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That's what I mean. Listen to what Mark said NYM. Ok, you talked about Babe Ruth. Anything else you want to add?? How about this? We all know Ruth hit 60 homers in 1927. Well, look at that figure

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Hugh "Sir Hugh" Duffy (1866-1954)




Debut June 23, 1888

Final Game April 13, 1906

HOF 1945


Hugh Duffy broke in with Cap Anson's Chicago White Stockings in 1888 as a 21 year old outfielder. A mere 5'7", when he walked into Anson's office, Anson reportedly asked "Where's the rest of you?" Duffy played two seasons for the White Stockings before jumping to the upstart Players League in 1890. He batted .320 for the Chicago Pirates, beginning a stretch of seven seasons batting above .300. When the Players League collapsed, Duffy joined the Boston Reds in the American Association, where he batted .336 with 85 stolen bases and just 29 strike outs. But the American Association collapsed after that season, and again Duffy changed leagues. This time to the Boston Beaneaters, where he teamed up with fellow outfielder Tommy McCarthy to form 'the heavenly twins.' Here, Duffy became famous for his outstanding defensive play in addition to his superb hitting. In 1894, Duffy reached his peak, batting a record .440 (corrected from the original .438) with 18 home runs, 145 rbi's, a monster .502 obp, and thus the triple crown (just the second time in history for such a feat).


Duffy batted .300 four more times in his career for a total of 11 .300+ seasons. This includes hitting .300 in 4 different major leagues (NL, AA, PL, AL), a feat accomplished by no one else in history. He managed teams for several seasons in the early 1900's and 20's, but never had much success. He settled down in the Red Sox orgonization as a coach, and was Ted William's hitting coach at the beginning of Teddy's career. Duffy was elected to the Hall of Fame by the veterans committee in 1945. He died October 9, 1954 at the age of 86. His career batting average was .324 amassing 2,282 hits, 119 3b's, 106 hr's 574 sb, and a career fielding % of .943 (OF).




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Van Lingle Mungo

Real name: Van Lingle Mungo
1931-41 Brooklyn
1942-45 New York Giants
W 120 L 115 ERA 3.4


In the mid-1930s, Mungo was considered to have the talent of contemporaries Dizzy Dean and Carl Hubbell, but he pitched for losing Dodger clubs and made matters worse by being easily upset by his teammates' ineptitude. Accused of wasting his strength by compiling strikeouts early in his games, he believed the only sure way to retire batters was to fan them. He was the 1936 National League strikeout leader, with 238. He also led the NL in walks three times. In an era when starters were expected to go the distance, Mungo, who led the NL in games started in 1934 and 1936, only finished 47% of his career starts. But between 1932 and 1936, he averaged 16 wins a year.

Mungo was wild and mean, a high-kicking fireballer with a fierce temper. He was known as a drinker, and was involved in some bizarre off-the-field incidents. He once had to be smuggled out of Cuba to escape the machete-wielding husband of a nightclub dancer with whom he'd been caught in bed. His career went downhill after he injured his arm in the 1937 All-Star Game. He won only 13 ML games over his next six seasons. Becoming a junkballer, he went 14-7 in 1945. The lifetime .221 hitter sometimes pinch-hit. In 1970 his colorful name was prominently used in a nostalgic bossa nova ballad. ***

***Song included here in this post. It is a jazz song that was written over 35 years ago.

Van Lingle Mungo.mp3

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Leo Durocher

Hall of Fame, 1994 (posthumously)



Durocher had many adjectives applied to him during his colorful career, both kind and unkind. He was a brash, abrasive, hustling, light-hitting, slick-fielding, umpire-baiting bench jockey who was in baseball for nearly five decades as a player, manager, coach, and commentator.


Durocher spent his first full major league season with the 1928 World Champion Yankees, and became New York's starting shortstop in 1929. He moved on to the Reds in 1930, and the Cardinals in 1933, becoming captain of the "Gashouse Gang" in 1934. His last season as a first-stringer came with the 1939 Dodgers. Never much of a hitter, he topped .260 only five times in 17 years, with a high of .286 in 1936. He became an All-Star mostly on the strength of his glovework; a flashy, acrobatic SS, he led the NL in fielding in '36 and 1938.

Durocher went on to a long, distinguished, and tumultuous career as a manager. He was player-manager of the Dodgers in 1939-41, 1943, and 1945, though he played only a few games in the latter three years. He guided the Dodgers to the NL pennant in 1941, and to second-place finishes in 1940, 1942, and 1946. Perhaps his finest moment as Dodger manager came in spring training of 1947 when he personally quashed a rebellion by players who were protesting the presence of Jackie Robinson.


Durocher's tenure in Brooklyn was marked by - among other things - feuds with GM Branch Rickey, who could not always tolerate Durocher's antics and managing style. Durocher lived life in the fast lane. He was a pro at the card table, and favored the horse track. Stories emerged that he was friendly with such characters as Bugsy Siegel. In 1945, he was indicted for assaulting a fan under the stands. His problems reached a peak in 1947, when he was suspended for the season for reputed association with gamblers. The Dodgers won the pennant with Burt Shotton at the helm instead.


Durocher returned in 1948, gave rookie Roy Campanella the catching job, and moved young Gil Hodges to first base. But the Dodgers fell to last place on July 7. Eight days later, Rickey fired Durocher and rehired Shotton, as the rival Giants fired their manager, Mel Ott, and hired Durocher. Durocher guided the Giants to a pennant in 1951, overtaking the Dodgers in a spectacular race and defeating them in the subsequent playoff, thanks to Bobby Thomson. In 1954, Durocher led New York to his only WS victory. After the 1955 season, he became a TV commentator.


