Year In Review : 1944 American League

O ff the field...

After months of preparation, a military coalition of forty-five Allied divisions consisting of over three million soldiers began landing on Normandy Beach in France during one of the largest amphibious assaults ever conducted. Christened as "D-Day", June 6 th became the major turning point in the war against Nazi Germany. After three weeks of intense fighting, Allied troops captured all of the Normandy peninsula and port of Cherbourg. By the end of August, Paris was liberated, and the Allied forces continued on toward Germany.

German forces conducted a surprise attack known as "The Battle of the Bulge" against U.S. forces in Belgium. The Germans made rapid progress, but were unable to capture the city of Bastogne thanks to the extraordinary efforts of American GI's who were "dug in" and completely encircled. Although a coalition of U.S. and British infantry divisions were able to counterattack forcing the Germans to withdraw, they suffered massive casualties totaled at over 35,000.

In the Pacific Campaign, American forces landed on the island of Iwo Jima, seven-hundred fifty miles south of Tokyo in an effort to gain a strategic foothold on the enemy's Navy and establish airbases for future bombing campaigns. The invasion resulted in some of the fiercest fighting ever witnessed in WWII as Japanese soldiers, who fought to the death, heavily opposed the landings. U.S. Marines managed to take the beachhead and eventually pushed inland to overwhelm the defenders in a few days.

I n the American League...

Converted from a pitcher, outfielder Johnny Lindell of the New York Yankees tied a Major League record on August 17 th after hitting four consecutive doubles against the Cleveland Indians during a 10-3 effort at Yankee Stadium.

Hal Trosky, a comeback player with the Chicago White Sox, stole home in the 16 th inning (to break a 2-2 tie) for a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Athletics on May 6 th . The feat was not duplicated for twenty years until Willie Davis of the Los Angeles Dodgers pulled off the "same caper" in 1964.

Despite running a close race for first in the American League, the St. Louis Browns recorded the worst A.L. attendance on September 29 th with an embarrassing total of only 6,172 fans witnessing their sweep of a double header against the New York Yankees. The following day, attendance doubled to 12,982 as Dennis Galehouse pitched the entire game, winning 2-0 for his ninth victory of the year. Two days later, the Browns were tied with the Detroit Tigers and boasted their first sellout in over twenty years as 37,815 packed Sportsman's Park to watch their "forgotten" team clinch the pennant on the final day of the season.

I n the National League...

On May 9 th , the New York Giants purchased one of the tallest players ever to play professional baseball, a six foot nine pitcher named Johnny Gee from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Despite a mediocre record of 5-8, he went on to split his limited season with a 2-4 record.

Red Barrett of the Boston Braves tossed a fifty-eight pitch shutout over the Cincinnati Reds on August 10 th for a 2-0 victory and a Major League record for fewest pitches in a nine-inning game. The outing itself set a record as the shortest night game ever at one hour and fifteen minutes.

One of baseball's worst franchises the Philadelphia Phillies attempted to induce public support by announcing a fan based contest to rename the team. Mrs. Elizabeth Crooks who was given a $100 war bond and a season ticket submitted the winning entry of "Blue Jays". Her entry, which would later end up on another team's uniform, was chosen over a number of monikers ranging from the Daisies to the Stinkers. The new name was used as the unofficial team title for 1944-45 but abandoned in 1946, though the team was still referred to in newspaper accounts as the "Blue Jays" occasionally through 1949.

A round the league...

Representatives from the top offices in both leagues met in New York City to discuss several new postwar policies and their effects on Major League Baseball. All parties agreed that all military deployments would count as playing time and any player who had served on active duty would be guaranteed thirty days of trial at pay and restrictions of their release or assignment.

Anticipating a positive change for race relations in the United States, the St. Louis Browns announced that they were officially dropping their "segregation policy" restricting African Americans to the bleachers while allowing them to purchase any ticket for any seat in the house.

The final survivor of baseball's original National Association (1871-75) John McKelvey died at the tender age of ninety-six. Retired for many years and living in Rochester, New York, McKelvey was the oldest member of Major League Baseball.

On October 4 th , the first all St. Louis World Series (dubbed the Streetcar Series) opened with the Browns beating the Cardinals 2-1. A Fall Classic of many firsts including no-days off, it was also the first Series in which all games were played west of the Mississippi River.

