Mike McCormick Born Where Gold Rush Started in '49, Looks Like 'Pay Dirt' as Left Fielder for Cincinnati.
- Headline of a Tom Swope article
Prior to the arrival of the Big Red Machine in the 1970s, the 1939 and 1940 Reds represented the apex of Reds history. The club won back-to-back National League pennants and the 1940 World Championship. Following a sweep at the hands of the Yankees in the 1939 World Series, the club made some changes with an eye toward improving its October fortunes. Notable among these changes was the promotion of 23-year old Mike McCormick from the Indianapolis farm club to play leftfield. The California native had toiled in the Minor League systems of the Cleveland Indians and Washington Senators since 1934 and despite compiling some impressive seasons, had yet to be given a chance to ply his trade at the Major League level.
A very strong 1939 season, his first in the Reds' system, prompted the Reds to insert the rookie into their starting lineup for 1940. The decision turned out to be an inspired one as McCormick put together a career year , batting an even .300, making him one of only three Cincinnati regulars to bat .300 or better for the year. In the World Series victory over Detroit, McCormick's .300 hitting continued as he posted a .310 batting average. His nine hits in the Series trailed only Bill Werber's ten on the Reds Series leader board.
McCormick followed his impressive 1940 campaign with a club-best .287 average in 1941 as the Reds fell short in their quest for a third consecutive National League pennant, finishing 3rd in the National League with an 88-66 record, 12 victories short of the then-franchise record 100 victories from the year before.
Like most of the players of his generation, McCormick's career was interrupted by service in World War II. A member of the Army Air Force, McCormick played for a variety of military teams in the Pacific, entertaining troops throughout the theater of operations until he was discharged in 1945.
Upon his return, he played a partial season in Cincinnati before being traded to Brooklyn. He played with four other Major League clubs through the 1951 season when he appeared on a Major League diamond as a player for the last time on September 30 of that season.
Inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 1966, McCormick is one of thirteen men (eleven players plus general manager Warren Giles and field manager Bill McKechnie) from the 1940 Reds to have received the honor. He died in Los Angeles on April 13, 1976.