In 1942, Mort Cooper became the National League's MVP, while Johnny Pesky of the American League made 200 hits. Here are some of the headlines of the 1942 baseball season:
Warren Spahn's Career Interrupted
Warren Spahn was one of the many promising young players whose career was interrupted after the 1942 season by a stint in the armed services. Put on hold until 1946, Spahn did not win his first game until he was 25 years old. Despite his belated start, he collected 363 career wins. If his career hadn't been interrupted by the war, he probably would have won 400 career games. Only Cy Young and Walter Johnson have ever won 400.
Mort Cooper Named 1942 National League MVP
Mort Cooper fell just a fraction of a season short in joining Carl Hubbell and Harry Brecheen in a unique category. He would have been one of three pitchers active exclusively between 1920 and the onset of expansion (1961) to post career ERAs under 3.00 (minimum ten years pitched), Cooper finished his career with a 2.97 ERA and 128 wins. He was the National League MVP in '42, posting 22 victories.
Ted Williams Powers 1942 Red Sox
Ted Williams (.356, 36 home runs, 137 RBI) sparked the Red Sox to 93 wins in 1942, their most in any season since 1915. Boston was never really in the race, however, owing to a lack of depth and a need for a front-line catcher. When Williams went into the service in 1943, the Sox tumbled to seventh place.
Pete Reiser Boosts 1942 Dodgers
In 1942, the Dodgers led the Cardinals by 10-1/2 games in mid-August, but had their seemingly comfortable margin gradually eaten away while Pete Reiser recovered from a fractured skull. Reiser had been hitting .390 that year. With a healthy Reiser, Brooklyn probably would have been able to hold off St. Louis' late charge and win a second straight flag. Reiser, who made a habit of running into fences, was seemingly always disabled. In his ten-year career, he played in only 861 games.
Rookie Johnny Pesky Nets 200 Hits
Johnny Pesky is the only American League player to make 200 or more hits in each of his first three seasons (1942, '46, and '47). Like many contact hitters of his era, Pesky used a long, heavy bat and choked up on the handle.
Enos Slaughter Hits .318
Some authorities credit Enos Slaughter with winning the 1942 National League bat title (.318). In any event, he ranked at or near the top in almost every major hitting department that season. Slaughter was a throwback, both in his style of play and in his ability to hit as many triples as home runs (17 and 13, respectively, in 1942).
For more headlines from the 1942 baseball season, see the next page.
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