The 1940 Cincinnati Reds

A World Championship and Baseball’s Only In-Season Suicide


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SKU: 9780786420902 Categories: , , Tag:

About the Book

One of the oldest and most celebrated franchises in baseball history, the Cincinnati Reds have left an indelible mark on the national pastime. Perhaps the most compelling but overlooked period in Reds history is the 1940 championship season, during which the team won 100 games and earned the world title while overcoming an in-season tragedy faced by no other team in baseball history. Four attempted suicides, three of which were successful, by individuals connected to the team dealt a tragic and unprecedented setback to what was ultimately a successful season. This book addresses both the 1940 Cincinnati Reds as a collective group and, to a greater degree, the individual players who comprised that championship squad. The book begins with the story of Willard Hershberger, the 1940 reserve catcher for the Reds and the only player ever to commit suicide during a major league season. Later chapters tell the stories of Bill McKechnie and Warren Giles, the managers who together led the Reds to victory over the Detroit Tigers in 1940, and the stories of the players on the pennant-winning team: Frank McCormick, Lonnie Frey, Billy Myers, Billy Werber, Eddie Joost, Paul Derringer, William “Bucky” Walters, Johnny Vander Meer, Gene Thompson, Jim Turner, Joseph Beggs, Jimmy Ripple, and Ernie Lombardi. The crucial games, important performances, and personal tragedies of the 1940 season, culminating in the drama of a seven-game World Series, are chronicled in this book.

About the Author(s)

SABR member Brian Mulligan, a writer and public relations executive, lives in Long Island, New York. His work has been published in Elysian Fields Quarterly.

Bibliographic Details

Brian Mulligan
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 230
Bibliographic Info: photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2090-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1666-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

1. Damn Yankees      3
2. The Best Little Catcher      15
3. “One of the Greatest Individuals”      24
4. The Jungle Cats      36
5. Armed and Ready      61
6. That Championship Season      90
7. “Hurting More Than We Knew”      111
8. The Hall of Famer      124
9. Champions of the World      138
10. And Then…      169

Appendix A. Where They Played the Game: Crosley Field      183
Appendix B. The 1940 Cincinnati Reds Game by Game      188
Appendix C. Final Major League Standings, 1940      192
Appendix D. Cincinnati Reds Final Batting Statistics, 1940      193
Appendix E. Cincinnati Reds Team Pitching, 1940      194
Appendix F. 1940 World Series Line Scores      195
Appendix G. Cincinnati Reds 1940 World Series Composite Stats      198
Appendix H. Transactions for the 1940 Cincinnati Reds      200

Chapter Notes      203
Bibliography      213
Index      215