Rough and rowdy, Joe Medwick's competitive spirit typified the "Gashouse Gang" Cardinals of the 1930s. He may be best remembered for being pulled out of Game 7 of the 1934 World Series by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis; with the Cardinals winning in a blowout, 9-0, he slid hard into Tiger third baseman Marv Owen, and in the sixth inning the Detroit fans began hurling food and bottles at him as he took his post in left field. Medwick hit .379 with five RBI for the Series, including four hits, one a HR, in the opener. He was replaced by Chuck Fullis.
"Ducky" because of his waddling gait, ended his 17-year career with a
.324 batting average, bettering the .300 mark 13 times. He also
accumulated 1,383 RBI, topping the National League three straight years.
In 1937, he not only captured the last National League Triple
Crown (he remains the last player to do so), but also led the senior circuit
in a variety of other categories - including hits, runs, doubles slugging
percentage, and on-base average - and was voted the loop's Most
Valuable Player. He was a terrific bad-ball hitter, amassing just 437 walks in his career (compare that to, say, career walk leader until 2001 Babe Ruth at 2,062, or Lou Gehrig at 1,508, or even the free-swinging Kirby Puckett's 450).
Still, he was a hitting machine - for three straight years, 1936-38, he led the NL in both RBI and doubles. He drove in at least 100 runners six straight seasons (1934-39), scored 100 runs six times, including five consecutive years (1934-38), hit 40 doubles seven straight years (1933-39), and had seven seasons of 10 or more triples.
He hit .349 in his first full season, at the age of 20, in 1932. He set
his career highs in batting average (.374), HR (31) and RBI (154) in his Triple
Crown year, when he was just 25 years old, but he dropped off substantially
after that - he never again hit more than 21 HR, and drove in 100 runs just
twice more in his career. He was sold to the Dodgers in mid-1940 for the
then-astronomical sum of $125,000, but set career lows in batting average (.301)
and RBI (86) that season.
The 29-year-old bounced back in 1941 with a pretty good season (.318 avg., 18
HR, 88 RBI) and helped Brooklyn to their first pennant in over 20 years.
However, suffered a life-threatening beaning by former teammate Bob Bowman after
quarreling with him in an elevator; Branch Rickey thought it
was an attempt by St. Louis to ruin Medwick. He hit just 33 HR after his 30th birthday, and his batting average slipped to .300 in 1942 and to .278 in 1943, when he was traded to he Giants. In 1944 he had one more good season against the war-depleted pitching, hitting .337 and driving in 85 runs, but was never the same after the beaning.
|BASEBALL: Scores / Schedules | Standings | Stats | Transactions | Injuries|