1946 Deluxe Past Season with transaction and lineups available now!

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1946: The Boys Are Back in Town

by Steve Ehresman

In 1946, Winston Churchill gave his famous Iron Curtain Speech; Nazi war criminals were sentenced to death by the International War Crimes Tribunal in Nuremberg; the General Assembly of the United Nation met for the first time; and—for Major League Baseball—the stars returned from the War to treat America to a new era of seasons in the sun.

Despite the challenge posed by Jorge Pascual’s Mexican League, Major League Baseball, under the leadership of Commissioner Albert “Happy” Chandler, experienced a record-breaking year, as turnstiles clicked at nearly double their 1945 rate, which happened to be the old record for putting fannies in the seats.  All sixteen teams enjoyed an increase in attendance.  Even the lowly Washington Senators and Philadelphia Phillies surpassed the magic million mark.  In all, five teams drew over a million fans for the first time, and the New York Yankees became the first team to attract two million customers.

These fans were rewarded with a baseball season that historians still celebrate.  In Boston, the Red Sox put together a 15-game winning streak in May and captured their first pennant in 28 years, winning 104 games and breezing past the defending World Series champs, the Detroit Tigers, by 12 games.    

Despite the “Williams Shift,” devised by Cleveland Indian player-manager Lou Boudreau, “Teddy Ballgame”, 27-years-old and hungry after serving as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, won the MVP,  compiling a .342 batting average, walloping 38 home runs, drawing a major league-leading 156 walks, and driving in 123 runs.  Williams was not alone in his offensive exploits, as Rudy York (30 2B, 17 HR, 119 RBI), Bobby Doerr (34 2B, 18 HR, 116 RBI), and Johnny Pesky (208 hits, 43 2B, .335) came through with seasons that put the Red Sox atop the American League in runs (792), hits (1441), doubles (268), RBI (736), walks (687), and batting average (.271). 

“The Sawx” also possessed one the most effective pitching staffs in the American League.  Featuring Boo Ferris (40 G, 35 GS, 26 CG, 274 IP, 25-6, 3.25), Tex Hughson (20-11, 39 G, 35 GS, 21 CG, 278 IP, 20-11, 2.75), and Mickey Harris (17-9, 34 G, 30 GS, 15 CG, 236 IP, 17-9, 3.63), Boston pitching was both talented and deep. 

The American League could boast of a Herculean performance by the Detroit Tigers’ Hank Greenberg in his first full season after the War.  Smashing 44 home runs and recording 127 RBI, both major league highs, Greenberg enjoyed one of his most productive seasons.  Hal Newhouser, the ace of Detroit’s 1945 champs, put together a stellar season against much tougher competition.  “Prince Hal” dominated with a 25-9 record, along with 37 G, 34 GS, 29 CG, 293 IP, 275 K, and a major league-leading 1.94 ERA.

The New York Yankees featured a comeback by “The Yankee Clipper” Joe DiMaggio (20 2B, 3 3B, 25 HR, 95 RBI, .290), a fine all-around performance by teammate Charlie “King Kong” Keller (29 2B, 10 3B, 30 HR, 113 BB, 101 RBI), and a superior season on the hill by Spurgeon “Spud” Chandler (20-8, 34 G, 32 GS, 20 CG, 257 IP, 138 K, 2.10).     

 James “Mickey” Vernon of the Washington Senators captured the American League batting title with a.353 average. slamming 51 doubles to lead the Majors   Bob “Rapid Robert” Feller of the Cleveland Indians enjoyed one of his best seasons (48 G, 42 GS, 36 CG, 371 IP, 26-15, 348 K, 10 SHO, 2.18).  Nevertheless, their teams finished fourth (76-78) and sixth (68-86), respectively.  Far below the .500 mark were Connie Mack’s cellar-dwelling Philadelphia Athletics (49-105), a whopping 55 games behind the Red Sox.       

