Eugene Richard Woodling
>> Visit the Gene Woodling biography on Baseball Almanac for complete statistics.
Gene Woodling, who spent 17 seasons in the Major Leagues, died in June at the age of 78. In his career, he hit .284 with 147 home runs, 830 RBI and 29 stolen bases.
As a member of the New York Yankees, Woodling was part of five consecutive World Series Championships. In World Series play, Woodling hit. 318 with 27 hits, 21 runs, 3 home runs and 6 RBI.
Woodling made it to the Major Leagues in 1943, playing in 8 games for the Cleveland Indians. His career was interrupted with service in the Navy from 1944-45. Upon his return, he re-joined the Indians, hitting .188 and driving in 9 runs in 61 games. He had a brief stint of 22 games with Pittsburgh in 1947 after he was sent there in a trade.
In 1948, he returned to the Pacific Coast League. As a member of the San Francisco Seals, Woodling was taught to hit by former National League batting champ Lefty O'Doul. In 1949, he got his shot at the Majors again with the New York Yankees.
Yankee Manager Casey Stengel considered Woodling to be the best defensive left fielder he had managed. He earned the nickname of "Old Faithful" and he hit .309 and .306 in 1952 and 1953. From 1951 to 1953, he collected a solo home run in each World Series.
During much of that time, Woodling platooned with Hank Bauer.
Prior to the 1955 season, Woodling was sent to the Baltimore Orioles as part of a 17-player deal. Later that season, he was moved back to Cleveland. In 1957, he reached career highs in home runs (19), RBI (78) and batting average (.321).
In 1962, the New York Mets purchased his contract from the Senators and he was reunited with former Yankee manager Casey Stengel.
Woodling's biggest contribution to baseball may have come off the field. He worked to help bring a pension fund for major league players.
"He was just such a great guy," said former Yankees manager Ralph Houk in an article in the New York Daily News. "We were very close, as were our wives. It was so difficult these past couple of years because we were unable to communicate."
After his career in baseball, Woodling lived on a farm he and his wife, Betty, had bought in 1947.