Tuesday, March 12, 2013

#170 Gene Woodling



Gene Woodling's career stretched from 1943 with the Indians through 1962 with the expansion Mets. Along the way he was a reliable hitter who had a good on base percentage, a .284 lifetime average, hit .318 in five World Series (he won them all as a Yankee and they were in consecutive years), had enough power to register double digit homers nine times, made the AL All Star team in 1959 and garnered a reputation as an all around valuable edition to every team he played for and a good guy to boot.

He broke into pro ball in 1940 as a 17 year old Indians signee and made the bigs in 1943 as noted. After a couple of years in the Navy during WWII Woodling returned to the Indians, was traded to the Pirates and then to the Yankees where he spent 6 seasons and won his five rings.

His first run with the Orioles, in 1955, wasn't very successful but after three years in Cleveland he returned to Charm City in 1958 and was one of the clubs better players. He continued on to play for the expansion Senators and then the Mets before retiring.

After his playing days he served as a coach for the Orioles for several years. He published a book on hitting in the late 60s. He died in 2001. EDIT: for some reason my browser is giving me a malware warning when I attempt to access the SABR site. YMMV  His SABR page is a very complete bio... as always it's recommended.


more late edit:

Gene has a page at the Baseball in Wartime blog. And it features this great picture. Not sure how I missed that in my initial research.


VERY LATE EDIT (Feb 20, 2014)... In a comment Paul pointed out that this picture on the baseball in Wartime site was flipped horizontally. Here is a corrected picture:


6 comments:

  1. I remember an old baseball digest article written at the time the new Senators were established. Gene wasn't exactly happy about being an expansion castoff. I can see his point, he was coming off a good season even garnering some MVP votes. Despite this he carried on, hitting .313. He continued to hit pretty good the next year splitting time between the Nats (still bad) and the Mets (even worse).

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    1. I saw that someplace myself, but I can't find it now. It might be the SABR site which Google is insistent has malware. I also read that the Mets released him in '63 because he was critical of their handling of Marv Throneberry's contract. That story comes up in several places.

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  2. The picture is reversed. He's holding the bat as a right-hand hitter.

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    1. Actually I :::think::: he's in one of those goofy 'follow-through' poses. His left hand is on top as it would be for a lefty hitter. It's as if the photographer said "Swing the bat, them freeze and I'll snap it."

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    2. If you look at the uniform, the O in NEW YORK is visible, and it looks like the R is to the left of the O and the Y is to the right.

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    3. OK, Paul, I gotcha this time. I originally thought you were referring to the card's photo. I see what you are saying on the Yankee 'glamour' shot.

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