1934 American League All-Star Team

P-Lefty Gomez, NYY

P-Mel Harder, CLE

P-Schoolboy Rowe, DET

P-Bobo Newsom, SLB

P-Fritz Ostermueller, BOS

P-Tommy Bridges, DET

P-Bobby Burke, WSH

P-Johnny Murphy, NYY

P-George Earnshaw, CHW

P-George Blaeholder, SLB

C-Mickey Cochrane, DET

C-Bill Dickey, NYY

1B-Lou Gehrig, NYY, 1st MVP, ONEHOF Inductee

1B-Jimmie Foxx, PHA

1B-Hank Greenberg, DET

1B-Hal Trosky, CLE

2B-Charlie Gehringer, DET

2B-Buddy Myer, WSH

3B-Billy Werber, BOS

SS-Billy Rogell, DET

LF-Bob Johnson, PHA

LF-Heinie Manush, WSH

LF-Al Simmons, CHW

CF-Earl Averill, CLE

RF-Babe Ruth, NYY

 

gomez2

P-Lefty Gomez, New York Yankees, 25 Years Old

1931

26-5, 2.33 ERA, 158 K, .131, 0 HR, 4 RBI

All-Star: Yes (3 IP, 4 R, 2 HR Allowed)

MVP Rank: 3

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1972)

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 50 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

1934 AL Pitching Triple Crown

1934 AL Pitching Title

WAR for Pitchers-8.4

Earned Run Average-2.33

Wins-26

Win-Loss %-.839

Walks & Hits per IP-1.133

Hits per 9 IP-7.125

Innings Pitched-281 2/3

Strikeouts-158 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-25

Shutouts-6

Adjusted ERA+-176

Adj. Pitching Runs-60

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.1

Base-Out Runs Saved-65.70

Sit. Wins Saved-6.1

Base-Out Wins Saved-7.1

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1931, Gomez went 24-7 in 1932, but his ERA was 4.21 so he didn’t make this list. He did pitch in his first World Series that year, completing the one game he started, allowing two runs with one of them earned. He made the All-Star game in 1933, but again didn’t make this list. This year he was fantastic as you can tell by all the stats in which he led the American League.

In Babe Ruth’s last year with the Yankees, Joe McCarthy guided them to a second place finish with a 94-60 record. New York finished seven games behind the Tigers. The Bronx Bombers were tied at the top of the league as late as July 31, but their 35-24 record the remainder of the season wasn’t enough to keep up with Detroit.

SABR says,

“During the season, Lefty participated in an experiment up at West Point with Van Lingo Mungo and Carl Hubbell to try to measure the speed of their fastballs. It involved the shooting of a rifle at the same time as they threw a fastball and comparing velocities. According to Lefty, his fastball was clocked at 100 miles per hour, second to Mungo’s.”

Of course, who knows how true it is that Gomez could actually throw 100 miles an hour. Still, whatever he was throwing was working in the Thirties and he’d continue to be one of the AL’s big winners for many years. I don’t think he’s Hall of Fame worthy, but that doesn’t mean he’s not good.

harder3

P-Mel Harder, Cleveland Indians, 24 Years Old

1932 1933

20-12, 2.61 ERA, 91 K, .161, 0 HR, 5 RBI

All-Star: Yes (W, 5 IP, 0 R)

MVP Rank: 16

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. 75 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-6

Win Probability Added-5.8

Errors Committed as P-7 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Comparing two pitchers like Lefty Gomez and Harder for their careers is tough, especially considering the quality of the teams for which they pitched over the years. I would probably give the nod to Harder, who has a slim chance at making my Hall of Fame, as compared to Gomez, who almost certainly doesn’t. If Harder could have pitched while supported by the likes of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, who knows what his record would have been.

Cleveland actually had a decent year this season, finishing 85-69 and in third place under Walter Johnson. That was still 16 games behind the Tigers, but at least it gave its fans something for which to cheer.

Wikipedia says,

“Harder was one of the most successful All-Stars of the 1930s, appearing in all four games from 1934 to 1937, and setting a record with 13 consecutive innings without an earned run. He won the 1934 All-Star game after relieving Red Ruffing with none out and two men on in the fifth inning, with an 8–6 lead; one run scored on a double steal, but Harder allowed only one hit in his five innings as the AL won 9–7. “

Can you imagine an All-Star game nowadays allowing one of its pitchers to pitch five innings as Harder did? You’re lucky if you get two innings out one of the stars and that’s if they pitch at all due to myriad rules that complicate a pitcher’s eligibility to participate in the game.

rowes

P-Schoolboy Rowe, Detroit Tigers, 24 Years Old

24-8, 3.45 ERA, 149 K, .303, 2 HR, 22 RBI

All-Star:  No

MVP Rank: 4

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 57 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-1.840

Fielding % as P-1.000

1st Time All-Star-Lynwood Thomas “Schoolboy” Rowe was born on January 11, 1910 in Waco, TX. The six-foot-four, 210 pound righty pitcher started with Detroit in 1933, going 7-4 with a 3.58 ERA. This season, he became a star and helped guide the Tigers the World Series.

SABR says,

“Lynwood’s passion, however, was baseball, and his childhood accomplishments on the diamond seemed larger than life. By the time the towering right-hander finished Hugh Goodwin Grammar School, he was a slugging and pitching legend on the sandlots of El Dorado. According to one report, he acquired the sobriquet Schoolboy from local sportswriter John Erp when he was a 14-year-old pitching in an adult church league. According to other reports, the name originated from opponents and fans who yelled, ‘Don’t let that schoolboy beat you.’ Yet another account claimed that the moniker derived from the youngster’s job hawking newspapers on street corners.

“Rowe began one of the most unlikely and memorable stretches in Tigers history when he defeated the Boston Red Sox on May 27 to earn his first victory of the season as a starter. Starting and occasionally relieving, Rowe won 21 of his next 23 decisions, including the record-tying 16 consecutive victories. ‘Rowe’s brilliant performances,’ wrote Tigers beat reporter Sam Greene, ‘have had the effect of inspiring the other pitchers.’ Some of Rowe’s most compelling accomplishments were against the New York Yankees, whom the Tigers fiercely battled for the pennant. On two separate occasions, Rowe defeated the Bronx Bombers twice in a series while starting on short rest.”

newsom

P-Bobo Newsom, St. Louis Browns, 26 Years Old

16-20, 4.01 ERA, 135 K, .183, 0 HR, 8 RBI

All-Star: No

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 83 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-149

Losses-20

Batters Faced-1,159

1st Time All-Star-Louis Norman “Bobo” or “Buck” Newsom was born on August 11, 1907 in Hartsville, SC. The six-foot-three, 200 pound righty pitcher started his long career in 1929 with Brooklyn for two years. He then played with the Cubs in 1932. Between those three seasons, Newsom pitched six games and gave up 14 runs. It was an auspicious beginning for Newsom who then got a chance to revive his career in the Junior Circuit with the perennially terrible Browns.

                With Rogers Hornsby at the controls, the Browns again finished in the second division, compiling a 67-85 record and placing sixth.

Newsom almost threw a no-hitter on Sept. 18, but in the 10th inning, he blew it as the Browns lost to the Red Sox, 2-1. There’s a whole article on it from SABR that I suggest you read, but here’s a snippet:

“Newsom, meanwhile, continued to baffle the Boston lineup. Despite the gift of five walks and errors by Strange and Melillo, the Red Sox failed to reach him for another run or anything approaching a base hit through eight innings.

“In the Red Sox’ ninth, Morgan drove a liner that center fielder Ray Pepper misplayed for an error. With Morgan on third and one out, Lary tried to execute a squeeze play but missed the pitch, and Morgan was run down between third and home. Newsom had not allowed a hit through nine. The Browns in their half failed to capitalize on a double by Debs Garms and the game went into extra innings knotted at 1-1.”

Newsom ended up allowing one hit, seven walks, and struck out nine in the game.

ostermueller

P-Fritz Ostermueller, Boston Red Sox, 26 Years Old

10-13, 3.49 ERA, 75 K, .167, 0 HR, 4 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. 25 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-Frederick Raymond “Fritz” Ostermueller was born on September 15, 1907 in Quincy, IL. The five-foot-11, 175 pound lefty pitcher started with this great rookie year and looks like he’s off and running to a tremendous career. Well, it would be long, but not tremendous.

Bucky Harris took over the managing reins of the Red Sox from Marty McManus and moved the team up from seventh to fourth with a 76-76 record.  However, according to Wikipedia,

“But Harris’s stay in the Boston dugout lasted only one season. He and Eddie Collins, the Red Sox’ general manager, had feuded since their playing days and Yawkey may have hired Harris without consulting Collins. When Joe Cronin, the hard-hitting, 28-year-old playing manager of the Senators, became available on the trade market, Yawkey and Collins moved quickly, sending shortstop Lyn Lary and $225,000 to Washington on October 26, 1934, for Cronin, and then naming him manager for 1935. Harris then took Cronin’s old job, returning to Clark Griffith and the Senators.”

As for Ostey, SABR says,

“For the 1934 season, Ostermueller finished at 10-13, but he led Red Sox starters with a 3.49 ERA, seventh best in the American League. He pitched 198 2/3 innings in 33 appearances, and completed 10 of 23 starts. Fritz’s year was shortened on September 12 when he walked off the mound in the first inning at Tiger Stadium with an injury to his left shoulder. Ostey had some other memorable moments in his rookie year, including a Fourth of July triumph over the Yankees in relief of Wes Ferrell.”

bridges3

P-Tommy Bridges, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

1932 1933

22-11, 3.67 ERA, 151 K, .122, 0 HR, 11 RBI

All-Star: Yes (Didn’t Play)

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Games Started-35

3rd Time All-Star-Players like Bridges are the reason I have my own Hall of Fame. He consistently pitched well, helping Detroit to numerous pennants, but didn’t come close to making it into Cooperstown. Fine, the Bridges family can take comfort he’s in my Hall, based in the fields just outside of Cooperstown, just to taunt them.

However, Bridges’ fame in 1934 came not from his 20-win season or for helping Detroit into the World Series, but from giving home run number 700 to the Bambino on July 13.

SABR has an article about Bridges’ victory over Dizzy Dean in the Series that I suggest should be read. I have just a bit here:

“The Detroit papers dramatically described Dean’s loss to the Tigers as his Waterloo and compared it to the Brooklyn Bridge collapsing. In reality it was a very tight game with only a few mishaps on the Cardinals’ part that determined the game. Both pitchers hurled superbly. Dean went eight innings and yielded only six hits and fanned six; Bridges gave up seven hits and struck out seven. The difference came from Dean’s three walks, one that led to a run, and Fullis’s key misplay in the sixth inning.”

Altogether, Bridges would pitch in three games in the Series, winning one, losing one and giving up nine runs (seven earned) in 17 1/3 innings pitched. St. Louis would go on to victory in the Fall Classic, but Bridges would certainly get many more opportunities to shine in the postseason.

burke

P-Bobby Burke, Washington Senators, 27 Years Old

8-8, 3.21 ERA, 52 K, .228, 0 HR, 4 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 44 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.107

1st Time All-Star-Robert James “Bobby” or “Lefty” Burke was born on January 23, 1907 in Joliet, IL. The six-foot, 150 pound lefty pitcher started with Washington in 1927. He switched between starting and relieving but never won more than eight games in a season, which he did in 1931 and this season. Wikipedia says,

“On August 8, 1931, while with the Senators, Burke no-hit the Boston Red Sox 5-0 at Griffith Stadium. It was the last no-hitter by a Washington-area Major League Baseball team until Jordan Zimmermann on September 28, 2014.

After making the World Series in 1933, the Senators fell apart, dropping to 66-86 under manager Joe Cronin. That was good for seventh place and it would be Cronin’s last season with Washington. He would move onto the Red Sox where he would manage for 13 seasons.

SABR says,

“According to John Jevitz of the Old Timers’ Baseball Association of Joliet, Burke was a ‘very quiet man and would fade into a crowd.’ Shy and even withdrawn, Burke did not talk much about himself or his career in baseball…He served in the Navy during World War II, after which he returned to his childhood home in Joliet, and became active in coaching baseball in a local park district league. He later owned and operated Bob Burke’s Plainfield Fishing Resort.

“Burke eventually retired with his wife, Virginia (nee Greif), to Port St. Lucie, Florida. On February 8, 1971, Burke died at his home in Florida at the age of 64. According to his Florida death certificate, the causes were natural.”


murphyj

P-Johnny Murphy, New York Yankees, 25 Years Old

14-10, 3.12 ERA, 70 K, .099, 0 HR, 2 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 19 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Led in:

Putouts as P-19

1st Time All-Star-John Joseph “Johnny” or “Fireman” or “Grandma” or “Fordham Johnny” Murphy was born on July 14, 1908 in New York, NY. The six-foot-two, 190 pound righty pitcher pitched two games with the Yankees in 1932 and then didn’t play in the Majors in 1933. This season, he started half of his games, the only time in his career he’d do so and probably the only time in his career he’d make this All-Star team despite leading the league in saves (as computed later) four times.

Wikipedia says,

“Overall, he appeared in 415 games, winning 93, losing 53 (for a winning percentage of .637) with an earned run average of 3.50. He led the AL in wins for a relief pitcher seven times. While the save was not then an official statistic, Murphy four times led the AL in that category. In eight World Series games and 16⅓ innings (spread over six different Series), Murphy won two games, lost none, saved four, and posted an ERA of 1.10. Nicknamed “Fordham Johnny”, “Fireman” and “Grandma” (either for his rocking-chair pitching motion, or his fastidious nature), Murphy was on seven World Series winning teams, the most of any pitcher in history.

“As one of his first tasks, Murphy secured the services of manager Gil Hodges, under contract to the Washington Senators, by acquiring Hodges in a November 27, 1967, trade for pitcher Bill Denehy…With Hodges in command, the 1969 Miracle Mets stunned the baseball community by winning the NL East, sweeping Atlanta in the NLCS, then defeating a heavily favored Baltimore Orioles squad in five World Series games.

“However, not quite three months later, Murphy suffered a heart attack and died at age 61 early on January 14, 1970, in New York City.”

earnshaw3

P-George Earnshaw, Chicago White Sox, 34 Years Old

1929 1931

14-11, 4.52 ERA, 97 K, .203, 0 HR, 6 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Led in:

Home Runs Allowed-28 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1931, Earnshaw pitched two more seasons with the A’s, but was finally let go in the Philadelphia fire sale. Before this season, he was Traded by the Philadelphia Athletics with Johnny Pasek to the Chicago White Sox for Charlie Berry and $20,000. Earnshaw didn’t have a good ERA, but was the White Sox’ best pitcher.

Lew Fonseca started out the year as Chicago’s manager and the team went a dismal 4-11. Jimmy Dykes took over for him and he didn’t fare any better as the White Sox went 49-88 under Dykes and 53-99 altogether. Fonseca would never manage again and finished with a career 120-196 record. Dykes would be with this team for a long time.

SABR says,

                “After the ’51 season, Earnshaw left baseball and settled on a farm near Hot Springs, Arkansas. Like many other players as far back as Cap Anson, he had visited the resort regularly to shape up for spring training by soaking in the 130-degree waters and hiking the mountain trails, but his new home was a long way from the Social Register. His daughter Barbara believed he wanted to escape the demands of fame.

“George Earnshaw died in a Little Rock hospital on December 1, 1976. [Ed.-12 years after I was born]. The cause of death was not published. His second wife, Hazel, and the three children from his first marriage survived. He was buried in Hot Springs, but in 1992 his widow had the body exhumed and cremated.”

blaeholder

P-George Blaeholder, St. Louis Browns, 30 Years Old

14-18, 4.22 ERA, 66 K, .093, 0 HR, 2 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 13 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Led in:

Hits Allowed-276

1st Time All-Star-George Franklin Blaeholder was born on January 26, 1904 in Orange, CA. (I eat at a restaurant called Tulsa Rib Company in that city often.) The five-foot-11, 175 pound righty pitcher started with the Browns in 1925 and then didn’t pitch in the Majors in 1926. In 1927, he was back with the Browns and was a consistent pitcher for them for years, just not good enough to make this list.

SABR says,

“The slider. Mention it and batters’ knees buckle. The pitch helped make Cy Young Award winners out of Clayton Kershaw and Zack GreinkeRandy Johnson and David Cone, as well as Steve CarltonRon Guidry, and Bob Gibson. There’s debate about who invented the slider. Chief Bender, the right-hander with the Philadelphia A’s, threw what many called a nickel curve; or as Tom Swift explained in his SABR biography of the Hall of Fame hurler, a precursor to the slider. Two other right-handers are often mentioned as the first practitioners of the pitch: George Uhle, who thrice won 20-plus games for the Cleveland Indians in the 1920s, and George Blaeholder, a longtime workhorse for terrible St. Louis Browns teams in the late 1920s and 1930s. Both Baseball Digest (1961) and The Sporting News (1952) cited Blaeholder as the inventor of the slider.

“Just over five years after he hung up his spikes, Blaeholder died on December 29, 1947, at the age of 43 from liver cancer. He was buried in Westminster Memorial Park, in Westminster, California.”

cochrane8

C-Mickey Cochrane, Detroit Tigers, 31 Years Old

1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933

.320, 2 HR, 75 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-1)

MVP Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1933)

Led in:

1934 AL MVP (2nd Time)

8th Time All-Star-Things changed quite a bit for Cochrane between 1933 and 1934. For one thing, he was traded by the Philadelphia Athletics to the Detroit Tigers for Johnny Pasek and $100,000. Then Detroit made him their manager and he guided them to a pennant and also was named American League MVP for the second time. It certainly wasn’t his best hitting season as his power dropped and he hit just two homers, but the writers liked his leadership abilities and named him the Junior Circuit’s best player.

Detroit had been improving over the last few years, but having Black Mike as a catcher and manager was the piece that finally put them over the top. The Tigers went 101-53 and then faced the Gashouse Gang in the Series, which they lost four games to three.

Wikipedia says,

                “In 1934, Mack started to disassemble his dynasty for financial reasons and put Cochrane on the trade block. He found a willing recipient in the Detroit Tigers. Their owner, Frank Navin, was also suffering from financial troubles. They had not finished higher than third since 1923, and had developed a reputation for being content with mediocrity.

“It was with Detroit where Cochrane cemented his reputation as a team leader and his competitive nature drove the Tigers, who had been picked to finish in fourth or fifth place, to the 1934 American League championship, their first pennant in 25 years. Cochrane routinely platooned Gee Walker, a right-handed batter, to spell left fielder Goose Goslin and center fielder Jo-Jo White, who were both left-handed batters. Cochrane’s leadership and strategic skills won him the 1934 Most Valuable Player Award, remarkable considering that Lou Gehrig had won the Triple Crown.”


dickey5

C-Bill Dickey, New York Yankees, 27 Years Old

1929 1930 1931 1933

.322, 12 HR, 72 RBI

All-Star: Yes (1-2, 1 R, 2 BB)

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1954)

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as C-5.68 (4th Time)

Range Factor/Game as C-5.54 (4th Time)

5th Time All-Star-Ho-hum, the two American League All-Star catchers are Mickey Cochrane and Dickey, easily the two best catchers in the Junior Circuit. While Cochrane could put together some seasons that were offensive gems, Dickey was just Mr. Reliable, steadily plugging along behind the plate. That’s going to change in a couple years as his power is going to increase and he’ll have some of his better seasons. Still, even though Dickey’s not at his best yet, he still has made five of these lists and the next one he makes will put him in my Hall of Fame.

SABR says,

“Dickey was picked for the All Star Game again in 1934, and this time he played. He singled in the second inning to end Carl Hubbell’s string of five consecutive strikeouts of future members of the Hall of Fame (Ruth, Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin). Cochrane replaced Dickey behind the plate in the seventh inning as the American League won, 9-7.   Dickey’s season was cut short when he broke the second finger of his right hand in a game against Cleveland on August 22. The incident happened in the ninth inning when the finger was struck by a foul tip off the bat of Cleveland pitcher Mel Harder.”

Dickey has the perfect nickname – The Man Nobody Knows. He played in the shadow of Cochrane and he played in the shadow of his more famous teammates, including the man I’m writing about next. Yet it wasn’t until he started turning it on with the bat that the Yankees would start making the World Series regularly.

gehrig9

1B-Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees, 31 Years Old, 1st MVP, 1934 ONEHOF Inductee

1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933

.363, 49 HR, 166 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-4, 1 BB, 3 K)

MVP Rank: 5

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1934)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1928)

 

Led in:

 

1934 AL Batting Title

1934 AL Triple Crown

Wins Above Replacement-10.2

WAR Position Players-10.2

Offensive WAR-10.0 (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.363

On-Base %-.465 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.706

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.172

Games Played-154 (4th Time)

Total Bases-409 (4th Time)

Home Runs-49 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-166 (5th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-206

Runs Created-189 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-93 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-8.5 (2nd Time)

Times on Base-321 (4th Time)

Offensive Win %-.859

AB per HR-11.8

Base-Out Runs Added-97.44 (3rd Time)

Win Probability Added-8.8 (2nd Time)

Situ. Wins Added-8.4

Base-Out Wins Added-9.2 (3rd Time)

9th Time All-Star-Remember the MVP controversy with Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout in 2012? Cabrera won the MVP that year because he won a Triple Crown despite Trout’s unprecedented rookie campaign. People were saying you have to give it to Miggy because he led the league in homers, RBI, and batting average. Yet there were many times before the MVP wasn’t given to a Triple Crown winner, including this season with Gehrig. How did the Iron Horse finish fifth in the MVP voting?

I guess it’s up to me to give him his due and I’ll start with making him this year’s inducted into the ONEHOF, the One-Player-Inducted-A-Year Hall of Fame. Jake Beckley in 1902 was the last first baseman to receive that honor. Next year’s nominees are Paul Waner, Hardy Richardson, Elmer Flick, Johnny Evers, Larry Doyle, Art Fletcher, Wally Schang, Joe Sewell, Lefty Grove, Bill Terry, and Mickey Cochrane.

Then aside from that, I gave him the MVP, the first time he’s won it from me though he has won two MVPs from the baseball writers.  Cochrane, Charlie Gehringer, Lefty Gomez, and Schoolboy Rowe all finished ahead of Gehrig in the voting. Gehringer is the only of those players I would even consider and I don’t think he’s close to Biscuit Pants.

Gehrig kept his streak alive this year on July 14 due to some shenanigans from manager Joe McCarthy and some incredible fortitude by number four. Pinstripe Alley says,

“When game time arrived and Gehrig found no relief in his ailing back, he and manager Joe McCarthy decided to slate the first baseman at the shortstop position for the game against the Tigers, batting leadoff. Gehrig was set on keeping his incredible streak going, and struggled into the batter’s box to lead off the first inning of a game that would already be declared unusual by anyone who took a quick glance at the lineup card.

“Unable to take a full swing, Gehrig somehow forced a single into right field, and made the painstaking journey to first base before being pinch run for. The streak was still alive, and Gehrig had a hit to show for it.”


foxx7

1B-Jimmie Foxx, Philadelphia Athletics, 26 Years Old

1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933

.334, 44 HR, 130 RBI

All-Star: Yes (2-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI)

MVP Rank: 10

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1951)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1931)

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-111

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-10.78

Range Factor/Game as 1B-10.45

7th Time All-Star-Connie Mack is starting to do what he did when the A’s last were good, in the 1910s, and will begin selling off his best players. Still, Foxx is still with the team and at 26 years old and one of the best players in baseball, it would probably pain Mack to get rid of Double X and he won’t do so for a couple of years.

Philadelphia is already to drop, falling to fifth with a 68-82 record. It’s going to get worse.

SABR says,

“Even as the Athletics plummeted in the standings during 1934–35, Foxx kept pounding away. In those two otherwise gloomy seasons, he added 80 more home runs, batted a combined .340, and drove in 245 runs.

“Yet, seemingly unknown at that moment, a malady of body and mind was growing inside Jimmie Foxx. The affliction would not destroy Foxx quickly. It would gradually erode his gifts to the point where he would never attain the supremacy for which he seemed to be destined. On October 8, 1934, while barnstorming in Winnipeg, Canada, Jimmie was struck violently on the left side of his head by a pitched ball. Batting helmets were not worn at that time. Although x-rays were negative, Foxx was diagnosed with a concussion.

“He stayed in the local hospital for four days, but two days after leaving was too lethargic to play in an exhibition game in Spokane. Although this should have raised a red flag, Foxx resumed a prearranged tour to the Far East with other American League stars and sailed across the Pacific Ocean. There he played in every one of his team’s international games, including 18 in Japan. Upon returning to Philadelphia on January 6, 1935, Jimmie confirmed that he would resume the grueling duties of catcher, a position that he had not manned in seven years.”

greenberg

1B-Hank Greenberg, Detroit Tigers, 23 Years Old

.339, 26 HR, 139 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 6

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1956)

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-63

Extra Base Hits-96

1st Time All-Star-Henry Benjamin “Hanmmerin’ Hank” Greenberg was born on New Year’s Day, 1911 in New York, NY. I guess his parents didn’t get to watch the ball drop that year. The six-foot-three, 190 pound righty first baseman had one at-bat with Detroit in 1930 and then didn’t play in the Majors until 1933, when he became the regular first baseman for the Tigers. He showed what was to come this year and for a stretch of time in the Thirties, the American League could boast of having three of the all-time great first sackers, Hammerin’ Hank, The Iron Horse, and Double X.

Greenberg’s rise helped Detroit make the World Series and the big man lit it up, hitting .321 (nine-for-28) with two doubles, a triple, a homer, and seven RBI. It didn’t help as the Tigers lost to the Gashouse Gang, four games to three.

