Hall of Fame: Joe Cronin (1956)

His number 4 has been retired by the Red Sox.

Year Team    G    AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI   BB   SO HBP  SH GDP   SB  CS   AVG   OBP   SLG
1926 PIT N 38 83 9 22 2 2 0 11 6 15 0 3 0 0 .265 .315 .337
1927 PIT N 12 22 2 5 1 0 0 3 2 3 0 0 0 0 .227 .292 .273
1928 WAS A 63 227 23 55 10 4 0 25 22 27 0 10 4 0 .242 .309 .322
1929 WAS A 145 494 72 139 29 8 8 61 85 37 1 21 5 9 .281 .388 .421
1930 WAS A 154 587 127 203 41 9 13 126 72 36 5 22 17 10 .346 .422 .513
1931 WAS A 156 611 103 187 44 13 12 126 81 52 4 4 10 9 .306 .391 .480
1932 WAS A 143 557 95 177 43 18 6 116 66 45 3 3 7 5 .318 .393 .492
1933 WAS A 152 602 89 186 45 11 5 118 87 49 2 5 5 4 .309 .398 .445
1934 WAS A 127 504 68 143 30 9 7 101 53 28 1 9 8 0 .284 .353 .421
1935 BOS A 144 556 70 164 37 14 9 95 63 40 3 8 3 3 .295 .370 .460
1936 BOS A 81 295 36 83 22 4 2 43 32 21 1 6 1 3 .281 .354 .403
1937 BOS A 148 570 102 175 40 4 18 110 84 73 6 11 5 3 .307 .402 .486
1938 BOS A 143 530 98 172 51 5 17 94 91 60 5 11 7 5 .325 .428 .536
1939 BOS A 143 520 97 160 33 3 19 107 87 48 0 20 18 6 6 .308 .407 .492
1940 BOS A 149 548 104 156 35 6 24 111 83 65 1 13 6 7 5 .285 .380 .502
1941 BOS A 143 518 98 161 38 8 16 95 82 55 1 14 20 1 4 .311 .406 .508
1942 BOS A 45 79 7 24 3 0 4 24 15 21 0 1 3 0 1 .304 .415 .494
1943 BOS A 59 77 8 24 4 0 5 29 11 4 0 0 3 0 0 .312 .398 .558
1944 BOS A 76 191 24 46 7 0 5 28 34 19 1 5 7 1 4 .241 .358 .356
1945 BOS A 3 8 1 3 0 0 0 1 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 .375 .545 .375
20 Years) 2124 7579 1233 2285 515 118 170 1424 1059 700 34 166 57i 87 71 .301 .390 .468

7 All-Star Games (1933-1935, 1937-1939, 1941)

Joseph Edward Cronin was born on October 12, 1906 in San Francisco, California. He was signed before the 1925 season by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he wasn’t a particularly impressive shortstop prospect. In his brief time with the Pirates in 1926 and 1927, he didn’t play all that much or well when he did play, but he did enough to catch the eye of Joe Engel, a scout for the Washington Senators. Engel bought Cronin away from the Pirates for $7,500 and brought him to Washington. Owner Clark Griffith wasn’t amused and threatened to fire Engel.

Cronin’s 1928 season wasn’t really an indication that his career was going to turn around, but when he received a full season’s worth of at-bats in 1929, he took full advantage. Cronin really broke out a season later with career-highs in RBI (126) and batting average (.346), and he won the Sporting News Player of the Year Award (sadly, the recognized MVP’s of today weren’t started until 1931 — more on that in November). He continued to hit over the next few seasons, gaining the favor of fans and Griffith. Griffith introduced Cronin to his niece, and the two were soon married in 1934. In 1933, he had become the player-manager of the Senators and led them to a World Series, but his career and life in Washington weren’t to be.

Griffith sold his star player and nephew-in-law (is there such a term?) to the Boston Red Sox after the 1934 season, but he ensured that Cronin received a 5-year/$250,000 contract when he did. His Boston career began a bit inauspiciously, but the years from 1938-1941 were some of Cronin’s best. The career shortstop would continue to lead the Red Sox as player-manager in his time there, but in 1942, he began taking over as primarily the manager. A youngster by the name of Johnny Pesky was making a name for himself, and Cronin took himself out of the lineup. Cronin played until 1945, and though Pesky went off to World War II, Cronin’s last 4 seasons were still spent primarily as a pinch-hitter.

Cronin went on to become GM of the Red Sox in 1947, where he somewhat infamously never brought up an African-American player to play for his team, and he became the American League President in 1959 (the year Pumpsie Green made his debut). Three years before that, the BBWAA saw fit to elect Cronin to the Hall of Fame with 152 of 196 votes (78.8%).

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