Year In Review : 1940 National League
Off the field...
The United States first adopted the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940. The act provided that not more than 900,000 men were to be in military training at any one time, and it limited active duty service to twelve months. After the United States entered World War II, a new selective service act made men between eighteen and forty-five liable for military service and required all men between eighteen and sixty-five to register for the draft.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike debuted as the first multilane superhighway in the U.S. and the first Los Angeles freeway opened. Both set the standard for the rapid evolution of highway transportation development across the country. Since then every state has constructed at least one superhighway on either a toll or non-toll basis.
In the American League...
Yankees pitcher Spud Chandler almost single-handedly led New York to a 10-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox after knocking in six runs with a single, two home runs and a grand slam. His six runs batted in performance tied an American League record shared with Pete Appleton who was one of the pitchers he was facing.
During a 12-9 win over the Detroit Tigers, Red Sox shortstop Joe Cronin became not the first player to cycle twice, but the first to do it a decade apart. Cronin, who had originally accomplished the feat in 1929, went four-for-five becoming the fifth Boston player ever to go the distance.
Boston Red Sox slammer Jimmie Foxx moved ahead of Lou Gehrig on the all time home run list after hitting number's four-hundred ninety-four and four-hundred ninety-five off the Washington Senators en route to a 7-6 win on August 16th.
In the National League...
On May 7th, the Brooklyn Dodgers fell 18-2 after the St. Louis Cardinals totaled forty-nine bases on twenty hits. Thirteen knocks went for extra-bases and seven of them were home runs. The rally set a National League record for most extra bases on long hits with twenty-nine.
Brooklyn Dodgers' reliever Carl Doyle dropped the ball (and the game) after giving up sixteen hits and fourteen runs (in just four innings) as the Cincinnati Reds tallied twenty-seven hits and a 23-2 victory. To make matters worse, Doyle also hit four Cincinnati batters to tie a National League record and initiated a bitter rivalry between the teams that would last for decades. Four days later, he was sent to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Harry Danning, of the New York Giants, hit for the cycle against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 15th and became the last player of the century to include an inside the park home run in his cycle. The inside-the-park-home run traveled four-hundred sixty feet and became lodged behind an Eddie Grant memorial in front of the Giants' clubhouse. New York went on to win their eighth straight with a 12-1 triumph.
Around the league...
At the All-Star Game, outfielder Max West of the Boston Bees hit a three-run home run in the first inning to lead the Nationals to victory over the American League. The 4-0 final was the first shutout ever recorded at a Midsummer Classic.
In response to the "beanball wars" Spalding Sporting Goods introduced a new style of batting helmet (with earflaps) to mixed reviews. The Brooklyn Dodgers also introduced a padded cap liner that some batters elected to use the following season.
Walter Johnson, the man who had won four-hundred sixteen games for the Washington Senators, lost the election as the Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland. Although Johnson's political career ended before it began, his career on the field seemed to never end as he compiled statistics that included sixteen straight wins (1912); a string of fifty-six scoreless innings, and a 36-7 (1.09) mark in 1913; five wins, three of them shutouts, in nine days (1908); sixty-six triumphs over Detroit, the most for any American League pitcher against any one team; two-hundred victories in eight seasons and three-hundred in fourteen.