SABR has a wonderful article on Greenberg’s decision to play on Rosh Hashanah this year and I suggest you read the whole thing. This is just a bit:

“To make matters even more worrisome for Detroit rooters, Hank Greenberg, the Tigers’ young slugging sensation, and the hero of the day in the September 9 contest, was struggling with his own decision regarding his availability on the following day. September 10, 1934, was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and the traditionally observed start of the High Holy Days of the Jewish calendar. Greenberg, who never viewed himself as particularly observant of Jewish rituals and traditions, nonetheless wanted to be respectful of his parents’ wishes. And yet he was also a key run producer in a lineup that had not been producing many runs of late.”

I remember a few years ago, Shawn Green of the Dodgers had to make that same decision.

trosky

1B-Hal Trosky, Cleveland Indians, 21 Years Old

.330, 35 HR, 142 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 7

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. Six percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-154

Putouts-1,487

Def. Games as 1B-154

Putouts as 1B-1,487

Assists as 1B-86

Errors Committed as 1B-22

Double Plays Turned as 1B-145

1st Time All-Star-Harold Arthur “Hal” Trosky was born on November 11, 1912 in Norway, IA. The six-foot-two, 207 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing first baseman started with Cleveland in 1933, but this was officially his rookie year and it was impressive. Has there ever been a position (not counting pitcher) in the history of the game that had as much production as the 1934 American League first basemen?

Do you remember another famous first baseman from Iowa? In the 1800s, the greatest player was Cap Anson and he was from the Hawkeye State. Anson’s racism makes him persona non grata around baseball circles nowadays.

SABR says,

“The day before that homer, September 17 [1933], provided a brush with baseball royalty. In the second game of a doubleheader against the Yankees, Trosky was playing deep behind first base when Babe Ruth hit a screaming line drive down the line that carried the rookie’s mitt almost halfway into right field. (Hal later had the glove bronzed for his personal collection.)

“In 1934, Trosky’s first full year in the major leagues, he was little short of spectacular. He played every inning of all 154 games, hit .330 with 35 home runs, drove in 142 runs, and posted a slugging percentage of .598. He finished seventh in balloting for American League Most Valuable Player. (Triple Crown winner Lou Gehrig could muster no better than fifth place as the award went to Mickey Cochrane, catcher-manager of the pennant-winning Detroit Tigers.)”

Trosky had a great year, but wouldn’t have the career of the other three first basemen on this list.

gehringer6

2B-Charlie Gehringer, Detroit Tigers, 31 Years Old

1928 1929 1930 1932 1933

.356, 11 HR, 127 RBI

All-Star: Yes (2-3, 3 BB, 1 SB)

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1949)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1932)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-154 (4th Time)

Runs Scored-135 (2nd Time)

Hits-214 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 2B-154 (5th Time)

Assists as 2B-516 (4th Time)

6th Time All-Star-No one could have been happier about Detroit winning the American League pennant than The Mechanical Man who had been consistently great on this team for a long time. That didn’t change this year as seen by his finishing second in the Most Valuable Player voting along with being second in WAR. I gave the MVP to Lou Gehrig and the writers gave it to Gehringer’s teammate, Mickey Cochrane, but the Detroit second baseman could have easily won it from either of us.

In his first World Series, Gehringer hit the cover off the ball, batting .379 (11-for-29) with five runs scored, a double, and a homer. It didn’t help the Tigers win, however, as they lost to the Cards, four games to three.

SABR says,

“In 1934 the Tigers, under new player-manager Mickey Cochrane, bounced back from a fifth-place finish with a 101-53 record and their first World Series appearance since 1909. Gehringer led the AL in runs (134) and hits (214) and was the Tigers’ leader with a .356 average (second to Gehrig by seven points). That was the year the infield combined for 462 RBIs (first baseman Greenberg 139, Gehringer 127, shortstop Billy Rogell 100, and third baseman Marv Owen 96). The Tigers lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. They made 12 errors in the Series, and Gehringer, who had made only 17 during the season, had three of them. After the season, he was part of the all-star team that toured Japan.”

myer2

2B-Buddy Myer, Washington Senators, 30 Years Old

1933

.305, 3 HR, 57 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 40 percent chance)

 

2nd Time All-Star-At this time in the American League, there wasn’t any second baseman who could match Detroit’s Charlie Gehringer, but Myer was starting to come into his own. He didn’t have Gehringer’s power, but he displayed a good glove and could hit for average. Myer still has a couple decent years ahead.

I posted a story in Myer’s 1933 write-up about a fight between Ben Chapman and him which involved Chapman hurling anti-Semitic smears at the Washington second baseman. Was Myer Jewish? According to Wikipedia,

“In a 1976 Esquire magazine article, sportswriter Harry Stein published an ‘All Time All-Star Argument Starter’, consisting of five ethnic baseball teams. Myer was the shortstop on Stein’s Jewish team. Baseball historian Bill James reported that Myer ‘told a home-town newspaperman shortly before his death in 1974 that he was not Jewish, he was German’, and that he ‘never set the record straight’. Despite this late-life denial, the truth appears to be that while Myer’s father of the same name, Charles Solomon Myer, was of Jewish origin, his mother Maud was not. Thus, Myer was ethnically only half-Jewish, and was not raised in the faith.”

It should be noted in the SABR account of the fight there is no mention of any slurs. They blame the brouhaha on Chapman sliding into Myer and cutting his foot. Of course, it could be a combination of both. One thing I learn all the time is life is too complicated to look at just one side of an issue.

werber

3B-Billy Werber, Boston Red Sox, 26 Years Old

.321, 11 HR, 67 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 12

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Plate Appearances-714

Stolen Bases-40

Errors Committed-43

Assists as 3B-323

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.61

Range Factor/Game s 3B-3.53

1st Time All-Star-William Murray “Billy” Werber was born on June 20, 1908 in Berwyn, MD. The five-foot-10, 170 pound righty third baseman started with the Yankees in 1930 and then didn’t play in the Majors in 1931 and 1932. He came back to New York in 1933, amassing just two at-bats before being purchased with George Pipgras by the Boston Red Sox from the New York Yankees for $100,000. This was Werber’s best season ever, but he’s still got one or two All-Star seasons left.

SABR tells of an injury that Werber got this year that plagued the rest of his career:

“In those days before air conditioning, teams kept a bucket full of ammonia water in the dugout so that players could sponge off. Werber’s teammate Lefty Grove had a habit of kicking the bucket and sending water flying everywhere after a bad inning on the mound. The team, unbeknownst to Werber, had replaced the bucket with a heavier one with iron bands, to discourage Grove from taking out his frustrations. One afternoon Werber, who had a bit of a temper himself, popped up with men on base and proceeded to attack the bucket with the front of his foot. The result was a broken toe on his right foot. Werber continued to play for the rest of the season and still finished with a .321 batting average in 152 games, leading the league with 40 stolen bases and pounding out 200 hits and scoring 129 runs. But his toe continued to bother him for the rest of his 11-year big-league career, and he was never able to replicate his 1934 performance.”

rogell2

SS-Billy Rogell, Detroit Tigers, 29 Years Old

1933

.296, 3 HR, 99 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.2

Games Played-154 (2nd Time)

Assists-518

Def. Games as SS-154 (2nd Time)

Assists as SS-518

2nd Time All-Star-In order to win a pennant, you generally need a team that can do it all – hit, pitch, and field. Detroit definitely had hitting with people like Hank Greenberg and Charlie Gehringer and could certainly pitch thanks to Schoolboy Rowe and Tommy Bridges. It’s fielding, though, was led by this man, the sure-handed Fire Chief, Billy Rogell.

With he and Gehringer manning the middle of the Tigers’ infield, the team won the American League pennant for the first time since 1909. In the Series, Rogell hit .276 (eight-for-29) with a double. Detroit lost the World Series to the Cardinals, 4-3.

Rogell was part of a famous play in World Series history, according to Wikipedia, which says,

“After driving in a run with a single to right in the fourth inning of game four, Spud Davis was replaced by Hall of Famer Dizzy Dean as a pinch runner at first base. Pepper Martin then stepped in and hit a ground ball to Gehringer at second. Gehringer turned and threw to Rogell who forced out Dean at second, and then fired the ball squarely into Dean’s forehead on the relay throw to first. The ball ricocheted off Dean’s head and landed over a hundred feet away in the outfield. Dean, always known for his quick wit and humorous nature, remarked after a visit to the hospital, ‘The doctors X-rayed my head and found nothing.’ Rogell would say of the play later, ‘If I’d have known his head was there, I would have thrown the ball harder.’”

johnsonb

LF-Bob Johnson, Philadelphia Athletics, 28 Years Old

.307, 34 HR, 92 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 60 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Power-Speed #-17.7

Putouts as LF-302

Assists as LF-16

Assists as OF-17

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.29

1st Time All-Star-Robert Lee “Indian Bob” Johnson was born on November 26, 1905 in Pryor, OK. The six-foot, 180 pound righty leftfielder started with Philadelphia in 1933 and would be a consistent player for the A’s for a good stretch. Probably not good enough to enter my Hall of Fame, but we’ll have to see. Unfortunately he was part of Philadelphia after its decline so he never got to play in a World Series.

Wikipedia has details of his nickname and his 1934 season:

“As a rookie Johnson hit .290 with 20 home runs, 103 runs and 93 RBI, and was second in the AL with 44 doubles.

“Born in Pryor Creek, Oklahoma, Johnson grew up in Tacoma, Washington, and thereafter made the city his home. His nickname was derived from his lineage, which was one-quarter Cherokee. Due to the abundance of quality outfielders in the late 1920s and early 1930s, he did not reach the major leagues until 1933, when he was 27.

“Johnson took full advantage of playing in Shibe Park, which had long been a decidedly friendly environment for right-handed hitters such as Simmons and Jimmie Foxx. In 1934 Johnson improved his average to .307, including a 26-game hitting streak, and added a career-high 34 home runs along with 111 runs and 92 RBI; he also led the league with 17 assists. On June 16 he tied an AL record by going 6-for-6 with two home runs and a double.”

I’m surprised how good Johnson’s career was. He’ll make a few of these lists.

manush5

LF-Heinie Manush, Washington Senators, 32 Years Old

1926 1928 1932 1933

.349, 11 HR, 89 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-2, 1 BB, 1 SB)

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1964)

Ron’s: No (Would require two more All-Star seasons. 1 percent chance)

 

5th Time All-Star-If you examine the Hall of Fame inductees, you’ll see some of the most sketchy picks are made by the Veteran’s Committee. The picks of the writers are surprisingly solid though not perfect. I don’t believe Manush should be in the Hall of Fame, but it’s not like he had a terrible career. Only 20 percent of players who make at least one of these All-Star teams end up making five or more, so Heinie has nothing of which to be ashamed. But should he be in the Hall? I’m not so sure.

As for the rest of Manush’s life, SABR says,

                “Manush remained active throughout his life, and was a staunch competitor to the end. Golf was his game of choice as a retiree and he played almost every day in Florida, many games with Paul Waner. ‘Pound for pound, Paul was the greatest. We had been friends since 1927, and what a guy he was. Day in and day out, Waner could beat me anytime he wanted to. He was a real good putter. I called him “One Putt” and that’s all he ever took. He still had that beautiful swing. But he couldn’t hit the ball more than about 150 yards. I usually saw him about once a week.

“Manush moved to Florida and continued his competitiveness in a different sport: golf. He played just about every day until his death, which came on May 12, 1971, in Sarasota, Florida, after a long fight with cancer. The connection between Manush and Goslin continued as Goslin died three days later in New Jersey.”

simmons10

LF-Al Simmons, Chicago White Sox, 32 Years Old

1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933

.344, 18 HR, 104 RBI

All-Star: Yes (3-5, 3 R, 2 2B)

MVP Rank: 11

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1933)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1953)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1929)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as LF-.985 (5th Time)

10th Time All-Star-When I wrote Simmons’ blurb for the 1933 season, I talked about his death, which is something I do when I surmise the player won’t be making any more of these lists. Obviously I was wrong about Simmons, who surprised me by making the All-Star team this year. The more of these lists he makes, the more outstanding his overall career looks. I would put in the top 25 players of all-time at this point in baseball history.

Wikipedia wraps us his career, saying,

                “Simmons was one of the best hitters in MLB history. He had a career batting average of .334. He hit .340 or better in eight different seasons, with four seasons of better than .380. He recorded a .300 batting average and 100 or more RBI in his first 11 major league seasons.

“Simmons accumulated 1,500 hits in 1,040 games and 2,000 hits in 1,393 games, which remains the shortest number of games needed to attain both marks in major league history. He compiled 200 hits or better in a season six times, with five of those being consecutive (1929–33), and had 199 and 192 hits in 1926 and 1934. He compiled more hits than any right-handed batter in AL history until surpassed by Al Kaline. Simmons recorded 8 five-hit games and 52 four-hit games in the majors.”

Okay, now I’m pretty sure this is Simmons’ last All-Star team, unless something fluky happens. For the era in which he played, there weren’t many better than Bucketfoot Al.

averill4

CF-Earl Averill, Cleveland Indians, 32 Years Old

1929 1931 1932

.313, 31 HR, 113 RBI

All-Star: Yes (2-4, 1 2B, 1 3B)

MVP Rank: 17

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1975)

Ron’s: No (Would require two more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-154

Def. Games as CF-154 (4th Time)

Errors Committed as CF-13 (5th Time)

Double Plays Turned as CF-3 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as OF-154 (3rd Time)

Putouts as CF-410 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.74

 

4th Time All-Star-A very unusual thing happened this season – seven players led the league in games played with 154. They were Averill, Lou Gehrig (of course), Averill’s teammate Hal Trosky, Detroit players Billy Rogell, Marv Owen, and Charlie Gehringer,  and  St. Louis’ Jack Burns. Two other players played 153 games and another played 152.

I think about this because it seems like it’s unusual to have players play full seasons nowadays. Yet in the American League in the 2019 season, four players actually played 162 games and then the next player dropped to 159 games. In the National League there were seven players who played at least 160 games.

That actually surprises me as I would have thought playing every day was a thing of the past. I remember reading some player rating book during Cal Ripken’s streak and the authors wondered what the point of his being in the lineup daily was. They produced some stats that showed he started to fade in September. (I looked it up and yes, Ripken’s OPS in September was worse than every other month he played, but he was surprisingly consistent during the year.) So I thought now with the stats dominating decision making in the Major Leagues, managers wouldn’t be so keen on putting players out there every day.

During the Thirties, with the Depression happening, people appreciated the players toiling at their craft daily. IF they’re going to pay their hard-earned money for a ticket, they certainly want to see their heroes out on that field.

Babe Ruth Autographs Ball For Prince Kaya

RF-Babe Ruth, New York Yankees, 39 Years Old

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933

.288, 22 HR, 84 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-2, 2 BB, 1 K)

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1923)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

 

18th Time All-Star-This will be my last write-up for George Herman Ruth, the greatest player up to this time in history and my guess for the greatest player of all-time. Is there anyone who doesn’t rate the Babe number one? Bleacher Report did an article in 2017 and rated the Bambino number one and Willie Mays number two. In 1998, the Sporting News ranked all the players and came up with the same top two. ESPN had the same top two in 2013. Britannica concurred with all of the lists.  Ranker puts Ruth at one and Ty Cobb at two. Stadium Talk actually reverses the order of the Sultan of Swat and the Say Hey Kid. I could go on and on but I think the point is made, in all the time baseball has been played, there wasn’t a better player than this Yankees’ legend.

My top 10 through this point is:

  1. Babe Ruth, RF, 18 All-Star teams made
  2. Walter Johnson, P, 18
  3. Ty Cobb, CF, 19
  4. Cy Young, P, 17
  5. Tris Speaker, CF, 18
  6. Eddie Collins, 2B, 17
  7. Honus Wagner, SS, 15
  8. Rogers Hornsby, 2B, 15
  9. Pete Alexander, P, 15
  10. Cap Anson, 1B, 10

The player closest to making this list is Ruth’s teammate, Lou Gehrig.

Ruth also has made the All-Star team as a rightfielder more times than any other player. My full list for all the positions:

P-Walter Johnson, 18

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Eddie Collins, 17

3B-Home Run Baker, 9

SS-Honus Wagner, 13

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Tris Speaker, 18

RF-Ruth, 11

Ruth died of cancer on August 16, 1948 at the age of 53.

1934 National League All-Star Team

P-Dizzy Dean, STL

P-Curt Davis, PHI

P-Carl Hubbell, NYG

P-Van Mungo, BRO

P-Paul Dean, STL

P-Waite Hoyt, PIT

P-Lon Warneke, CHC

P-Benny Frey, CIN

P-Paul Derringer, CIN

P-Phil Collins, PHI

C-Gabby Hartnett, CHC

C-Bill DeLancey, STL

1B-Ripper Collins, STL

1B-Bill Terry, NYG

1B-Sam Leslie, BRO

2B-Billy Herman, CHC

3B-Stan Hack, CHC

SS-Arky Vaughan, PIT

SS-Billy Urbanski, BSN

CF-Wally Berger, BSN

CF-Len Koenecke, BRO

CF-Kiki Cuyler, CHC

RF-Mel Ott, NYG

RF-Paul Waner, PIT

RF-Buzz Boyle, BRO

 

dean3P-Dizzy Dean, St. Louis Cardinals, 24 Years Old, 1st MVP

1932 1933

30-7, 2.66 ERA, 195 K, .246, 2 HR, 9 RBI

All-Star: Yes (3 IP, 1 R, 4 K)

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1953)

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. 75 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

1934 NL MVP

Wins Above Replacement-9.5

WAR for Pitchers-8.9

Wins-30

Win-Loss %-.811

Strikeouts-195 (3rd Time)

Shutouts-7 (2nd Time)

Base-Out Runs Saved-57.97

Win Probability Added-6.7

3rd Time All-Star-At least here at the beginning of the modern day Most Valuable Player votes, the writers and I tend to agree quite a bit. That’s the case this year as we both picked Dizzy Dean as the National League Most Valuable Players. Of course, looking at Dean’s stats, it would be difficult to do otherwise as his dazzling right arm helped lead St. Louis to its first pennant since 1931.

With Frankie Frisch at the helm, the Gashouse Gang battled with the Giants for the NL title. As far back as Sept. 6, the Cards were seven games behind, before going 18-5 to finish out the year.  Though Frisch would manage teams for 14 more seasons, this was his only pennant and only championship.

In the World Series, St. Louis won four games to three with the Dean brothers, Dizzy and Paul (pictured above), responsible for all the wins.

This Great Game says, “Once more, Dizzy’s words would ring the truth. He won two of his three starts, losing Game Five 3-1 with a general lack of support from St. Louis bats. Dizzy begged to start Game Seven despite having gone the distance two days earlier, and Frisch gave him the shot. Responding with his best effort yet, Dizzy shut out the Tigers on six hits in the Series-clinching finale. It was his fifth start in 12 days.

“Dizzy’s most memorable moment of the Series came when he appeared as, of all things, a pinch runner in Game Four. Running from first on a ground ball, Dizzy was knocked, well, dizzy, when the throw from second nailed him square in the forehead. He was carried off on a stretcher and taken to a hospital where, as one newspaper headline (The headline may be one of baseball’s great tall tales; researchers have failed to uncover any such phrase in the newspapers of the time) screamed, X-rays of his head revealed nothing.”

davisc

P-Curt Davis, Philadelphia Phillies, 30 Years Old

19-17, 2.95 ERA, 99 K, .211, 1 HR, 7 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 8

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 29 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-51

Def. Games as P-51

Assists as P-95

Errors Committed as P-8

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-3.81

1st Time All-Star-Curtis Benton “Curt” or “Coonskin” Davis was born on September 7, 1903 in Greenfield, MO. The six-foot-two, 185 pound righty started his career with this incredible season. Pitching half his games in the Baker Bowl, Davis had an incredible 2.95 ERA. Also, he went 19-17 for a team that finished 56-93.  He’d never have another season like his rookie campaign, but he’d have a decent career despite starting at 30 years old.

Jimmie Wilson took over managing the squad and the Phillies once again finished seventh. He’d manage the Phillies for five seasons.

SABR says, “Like Lefty Grove, Davis was trapped in the minors by baseball’s reserve clause. The San Francisco Seals refused to sell him to a big-league club for four years, long after he appeared ready for promotion.

“The lanky sidearm right-hander featured a sinking fastball, a curve, and a palm ball that dropped like a spitter. ‘Every ball he throws sinks, sails or spins,’ catcher Mickey Owen said. ‘And they do it at the last second.’ Exceptional control was Davis’s calling card.

“The Phillies spring roster listed the rookie pitcher’s age as 28, not 30. Manager Jimmie Wilson said Davis’s control and easy sidearm delivery reminded him of Grover Cleveland Alexander, whom Wilson had caught.

“Forget Alexander; Grover Cleveland could have helped the seventh-place Phils’ pitching staff. Davis quickly became the ace, chalking up a 2.95 ERA while playing home games in the National League’s unfriendliest ballpark for pitchers, Baker Bowl. It was the lowest ERA by a regular Phillies starter in 14 years. Davis finished 19-17 for a club that won only 64 games, and his 51 appearances led the league.”

hubbell6

P-Carl Hubbell, New York Giants, 31 Years Old

1929 1930 1931 1932 1933

21-12, 2.30 ERA, 118 K, .197, 0 HR, 9 RBI

All-Star: Yes (3 IP, 0 R, 6 K)

MVP Rank: 9

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1933)

 

Led in:

 

1934 NL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Earned Runs Average-2.30 (2nd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-1.032 (4th Time)

Hits per 9 IP-8.224 (2nd Time)

Bases On Balls per 9 IP-1.064

Saves-8

Complete Games-25

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-3.189 (3rd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-168 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-54 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.6 (2nd Time)

Sit. Wins Saved-6.3 (2nd Time)

Base-Out Wins Saved-6.2 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-When you think of Hubbell’s 1934 season, what sticks out is a game that didn’t even matter, the All-Star Game. Here’s the Hall of Fame’s take on it: “In the second playing of the annual All-Star Game, Hubbell consecutively struck out Hall of Famers that would combine for a collective batting average of .329 – with all five of them hitting over .300 for their careers, in the process tallying 13,452 hits. Collectively, the five elite bats sent 2,208 long balls over the fence in their careers.

“Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin – five of the game’s greatest hitters of all-time – all were set down in order. All in all, Hubbell’s final stat line for the day showed that he gave up no runs, two hits and recorded six strikeouts in three innings of work.”

What’s incredible about that performance, aside from the obvious, is Hubbell was never known as one of the great strikeout pitchers. He did finish in the top 10 of Strikeouts per 9 innings nine times, but only three of those times was in the top five and only once led the league. His highest total was in 1931 when he struck out 5.625 batters per nine innings. That would get him sent back to the minors nowadays.

Hubbell is going to start fading a bit over the next few seasons, not counting one incredible season he has left. Still, even as he dwindles off, he’s still going to make four more All-Star teams, if I’m guessing right.

mungo2

P-Van Mungo, Brooklyn Dodgers, 23 Years Old

1933

18-16, 3.37 ERA, 184 K, .248, 0 HR, 10 RBI

All-Star: Yes (Loss, 1 IP, 4 R)

MVP Rank: 23

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. 25 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Innings Pitched-315 1/3

Games Started-38

Bases on Balls-104 (2nd Time)

Hits-300

Batters Faced-1,329

2nd Time All-Star-Mungo certainly had a powerful arm. His old skipper, Wilbert Robinson, compared it to Walter Johnson and Dazzy Vance, two great pitchers. Mungo would never be in that category, however, because his career would be short. Certainly it seemed like a 23-year-old with his talent was off to great things, but he’d only have a handful of good seasons before petering out.

Almost half of the National League All-Stars on this team are making it for the first time, but the most significant debut this season might be the Dodgers’ manager. The Old Perfessor, Casey Stengel, took over for Max Carey, and Brooklyn stayed in sixth place with a 71-81 record. Stengel’s success would come later, of course, with another team from the Big Apple.

The following story ties Mungo and Stengel together as Wikipedia says, “Stories and anecdotes about Mungo tend to emphasize his reputation for combativeness, including episodes of drinking and fighting. ‘Mungo and I got along just fine’, reported Casey Stengel, his manager on the Dodgers. ‘I won’t stand for no nonsense, and then I duck.’ The most widely told story concerns a visit to Cuba where, supposedly, Mungo was caught in a compromising position with a married woman by her husband. Mungo punched the husband in the eye, leading him to attack Mungo with a butcher knife or machete, requiring Dodgers executive Babe Hamberger to smuggle Mungo in a laundry cart to a seaplane waiting off a wharf in order to escape the country.”

deanp

P-Paul Dean, St. Louis Cardinals, 21 Years Old

19-11, 3.43 ERA, 150 K, .241, 0 HR, 3 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 9

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 28 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.786

1st Time All-Star-Paull Dee “Daffy” Dean was born on August 14, 1912 in Lucas, AR. The six-foot, 175 pound righty pitcher and brother of Dizzy Dean started his career with this impressive rookie season. He’d then have another All-Star season next year and then he’d pretty much be done. Still, how many players can tout a first season like this, in which Daffy’s team won the championship while he himself was responsible for two of those wins.

Wikipedia states, “During his rookie season (at the age of 22), Dean pitched a no-hitter on September 21, 1934 in the second game of a doubleheader against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Dizzy (who had pitched a three-hit shutout in the first game) would say afterwards: ‘Shoot! If I’da known Paul was gonna pitch a no-hitter, I’da pitched me one too.’ Paul finished the year with a 19–11 record to help St. Louis win the National League pennant. Combined with his brother becoming the only NL pitcher in the live-ball era to win 30 games, the brothers bettered Dizzy’s prediction that ‘me ‘n’ Paul are gonna win 45 games’ by four wins. In the World Series, he and his brother won two games apiece, combining for a 4–1 record, 28 strikeouts and a 1.43 ERA, as the Cardinals took the series against the Detroit Tigers in seven games.”