The National League provided drama for baseball fans, with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Brooklyn Dodgers slugging it out in a pennant race that might not have happened.  Not only did the Red Birds lose two stalwart pitchers—Mort Cooper to the Boston Braves and Max Lanier to the Mexican League--but manager Billy Southworth, who had led St. Louis to two World Series championships during the War (1942 and 1944), flew the coup to join Cooper in Beantown.  Further, Whitey Kurowski, Enos Slaughter, and Stan Musial were close to joining Max Lanier South of the Border before they backed off and remained in St. Louis. 

In a season similar to 1942, the Dodgers charged into the lead, only to see the Cardinals mount a late stretch-run to end the season in a flat-footed tie with Brooklyn (each team finishing at 96-58), forcing an unprecedented three-game playoff to determine the National League’s representative in the World Series.  The Cards took two straight games from the Bums to claim the pennant.  

MVP Stan “The Man” Musial put together an historic season, as he scored 124 runs, recorded 228 hits, slammed 50 doubles, legged-out 20 triples, blasted 16 home runs, and knocked in 103 runs, while batting .365 to lead the Major Leagues and slugging .587 to lead the National League.  Assisting Musial were George “Whitey” Kurowski (32 2B, 14 HR, 89 RBI, .301) and Enos “Country” Slaughter (30 2B, 18 HR, 130 RBI, .300).  Musial’s 366 total bases were 83 more than National League runner-up Slaughter collected.

On the hill, the Red Birds were powered by a three-pronged attack comprised of Howie Pollet (40 G, 32 GS, 22 CG, 266 IP, 21-10, 2.10), Murray Dickson (47 G, 19 GS, 12 CG, 184 IP, 15-6, 2.89), and Harry “The Cat” Brecheen (36 G, 30 GS, 14 CG, 231 IP, 2.49).  The depth of the Cardinals’ pitching staff was underscored by contributions from Al Brazle (37 G, 15 GS, 6 CG, 153 IP, 3.29) and Ted Wilks (40 G, 95 IP, 3.41)

Despite their falling in a play-off to the Cardinals, the Brooklyn Dodgers gave the Ebbets Field faithful much to cheer.  Harold “Pee Wee” Reese (16 2B, 10 3B, 10 SB, 60 RBI, .284), Carl Furillo (335 AB, 18 2B, 6 3B, .284), and Fred “Dixie” Walker (29 2B, 116 RBI, 14 SB, .319) steadied the Dodgers all season and might have parlayed their leadership into a pennant, had it not been for Pete Reiser’s broken ankle.  Without Reiser (21 2B, 73 RBI, 34 SB), Brooklyn experienced the first of many seasons that ended in disappointment.  Perhaps it was here that the cry “Wait till Next Year!” was born.     

Like their rivals in St. Louis, the Dodgers featured an outstanding pitching staff:  Kirby Higbe (42 G, 29 GS, 11 CG, 211 IP, 17-8, 3.03), Joe Hatten (42 C, 30 GS, 13 CG, 222 IP, 14-11, 2.84), and Vic Lombardi (41 G, 25 GS, 13 CG, 193 IP, 13-10, 2.89).  Swing man Hank Behrman (47 G, 11 GS, 151 IP, 11-5, 2.92) and relief ace Hugh Casey (46 G, 100 IP, 11-5, 1.98) were also valuable members of Brooklyn’s mound crew.   

Plagued by injuries to Don Johnson, Stan Hack, Mickey Livingston, and Andy Pafko, as well as by slumps, the Chicago Cubs, defending National League champions, dropped to third place (82-71).  No one in “The Windy City “could have foreseen that the Cubs would wait 71 years before appearing in another Fall Classic, redeeming themselves by breaking a 108-year drought to become World Series Champions.                                

