Woody English

From BR Bullpen


Elwood George English

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Biographical Information[edit]

Nineteen year old Woody English played 131 games for the Toledo Mud Hens of the American Association in 1925 at the shortstop position, fielded at a .946 clip but hit just .220. Whatever he did on the off-season worked, as he came back the following year, hit at a .301 average, fielded at a .948 percentage and the Chicago Cubs paid the Toledo Mud Hens $50,000 for the infielder.

This would be the start of a 12 year major league career for Woody, ten with the Chicago Cubs from 1927 through 1936 and two with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1937 and 1938. Woody had two good years, back to back, in 1930 and 1931. In 1930 he led the league in games played with 156, plate appearances with 755 and 320 times on base, plus he hit a personal career high .335. In 1931 he was just about as good as before, playing in 156 games and had 727 plate appearances, leading the league in both categories again, and hitting for a .319 average.

Woody's two solid years were sandwiched between 1929 and 1932, with the Cubs winning the pennant in both seasons, but losing the World Series in both years. They lost to the Philadelphia Athletics in five games in 1929 and in 1932 the New York Yankees set them down in four straight. Woody didn't fair well in either of the two world series contests. He played in every series game but went 7 for 41, hitting just .184.

Woody's game was still strong in 1933 as he hit .261 in 105 games and was chosen for and played in the first Major League All-Star game on July 6, 1933 at Comiskey Park in Chicago. The American League won the first ever tilt on a home run by Babe Ruth. Woody would hit .278 in 1934 in 109 games with six homers and play the SS, 3B and 2B positions at his usual steady pace.

1935 would see the Cubs win the pennant again but the Detroit Tigers would win the 1935 World Series 4 games to 2 and Woody would not appear in the series. During the regular season he tailed off to appearing in only 34 games and hitting .202, the lowest average of his career.

In 1936 he was used sparingly and Chicago on December 5, 1936 would trade Woody along with Roy Henshaw to the Brooklyn Dodgers for Lonny Frey. Woody played in 129 games for Brooklyn in 1937, hitting .238 for the year and appeared in only 32 games and did hit .250 in 1938 but there were no offers and there were no takers and at age 32 Woody's major league career had come to an end.

After baseball Woody married and moved to Chicago where he worked in the factories during the World War II period and also managed the Grand Rapids Chicks of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League for three seasons from 1952 through 1954. Woody would return to Newark, Ohio where he worked for the State Farm Insurance Company until he retired in 1971. On September 26, 1997 Woody passed away at the age of 90.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL All-Star: 1933
  • NL On-Base Percentage Leader (1930)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 3 (1929-1931)
  • 200 Hits Seasons: 2 (1930 & 1931)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Dan Fields: "Woody English", in Gregory H. Wolf, ed.: Winning on the North Side: the 1929 Chicago Cubs, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2015, pp. 55-59. ISBN 978-1-933599-89-2

Related Sites[edit]