Photo credit:National Baseball Hall of Fame Library

Charlie Gehringer

Charles Leonard Gehringer
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 2015
Connection to Michigan: Detroit Tigers
Primary position: 2nd Baseman

Born in 1903, Charlie Gehringer was raised on a farm just outside Fowlerville, Michigan, attending Fowlerville High School. After his freshman year at the University of Michigan, Gehringer came to Detroit’s Navin Field for a 1923 tryout with the Tigers. The young second baseman’s play impressed player-manager Ty Cobb, and he was signed to a professional contract.

Gehringer spent 1924 with Class-B London, receiving only a brief taste of Major League ball. Following a 1925 season in which he batted .325 with 38 doubles and 25 homers in the International League, however, Gehringer was installed as Tigers second baseman entering 1926. He took advantage of the opportunity, finishing with 19 doubles and 17 triples in 123 games.

The young infielder established himself as a full-blown star in 1929, topping the American League in games, plate appearances, runs, hits, doubles, triples and stolen bases. In 1934, he batted .379 in the Detroit’s seven-game World Series loss to St. Louis. A year later, he batted .375 as the Tigers captured their first World Championship, in six games over the Chicago Cubs. He was named an A.L. All-Star each season from 1933-1938 and was voted the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1937 after leading the circuit with a .371 average.

Gehringer was nicknamed “The Mechanical Man,” coined by Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez in respecting both his taciturn nature and consistency. “You wind him up in the spring,” said Gomez, “turn him loose, he hits .330 or .340, and you shut him off at the end of the season.” In all, Gehringer played 19 seasons and 2,221 games for Detroit, collecting 2,839 career hits. In 1949, he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. His number 2 was retired by the Tigers on June 12, 1983.

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