennants and World Series titles. He hit 25 home runs in 1950 (despite spending part of the season on minor league rehab) to become the second player, joining Hank Greenberg three years earlier, to have a 25-home run season in both leagues. In the 1952 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers, he hit three home runs, one as a pinch-hitter, and was robbed of a fourth by Dodger right fielder Carl Furillo, who made a leaping catch above the fence in the 11th inning to preserve a win for the Dodgers.
Mize holds the Major League record for the most times hitting three homers in one game, a feat he performed six times. He also was one of a handful of players (also including Babe Ruth) to do it in both leagues — five times in the National League and once in the American. He was the first player to hit three home runs in a game twice in one season in 1938 and did it twice again in 1940. He finished his career with 359 home runs. Like Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and Hank Greenberg, all of whom spent at least three years in the military at the peak of their power, Mize undoubtedly lost a large number of home runs because of his service. His 43 home runs in 1940 broke the Cardinal record of 42 set by Rogers Hornsby in 1922 – and remained the record until Mark McGwire hit 70 in 1998. He and Carl Yastrzemski are the only players to have three seasons of hitting 40 or more home runs, without a season of hitting between 30 to 39 home runs.
^ Mize during his time with the Yankees.
In the 1970s, Mize made his home in St. Augustine, Florida, working for a development by the Deltona Corporation called St. Augustine Shores. A picture of his house is included in David Nolan's book The Houses of St. Augustine.
He was chosen by the Veterans Committee of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981. Mize's fine batting statistics were overshadowed by those of bigger stars of his era such as Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, and Jackie Robinson. Mize's lifetime on-base percentage of .397 has become more appreciated in the light of sabermetric analysis.
Mize spent the last few years of his life at his home in Demorest, GA.
Batting average .312
Home runs 359
Runs batted in 1,337
St. Louis Cardinals (1936–1941)
New York Giants (1942, 1946–1949)
New York Yankees (1949–1953)
Career highlights and awards
10× All-Star selection (1937, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1953)
5× World Series champion (1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953)
1952 Babe Ruth Award
HOF, 1981, Veterans Committee
I can still remember an interview with Ted Williams in the late '40s when he stated that he thought Big John had one of the best batting eyes in MLB. That was pretty high praise coming from a hitter like Ted. John's low strike out record attests to his fine batting eye.-BH
12-20-2011, 02:01 PM
First Team, Second Baseman, Eddie Stanky
^ Ever seen the face of a guy you know you would like?
Edward Raymond Stanky (September 3, 1916 – June 16, 1999), nicknamed "The Brat", was an American second baseman and manager in Major League Baseball. He played for the Chicago Cubs (1943–1944), Brooklyn Dodgers (1944–1947), Boston Braves (1948–1949), New York Giants (1950–1951), and St. Louis Cardinals (1952–1953). He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and his original nickname, "The Brat from Kensington," is in reference to the neighborhood where he grew up.
'All he can do is win'
Stanky was famous for his ability to draw walks; he drew 100 walks each in 6 different seasons, twice posting 140. In 1946, Stanky hit just .273, but his 137 walks allowed him to lead the league in OBP with a .436 figure, edging out Stan Musial—who led in 10+ batting departments. His best season was probably in 1950 with New York, when he hit an even .300 and led the league in walks (144) and OBP (.460). On August 30 of that year, he tied a Major League record when he drew a walk in seven consecutive plate appearances. He accomplished the feat over a two-game span. His Giants manager Leo Durocher once summed up Stanky's talents: "He can't hit, can't run, can't field. He's no nice guy... all the little SOB can do is win." Yankees shortstop Phil Rizzuto still complained years later about a play during the 1951 World Series where Stanky kicked the ball loose from Rizzuto's glove. Whenever he was the runner on third base, Stanky developed the habit of standing several feet back of the bag, in left field. If a fly ball was hit, he would time its arc, then take off running so as to step on third base just as the catch was being made. In this way he would be running towards home at full speed from the beginning of the play, making it almost impossible to throw him out. This tactic was made illegal following the season. Stanky was also (in)famous for what came to be called "the Stanky maneuver", where he would take advantage of his position on second base to distract opposing batters by jumping up and down and waving his arms behind the pitcher.
Manager of Cardinals and White Sox
Stanky appeared in three World Series in the five years between 1947 and 1951 — with three different National League champions, the Dodgers, Braves and Giants. Following the 1951 World Series, in which Stanky appeared in all six games for the Giants and batted only .136, he was traded to the Cardinals and named their playing manager. In 1952, his Cardinals won seven more games than they had in 1951 and he was chosen as Major League Manager of the Year by The Sporting News. Ironically, these seven extra wins did not move the Redbirds up in the standings: they finished in third place in 1952, as they had done in 1951. His period as Cardinal manager coincided with the slow decline of its strong 1940s teams, a fallow period for its farm system, and the ownership transition between Fred Saigh and August "Gussie" Busch, and by 1955, the team had fallen further in the NL standings. He was fired May 27, 1955, with the Redbirds having won 17 of 36 games.
Stanky briefly managed in minor league baseball, then served as a coach for the Cleveland Indians (1957–58) and a front-office and player development executive for the Cardinals (1959–64) and New York Mets (1965), before succeeding Al Lopez as the manager of the Chicago White Sox after the 1965 campaign. His 1967 White Sox team—built on speed and pitching, but hampered by an impotent offense—contended for the American League pennant until the final week of the season in a thrilling, four-team race. But they lost their last five games of the regular season to the non-contending Kansas City Athletics and Washington Senators, and finished three games out of first place. Then, in 1968, the White Sox got off to a terrible start and were 34-45 when Stanky was fired on July 11.
Success as college baseball coach
After his firing in Chicago, Stanky became the head baseball coach of the University of South Alabama in 1969, where he compiled a 488-193 (.717) record, with five NCAA Baseball Tournament appearances over 14 seasons. He returned to the professional arena briefly in 1977 when he was named manager of the Texas Rangers, succeeding Frank Lucchesi in the middle of the MLB season. He won his debut game on June 22, but, having second thoughts about leaving his adopted state of Alabama, he immediately resigned and resumed his post as coach at South Alabama. His career MLB managerial mark was 467-435 (.518).
Stanky was inducted into the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame in 1990. He died at age 83 in Fairhope, Alabama, leaving four children: Beverly, Kay, Mariann, and Mike. His father-in-law, Milt Stock, was a Major League infielder and coach during the first half of the 20th century.
Batting average .268
Runs batted in 364
Chicago Cubs (1943–1944)
Brooklyn Dodgers (1944–1947)
Boston Braves (1948–1949)
New York Giants (1950–1951)
St. Louis Cardinals (1952–1953)
St. Louis Cardinals (1952–1955)
Chicago White Sox (1966–1968)
Texas Rangers (1977)
Career highlights and awards
3× All-Star selection (1947, 1948, 1950)
12-21-2011, 04:26 PM
First Team, Third Baseman, Bob Elliott
Robert Irving Elliott (November 26, 1916 – May 4, 1966) was an American third baseman and right fielder in Major League Baseball who played most of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Braves. He contributed some of the happiest memories to the Braves' final Boston years, winning the 1947 National League Most Valuable Player Award and earning the nickname "Mr. Team." The following season, his power hitting helped lift Boston to its second NL pennant since 1901, the team's last before relocating to Milwaukee. He was the second major league third baseman to have five seasons of 100 runs batted in, joining Pie Traynor, and retired with the highest career slugging average (.440) of any NL third baseman. He also led the league in assists three times and in putouts and double plays twice each, and ended his career among the NL leaders in games (8th, 1262), assists (7th, 2547), total chances (10th, 4113) and double plays (4th, 231) at third base.
Born in San Francisco, California, Elliott came to the major leagues with the Pirates as an outfielder in 1939. As a right-handed batter (and thrower), his power hitting was hampered by the spacious left field at Forbes Field, but in eight years with the team he compiled more than 100 RBI three times, and he batted .315 in 1943. Manager Frankie Frisch shifted him to third base after the 1941 season, seeking to take advantage of his strong arm while compensating for his lack of speed. Exempted from World War II military service due to head injuries from being hit by a pitch in 1943, Elliott was named to the NL All-Star team in 1941, 1942, 1944 and 1945, and finished among the top ten players in the MVP voting from 1942 through 1944, placing second in the league in RBI the last two years. On July 15, 1945, he hit for the cycle. After the 1946 season, he was traded to the Braves in a lopsided deal for 37-year-old second baseman Billy Herman, who played only 15 more major league games but became the team's manager, and three other players who made a total of 127 appearances with the Pirates.
With a friendlier hitting environment at Braves Field, Elliott exceeded the 20 home run mark three times in his five years in Boston, equalling Whitey Kurowski for the most 20-HR seasons by an NL third baseman. In his 1947 MVP campaign, Elliott did not lead the NL in any offensive category; however, he batted .317 (second in the NL), with 22 home runs and 113 runs batted in, all team highs. In 1948, when the Braves won the pennant, Elliott batted .283 with 23 homers and 100 RBI and made his sixth All-Star team. He also led the major leagues with 131 walks, breaking the club record of 110 set by Billy Hamilton in 1896; it remains the franchise record. Batting cleanup, he hit .333 in the 1948 World Series, which Boston lost in six games to the Cleveland Indians; he had a pair of home runs in his first two at bats in Game 5, an 11-5 victory, and was 3 for 3 with a walk in the final 4-3 loss in Game 6.
Although his numbers declined somewhat thereafter, Elliott enjoyed productive years from 1949 through 1951, including a season batting .305 with 24 HRs and 107 RBI in 1950, his sixth 100-RBI campaign. He was named to his last All-Star squad in 1951, his final year with Boston. By the early 1950s he had broken Kurowski's NL record for career home runs at third base, though Eddie Mathews surpassed him within a few seasons. His playing career began to wind down in 1952, as he struggled with the New York Giants following an April trade, and ended after a 1953 campaign split between the St. Louis Browns and Chicago White Sox. Over 15 years (1939–53) and 1,978 games, Elliott batted .289 and collected 2,061 hits, 170 home runs, 382 doubles, 1,064 runs and 1,195 RBI. Elliott's last highlight was 2 home runs on opening day for the N. Y. Giants in 1952. His final major league game occurred on September 16, 1953 for the Chicago White Sox.
Elliott then returned to California in 1954 and played for San Diego Padres in Pacific Coast League only for the second half of the season. He hits 2 home runs and drove in 5 RBIs in the final game of the season, helping Padres to win the pennant for the first time since 1937, the team's second year in the PCL (when they had Ted Williams). He became the team's manager the following season and managed them until after the first 35 games of the 1957 season. He also managed the Sacramento Solons (1959). After a third-place finish in Sacramento, Elliott received his only major league managing opportunity when he took over the Kansas City Athletics for the 1960 season. It was bad timing; the A's were one of the weakest teams in the American League, and the team's owner, Arnold Johnson, died suddenly just before the season began. The A's won only 58 games while losing 96 (.377) in Elliott's only season at the helm. He was fired by new owner Charles O. Finley at season's end, and replaced by Joe Gordon. In 1961, Elliott was a coach for the expansion Los Angeles Angels during their maiden AL campaign.
Less than five years later, Elliott died at age 49 in San Diego after suffering a ruptured vein in his windpipe.
Batting average .289
Home runs 170
Runs batted in 1,195
Pittsburgh Pirates (1939–1946)
Boston Braves (1947–1951)
New York Giants (1952)
St. Louis Browns (1953)
Chicago White Sox (1953)
Kansas City Athletics (1960)
Career highlights and awards
7× All-Star selection (1941, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1947, 1948, 1951)
1947 NL MVP
12-22-2011, 01:12 PM
Third Team, Shortstop, Marty Marion
Martin Whiteford Marion (December 1, 1916 – March 15, 2011) was an American professional baseball player and manager. He played as a shortstop in Major League Baseball from 1940 to 1953. Marion played with the St. Louis Cardinals for the majority of his career before ending with the St. Louis Browns as a player-manager. He later became the manager of the Chicago White Sox.
Marion was born in Richburg, South Carolina. His older brother, Red Marion, was briefly an outfielder in the American League and a long-time manager in the minor leagues.
As a shortstop, Marion was synonymous with St. Louis baseball until the appearance of Ozzie Smith. It's clear that Marion wasn't flashy as Smith, but at 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) and 170 pounds (77 kg), he disproved the theory that shortstops had to be small men. Nicknamed "Slats", Marion had unusually long arms which reached for grounders like tentacles, prompting sportwriters to call him "The Octopus".
From 1940-50, Marion led the National League shortstops in fielding percentage four times during his reign as the glue of the Cardinals infield, despite several players moved around the infield during these years. If Gold Glove Awards had been awarded during his career, Marion would have earned his share. In 1941 he played all 154 games at shortstop (also a league-high) and in 1947 he made only 15 errors for a consistent .981 percentage.
Marion was also a better-than-average hitter for a shortstop. His most productive season came in 1942, when he hit .276 with a league-lead 38 doubles. In the 1942 World Series, one of four series in which he participated with the Cardinals, he helped his team to a World Championship with his amazing glove. In 1943 he batted a career-high .280 in the regular season and hit .357 in the 1943 World Series, which was more than respectable considering his value in the infield.
He played with many second basemen throughout his career but perhaps his favorite was Frank "Creepy" Crespi. Marion commented after the '41 season that Creepy's play was the best he'd ever seen by a second baseman - but their bond went deeper than that. Creepy once took on Joe Medwick on the field (during a game) when he was trying to intimidate Marion. They remained friends until Creepy's passing in 1990.
In 1951 Marion managed the Cardinals and was replaced by Eddie Stanky at the end of the season. Then, he moved to the American League Browns, and took over for manager Rogers Hornsby early in 1952 as their player-manager. The last manager in St. Louis Browns history, he was let go after the 1953 season when the Brownies moved to Baltimore. He then signed as a coach for the White Sox for the 1954 campaign, but once again was quickly promoted to manager that September, when skipper Paul Richards left Chicago to become field manager and general manager — in Baltimore, ironically. Marion led the Chisox for the rest of 1954, and for the full seasons of 1955 and 1956, finishing third each season, before he stepped down at the end of the 1956 season.
In a 13-season career, Marion posted a .263 batting average with 36 home runs and 624 RBI in 1572 games. He made All-Star Game appearances from 1943–44 and 1946-1950 (There was no All-Star Game in 1945). In 1944 he earned the National League Most Valuable Player Award. As a manager, he compiled a 356-372 record.
As of February 9, 2011, Marion was the second oldest living former Cardinals player at age 94, preceded by Freddy Schmidt aged 95, and followed by Stan Musial, aged 90, and Red Schoendienst at age 88. Marty Marion, known as "Mr. Shortstop" to a generation of St. Louis Cardinals fans, died of an apparent heart attack Tuesday, March 15, 2011. He lived in Ladue, Missouri.
Batting average .263
Runs batted in 624
St. Louis Cardinals (1940–1950)
St. Louis Browns (1952–1953)
St. Louis Cardinals (1951)
St. Louis Browns (1952–1953)
Chicago White Sox (1954–1956)
Career highlights and awards
8× All-Star (1943, 1944, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950)
3× World Series champion (1942, 1944, 1946)
1944 NL MVP
12-29-2011, 08:58 PM
First Team, Left Fielder, Stan Musial
Stanley Frank "Stan" Musial (play /ˈmjuːziəl/ or /ˈmjuːʒəl/; born November 21, 1920) is a retired professional baseball player who played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the St. Louis Cardinals (1941–1963). Nicknamed "Stan the Man", Musial was a record 24-time All-Star selection (tied with Willie Mays), and is widely considered to be one of the greatest hitters in baseball history. He compiled 3,630 hits (ranking fourth all-time and most in a career spent with only one team). With 1,815 hits at home and 1,815 on the road, he is also considered to be the most consistent hitter of his era. He also compiled 475 home runs during his career, was named the National League's (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) three times, and won three World Series championship titles. Musial was a first-ballot inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969 and is currently the longest tenured living Hall of Famer.
Musial was born in Donora, Pennsylvania, where he frequently played baseball in both informal and organized settings, eventually playing on the baseball team at Donora High School. Signed to a professional contract by the St. Louis Cardinals as a pitcher in 1938, Musial was converted into an outfielder prior to his major league debut in 1941. Noted for his unique batting stance, he quickly established himself as a consistent and productive hitter. In his first full season, 1942, the Cardinals won the World Series. The following year, he led the National League in six different offensive categories and earned his first MVP award. He was also named an All-Star for the first time; he would be selected to every All-Star Game in every subsequent season he played. Musial won his second World Series ring in 1944, then missed the entire 1945 season while serving with the United States Navy.
On his return to baseball in 1946, Musial resumed his consistent hitting. That year he earned his second MVP award and third World Series title. His third MVP award came in 1948, when he finished one home run shy of winning baseball's Triple Crown. After struggling offensively in 1959, Musial used a personal trainer to help maintain his productivity until he decided to retire in 1963. At the time of his retirement, he held or shared 17 major league records, 29 National League records, and 9 All-Star Game records. In addition to overseeing businesses such as a restaurant both before and after his playing career, Musial served as the Cardinals' general manager in 1967, winning the pennant and World Series and then quitting that position. He also became noted for his harmonica playing, a skill he acquired during his playing career. Known for his modesty and sportsmanship, Musial was selected for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999. President Barack Obama presented Musial with Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian, at the White House on Feb. 15, 2011.
Musial was born in Donora, Pennsylvania, the fifth of Lukasz and Mary (Lancos) Musial's six children (four girls and two boys). His mother was of Czech descent and his father was a Polish-American immigrant who chose the name Stanisław Franciszek Musiał (/ˈmuːʃaʊ/) (Moo-shiau) for his first son, though his father always referred to Musial using the Polish nickname "Stashu". Musial frequently played baseball with his brother Ed and other friends during his childhood, and considered Lefty Grove his favorite ballplayer. Musial also had the benefit of learning about baseball from his neighbor Joe Barbao, a former minor league pitcher. When he enrolled in school, his name was formally changed to Stanley Frank Musial.
