Year In Review : 1938 American League

Off the field...

On October 30 th , actor Orson Wells broadcasted his own adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic "War of the Worlds". His original "news-style" format proved more than a little convincing and created a nationwide panic as many listeners actually believed that alien invaders had landed in New Jersey. After the controversial program established him as a creative genius, Wells was signed by RKO pictures where he co-wrote, produced, directed, and starred in his first film, "Citizen Kane" (1941) which is still considered by many to be the greatest movie ever made.

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was passed to establish minimum living standards for workers engaged directly or indirectly in interstate commerce. A major provision of the act was the establishment of a Minimum Wage, initially $0.25 an hour, along with a maximum workweek of forty-four hours. These went on to become $0.40 an hour and forty hours after seven years.

In the American League...

New York Yankee icon Lou Gehrig hit his twenty-third (and final) grand slam during an 11-3 victory over the Philadelphia Athletics on August 20 th for a Major League record that still stands today.

Indian catchers Frank Pytlak and Hank Helf broke the "all-time altitude mark" by catching baseballs dropped from the 706-foot Cleveland Terminal Tower on August 20 th . Over the next few years, several players were seriously injured attempting to break this unusual record.

Cleveland ace Bob Feller set a Major League strikeout record after fanning eighteen Detroit Tigers on October 2 nd (including six straight), yet still lost 4-1 on rival Harry Eisenstat's four-hitter.

In the National League...

The St. Louis Cardinals signed Texas Christian University All-American football star and Washington Redskins quarterback Sammy Baugh as an infielder. Although he started off with the team in spring training, he was eventually assigned to the "Redbirds" farm system in both Columbus and Rochester.

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Hal Kelleher set two unwanted Major League records on May 5 th after surrendering twelve runs off of sixteen Chicago Cub batters in the eighth inning of a 21-2 massacre. Joe Marty led the attack with four hits for four runs and four runs batted in.

In December, the National League granted the Cincinnati Reds their season opener one-day before the rest of the league in recognition of the 100 th anniversary of baseball and the 1869 Red Stockings who were baseball's first professional team.

Around the League...

A special committee from the Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Alexander Cartwright for originating baseball's original concepts and sports writer Henry Chadwick for the invention of the box score.

On June 18 th , Babe Ruth signed on as a Brooklyn Dodgers coach for the remainder of the season. Desperately seeking a management position, "The Sultan of Swat" agreed to participate in many exploitive "non-coaching related" publicity stunts including appearing before games in uniform for batting demonstrations.

The founder of the Elias Sports Bureau and official statistician of the National League, Al Munro Elias, died in New York City on August 1 st at the age of sixty-seven.

The New York Yankees became the first team to win three successive World Championships after defeating the Chicago Cubs by a score of 8-3. On a somber note, the ailing Lou Gehrig, went four for fourteen (all singles) for his last Series appearance.

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"I'm sorry I have no picture, but you are absolutely right. I was out by a mile (September 27, 1938) and had no business being called safe so you can tell your boys that their dad stopped Hank Greenberg from getting home run number 57." - Hank Greenberg

1938 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls
Boston
119
Detroit
Batting Average
Boston
.349
Doubles
Boston
51
Hits
Boston
201
Home Runs
Detroit
58
On Base Percentage
Boston
.462
RBI
Boston
175
Runs
Detroit
144
Slugging Average
Boston
.704
Stolen Bases
New York
27
Total Bases
Boston
398
Triples
Cleveland
18

1938 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games
St. Louis
31
ERA
Boston
3.08
Games
Cleveland
45
Saves
New York
11
Shutouts
New York
4
Strikeouts
Cleveland
240
Winning Percentage
New York
.750
Wins
New York
21

1938 American League

Team Standings

New York Yankees 99 53 .651 0
Boston Red Sox 88 61 .591
Cleveland Indians 86 66 .566 13
Detroit Tigers 84 70 .545 16
Washington Senators 75 76 .497 23½
Chicago White Sox 65 83 .439 32
St. Louis Browns 55 97 .362 44
Philadelphia Athletics 53 99 .349 46

1938 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls
New York
749
Batting Average
Boston
.299
Doubles
Cleveland
300
Hits
Washington
1,602
Home Runs
New York
174
On Base Percentage
Boston
.378
Runs
New York
966
Slugging Average
New York
.446
Stolen Bases
New York
91
Triples
Cleveland
89

1938 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games
New York
91
ERA
New York
3.92
Fewest Hits Allowed
Cleveland
1,416
Fewest Home Runs Allowed
New York
85
Fewest Walks Allowed
Boston
528
Saves
Cleveland
17
Shutouts
New York
11
Strikeouts
Cleveland
717
baseball almanac flat baseball

baseball almanac fast facts

In 1932 Jimmie Foxx hit fifty-eight home runs with the Philadelphia Athletics. In 1938 Foxx home runs with the Red Sox making him the first player to hit more than fifty home runs during a single season with two different teams.

Respect? Jimmie Foxx had that and more on June 16, 1938 when the St. Louis Browns walked him six times in six at-bats tieing the Major League record for bases on balls during a game.

Hank Greenberg held his own in 1938 also as he led the American League in home runs, set a single season record for long balls in Briggs Stadium (39), and received the following comments by National Baseball Hall of Fame member Harry Heilmann , " Hank Greenberg hits the ball harder than Babe Ruth , Jimmie Foxx , or Lou Gehrig ."

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