A decent pitcher much of his career, in 1943 at the age of 35, Spud Chandler dominated the American League, leading the circuit in wins, winning percentage, ERA, complete games, and shutouts. With his New York Yankees and much of the league missing many of their stars due to World war II, Chandler was named AL Most Valuable Player that season. The Yanks advanced to the World Series for a rematch with the St. Louis Cardinals, who had defeated them the previous October. Chandler pitched complete game victories in Game One and the clinching Game Five, tossing a shutout in the finale at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis.
The following April, Chandler made one start for the Yanks before enlisting in the U.S. Army at the age of 36. He didn’t return to baseball until September of 1945 when he made four starts for the Yankees. In ’46 he showed that he still had the stuff to be a winner, going 20-8 with a 2.10 ERA for the Bombers. He was solid again the following season despite a nagging arm injury. With a dead arm he pitched in the majors for the last time in the 1947 World Series when he appeared in relief in Game Two against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Chandler’s .717 career winning percentage is the highest in baseball history for pitchers with at least 100 victories. He’s the only Yankee pitcher to win the Most Valuable Player Award.
Lowest ERA in Major Leagues, 1942-1945
1. †Spud Chandler … 2.16
2. †Mort Cooper … 2.25
3. †Hal Newhouser … 2.29
4. †Max Lanier … 2.43
5. †Al Benton … 2.50
6. †Tex Hughson … 2.52
7. †Harry Brecheen … 2.58
8. †Hank Borowy … 2.66
9. †Johnny Niggeling … 2.66
10. Johnny Vander Meer … 2.67
Most consecutive games†with at least 6 IP and one or no runs allowed to start a season
Dana Finningim … 8 (1918 Braves)
Walter Johnson … 7 (1913 Senators)
Dutch Leonard … 7 (1914 Red Sox)
Spud Chandler … 7 (1946 Yankees)
Fernando Valenzuela … 7 (1981 Dodgers)
Bob Knepper … 7 (1988 Astros)