"After the war, the Browns were in good financial shape. Had no bills - whtn the DeWitts took over, they were known as some of the best paying people because you got a discount for paying cash and they usually took advantage of this." - Bill Borst in The Brown Stockings Fan Club (1985)
1944 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

New York

97

Batting Average

Cleveland

.327

Doubles

Cleveland

45

Hits

New York

205

Home Runs

New York

22

On Base Percentage

Boston

.431

RBI

St. Louis

109

Runs

New York

125

Slugging Average

Boston

.528

Stolen Bases

New York

55

Total Bases

New York

297

Triples

New York

16

New York

1944 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Detroit

33

ERA

Detroit

2.12

Games

Cleveland

63

Saves

Philadelphia

12

St. Louis

Chicago

Shutouts

Detroit

7

Strikeouts

Detroit

187

Winning Percentage

Boston

.783

Wins

Detroit

29

1944 American League

Team Standings

St. Louis Browns

89 65 .578 0

Detroit Tigers

88 66 .571 1

New York Yankees

83 71 .539 6

Boston Red Sox

77 77 .500 12

Philadelphia Athletics

72 82 .468 17

Cleveland Indians

72 82 .468 17

Chicago White Sox

71 83 .461 18

Washington Senators

64 90 .416 25

1944 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Detroit

532

Batting Average

Boston

.270

Doubles

Boston

277

Hits

Cleveland

1,458

Home Runs

New York

96

On Base Percentage

Boston

.336

Runs

Boston

739

Slugging Average

New York

.387

Stolen Bases

Washington

127

Triples

New York

74

1944 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Detroit

87

ERA

Detroit

3.09

Fewest Hits Allowed

Philadelphia

1,345

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Detroit

39

Fewest Walks Allowed

Philadelphia

390

Saves

Cleveland

18

Shutouts

Detroit

20

Strikeouts

St. Louis

581



How amazing was the St. Louis Browns pennant? Author J. Roy Stockton wrote in The Gashouse Gang And A Couple Of Other Guys (1947), "When the St. Louis Browns started the 1944 season with nine straight victories, even their best friends laughed. People are like that. These well-wishers only knew that the Browns never had won a pennent in the long life of the American League. They figured the inevitable descent of the Browns, a time-honored feature of the league season, would be farther and harder than usual."

Some significant dates in 1944 included: May 10 - Mel Harder of Cleveland winning his 200th career game, June 6 - all Major League games were cancelled as the allied forces invaded France, and on October 1 the St. Louis Browns had their first franchise sold out game.

Nels Potter was NOT one of the pitchers allowed to continue throwing a spitball , and on July 20, 1944, he was caught by umpire Cal Hubbard using an illegal substance on the ball. Potter was fined and suspended for ten days.

Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac18 Jan
Willie Mays, in 1955, had 51 HRs & 24 SB, 1st in #MLB history with a 50-20 season. Brady Anderson, born OTD1964, di… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac17 Jan
Carl Hubbell went 23-12 in '33, won MVP & signed a new contract OTD1934, a $6,000 raise. On #BaseballAlmanac, you c… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac16 Jan
TRIVIA TIME: He died OTD1965. He set the still-standing #MLB record for triples in a season by a rookie. [Answer:… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac16 Jan
OTD1974: The Baseball Writers' Association of America (@officialBBWAA) put Mickey Mantle & Whitey Ford in the Hall… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac16 Jan
Happy Birthday Brooks Conrad. Born OTD1980, he hit a walk-off super slam, making a little #MLB history, making a li… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac16 Jan
CURT FLOOD: OTD1970 he filed a $1 million lawsuit against Commish Kuhn & MLB, alleging violation of federal antitru… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac15 Jan
It's only "Haderade" days until Opening Day 2020! Number 71 has been worn 70 times, first by Johnny Hodapp in 1929.… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac15 Jan
NOT A TOPPS TYPO: Mike Marshall, born OTD1943, appeared in 106 games in 1974, setting NL / MLB record for most game… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac15 Jan
OTD1942: The President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, sent his "Green Light Letter" to the Commission… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac15 Jan
Baseball Movie Checklist: When "For The Love of the Game" was released, in 1999, we built this page, and we now hav… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac15 Jan
@expos_exposed You nailed it! The name stuck with him, and clearly inspired him to record the song later in his life.
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac14 Jan
#TuesdayTrivia: You know who that future #HOF pitcher is on the left (@ClaytonKersh22), but did you know Kersh face… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac14 Jan
OTD1928: Alfred James Reach passed away. His business, A.J. Reach Company, was once the largest manufacturer of spo… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac14 Jan
Happy Birthday to Terry Forster. DYK he once appeared on the David Letterman show AND he once recorded a novelty so… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac14 Jan
You are welcome Kyle, and if we can EVER make that piece of cake even better, please don't hesitate to let us know… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac13 Jan
Bob Forsch: Born OTD1950. DYK he was the first pitcher in MLB history to win a Silver Slugger Award? Read about his… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac12 Jan
Searching through OLD issues of The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) courtesy of Newspapers (@_newspapers) to find a sol… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac12 Jan
Why is Bill Madlock happy? Because today is his birthday! And, he won four batting titles. And, he once made a litt… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac11 Jan
UPDATED: Patsy Tebeau. Added GREAT quote about his perspective on the way baseball should be played. Then, I integr… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac11 Jan
@rip_mlb @baseball_ref I appreciate you tagging us. We were using the date from his actual death certificate, but I… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Desktop Version