Sunday, January 10, 2010

PTWSW #35: The 1938 New York Yankees

Manager: Joe McCarthy
Record: 99-53
Ballpark: Yankee Stadium
Owner: Col. Jacob Ruppert
GM: Ed Barrow
Coaches: Earle Combs, Art Fletcher, Johnny Schulte

Future Hall of Famers: Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dickey, Lou Gehrig, Lefty Gomez, Joe Gordon, Red Ruffing

All-Stars: Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dickey, Lou Gehrig, Lefty Gomez, Johnny Murphy, Red Rolfe, Red Ruffing

Team Leaders, Batting

Joe DiMaggio, .324
OBP: Bill Dickey, .412
SLG: Joe DiMaggio, .581
OPS: Bill Dickey, .981
2B: Red Rolfe, 36
3B: Joe DiMaggio, 13
HR: Joe DiMaggio, 32
RBI: Joe DiMaggio, 140
BB: Lou Gehrig, 107
SB: Frankie Crosetti, 27 (AL leader)

Team Leaders, Pitching

Red Ruffing, 21 (AL leader)
SO: Lefty Gomez, 129
ERA: Red Ruffing, 3.31
IP: Red Ruffing, 247.1
CG: Red Ruffing, 22
SHO: Lefty Gomez, 4 (AL leader)
K/BB: Red Ruffing, 1.55
SV: Johnny Murphy, 11 (AL leader)


Oldest Player:
Lou Gehrig (b. June 19, 1903). Youngest on the 1923 champs, Gehrig was now the team's eldest statesman.

Youngest Player: Joe Gordon (b. February 18, 1915)

First to Leave Us: Lou Gehrig (d. June 2, 1941)

Last Survivor: Tommy Henrich (d. December 1, 2009)

First in Majors: Lou Gehrig (debut June 15, 1923)

Last in Majors: Joe DiMaggio (final game September 30, 1951)

First to Play For the Franchise: Lou Gehrig (June 15, 1923)

Last to Play For the Franchise: Joe DiMaggio (September 30, 1951)

Pre-union Team: The 1933 Indians had three: Wes Ferrell, Bill Knickerbocker and Monte Pearson.

Reunion Team: None had more than two.


Monte Pearson, no-hitter on August 27

Season Summary

By now it was pretty clear that the Yankees were in a class by themselves. Their hitting? Best in the AL. As a team they led the league in homers, walks and OPS+. Their pitching? Best in the AL. They allowed the fewest runs per game and had the league's best ERA+. Defense? They were best in DER. In 1938 they added baserunning to the list. Their 91 stolen bases topped the AL, and their 28 times caught stealing bottomed it. When it comes to well-balanced ballclubs, you'd be hard-pressed to find one as good as the 1938 Yankees.

Despite all this talent, the Yankees were no sure bet going into the season. Joe DiMaggio held out in April and missed the first twelve games. Their starting lineup featured two newcomers: rookie second baseman Joe Gordon and sophomore right fielder Tommy Henrich. In DiMaggio's first game back he had a nasty collision with Gordon on a pop fly that sent both of them to the hospital. DiMaggio was able to return the next day, but Gordon took time to recover. Veteran Bill Knickerbocker was a capable replacement in his absence, and Gordon didn't see action again until June 8, well after he'd healed. The Yankees were battling the Indians, Red Sox and Senators for the pennant at the time. With Gordon back in the lineup they went on a six-game winning streak that put them only a half-game out of first. They finally overtook the Indians for the lead on July 13, but the Tribe stayed close behind until the Yankees swept them in an August 5-7 series. It was then that the Yankees began to pull away. They worked their way to a 16-game lead in mid-September and coasted to the finish line easily.

The Chicago Cubs won an exciting pennant race over in the National League, but their celebration was short-lived. The Yankees made quick work of them in the World Series, outscoring them 22-9 in a four-game sweep.


Baseball Reference
Baseball Almanac
Google News Archives

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