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The 1939 New York Yankees season was the team's 37th season in New York, and its 39th overall. The team finished with a record of 106–45, winning their 11th pennant, finishing 17 games ahead of the Boston Red Sox. New York was managed by Joe McCarthy. The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they beat the Cincinnati Reds in 4 games. This marked the first time any team had won four consecutive World Series and the first season for the team's radio gameday broadcasts.

1939 New York Yankees
Lou Gehrig's Number is retired
1939 American League Champions
1939 World Series Champions
Major League affiliations
Location
Other information
Owner(s)Estate of Jacob Ruppert
General manager(s)Ed Barrow
Manager(s)Joe McCarthy
Local radioWABC (AM)
(Arch McDonald, Garnett Marks, Mel Allen)
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Contents

Regular seasonEdit

The 1939 New York Yankees are one of only three Yankees teams (the 1927 and 1998 Yankees being the others) to ever finish the regular season with over a .700 winning percentage, lead the league in runs scored and fewest runs allowed, and go on to sweep the World Series. The 1939 Yankees are the only team to ever outscore their regular season opponents by over 400 runs (967–556).

"The Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth"Edit

 
The Yankee duo reunited – Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth (r) on Lou Gehrig Day (July 4, 1939).
 
Lou Gehrig's number 4 was retired by the New York Yankees in 1939.

The 1939 season would be the final time Yankees fans saw the team's starting veteran first baseman Lou Gehrig in action and in the uniform of the team he played for many years, given his declining health. On June 21, the New York Yankees announced his official retirement and proclaimed July 4, 1939, "Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day" at Yankee Stadium. Between games of the Independence Day doubleheader against the Washington Senators, the poignant ceremonies were held on the diamond. In its coverage the following day, The New York Times said it was "Perhaps as colorful and dramatic a pageant as ever was enacted on a baseball field [as] 61,808 fans thundered a hail and farewell".[1] Dignitaries extolled the dying slugger and the members of the 1927 Yankees World Championship team, known as "Murderer's Row", attended the ceremonies. New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia called Gehrig "the greatest prototype of good sportsmanship and citizenship" and Postmaster General James Farley concluded his speech by predicting, "For generations to come, boys who play baseball will point with pride to your record."[1]

Yankees manager Joe McCarthy, struggling to control his emotions, then spoke of Lou Gehrig, with whom there was a close, almost father and son-like bond. After describing Gehrig as "the finest example of a ballplayer, sportsman, and citizen that baseball has ever known", McCarthy could stand it no longer. Turning tearfully to Gehrig, the manager said, "Lou, what else can I say except that it was a sad day in the life of everybody who knew you when you came into my hotel room that day in Detroit and told me you were quitting as a ballplayer because you felt yourself a hindrance to the team. My God, man, you were never that."

The Yankees retired Gehrig's uniform number "4", making him the first player in history to be afforded that honor. Gehrig was given many gifts, commemorative plaques, and trophies. Some came from VIPs; others came from the stadium's groundskeepers and janitorial staff. Footage of the ceremonies shows Gehrig being handed various gifts, and immediately setting them down on the ground, because he no longer had the arm strength to hold them.

Season standingsEdit

American League W L Pct. GB
New York Yankees 106 45 .702 --
Boston Red Sox 89 62 .589 17
Cleveland Indians 87 67 .565 20.5
Chicago White Sox 85 69 .552 22.5
Detroit Tigers 81 73 .526 26.5
Washington Senators 65 87 .428 41.5
Philadelphia Athletics 55 97 .362 51.5
St. Louis Browns 43 111 .279 64.5

