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Gene Woodling

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Eugene Richard Woodling

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"I think I hit about .900 against (Stengel's) club. . . He probably had a lot to do with me coming to the Yankees." - Gene Woodling, talking about his great year in 1948 playing with the San Francisco Seals and playing against Casey Stengel's championship Oakland Oaks in the year before Stengel became Yankee manager
"I never wanted to hear a ballplayer saying 'Nice hustling'. You're supposed to do that." - Gene Woodling

Gene Woodling had a long major league career (17 years) and was an above-average contact hitter with a keen eye who seldom struck out. A star in his own right, he hit over .300 five times. His lifetime on-base percentage is a very lofty .386 - way above average. He hit for a high batting average of .321 in 1957 and was over .400 in on-base percentage five times, with a high of .429 in 1953 (which led the American League).

A moderate home run hitter, he was in double figures nine different times with a peak of 19 in 1957. Teammate Rocky Colavito, who hit 25 home runs that year, was sixth in the league. Woodling's overall hitting skills compare very favorably with those of his Baltimore Orioles teammate, Bob Nieman, who played several fewer years.

Woodling played exclusively in the outfield in the major leagues, primarily left field. He didn't like being occasionally platooned (sometimes with Hank Bauer), but claimed that Stengel really didn't platoon him all that much. In five World Series, he posted a batting line of .318/.442/.529.

He was one of the youngest players in the league when he started in 1943, and one of the oldest in his last year in 1962.

One source says he led four minor leagues in batting, beginning in 1940. He had been more interested in swimming in high school since his older brother had been a national swimming champion. However, his swim coach also coached baseball during Woodling's senior year in high school, and induced Gene to try baseball. Woodling credited swimming with helping him understanding the value of training in baseball. He served in the Navy during World War II, playing on Mickey Cochrane's service team. Source: Gene Woodling

After his retirement as a player, Woodling was a Baltimore Orioles coach and a New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians scout, signing Thurman Munson.

One source: Gene Woodling's New York Times obituary.

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