Year In Review : 1945 National League

O ff the field...

After several days of street-to-street combat in Berlin and the suicide of Nazi leader Adolph Hitler, Germany finally agreed to an unconditional surrender marking the end of the European campaign of World War II. The conflict lasted five years, eight months, and six days, and cost millions of lives, including six million Jews and twenty million soldiers and civilians killed in the U.S.S.R. alone.

In an effort to hasten the Pacific campaign, the United States Air Force dropped the world's first Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, destroying the entire city and killing over seventy-thousand people. Three days later a second bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki with similar results. Realizing that further resistance was futile, the Japanese government finally agreed to terms of surrender aboard the Battleship U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Harbor marking the absolute end of WWII.

I n the American League...

Pete Gray of the St. Louis Browns became the first "physically challenged" Major League ballplayer. Despite the loss of his right arm in a childhood accident, Gray had learned to field, throw and bat solely with his left. He quickly built a reputation for hitting clutch, line drives around the field and also exhibited fearless speed and daring on the base paths. As a testament to overcoming adversity, his fielding technique was a study in both agility and dexterity. After catching a fly ball, the outfielder would tuck his thinly padded glove under his stump; roll the ball across his chest, and throw it to the cut-off man in one fluid motion.

Red Sox rookie Boo Ferriss set an American League record after pitching twenty-two consecutive shut out innings for the most scoreless innings at the start of a Major League career. His streak finally ended on May 13 th after he allowed one earned run against the Detroit Tigers en route to a 6-2 victory.

I n the National League...

On April 17 th , New York Giants player-manager Mel Ott set several records during his team's 11-6 win over the Boston Braves. In nine-innings, Ott collected a double, two walks and three runs to achieve several career marks (for a single player with one team) including one-thousand twenty-six extra-base hits, two-thousand seventy-six total bases, one-thousand seven-hundred seventy-eight RBIs, one-thousand seven-hundred eighty-seven runs and one-thousand six-hundred thirty-one walks.

The Boston Braves swept a July 6 th double header against the Pittsburgh Pirates 13-5 and 14-8 as Tommy Holmes hit in his thirty-fourth consecutive game to pass the previous streak of thirty-three set by Rogers Hornsby in 1922.

"Joe D's" older and less-famous brother Vince DiMaggio tied a Major League record after hitting his fourth grand slam of the season during an 8-3 Philadelphia Phillies victory over the Boston Braves on September 1 st . Unfortunately, DiMaggio would not get an opportunity to break the record as an injury would keep him out for the rest of the season.

A round the league...

Major League owners decided to cancel the 1945 All-Star Game due to wartime travel restrictions. Eight simultaneous games were scheduled in place of the Midsummer Classic pitting the National and American Leagues against one another in interleague play.

Billy Southworth Jr., the first player in organized baseball to enlist for military service in WWII, died on February 15 th after his B29 crashed off the coast of Flushing, New York. The twenty-seven year-old combat veteran had flown twenty-five successful missions in Europe and was the son of St. Louis Cardinals manager Billy Southworth.

Despite the depletion of quality rosters around the league due to wartime commitments, attendance in ballparks across the majors rose to a staggering 10.28 million, breaking the 1940 record. The Detroit Tigers topped the list with 1.28 million and the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, and Chicago Cubs came in a close second with one million fans each.

On October 23 rd , Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey announced the signing of Jackie Robinson as the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues. Over the course of a distinguished ten year career, Robinson went go on to lead the Dodgers to six National League titles and one World Series championship. A man of many "firsts", Robinson also became the first black player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

"What the hell has happened to the pitching (asking New York Giants owner Horace Stoneham) since I went away to the War?"- General Dwight D. Eisenhower (1945)
1945 National League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Brooklyn

148

Batting Average

Chicago

.355

Doubles

Boston

47

Hits

Boston

224

Home Runs

Boston

28

On Base Percentage

Chicago

.449

RBI

Brooklyn

124

Runs

Brooklyn

128

Slugging Average

Boston

.577

Stolen Bases

St. Louis

26

Total Bases

Boston

367

Triples

Brooklyn

13

1945 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Boston

24

St. Louis

ERA

Chicago

2.13

Games

Philadelphia

67

Saves

New York

15

Philadelphia

Shutouts

Chicago

5

Strikeouts

Pittsburgh

148

Winning Percentage

St. Louis

.789

Wins

Boston

23

St. Louis

1945 National League

Team Standings

Chicago Cubs

98 56 .636 0

St. Louis Cardinals

95 59 .617 3

Brooklyn Dodgers

87 67 .565 11

Pittsburgh Pirates

82 72 .532 16

New York Giants

78 74 .513 19

Boston Braves

67 85 .441 30

Cincinnati Reds

61 93 .396 37

Philadelphia Phillies

46 108 .299 52

1945 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Brooklyn

629

Batting Average

Chicago

.277

Doubles

Pittsburgh

259

Hits

St. Louis

1,498

Home Runs

New York

114

On Base Percentage

Chicago

.349

Runs

Brooklyn

795

Slugging Average

New York

.379

Stolen Bases

Boston

82

Triples

Brooklyn

71

1945 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Chicago

86

ERA

Chicago

2.98

Fewest Hits Allowed

Chicago

1,301

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Chicago

57

Fewest Walks Allowed

Chicago

385

Saves

Philadelphia

26

Shutouts

St. Louis

18

Strikeouts

Brooklyn

557



The Midsummer Classic was cancelled in 1945 due to wartime travel restrictions; however, a series of interleague games was played in lieu of the All-Star Game.

On July 27, 1945, the Chicago Cubs acquired the last piece of their pennant puzzle when they purchased Hank Borowy from the New York Yankees for approximately $97,000. Larry MacPhail commented, "This was a good chance to sell a pitcher who never has been a winner in the last month or so of a season." Borowy responded and finished the season 11-2 with the Cubs and a league leading 2.13 earned run average.

On September 9, 1945, "Double X" ( Jimmie Foxx ) hit the final two home runs of his Major League career against the Pirates during the doubleheader. The final, and 534 th of his career, came against Johnny Lanning .

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