Introducing… Pinky Whitney

One of the top hot corner custodians of the 1930s, Pinky Whitney made an immediate splash at the Major League level, driving in 100+ runs in his first three seasons.  A good RBI man, Pinky was also a wizard with the leather.  He only played one year in the Majors in which his fielding percentage was below league average–oftentimes it was a dozen or so points above league average.

Whitney joined the hapless Phillies in 1928 and quickly established himself as a star.  As a rookie, Pinky drove in 103 runs while hitting a nifty .301.  Many players suffer through what is known as “The Sophomore Jinx” but not Pinky.  He beat the jinx away by leading Major League third basemen with 115 RBI for the second division Phillies that boasted four 100 RBI men in Whitney, Hall of Famer Chuck Klein, first baseman Don Hurst and slugger Lefty O’Doul.  Pinky also topped Major League third basemen in doubles, triples, slugging percentage and base hits (he was the only third baseman to reach 200 hits).

Pinky got better in 1930.  That year he hit a lusty .340 with 117 RBI and 207 base hits.  He led all third basemen with 41 doubles and posted a nice .383 on-base percentage.  The Phillies finished sixth in 1931 and Klein was their lone 100 RBI man.  In Pinky’s fourth Major League season, he finally failed to reach 100 RBI, but he nevertheless led NL third basemen in slugging average.

Whitney led the National League in games played in 1932.  That season, Pinky was at his extra-base best.  Only he and Hall of Famer Bill Terry posted double-digit totals in all the extra base hits departments among National League infielders.  Although Pinky failed to reach 100 RBI in 1931, he returned to the RBI ring in 1932–driving in 124 runs (third in the NL, and surprisingly, third on the Phillies roster).

After a sluggish start in 1933, the Phillies dealt Pinky to the Braves for Fritz Knothe and Wes Schulmerich.  He rebounded with the Braves in 1934 to lead National League third basemen in homeruns and RBI.  After losing his power in 1935 the Braves sent Pinky back to the Phillies in 1936 and he made the NL All-Star team that year, when the All-Star Game was still rather young.  Back in familiar confines, Pinky had a terrific year at the plate in 1937.  The veteran third sacker hit .341 that season–the only senior circuit third baseman to top the .300 plateau.

Pinky’s slugging average became sluggish in 1938 and he played one final year with the Phillies in 1939 before finishing his career in the minor American Association.

THE NUMBERS

G 1,539/R 696/H 1,701/2B 303/3B 56/HR 93/RBI 927/BB 400/SO 438/SB 45/BA .295/SA .415

www.mlb.com

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1 comment
  1. brettkiser said:

    Whitney played in a rather strong decade for third basemen and failed to really separate himself from the pack. A free-swinger, Pinky also has the stigma of striking out more than he walked in a hitter’s paradise–inexcusable for HOF performers. His HOF chances are weak.

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