Wally Berger

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Walter Anton Berger

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Biographical Information[edit]

"I never thought of records, I just liked to hit." - Wally Berger

Wally Berger was a major star in the 1930s. He set the record for the most home runs by a rookie when he hit 38 for the Boston Braves in 1930; this was tied by Frank Robinson in (1956) before being erased by Mark McGwire in 1987, but it remained the National League mark until erased by Cody Bellinger in 2017). It took him just 51 games to reach 20 home runs, which was also a major league record until tied by Gary Sanchez in 2016, and then surpassed the following season by Bellinger, who hit both his 20th and 21st homers in his 51st game in 2017. Berger's lifetime Adjusted OPS puts him in the top 100 of all time (tied with Will Clark and King Kelly and one point below Reggie Jackson).

The best years of his career were spent with the mostly non-competitive Braves, but he eventually played in a couple of World Series with the New York Giants in 1937 and the Cincinnati Reds in 1939.

He played high school ball on the same Mission High School team as Joe Cronin. Before coming to the majors, he played for many years in semi-pro and minor league ball.

His career was shortened as a result of injuries suffered in 1936 and 1937. After his playing days he was a scout for the New York Giants in 1947 and 1948. He also managed in the minors in 1949 and 1950 as well as doing some scouting for the New York Yankees.

He returned to California in 1950, where he worked for the Northrop Corporation until his retirement in 1975. He died at age 83 of a stroke.

His brother Fred Berger played six years in the Pacific Coast League and three in the American Association.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 4-time NL All-Star (1933-1936)
  • NL Home Runs Leader (1935)
  • NL RBI Leader (1935)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 5 (1930 & 1933-1936)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 3 (1930, 1934 & 1935)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 4 (1930 & 1933-1935)

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Affiliation Playoffs Notes
1949 Manchester Yankees New England League 28-44 --- New York Yankees Disbanded on July 19
Grand Forks Chiefs Northern League 8th New York Yankees replaced Joe McDermott on July 20
1950 Twin Falls Cowboys Pioneer League 76-50 2nd New York Yankees

Related Sites[edit]