Durocher returned to manage the Cubs from 1966 until late in 1972, and the Astros through 1973, finishing second several times. Toward the end, his players were aware that he was becoming senile; some were with Durocher for weeks before the manager knew who they were. He retired among the all-times leaders in games managed (3740), wins (2010), and losses (1710). His life story was told in his autobiography, Nice Guys Finish Last, co-written with Ed Linn. The phrase (or something to that effect) was one that had been attributed to Durocher in '47, referring to Ott, whose Giants had been losing.




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Tom Seaver



Batted: Right

Threw: Right

300 game winner. Hall of Fame 1982


Teams: Mostly New York Mets (also Reds and White Sox and Red Sox)



An intelligent, hard-working perfectionist and the quintessential professional, Seaver was the first true star for the Mets and led them to their miracle World Championship in 1969. In his 10 years in New York from 1967 to 1977, he won 25% of the Mets' games. The 17th 300-game winner in major league history, Seaver set a major league record by striking out 200 or more hitters in 10 seasons, nine in a row from 1968 to 1976.


Seaver came to the Mets via a strange lottery: In 1966, the Braves offered him $40,000, but the NCAA and baseball commissioner William Eckert voided the offer and made Seaver, still at USC, available to any team willing to match the Braves' offer. The Phillies, Indians, and Mets were willing and, in a drawing held in the commissioner's office, the Mets were picked out of a hat. Seaver was an immediate star, picked to the All-Star team in his first season when he won 16 games for a Met team that won just 61 games, and captured Rookie of the Year honors. In 1969 he won his first of three Cy Young Awards with a 25-7 record and a 2.21 ERA and led the NL in wins and winning percentage.


On July 9, Seaver lost a perfect game when rookie Jimmy Qualls of the Cubs singled with one out in the ninth. The game was more important, however, since the Mets won 4-0, and began to make their move on the Cubs on their way to the World Championship. In Game One of the LCS against the Braves, Seaver was pinch hit for in the eighth inning, down 5-4, and emerged the winner over Phil Niekro as the Mets rallied for five runs. Seaver had less luck in Game One of the World Series, as he surrendered a homer to the Orioles' first batter, Don Buford, and lost 4-1. He came back to win a 2-1 ten-inning thriller in Game Four, helped by Ron Swoboda's game-saving catch in the ninth inning.


Seaver picked up where he left off the next season. On April 22, 1970, he struck out 19 Padres, including a record 10 in a row to end the game, to tie the then-ML record for a nine-inning game, set by Steve Carlton. Although he didn't duplicate his 20-win season, he led the league in strikeouts (283) and ERA (2.81). Seaver himself felt that 1971 was his best season; he compiled a 20-10 record and led the league for the second year in a row in with a 1.76 ERA and 289 strikeouts. Overshadowed by Steve Carlton in 1972, in 1973 Seaver became the first non-20-game winner to win the Cy Young Award when he led the NL in ERA (2.08) and strikeouts (251) and tied for the lead in complete games (18) while leading the Mets to another improbable pennant. In Game One of the LCS, Seaver drove in the Mets' only run and almost made it stand for the victory, walking none and striking out 13, but he gave up solo homers to Pete Rose and Johnny Bench in the eighth and ninth innings to take the loss. The Mets' chronically weak offense often let him down during his career, but never so glaringly. He did come back in Game Five to win the clincher 7-2, giving up only one earned run. He took a no-decision in the Mets' 11-inning 3-2 loss in Game Three of the World Series, striking out 12 in eight innings. He pitched another strong game in the sixth contest, surrendering two runs in seven innings, but once again lost a tough one 3-1.


A sore hip caused Seaver's worst season in 1974 with an 11-11 record and his first ERA over 3.00 (3.20). He bounced back in 1975 with his last great season for the Mets, going 22-9 and leading the league in strikeouts, wins, and winning percentage to capture another Cy Young trophy. In September, Seaver put together a seven-game winning streak, including another near no-hitter against the Cubs, broken up by Joe Wallis. By 1976, Seaver was having trouble with Met general manager M. Donald Grant over Seaver's salary and how the team was being run, and the two traded private and public taunts. On April 17, 1977, Seaver pitched his third one-hitter against the Cubs, a single in the fifth by Steve Ontiveros keeping him from the elusive no-hitter. Two months later, on June 15, the bomb dropped. Seaver was unceremoniously dealt to Cincinnati for four players, Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, and Dan Norman, a trade that ripped out the hearts of New York fans. Seaver completed his last 20-win season with the Reds, finishing with a combined 21-6 mark and leading the NL with seven shutouts. Almost exactly a year from the trade, on June 16, 1978, Seaver finally got his no-hitter, blanking the Cardinals 4-0.


Seaver had four winning years with the Reds, including 1979, when he went 16-6 and led the NL in winning percentage and shutouts (5). He took another tough no-decision in the LCS when he left Game One after eight innings tied 2-2 with the Pirates' John Candelaria; Pittsburgh won in the 11th inning. In the strike-shortened 1981 season, Seaver went 14-2 and led the majors in victories but lost a controversial Cy Young vote to rookie sensation Fernando Valenzuela.


After Seaver slumped to 5-13 in 1982, the Reds completed the circle by trading The Franchise back to the Mets for three players. Although compiling only a 9-14 record (due mostly to the Mets' usual poor offense; his ERA was a better-than-average 3.55), fans were outraged when he was claimed by the White Sox after he was mysteriously left unprotected in the free agent compensation pool. He won 15 games for the White Sox in 1984, and 16 in 1985 when he set several career standards. On August 4 in Yankee Stadium, he won his 300th game, a 4-1 complete game on a six-hitter. On October 4, he moved past Walter Johnson into third place on the all-time strikeout list.


After getting off to a slow start the following season, he was dealt to Boston (closer to his Greenwich, CT home), where he finished his career. An ankle injury prevented him from appearing against the Mets in the World Series, and the Red Sox released him following the season. Seaver tried to latch on with the Mets in 1987, but called it quits when he wasn't satisfied with his performance while getting into shape. After sitting out the 1988 season, Seaver was named to replace newly named National League president Bill White in the Yankee broadcast booth, and replaced Joe Garagiola for NBC Saturday telecasts with Vin Scully.



