I was never a big Charlie Gehringer fan. I should be. The man was above average in everything and that made him a constantly great player for years. He was a good fielder without being flashy. He was a solid base runner. He is shown as a above average base runner even though his stolen base percentages weren’t great. He scored 100 runs 12 times and drove in 100 7 times. You don’t think of his with much power, but he led the league in doubles twice (once with a total of 60) and triples once. In addition, he was always good from 10 to 20 homeruns a year. He didn’t lead the league in too many categories, so he didn’t have a lot of black ink.
I think what happened is I always read the same thing about him. He was the mechanical man, never making a mistake and there was nobody better. It doesn’t tell much of a story. Bill James, in his latest historical abstract talked about how he kept getting slightly better even further into his career. Now that is a good thing and make me appreciate the man more.
His best to seasons according to WAR was when Detroit won the pennants in 1934 and 1935. He was runner-up to teammate and manager Mickey Cochrane in 1934. Cochrane won it in part because he was the manager for the pennant winning team. Lou Gehrig won the triple crown that year, had the highest WAR in the league and came in 5th in the MVP award. There was some interesting voting that year.
As there was in 1937 when Gehringer won the MVP award. Detroit came in second with the Yankees easily winning the pennant as they had one of the most dominant teams of all-time from 1936 to 1939. Gehringer won his only batting title that year. The Yankees had 5 of the top 9 vote getters in the MVP award that year, including league leader Lefty Gomez who came in 9th in the MVP vote. You could say the vote was split but Gehringer had 6 of the 8 first place votes and was second on the other two ballots. Joe DiMaggio also finished first of second on every ballot. I guess the writers figured the Yankees could have won the pennant without DiMaggio. You know, the Yankees were so good that year, they probably could have, even though DiMaggio was so brilliant.