Although Ralph Kiner’s Pittsburgh Pirates finished a dismal 7th (63-91), the twenty-three-year-old rookie slugger blasted a league-leading 23 home runs to tie Pittsburgh’s team record set by another rookie, Johnny Rizzo in 1938.  In addition, Kiner drove in 109 runs.  Before the 1946 season, Pirate manager Billy Herman and principal owner John Galbreath possessed the foresight to bring in the left field wall at Forbes Field.  The close-in seats of left field were dubbed “Greenberg’s Gardens” when the Pirates acquired “Hammerin’ Hank” in 1947.  After Greenberg’s retirement, this homer-friendly territory, 340 feet from home plate, earned a new and enduring nickname, “Kiner’s Korner.”           

Back from the War but suffering a broken bone in his hand, Johnny Mize of the New York Giants made the most of his opportunities (377 AB), as he slammed 18 2B, blasted 22 HR, and drove in 70 runs, while batting .337 and slugging .576.  Nevertheless, “Big Jawn’s” team plummeted to the cellar (61-93), as Sal Maglie, Harry Feldman, Ace Adams, and Danny Gardella jumped ship to join the Mexican League.  Frustrated by his having to manage a Swiss cheese roster depleted by defections, manager Mel Ott was ejected from both games of a doubleheader when his Giants dropped a twin-bill to the Pirates on June 9.

It’s hard to believe, but Kiner and Mize were the only National Leaguers to reach or exceed 20 home runs.  For the season, the National League hit 562 homers, while the American League, bolstered by Hank Greenberg (44), Ted Williams (38), Charlie Keller (30), Joe DiMaggio (25), Pat Seerey (26), and Sam Chapman (20), launched 653.      

Quietly putting together a solid pitching staff, the Boston Braves featured Johnny Sain (37 G, 34 GS, 24 CG, 265 IP, 20-14, 129 K, 2.21) and a southpaw who had barely had a cup of coffee in the Big Leagues before going to war.  This twenty-five-year-old, Warren Spahn (24 G, 16 GS, 8 CG, 128 IP, 8-5, 2.93), showed promise that he had a bright future.  In 1947, he would begin to fulfill that promise.       

The 1946 World Series, a seven-game struggle between Williams’ Red Sox and Musial’s Cardinals, featured clutch performances by Harry Brecheen, who picked up three victories, and Enos Slaughter, who, despite a painful elbow, starred in one of Major League Baseball’s iconic October moments.  On first base with two outs, Slaughter took off when Cardinal left fielder Harry Walker hit a line drive over the head of Boston shortstop Johnny Pesky.  When Len Culberson fielded the ball and relayed it to the infield, Slaughter, ignoring a stop sign from third base coach Mike Gonzalez, slid safely into home, putting St. Louis ahead 4-3 with what proved to be the winning run in the decisive seventh game. Red Sox nation is still replaying “Slaughter’s Mad Dash” in their nightmares. 

Diamond Mind Baseball presents the 1946 season, the first of the post-War era.  In a year when bikinis went on sale in Paris, Tupperware appeared in department and hardware stores, and Dean Martin, Bill Haley, and B. B. King began their musical careers, Major League Baseball ruled the sporting world.  With the Greatest Generation back home, America could take a long, deep breath.  Unforeseen challenges lay ahead, but for one summer, the summer of 1946, we could relax and enjoy our freedom.


The 1946 Deluxe Past Season database contains everything you need to play games using teams and players from the 1946 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 and league schedules. Statistics include official batting, pitching and fielding totals with left/right splits for all batters and pitchers.

Also included is a complete set of real-life player transactions -- trades, disabled list moves, promotions, demotions, suspensions, and more -- plus the actual starting lineups for every regular season game played.

If you are a registered owner of the 1946 Classic Past Season, you are eligible for upgrade pricing for this item. Send an email to dmb_info@imaginesports.com to request your discount promotion code.

Note: This season database is a companion product for the Diamond Mind Baseball version 11 game. To use this database, you must also have Diamond Mind Baseball version 11. The game software provides you with all of the tools you need to play simulated games, make roster moves, produce dozens of statistical reports, generate league schedules, and more.

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