Skip to main content

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 65

Danny Litwhiler was an outfielder with the Phillies from 1940-1943. Signed as a free agent in 1940, the native Pennsylvanian join the Phillies and made his Major League debut that season. Litwhiler quickly proved to be a smart addition for the Phillies, slugging 5 homers and batting .345 and rattling off a 21-game hitting streak in 36 games played that season.

The following year, in 1941, Litwhiler's output continued to be solid, as he led the team in homeruns, with 18, and batted .305. In 1942, Litwhiler played much of the 2nd half of the season with an injured shoulder, but still managed to become the first Major Leaguer to play an entire season without making a single error. While the injury did not effect his performance in the field, it resulted in a reduction in power, as his season homerun total was trimmed in half, down to 9. Riding his reputation as the Phillies' premiere slugger from the previous season, Litwhiler made the National League all-star team in 1942.

On June 1st, 1943, the Phillies traded Litwhiler to the Cardinals, along with outfielder/pitcher Earl Naylor, for Dain Clay, Buster Adams and Coaker Triplett. With St. Louis, Litwhiler would play in two straight World Series, winning one.

Later in his career, Litwhiler would also play for the Braves and the Reds. In 1951, at age 34, Litwhiler's playing days were over but his best contributions to the game were yet to come.

In 1955, Litwhiler became the head baseball coach at Florida State University and led the school to three College World Series in eight seasons. Litwhiler later took over the baseball program at Michigan State University in the mid-1960's. He would spend 19 seasons in charge of the Spartans program. Litwhiler holds the record for wins by a coach at Michigan State.

While coaching college, Litwhiler began developing many tools that are now commonplace around baseball. He introduced the radar gun as a means to measure pitch speed, assisted in the development of Diamond Grit, a material used to dry soaked infield dirt, and pioneered the use of multiple instructional gadgets that taught fundamentals of baseball to young players.

-------------------------------------------------

Follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter HERE.

Comments

mark evans said…
Thanks for the lesson, I'd never heard of the man.

I'm wondering if numbers from the WWII years may be skewed. On a side not, has anyone compiled a list of all players who spent time with the Phillies, and were killed in action during WWII and subsequent wars?

Popular posts from this blog

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #7 LHP JoJo Romero

JoJo Romero, image- Jay Floyd With a growing crop of very talented pitching prospects in the Phillies organization, left-hander JoJo Romero is certainly among the standouts. The five-foot-11 200-pounder was the Phils’ 4th round draft selection in 2016. That year he helped Yavapai College, the same school that the Phillies drafted Kenny Giles from in 2011, clinch the JuCo World Series, leading the way with an 11-5 record, a 3.64 ERA and a 10.2 K/9 mark. He also tossed a complete game gem to earn the win in their title game. After signing with the Phillies, Romero made his professional debut as a member of the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters. There, he notched a 2-2 record with a 2.56 ERA while striking out 31 and walking 11 in 45 2/3 innings. In 2017, he got off to a terrific start with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. In 13 starts, Romero tallied a 5-1 record with a 2.11 ERA and a 9.3 K/9 mark and was honored as a South Atlantic League mid-season All-Star. R

McGwire Stays Phony, Despite Admitting Drug Use

Mark McGwire made an effort to publicly come clean today, admitting to the world that he took performance enhancing drugs during his playing career. Steroids and human growth hormones were among the drugs that McGwire admitted to using. MLB Network featured a one on one interview with Bob Costas and McGwire on Monday evening. The broadcast was virtually garbage, thanks to McGwire. Ahead is a list of quotes from McGwire's interview. McGwire repeatedly stated his point of view that there were no dishonorable intentions involved when taking steroids, and that he was merely using them as a means to recover from varying ailments. When asked if he felt like he cheated... "As I look back now...I can see how people would say that. As far as the talent goes and the hand-eye coordination, the ability, the genetics I was given...I don't see it." "I did not take this for any strength purposes." Denial. Read on for similar B.S. He whined about the abuse he'

Diekman a Late Addition to Mesa AFL Roster

On Wednesday, Phillies lefty pitching prospect Jacob Diekman made his Arizona Fall League debut. Diekman, who was drafted in the 30th round of the 2007 amateur draft, was assigned to Mesa late, in order to increase his 2010 innings total, according to Mesa hitting coach Mark Parent, who managed Diekman in Lakewood this past season. Diekman, 23, posted a 2-0 record with 1.90 ERA in 21 games with Class A Lakewood before being promoted to High-A Clearwater on June 24th. In 24 games with the Threshers, Diekman went 0-2 with a 3.66 ERA. Combined, Diekman tossed 55 2/3 innings and held opponents to a .187 batting average against at two levels in 2010. However, after not pitching in an official game since he threw a shutout inning to wrap up the Clearwater season on September 5th, Diekman was unable to record an out as all seven batters he faced reached base, six with hits, one on an error. Diekman was charged with 5 earned runs in the outing. Diekman had spent time at instructional ball f