Paul’s part in the World Series consisted of two complete game victories in which he gave up four runs (two earned) in 18 innings. As for his nickname, Daffy, it never really fit the serious Paul Dean.

hoyt4

P-Waite Hoyt, Pittsburgh Pirates, 34 Years Old

1921 1927 1928

15-6, 2.93 ERA, 105 K, .179, 0 HR, 7 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 22

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1969)

Ron’s: No (Would require two more All-Star seasons. 1 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.14

4th Time All-Star-I wrote at the end of Hoyt’s 1928 blurb he’d bounce around quite a bit after that season, so let’s follow that journey. He pitched with the Yankees two more seasons and then towards the end of the 1930 season, he was traded by the New York Yankees with Mark Koenig to the Detroit Tigers for Ownie CarrollHarry Rice and Yats Wuestling. The next season, he again moved during the season as he was selected off waivers by the Philadelphia Athletics from the Detroit Tigers. He pitched in his final World Series that season, losing his only start by giving up three runs in six innings. Altogether, in seven Series, six for the Yankees, he went 6-4 with a 1.83 ERA.

Before the 1932 season, Hoyt was picked up as a free agent by the Dodgers and then released during the season which led to the Giants acquiring him. Then before the 1933 season, the Pirates took a chance on him and he ended up giving them this comeback season. Pittsburgh ended up in fifth place with a 74-76 record. George Gibson (27-24) and Pie Traynor (47-52) managed the team.

Wikipedia says, “On August 16, 1948, Hoyt paid tribute to Babe Ruth, speaking on the air without notes for two hours upon learning of his death after a game. He was well known as the pre-eminent authority on Babe Ruth; Hoyt for nearly 10 years was Ruth’s teammate and in his small inner circle of friends. Robert Creamer, author of the definitive Ruth biography Babe, indicated in that book’s introduction that the novella-length memoir written by Hoyt shortly after Ruth’s death was ‘by far the most revealing and rewarding work on Ruth.’

“The aging Hoyt died of heart failure while preparing for what he realized would be his final visit to the Hall of Fame in CooperstownNew York. Hoyt is interred in Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati.” He passed on August 25, 1984 at the age of 84.

warneke3

P-Lon Warneke, Chicago Cubs, 25 Years Old

1932 1933

22-10, 3.21 ERA, 143 K, .195, 0 HR, 8 RBI

All-Star: Yes (1 IP, 4 R, 3 BB)

MVP Rank: 13

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. 50 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-There is going to be a point where Warneke starts fading out and it could have been looked at as a surprise, but the truth is he’d never match his 1932 and ’33 seasons and even started to drop a little this year. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t one of the National League’s best pitchers, but he’s no longer among the elite.

Charlie Grimm continued to manage the Cubbies and this year, the squad went on to an 86-55 record and finished in third. As late as July 14, Chicago was just one game out of first, but never got any closer.

Warneke pitched one of three opening-day one hitters. He had a no-hitter going into the ninth until, well, SABR has the details, saying, “Reds slugger Ernie Lombardi batted for reliever Larry Benton and struck out on three pitches, becoming Warneke’s final strikeout of the afternoon. Advancing to the plate was Comorosky, ‘a stocky little man with caliper-like legs and with the complexion of the hue of a Mexican saddle.’ Remembering how the Reds left fielder almost ended the no-hit bid in the sixth, Warneke threw a low fastball barely off the infield grass and Comorosky hit a grounder that scooted past the mound to the right of second and into center for the Reds’ first hit. The crowd erupted with a thunderous boo. Seemingly unfazed, Warneke hit the reset button and produced a force of Comorosky at second and a popout by Piet to end the drama. Immediately, Warneke’s teammates lifted the hero of the day onto their shoulders and carried him into the clubhouse, much to the delight of Warneke’s wife, Charlyne, who witnessed the day’s proceedings.”

frey

P-Benny Frey, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

11-16, 3.52 ERA, 33 K, .171, 0 HR, 6 RBI

MVP Rank: 16

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 35 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Benjamin Rudolph “Benny” Frey (pronounced FRY) was born on April 6, 1906 in Dexter, MI. The five-foot-10, 165 pound righty pitcher started with the Reds in 1929 and, except for a short stretch with the Cardinals in 1932, stayed with them. He never was good, but was a consistent starter and reliever over the years. This was Frey’s best year ever and the only year he received MVP votes.

It was a tough time for the Reds. My favorite team again finished last, with a 52-99 record. Three managers Bob O’Farrell (30-60), Burt Shotton (1-0), and Chuck Dressen (21-39) all took their times helming this train wreck of a team. O’Farrell would never manage again and the next time Shotton ran a team, he’d be there for the first year of Jackie Robinson.

Wikipedia talks about his tragic ending, stating, “He was a sidearm pitcher with a sweeping motion that was effective against right-handed hitters. His lifetime earned run average of 4.50 was good for an adjusted ERA+ of 90. Frey suffered an arm injury which ultimately led to his retirement and subsequent suicide.

“Frey committed suicide on November 1, 1937 in Spring Arbor Township, Michigan at the home of his sister. He had run a hose from his car’s exhaust into the back seat and died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Frey had been in despair over his injured arm, which he did not think would ever recover sufficiently for a return to the major leagues.” Very sad.

derringer

P-Paul Derringer, Cincinnati Reds, 27 Years Old

15-21, 3.59 ERA, 122 K, .196, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. 38 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-Samuel Paul “Duke” or “Oom Paul” Derringer was born on October 17, 1906 in Springfield, KY. The six-foot-three, 205 pound righty pitcher started with St. Louis in 1931 and had an impressive 18-8 record. In the World Series that year, he pitched three games, starting two, and going 0-2 with a 4.26 ERA. During the 1933 season, he was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals with Sparky Adams and Allyn Stout to the Cincinnati Reds for Leo DurocherDutch Henry and Jack Ogden. Even though he lost a National League-leading 27 games in ’33, Derringer ended up being a good pick-up for the Redlegs.

SABR says, “To discuss Paul Derringer is to discuss two men-a pitcher with exceptional control of his pitches and general work on the mound and a man with little or no control of himself anywhere else.

“Derringer (called ‘Oom Paul’ for his 6-foot-3.1/2-inch height and admitted 205 pounds) was a belligerent man who often used his fists to settle disputes. Sometimes it could be grotesque, like the time he woke up from an operation in the recovery room, swung at a nurse, and knocked her cold. Finding out what he’d done, he apologized profusely. That was not the case in other altercations, as he often wound up in court.

“The 1933 season was painful for Derringer, who took losing hard, but he was becoming very important in reviving Cincinnati aspirations toward a better future. His 27 losses were especially frustrating, for the team rarely produced many runs for him. In one fit of temper, he almost killed Larry MacPhail, the Cincinnati general manager.”

collinsp3P-Phil Collins, Philadelphia Phillies, 32 Years Old

1930 1931

13-18, 4.18 ERA, 72 K, .170, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 18 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs Allowed-30

3rd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team in 1931, Collins continued to pitch well in a tough situation, having the bandbox Baker Bowl as a home park. That’s why, even though he gave up 30 homers, he still snuck on to this list.

Wikipedia wraps up his career, saying, “ For his career, he compiled an 80–85 record in 292 appearances, most as a relief pitcher, with a 4.66 earned run average and 423 strikeouts.

“As a hitter, Collins posted a .193 batting average (93-for-482) with 45 runs, 4 home runs and 44 RBI. He was used as a pinch hitter 13 times in his major league career.

“Collins was born and later died in Chicago of cancer at the age of 46. He was in baseball known as ‘Fidgety Phil’, which was also inscribed on his gravestone at Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleums in Calumet City, Cook County, Illinois.”

Two days after Collins died, George Herman “Babe” Ruth died in New York. Some 77,000 people filed past his open casket and 75,000 people waited outside of the Cathedral where his service was held. My guess is Collins didn’t have the same kind of publicity for obvious reasons, but he pitched decently for the Phils for a good stretch of time. While Ruth’s stadium was built for him, with a short rightfield porch, Collins had to toil in a ballpark designed to frustrate pitchers. I’m not saying Collins would ever have any chance of making the Hall of Fame, but maybe at least half as many people would have heard of him as have heard of the “other” Phil Collins. Oh, well, I don’t care anymore.

hartnett7

C-Gabby Hartnett, Chicago Cubs, 33 Years Old

1924 1925 1927 1928 1930 1933

.299, 22 HR, 90 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-2)

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1933)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-605 (4th Time)

Assists as C-86 (5th Time)

Double Plays Turned as C-11 (5th Time)

Caught Stealing as C-36 (3rd Time)

Caught Stealing %-59.0 (5th Time)

Range Factor/Game as C-5.36 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as C-.996 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-Mickey Cochrane received much applause as a great catcher and he certainly deserves it, as does Bill Dickey. Yet neither of them may be as good as this Chicago backstop. There just weren’t too many catchers with this man’s bat or durability. He would catch over 100 games 12 times in his career, which was incredible for the day in which he played, when the equipment wasn’t as elite as it is nowadays.

Wikipedia says, “At the mid-season point of the 1934 season, Hartnett was hitting for a .336 batting average with 13 home runs to earn the starting catcher’s role for the National League team in the 1934 All-Star Game. Hartnett was calling the pitches for Carl Hubbell in the 1934 All-Star Game when the Giants pitcher set a record by striking out future Hall of Fame members Babe RuthLou GehrigJimmie FoxxAl Simmons, and Joe Cronin in succession. He ended the 1934 season with another strong offensive performance, hitting for a .299 batting average with 22 home runs and 90 runs batted in. He dominated the defensive statistics, leading the league’s catchers in assists, putouts, baserunners caught stealing, caught stealing percentage, range factor and in fielding percentage.”

Usually when baseball players reach the age of 30, they start to decline and catchers specifically. Yet Hartnett, now 33, still has an MVP season coming up (as voted by the writers not me)  and anywhere from one-to-three more All-Star teams. (It’s always so tough to tell with catchers).

delancey

C-Bill DeLancey, St. Louis Cardinals, 22 Years Old

.316, 13 HR, 40 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 88 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as C-6.01

1st Time All-Star-William Pinkney “Bill” DeLancey was born on November 28, 1911 in Greensboro, NC. The five-foot-11, 185 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing catcher started by playing eight games for the Cardinals in 1932 and then didn’t play in the Majors in 1933. He became the primary catcher for the pennant-winning Cards this year and helped lead them to the Series against the Tigers. He started all seven games, hitting .172 (five-for-29) with three doubles and a homer as St. Louis beat Detroit, four games to three. All this and he was 22 years old.

Wikipedia wraps up his short life, saying, “In 1934, he made the Cardinals’ roster and, as a left-handed hitter, platooned with the right-handed Spud Davis to share the Cardinals’ regular catching job. He became a favorite of player-manager Frankie Frisch, and performed admirably on the field, hitting .316 with 80 hits, 18 doubles, 13 home runs, 41 bases on balls and an OPS of .979 in 295 plate appearances.

“The DeLancey-Davis catching platoon returned in 1935, but DeLancey got off to a sluggish start at the plate. He recovered in midyear and lifted his batting average to .321 on July 21, before fading to .279 during the heat of August and September…During an off-season sandlot game, however, he collapsed and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Realizing the seriousness of his condition while recuperating in Arizona, he voluntarily retired from the Cardinals on February 12, 1936.

“[In 1945], his health then began to decline again, and he died on his 35th birthday, November 28, 1946, in Phoenix. He is interred at St. Francis Catholic Cemetery there.”

collinsri

1B-Ripper Collins, St. Louis Cardinals, 30 Years Old

.333, 35 HR, 128 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 6

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Slugging %-.615

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.008

Games Played-154

Total Bases-369

Home Runs-35

Runs Created-144

Extra Base Hits-87

Win Probability Added-5.5

Def. Games as 1B-154

Assists as 1B-110

1st Time All-Star-James Anthony “Ripper” Collins was born on March 30, 1904 in Altoona, PA. The five-foot-nine, 165 pound switch-hitting, lefty throwing first baseman started with the Cardinals in 1931. In the World Series that year, he when oh-for-two as a pinch hitter. For a first baseman from 1931-33, he was a good, but not great hitter. That changed this season as the little man homered 35 times to lead the National League and help guide the Cards to a World Series victory over Detroit in seven games. Ripper ripped 11 hits in the Series, all of them singles but for one two-bagger, but still hit .387.

SABR says, “The nickname Ripper developed during an on-field incident that occurred when Jimmy was a young player. A ball rocketed off his bat and struck a nail protruding from the outfield fence; it caused the cover to partially tear. When asked who hit the ball, the retrieving outfielder saw the ball hanging and said, ‘It was the ripper.’

“The seventh and deciding game of the hard-fought 1934 World Series took place on October 9 at Navin Field in Detroit. The Cardinals supported winning pitcher Dizzy Dean with 11 runs to gain the victory. Batting fifth in the order, Collins led the offensive barrage with four hits. In the eighth inning he lost a potential fifth hit when his drive sent center fielder Jo-Jo White back to the 420-foot marker at the wall in right-center. White leaped, deflected the ball off his glove, and snagged it while lying on his back. Collins hit .367 for the Series.”

terry8

1B-Bill Terry, New York Giants, 35 Years Old

1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933

.354, 8 HR, 83 RBI

All-Star: Yes (1-3, BB)

MVP Rank: 7

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1954)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1932)

 

Led in:

 

Singles-169 (2nd Time)

Putouts-1,592 (5th Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,592 (5th Time)

Double Plays Turned as 1B-131 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.29 (6th Time)

Range Factor/Game as 1B-11.09 (7th Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.994

8th Time All-Star-Terry’s first full year managing in 1933 was a dream come true, as he guided the Giants to the World Championship. However, it’s not easy to win back-to-back and New York couldn’t do it this year, finishing two games behind the Cardinals, thanks to a collapse in September. On the sixth of that month, the Giants were up by seven games with an 85-47 record. They then finished only 8-13 including a five-game losing streak to close out the season.

Terry ran into some trouble before the season, according to SABR, which states, “Terry attended the annual business meetinngs in New York in January 1934. He was asked about the Brooklyn Dodgers’ prospects in the coming season. Terry answered, “I haven’t heard anything from them; are they still in the league? Terry, not known for his subtlety, had answered lightly, but the next day’s sports pages indicated that he had been taken seriously. Irate Dodgers fans sent thousands of angry letters to the Giants’ office, assuring Terry that their team would show him whether Brooklyn was still in the league!

“…The Giants’ lead disappeared in late September as Terry’s weary club slumped badly, entering the final two games of the season with the Dodgers, tied with the famed Gashouse Gang Cardinals, led by Dizzy and Paul Dean, Frankie Frisch and Joe Medwick. With the rain-swept Polo Grounds jammed with screaming and taunting Brooklyn rooters on Saturday, the slumping Giants lost to the Dodgers’ Van Lingle Mungo, falling a game behind the Cardinals as Paul Dean beat the Reds. To the delight of thousands of Brooklynites, the devastated Giants lost the next day and the Cards took the pennant by two games.”

leslie

1B-Sam Leslie, Brooklyn Dodgers, 28 Years Old

.332, 9 HR, 102 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 25 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Samuel Andrew “Sam” or “Sambo” Leslie was born on July 26, 1905 in Moss Point, MS. The six-foot, 192 pound lefty first baseman started with the Giants in 1929. During the 1933 season, he was traded by the New York Giants to the Brooklyn Dodgers for Watty Clark and Lefty O’Doul. He then had this season, Leslie’s best ever, for the Giants’ rivals.

Wikipedia wraps up career (and life), saying, “During the 1932 season, Leslie gained recognition by establishing a single season Major League Baseball record by collecting 22 pinch hits. While the record was broken in 1961, it remains the Giants’ franchise single season record to this day. He also ranks second on the team’s all-time pinch hit list with 57, just one behind the team record. Leslie’s breakout year came in 1933 when he batted .295 with 148 hits and 73 RBIs in 136 games while playing stints for both the Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

“He became the starting first baseman and continued to excel at the plate, batting .332 with 181 hits and 102 RBIs during the 1934 season with a rare inside the park grand slam on July 6.

“In 1927, Leslie married Etta Katherine Bosarge and had three children: Sam Jr., Dorothy Lou, and Carl. After retiring from baseball, he worked at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, for 26 years. He and Etta had 13 grandchildren. In his later years, he was instrumental in starting the summer youth baseball league in Pascagoula.

“Leslie died on January 21, 1979, after a lengthy illness at the age of 73.”

hermanb

2B-Billy Herman, Chicago Cubs, 24 Years Old

.303, 3 HR, 42 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-1)

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1975)

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

1st Time All-Star-William Jennings Bryan “Billy” Herman was born on July 7, 1909 in New Albany, IN. The five-foot-11, 180 pound righty second baseman started with the Cubs in 1931 and became their starting second baseman in 1932. In the ’32 World Series, Herman batted .222 (four-for-18) with a double as Chicago was swept by the Yankees. He’d never be a great hitter, but his steady bat, combined with his sterling glove, was enough to put him in the Hall of Fame.

Wikipedia has more details on his beginning, stating, “Herman broke into the majors in 1931 with the Chicago Cubs and asserted himself as a star the following season, 1932, by hitting .314 and scoring 102 runs. His first at-bat was memorable. Facing Cincinnati Reds pitcher Si Johnson, Herman chopped a pitch into the back of home plate, which then bounced up and hit Herman in the back of the head, knocking him out. A fixture in the Chicago lineup over the next decade, Herman was a consistent hitter and solid producer.”

Herman replaced Rogers Hornsby at second baseman on the Cubs. He wasn’t a big fan of Rajah. SABR says, “Herman was not the least bit disappointed to see Hornsby exit. ‘He ignored me completely and I figured it was because I was a rookie. But then I saw he ignored everybody. He was a very cold man. He would stare at you with the coldest eyes I ever saw. If you did something wrong, he’d jump all over you.’”

hack

3B-Stan Hack, Chicago Cubs, 24 Years Old

.289, 1 HR, 21 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

1st Time All-Star-Stanley Camfield “Smiling Stan” Hack was born on December 6, 1909 in Sacramento, CA. The six-foot, 170 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing third baseman started with the Cubs in 1932 and became their regular third baseman this year. In 1932, he played in the World Series, entering one game as a pinch runner. Hack would be a lifelong Cubbie, playing with them through 1947.

Wikipedia says everything I just said, with a few more details: “Hack, who batted left-handed and threw right-handed, was born in Sacramento, California and played baseball at Sacramento High School. After high school he worked at a bank and played semi-pro baseball on weekends. He tried out for the Sacramento Solons in 1931, and was signed by Cubs president William Veeck, Sr. for $40,000 after hitting .352 in his first minor league season that year. He broke in with the Cubs in 1932, and backed up Woody English in his first two years – also hitting .299 in the International League in 1933 – before becoming the full-time third baseman in 1934. In the 1932 World Series against the New York Yankees, his sole appearance was as a pinch runner for Gabby Hartnett in the eighth inning of the final 13–6 Game 4 loss. In his first full year in 1934, he batted a respectable .289 and tied for fifth in the league with 11 steals.”

I’m surprised Hack isn’t in the Hall of Fame. It’s not like there’s a plethora of third sackers in Cooperstown and Smiling Stan’s a good representative for the position.

vaughan3

SS-Arky Vaughan, Pittsburgh Pirates, 22 Years Old

1932 1933

.333, 12 HR, 94 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-2)

MVP Rank: 23

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1985)

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Offensive WAR-7.6

On-Base %-.431

Bases on Balls-94

Power-Speed #-10.9

Def. Games as SS-149 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Some players have bad timing and that’s Arky. He played in an era in which walks weren’t regarded as valuable, but he was sensational at drawing the base on balls. He played for Pittsburgh during a time they were mediocre, so he never made a World Series with it. It’s incredible to me he never won an MVP and also that it took until 1985 for him to make Cooperstown.

Wikipedia says, “Vaughan took his game up another notch in 1934. While finishing fourth in the race for the batting title at .333, he led the league in OBP at .431, helped by his league-leading walk total of 94. Although he dropped from fifth to sixth in slugging, the raw number improved to .511. His performance earned him a spot on the NL All-Star team, the first of what would be nine straight selections. His defense continued to improve as well, as his error total dropped to 41, no longer the most in the league, and his fielding percentage rose again to .951. For the third straight year, he finished 23rd in the MVP voting.”

Here’s SABR’s point of view on this season: “Fifty-one games into the 1934 season, the Pirates replaced manager George Gibson with Pie Traynor. Pittsburgh slumped to fifth place, but the twenty-two-year-old Vaughan sparkled, batting an NL fourth-best .333, with a career-high forty-two doubles, eleven triples, twelve home runs, and ninety-four RBIs. He made his first appearance in the All-Star Game, played at the Polo Grounds in New York. Vaughan entered the game in the fifth inning as a pinch-hitter and remained in the game, going hitless and compiling two putouts and an assist in the field.”

urbanski

SS-Billy Urbanski, Boston Braves, 31 Years Old

.293, 7 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 45 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as SS-.961

1st Time All-Star-William Michael “Billy” Urbanski was born on June 5, 1903 in Linoleumville, NY. The five-foot-eight, 165 pound righty shortstop started with Boston in 1931. In both 1932 and 1933, he made the top 10 in Defensive WAR. This year, he made the top 10 in Offensive WAR, but didn’t field as well. It would be his last good season.

Bill McKechnie again guided the Braves to fourth as they finished 78-73. What’s surprising is how quickly this team is going to fall apart. Wait ‘til you see next season!

When I’m done writing up the 1934 season, I will have written up 966 different players in 2,800 different write-ups. I’ve had the pleasure of writing up the all-time greats like Walter Johnson and Babe Ruth, but most of the people who make these lists are Urbanskis — players who plugged around the league awhile making one of my All-Star teams here and there. As a matter of fact, of the 966 players, 417 of them made only one All-Star team as Urbanski is going to do.

Those are the interesting players to me. The scrappy shortstops from places like Linoleumville, New York. These are the players only the most hardcore of baseball fans would be able to identify, but they’re the players that make up the majority of Major League rosters.

After Urbanski left Major League baseball in 1937, he lived a relatively long life, dying at the age of 70 on July 12, 1937 in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

berger4

CF-Wally Berger, Boston Braves, 28 Years Old

1931 1932 1933

.298, 34 HR, 121 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-2, 1 K)

MVP Rank: 12

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. 25 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as CF-150 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Boston is going to have a great fall from 1934 to 1935, but its best player wouldn’t change, one Wally Berger. He continued to consistently bash homers and be one of the league’s top centerfielders. What couldn’t be anticipated is how much injuries would affect him after the 1935 season as I’m sure most people thought he was a surefire Hall of Famer. Well, actually, the Hall of Fame isn’t going to be established until 1936, so no one was talking about that then.

Wikipedia says, “Berger made the NL All-Star team in the first four years the game was held (1933–36), starting in the first two. In 1933 he finished third in the Most Valuable Player voting, behind Carl Hubbell and Chuck Klein, after hitting 27 home runs (half the Braves team total), second in the league behind Klein’s 28. That same year, when Babe Ruth was asked once again to make his annual selection of the game’s best, he named Berger as his center fielder. Of the eighteen players who started the 1934 All-Star Game, Berger is the only player not elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.”

Speaking of Babe Ruth, Berger and he would be teammates in 1935 as the Bambino finished his career with the Braves. Berger would hit over 30 homers while Ruth would finish second on the team with six. I’ll have more on Berger in his write-up next season as he’ll certainly make this list. Next year, Ruth won’t.

koenecke

CF-Len Koenecke, Brooklyn Dodgers, 30 Years Old

.320, 14 HR, 73 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 50 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as CF-.993

Fielding % as OF-.994

1st Time All-Star-Leonard George “Len” Koenecke was born on January 18, 1904 in Baraboo, WI. The five-foot-11, 180 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing centerfielder started with the Giants in 1932 and then didn’t play in the Majors in 1933. In 1934, he played for Brooklyn and had a very good year, slashing .320/.411/.509 for an OPS+ of 150. It was his last good year and then tragedy struck.

Wikipedia gives the details of Koenecke’s death, saying, “After being sent home from the road trip, Koenecke caught a commercial flight for New York City. During the flight, he drank a quart of whiskey and became very drunk. After Koenecke had harassed other passengers and struck a stewardess, the pilot had to sit on him to restrain him as he was shackled to his seat. He was removed unconscious from the flight in Detroit. After sleeping on a chair in the airport, he chartered a flight to Toronto in the hopes of rejoining the Bisons. While flying over Canada, he had a disagreement with the pilot and a passenger, and attempted to take control of the aircraft.

“In order to avoid a crash, Koenecke was hit over the head with a fire extinguisher by both the pilot, who had left his controls, and the other passenger. After an emergency landing at Long Branch Racetrack in Toronto, it was found that Koenecke had died of a cerebral hemorrhage.The two men were charged with manslaughter but were found not liable by a coroner’s jury soon after.”

Koenecke died on September 15, 1935 at the age of 31.

cuyler7

CF-Kiki Cuyler, Chicago Cubs, 35 Years Old

1924 1925 1926 1929 1930 1931

.338, 6 HR, 69 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-2)

MVP Rank: 16

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1968)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1934)

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-42

7th Time All-Star-I mentioned in Cuyler’s 1931 blurb he had an injury in 1932. He actually had two. He fractured his toe early in ’32 and then before the season in 1933, he fractured his right fibula and was out until July. At the age of 35 and with injuries starting to plague him, you wouldn’t think Cuyler could make another All-Star team, but here he is. Not only did he make this list, he also made my Hall of Fame, which is completely based on numbers. I take the number of All-Star teams made (seven) and multiply it by the player’s Career WAR (47) and if the number is over 300 (it is), the player is in my Hall. You can see the full list here.

Cuyler played in the famous 1932 World Series in which Babe Ruth allegedly pointed to center before hitting a home run. In that Series, the Yankees swept the Cubs, but Kiki stood out for Chicago. He hit .278 (five-for-18) with three extra-base hits – a double, a triple, and a homer.

