Fiery Ray Blades Named Manager
Ray Blades was the new manager and he was a favorite of GM Branch Rickey. Blades was also fiery and a strong leader.
Moore Hits 2 Inside-the-Park Home Runs in Same Game
Some interesting things happened in 1939 as Terry Moore gits two inside-the-park homers in one game at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh on August 16. With the team trailing 2-0 in the 7th, Vaughn reaches base on an error and Moore laces one to left field for his first inside-the-park home run. In the ninth, Moore comes to the plate with his team trailing 3-2 and Paul Waner enters the game to pitch. Again, he raps the ball to left and continues to run for another inside-the-park home run and his second of the game. Cardinals win 4-3. (BOXSCORE)
On August 28, Pepper Martin gets three hits in each game of a doubleheader and Johnny Mize smashes two homer in the second game.
The Cardinals are eliminated in late September and finish 4.5 games behind Cincinnati and finish with a 92-61 record.
Mize Wins Batting Title
Johnny Mize is the batting champion at .349 and leads the league with 28 home runs. Enos Slaughter hits .320 and knocks 52 doubles to lead the National League. Slaughter is only 23 years old.
Rookie Mort Cooper Wins 12 Games
Curt Davis, one of the players received in the Dizzy Dean trade, is 22-16 with a 3.63 ERA in 49 games. Clyde Shoun, the other ex-Cub, worked a team-high 51 games out of the bullpen. With rookie Mort Cooper winning 12 games and working more than 200 innings, the Cards pitchers posted the league’s second-best ERA.
An old trade haunted the Cards: Paul Derringer, a former St. Louis farmhand, went 25–7 for the Reds. That record included a 5–3 victory in September that clinched the pennant for the Reds.
Catcher Mickey Owens
1B Johnny Mize
2B Stu Martin
3B Don Gutteridge
SS Jimmy Brown
OF’ers – Joe Medwick, Terry Moore, Enos Slaughter
Medwick was the highest paid Cardinal player at $10,000 and Mize made $7.500.
The attendance for the season was 400,245 for 5th best of 8.
All Star Participants:
Davis, Medwick, Mize, Moore, Lou Warnecke
Other Baseball Related Items from 1939
January – May
- January 24 – George Sisler, Eddie Collins and Willie Keeler are elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
- April 17 – A new baseball tradition begins, as the baseball season opens in Cincinnati, Ohio, home of Major League Baseball’s oldest franchise. The Cincinnati Reds lose to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 7–5.
- April 20 – The Boston Red Sox show off their prize rookie Ted Williams before 30,278 in Opening Day at Yankee Stadium, in a game delayed two days because of rain. After striking out twice, Williams collects a double off New York Yankees pitcher Red Ruffing, who is credited with the win in a 2–0 victory. Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig makes an error, goes hitless, and lines into two double plays in the only game featuring the two great sluggers. Other notables in what will become a historic box score include Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dickey, Jimmie Foxx, Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr, Red Rolfe, and losing pitcher Lefty Grove. The Yankees score their first run on a home run by Dickey and their second on an error by Foxx. Boston has baserunners in each inning, but Ruffing tosses just the second opening day shutout in Yankees history. Four umpires work the game including third base umpire George Pipgras, who was the starting pitcher for the Yankees in the 1929 opener. Curiously, his opponent for the Red Sox that day was Ruffing.
- April 21 – Ted Williams plays his first game at Fenway Park, scoring the first run for the Boston Red Sox on a Frankie Hayes passed ball, in a Boston 9–2 victory over thePhiladelphia Athletics.
- April 23 – Rookie Ted Williams goes 4-for-5, including his first major-league home run, a three-run blast in the first inning off Bud Thomas, but the Boston Red Sox lose to thePhiladelphia Athletics, 12–8, at Fenway Park.
- April 29 – In the seventh game of the season, New York Yankees center fielder Joe DiMaggio makes a sharp turn while fielding a liner facing the Washington Senators and tears muscles in his right foot. The Yankees lose the game and DiMaggio will miss the next 35 games.
- April 30 – Lou Gehrig goes hitless in four at-bats against the Washington Senators and is now hitting just .143 this season. He had just played his 2,130th consecutive major league game. No one knew it would be the very last of his career.
- May 2 – New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig voluntarily benches himself “for the good of the team” ending his consecutive-game streak at 2,130. Babe Dahlgrenreplaces him in the line-up, and goes two-for-five with a home run. The Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers 22–2 behind Red Ruffing.