At the age of 15, Musial joined the Donora Zincs, a semi-professional team managed by Barbao. In his Zincs debut, he pitched 6 innings and struck out 13 batters, all of them adults. Musial also played one season on the newly revived Donora High School baseball team, where one of his teammates was Buddy Griffey, father of MLB player Ken Griffey, Sr. and grandfather to MLB player Ken Griffey, Jr. Baseball statistician Bill James described Griffey Jr., in comparison to Musial, as "the second-best left-handed hitting, left-handed throwing outfielder ever born in Donora, Pennsylvania on November 21." His exploits as a rising player in Pennsylvania earned him the nickname "The Donora Greyhound ".
Musial also played basketball, for which he was offered a scholarship by the University of Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals had scouted Musial as a pitcher and, in 1937, offered him a professional contract after a workout with their Class D Penn State League affiliate. Musial's father initially resisted the idea of his son pursuing a baseball career, but reluctantly gave his consent after lobbying by both Musial and his mother. Musial also credited his school librarian Helen Kloz for pointing out that baseball was his dream and advising him to pursue it professionally. In what was then a common practice, the Cardinals did not file the contract with the baseball commissioner's office until June 1938. This preserved Musial's amateur eligibility, and he was still able to participate in high school sports, leading Donora High School's basketball team to a playoff appearance. He then reported to the Cardinals' Class D affiliate in West Virginia, the Williamson Red Birds.
Musial's rookie year with Williamson was a period of adjustment, both on and off the field. He began gaining more in-depth knowledge about baseball strategy while posting a 6–6 win–loss record and a 4.66 earned run average (ERA), to go along with a .258 batting average. Off the field, he confronted feelings of homesickness, while learning to live comfortably and independently on his $65-per-month salary. Musial finished his high school education before returning to Williamson in spring 1939. That season, his numbers improved to a 9–2 record, a 4.30 ERA, and a .352 batting average.
Musial spent the 1940 season with the Cardinals' other Class D team, the Daytona Beach Islanders, where he developed a lifelong friendship with manager Dickie Kerr. His pitching skills improved under the guidance of Kerr, who also recognized his hitting talent, playing him in the outfield between pitching starts. On May 25, 1940, Musial married fellow Donora resident Lillian "Lil" Labash in Daytona Beach, and the couple's first child followed in August. During late August, Musial suffered a shoulder injury while playing in the outfield, and later made an early exit as the starting pitcher in a 12–5 playoff game loss. For a while, Musial considered leaving baseball entirely, complaining that he could not afford to support himself and his wife on the $16 a week pay. Kerr talked him out of it and even took the Musials into his own home to relieve the financial burden. To repay the debt, Musial in 1958 bought Kerr a $20,000 home in Houston. In 113 games in 1940, he hit .311, while compiling an 18–5 pitching record that included 176 strikeouts and 145 walks.
Musial was assigned to the Class AA Columbus Red Birds to begin 1941, though manager Burt Shotton and Musial himself quickly realized that the previous year's injury had considerably weakened his arm. He was reassigned to the Class C Springfield Cardinals as a full-time outfielder, and he later credited manager Ollie Vanek for displaying confidence in his hitting ability. During 87 games with Springfield, Musial hit a league-leading .379, before being promoted to the Rochester Red Wings of the International League. He was noted for his unique batting stance, a crouch in which his back was seemingly square to the pitcher. This stance was later described by pitcher Ted Lyons as "a kid peeking around the corner to see if the cops were coming". According to a 1950 description by author Tom Meany, "The bent knees and the crouch give him the appearance of a coiled spring, although most pitchers think of him as a coiled rattlesnake." Musial continued to play well in Rochester—in one three-game stretch, he had 11 hits. He was called up to the Cardinals for the last two weeks of the 1941 season.
Musial made his major league debut during the second game of a doubleheader at Sportsman's Park on September 17, 1941. The Cardinals were in the midst of a pennant race with the Brooklyn Dodgers; in 12 games, Musial collected 20 hits for a .426 batting average. Despite Musial's late contributions, the Cardinals finished two and one-half games behind the 100-game-winning Dodgers.
Cardinals manager Billy Southworth used Musial as a left fielder to begin 1942, sometimes lifting him for a pinch-hitter against left-handed pitching. Musial was hitting .315 by late June, as the Cardinals resumed battling the Dodgers for first place in the National League (NL). The Cardinals took sole possession of first place on September 13, and when Musial caught a fly ball to end the first game of a doubleheader on September 27 they clinched the pennant with their 105th win. He finished the season with a .315 batting average and 72 runs batted in (RBI) in 140 games. Musial received national publicity when he was named by St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports editor J. Roy Stockton as his choice for Rookie of the Year in a Saturday Evening Post article.
The Cardinals played the American League champion New York Yankees in the 1942 World Series. Representing the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 1 at Sportsman's Park, Musial grounded out with the bases loaded to seal a Yankees victory. Musial's first hit of the Series was an RBI single that provided the margin of victory in Game 2, allowing the Cardinals to tie the Series. Over the next three games at Yankee Stadium, Musial had three more hits as the Cardinals defeated the Yankees in the Series four games to one. Musial batted .222 for the Series, with two runs scored.
Musial's 1943 season started with a brief contract holdout in spring training. He was selected to his first All-Star Game and finished the regular season leading the NL in hits (220), doubles (48), triples (20), total bases (347), on-base percentage (.425), and slugging percentage (.562). This performance earned him his first NL Most Valuable Player award, ahead of teammate Walker Cooper. After romping to another NL pennant by 18 games, the Cardinals again faced the Yankees in the 1943 World Series. Musial had a single in the Cardinals' Game 1 loss, and scored a run in a Game 2 win. The Cardinals did not win another game in the Series, but the loser's bonus share paid to each Cardinals player ($4,321.99) still amounted to nearly two-thirds of Musial's regular season salary.
United States involvement in World War II began to impinge on Musial's baseball career in 1944, as he underwent a physical examination in prelude to possible service in the armed forces. He ultimately remained with the Cardinals for the entire season, posting a .347 batting average with 197 hits. The Cardinals claimed the NL pennant for the third consecutive season, and faced St. Louis's other major league team, the Browns, in the 1944 World Series. The Browns took a 2–1 lead, while Musial hit .250 with zero RBI. He broke out in Game 4 with a two-run home run, single, double, and a walk as part of a 5–1 Cardinals win. The Cardinals went on to defeat the Browns in six games, and Musial posted a .304 batting average for the Series.
Musial entered the United States Navy on January 23, 1945, and was initially assigned to noncombat duty at the Naval Training Station in Bainbridge, Maryland. On ship repair duty at Pearl Harbor later in the year, he was able to play baseball every afternoon in the naval base's eight-team league. After being granted emergency leave to see his ailing father in January 1946, he was briefly assigned to the Philadelphia Navy Yard before his honorable discharge from the Navy in March.
^ Musial's statue outside of Busch Stadium captures his signature batting stance.
Rejoining the Cardinals under new manager Eddie Dyer, Musial posted a .388 batting average by the middle of May 1946. He also became close friends with new teammate Red Schoendienst, who had joined the Cardinals during Musial's absence in 1945. During the season, Musial (who was under contract to the Cardinals for $13,500 in 1946) was offered a five-year, $125,000 contract, plus a $50,000 bonus, to join the Mexican League. He declined the offer, and after manager Dyer spoke to club owner Sam Breadon, Musial was given a $5,000 raise later in 1946.
It was also during the 1946 season that Musial acquired his nickname of "The Man". During the June 23 game against the Dodgers at Ebbets Field, St. Louis Post-Dispatch sportswriter Bob Broeg heard Dodger fans chanting whenever Musial came to bat, but could not understand the words. Later that day over dinner, Broeg asked Cardinals traveling secretary Leo Ward if he had understood what the Dodger fans had been chanting. Ward said, "Every time Stan came up they chanted, 'Here comes the man!'" "'That man,' you mean", Broeg said. "No, the man", replied Ward. Broeg mentioned this story in his Post-Dispatch column, and Musial was thereafter known as Stan "The Man".
In June 1946, Dyer began to use Musial as a first baseman. The Cardinals finished the season tied with the Dodgers, prompting a three-game playoff for the pennant. Musial's Game 1 triple and Game 2 double contributed to the Cardinals' two-games-to-none series victory. Facing the Boston Red Sox, the Cardinals won the 1946 World Series four games to three, as Musial had six hits and four RBI. He won his second MVP Award, receiving 22 out of a possible 24 first-place votes, finishing ahead of Brooklyn's Dixie Walker.
Musial began the 1947 season by hitting .146 in April. On May 9, team doctor Dr. Robert Hyland confirmed a previous diagnosis of appendicitis, while discovering that Musial was concurrently suffering from tonsilitis. He received treatment, but did not have either his appendix or tonsils surgically removed until after the season ended. Despite his health woes, he finished the year with a batting average of .312.
Fully recovered from his ailments, Musial recorded his 1,000th career hit on April 25, 1948. After a May 7 St. Louis Globe-Democrat article criticized baseball players for appearing in cigarette advertisements, he made a personal decision to never again appear in such ads. By June 24, his batting average was .408, prompting Brooklyn pitcher Preacher Roe to comically announce his new method for retiring Musial: "Walk him on four pitches and pick him off first." Given a mid-season pay raise by new Cardinals owner Robert E. Hannegan for his outstanding performance, Musial hit a home run in the 1948 All-Star Game. On September 22, he registered five hits in a game for the fourth time in the season, tying a mark set by Ty Cobb in 1922.
Musial finished 1948 leading the major leagues in batting average (.376), hits (230), doubles (46), triples (18), total bases (429), and slugging percentage (.702). Winning the NL batting title by a 43-point margin, with an on-base percentage lead of 27 points and a 138-point slugging margin—the latter being the largest gap since Rogers Hornsby's 1925 season—Musial became the first player to win the NL MVP award for a third time. If a home run he hit during a rained out game had been counted in his season totals, he would have won the Triple Crown by leading the NL in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in.
Anticipating life after his baseball career, Musial began the first of several business partnerships with Julius "Biggie" Garagnani in January 1949, opening "Stan Musial & Biggie's" restaurant. He approached the 1949 season with the intent to try to hit more home runs, stating he had hit 39 the previous season "without trying". His new focus on hitting for power backfired, as pitchers began using the outside part of the plate to induce him to ground out to the first or second baseman. Musial soon stopped focusing on hitting home runs and resumed his consistent offensive production by the end of May. He earned his sixth consecutive All-Star Game selection, and led the NL in hits (207) while playing in every game. However, the Cardinals, with 96 wins, finished one game behind the Dodgers.
Musial began the 1950s by posting a .350 batting average before participating in the 1950 All-Star Game, where in fan balloting he was the NL's number two vote getter. He had the longest hitting streak of his career during the 1950 season—a 30-game stretch that ended on July 27. With the Cardinals falling 14 games out of first place by September, manager Dyer used him at first base and all three outfield positions. New Cardinals manager Marty Marion led the team to a third place finish in 1951, while Musial was named The Sporting News Major League Player of the Year.
National media attention inadvertently turned to Musial a month before the 1952 season began, after Ty Cobb wrote an article regarding modern baseball players that was published in Life magazine. Cobb singled out Musial and Phil Rizzuto as the only players "who can be mentioned in the same breath with the oldtime greats". Cobb went on to refer to Musial as "a better player than Joe DiMaggio was in his prime." In response, Musial displayed his characteristic modesty, saying, "Cobb is baseball's greatest. I don't want to contradict him, but I can't say that I was ever as good as Joe DiMaggio."
The only major league pitching appearance of Musial's career occurred as a publicity stunt during the last Cardinals home game of the 1952 season. Manager Eddie Stanky had a reluctant Musial pitch to Frank Baumholtz, the runner-up to Musial for the best batting average in the NL that season. With Baumholtz batting right-handed for the first time in his career, Musial's first pitch was hit so hard it ricocheted off the shin of third baseman Solly Hemus and into the left field corner. The play was ruled an error, and Musial was embarrassed enough by his complicity in the gimmick to avoid pitching again for the remainder of his career.
The Cardinals franchise was up for sale in early 1953, and Musial and Schoendienst advised their friend and fellow duck-hunter Gussie Busch to consider buying the team. Busch used the resources of the Anheuser-Busch company to purchase the Cardinals, keeping Musial in St. Louis by averting the possibility of a move by the team to another city. The 1953 season marked Musial's 10th All-Star selection, and the 12th consecutive time he finished a major league season with a batting average above .300.
Musial accomplished another historical feat on May 2, 1954, in a doubleheader in St. Louis against the New York Giants: he hit three home runs in the first contest, then added two more in the second to become the first major leaguer to hit five home runs in a doubleheader. In addition to his five home runs, he also hit a single in the first game, setting a new record of 21 total bases for a doubleheader. The only player besides Musial to hit five home runs in a doubleheader is Nate Colbert, who achieved the feat in 1972.
Musial made his 12th All-Star appearance in 1955 as a reserve, when Cincinnati's Ted Kluszewski outpolled him by 150,000 votes to win the start at first base. Musial entered the game as a pinch hitter in the fourth inning, and played left field as the game entered extra innings. Leading off the bottom of the 12th, he hit a home run to give the NL a 6–5 victory.
The 1956 season marked another milestone for Musial, when he broke Mel Ott's NL record for extra-base hits on August 12. Earlier that season, Cardinals general manager "Trader Frank" Lane began negotiations to trade him for Philadelphia pitcher Robin Roberts. When Cardinals owner Gussie Busch learned of the possible move, he made it clear that Musial was not available for any trade. Instead, Lane dealt Musial's close friend Schoendienst to the New York Giants; an upset Musial made no immediate comment to the press.
On June 11, 1957, Musial tied the NL record for consecutive games played with his 822nd, a streak that began on the last day of the 1951 season. Despite ballot stuffing by Cincinnati Reds fans, he appeared in the All-Star Game, held at Sportsman's Park. When he overextended his swing while batting during a game on August 23, Musial fractured a bone in his left shoulder socket and tore muscles over his collarbone. He was unable to play again until September 8, ending his consecutive games-played streak at 895. He finished 1957 as Sports Illustrated's "Sportsman of the Year".
Musial signed one of the first $100,000 contracts in NL history on January 29, 1958. (According to Baseball Almanac, Hank Greenberg was the first with Pittsburgh in 1947.) Approaching the 3,000-hit milestone in his major league career, he expressed a desire to record the hit in St. Louis. He ultimately reached the mark with a pinch-hit, sixth inning RBI double at Chicago's Wrigley Field on May 13. The eighth major league player to reach 3,000 hits, and the first to reach the milestone with an extra-base hit, Musial was greeted at St. Louis Union Station that evening by roughly 1,000 fans. Finishing the season in sixth place, the Cardinals embarked on an exhibition tour of Japan, winning 14 of 16 games against top players from the Central and Pacific Japanese Leagues.
Taking a new approach to preparation for the 1959 season, Musial was given permission to report late to spring training so that he might conserve his energy for the duration of the year. Musial, 6 feet (1.8 m) tall, had maintained a weight of around 175 pounds (79 kg) throughout his career. He reported to spring training approximately 10 pounds (4.5 kg) overweight and in substandard physical condition. He began the season with one hit in 15 at-bats. Despite his early offensive struggles, he single-handedly spoiled potential no-hitters on April 16 and April 19. A game-winning home run on May 7 made him the first major league player ever with 400 home runs and 3,000 hits. As he continued to hit at a relatively low pace, his playing time was limited by Cardinals manager Solly Hemus at various points during the season. Seeking more revenue for the players' pension fund, Major League Baseball held two All-Star games in a season for the first time. Musial pinch-hit in both contests, flying out in the July 7 game and drawing a walk in the August 3 game. He finished the season with appearances in 115 games, a .255 batting average, 37 runs, and a slugging percentage of .428.
Stan Musial was the batter in one of baseball history's weirdest plays. It took place during a game played on June 30, 1959, between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. Musial was at the plate, with a count of 3–1. Bob Anderson's next pitch was errant, evading catcher Sammy Taylor and rolling all the way to the backstop. Umpire Vic Delmore called ball four on the pitcher, however Anderson and Taylor contended that Musial foul tipped the ball. Because the ball was still in play, and because Delmore was embroiled in an argument with the catcher and pitcher, Musial took it upon himself to try for second base. Seeing that Musial was trying for second, Alvin Dark ran to the backstop to retrieve the ball. The ball wound up in the hands of field announcer Pat Pieper, but Dark ended up getting it back anyway. Absentmindedly, however, Delmore pulled out a new ball and gave it to Taylor. Anderson finally noticed that Musial was trying for second, took the new ball, and threw it to second baseman Tony Taylor. Anderson's throw flew over Tony Taylor's head into the outfield. Dark, at the same time that Anderson threw the new ball, threw the original ball to shortstop Ernie Banks. Musial, though, did not see Dark's throw and only noticed Anderson's ball fly over the second baseman's head, so he tried to go to third base. On his way there, he was tagged by Banks, and after a delay he was ruled out.
^ Musial in 1957.
Based on his 1959 performance, Musial accepted a pay cut in 1960 from his previous $100,000 salary to $80,000. Eager to prove his mediocre performance was the result of improper physical conditioning, he enlisted the help of Walter Eberhardt, St. Louis University's director of physical education. In June 1960, newspaper articles began speculating that Musial would soon retire, yet he finished the season with a .275 batting average. He addressed the speculation in September, confirming that he would play again in 1961. His .288 batting average that season reaffirmed his decision. In 1962, Musial posted a .330 batting average, good for third in the batting race, with 19 homers and 82 RBI. As a pinch-hitter, he had 14 base hits in 19 at-bats (.615). Along the way, he established new NL career marks for hits, RBI, and runs scored. That same year, on July 8, the 41-year-old Musial became the oldest player ever to hit three home runs in one game.
