1938 Leaders & Numbers

Jimmie Foxx had a full season’s worth of stats at Fenway Park alone, with 35 homers and 104 RBIs—but also showed that he wasn’t all downtown by winning his third batting title. Foxx was outpaced by Hank Greenberg, who went yard 39 times at home in Detroit. Mel Ott’s one-year move to third base not only shored up a Giant weakness, but failed to distract him at the plate—reaching .300, 30 homers, 100 runs, 100 RBIs and 100 walks for the fourth and final time in his career. To show how lead-footed baseball had become, Stan Hack’s 16 steals set an all-time NL low for a league leader. Johnny Rizzo, the latest in a long line of 1930s rookies who enjoyed the honeymoon before pitchers figured him out, became the first Pirate ever to hit 20 homers. Ival Goodman did Rizzo one better as the first Red to hit 30, thanks to further reduction of Crosley Field’s outfield. Four of Bill Lee’s NL-high nine shutouts came consecutively and helped secure his only NL ERA title. First there was Three Finger Brown, and then there was One Toe Red Ruffing, making it work for the Yankees despite his handicap brought on by a mining accident in another life. Bob Feller became the first pitcher to walk 200 batters, but made up as opponents hit an AL-low .220 against him. After spending the bulk of his career solely with a fastball that seldom got his ERA below 5.00, Danny MacFayden wrapped up his third straight year south of 3.00 thanks to a more successful mix of deliveries. Besides his two straight no-hitters, Johnny Vander Meer also won the All-Star Game for the NL.

The Ten Best National League Hitters, 1938
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HB SB GD
1. Mel Ott NewYork 150 .311 527 116 164 23 6 36 116 118 5 2 8
2. Johnny Mize St. Louis 149 .337 531 85 179 34 16 27 102 74 4 0 14
3. Joe Medwick St. Louis 146 .322 590 100 190 47 8 21 122 42 2 0 21
4. Dolph Camilli Brooklyn 146 .251 509 106 128 25 11 24 100 119 0 6 5
5. Ival Goodman Cincinnati 145 .292 568 103 166 27 10 30 92 63 15 3 10
6. Johnny Rizzo Pittsburgh 143 .301 555 97 167 31 9 23 111 54 5 1 16
7. Arky Vaughan Pittsburgh 148 .322 541 88 174 35 5 7 68 104 2 14 8
8. Stan Hack Chicago 152 .320 609 109 195 34 11 4 67 94 0 16 6
9. Ernie Koy Brooklyn 142 .299 521 78 156 29 13 11 76 38 4 15 11
10. Frank McCormick Cincinnati 151 .327 640 89 209 40 4 5 106 18 3 1 15
The Ten Best American League Hitters, 1938
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HB SB CS
1. Jimmie Foxx Boston 149 .349 565 139 197 33 9 50 175 119 0 5 4
2. Hank Greenberg Detroit 155 .315 556 144 175 23 4 58 146 119 3 7 5
3. Joe DiMaggio New York 145 .324 599 129 194 32 13 32 140 59 2 6 1
4. Harlond Clift St. Louis 149 .290 534 119 155 25 7 34 118 118 5 10 5
5. Jeff Heath Cleveland 126 .343 502 104 172 31 18 21 112 33 0 3 1
6. Charlie Gehringer Detroit 152 .306 568 133 174 32 5 20 107 113 4 14 1
7. Bob Johnson Philadelphia 152 .313 563 114 176 27 9 30 113 87 2 9 8
8. Rudy York Detroit 135 .298 463 85 138 27 2 33 127 92 2 1 2
9. Lou Gehrig New York 157 .295 576 115 170 32 6 29 114 107 5 6 1
10. Bill Dickey New York 132 .313 454 84 142 27 4 27 115 75 2 3 7
The Ten Best National League Pitchers, 1938
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV G GS IP TB ER BB WP HB BK
1. Bill Lee Chicago 2.66 22 9 .710 2 44 37 291 335 86 74 3 2 1
2. Danny MacFayden Boston 2.95 14 9 .609 0 29 29 219.2 226 72 64 3 5 0
3. Russ Bauers Pittsburgh 3.07 13 14 .481 3 40 34 243 228 83 99 6 6 0
4. Clay Bryant Chicago 3.10 19 11 .633 2 44 30 270.1 253 93 125 5 1 1
5. Paul Derringer Cincinnati 2.93 21 14 .600 3 41 37 307 375 100 49 1 0 0
6. Freddie Fitzsimmons Brooklyn 3.02 11 8 .579 0 27 26 202.2 229 68 43 3 3 1
7. Bob Klinger Pittsburgh 2.99 12 5 .706 1 28 21 159.1 173 53 42 0 6 2
8. Charlie Root Chicago 2.86 8 7 .533 8 44 11 160.2 193 51 30 0 2 0
9. Jim Turner Boston 3.46 14 19 .438 0 35 34 268 330 103 54 1 5 0
10. Johnny Vander Meer Cincinnati 3.12 15 10 .600 0 32 29 225.1 213 78 103 5 3 0
The Ten Best American League Pitchers, 1938
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV G GS IP TB ER BB WP HB BK
1. Lefty Gomez New York 3.35 18 12 .600 0 32 32 239 260 89 99 5 1 0
2. Red Ruffing New York 3.31 21 7 .750 0 31 31 247.1 294 91 82 1 0 1
3. Lefty Grove Boston 3.08 14 4 .778 1 24 21 163.2 193 56 52 3 1 0
4. Mel Harder Cleveland 3.83 17 10 .630 4 38 29 240 305 102 62 1 5 0
5. Thornton Lee Chicago 3.49 13 12 .520 1 33 30 245.1 288 95 94 2 3 0
6. Dutch Leonard Washington 3.43 12 15 .444 0 33 31 223.1 254 85 53 11 7 0
7. Bob Feller Cleveland 4.08 17 11 .607 1 39 36 277.2 264 126 208 5 7 1
8. Spud Chandler New York 4.03 14 5 .737 0 23 23 172 204 77 47 0 2 1
9. Bobo Newsom St. Louis 5.08 20 16 .556 1 44 40 329.2 424 186 192 3 5 1
10. George Caster Philadelphia 4.35 16 20 .444 1 42 40 281.1 385 136 117 5 3 0

Brown type indicates league leader.
Notes: Walks (BB) do not include intentional walks (IB). For pitchers, caught stealing (CS) also includes pickoffs.
How does This Great Game determine the best hitters and pitchers? Find out here.


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1938 Awards


NL MVP
Ernie Lombardi, Cincinnati

AL MVP
Jimmie Foxx, Boston