Gene Woodling Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: August 16, 1922 in Akron, Ohio
Died: June 2, 2001 in Barberton, Ohio
Player Career
Bat: Left Throw: Right Height: 5' 9.5" Weight: 195
First Game: September 23, 1943 ; Final Game: September 16, 1962
Awards and Achievements
Named Minor League Player of the Year by The Sporting News (1948)
Biography | show moreshow less
Gene Woodling
This article was written by Jim Sargent and is presented in part, courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research
By the time he retired from the National League's New York Mets after the 1962 season, Eugene Richard "Gene" Woodling had accumulated a number of honors, including batting over .300 five times in his seventeen seasons. Although averaging .284 lifetime, he was best known as a dangerous hitter with runners in scoring position during the late innings. Most importantly, Woodling helped the New York Yankees win five straight World Series from 1949 through 1953. During those fall classics, the left-handed hitter averaged an impressive .318. His 27 postseason hits included five doubles, two triples, and three home runs.

A native of Akron, Ohio, the youngest son of Harvey and Alvada Woodling was surrounded by Ohio's football-rich tradition. Gene played football and basketball in high school, but he came from a family known for good swimmers. His older brother "Red" won a national title while swimming for Ohio State University. Gene believed training to be a first-class swimmer and being a tough competitor helped him make the big leagues. During his senior year, East High's swimming coach also became the baseball coach, so Gene was persuaded to try the diamond. In the Midwest, few schools played as many as twenty games in the often-chilly spring weather. Still, Cleveland scout Bill Bradley saw enough of Woodling to sign him.

A tough clutch hitter, Woodling made the major leagues to stay only after leading four different minor leagues in hitting. He began his professional career in 1940 at Mansfield of the Ohio State League. The "recruit" (as rookies were often called) led the Class D circuit with a .398 mark and made the All-Star team. He continued to shine in 1941. At Flint of the Class C Michigan State League, he paced the hitters with a .394 mark. But the next year at Class A Wilkes-Barre of the Eastern League, Gene broke his ankle sliding into home plate. The injury ended his season after 39 games, when he was averaging just .192. Returning to the Barons in 1943, he led his third league with a .344 mark. During a stint with Cleveland in late 1943, he batted .320 in eight games.

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