1940 Detroit Tigers
1940 American League Champions
Major League affiliations
Location
Other information
Owner(s)Walter Briggs, Sr.
General manager(s)Jack Zeller
Manager(s)Del Baker
Local radioWWJ (AM)
(Ty Tyson)
WXYZ
(Harry Heilmann)
< Previous season     Next season >

The 1940 Detroit Tigers season was their 40th since they entered the American League in 1901. The team won the American League pennant with a record of 90–64, finishing just one game ahead of the Cleveland Indians and just two games ahead of the New York Yankees. It was the sixth American League pennant for the Tigers. The team went on to lose the 1940 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds 4 games to 3.

Offseason

Regular season

The 1940 Tigers were led by: Hank Greenberg, who won his second American League MVP award; Rudy York, who was #2 in the AL behind Greenberg in RBIs, total bases and extra base hits; Barney McCosky, who led the major leagues in hits and triples; and Bobo Newsom, who led the major leagues in Adjusted ERA+ and was #2 in the AL behind Bob Feller in ERA, wins, and winning percentage.

With the expansion of Briggs Stadium, the Tigers set a major league attendance record with 1,112,693 fans attending games in 1940. The 1940 Tigers were the first team to draw over 1,000,000 fans.

Season summary

The 1940 Tigers won the American League pennant with a record of 90–64. They narrowly beat the Cleveland Indians led by Bob Feller in a tight pennant race that went back-and-forth right down to the end of the season. The Tigers outscored their opponents 888 to 717 for the season. The Tigers set a major league attendance record with 1,112,693 fans attending games at Briggs Stadium during the 1940 season. The 1940 Tigers were the first team to draw 1,000,000 or more fans.[citation needed]

The players

Catcher: Tebbetts and Sullivan

Catcher Birdie Tebbetts played for the Tigers from 1936 to 1947, missing the 1943–1945 seasons for military service. He was chosen four times for the AL All Star team. In 1940, Tebbetts hit .296 and led all AL catchers in assists (89), errors (17) and double plays (10).

Catching duties were shared with Billy Sullivan, Jr.. He hit .309 with a .399 on-base percentage and .450 slugging percentage for the 1940 Tigers. Sullivan played in 5 of 7 games of the 1940 World Series for the Tigers, scoring three runs with a .389 on-base percentage. His father, Billy Sullivan, was also a catcher for the Tigers in 1916.

Infield: York, Gehringer, Bartell, and Higgins

First baseman Rudy York started as a catcher in 1937. In 1940, the Tigers persuaded Hank Greenberg to move to left field, allowing York to take over at first base. The experiment was successful, as York finished 2nd in the AL in RBIs (134), total bases (343), and extra base hits (85). He also finished 8th in the AL MVP voting, 3rd in the major leagues in times on base (279) and doubles (46) and 4th in the AL in slugging percentage (.583). York was among the American League leaders in home runs for 11 consecutive seasons from 1937 to 1947, and his .503 slugging percentage as a Tiger ranks #4 in franchise history.

Charlie Gehringer, known as "The Mechanical Man" for his quiet consistency, was the Tigers' second baseman from 1924 to 1942. In 1940, the 37-year-old Gehringer hit .313, scored 108 runs, and was 4th in the major leagues in on-base percentage (.428) and 3rd in AL in bases on balls (101).

Shortstop Dick Bartell was known as one of the most ferocious competitors of his era. In 1940, he hit only .233 for the Tigers, but he had 76 walks boosting his on-base percentage by 100 points to .335. He scored 76 runs and drove in 53 runs for the 1940 season. Bartell finished 12th in the AL MVP voting in 1940.

Third baseman Pinky Higgins was the team's starting third baseman from 1939 to 1944. In 1940, he hit .271, drove in 76 runs, hit 13 home runs, and walked 61 times, boosting his on-base percentage to .357.

Outfield: Greenberg, McCosky, Fox, Campbell, and Averill

Left fielder "Hammerin' Hank" Greenberg was the team's and the league's MVP. He was awarded the AL Most Valuable Player award for the second time in his career, the first person to win the MVP award at two different positions (1935 at first base, 1940 at left field). In 1940, Greenberg led the major leagues in RBIs (150), extra base hits (99), slugging percentage (.670), OPS (1.103), total bases (384), doubles (50), and runs created (166). He also led the AL in home runs (41) and at bats per home run (14.0). He was 4th in AL in batting average (.340) and 2nd in the major leagues in on-base percentage (.433), runs scored (134), and times on base (289). Greenberg was drafted into the military in early 1941 (one of the first major league players to be drafted) and lost parts of five seasons (1941–1945) to military service.

