Tigers All-Decade Series: 1940s


The Tigers went to the World Series in 1940 but ended up losing to the Cincinnati Reds. Due to being called for military service, Greenberg had to serve for four years, but he ended up returning and guiding the Tigers to their second World Series championship in 1945.

C: Birdie Tebbetts–Tebbetts played nine seasons with the Tigers, including five in the 1940s. After Tigers’ Hall of Fame catcher Mickey Cochrane was hit on the skull, ending his playing career, the Tigers relied on Birdie to take his place. In 1940, Tebbetts nearly hit for .300 as the Tigers claimed the pennant. He led the American League in assists and caught runners several times in his career. He was named as a reserve on the 1941 All-Star team, and he became the starting catcher on the 1942 AL All-Star team. After 1947, the 4x All-Star finished his career with the Red Sox and Indians.

1B: Rudy York–York started off his career at third-base and catcher, since the Tigers had no plans of replacing Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg at 1B. After the Tigers moved Greenberg to the outfield, York became their starting 1B. In his first season as the 1B in 1940, York hit over .300, hit over 30 HRs, and compiled more than 130 RBIs, though the Tigers ended up losing the World Series to the Cincy Reds in Game 7. He continued to be the offensive support the Tigers needed when Greenberg was on military duty, and the 7x All-Star received MVP consideration in multiple years. 

2B: Eddie Mayo–Mayo spent the final five seasons of his career as a Detroit Tiger. In the Tigers’ championship season in 1945, Mayo had a monster season on his way to becoming the AL MVP runner-up and elected to the All-Star team. His teammate Hal Newhouser edged Mayo by two first-place votes. He finished his career with the Tigers and later became the Tigers’ AAA Toledo Mud Hens’ manager. 

3B: George Kell–A 10x All-Star, Kell spent seven years with the Tigers. He was awarded the batting title in 1949 with the Tigers, denying Ted Williams what would’ve been his third Triple Crown. He spent time with four other teams, but he was known for his time with the Tigers and was later elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983. 

SS: Eddie Lake–Spending the second half of the ’50s with the Tigers, Lake consistently was among the league leaders in base on balls in his career. He started his career with the Cardinals and later the Red Sox, from which he was traded to the Tigers for 1B Rudy York in 1946. Lake scored over 100 runs in his first season as a Tiger. 

LF: Hoot Evers–Evers was a 2-time All-Star, both achieved while with Detroit. He had two separate stints with the Tigers, as well as multiple stints with the Orioles as well as brief stops in Boston, New York, and Cleveland. from 1948-1950, Evers batted over .300 all three times. 

CF: Doc Cramer–Spending the final seven years of his carer in Detroit, Cramer was a 5x All-Star and helped the Tigers win the World Series in 1945. In the final week of the season, Cramer was walked to load the bases and was followed by Greenberg who hit a grand slam to win the Tigers the AL pennant in 1945. 

RF: Hank Greenberg–Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame after his playing career, Greenberg continued his heroics into the 1940s while taking a brief break from baseball to serve in the military. While playing his first season as a full-time outfielder in 1940, Greenberg responded well and won his second AL MVP award and guided the Tigers to the AL pennant. He became the first man in history to win the MVP award at multiple positions. He returned from the military in 1945 to propel the Tigers to their second world championship. He played for the Pirates in 1947 for one final season before retiring. 

SP 1: Hal Newhouser–One of the greatest starting pitchers in Tigers’ history, Newhouser spent fifteen seasons in the Motor City. In 1944, Newhouser went 29-9 and led the league in wins and strikeouts and won the MVP award. In the following year, Newhouser pitched to a 1.81 ERA clip, a 25-9 record, and tallied 212 strikeouts on his way to winning the Triple Crown and his second MVP award in the 1945 Tigers’ championship season. The following year in 1946, 7x All-Star Hal Newhouser nearly won the MVP for the third time in as many seasons, but Ted Williams of the Red Sox pushed past Newhouser to secure his MVP. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992 by the Veteran’s Committee. 

SP 2: Dizzy Trout–Trout spent all but two years as a Detroit Tiger. A 2x All-Star, Dizzy led the AL in wins in 1943 with 20, and he later led the league in ERA, complete games, and shutouts in 1944. He finished second in the AL MVP to his teammate and fellow rotation-mate Hal Newhouser. Trout pitched to a 0.66 ERA in two starts in the 1945 World Series. 

SP 3: Virgil Trucks–Trucks had two separate stints with the Tigers and compiled two All-Star selections. Trucks led the MLB in strikeouts in 1949 and pitched two no-hitters in his career. 


Featuring three future Hall of Famers, the Tigers went to the World Series in 1940 and 1945, and won it all in the latter. The Tigers wouldn’t return to the World Series until 1968. 



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