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Series Wrapup

Story

Although the United States’ involvement in World War II continued to adversely affect the level of play in the major leagues throughout much of the 1945 campaign, the season brought with it hope as the conflict in Europe slowly began to draw to a close.  Some of baseball’s biggest stars returned to their teams during the latter stages of the season, with Bob Feller rejoining the Indians, Charlie Keller returning to the Yankees, and Hank Greenberg rejoining the Tigers.  Greenberg’s return held special significance since it helped shift the balance of power in the hotly-contested American League pennant race.  Rejoining Detroit at midseason after spending the previous 4 ½ years in the military, Greenberg batted .311, hit 13 home runs, drove in 60 runs, and scored 47 others in only 270 at-bats over the final 78 games.  The hulking Greenberg delivered perhaps the biggest blow of the year in the Tigers’ final game of the season when he hit a grand slam home run in the ninth inning to give his team a pennant-clinching 6-3 victory over the defending A.L. champion St. Louis Browns.  The Tigers finished the campaign with a record of 88-65, just 1 ½ games ahead of the second-place Washington Senators.  St. Louis finished third, six games back, while the Yankees came in fourth, 6 ½ games off the pace.

Although the Tigers captured the American League flag for the first time in five years, they had neither the best pitching staff nor the most potent lineup in the junior circuit.  Detroit finished second to New York in runs scored.  Meanwhile, three other teams surrendered fewer runs to the opposition.  

Nick Etten and George “Snuffy” Stirnweiss paced New York’s league-leading offense.  Etten batted .285, hit 18 home runs, and topped the circuit with 111 runs batted in.  Stirnweiss won the batting title with a mark of .309, and he also led the league with 195 hits, 107 runs scored, 22 triples, and 33 stolen bases.    

Pitching is the thing that kept Washington in the pennant race the entire year.  The Senators led the league with a team ERA of 2.92, and their staff featured two of the circuit’s top hurlers.  Dutch Leonard compiled a record of 17-7 and placed among the league leaders with a 2.13 ERA.  Roger Wolff, who posted a winning record just once in his seven-year career, had easily his finest season.  Wolff finished 20-10, with a 2.12 ERA, 21 complete games, and 250 innings pitched.

However, the pennant-winning Tigers had baseball’s best pitcher in Hal Newhouser.  The left-hander kept his team in the pennant-race almost singlehandedly for much of the year, en route to earning A.L. MVP honors for the second straight time.  Newhouser won the pitcher’s Triple Crown by leading all A.L. hurlers with a record of 25-9, an ERA of 1.81, and 212 strikeouts.  He also topped the circuit with 313 innings pitched, 29 complete games, and eight shutouts.  While Hank Greenberg’s midseason return gave the Tigers a huge lift over the final three months of the campaign, they never would have been in a position to capture the American League flag had it not been for Newhouser.

The Tigers met the Chicago Cubs in the World Series and laid claim to the second world championship in franchise history by defeating their National League counterparts in a close, seven-game Series.  After being knocked out of the box in an ugly Game One loss, Newhouser returned to win his next two starts.  Meanwhile, Hank Greenberg starred for Detroit at the plate, batting .304, hitting two homers, and driving in seven runs.  

Other notable events from around the league and players who distinguished themselves over the course of the season included:

• St. Louis shortstop Vern Stephens led the American League with 24 home runs and also placed among the leaders with 89 runs batted in, 90 runs scored, and a .289 batting average.

• One-armed outfielder Pete Gray played the full season for the Browns, posting a batting average of .218.

• Happy Chandler was named the new commissioner of baseball.

• The 1945 All-Star Game was not held due to World War II.  This was the only cancellation in baseball history.

• Dick Fowler of the A's tossed a no-hitter against the Browns on September 9.

• Boston rookie Boo Ferriss won 21 games and finished second in the league with 265 innings pitched and 26 complete games.

• Ferriss set an American League record by starting his career with 22 scoreless innings.

• On July 21, the Tigers and A's played to a 24-inning 1-1 tie.  Detroit starter Les Mueller pitched the first 19 2/3 innings.

• Former major leaguer Harry O'Neill was killed in the Iwo Jima assault.

• The Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Roger Bresnahan, Dan Brouthers, Fred Clarke, Jimmy Collins, Ed Delahanty, Hugh Duffy, Hughie Jennings, Mike Kelly, Jim O’Rourke, and Wilbert Robinson.

• A rule was put into place requiring a player to accumulate at least 400 at-bats to qualify for a batting title.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BOS 1776 5367 599 1393 559 .223 225 44 50 72 50 1856 .338 .270 .624 117 87
CHA 1602 5077 596 1330 544 .212 204 55 22 78 54 1710 .315 .267 .593 120 100
CLE 1670 4898 557 1249 520 .231 216 48 65 19 31 1756 .338 .311 .649 116 0 119
DET 1755 5257 633 1345 588 .186 227 47 77 60 54 1897 .327 .254 .633 112 0 102
NYA 1637 5176 676 1343 639 .225 189 61 93 64 43 1933 .317 .304 .631 102 95
PHA 1717 5296 494 1297 439 .197 201 37 33 25 45 1671 .316 .260 .599 105 96
SLA 1701 5227 597 1302 557 .206 215 37 63 25 31 1780 .292 .281 .594 102 0 124
WS1 1690 5326 622 1375 569 .202 197 63 27 110 65 1779 .309 .250 .585 116 0 114

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BOS 292 71 83 1391 490 656 6063 1389 58 68.670 587 674 71 15 13 30 4
CHA 236 71 78 1329 486 448 5750 1400 63 44.750 546 633 84 12 13 17 2
CLE 263 73 72 1302 497 501 5559 1269 39 69.200 479 548 76 14 12 23 5
DET 286 88 65 1391 588 538 5899 1305 48 56.280 463 565 78 19 16 29 5
NYA 254 81 71 1354 474 485 5709 1277 66 48.400 520 606 78 8 14 27 4
PHA 273 52 98 1379 531 571 5972 1380 55 56.560 556 638 65 10 8 18 1
SLA 264 81 70 1381 570 506 5862 1307 59 96.940 483 548 91 10 8 16 3
WS1 266 87 67 1411 550 440 5943 1307 42 224.900 459 562 82 18 11 18 4

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BOS 1642 6301 4168 1964 169 .977 0 0 0 0 18
CHA 1517 5985 3991 1814 180 .956 0 0 0 0 9
CLE 1536 5596 3909 1561 126 .970 0 0 0 0 18
DET 1607 6217 4182 1877 158 .945 0 0 0 0 11
NYA 1513 5973 4065 1733 175 .961 0 0 0 0 8
PHA 1577 6211 4140 1903 168 .951 0 0 0 0 9
SLA 1599 5965 4148 1674 143 .934 0 0 0 0 6
WS1 1580 6194 4245 1766 183 .962 0 0 0 0 40

West

Central

East

Awards

Silver Slugger

Gold Glove

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Tagged:
1945 World Series, American League, Bob Feller, Boo Ferriss, Charlie Keller, Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, Dick Fowler, Dutch Leonard, Hal Newhouser, Hank Greenberg, Happy Chandler, Les Mueller, Nick Etten, Pete Gray, Roger Wolff, Snuffy Stirnweiss, Vern Stephens

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