Frank McCormick

A native New Yorker, 6’4″ Frank McCormick went to a tryout at the Polo Grounds, but was turned down because at the time the Giants were disinclined to use righthanded first basemen. He instead went on to be a seven-time All-Star for Cincinnati. In 1938 he became only the eighth ML player to have more than 200 hits in his first full season. His 128 RBI in 1939 led the league. He was voted the NL’s MVP in 1940 when he topped the circuit in hits for a third consecutive season, led in doubles and at-bats, drove in 127 runs, and led Cincinnati to its first World Championship in 21 years. Deferred from military service due to a disc problem, he averaged 149 games a season between 1938 and 1945. He set a NL first basemen’s record by playing in 652 consecutive games, from April 1938 until May 1942.

McCormick was a dedicated first-ball hitter. “I learned early that pitchers tried to sneak a good one by you to get ahead in the count. I didn’t let it go by.” He didn’t try to outguess the pitcher, and therefore was rarely fooled; he struck out only once in every 30 at-bats. He was sold in December of 1945 to the Phillies; when they released him during 1947, he was picked up by the Braves, and led the NL with 13 pinch hits. His final ML appearance came in the 1948 World Series. He returned to the Reds as a minor league manager, ML scout, coach, and broadcaster.