Rickey Awards 1940s

I was reading the Old STATS Baseball Scorecards and they had a leadoff Triple Crown. It consisted of On Base Average, Runs and Stolen Bases. This is logical as On Base Average relates to batting average, Runs relates to RBIs and stolen bases is like, but not as helpful to winning as home runs.

I wondered who would be the leaders every year, as non-leadoff hitters try to get on base and score runs. Some even try to steal bases. I developed a formula like Bill James did for the regular triple crown. As Bill did his study, he came up with 1,000 total points which is impossible to hit. I did the same:

On Base Average: Maximum 400 points. I award two points for every point above .300 and up to .500.

Runs. Maximum 300 points. I awarded 2 points for every run up to 150 runs.

Stolen Bases. I award 3 points for each stolen base up to 100.

I debated the number of points for stolen bases, but decided I wanted an advantage for actual lead off men. Also, there haven’t been many years someone exceeded 100 stolen bases.

After reading a few of these listings, a Bill James online a reader came up with the name Rickey awards after Rickey Henderson, the man many of us consider the greatest leadoff man in baseball history. So, I will periodically call these the Rickey Awards.

1940 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1940 AL Rickey Awards:

1. Ted Williams Bos 564
2. Hank Greenberg Det 542
3. Charlie Gehringer Det 502
4. Barny McCosky Det 501
5. Charlie Keller NY 450
6. Jimmie Foxx Bos 448
7. Luke Appling Chi 441
8. Joe DiMaggio NY 439
8. Rudy York Det 439
10. Buddy Lewis Wash 433

What I Learned:

Charlie Gehringer was 37 years old and 10 for 10 in stolen bases.

Barny McCosky was the only player in the top 10 in all three categories.

League champions Detroit had four players in the top 10, including 2nd, 3rd and 4th place.

1940 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1940 NL Rickey Awards:

1. Stan Hack Chi 455
2. Johnny Mize StL 451
3. Arky Vaughan Pitt 448
4. Elbie Fletcher Pitt 439
5. Mel Ott NY 410
6. Dolph Camilli Brook 405
7. Lonny Frey Cinn 392
8. Billy Werber Cinn 380
9. Enos Slaughter StL 356
10. Debs Garms Pitt 351

What I Learned:

Offense was down this year, only three players had a .400 on base percentage. That helps make the race tight.

Debs Garms was the batting champion.

1941 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1941 AL Rickey Awards:

1, Ted Williams Bos 676
2. Joe DiMaggio NY 536
3. Roy Cullenbine StL 486
4. Charlie Keller NY 454
5. Dom DiMaggio Bos 443
6. Cecil Travis Wash 438
7. Jeff Heath Clev 424
8. Luke Appling Chi 420
9. Joe Cronin Bos 411
10. Jimmie Foxx Bos 404

What I Learned:

Boston which led the league in runs scored had 4 of the top ten. The World Champion Yankees had 2 of the top ten.

The DiMaggio brothers came in 2nd and 5th. That is probably the best finish by brothers, as I don’t remember any other brothers being in the top 10 together. Wait, I think the Alou Brothers Felipe and Matty might have been in the top 10 in the same year. I just remembered the Waner Brothers both finished in the top 10 in 1926. I checked Paul was 3rd and Lloyd was 4th. I am pretty sure that was the only year Lloyd was in the top 10. The DiMaggio’s well probably have more years in the top 10. Dom DiMaggio won the Rickey Award in 1950. It was the first one I figured. Joe finished 11th that year. We will see how both do in the 40s.

1941 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1941 NL Rickey Awards:

1. Stan Hack Chi 486
2. Pete Reiser Brook 458
3. Elbie Fletcher Pitt 447
4. Dolph Camilli Brook 407
5. Mel Ott NY 399
6. Nick Etton Phil 393
7. Dixie Walker Brook 370
8. Johnny Hopp StL 367
9. Arky Vaughan Pitt 360
10. Johnny Mize StL 358

What I Learned:

Danny Murtaugh future Pirates manager led the league with 18 stolen bases. When I was a kid watching Murtaugh manage I never dreamed he led the National League in stolen bases. I always thought he was a good manager.

Stan Hack was the only player in the top 10 of all three categories.

Pete Reiser won the batting title and was fourth in on base percentage. He also led the league in slugging percentage and WAR. He should have been named MVP instead of teammate Dolph Camili.

Speaking of the Dodgers they won the pennant and had 3 of the top 7 players for the Rickey Award.

A player named Babe Young was 7th in the league in runs scored. Does his name actually mean Young Young?

1942 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1942 AL Rickey Awards:

1. Ted Williams Bos 689
2. Charlie Keller NY 488
2. George Case Wash 488
4. Joe Gordon NY 430
5. Harlond Clift StL 422
6. Joe DiMaggio NY 410
7. Dom DiMaggio Bos 396
7. Johnny Pesky Bos 396
9. Wally Judnich StL 391
10. Les Fleming Clev 384

What I Learned:

Neither Joe nor Dom had their best season, but they are both still in the top 10.

The only thing that stopped Ted Williams the next year is he will be drafted.

George Case led the American League in stolen bases with 44. He led the league by 19 stolen bases.

1942 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1942 NL Rickey Awards:

1. Mel Ott NY 484
2. Enos Slaughter StL 451
3. Stan Hack Chi 413
4. Elbie Fletcher Pitt 406
5. Pete Reiser Brook 388
6. Stan Musial StL 386
7. Johnny Mize StL 363
8. Bill Nicholson Chi 354
9. Dolph Camilli Brook 352
10. Pee Wee Reese Brook 319

What I Learned:

How many people at the time would think Stan Musial would have a better career than Pete Reiser?

St. Louis and Brooklyn dominated the league. They each had three players in the top 10.

1943 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1943 AL Rickey Awards:

1. George Case Wash 469
2. Luke Appling Chi 445
3. Charlie Keller NY 407
4. Mickey Vernon Wash 364
5. Roy Cullenbine Clev 355
6. Wally Moses Chi 352
7. Dick Wakefield Det 348
8. Guy Curtwright Chi 337
9. Rudy York Det 327
10. Lou Boudreau Clev 326

What I Learned:

Just a reminder a lot of the best players are off in the service because of World War II. However, there are still interesting things happening or maybe because of the lack of good players.

Wally Moses who came second in stolen bases with 56 made the top 10 with an on base average of only 310. So, he only received 20 points for his on base average. From what I can recall that is the lowest on base average a player had and still made the top 10 in the Rickey listings.

George Case led the league in runs and stolen bases. He had an on base percentage of 341, which might be the lowest for the winner of a Rickey Award.

Luke Appling who led the American League in on base percentage with a .419 average would have won but he scored only 63 runs. I thought maybe he didn’t run well anymore being 36, but he was fourth in the league for stealing bases stealing 27 in 35 attempts, which is a pretty good rate. I thought maybe he didn’t have a lot of plate appearances, but he had 677. So, he was on base at least 283 times. I compared him to another batter Tony Lupien of Boston who had 672 at bats and on base percentage of .317. He scored two more runs than Appling 65 to 63. Appling got on base 70 more times 283 to 213. Appling scored 22.3% he got on base, Lupien scored 30.5 percent of the time he got on base. Appling stole more bases and was caught stealing less. Appling had more extra base hits 38-34. Lupien had more triples 9 to 2 and more homers 4 to 3. Those were his only edges on Appling. I don’t know why Appling had such a low run scored total.

1943 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1943 NL Rickey Awards:

1. Stan Musial StL 493
2. Arky Vaughan Pitt 424
3. Augie Galan Brook 408
4. Elbie Fletcher Pitt 375
5. Bill Nicholson Chi 374
6. Billy Herman Brook 360
7. Phil Cavarretta Chi 359
8. Eric Tipton Cinn 357
9. Stan Hack Chi 339
10. Mel Ott NY 333

What I Learned:

Arky Vaughn led the league in runs and stolen bases.

I was surprised that stolen bases were so low. Vaughn led the league with 20 and won the title easily. Only 5 players had 10 or more. It took only 8 to make the top 10.

1944 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1944 AL Rickey Awards:

1. Snuffy Stirnweiss NY 593
2. Bob Johnson Bos 480
3. Lou Boudreau Clev 427
4. Bobby Doerr Bos 403
5. Nick Etten NY 386
6. Roy Cullenbine Clev 368
7. George Myatt Wash 364
8. Stan Spence Wash 357
9. Pinky Higgins Det 354
10. Joe Kuhel Wash 341

What I Learned:

Snuffy Stirnweiss easily won the runs scored (125 runs) and stolen base (55 steals) to win the Rickey Award. He also led the league in WAR.

Washington came in last but had 3 of the 10 players for the Rickey Award. Washington had a better offence than defense.

1944 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1944 NL Rickey Awards:

1. Stan Musial StL 525
2. Johnny Hopp StL 465
3. Augie Galan Brook 456
4. Dixie Walker Brook 440
5. Jim Russell Pitt 434
5. Mel Ott NY 434
7. Bill Nicholson Chi 423
8. Johnny Barrett Pitt 414
9. Phil Cavarretta Chi 404
10. Bob Elliott Pitt 363


What I Learned:

The World Champion Cardinals took the top two positions. Stan Musial won’t win in 1945 as he was in the Navy.

1945 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1945 AL Rickey Awards:

1. Snuffy Stirnweiss NY 483
2. Eddie Lake Bos 413
3. George Myatt Wash 408
4. Roy Cullenbine Clev-Det 376
5. George Case Wash 354
6. Oscar Grimes NY 339
7. Wally Moses Chi 337
8. Nick Etten NY 334
8. Johnny Dickshot Chi 334
10. Joe Kuhel Wash 332


What I Learned:

Snuffy Stirnweiss won for the second time in a row. He led the league in runs and stolen bases and was 6th in on base percentage.

1945 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1945 NL Rickey Awards:

1. Tommy Holmes Bost 535
2. Augie Galan Brook 513
3. Eddie Stanky Bost 508
4. Phil Cavarretta Chi 501
5. Stan Hack Chi 496
6. Goody Rosen Brook 428
7. Dixie Walker Brook 384
8. Johnny Barrett Pitt 383
9. Jim Russell Pitt 375
10. Mel Ott NY 371

What I Learned:

The top 5 are real good players having solid years. Any of the 5 could have won.

I had never heard of Buddy Rosen. He played 6 years and had 10.6 WAR. This is by far his best year. He played from 1937 to 1939 starting one season. He started in 1938 and had a solid year. Nothing is shown from 1940 to 1943. In 1944 he had a decent year as a backup. In 1945 he finished 10th in the MVP award. It looks like he was a decent backup player in 1946 but that was his last year. He was 33 years old.

1946 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1946 AL Rickey Awards:

1. Ted Williams Bos 678
2. Johnny Pesky Bos 459
3. Mickey Vernon Wash 424
4. Charlie Keller NY 409
5. Eddie Lake Det 399
6. Dom DiMaggio Bos 386
7. Hank Greenberg Det 341
8. Tommy Henrich NY 315
9. Rudy York Bos 307
10. Luke Appling Chi 304

What I Learned:

I didn’t know that the offense for 1946 in the American League was so low. It took barely 300 points to make the top 10. That makes Ted Williams season all the more amazing. He won by over 200 points without stealing any bases. He could of had half the points and finished 8th.

1946 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1946 NL Rickey Awards:

1. Stan Musial StL 537
2. Eddie Stanky Brook 492
3. Phil Cavarretta Chi 386
4. Dixie Walker Brook 384
5. Johnny Hopp Bos 377
6. Enos Slaughter StL 375
7. Pete Reiser Brook 374
8. Pee Wee Reese Brook 356
9. Whitey Kurowski StL 340
10. Tommy Holmes Bost 335

What I Learned:

I read somewhere where they used a ball that wasn’t sewed tight and that is part of why scoring went down in WWII. In the National League only two players scored 100 runs. The American League had 3 players score 100 runs. Maybe they only used tightly wound balls for Ted Williams and Stan Musial.

World Champion St. Louis had three players in the top 10. Brooklyn had four players in the top 10 leaving only 3 spaces for the other 6 teams and Boston took two of them.

1947 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1947 AL Rickey Awards:

1. Ted Williams Bos 648
2. Johnny Pesky Bos 434
3. Joe DiMaggio NY 385
4. Ferris Fain Phil 380
5. Roy Cullenbine Det 375
6. Tommy Henrich NY 371
7. Bob Dillinger StL 364
8. George McQuinn NY 358
9. George Kell Det 351
10. Barney McCosky Phil 347

What I Learned:

Offense is still down, although four players scored 100 runs. It didn’t bother Ted Williams he had an on base average .499.

1947 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1947 NL Rickey Awards:

1. Jackie Robinson Brook 503
2. Harry Walker StL-Phil 473
2. Ralph Kiner Pitt 473
4. Whitey Kurowski StL 468
5. Johnny Mize NY 448
6. Stan Musial StL 434
7. Bob Elliot Bost 415
8. Pee Wee Reese Brook 411
9. Dixie Walker Brook 402
10. Pete Reiser Brook 388

What I Learned:

I wondered how Jackie Robinson would do his rookie year. I wasn’t expecting him to win, but he missed the top 10 in on base by only one percentage point, was second in the league in runs and led the league in stolen bases.

Stan Musial had an off year for him. No black ink. Looking at his career it is the only year he played between 1943 to 1957 where he didn’t have blank ink for a major category on his line. I didn’t count 1958 where he led the league in only intentional base on balls.

The NL champs Brooklyn Dodgers had 4 players in the top 10 for the Rickey awards.

1948 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1948 AL Rickey Awards:

1. Ted Williams Bos 654
2. Lou Boudreau Clev 547
3. Bob Dillinger StL 474
4. Tommy Henrich NY 464
5. Dom DiMaggio Bos 450
6. Johnny Pesky Bos 445
7. Ferris Fain Phil 416
8. Joe DiMaggio NY 415
9. Elmer Valo Phil 410
10. Barney McCosky Phil 403

What I Learned:

Ted Williams dominated the Rickey again, but Lou Boudreau was probably the best player in the league as he had the most WAR.

Boston who lost to Cleveland in the playoff (or technically the 155th) game for the pennant had three of the top six players.

1948 NL

Here are the 1948 NL Leaders for the Rickey Award:

1. Stan Musial StL 591
2. Richie Ashburn Phil 472
3. Bob Elliot Bost 462
4. Johnny Mize NY 422
5. Jackie Robinson Brook 416
6. Enos Slaughter StL 412
7. Sid Gordon NY 404
8. Pee Wee Reese Brook 393
8. Ralph Kiner Pitt 393
10. Whitey Lockman NY 380

What I Learned:

Bob Elliot won the MVP in 1947 and led Boston to the National League title in 1948 had a superb year taking walks. He walked 131 to easily lead the lead. He was 19 ahead of Kiner and they were the only two with 100 walks in the league. The next highest number of walks in Bob’s career was 90 in 1949. Was he walked semi-intentionally that year? I have no idea.

1949 AL

Here are the 1949 AL Leaders for the Rickey Award:

1. Ted Williams Bos 683
2. Eddie Joost  Phil 520
3. Dom DiMaggio Bos 487
4. George Kell Det 463
4. Luke Appling Chi 463
6. Johnny Pesky Bos 462
7. Elmer Valo Phil 440
8. Larry Doby Clev 420
9. Tommy Henrich NY 418
10. Ferris Fain Phil 416

What I Learned:

Boston who lost the pennant on the last two games of the season had 3 of the top 6 players. The World Champion Yankees had one in the top 10, Tommy Heinrich in ninth. Of course, it was easier to hit in Boston than New York.

1949 NL

Here are the 1949 NL Leaders for the Rickey Award:

1. Jackie Robinson Brook 619
2. Stan Musial StL 541
3. Pee Wee Reese Brook 534
4. Ralph Kiner Pitt 514
5. Enos Slaughter StL 429
6. Eddie Stanky Bos 423
7. Sid Gordon NY 385
8. Willard Marshall NY 376
9. Whitey Lockman NY 366
10. Duke Snider Brook 358

What I Learned:

Jackie Robinson did it all that year, The Rickey Award, MVP and leader in WAR. Imagine if baseball was his best sport.

Pennant winning Brooklyn had 3 of the top 10. So did the 5th place Giants.

1940s AL Leaders

My method for decade leaders is 12 points for first place, 10 for second, 8 for third and down a point for every position until 1 for 10th. Here ae the 1930s Decade leaders for the Rickey Leaders in the American League:

  1. Ted Williams 84 Points
  2. Charlie Keller  38
  3. Johnny Peskey 33.5
  4. Roy Cullenbine 32
  5. Joe DiMaggio 28.5
  6. Dom DiMaggio 28.5
  7. George Case 26
  8. Luke Appling 24.5
  9. Snuffy Stirnweiss 24
  10. Lou Boudreau 19

Ted Williams won every year he was in the league in the 1940s. He missed only the years he was in the marines.

I was amazed the DiMaggio brothers tied. It helped Dom he walked more for plate appearance and stole bases more than his brother.

Snuffy Stirnweiss was the Benny Kauff of the World War II American League. He dominated a American League weakened by war for two years almost as Benny Kauff dominated a weakened Federal League for two years.

1940s NL Leaders

Here are the 1940s NL Leaders.

  1. Stan Musial 68 points
  2. Stan Hack 40
  3. Mel Ott 31.5
  4. Jackie Robinson 30
  5. Elbie Fletcher 29
  6. Johnny Mize 28
  7. Enos Slaughter 28
  8. Augie Galan 26
  9. Dixie Walker 24
  10. Eddie Stanky 23

Stan Musial also won the 1950s for the National League.

Jackie Robinson came in fourth place even though he was in the league only 3 years.

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