Center fielder Barney McCosky also had a tremendous year. For the 1940 season, McCosky led the major leagues in hits (200) and triples (19). He was also 3rd in the major leagues in runs scored (123), and 4th in the AL in times on base (268), 5th in the AL in batting (.340). In the World Series, he hit .304 (7-for-23) with five runs. McCosky finished 16th in the 1940 AL MVP voting. Since 1940, the only Tiger to exceed McCosky's 19 triples is Curtis Granderson in 2007.

Right fielder Pete Fox played 82 games in right field, hitting .289 with a .403 slugging percentage.

Bruce Campbell was traded to the Tigers in January 1940. Campbell played 74 games in right field for the Tigers, sharing the position with Pete Fox. During the regular season, Campbell hit .283 with a .381 on-base percentage and .448 slugging percentage. Campbell played all 7 games of the 1940 World Series and hit .360 with a slugging percentage of .520 in the Series, with a home run and five RBIs.

Hall of Famer Earl Averill was acquired by the Tigers in 1938 and was a backup outfielder for the 1940 team. Averill retired in 1941.

Pitching: Newsom, Bridges, Rowe, Gorsica, Newhouser, and Trout

Bobo Newsom finished 4th in the AL MVP voting in 1940 and was the ace of the Tigers' pitching staff. After losing on Opening Day, Bobo won 13 straight games during the regular season before injuring his thumb. He finished the season as the major league leader in Adjusted ERA+ (167), second in the major leagues in strikeouts (164), and second in the AL in ERA (2.83), wins (21), and winning percentage (.808). Newsom gave a historic effort in the 1940 World Series, pitching three complete games with a 1.38 ERA. After watching his son win Game 1, Bobo's father died in a Cincinnati hotel. Bobo promised to win Game 5 for his father and shut out the Reds, 5–0. Newsom started Game 7 on only one day's rest, and held the Reds to 2 runs, but the Tigers scored only once. The Reds won the game and the World Series, but Newsom's performance was one of the greatest efforts in World Series history.

Schoolboy Rowe finished 7th in the AL MVP voting in 1940 and was the AL leader in winning percentage (.842) with a 16–3 record. He started two games in the 1940 World Series. He lasted a combined 3-2/3 innings in his two starts and lost both games with an ERA of 17.18.

Tommy Bridges was fourth in the AL in both strikeouts (133) and Adjusted ERA+ (140). He was also second in the major leagues in strikeouts per 9 innings pitched (6.06). He started one game of the 1940 World Series, pitching a complete game for the win.

Closer Al Benton led the major leagues in saves (17) and was second in the major leagues in games finished (35).

Hal Newhouser was the youngest player in AL in 1940 at age 19. The future two-time AL MVP started 20 games for the 1940 Tigers and had a record of 9–9.

Rookie Floyd Giebell was one of the most interesting stories of the 1940 season. Giebell made his major league debut in September 1940 as a 30-year-old rookie. Giebel pitched a pair of complete game victories and gave up only two runs in 18 innings for an earned run average of 1.00. On September 27, 1940, the Tigers needed one more win to clinch the pennant. With Bob Feller scheduled to pitch for the Indians, Detroit manager Del Baker decided to start Giebell rather than "waste" his aces Bobo Newsom or Schoolboy Rowe. Time magazine described Giebell at the time as "a gawky stringbean" — Geiebell was 6'2½" (189 cm) and 172 pounds (78 kg) —who "looked like a sacrificial lamb as he ambled out to the mound." But, as Time reported after the game, Giebell was "no lamb" that day. Instead, "[w]ith cunning change of pace and the control of an oldtimer, the green-as-grass rookie shut out the Indians 2-to-0."[2] Feller gave up only 3 hits for the day, but one of them was a 2-run wind-blown home run by Rudy York. Giebell shut out the Indians for 9 innings in one of the great "David vs. Goliath" moments in baseball history.