SABR says, “While the Cubs contended for the title most of the season before finishing in third place, the 35-year-old Cuyler made a remarkable comeback. He ranked third in hitting (.338) and led the league with 42 doubles, and his 15 stolen bases trailed only St. Louis’s Pepper Martin’s 23. In the second year of the midsummer classic, Cuyler was named to his first and only All-Star team. Starting in right field, he went 0-for-2.”

ott7RF-Mel Ott, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933

.326, 35 HR, 135 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-2, SB)

MVP Rank: 5

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1951)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1930)

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-7.4 (2nd Time)

Home Runs-35 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-135

Adjusted OPS+-168 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-57 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-5.5 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.778

AB per HR-16.6 (4th Time)

Base-Out Runs Added-74.53

Situ. Wins Added-5.8

Base-Out Wins Added-7.1 (2nd Time)

7th Time All-Star-As I go through the years writing this page, I start to develop favorite players. I don’t tend to like the abusive players like Ty Cobb or Babe Ruth, but I do like the gentlemen like Lou Gehrig and this man, Ott. I know I’m going to be penning a lot about him in the next few years and I’m happy not to have to type about his deficiencies along with all of his strengths. When you have a season like this one, the game should be the thing and for Ott, it is.

I would like to time travel back to the Polo Grounds and watch Master Melvin go into his leg kick before he drives one into the short seats in right field. You might ask if he was helped by the short porch since he was a lefty. Well, according to the Baseball Reference stats, he actually did much better on the road this season than at home. He slashed .256/.366/.470 with 16 homers in New York and .388/.459/.696 with 19 homers on the road. For his career, Ott was split pretty evenly, though he did hit many more homers in the Polo Grounds than on the road, 323 to 188. So certainly it seems the short distance to right field, 279 feet, helped him.

I have my own list of the greatest players of all time, through the year I’m recording. Will Ott eventually sneak into the top 10 in that list? He’s got a shot due to his long career.

waner9

RF-Paul Waner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933

.362, 14 HR, 90 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-2, 1 K)

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1952)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1930)

 

Led in:

 

1934 NL Batting Title (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.362 (2nd time)

Runs Scored-122 (2nd Time)

Hits-217 (2nd Time)

Times On Base-287 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as RF-.982 (4th Time)

9th Time All-Star-In last year’s write up of Waner, I predicted Big Poison would make my ONEHOF, the one player inducted a year Hall of Fame, this season. I was wrong as it will go to an American League superstar. You’ll just have to wait like everyone else, unless you’re reading this after I’ve already written up the AL, then just click over there and see. Wow, no wonder time travel movies are so confusing!

When you read about Waner, one thing that continually comes up is his tendency to bend the elbow. SABR says, “Paul Waner loved to have to have a good time. Others would say that he was ‘a threat to break up a no-hitter, but never a party.’ Waner believed that to be successful at the plate, the batter had to be as relaxed as possible. ‘Here’s the way it works. When you can relax at the plate, you have a terrific advantage. Your stance is easy, your arm and shoulder muscles are loose and free, your eye is clear and you can time your swing.’ For Waner, being relaxed at the plate meant to have a shot or two of whiskey before each at-bat. ‘When I walked up there (to the batter’s box) with a half-pint of whiskey fresh in my gut, that ball came in looking like a basketball,’ he would say. ‘But if I hadn’t downed my half-pint of 100 proof, that ball came in like an aspirin tablet.’”

It should be noted Prohibition finally ended in 1933, but Waner was drinking all along.

boyleb

RF-Buzz Boyle, Brooklyn Dodgers, 26 Years Old

.305, 7 HR, 48 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 55 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as OF-20

Range Factor/Game as RF-2.39

1st Time All-Star-Ralph Francis “Buzz” Boyle was born on February 9, 1908 in Cincinnati, OH. The fiver-foot-11, 170 pound lefty outfielder started with the Braves in 1929 and 1930 and then didn’t play in the Majors again until 1933. This season, Doyle had his best season ever and then after 1935, he’d be done in the big leagues.

If you’re a Dodgers fan, you might have heard the name of Buzz Boyle in 2019 when Cody Bellinger reached base the first 42 games of the season. That tied the mark Boyle set this year with Brooklyn. He also came the closest to spoiling Paul Dean’s no-hitter when he smacked a line drive to short, but a fine play by Leo Durocher nailed him at first base to secure Dean’s gem.

Wikipedia says, “In 366 games over five seasons, Boyle posted a .290 batting average (389-for-1343) with 185 runs, 58 doubles, 24 triples, 12 home runs, 125 RBI, 24 stolen bases, 116 bases on balls, .347 on-base percentage and .395 slugging percentage. He finished his career with a .970 fielding percentage playing at all three outfield positions.

“Boyle died in 1978 at his hometown of Cincinnati at the age of 70.”

1933 American League All-Star Team

P-Lefty Grove, PHA

P-Bump Hadley, SLB

P-Mel Harder, CLE

P-Monte Pearson, CLE

P-Earl Whitehill, WSH

P-Firpo Marberry, DET

P-Tommy Bridges, DET

P-Ed Wells, SLB

P-General Crowder, WSH

P-Bob Weiland, BOS

C-Mickey Cochrane, PHA

C-Bill Dickey, NYY

1B-Jimmie Foxx, PHA

1B-Lou Gehrig, NYY

2B-Charlie Gehringer, DET

2B-Buddy Myer, WSH

3B-Pinky Higgins, PHA

SS-Joe Cronin, WSH

SS-Luke Appling, CHW

SS-Billy Rogell, DET

LF-Al Simmons, CHW

LF-Heinie Manush, WSH

RF-Babe Ruth, NYY

RF-Ben Chapman, NYY

RF-Roy Johnson, BOS

 

grove8

P-Lefty Grove, Philadelphia Athletics, 33 Years Old

1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932

24-8, 3.20 ERA, 114 K, .086, 1 HR, 7 RBI

All-Star: Yes (3 IP, 0 R, 3 K, 1 SV)

MVP Rank: 5

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1928)

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-8.4 (5th Time)

Wins-24 (4th Time)

Win-Loss %-.750 (4th Time)

Complete Games-21 (3rd Time)

Base-Out Runs Saved-39.05 (6th Time)

Win Probability Added-5.5 (6th Time)

Base-Out Wins Saved-3.9 (6th Time)

8th Time All-Star-For the seventh consecutive year, Grove won 20 or more games and for the eighth straight season, he made my All-Star team. He’s pretty much a lock to make the ONEHOF next year, in which the one greatest player not already in my Hall of Fame is inducted. This year, a former teammate of his made it, but you’ll just have to keep reading to find out.

After the A’s won a slew of pennants in the early 1910s, Connie Mack needed money and started selling off his good players. He’s doing the same thing now and eventually even the great Grove will be gone. This season, Philadelphia’s decline continued as it dropped from second to third with a 79-72 record, 19 ½ games behind Washington.

Back in these days, a starting pitcher’s hitting had much more importance than nowadays. In today’s baseball, one of the leagues doesn’t have the pitchers hit at all and the other league might get just one or two ABs out of their starter. Not so at this time in baseball history, when starting pitchers usually completed their games and hit numerous times per contest. Which is why the first player to ever whiff five times in a game was a pitcher, this pitcher as a matter of fact. It was a tough hitting year for Grove, one of his worst ever, as he went nine-for-105 from the plate. It’s not like he was ever a great hitter, like Wes Ferrell, but he usually was better and even hit four homers in 1932.

 

hadley3

P-Bump Hadley, St. Louis Browns, 28 Years Old

1927 1930

15-20, 3.92 ERA, 149 K, .156, 0 HR, 8 RBI

All-Star: No

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 17 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Innings Pitched-316 2/3

Bases on Balls-141 (2nd Time)

Earned Runs-138 (2nd Time)

Batters Faced-1,365

3rd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1930, Hadley pitched for Washington in 1931, mainly in relief, before being  traded by the Washington Senators with Jackie Hayes and Sad Sam Jones to the Chicago White Sox for John Kerr and Carl Reynolds. Then early in the 1932 season, Bump was traded by the Chicago White Sox with Bruce Campbell to the St. Louis Browns for Red Kress. This year, despite that 15-20 record, he had his best season ever, mainly due to his durability.

As for Hadley’s team, the Browns fell from sixth to last place in the American League. Bill Killefer (34-57), Allan Sothoron (2-6), and Rogers Hornsby (19-33) guided them to a 55-96 record, 43 ½ games out of first. This was Killefer’s last year managing as he finished with a career 524-622 record. He had his best years with the Cubs in early 1920s. Sothoron never managed before and would never manage again after these eight games. Hornsby is going to be managing the Browns for a while, but never have much success.

SABR says, “In a June 1933 Baseball Magazine article, John L. Ward described Hadley’s repertoire: ‘Hadley’s stock in trade is his fastball, which is plenty fast. He pitches a few curves, but he has never developed a particularly serviceable bender. His change of pace is mainly a shift from a fast ball to a ball that isn’t quite as fast.’ Browns catcher Muddy Ruel taught Hadley to relax on the mound, keep batters off stride, and not trying to strike out every hitter. Bump toiled a league-leading 316⅔ innings for the last-place Browns, going 15-20 with a 3.92 ERA.”

harder2

P-Mel Harder, Cleveland Indians, 23 Years Old

1932

15-17, 2.95 ERA, 81 K, .190, 1 HR, 5 RBI

All-star: No

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 80 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Earned Run Average-2.95

Adjusted ERA+-152

Adj. Pitching Runs-35

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.5

Sit. Wins Saved-3.1

Putouts as P-22 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-87 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-3.88

Range Factor/Game as P-2.53

2nd Time All-Star-Harder is the second of these top three pitchers to have a losing record. That’s why win-loss record is a bad way to rate pitchers. Sure he lost two more decisions than he won, but Harder also led the league in ERA. It’s not his fault he pitched for a bad team.

Speaking of that team, the Indians (75-76) remained in fourth place under the guidance of three managers – Roger Peckinpaugh (26-25), Bibb Falk (1-0), and Walter Johnson (48-51). Peckinpaugh would be back managing Cleveland in 1941. Falk managed his one and only game, but at least he won. Not too many managers can say they never lost. Johnson would be with Cleveland for a handful of seasons.

SABR notes, “Harder took another important step forward in 1933. He had mastered all of his pitches at this point, and toughened up with runners on base. His 2.95 ERA was the best in the league among pitchers with 200 innings or more pitched, and contributed to the team’s AL-best 3.71 ERA. Run support was still a big problem, as witnessed by Harder’s 15-17 record. Despite ranking among the leaders in several important pitching categories, he found himself on the losing end of many games he might have won with a better lineup behind him. That was true both offensively and defensively. In fact, throughout his career it was Cleveland’s defensive inadequacy more than a lack of hitting that hampered the club’s chances. For a man who pitched to contact, this was especially harmful to Harder.”

pearson

P-Monte Pearson, Cleveland Indians, 24 Years Old

10-5, 2.33 ERA, 54 K, .260, 0 HR, 4 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

1933 AL Pitching Title

1st Time All-Star-Montgomery Marcellus “Monte” or “Hoot” Pearson was born on September 2, 1908 in Oakland, CA. The six-foot, 175 pound righty started with Cleveland in 1932, pitching just eight innings and allowing nine runs. It wasn’t an impressive beginning. However, the Indians kept him for 1933 and he was impressive, leading the league in ERA (2.33) as determined by the rules of the time which I believe required just 10 starts. I may be wrong.

Wikipedia says, “Pearson made his major league debut for the Indians on April 22, 1932, at the age of 23, relieving Pete Appleton in the eighth inning and giving up 6 earned runs in ​1 23 innings in a 16–3 loss against the Detroit Tigers.  His subsequent games were disappointing and, after compiling a 10.13 ERA in 8 innings from 8 games pitched, he was demoted back to the minor leagues. He played the rest of the season for the Toledo Mud Hens of the American Association (AA), where continued his dismal performance with a 3–9 record and 3.99 ERA. However, he improved significantly the following year, posting an 11–5 record and 3.41 ERA in 148 innings with the Mud Hens,  as well as leading the AA in strikeouts at the time he was called back up to the majors.  His pitching during the first half of the season prompted the Indians to bring him back up to the first team in early July.  He continued to pitch well in the majors and finished the season with a 10–5 record; his 2.33 ERA was the lowest in the American League (AL) that year and although he pitched only ​135 13 innings, he is recognized as the AL ERA champion by Baseball-Reference.com.”

whitehill3

P-Earl Whitehill, Washington Senators, 34 Years Old

1927 1931

22-8, 3.33 ERA, 96 K, .222, 0 HR, 11 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 1 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Games Started-37

Errors Committed as P-7

3rd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1931, Whitehill pitched another solid season for Detroit before he was traded by the Detroit Tigers to the Washington Senators for Carl Fischer and Firpo Marberry. It was a helpful trade for the Senators who rode Whitehill’s arm to an American League pennant. In the World Series, which the Senators lost to the Giants, 4-1, Whitehill was the only winner, shutting out New York on five hits.

SABR says, “{During the 1933 season),  [i]n April, as a consequence of pitching inside, Whitehill hit Lou Gehrig–at the time closing in on Everett Scott‘s 1,308 consecutive-games-played record–and knocked him unconscious. Obviously, Gehrig recovered, but Whitehill continued to finding himself in the midst of maelstroms.

“Spanning the generations from Cobb to Williams, he was a terrific pitcher in what is generally regarded as a hitter-dominated era. None other than “Cool Papa” Bell, of the Negro Leagues, noted in an American Heritage interview with John Holway, that ‘Earl Whitehill was the toughest big-league pitcher I ever faced. In 1929 we beat the major-league all-stars six out of eight games, and Whitehill beat us both times.’

“In late 1954, at an intersection in Omaha, Nebraska, another car flew through a stop sign and T-Boned Whitehill’s car. Though shaken, he refused to go to the hospital on the night he was injured. The next day, however, he was forced to visit a doctor, and the medical team discovered that the pitcher had suffered a fractured skull. Whitehill lived for another week, but passed away on October 22. He is buried at Cedar Memorial Park, near his home of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.”

marberry3

P-Firpo Marberry, Detroit Tigers, 34 Years Old

1929 1931

16-11, 3.29 ERA, 84 K, .122, 0 HR, 3 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-1.229 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1931, Marberry went back to mainly relieving in 1932 (though he did start 15 games) and again failed to make my list. Fans of relief pitchers are not going to like this webpage! After the season, Marberry was traded by the Washington Senators with Carl Fischer to the Detroit Tigers for Earl Whitehill.

As for the Tigers, they remained in fifth with a 75-79 record with Bucky Harris (73-79) and Del Baker (2-0) at the helm. Harris would manage other teams for many seasons to come while Baker would be sporadically managing the Tigers in the Thirties and Forties.

Wikipedia states, “In a 14-season career, Marberry had a lifetime record of 148–88 with a 3.63 ERA in 551 games (187 starts), accumulating 86 complete games and 7 shutouts. His career records of 364 relief appearances and 101 saves – both more than double the previous records – were surpassed by Jack Russell in 1940 and Johnny Murphy in 1946 respectively. He struck out 822 batters in 2067-1/3 innings pitched. Marberry would not begin to gain true recognition for many of his accomplishments until the save was created as a pitching statistic in the 1960s, and later research was done to identify saves earned in the past.

“He died of a stroke at age 77 in Mexia, Texas, and was buried in Birdston Cemetery near Streetman.”

bridges2

P-Tommy Bridges, Detroit Tigers, 26 Years Old

1932

14-12, 3.09 ERA, 120 K, .205, 0 HR,6 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-7.416

Hit By Pitch-6

2nd Time All-Star-In the eyes of the voters of Bridges’ time, he only had three good seasons, 1934-36, when he won 20 games. What maybe wasn’t realized is how many terrific seasons he had when he didn’t win 20, including this one. That lack of 20 win seasons most likely doomed his Hall of Fame chances, but I believe he should be there.

Wikipedia says, “He one-hit the St. Louis Browns on April 23, 1933 at Navin Field. Bridges had another one-hitter against the Senators, on May 24, 1933, allowing a home run to Joe Kuhel in the eighth inning. On September 24, 1933, Bridges reached the ninth inning with a no-hitter for the fourth time in two years. This time, he gave up a pair of hits but beat the St Louis Browns 2-1. For the 1933 season, Bridges had a 3.09 earned run average (ERA) (139 Adjusted ERA+), second-best in the American League.”

Meanwhile SABR tells us, “So in 1933, Bucky Harris told Bridges to avoid throwing his curveball until he was ahead in the count. As Ralph Cannon later wrote, ‘It is easier, of course, to control a fast ball, and so by relying more on it—and he has a very good fast ball, too, as well as a good change of pace—Bridges gradually acquired the control that was all he needed to make him a great pitcher.’” So he was a great pitcher, but not a Hall of Fame pitchers. It seems very unusual.

wells

P-Ed Wells, St. Louis Browns, 33 Years Old

6-14, 4.20 ERA, 58 K, .197, 0 HR, 4 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 43 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Edwin Lee “Ed” or “Satchelfoot” Wells was born on June 7, 1900 in Ashland, OH. The six-foot-one, 183 pound lefty pitcher started with Detroit in 1923 and was a regular starting pitcher for the Tigers for five years. He never was very good, only one time having an ERA+ above 100 and that was 101 in 1924. Wells didn’t pitch in the Majors in 1928 and then in 1929 came to the Yankees. He had a career record over .500 for New York but that wasn’t due to his pitching so much as the Yankees’ bats. Even though the Bronx Bombers made the World Series in 1932, Wells didn’t appear in any of the four games.

SABR says, “Later in his life, Wells related that his greatest moment with the Browns was in the spring of 1933, in his first outing against the Yankees following his relocation to Missouri. In the first game of a Sportsman’s Park doubleheader on May 14, before 15,000 fans, Wells defeated Red Ruffing, 5-1. In his complete-game victory, he held Lou Gehrig hitless and allowed the Babe only a walk and a single. Wells fondly remembered that McCarthy strolled into the Browns’ dugout immediately after the match, shook his hand in the presence of his new colleagues, and told him, ‘Ed, you pitched a fine game against your old teammates.’

“In ‘civilian life’ following his career in professional baseball, Ed and Annie Mae settled down in Montgomery, Alabama, in their marriage of over a half century, ended only by the death of Mr. Wells on May 1, 1986.”

crowder3

P-General Crowder, Washington Senators, 34 Years  Old

1930 1932

24-15, 3.97 ERA, 110 K, .186, 0 HR, 7 RBI

All-Star: Yes (3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER)

MVP Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Wins-24 (2nd Time)

Games Pitched-52

Hits Allowed-311 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as P-52

Fielding % as P-1.000

3rd Time All-Star-After winning 26 games and pitching 327 innings in 1932, Crowder again pitched frequently, starting 35 games and relieving in 17 of them. His arm helped the Senators to the American League title. As his one-time manager Walter Johnson said, according to SABR, “If you’d let him, he’d pitch every day. His arm is made of rubber, and he doesn’t know the meaning of fatigue.” In the World Series, Crowder struggled against the Giants, starting two games, losing one, and giving up nine runs in 11 innings. Washington was defeated by New York in five games.

Crowder was then released by the Senators in the middle of the 1934 season and snatched up by the Tigers. With Detroit, General would pitch in the 1934 and 1935 World Series where he would be a combined 1-1 with a 1.17 ERA. Detroit would win the championship in ’35.

SABR says of the end of his life, “A lifelong resident of the Winston-Salem area, Crowder and his second wife, Joan Brockwell, a nurse from Chapel Hill, were involved in a number of business pursuits, including real estate, grocery stores, and a bowling alley. They had two children, Kathryn and Alvin Jr. In 1967 Crowder was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. Self-described as ‘semiretired’ the last two decades of his life, Crowder died of heart disease in his hometown on April 3, 1972, at the age of 73. He was laid to rest at the Forsyth Memorial Park Cemetery.”

weiland

P-Bob Weiland, Boston Red Sox, 27 Years Old

8-14, 3.87 ERA, 97 K, .108, 0 HR, 1 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 28 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Robert George “Bob” or “Lefty” Weiland (pronounced WHY-lund) was born on December 14, 1905 in Chicago, IL. The six-foot-four, 215 pound lefty pitcher started with the White Sox in 1928. He only pitched a handful of games each season with Chicago who then traded him to the Red Sox for Milt Gaston. He had his best season ever this year, despite his record, due to a 114 ERA+. Surprisingly, four of my 10 All-Star picks for pitcher had losing records.

Marty McManus managed Boston to a seventh place 63-86 finish, better than the last place finish of 1932. However, McManus was done after two years of managing the Red Sox and would never guide another team.

It’s interesting every left-handed pitcher is nicknamed Lefty. Weiland was a big dude, he could have gone by Jumbo or Redwood  or Big Man, but nope, he was yet another Lefty.

Wikipedia says, “There may not have been any better chances of finishing with a lot of money with the Red Sox due to the team finishing in eighth again in 1932. Weiland’s ERA of 4.51 was distinctly better than the team’s own 5.02. Weiland began to have issues with throwing the ball over the plate, walking 97 while only striking out 63 and putting up a walks and hits per inning pitched of 1.676.

“Weiland’s final major league game came on April 26, 1940. He played for five teams in total: Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Browns, and the St. Louis Cardinals. He died of a stroke and congestive heart failure on November 9, 1988, in Chicago.”

Cochrane Mickey 199-58b_Act_CSUC-Mickey Cochrane, Philadelphia Athletics, 30 Years Old

1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932

.322, 15 HR, 60 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 15

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1933)

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.459

7th Time All-Star-In a career full of great seasons, Black Mike produced his best year in 1933. He had his highest OPS+ ever at 158, led the league in on-base percentage (.459) and also slugged .515. Here’s what I don’t get. In the first All-Star game ever, how does Cochrane not get put on the team? For the last seven seasons, Cochrane has been the American League’s best catcher, so I would have though he was a sure thing for initial All-Star contest. Well, he’ll make a couple of them before his career is over.

He might not have made the game with his fellow AL stars, but he did something more important – he made my Hall of Fame. My Hall of Fame is based purely on numbers, taking the number of All-Star teams made (mine, not the real ones) and multiplying those by the player’s Career WAR. This is Cochrane’s seventh All-Star team and his Career WAR is (49.1) so he’s in, joining fellow catchers Charlie Bennett, Roger Bresnahan, Buck Ewing, Gabby Hartnett, and Wally Schang. You can see the full list here.

                This will be Cochrane’s final season with the A’s as Connie Mack will do Connie Mack things and start selling off players. If based purely on WAR, he’s the 16th greatest player of all time in Athletics history and their best catcher. Right ahead of him is the greatest third baseman up to this time in history, Home Run Baker, another player sold off by Mack.

 

dickey4C-Bill Dickey, New York Yankees, 26 Years Old

1929 1930 1931

.318, 14 HR, 97 RBI

All-Star: Yes (Didn’t play)

MVP Rank: 12

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1954)

Ron’s: No (Would require two more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-721 (2nd Time)

Passed Balls-10

Range Factor/9 Inn as C-6.47 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as C-6.32 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Dickey didn’t make the All-Star team in 1932 due to playing just 108 games and Rick Ferrell having a good season. Wikipedia says he missed part of the season because “In 1932, Dickey broke the jaw of Carl Reynolds with one punch in a game after they collided at home plate, and received a 30-day suspension and $1,000 fine as punishment.” He did make the World Series that year, however, hitting .438 (seven-for-16) as the Yankees swept the Cubs.  Dickey’s got a lot of World Series left in his career.

The Man Nobody Knows had another event in 1932. Again from Wikipedia: “On October 5, 1932, Dickey married Violet Arnold, a New York showgirl, at St. Mark’s Church in Jackson Heights, New York. The couple had one child, Lorraine, born in 1935.”

New York dropped from first to second this year as Joe McCarthy continued to manage the team. It finished 91-59, seven games behind Washington. The Yanks were on top as late in the season as July 23, but went 6-9 the next 15 games and never came back.

SABR says Dickey became Gehrig’s roommate after this season. According to the catcher, “I was a close friend of Gehrig’s long before I succeeded Joe Sewell as his roommate,” said Dickey. “Lou and I liked to do the same things. We liked movies, same foods, same hours. We liked to talk baseball, we had similar ideas, we looked at life much in similar ways.” They’d be together for quite a while.

foxx6

1B-Jimmie Foxx, Philadelphia Athletics, 25 Years Old, 2nd MVP

1928 1929 1930 1931 1932

.356, 48 HR, 163 RBI

All-Star: Yes (Didn’t play)

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1951)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1931)

 

Led in:

 

1933 AL Batting Title

1933 AL Triple Crown

1933 AL MVP (2nd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-9.0 (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-9.0 (2nd Time)

Offensive WAR-9.0 (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.356

Slugging %-.703 (2nd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.153 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-403 (2nd Time)

Home Runs-48 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-163 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-93 (4th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-201 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-180 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-84 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-7.9 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-94 (2nd Time)

Times On Base-301 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.863 (2nd Time)

AB per HR-11.9 (2nd Time)

Base-Out Runs Added-84.32 (2nd Time)

Win Probability Added-7.2 (2nd Time)

Situ. Wins Added-7.0 (2nd Time)

Base-Out Wins Added-7.9 (2nd Time)

Assists as 1B-93

6th Time All-Star-In both the National and American League, sluggers from the City of Brotherly Love won Triple Crowns, Chuck Klein in the Senior Circuit and Foxx in the AL. Yet I had no problem in agreeing with the writers in giving Foxx his 2nd MVP, while I didn’t give Klein that honor. That’s because Double X played in a much tougher home park, Shibe Park, than Klein, who played in Baker Bowl. In other words, Klein slashed .280/.338/.436 on the road while Foxx’s numbers were .355/.442/.652 away from home.

