Great Braves Through the Ages: Wally Berger

Dan Pace profiles Boston Brave Wally Berger who in 1930 had one of the best seasons for a rookie ever, setting the stage for an amazing Major League career.

When you look back over the history of the Braves franchise it is not hard to find an abundance of power hitters. But it wasn't until 1930 that the Braves had someone who could really tear the cover off the ball. That year 24 year old rookie outfielder Wally Berger had one of the best rookie seasons in Major League history.

Berger began his baseball career with Los Angeles of the Pacific Coast league, but being the property of the Cubs he was traded to the Braves in time for the 1930 season. In that year Wally played in 151 games for the Braves while having 172 hits, 27 doubles, 14 triples, 38 home runs, driving in 119 rbi's while scoring 98 runs. He ended the year hitting .310. His 38 home runs is a national league rookie record. Unfortunately there was no rookie of the year award given out that year or Berger would have won the honor hands down.

In 1931 Wally continued his good hitting and even though his home runs went down to 19 his doubles went up to 44. Wally collected 199 hits, 44 doubles, 8 triples, 19 home runs, 84 rbis, scored 94 times and stole a career best 13 bases while hitting .323. On April 27th Berger made 4 assists against the Phillies in the outfield to tie a major league record.

1932 Wally's numbers dipped a little, he had 185 hits, 34 doubles, 6 triples, 17 home runs, 73 rbi's and he scored 90 runs while hitting .307. . But 1933 Berger returned to his former self. That seaon Wally had 165 hits, 37 doubles, 8 triples, 27 home runs and drove in 106 runs and posted a .312 batting average. In 1933 berger plays in his first of 3 all star games.

In 1934 Wally dipped below .300 for the first time in his career hitting .298 but he still managed 183 hits, 35 doubles, 8 triples, 34 home runs, 121 rbis and scored 92 runs. He was once again an all star.

1935 would be a career year for Wally. He led the National league in Home runs with 34 and rbi's with 130. He also scored 91 runs, 39 doubles, 4 triples, 174 hits and ended the season with a .295 batting average. And he played in the last all star game of his career.

Berger played with the Braves until June 15th 1937 when he was traded to the New York Giants for $35,000.00 and pitcher Frank Gabler. Wally was traded again midway through the 1938 season to the Cincinnati Reds before moving on to the Philadelphia Phillies half way through the 1940 season. Wally Berger retired at the age of 34 in 1940.

In his seven and a half seasons with the Braves Wally Berger scored 90 or more runs five times. He hit 25 or more home runs five times. He drove in 90 or more rbi's 5 times and hit .295 or better six times. Wally Berger has never made the hall of fame but had a great career, esspecially his years with the Braves. He passed away on November 30th 1988 at the age of 83.

Wally Berger Career Braves stats

Games: 1057
At Bats: 4153
Hits:     1263
Doubles: 248
Triples:    52
Homers: 199
Rbi's:    746
Runs:    651
Avg:     .304

Wally Berger Career stats:

Games: 1350
At Bats: 5163
Hits:     1550
doubles: 299
Triples:   59
Homers: 242
Rbi's:    898
Runs:   809
AVG:   .300

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