1944 Deluxe Past Season with transaction and lineups available now!
1944: Show Me an Exciting Season
by Steve Ehresman
In January of 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent a “Green Light Letter” to Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, expressing his desire “to keep baseball going.” With that, Our National Pastime continued for the duration of the War, despite the absence of many star players. Gone were Joe DiMaggio, Bob Feller, Hank Greenberg, and Ted Williams, to name but a few of the luminaries who defended our nation. In their place were players, ineligible for military service, who carried on baseball’s legacy. In 1944, the third season of baseball during the War, Missouri found itself home to not one, but two pennant-winners--the perennially powerful St. Louis Cardinals and the improbably successful St. Louis Browns--producing a “Show Me State” World Series that would never be duplicated.
Wartime baseball has assumed a niche in sports history, an extraordinary period in which those who were unable to serve abroad were given an opportunity to serve at home. Suddenly, the sports pages were filled with new names. Among position players, batting average leaders Lou Boudreau (.327) and Dixie Walker (.357), home run champs Nick Etten (22) and Bill Nicholson (33), runs batted in winners Vern Stephens (109) and Bill Nicholson (122) all emerged to set the pace in offense. On the mound, the one-two punch of Detroit Tigers Hal Newhouser (29 Wins and 187 Ks) and Dizzy Trout (2.12 ERA) paced the Junior Circuit, while Bucky Walters (23 Wins), Ed Heusser (2.38 ERA), and Bill Voiselle (141 Ks) led the way in the Senior Circuit.
The story of the year, however, was the St. Louis Browns, capturing their one and only pennant before their move to Baltimore. With shortstop Vern Stephens leading the way, the Browns edged out the Detroit Tigers by a single game. The Browns were steadied all year by a staff of colorful characters--Nels Potter, Jack Kramer, Bob Muncrief, Sig Jakucki, and Denny Galehouse--who won big games throughout the season, until after forty-four years, the American League’s St. Louis franchise found itself in the World Series.
The other occupants of Sportsman’s Park, the St. Louis Cardinals, won their third pennant in a row, establishing themselves as the best team of the World War II era. Led by their incomparable young star, Stan Musial (197 Hits, 51 2B, 14 3B, 94 RBI, .347), the Cards annihilated their National League rivals on their way to a 105-49 season record. With Mort Cooper (22-7, 2.46 ERA), Ted Wilks (17-4, 2.64 ERA), Max Lanier (17-12, 2.65 ERA), and Harry Brecheen (16-5, 2.86 ERA) buzzing through hitters like P-51 Mustangs, St. Louis was never tested, spending only four days out of first place all season and recording the most one-sided National League pennant race in forty years.
Dispatching the overmatched Browns in a six-game World Series, the Cardinals stood atop the baseball world, until outfielder par excellence Musial became Seaman First Class Musial and missed the 1945 season. Musial credited his time at the Bainbridge Training Center in Maryland with helping him become a power-hitter. It was there that Musial altered his batting stance and developed the skills that would make him a Hall of Famer who pummeled National League pitching until his retirement in 1963.
Diamond Mind Baseball is pleased to pay homage to these Wartime ballplayers, many of whom have been forgotten in the twenty-first century. Indeed, the 1944 season was a different world that offered a unique, but exciting, brand of baseball. With our new 1944 season, Diamond Mind allows our customers to travel back to the era of Rosie the Riveter, Victory Gardens, War Bonds, Big Bands, and—most of all--the heroism and sacrifice of America’s Greatest Generation.
The 1944 Deluxe Past Season database contains everything you need to play games using teams and players from the 1944 season -- a full set of ratings and statistics for every player who appeared in the big leagues that year, plus team rosters, manager profiles, ballpark ratings, transactions, and league schedules. Statistics include official batting, pitching and fielding totals with left/right splits for all batters and pitchers.
(The Diamond Mind Baseball - Version 11 game is required to use this product)
- David Pyke