Year In Review : 1942 National League

Off 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.

In 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.

In 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.

Around 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."

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"Baseball is my life. It's the only thing I know and care about." - Rogers Hornsby at his National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction (August 3, 1942)

1942 National League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls
New York
109
Batting Average
Boston
.330
Doubles
St. Louis
38
Hits
St. Louis
188
Home Runs
New York
30
On Base Percentage
Pittsburgh
.417
RBI
New York
110
Runs
New York
118
Slugging Average
New York
.521
Stolen Bases
Brooklyn
20
Total Bases
St. Louis
292
Triples
St. Louis
17
* Batting Title Awarded Due to 100 Games Played

1942 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games
Boston
28
ERA
St. Louis
1.78
Games
New York
61
Saves
Brooklyn
13
Shutouts
St. Louis
10
Strikeouts
Cincinnati
186
Winning Percentage
Brooklyn
.789
Wins
St. Louis
22

1942 National League

Team Standings

St. Louis Cardinals 106 48 .688 0
Brooklyn Dodgers 104 50 .675 2
New York Giants 85 67 .559 20
Cincinnati Reds 76 76 .500 29
Pittsburgh Pirates 66 81 .449 36½
Chicago Cubs 68 86 .442 38
Boston Braves 59 89 .399 44
Philadelphia Phillies 42 109 .278 62½

1942 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls
Brooklyn
572
Batting Average
St. Louis
.268
Doubles
St. Louis
282
Hits
St. Louis
1,454
Home Runs
New York
109
On Base Percentage
St. Louis
.338
Runs
St. Louis
755
Slugging Average
St. Louis
.379
Stolen Bases
Brooklyn
81
Triples
St. Louis
69

1942 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games
Cincinnati
80
ERA
St. Louis
2.55
Fewest Hits Allowed
St. Louis
1,192
Fewest Home Runs Allowed
Cincinnati
47
Fewest Walks Allowed
Pittsburgh
435
Saves
Brooklyn
24
Shutouts
St. Louis
18
Strikeouts
St. Louis
651
baseball almanac flat baseball

baseball almanac fast facts

Did you know that on May 8, 1942, the Brooklyn Dodgers players PAID to play baseball? At Ebbets Field the team hosted a Navy Relief Fund game and raised more than $55,000 by charging admission to EVERY person entering the ballpark.

Strange but true news took place on September 13, 1942 when Cubs' shortstop Lennie Merullo committed four errors during a single inning. That same day Merullo's son was born and they named their child Boots.

Prior to the season starting the Chicago Cubs had a "paid-for" contract to install lights at Wrigley Field - a contract that was broken because the United States military needed the materials.

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