The Cardinals began 1963 by winning 10 of their first 15 games, as Musial posted a .237 batting average. He set a new major league record for extra-base hits on May 8 and improved his batting average to .277 by the end of the month. Making his 24th All-Star Game appearance on July 9, 1963, he pinch-hit in the fifth inning. Asked by general manager Bing Devine on July 26 what his plans were, Musial decided to retire at season's end. He waited until the Cardinals team picnic on August 12 to publicly announce his decision, hopeful he could retire on a winning note.
Musial became a grandfather for the first time in the early hours of September 11; later that day, he hit a home run in his first at-bat. After sweeping a doubleheader on September 15, the Cardinals had won 19 of their last 20 games, and were one game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers then swept the Cardinals in a three-game series in St. Louis and clinched the NL pennant on September 25. Musial's last game, on September 29, 1963, was preceded by an hour-long retirement ceremony. Speakers at the event included baseball commissioner Ford Frick, Cardinals broadcaster Harry Caray, and Cardinals owner Gussie Busch, who announced that Musial's uniform number "6" would be retired by the team. During the game, Musial recorded a single in the fourth inning, then hit a single to right field that scored teammate Curt Flood in the sixth. Cardinals manager Johnny Keane brought in Gary Kolb as a pinch-runner for Musial, bringing his major league career to an end. Just as he had recorded two base hits in his major league debut, Musial finished his last game with two hits, as well.
At the time of his retirement, Musial held or shared 17 major league records, 29 NL records, and 9 All-Star Game records. Among those records, he ranked as the major league career leader in extra-base hits (1,377) and total bases (6,134). He also held NL career marks in categories such as hits (3,630), games played (3,026), doubles (725), and RBI (1,951). He finished his career with 475 home runs despite never having led the NL in the category. His career hit total was evenly split between 1,815 hits at home and 1,815 hits on the road. Musial was also the first major league player to appear in more than 1,000 games at two different positions, registering 1,896 games in the outfield and 1,016 at first base.
In Musial's 3,026 major league appearances, he was never ejected from a game. Speaking about his quiet reputation within the sport's history, sportscaster Bob Costas said, "He didn't hit a homer in his last at-bat; he hit a single. He didn't hit in 56 straight games. He married his high school sweetheart and stayed married to her. ... All Musial represents is more than two decades of sustained excellence and complete decency as a human being."
Post-playing career and family life
Musial was named a vice president of the St. Louis Cardinals in September 1963, and he remained in that position until after the 1966 season. From February 1964 to January 1967, he also served as President Lyndon Johnson's physical fitness adviser, a part-time position created to promote better fitness among American citizens. Before the 1967 season began, the Cardinals named Musial the team's general manager, and he oversaw the club's World Series championship that year. He won the allegiance of Cardinals players by making fair offers from the outset of player-contract negotiations and creating an in-stadium babysitting service so players' wives could attend games. His longtime business partner Biggie Garagnani died in June 1967, prompting Musial to devote more time to managing his restaurant and other business interests. He consequently decided to step down as general manager after his first and only season in the position.
Musial is father to four children from his marriage to wife Lillian; the couple was married in St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church in Daytona Beach on May 25, 1940. Their children were son Richard and daughters Gerry, Janet, and Jeanie. He is noted for his harmonica playing, including his rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game". Through the 1990s, he frequently played the harmonica at public gatherings, such as the annual Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony and various charity events. He performed on the television show Hee Haw and in 1994 recorded 18 songs that were sold in tandem with a harmonica-playing instruction booklet.
Honors and recognition
On August 4, 1968, a statue of Musial was erected outside of Busch Memorial Stadium on the northeast grounds of the St. Louis stadium. The statue was moved from its original location to the west side of the new Busch Stadium for its first season in 2006, where it became a popular meeting place for generations of Cardinals fans. Musial's statue is inscribed with a quote attributed to former baseball commissioner Ford Frick: "Here stands baseball's perfect warrior. Here stands baseball's perfect knight."
Musial was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1969, named on 93.2 percent of the ballots. In 1989, he was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. Five years later, a baseball field was named after him in his hometown of Donora. He was ranked tenth on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players published in 1998. He was also one of the 30 players selected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team, added by a special committee after he finished 11th in fan voting among outfielders. In 2000, he was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians, and a bronze bust depicting him is on permanent display in the rotunda of the Missouri State Capitol.
Nearly two decades after Musial retired, baseball statistician Bill James and the sabermetrics movement began providing new ways of comparing players across baseball history. In 2001, James ranked Musial the tenth-greatest baseball player in history, and the second-best left fielder of all time. According to Baseball-Reference.com, he ranks fifth all-time among hitters on the Black Ink Test, and third all-time on the Gray Ink Test—measures designed to compare players of different eras. He ranks first on Baseball-Reference's Hall of Fame Monitor Test, and is tied for second in the Hall of Fame Career Standards Test. Despite his statistical accomplishments, he is sometimes referred to as the most underrated or overlooked athlete in modern American sports history. For instance, in his analysis of baseball's under and overrated players in 2007, sportswriter Jason Stark said, "I can't think of any all-time great in any sport who gets left out of more who's-the-greatest conversations than Stan Musial."
Musial threw out the first pitch in Game 5 of the 2006 World Series and delivered the ceremonial first pitch ball to President Barack Obama at the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. A "Stan the Man" day was held in his honor by the Cardinals on May 18, 2008. In 2010, the Cardinals launched a campaign to build support for awarding Musial the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his lifetime of achievement and service. The campaign realized its goal, and on February 15, 2011, Musial was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
^ President Barack Obama awards the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Stan Musial in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House February 15, 2011.
Batting average .331
Home runs 475
Runs batted in 1,951
St. Louis Cardinals (1941–1944, 1946–1963)
Career highlights and awards
24× All-Star (1943, 1944, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1959², 1960, 1960², 1961, 1961², 1962, 1962², 1963)
3× World Series champion (1942, 1944, 1946)
3× NL MVP (1943, 1946, 1948)
7× NL batting title (1943, 1946, 1948, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1957)
1957 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
St. Louis Cardinals #6 retired
Major League Baseball All-Century Team
HOF, BBWAA, 93.2% First Ballot
12-30-2011, 09:18 PM
First Team, Center Fielder, Tommy Holmes
Thomas Francis Holmes (March 29, 1917 — April 14, 2008) was an American right and center fielder and manager in Major League Baseball who played nearly his entire career for the Boston Braves. He batted over .300 every year from 1944 through 1948, peaking with a .352 mark in 1945 when he finished second in the National League batting race and was runner-up for the NL's Most Valuable Player Award. Holmes retired with a career .302 average.
Holmes was born in Brooklyn, New York. One of the most popular players in the twilight years of the Boston Braves, "Kelly" Holmes finished second in MVP voting in the National League in 1945, after leading the NL in hits (224), home runs (28) and doubles (47). That season, Holmes set a modern NL record by hitting safely in 37 consecutive games from June 6 through July 8 (Bill Dahlen and Willie Keeler had longer streaks in the 1890s). His mark was broken in 1978 by Pete Rose. Holmes struck out just 9 times in 1945. His ratio of home runs (28) to strikeouts that season is one of the best in baseball history.
Holmes, who batted and threw left-handed, signed his first professional contract with the New York Yankees, but could not break into their outfield of Joe DiMaggio, Tommy Henrich and Charlie Keller. After three over-.300 seasons with the Yanks' top farm team, the Newark Bears, he was traded to the Braves in February 1942. Given a regular major league job, Holmes batted over .300 for five consecutive seasons (1944–48). In 1948, he hit .325 in 139 games to help lead Boston to the NL pennant.
After the 1950 season, Holmes, 33, was named player-manager of the team's Class A Hartford farm club. On June 19, 1951, with the big-league Braves floundering in fifth place under manager Billy Southworth, Holmes was called back to Boston to manage his old team. He also remained on the active roster as a pinch hitter. It was hoped he could arouse the club, and bring fans back to Braves Field. The team went 48-47 under Holmes for the remainder of 1951, and when they began 1952 with a mark of 13-22, Holmes was fired on May 31 and replaced by Charlie Grimm. The Braves finished seventh, drew only 281,000 fans, and left Boston for Milwaukee the following spring. That 61-69 stretch (.469) was Holmes' only major league managing stint.
Holmes finished the 1952 season as a pinch hitter for the Brooklyn Dodgers, then managed in the Braves' and Brooklyn farm systems from 1953-57. He retired with a .302 lifetime batting average with 88 home runs in his 1,320-game, eleven-year major league career. He returned to the game in 1973 as director of amateur baseball relations for the New York Mets, a post he held for three decades until he retired at age 86.
Holmes died of natural causes at the age of 91 at an assisted living facility in Boca Raton, Florida.
Batting average .302
Runs batted in 581
Boston Braves (1942–1951)
Brooklyn Dodgers (1952)
Boston Braves (1951–1952)
Career highlights and awards
2× All-Star selection (1945, 1948)
12-31-2011, 11:12 PM
First Team, Right Fielder, Dixie Walker
Fred E. "Dixie" Walker (September 24, 1910 — May 17, 1982) was a right fielder in Major League Baseball who played for the New York Yankees (1931, 1933–36), Chicago White Sox (1936–37), Detroit Tigers (1938–39), Brooklyn Dodgers (1939–47) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1948–49). In an 18-season career, Walker posted a .306 batting average with 105 home runs and 1,023 RBIs in 1,905 games.
Walker's popularity with the Ebbets Field fans in the 1940s brought him the nickname "The People's Cherce" (so-called, and -spelled, because "Choice" in the "Brooklynese" of the mid-20th century frequently was pronounced that way). An All-Star in five consecutive years (1943–47) and the 1944 National League batting champion, he was also considered for the MVP Award five times.
A native of Villa Rica, Georgia, Walker was the scion of a baseball family. His father, Ewart (the original "Dixie Walker"), was a pitcher for the Washington Senators (1909–12); an uncle, Ernie, was an outfielder for the St. Louis Browns (1913–15); and his younger brother, Harry "the Hat", also an outfielder, played for four National League teams between 1940 and 1955 and managed the St. Louis Cardinals (1955), Pittsburgh Pirates (1965–67) and Houston Astros (1968–72). All four Walkers batted left-handed and threw right-handed.
Walker was the only Major League Baseball player to have been a teammate of both Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson.
Walker first attracted attention when he batted .401 for Class B Greenville of the South Atlantic League in 1930. That year, at age 17, Walker was obtained by the Yankees for a then-record USD$25,000. Although he lacked smoothness, Walker was such an outstanding prospect that the organization envisioned him as Babe Ruth's successor after batting .350 in the International League. Basically a pull hitter with some power, he was also a fast runner and a competent outfielder with a fine throwing arm. Nevertheless, in his 1931 rookie season he crashed into a fence and suffered a shoulder injury that impaired his throwing. The injury was corrected with a surgery and he was out in 1932 but the injury recurred a year later after a slide into second base. His first full season came in 1933 when he hit 15 home runs in 328 at-bats, and batted .274. But the following season, injuries limited Walker to 17 games and 17 at-bats, and he batted only .118. In 1935, the Yankees sent Walker to the minor leagues. In May 1936, Walker's past injuries and the arrival of the Yankees' new star, Joe DiMaggio, prompted manager Joe McCarthy to trade Walker to the White Sox despite his .350 average. In total, Walker played only 131 games for the Yankees in a span of six years.
With the White Sox, Walker hit .302 and tied for the American League lead in triples in 1937, but re-injured the damaged shoulder so badly that he needed surgery again. That December, he was traded to the Detroit Tigers in a multi-player deal. He continued to hit more than .300 with the Tigers before ripping cartilage in a knee in 1939. Despite his consistently high batting average, it seemed injuries were going to prematurely end his career. Placed on waivers, Walker was obtained by the Dodgers on July 24, 1939 when they were in need of outfielders. Although Walker played regularly in the Brooklyn outfield for the rest of 1939, he batted only .280 with no power. Still, manager Leo Durocher, another Yankee discard, liked Walker's stroke and penciled him in as a regular in 1940.
Since the beginning, Walker became a celebrity in Brooklyn. In his first game for the 1940 Dodgers, he singled to right field in the 11th inning to beat the Boston Braves. In that campaign, he led his team in batting average (.308) and doubles. He also posted some of his best games against the New York Giants, batting .436 against the hated rivals, and as a result, endeared himself to the Brooklyn fans. Nevertheless, manager Leo Durocher opened the 1941 season with the newly acquired Paul Waner in Walker's right field spot. In consequence, Brooklyn fans were outraged but the veteran Waner faded fast and was sent to the Boston Braves. Walker returned becoming part of an all-.300-hitting outfield (along with center fielder Pete Reiser and left fielder Joe Medwick) that led the Dodgers to the 1941 National League pennant.
In the following years, Walker continued to produce. He hit .290 in 1942 and .302 in 1943. In 1944, he led the NL with a .357 batting average (ahead of Stan Musial's .347) but the NL MVP award went to fielding wizard shortstop Marty Marion. Walker hit .300 and won the 1945 RBI title with 124. In 1946 he was second in RBIs (116) and third in batting average (.319), finishing second in the MVP vote behind Musial.
When the Dodgers broke baseball's color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson, Walker became a figure of some controversy. In 1947, during spring training, the club announced that it was bringing up Robinson from the minors. Walker thereupon wrote a letter to Branch Rickey, the club president, asking to be traded. The letter did not mention Robinson by name, but Walker acknowledged later that he had been under pressure from Alabama people not to play with Robinson. Several other Dodgers from the U.S. South who had also grown up in conditions of strict racial segregation made similar requests of Rickey. Walker denied, nevertheless, that he had been in the forefront of a move to block Robinson. Reportedly, Robinson would look the other way rather than try to shake Walker's hand on the field, to avoid mutual embarrassment. Walker was soon defending Robinson and giving him pointers, and added that he came to respect Robinson for the way he handled the abuse hurled at him, and called him "as outstanding an athlete as I never saw." Walker finished the year at .306 and 94 RBIs.
Whatever his opinion might have been at the time about integration, Walker saluted Robinson the baseball player when the 1947 pennant was won: "He is everything Branch Rickey said he was when he came up from Montreal." And with time, and as baseball welcomed more black and Latin players into its ranks, Walker's position about integration surely evolved as well. He managed integrated teams in the AAA International League in the late 1950s, coached for the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Braves and made clear to reporters that he was not the same Dixie Walker as he was in 1947. His support of Jim Crow during Robinson's rookie season sprang partly from concerns for his home and businesses in his native Alabama – “I didn't know if people would spit on me or not [for playing with a black man]," he once said. Indeed, his final years in baseball in the late 1960s through the 1970s were as the minor league batting instructor for one of the game's most diverse organizations, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
When writing his memoir of baseball in the New York 1950s, The Era, Roger Kahn included a footnote that quoted Walker directly about the Robinson issue and about the pressure against his off-season business, from a conversation the two men had after Walker finished giving batting tips to a pair of black players: "That's why I started that thing. It was the dumbest thing I ever did in my life. Would you tell everybody that I'm deeply sorry?"
Sent to the Pirates in 1948, Walker led his team with a .318 average (topping the .300 mark for the tenth time in 12 years) and ended his playing career the next season. Following his retirement as a player, he managed several minor league teams for most of the 1950s, including the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1957 to 1959, winning the International League pennant in his first season with the team. He served as a batting coach with the St. Louis Cardinals, and coached and scouted both for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Walker died in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1982 at the age of 71. He was buried next to his father in Birmingham's Elmwood Cemetery.
Batting average .306
Home runs 105
Runs batted in 1,023
New York Yankees (1931, 1933–1936)
Chicago White Sox (1936–1937)
Detroit Tigers (1938–1939)
Brooklyn Dodgers (1939–1947)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1948–1949)
Career highlights and awards
5× All-Star (1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947)
1944 NL batting title
01-02-2012, 12:07 AM
First Team, Pitcher, Bucky Walters
William Henry "Bucky" Walters (April 19, 1909–April 20, 1991) was an American Major League Baseball All-Star pitcher. A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Walters played for the Boston Braves (1931–32, 1950), Boston Red Sox (1933–1934), Philadelphia Phillies (1934–1938) and Cincinnati Reds (1938–1948). He batted and threw right-handed.
In a 16-season career, Walters posted a 198-160 record with 1107 strikeouts and a 3.30 ERA in 3104.2 innings.
Walters started his career as a third baseman for the Boston Braves in 1931. After two seasons, he failed with the Braves but hit .376 in the Pacific Coast League to earn a shot with the Boston Red Sox in 1933.
It wasn't until Walters was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies from the Red Sox in the 1934 midseason that he reverted to pitching. Walters developed as a sinker-ball specialist, and after winning 14 games and led the National League with 34 starts in 1937, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in the 1938 midseason.
From 1939-40, Walters helped the Reds to win two straight pennants, leading in each season the NL pitchers in wins, ERA, complete games and innings pitched. His most productive season came in 1939, when he won the Triple Crown with 27 victories, a 2.29 ERA, and 137 strikeouts (tied with Claude Passeau). For his performance, Walters garnered Most Valuable Player honors, the second of three straight Cincinnati players to win the award (Ernie Lombardi and Frank McCormick were the others). In 1940, Walters won 22 games and posted a 2.48 ERA.
When the Yankees swept the Reds in four games In the 1939 World Series, Walters started and lost Game Two and was the loser in relief of the final game. Nevertheless, in the 1940 WS, facing Detroit, Walters gave the National League its first Series game victory in three years with a three-hitter in Game Two. Four days later, he evened the Series for the Reds in Game Six with a five-hit shutout. He also became the first pitcher in 14 years to hit a home run in the Series. In Game Seven, the Reds won their second WS championship.
