Thursday, May 9, 2019

Grey Clarke, 1943 Batting Champion

On Sunday, September 19, 1943, the Brewers played the final two games of the 1943 season. The Brews had already clinched the American Association pennant, but that doesn't mean there was nothing left to play for.

Between games of the double-header, team president Bill Veeck stepped up to the microphone (and onto the Borchert Field turf) for a special presentation. Third baseman Grey Clarke had clinched the league's batting title, and Sport Shirt Bill never passed up a chance to celebrate.

The batting championship trophy was presented to Grey Clarke (left), Brewer third baseman, between Sunday's games at Borchert Field by Bill Veeck, president of the Milwaukee baseball club. Clarke finished the season with a .346 average, 13 points ahead of his nearest rival. Attached to the trophy was an envelope containing a $100 war bond. Clarke's victory made him the third Brewer to win the batting title in the American association in consecutive years. Last year it went to Eddie Stanky and the year before to Lou Novikoff.
—Journal staff
In 534 at-bats, Clarke hit 185 hits, with 29 doubles, nine triples, and 10 home runs. With all that, he tallied 97 RBI. Veeck had sold Clarke's contract to the Chicago White Sox in September, although they agreed to let him stay in Milwaukee through the end of the American Association playoffs. The Brewers took almost as much advantage of the extra weeks with Clarke's bat as Clarke himself did.

I love this photo of Veeck, so obviously in his element. Mic in hand, trademark shirt sleeves rolled up, towering over his diminutive third-sacker. Of course, the Brews gave him many reasons to smile.

Clarke, as the caption notes, was the third Brewer in a row to win the batting crown, but he wouldn't be the last. First baseman George "Bingo" Binks would take home the batting title in 1944; Veeck sure had an eye for sluggers.

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