Joe Gordon

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1983 TCMA '42 Play Ball #1 Joe Gordon

Joseph Lowell Gordon

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2009

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Biographical Information[edit]

Joe Gordon was a star athlete at the University of Oregon, competing in baseball, football, track, and gymnastics. He began his pro baseball career in 1936 with the Oakland Oaks, hitting .300. The next year, with the Newark Bears, he hit .280 with 26 homers and 89 RBIs.

Gordon reached the majors with the New York Yankees in 1938 and went on to win the 1942 American League Most Valuable Player Award. He missed a couple of seasons due to World War II, entering the Army in March 1944 and being discharged in November 1945. After one year back with the Yankees, he was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 1947, where he spent his final four big league seasons.

A nine-time All-Star, Gordon is considered one of the best home run hitters among second basemen in the history of the game. He played on six World Series teams during his career.

After his playing days ended, Gordon managed the Sacramento Solons in 1951 and 1952. He was a Detroit Tigers scout from 1953 to 1956 and a Tiger coach in 1956. Gordon replaced Eddie Joost as manager of the San Francisco Seals in mid-1956 and stayed through 1957.

He became manager of the Cleveland Indians in 1958 and was part of one of the most unusual trades in baseball history in 1960. While managing the Indians, he was sent to the Detroit Tigers for fellow skipper Jimmie Dykes. Gordon managed the Kansas City Athletics in 1961 and was a scout and minor league batting instructor for the California Angels from 1962 to 1968.

He managed the Idaho Falls Angels for a brief interim in 1966. He then managed the Kansas City Royals in their inaugural season in 1969 as well.

In 2007 voting by the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee, Gordon received 12% of the vote. In 2008, he was the only player elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee, which had been restructured between 2007 and 2008. His induction took place in 2009.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 9-time AL All-Star (1939-1943 & 1946-1949)
  • AL MVP (1942)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 7 (1938-1941 & 1997-1949)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 2 (1940 & 1948)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 4 (1939, 1940, 1942 & 1948)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (1940 & 1941)
  • Won five World Series with the New York Yankees (1938, 1939, 1941 & 1943) and the Cleveland Indians (1948)
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 2009

Managerial positions
Preceded by
Bobby Bragan
Cleveland Indians Manager
Succeeded by
Jimmy Dykes
Preceded by
Jimmy Dykes
Detroit Tigers Manager
Succeeded by
Bob Scheffing
Preceded by
Bob Elliott
Kansas City Athletics Manager
Succeeded by
Hank Bauer
New position Kansas City Royals Manager
Succeeded by
Charlie Metro
Awards and honours
Preceded by
Joe DiMaggio
American League Most Valuable Player
Succeeded by
Spud Chandler

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1951 Sacramento Solons Pacific Coast League 75-92 7th Chicago White Sox
1952 Sacramento Solons Pacific Coast League 66-114 8th none
1956 San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League 33-29 6th Boston Red Sox replaced Eddie Joost (44-59) on July 9
1957 San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League 101-67 1st Boston Red Sox none League Champs
1958 Cleveland Indians American League 46-40 4th Cleveland Indians replaced Bobby Bragan (31-36) on June 27
1959 Cleveland Indians American League 89-65 2nd Cleveland Indians
1960 Cleveland Indians American League 49-46 -- Cleveland Indians replaced by Jimmy Dykes on August 3
Detroit Tigers American League 26-31 6th Detroit Tigers replaced Jimmy Dykes (44-52) and Billy Hitchcock (1-0) on August 5
1961 Kansas City Athletics American League 26-33 -- Kansas City Athletics replaced by Hank Bauer on June 19
1966 Idaho Falls Angels Pioneer League -- California Angels replaced Alex Monchak on August 12/
replaced by John Fitzpatrick on August 18
1969 Kansas City Royals American League 69-93 4th Kansas City Royals

Further Reading[edit]

  • Sol Gittleman: "One Trade, Three Teams, and Reversal of Fortune", The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 41, Number 1 (Spring 2012), pp. 86-89.

Related Sites[edit]