In 1944, Walters posted a league-high 23 wins while losing only 8, and compiled a 2.40 ERA. He was named interim manager during the 1948 season, his last playing in Cincinnati, and was relieved late in 1949. As a manager, he had an 81-123 record. He returned to pitching in 1950, and made a four-inning relief appearance with the Braves.
Following his retirement as a player, Walters coached for the Braves and Giants through 1957. He was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1958.
Bucky Walters died in Abington, Pennsylvania, just one day after of his 82nd birthday.
In August 2008, he was named as one of the ten former players that began their careers before 1943 to be considered by the Veterans Committee for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009.
Win–Loss record 198–160
Earned run average 3.30
Philadelphia Phillies (1934–1938)
Cincinnati Reds (1938–1948)
Boston Braves (1950)
Cincinnati Reds (1948–1949)
Career highlights and awards
6× All-Star selection (1937, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1944)
World Series champion (1940)
1939 NL MVP
01-02-2012, 03:37 PM
First Team, Pitcher, Mort Cooper
Morton Cecil Cooper (March 2, 1913–November 17, 1958) was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball who played primarily for the St. Louis Cardinals. As the team's top pitcher during its National League pennant years of 1942-44, he won over 20 games in each of the three years and received the 1942 Most Valuable Player award after posting a 22-7 record with 10 shutouts and a 1.78 earned run average, the lowest by any NL right-hander between 1920 and 1967. His brother Walker was an NL catcher and his teammate for several seasons.
Cooper was born in Atherton, Missouri, and after debuting with the Cardinals in 1938, had a 12-6 record as a 1939 rookie. He was 24-21 over the next two seasons before hitting his stride, helping the team to World Series titles in both 1942 and 1944. In 1945, both Cooper brothers staged contract holdouts, and Mort was traded that May to the Boston Braves after only three starts; bothered by longtime elbow problems, he ended the year only 9-4. After a 13-11 season in 1946, he began 1947 at 2-5 and was traded to the New York Giants in June. He was 1-5 for the Giants over the rest of the season, and was released in July 1948 after not pitching all year due to arm trouble. He ended his career with a single 1949 relief appearance for the Chicago Cubs in which he failed to record an out. He retired with a record of 128-75, a 2.97 ERA, 913 strikeouts, and 33 shutouts in 1840⅔ innings. He was selected to the NL All-Star team four times (1942, 1943, 1945, 1946).
Mort Cooper died of a lung condition at age 45 in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Win–loss record 128–75
Earned run average 2.97
St. Louis Cardinals (1938–1945)
Boston Braves (1945–1947)
New York Giants (1947)
Chicago Cubs (1949)
Career highlights and awards
4× All-Star selection (1942, 1943, 1945, 1946)
2× World Series champion (1942, 1944)
1942 NL MVP
01-03-2012, 11:41 AM
First Team, Pitcher, Harry Brecheen
Harry David Brecheen (October 14, 1914 – January 17, 2004), nicknamed "The Cat," was an American left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball who played most of his career for the St. Louis Cardinals. In the late 1940s he was among the team's stars, becoming the first left-hander ever to win three games in a single World Series in 1946 and later leading the National League in several categories in 1948. His career World Series earned run average of 0.83 was a major league record from 1946 to 1976. From 1951 to 1971 he held the Cardinals franchise record for career strikeouts by a left-hander, and he also retired with the fourth-highest fielding percentage among pitchers (.983), then the top mark among left-handers.
Born in Broken Bow, Oklahoma and nicknamed for his fielding ability, he was acquired by the Cardinals in 1938 after two minor league seasons, but didn't get a chance to start for the team until 1943. Exempted from military service during World War II with a 4-F classification due to a spinal malformation and boyhood ankle injury, he was key to the Cardinals' upset win over the Boston Red Sox in the 1946 World Series. He recorded his finest season in 1948, posting a record of 20-7 and leading the league in ERA (2.24), strikeouts (149) and shutouts (7).
A two-time All-Star, his overall career record was 133 wins and 92 losses, with 901 strikeouts. After breaking Bill Sherdel's club record for career strikeouts by a left-hander in 1951, he held the mark until Steve Carlton surpassed it in 1971. His 25 career shutouts remain the Cardinal record for left-handers. His career World Series ERA of 0.83 stood as the record (with at least 25 innings) until Jack Billingham broke it in 1976 with a mark of 0.36.
Playing his entire career for St. Louis teams, Brecheen ended his career in 1953 as a playing coach with the St. Louis Browns; it was that team's final season in the city before their move to Baltimore. He won his only start of the 1944 Series, which matched the city's two teams.
Following his playing career, Brecheen remained with the Browns when they became the Baltimore Orioles, and was their pitching coach from 1954 to 1967. He was voted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 1997. He died at age 89 in a nursing facility in Bethany, Oklahoma.
Win–Loss record 133–92
Earned run average 2.92
St. Louis Cardinals (1940, 1943–1952)
St. Louis Browns (1953)
Career highlights and awards
2× All-Star selection (1947, 1948)
2× World Series champion (1944, 1946, 1966)
01-04-2012, 06:41 AM
Second Team, Catcher, Ernie Lombardi
Ernesto Natali "Ernie" Lombardi (April 6, 1908 – September 26, 1977), was a Major League Baseball catcher for the Brooklyn Robins, the Cincinnati Reds, the Boston Braves and the New York Giants during a Hall of Fame career that spanned 17 years, from 1931 to 1947. He had several nicknames, including "Schnozz", "Lumbago", "Bocci", "The Cyrano of the Iron Mask" and "Lom". Bill James called him "the slowest man to ever play major league baseball well."  He is listed at 6'3" and 230 lbs, but he probably approached 300 lbs towards the end of his career. He was also known as a gentle giant and this made him hugely popular among Cincinnati fans.
Ernie Lombardi started his professional baseball career for his hometown Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League. He hit well (over .350 with power in 1929 and 1930) and had a strong arm. His talents were soon noticed by the Brooklyn Dodgers who purchased his contract for $50,000. Lombardi played his rookie season for the Robins in 1931 and played well (batting .297). Brooklyn had too many quality catchers at the time and Robins manager Wilbert Robinson contemplated using the strong-armed Lombardi as a pitcher. He was traded to the Cincinnati Reds shortly before the start of spring training for the 1932 season. Lombardi flourished his first year in Cincinnati, batting .303 with 11 home runs and 68 runs batted in. He became a national star in 1938 when he hit a league-leading .342 with 19 home runs, drove in 95 runs, and won the National League's MVP award. Ernie Lombardi became one of the Reds' most productive and popular players. He also has the distinction of catching both of Reds left-hander Johnny Vander Meer's back-to-back no-hitters, accomplished on June 11 and June 15, 1938. Vander Meer's feat has never been matched. Lombardi's hitting skills and leadership helped the Reds to the National League pennant in 1939 and 1940, and the World Series title in 1940.
In 1942, the Boston Braves purchased Lombardi's contract, despite his leading the league in hitting that season with a .330 batting average (albeit, in only 309 at-bats); the next batting title to be won by a catcher came more than 60 years later when Joe Mauer won the AL batting title in 2006, a testament to how difficult it is for a catcher to win the title. Lombardi remains only one of two NL catchers ever to win a batting title. Boston opted to trade him to the New York Giants after the season. He enjoyed three productive if unspectacular seasons with the Giants before seeing his playing time diminish over the next two seasons. He retired after the 1947 season, having compiled a .306 career batting average, 190 home runs, 990 RBI, 601 runs and 430 walks.
The six foot, three inch, 230-pound Ernie Lombardi was legendarily slow-footed, and during the course of his career he grounded into 261 double plays. Aside from being the yearly leader in grounding into double plays on 4 occasions, he holds the record for grounding into one every 25.3 plate appearances. An opposing manager once jokingly said that Lombardi was so slow, he ran like he was carrying a piano — and the man who was tuning it. Defenses would often position all four infielders in the outfield when Lombardi came to the plate. Despite this, he became an outstanding catcher on the basis of his strong, accurate arm and his ability to "call" a game.
"Lombardi's Big Snooze"
During the fourth game of the 1939 World Series, in the tenth inning, with the score tied, Joe DiMaggio singled and Reds outfielder Ival Goodman fumbled the ball. Yankees right fielder Charlie "King Kong" Keller, well-known for his sturdy physique, beat the throw to catcher Lombardi and the resulting collision knocked "The Schnozz" flat on his back. DiMaggio raced around the bases and scored while Lombardi was unconscious, the ball a few feet away on the ground. The press was hugely critical of the sensitive catcher because of this and it came to be known as "Lombardi's Big Snooze". Bill James, in his Historical Baseball Abstract, says that "Lombardi was now the Bill Buckner of the 1930s, even more innocent than Buckner, and Buckner has plenty of people who should be holding up their hands to share his disgrace."
Ernie Lombardi was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1958, and posthumously into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1982 and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986. In 1981, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included him in their book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time.
In 2004, The Cincinnati Reds dedicated a bronze statue of Lombardi at the entrance of Great American Ball Park. He was honored along with three other Crosley Field Era Reds: Joe Nuxhall, Ted Kluszewski and Frank Robinson.
The The Cincinnati Chapter of the BBWAA annually award the Ernie Lombardi Award to the Reds' team MVP.
^ The statue Of Ernie Lombardi at Great American Ball Park
While Lombardi played for the Reds as the starting catcher, teammate and backup catcher Willard Hershberger became the only major league player to commit suicide during a season. Hershberger oddly enough told manager Bill McKechnie that "my father killed himself, and I'm going to do it, too!" After failing to appear at the stadium the next day the Reds checked Hershberger's room at the hotel only to find that he had slit his throat and wrist.
A sad footnote to the Hershberger suicide was Lombardi's eerily similar suicide attempt in 1953. Lombardi had been battling depression for some time and agreed to go to a sanitorium at his wife's urging. While staying overnight at a relative en route to the facility, Ernie slit his throat from ear to ear with a razor and begged not to be saved. Papers described him as "clinging to life" but he made a full recovery.
Batting average .306
Home runs 190
Runs batted in 990
Brooklyn Robins (1931)
Cincinnati Reds (1932–1942)
Boston Braves (1942)
New York Giants (1943–1947)
Career highlights and awards
8× All-Star selection (1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1942, 1943, 1945)
World Series champion (1940)
1938 NL MVP
HOF, 1986, Veterans Committee
01-05-2012, 02:03 PM
Second Team, First Baseman, Phil Cavarretta
Philip Joseph Cavarretta (July 19, 1916 – December 18, 2010) was an American Major League Baseball first baseman, outfielder, and manager.
Cavarretta spent almost his entire baseball career with the Chicago Cubs. He was voted the 1945 National League Most Valuable Player after leading the Cubs to the pennant while winning the batting title with a .355 average. His 20 seasons (1934–1953) played for the Cubs is the second-most in franchise history, behind Cap Anson. He managed the Cubs in his final three seasons with the club.
Cavaretta attended Lane Tech High School in Chicago, and signed a professional contract with the Cubs before finishing high school. In his first professional game with Peoria at age 17 in 1934, Cavaretta hit for the cycle as a right fielder. That same year he was brought up to the Cubs to replace manager Charlie Grimm at first base. He first appeared in a major league game on September 16, 1934, less than two months after his 18th birthday, pinch-hitting unsuccessfully for the Cubs' shortstop Billy Jurges in the fifth inning of the first game of a doubleheader in Brooklyn. A week later, on September 25, in his first start and his first appearance at the Cubs' home park, Wrigley Field, Cavaretta hit a home run that supplied the winning margin in the Cubs' 1-0 win over Cincinnati. In his 1935 rookie season, he batted .275 with 82 runs batted in, also leading the league in double plays, as the Cubs captured their third pennant in seven years by winning 21 straight games in September; however, he batted only .125 in the World Series loss to the Detroit Tigers. Over the next several seasons he provided solid if unspectacular play at first base, routinely batting between .270 and .291 every season but one through 1943, though he lost significant playing time from 1938-40 due to a hip injury and an ankle broken twice while sliding. In the 1938 World Series against the New York Yankees, he batted .462 as the Cubs were swept.
Exempted from World War II service because of a hearing problem, in 1944 Cavaretta batted .321 with a league-high 197 hits, had career highs with 106 runs, 35 doubles and 15 triples, and earned his first of four straight All-Star selections (reaching base a record five times in the game) though the Cubs suffered their fifth consecutive losing season. But the team improved by 23 games in 1945, edging the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals by three games for the pennant as Cavaretta was named MVP. That season he also had a career-high 97 RBI, leading the NL in on base percentage and finishing third in slugging average. He batted .423 in the World Series against the Tigers, though the Cubs again lost, in seven games. In Game 1, he singled and scored as the Cubs took a 4-0 lead in the first inning, singled and scored again in the third, and homered in the seventh as Chicago took the opener 9-0. He scored the Cubs' only run in Game 2, and in an 12-inning 8-7 win in Game 6 had a 2-RBI single and scored a run; he had three hits in Game 7, but the Cubs lost 9-3.
He made the All-Star team again in 1946 and 1947, batting .314 the latter year, as the Cubs again fell back in the standings. Over the next six years, he played a gradually diminishing role with the team. He was named manager in June 1951, succeeding Frankie Frisch, though the team finished in last place; continuing as manager for two more years, he compiled a record of 169-213. In 1953, his final season with the Cubs, he surpassed Stan Hack's modern team record of 1,938 games; Ernie Banks would eventually break his mark of 1,953 games in 1966. Cavaretta was fired during 1954 spring training after admitting the team was unlikely to finish above fifth place (they finished seventh), and in May he signed with the crosstown Chicago White Sox; he ended his career there in 1955.
In his 22-year major league career, Cavaretta compiled a .293 batting average with 95 home runs and 920 RBI. He later managed in the minor leagues from 1956–58 and again from 1965–72, became a coach and scout with the Tigers, and was a New York Mets organizational hitting instructor.
Cavaretta was the last living player to have played against Babe Ruth in a major league game; he did so on May 12, 1935, against the Boston Braves.
On December 18, 2010, Cavarretta died of complications from a stroke. He was also battling leukemia at the time of his death.
Batting average .293
Runs batted in 920
Chicago Cubs (1934–1953)
Chicago White Sox (1954–1955)
Chicago Cubs (1951–1953)
Career highlights and awards
4× All-Star (1944, 1945, 1946, 1947)
1945 NL MVP
1945 NL batting title
01-06-2012, 08:34 AM
Second Team, Second Baseman, Lonny Frey
Linus Reinhard Frey [Junior] (August 23, 1910 - September 13, 2009) was an infielder in Major League Baseball who played from 1933 through 1948 for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1933–1936), Chicago Cubs (1937, 1947), Cincinnati Reds (1938–1943, 1946), New York Yankees (1947–1948) and New York Giants (1948). He was born in Saint Louis, Missouri.
Frey began his career as a switch hitter and continued to bat from both sides of the plate until the end of 1938. Starting in 1939, he batted exclusively from the left side of the plate. He started at shortstop with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1933 and switched to second base after leading the National League in errors in 1935 (44) and 1936 (51). Traded to the Chicago Cubs before the 1936 season he developed as a competent second baseman.
Frey enjoyed his best years with the Cincinnati Reds, helping them to reach two consecutive World Series in 1939 and 1940, after hit .291 with 11 home runs and 95 runs (1939) and leading the National League with 22 stolen bases (1940) while scoring 102 runs. Five days before the 1940 World Series against Detroit, Frey injured his foot when he dropped the iron lid of the dugout water cooler on it. Eddie Joost replaced him at second base for the series.
A three-time All-Star (1939, 1941, 1943) Frey also led the NL second basemen twice each in fielding percentage and double plays (1940 and 1943). After missing two full seasons while serving in World War II, his career faded. In 1947 he divided his playing time between the Cubs and the New York Yankees, and he was a member of the Yankees team that won the 1947 World Series. He played his final game with the New York Giants in 1948.
In a 14-season career, Frey was a .269 hitter with 61 home runs, 549 RBI, 848 runs, 105 stolen bases, and a .359 on base percentage in 1535 games played.
In 1961 Frey was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, and in 1969, as part of the franchise's 100th anniversary, was selected the Reds all-time second baseman.
Frey died in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, at the age of 99. At the time of his death, he was recognized as the second-oldest living major league ballplayer, the oldest living All-Star, and the last living player to play for all three New York baseball teams in the 1930s and 1940s.
Batting average .269
Runs batted in 549
Brooklyn Dodgers (1933–1936)
Chicago Cubs (1937)
Cincinnati Reds (1938–1946)
Chicago Cubs (1947)
New York Yankees (1947–1948)
New York Giants (1948)
Career highlights and awards
3× All-Star selection (1939, 1941, 1943)
2× World Series champion (1940, 1947)
01-07-2012, 08:24 AM
Second Team, Third Baseman, Stan Hack
Stanley Camfield Hack (December 6, 1909 – December 15, 1979), nicknamed "Smiling Stan," was an American third baseman and manager in Major League Baseball who played his entire career for the Chicago Cubs and was the National League's top third baseman in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Usually a leadoff hitter, he batted .301 lifetime, scored 100 runs seven times and led the NL in hits and stolen bases twice each. His 1092 walks ranked fourth in NL history when he retired, and remain a franchise record; he also hit .348 over four World Series. His .394 career on base percentage was the highest by a 20th-century third baseman until Wade Boggs exceeded it in the late 1980s, and was the top NL mark until 2001. Hack led the NL in putouts five times, in double plays three times and in assists and fielding percentage twice each. At the end of his career he ranked second in major league history to Pie Traynor in games (1836) at third base, second in NL history to Traynor in putouts (1944), assists (3494) and total chances (5684), and third in NL history in double plays (255).
