|Consider, if you will, the pitching mound masters that toiled before the onset of World War II. Note the durably of the mound workhorses and the complete games worked. |
Led by a stellar pitching staff, the Cincinnati Reds won back-to-back pennants - 1939-1940 - and bested the Detroit Tigers in the 1940 World Series in seven games.
The New York Yankees took three pennants in a row 1941-1943... they took Brooklyn in 5 games in the '41 Series... lost to the Cardinals in five games in '42... and then recaptured the World Crown in '43 with a 4-games to one Series win over the Cards.
War Requirements: The World War II Act stated: - Everyone that served for our country was to be able to return to their previous job. Hence, all major league players had a job waiting.
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* Bucky Walters, Pitcher Cincinnati Reds, Right-handed one of baseball's dominant pitchers in this time-frame... he led the NL in wins three times, in ERA twice, and posted league-leading 31 complete games in 1939, 29 in '40 and 27 in '41... and in those three years led the league in innings - 319, 305, and 302. Helping the Reds win two straight pennants the flame-throwing Walters was 27-11, 2.29 ERA in '39 and 22-10, with a 2.48 ERA in '40... William Walters career stats: 198-160 record, 428G, 398GS, 242GC, 3,104 innings, 42 Shutouts.
* Paul Derringer, Pitcher Cincinnati Reds, Right-handed - nicknamed Duke or Dude because of his style of flashy clothes... his 18-8 rookie record for the St Louis Cardinals helped them win the pennant back in 1931... traded to Cincinnati in early 1933, he pitched over 200 innings 13 consecutive years, and twice collected over 300 innings. A four time 20-game winner, Derringer was 22-13 in '35, 21-14 in '38, and helped the Reds win the pennant with a stunning 25-7 in 1939, completing 28-of-35 starts, hurled 5 shutouts... in 1940 his 20-12 mark, with 26 complete games. 3.06 ERA helped win another pennant. Paul Derringer career: 223-212 record, 3.46 ERA, 579G, 445GS, 251GC, 3,645 innings.
* Thornton Lee, Pitcher Chicago White Sox, Left-handed - he won over ten games six times while a member of the White Sox, including a sterling 22-11 record in 1941, when he led the majors with 30 complete games, and posted the American League's best ERA - 2.37. Nicknamed 'Lefty' he began his pro career in 1928 with Salt Lake City of the Utah/Idaho League, then pitched with Globe, Tampa, New Orleans, Shreveport, Toledo and Wilkes-Barre before being brought to the majors by Cleveland at age 27 in 1933... after going 3-5 with Indians he was traded to the White Sox and started his string of winning seasons. Thornton Lee career stats: 117-124 record, 3.56 ERA, 374G, 272GS, 155GC, 2,331 innings.
* Whit Wyatt, Pitcher Brooklyn Dodgers, Right-handed - a long-term, 16-year pitching mound-stay, he debuted with Detroit back in 1929... used as a starter and reliever, Wyatt Had his best seasons from 1940 thru 1943 with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He led the league in shutouts with 5 in '40 and 7 in '41. He was 15-14 in '40, then the next year, 1941, compiled a career-high 22-10 record with a 2.34 ERA, worked 288 innings, and completed a resounding 23-of-35 starts. And, in '42 posted a 19-7 record, 2.73 ERA, completing 16-of-30 games... and was 14-5 in 1943... Whit Wyatt career stats: 106-95 record, 3.79 ERA, 360G, 210GS, 97 GC with 17 Shutouts, struck out 872 in 1,761 innings.
* Eddie Smith, Pitcher Chicago White Sox, Left-handed - won over 10 games for Sox in four-of-five years 1939-41, 1943. He was 14-9 in '40, with a solid 3.21 ERA, and completed 12-of-28 starts... Rang up a 11-11 record in '43 before serving in the US Military... rejoined the team in '46 and posted a 8-11 mark, then 1-3 record before retiring... ED Smith career stats: 73-111 record, 3.82 ERA, 282G, 197GS, 91GC, 8 Shutouts, 12 Saves in 1,595 innings. Philadelphia A's 1936-39; White Sox 1939-47; Red Sox 1947.
* Mace Brown, Pitcher Pittsburgh Pirates, Right-handed - one of baseball's first relievers, he appeared in 50 games in 1937 while collecting a league leading 5 saves... in '38 he led the league with 51 appearances. Used as a starter in his sophomore season, 1936, he went 10-11, with a solid 3.87 ERA for Pittsburgh... traded during the 1941 season, he pitched with Red Sox in '43, went 6-6 in a league-leading 49 games, and then, entered the Military. Mace Brown career stats: 76-57 record, 3.46 ERA, 387G, 55GS, 18GC, 18 Saves, 1,075 innings... Pittsburgh 1935-41; Brooklyn 1941; Red Sox 1942-43, 1946; Military 1944-45.
* Charlie Wagner, Pitcher Boston Red Sox, Right-handed - pitched five big-league seasons - 1938-1942 - before proudly servicing in the US Military... rang up a 12-8 record with a 3.07 ERA in 1941, threw 3 shutouts and completed 12-of-25 starts. In 1942, he pitched a career-high 205 innings, compiled a 14-11 mark, and completed 17-26 starts. Wagner returned to Boston in '46 after the war ended at age 34 and left the majors at season's end... Charles Wagner career stats: 32-23 record, 3.91 ERA, 100G, 67GS, 30GC, 5 Shutouts, 527.7 innings.
Claude Shoun, Pitcher St Louis Cardinals, Left-handed - a noted star reliever during his 14-year major league career... he led the National League in games and saves in 1939 with 53G and 9 saves... Shoun also led the league with 54 games in 1940, and his totals this year included 13 complete games in 19 starts and 35 relief appearances, with a 13-11 W/L and a 3.92 ERA in 197.3 innings... Claude Shoun career stats: 73-59 record, 3.91 ERA, 454G, 85GS, 34GC, 1,287 innings... Cubs 1935-37; Cardinals 1938-42; Reds 1942-47; Boston Braves 1947-49; White Sox 1949.