The stocky Laabs was a wartime hero for the St. Louis Browns when they won their only pennant in 1944. Used sparingly all season, he had only three home runs before he hit two against the Yankees on the season’s last day to win the pennant-clinching game.
Laabs had good power, finishing second in the AL in 1942 with 27 HR. He had a knack for timely hits, leading the AL in pinch hits in 1940. But he was strikeout prone and led the AL (105) in 1943. In 1938, when Cleveland’s Bob Feller struck out 18 Tigers, Laabs was a five-time victim.