Hack, who batted left-handed and threw right-handed, was born in Sacramento, California and played baseball at Sacramento High School. After high school worked at a bank and played semi-pro baseball on weekends. He tried out for the Sacramento Solons in 1931, and was signed by Cubs president William Veeck for $40,000 after hitting .352 in his first minor league season that year. He broke in with the Cubs in 1932, and backed up Woody English in his first two years – also hitting .299 in the International League in 1933 – before becoming the full-time third baseman in 1934. In the 1932 World Series against the New York Yankees, his sole appearance was as a pinch runner for Gabby Hartnett in the eighth inning of the final 13-6 Game 4 loss. In his first full year in 1934, he batted a respectable .289 and tied for fifth in the league with 11 steals. In 1935 he began to assume Traynor's mantle as the league's top third baseman, batting .311 and finishing third in the NL in on base percentage and tied for fourth in steals.
He quickly became one of the sport's most popular players, and 21-year-old team employee Bill Veeck (William's son) staged a 1935 promotion in which fans were given mirrors labeled "Smile with Stan", with Hack's face on the reverse side; but the fans used the mirrors to reflect sunlight into the eyes of opposing batters, and the umpires threatened to forfeit the game if they didn't stop. The NL office quickly banned any similar promotions in the future. Batting an unusually low seventh in the 1935 World Series against the Detroit Tigers, he hit only .227 as the Cubs lost in six games. In Game 3 he singled, stole second base and scored to give Chicago a 2-0 lead in the second inning, and singled and scored again in the ninth as the Cubs tied the game 5-5, though they lost 6-5 in 11 innings. In Game 6 at Navin Field he doubled with two out in the sixth inning, and tripled to lead off the ninth with the scored tied 3-3; but the Cubs were unable to drive him in. Manager Charlie Grimm opted to let starting pitcher Larry French bat with one out, and French hit a ground ball to the pitcher, with Augie Galan flying to left to end the inning; the Tigers won the Series in the bottom of the inning when Mickey Cochrane scored on Goose Goslin's single.
In 1936 Hack batted .298, and tied for second in the NL with 17 steals – the first of five straight years in which he finished first or second. He also scored 100 runs for the first time, and had a career-high 78 runs batted in. He led the league in putouts (151), assists (247) and double plays (25) in 1937, and was second in runs (106) and steals (16) and third in walks (83) while hitting .297. 1938 marked his best season to date as he hit .320 (sixth in the league), led the NL in steals (16), was second in hits (195) and runs (109), fourth in walks (94) and fifth in on base percentage (.411). He had 67 RBI as the team featured a remarkably well-balanced offense, with seven of the eight regulars having between 56 and 67 RBI. He was among the league's top ten players in doubles, triples (a career-best 11) and total bases, led the NL in putouts (178) and double plays (26), and made his first of five All-Star teams as the Cubs won the pennant by two games; Hack finished seventh in the MVP voting. In the World Series against the Yankees, he was one of the Cubs' scarce heroes, batting .471 although they were swept in four games. In Game 1 he had three singles and drove in the only Chicago run in a 3-1 loss. He singled and scored in the first inning of Game 2, and did so again to tie the score 2-2 in the third inning though they went on to lose 6-3. He doubled and scored in the fifth inning of Game 3 for a 1-0 lead, but they lost 5-2; he had two more hits in the 8-3 Game 4 loss.
In 1939 he batted .298 and tied for the NL lead in steals with 17, also finishing second in runs (112) and pacing the league in putouts (177). He had another outstanding campaign in 1940, topping the league in putouts (175), assists (302) and double plays (27), finishing fourth with a .317 batting average, and tying for the NL lead in hits (191). He was one behind the league leader with 21 steals, and was fourth in doubles (38, a personal best), fifth in runs (101), and sixth in on base percentage (.395) and total bases (265). Although he did not make the All-Star team, he finished eighth in the MVP balloting. On May 17 of that year, he suffered a concussion after being hit in the head by a foul ball while standing on third base as a baserunner. 1941 saw him duplicate the previous year's accomplishments by again finishing fourth in the NL with a .317 batting mark and leading the league in hits; he was second in the league with a .417 on base percentage and 111 runs, fourth in walks and fifth in doubles. And in 1942 he was third in hits and doubles, fourth in runs and walks, and fifth in on base percentage, while again batting .300 and leading the NL in fielding average for the first time with a .965 mark.
1943 saw a slight dropoff in his performance, though he was still among the league leaders in walks and on base percentage, with a .289 batting average, and was again an All-Star; but a strained relationship with manager Jimmie Wilson led Hack to retire at season's end. He was persuaded to return in mid-1944 after Grimm returned to lead the team, and batted .282 in 98 games – his lowest mark in over ten years – with similarly lowered averages in slugging and OBP. But 1945 marked a full comeback as he enjoyed one of his best years, leading the NL again in putouts (195) and fielding average (.975), and setting a record with 54 consecutive errorless games. He hit a career-high .323 (fourth in the league), and finished third in OBP (.420), hits (193) and walks (99) and fifth in runs (110). The Cubs won the pennant by three games, and Hack finished eleventh in the MVP vote, won by teammate Phil Cavarretta. In the World Series against the Tigers, he hit .367, though memories of the last game of the 1935 Series lingered. In Game 1 at Detroit he was observed staring out toward third base, and when asked what he was looking at he replied, "I was just looking to see if I was still standing there." He reached base four times in a 4-1 loss in Game 2, and had two hits in the 3-0 Game 3 win. Game 6 at Wrigley Field was a thrilling affair; after a walk and a single in his first two turns at the plate, he singled with the bases loaded in the fifth inning to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead, and went on to score himself. After another walk and single, he came to bat in the 12th inning with the score tied 7-7, two out and pinch runner Bill Schuster on first base; Hack doubled to left field off Tiger pitcher Dizzy Trout, with the ball taking a sharp bounce over outfielder Hank Greenberg's shoulder, giving the Cubs an 8-7 win and tying the Series. But Chicago lost 9-3 in Game 7, and to date the team has not made another appearance in the Fall Classic.
In 1946 he hit .285 in only 92 games, though he was still fifth in the league with 83 walks. He ended his career in 1947 with a .271 average in 76 games. In a 16-season career, Hack had 57 home runs and 642 RBI; his totals of 1938 games, 7278 at bats and 2193 hits ranked second in Cubs history to 19th-century first baseman Cap Anson, and his totals in hits, doubles (363) and total bases (2889) placed him behind only Traynor among NL third basemen. His 1239 runs were the third most by a third baseman, behind only Arlie Latham (1478) and Lave Cross (1333); his 165 stolen bases were the fourth most by any National Leaguer between 1920 and 1950, trailing only Frankie Frisch, Max Carey and Kiki Cuyler. He was only 27 games behind Traynor's league record for games at third base, and was behind only Traynor and Heinie Groh in career double plays in the NL. His total of 1092 walks – then the most by any third baseman – placed him behind only Mel Ott (1708), Jimmy Sheckard (1134) and Billy Hamilton (1096) in NL history. In 2001, Chipper Jones moved ahead of his career on base percentage among NL third basemen.
Hack became a minor league manager, leading Des Moines in 1948-49, Springfield in 1950 and the Los Angeles Angels from 1951–53, and then took over as Cubs manager in spring training of 1954, replacing Cavarretta. They had losing campaigns during each of his three seasons running the team. He became a batting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1957-58, managing them for the last ten games in 1958, and then returned to managing in the minor leagues in Denver (1959), Salt Lake City (1965) and Dallas-Fort Worth (1966).
Personal life and Post-career
He later became a restaurant manager, with his second wife Gwen, and died at age 70 in Dixon, Illinois. His first wife Dorothy Weisel Hack was a prominent amateur tennis player. He is buried in Grand Detour Cemetery in Grand Detour Illinois.
Batting average .301
Runs batted in 642
Chicago Cubs (1932–1947)
Chicago Cubs (1954–1956)
St. Louis Cardinals (1958)
Career highlights and awards
5× All-Star selection (1938, 1939, 1941, 1943, 1945)
01-09-2012, 12:03 AM
Second Team, Shortstop, Pee Wee Reese
Harold Peter Henry "Pee Wee" Reese (July 23, 1918 - August 14, 1999) was an American professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball as a shortstop for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1940 to 1958. A ten-time All Star, Reese contributed to seven National League championships for the Dodgers and, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984. Reese is also famous for his support of his teammate Jackie Robinson, the first modern African American player in the major leagues, especially in Robinson's difficult first years.
Reese's nickname originated in his childhood, as he was a champion marbles player (a little "pee wee" is a small marble). Reese was born in Ekron, Meade County, Kentucky, and raised there until he was nearly eight years old, when his family moved to racially segregated Louisville. In high school, Reese was so small that he did not play baseball until senior year, at which time he weighed only 120 pounds and played just six games as a second baseman. He graduated from duPont Manual High School in 1937. He worked as a cable splicer for the Louisville phone company, only playing amateur baseball in a church league. When his team reached the league championship, the minor league Louisville Colonels allowed them to play the championship game on their field. Reese impressed Colonels owner Cap Neal who signed him to a contract for a $200 bonus.
By 1938, Reese was the Colonels regular shortstop and one of the top prospects in the minors, and so impressed Boston Red Sox farm director Billy Evans that he recommended the Red Sox buy the team. Evans and owner Tom Yawkey both knew that the Red Sox' longtime shortstop, Joe Cronin, was nearing the end of his career. However, Cronin was the Red Sox' manager as well, and still thought of himself as a regular shortstop. When Yawkey sent Cronin to Louisville to scout Reese, Cronin deliberately downplayed Reese's talent and suggested Reese be traded. It took awhile to find a buyer, since the other teams assumed something had to be wrong with Reese if the Red Sox wanted to get rid of him. However, on July 18, 1939, Reese was sent to Brooklyn for $35,000 and four players to be named later. This trade is now considered one of the most lopsided deals in baseball history.
Reese stayed in Louisville for the rest of the 1939 season, and was called up to Brooklyn in time for the 1940 season. In an ironic twist, he walked into a situation where his manager was also the regular shortstop—in this case, Leo Durocher. Unlike Cronin, however, Durocher was willing to give up his spot in the lineup to Reese.
Early playing career
Reese's rookie season in 1940 was curtailed by a broken heel bone that limited him to only 84 games in what had looked to be a promising season (.272 batting average with 58 runs scored). He had a thrilling moment that year, hitting a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the New York Giants. In 1941, he suffered through a poor season, hitting a meager .229 and leading the league with 47 errors. Even playing in the World Series that year was a forgettable experience for Reese, as he batted only .200 and made three errors in the four games to one Yankees romp. It was in the 1942 campaign that he truly established himself, making the National League All-Star team for the first of ten consecutive years and leading National League shortstops in both putouts and assists.
Like many players of his era, he missed three seasons due to military service. Reese enlisted in the United States Navy in 1943 and shipped out to fight in the Pacific theater of World War II. While Reese was in the service, the Dodgers languished, finishing no better than third place and as poorly as 42 games out (in seventh place) in 1943. Upon his return in 1946, Reese immediately righted the ship as the Dodgers battled the St. Louis Cardinals in a tight pennant race. The two teams ended the season tied for first place and met in the 1946 National League tie-breaker series. It was the first playoff tiebreaker in Major League Baseball history. The Cardinals won the first two games of the best-of-three game series to capture the National League pennant.
Reese was a strong supporter of the first 20th century black Major League Baseball player, Jackie Robinson. He was serving a stint in the Navy when the news of Robinson's signing came. Although he had little or no experience interacting with minorities — according to Reese, his meeting Robinson marked the first time in his life that he had shaken hands with a black man — he had no particular prejudices, either. It is reported that his father had made him starkly aware of racial injustice by showing him a tree where a lynching had occurred. The modest Reese, who typically downplayed his pioneering role in helping to ease the breaking of the 80-year-old color line, said that his primary concern with regard to Robinson's arrival was the possibility of Reese losing his shortstop job. Robinson was assigned to play as the team's first baseman, and Reese retained his position.
Reese refused to sign a petition that threatened a boycott if Robinson joined the team. When Robinson joined the Dodgers in 1947 and traveled with them during their first road trip, he was heckled by fans in Cincinnati, Ohio. During pre-game infield practice, Reese, the captain of the team, went over to Robinson, engaged him in conversation, and put his arm around his shoulder in a gesture of support which silenced the crowd. This gesture is depicted in a bronze sculpture of Reese and Robinson, created by sculptor William Behrends, that was placed at KeySpan Park in Brooklyn and unveiled on November 1, 2005.
Throughout that difficult first year in the major leagues, Reese helped keep Robinson's morale up amid all the abuse. As the 1947 season wore on, there was tacit acceptance of the fact that blacks were now playing big league ball and were probably there to stay. Robinson still got pitches thrown at him, but, as Reese recounted to author Roger Kahn, "I told him, 'You know Jack, some of these guys are throwing at you because you’re black. But others are doing it just because they plain don’t like you.'” His role in nurturing Jackie Robinson aside, 1947 was a superb year for Reese, as he batted .284 with a league-leading 104 walks. He also had a career best slugging average of .426. Their rapport soon led shortstop Reese and second baseman Robinson to become one of the most effective defensive pairs in the sport's history.
The friendship between Reese and Robinson is prominent in Roger Kahn's classic work, The Boys of Summer. At Reese's funeral, Joe Black, another major league baseball black pioneer, said,
"Pee Wee helped make my boyhood dream come true to play in the majors, the World Series. When Pee Wee reached out to Jackie, all of us in the Negro League smiled and said it was the first time that a white guy had accepted us. When I finally got up to Brooklyn, I went to Pee Wee and said, 'Black people love you. When you touched Jackie, you touched all of us.' With Pee Wee, it was No. 1 on his uniform and No. 1 in our hearts."
In 1949, Reese had his only league lead in a significant batting category, topping all National Leaguers with 132 runs scored. The Dodgers won the pennant again that year, but the Yankees continued to dominate in the World Series, winning in five games despite Reese's .316 Series average and team-leading six hits.
Reese became Dodgers' team captain in 1950. In 1951, he had his career high in RBI, with 84. In 1952, he led the National League in stolen bases with 30. That year, Reese had his best Series, batting .345 with 10 hits, one home run and four RBI. In Game 3, Robinson and Reese pulled off a double steal, with both later scoring on a passed ball.
The 1953 Dodgers won the National League pennant with a mark of 105–49 for a .682 winning percentage. Reese was a mainstay for the team, with 108 runs scored and a .271 batting average. The Yankees, however, again defeated the Dodgers in the 1953 World Series, four games to two. After the season, the Dodgers offered Reese the position of manager; when Reese declined the promotion, the Dodgers hired Walter Alston, who remained manager for more than two decades.
In 1954, Reese batted .309, the only season in which he hit over .300. Though 36 years old, he was still going strong during the 1955 season, scoring 99 runs. In that year, the Dodgers won their first World Series. Reese had two RBI in Game 2. In Game 7, he singled and scored an insurance run. While on the field, he doubled Gil McDougald off first after a sensational catch and relay throw in left field by Sandy Amoros to help preserve the victory.
In 1957, Reese yielded his starting role to another black ballplayer, Charlie Neal. As the Dodgers moved west in 1958, Reese joined them as a backup infielder, retiring that year after batting .224 in 59 games. He coached for the Dodgers in the 1959 season, earning a second World Series ring.
In a 16 year major league career, Reese played in 2,166 games, accumulating 2,170 hits in 8,058 at bats for a .269 career batting average along with 126 home runs, 885 runs batted in and an on base percentage of .366. He retired with a .962 fielding percentage.
Other than his Navy time between 1943–1945, Reese had no breaks in service and played at least 140 games in every year from 1941 to 1956. Consistently productive, he scored at least 75 runs from 1942 through 1956 and amassed 1338 lifetime, best of any Dodger. Though he never won a Most Valuable Player Award, eight times he ranked in the top ten of the Most Valuable Player Award balloting. He also was a home run threat during a time when shortstops seldom hit home runs. Reese amassed 252 stolen bases in a period when steals were not an integral part of the game. Defensively, he was an outstanding gloveman, leading National League shortstops four times in putouts and ranking in the top 10 all-time in putouts and double plays.
One of the most popular players with both his teammates and the fans, the "Little Colonel" was the Dodgers' team captain, and he, not the manager, brought out the line-up card at the start of their games. Reese and Elston Howard have the dubious distinction of playing on the most losing World Series teams (six each). Reese's only World Series win as a player, with the Dodgers in the 1955 World Series, occurred against Howard's New York Yankees during Howard's first World Series. No other non-Yankee ballplayer has appeared in that many World Series for the same team.
Following his retirement as a player, Reese enjoyed considerable success as a play-by-play announcer on network television. He called games for CBS from 1960–1965 (with Dizzy Dean) and for NBC from 1966–1968 (with Curt Gowdy). Reese also broadcast the World Series for NBC Radio in 1967 and 1968, called Cincinnati Reds telecasts in 1969-1970, and served as a part-time television analyst for the Montreal Expos in 1972.
Later life and death
In his later years, Reese was employed at Hillerich & Bradsby, makers of Louisville Slugger baseball bats. He battled prostate and lung cancer during the final years of his life, and died on August 14, 1999 at his Louisville home.
Awards and honors
In 1984, Reese was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum along with Rick Ferrell. On his entry, his support of Jackie Robinson was cited as well as his playing performance as a testament to his worthiness of the Hall.
A statue of Reese was erected in front of the main entrance of Louisville Slugger Field.
Reese was married to the former Dorothy "Dottie" Walton on March 29, 1942, who survived him in death. They had two children.
