The best thing about 1942 was that it wasn't 1941, as far as the Tigers were concerned.

However, 1942 didn't bring back Hank Greenberg; he was still serving his country in the military, World War II in full swing, the United States deeply involved thanks to the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

And future Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer was lost, too. Gehringer became a coach and all but retired, appearing in just 45 games, 44 of them as a pinch-hitter. Gehringer turned 39 in May and it was time now to end his brilliant playing career.

Rudy York, the first baseman, slumped to .260 with just 21 home runs. Gehringer's replacement at 2B was Jimmy Bloodworth, acquired from Washington in the off-season. But Bloodworth was a mediocre hitter and nowhere near Gehringer in terms of raw skill.

On the mound, righthander Dizzy Trout became the team's ace by default. However, the Tigers were excited by young Hal Newhouser, the 21-year-old lefty who had a lively arm. But Newhouser was very raw and his arm was TOO lively---Hal walked 114 in 183 innings.

The Tigers actually got off to a pretty good start in 1942---13-7---but their flaws were soon exposed and it was evident that they were no longer among the AL elite, at least not with a Hank Greenberg-less lineup and a virtually retired Charlie Gehringer.

The only X-factor was that, thanks to the war, players were being lost to military service all over baseball, including even stars like Ted Williams. With that happening, some baseball observers theorized that some teams might benefit from all the player shuffling.

The Tigers finished 1942 with a 73-81 record and in fifth place.

By GregEno

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