This Day in Baseball History: February 17th, 1937

Lou Gehrig encouraging his successor on one of the most famous days in baseball history. Gehrig’s the one who needed encouragement.

On February 17, 1937:

In a seemingly insignificant move, the Boston Red Sox sell Babe Dahlgren to the New York Yankees.

Babe Dalhgren broke into the majors as a member of the Boston Red Sox in 1935 and played 149 games in his rookie season. Not terribly impressed, the Red Sox acquired Jimmie Foxx the next off-season, and Dahlgren went down to the minors. He sat in the minors for most of 1936. By that off-season, he was expendable. The Yankees bought him.

Dahlgren spent all of 1937 in the minors, and he only played 27 games in 1938. But his chance came in 1939. That was the year Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played streak ended and his ALS was diagnosed. Without the star first baseman, Dahlgren became the replacement first baseman. He would bash 15 HR, but he hit terribly otherwise. He wasn’t much better the next season, and he was shipped off to the Boston Braves.

For the Braves, he wasn’t terribly impressive, either, but after being sent to the Chicago Cubs, he went off. His OPS+ as a Cub was 138, and before that, he had never hit above 90. He would have two other good seasons in 1943 and 1944, even making an All-Star appearance in 1943. Two seasons later, he was just a footnote in the history books.

Dahlgren’s career wasn’t impressive by any means, and the only thing he will be remembered for is taking over for Lou Gehrig. It started with a home run, but he never amounted to much. Then again, nothing he did would come close to Gehrig.

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2 Responses to “This Day in Baseball History: February 17th, 1937”

  1. The Common Man Says:

    Not really worthy of the name Babe then, I guess. Still, cool profile of a great historical footnote. Think how forgotten Dahlgren would be without Gehrig.

  2. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    It’s kind of funny how we remember these things. Dahlgren wasn’t good or noteworthy in his own right, but people remember him for the guy he replaced. Kind of like Ben Griese and John Elway.

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