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Joe Medwick

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Joe Medwick

A photo of Joe Medwick.

Joseph Michael Medwick (November 24, 1911March 21, 1975), nicknamed "Ducky", was an American player in Major League Baseball. A highly competitive left fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals during the "Gashouse Gang" era of the 1930s, he also played for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1940-43, '46), New York Giants (1943-45), and Boston Braves (1945). He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America in 1968, receiving 84.81% of the votes. He was one of 4 players to be elected by the BBWAA in what was scheduled to be his last year on the ballot (along with Red Ruffing (P) (1967 runoff), Ralph Kiner (1975), and Jim Rice (2009).

Medwick was born to Hungarian immigrant parents and grew up in Carteret, New Jersey. He made his debut with the Cardinals in 1932. Fans nicknamed him "Ducky" and "Ducky Wucky" because of his waddle, but his build led to the nickname of "Muscles," which meant that none of his teammates dared to use the name "Ducky" to his face. His hard-charging style of play got him pulled out of the seventh game of the 1934 World Series by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, when Detroit Tigers fans started pelting him with garbage after he slid hard into third on a triple. (Audio) Landis also ordered Tigers third baseman Marv Owen, Medwick's slide victim, benched.

A 10-time All-Star, he played for 17 years, finishing with a lifetime .324 batting average. He won the National League Triple Crown and the NL Most Valuable Player in 1937. Medwick remains the last National League player to win a triple crown (Carl Yastrzemski of Red Sox was last major league player to do it in 1967.) Medwick holds the Major League record for consecutive seasons with 40 or more doubles, with 7, set between the 1933 and 1939 seasons.

Medwick helped lead the Dodgers to a pennant in 1941, but had lost much of his dominance after being nearly killed by a beanball thrown at him by a former Cardinal teammate 6 days after his 1940 trade. He did bat .337 for the Giants in 1944, but with little power. He eventually returned to finish his career with the Cardinals in 1947 and 1948.

During a USO tour by a number of players in 1944, Medwick was among several individuals given an audience by Pope Pius XII. Upon being asked by the Pope what his vocation was, Medwick replied, "Your Holiness, I'm Joe Medwick. I, too, used to be a Cardinal."

Medwick died of a heart attack in St. Petersburg, Florida at age 63.

Medwick was one of three players born in New Jersey to be elected to the Hall of Fame, and one of five to have attended school in the State -- in each case, the only one from the central part of the State. At Number 79, he was the highest-ranking New Jersey native to have made The Sporting News list of Baseball's Greatest Players. That same year, he was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

He was elected New Jersey athlete of the century at century's end.

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Awards and achievements
Preceded by:
Wally Berger
National League RBI Champion
1936-1938
Succeeded by:
Frank McCormick
Preceded by:
Carl Hubbell
National League Most Valuable Player
1937
Succeeded by:
Ernie Lombardi
Preceded by:
Chuck Klein
National League Triple Crown
1937
Succeeded by:
none
Preceded by:
Paul Waner
National League Batting Champion
1937
Succeeded by:
Ernie Lombardi
Preceded by:
Mel Ott
National League Home Run Champion
1937
(with Mel Ott)
Succeeded by:
Mel Ott

Template:NL MVP's Template:1934 St. Louis Cardinals Template:1968 Baseball HOF Template:Baseball Hall of Fame outfielders

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