The dominance of the New York Yankees is over, for now, on MLB Monday. We move into the 1940s for a change of pace, although eventually we will find our way back to the Bronx Bombers. In the meantime, this was one of the last seasons before World War II changed the rosters of MLB teams for awhile. It’s hard to imagine that kind of scenario today, when professional athletes put their careers on hold to go fight for their nation halfway across the globe. What a world!
1940 World Series MVP: Bucky Walters, SP, Cincinnati
The Cincinnati Reds bounced back from their sweep loss in 1939 to beat the Detroit Tigers in 7 games this time around the block. The champs won Game 7 at home by a 2-1 score, so it really was as close as a Fall Classic could get. Two Reds stand out in this one: left fielder Jimmy Ripple (1.011 OPS, 1 HR, 6 RBI) and starting pitcher Bucky Walters (2-0, 1.50 ERA, 0.778 WHIP). Both played key roles in the Series, overall.
After Detroit won Game 1 on the road, Walters won Game 2 to keep his team in it. Then, with Detroit leading the matchup, 3-2, Walters delivered a shutout in Game 6. The Reds do not win this Series without him. In the decisive Game 7, Ripple drove in the tying run and then scored the winning run later in the same inning. That’s huge. Overall, though, we see Walters’ pitching performances as being more integral to the Series victory in those must-win situations.
1940 AL MOTY: Ossie Vitt, Cleveland
The Tigers won the pennant by 1 game over Cleveland, but Detroit Manager Del Baker almost cost his team the pennant with a minus-2 PPP mark. Meanwhile, Indians Manager Ossie Vitt posted a league-high plus-4 PPP finish. New York finished third, 1 game behind Cleveland, thanks to Yankees Manager Joe McCarthy and his poor showing this time out (minus-3 PPP). Doing all that math makes us realize Vitt was the AL MOTY, for sure. This award is his.
1940 NL MOTY: Bill McKechnie, Cincinnati
The Reds took the pennant, easily, winning by 12 games over the Brooklyn Dodgers. And Cincinnati Manager Bill McKechnie posted the best PPP mark (plus-4) in the league. That’s ticking off both our boxes for this award, as this is third time he has taken home our NL MOTY hardware (1925, 1939). That’s probably one of the reasons he is in the Hall of Fame, though, right? Right.