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Walter Johnson

The Greatest Pitcher of All-Time without a doubt. My first pick for Greatest Team.


BIRTH NAME: Walter Perry Johnson

NICKNAMES: Big Train, Sir Walter, White Knight

BIRTH DATE: November 6, 1887

BIRTH PLACE: Humboldt, Kansas

DEATH DATE: December 10, 1946

DEATH PLACE: Washington, D.C.

BURIAL LOCATION: Rockville Union Cemetery - Rockville, Maryland

HEIGHT: 6' 1"

WEIGHT: 200 lbs


THREW: Right


PLAYED FOR: Washington Senators (1907-1927)

ML DEBUT: August 2, 1907 (Facing the Detroit Tigers)

FINAL GAME: September 30, 1927 (Facing the New York Yankees)

HONORS: AL Most Valuable Player (1913, 1924), Hall of Fame Inductee (1936)


Check them out - Who knows how many wins he would have had with another team.



* A high school in Bethesda, Maryland is named after Johnson, the only high school in the United States named after a baseball player.

* Most estimates place his fast ball at 97-99 MPH (7-12 MPH faster than most other great pitchers of his time)

* Pitched the most consecutive innings without giving up a home run (369)

* In 1907 during the Idaho State League - he pitched 77 scoreless innings as a 19 year old. Made his big league debut that August.

"The first time I faced him (Walter Johnson) I watched him take that easy windup and then something went past me that made me flinch. The thing just hissed with danger. We couldn't touch him....every one of us knew we'd met the most powerful arm ever turned loose in a ball park." - Ty Cobb



Walter Johnson 1914 Washington Senators.jpg

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What a great thread! Glad I stumbled onto this site a few days ago. Here's my favorite player of all time, Al Kaline of the Detroit Tigers:


From Wikipedia.com:


Albert William "Al" Kaline (born December 19, 1934 in Baltimore, Maryland) is a former Major League Baseball player. Kaline was active from 1953 to 1974 and spent his entire career with the Detroit Tigers (hence the nickname "Mr. Tiger"), bypassing the minor league system and joining the team directly from high school as a "bonus baby" signee. For most of his career, Kaline played in the outfield, mainly right field, where he was known for his strong throwing arm. He once threw out two baserunners at home in the same inning. Near the end of his career, he also played at first base and, in his last season, was the Tigers' designated hitter.


In 1955, Kaline hit .340 for the season, becoming the youngest player ever to win a major league batting title, a distinction previously held by the Tiger's hall-of-famer Ty Cobb. During the 1955 season, Kaline became the 13th man in major league history to hit two home runs in the same inning and finished the year with 200 hits, 27 HRs and 102 RBIs to go along with the batting title. Although it would be his only batting title, in 1956 he followed that great season with another as he batted .314 with 27 HRs and 128 RBIs and became one of baseball's brightest young stars and a future hall-of-famer. In 1958, he amassed 23 assists, extremely high for an outfielder. Versatile and well-rounded, he won ten Gold Glove Awards (1957-59 and 1961-67) for excellence in the field and appeared in fifteen All-Star games (1955-67, 1971, 1974). He was a member of the World Series championship team in 1968 and excelled in his only World Series appearance by batting .379 with 2 home runs and 8 RBIs helping the Tigers come back from a 3 games to 1 deficit to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in 7 games.


Kaline finished his career with 3,007 hits (25th on the all-time list) and 399 home runs (a Tigers record and 43rd on the all-time list). He batted over .300 nine times in his career to finish with a lifetime batting average of .297 and while never considered a true power hitter, Kaline did hit 25 or more home runs seven times in his career. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980, his first year of eligibility, and subsequently honored by the Tigers as the first of their players to have his uniform number (6) retired. With earlier legend Ty Cobb having been more respected and feared than loved, Kaline is the most popular player ever to play for the Tigers, and possibly the most popular athlete in Detroit history.


Since retiring from the playing field, Kaline has lived in the Detroit area, and has remained active within the Tigers organization, serving first as a color commentator on the team's television broadcasts (1975-2002) mostly with play by play announcer and former Tiger George Kell, and then later as a consultant to the team. Cherry Street, which ran behind the left-field stands at Tiger Stadium, was renamed Kaline Drive in his honor.


In 1999, he ranked Number 76 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Later that year, on September 27, when the team played its last game at Tiger Stadium, Kaline was invited to appear in uniform and present the last lineup card to the umpires. He did so along with George Brett, considered one of the greatest players ever for the Tigers' opponents that day, the Kansas City Royals.


Since 2003, Kaline has served as a Special Assistant to Tigers President/CEO/General Manager Dave Dombrowski. Former Tigers teammate Willie Horton also holds this position, and the two threw out the first pitch of the 2006 World Series at Comerica Park.



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Eddie Collins


Edward Trowbridge Collins, Sr. (May 2, 1887 – March 25, 1951), nicknamed "Cocky", was an American second baseman, manager and executive in Major League Baseball who played from 1906 to 1930 for the Philadelphia Athletics and Chicago White Sox.


At the end of his career, he ranked second in major league history in career games (2,826), walks (1,499) and stolen bases (744), third in runs scored (1,821), fourth in hits (3,315) and at bats (9,949), sixth in on base percentage (.424), and eighth in total bases (4,268); he was also fourth in AL history in triples (187). He still holds the major league record of 512 career sacrifice hits, over 100 more than any other player. He was the first major leaguer in modern history to steal 80 bases in a season, and still shares the major league record of six steals in a game, which he accomplished twice in September 1912. He regularly batted over .320, retiring with a career average of .333. He also holds major league records for career games (2,650), assists (7,630) and total chances (14,591) at second base, and ranks second in putouts (6,526). Under the win shares statistical rating system created by baseball historian and analyst Bill James, Collins was the greatest second baseman of all time.