- May 13 – In a 10-player mega-trade, the St. Louis Browns sent Beau Bell, Red Kress, Bobo Newsom and Jim Walkup to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Mark Christman,George Gill, Bob Harris, Vern Kennedy, Chet Laabs and Roxie Lawson.
- May 24 – The Detroit Tigers defeat the New York Yankees, 6–1, to spoil their twelve-game winning streak.
- May 27 – The Cincinnati Reds complete a twelve-game winning streak that lands them in first place in the National League by two games over the St. Louis Cardinals. The Reds remain in first place for the remainder of the season.
- May 29 – The Chicago Cubs acquire Claude Passeau from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Kirby Higbe, Joe Marty and Ray Harrell.
June – July
- June 4 – The St. Louis Browns sweep a double header from the Washington Senators to end an eleven-game losing streak. The Browns then go on to lose their next six in a row. The Browns never won more than two games in a row all season.
- June 5 – Detroit Tigers pitcher Tommy Bridges holds the New York Yankees to just four hits as the Yankees are shut out for the only time all season, 3–0.
- June 6 – The first Little League game took place in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Lundy Lumber defeated Lycoming Dairy, 23–8.
- June 12 – In Cooperstown, New York, the official dedication of the National Baseball Hall of Fame takes place. Grover Alexander, Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, Walter Johnson, Nap Lajoie, Babe Ruth, George Sisler, Tris Speaker, Honus Wagner, Cy Young and Connie Mack are all present, and accept their plaques.
- June 14 – The Cleveland Indians trade Earl Averill to the Detroit Tigers for Harry Eisenstat & cash, and send Art Jacobs to the Cincinnati Reds for Earl Cook & cash.
- June 28 – The New York Yankees defeat the Philadelphia Athletics 23–2 & 10–0 in a double header. In the first game, the Yankees hit eight home runs, and followed that with five more in the second. Both totals set a Major League record for most home runs in a game as well as their total of fifty-three total bases in a doubleheader.
- July 3 – In the St. Louis Cardinals’ 5–3 victory over the Chicago Cubs, Johnny Mize goes four-for-four, equaling a National League record four extra-base hits, including adouble, triple and two home runs.
- July 4 – Lou Gehrig appreciation day is celebrated at Yankee Stadium. Numerous people, including many from other major league teams, came forward to give Gehrig gifts and to shower praise on the dying slugger. The Yankees retired his uniform number (4), becoming the first player in major league history to be afforded that honor. Babe Ruth even showed up and ended their long-standing feud by giving his old teammate a hug. After the presentations, Gehrig approached the microphone, and addressed the crowd:
|“||Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I’m lucky. Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I’m lucky. When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift – that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies – that’s something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter – that’s something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body – it’s a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed – that’s the finest I know. So I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for.||”|
- July 8 – The Washington Senators’ Mickey Vernon makes his major league debut as a pinch runner in the first game of a double header with the Philadelphia A’s. He does not log an at-bat, however, he goes one-for-five in the second game and scores a run.
- July 9 – The Philadelphia Phillies defeat the Boston Bees, 3–1, to snap an eleven-game losing streak.
- July 11 – In the first of three times that the All-Star Game has been held at Yankee Stadium, the American League defeats the National League, 3–1, behind pitchers Red Ruffing, Tommy Bridges, and Bob Feller, and a home run by Joe DiMaggio.
- July 16 – The Boston Red Sox sweep a double header from the Detroit Tigers that brings their winning streak to twelve games.
- July 18 – The Brooklyn Dodgers acquire Boston Red Sox farmhand Pee Wee Reese.
- July 25 – Yankees pitcher Atley Donald sets a league record for consecutive wins by a rookie, bringing his record to 12–0 with a 5–1 victory over the St. Louis Browns.
- July 26 – The New York Yankees tied a major league record by scoring in every inning against the St. Louis Browns. Bill Dickey hit three home runs in the 14–1 win.
August – September
- August 5 – The New York Yankees trade Vince DiMaggio to the Cincinnati Reds.
- August 6 – Already behind 10–1 to the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox manager Joe Cronin sends Jimmie Foxx to the mound to pitch the ninth inning. He records a perfect 1–2–3 inning.
