By Larry Clinton
As baseball season approaches, we were intrigued to learn the story of Sausalito native Charley Wensloff, who pitched for the New York Yankees in the 1947 World Series.
Charles William Wensloff was born here in 1925 and played for three seasons in the American League with the Yankees and Cleveland Indians. According to the Beaver County Times:
“Upon signing a contract with the Yankees, Wensloff spent the 1943 season on the Yankees' major league roster. During spring training, Yankees manager Joe McCarthy had heard impressive things about Wensloff, though he had not seen him pitch often. Wensloff made his major league debut for the Yankees on May 2, 1943 against the Washington Senators.”
Charley Wensloff finished the season with a 13–11 record and a 2.54 ERA in 29 games. Then he enlisted in the Army and served in World War II. After his service, Wensloff returned to the Yankees in 1947. He made his first appearance at the start of June but pitched infrequently due to a sore arm. In 11 games, he went 3–1 with a 2.61 ERA and 18 strikeouts. He also pitched two innings of one game in the 1947 World Series.
The October 9 Sausalito News reported that the series, which concluded with a four-games-to-threevictory for the New York Yankees over the Brooklyn Dodgers, “had a little Sausalito flavor in it,” adding:
“In Sunday’s wild 8-6 victory for the Dodgers, tying the series, Sausalito’s Charlie Wensloff had the dubious distinct ion of being the 21st Yankee to play in the game. It was a record number of players for one team in a world series game.
“Wensloff was called in to pitch the last two innings, and although his team lost the contest, Wensloff played his part to near-perfection, facing seven hitters and allowing no hits.”
As the 1948 season began, Wensloff held out for a new contract, only communicating with the club to inquire about his World Series ring. He refused potential trades to the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Giants because he did not want to play in the National League. And this was before the designated hitter!. Eventually he was traded to the Cleveland Indians for an undisclosed amount. With the Indians, Wensloff pitched one game before being placed on the disabled list with continued arm soreness. This was a career-ending injury, and Wensloff retired at the end of the 1948 season to San Rafael, where he worked as a roofer until his death on February 18, 2001.
We’re grateful to Bob Davidson, who was born in 1925 in Waldo, the quiet valley just north of Sausalito that became Marin City in 1942, for sharing this story in an oral history interview for the Anne T. Kent California Room.
Stories like this, as well as historic photographs and more, can be found at the Historical Society Research Room (open Wednesdays and Saturdays 10:00-1:00) and at www.sausalitohistoricalsociety.org.