Johnny Mize is a perfect example of baseball excellence whose true worth can never be measured because more important than a game, was a sense of duty. Coming up with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1936, Mize spent the first seven years of his career punishing National League pitching. In that span “The Big Cat,” led the league in doubles and triples once, and home runs and RBIs twice. He knocked in more than 100 runs six out of those first seven years, “only” notching 93 in his freshman year. Traded to the New York Giants in 1942, they quickly lost their investment to Uncle Sam in 1943. Mize would not return to baseball until after the war was over. In 1947 he had perhaps his finest year, batting .302 and leading the league with 51 home runs and 138 RBIs. He would lead the league again with 40 HRs in 1948. The New York Yankees purchased his contract in 1949 and he would finish his career with the Giants’ crosstown rivals, spending four more seasons playing alongside fellow Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto, Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle and manager Casey Stengel.
Although he would finish in the top 10 of MVP voting six times, he never won the coveted award.
August 16, 2013