SABR says, “In 1933, the Athletics still had enough left to finish third, helped in large part by Foxx’s second straight MVP campaign. Playing through a series of leg ailments, Foxx hit 48 home runs with a .356 average and 163 runs batted in, giving him the Triple Crown that had narrowly evaded him in 1932. He was selected to play in the first All-Star game, and he hit for the cycle against Cleveland on August 14. After the season, Foxx battled with Mack over a pay raise (he eventually received a slight increase, to $18,000) and published a book, How I Bat. The ghostwritten volume attributed his batting success to developing his wrist muscles and getting plenty of practice.”

Foxx made $18,000 in 1934, how much would he make nowadays? Just look at the salary of Mike Trout and Bryce Harper and you get the idea. Still, with the country in the midst of a depression, that’s still a high total.

gehrig8

1B-Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees, 30 Years Old

1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932

.334, 32 HR, 140 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-2, 2 BB, 1 K)

MVP Rank: 4

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1928)

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-138 (2nd Time)

8th Time All-Star-From June 20, 1916 through May 5, 1925, Everett Scott played in 1,307 consecutive games. Scott never made one of my All-Star teams, mainly because he couldn’t hit, though the shortstop was a great fielder. Scott played on many pennant-winning teams and won four World Series titles for the Red Sox and the Yankees. Still, he probably wouldn’t be remembered if it wasn’t for holding the consecutive games played record eventually broken by the Iron Horse.

That was done on August 17 against the St. Louis Browns with Scott in attendance. Gehrig would of course end up with 2,130 consecutive games, a record that would hold until September 6, 1995 when it was broken by Baltimore shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr.

Something else incredible happened for the 30-year-old Gehrig that year. He moved out of his mommy’s house. Wikipedia says, “Gehrig lived with his parents until 1933, when he was 30 years old. His mother ruined all of Gehrig’s romances until he met Eleanor Twitchell in 1932; they began dating the next year and married in September. Eleanor Grace Twitchell (1904–1984) was the daughter of Chicago Parks Commissioner Frank Twitchell. She helped Gehrig leave his mother’s influence and hired Christy Walsh, Ruth’s sports agent; Walsh helped Gehrig become the first athlete on Wheaties boxes. “

Gehrig was almost knocked unconscious in a game on April 23, but came back the next game and was also ejected from a game on June 14, but none of this affected his streak.

gehringer5

2B-Charlie Gehringer, Detroit Tigers, 30 Years Old

1928 1929 1930 1932

.325, 12 HR, 108 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-3, 1 R, 2 BB)

MVP Rank: 6

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1949)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1932)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-155 (3rd Time)

Assists-542 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 2B-155 (4th Time)

Assists as 2B-542 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 2B-111 (3rd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Before I do a new write-up, I go back and look what I’ve written before about the player. Since I’d like to finish this website before I’m a hundred years old, I do write these quickly so I don’t always catch my mistakes. In Gehringer’s 1932 write-up, Bleacher Report said he didn’t hit .300 in 1932 and Baseball Wiki said he didn’t hit .300 in 1931. Which is correct, according to Baseball Reference? Bleacher Report, of course. He hit .311 in 1931 and .298 in 1932. Baseball Wiki said he hit .325 in 1932, but that was actually 1933. They must be in as big of hurry as I am!

At this point in The Mechanical Man’s career, he hadn’t made the postseason, but that’s going to change in the upcoming seasons as Detroit finally puts together a pennant-winning team and will have a dynasty in the ‘30s. It helped to have someone like Gehringer, who was so consistent and so good over the breadth of his career. After “off” seasons in 1931 and 1932, he was back this year as one of the league’s best, finishing third in WAR (7.2) behind Jimmie Foxx (9.0) and Lefty Grove (7.3).

What’s amazing about Gehringer is some of his best seasons are going to come now that he has hit 30 years old. Before this season, he’d only been in the top 10 in WAR once, in 1930, when he finished 10th. From 1933-37, he’ll be in the top 10 five times, never finishing below fifth.

myer

2B-Buddy Myer, Washington Senators, 29 Years Old

.302, 4 HR, 61 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 15

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 42 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-Charles Solomon “Buddy” Myer was born on March 16, 1904 in Ellisville, MS. The five-foot-10, 163 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing second baseman started with Washington in 1925 and played shortstop for the most part. During the 1927 season, he was traded by the Washington Senators to the Boston Red Sox for Topper Rigney. Then after the 1928 campaign, he was Traded by the Boston Red Sox to the Washington Senators for Elliot BigelowMilt GastonGrant GillisHod Lisenbee and Bobby Reeves. Boston moved him to third base in 1928 and then Washington moved him to his regular position of second in 1929. When Washington lost the 1925 World Series to Pittsburgh in 1925, Myer batted eight times, stroking two hits. He was back in the Fall Classic this season, hitting .300 (six-for-20) with a double, but the Senators still lost, four games to one, to the Giants.

Wikipedia says, “In 1933, Myer was involved in what many still consider to be baseball’s most violent brawl, between him and the Yankees’ Ben Chapman. It is alleged that Chapman – who later gained great infamy for his taunting of Jackie Robinson in 1947, while Chapman was the manager of the Phillies – not only spiked Myer, but hurled a number of anti-semitic epithets at him. Chapman and Myer’s fight spread to the dugouts and the stands. Long suspensions for all involved followed.” Both men were from the south, Myer from Mississippi and Chapman from Tennessee. Somme 300 fans also were involved in the brawl.

higgins

3B-Pinky Higgins, Philadelphia Athletics, 24 Years Old

.314, 13 HR, 99 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. 14 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-152

Putouts as 3B-159

Errors Committed as 3B-24

1st Time All-Star-Michael Franklin “Pinky” Higgins was born on May 27, 1909 in Red Oak, TX. The six-foot-one, 185 pound righty third baseman started his career with Philadelphia in 1930, but this year qualifies as his rookie season and it was impressive as Higgins was the best third sacker in the American League.

Wikipedia says, “Higgins was born in Red Oak, Texas. He was nicknamed ‘Pinky’ as a baby, and according to some reports detested it. Alternatively, he was called by either of his given names. He signed some autographs as Frank Higgins, but was predominantly known as Mike, especially later in his career. Higgins graduated from W. H. Adamson High School in Dallas, where he played on the 1926 state championship runner-up team. He attended the University of Texas at Austin before beginning his career with the Philadelphia Athletics on June 25, 1930. After only 24 at bats that year, he did not play in the majors again until 1933, when he began to play full-time for the A’s. In his rookie season of 1933, he batted .314 with 13 home runs and 99 RBIs. He hit for the cycle on August 3 in a 12–8 win over the Washington Senators. The A’s of that year finished third in the American League.”

This is going to be the last season Connie Mack directs a team that finishes above fifth place until 1948. He’s going to start selling off his good players including Pinky and the team is going to be bad for a long time.

cronin4SS-Joe Cronin, Washington Senators, 26 Years Old

1930 1931 1932

.309, 5 HR, 118 RBI

All-Star: Yes (1-3, 1 R, 1BB)

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1956)

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.6 (3rd Time)

Doubles-45

Fielding % as SS-.960 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Washington went the first 23 years of its existence being a perennial second division team before finally winning consecutive American League pennants in 1924 and 1925. Then the Senators sporadically contended for the title over the next seven years, but could never overcome the Yankees and A’s juggernauts. In 1932, Washington finished in third with a 93-61 record and released its manager and greatest all-time player, Walter Johnson.

SABR takes up the story from there, saying, “[Washington owner Clark] Griffith surprised everyone by selecting Cronin, just turning 26, to replace him. Not only did Cronin have to gain the respect of the veterans, he still had to worry about hitting and playing shortstop. Of course, there was the extra financial reward.

“Cronin silenced all of the doubters in 1933 by continuing his fine play on the field (.309 with 118 runs batted in and a league-leading 45 doubles), while simultaneously managing his team to a pennant in his first season, still the youngest manager in World Series history. The Senators finished 99-53, and held off the Babe Ruth– and Lou Gehrig-led Yankees by seven games. In the World Series, they ran up against the New York Giants and their great pitcher Carl Hubbell, and fell in five games.”

The Washington Senators would never win another pennant, but the organization, which moved to Minnesota in 1961, would finally win again in 1965. As a matter of fact, Washington would only have one season in which it finished closer than 13-and-a-half games until its move.

appling

SS-Luke Appling, Chicago White Sox, 26 Years Old

.322, 6 HR, 85 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 21

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1964)

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed-55 (2nd Time)

Assists as SS-534

Errors Committed as SS-55

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.62

1st Time All-Star-Lucius Benjamin “Old Aches and Pains” or “Luscious Luke” Appling was born on April 2, 1907 in High Point, NC. The five-foot-10, 183 pound righty shortstop started with the White Sox in 1930 and became their regular shortstop in 1931. He’d have many great seasons for Chicago and be here until 1950.

Lew Fonseca managed the White Sox from seventh place to sixth place this year with a 67-83 record. Poor Appling is going to never play for a pennant-winning team in his whole stretch in the Windy City.

SABR says, “The best word to describe Luke Appling is durability, a quality he showed throughout his baseball career and his life. He was emblematic of an America struggling through the Depression and digging into their psyches (perhaps unknowingly) to prepare for another world war. Appling endured and so did America.

“’Old Aches and Pains,’ as Appling was called, was arguably the greatest hypochondriac to ever play the game. Backaches, headaches, bad knees, eye problems would torment him-and then he’d go out and get three hits.

“It all came together for Luke Appling in 1933, when he stopped trying to hit home runs, learned to use the entire field, and batted .328 for the season. Eight more years of .300 or better followed, and he improved enough to become an adequate fielder. He showed great range in the field, leading the American League in assists seven times. On the minus side he led the league in errors five times.”

rogell

SS-Billy Rogell, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old

.295, 0 HR, 57 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-155

Def. Games as SS-155

Putouts as SS-326

Double Plays Turned as SS-116

1st Time All-Star-William George “Billy” or “The Fire Chief” Rogell (pronounced roe-GELL) was born on November 24, 1904 in Springfield, IL. The five-foot-10, 163 pound righty throwing, switch hitting shortstop started with Boston in 1925. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1926 and then came back as a third baseman for the Red Sox in 1927. They moved him to shortstop in 1928, but then he didn’t play again in the Major Leagues in 1929. Detroit picked him up for the 1930 season and he became the Tigers’ regular shortstop in 1932. Rogell is going to have some good seasons in the upcoming years.

Wikipedia says, “Rogell was the Tigers’ Opening Day shortstop for the 1932 season, a position he would hold for the next eight years. A sure-handed fielder, he and Hall of Fame double-play partner Charlie Gehringer would give the Tigers one of the best keystone-combinations in baseball history. Marv Owen, who would man the left side of the Detroit infield with Rogell for five years, said of Rogell’s fielding prowess, ‘He’s the only player I ever knew who could catch a bad hop… I don’t know how he did it.’

“Rogell’s offense continued to show the promise it had with the St. Paul club. He hit .271 with 29 doubles and 88 runs scored during the ’32 campaign, and improved the following year to .295, 44 doubles, 11 triples, and drew 79 walks to post a .381 on-base percentage while playing in every game. The 1933 season also marked the first time Rogell, Gehringer, Owen, and first baseman Hank Greenberg appeared in the same lineup.”

simmons9

LF-Al Simmons, Chicago White Sox, 31 Years Old, 1933 ONEHOF Inductee

1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932

.331, 14 HR, 119 RBI

All-Star: Yes (1-4, Single)

MVP Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1933)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1953)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1929)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as LF-340 (2nd Time)

Assists as LF-15 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.47 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as LF-.989 (4th Time)

9th Time All-Star-Every year I pick a player for the ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame that inducts just one great player. To no one’s surprise, this year’s inductee is Al Simmons, one of the best hitting outfielders of all-time. Next season’s nominees are Hardy RichardsonElmer FlickJohnny EversLarry DoyleArt FletcherWally SchangJoe Sewell,  Paul Waner, Lefty Grove, Lou Gehrig, Charley JonesFred DunlapGeorge GoreNed WilliamsonBid McPheeSam ThompsonJack ClementsAmos RusieCupid ChildsClark GriffithJesse BurkettJoe McGinnityEd WalshNap RuckerEd KonetchyLarry GardnerJake DaubertBabe AdamsBobby VeachGeorge SislerHeinie GrohCarl MaysDave BancroftUrban ShockerEddie Rommel,  Sam RiceBurleigh GrimesDazzy VanceGoose Goslin, Bill Terry, and Mickey Cochrane. The full list of inductees is here.

Wikipedia says, “After his playing days ended, Simmons served as a coach for Mack’s Athletics (1945–49) and the Cleveland Indians (1950). In early April 1951, Simmons announced he was dealing with an undisclosed illness and would be stepping down as a coach of the Indians. While Cleveland manager Al López encouraged Simmons to think about his decision, Simmons said he could no longer help the team.

“Simmons died on May 26, 1956. He had collapsed on a sidewalk near the Milwaukee Athletic Club, where he lived, and was thought to have suffered a heart attack. He was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later. He was buried at St. Adalbert’s Cemetery in Milwaukee.”

manush4

LF-Heinie Manush, Washington Senators, 31 Years Old

1926 1928 1932

.336, 5 HR, 95 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1964)

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. 17 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Hits-221 (2nd Time)

Triples-17

Singles-167 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as LF-150 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-When players turn 30, most of them start to decline and that was the case with Manush. However, his “decline” still gave him a .336 average along with leading the American League in hits and triples, so he’s not exactly ready for retirement yet. Also, Heinie made his first World Series as the Senators faced the Giants. It was a tough Series for the lefty, as Manush hit just .111 (two-for-18), both of his hits singles. New York beat Washington, four games to one.

SABR says, “It was a thrill to be in the World Series, but Manush was terribly disappointed in his performance. During the Series, he took it out on the umpires. In Game 3, the Senators had the tying run on second with two out in the sixth inning, when Manush hit a ball past a diving Bill Terry that Howie Critz somehow grabbed and flipped to Hubbell to nip Manush — that is, according to umpire Charlie Moran. It was an extremely close play, and an enraged Senators outfielder and his infuriated manager hotly debated the call! The home plate umpire finally broke up the fierce confrontation by ordering Cronin and Manush to take their positions in the field. While Cronin reluctantly sauntered out to shortstop, Manush gave Moran one more verbal blast on his way out to right field and was tossed from the game.  It took all of Cronin’s strength to restrain his right fielder from attacking Moran. After being dragged off the field, Manush had to be physically restrained from throwing things at the first-base umpire.” There’s a lot more on this incident at the link.

ruth17RF-Babe Ruth, New York Yankees, 38 Years Old

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932

.301, 34 HR, 101 RBI, 1-0, 5.00 ERA, 0 K

All-Star: Yes (2-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI)

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1923)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-114 (11th Time)

17th Time All-Star-When Ruth was staying at St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys as a young boy, I wonder if he could have dreamed of the life he would have. Specifically that he would be the greatest baseball player of all time. That’s where I have him rated at this time. Here’s the list:

  1. Ruth, RF
  2. Walter Johnson, P
  3. Ty Cobb, CF
  4. Cy Young, P
  5. Tris Speaker, CF
  6. Eddie Collins, 2B
  7. Honus Wagner, SS
  8. Rogers Hornsby, 2B
  9. Pete Alexander, P
  10. Cap Anson, 1B

He also has more appearances on this list at rightfield than any other player. Here’s the list per position:

P-Johnson, 18 appearances on list

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Anson, 13

2B-Collins, 17

3B-Home Run Baker, 9

SS-Wagner, 13

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Speaker, 18

RF-Ruth, 10

Also, because Ruth’s life is a movie, he also played in baseball’s first All-Star Game and, of course, hit a homer. Wikipedia has the details on that, stating, “Athletics manager Connie Mack selected him to play right field in the first Major League Baseball All-Star Game, held on July 6, 1933, at Comiskey Park in Chicago. He hit the first home run in the All-Star Game’s history, a two-run blast against Bill Hallahan during the third inning, which helped the AL win the game 4–2.” Could you imagine what The Sultan of Swat could have done had he reigned in his urges just a bit? Of course, what more could a man do than be the greatest player of all-time?

chapmanb3

RF-Ben Chapman, New York Yankees, 24 Years Old

1931 1932

.312, 9 HR, 98 RBI

All-Star: Yes (1-5, 1 K)

MVP Rank: 20

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 1 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-27 (3rd Time)

Caught Stealing-18 (3rd Time)

Assists as OF-24

3rd Time All-Star-At the time of this writing, racism is the topic du jour due to the George Floyd murder. So it’s ironic I’m writing about one of the game’s all-time bigots, Ben Chapman. Look, when I write this list, I’m not intending to write about Boy Scouts, just human beings with faults and frailties like we all have. Some of you readers probably wouldn’t want your lives examined too deeply and neither would this writer. Yet that’s what happens when you’re in the spotlight like Chapman.

SABR says, “As to [Jackie] Robinson, Dodgers traveling secretary Harold Parrott wrote ‘Chapman mentioned everything from thick lips to the supposedly extra-thick Negro skull, which he said restricted brain growth to almost animal level when compared to white folk. He listed the repulsive sores and diseases he said Robbie’s teammates would be infected with if they touched the towels or combs he used. He charged Jackie outright with breaking up his own Brooklyn team. The Dodger players had told him privately, he said, that they wished that the black man would go back into the South where he belonged, picking cotton, swabbing out latrines, or worse.’ Commissioner of Baseball Happy Chandler had to intercede and demand that Chapman stop.

“Ben Chapman died, apparently of a heart attack, at home in Hoover, Alabama, on July 7, 1993. He was survived by his wife, Ola, and two sons, William and Robert.” You can read the whole SABR article and hear Chapman’s explanation for his vitriol towards Jackie.

 

johnsonr

RF-Roy Johnson, Boston Red Sox, 30 Years Old

.313, 10 HR, 95 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 17 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as RF-18 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as OF-25 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Roy Cleveland Johnson was born on February 23, 1903 in Pryor, OK. The five-foot-nine, 175 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing outfielder started with Detroit in 1929. During the 1932 season, he was traded by the Detroit Tigers with Dale Alexander to the Boston Red Sox for Earl Webb. This was his best season ever despite his large number of miscues in the outfield.

Johnson would get one World Series at-bat, with the 1936 Yankees and whiff.

SABR states, “Johnson drove his stats higher with the Red Sox: in 1933; he hit .313 and drove in 95 runs. Several of his hits were game-winners. For instance, his home run beat the Yankees on June 15, 1933 (which brought the Sox out of the A.L. cellar) and his two-run triple with two outs in the 10th beat the Tigers a week later, 9-7, on June 22. On July 13, his 11th-inning single knocked in the only run of the game, bearing the Tigers again, 1-0 at Fenway Park. The Red Sox finished seventh, only the third time they’d not finished last since 1921.

“For a team that was the last to field an African American, it’s of interest that the Red Sox in 1933, 1934, and 1935 had Native American Roy Johnson playing left field and Mexican Mel Almada playing center.

“Roy Johnson died on September 10, 1973, in Tacoma. His death was reported diplomatically as due to a heart attack in The Sporting News, but the cause of death entered on the State of Washington death certificate was blunt: ‘Chronic Alcoholism.’”

1933 National League All-Star Team

P-Carl Hubbell, NYG

P-Lon Warneke, CHC

P-Ed Brandt, BSN

P-Dizzy Dean, STL

P-Hal Schumacher, NYG

P-Van Mungo, BRO

P-Larry French, PIT

P-Huck Betts, BSN

P-Ed Holley, PHI

P-Charlie Root, CHC

C-Spud Davis, PHI

C-Gabby Hartnett, CHC

1B-Bill Terry, NYG

2B-Hughie Critz, NYG

3B-Pepper Martin, STL

SS-Arky Vaughan, PIT

SS-Billy Jurges, CHC

LF-Joe Medwick, STL

CF-Wally Berger, BSN

CF-Freddie Lindstrom, PIT

CF-Chick Hafey, CIN

RF-Chuck Klein, PHI

RF-Mel Ott, NYG

RF-Paul Waner, PIT

RF-Babe Herman, CHC

 

hubbell5

P-Carl Hubbell, New York Giants, 30 Years Old, 1st MVP

1929 1930 1931 1932

23-12, 1.66 ERA, 156 K, .241, 1 HR, 6 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 1

All-Star: Yes (2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1 K)

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1933)

 

Led in:

 

1933 NL MVP

1933 NL Pitching Title

Wins Above Replacement-9.0

WAR for Pitchers-9.0

Earned Run Average-1.66

Wins-23

Walks & Hits per IP-0.982 (3rd Time)

Innings Pitched-308 2/3

Shutouts-10

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-3.319 (2nd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-193

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.53

Adj. Pitching Runs-55

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.3

Base-Out Runs Saved-65.80

Win Probability Added-10.3

Sit. Wins Saved-6.3

Base-Out Wins Saved-7.9

Putouts as P-23 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-94 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-3.41

5th Time All-Star-Something new was added to the grand game this year, an actual All-Star game. Wikipedia says, “The first official MLB All-Star exhibition game on July 6, 1933, was held at Comiskey Park (1910–1990) and was part of the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair during the city’s centennial. The 1933 MLB All-Star Game was the idea of Arch Ward, the sports editor of the Chicago Tribune, after the Mayor of Chicago, Edward J. Kelly, had first approached the Tribune’s publisher for a major sport event. The game was intended to be a one-time event to boost morale during the Great Depression. Ward decided that the fans would select the starting nine players and the managers the other nine players for each of the NL and AL All-Star teams. The Tribune called it the ‘Game of the Century’, and 55 newspapers across the country printed the fans’ ballots in their papers. The Tribune estimated the game’s attendance on July 6, 1933, at 49,000. The proceeds ($45,000, net gate receipts) from the game went to a charity for disabled and needy major league players. The All-Star Game would afterwards be known as MLB’s ‘Midsummer Classic’.”

Despite his great season, Hubbell was selected by the manager and not the fans. The All-Star team selection process will change throughout the years with the fans picking sometimes and the managers others.

For once, baseball writers and I agree on the MVP. Hubbell so easily dominated as a pitcher, it would have been a crime to pick anyone else.

In the World Series, which the Giants won four games to one over Washington, Hubbell started two games, winning both and allowing no earned runs. In game four, Hubbell tossed 11 innings, giving up eight hits and one unearned run.

King Carl also made my Hall of Fame this year, the 40th pitcher. The full list is here.

warneke2

P-Lon Warneke, Chicago Cubs, 24 Years Old

1932

18-13, 2.00 ERA, 133 K, .300, 2 HR, 13 RBI

MVP Rank: 20

WAR Rank: 3

All-Star: Yes (4 IP, 2.25 ERA, 2 K)

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 60 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Complete Games-26

Fielding % as P-1.000

2nd Time All-Star-It certainly looked like the Cubs were going to have an outstanding pitcher for many years to come and they would, just not as long as they probably thought. Still, having an ERA of 2.00 in a year baseballs flew around the field isn’t bad.

As for Warneke’s team, the Cubs dropped from first to third in Charlie Grimm’s first full season of managing. In their 1932 pennant year, Grimm took over from Rogers Hornsby. Chicago finished 86-68, six games behind the Giants. As late as July 23, the Cubbies were within two games of first, but lost the next six games and never got close again.

Wikipedia says, “Warneke pitched for the National League in the first Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 1933, hitting the first triple and scoring the first National League run in All-Star game history.”

SABR has more details, stating, “The first Major League Baseball All-Star game took place on July 6, 1933, at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. Warneke, chosen to be a part of the National League’s inaugural squad, relieved Bill Hallahan (Cards) in the third inning with the American League on top 3-0. Warneke pitched the third through the sixth innings giving up one run on six hits, two strikeouts (Ruth and Gehrig) and no walks. During his only time at bat, Warneke hit a ball to right field that skipped by Ruth for a triple. It was the first triple in All-Star history. The American League went on to win by a 4-2 margin.” Ho-hum, he just struck out Ruth and Gehrig.

brandt2

P-Ed Brandt, Boston Braves, 28 Years Old

1931

18-14, 2.60 ERA, 104 K, .309, 0 HR, 6 RBI

All-Star: No

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-After making the 1931 All-Star team, Brandt had a tough 1932 year, going 16-16 but with a 3.97 ERA or 95 ERA+. He came back this year as his strikeouts increased and he was the Braves’ most solid pitcher.

Boston increased from a fifth-place finish in 1932 to a fourth-place finish this season. Bill McKechnie led the Braves to an 83-71 record, nine games out of first. Even as late in the year as August 31, Boston was just five games back, but went 13-16 the rest of the season to fall out of the running.

SABR says of Brandt’s 1933 season, “He could again claim to be, along with Carl Hubbell, one of the top two left-handers in the National League. His 2.60 earned-run average was fourth lowest in the league while his 23 complete games were the third most and his 288 innings were fourth highest.

“Brandt pitched in tough luck early in 1933 and his 5-3 loss to the Pirates on June 18 dropped his record to 4-8, even though his earned-run average stood at 2.77. But from there he went 14-6, benefiting from better run support as he continued to pitch well. During one stretch Brandt won six decisions in a row, including a four-hit shutout against the Cincinnati Reds on July 2. He finished the season by winning four of five starts, including another four-hit shutout of the Reds on September 19.”

He didn’t have enough good seasons to be considered for Cooperstown or my Hall of Fame, but for a stretch of time, he was impressive.

dean2

P-Dizzy Dean, St. Louis Cardinals, 23 Years Old

1932

20-18, 3.04 ERA, 199 K, .181, 1 HR, 12 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 7

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1953)

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 80 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.113 (2nd Time)

Games Pitched-48

Strikeouts-199 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-26

Def. Games as P-48

2nd Time All-Star-While Carl Hubbell was the best pitcher in the National League at this time, there might not have been a more exciting pitcher than Jay Hanna “Dizzy” Dean. He led the NL in strikeouts for the second straight season and continued to pitch a plethora of innings. It’s pretty well-known his downward trek started with getting hit by a line drive in an All-Star game, but the amount of innings put on his arm couldn’t have helped.

