Year In Review : 1940 National League

Off the field...

The United States first adopted the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940. The act provided that not more than 900,000 men were to be in military training at any one time, and it limited active duty service to twelve months. After the United States entered World War II, a new selective service act made men between eighteen and forty-five liable for military service and required all men between eighteen and sixty-five to register for the draft.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike debuted as the first multilane superhighway in the U.S. and the first Los Angeles freeway opened. Both set the standard for the rapid evolution of highway transportation development across the country. Since then every state has constructed at least one superhighway on either a toll or non-toll basis.

In the American League...

Yankees pitcher Spud Chandler almost single-handedly led New York to a 10-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox after knocking in six runs with a single, two home runs and a grand slam. His six runs batted in performance tied an American League record shared with Pete Appleton who was one of the pitchers he was facing.

During a 12-9 win over the Detroit Tigers, Red Sox shortstop Joe Cronin became not the first player to cycle twice, but the first to do it a decade apart. Cronin, who had originally accomplished the feat in 1929, went four-for-five becoming the fifth Boston player ever to go the distance.

Boston Red Sox slammer Jimmie Foxx moved ahead of Lou Gehrig on the all time home run list after hitting number's four-hundred ninety-four and four-hundred ninety-five off the Washington Senators en route to a 7-6 win on August 16 th .

In the National League...

On May 7 th , the Brooklyn Dodgers fell 18-2 after the St. Louis Cardinals totaled forty-nine bases on twenty hits. Thirteen knocks went for extra-bases and seven of them were home runs. The rally set a National League record for most extra bases on long hits with twenty-nine.

Brooklyn Dodgers' reliever Carl Doyle dropped the ball (and the game) after giving up sixteen hits and fourteen runs (in just four innings) as the Cincinnati Reds tallied twenty-seven hits and a 23-2 victory. To make matters worse, Doyle also hit four Cincinnati batters to tie a National League record and initiated a bitter rivalry between the teams that would last for decades. Four days later, he was sent to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Harry Danning, of the New York Giants, hit for the cycle against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 15 th and became the last player of the century to include an inside the park home run in his cycle. The inside-the-park-home run traveled four-hundred sixty feet and became lodged behind an Eddie Grant memorial in front of the Giants' clubhouse. New York went on to win their eighth straight with a 12-1 triumph.

Around the League...

At the All-Star Game, outfielder Max West of the Boston Bees hit a three-run home run in the first inning to lead the Nationals to victory over the American League. The 4-0 final was the first shutout ever recorded at a Midsummer Classic.

In response to the "beanball wars" Spalding Sporting Goods introduced a new style of batting helmet (with earflaps) to mixed reviews. The Brooklyn Dodgers also introduced a padded cap liner that some batters elected to use the following season.

Walter Johnson, the man who had won four-hundred sixteen games for the Washington Senators, lost the election as the Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland. Although Johnson's political career ended before it began, his career on the field seemed to never end as he compiled statistics that included sixteen straight wins (1912); a string of fifty-six scoreless innings, and a 36-7 (1.09) mark in 1913; five wins, three of them shutouts, in nine days (1908); sixty-six triumphs over Detroit, the most for any American League pitcher against any one team; two-hundred victories in eight seasons and three-hundred in fourteen.

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"Did you ever see a pitcher knock him (Johnny Mize) down at the plate? Remember how he reacted when brushed back? He'd just lean back on his left foot, bend his body back and let the pitch go by. Then he'd lean back into the batter's box and resume his stance, as graceful as a big cat." - Stan Musial

1940 National League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls
Pittsburgh
119
Batting Average
Chicago
.317
Doubles
Cincinnati
44
Hits
Chicago
191
Cincinnati
Home Runs
St. Louis
43
On Base Percentage
Pittsburgh
.418
RBI
St. Louis
137
Runs
Pittsburgh
113
Slugging Average
St. Louis
.636
Stolen Bases
Cincinnati
22
Total Bases
St. Louis
368
Triples
Pittsburgh
15

1940 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games
Cincinnati
29
ERA
Cincinnati
2.48
Games
St. Louis
54
Saves
Cincinnati
7
New York
Pittsburgh
Shutouts
Boston
5
Brooklyn
Strikeouts
Philadelphia
137
Winning Percentage
Brooklyn
.889
Wins
Cincinnati
22

1940 National League

Team Standings

Cincinnati Reds 100 53 .654 0
Brooklyn Dodgers 88 65 .575 12
St. Louis Cardinals 84 69 .549 16
Pittsburgh Pirates 78 76 .506 22½
Chicago Cubs 75 79 .487 25½
New York Giants 72 80 .474 27½
Boston Bees 65 87 .428 34½
Philadelphia Phillies 50 103 .327 50

1940 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls
Pittsburgh
553
Batting Average
Pittsburgh
.276
Doubles
Pittsburgh
276
Hits
St. Louis
1,514
Home Runs
St. Louis
119
On Base Percentage
Pittsburgh
.346
Runs
Pittsburgh
809
Slugging Average
St. Louis
.411
Stolen Bases
St. Louis
97
Triples
Brooklyn
70

1940 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games
Cincinnati
91
ERA
Cincinnati
3.05
Fewest Hits Allowed
Cincinnati
1,263
Fewest Home Runs Allowed
Pittsburgh
72
Fewest Walks Allowed
Brooklyn
393
Saves
Pittsburgh
24
Shutouts
Brooklyn
17
Strikeouts
Brooklyn
639
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baseball almanac fast facts

On May 7, 1940 the Brooklyn Dodgers were pounded by the St. Louis Cardinals 18-2. After the game they flew away (literally) from the park in an airplane and became the first team to travel together by an airliner.

Why were the St. Louis Cardinals on the verge of greatness (three consecutive 100 win season starting in 1942 )? Probably because by 1940 their farm system included an excess of six-hundred professional ballplayers.

On July 13, 1938, Johnny Mize hit three home runs during the same game. On July 20, 1938, Johnny Mize hit three home runs during the same game. On May 13, 1940, Johnny Mize hit three home runs during the same game. On September 8, 1940, Johnny Mize hit three home runs during the same game and became the first player in Major League history with four career three home run games.

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