Year In Review : 1942 American League

O ff the field...

Under Executive Order 9066, more than 120,000 Japanese and persons of Japanese ancestry living in western U.S. were moved to "relocation centers," (some for the duration of the war). After voluntary evacuation was prohibited, the Army forcibly moved approximately 110,000 evacuees, most of whom were American citizens, to ten relocation centers in the Western states. Smaller numbers of Germans, Italians, and other nationalities were also forcibly relocated. Although food and shelter was provided and wages were paid to those who wished to work, living conditions were poor and induced several uprisings.

The worst nightclub fire disaster in history occurred when the infamous Coconut Grove of Boston caught fire claiming the lives of four-hundred ninety-two patrons and injuring one-hundred sixty-six others. It is believed that the fire originally started in the Melody Lounge when a sixteen-year-old bar boy named Stanley Tomaszewski, lit a match to replace a light bulb that had been removed by a patron. What exactly happened next is still unclear, but artificial palm trees and drapery quickly caught fire and it took only fifteen minutes for flames to engulf the entire building.

I n the American League...

Boston Red Sox slugger and American patriot Ted Williams enlisted in the military as a Naval aviator on June 2 nd . He was able to finish the season, as did many other players who enlisted or were awaiting the draft, which moved at a very slow pace despite the early discouragements of the war. American League regulars who were also enlisted at the time included Johnny Rigney, Joe Grace, Johnny Berardino, Cecil Travis, Bob Feller, Pat Mullin, Buddy Lewis, Sam Chapman and Johnny Sturm.

On June 6 th , Gene Stack of the Chicago White Sox became the first Major League draftee to die on active duty after suffering a heart attack following an Army ball game.

The New York Yankees infield combined to turn seven double plays (a Major League record) during an August 14 th , 11-2 massacre over the Philadelphia Athletics. All-Star catcher Bill Dickey gunned down two runners following third strikes and Phil Rizzuto, Johnny Murphy and Red Rolfe combined on five others. The Yankees went on to finish the season with one-hundred ninety double-plays just missing their previous record of one-hundred ninety-four that was set in '41.

I n the National League...

Boston Braves ace Jim Tobin became the only Major League pitcher ever to hit three successive home runs during a May 13 th , 6-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Braves Field. His last round tripper (in the eighth) broke a 4-4 tie and set the momentum for a win.

On June 19 th , Boston Braves slugger Paul Waner joined Cap Anson and Honus Wagner as the only National League players to tally over three-thousand hits. The deciding mark came courtesy of visiting pitcher Rip Sewell of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

On the same day his wife gave birth to a son, Chicago Cubs shortstop Lennie Merullo set a Major League record with four separate errors in the second inning of a nightcap against the Boston Braves. Despite the new father's poor play, the Cubs went on to win 12-8 after losing the first 10-6.

A round the league...

President Roosevelt granted Major League Baseball the go-ahead to play despite the travel and material restrictions of WW II. In his famous "Green Light" letter FDR stated that he honestly felt that it would be in the best interests of the country to keep baseball going. He also encouraged more night baseball games so that war workers could attend, as a well needed distraction.

Major League owners met to discuss the impact of wartime regulations on the 1942 season. Later, it was agreed that each team would be granted fourteen night games with one exception in Washington who was granted twenty-one. It was also determined that two All-Star Games would be played (one with a military All-Star team) and that all curfews for night games would be set with no inning to start after 12:50.

On March 18 th , two black players Jackie Robinson and Nate Moreland requested a walk-on tryout with the Chicago White Sox during a spring training session in Pasadena. Manager Jimmie Dykes reluctantly allowed them to work out with the ball club, but dismissed both without an offer.

Baseball's top magazine publication "The Sporting News" published a controversial editorial calling for continued segregation on the ball field and in the stands. The racial column stated that members of each race "prefer to draw their talents from their own ranks and both groups know their crowd psychology and do not care to run the risk of damaging their own game."

"I honestly feel that it would be best for the country to keep baseball going. There will be fewer people unemployed and everybody will work longer hours and harder than ever before." - President Franklin Roosevelt
1942 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Boston

145

Batting Average

Boston

.356

Doubles

Chicago

40

Hits

Boston

205

Home Runs

Boston

36

On Base Percentage

Boston

.499

RBI

Boston

137

Runs

Boston

141

Slugging Average

Boston

.648

Stolen Bases

Washington

44

Total Bases

Boston

.338

Triples

Washington

15

1942 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

New York

22

Boston

ERA

Chicago

2.10

Games

Chicago

40

Saves

New York

11

Shutouts

New York

6

Strikeouts

Boston

113

Washington

Winning Percentage

New York

.808

Wins

Boston

22

1942 American League

Team Standings

New York Yankees

103 51 .669 0

Boston Red Sox

93 59 .612 9

St. Louis Browns

82 69 .543

Cleveland Indians

75 79 .487 28

Detroit Tigers

73 81 .474 30

Chicago White Sox

66 82 .446 34

Washington Senators

62 89 .411 39½

Philadelphia Athletics

55 99 .357 48

1942 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

St. Louis

609

Batting Average

Boston

.276

Doubles

Boston

244

Hits

Boston

1,451

Home Runs

New York

108

On Base Percentage

Boston

.352

Runs

New York

801

Slugging Average

Boston

.403

Stolen Bases

Chicago

114

Triples

St. Louis

62

1942 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

New York

88

ERA

New York

2.91

Fewest Hits Allowed

New York

1,259

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Washington

50

Fewest Walks Allowed

New York

431

Saves

Boston

17

New York

Shutouts

New York

18

Strikeouts

Detroit

671



On August 14, 1942, Phil Rizzuto (SS) and Joe Gordon (2B) turned an American League record seven double plays during a 9-inning game versus the Athletics.

The 1942 Midsummer Classic was played on July 6, 1942 and the American League won 3-1. One day later that same squad played against the Mickey Cochrane Service All-Stars and won 5-0 in an Army-Navy Relief Fund game.

On August 23, 1942, the Senators played a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. The Bronx Bombers lost game one 7-6 and won game two 3-0. Between the two games, Walter Johnson , who was 56 years old, pitched to Babe Ruth , who was 47 years old! The benefit raised more than $80,000 for the Army-Navy Relief Fund and Ruth went deep on the fifth pitch of his "at-bat".

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@krbach @mcall I did typo that entry, and was off by a little, but not by much! 😉
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