Reynolds was Yankees' World Series ace

December 4th, 2021
Design by Tom Forget

On Dec. 5, the Hall of Fame’s Early Baseball Era Committee (pre-1950) and Golden Days Era Committee (1950-69) will meet to vote on 10-player ballots, with the results announced live on MLB Network that night at 6 p.m. ET. We're here to offer a primer on the 20 players who are up for consideration. Click here to view the other posts.

Player: Allie Reynolds

Years: 1942-54

Career stats: 182-107 record, 3.30 ERA, 434 games, 309 starts, 2,492 1/3 innings pitched, 137 complete games, 36 shutouts, 48 saves, 1,423 strikeouts

Bio: In 2021, it's hard to imagine somebody who didn't play baseball until after high school eventually making it to the Major Leagues. But that was the path that Reynolds had to take. Born in Bethany, Okla., in 1917, Reynolds had a father who was a preacher, meaning he didn't want his son playing sports on Sundays, the most common day for youth baseball leagues at the time.

Reynolds participated in football, softball and track and field, but he didn't play baseball until his time at Oklahoma A&M (now known as Oklahoma State). Henry Iba, who was the baseball coach at the school at the time, spotted Reynolds throwing a javelin one day in 1937, came away impressed, and the rest was history.

Cleveland signed Reynolds with a $1,000 bonus, and he spent several years pitching in its system before making his big league debut in 1942. He went on to pitch five seasons in Cleveland, going 51-47 with a 3.31 ERA in 139 games (100 starts), before he was traded to the Yankees on Oct. 11, 1946, in exchange for second baseman Joe Gordon.

Reynolds flourished in New York, as he was a five-time All-Star and a six-time World Series champion over his eight seasons with the Yanks. He went 131-60 with a 3.30 ERA in 295 regular-season games (209 starts), while also going 7-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 15 postseason games (nine starts).

After retiring at the end of the 1954 season, Reynolds returned to Oklahoma and worked in the oil business. He was honored with a plaque in Yankee Stadium's Monument Park in '89.

Reynolds died on Dec. 26, 1994, in Oklahoma City after he had been hospitalized for lymphoma and diabetes.

Best moments: So many Yankees legends have had incredible October moments, and Reynolds is no exception. Although he was a member of six New York teams that won the World Series, his best showings came in the 1949 and '50 Fall Classics.

In Game 1 of the 1949 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers, Reynolds pitched a two-hit shutout in a 1-0 Yankees win. He then returned in Game 4 to pitch 3 1/3 perfect innings of relief to record the save, before New York went on to win the Series in Game 5.

In 1950, the Yankees swept the Phillies in four games. Reynolds pitched 10 dominant innings of one-run ball in Game 2, lifting New York to a 2-1 victory. Then, he came back to close out Game 4, striking out Stan Lopata to record the save and secure the Yanks' 13th World Series title in franchise history.

Notable numbers: Reynolds was the Yankees' best pitcher in the late 1940s and early '50s, and the numbers are there to back it up. He amassed 18.3 bWAR from 1947-52, and he led the American League in several notable stats near the end of that stretch.

In 1951, Reynolds led the AL in shutouts (seven) and hits allowed per nine innings (seven). He followed that up by winning 20 games and posting an AL-best 2.06 ERA in '52, when he also led the AL in shutouts (six), strikeouts (160) and ERA+ (161). Reynolds finished third in AL MVP Award voting in '51, and second in '52.

Reynolds also became the first pitcher in AL history to toss two no-hitters in the same season in 1951.