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Wally Berger
Wally Berger card.jpg
Born: (1905-10-10)October 10, 1905
Chicago, Illinois
Died: November 30, 1988(1988-11-30) (aged 83)
Redondo Beach, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 15, 1930 for the Boston Braves
Last MLB appearance
July 2, 1940 for the Philadelphia Phillies
Career statistics
Batting average .300
Home runs 242
Runs batted in 898
Career highlights and awards

Walter Anton Berger (October 10, 1905 – November 30, 1988) was a Major League Baseball outfielder who played for four National League teams, primarily the Boston Braves. Berger was the National League's starting center fielder in baseball's first All-Star Game.

One of the league's top sluggers of the early 1930s, in his initial 1930 season he hit 38 home runs, a record for rookies which stood until 1987. He still holds a share of the NL record. He also led the league in home runs and runs batted in in 1935, and went on to become the seventh NL player to hit 200 career home runs.

Early life[edit]

Born in Chicago, Illinois but raised in San Francisco, California, Berger played third base for Mission High School, sharing the infield with future Hall of Fame shortstop and American League president Joe Cronin, who manned second base.

Professional career[edit]

Through 2015, he was one of three players to hit 20 or more home runs in their rookie year before July, along with Albert Pujols (2001) and Joc Pederson.[1] Berger's 38 home runs as a 1930 rookie established a major league record that would stand for 57 years until eclipsed by Mark McGwire's 49 in 1987; his NL record was tied by Frank Robinson in 1956, but has not been broken. Berger still shares the major league record for home runs by a first-year player (no prior major league games) and also still holds the record for the fastest player to hit 20 home runs, as he hit his 20th home run in his 51st game. Berger batted .310 that season, and his 119 runs batted in were also an NL rookie record, since topped by Albert Pujols in 2001.

Berger made the NL All-Star team in the first four years the game was held (1933–36), starting in the first two. In 1933 he finished third in the Most Valuable Player voting, behind Carl Hubbell and Chuck Klein, after hitting 27 home runs (half the Braves team total), second in the league behind Klein's 28. That same year, when Babe Ruth was asked once again to make his annual selection of the game's best, he named Berger as his center fielder. Of the eighteen players who started the 1934 All-Star Game, Berger is the only player not elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1935, he led NL outfielders in putouts with 458. Eddie Mathews broke his Braves franchise record of 38 home runs in 1953, the team's first year in Milwaukee, and surpassed his mark of 199 career home runs in 1957.

After a 1936 shoulder injury, Berger was traded to the New York Giants in June 1937; his first home run for the team was the 200th of his career. In the 1937 World Series, he made only three pinch-hitting appearances, going hitless. In June 1938 he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, where he would remain until 1940; his 1939 World Series performance was even more dismal than in 1937, going 0 for 15. He ended his career in 1940 with the Philadelphia Phillies. In an 11-season career, Berger posted a .300 batting average with 242 home runs and 898 RBI in 1350 games played.

Post-playing career[edit]

Following his retirement as a player, he was a scout for the New York Yankees and managed their Manchester, N.H. minor league team in 1949.

Berger died of a stroke in Redondo Beach, California in 1988. He was interred at Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood California.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stephen, Eric (June 29, 2015). "Joc Pederson reaches 20 home runs before July 1". SB Nation. Retrieved June 30, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wally_Berger — Please support Wikipedia.
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159 news items

Atlanta Journal Constitution
Sun, 19 Jul 2015 14:11:15 -0700

He is only the third rookie in National League history to hit 20 home runs before July 1, joining Albert Pujols (21 for 2001 Cardinals) and Wally Berger (22 for 1930 Boston Braves.) Who's hot: Adrian Gonzalez went 2-for-4 on Sunday to give him three ...

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times
Mon, 29 Jun 2015 23:02:18 -0700

And only two rookies in National League history have ever had more home runs than Pederson before July 1 – Wally Berger (22 in 1930 for the Boston Braves) and Albert Pujols (21 in 2001 for the St. Louis Cardinals). But the lead would not hold ...


Thu, 16 Jul 2015 20:00:00 -0700

Rookie Joc Pederson, left, is the Dodgers' biggest surprise of the first half, hitting 20 home runs by July 1. Only two rookies in NL history hit more before the start of July – Wally Berger had 22 for the Boston Braves in 1930 and Albert Pujols hit 21 ...


Tue, 30 Jun 2015 13:44:34 -0700

Wally Berger and Frank Robinson both hit 38 their rookie years. The major-league record for rookie homers in a season belongs to the Dodgers' current hitting coach, Mark McGwire, who hit 49 in 1987. Pederson may not reach McGwire's mark, but he sure ...


Tue, 30 Jun 2015 08:16:22 -0700

Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson hit his 20th home run of the season in the Dodgers' 10-6 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Pederson needs two home runs in Tuesday's Dodgers-Diamondbacks contest to tie Wally Berger for most home runs by a ...
Comox Valley Record
Sun, 19 Jul 2015 13:48:45 -0700

Jason Andrew with Mike Kearns, Jayson Welsh, Rob McLellan, Max Andrew and Terran Berger with Mike Berger, Wally Berger, Andy Clark and Stu Tunheim. On the pro side Jaman Moussa assistant professional from the River Ridge Golf & Country Club ...
Easy Reader
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 23:16:51 -0700

As our studio grew in reputation, we were able to expand beyond the local sports and the Raiders facility to other sports. In 1987 I came across an article about baseball legend, Wally Berger, that had been published in The Beach Reporter a few years ...


Sun, 14 Dec 2014 19:00:00 -0800

Though baseball cards date to the 1800s, Berger was responsible for turning them into the version we know today: big, colorful, and imbued with meaning. The Times reports that Berger also collected cards as a kid and worshipped Wally Berger (no ...

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