Batting average .269
Home runs 126
Runs batted in 885
Brooklyn / Los Angeles Dodgers (1940–1942, 1946–1958)
Career highlights and awards
10× All-Star selection (1942, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954)
2× World Series champion (1955, 1959)
1956 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
Los Angeles Dodgers #1 retired
HOF, 1984, Veterans Committee
01-09-2012, 06:29 PM
Second Team, Left Fielder, Enos Slaughter
Enos Bradsher Slaughter (April 27, 1916 - August 12, 2002), nicknamed "Country", was an American Major League Baseball right fielder. During a 19-year baseball career, he played from 1938–1942 and 1946-1959 for four different teams, but is noted primarily for his time with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Slaughter was born in Roxboro, North Carolina and joined the Cardinals in 1938 before being traded to the New York Yankees in 1954.
When Slaughter was a minor leaguer in Columbus, Ohio he came running towards the dugout from his post in the outfield. He slowed down near the infield and began walking the rest of the way. Manager Eddie Dyer told him, "Son, if you're tired, we'll try to get you some help." For the rest of his career, Slaughter ran everywhere he went on a baseball field.
Batting left-handed and throwing right, he was renowned for his smooth swing that made him a reliable "contact" hitter. Slaughter had 2,383 hits in his career, including 169 home runs, and 1,304 RBIs in 2,380 games. Slaughter played 19 seasons with the Cardinals, Yankees, Kansas City Athletics, and Milwaukee Braves. During that period, he was a 10-time All-Star and played in five World Series. His 1,820 games played ranks fourth in Cardinals' history behind Ozzie Smith, Lou Brock, and Stan Musial. He presently ranks second in RBIs with 1,148; fifth in ABs with 6,775; and sixth in doubles with 366. His career accomplishments are especially impressive considering that he missed 3 seasons beginning in 1943 (when he was 27) to serve in the military during World War II.
Immediately upon his return from the service in 1946, he led the National League with 130 RBI and led the Cardinals to a World Series win over the Boston Red Sox. In the decisive seventh game of that series, Slaughter, running with the pitch, made a famous "Mad Dash" for home from first base on Harry Walker's single in the eighth inning, scoring the winning run after a delayed relay throw by the Red Sox' Johnny Pesky. This play was named #10 on the Sporting News list of Baseball's 25 Greatest Moments in 2001.
He was known for his hustle, especially for running hard to first base on walks, a habit later imitated by Pete Rose and David Eckstein.
^ Slaughter during his retirement.
Slaughter was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985. His jersey number 9 was retired by the Cardinals in 1996, and the team dedicated a statue depicting his famous Mad Dash in 1999. Slaughter was a fixture at statue dedications at Busch Stadium II for other Cardinal Hall of Famers during the last years of his life.
After battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Slaughter died at age 86 in 2002.
Batting average .300
Home runs 169
Runs batted in 1,304
St. Louis Cardinals (1938–1942, 1946–1953)
New York Yankees (1954–1955)
Kansas City Athletics (1955–1956)
New York Yankees (1956–1959)
Milwaukee Braves (1959)
Career highlights and awards
10× All-Star selection (1941, 1942, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953)
4× World Series champion (1942, 1946, 1956, 1958)
St. Louis Cardinals #9 retired
HOF, 1985, Veterans Committee
01-10-2012, 06:06 PM
Second Team, Center Fielder, Johnny Hopp
Brother was known as Hippity(at BR, thought is was worth noting)
John Leonard Hopp (Cotney) (July 18, 1916, in Hastings, Nebraska – June 1, 2003, in Scottsbluff, Nebraska) was a Major League Baseball outfielder and first baseman. He was an All-Star in 1946.
Signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent in 1936, Hopp made his Major League Baseball debut with the St. Louis Cardinals on September 18, 1939, and appeared in his final game on September 27, 1952.
The book Carl Erskine's Tales from the Dodgers Dugout: Extra Innings (2004) includes short stories from former Dodger pitcher Carl Erskine. Hopp is featured in a number of these stories.
Batting average .296
Runs batted in 458
St. Louis Cardinals (1939–1945)
Boston Braves (1946–1947)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1949)
Brooklyn Dodgers (1949)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1949–1950)
New York Yankees (1950–1952)
Detroit Tigers (1952)
Career highlights and awards
All-Star selection (1946)
4× World Series champion (1942, 1944, 1950, 1951)
Enos Slaughter was a great ballplayer, no denying that, but his memory has been plagued by innuendo since 1947. It was reported that he and Cardinal teammate Terry Moore, both southern boys, were instrumental in trying to get fellow Cardinals to boycott and strike in protest to Jackie Robinson coming into the League. In one other instance he spiked Jackie when running the bases and many observers reported it as intentionally done. Jackie was non-committal. At any rate, he spent the latter part of his life defending charges of bigotry and racism which helped to stain a really wonderful and deservedly honored career.-BH
01-11-2012, 09:37 PM
Second Team, Right Fielder, Bill Nicholson
William Beck "Swish" Nicholson (December 11, 1914 - March 8, 1996) was a right fielder in Major League Baseball who played for the Philadelphia Athletics (1936), Chicago Cubs (1939–1948) and Philadelphia Phillies (1949–1953). A native of Chestertown, Maryland, where he attended Washington College, he batted left-handed and threw right-handed.
In 1944, Nicholson received an intentional walk with the bases loaded. He is listed as one of only six players in major league history to do it. The others are Abner Dalrymple (1881), Nap Lajoie (1901), Del Bissonette (1928), Barry Bonds (1998) and Josh Hamilton (2008).
In a 16-year career, Nicholson posted a .268 batting average with 235 home runs and 948 RBI in 1677 games.
Nicknamed "Swish" because of his mighty swing, which often missed the ball, Nicholson twice led the National League in home runs and RBI. He played briefly in the American League for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1936, then spent two years in the minors before joining the Chicago Cubs in 1939.
Nicholson became a regular with the Cubs in 1940. His most productive season came in 1943, when he hit .309 with a league-leading 29 home runs and 128 RBI. He finished 3rd in the NL MVP Award vote behind Stan Musial and Walker Cooper.
In 1944, Nicholson slipped to .287, but he again led the NL in home runs (33), RBI (122) and runs (116). In the same season, after hitting four consecutive homers in a July 23 doubleheader at the Polo Grounds, he came to bat with the bases loaded in the seventh inning of the second game, and was intentionally walked. Obviously, that forced in a run, but the Cubs couldn't score again and the Giants won the game, 12-10. This time, he lost the MVP honors by one vote to Marty Marion.
Although Nicholson helped the Cubs to the 1945 pennant, his failing eyesight resulted in a slip in production. He hit only .243 with 13 home runs and 88 RBI in the regular season, and batted just .214 with eight RBI in Chicago's seven-game loss to the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.
In 1949, Nicholson was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, where he became a part-time player and frequent pinch-hitter. The next season, after he became weak and lost weight, it was disclosed that Nicholson was diabetic. He was unable to play in the World Series with his "Whiz Kids" teammates against the Yankees. Well respected as one of the toughest men to double up, Nicholson hit into double plays only once every 90.7 at-bats. He finished his career in 1953 with eight pinch homers.
Bill Nicholson died in Chestertown, Maryland, at age of 81.
Batting average .268
Home runs 235
Runs batted in 948
Philadelphia Athletics (1936)
Chicago Cubs (1939–1948)
Philadelphia Phillies (1949–1953)
Career highlights and awards
5× All-Star selection (1940, 1941, 1943, 1944, 1945)
01-12-2012, 10:52 AM
Second Team, Pitcher, Rip Sewell
(odd, for the players image I've had to go to BR more then the other decades since Wiki didn't have one)
Truett Banks "Rip" Sewell (May 11, 1907 - September 3, 1989) was a right-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played 13 years in the major leagues with the Detroit Tigers (1932) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1938–1949). Sewell was selected four times to the National League All Star team (1943–1946) and is credited with inventing the "Eephus pitch."
Born in Decatur, Alabama, Sewell attended Vanderbilt University in the 1930-1931 school year where played college football on scholarship for coach Dan McGugin. However, Sewell only played on the freshman team and left because of the academic requirements. After leaving school, he went to work for Dupont in Tennessee, and started playing semipro baseball.
He signed with the Nashville Vols, who then sold his contract to the Detroit Tigers for $10,000. He played only one season (1932) with the Tigers, appearing mostly in relief. Sewell later recalled that he was shipped to the minor leagues in Toronto the day after Jimmie Foxx hit one of Sewell's best pitches over the left field wall. (Donald Honig, "Baseball When the Grass Was Real" (1975), p. 250) Sewell pitched only 10-2/3 innings for the 1932 Tigers, giving up 15 earned runs for a 12.66 ERA.
The fight with Greenberg
In 1934, he got a second chance with the Tigers, attending spring training with the team. However, he got into a fight with Hank Greenberg in Lakeland, Florida. According to Sewell, Greenberg made a comment about Sewell's southern heritage, and Sewell responded with a comment about Greenberg's Jewish heritage. The fight was eventually broken up by the police, and the next day, Sewell was called in by manager Mickey Cochrane, who told him: "Rip, don't think I feel any less about you for it; in fact, I think more of you. But we've got thirty pitchers and only one first baseman. What do you think I'm gong to do?" (Donald Honig, "Baseball When the Grass Was Real" (1975), p. 253) Sewell spent the 1934 season playing for the Toledo Mud Hens.
Sewell and Greenberg later became teammates on the 1947 Pirates. Greenberg hit a double to help Sewell get his first win of the 1947 season, and, according to Sewell, the two went on to become friends.
Greenberg, however, gave a different account of the fight in his autobiography. According to Greenberg, Sewell kept mouthing off, even after Greenberg asked to be left alone. Greenberg described the fight as follows: "As we got off the bus, I grabbed Sewell and started pummeling him. He couldn't fight, so he grabbed me around the knees. . . . I was embarrassed for him." (Hank Greenberg, "Hank Greenberg: The Story of My Life," p. 52)
Tigers pitcher Elden Auker also wrote about the Sewell-Greenberg fight in his autobiography. Auker's account is consistent with Greenberg's. According to Auker, Greenberg "slapped Sewell across the face and pretty near busted his skin open." (Elden Auker, "Sleeper Cars and Flannel Uniforms," p. 102)
In 1937, the Pittsburgh Pirates bought Sewell's contract from the minor league Buffalo Bisons. In 1940, Sewell worked his way into the Pirates' starting rotation and went 16-5 in 33 games with a 2.80 ERA. His .762 winning percentage was third best in the NL, and he finished #25 in the 1940 NL MVP voting.
In 1941, Sewell's record fell to 14-17, and his ERA rose to 3.72.
The blooper pitch
In December 1941, Sewell was injured in a hunting accident, as he was shot with two loads of buckshot. The injury permanently damaged the big toe that Sewell pitched off, and he was required to re-engineer his pitching motion and delivery. The re-engineered pitching motion is what gave rise to Sewell's famous "blooper pitch."
Sewell threw the blooper pitch by holding onto the seam and flipping it off three fingers to get backspin. Sewell's blooper reached an arc of 25 feet. The first time Sewell threw the blooper in a game was in an exhibition match against the Detroit Tigers. Sewell described the reaction of the Detroit batter, Dick Wakefield: "He started to swing, he stopped, he started again, he stopped, and then he swung and missed it by a mile. I thought everybody was going to fall off the bench, they were laughing so hard." (Donald Honig, "Baseball When the Grass Was Real" (1975), p. 254)
Pittsburgh outfielder Maurice Van Robays named Sewell's blooper pitch the "Eephus pitch," saying, "Eephus ain't nothin' and that's what that ball is."
Sewell's best years (1942-1944)
Using the blooper pitch, Sewell became one of the best pitchers in baseball. He won 17 games in 1942 and followed with 21-win seasons in both 1943 and 1944.
His best season was 1943, when he led the major leagues with 21 wins and 23 complete games. His record was 21-9 (.700 winning percentage) with a career-low 2.54 ERA (4th in the NL). He was selected to the first of four consecutive National League All Star teams and finished #6 in the 1943 National League MVP voting.
Williams' home run in the 1946 All Star game
Sewell's most famous blooper pitch came in the 1946 All Star game against Ted Williams. Sewell warned Williams before the game he was going to throw him the blooper. With the American League ahead 8-0, Williams came to bat, and Sewell nodded, indicating the blooper was coming. Williams fouled off the first blooper. Sewell nodded again, and threw another blooper and then another. With the count 1-2, Williams hit the blooper for a home run—the only home run ever hit off Sewell's blooper pitch. As Williams rounded the bases, Sewell followed him, saying, "the only reason you hit it was because I told you it was coming." Williams laughed, the fans loved it, and Sewell received a standing ovation when he walked off the mound. (Donald Honig, "Baseball When the Grass Was Real" (1975), p. 257).
Years later, Williams admitted that he had been running towards the pitcher’s mound as he hit the ball, and photographs reveal that he was in front of the batter’s box when he made contact—a violation of baseball rules.
Critic of the players' union
Sewell was a critic of the players' union being organized after World War II. He led Pirate players against the union, and was reported as saying that he was "glad the owners had finally told these ungrateful players where to get off. First they wanted the hamburger, then filet mignon, eventually the cow and the entire pasture."
(hey Rip, no disrespect but the owners had the whole pasture to themselves long enough)
Career statistics and death
Sewell pitched 12 seasons for the Pirates from 1938–1949 and finished with a career record of 143-97.
Sewell died in Plant City, Florida, at the age of 82.
Three of Rip's cousins also played Major League Baseball: Luke Sewell, Joe Sewell, and Tommy Sewell.
Win–Loss record 143–97
Earned run average 3.48
Detroit Tigers (1932)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1938–1949)
Career highlights and awards
4× All-Star selection (1943, 1944, 1945, 1946)
01-13-2012, 08:17 AM
Second Team, Pitcher, Claude Passeau
Claude William Passeau (April 9, 1909 - August 30, 2003) was an American starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. From 1935 through 1947, Passeau played with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1935), Philadelphia Phillies (1936–39) and Chicago Cubs (1939–47). He batted and threw right-handed. In a 13-year career, Passeau posted a 162-150 record with 1104 strikeouts and a 3.32 ERA in 2179.2 innings.
Passeau was a native of Waynesboro, Mississippi. He was a graduate of Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi.
Passeau started his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, then suffered through several years with the Philadelphia Phillies at their notorious "bandbox" ballpark, Baker Bowl, before being traded to the Chicago Cubs, where he enjoyed several winning seasons.
Passeau surrendered the game-winning home run to Ted Williams in the 1941 All-Star Game.
Passeau's greatest individual performance came in Game 3 of the 1945 World Series, in which he pitched a one-hitter against the Detroit Tigers. Slugger Rudy York got the Tigers' only hit, in the second inning, and the Cubs took a 2-games-to-1 edge. Due to wartime travel restrictions that were still in place, despite the war having ended, the first three games were in Detroit and the last four in Chicago. Back in Wrigley Field, the Cubs lost 3 of 4, and have not been back to the Series since, as of the 2010 season.
That one-hit game was only the second low-hit game in the history of the Series, the first having been pitched by the Cubs' own Ed Reulbach in 1906. There have only been four low-hit Series games since, including Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series, and Roy Halladay's one walk no hitter in the 2010 NLDS, which are the only two no-hitters in MLB postseason history
Passeau died in Lucedale, Mississippi, aged 94.
Win–loss record 162–150
Earned run average 3.32
Pittsburgh Pirates (1935)
Philadelphia Phillies (1936–1939)
Chicago Cubs (1939–1947)
Career highlights and awards
5× All-Star selection (1941, 1942, 1943, 1945, 1946)
01-14-2012, 11:26 AM
Second Team, Pitcher, Kirby Higbe
Walter Kirby Higbe (April 8, 1915–May 6, 1985) was an American right-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1937 to 1950. He was born and died in Columbia, South Carolina.
Higbe began his career in 1937 with the Chicago Cubs before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in the middle of the 1939 season. A hard thrower, he was selected to the All-Star team in 1940. Following the season, he was traded again, this time to the Brooklyn Dodgers. He enjoyed his most successful season in 1941 when he went 22-9, tying teammate Whit Wyatt for the league lead in wins and finishing seventh in the MVP voting.
After the 1943 season, Higbe joined the United States Army. Initially assigned to the military police, he soon received training as a rifleman and saw combat in Germany. In 1945, Higbe and his fellow soldiers went to the Philippines; however, when they arrived there, they learned that Japan had surrendered. Nonetheless, he stayed in Manila until March 1946, at which point he finally returned to the United States. That year, he posted a 17-8 record and made his second All-Star appearance (where he gave up a home run to Ted Williams), but the Dodgers lost the National League pennant to the eventual world champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Higbe stayed in Brooklyn until just after the start of the 1947 campaign, when he was traded with four other players (one of whom was future Major League manager Gene Mauch) to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Al Gionfriddo. The reason for this trade was his refusal to play alongside Jackie Robinson. Before the season, Higbe joined Pee Wee Reese, Bobby Bragan, Dixie Walker, and Carl Furillo in boycotting Robinson; all except Furillo were Southerners. Higbe, who claimed that he had developed his arm throwing rocks at blacks while growing up in South Carolina, told Brooklyn general manager Branch Rickey that he would rather not play with a "negruh". When Rickey threatened to trade anyone who refused to play with Robinson, Bragan and Walker relented, as did Reese, who eventually became Robinson's closest friend on the team. Higbe, however, refused to budge on the issue, resulting in his trade to the Pirates.
While Higbe began the 1947 season with a 2-0 record for the eventual NL champion Dodgers, after his trade to Pirates he collapsed to 11-17. He was traded during the 1949 season, to the New York Giants, with whom he finished his career. He was buried in Columbia's Elmwood Cemetery.
