The 1940s was a strange era for baseball. World War II split the decade down the middle, and the sport saw some of its heroes ship off to war.
But when putting together the all 1940-1949 roster, I felt it was best to view the play on the field in a vacuum. Some stars faded away at the beginning of the decade. Others only began to shine as the decade came to a close. The players that did make the list did so because they dominated within the decade. This list put consistent production ahead of name recognition where possible.
NOTE: All stats provided via the official Major League Baseball website.
Catcher: Frankie Hayes (five teams 1940-47)
Frankie Hays was a model of consistency on the field during the 1940s, despite playing for five different teams. What he sometimes lacked in batting average, he made up with his all around play. Hayes was in the top 25 among all hitters in home runs ('40,'41,'43,'44,'45) and walks ('40,'41,'44,'45).
His consistency was also rewarded by five trips to the All-Star game ('40,'41,'44,'45,'46). Pretty amazing considering how often he switched uniforms.
First Base: Phil Cavarretta (Chicago Cubs 1940-49)
Phil Cavarretta may not have the name recognition of New York Giants great Johnny Mize, but he certainly stood tall during the '40s. He went to four straight All-Star games (1944-47) and scored an MVP in 1945. During the decade his batting average never dipped below .270. From 1942 until 1946, Cavarretta was in the top 25 every year in walks, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs batted in, runs scored, doubles, and triples.
Second Base: Bobby Doerr (Boston Red Sox 1940-49)
Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr may have been one of the greatest of all time, not just the 1940s. A perennial All-Star ('41-'44 and '46-'48), Doerr not only put up big time stats at the plate, but his fielding percentage never dropped below .970 over the entire decade. Solid with the stick and the leather, Doerr easily deserves a spot in any all-time list.
Third Base: Stan Hack (Chicago Cubs 1940-47)
While Stan Hack's career may have been winding down, Hack still put up some great numbers for most of the 1940s. He led the National League in hits in back-to-back years ('40-'41) and still managed to keep his batting average above .270, even in his final year.
Shortstop:Luke Appling (Chicago White Sox 1940-49)
Hall of Famer Luke Appling was everything one could want from a shortstop, and it showed in the 1940s. Appling kept his batting average over .300 every year, except 1942. But Appling made up for that dip in production the next year and led the American League in both batting and on-base percentage in 1943. Appling was also a five time All-Star during the decade ('40,'41,'43,'46,'47).
Left Field: Ted Williams (Boston Red Sox 1940-49)
The All-1940s team has one of the greatest collection of outfielders ever, starting with one of the greatest to ever play the game, Ted Williams. This giant among men was a seven-time All-Star, two-time Triple Crown winner ('42 and '47), and twice was MVP ('46 and '49), and that was after missing time serving his country in the Marines.
Center Fielder:Joe Dimaggio (New York Yankees 1940-49)
Another titan in the history of baseball, Joe Dimaggio dominated the 1940s as well. He racked up seven All-Star appearances, three World Series championships ('41, '47,'49), and two MVPs ('41 and '47). Dimaggio is still one of the most beloved players to ever play the game.
Right Field:Stan Musial (St. Louis Cardinals 1941-49)
Stan Musial rounds out the Hall of Fame outfield. Musial's first full year (1942), he hit for .315 and never saw his average dip below .310 for the rest of the decade. He would pace the other all-time greats in the 1940s with six All-Star appearances, three MVPs ('43, '46, '48), three World Series titles ('42, '44, '46), and three batting titles ('43, '46, '48).
Enos Slaughter (St. Louis Cardinals 1940-49)
In any other era, Enos Slaughter would be a starter on the all-decade team. The six-time All-Star outfielder hit over .300 every year but 1947, when he missed by a hair (.294).
Johnny Pesky (Boston Red Sox 1942, 1946-49)
Johnny Pesky seems to have earned his last name at the plate. Though he only made it to the All-Star squad once, Pesky did produce throughout the '40s. He had over 200 hits three times ('42,'46,'47) and his fielding percentage never dipped below .950.
Johnny Mize 1B (St. Louis Cardinals 1940-41, New York Giants 1941-49)
Johnny Mize was a seven-time All-Star during the 1940s. Mize led the league three times in home runs ('40, '47, '48) and RBIs('40,'42,'47). Known as The Big Cat, Mize was an excellent fielder and his fielding percentage never dipped below .990 for the entire decade.
Hal Newhouser (Detroit Tigers 1940-49)
One would be hard pressed to find a more dominant pitcher in the 1940s than Hal Newhouser. Newhouser had plenty of accolades during the decade, including seven All-Star nods and back-to-back MVPs ('44 and '45). Newhouser was solid throughout the decade, but also was in the top 10 every year from 1944 through 1949 in ERA, wins, strikeouts, complete games, and shutouts.
Bob Feller (Cleveland Indians 1940-49)
Bob Feller was one of the all-time greats. He led the American League in strikeouts in '40 and '41 and then three straight years from '46 through '48. He twice achieved back-to-back years of total domination. In 1941-1942 and 1946-1947, Feller led the American League in wins, strikeouts, games started, and shutouts. Feller also was a five-time All-Star during the 1940s.
Bucky Walters (Cincinnati Reds 1940-1948)
Bucky Walters was a four-time All-Star during the 1940s. From 1940 until 1945, Walters was in the top 25 for ERA, wins, strikeouts, complete games, and shutouts. While Walters career would fade at the end of the 1940s, he still managed to win 20 games in 1947.
Dizzy Trout (Detroit Tigers 1940-49)
Dizzy Trout would make my team just based on his name. Trout was a talented but underrated pitcher in the 1940s. While Trout only made two All-Star appearances ('44 and '47), Dizzy's stats put him among the best. In fact, Dizzy Trout was consistently in the top 25 in ERA, wins, strikeouts, complete games, shutouts, and innings pitched from 1942 through 1948.
Johnny Sain (Boston Red Sox 1942, 1946-49)
Johnny Sain spent the last half of the 1940s earning his spot on the all-decade team. He made the All-Star team in '47 and '48. From 1946 through 1948, Sain was in the top five for ERA, wins, strikeouts, games started, complete games, and innings pitched. With the latter half on the 1940s seeing so many Hall of Famers taking the mound, Johnny Sain found a way to keep up with them and to make a place for himself on the all-decade team.
Christopher Beheler is a lifelong baseball and Atlanta Braves fan.