Year In Review : 1944 National 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.

"I felt fine warming up on the sidelines. It didn't get to me (pitching in a Major League game at the age of 15) until I went out to the mound to start the ninth inning." - Joe Nuxhall
1944 National League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Brooklyn

101

Batting Average

Brooklyn

.357

Doubles

St. Louis

51

Hits

Chicago

197

St. Louis

Home Runs

Chicago

33

On Base Percentage

St. Louis

.440

RBI

Chicago

122

Runs

Chicago

116

Slugging Average

St. Louis

.549

Stolen Bases

Pittsburgh

28

Total Bases

Chicago

317

Triples

Pittsburgh

19

1944 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Boston

28

ERA

Cincinnati

2.38

Games

New York

65

Saves

New York

13

Shutouts

St. Louis

7

Strikeouts

New York

161

Winning Percentage

St. Louis

.810

Wins

Cincinnati

23

1944 National League

Team Standings

St. Louis Cardinals

105 49 .682 0

Pittsburgh Pirates

90 63 .588

Cincinnati Reds

89 65 .578 16

Chicago Cubs

75 79 .487 30

New York Giants

67 87 .435 38

Boston Braves

65 89 .422 40

Brooklyn Dodgers

63 91 .409 42

Philadelphia Phillies

61 92 .399 43½

1944 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Pittsburgh

573

Batting Average

St. Louis

.275

Doubles

St. Louis

274

Hits

St. Louis

1,507

Home Runs

St. Louis

100

On Base Percentage

St. Louis

.344

Runs

St. Louis

772

Slugging Average

St. Louis

.402

Stolen Bases

Pittsburgh

87

Triples

Pittsburgh

80

1944 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Cincinnati

93

ERA

St. Louis

2.68

Fewest Hits Allowed

St. Louis

1,228

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Philadelphia

49

Fewest Walks Allowed

Cincinnati

390

Saves

New York

21

Shutouts

St. Louis

26

Strikeouts

St. Louis

637



On July 23, 1944, Bill Nicholson of the Chicago Cubs became the first National League player ever intentionally walked even though the bases were loaded - a feat that remained unmatched until 1998.

Did you know that the fewest pitchest thrown during a complete game is 58? That amazing display of pitching efficiency took place on August 10, 1944 and you can review the entire box score here on Baseball Almanac.

The 1944 St. Louis Cardinals finished the season with a 105-49 record and became the first National League team with three consecutive one-hundred win seasons.

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