Charlie Gehringer, Hall of Fame Detroit Tigers second baseman

You can wind him up in the spring and he'll hit .320 with 40 doubles.
Lefty Gomez

Charles Leonard Gehringer was born May 11, 1903 in Fowlerville, Michigan. Charlie spent his younger life working on the family farm and playing baseball on the weekends. After spending a year playing with the University of Michigan team while majoring in physical education, Charlie got the opportunity to tryout for Detroit greats Bobby Veach and Ty Cobb. He so impressed the two that he was picked up by the Tigers that week.

After two short stints with the club in 1924 and 1925, Charlie became the Tigers' everyday second baseman in 1926, where he had a mundane rookie season, batting .277 in 123 games. After that, though, Charlie was a regular dynamo at the plate, batting .300 or higher in 13 of his next 14 seasons and leading the league in a number of offensive categories. In 1929, Charlie slapped out 215 hits, including 45 doubles and 19 triples, and stole 27 bases, all tops in the league.

Throughout the 1930s, Charlie was regarded as the best fielding second baseman in baseball. He was frequently in the top three in fielding percentage and putouts, and his play in the field and at the plate was so good that he was dubbed "The Mechanical Man" by opponent Lefty Gomez. The name didn't just refer to his play on the field; Charlie was the strong, silent type, and rarely made waves with the media or within the team. Along with Hank Greenberg and Goose Goslin, Charlie was part of Detroit's elite "G-Men" team, a team that went to the World Series three times, with Charlie providing the winning run in the 1935 World Series.

During the offseason, Charlie worked at a department store as a sales clerk, and spent many years barnstorming through Canada with players from the Negro League, including Buck Leonard, Judy Johnson, and Satchel Paige. He also began working at an auto store, which he would later buy after his playing days were over.

In 1936, Charlie had another all-around electric seasons, batting .354 with 60 doubles, scoring 144 runs in the process. The following year he won his only batting title with a .371 clip, and captured the league's Most Valuable Player award. What makes Charlie's statistics all the more amazing is that he was one of the most consistent players in the game, compiling two streaks of 500 consecutive games played in his career. After two subpar seasons in 1941 and 1942, Charlie retired to join the Navy for World War II/

Charlie was elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1949, but missed his induction ceremonies - because he was getting married! In 1951, he was named general manager of the Tigers, and eventually became an executive with the Tigers. He also served for 30 years as a member of the Veterans Committee of the Hall of Fame.

Charlie Gehringer, the Mechanical Man, passed away January 21, 1993 in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Career Statistics

YEAR   TEAM    G   AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB CS   BB  SO   BA
1924 DET AL    5   13    2    6   0   0   0    1   1  1    0   2 .462
1925 DET AL    8   18    3    3   0   0   0    0   0  1    2   0 .167
1926 DET AL  123  459   62  127  19  17   1   48   9  7   30  42 .277
1927 DET AL  133  508  110  161  29  11   4   61  17  8   52  31 .317
1928 DET AL  154  603  108  193  29  16   6   74  15  9   69  22 .320
1929 DET AL  155  634  131  215  45  19  13  106  27  9   64  19 .339
1930 DET AL  154  610  144  201  47  15  16   98  19 15   69  17 .330
1931 DET AL  101  383   67  119  24   5   4   53  13  4   29  15 .311
1932 DET AL  152  618  112  184  44  11  19  107   9  8   68  34 .298
1933 DET AL  155 628  103  204  42   6  12  105   5  4   68  27 .325
1934 DET AL  154  601  134  214  50   7  11  127  11  8   99  25 .356
1935 DET AL  150  610  123  201  32   8  19  108  11  4   79  16 .330
1936 DET AL  154  641  144  227  60  12  15  116   4  1   83  13 .354
1937 DET AL  144  564  133  209  40   1  14   96  11  4   90  25 .371
1938 DET AL  152  568  133  174  32   5  20  107  14  1  113  21 .306
1939 DET AL  118  406   86  132  29   6  16   86   4  3   68  16 .325
1940 DET AL  139  515  108  161  33   3  10   81  10  0  101  17 .313
1941 DET AL  127  436   65   96  19   4   3   46   1  2   95  26 .220
1942 DET AL   45   45    6   12   0   0   1    7   0  0    7   4 .267
     CAREER 2323 8860 1774 2839 574 146 184 1427 181 89 1186 372 .320
* Bold denotes led league

Hall of Fame Index
Lou Gehrig | Bob Gibson

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