Woody English

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Elwood George English, better known as Woody English was a professional baseball player from Newark, Ohio. He played for the Chicago Cubs and Brooklyn Dodgers from 1927 to 1938.[1]

Early Years

Elwood George English was born March 2, 1906 in Fredonia, Ohio.[2] He was one of four children. When English was 11 his father past away as a result of the 1918 flu epidemic. After his father’s death he and his siblings went to live with his grandparents on their farm. English had a passion for baseball even as a child and would later contribute as a “standout” player for his high school team.[3] He graduated from Newark High School in 1923.[4]

Professional Baseball

In 1925, English was spotted by a minor league scout while playing baseball for a Sunday league in Zanesville, Ohio. He was signed on to play for the Toledo Mud Hens at a rate of $300 a month. He used his time with the Mud Hens to work on his batting average, increasing it from “sluggish” .220 to .301. [5]

A year after signing with the Mud Hens, English received bids from the Cleveland Indians, the Philadelphia Athletics, and the Chicago Cubs. English accepted the offer from the Chicago Cubs and entered in the major leagues at the age of 20. He would serve as the Cubs short stop and later third baseman from 1927-1938. During his tenure, the Cubs would attend the World Series three times (1929, 1932, and 1935). In 1931 he received runner up for the National League’s Most Valuable Player award. English was also chosen by fans in 1933 to play in the first ever All Star game playing against baseball legends such as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. [6]

In 1938, English was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers where he spent that and the following year playing as shortstop. In 1939 he suffered a chipped bone in his ankle provoking his retirement at age 32.

Women's League

A decade after his retirement from major-league baseball, English received a call from a man who owned an All-American Girls’ Professional Baseball League called the Grand Rapids Chicks, offering him a job as manager. English would manage the Michigan team for five years, leading them to the league championship in his final season. [7]

Later Years

English would spend the later part of his life back home in Newark, Ohio. English was treated as a local legend and received various honors from his home town including a street sign labeled “Woody English Alley” next to his home. In 1996 a portion of Ohio 16 was named the “Woody English Parkway”.[8] Woody English Day was also celebrated April of 96’ in his honor. English would be unable to attend the festivities due to illness, and would pass away a year later on September 26, 1997 at the age of 91. [9]

Gymnasium and Documentary

In 2001, the Newark YMCA rededicated their Gymnasium in honor of English, naming it the Woody English Gymnasium. The gym features art of the baseball player by local artist Julie Ketner Barrett. YMCA administrator Alan Cecutti said the rededication was “a way to give back to the baseball legend”. [10]

In 2008, Westerville Ohio resident Frank Cromer, produced a documentary titled “Buckeye Cubbie”, highlighting English’s life and career as a baseball player. [11]



  1. Thompson, J.J., “Newark Mourns Baseball Legend English,” The Advocate, September 27, 1997, 1A.
  2. Brumley, Jeff, “Woody English Dies at 91.”
  3. Swickland, Lisa, “Long Live the Cub,” Zig Zag, March/April 1997, 4-9
  4. Brumley, Jeff, “Woody English Dies at 91.”
  5. Brumley, Jeff, “Woody English Dies at 91.”
  6. Swickland, Lisa, “Long Live the Cub.”
  7. Mallett, Kent, “Managing in a ‘League of His Own’,” The Advocate, July 2, 1992, 1B.
  8. Jackson, Keith, “Honoring Woody,” The Advocate, February 9, 2001.
  9. Brumley, Jeff, “Baseball Lovers Honor Woody English,” The Advocate, April 20, 1996.
  10. Jackson, Keith, “Honoring Woody.”
  11. Aumann, Tiffany, “Documentary Traces Woody English’s Life,” The Advocate, December 6, 2008.