It's so long ago, or at least it seems so to some. Gene Woodling joined us in 1949. He played on all five consecutive world champions. When he was traded us, he killed us.
Was a real good player, sort of platooned with Hank Bauer for a while. (Not really 'platooned' because sometimes they both played.)
Why I'm mentioning that: Because if you look up Woodling on baseball-reference.com and check his "Most Similar" players, Bauer is one of them. :-)
That's not just interesting but it's very unusual -- because a righty hitter rarely turns up like that for a lefty hitter.
BTW, a couple of years ago I met his great-niece at Friendly's restaurant. My lady and I just happened to start talking with this couple at the next table, dunno why, maybe the guy was wearing baseball gear or something. He talked about having grown up with a guy who's an ML player (Andy Sonnanstine), and then she mentioned that her great uncle was an old player that we probably never heard of. I say 'try us.' When she said it was Woodling, I got up and demonstrated his stance.She had no idea but I think she took my word for it. :-)
The reason I remember Woodling's so well is that he was still playing for a few years when I started following the game -- and unlike McDougald, still using the same stance he ever did. :-)
I can't imagine anyone could hit for any power with that stance, but he did.
Yeah, except I wouldn't say Jensen was crazy at all.Just sensitive and with a fear of flying, and not afraid to admit it.
About Stengel: He made just about everybody a part-time player, except the big stars. The players weren't too crazy about it.
Stengel (I think it was him) had this great line about what was a manager's main job. He said there were always 5 guys on the team who loved you and 5 who hated you, and the other 15 were on the fence. He said the manager's main job was to keep the 5 guys who hated you away from the 15 who were on the fence. :-)
Gene Woodling was a very good hitter, ok fielder and perhaps the biggest critic of Casey's platoon system. For quite some time the best way to breakdown the outfield platoon used by Casey in first half of the 50's, is to simplify it and say 3 guys sharing two positions. Woodling, Bauer and Noren would all start around 100 games each, sharing left and right fields over the 154 game season. None of them would get 500 at bats during this period and in fact, over Woodling's long career, I think his most at bats in a season was something around 440. Bauer was the only righthanded hitter of the 3 and the best rightfielder, while Woodling was the best hitter against righthanded pitching.If you look at Hank Bauer's stats, you will find that during the time he was used in this platoon, he had his best batting average years.
The Yanks traded Woodling away after the 54 season in one of their mega trades.Woodling went to Baltimore with 8 other guys, two of which would have good careers as major league catchers, Gus Triandos and Hal SWmith. In return, Baltimore sent the Yanks 7 players, two of which helped the Yanks keep winning in the late 50's, Bob Turley and Don Larsen.
Jackie Jensen only spent part of a season with the Yanks. He had been purchased along with Billy Martin from the Oakland Oaks. The Yanks traded Jackie to Washington for Irv Noren. A deal that looked about even the first couple of seasons but not after that, as Jensen was a much better player. Unfortunately for Washington, they traded Jensen to the Red Sox and he did a good job for them for several seasons and even won a MVP award. He could still play when he retired and the reason I have always heard was his fear of flying.
About the mega-trade that Woodling was involved in:Dunno if you ever had those "Who's Who in Baseball" annuals....they gave every player's year-by-year record, and then at the bottom would be these footnotes, mostly about trades.
When the details of a trade were real long, they wouldn't say the whole thing for every player, but just do it once and then "cross-reference" from the other players' sections. Why I'm saying all this: I still remember the notation, "See footnote (b) to Gene Woodling" -- which was what it said for all the other 15 players who were in the trade. :-)
Loved Who's Who in Baseball. Not only gave the player's full major league stats year by year, but I believe his minor league ones also.