Season chronology

Season standings

American League W L Pct. GB Home Road
Detroit Tigers 90 64 0.584 50–29 40–35
Cleveland Indians 89 65 0.578 1 51–30 38–35
New York Yankees 88 66 0.571 2 52–24 36–42
Boston Red Sox 82 72 0.532 8 45–34 37–38
Chicago White Sox 82 72 0.532 8 41–36 41–36
St. Louis Browns 67 87 0.435 23 37–39 30–48
Washington Senators 64 90 0.416 26 36–41 28–49
Philadelphia Athletics 54 100 0.351 36 29–42 25–58


Record vs. opponents


Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
Team BOS CWS CLE DET NYY PHI STL WSH
Boston 11–11 8–14 11–11 9–13 18–4 12–10 13–9
Chicago 11–11 6–16 13–9 11–11–1 16–6 13–9 12–10
Cleveland 14–8 16–6 11–11 10–12 14–8 11–11–1 13–9
Detroit 11–11 9–13 11–11 14–8 11–11 18–4–1 16–6
New York 13–9 11–11–1 12–10 8–14 13–9 14–8 17–5
Philadelphia 4–18 6–16 8–14 11–11 9–13 8–14 8–14
St. Louis 10–12 9–13 11–11–1 4–18–1 8–14 14–8 11–11
Washington 9–13 10–12 9–13 6–16 5–17 14–8 11–11


Roster

1940 Detroit Tigers
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

Other batters

Manager

Coaches

Player stats

Batting

Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
C Birdie Tebbetts 111 379 112 .296 4 46
1B Rudy York 155 588 186 .316 33 134
2B Charlie Gehringer 139 515 161 .313 10 81
3B Pinky Higgins 131 480 130 .271 13 76
SS Dick Bartell 139 528 123 .233 7 53
OF Hank Greenberg 148 573 195 .340 41 150
OF Barney McCosky 143 589 200 .340 4 57
OF Pete Fox 93 350 101 .289 5 48

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Bruce Campbell 103 297 84 .283 8 44
Billy Sullivan 78 220 68 .309 3 41
Earl Averill 64 118 33 .280 2 20
Red Kress 33 99 22 .222 1 11
Dutch Meyer 23 58 15 .259 0 6
Frank Croucher 37 57 6 .105 0 2
Tuck Stainback 15 40 9 .225 0 1
Scat Metha 26 37 9 .243 0 3
Pat Mullin 4 4 0 .000 0 0
Frank Secory 1 1 0 .000 0 0

Note: pitchers' batting statistics not included

Pitching

Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Bobo Newsom 36 264.0 21 5 2.83 164
Tommy Bridges 29 197.2 12 9 3.37 133
Schoolboy Rowe 27 169.0 16 3 3.46 61
Johnny Gorsica 29 160.0 7 7 4.33 68
Hal Newhouser 28 133.1 9 9 4.86 89
Cotton Pippen 4 21.1 1 2 6.75 9
Floyd Giebell 2 18.0 2 0 1.00 11

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Dizzy Trout 33 100.2 3 7 4.47 64
Fred Hutchinson 17 76.0 3 7 5.68 32
Lynn Nelson 6 14.0 1 1 10.93 7

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L= Losses; SV = Saves; GF = Games Finished; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV GF ERA SO
Al Benton 42 6 10 17 35 4.42 50
Archie McKain 27 5 0 3 17 2.82 24
Tom Seats 26 2 2 1 10 4.69 25
Clay Smith 14 1 1 0 5 5.08 14
Bud Thomas 3 0 1 0 2 9.00 0
Dick Conger 2 1 0 0 0 3.00 1
Bob Uhl 1 0 0 0 0 inf 0

1940 World Series

Main article: 1940 World Series

World Series summary

The 1940 World Series featured the Detroit Tigers and the Cincinnati Reds, with the Tigers losing in 7 games.

In Game 1, the Tigers beat the Reds, 7–2. It was the 10th straight World Series loss for a National League team. The Tigers scored five runs in the 2nd inning, and Bruce Campbell added a two-run home run. Bobo Newsom held the Reds to eight hits. Newsom's father, visiting from South Carolina, died in a Cincinnati hotel room the day after watching his son win Game 1.