Dean’s team, the Cardinals, started out the season 46-45 and then replaced Gabby Street with Frankie Frisch. It’s a tough sport, isn’t it, because Street had just led St. Louis to a World Championship in 1931. He finished 312-242 with the Cards. As for Frisch, he was 36-26 as skipper and St. Louis finished 82-71, nine-and-a-half games back of the Giants.

On July 30, 1933, Dean pitched a phenomenal game. SABR says, “’[He] pitched with devastating speed, his curves breaking fast and baffling the best of the Cubs hitters,’ gushed the Associated Press after Dizzy Dean’s record breaking performance. The 23-year-old Cardinals hurler fanned 17 to set a post-1900 record for most strikeouts in a game. St. Louis sportswriter L.C. Davis exulted that ‘the Great Dean proceeded to turn out a masterpiece that dwarfed all his former efforts.’ J. Roy Stockton of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch praised Dean as the ‘brilliant young Cardinals pitcher, whose skill, showmanship and color make him the Babe Ruth of the National League.’”

In case you’re wondering, the record for strikeouts in a game at this point was 19, by Hugh Daily and Charlie Sweeney, both in the year of 1884.

schumacher

P-Hal Schumacher, New York Giants, 22 Years Old

19-12, 2.16 ERA, 96 K, .214, 0 HR, 10 RBI

All-Star: Yes (Didn’t play)

MVP Rank: 12

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. 20 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-6.924

1st Time All-Star-Harold Henry “Prince Hal” Schumacher was born on November 23, 1910 in Hinckley, NY. The six-foot, 190 pound righty pitcher started with the Giants in 1931 and came into his own this year, being selected to the newly formed All-Star Game. He gave New York a righty counterpart to the great Carl Hubbell.

In the World Series, Schumacher went 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA, pitching 14 2/3 innings, as the Giants went on to beat the Senators, four games to one.

Wikipedia has more details on the season, stating, “Schumacher helped pitch the Giants to the 1933 National League pennant and World Series championship. His 19 victories, 258​23 innings pitched, 21 complete games, seven shutouts and 2.16 earned run average were second on the staff only to Carl Hubbell, the future Baseball Hall of Fame left-hander. During the 1933 fall classic, he started two games against the Washington Senators and won Game 2, 6–1, turning in a complete game, five-hit effort and driving in three runs himself. He also started the clinching Game 5, and departed in the sixth inning with the score tied, 3–3. Adolfo Luque came on in relief and was the winning pitcher, as the Giants triumphed 4–3 in extra innings.”

There were a lot of good young pitchers in the NL at this time and it certainly seemed like the league was set for this position for a while. However, many of these young pitchers are going to have a handful of good seasons, but fade quickly.

mungo

P-Van Mungo, Brooklyn Dodgers, 22 Years Old

16-15, 2.72 ERA, 110 K, .179, 0 HR, 4 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. 33 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-Van Lingle Mungo was born on June 8, 1911 in Pageland, SC. The six-foot-two, 185 pound righty pitcher started with Brooklyn in 1931 and showed an impressive arm from the beginning. However, it was also a wild arm, as he led the National League in walks with 115 in 1932. It’d be a continual struggle of Mungo’s over the years.

Max Carey managed his last season for the Dodgers as the team finished in sixth place with a 65-88 record. Carey finished with a career 146-161 record as a two-season Brooklyn skipper.

                SABR tells us, “’He is another Vance, another Dazzy, I’m telling you. Hasn’t the best disposition in the world. You know some of those Carolina fellows get funny ideas sometimes, but he certainly can buzz that ball over. Best young pitcher I’ve seen since Rube Marquard. Only he is faster than Rube was. Say, maybe he is another Walter Johnson. I’ll bet he will be winning 20 to 25 games a year for this club for a long time.’ So said manager Wilbert Robinson late in the 1931 season when a young Van Lingle Mungo joined the Dodgers for the first time.

“Eloise Clamp of Salley, South Carolina, was teaching school in Mount Croghan, ten miles east of Pageland. One day she was en route to the post office in Pageland when Mungo drove by with some friends. One look was all that was needed. The car stopped and Van met Eloise. The two fell in love, but Eloise’s father, Ernest, who worked for the post office, frowned on his daughter marrying a ‘celebrity.’ Nonetheless, Van and Eloise were secretly married on December 10, 1932.”

He’s an interesting guy to say the least.

french2

P-Larry French, Pittsburgh Pirates, 25 Years Old

1930

18-13, 2.72 ERA, 88 K, .149, 0 HR, 8 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 15

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 99 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Games Started-35

Hits Allowed-290 (3rd Time)

Batters Faced-1,209 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Pittsburgh’s workhorse screwball pitcher French didn’t make my All-Star team in 1931 or ’32, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t productive. He would have a stretch of seven straight seasons of 240 or more innings as he delivered for the Pirates consistently every fourth or fifth game. He didn’t throw heat, but the 25-year-old used guile to keep the batters off guard. I’m wondering why he never received a Hall of Fame vote.

George Gibson managed the Pirates to an impressive 87-67 second place finish, but they fell short of the Giants, trailing by five games. Pittsburgh got off to a 24-13 start and were leading the National League, but lost eight of its next nine games and never came back.

He had an interesting game this season. Wikipedia mentions, “With his team leading the Boston Braves 8–0 in the ninth inning during their game on July 12, reliever French figured he could duck out of the bullpen and hit the showers early. Little did he know as he was getting clean that the Braves had rallied to make the score 8–7. When the call came for French to pitch, he did not even have time to rinse off. He put on his uniform and hustled out to the mound with soap trickling down his neck.”

Why would he do this? Did he have a hot date with his wife, Thelma? Who knows. It’s sad this is what he’s known for instead of being one of the standout pitchers of the Thirties.

betts2

P-Huck Betts, Boston Braves, 36 Years Old

1932

11-11, 2.79 ERA, 40 K, .224, 0 HR, 5 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 21 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-Betts continued to produce, making my All-Star team for the second straight season. He pitched 242 innings and only struck out 40, but his 36-year-old arm still fooled batters around the National League. Interestingly, there will be a more famous Betts in Beantown many decades later as another man with an interesting nickname would garner acclaim. I’m of course talking about Mookie Better and I’ll be writing about him when I’m a hundred years old. I’m just kidding about that, I hope!

Wikipedia wraps up his career, saying, “He also did well in 1933, going 11-11 with a 2.79 ERA, which again put him in the top 10 of pitchers who qualified for the ERA crown. His ERA went up to 4.06 in 1934, but his won-loss record was the best of his career at 17-10.

“His career ended the following year, going 2-9 for the woeful 1935 Boston Braves, often identified as one of the worst major league baseball teams of all time.

“In 10 seasons Betts had a 61–68 win–loss record, 307 games, 125 games started, 53 complete games, 8 shutouts, 128 games finished, 16 saves, ​1,366 13 innings pitched, 1,581 hits allowed, 716 runs allowed, 596 earned runs allowed, 83 home runs allowed, 321 walks, 323 strikeouts, and a 3.93 ERA.

“He threw a fastball, a curveball, and a screwball.

“In 1980, Betts was inducted into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame. He died in his hometown at the age of 90.”

holley2

P-Ed Holley, Philadelphia Phillies, 33 Years Old

1932

13-15, 3.53 ERA, 56 K, .162, 0 HR, 5 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 61 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs Allowed-18

Fielding % as P-1.000

2nd Time All-Star-If you made your living pitching a baseball, the last place you’d want to be is the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia. Holley was a decent pitcher but still led the league in homers allowed. Not surprisingly, 10 of those were given up at home where he a 4.33 ERA. On the road, Holley’s earned run average was 2.81.

As for Holley’s team, the Phillies dropped from fourth to seventh. Burt Shotton managed his last season with Philadelphia, guiding it to a 60-92 record. His next full season at the helm would be with the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers when he was 62 years old.  (I think something famous happened that year.) Altogether in six seasons, Shotton went 370-549 with the Phillies, only once, in 1932, having a record over .500.

There isn’t a lot of information on the internet about Holley, who pitched just one more season. In 1934, he started with the Phillies, going 1-8 with a 7.18 ERA. The Pirates must have thought it was just his home park hindering him, because they purchased him from their home state rivals. He did even worse for the Bucs, losing all three decisions with a 15.43 ERA. He gave up 16 runs in nine-and-a-third innings pitched. However, there was one area he did succeed with Pittsburgh, at the plate. He went two-for-two with both of those hits being doubles. Maybe he could have been another Roy Hobbs.

It didn’t matter, he was done after that year and ended up living until he was 87, dying in 1986 in Paducah, KY.

root3

P-Charlie Root, Chicago Cubs, 34 Years Old

1926 1929

15-10, 2.60 ERA, 86 K, .171, 1 HR, 10 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 1 percent chance)

 

3rd Time All-Star-If you want information about the event for which Root is best known, click here and read about Babe Ruth calling his shot. (Spoiler alert-Ruth claims he didn’t do it). Of course, it was just the tip of the iceberg of bad luck for Root in the World Series. He would end up pitching in four different Fall Classics, going 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA.

Here’s a wrap-up of his life from SABR, which says, “In 1933, Grimm’s first full season as manager, the Cubs plodded along and never challenged for the pennant. The 34-year-old Root pitched solidly, completing 20 of 30 starts, notching 15 wins, and posting a career-low 2.60 ERA. He pitched four extra-inning complete games, including a career-high 13 innings in a 3-2 loss to the Phillies on September 9. The Cubs scored three runs or fewer in all of his ten losses (a total of 15 runs), an oft-repeated refrain for the season.

“Among the highest-paid players in baseball in the 1930s, Root invested wisely during the Great Depression and lived within his means. After living in Los Angeles during the offseason for many years, he and Dorothy later lived on their 1,000-acre Diamond-R Ranch in Paicines, 120 miles southeast of San Francisco, where Root became a successful cattle rancher and enjoyed hunting and fishing. After an extended illness, Root died on November 5, 1970, at the age of 71 near his home in Hollister, California. He was cremated at Garden of Memories Memorial Park in Salinas, California, and his ashes were scattered.”

daviss3

C-Spud Davis, Philadelphia Phillies, 28 Years Old

1931 1932

.349, 9 HR, 65 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 25

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-56 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Spud made his third consecutive All-Star team as he continued to smack the ball around the Baker Bowl. He hit .402 in his home park and .308 on the road. It’s still good enough to make this list. SABR states, “Davis had one of his best years in 1933. He hit .349 for the Phillies while playing in 141 of the team’s 152 games. Davis’ batting average was good enough for second in the National League and third in all of baseball, trailing only each league’s batting champ, teammate Chuck Klein in the National League and Jimmie Foxx of Philadelphia’s other major-league team. in the American League. Spud’s .395 on-base percentage was also second in the NL, again trailing only Klein.”

After 1933, he was traded by the Philadelphia Phillies with Eddie Delker to the St. Louis Cardinals for Jimmie Wilson. While with the Cardinals in 1934, he made his only World Series. As SABR mentions, “Davis caught 94 games for the Cardinals in 1934 but made only two appearances in the seven-game World Series victory over the Tigers, both as a pinch hitter. He singled in both at bats, and following his hit in Game Four was pinch run for by Dizzy Dean.”

Finally, in my third cut-and-paste from SABR, we learn, “After being let go by the Cubs, Davis retired to his hometown of Birmingham, living on his baseball pension and a bit of money he had saved from his career in the game. He was inducted into the Alabama Hall of Fame in 1977. He remained in Birmingham from the time he retired until his death on August 14, 1984 at the age of 79, after which he was buried at Birmingham’s Elmood Cemetery.”

hartnett6C-Gabby Hartnett, Chicago Cubs, 32 Years Old

1924 1925 1927 1928 1930

.276, 16 HR, 88 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-1, 1 K)

MVP Rank: 18

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1930)

 

6th Time All-Star-Sometime between the time I did the write-ups for 1930 and the present time, Baseball Reference tweaked their Wins Above Replacement calculations. My Hall of Fame is computed by taking the amount of All-Star teams made and multiplying those by a player’s Career WAR. In 1930, Hartnett’s Career WAR around to BR was 60.1, but now it’s 56.9. What this means is he wouldn’t have made my Hall of Fame in 1930 with his current bWAR. However, I’m not going to go back and recalculate all of those so I’m still putting him in my Hall of Fame in 1930, even though with his current numbers he wouldn’t have made it until this season. (Wow, that paragraph needs an editor).

In the 1932 World Series, in which the Yanks swept the Cubbies, Hartnett did well, hitting .313 (five for 16) with two double and a homer. He’ll make two more Fall Classics.

Here’s an interesting story from 1931, according to Wikipedia, which says, “During an exhibition game against the Chicago White Sox on September 9, 1931, Hartnett was photographed while signing an autograph for gangster Al Capone. After the photograph was published in newspapers across the United States, Hartnett received a telegram from Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis instructing him not to have his photograph taken with Capone in the future. Hartnett replied with a telegram to the Commissioner whimsically stating, ‘OK, but if you don’t want me to have my picture taken with Al Capone, you tell him.’“

terry7

1B-Bill Terry, New York Giants, 34 Years Old

1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932

.322, 6 HR, 58 RBI

All-Star: Yes (2-4, 2 Singles)

MVP Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1954)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1932)

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.31 (5th Time)

Range Factor/Game as 1B-11.30 (6th Time)

6th Time All-Star-It couldn’t have been easy taking over for a legend. Terry took the reins of the Giants in mid-season 1932 after John McGraw stepped down, but this was his first full season and he crushed it, winning the World Championship. The Giants won their first National League crown since 1924, beating the Pirates by five games. They were in first by June 4 and never looked back.

In the World Series, New York faced Washington four games to one. In Game 4, Terry launched a homer, giving the Giants a 1-0 lead. They’d go on to win the game, 2-1. New York wrapped it up the next day, beating the Senators in 10 innings, 4-3. Strangely, both teams had player-managers as Joe Cronin, the Washington shortstop, was the Senators’ skipper.

SABR tells us a bit about Terry’s managing strategy, stating, “The Giants were a pleasant surprise in the first quarter of the season, in third place on Memorial Day. Terry was on the bench with a broken wrist but his emphasis on pitching and defense paid off in a season when the National League employed a deadened baseball. Hubbell, Fitzsimmons, Schumacher, and Parmelee rotated starting assignments and the all-purpose Hubbell and Luque excelled in relief. Ott led the attack and Moore was a proficient leadoff man and superb leftfielder. A season highlight came on July 2 in a doubleheader win over the Cardinals with Hubbell pitching an incredible 18 scoreless innings to win the first game. The writers covering the Giants began to refer to Hubbell as Terry’s ‘Meal Ticket.’”

critz2

2B-Hughie Critz, New York Giants, 32 Years Old

1926

.246, 2 HR, 33 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 18 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-4.1 (2nd Time)

Assists-541

Assists as 2B-541

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.44

Fielding % as 2B-.982 (4th Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Critz hadn’t made an All-Star team since his third season with the Reds in 1926. After that, he continued to be a good glove man, weak hitter for Cincinnati until 1930 when during midseason, he was traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the New York Giants for Larry Benton.  Critz’s hitting never improved for the Giants, but man, could he play defense! His Defensive WAR of 4.1 this year was the highest in the National League since Frankie Frisch, St. Louis’ second baseman in 1927.

Critz didn’t hit much in the World Series either, going three-for-22 (.136). It didn’t matter as the Giants beat the Senators, four games to one.

SABR says, “The new-look Giants took over first place in June. Critz was struggling to keep his batting average above .200, and Ryan was no better, but the team was winning with the league’s best pitching and defense. Hubbell’s 1.66 ERA was the best since the Deadball Era. Critz came alive in the final month. He hit .345 down the stretch as New York held off the Pirates and Cardinals to win its first pennant since 1924. The Giants defeated the Washington Senators in five games to claim the World Series championship.

“Although Critz’s bat had become a clear liability, he turned in two of his best defensive seasons in 1933 and 1934. He led all NL fielders both years in defensive wins above replacement and led second basemen in range factor per game, assists, and fielding percentage.”

martinp

3B-Pepper Martin, St. Louis Cardinals, 29 Years Old

.316, 8 HR, 57 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-4, 1 RBI)

MVP Rank: 5

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-122

Stolen Bases-26

1st Time All-Star-Johnny Leonard Roosevelt “Pepper” or “The Wild Horse of the Osage” Martin was born on February 29, 1904 in Temple, OK. The five-foot-eight, 170 pound righty outfielder and third baseman started in 1928 as a rightfielder for the Cardinals. He didn’t play in the majors in 1929 and then was back on the Cards in 1930. In 1931, he moved to centerfield and already garnered fame for his World Series play in which he had 12 hits in 24 at-bats, hitting four doubles, one homer, and knocking in five runs. St. Louis won that Series over the Athletics, four games to three. This season, he moved to third base and had his best season ever.

SABR says, “Martin was a Renaissance Man of sorts, and not just for his ability playing what he called the “gittar.” He was in the fight game as co-manager of a boxer, played basketball for the House of David basketball team, served briefly as a placekicker for the National Football League’s Brooklyn Dodgers, and was an avid outdoorsman.

“In 1961, after he had left Organized Baseball, Martin worked as the athletic director for the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, where he coached the prison’s baseball team, and, presumably, taught his players how to steal.

“Martin died on March 5, 1965, at the age of 61 in McAlester, Oklahoma, from a heart attack he had suffered the night before at his ranch in Blocker. His wife, Ruby, and three daughters, Alyne, Jennie and Alice, survived him.”

vaughan2

SS-Arky Vaughan, Pittsburgh Pirates, 21 Years Old

1932

.314, 9 HR, 97 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 23

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1985)

Ron’s: No (Would require two more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Triples-19

Errors Committed-46 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as SS-152

Errors Committed as SS-46 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-There was no sophomore jinx for Vaughan who continued to be hard hitting and a good fielder, despite what his league-leading errors might indicate. It’s too bad his Pittsburgh squad was so terrible during the time he played on it.

Wikipedia tells us, “Vaughan solidified his position as the Pirates’ starting shortstop in 1933. Improving on almost all of his offensive statistics, Vaughan played in 152 games, batting .314 with 97 RBI, seventh- and fifth-best in the NL respectively. He also led the league with 19 triples. He finished in the league top five in on-base percentage (.388, 3rd), slugging percentage (.478, 5th) and walks (64, 4th). Although he led the league in errors again with an identical 46 to the previous year, due to his increased playing time his fielding percentage improved a bit from .934 to .945. For the second straight year, he finished 23rd in the MVP voting.”

On June 24, he hit for the cycle against the Dodgers. Vaughan hit a homer in the second, a single in the third, another single in the fifth, a double in the seventh, and a triple in the eighth. He ended up five-for-five with a walk, three runs scored, and drove in five runs.

One more tidbit, this from SABR, which says, “After Vaughan again made forty-six errors at shortstop, the Pirates hired their legendary shortstop Honus Wagner as a coach. Wagner even roomed with his young protégé on the road. According to a Wagner biographer, Wagner wasn’t much of an instructor but his presence and guidance helped Vaughan settle down.”

 

jurges

SS-Billy Jurges, Chicago Cubs, 25 Years Old

.269, 5 HR, 50 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. 35 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-William Frederick “Billy” Jurges (pronounced JUR-gezz) was born on May 9, 1908 in the Bronx. The five-foot-11, 175 pound righty shortstop and third baseman started with Chicago in 1931 and was a full-time player by 1932. In that World Series, Jurges hit .364 (four-for-11) with a double and two steals. Chicago still was swept by the Yankees. This season was his best ever as his hitting was better than usual. However, for the rest of his career, he’d be mainly contributing with his glove not his bat.

He was part of a scary event in 1932, according to Wikipedia, which states, “On July 6, 1932, Violet Valli, a showgirl with whom Jurges was romantically linked, tried to kill Jurges at the Hotel Carlos, where both lived. Jurges had previously tried to end their relationship. Valli (born Violet Popovich) also left a suicide note in which she blamed Cubs outfielder Kiki Cuyler for convincing Jurges to break up with her. Although initial reports stated that Jurges was shot while trying to wrestle the gun from Valli, later reports, based on Valli’s suicide note, stated that she was trying to kill Jurges as well as commit suicide.

“A week after the shooting, charges were dismissed against Valli when Jurges appeared in court and announced that he would not testify and wished to drop the charges. Valli was later involved in a lawsuit when she sued a real estate developer who was blackmailing her by threatening to release letters in which Valli threatened Jurges.”

medwick

LF-Joe Medwick, St. Louis Cardinals, 21 Years Old

.306, 18 HR, 98 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 18

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1968)

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as LF-147

Putouts as LF-284

Assists as LF-17

Errors Committed as LF-7

Fielding % as LF-.977

1st Time All-Star-Joseph Michael “Joe” or “Ducky” or “Muscles” Medwick was born on November 24, 1911 in Carteret, NJ. The five-foot-10, 187 pound righty leftfielder started with the Cardinals in 1932 and hit .349 in 26 games. That gave him a regular spot starting this year. He’s going to be a valuable member of St. Louis over the next few years.

Wikipedia mentions, “The son of Hungarian immigrants, Medwick was born and raised in Carteret, New Jersey. He excelled in baseball, basketball, football, and track at Carteret High School. University of Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne made arrangements for Medwick to play football there, however Medwick decided to forgo college and enter professional baseball.

“Medwick entered professional baseball with the Scottdale Scotties of the Middle Atlantic League in 1930. In 75 games with the Scotties, he had a .419 batting average and 22 home runs. He spent most of the next two seasons with the Houston Buffaloes of the Texas League. He played 161 games for Houston in 1931, hitting .305 with 19 home runs. He played in 139 games for the team the next year, hitting .354 with 26 home runs before being called up to the major leagues.”

This is as good a place as any to mention how much scoring has changed in the National League over the last few years. In 1930, teams averaged 5.68 runs per game, a mark that hasn’t been matched since. However, the NL deadened the ball this season and the runs per game dipped to 3.97 a game.

 

berger3

CF-Wally Berger, Boston Braves, 27 Years Old

1931 1932

.313, 27 HR, 106 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-4)

MVP Rank: 3

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 40 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-77

AB per HR-19.6

Double Plays Turned as CF-4 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-After what some labeled an unremarkable season in 1932, Berger came back this year with his best year ever. Why do I say that? Well, he finished third in the MVP voting, his highest finish ever, and he finished fourth in WAR, also the top rank he’d ever attain. He also put these monster stats together in a year the National League played with a dead ball.

There is a wonderful article by SABR about Wally Berger hitting a home run on October 1 of this season that put the Braves into the first division which gave the team extra bonus money. The homer is known as the “$10,000 homer.” I’ll just put a bit about the clout itself.

SABR says, “Maranville was a .218 hitter near the end of his Hall of Fame career, and McKechnie figured this might be his best chance to use Berger. He called Rabbit back, sent Berger up to pinch-hit, and put Ben Cantwell in at first base to run for Hogan. Berger’s broad back flashed his familiar number 3 as he carried several bats to the plate, and then flung all but one aside. ‘They came out to talk with him [Grabowski],’ Berger told Beverage, ‘and I just know he’s going to come in with that dinky little curve.’

“Berger swung and missed on Grabowski’s first pitch, losing his grip and sending his bat flying, but managed to work the count to 2-and-2. Then, according to Gerry Hern of the Boston Post, Grabowski ‘tried to push an inside pitch through the slot for the third strike’ and Berger met the anticipated dinky little curve dead on. The ball sailed into the left-field stands for a grand slam, and the crowd and bench erupted.” I suggest you read the whole thing.

lindstrom3

CF-Freddie Lindstrom, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

1928 1930

.310, 5 HR, 55 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1976)

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/Game as CF-3.06

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-3.11

Range Factor/Game as OF-3.04

3rd Time All-Star-Since making my All-Star team in 1930 for the Giants, both at third base, Lindstrom played two more years for New York before he was traded as part of a 3-team trade by the New York Giants to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The New York Giants sent Chick Fullis to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Pittsburgh Pirates sent Glenn Spencer to the New York Giants. The Pittsburgh Pirates sent Gus Dugas to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Philadelphia Phillies sent Kiddo Davis to the New York Giants. Got all that?

Wikipedia says, “Lindstrom was included in the balloting for the National Baseball Hall of Fame starting in 1949, but he never received more than 4.4% of the vote from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). Former Giants teammates Terry and Frankie Frisch joined the Veterans Committee in 1967, and aided the elections of several of their former teammates, including Jesse Haines in 1970Dave Bancroft and Chick Hafey in 1971Ross Youngs in 1972George Kelly in 1973Jim Bottomley in 1974, and Lindstrom in 1976.

“Lindstrom’s selection, along with some of the other selections made by Terry and Frisch, has been considered one of the weakest in some circles. According to the BBWAA, the Veterans’ Committee was not selective enough in choosing members. Charges of cronyism were levied against the Veterans’ Committee. This led to the Veterans Committee having its powers reduced in subsequent years. In 2001, baseball writer Bill James ranked Lindstrom as the worst third baseman in the Hall of Fame.”

Lindstrom died on October 4, 1981 in Chicago.

hafey5CF-Chick Hafey, Cincinnati Reds, 30 Years Old

1927 1928 1929 1931

.303, 7 HR, 62 RBI

All-Star: Yes (1-4, Single)

MVP Rank: 25

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1971)

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as CF-4

 

5th Time All-Star-In Hafey’s 1931 write-up, I already wrote him off, so to speak. When I come to the blurb that I feel contains their last All-Star team, I usually add a bit about life after baseball and give the date of death. I did that with Hafey in 1931, not expecting the Reds to have so few good players in 1933. Since Cincinnati needs a representative, Hafey made this team.

Donie Bush took over for Dan Howley as manager for this season, but didn’t do any better, as the Reds finished last again with a 58-94 record. It would be Bush’s last year as manager after winning a National League pennant for the Pirates in 1927. His final career managerial record was 497-539.