Collins was part of the Athletics' so-called "$100,000 infield" (and the highest-paid of the quartet) which propelled the team to four American League (AL) pennants and three World Series titles between 1910 and 1914. He earned the league's Chalmers Award (early Most Valuable Player recognition) in 1914.


In 1914, the newly formed Federal League disrupted Major League contract stability by luring away established stars from the AL and NL with inflated salaries. To retain Collins, Athletics manager Connie Mack offered his second baseman the longest guaranteed contract (five years) that had ever been offered to a player. Collins declined, and after the 1914 season Mack sold Collins to the White Sox for $50,000, the highest price ever paid for a player up to that point. The Sox paid Collins $15,000 for 1915, making him the third highest paid player in the league, behind Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker.


In Chicago, Collins continued to post top-ten batting and stolen base numbers, and he helped the Sox capture pennants in 1917 and 1919. He was part of the notorious "Black Sox" team that threw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds; Collins was not part of the conspiracy and played honestly (his low .226 batting average notwithstanding).


He was the playing manager of the White Sox from August 1924 through the 1926 season, posting a record of 174-160 (.521). He then returned to the Athletics in 1927 and retired after the 1930 season. In 1931-1932, he served as a Philadelphia coach and, from 1933 through 1947, as the general manager for the Boston Red Sox.


Collins finished his career with 1,300 runs batted in. Collins is still the only player in history to play for two teams in at least 12 seasons each. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.



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Bill Dickey


Bill Dickey.jpg


The premier catcher of the late 1930s and early 1940s, the lefthanded-hitting Dickey was the soul of the Yankee dynasty bridging the Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio eras as a player, and the Mickey Mantle era as a coach. He was a keen handler of pitchers, especially the erratic Lefty Gomez, as quiet as his roommate, Gehrig, consistent, setting a major league record for catching 100 or more games in 13 straight seasons, and never played another game at another position. He was the first Yankee to find out about Gehrig's illness and was the only active player to play himself in the Gary Cooper movie "Pride of the Yankees." The Yankees retired his number 8, but ironically Dickey didn't wear that number at the start or the end of his Yankee days. When Dickey first came up, Benny Bengough wore number eight. When he came back to coach, Yogi Berra was wearing it.


Dickey's quiet demeanor off the field belied fiery behavior behind the plate. On July 4, 1932 he was suspended for 30 days and fined $1,000 for breaking the jaw of the Senators' Carl Reynolds with one punch, after a collision at home plate. In the 1934 All-Star Game, Dickey broke Carl Hubbell's strikeout string with a single. After six straight .300-plus seasons, Dickey dipped to .279 in 1935, but came back the next season with a fury. From 1936 to 1939, Dickey, who had never hit more than 14 homers in a season, belted 102 in four years. He had a career high of 29 in 1937, including grand slams on consecutive days, August 3 and 4. His batting average bloomed as well, with a career-high .362 in 1936, followed by a .332 mark in 1937.


Dickey continued his batting onslaught in the second game of the 1936 World Series against the crosstown Giants when he hit a two-run homer and knocked in five runs. On July 26, 1939 he slammed three straight homers against the Browns in a 14-1 win. In the four-game World Series sweep that year against the Reds, Dickey slammed two homers and drove in five runs, including the winning run in the bottom of the ninth in Game One. Dickey also caught more World Series games than any catcher, 38.


Both Dickey's average and power dropped drastically in 1940 and 1941, totaling only 16 homers in two years. In 1942, Dickey caught only 82 games, and only 85 in 1943, but drove in the only two runs with a homer in the fifth and final game of the World Series against the Cardinals, avenging the Yankees' loss the year before. At the end of the season, at age 36, Dickey enlisted in the Navy. He came back for a final go-round in 1946, but appeared in only 54 games. Midway through the season, he took over the managerial reins from Joe McCarthy, who had gone to manage the Red Sox. He guided the Yankees to a 57-48 mark, but resigned right after the season. He came back as a coach under Casey Stengel from 1947 to 1957, passing along his knowledge to Berra. He scouted for the Yankees in 1959 before retiring.

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George Herman "Babe" Ruth



George Herman Ruth was born on February 6, 1895, in Baltimore, MD.



August 16, 1948, New York, NY


Batted: Left

Threw: Left



The Bambino,The Sultan Of Swat


Also known as "The Colossus of Clout," "The Wali of Wallop," "The Wazir of Wham," "The Maharajah of Mash," "The Rajah of Rap," "The Caliph of Clout," and "The Behemoth of Bust." Ruth was first called "Babe" by teammates on the Baltimore Orioles, because of his boyish face and his young age.


Babe Ruth in 1920.jpg


"He was a circus, a play and a movie, all rolled into one," said teammate Lefty Gomez. "Kids adored him, Men idolized him. Women loved him. There was something about him that made him great." Babe Ruth was more than a great baseball player, he was an American hero who became a legend and an icon. Long after his last home run, his name has come to signify greatness and strength.


Early in life it was not evident that George Herman "Babe" Ruth would be a slugger of legendary proportions. He was an awkward-looking young man from the streets of Baltimore, where he grew up in the care of his father, a saloon-kepper, and later in a boys home, after his parents gave up trying to keep him out of trouble. It was in the boys home that Ruth learned to harness his great energy and play the game of baseball. He signed with the mionor league Baltimore Orioles in 1912 and by 1914 he was in the major leagues with the Boston Red Sox, as a pitcher.


The Red Sox were the best team in the American League, and a perfect place for Ruth to learn to be a major leaguer. In 1916 he got his first chance to pitch in a World Series and made the most of his one appearance. After giving up a run in the first inning, he drove in the tying run himself, then held the Brooklyn Dodgers scoreless for the next eleven innings until his team could score the winning run. In the 1918 World Series he continued his pitching heroics, running his series record to 29 2/3 scoreless innings, a mark that stood for forty-three years.


