Profiles of Valor
Born on May 11, 1903 in Michigan, Charles Leonard Gehringer spent the entirety of his nineteen-year career with the Detroit Tigers, in addition to serving three years in the United States Navy. Nicknamed the “Mechanical Man”, Gehringer is widely regarded as one of the greatest second basemen of all time.
Gehringer made his debut with the Tigers in 1924 in the Michigan- Ontario League. Over the course of his decorated career, Gehringer posted a career batting average of .320 while tallying 2,839 hits, 184 home runs, and 1,427 runs batted in. While he recorded gaudy numbers at the plate, Gehringer’s defense cemented him as an all-time great. The six-time all-star led the American League in fielding percentage and assists seven times during his playing days. His 7,068 career assists rank second all-time amongst second basemen while his 5,369 putouts rank sixth amongst the all-time second basemen ranks. Additionally, Gehringer’s 1,444 double plays rank seventh in the all-time ranks.
Charlie Gehringer earned his nickname, the “Mechanical Man”, from Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez because of his durability. Gehringer played in streaks of at least 500 games twice in his career. Gehringer’s durability and accomplishments were ultimately rewarded in 1949 when he was voted into the Hall of Fame, garnering 85.03% of the vote. The Tigers retired his number, 2, in 1983.
Like many of his contemporaries, Gehringer answered the call of duty during World War II. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on 1942 and served for three years. During his time in the service, Gehringer served as the manager of the St. Mary’s Naval Pre-Flight School team in California for the 1943 season. Gehringer achieved the rank of Lieutenant by the time he was discharged from the Navy in 1945.
Charlie Gehringer is an American hero because of both his playing career and his service. He put together one of the greatest baseball careers in Major League Baseball history and answered the call of duty when his country needed him most.