You might be wondering how Hafey came to the Reds. Well, before the 1932 season, he was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Cincinnati Reds for Benny FreyHarvey Hendrick and cash. It was a good pickup for the Reds especially considering the dearth of good players on this squad. He also switched from leftfield to centerfield this year where he would wrap up his career. Hafey played three more years for the Reds, but didn’t play in 1936. Wikipedia says, “In June 1935, suffering from sinus problems and influenza, he returned to his ranch near Berkeley and his relatives there said that he would not return to baseball that season. The team wanted team surgeons to perform sinus surgery, but Hafey planned to have a procedure performed by his own doctor. He tried a minor league comeback in 1936, but he gave that up in April because he was experiencing vision problems and dizzy spells still attributed to sinusitis.”

klein5

RF-Chuck Klein, Philadelphia Phillies, 28 Years Old

1929 1930 1931 1932

.368, 28 HR, 120 RBI

All-Star: Yes (1-4, Single)

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1980)

Ron’s: No (Would require two more All-Star seasons. 1 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

1933 NL Batting Title

1933 NL Triple Crown

WAR Position Players-7.9

Offensive WAR-8.2 (3rd Time)

Batting Average-.368

On-Base %-.422

Slugging %-.602 (3rd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.025 (2nd Time)

Hits-223 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-365 (4th Time)

Doubles-44 (2nd Time)

Home Runs-28 (4th Time)

Runs Batted In-120 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-63 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-154 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-63 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-6.4 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-79 (4th Time)

Times On Base-280 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.852 (2nd Time)

Power-Speed #-19.5 (2nd Time)

Base-Out  Runs Added-79.46 (3rd Time)

Win Probability Added-7.1

Situ. Wins Added-6.5 (3rd Time)

Base-Out Wins Added-7.6 (2nd Time)

Assists as RF-21 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as RF-5 (2nd Time)

Assists as OF-21 (3rd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Before I get into this probably being Klein’s last time making my All-Star team because he’s going to be traded from Philadelphia, can I just take a minute to glance at those stats above and just say, “Wow!” Yes, as I’ve mentioned every time, Klein was helped by playing in the Baker Bowl, one of baseball’s best hitters’ parks ever. This year Klein slashed .467/.516/.789 at home and .280/.338/.436 on the road. That’s a good enough reason to give Carl Hubbell the MVP, which the writers and I both did. It’s still a great season.

Wikipedia states, “On November 21, 1933 Klein was traded to the Cubs for $65,000 (equivalent to $1,283,792 in 2019) and three other players, Klein did not perform as well in Chicago as he did when he was with the Phillies. Even so, he hit 20 and 21 HRs in his two full seasons with the Cubs (1934, 1935) and batted .301 and .293 in those seasons respectively. These were far below the numbers he posted in Philadelphia, leading to claims that Klein would not have hit nearly as many homers had he not played in notoriously hitter-friendly Baker Bowl. The Phillies reacquired him on May 21, 1936. On July 10, 1936, in the spacious Forbes Field, against the 42-34 Pirates, Klein became the first NL player to hit four home runs in a game in the 20th century, and only the 4th player in major league history to accomplish the feat. His fourth home run that game was a leadoff home run in the top of the tenth inning, the Phillies scored 2 more runs to win the game 9-6 after ten innings.

“After retiring, he owned and operated a bar in Kensington, Philadelphia until 1947. He endured some difficult financial times, largely due to a drinking problem. Eventually, a stroke damaged his nervous system and left one leg paralyzed. By 1947, Klein was living with his brother, and his wife in Indianapolis, Indiana. He died there in 1958.”

ott6

RF-Mel Ott, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

1928 1929 1930 1931 1932

.283, 23 HR, 103 RBI

All-Star: No

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1951)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1930)

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-75 (4th Time)

6th Time All-Star-If judged by his rank in WAR, this is Ott’s worst season between 1929 and 1940. He shockingly didn’t make the first All-Star Game and didn’t receive one MVP vote. What he did do was make his first World Series and did very Mel Ottish things. SABR says, “The National League used a deadened baseball in 1933 and pitchers dominated. Several Giants pitchers — lefthanded screwball specialist Carl Hubbell, sinkerballing Hal Schumacher, knuckleballer Freddie Fitzsimmons and fastballer Roy Parmelee — delivered excellent seasons. In a low-scoring year, the Giants won the pennant by virtue of a magnificent performance by Hubbell — a league-leading 23 wins, 10 shutouts, and an 1.66 ERA — Terry’s .322 average, and Ott, who led the National League in walks and ranked third in homers and RBI. The Giants defeated the Washington Senators in a five-game World Series. National League MVP Hubbell won two games without a loss and Ott led the Giants’ offense. He hit .389, went 4-for-4 in Hubbell’s first-game victory, and hit the Series- clinching home run in the tenth inning of the final game.”

                One of his homers was controversial as shown in this YouTube clip:

This would be the first of three World Series in which Master Melvin participated, but be his only championship in his 22-year career. It wouldn’t surprise me if in two or three more seasons, Ott enters my ONEHOF, the One-a-Year Hall of Fame which admits just one player per calendar year.

waner8RF-Paul Waner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 30 Years Old

1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932

.309, 7 HR, 70 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0 AB)

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1952)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1930)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as RF-154 (2nd Time)

Putouts as RF-339 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as OF-154 (2nd Time)

8th Time All-Star-With the National League using a deadened ball this year, stats weren’t as impressive this year. For instance, Waner went from hitting 62 doubles in 1932 to 38 this year. Only one more time, in 1936, would Big Poison hit over 50 doubles again. Still those 38 two-baggers ranked fourth in the NL this season. Most likely, Waner is going to make the ONEHOF next year. That’s the One-A-Year Hall of Fame in which I induct just one great player a year.

Judged just by Baseball Reference’s Wins Above Replacement, Waner is the third greatest Pirate of all time. You can probably guess who’s number one. Yep, you got it, the great Honus Wagner. In second is someone I haven’t written about yet, and won’t be for years. It’s someone from Waner’s own position, Roberto Clemente. That means as great as Waner was, he’s not the best player ever on his team and not even his own position.

Still I would have never believed he would have made this many All-Star teams. Most likely, he’s got three more to go, which will put him in double digits, something only the truly great accomplish. At this point, 29 players have made 10 or more All-Star teams and there are some incredible players on that list.

At this point in his career, Waner has played 150 or more games six of his eight seasons. After this, he’s just going to do that once. That tends to happen when players reach 30 years old.

herman4RF-Babe Herman, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1929 1930 1932

.289, 16 HR, 93 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. 1 percent chance)

 

4th Time All-Star-After having an All-Star season in one year with the Reds, Herman was traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Chicago Cubs for Rollie HemsleyJohnny MooreLance Richbourg and Bob Smith. That’s a lot of players for one man, but at the very least, Herman gave the Cubs one All-Star season.

Wikipedia wraps up his career, saying, “Herman played for the Chicago Cubs in 1933–34, batting .304 in the latter season. On July 20, 1933 he hit three home runs, and on September 30 he hit for the cycle for the third time, a feat only he and Bob Meusel accomplished in the 20th century. (In 2015, Adrián Beltré also hit for the cycle a third time). After a brief stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1935, he was traded back to the Reds, staying with them through 1936. On July 10, 1935, he hit the first home run ever in a major league night game. He played briefly for the Tigers in 1937, hitting .300 in 17 games, and then returned to the minor leagues. Nine years later in 1945, he was re-signed by Brooklyn at age 42, and played his 37 final big league games with the team. He received a strong ovation from the Ebbets Field crowd in his first turn at bat, and tripped over first base after hitting a single. After retiring, he worked as a scout for several teams until 1964. Herman ended his major league career with a .324 batting average, 1818 hits, 181 home runs, 997 RBIs, 882 runs, 399 doubles, 110 triples and 94 stolen bases in 1552 games. Herman hit better than .300 in nine major league seasons.

“He died in Glendale, California at age 84 following a bout with pneumonia and a series of strokes.”

1932 American League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-Jimmy Collins

P-Lefty Grove, PHA

P-Red Ruffing, NYY

P-Wes Ferrell, CLE

P-General Crowder, WSH

P-Mel Harder, CLE

P-Ted Lyons, CHW

P-Clint Brown, CLE

P-Tommy Bridges, DET

P-Lefty Stewart, SLB

P-Vic Sorrell, DET

C-Mickey Cochrane, PHA

C-Rick Ferrell, SLB

1B-Jimmie Foxx, PHA

1B-Lou Gehrig, NYY

1B-Dale Alexander, DET/BOS

2B-Charlie Gehringer, DET

2B-Tony Lazzeri, NYY

3B-Willie Kamm, CLE

SS-Joe Cronin, WSH

LF-Heinie Manush, WSH

LF-Al Simmons, PHA

CF-Earl Averill, CLE

CF-Earle Combs, NYY

RF-Babe Ruth, NYY

RF-Ben Chapman, NYY

 

collinsj9ONEHOF-Jimmy Collins, 3B

1897 1898 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907

.294, 65 HR, 983 RBI, 53.4 Career WAR

 

Jimmy Collins was the first great third baseman and now enters the One-A-Year Hall of Fame, which allows just one player per calendar year. It’s the best of the best and that was certainly Collins. He garnered fame in both hitting and fielding and also managed the first team to win the modern World Series, the 1903 Boston Americans. He is only the third player from the hot corner to make the ONEHOF, along with Deacon White and Home Run Baker. However, though White played more games at third base than any other position, he made more All-Star teams as a catcher, so Collins is really the second player to make this list at third. The full list is here.

Collins, along with Nap Lajoie and Cy Young, were among the new American League’s first superstars. It shouldn’t be a surprise since all three of them did great things in the National League before the turn of the century. It was because of players like those three that the AL got a foothold and is still around today.

The nominees for next year are Hardy Richardson, Elmer FlickJohnny EversLarry DoyleArt FletcherWally SchangJoe Sewell, Al Simmons, Charley JonesFred DunlapGeorge GoreNed WilliamsonBid McPheeSam ThompsonJack ClementsAmos RusieCupid ChildsClark GriffithJesse BurkettJoe McGinnityEd WalshNap RuckerEd KonetchyLarry GardnerJake DaubertBabe AdamsBobby VeachGeorge SislerHeinie GrohCarl MaysDave BancroftUrban ShockerEddie RommelSam Rice, Burleigh Grimes, Dazzy Vance, Goose Goslin, Paul Waner, Lefty Grove, and Lou Gehrig.

grove7P-Lefty Grove, Philadelphia Athletics, 32 Years Old

1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931

25-10, 2.84 ERA, 188 K, .168, 4 HR, 12 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1928)

 

Led in:

 

1932 AL Pitching Title (5th Time)

WAR for Pitchers-9.5 (4th Time)

Earned Run Average-2.84 (5th Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-1.193 (3rd Time)

Complete Games-27 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-4 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-2.380 (6th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-160 (5th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.13 (6th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-57 (5th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.7 (5th Time)

Base-Out Runs Saved-74.22 (5th Time)

Win Probability Added-7.7 (5th Time)

Sit. Wins Saved-5.5 (6th Time)

Base-Out Wins Saved-7.4 (5th Time)

7th Time All-Star-Grove’s Athletics won the American League crown in 1931, their third straight pennant. It was the kind of star-laden team that could win forever, except they didn’t. That was the last AL title for that dynasty and, as it turns out, the great Lefty would never win another crown. However, he would continue to be a dominant pitcher and, as mentioned above, he’s one of the nominees for the ONEHOF, the Hall of Fame of my choosing in which just one player gets admitted per calendar year.

Philadelphia finished in second place this year, 13 games behind the Yankees. The Athletics finished 94-60, due to great hitting, leading the AL in homers with 172. Without doing research because that takes too much time, I believe it’s the first time a team other than the Yankees led the league in dingers.

Grove is going to become a different kind of pitcher starting this season. It was the first year since he started in 1925 that Grove didn’t lead the AL in strikeouts and he’d never lead the league in that category again. However, he is still going to be a fantastic pitcher for quite a few years. That’s the sign of a true legendary pitcher, one who loses the zip he has on his fastball, but is still able to compete and succeed in his latter years. As a matter of fact, I would say there are better years ahead for him than any he’s pitched thus far, though you can certainly argue with me about that.

ruffing2

P-Red Ruffing, New York Yankees, 27 Years Old

1928

18-7, 3.09 ERA, 190 K, .306, 3 HR, 19 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1967)

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.602

Strikeouts-190

2nd Time All-Star-Ruffing last made the All-Star team for the Red Sox in 1928 and that was only because he was Boston’s lone representative. During the 1930 season, he was traded by the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees for Cedric Durst and $50,000. What is it about Boston trading away its greats to the their main rivals? After joining the Yankees, Ruffing’s career went on an uptick. This was probably his best year ever.

It was also a great year for the Yankees, as they won the American League pennant by 13 games. With Joe McCarthy at the reins for his second season, he gave New York its first title since 1928. This would be Babe Ruth’s last pennant and last World Series victory. I’ll have more on that in his write-up.

Wikipedia states, “On August 13, 1932, Ruffing threw a complete game shutout and hit a home run in the tenth inning off of Washington Senators‘ pitcher Tommy Thomas to give the New York Yankees a 1–0 victory. Ruffing became the first pitcher in major league history to win a game 1–0, hit a home run in the game, and strike out ten or more batters. Two other pitchers have since achieved this feat: Early Wynn in 1957, and Yovani Gallardo, who did it in 2009. Ruffing won 18 games during the 1932 season. He had a 3.09 ERA, second in the AL only to Lefty Grove‘s 2.84. Ruffing had 190 strikeouts, which led the AL. The Yankees won their first pennant since 1928. Ruffing won his first World Series game during the 1932 World Series against the Chicago Cubs. He started Game One, and the Yankees swept the Cubs four games to zero.”

ferrell4

P-Wes Ferrell, Cleveland Indians, 24 Year Old

1929 1930 1931

23-13, 3.66 ERA, 105 K, .242, 2 HR, 18 RBI

MVP Rank: 19

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. Sure thing)

 

4th Time All-Star-Ferrell turned only 24 before this season and he has already won 20 games four straight seasons for the Indians. He was easily the ace for the Tribe and I have him easily making my Hall of Fame. He never received more than 3.6 percent of the vote for Cooperstown, who were dissuaded by his ERA. It’s true he was no Lefty Grove, but how many pitchers are?

With Roger Peckinpaugh as manager, Cleveland finished in fourth place for the third straight season. The team had average hitting, but led the American League in Adjusted ERA+ (117).

Wikipedia says, “Ferrell was an honest and outspoken individual, and his attitude began to sour during this period of his career. It was suspected that he had anxiety in regard to his shoulder injury, which caused him to angrily react to perceived bad calls by umpires, and teammates who made errors that negatively affected the game. On one occasion, Ferrell refused to be pulled from a game by his manager, and was suspended ten days without pay for insubordination. Because of his volatile temperament he was fined and suspended several times for refusing to leave a game, or for leaving it without permission. After being driven from the mound in one game, he punched himself in the face and began to slam his head into the wall. He had to be restrained by his team to stop him from continuing to hurt himself. Despite the pain in his shoulder, and worsening behavioral issues, he continued to be a durable and effective pitcher. In 1932, Ferrell posted his fourth consecutive 20-win season, with a record of 23–13, struck out 105, and had a 3.66 ERA.”

crowder2

P-General Crowder, Washington Senators, 33 Years Old

1930

26-13, 3.33 ERA, 103 K, .221, 0 HR, 9 RBI

MVP Rank: 27

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Wins-26

Innings Pitched-327

Games Started-39

Hits-319

Batters Faced-1,356

2nd Time All-Star-In 1931, Crowder’s first full season with the Senators, he went 18-11 with a 3.88 ERA, good, but not All-Star good. He changed that this season, winning 26 games and showing great durability on the mound. His 327 innings pitched were the most since George Uhle in 1923. I’m rating this as his best season ever.

Walter Johnson guided Washington its second straight third place finish. The Senators went 93-61 due to solid hitting and pitching. It would be Johnson’s last year managing this club on which he toiled so long. In his four years at the helm, he couldn’t get this squad past the Yankees or A’s, but he still went 350-264 during this stretch.

According to Wikipedia, “Crowder won 20 games in three different seasons, including a 26–13 record in 1932, the most wins in the American League. In that same season, Crowder set the record, which he still holds, for the most innings pitched in a season without hitting a batter, with 327.”

SABR adds, “Named Opening Day starter in 1932, Crowder pitched a ten-inning, 1-0 shutout of the Red Sox. It set the tone for his career year, arguably the best season for a Senators pitcher not named Walter Johnson. On May 13 he tossed his seventh and final career two-hitter, shutting out the Tigers, 7-0. The General also went 2-for-3 at the plate with a triple, scored once, and knocked in a run. A capable hitter, Crowder batted .221 in 1932 and finished with a career .194 average (164-for-847).”

harder

P-Mel Harder, Cleveland Indians, 22 Years Old

15-13, 3.75 ERA, 90 K, .181, 0 HR, 13 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 83 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as P-18

Assists as P-65

1st Time All-Star-Melvin Leroy “Mel” or “Chief” Harder was born on October 15, 1909 in Beemer, NE. The six-foot-one, 195 pound righty pitcher started with Cleveland as an 18-year-old in 1928 and would pitch for the Indians for 20 years. He became a starting pitcher in 1930 and he’d be one of the best American League pitchers of the ‘30s. He received votes 11 times for the Hall of Fame and I can certainly see his merits. However, it’s most likely he’ll fall short for my Hall also. We’ll see.

This season, Harder pitched the first game ever at Cleveland (later Municipal) Stadium on July 31, 1932. SABR has more on that game, stating, “More than 80,000 fans filled the place to capacity. Harder and his teammates were awestruck when they took the field. None had ever played baseball before that many fans before. In fact, no one ever had. Harder lost to Lefty Grove and the Philadelphia A’s, 1-0. The deciding hit was a grounder up the middle by Mickey Cochrane that Harder nearly speared with his glove. Harder was never considered a great fielding pitcher, but he would have plenty of practice scooping up comebackers and covering first on dribblers to the right side. He led the league in pitchers’ putouts or came close in most seasons.”

Cleveland Stadium was easily the largest stadium in baseball and it would be the Indians’ home park through 1993. However, Cleveland didn’t completely give up on playing at League Park and would not fully move into the behemoth until 1947.

lyonst5

P-Ted Lyons, Chicago White Sox, 31 Years Old

1925 1926 1927 1930

10-15, 3.28 ERA, 58 K, .260, 1 HR, 10 RBI

MVP Rank: 19

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1932)

 

5th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1930, Lyons injured himself in 1931 and would never again start 30 or more games in a season.  However, it wouldn’t be until 1935 he became the “Sunday Pitcher,” pitching with six days rest between starts.

Lew Fonseca took over as manager of the White Sox, who were still terrible. Chicago finished 49-102 and in seventh place in the American League.

SABR says of his previous year’s injury, “During his six-year run as the Sox ace, Lyons carried a heavy workload. He led the AL in complete games and innings pitched twice, and pitched the second-most innings two other times. The load apparently caught up with him in 1931. At age 30 he came down with a sore shoulder and started only 12 games all season. The pain eventually diminished, but the injury changed his career.

“’I lost the good stuff on my fastball,’ Lyons said. ‘I had to come up with something to keep me in the league. The knuckler rescued me then.’ He had thrown a knuckleball occasionally before his injury; after 1931 he relied on it more heavily, though he was never a pure knuckleball pitcher. He reinvented himself as a junkball artist, mixing in his slow curve and what was left of his fastball.”

This season, Lyons became my 103rd inductee into my Hall of Fame and the 39th pitcher. There is no doubt in my mind he will also make the ONEHOF, the Hall of Fame in which just one player per calendar year is inducted.  The full list of both Hall of Fames is here.

brownc

P-Clint Brown, Cleveland Indians, 28 Years Old

15-12, 4.08 ERA, 59 K, .250, 2 HR, 18 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Bases On Balls per 9 IP-1.713

1st Time All-Star-Clinton Harold “Clint” Brown was born on July 8, 1903 in Blackash, PA. The six-foot-one, 190 pound lefty hitting, righty pitching hurler started with Cleveland in 1928 and had his rookie season in 1930. He became a regular pitcher for the Indians, who you might notice have a pretty good staff this year, and had his best season ever.

Find a Grave says, “He played Major League baseball as a pitcher for fifteen seasons with the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox. A control pitcher who seldom hit a batter or threw a wild pitch, he had the lowest walk ratio in 1932 and 1933. Debuting on September 27, 1928 with Cleveland when he was 25 years old, he was a starting pitcher during the early years of his career, but later became an effective relief pitcher as the bullpen in baseball was more regularly used. His best season was in 1932 when he won 15 games while posting a 4.08 Earned Run Average and finishing 21 of his 32 starts, and he led the American League with three shutouts in 1930. When he was converted to a reliever, he led the American League in games pitched in 1937 and 1939, and led the league in saves in 1937. He appeared in 434 games during his career with 89 wins against 93 losses, threw 62 complete games and recorded 8 shutouts along with 64 saves. He is on Babe Ruth’s home run victim list, surrendering four to the Ruth.”

Brown died on New Year’s Eve, 1955 at the age of 52.

bridges

P-Tommy Bridges, Detroit Tigers, 25 Years Old

14-12, 3.36 ERA, 108 K, .164, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-4

1st Time All-Star-Thomas Jefferson Davis “Tommy” Bridges was born on December 28, 1906 in Gordonsville, TN. The five-foot-10, 155 pound righty pitcher started with the Tigers in 1930, was a rookie in 1931 and had his first stellar year this season. There are a lot of mediocre players in the Hall of Fame from this era, but this is one great player who should be in Cooperstown. There’s also a chance he makes the ONEHOF. Hey, I’m as surprised as you are!

Bucky Harris continued to manage Detroit and guided it to a fifth place finish, with a 76-75 record. The city of Detroit probably doesn’t realize it at this time, but they’re not far from being one of the all-time great teams and Bridges would be an important part of that.

Wikipedia says, “On August 5, 1932, he came within one out of throwing a perfect game. With two outs in the ninth inning, and the Washington Senators trailing 13–0, the Senators pitcher was due to bat. Washington manager Walter Johnson sent pinch hitter Dave Harris to bat, who led the AL that season with 14 pinch hits. Harris hit a single to break up the perfect game.”

To make Cooperstown, you have to have a long career and Bridges pitched well for 16 years. You also have to pitch on winning teams and Bridges would pitch in four World Series’ for Detroit. Bridges would get votes six times, but never get closer than the 7.5 percent of the votes he received in 1964. My guess is the fact he didn’t win 200 games hurt him.

stewart2

P-Lefty Stewart, St. Louis Browns, 31 Years Old

1930

15-19, 4.61 ERA, 86 K, .146, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000

2nd Time All-Star-For three years in a row, from 1930 to 1932, Stewart pitched 250 or more innings and made the All-Star team two of those years, 1930 and this season. His ERA was nothing spectacular, but his consistency and his durability put him here.

Bill Killefer managed the Browns again and they continued to be bad, finishing in sixth place with a 63-91 record. The team’s hitting was bad as it was one of three teams not to average five runs a game and its pitching also stunk. If Lefty Stewart is your best pitcher, you probably don’t have a very good staff. This would be the first of 10 straight years the Browns finished sixth place or lower.

After this season, Stewart would be traded by the St. Louis Browns with Goose Goslin and Fred Schulte to the Washington Senators for Lloyd BrownCarl ReynoldsSam West and $20,000. He’d have a decent year for the Senators in 1933, finishing 15-6 with a 3.82 ERA. He started faltering in 1934 and in 1935, after pitching just one game for the Senators, Stewart was traded by the Washington Senators to the Cleveland Indians for Belve Bean. He went 6-6 for Cleveland with a 5.44 ERA and would never pitch in the Majors again.

Altogether, Stewart, despite pitching mainly on bad teams, finished with a 101-98 record with a 4.19 ERA and a 108 Adjusted ERA+. He would eventually move back to his home state of Tennessee where he would die at the age of 74 in Knoxville.

sorrell3

P-Vic Sorrell, Detroit Tigers, 31 Years Old

1930 1931

14-14, 4.05 ERA, 84 K, .118, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall  of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 15 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

3rd Time All-Star-Sorrell made his third straight (and probably last) All-Star team, but there aren’t many players in Major League history who could claim that. He wasn’t a great pitcher, but he was a good pitcher on a terrible team. Detroit’s going to start getting better, but Sorrell will start fading and not even be able to pitch in a World Series.

SABR says, “Sorrell finished [this] season with a 14-14 record, but was again a hard-luck loser. In 12 of his losses, the Tigers scored three runs or fewer.

“Throughout his life, Sorrell was described as a dignified gentleman. His son said he never heard his father raise his voice but twice: once when he caught his ear in an old door and once on the baseball diamond when his son was a youngster and served as batboy. It’s no wonder that one of Sorrell’s favorite stories about his baseball career involved a loud—some might say uncouth—man. As a rookie in 1928, Sorrell struck out the veteran Ty Cobb, who was in his last year of big-league ball. After Cobb was punched out on a called strike, he argued and cursed with the umpire for what seemed like ten minutes, but was probably just a fraction of that. It would be hard to think of two people with more divergent personalities than Sorrell and Cobb. Vic Sorrell died May 4, 1972, in Raleigh at the age of 71. According to his death certificate, cirrhosis of the liver was the cause of death. He was buried at the Raleigh Memorial Park.”

cochrane6

C-Mickey Cochrane, Philadelphia Athletics, 29 Years Old

1927 1928 1929 1930 1931

.293, 23 HR, 112 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-137 (5th Time)

Putouts as C-652 (6th Time)

Assists as C-94 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as C-15 (2nd Time)

Passed Balls-11 (5th Time)

Caught Stealing as C-47 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as C-.993 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-Black Mike played a career-high 139 games this year, including one game at leftfield, the only time in his career he played any position other than catcher. He set career highs in homers (23) and RBI (112), putting together a solid offensive season despite the fact he hit below .300 for one of the rare times in his playing tenure.

