Year In Review : 1946 American League

O ff the field...

John William Mauchly designed the first all-electronic computer for the U.S. Department of Army Ordnance to help compute ballistic firing tables. The revolutionary device, called the ENIAC, weighed thirty tons and consisted of thirty separate units that were cooled by a crude, forced-air system. The all "digital" computer operated on 19,000 vacuum tubes, 1,500 relays, and hundreds of thousands of resistors, capacitors, and inductors that consumed almost 200 kilowatts of electrical power.

Dr. Benjamin Spock published his first book "The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care" with a dramatic contrast to earlier child-care guides that favored rigid schedules and warned against showing a child too much affection. . Spock's book was reassuring in its support of maternal tenderness and went on to sell 25,000,000 copies while revolutionizing parenting in the United States and abroad.

I n the American League...

The New York Yankees became the first Major League Baseball team to fly on a regular basis after leasing a United Airlines plane nicknamed the "Yankee Mainliner". Despite the convenience of a shortened travel schedule, four players, including Red Ruffing, still elected to take the train.

Boston Red Sox second baseman Johnny Pesky became the first American League player to single-handedly score six runs in a game during a 14-10 triumph over the Chicago White Sox on May 8 th for their thirteenth straight victory. Boston extended its streak to fifteen games before losing to their rivals, the New York Yankees, on May 11 th .

The American League All-Stars embarrassed the National's representatives with a 12-0 triumph at Fenway Park. Despite the lop-sided finale, this particular Midsummer Classic remained special, as the '45 event had been cancelled due to wartime travel restrictions. Many players later stated that they had never seen a more festive occasion and many of them had not seen their major league rivals in several years. "Home field" slugger Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox led the charge with two home runs, two singles, a walk, four runs scored and four runs batted in.

I n the National League...

On March 17 th , the Brooklyn Dodgers played an exhibition game in Daytona Beach against their own Minor League farm team, the Montreal Royals. With Jackie Robinson in the line-up, it marked the first appearance of an integrated baseball team during the 20 th century. As a fitting tribute, the field was later renamed Jackie Robinson Ballpark in honor of the man who broke through baseball's color barrier.

On May 20 th , Chicago Cubs ace Claude Passeau made his first error since 1941 to end an all-time pitcher's fielding streak of two-hundred seventy-three consecutive errorless chances. Passeau was noted for playing with a special modified glove due to a deformed left hand that was disfigured by a childhood shooting accident.

The Pittsburgh Pirates voted 20-16 in favor of a walkout (prior to a game against the New York Giants) in order to gain recognition of the American Baseball Guild. According to league policy however, a two-thirds majority vote was required to "legally" initiate a strike. Despite being unsuccessful, the players had made a statement in direct support of the newly established coalition that had yet to be acknowledged by the league. As a prelude to the Players Association, the guild had proposed the increase of the leagues' minimum salary to $7,500 as well as a formal arbitration policy for all future salary disputes.

A round the league...

The Chicago White Sox became the first Major League team to provide an official Media Guide for the baseball writers. The seventeen-page publication had been developed by Marsh Samuel and listed individual player and team information as well as limited statistical data. Bill Veeck was so impressed by the concept; he hired Samuel himself to develop a similar guide for the Cleveland Indians.

The Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Athletics and Phillies all refused to raise their standard ticket fare while the rest of the league upped their costs considerably with $2.50 for boxes, $1.25 for general admission and .60 cents for outfield bleachers.

Fortune magazine published a study into the finances of Major League Baseball that included a detailed report on the New York Yankees franchise. As a sign of things to come, the Bronx Bombers posted league high revenues of $306,000 that were cut to $201,000 following Minor League losses. Of their overall gross income, $896,000 came from home ticket sales. Despite playing poorly, the Yanks completed their home season with a record attendance of 2,309,029. The best previous draw was credited to the Chicago Cubs who boasted 1,485,166 fans in 1929.

On Friday, August 9 th , all games (four each for both the American and National Leagues) were played at night for the first time in Major League history.

"A manager who cannot get along with a .400 hitter ought to have his head examined." - Joe McCarthy on September 29, 1946
1946 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Boston

156

Batting Average

Washington

.353

Doubles

Washington

51

Hits

Boston

208

Home Runs

Detroit

44

On Base Percentage

Boston

.497

RBI

Detroit

127

Runs

Boston

142

Slugging Average

Boston

.667

Stolen Bases

Cleveland

28

Total Bases

Boston

343

Triples

Cleveland

16

1946 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Cleveland

36

ERA

Detroit

1.94

Games

Cleveland

48

Saves

Boston

9

Shutouts

Cleveland

10

Strikeouts

Cleveland

348

Winning Percentage

Boston

.806

Wins

Cleveland

26

Detroit

1946 American League

Team Standings

Boston Red Sox

104 50 .675 0

Detroit Tigers

92 62 .597 12

New York Yankees

87 67 .565 17

Washington Senators

76 78 .484 28

Chicago White Sox

74 80 .481 30

Cleveland Indians

68 86 .442 36

St. Louis Browns

66 88 .429 38

Philadelphia Athletics

49 105 .318 55

1946 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Boston

687

Batting Average

Boston

.271

Doubles

Boston

268

Hits

Boston

1,441

Home Runs

New York

136

On Base Percentage

Boston

.356

Runs

Boston

792

Slugging Average

Boston

.402

Stolen Bases

Chicago

78

Triples

Washington

63

1946 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Detroit

94

ERA

Chicago

3.10

Fewest Hits Allowed

New York

1,232

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

New York

66

Fewest Walks Allowed

Detroit

497

Saves

Boston

20

Shutouts

Detroit

18

Strikeouts

Detroit

896



On April 30, 1946, Bob Feller of Cleveland no-hit the New York Yankees 1-0 in front of 38,112 fans. However, did you know that it was the first time the Bronx Bombers had been no-hit at Yankee Stadium?

On July 14, 1946, Lou Boudreau of the Cleveland Indians told the media, "We had to do something" after losing to the Boston Red Sox in a doubleheader. Boudreau was speaking about the first appearance of the Boudreau Shift which took place during game two. The famous defensive maneuver was used against Ted Williams and it featured six players moving to the right side of second base and the left fielder being repositioned at shortstop (making him the only player left of second base). Williams stepped out of the batters box when faced with the unusual defense, made a humorous gesture, then promptly hit a double down the right field line.

Ted Williams wrote in My Turn At Bat , "Someone said, 'Is that the easiest homer you ever got?' And I said, 'Hell no, it was the hardest. I had to run." The hardest home run of his career occurred on September 13, 1946, when he hit a ball past the left-fielder who was playing shortstop in the new Boudreau Shift maneuver. The first inning inside-the-park-home-run was the only run scored by the Boston Red Sox who defeated the Cleveland Indians 1-0 and clinched the American League pennant.

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