1939 American League Debuts

Willie Mays played his first Major League game on May 25, 1951, and went 0-for-5 at the plate. He started his career 1-for-25 and told his manager, "I can't do it, Mr. Leo. You better bench me."

Casey Stengel played his first Major League game on July 27, 1912, and went 4-for-4 at the plate. He commented later in his life, "I broke in with four hits and the writers promptly decided they had seen the new Ty Cobb. It took me only a few days to correct that impression."

Both Mays and Stengel would continue their Major League careers down separate paths of greatness, but each still had to appear in that memorable first Major League game. Baseball Almanac is pleased to present what Cubs broadcaster Steve Stone once described as, "His first Major League debut."

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"Baseball is the sport that cackles back at can't-miss kids. Baseball humbles every player sooner or later. Baseball confers greatness stingily, in its own sweet time. At least that's what the bow-tied essayists and sandlot scouts solemnly tell us." - Johnette Howard in Sports Illustrated

1939 American League Debuts

1939 A.L. Rookies | 1939 N.L. Rookies | Baseball Firsts (All Years)

15
04-22-1939
23
17
07-17-1939
21
9
04-20-1939
20
48
07-02-1939
21
2
09-14-1939
19
14
04-18-1939
22
17
04-26-1939
22
29
04-24-1939
26
30
09-24-1939
22
32
04-21-1939
24
31
07-05-1939
22
30
05-06-1939
22
3
04-18-1939
24
20
04-22-1939
23
29
04-21-1939
29
18
05-02-1939
19
27
04-25-1939
25
21
04-18-1939
22
16
09-29-1939
18
8
08-16-1939
23
15
04-25-1939
23
24
05-04-1939
25
27
04-20-1939
25
9
04-22-1939
22
26
04-29-1939
24
22
06-06-1939
24
13, 35
05-02-1939
31
6
09-07-1939
20
25
09-15-1939
23
26
07-04-1939
22
12
04-20-1939
22
15
05-04-1939
24
3
09-11-1939
21
31
09-07-1939
24
23, 3
05-27-1939
22
34
04-20-1939
23
30
07-23-1939
22
20
09-11-1939
23
21
07-23-1939
22
18
06-09-1939
24
8, 14
04-22-1939
21
-
09-20-1939
21
30
04-25-1939
21
-
09-16-1939
21
9
04-23-1939
28
25, 31
04-23-1939
25
40
09-13-1939
24
36
09-21-1939
33
14
04-23-1939
26
9
05-04-1939
23
43
09-13-1939
22
34
09-18-1939
22
19
04-24-1939
21
50
09-17-1939
24
10
09-16-1939
28
17
07-29-1939
24
33
05-08-1939
18
35
08-18-1939
22
17
06-14-1939
21
39
09-07-1939
21
44
09-08-1939
22
34
07-08-1939
21
24
05-02-1939
24
44
09-13-1939
19
1939 American League Debuts
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baseball almanac fast facts

Find out which players bid farewell to their field's of dreams in the American League during the 1939 season as this group of players made their Major League debut!

Ray Jansen (four for five in his first game), Aubrey Epps (three for four in his first game) and Ed Irwin (two for three in his first game) all finished their career with lifetime batting averages which were greater than their career fielding percentages.

When Christy Mathewson made his Major League debut the newspaper wrote, "The untried semi-professional possessed great speed and plenty of confidence in himself, but could not control his curves."

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