Inside Pitch

Nov. 2, 1937: Future Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer named AL MVP


By JONATHAN COE

October 31, 2011


COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Seventy-four years ago this week, one of the unsung heroes of the dominant 1930's Detroit Tigers teams finally got the individual recognition he deserved.

On Nov. 2, 1937, Tigers long-time second baseman Charlie Gehringer was voted American League Most Valuable Player by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Charlie Gehringer was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1949. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

Receiving a total of seventy-eight out of a possible eighty points, Charlie Gehringer became the third Tiger to receive the honor in the last four seasons. Player/manager Mickey Cochrane won the award in 1934 and first baseman Hank Greenberg won the award in 1935.

Gehringer was picked for his brilliant fielding and the fact that he led the American League in batting at a .371 clip. He also tallied 209 hits and scored 133 runs during the thrilling 1937 campaign.

When describing his season, Gehringer explained, "There's some luck involved in batting .371. I hit the ball a lot better in years when I hit twenty points lower, but more of the balls were getting caught then."

To go along with a remarkable season at the plate, Charlie continued to excel in the field. Some of the words used to describe Gehringer's exceptional fielding included: steady, effortless, uncanny, catlike, graceful, smooth, matchless, greatest, precise, and flawless.

Known to many as "The Mechanical Man", Gehringer was famous for his consistent and unblemished play. When explaining the nickname; Doc Cramer said, "All you have to do is wind him up on Opening Day and he runs on and on, doing everything right, all season."

Jonathan Coe is the fall 2011 Public Relations intern for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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