In Game 2, Bucky Walters gave the NL its first World Series game victory, 5–3, since Carl Hubbell beat the Yankees in 1937. Jimmy Ripple hit a two-run home run in the 3rd inning, and Walters gave up only 3 hits.

In Game 3, the Tigers won, 7–3, before a crowd of almost 53,000 at Briggs Stadium. The Tigers had 9 hits and 19 total bases in the 7th and 8th innings off the Reds. Tommy Bridges pitched a complete game.

In Game 4, the Reds won, 5–2. Paul Derringer‚ who had lost 4 World Series starts going back to 1931‚ finally got a win. Detroit starter Dizzy Trout did not make it out of the third inning.

In Game 5, Bobo Newsom got the start for Detroit, just three days after his father's death. Bobo said he was going to pitch the game for his dad. In front of 55,000 fans in Detroit, he shut out the Reds, as the Tigers won 8–0, and took a 3–2 lead in the Series.

In Game 6, Bucky Walters got the win for the Reds with a 4–0 shutout.

The concluding game was a loss for the Tigers, as Bobo Newsom was called on to start on only one day's rest. Detroit got an unearned run in the 3rd inning to take a 1–0 lead. Newsom pitched well, allowing only two runs in the 7th inning. The Tigers scored only once, and the Reds won, 2–1.

Game Score Date Location Attendance Winning Pitcher Losing Pitcher
1 Tigers – 7, Reds – 2 October 2 Crosley Field 31,793 Bobo Newsom Paul Derringer
2 Tigers – 3, Reds – 5 October 3 Crosley Field 30,640 Bucky Walters Schoolboy Rowe
3 Reds – 4, Tigers – 7 October 4 Briggs Stadium 52,877 Tommy Bridges Jim Turner
4 Reds – 5, Tigers – 2 October 5 Briggs Stadium 54,093 Paul Derringer Dizzy Trout
5 Reds – 0, Tigers – 8 October 6 Briggs Stadium 55,189 Bobo Newsom Junior Thompson
6 Tigers – 0, Reds – 4 October 7 Crosley Field 30,481 Bucky Walters Schoolboy Rowe
7 Tigers – 1, Reds – 2 October 8 Crosley Field 26,854 Paul Derringer Bobo Newsom

Postseason player stats

Batting

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Dick Bartell 7 26 7 .269 0 3
Bruce Campbell 7 25 9 .360 1 5
Charlie Gehringer 7 28 6 .214 0 1
Hank Greenberg 7 28 10 .357 1 6
Pinky Higgins 7 24 8 .333 1 6
Barney McCosky 7 23 7 .304 0 1
Billy Sullivan 5 13 2 .154 0 0
Birdie Tebbetts 4 11 0 .000 0 0
Rudy York 7 26 6 .231 1 2

Pitching

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Bobo Newsom 3 26.0 2 1 1.38 17
Johnny Gorsica 2 11.1 0 0 0.79 4
Tommy Bridges 1 9.0 1 0 3.00 5
Clay Smith 1 4.0 0 0 2.25 1
Schoolboy Rowe 2 3.2 0 2 17.18 1
Archie McKain 1 3.0 0 0 3.00 0
Dizzy Trout 1 2.0 0 1 9.00 1
Fred Hutchinson 1 1.0 0 0 9.00 1

Awards and honors

1940 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

League leaders

Players ranking among top 100 all time at position

The following members of the 1934 Detroit Tigers are among the Top 100 of all time at their position, as ranked by The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract in 2001:

Farm system

See also: Minor League Baseball

Level Team League Manager
A1 Beaumont Exporters Texas League Al Vincent
C Hot Springs Bathers Cotton States League Cecil Coombs
C Henderson Oilers East Texas League Jake Atz
C Muskegon Reds Michigan State League Jack Tighe
D Fulton Tigers KITTY League Jim Poole

[5]

References

  1. ^ Wally Moses at Baseball Reference
  2. ^ "Sport: Vegetable Plate". Time. October 7, 1940. Archived from the original on December 7, 2007. Retrieved April 20, 2010.
  3. ^ Red Kress at Baseball Reference
  4. ^ Rookie pitcher beats Feller, Indians, 2–0; A's eliminate Yanks
  5. ^ Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 2nd and 3rd editions. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 1997 and 2007