As of December 1, 1943, there were 347 major league players and 2,915 from the minors serving in the armed forces.
The two major leagues played complete 154-game schedules, as in peace years, but the bookings of the teams were arranged to reduce travel to a minimum, in conformity with the program of the Office of Defense Transportation.
In order to fit the round-the-clock working schedules of war plants, shipyards, etc., starting times of ball games during 1943 were literally “all hours.”
In August 1943, there were major league games starting at the following ticks of the clock: 10:30 A.M., 12 noon and 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 5:30, 5:45, 8:30 and 9:30 P.M. Newark and Milwaukee had some 9:30 A.M. games.
1943 World Series
Joe McCarthy, Yankees’ manager, recorded his seventh world championship, placing him one notch further ahead of his nearest competitor for world series leadership honors, Connie Mack, who managed the Athletics of Philadelphia in their five series triumphs.
By defeating the Cardinals, 4 games to 1, the Yankees reversed the 1942 score. In 1942 the Yankees won the first game, the Cardinals the next four. In 1943 the first two games followed the 1942 pattern, the Yankees winning the first, the Cardinals the second. Then the picture changed, the Yankees sweeping on to take the next three.
Another reverse of the 1942 picture was that the only Cardinal victory in the 1943 series was pitched by Morton Cooper, Cardinal ace, who in 1942, when he was named the NL MVP, was defeated in the only game the Cardinals lost and batted out of the box in the other game he started.
A somber note was the sudden death of Robert Cooper, father of the Cardinals’ brother battery, Morton and Walker Cooper, in the early morning of Oct. 6. Despite the shock of the news, the Cooper brothers carried through with their battery assignment that afternoon, Morton pitching and Walker catching the game which the Cardinals won, 4 to 3.
The two-day recess between the third and fourth games made it possible for the brothers to attend their father’s funeral on Saturday, Oct. 9.
Walker Cooper, who was the Cardinals’ field-captain, caught every inning of the series until he suffered a fracture of his right thumb in the 5th inning of the last game.
It was an eventful year for Yankee catcher, Bill Terry in which he led the American league in batting with .351, although he was in only 85 games and did not amass as many as 400 times at bat, the necessary number to be awarded the league’s batting championship. The 1943 World Series was a stage for Bill Terry to shine.
More 1943 Highlights
The AL MVP went to Spurgeon Chandler, Yankee pitching ace, and Stan Musial, St. Louis Cardinal outfielder, who achieved the NL batting championship in just his second major league season. His hitting and all-around play contributed heavily to both the 1942 and 1943 pennant winning teams.
Chandler led AL pitchers with a 20-4 record and in the ERA of 1.64, the best figure recorded by a first-string major league pitcher since Walter Johnson, Washington, chalked up 1.49 in 1919. Chandler’s two world series victories were the key games, the opening contest and the title-clinching 5th game.
The National league had no one pitcher outclassing his competition as did Chandler in the American and as Mort Cooper did in the senior circuit in 1942. Percentage honors for 1943 in the National went to Whitlow Wyatt, Brooklyn, with 14 wins against 5 losses. Howard Pollet, St. Louis southpaw, who joined the air force in mid-July, led the earned-run-averages with 1.75, the best in the NL since Carl Hubbell’s 1.66 in 1933.
The ERA leaderboard in the NL indicated a remarkable superiority performance by the St. Louis pitchers. Pollet was the first of three Cardinal pitchers holding the first three places on the list of pitchers with 10 or more complete games to their credit, Lanier ranking second and Cooper third.
Two other Cards pitchers, Alpha Brazle and Harry Brecheen, led the secondary list, pitchers working 75 innings or more but not so many as 10 complete games. Four of the five are left-handers, Cooper being the only right-hand pitcher.
Ace Adams, New York Giants’ bullpen specialist, set a new 20th century record for number of games pitched, 70, surpassing the existing record of 61 which he wrote into the archives in 1942. Only one of his 1943 games was a complete contest, the rest being relief work. Purists were not happy about this.
1943 MLB Standings
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Philadelphia Blue Jays|
|New York Giants|
|New York Yankees|
|Chicago White Sox|
|St. Louis Browns|
|Boston Red Sox|