View Full Version : Ted Williams, Bob Feller, and seasons lost to military service

05-25-2009, 11:28 AM
If you have a minute, you might enjoy this article on Ted Williams, Bob Feller, and how their career stats were affected by time lost to military service. Happy Memorial Day!

05-25-2009, 11:38 AM
Dont forget Spahn, he would have had 400+ wins if not for the years lost to military service.

05-25-2009, 12:33 PM
Spahn's call up was at the very beginning of his career and I would say the impact was not nearly as pronounced as military service was to the careers of Williams (who was called up twice) and Feller. Feller would have won 330+ games and Williams would have had probably close to 700 HRs and maybe 3500 hits.

05-25-2009, 12:59 PM
I see your point, and I don't disagree.
I'm just presenting Spahns' case solely from the point of becoming the 3rd pitcher in the history of the game to have 400 wins.

05-25-2009, 01:04 PM
Let's not forget Lou Brissie, quite a story:


Article from 2007, Lou's still with us today !!

Oh, in 1941 he did pretty good for the Savannah Indians:

23-5 record, 1.91 ERA and 278 strike-outs in 254 innings.

05-25-2009, 01:07 PM
I see your point, and I don't disagree.
I'm just presenting Spahns' case solely from the point of becoming the 3rd pitcher in the history of the game to have 400 wins.

I would say that there is a very high probability that he would have gotten to 400, I agree. Spahn would have been in a much different place historically had he won 400.

05-25-2009, 07:02 PM
big john mize,phil rizzuto and enos slaughter all hall of famers all lost 3 prime years to the military. joe gordon 2. no one would question rizzuto as a hall of famer if he had those 3 years stats. joe dimaggio and hank greenberg would be 400 HR club members if not for their years lost.and in that year lost to service would stan musial have got 25 homers to put him in the 500 HR club? also,IMO, 3 prime years stats would put the other dimaggio brother, dom into the baseball hall of fame.

05-26-2009, 01:04 PM
I think George Archie probably lost as many or more days in a major league uniform than any of the great players mentioned above. Those guys up there lost some playing time.

I like to think Mr. Musial would have gotten over the 500 mark in home runs, and reached 2000+ with runs and RBIs. Spahn gets 400 wins. Ted W adds to his stelar numbers. And George Archie builds a career to the extent that some folks would have heard of him. As it was, he had a pretty good batting eye, could field a bit, and was mired down in the minors of the Tigers system unable to advance because of Hank Greenberg. Landis declared Archie to be free of the Tigers system, although a bit too late... and then came the war.

05-26-2009, 03:40 PM
I have read that when Spahn was asked about that, he always gracefully answered that he would never have been the pitcher he became but for his experiences in the war, so it didn't affect his numbers.

05-26-2009, 06:29 PM
Peter, that was well said.

I read something some 'modern' sportswriter posted about how 9-11 folks that carried someone down stairs in the WTC were heroes, but no baseball player ever was. I emailed the writer about Warren Spahn, a decorated war hero. And then a competitor on the diamond for another 20 years. Mr. Spahn was a hero.

05-26-2009, 07:18 PM
From one of his online obits: "Spahn also was a war hero who fought in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II and earned the Bronze Star and Purple Heart."

05-26-2009, 09:13 PM
Several years ago, the HOF had a display room honoring BB players who were War Veterans. A very interesting story re-
counts St Louis Cardinals pitcher Murry Dickson's experience as Gen. Patton's jeep driver. In the Fall of 1943 in Germany,
Lt. Dickson is driving Patton into a battle zone. Distant mortar fire can be heard and Dickson stops the jeep. Gen. Patton
orders Dickson to proceed further into the forest. Suddenly, an explosion occurs in front of them, jolting the jeep, ejecting
Patton. Dickson immediately falls on top of Patton to protect him. Patton gets up and dusts himself off and thanks Dickson.

Several days later, Lt. Dickson's Commanding Officer (CO) calls him into his office. He hands Dickson a Letter of Commend-
ation from George Patton. With a request that Lt. Dickson be Patton's permanent jeep driver. Dickson begged his CO........

"Sir, do whatever you can to get me out of this duty, that SOB is crazy and he will get us all killed".

Dickson's request was answered, as the St Louis Cardinals' management wrote a letter to President Roosevelt requesting
that Dickson return to BB. The Cardinals needed him for the 1943 World Series vs the Yankees. FDR granted their request.

<img src="http://i603.photobucket.com/albums/tt113/zanted86/apattondickson.jpg" alt="[linked image]">


David W
05-26-2009, 09:19 PM
Post WW2 but Willie Mays lost his second and third years to military service.

Rookie of the Year in 1951, MVP in 1954, 34 games in 52 and none in 53.

He might have broken Ruth's record before Aaron did.

I'm surprised to never hear his name mentioned in these "What if" kind of discussions.

Brian Van Horn
05-26-2009, 09:37 PM
Cecil Travis.

.314 lifetime hitter who was a great shortstop. He suffered frostbite in the Battle of the Bulge.

05-27-2009, 09:20 PM
Thanks for including Mr. Brissie in the list. I knew nothing of his service to our country, and am especiallly grateful to Elizabeth Merrill for her article.

I'm sure there are other Brissie cards, but the only one I can find in any of my sets is the '52 Bowman. Here's the back:

"Traded to Indians after beginning 1951 season with A's. Did great work for tribe as relief man. In 54 games for Cleveland with 7 decisions (4 wins, 3 losses). Pitched a stretch of 31 innings, yielding but 1 run. Didn't allow even 1 home run after the first week in June."

No mention of having served his country, of pitching on guts and a shattered leg, nothing but stats. But that's how most '52s are, no mention of anything but how the guy played ball. I guess it was a different country. Higher expectations.

Rob D.
05-27-2009, 09:23 PM
Here's a not-so-common card of Lou Brissie, also from 1952: