Monday, March 15, 2021

1986 Sportflics Decade Greats Charlie Gehringer


On-the-field: Second baseman Charlie Gehringer was a model of consistency. He earned the nickname "The Mechanical Man" from Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez, who said "You wind him up in the spring and he goes all summer. He hits .330 or .340 or whatever, and then you shut him off in the fall". Gehringer, who played in the first six All-Star Games, hit .320 with 2,839 hits, 184 HR and 1,427 RBI over his 19 year career, all with Detroit. Statistical highlights included 1929, when he led the AL in hits, doubles, triples and stolen bases; 1936, when he hit 60 doubles, and 1937, when he hit .371. In 1935 he hit .375 against the Cubs to help the Tigers win the World Series.

Off-the-field: "The Mechanical Man" could also be used to describe Gehringer's personality. Teammate Mickey Cochrane said  "Charlie says `hello' on Opening Day, `goodbye' on closing day, and in between hits .350." He worked just as hard off the field as on it. Off-season jobs included working as a sales clerk at Hudson's, a well-known Detroit department store, and barnstorming with major league and Negro League players (Satchel Paige said Gehringer was the toughest white hitter he ever faced). His playing career ended in 1942 at which time he enlisted in the Navy. Later in the decade he began a successful career in the auto parts industry, marketing innovations in upholstery and interior materials. Gehringer did not marry until after his baseball career, as he lived with and cared for his ailing mother. He skipped his Hall of Fame induction in 1949 to prepare for his wedding.

My collection: I do not have any playing-days cards of Gehringer. His last card as an active player was 1941 Play Ball #19.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of those guys that doesn't get nearly the respect he deserves.