Friday, January 1, 2010

What if the Rookie of the Year award had started in 1944?

The Rookie of the Year didn't exist until 1947 (first winner was Jackie Robinson), and was only league-wide until 1949. Interestingly, there were no actual rules on who was a rookie from 1946-1956 (all up to their discretion), but there have been rules that have evolved since then.

I'll use the current rules in evaluating them: less than 130 at-bats, 50 innings or 45 days service in their career previous to the season in question.

Maybe it had something to do with WWII or maybe it was a fluke, but the rookie hitting performances in the AL from 1944-1946 were incredibly weak. Fortunately, the rookie pitching, especially in 1945 was extraordinary.

NL: Ted Wilks (Cardinals) 17-4, 2.64
AL: Sid Jakucki (Browns) 13-9, 3.55

NL : Ken Burkhart (Cardinals) 18-8, 2.90
AL: Dave Ferriss (Red Sox) 21-10, 2.96

NL: Del Ennis (Phillies) .313, 17 HR, 73 RBI

  • This was a tough call because it was also Ralph Kiner's rookie year, and he had 23 HR, 81 RBI and a 247 BA.
AL: Bob Lemon (Indians): 4-5, 2.49

1947 - Actual ROY (League-Wide): Jackie Robinson (Brooklyn) .297, 29 steals, 12 HR
AL: Spec Shea (Yankees): 14-5, 3.07
Actual 1947 Runner Up Larry Jansen (NY Giants) 21-5, 3.16

1948 - Actual ROY (League-Wide): Alvin Dark (Braves): .322, 3 HR
AL: Gene Beardon (Indians): 20-7, 2.43 (Actual 1948 Runner Up)

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