DiMaggio terrorized virtually every American League pitcher except
Cleveland's Mel Harder. Unable to account for his success, Harder said,
"I'm just grateful I had good luck against him. It kept me around for a
long time." In his 20 seasons with the Tribe, Harder won 223 games (a
dozen in 1940). DiMaggio led the circuit in batting in 1940 with a .352
Greenberg was the American League MVP in 1940 (129 runs scored, 41
home runs, 384 total bases, 150 RBI, .670 slugging average) and played just
19 games the following year before departing to start his military
training. Greenberg missed over four full seasons while he served in
World War II.
Willis Hudlin: A Travelin' Man
Hudlin pitched just eight games in a Washington uniform. In fact, all
but 16 of his 491 major league appearances came with Cleveland, for
whom he won 157 games over 15 seasons. In 1929, Hudlin beat the Yankees
4-3 in the first major league game involving two teams wearing numbered
uniforms. In 1940, he became the first player since 1904 to play for
four teams in one year.
Injuries Bench Ernie Lombardi
curtailed the playing time of Ernie Lombardi for much of the 1940
regular season and again in the 1940 World Series. His unavailability
forced the Reds to activate 40-year-old coach Jimmy Wilson for the fall
classic. Behind the plate in six of the seven contests, Wilson hit .353
and nabbed the only stolen base in the 1940 World Series.
Johnny Mize Misses the Triple Crown
Mize paced the National League in every major slugging department in
1940, including home runs (43) and RBI (137). Moreover, his .314
batting average was just three points behind that of Stan Hack, now
recognized by some historians as the bat leader that year. If their
view is accepted, Mize's 1940 baseball season is the closest any
National League player has come to winning a Triple Crown since 1937.
Del Baker Scales New Heights
Del Baker, a former catcher and long-time coach, piloted the Tigers for four and a half seasons before being canned following a fifth-place finish in 1942.
On the next page, find out more about the 1940 baseball season by reading through dozens of highlights.
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