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Lost important years due to war


Sultan of Swat
Staff member
There's quite a few legends of the game that lost some important/prime years because of the war.

Which player do you believe suffered the most on the stat sheet due to serving for his country?

Here are some notable players:

Joe DiMaggio
Bob Feller
Hank Greenberg
Ted Williams

I would say Feller. You can see by his 1946 season that he was still a phenomenal flamethrower. However, youth is precious for such pitchers. He dominated the league in the years before, racking up innings, wins, and strikeouts. Considering his strong 1946 and 1947 campaigns, it is possible that Feller's peak would have extended to nearly a decade.

The hitters (Mize, Williams, Greenberg) were all able to smoothly transition back to baseball. Those skills never really diminish because they are more mentally based. A pitcher, on the other hand, must rely more heavily on his physiology. Very few are able to fight their way back once the arm goes.
I'd go with Grover Cleveland Alexander. He missed only one season while he served in France (1918) but it is widely speculated that the excessive drinking that plagued him in the latter stages of his career was due in part to post traumatic stress disoder, caused by his time in the trenches. He managed, despite the drinking, to pitch until he was 43 and forge an HOF resume for himself. How much better could he have been had he not gone to war?


The return shall be legenday!
Feller lost years like any ballplayer during WW II did. Greenberg, DiMaggio, Williams all would have put up greater numbers. Given Williams HR capability, he lost 4 1/2 years (which amounts to 5 years in terms of his peak playing years and the year he returned to get back into shape) give him 40 to 45 HRs in those years. That would put him past Ruth. Some people can prefer others to Williams with the game on the line doesn't diminish Teddy Ballgame's monumental ability to hit in any game!
I think Cecil Travis was hurt the most. More than likely, the war cost him a Hall of Fame plaque. At least DiMaggio and company all are in The Hall of Fame.


New Member
chicagowhitesox1173 said:
I think Cecil Travis was hurt the most. More than likely, the war cost him a Hall of Fame plaque. At least DiMaggio and company all are in The Hall of Fame.
Yea, Travis had his best season, at age 27, right before the war. Career highs in runs, hits, doubles, triples, HR, RBI, BA/OBP/SLG/OPS/OPS+ and total bases. He was entering his prime. Then the battle of the bulge happened and he came back to cavernous Griffith Stadium and hit .241 in his three years back. Done after his age 33 season.

Also, Christy Mathewson may not have had his playing career affected but he died of complications from poisonous gas he inhaled during a drill in WWI.