With the talented Sox, Ruth went 18-8 in 1915, 23-12 (with a league-leading 1.75 ERA and nine shutouts) in 1916, 24-13 (2.01 ERA) in 1917, and 13-7 in 1918. He was the winningest left-handed pitcher in baseball from 1915-1917. The Red Sox won the World Series in 1915, 1916 and 1918. Ruth's pitching mark was 89-46 with the Sox, but his booming bat was too loud to be heard only every four days. Red Sox manager Ed Barrow, at the suggestion of outfielder Harry Hooper, began playing the Babe in the outfield in-between his starts.

In 1918, Ruth led the American League with 11 home runs, despite playing just 59 games as an outfielder. The next season he started just 15 games on the mound and led the loop in homers again, with an unheard of total of 29. He was gaining attention with his home run trot, rounding the bases with what one observer noted were tiny "debutante" ankles. In 1919, he played 130 games and was now an everyday player. He seemed poised to lead the Red Sox to the top of the league for years to come. But, despite Ruth's obvious value as a slugger, he was dealt to the New York Yankees prior to the 1920 season, in a deal that haunted Boston owner Harry Frazee for years to come. Over the next 15 years, Ruth would hit hundreds of homers while helping the Yankees to the World Series seven times. The Red Sox did not win another World Series title for 86 years.


Crushed by his sale to the Yankees, Ruth was unsure of his future in New York. But his doubts failed to affect his performance in 1920. Ruth's 54 homers surpassed every other team in the majors except one. That same season, Ruth slugged an astonishing .847, a record that stood for more than 80 years. In 1920, the Yankees, coincidentally, became the first team to draw more than one million fans to a ballpark, more than double the attendance of any other club. As Yankee manager Miller Huggins said, "They all flock to see him," because the American fan "likes the fellow who carries the wallop."


Jail Stripes to Pinstripes


On the morning of June 8, 1921, Ruth was arrested for speeding in New York City. Sitting in jail while he arranged for his release, Ruth was allowed to change into his uniform in his cell. He arrived at Yankee Stadium in time to play in New York's 4-3 victory over Cleveland.


Babe Ruth died of cancer at 8:01 p.m., August 16, 1948. He was only fifty-three years old. Over 100,000 fans paid their respects at Yankee Stadium, where he lay in rest. Grieving fathers held up their sons for a final look at the face of the greatest player in baseball history. Ruth's old teammates volunteered as pallbearers and the flag at Yankee Stadium flew at half-mast.


Ruthian Feats

Three home runs in a World Series game twice... The Babe hit 340 solo home runs, 252 two-run shots, and 98 three-run taters. He also slugged 16 Grand Slams... 51% of his homers came with a man or men on base... He hit 16 homers in extra-innings, 10 inside-the-park variety, and one as a pinch-hitter (in 1916 with the Red Sox)... 459 of his career regular season homers came against right-handed pitchers, or 64%. 219 times he blasted a circuit blow off a lefty... In six seasons with the Red Sox he hit 49 homers, 11 in Fenway Park, 38 on the road. With the Yankees in 15 seasons, he slugged 659 long blows, 334 at home, 325 on the road... Ruth hit at least one home run in 12 different ballparks... 72 times, Ruth slugged a pair of homers in a game, a major league record that still stands. He connected for three homers on May 21, 1930, with New York, and with the Braves on May 25, 1935, including the final homer of his career, off Pirate Guy Bush... His 686 home runs as an outfielder are the most by any player at any position. He hit 15 long balls as a pitcher... Collected RBI in 11 consecutive games in 1931... Stole home 10 times... Won two legs of the Triple Crown seven times (1919, 1920-1921, 1923-1924, 1926, 1928)... First player to hit three home runs in a single game in the AL and NL... 11 consecutive games with at least one extra-base hit (August 28 to September 8, 1921) the second longest streak in major league history... Holds the all-time single season record for most total bases (457 in 1921) and times reached base (375 in 1923)... Three times he had 4 extra-base hits in a game... Ruth had six five-hit games in his career... Scored five runs in a game twice... On April 20, 1926, he drove in eight runs, his career high... Collected more RBI than games played in six seasons. (1921-27-29-30-31-32).


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Henry Louis "Lou" Gehrig


Lou Gehrig.jpg


Lou Gehrig was the greatest first baseman ever and a key component in the Yankee legend. Gehrig's record of 2,130 consecutive games played perfectly reflected his steady, dependable character. Because he was also handsome, a native New Yorker, and eventually a tragic figure, he became as glamorous as a retiring "mama's boy" could be.


Born in a German neighborhood, Gehrig began his legendary career at Columbia University. Freshmen weren't eligible for varsity play, but in his sophomore season Gehrig set multiple school records, most notably season marks of seven HR, a .444 batting average, and a .937 slugging average. Also a pitcher, he still holds the Columbia record for strikeouts in a game, fanning 17 Williams batters in a game he lost. It is rumored that Columbia coach Andy Coakley, a former major leaguer, was paid $500 by the Yankees to convince the youngster to sign with the Yankees. By the way, although Gehrig did hit some prodigious shots at Columbia, he never hit one through a window in the athletic office in Low Library, as depicted in The Pride of the Yankees - nobody could.


It was in 1927, when he was moved to the cleanup spot and had Bob Meusel protecting him in the order that became known as Murderer's Row, that Gehrig put up big numbers for the first time. He won the MVP award (then given by the league and not awarded to repeat winners) and led the AL with 175 RBI, 52 doubles, and 447 total bases. He finished behind Ruth with 47 HR, 149 runs, a .765 slugging average, and 109 walks. His .373 batting average also ranked second.


