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

This Guy Speaks For All of You

This individual, interviewed by FOX 29 on Friday as the Phillies arrived back at Citizens Bank Park, said it best. When asked how he felt regarding the Phillies, he told Steve Keeley that he was, "Stoked, baby!" The unidentified phanatic then proclaimed, "We are talking about the Fightins here, the Fightins! Said!" Check out the media player below, as the transcribed version certainly does not do this phireball of phandom justice. The Phillies forced game 6 of the National League Championship Series with a 4-2 victory over the Giants in San Francisco on Thursday night. Game 6 will feature Roy Oswalt vs. Jonathan Sanchez in a return pitching match up from game 2. First pitch is scheduled for 7:57 pm EST at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Be sure to tune in on 97.3 ESPN's Weekend Sports Guide with Tyrone Johnson this afternoon around 1:15pm to hear me chatting about the Phillies! 97.3 is based in Atlantic City. You can listen live online HERE . _________

2022 Phillies Top Prospects Countdown: #15 Infielder Kendall Simmons

An All-Star in 2019 with the short-season Class-A Williamsport Crosscutters,  Kendall Simmons  is one of the Phillies' most promising prospects.   Simmons, an outstanding and multi-positional infielder, was the Phillies' 6th round draft pick in 2018. That year, he made his professional debut in the Rookie level Gulf Coast League, posting a .234 average with three homers and 11 RBI in 32 games. The right-handed batter tallied a .234 batting average with 12 homers, 34 RBI and five stolen bases in 51 games with Williamsport in 2019.  In the 2020-2021 off-season, Simmons played in the Australian Baseball League, making up for some of the time missed due to the cancelled 2020 season.  In 21 games with Adelaide, he notched a .172 batting average with a home run, seven RBI and three steals.  Last year, Simmons played primarily with Class A Clearwater.  With the Threshers, he recorded a .226/.321/.460 slash line in 41 games.  Listed at six-feet-two, 180 pounds, strength and athleticism

2022 Phillies Top Prospects Countdown: #14 OF Yhoswar Garcia

Righty hitting outfielder Yhoswar Garcia is a Phillies prospect on the rise. Reportedly signed in 2020 for a $2.5 million bonus, the six-foot tall 150-pounder has played state side in Florida. Debuting as a pro in Class A Clearwater last summer, Garcia notched a .229/.299/.271 slash line with 11 steals through 18 contests. Repeating the same level to open this season, Garcia has produced improved offensive numbers in the early going. Equipped with plus speed, Garcia is a threat to swipe a bag anytime he reaches base.  Through 14 games with the Threshers this season, the 20-year-old has pilfered 13 bases. Exceptionally skilled in the field, the Venezuelan is said to tout considerable range and a is as solid in centerfield as you can find at his level. Playing every day on a full-season club is just what a talented, athletic youngster with the skillset Garcia possesses will benefit most from.   Please visit  Patreon.com/PhoulBallz  in order to support my work and get access to exclusive