One of the better speed/power guys of his day, Gee Walker tried to bring the stolen base back to baseball when the big bats rendered the steal a lost art form. Although a solid hitter, Gee wasn’t much with the glove and rotated around the outfield, where he saw action all over the pasture.
A minor league star with his brother Hub, Gee was brought up to the Majors by the Tigers in 1931 and just missed hitting .300 as a freshman. Detroit made Gee their regular center fielder in 1932 and he led American League center fielders in batting average during the season. He showcased his wheels in ’32 by pilfering 30 bases–second in the AL. He finished second in stolen bases again in 1933 but when his batting average fell he lost playing time to Pete Fox and Jo-Jo White.
Gee rebounded in 1936 by hitting a hefty .353, which led AL right fielders. He teamed in a fine pasture with Hall of Famers Goose Goslin and Al Simmons and was thus a member of Major League’s only all dozen-or-more homerun hitting outfield. Shifted to left field in 1937, Gee paced American League left fielders with 213 base hits (3rd in the AL). He was at his run producing best that season as only he and Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio reached 100 runs scored and 100 hits among American League outfielders.
After Gee’s monster season, the Tigers dealt their all-hit-little-field outfielder to the White Sox with Marv Owen and Mike Tresh for sweet-swinging Dixie Walker, Tony Piet and Vern Kennedy. The trade began the nomadic chapter in Gee’s career. With the White Sox in ’38, Gee was the only player on Jimmy Dykes’ scampering squad to post a double-digit homerun total. In ’39, his final year with the Pale Hose, Gee and Ted Williams were the only AL outfielders to post double-digit totals in all the extra base hit departments.
With 13 outfield errors, Dykes traded Gee to the Senators for a terrific little hitter named Taft Wright. He spent one decent year in Washington before he was traded to the Red Sox, who, on the same day, packaged him in a deal to the Indians to land Joe Dobson, Frankie Pytlak and Odell Hale. In Gee’s lone season in Cleveland, he paced AL left fielders in triples.
During the war years baseball was thinned out by the military draft but Gee, who was in his mid-30s, was able to play through the fighting. Although he played for the Reds every year during the war, his advanced age kept him from being too productive even with the loss of talent. He ended his Major League career after the 1945 season when the players came back from the war.
G 1,784/R 954/H 1,991/2B 399/3B 76/HR 124/RBI 997/SB 223/BB 330/SO 600/BA .294/SA .430/OBP .331