1943 Leaders & Numbers

Stan Musial owned NL pitching in what some then believed was a deceiving case of overblown numbers against diluted wartime pitching; they had no idea. Rudy York, one of the few pre-war stars who neither enlisted nor got drafted, all but had the AL to himself. Bill Nicholson led the NL in homers, something of a surprise given that neither he nor the Cubs homered until their 33rd game. At 36, Luke Appling became the oldest AL batting champion (until Ted Williams) with the lowest league-leading average since 1908. After a subpar year at the plate hindered, perhaps, by a move to third base, Arky Vaughan returned to shortstop and revived his hitting game. No one in the AL stole more bases in any year between 1931 and 1968 than George Case, who led the league for the fifth straight season. Mort Cooper leveled off a smidgen from his breakout display of a year earlier, but clearly remained the NL’s best pitcher. Spud Chandler registered the majors’ lowest ERA since 1919. Rip Sewell’s excuse for avoiding the military was a hunting accident in which he lost a small part of his foot—on December 7, 1941. In the midst of an inconsistent first decade of his major league career, Early Wynn showed a glimpse of how consistently terrific he would be in his second decade. You have to go back to the deadball era (1917, to be exact) to find an ERA among 20-game losers as low as Nate Andrews’. Hi Bithorn, the first Puerto Rican in the majors, was one of many to have a rising career severed by military service.

The Ten Best National League Hitters, 1943
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HB SB GD
1. Stan Musial St. Louis 157 .357 617 108 220 48 20 13 81 72 2 9 17
2. Bill Nicholson Chicago 154 .309 608 95 188 30 9 29 128 71 5 4 7
3. Bob Elliott Pittsburgh 156 .315 581 82 183 30 12 7 101 56 1 4 16
4. Arky Vaughan Pittsburgh 149 .305 610 112 186 39 6 5 66 60 3 20 9
5. Billy Herman Brooklyn 153 .330 585 76 193 41 2 2 100 66 0 4 19
6. Phil Cavarretta Chicago 143 .291 530 93 154 27 9 8 73 75 3 3 10
7. Augie Galan Brooklyn 139 .287 495 83 142 26 3 9 67 103 2 6 3
8. Elbie Fletcher Pittsburgh 154 .283 544 91 154 24 5 9 70 95 6 1 12
9. Lou Klein St. Louis 154 .287 627 91 180 28 14 7 62 50 2 9 4
10. Ray Sanders St. Louis 144 .280 478 69 134 21 5 11 73 77 1 1 10
The Ten Best American League Hitters, 1943
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HB SB CS GD
1. Rudy York Detroit 155 .271 571 90 155 22 11 34 118 84 1 5 5 22
2. Charlie Keller New York 141 .271 512 97 139 15 11 31 86 106 0 7 5 7
3. George Case Washington 141 .294 613 102 180 36 5 1 52 41 3 61 14 3
4. Nick Etten New York 154 .271 583 78 158 35 5 14 107 76 0 3 7 13
5. Luke Appling Chicago 155 .328 585 63 192 33 2 3 80 90 1 27 8 13
6. Vern Stephens St. Louis 137 .289 512 75 148 27 3 22 91 54 0 3 2 11
7. Jeff Heath Cleveland 118 .274 424 58 116 22 6 18 79 63 1 5 8 4
8. Dick Wakefield Detroit 155 .316 633 91 200 38 8 7 79 62 0 4 5 23
9. Stan Spence Washington 149 .267 570 72 152 23 10 12 88 84 5 8 1 9
10. Mickey Vernon Washington 145 .268 553 89 148 29 8 7 70 67 10 24 8 10
The Ten Best National League Pitchers, 1943
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV G GS IP TB ER BB WP HB BK
1. Mort Cooper St. Louis 2.30 21 8 .724 3 37 32 274 243 70 79 4 5 2
2. Hi Bithorn Chicago 2.60 18 12 .600 2 39 30 249.2 251 72 65 3 2 0
3. Rip Sewell Pittsburgh 2.54 21 9 .700 3 35 31 265.1 285 75 75 2 2 1
4. Max Lanier St. Louis 1.90 15 7 .682 3 32 25 213.1 204 45 75 0 2 0
5. Whit Wyatt Brooklyn 2.49 14 5 .737 0 26 26 180.2 154 50 43 0 0 0
6. Nate Andrews Boston 2.57 14 20 .412 0 36 34 283.2 286 81 75 4 6 1
7. Elmer Riddle Cincinnati 2.63 21 11 .656 3 36 33 260.1 253 76 107 0 2 0
8. Dick Barrett Philadelphia 2.39 10 9 .526 1 23 20 169.1 152 45 51 3 2 0
9. Al Javery Boston 3.21 17 16 .515 0 41 35 303 327 108 99 2 4 1
10. Schoolboy Rowe Philadelphia 2.94 14 8 .636 1 27 25 199 217 65 29 2 3 0
The Ten Best American League Pitchers, 1943
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV G GS IP TB ER BB WP HB BK
1. Spud Chandler New York 1.64 20 4 .833 0 30 30 253 212 46 54 3 4 1
2. Tiny Bonham New York 2.27 15 8 .652 1 28 26 225.2 236 57 52 0 1 1
3. Dizzy Trout Detroit 2.48 20 12 .625 6 44 30 246.2 222 68 101 6 0 0
4. Butch Wensloff New York 2.54 13 11 .542 1 29 27 223.1 200 63 70 2 1 1
5. Mickey Haefner Washington 2.29 11 5 .688 6 36 13 165.1 138 42 60 3 4 0
6. Jim Bagby Jr. Cleveland 3.10 17 14 .548 1 36 33 273 293 94 80 0 3 0
7. Al Smith Cleveland 2.55 17 7 .708 1 29 27 208.1 207 59 72 0 0 0
8. Early Wynn Washington 2.91 18 12 .600 0 37 33 256.2 277 83 83 2 1 0
9. Johnny Niggeling St. Louis-Washington 2.59 10 10 .500 0 26 26 201.1 170 58 74 4 6 0
10. Tommy Bridges Detroit 2.39 12 7 .632 0 25 22 191.2 186 51 61 3 0 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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1943 Awards


NL MVP
Stan Musial, St. Louis

AL MVP
Spud Chandler, New York