This Day in American History — June 12, 1939

On this day 71 years ago, the Baseball Hall of Fame was dedicated in Cooperstown, New York.  The HOF currently has 292 inductees, my favorite of whom is Tris Speaker. The family and I traipsed to upstate New York to visit the Hall on Fourth of July weekend in 2002, and when we were there on July 5, an announcement was made over the sound system that Ted Williams had passed away earlier that day.

Here’s an amazing “Teddy Ballgame” piece of trivia: he won the American League Triple Crown twice—in 1942 and again in 1947—and in neither year was he voted the AL Most Valuable Player. Dimaggio beat him in ’47, but Joe Gordon—JOE GORDON!!—took the ’42 MVP award.  In that year, Williams led the AL in runs, homers, RBI, walks, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and total bases. Gordon, meanwhile, led the league in two offensive categories—strikeouts and grounding into double plays. No wonder Teddy was always pissed at sportswriters. . . .


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