Ruth and Gehrig carried the Yankees, but there were some years when they just weren't enough. Connie Mack's Athletics won three straight years, 1929-31, before the Yankees came back in 1932 for another World Championship. In the following seasons, it became clear that Ruth was fading. In their last year together, 1934, Gehrig won the Triple Crown with 49 HR, 165 RBI, and a .363 BA; in 1935 he dropped off to .329 with 30 HR and 119 RBI. He was also bothered more and more by lumbago; in 1934 he had suffered an attack on the field and had to be carried off. He was quite aware of his consecutive games streak, as were manager Joe McCarthy and the writers. The next day he was penciled in the lineup as the leadoff hitter, listed at shortstop. Hardly able to stand, he singled, and Red Rolfe pinch ran for him and finished the game at shortstop. He kept his string going through the years despite a broken thumb, a broken toe, back spasms, and lumbago, stoically, in fact proudly, playing through the pain.


The arrival of Joe DiMaggio in 1936 made enough of a difference that Gehrig had his last two great seasons in 1936 and 1937 as the Yankees won World Championships. The Giants managed something no other team had done since 1926: they won a World Series game from the Yankees. But Gehrig homered in close contests in Games Three and Four. He was always a good World Series hitter, with 10 HR lifetime, including a record-setting four in the four-game 1928 WS.


The Yankees repeated in 1938, but Gehrig dropped below .300 for the first time since his rookie season. In 1939 he was obviously enfeebled, and on May 2 he took himself out of the lineup. He was hitting just .143, and was quite clumsy afield. Many players were afraid he would injure himself, but nobody would suggest that he sit down, not even manager McCarthy. Gehrig had to take the initiative himself. He never played again, and although, in his capacity as team captain, he continued to carry the lineup card out every day, eventually even that proved more than he could handle. He was diagnosed as having a rare, almost unknown, and incurable disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, forever after known as Lou Gehrig's disease. It was not announced that he was doomed, although many suspected it and Gehrig knew. On July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig Day was held at Yankee Stadium. It may be the most famous ceremony in baseball history, with Gehrig's assertion that "today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth" an unforgettable statement. The waiting period for the new Hall of Fame was waived, and he was admitted the year it opened, in 1939. He spent his last two years of life working for New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, and died on June 2, 1941.


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Lefty Gomez


Remembered mainly for his colorful personality, Lefty Gomez was also one of baseball's greatest winners, ranking third in Yankee history in regular-season wins with 189. His 6-0 World Series record gave him the most wins without a loss in World Series history. His three victories in All-Star Game competition (against one loss) also are a record.


Gomez's zaniness set him apart from the decorous Yankees of the 1930s. He once held up a World Series game, exasperating manager Joe McCarthy (as he did with some frequency), to watch an airplane pass by. Gomez got away with needling his buddy, Joe DiMaggio, because DiMaggio, like everyone else, enjoyed the Gomez wit, which produced such statements as: "I've got a new invention. It's a revolving bowl for tired goldfish."


The Yankees purchased Gomez from his hometown San Francisco Seals in 1929 for $35,000. Two years later he won 21 games for them. His smoking fastball belied his slender frame. He was a nail, with a whiplash arm and a high leg kick.


Gomez and righthander Red Ruffing formed the lefty-righty pitching core for the great New York teams of the 1930s. In 1934 he led the league in seven major categories, including wins (26), ERA (2.33), and strikeouts (158), the pitching equivalent of the Triple Crown. He led the league again in the top three pitching categories in 1937.


Arm miseries hounded him throughout his career. As his fastball lost its effectiveness, Gomez moved from power pitcher to finesse pitcher. "I'm throwing as hard as I ever did," he quipped, "the ball's just not getting there as fast." Gomez fooled hitters and made a beautiful, slow curve work for him. He had a great comeback in 1941 (15-5) after a 3-3 mark in 1940, leading the league in winning percentage (.750).


Gomez threw a shutout in 1941 while issuing 11 walks, the most walks ever allowed in a shutout. And though a notoriously poor hitter, he produced the first RBI in All-Star history and singled home the winning run in the 1937 World Series clincher.


After pitching one game for Washington (he lost) in 1943, Gomez retired, later to hook up with the Wilson sporting goods company as a goodwill ambassador. He was asked on joining Wilson why he had left his last position. Gomez, who never took himself seriously, responded that he left because he couldn't "get the side out."



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Stan Musial


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Few players in the history of baseball have matched the accomplishments and consistency of Stan Musial. Even fewer so engendered the admiration and affection of fans, not only at home but in every ballpark on the circuit, as did this Polish-American from a steel-mill town in Pennsylvania.


Signed as a pitcher when he was seventeen, Musial was 15-8 in two seasons with Williamson, West Virginia, but the scouting report filed on the young southpaw recommended his release because he was wild and inconsistent. Despite the report, he was sent to Daytona Beach as a pitcher for the 1940 season and, under the tutelage of former White Sox great Dickie Kerr, he compiled an 18-5 record. Kerr, who often had as few as 15 players on his roster, also played Musial in the outfield. Stan responded by batting .352. Late in the season, he made a diving catch in the outfield, crashing on his left shoulder, and the consequent injury finished him as a pitcher. Musial was convinced by Kerr to remain in baseball as an outfielder. The next year he ripped through Class C and the International League before hitting .426 in a September call-up with the Cardinals.


That was the beginning of a love affair with St. Louis that would keep Musial a Cardinal for 22 seasons, a team record. After his playing days he served as general manager, and senior vice president of the Cardinals for more than 25 years.


The lefthanded-hitting Musial had good speed and was famous for his compressed, closed batting crouch, from which he appeared to be peering at the pitcher around a corner. He won his first NL batting title in his second full year and led the NL in hits six times, doubles eight times, triples five times, runs five times, while winning five more batting titles. Preacher Roe claimed to have the best way to pitch Musial: "I throw him four wide ones and then I try to pick him off first base." Although not initially expected to be a long-ball hitter, Musial developed his power without increasing strikeouts, and averaged 31 home runs per season from 1948 to 1957. Musial once told Roger Kahn that he hit so well because he always knew what the pitch was by seeing the rotation of the ball as it approached the plate. When he retired, Musial owned or shared 29 NL records, 17 ML records, 9 All-Star records, including most home runs (6), and almost every Cardinals career offensive record. In 1956 TSN named Musial its first Player of the Decade.


