1941 Season Recap:
8 teams in the American League and 8 teams in the National League
Final Standing: American League: Yankees 101-53, ... Red Sox 84-70, 17 GB... White Sox 77-77, 24 GB... Tigers 75-79, 26 GB... Indians 75-79, 26 GB... Senators 70-84, 31 GB... Browns 70-84, 31 GB... Athletics 64-90, 37 GB
1941 New York Yankees:
Amid all sensational headline news surrounding Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak and Ted Williams hitting .406 for the year, the comeback of the New York Yankees is often-times forgotten.
On May 15, 1941, the day Joe DiMaggio started his consecutive streak, the New Yorks were bogged down in fourth place, after losing 7-of-9 games.
On June 2nd, Yankee legendary first baseman Lou Gehrig passed away after his three-year illness - amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALC), the funeral was attended by Babe Ruth as well as then-current Yankee players, manager Joe McCarthy and catcher Bill Dickey.
However, by June 6th, the Yankees were running hot... they completed a eight-game winning streak, and a 41-13 record during DiMaggio's hitting-streak vaulted them into the pennant... finishing a full 17 games ahead of the second place Boston Red Sox.
The 1941 New York Yankees were led by JOe DiMaggio, .357, including 30 homers and 125 RBIs, catcher Bill Dickey, who at age 34 hit .287 with 71 RBIs, and pitchers Red Ruffing, 15-6, Lefty Gomez 15-5, Spud Chandler, 10-4, and Marius Russo, 14-10.
Yanks' Hall of Fame manager Joe McCarthy who led the Bronx Bombers to four straight World Crowns, 1936-1936, was still at the helm. He installed rookie shortstop Phil Rizzuto in place long-time Yankee great Frankie Crosetti and replaced veteran outfielder George Selkirk with Tommy Henrich, .277, 31 homers, 85 RBIs.
Now-then, Rizzuto, playing alongside second baseman Joe Gordon, immediately formed one of the top double play combinations in the league. Joe Flash Gordon, one of the best hitting second baseman in baseball history, hit a solid .276, belted 26 doubles and 24 homers, scored 104 runs and drove in 87 runs.
1941 Boston Red Sox - with their short left-field wall at Fenway Park, the Red Sox provided the most potent lineup in baseball. As a team they featured a .283 batting average and complied a team .430 slugging percentage. Hitting-legend Ted Williams hit a torrid .406, led the majors With 135 runs scored, captured the major league home run crown with 37 and led the majors with a robust .735 slugging percentage. The Splendid Splinter also set a major league record with the highest on-base-percentage of all-time - .551 - walking 145 times, while striking out just 27 times in 456 official at-bats.
Aging Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx anchored first base for Boston, hitting an even .300, with 27 doubles, 8 triples, 19 homers and drove in 105 runs. Shortstop/manager Joe Cronin, another Hall of Famer who started playing in the big-leagues in 1927, was still one of the league's heavy hitters. Joe Cronin hit .311, rapped 38 doubles, 8 triples 16 home runs and had 95 RBIs.
Leadoff hitter Dom DiMaggio hit .283 and scored 117 runs. Hall of Fame second baseman hit .282, with 28 Ds, 16 Hr, and 93 RBIs. Third baseman Jim Tabor joined in the Red Sox hitting-onslaught with a .279 batting mark, 28 Ds, 16 Hr and had 101 RBIs.
Pitcher Dick Newsome led the Red Sox pitching staff, going 19-10 with a 4.12 ERA, Charlie Wagner posted a 12-8, and a nice 3.07 ERA, Joe Dobson went 12-5, had a 4.49 ERA and Mickey Harris was the team's hard-luck hurler... he was 8-14 even though his 3.25 ERA was second best of all Red Sox pitchers.
1941 Chicago White Sox
Playing an even .500 ball - 77 wins and 77 loses - under the guidance of popular manager Jimmie Dykes, the White Sox finished in third place among the eight American League teams. 'Old Aches and Pains' Luke Appling, a Hall of Fame shortstop, and outfielder Taffy Wright were the team's leading hitters.
Luke Appling hit .314, scored 93 Runs and Wright batted .322 with 35 doubles, 10 homers and drove in 97 runs including a streak of an RBI in 13 consecutive games. First baseman Joe Kuhel hit .250 with 63 RBIs and led the entire team with 12 homers.
Pitcher Thornton Lee was the heavy-winner in 1941, going 22-11. Thornton Lee led the league with a stunning 2.37 ERA and also led the league in complete games with 30. 40-year old Ted Lyons, who collected 260 career wins for the Sox, was 40-years old but still put up decent numbers, 12-10, 3.70 ERA.
Johnny Rigney, who later married White Sox owner/daughter Dorothy Comiskey, was 13-13, 3.84 ERA and Eddie Smith complied a 13-17 mark in 38 games, while posting a nice 3.18 ERA.
1941 Cleveland Indians
Led by fastball pitcher Bob Feller the Indians ended in a tie with Detroit for 4th place. The strong-armed Feller went 25-13, a 3.15 ERA and led the AL in wins, innings pitched with 343, led in strike outs with 260, led in shutouts with 6 and led in games with 44.
