Hall of Fame Dedication
Ford Frick, president of the National League, dedicated the Hall of Fame in 1939. In attendance were Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the commissioner of baseball; Will Harridge, the president of the American League; and William Bramham, the president of the National Association, which embraces the minor leagues.
Hall of Fame Inducts Its First 17 Players
Ten of the original 17 men inducted into the Hall of Fame include: Eddie Collins, Babe Ruth, Connie Mack, Cy Young, Honus Wagner, Pete Alexander, Tris Speaker, Nap Lajoie, George Sisler, and Walter Johnson.
Joe DiMaggio Takes Over the 1939 New York Yankees
"He never offered the appearance of either gaiety, or anger, or tremendous self-effort. His smile was self-conscious, his manner withdrawn to the point of a chill." So said Robert Smith of Joe DiMaggio, who with the departure of Lou Gehrig in 1939, became the consummate Yankee (he hit .381 that year).
Ted Williams Becomes Star of the Show
Overshadowed by his dazzling slugging stats (131 runs scored, 31 home runs, 145 RBI) was the fact that Ted Williams collected 107 walks in 1939, a 20th-century rookie record. The following year, he dipped to 96 free passes. After that he averaged well over 100 walks per season. Largely because Williams walked so often, he never had a campaign in which he made 200 hits.
Johnny Mize Tops National League in Home Runs
In 1939 with St. Louis, Johnny Mize led the National League in home runs with 28. As was the case with virtually every Cardinals star in the 1930s, Mize was traded when he approached age 30. But in this instance, Branch Rickey miscalculated. Mize still had several gigantic seasons left in him, whereas the three players the Cards got in return from the Giants did little in St. Louis.
Find more 1939 baseball season headlines in the next section.
To learn more about baseball, see:
- 1938 Baseball Season
- 1940 Baseball Season
- Baseball History
- How Baseball Works
- How the Baseball Hall of Fame Works
- How Minor League Baseball Teams Work
- Babe Ruth