For one who played so long, Musial was unbelievably consistent. He smacked 1,815 hits at home and the same number on the road. He scored 1,949 runs and drove in 1,951. He batted .310 or better 16 straight seasons and added a .330 season just short of his 42nd birthday. Over 21 full seasons he averaged a remarkable 172 hits, 92 runs scored, 92 RBI, 34 doubles, and 23 home runs per year. His best offensive season was 1948, when he hit a career-high .376 and missed the NL Triple Crown by a single homer. That year he led the NL in batting average, slugging, hits, doubles, triples, runs, and RBI. On May 2, 1954, he set a ML record with five home runs in a doubleheader. And on July 12, 1955 his 12th-inning home run won the All-Star Game for the NL. Brooklyn fans labeled him "Stan the Man" for the havoc he wreaked on Dodger pitching every time he came to Ebbets Field. Musial rarely experienced long slumps; he put together strong starts, solid mid-seasons, and great finishes. He hit .323 or better in every month of the season, with September-October his best stretches. He was also the first man to play more than 1,000 games each at two positions.


Immediately following Musial's retirement as an active player in 1964, President Johnson named him director of the National Council on Physical Fitness. For a single season, 1967, Musial was St. Louis's general manager. With Musial's longtime roommate and close friend Red Schoendienst as field manager, the Cardinals romped to a pennant and beat the Red Sox in the World Series.


On or off the field he wore a smile and meant it. Although he obviously did not always agree with umpires or managers, he did not argue calls or tactical moves. He made time for his family, fans, church, and civic organizations. A bronze statue stands in front of Busch Stadium in St. Louis as a permanent tribute to the greatest Cardinal, Stan the Man. And in 1972 he achieved the unique distinction of becoming the first foreigner to receive the Polish government's Merited Champions Medal, their highest sports award.

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Whitey Ford


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They called Ford "The Chairman of the Board" for good reason. He was for more than a decade the star pitcher of a team that operated with corporate efficiency, and his intelligence and confidence were on display whenever he was on the mound. In contrast to pitchers who dominated hitters with overpowering physical abilities, the 5'10" 180-lb lefthander controlled games with his mastery of the mental aspects of pitching and pinpoint control. Batters had to deal with his assortment of pitches: He mixed splendid changeups, marvelous curves, and a good fastball. He had one of the league's best pickoff moves, and he was an excellent fielder. And, like most successful businessmen, he was at his best when the pressure was greatest.


His most eye-catching statistics are his consistently low ERAs and his high winning percentage. In 11 of 16 seasons he was under a 3.00 ERA, and his worst was 3.24. His .690 winning percentage ranks third all-time and first among modern pitchers with 200 or more wins. Of course, he benefited from strong Yankee bat support, defense, and relief pitching, but his winning percentage was usually higher than the team's. He allowed an average of only 10.94 baserunners per nine innings and posted 45 career shutouts, including eight 1-0 victories.


After joining the Yankees in mid-season 1950, he won nine straight before a home run by Philadelphia's Sam Chapman gave him his only loss. In the WS, he pitched 8-2/3 innings without allowing an earned run to win the fourth game of a Yankee sweep. He spent 1951 and 1952 in the service, but returned to post 18-6 and 16-8 marks in 1953 and 1954.


His 18-7 record in 1955 tied him for most AL wins. He led in complete games (18) and was second in ERA (2.63). TSN named him to its annual ML all-star team. In the final month of the season, he pitched consecutive one-hitters. The following year he was even better, going 19-6, to lead the AL in winning percentage and ERA (2.47). Again he was named to the TSN all-star team. He won his second ERA crown in 1958 (2.01).


Through 1960, Yankee manager Casey Stengel limited Ford's starts, often resting him at least four days between appearances, and aiming him for more frequent use against better teams. In 1961 new manager Ralph Houk put him in a regular four-man rotation, and Ford led the AL in starts (39) and innings pitched (283) and earned the Cy Young Award with a 25-4 record, leading the ML in wins and percentage. Two years later, he again led in wins, percentage, starts, and innings pitched, with a 24-7 mark. At the time there was only a single Cy Young award for both leagues. Sandy Koufax won for 1963, but Ford was voted the top AL pitcher by TSN. They opposed each other in both the first and fourth games of the '63 WS, with Koufax winning both times. In Game Four Ford lost a two-hitter on an unearned run.


The Yankees won 11 pennants in Ford's years with them. He ranks first all-time in WS wins (10), losses (8, games and games started (22), innings pitched, hits, bases on balls, and strikeouts. In the 1960, '61, and '62 Series, he pitched 33 consecutive scorelesss innings, breaking Babe Ruth's WS record of 29-2/3.


A fun-loving native New Yorker, Whitey formed a curious odd couple with Oklahoman Mickey Mantle. The two were a familiar duo in the Big Apple's nightclubs. They were inducted into the Hall of Fame together in 1974.

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Hiram Bithorn


On September 30, 1941, Bithorn was drafted by the Chicago Cubs and debuted in the Major Leagues on April 15, 1942, making history as the first Puerto Rican to play in the Major Leagues.


Only 9-14 as a Cub rookie in 1942, the burly righthander blossomed to 18-12 the next year, fourth in the NL in wins. He led the league in shutouts (7) and posted a 2.60 ERA. He spent the next two seasons in military service, ballooning to 225. In 1946 he pitched mostly in relief with sporadic success. Sold to the Pirates, who released him in spring training, he pitched two innings for the White Sox in 1947 before a sore arm ended his ML career.


In four seasons, Bithorn had a 34-31 record with 185 strikeouts, a 3.16 ERA, 30 complete games, eight shutouts, five saves, and 509 innings pitched in 105 games (53 as a starter).


