1940 Leaders & Numbers

Johnny Mize had two things in common with future Colorado slugger Andres Galarraga: The same nickname (“Big Cat”) and statistics worthy of Coors Field. Closing out the prodigious pre-war stage of his career, Hank Greenberg pocketed an extra $10,000 to relocate to the outfield and make room at first base for all-hit, no-glove catcher Rudy York; both excelled. In Boston, Jimmie Foxx returned behind the plate where his big-league career began 15 years earlier, giving hot-hitting Lou Finney an everyday role at first. Despite outstanding sophomore numbers, the honeymoon was over for Ted Williams at Fenway, going nose-to-nose with local fans and press before demanding (and being denied) a trade to Detroit. Joe Kuhel finally won over White Sox fans still angry with the trade that sent him to Chicago for popular Zeke Bonura. Bucky Walters performed a carbon copy of his 1939 effort, again leading the NL in wins, complete games, innings, ERA and opponents’ batting average. Bob Feller delivered his usual heat to rack up a personal high in wins, his only ERA title and his first no-hitter—but also took a lot of heat for his role as co-conspirator in the failed mutiny of skipper Ossie Vitt. Claude Passeau, thrilled to be exiled from the down-and-out Phillies, enjoyed the second and best of eight straight years finishing .500 or above at Chicago. Kirby Higbe awaited his chance for freedom from the Phillie mound; Brooklyn was ready to oblige him. Eldon Auker, sold off to the destitute Browns as part of an AL-wide scheme to stand them back up financially, became their first starter since 1935 to produce an ERA under 4.00.

The Ten Best National League Hitters, 1940
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HB SB GD
1. Johnny Mize St. Louis 155 .314 579 111 182 31 13 43 137 82 5 7 10
2. Dolph Camilli Brooklyn 142 .287 512 92 147 29 13 23 96 89 4 9 6
3. Arky Vaughan Pittsburgh 156 .300 594 113 178 40 15 7 95 88 3 12 5
4. Frank McCormick Cincinnati 155 .309 618 93 191 44 3 19 127 52 5 2 23
5. Elbie Fletcher Pittsburgh 147 .273 510 94 139 22 7 16 104 119 9 5 12
6. Bill Nihcolson Chicago 135 .297 491 78 146 27 7 25 98 50 3 2 7
7. Enos Slaughter St. Louis 140 .306 516 96 158 25 13 17 73 50 2 8 4
8. Stan Hack Chicago 149 .317 603 101 191 38 6 8 40 75 3 2 3
9. Mel Ott New York 151 .289 536 89 155 27 3 19 79 100 6 6 9
10. Hank Lieber Chicago 117 .302 440 68 133 24 2 17 86 45 3 1 8
The Ten Best American League Hitters, 1940
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HB SB CS GD
1. Hank Greenberg Detroit 148 .340 573 129 195 50 8 41 150 93 1 6 3 15
2. Ted Williams Boston 144 .344 561 134 193 43 14 23 113 96 3 4 4 13
3. Joe DiMaggio New York 132 .352 508 93 179 28 9 31 133 61 3 1 2 16
4. Rudy York Detroit 155 .316 588 105 186 46 6 33 134 89 4 3 2 12
5. Jimmie Foxx Boston 144 .297 515 106 153 30 4 36 119 101 9 4 7 18
6. Joe Cronin Boston 149 .285 548 104 156 35 6 24 111 83 1 7 5 6
7. Barney McCosky Detroit 143 .340 589 123 200 39 19 4 57 67 1 13 9 8
8. Charlie Keller New York 138 .286 500 102 143 18 15 21 93 106 0 8 2 11
9. Joe Kuhel Chicago 155 .280 603 111 169 28 8 27 94 87 3 12 5 11
10. Joe Gordon New York 155 .281 616 112 173 32 10 30 103 52 3 18 8 12
The Ten Best National League Pitchers, 1940
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV G GS IP TB ER BB WP HB BK
1. Bucky Walters Cincinnati 2.48 22 10 .688 0 36 36 305 298 84 92 3 5 0
2. Claude Passeau Chicago 2.50 20 13 .606 5 46 31 280.2 283 78 59 0 4 0
3. Rip Sewell Pittsburgh 2.80 16 5 .762 1 33 23 189.2 187 59 67 2 3 0
4. Paul Derringer Cincinnati 3.06 20 12 .625 0 37 37 296.2 331 101 48 1 0 0
5. Larry French Chicago 3.29 14 14 .500 2 40 33 246 276 90 64 0 4 0
6. Jim Turner Cincinnati 2.89 14 7 .667 0 24 23 187 214 60 32 1 0 0
7. Lon Warneke St. Louis 3.14 16 10 .615 0 33 31 232 286 81 47 3 3 0
8. Vito Tamulis Brooklyn 3.09 8 5 .615 2 41 12 154.1 162 53 34 3 3 0
9. Vern Olsen Chicago 2.97 13 9 .591 0 34 20 172.2 187 57 62 0 2 1
10. Kirby Higbe Philadelphia 3.72 14 19 .424 1 41 36 283 278 117 121 9 3 1
The Ten Best American League Pitchers, 1940
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV G GS IP TB ER BB WP HB BK
1. Bob Feller Cleveland 2.61 27 11 .711 4 43 37 320.1 284 93 118 8 5 0
2. Bobo Newsom Detroit 2.83 21 5 .808 0 36 34 264 292 83 100 2 3 2
3. Johnny Rigney Chicago 3.11 14 18 .438 3 39 33 280.2 306 97 90 5 2 0
4. Al Milnar Cleveland 3.27 18 10 .643 3 37 33 242.1 284 88 99 3 1 0
5. Thornton Lee Chicago 3.47 12 13 .480 0 28 27 228 262 88 56 4 2 1
6. Tommy Bridges Detroit 3.37 12 9 .571 0 29 28 197.2 204 75 88 5 0 0
7. Dutch Leonard Washington 3.49 14 19 .424 0 35 35 289 385 112 78 10 2 1
8. Eldon Auker St. Louis 3.96 16 11 .593 0 38 35 263.2 350 116 96 0 3 1
9. Marius Russo New York 3.28 14 8 .636 1 30 24 189.1 232 69 55 1 1 0
10. Sid Hudson Washington 4.57 17 16 .515 1 38 31 252 332 128 81 6 3 1

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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1940 Awards


NL MVP
Frank McCormick, Cincinnati

AL MVP
Hank Greenberg, Detroit