1939 New York Yankees season

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1939 New York Yankees
Lou Gehrig's Number is retired
1939 American League Champions
1939 World Series Champions
Major League affiliations
Location
Other information
Owner(s) Estate of Jacob Ruppert
Manager(s) Joe McCarthy
Local radio WABC (AM)
(Arch McDonald, Garnett Marks, Mel Allen)
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The 1939 New York Yankees season was the team's 37th season in New York, and its 39th overall. The team finished with a record of 106-45, winning their 11th pennant, finishing 17 games ahead of the Boston Red Sox. New York was managed by Joe McCarthy. The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they beat the Cincinnati Reds in 4 games. This marked the first time any team had won four consecutive World Series.

Regular season[edit]

The 1939 New York Yankees are one of only three teams (the 1927 and 1998 Yankees being the others) to ever finish the regular season with over a .700 winning percentage, lead the league in runs scored and runs allowed, and go on to sweep the World Series. The 1939 Yankees are the only team to ever outscore their regular season opponents by over 400 runs (967-556).

"The Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth"[edit]

The Yankee duo reunited – Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth (r) on Lou Gehrig Day (July 4, 1939).
YankeesRetired4.svg
Lou Gehrig's number 4 was retired by the New York Yankees in 1939.

On June 21, the New York Yankees announced first baseman Lou Gehrig's retirement and proclaimed July 4, 1939, "Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day" at Yankee Stadium. Between games of the Independence Day doubleheader against the Washington Senators, the poignant ceremonies were held on the diamond. In its coverage the following day, The New York Times said it was "Perhaps as colorful and dramatic a pageant as ever was enacted on a baseball field [as] 61,808 fans thundered a hail and farewell".[1] Dignitaries extolled the dying slugger and the members of the 1927 Yankees World Championship team, known as "Murderer's Row", attended the ceremonies. New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia called Gehrig "the greatest prototype of good sportsmanship and citizenship" and Postmaster General James Farley concluded his speech by predicting, "For generations to come, boys who play baseball will point with pride to your record."[1]

Yankees manager Joe McCarthy, struggling to control his emotions, then spoke of Lou Gehrig, with whom there was a close, almost father and son-like bond. After describing Gehrig as "the finest example of a ballplayer, sportsman, and citizen that baseball has ever known", McCarthy could stand it no longer. Turning tearfully to Gehrig, the manager said, "Lou, what else can I say except that it was a sad day in the life of everybody who knew you when you came into my hotel room that day in Detroit and told me you were quitting as a ballplayer because you felt yourself a hindrance to the team. My God, man, you were never that."

The Yankees retired Gehrig's uniform number "4", making him the first player in history to be afforded that honor. Gehrig was given many gifts, commemorative plaques, and trophies. Some came from VIPs; others came from the stadium's groundskeepers and janitorial staff. Footage of the ceremonies shows Gehrig being handed various gifts, and immediately setting them down on the ground, because he no longer had the arm strength to hold them.

Notable transactions[edit]

Roster[edit]

1939 New York Yankees
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders Manager

Coaches

Player stats[edit]

Batting[edit]

Starters by position[edit]

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 Dickey, BillBill Dickey 128 480 145 .302 24 105
1B Dahlgren, BabeBabe Dahlgren 144 531 125 .235 15 89
2B Gordon, JoeJoe Gordon 151 567 161 .284 28 111
3B Rolfe, RedRed Rolfe 152 648 213 .329 14 80
SS Crosetti, FrankieFrankie Crosetti 152 656 154 .233 10 56
OF DiMaggio, JoeJoe DiMaggio 120 462 176 .381 30 126
OF Selkirk, GeorgeGeorge Selkirk 128 418 128 .306 21 101
OF Keller, CharlieCharlie Keller 111 398 133 .334 11 83

Other batters[edit]

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
Henrich, TommyTommy Henrich 99 347 96 .277 9 57
Rosar, BuddyBuddy Rosar 43 105 29 .276 0 12
Powell, JakeJake Powell 31 86 21 .244 1 9
Gallagher, JoeJoe Gallagher 14 41 10 .244 2 9
Gehrig, LouLou Gehrig 8 28 4 .143 0 1
Knickerbocker, BillBill Knickerbocker 6 13 2 .154 0 1
Jorgens, ArtArt Jorgens 3 0 0 ---- 0 0

Pitching[edit]

Starting pitchers[edit]

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

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Ruffing, RedRed Ruffing 28 233.1 21 7 2.93 95
Gomez, LeftyLefty Gomez 26 198 12 8 3.41 102
Hadley, BumpBump Hadley 26 154 12 6 2.98 65
Donald, AtleyAtley Donald 24 153 13 3 3.71 55
Pearson, MonteMonte Pearson 22 146.1 12 5 4.49 76
Hildebrand, OralOral Hildebrand 21 126.2 10 4 3.06 50
Ferrell, WesWes Ferrell 3 19.3 1 2 4.66 6

Other pitchers[edit]

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

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Sundra, SteveSteve Sundra 24 121.2 11 1 2.76 27
Russo, MariusMarius Russo 21 116 8 3 2.41 55

Relief pitchers[edit]

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

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Murphy, JohnnyJohnny Murphy 38 3 6 19 4.40 30
Chandler, SpudSpud Chandler 11 3 0 0 2.84 4
Breuer, MarvMarv Breuer 1 1 0 0 9.00 0

1939 World Series[edit]

Main article: 1939 World Series

AL New York Yankees (4) vs. NL Cincinnati Reds (0)

Game Score Date Location Attendance
1 Reds – 1, Yankees – 2 October 4 Yankee Stadium 58,541
2 Reds – 0, Yankees – 4 October 5 Yankee Stadium 59,791
3 Yankees – 7, Reds – 3 October 7 Crosley Field 32,723
4 Yankees – 7, Reds – 4 (10 innings) October 8 Crosley Field 32,794

Awards and honors[edit]

Greatest teams of all time rank[edit]

The book Baseball Dynasties: The Greatest Teams of All Time ranked the 1939 New York Yankees the greatest MLB team of all time.

Farm system[edit]

Level Team League Manager
AA Kansas City Blues American Association Billy Meyer
AA Newark Bears International League Johnny Neun
A Binghamton Triplets Eastern League Bruno Betzel
B Norfolk Tars Piedmont League Ray White
B Augusta Tigers Sally League Lefty Jenkins
B Wenatchee Chiefs Western International League Glenn Wright
C Amsterdam Rugmakers Canadian-American League Eddie Sawyer
C Akron Yankees Middle Atlantic League Pip Koehler
C Joplin Miners Western Association Claude Jonnard
D Newport Canners Appalachian League Pete Doyle, Clarence Harris, Bob O'Brien,
Ken Mackes and Art Ruble
D El Paso Texans Arizona-Texas League Ted Mayer
D Neosho Yankees Arkansas-Missouri League Dennis Burns
D Easton Yankees Eastern Shore League Ray Powell
D Butler Yankees Pennsylvania State Association Tom Kain
D Big Spring Barons West Texas-New Mexico League Tony Rego
D Norfolk Elks Western League Doc Bennett

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Augusta[3]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b John Drebinger, "61,808 Fans Roar Tribute to Gehrig", The New York Times, July 5, 1939.
  2. ^ Len Gabrielson page at Baseball Reference
  3. ^ Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 2nd and 3rd editions. Durham, N.C.: Baseball America, 1997 and 2007

References[edit]