Earned run average 3.69
Chicago Cubs (1937-1939)
Philadelphia Phillies (1939-1940)
Brooklyn Dodgers (1941-1943, 1946-1947)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1947-1949)
New York Giants (1949-1950)
Career highlights and awards
All star in 1940 and 1946
Led NL in wins in 1941 with 22
Led NL in strikeouts in 1940 with 137
01-15-2012, 07:58 AM
Third Team, Catcher, Phil Masi
Philip Samuel Masi (January 6, 1916 – March 29, 1990) was an American professional baseball player. From 1939 though 1952, he played in Major League Baseball as a catcher for the Boston Braves (1939–1949), Pittsburgh Pirates (1949) and Chicago White Sox (1950–1952). Although he was known for being one of the best defensive catchers of his era, Masi was best known for a controversial play that occurred during the 1948 World Series between the Boston Braves and the Cleveland Indians.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Masi began his professional baseball career when he was contracted in 1936 by the Cleveland Indians at the age of 20. In 1937 he played for the Wausau Timberjacks and demonstrated his versatility by playing as a catcher, outfielder, third baseman and as a first baseman. Masi became known as the Pepper Martin of the Northern League because of his head-first slides and prancing running style while, leading the league with 31 home runs and, being named to the league's All-Star team.
Masi was then purchased by the Milwaukee Brewers who assigned him to play for the Springfield Indians of the Middle Atlantic League. Baseball Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis found this move to be in violation of baseball rules and allowed him to sign a non-reserve contract with Springfield, meaning that he would be a free agent at the end of the season. He played mostly as a catcher for Springfield in 1938 where his backup that year was the future All-Star catcher for the Cleveland Indians, seventeen-year old Jim Hegan. Masi posted a .308 batting average with 16 home runs and 97 runs batted in for Springfield, earning a promotion to the major leagues when he was signed by the Boston Braves, then known as the Bees.
The Bees already had future Hall of Fame member, Al Lopez, as well as future All-Star, Ray Mueller and veteran Johnny Riddle as catchers going into spring training in 1939 however, Masi impressed Bees' manager Casey Stengel so much that, Mueller and Riddle would be traded before the start of the season, leaving Masi as Lopez's backup. He made his major league debut with the Bees on April 23, 1939 at the age of 23. After his father died in 1942, he was given a 3-A draft classification exempting him from military duty as he was the sole support for his family.
Masi served as the Braves' backup catcher first to Al Lopez, then Ray Berres, and finally to Ernie Lombardi. He began to develop his reputation as a good defensive catcher from his association with knuckleball pitcher Jim Tobin. The other Braves catchers shunned Tobin due to the unpredictability of the notoriously difficult to catch knuckleball and, Masi took over the job as his catcher. When Lombardi was traded to the New York Giants in 1943, Masi became the Braves regular catcher. His work with Tobin paid off on April 27, 1944 when Tobin pitched a no hitter against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Masi's batting continued to improve in 1945 when, he was hitting at a .335 pace in July to earn a place as a reserve catcher for the National League League in the 1945 All-Star Game however, the game was cancelled due to wartime travel restrictions. Masi finished the season with a .272 batting average along with 25 doubles, 7 home runs and 46 runs batted in. He also led National League catchers in assists and was second in putouts and in baserunners caught stealing.
Masi was hitting for a .300 average in late June 1946, earning him a place as a reserve player for the National League in the 1946 All-Star Game. He ended the season with a .267 average, 3 home runs, a career-high 62 runs batted in and, led the league's catchers in putouts. In 1946, pitchers Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain returned to the Braves from their military service and, their success further enhanced Masi's reputation for handling pitching staffs. Sain won 20 games in 1946 and led the league with 24 complete games as the Braves improved to a fourth place finish in the National League standings.
Masi had his most productive season in 1947, earning his third selection as a reserve for the National League in the 1947 All-Star Game and ending the year ranked tenth in the league in hitting with a career-high .304 batting average. He also posted career-highs in home runs (9) and in on base percentage (.377) and, continued to build upon his excellent defensive reputation by leading National League catchers with a .989 fielding percentage. Masi guided the Braves' pitching staff to a league-leading 14 shutouts and the second-best team earned run average in the league, as both Spahn and Sain won 21 games each. The Braves continued to improve, finishing the 1947 season in third place behind the Dodgers and Cardinals.
Although Masi's offensive output began to decline in 1948, he earned his fourth consecutive All-Star selection due to his excellent defensive abilities. His pitch-calling skills helped the Braves' pitching staff lead the league in earned run average as the team clinched the 1948 National League pennant by six and a half games over the St. Louis Cardinals. He also contributed a .253 batting average with 19 doubles, 5 home runs and 44 runs batted in.
1948 World Series controversy
It was in the first game of the 1948 World Series held at Braves Field against the favored Cleveland Indians that Masi would become embroiled in a controversy that secured his place in baseball history. Braves pitcher Johnny Sain and Indians pitcher, Bob Feller were engaged in a scoreless pitchers' duel when the Braves came to bat in the bottom of the eighth inning. Feller walked Braves catcher Bill Salkeld to open the inning. Braves manager, Billy Southworth then substituted the slow-footed Salkeld with Masi, who entered the game as a pinch runner. Mike McCormick followed by hitting a sacrifice bunt, advancing Masi to second base. Feller issued an intentional walk to Eddie Stanky, who was replaced by Sibby Sisti. Feller then made a pick off attempt of Masi at second base. Indians' shortstop, Lou Boudreau, appeared to tag Masi out, but umpire Bill Stewart called him safe. Tommy Holmes proceeded to hit a single that allowed Masi to score the only run of the game, giving the Braves a 1-0 victory. The umpire's controversial ruling touched off heated debates among the media and fans, especially after Associated Press photographs of the play were published. Although the victory gave the Braves a 1-0 lead in games, the Indians bounced back to win the World Series in six games.
Masi's offensive production continued to decline and, with young prospect Del Crandall ready to play, the Braves traded Masi to the Pittsburgh Pirates in June 1949. After only a half-season with Pittsburgh, he was traded to his hometown Chicago White Sox in 1950. He earned the starting catchers job with the White Sox and helped them become a respectable team with his handling of the pitching staff. The team's earned run average ranked sixth in the league prior to Masi's arrival. With Masi handling the pitching staff, the team's earned run average improved to fourth best in 1950. He had a .279 batting average in 1950 and led all American League catchers with a .996 fielding percentage, committing only two errors in 114 games. In 1951, Masi's experience was again evident as he helped the White Sox pitching staff improve their earned run average to second best in the American League behind the Cleveland Indians. He hit for a .271 batting average in 1951 at the age of 35. When the White Sox acquired a younger Sherm Lollar in 1952, Masi returned to backup duties before being released at the end of the season.
Masi returned to the minor leagues in 1953 where he helped the Dallas Eagles win the Texas League championship before going on to win the Dixie Series. He retired as a player at the end of the 1953 season at the age of 37.
In a fourteen-year major league career, Masi played in 1,229 games, accumulating 917 hits in 3,468 at bats for a .264 career batting average along with 47 home runs, 417 runs batted in and a .344 on base percentage. Over his career, he committed only 72 errors in 4,257 chances for a career .982 fielding percentage. A four-time All-Star, he led National League catchers in fielding percentage twice and, American League catchers once. A fast running catcher, he collected 45 stolen bases in his career and was often used in pinch-running duties.
Masi died in Mount Prospect, Illinois, at the age of 74. Upon his death, his will revealed that he really was out on the pick-off play in the 1948 World Series.
Batting average .264
Runs batted in 417
Boston Braves (1939–1949)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1949)
Chicago White Sox (1950–1952)
Career highlights and awards
4× All-Star (1945, 1946, 1947, 1948)
01-16-2012, 06:15 AM
Third Team, First Baseman, Frank McCormick
Frank Andrew McCormick (June 9, 1911 in New York, NY – November 21, 1982 in Manhasset, NY) was a first baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the Cincinnati Reds (1934, 1937–1945), Philadelphia Phillies (1946–1947) and Boston Braves (1947–1948). McCormick batted and threw right-handed. He was the Most Valuable Player in the National League in 1940.
National League MVP Award in 1940.
Nine consecutive times All-Star (1938–1946)
Led NL in At Bats (1938 and 1940)
Led NL in Hits (1938–40)
Led NL in doubles (1940)
Led NL in RBI (1939)
Led NL in Singles (1939)
Led NL in At Bats per Strikeout (1941)
Ranks 23rd on MLB Career At Bats per Strikeout List (30.3)
Set an MLB first basemen record with 131 straight errorless games (1945–46)
Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame Member
In a 13-season career, McCormick posted a .299 batting average with 128 home runs and 951 RBI in 1534 games played.
In 1958, McCormick became the Reds analyst on WLWT-TV, where he stayed through the 1968 season.
Just one of only three NL players with three consecutive hits titles (1938 , 1939 , 1940 ). The others are Ginger Beaumont (1902–04) and Rogers Hornsby (1920–22)
Batting average .299
Home runs 128
Runs batted in 951
Cincinnati Reds (1934–1945)
Philadelphia Phillies (1946–1947)
Boston Braves (1947–1948)
Career highlights and awards
9× All-Star (1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946)
World Series champion (1940)
1940 NL MVP
01-17-2012, 10:35 AM
Third Team, Second Baseman, Billy Herman
William Jennings Bryan "Billy" Herman (July 7, 1909 — September 5, 1992) was an American second baseman in Major League Baseball during the 1930s and 1940s. He was known for his stellar defense and consistent batting. He still holds many National League defensive records for second basemen.
Born in New Albany, Indiana, in 1909, Herman attended New Albany High School.
Major League career
Herman broke into the majors in 1931 with the Chicago Cubs and asserted himself as a star the following season, 1932, by hitting .314 and scoring 102 runs. His first at-bat was memorable. Facing Cincinatti Reds pitcher Si Johnson, Herman chopped a pitch into the back of home plate, which then bounced up and hit Herman in the back of the head, knocking him out..A fixture in the Chicago lineup over the next decade, Herman was a consistent hitter and solid producer. He regularly hit .300 or higher (and as high as .341 in 1935) and drove in a high of 93 runs in 1936.
After a sub-standard offensive year in 1940, Herman was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1941. He had one of his finest offensive season in 1943, when he batted .330 with a .398 on base percentage and 100 runs driven in.
Herman missed the 1944 and 1945 seasons to serve in World War II, but returned to play in 1946 with the Dodgers and Boston Braves (after being traded mid-season). At 37, he was considered prime managerial material by the new owners of the Pittsburgh Pirates. On September 30, 1946, Herman was traded to Pittsburgh with three marginal players (outfielder Stan Wentzel, pitcher Elmer Singleton and infielder Whitey Wietelmann) for third baseman Bob Elliott and catcher Hank Camelli. Herman was promptly named playing manager of the 1947 Pirates, but he was aghast at the cost — Elliott — the Pirates had paid for him. "Why, they've gone and traded the whole team on me," he said. Elliott would win the 1947 National League Most Valuable Player award and lead Boston to the 1948 National League pennant. Herman's 1947 Pirates lost 92 games and finished tied for seventh in the NL, and he resigned before the season's final game.
Herman then managed in the minor leagues and became a major league coach with the Dodgers (1952–57) and Braves (now based in Milwaukee) (1958–59) — serving on five National League pennant winners in eight seasons. Then he moved to the American League as the third-base coach of the Boston Red Sox for five years (1960–64), before managing the Red Sox to lackluster records in 1965 and 1966; his 1965 Boston club lost 100 games. After his firing by the Red Sox in September 1966, he coached for the California Angels (1967) and San Diego Padres (1978–79) and served in player development roles with the Oakland Athletics and the Padres.
Herman finished his career with a .304 batting average, 1163 runs scored, 47 home runs, 839 RBI, and a minuscule 428 strikeouts. He won four National League pennants (in 1932, 1935, 1938, and 1941) but no World Series championships as a player (although he was a coach on the 1955 World Series champion Brooklyn Dodgers). His record as a major league manager was 189-274 (.408).
Herman holds the National League records for most putouts in a season by a second baseman and led the league in putouts seven times. He also shares the major league record for most hits on opening day, with five, set April 14, 1936.
Herman was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975.
Herman's granddaughter is Cheri Daniels, wife of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.
Batting average .304
Runs batted in 839
Chicago Cubs (1931–1941)
Brooklyn Dodgers (1941–1943, 1946)
Boston Braves (1946)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1947)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1947)
Boston Red Sox (1964–1966)
Career highlights and awards
10× All-Star (1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943)
HOF, 1975, Veterans Committee
01-19-2012, 01:04 AM
Third Team, Third Baseman, Whitey Kurowski
George John Kurowski (April 19, 1918 - December 9, 1999) was a third baseman in Major League Baseball who played his entire career for the St. Louis Cardinals (1941-49). Kurowski batted and threw right-handed. He debuted on September 23, 1941, and played his final game on October 1, 1949. In a nine-season career, Kurowski posted a .286 batting average with 106 home runs and 529 RBI in 916 games played. Kurowski's childhood nickname came from his already white hair.
A native of Reading, Pennsylvania, Kurowski overcame several personal problems. Kurowski overcame childhood osteomyelitis, which made him miss a part of a bone on his right forearm. Before he started his baseball career, his older brother died in a mine accident, and his father died from a heart attack during spring training in 1942. His most productive season came in 1947, when he posted career-highs in average (.310), home runs (27), RBI (104), runs (108), doubles (27), slugging % (.544) and on-base % (.420).
An All-Star during five consecutive seasons (1943-47), Kurowski exceeded the 20 home run mark three times to set a major league record for a third baseman (1944-45, 1947), and hit over .300 three times (1945-47). He also led the National League three times in putouts, twice in fielding %, and once in double plays. In four World Series appearances, Kurowski hit .253 (21-for-83) with one home run and nine RBI in 23 games, as the Cardinals were World Champions in 1942, 1944 and 1946. His only home run in the Series, in 1942, off Red Ruffing, broke a 2-2 tie in the ninth inning of Game Five to clinch the title for St. Louis over the New York Yankees. He also appeared five times in the MVP ballot, in 1942 and from 1944 through 1947.
In 1949, Kurowski developed arm and elbow problems and his playing career ended. After that, he coached and managed in the minor leagues for 18 years until 1972. He gained induction into the National Polish-American Hall of Fame in 1988.
In an article in 1976 in Esquire magazine, sportswriter Harry Stein published an "All Time All-Star Argument Starter," consisting of five ethnic baseball teams. Kurowski was the third baseman on Stein's Polish team.
Kurowski died in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania, at age 81.
Batting average .286
Home runs 106
Runs batted in 529
St. Louis Cardinals (1941–1949)
Career highlights and awards
5× All-Star selection (1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947)
3× World Series champion (1942, 1944, 1946)
01-19-2012, 10:44 AM
Third Team, Shortstop, Eddie Miller
Edward Robert Miller (November 26, 1916 – July 31, 1997) was a former baseball shortstop who played for 14 seasons in the National League from 1936 to 1950. He was a talented fielder and a perennial All-Star during the 1940's.
Born in Pittsburgh, Miller made his Major League debut with the Cincinnati Reds in 1936 as a 19-year-old. He played in 41 games over 2 seasons with the Reds before being traded to the New York Yankees in 1938 in exchange for Willard Hershberger. Miller never played for the Yankees at the major league level and was subsequently traded to the Boston Bees less than a year later.
He became the starting shortstop while in Boston, and established himself as one of the National League's best shortstops during his four seasons there. His first season with Boston was shortened when he fractured his ankle in a collision with Al Simmons. He recovered in 1940 to a career-best .276 for the Bees while leading all NL shortstops in fielding percentage and appearing in the MLB All-Star Game. While his batting average fell over the next two seasons with Boston, he led all shortstops in fielding percentage both years. He was an All-Star in 1941 and was named as a starter in the All-Star Game in 1942. After the 1942 season, he was traded back to the Reds in exchange for Eddie Joost and Nate Andrews.
He spent five seasons as the Reds' starting shortstop and earned four more selections to the All-Star Game while with the club. He continued to play solid defense while with Cincinnati, and he led all shortstops in fielding on two further occasions. His final year with the Reds was one of his better seasons as a hitter, as he led the league in doubles and was among the top 10 in home runs and runs batted in. He was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Johnny Wyrostek before the start of the 1948 season.
Miller served as the Phillies' shortstop in 1948 but moved to second base in 1949 when he swapped positions with Granny Hamner. After two average seasons with Philadelphia, he was acquired by the St. Louis Cardinals for the 1950 season, his last in the majors.
Miller died in 1997 in Lake Worth, Florida.
Batting Average .238
Runs batted in 640
Cincinnati Reds (1936–1937)
Boston Bees/Braves (1939–1942)
Cincinnati Reds (1943–1947)
Philadelphia Phillies (1948–1949)
St. Louis Cardinals (1950)
Career highlights and awards
7× All-Star selection (1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1946, 1947)
01-19-2012, 11:20 PM
Third Team, Left Fielder, Augie Galan
August John (Augie) Galan (May 23, 1912 - December 28, 1993) was a left fielder in Major League Baseball. From 1934 through 1949, he played for the Chicago Cubs (1934–41), Brooklyn Dodgers (1941–46), Cincinnati Reds (1947–48), New York Giants (1949) and Philadelphia Athletics (1949). Galan threw right-handed and began his career as a switch hitter. Starting in the latter part of 1943, he became left-handed hitter until the end of his career. He was born in Berkeley, California.
In a 16-season career, Galan posted a .287 batting average with 100 home runs and 830 RBI in 1742 games played. In 1937, Galan was the first player in Major League Baseball to hit switch-hit home runs in a game. Galan played in three World Series, but his teams never won. In 1935, he became the first full time player to make 649 plate appearances and not hit into a double play, though he did hit into a triple play. Augie was often injured (he broke his knee in 1940) and had a deformed arm from a childhood injury. His knee injury was what eventually made Galan give up batting from the right side of the plate.
Galan died in Fairfield, California, at 81 years of age.
