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August 16, 1922|
|Died: June 2, 2001
|September 23, 1943, for the Cleveland Indians|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 15, 1962, for the New York Mets|
|Runs batted in||830|
|Career highlights and awards|
Eugene Richard Woodling (August 16, 1922 – June 2, 2001) was a professional baseball player. He played all or part of seventeen seasons in Major League Baseball for the Cleveland Indians (1943, 1946, 1955–57), Pittsburgh Pirates (1947), New York Yankees (1949–54), Baltimore Orioles (1955, 1958–60), Washington Senators (1961–62), and the New York Mets in their expansion year of 1962. Primarily an outfielder, he played most often in left field. He batted left-handed, threw right-handed, and was born in Akron, Ohio.
Before coming to the majors, Woodling was a four-time minor league batting champion. He mostly played left field when he entered the majors after his time in the U.S. Navy, but spent much time in right field and also played ninety-three games in center.
Woodling played with many teams during his career, the longest term of service being with the Yankees for six years. With them, Woodling had what was probably his best year, 1953. Although he only had 395 at bats, he led the American League with a .429 on-base percentage.
While Woodling was with the Yankees, the team won five consecutive World Series (1949–53). During that time, Yankee manager Casey Stengel praised the outfielder's ability to run and throw. Stengel generally platooned him with right-hander Hank Bauer, but each averaged 400 at bats per season. Woodling hit a solo home run in each World Series from 1951 through 1953, and, in 1951, helped Allie Reynolds secure his first of two no-hitters on the season, when he homered in a 1–0 win over Bob Feller and the Indians. In 1952, Woodling became the first player to pinch-hit a triple in the World Series.
On November 17, 1954, a record seventeen-player deal took place between the Orioles and Yankees, involving Woodling, future twenty-game winner Bob Turley and Don Larsen, who would go on to pitch a perfect game in the 1956 World Series for New York. Woodling had been sidelined for the last part of the 1954 season with a broken arm.
Soon, Woodling moved to the Indians where he set career-highs in home runs (19), runs batted in (78), and batting (.321) in 1957. A few months before he turned forty, he was sent to the New York Mets, where old Yankees manager Casey Stengel was working on his latest project, the newborn Mets. Woodling would be managed by Stengel for the remainder of the 1962 season. He was released before the 1963 season, after publicly criticizing the front office's contract negotiations with Marv Throneberry.
Woodling was appointed on November 20, 1963 as the Orioles' first-base coach by former Yankees teammate Hank Bauer who had become the team's manager one day earlier. He remained in that capacity through the 1966 World Series Championship season and up until the announcement on September 28, 1967 that he would not be retained for the 1968 season.
- Gene Woodling's Secrets of Batting, by Gene Woodling and Robert Smith, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1967.
|Baltimore Orioles first base coach