- August 9
- Red Rolfe of the New York Yankees started a streak of 18 consecutive games in which he scored at least one run. During those games, he scored a total of 30 runs.
- With a 5–3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, the St. Louis Cardinals complete a ten-game winning streak. They are still, however, eight games back of the first place Cincinnati Reds. The Reds snap the streak on August 12, however, the Cards take two of their three meetings at Sportsman’s Park to move within 6.5 of first place.
- August 20 – The Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs split a double header at Forbes Field. The victory in the second game snaps a twelve-game losing streak for the Bucs.
- August 26 – The double header between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds at Ebbets Field is telecast on Channel W2XBS in Brooklyn.
- September 13 – Early Wynn loses his major league debut, 4–2 to the Chicago White Sox.
- September 18 – The St. Louis Browns lose their 100th game of the season, 6–2 to the New York Yankees.
- September 19 – The New York Yankees defeat the Chicago White Sox, 6–2, for their 100th victory of the season.
- September 23 – The Brooklyn Dodgers defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 22–4. The Dodgers go on to sweep the Phillies in the four game set at Shibe Park, handing them losses number 100 & 101 on the 24th.
- September 29 – The second game of the double header between the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers at Briggs Stadium is called after five innings due to rain. Hal Newhouser pitches all five innings for Detroit, and is the losing pitcher in his major league debut.
- September 30 – In the second game of a double header with the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Murry Dickson makes his major league debut. He pitches 3.2 without giving up a run, and strikes out in his only at-bat.
October – December
- October 4 – Bill Dickey’s single in the bottom of the ninth wins game one of the 1939 World Series for the New York Yankees, 2–1. This is the first World Series appearance for the Cincinnati Reds in 20 years.
- October 5 – Monte Pearson holds the Cincinnati Reds to just two hits, as the Yankees take game two of the World Series, 4–0.
- October 7 – The Reds take a 3–2 lead in the second inning only to have Joe DiMaggio hit a two run home run in the top of the third to put the Yankees on top for good on their way to a 7–3 victory.
- October 8 – An error by Billy Myers allows the Yankees to tie it in the ninth. Then, costly errors in the tenth inning by Myers, Ival Goodman and Bucky Walters lead to three runs as the New York Yankees defeat the Cincinnati Reds, 7–4, in Game Four of the World Series to win a record fourth consecutive World Championship, and eighth overall, four games to none.
- November 12:
- Dom DiMaggio, the youngest of the three DiMaggio brothers, is acquired for $40,000 by the Boston Red Sox from the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League. DiMaggio will spend his entire Major League career with the Red Sox, hitting .298 in 1399 games and making seven All-Star AL teams.
- Pitcher Victor Starffin wins his 42nd game in a 96-game season of the Japanese Professional Baseball League, leading the Yomiuri Giants to the Championship title, while setting a post-1900 World Record for season victories that will be equaled by Kazuhisa Inao in 1961 but never broken. Starffin will follow his record performance with another 38 wins in 1940. Born in Russia, he moved to Asahikawa, Hokkaidō at a young age, and was selected as part of the national baseball team for an exhibition game against the United States in 1934. From 1936 through 1955 Starffin won 303 games, to become the first pitcher in Japanese baseball history to reach 300 victories.
- November 29 – Judge Landis fines the Brooklyn Dodgers, Detroit Tigers and the St. Louis Browns minor league club, Columbus, for manipulating player contracts. Landis frees seven farm hands.
- December 6 – In a trade of veteran shortstops, or “worn-out shortstops,” as one newspaper described it, the Chicago Cubs acquire Billy Rogell from the Detroit Tigers for Dick Bartell. Rogell, who injured his arm playing handball the previous year, hits just .136 before hanging up his spikes. The Tigers will release “Rowdy Richard” five games into the1941 season, but he will stick with the New York Giants until 1946.
- December 9 – The Detroit Tigers trade Benny McCoy and George Coffman to the Philadelphia A’s for Wally Moses. The trade is voided by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, and the players return to their original teams on January 14, 1940. The commissioner declared McCoy a free agent because he had been “hidden” from other teams. Judge Landis declares 87 more Tigers farmhands free agents due to their concealment in the minor leagues.
- December 29 – The Chicago White Sox sell the contracts of Norm Schlueter & Hank Steinbacher to the St. Louis Browns, then send Tony Rensa, Jesse Landrum and cash to Oklahoma City (Texas) for Don Kolloway.