Record vs. opponentsEdit

1939 American League Records

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
Team BOS CWS CLE DET NYY PHI STL WSH
Boston 8–14 11–11 10–12 11–8–1 18–4 16–6 15–7
Chicago 14–8 12–10 12–10 4–18 11–11 18–4 14–8–1
Cleveland 11–11 10–12 11–11 7–15 18–4 16–6 14–8
Detroit 12–10 10–12 11–11 9–13 11–11 14–8–1 14–8
New York 8–11–1 18–4 15–7 13–9 18–4 19–3 15–7
Philadelphia 4–18 11–11 4–18 11–11 4–18 13–9–1 8–12
St. Louis 6–16 4–18 6–16 8–14–1 3–19 9–13–1 7–15
Washington 7–15 8–14–1 8–14 8–14 7–15 12–8 15–7


Notable transactionsEdit

RosterEdit

1939 New York Yankees
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders Manager

Coaches

Player statsEdit

BattingEdit

Starters by positionEdit

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
C Bill Dickey 128 480 145 .302 24 105
1B Babe Dahlgren 144 531 125 .235 15 89
2B Joe Gordon 151 567 161 .284 28 111
3B Red Rolfe 152 648 213 .329 14 80
SS Frankie Crosetti 152 656 154 .233 10 56
OF Joe DiMaggio 120 462 176 .381 30 126
OF George Selkirk 128 418 128 .306 21 101
OF Charlie Keller 111 398 133 .334 11 83

Other battersEdit

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Tommy Henrich 99 347 96 .277 9 57
Buddy Rosar 43 105 29 .276 0 12
Jake Powell 31 86 21 .244 1 9
Joe Gallagher 14 41 10 .244 2 9
Lou Gehrig 8 28 4 .143 0 1
Bill Knickerbocker 6 13 2 .154 0 1
Art Jorgens 3 0 0 ---- 0 0

PitchingEdit

Starting pitchersEdit

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Red Ruffing 28 233.1 21 7 2.93 95
Lefty Gomez 26 198 12 8 3.41 102
Bump Hadley 26 154 12 6 2.98 65
Atley Donald 24 153 13 3 3.71 55
Monte Pearson 22 146.1 12 5 4.49 76
Oral Hildebrand 21 126.2 10 4 3.06 50
Wes Ferrell 3 19.3 1 2 4.66 6

Other pitchersEdit

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Steve Sundra 24 121.2 11 1 2.76 27
Marius Russo 21 116 8 3 2.41 55

Relief pitchersEdit

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Johnny Murphy 38 3 6 19 4.40 30
Spud Chandler 11 3 0 0 2.84 4
Marv Breuer 1 1 0 0 9.00 0

1939 World SeriesEdit

AL New York Yankees (4) vs. NL Cincinnati Reds (0)

Game Score Date Location Attendance
1 Reds – 1, Yankees – 2 October 4 Yankee Stadium 58,541
2 Reds – 0, Yankees – 4 October 5 Yankee Stadium 59,791
3 Yankees – 7, Reds – 3 October 7 Crosley Field 32,723
4 Yankees – 7, Reds – 4 (10 innings) October 8 Crosley Field 32,794

Awards and honorsEdit

Greatest teams of all time rankEdit

The book Baseball Dynasties: The Greatest Teams of All Time ranked the 1939 New York Yankees the greatest MLB team of all time. 538 also ranked the 1939 New York Yankees greatest MLB team of all time, according to ELO. Joe DiMaggio won his first of three Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards, though he only played 120 games due to injury. He batted .381 and averaged over one RBI per game.

All-StarsEdit

The Yankees, who hosted the All-Star Game that year in Yankee Stadium, were represented by Red Ruffing, Joe DiMaggio, Joe Gordon, Bill Dickey, Lefty Gomez, Hank Greenberg, Frankie Crosetti, George Selkirk and Johnny Murphy.[3] Lou Gehrig only attended the game as part of the AL reserves.

Farm systemEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b John Drebinger, "61,808 Fans Roar Tribute to Gehrig", The New York Times, July 5, 1939.
  2. ^ Len Gabrielson page at Baseball Reference
  3. ^ "1939 MLB All-Star Game Roster - Major League Baseball - ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  4. ^ Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 2nd and 3rd editions. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 1997 and 2007

ReferencesEdit