Gene Woodling was born in Akron, Ohio and signed out of Akron East High School with the Cleveland Indians in 1940.
Woodling hit really well in the minors, but just as he finally started getting some time in the big leagues World War II came calling and he enlisted in the Navy. Like many ball players, he spend most of the war playing baseball, mostly in Hawaii while stationed at Pearl Harbor.
When the war ended he returned to the Tribe, but they refused to play him. Despite his excellent numbers in the minors, the Cleveland brass had it stuck in their heads that he was not a good hitter. So they traded him to the Pirates for catcher Al Lopez for the 1947 season.
In 1947 Lopez would be the Indians backup catcher. He would hit .262 with a 64 OPS+ and .326 OBP. He would retired at the end of the season.
Woodling would go on to play for 15 more seasons, hitting .286 with a .389 OBP and 124 OPS+ while playing for the Pirates, Yankees, Baltimore, Washington and even the Indians (for two seasons). He would get Top 30 MVP votes in six seasons, and was an All-Star in 1959.
|1944||Did not play in major or minor leagues (Military Service)|
|1945||Did not play in major or minor leagues (Military Service)|
|162 Game Avg.||162||504||13||75||83||43||.284||.386||.817||123|