Outfielder Jeff Heath and third baseman Ken Keltner supplied the Indians with fire-power in 1941. Jeff Heath batted .341, cranked out an eye-popping 32 doubles, 20 triples and 24 home runs, becoming the first-ever in AL baseball history to hit at least 20 doubles, triples and home runs in the same season, and he drove in 123 runs. Kenny Keltner meanwhile hit .269, busted 31 doubles, 13 triples, 23 homers and drove in 84 runs.
1941 Detroit Tigers
Although the Tigers won the pennant in 1940, the team finished with a 75-79 mark when slugger Hank Greenberg became the first baseball player to enlist into the Armed Forces in World War 11. Greenberg missed more than four full seasons during the prime of his career.
Al Benton was Detroit's main mound-stay, compiling a brilliant 15-6 record, 2.97 ERA, completed 7-of-14 starts while appearing in 38 games, allowed just 130 hits in 157 2/3 innings. A bit of baseball history here: - Al Benton pitched from 1934-1952 and is the only pitcher in the history of baseball to face both Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle. Pitcher Dizzy Trout (Paul Dizzy Trout) posted a 9-9 record with a 3.74 ERA , completing 6 of 18 starts plus 19 relief appearances.
With Hank Greenberg proudly serving in the U.S. Military, the Tigers main sluggers were Rudy York, 27 Hrs, 111 RBIs and Bruce Campbell, 15 Hrs, 93 RBIs.
1941 Washington Senators
Everybody's second favorite team during the years preceding the War, the Washington Senators' pitching staff was led by Dutch Leonard (Emil 'Dutch' Leonard), 18-13, 3.45 ERA and shortstop Cecil Travis, who led the AL in hits with 218 and finished second in the majors with a .359 batting average... Ted Williams hit .406.
Speedy outfielder George Case led the AL for the third successive year in stolen bases with 33 and first baseman Mickey Vernon hit .299, lined 27 doubles, 11 triples, 9 homers and Had 93 RBIs. Mickey Vernon went on to win two AL batting titles, 1946 and 1953. Buddy Lewis batted a solid .297, with 9Hr, 72 RBIs in 149 games.
The Senators had two of the finest defensive backstops in the league - catchers Jake Early and Al Evans. Both catcher were well-liked by baseball fans. Jake Early hit .287, whacked 10 homers, 54 RBIs in 104 games, while Al Evans hit a solid .277 in 53 games.
Right-handed pitcher Sid Hudson, who went 17-16 in his rookie year of 1940, put up some nice stats again in 1941, finishing at 13-14, 3.46 ERA, hurled 3 shutouts and completed 17-of-33 starts, spanning 249 2/3 innings. Steve Sundra moved from the bullpen into the starting rotation and finished the '41 season at 9-13, a 5.29 ERA in 168 1/3 innings and completed 11-of-23 games.
The Washington Senators in 1941 had a young 20-year old right-hander by the name of Early Wynn, who was brought up late in the season. Wynn, who went on to the Hall of Fame, posted a 3-1 record, a miserly 1.57 ERA while completing 4-of-5 games.
1941 St. Louis Browns
The Brownies' pitching staff included had the second worst ERA in the majors, .472.
Mound master Elden Auker won the most games on the staff. Elden Auker finished at 14-15, a 5.50 ERA in 34 games. Bob Muncrief posted a solid 13-9 mark, 3.65 ERA, Bob Harris went 12-14, 5.21 ERA and Denny Galehouse was 9-10, 3.64 ERA. A well-regarded mound stalwart, Denny Galehouse pitched 15 seasons in the major leagues.
Even though the St Louis Browns had four players smash double-figures in homers and had 5 players drove in over 80 runs, they set a new AL record by stranding 1,334 runners on base.
George McQuinn lined 18Hr, 80 RBIs, Harlond Clift 17Hr, 84 RBIs, Wally Judnich 14Hr, 83 RBIs. Wally Judnich spent all of 1943 thru 1945 in the U.S. Military. Chet Laabs hit 15Hr, 59 RBIs. Chet Laabs played in 950 major league games spanning 11 seasons.
The St. Louis Browns leading hitter was Roy Cullenbine, born in Nashville Tennessee, .317 batting average, with 9 homers and 98 RBIs and Johnny Berardino hit .271 with 89 RBIs.
1941 Philadelphia Athletics
Compiling a dismal 4.83 ERA, the highest of all the 16 major league teams, the Philadelphia Athletics 1941 had only two pitchers who won 10 games. Jack Knott went 13-11, 4.40 ERA . John Knott pitched in the majors 11 seasons despite missing three years while serving in the military. A's pitching star Phil Marchildon posted a 10-15 and led the staff with a 3.57 ERA.
The A's big guns were Sam Chapman, .322 BA, 25 home runs, 106 RBIs in 143 games and Bob Johnson .275, 22 homers, 107 RBIs in 149 games. Wally Moses, Dick Siebert and Frankie Hayes were the get-on-base-guys. Wally Moses hit .301, scored 78 runs, lashed 31 doubles, while Dick Siebert hit a robust .334, scored 63 runs, with 28 doubles in 123 games, and Frankie Hayes hit a solid .280, lined 27 doubles, 12 homers, and scored 63 runs. Baseballhistorian.com - The History of Baseball