Batting average .287
Home runs 100
Runs batted in 830
Chicago Cubs (1934–1941)
Brooklyn Dodgers (1941–1946)
Cincinnati Reds (1947–1948)
New York Giants (1949)
Philadelphia Athletics (1949)
Career highlights and awards
3× All-Star selection (1936, 1943, 1944)
01-20-2012, 08:58 PM
Third Team, Center Fielder, Pete Reiser
Harold Patrick "Pete" Reiser (March 17, 1919 - October 25, 1981), nicknamed "Pistol Pete," was an outfielder in Major League Baseball during the 1940s and early 1950s. He played primarily for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and later for the Boston Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Cleveland Indians.
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Reiser originally signed with his hometown Cardinals, but at age 19 he was among a group of minor league players declared free agents by Commissioner of Baseball Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Reportedly, Cardinal general manager Branch Rickey — mortified at losing a player of Reiser's caliber — arranged for the Dodgers to sign Reiser, hide him in the minors, then trade him back to St. Louis at a later date. But Reiser's stellar performances in spring training in both 1939 and 1940 forced the Dodgers to keep him. (Rickey would become GM of the Dodgers after the 1942 season, and witness Reiser's injury-caused decline as a great talent.)
As a rookie in 1941, Reiser helped the Dodgers take home the pennant. He was a sensation that year, winning the National League batting title and also leading the league in doubles, triples, runs scored, and slugging percentage. The following season, he was hitting .383 in August until he ran into a concrete outfield wall while running at full speed. That incident robbed him of any more effective play that year, and caused Brooklyn's drop in the NL standings.
Reiser gave great effort on every play in the field, and was therefore very injury-prone. He fractured his skull running into an outfield wall on one occasion (but still made the throw back to the infield), was temporarily paralyzed on another, and was taken off the field on a stretcher a record 11 times. Pete was once given his last rites in the ballpark.
Leo Durocher, who was Reiser's first major league manager, reflected many years later that in terms of talent, skill, and potential, there was only one other player comparable to Reiser - Willie Mays. Durocher also said that "Pete had more power than Willie — left-handed and right-handed both. He had everything but luck."
Reiser, a switch hitter who sometimes restricted himself to batting left-handed because of injury, served in the United States Army during World War II, playing baseball for Army teams. While serving, he was injured again and had to learn to throw with both arms. Durocher said, "And he could throw at least as good as Willie [Mays] right-handed and left-handed."
When Reiser returned to the majors in 1946, he was still suffering from a shoulder injury from playing Army baseball. He later said: "It wasn't as serious as the head injuries but it did more to end my career. The shoulder kept popping out of place, more bone chips developed, and there was constant pain in the arm and shoulder."
He was never the same hitter that he was early in his career. However, he still retained his speed and stole home plate a record seven times in 1946.
Reiser managed in the minors for several years (including the Kokomo Dodgers in 1956-57, among others), winning the 1959 Minor League Manager of the Year Award from The Sporting News. He served as a coach on Walter Alston's Los Angeles Dodger staff from 1960–1964 (including the 1963 world championship team). However, he was forced to step down in 1965 as skipper of the AAA Spokane Indians as the result of a heart attack. His replacement was Duke Snider — the man who had once replaced Reiser as the center fielder for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
When Leo Durocher was named manager of the Chicago Cubs in 1966, he brought many of his former players to coach on his staff. Reiser was one of them (1966–1969; 1972–1974). He coached for the California Angels (1970–1971), as well.
In 1981, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included him in their book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time. They explained what they called "the Smoky Joe Wood Syndrome," where a truly exceptional player had a career curtailed by injury, in spite of not having had career statistics that would quantitatively rank him with the all-time greats, should still be included on their list of the 100 greatest players.
Reiser died in Palm Springs, California, of respiratory disease, at age 62, and was buried at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California.
Batting average .295
Runs batted in 368
Brooklyn Dodgers (1940–1942, 1946–1948)
Boston Braves (1949–1950)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1951)
Cleveland Indians (1952)
Career highlights and awards
3× All-Star (1941, 1942, 1946)
World Series champion (1963)
1941 NL batting title
This is one player whose injuries robbed him of a HOF career IMO.
01-22-2012, 09:00 AM
Third Team, Right Fielder, Mel Ott
Melvin Thomas Ott (March 2, 1909 – November 21, 1958), nicknamed "Master Melvin", was a Major League Baseball right fielder. He played his entire career for the New York Giants (1926-1947). Ott was born in Gretna, Louisiana. He batted left-handed and threw right-handed. The first National League player to surpass 500 home runs, he was unusually slight of stature for a power hitter, at 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m), 170 pounds (77 kg).
In his 22-season career, Ott batted .304 with 511 home runs, 1,860 RBIs, 1,859 runs, 2,876 hits, 488 doubles, 72 triples, 89 stolen bases, a .414 on base percentage and a .533 slugging average.
A power hitter
Ott was a six-time NL home run leader, in 1932, 1934, 1936–38, and 1942. From 1928-1945, he led the New York Giants in home runs. This 18-season consecutive dominance is a record; no other player has ever led their team in more consecutive years in a single Triple Crown category. He was both the youngest player to hit 100 home runs and the first National Leaguer to hit 500 home runs. He passed Rogers Hornsby to become the all-time NL home run leader in 1937 and held that title until Willie Mays passed him in 1966.
Because of his power hitting, he was noted for reaching base via the base on balls. He drew five walks in a game three times. He set the National League record for most walks in a doubleheader with six, on October 5, 1929 did it again on April 30, 1944. He tied an MLB record by drawing a walk in seven consecutive plate appearances (June 16 through 18, 1943). He also led the NL in walks six times: in 1929, 1931–33, 1937 and 1942. He twice scored six runs in a game, on August 4, 1934 and on April 30, 1944. He is still the youngest major leaguer to ever hit for the cycle, which he accomplished on May 16, 1929. Ott was the first NL player to post eight consecutive 100-RBI seasons, and only Willie Mays, Sammy Sosa, Chipper Jones, and Albert Pujols have since joined him.
He used a batting style that was then considered unorthodox, lifting his forward (right) foot prior to impact. This style helped with his power hitting. More recent players who used a similar style include Harold Baines and Kirby Puckett, as well as the Japanese home run king, Sadaharu Oh.
In 1943, all of his 18 home runs came at home; only two others ever had a greater number of all-homefield home runs. Of Ott's 511 career home runs, 323 of them, or 63 percent, came at home. (Home Run Handbook, John Tattersall, 1975). Because of this, his home run record historically has been downplayed, suggesting that a 257-foot (78 m) foul line at the Polo Grounds resulted in higher numbers at home. As a balance, the Polo Grounds had the deepest power alleys in baseball. Also, he hit more career home runs in foreign stadiums than any other National League hitter at the time of his retirement.In some of his better seasons, he hit more homers on the road than in the Polo Grounds.
Though there may be reason to believe that he was a better hitter than his record holds due to differences in National League and American League ball specifications ("All too forgOtten" Steve Treder, October 2, 2007). Those differences are considered the most outstanding in the history of the game and made it considerably harder for National League hitters to achieve home runs.
During the prime of Ott's career, eleven seasons from 1931 through 1941, the American League home runs averaged 21% higher and peaked at 41% higher than the National League for every year of this period. Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx, contemporaries, and both American League players, were the only batters to surpass Ott's record during this time.
He played in the World Series in 1933, 1936 and 1937, winning in 1933.
He hit two home runs during the 1933 series. In game 1, he had four hits, including a two-run home run in the first inning. In game 5, he drove in the series-winning run with two outs in the top of the 10th, driving a pitch into the center-field bleachers.
In the 1936 World Series, Ott had 7 hits and 1 home run. In 1937, he had 4 hits and 1 home run.
He managed the Giants for seven years between 1942 and 1948. The Giants best finish during that time was in third place in 1942. It was in reference to Ott's supposedly easy-going managing style that then-Dodgers manager Leo Durocher made the oft-quoted and somewhat out-of-context comment, "Nice guys finish last!"
He was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951 with 87% of the vote. His number "4" was also retired by the Giants in 1949, and it is posted on the facade of the upper deck in the left field corner of AT&T Park.
He was a 12-time M.L. All-Star, from 1934 to 1945. He was also named four times to the Major League All-Star Teams of The Sporting News, in 1934-36 and in 1938. He is one of only six NL players to spend a 20+ year career with one team (Cap Anson, Stan Musial, Willie Stargell, Tony Gwynn, and Craig Biggio being the others). In 1999, he ranked number 42 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and he was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.
After his playing career was over, Ott broadcast baseball on the Mutual radio network in 1955. From 1956 to 1958, Ott teamed with Van Patrick to broadcast the games of the Detroit Tigers on radio and television.
^ Mel Ott (left) in the broadcast booth with Van Patrick.
Death and legacy
Ott died in an auto accident in New Orleans in 1958; he was interred in Metairie Cemetery. Ott died in a similar manner to two other N.Y. Giant Hall of Famers: Frankie Frisch in 1973 and Carl Hubbell in 1988 (the latter 30 years to the day of Ott's death). Ott is remembered in his hometown of Gretna, where a park is named in his honor. Since 1959, the National League has honored the league's annual home run champion with the Mel Ott Award. In the 1989 film Field of Dreams, Ott was one of several deceased players portrayed in farmer Ray Kinsella's Iowa cornfield. In 2006, Ott was featured on a U.S. postage stamp, as one of a block of four honoring "Baseball Sluggers" — the others being Mickey Mantle, Hank Greenberg, and Roy Campanella. In announcing the stamps, the U.S. Postal Service stated, "Remembered as powerful hitters who wowed fans with awesome and often record-breaking home runs, these four men were also versatile players who helped to lead their teams to victory and set impressive standards for subsequent generations". Ott is also remembered in the name of the Little League of Amherst, New York. The Mel Ott Little League began in 1959, named for the recently deceased superstar.
Batting average .304
Home runs 511
Runs batted in 1,860
New York Giants (1926–1947)
New York Giants (1942–1948)
Career highlights and awards
12× All-Star (1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945)
World Series champion (1933)
San Francisco Giants #4 retired
Other records and accomplishments
HOF, 1951, BBWAA, 87.2% first ballot
01-23-2012, 12:46 AM
Third Team, Pitcher, Johnny Vander Meer
^ Johnny Vander Meer in 1948
John Samuel "Double no-hit" Vander Meer (November 2, 1914 – October 6, 1997) was a Major League Baseball pitcher from 1937 through 1951. He played for the Cincinnati Reds (1937–1949), Chicago Cubs (1950) and Cleveland Indians (1951) and is most notable as being the only MLB pitcher to throw two consecutive no-hitters.
Vander Meer threw left-handed and batted as a switch hitter. He was born in Midland Park, New Jersey. A four-time All-Star, Vander Meer compiled a 119–121 record with 1294 strikeouts and a 3.44 ERA in 2104⅔ innings over a 13-year Major League career. Along with Tim Lincecum (2008–2010), Randy Johnson (1999–2002), and Warren Spahn (1949–52), Vander Meer is one of only four NL pitchers since 1940 to lead the league in strikeouts in three straight seasons (1941–43). Just those four and Dizzy Dean (1932–35) have done it since 1931. He had 29 career shutouts.
Vander Meer is the only pitcher in major league history to pitch no-hitters in two consecutive starts. On June 11, 1938, he no-hit the Boston Bees at Crosley Field. Four nights later, in the first night game played at Ebbets Field, he no-hit the Brooklyn Dodgers. After his double no-hit achievement, Reds management wanted Vander Meer to change his uniform number to "00" but he declined.
In 1952, having washed out of the majors, Vander Meer was still hanging on to the game, pitching in the Texas League for Tulsa. Fourteen years after he made history in the majors, Vander Meer no-hit Beaumont 12–0.
Vander Meer was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1958. He died in Tampa, Florida, at 82 years of age.
Win–loss record 119–121
Earned run average 3.44
Cincinnati Reds (1937–1943, 1946–1949)
Chicago Cubs (1950)
Cleveland Indians (1951)
Career highlights and awards
4× All-Star selection (1938, 1939, 1942, 1943)
World Series champion (1940)
Threw back-to-back no-hitters in 1938
01-23-2012, 10:54 PM
Third Team, Pitcher, Hank Borowy
^ Borowy on the front page of Baseball Digest, 1945.
Henry Ludwig (Hank) Borowy (May 12, 1916 - August 23, 2004) was a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. From 1942 through 1951, Borowy played for the New York Yankees (1942–45), Chicago Cubs (1945–48), Philadelphia Phillies (1949–50), Pittsburgh Pirates (1950) and Detroit Tigers (1950–51). He batted and threw right-handed. Born in Bloomfield, New Jersey, Borowy graduated from Bloomfield High School and Fordham University. He pitched in six World Series games and posted a 108-82 record with 690 strikeouts and a 3.50 earned run average in 1717 innings pitched.
Borowy debuted on April 18, 1942 with the Yankees, finishing with a 15-4 record, 85 SO, 2.82 ERA. Then, he started Game 4 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals without a decision.
In 1943 Borowy went 14-9, 107, 2.82, and won Game 3 of the World Series against St. Louis. Named an All-Star in 1944, he pitched three scoreless innings in the game, ending the season with 17-12, 107, 2.64.
Borowy enjoyed his best season in 1945 when he pitched for both the Yankees and Cubs and registered a combined 21-7, 82, 2.65, between the two teams. After a 10-5 start with the Yankees and being selected again to the All-Star Game, he was put on waivers inexplicably and was passed over by 15 teams. The Cubs snatched him for $97,500. Borowy went 11-2 for the remainder of the season, including three wins over the Cardinals down the stretch, and led the National League in winning percentage (.846) and ERA (2.14), as the Cubs won the pennant behind a Borowy's 4-3 win over Pittsburgh. The final margin for Chicago was 3 games over the Cardinals.
On October 3, 1945, the Tigers and Cubs meet in the World Series for the 4th time. In the opener, Borowy pitched a 6-hitter 9-0 shutout. He lost the fifth game, and then came back to win the sixth with four scoreless relief innings. Borowy started the final game on one day's rest but gave up hits to the first three batters before leaving. He took the loss and the Tigers won the Series. Borowy helped put the Cubs into their last World Series, and led to the end of Joe McCarthy's 15-season tenure as Yankees manager. McCarthy resigned in 1946. He is the last Chicago Cubs pitcher to win a World Series game.
For the remainder of his career, Borowy was plagued by finger blisters and a chronic sore shoulder. He pitched his final game on September 14, 1951.
Borowy grew up in Bloomfield, New Jersey, and was a longtime resident of Brick Township, New Jersey, where he died at age of 88.
Win–Loss record 108–82
Earned run average 3.50
New York Yankees (1942–1945)
Chicago Cubs (1945–1948)
Philadelphia Phillies (1949–1950)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1950)
Detroit Tigers (1950–1951)
Career highlights and awards
2× All-Star selection (1944, 1945)
World Series champion (1943)
1945 NL TSN Pitcher of the Year
01-24-2012, 12:57 AM
Third Team, Pitcher, Jim Tobin
James Anthony Tobin, known as Abba Dabba, (December 27, 1912, Oakland, California—May 19, 1969, Oakland) was a right-handed major league baseball pitcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Bees/Braves and Detroit Tigers from 1937 to 1945. In 1944 with the Boston Braves he pitched two no-hitters (one a five-inning game).
Tobin was born in Oakland, California, where the hometown Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League picked him up. They sent him to their Bisbee-Douglas farm team in the Arizona-Texas League. The New York Yankees signed him shortly thereafter. He played for them in Binghamton and Wheeling in 1933 and 1934. The Yankees sent him back to Oakland in 1935, where he compiled an 11-8 record before tearing the cartilage in his left knee. Appendicitis kept him off the Yankee roster the following year, and he went 16-8 for the Oaks.
Rather than return to the Oaks in 1937, he arranged a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates, with whom he made his major league debut on April 30, 1937.
In 1940, Tobin joined the Boston Braves, where manager Casey Stengel made him a relief pitcher. On May 13, 1942, by then a starter, Tobin became the only pitcher in modern major-league history to hit three home runs in one game (Guy Hecker hit three homers in a game in the nineteenth century).
Still with the Braves in 1944, Tobin began throwing a knuckleball, and that season he his two no-hitters. The first was April 27, 1944, when he beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 2-0. The second was a five-inning game on June 22, 1944, in which the Philadelphia Phillies fell 7-0 (officially, this game is no longer considered a true no-hitter, as it lasted fewer than nine innings).
In another interesting event in 1944, Tobin drew a walk against Cincinnati Reds pitcher Clyde Shoun in the third inning of what would otherwise have been a perfect game for Shoun (who settled instead for a no-hitter).
Tobin was with the Tigers in 1945, when they won the American League pennant, but he did not appear in the World Series. He played his final major league game on September 23, 1945.
He was back in the Pacific Coast League the following year, pitching for the Seattle Rainiers and the San Francisco Seals. He was released in 1947, but the Oaks re-signed him in August 1948. That year he pitched the last out against the Sacramento Solons in a game that clinched the pennant for the Oaks.
Tobin was the brother of Boston Red Sox third baseman Johnny Tobin.
While Tobin played only one major league game at a position other than pitcher, he pinch-hit over 100 times in his major league career. The fine-hitting hurler batted .230/.303/.345 in the majors. He totaled 35 doubles, 17 homers and 102 RBI in 796 at-bats.
Jim went 105-112 in the majors with a 3.44 ERA. He completed 156 of 227 career starts.
In the minors, Tobin won 81 games and lost 51.
Earned run average 3.44
Pittsburgh Pirates (1937-1939)
Boston Braves (1940-1945)
Detroit Tigers (1945)
Career highlights and awards
All star in 1944
Led NL in innings pitched in 1942 with 287.7
Led NL in complete games in 1942 with 28 and 1944 with 28
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