Bithorn tried a comeback a few years later in the Mexican winter league. But on December 30, 1951, at age 35, he was shot by a police officer in Mexico. He died later in a hospital. Initially, the officer claimed that Bithorn was violent and also claimed that Bithorn had said he was part of a "Communist cell," but eventually this argument was debunked and the officer was sent to prison for Bithorn's murder.



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Charlie Keller


The talent-laden Yankees kept the lefthanded slugger in Newark (International League) the season after he was the league batting champion and TSN Minor League Player of the Year for 1937. A place was made for him in 1939, and he hit .334 with the first of six Yankee pennant winners for which he would play.


Through of his career, Keller was a feared slugger and a competent fielder. In his rookie season he hit .334 with 11 home runs and 83 RBI in 111 games. He topped his splendid major league debut by crushing three homers and batting .438 as the Yankees swept four games from the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series.


He was a five-time All-Star and reached highs of 33 HR and 122 RBI in 1941. He led the AL in walks with 106 in both 1940 and 1943. Keller 's career was interrupted for maritime service in WWII. He had chronic back problems which eventually relegated him to pinch hitting, and he led the league in that department (9-for-38) in 1951, his final full season. Keller coached for the Yankees before retiring to rural Maryland to run a horse farm. His brother Hal caught briefly for the Senators and spent over 20 years as a front-office man for the Senators, Rangers, and Mariners. His son, Charlie Jr., led the Eastern League in hitting with a .349 average before being sidelined by the same congenital back problem that had plagued his father.


In a 13-season career, Keller was a .286 hitter with 189 home runs and 760 RBI in 1170 games. A five-time All-Star selection, he compiled a career .410 on base percentage and a .518 slugging average for a combined .928 OPS. In his four World Series appearances, he batted .306 with five home runs, and 18 RBI in 19 games.


Following his retirement as a player, Keller founded Yankeeland Farm and had a successful career as a horse breeder – pacers and trotters – near his hometown of Middletown, Maryland. He named many of his horses after the franchises he played for: Fresh Yankee, Handsome Yankee, Yankee Slugger and Guy Yankee. He also benefited by owning syndicated shares of several stallions, which entitled him to free stud fees.



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Sam Rice

One of baseball's greatest singles hitters, Rice fell only 13 hits shy of 3,000. In 20 ML seasons, he never hit below .293 and averaged .322. Although he lacked power (21 of his 34 career home runs were hit inside the park), he met every other requirement for stardom. At bat, he usually made contact, averaging only one strikeout in every 34 at-bats. On the bases, he was fast and intelligent, leading the AL with 63 stolen bases in 1920. In the outfield, he was swift and had an excellent arm.


His most famous play was on defense. In Game Three of the 1925 WS, he raced full-tilt after Pirate Earl Smith's drive, leaped and backhanded it. He and the ball disappeared into the stands, but when Rice emerged with the ball in his glove, the umpire called Smith out. Had he really caught the ball? He refused to say but left a sealed letter at the Hall of Fame to be opened after his death. In it, he'd written: "At no time did I lose possession of the ball."


Rice joined the Senators as a pitcher in 1915 but by the next season was moved to right field. A lefthanded hitter, he stood nearly erect in the batter's box, crowding the plate. Although his speed helped him to 497 career two-base hits and the AL lead in triples in 1923, his forte was the slap single. Of his 2,987 career hits, 2,272 went for one base. With a good batting eye he added 709 walks, and he scored 1,515 runs in his career. In 1924, when the Senators won the World Championship, Rice led the AL in hits with 216 and had a 31-game hitting streak. The next year, for Washington's second pennant winner, he amassed 227 hits and batted a career-high .350. He led the AL with 216 hits in 1926. All told, he topped 200 hits seven times.




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Bob Lemon

The easygoing Lemon learned to pitch in the major leagues and went on to become one of the most successful righthanders of the post-WWII period. He was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 1976. In two trials as a third baseman before the war he failed to stick with the Indians because of his mediocre hitting. He showed a strong arm in the field, but his throws had a natural sinking effect. Upon his return to Cleveland after three years in the Navy, he turned to pitching at age twenty-six.


Cleveland won the 1948 pennant, as Feller, Lemon, and rookie Gene Bearden combined for 59 wins. Lemon, at 20-14, led the AL in shutouts (10), complete games (20), and innings pitched (294). On June 30, he threw a no-hitter to top the Tigers 2-0. In the World Series, he picked up two wins (1.65 ERA) as the Indians defeated the Braves.


Lemon became the leader of the outstanding Indians pitching staffs of the 1950s that also included Feller, Early Wynn, Mike Garcia, and later Herb Score. In a remarkably consistent nine-year stretch (1948-56), Lemon won 20 or more games seven times. He missed the magic number only in 1951 with 17 victories and 1955 when his 18 wins topped the league. A workhorse, he led in complete games five times and innings pitched four. TSN named him the Outstanding AL Pitcher three times (1948, 50, 54).


The 1954 Indians set an AL record with 111 victories (in 154 games) as Lemon led the pitching staff with a 23-7 mark. He opened the World Series against the Giants and took a 2-2 tie into the tenth inning before giving up a three-run home run to pinch hitter Dusty Rhodes. When the Indians lost the next two, manager Al Lopez brought Lemon back on two days' rest, but he was shelled early as the Giants swept the Series.


Lemon's money pitch was his sinking fastball. He led the AL in strikeouts with 170 in 1950, but he was most effective when opposing batters were beating the ball into the dirt. Always slightly wild, his season bases on balls and strikeout marks were usually similar, as were his career bases totals of 1,251 walks and 1,277 strikeouts.


Lemon was considered to be one of the best-hitting pitchers of his time and was often used as a pinch hitter, totaling 31 hits in 109 pinch-hit appearances (.284). His 37 home runs lifetime is just one behind Wes Ferrell's record for pitchers, and his 7 HR in 1949 ties him for second on the pitchers' season list.



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