Profiles of Valor
Born on February 18, 1915, Joseph Gordon’s careers as both a ballplayer and a soldier were a model of strength and consistency. A stalwart in the formidable New York Yankees’ lineup from 1938-1943 and again in 1946, Gordon helped lead the Yankees to four World Series Championships. Later in his career, he led the Cleveland Indians to another World Series Championship.
In his eleven-year major league career, Gordon was named an All-Star nine times while averaging 26 home runs and 101 runs batted in per year. In 1942, he won the American League Most Valuable Player award after hitting .322 with 18 home runs and 103 runs batted in. He finished his career with a .268 batting average, 1,531 hits, 914 runs scored, 976 RBI, and 253 home runs. For his efforts on the baseball diamond, Joe Gordon was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009.
Following his time in the major league, he went on to manage four different major league teams, the Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Athletics, and the expansion Kansas City Royals. He began his managing career in 1958 with the Cleveland Indians and led them to a second-place finish in 1959. In the 1960 season, Gordon was traded to the Tigers for their manager in a rare manager for manager swap. On August 16, 2008, he was inducted intothe Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame.
As a licensed pilot, Gordon entered the United States Army Air Corps on March 17, 1944. He missed the 1944 and 1945Major League Baseball seasons due to serving the United States in the Army Air Corps. He was initially assigned to Camp Luna, New Mexico, where he promptly organized the Camp Luna Airtrancos baseball team. The Sporting News reportedthat Gordon played tremendously as a shortstop for the team. He was also based at the Wheeler Army Airfield where hewas one of the best hitters in the Hawaiian league. Joe Gordon’s strength and consistency made him a model ballplayer and patriot.