SABR says, “Cochrane had all the attributes expected of a great catcher – mastery of calling pitches, good arm, and defensive capabilities – which he supplemented with a mastery of human nature. His psychological knack for handling pitchers, treating each one differently according to perceived needs, helped to maximize pitching efforts on the mound. He also had the attributes expected of any great ballplayer. He hit for average, drew walks, had above-average speed on the basepaths, and could hit for power when needed.

“His exceptional batting eye was also reflected in his patience at waiting out pitchers, piling up 857 career walks and a top 60 ranking in walk percentage. Cochrane also struck out less than once in every 24 plate appearances – topped by just 8 whiffs in 514 at-bats in 1929 – to rank among the top 35 in at bats per strikeout.”

Cochrane is going to make my Hall of Fame next year and will definitely make at least two more All-Star teams. That will give him eight, one less than Charlie Bennett. However, he most likely will make three more, so he might be tied for the lead in that category before it’s all said and done.

ferrellr

C-Rick Ferrell, St. Louis Browns, 26 Years Old

.315, 2 HR, 65 RBI

MVP Rank: 13

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1984)

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. 17 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-Richard Benjamin “Rick” Ferrell was born on October 12, 1905 in Durham, NC. The five-foot-10, 160 pound catcher started with the Browns in 1929 and became their regular catcher the next year. He is the brother of pitcher Wes Ferrell and is shockingly the brother that made the Hall of Fame. I know it’s hard to find good catchers in this era, but this is a terrible pick.

Wikipedia states, “Ferrell made his major league debut with the Browns on April 19, 1929. He spent the 1929 season as a reserve catcher backing up veteran Wally Schang, and had a .229 batting average in 64 games. New Browns manager and former catcher, Bill Killefer, made Ferrell his starting catcher for the next three seasons, and he would catch in more than 100 games in each. His batting average rose to .306 in 1931, elevating him one to one of the best catchers in the American League. Although he led the league’s catchers in errors and passed balls, he also led the league in assists. In 1932, Ferrell hit .315, the best among American League catchers, with 30 doubles and 65 runs batted in. He ended the season ranked 13th in voting for the 1932 American League Most Valuable Player Award.”

I’m wondering how many All-Star teams Ferrell will make in his career. He will never be in the top 10 in WAR, Position Player WAR, or Offensive WAR. He would be in the top 10 in Defensive WAR a few times, but is his defense enough to make him an All-Star numerous times? We shall see.

foxx5

1B-Jimmie Foxx, Philadelphia Athletics, 24 Years Old, 1st MVP

1928 1929 1930 1931

.364, 58 HR, 169 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1951)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1931)

 

Led in:

 

1932 AL MVP

Wins Above Replacement-10.4

WAR Position Players-10.4

Offensive WAR-10.1

Slugging %-.749

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.218

Runs Scored-151

Total Bases-438

Home Runs-58

Runs Batted In-169

Adjusted OPS+-207

Runs Created-202 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-95

Adj. Batting Wins-8.8

Extra Base Hits-100

Times On Base-329

Offensive Win %-.872

AB per HR-10.1

Base-Out Runs Added-99.68

Win Probability Added-9.3

Situ. Wins Added-9.3

Base-Out Wins Added-9.0

Fielding % as 1B-.994

5th Time All-Star-For once the baseball writers and I agree on an MVP pick, but how could we not? Look at those stats above, it was an incredible season and I would go so far as to say it’s Foxx’s best ever. That’s tough to say, because he’s going to put up some monster stats over the next few years, including winning a triple crown in 1933. But I’m sticking with that pick.

According to Wikipedia, Foxx would have won the Triple Crown if the rules then were the same as today. It says, “In 1932, Foxx hit .364, with 58 home runs with 169 RBIs, missing the Triple Crown by just three points in batting average. Foxx actually hit 60 home runs that year, which would have tied Babe Ruth‘s record, but two of the home runs were hit in games that ended up being rained out, so the home runs did not count. Boston Red Sox first baseman Dale Alexander hit .367, but in just 454 plate appearances; he would not have won the batting title under current rules, which are based upon 3.1 plate appearances per team games played.”

Of his pursuit of Babe Ruth’s 60 homer record, SABR says, “The 1932 campaign did not bring another pennant to Philadelphia, but Foxx thrilled fans home and away by making an epic run at Babe Ruth’s single-season record of 60 home runs. By the first week in May he had belted 19 round-trippers, and he reached 41 by the end of July, a month ahead of Ruth’s pace. In August, Foxx injured his thumb and wrist in a household accident, and although he played through the injury it hampered his power output.”

Posed batting of New York Yankees Lou Gehrig, no date

1B-Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees, 29 Years Old

1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931

.349, 34 HR, 151 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1928)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-156 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as 1B-156 (4th Time)

7th Time All-Star-Surprisingly, it had been four years since Babe Ruth, Gehrig, and the mighty Yankees made the World Series. They were back this season and Gehrig was outstanding, hitting .529 with three homers. Yet like most of his career, he was overshadowed by Ruth, who allegedly called his shot in the Series. Still Gehrig helped lead the Yankees to a four-game sweep of the Cubs, the fourth World Series win for the Yankees and the last for Ruth.

Wikipedia says, “In 1932 Gehrig became the first player in the 20th century to hit four home runs in a game, when he accomplished the feat on June 3 against the Philadelphia Athletics. He narrowly missed getting a fifth home run when Athletics center fielder Al Simmons made a leaping catch of another fly ball at the center-field fence. After the game, manager Joe McCarthy told him, ‘Well, Lou, nobody can take today away from you.’ On the same day, however, John McGraw announced his retirement after 30 years of managing the New York Giants. McGraw, not Gehrig, got the main headlines in the sports sections the next day.” SABR has more, stating, “Gehrig joined the Boston Beaneaters’ Bobby Lowe (May 30, 1894) and the Philadelphia Phillies’ Ed Delahanty (July 13, 1896) as the only players to collect four home runs in a game. In the first and fifth innings, Gehrig hit his bombs beyond the fence in left-center field, and in the fourth and seventh, he cleared the wall in right field. With the home run in the fifth inning, Gehrig became “the first man in baseball history to ever hit three home runs in one game for the fourth time.” On top of that, that third home run was a back-to-back-to-back shot, as Earle Combs and Ruth had homered ahead of him.”

alexanderd2

1B-Dale Alexander, Detroit Tigers/Boston Red Sox, 29 Years Old

1929

.367, 8 HR, 60 RBI

MVP Rank: 11

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 20 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

1932 AL Batting Title

Batting Average-.367

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.18

Range Factor/Game as 1B-10.89

2nd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team in his rookie year of 1929, Alexander continued to his well for Detroit, but not good enough to make a team already filled with the likes of Jimmie Foxx and Lou Gehrig. This season he played just 23 games for Detroit before he was traded by the Detroit Tigers with Roy Johnson to the Boston Red Sox for Earl Webb.  Once Alexander got to Beantown, he thrived, hitting .372 and ended up leading the AL in batting (.367).

Boston continued to be terrible, finishing in last with a 43-111 record. Shano Collins (11-44) and Marty McManus (32-67) managed the team. Shano would never lead a team again, finishing with a career 73-134 record.

Wikipedia says, “On June 13, 1932, the Tigers traded Alexander with Roy Johnson to the Boston Red Sox, in exchange for Earl Webb, who had set a major league record with 67 doubles in 1931. Webb hit only 19 doubles for the Tigers in 1932 and retired one year later. Alexander won the American League batting crown with a .367 batting average in 1932. He beat Jimmie Foxx by a mere three points, depriving Foxx of the triple crown.

“In the winter between the 1931 and 1932 seasons, Alexander married Verna Hutton from his hometown of Greeneville, Tennessee. He had two sons, Don and Steve, both of whom played baseball. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1970, and died in 1979 at Greeneville, Tennessee, at age 75.” He had a short but effective career.

gehringer4

2B-Charlie Gehringer, Detroit Tigers, 29 Years Old

1928 1929 1930

.298, 19 HR, 104 RBI

MVP Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1949)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1932)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 2B-396 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as 2B-30

Double Plays Turned as 2B-110 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Gehringer didn’t make the All-Star team in 1931 as he played just 101 games, but he’s back this year as the American League’s best second sacker. He’s also entering my Hall of Fame. He’s the 10th second baseman to enter; the full list is here. It will be interesting to see where Gehringer ranks among the all-time greats before his career is over.

Bleacher Report says, “Starting with the 1927 season, Gehringer would post batting averages of better than .330 13 times over the next 14 years. The lone exception came in 1932, when Gehringer, by his own admission, began swinging for the fences too often. He finished that season with an average of .298, but he did hit 19 home runs, one off his career best.”

Meanwhile, Baseball Wiki states, “In relative terms, 1931 was an “off” year for Gehringer. His consecutive game streak ended, as he played in 101 games. He also fell below the .300 mark (batting .298) for the only time between 1926 and 1941. Gehringer still had a fine year by most standards, and ended up No. 17 in the 1931 American League MVP voting.

“In 1932, Gehringer was back at full strength, playing in 152 games and hitting .325 with 112 runs, 107 RBIs, and 44 doubles (2nd best in the league). Not generally known a power hitter, Gehringer even hit 19 home runs in 1932, 7th best in the American League. At the end of the year, Gehringer was 9th in the league’s MVP voting.”

lazzeri4

2B-Tony Lazzeri, New York Yankees, 28 Years Old

1927 1928 1929

.300, 15 HR, 113 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1991)

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. 17 percent chance)

 

4th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1929, Lazzeri’s hitting declined. He looked like he was going to be one of the American League’s best hitters of average after increasing from .309 in 1927 to .332 in 1928 to .354 in 1929. After that, his average dropped to .303 in 1930 and then .267 in 1931. After hitting .300 this season, he’ll never reach that benchmark again.

In the Yankees’ World Series sweep over the Cubs, Poosh ‘Em Up hit .294 (five-for-17) with two homers.

June 3 was an interesting day for Tony. SABR says, “On any other day, Yankees third baseman Tony Lazzeri would have owned the newspaper sports-page headlines. But on this day he was overshadowed by four different baseball events. On a day when Lazzeri hit for a natural cycle (single, double, triple, and home run in that order, the homer being a grand slam), Lou Gehrig amazingly hit four home runs and narrowly missed a fifth. On top of that, Babe Ruth launched his 15th home run of the season, second-best in the major leagues. Jimmie Foxx hit his ML-best 19th homer for Philadelphia. Still more headline-worthy, John McGraw announced that he was retiring from baseball after 29 years as manager of the New York Giants because of a two-year battle with a serious sinus condition.”

That’s right, in the same game, there was a cycle and a four-homer game. In case you’re wondering, the Yankees beat the A’s, 20-13. That would have been a fun game to watch!

kamm4

3B-Willie Kamm, Cleveland Indians, 32 Years Old

1923 1925 1926

.286, 3 HR, 83 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 3B-164 (7th Time)

Assists as 3B-299 (4th Time)

4th Time All-Star-Once Kamm made the All-Star team in 1926, his hitting started to fall off and in the 1931 season, he was traded by the Chicago White Sox to the Cleveland Indians for Lew Fonseca. He then made the All-Star team this season for the Indians, but that was mainly due to a lack of good players at that position rather than a great season. There weren’t a lot of greats at this position in the American League. Since Kamm made this list in ’26, Ossie Bluege made it in 1927 and 1928; Jimmie Foxx made it in 1928; Joe Sewell made it in 1929; Marty McManus made it in 1930; and Sewell again made in 1931. You might notice many of these names are greats from other positions, like Foxx, mainly a first baseman, and Sewell, usually a shortstop.

Wikipedia says, “Kamm is one of only 18 players in major league baseball history to have more than 60 runs batted in during a season, without hitting a home run. He is the only player to have ever accomplished the feat twice, with 62 runs batted in during the 1926 season, and 75 runs batted in during the 1931 season.

“Sabermetrician Bill James, in his baseball reference book The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, noted that after trading Willie Kamm, the Chicago White Sox did not stabilize the third base position until 1989—a period of 58 years.” That would be an interesting study to see how many of these teams haven’t had a player make the All-Star team over the years. Interesting, but much too time consuming for me!

cronin3

SS-Joe Cronin, Washington Senators, 25 Years Old

1930 1931

.318, 6 HR, 116 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1956)

Ron’s: No (Would require two more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-1.5 (2nd Time)

Triples-18

Putouts as SS-306 (3rd Time)

Assists as SS-448 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-95 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.959

3rd Time All-Star-Washington’s star shortstop was now easily the best at his position in the American League. He could play defense, as proved by his leading the AL in Defensive WAR (1.5) and he could hit, having a 130 OPS+. His stats didn’t also shine, because he played in Griffith Stadium, a tough park to score runs.

The AL hadn’t had a shortstop like Cronin since Joe Sewell , who moved to third base as he got older. During this era of the Junior Circuit, they had many star outfielders and also a few good first basemen. The leagues tend to go through different eras. There were a lot of good shortstops in the early part of the 20th Century, but that changed in the ‘20s. It’s possible that’s because hitting became such a big part of the game and the shortstops couldn’t always hold their own with the bat.

In the late ‘90s and early 2000s, there were again a boatload of good players at this position. That’s when a bunch of people at shortstop began to make their mark with the bat instead of the glove. They might not have necessarily better than previous shortstops, they just got more recognition because of their flashy numbers.

This season, Cronin finished eighth in WAR (6.2), fourth in WAR Position Players (6.2), sixth in Offensive WAR (5.7), first in Defensive WAR (1.5), 10th in batting (.318), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (130). He’s one of the all-time greats at this position to be sure.

manush3

LF-Heinie Manush, Washington Senators, 30 Years Old

1926 1928

.342, 14 HR, 116 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1964)

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. 13 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Singles-145 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Manush last made the All-Star team as a leftfielder for the St. Louis Browns. He then played in 1929 and 1930 for St. Louis. During the 1930 season, he was traded by the St. Louis Browns with General Crowder to the Washington Senators for Goose Goslin. Despite being 30, Manush’s great years are over, though he might still make this list once more.

Wikipedia says, “In 1932, Manush had one of the best seasons of his career. Continuing as the Senators’ left fielder, he compiled a .342 batting average, fourth highest in the American League, and finished third in American League MVP voting behind Jimmie Foxx and Lou Gehrig. He also ranked among the league’s leaders with 214 hits (second), 121 runs scored (third), 324 total bases (fifth), 14 triples (fifth), a .520 slugging percentage (sixth), and 116 RBIs (sixth).”

Meanwhile, Bless You Boys states, “Manush continued to be one of the premier hitters in the game, putting up a .900 OPS in four of the next six seasons. He hit for a .300 average 11 times in his career, including all but two years from his debut in 1923 to 1934. From 1928 to 1934, he hit for a .345 average with a 130 OPS+. This stretch included another pair of top-five MVP finishes in 1932 and 1933 and an All-Star appearance in 1934, all of which came with the Senators.”

I believe Manush isn’t one of the Hall of Fames best picks. He made it mainly on a handful of good seasons.

simmons8

LF-Al Simmons, Philadelphia Athletics, 30 Years Old

1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931

.322, 35 HR, 151 RBI

MVP Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1953)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1929)

 

Led in:

 

At Bats-670 (2nd Time)

Plate Appearances-718

Hits-216 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as LF-154 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as OF-154 (2nd Time)

8th Time All-Star-In baseball history, there were great players who played outstanding ball well into their thirties. Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Cy Young, and Walter Johnson, among others, all fall into that category. These are the all-time greats and the reason they’re the all-time greats is because even when they were past their prime, they still were among the best in the games. Simmons is in Cooperstown and in my Hall of Fame and will most likely also make my One-A-Year Hall of Fame (ONEHOF) which is there for just the best of the best. Yet he’s not in the category of those above because he’s not going to have great seasons after the age of 32. For a stretch of about a decade, there weren’t many better players than Bucketfoot Al, but he would decline fairly quickly.

I bring this up because one of the ways I examine players in using Adjusted OPS+.  It’s not a perfect stat, but it gives me a quick view of a player’s offensive stats and helps me to know when they’re starting to fall off from their prime. For seven straight years, Simmons had an OPS+ of 142 or higher and in three of those seasons, it was 172 or above. Starting this season, that number will be at 137 or lower. This season, for instance, he had a lot of hits, but his average dipped by 68 points from 1931 and his slugging dropped by almost .100. He’ll make at least one more of these lists, but that might be it.

averill3

CF-Earl Averill, Cleveland Indians, 30 Years Old

1929 1931

.314, 32 HR, 124 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1975)

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-6

Def. Games as CF-153 (3rd Time)

Putouts as CF-409 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as CF-16 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-With Al Simmons moving to leftfield, Averill became the league’s best centerfielder. He was consistent, playing 150 or more games yearly. However, what wasn’t consistent was his hitting. He did hit 32 homers in 1931 and 1932, but he’ll drop to 11 next season and the rest of his career would be up and down. Still, Averill held his own in this big hitting era.

If Rock wouldn’t have started so late in the Majors, he could have put up some impressive career numbers. As it is, he played his first year at the age of 27 and, as you can see, he’s already 30. Players tend to decline at that age, though Averill still has some good seasons left, which is why he’s going to make my Hall of Fame.

I like his nickname “The Earl of Snohomish.” It’s not all that creative. The name he went by was Earl and he was born in Snohomish, WA. However, it’s still took more thought than some of the nicknames nowadays like A-Rod or K-Rod. The last few years they’ve been having games every year where the players can put their nicknames on their jerseys and some of them are decent, but many of them took no thought whatsoever. It would have been tough for Averill to fit The Earl of Snohomish on the back of his jersey.

I’ve never had a nickname that stuck. People just call me Ron or variations thereof. Well, I have been called some things which shouldn’t be repeated!

combs5

CF-Earle Combs, New York Yankees, 33 Years Old

1927 1928 1929 1930

.321, 9 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1970)

Ron’s: No (Would require two more All-Star seasons. 1 percent chance)

 

5th Time All-Star-Baseball Reference occasionally adjusted their numbers, specifically WAR, so things just change from year to year for me. Combs at one time needed eight seasons of All-Star teams to make my Hall of Fame, it’s now seven. As a reminder, my Hall of Fame is all numbers based. If the number of All-Star teams made multiplied by Career WAR is over 300, they’re in. Sometime between the time I did Combs’ write-up for his 1930 season and this one, his Career WAR changed.

In his last World Series, Combs hit .375 (six-for-16) with a homer and four RBI.

Wikipedia says, “Miller Huggins once said, ‘If you had nine Combs’ on your ball club, you could go to bed every night and sleep like a baby.”  Joe McCarthy (another longtime Yankee manager) said, ‘They wouldn’t pay baseball managers much of a salary if they all presented as few problems as did Earle Combs.’ Said Babe Ruth: ‘Combs was more than a good ballplayer; he was always a first-class gentleman.’  American sportswriter and baseball historian Fred Lieb wrote of Combs, ‘If a vote were taken of the sportswriters as to who their favorite ballplayer on the Yankees would be, Combs would have been their choice.’

“Combs was selected for induction into the Hall of Fame in 1970 by the Veterans Committee. When he learned of the honor, he said ‘I thought the Hall of Fame was for superstars, not just average players like me.’ Sabermetrician Bill James has listed Combs as one of ten examples of Hall of Fame inductees who do not deserve the honor.

“Combs and his wife Ruth (1901–1989) had three sons, Earle Jr, Charles and Donald. After a long illness, he died on July 21, 1976 (age 77) in Richmond, Kentucky. He is interred in the Richmond Cemetery.”

ruth16

RF-Babe Ruth, New York Yankees, 37 Years Old

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931

.341, 41 HR, 137 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1923)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.489 (10th Time)

Bases on Balls-130 (10th Time)

16th Time All-Star-There’s so much to go over for Babe this year. Let’s start with my list of greatest players of all-time, through 1932. Here’s the list:

  1. Walter Johnson, P
  2. Ruth, RF
  3. Ty Cobb, CF
  4. Cy Young, P
  5. Tris Speaker, CF
  6. Eddie Collins, 2B
  7. Honus Wagner, SS
  8. Rogers Hornsby, 2B
  9. Pete Alexander, P
  10. Cap Anson, 1B

This season, he also tied for most times making my All-Star team as a rightfielder. Here’s that compilation:

P-Johnson, 18 All-Star teams made

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Anson, 13

2B-Collins, 17

3B-Home Run Baker, 9

SS-Wagner, 13

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Speaker, 18

RF-Sam Crawford, Ruth, 9

This will also be the last World Series the Bambino made and the Yankees swept the Cubbies, 4-0. Altogether, he finished his Series career hitting .326 (42-for-129) with 15 homers, 33 RBI, and 33 walks. As a pitcher in 1916 and 1918 Fall Classics, he went 3-0 with an 0.87 ERA.

Finally, here’s a bit on his called shot from Ed Sherman, who wrote a whole book on the subject, “But one quote in particular buoys the naysayers in this debate. It comes from an interview that Ruth did with Hal Totten early in the 1933 season. Totten, a Chicago broadcast pioneer who had been at the game, asked Ruth that next year if he had pointed to center field. Ruth replied:

“…no. It isn’t a fact. Only a…fool would have done a thing like that. You know there was a lot of pretty rough ribbing going on both benches during the World Series. When I swung and missed that first one, those Cubs really gave me a blast. So I grinned at them and held out one finger and told ’em it only takes one to do it.

“Then there was that second strike, and they let me have it again. So I held up that finger again, and I said I still had one left. Now kid, you know…well I wasn’t pointing anywhere. If I had done that, Root would have stuck the ball in my ear. I never knew anybody who could tell you ahead of time where he was going to hit a baseball. When I get to be that kind of fool, they’ll put me in the booby hatch.

“Well, there we have it — solid proof. Babe Ruth said he didn’t do it. If he had pointed, Root would have beaned him. The Cubs pitcher is off the hook and doesn’t have to endure an afterlife of questions about being the sap who gave up the famous homer.” (I put in the ellipsis to replace some of Ruth’s coarser language.

chapmanb2

RF-Ben Chapman, New York Yankees, 23 Years Old

1931

.299, 10 HR, 107 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 17 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-38 (2nd Time)

Caught Stealing-18 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Last season, Chapman made the list as a leftfielder, this season he’s the Yankees’ second rightfielder. He could have been at leftfield again, but since he played more games in right than left, I’ve put him here. Hey, you don’t like it, write your own webpage! I’m sorry, that was rude, forgive me. In the World Series this season, Chapman’s first and only, he hit .294 (five-for-17) with two doubles and six RBI in four games. Did he dazzle the Cubs with his speed? Nope. He tried one steal and was gunned down.

Chapman tried to steal more than anyone in the league as you can see by the categories in which he led the AL above. Going 38-for-56 on the basepaths is acceptable but not great. He’d do worse than that in upcoming seasons. In a time when baseball is a hitter’s sport, it’s not too smart to steal if you don’t absolutely know you’re going to make it.

As a matter of fact, the Yankees, great in everything else, were a horrific base stealing squad. The attempted 143 of them and made only 77, a 54 percent success rate. Lou Gehrig (four-for-15) and Earle Combs (three-for-12) were the worst on the team. As a consolation prize, both of those slowpokes made my All-Star team.

The best stealing team in the league was the Tigers, a team that stole 105 bases and were unsuccessful just 49 times. Their centerfielder, Gee Walker, stole 30 bases and failed just six times.

1932 National League All-Star Team

P-Carl Hubbell, NYG

P-Lon Warneke, CHC

P-Dizzy Dean, STL

P-Red Lucas, CIN

P-Huck Betts, BSN

P-Tom Zachary, BSN

P-Flint Rehm, STL/PHI

P-Steve Swetonic, PIT

P-Ed Holley, PHI

P-Ray Benge, PHI

C-Spud Davis, PHI

C-Ernie Lombardi, CIN

1B-Bill Terry, NYG

1B-Don Hurst, PHI

2B-Tony Cuccinello, BRO

3B-Joe Stripp, BRO

SS-Dick Bartell, PHI

SS-Arky Vaughan, PIT

LF-Lefty O’Doul, BRO

CF-Lloyd Waner, PIT

CF-Wally Berger, BSN

RF-Mel Ott, NYG

RF-Chuck Klein, PHI

RF-Babe Herman, CIN

RF-Paul Waner, PIT

 

hubbell4

P-Carl Hubbell, New York Giants, 29 Years Old

1929 1930 1931

18-11, 2.50 ERA, 137 K, .241, 1 HR, 6 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-1.056 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-3.425

Assists as P-83 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-King Carl slowly crept of the ranks of National League pitchers over the last four years and he continued getting better. His screwball now confused batters and his control didn’t allow many baserunners. Surprisingly, Hubbell received no MVP votes, but that would change soon. One big change for Meal Ticket and his team was John McGraw no longer managing the team as of midseason. I’ll have more on that in Bill Terry’s blurb.

By this time in baseball history, every team wore jerseys with the Giants donning them for the first time this season. Hubbell sported number 10 this year, but for the rest of his career wore 11, which is the number retired by the Giants organization. There’s something right about a person of Hubbell’s lankiness wearing 11.

One of the fascinating things about doing this page is watching the career paths of these great players. Some are like Babe Ruth and Mike Trout, who showed greatness from the beginning. Some are like Hubbell, who is very good but unrecognized. He’s made my list four times, but hasn’t received an MVP vote. Starting next season, his career will erupt into hard-to-miss greatness, but he’s arguably already the best pitcher in the NL.

What led to the improvement of Carl? His control is much better than before. In all three of his full seasons, Hubbell walked 58 or more batters. Here in 1932, he’s lowered that total to 40 and it will be another four seasons before he has 50 or more walks again.

warneke

P-Lon Warneke, Chicago Cubs, 23 Years Old

22-6, 2.37 ERA, 106 K, .192, 0 HR, 9 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 66 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

1932 NL Pitching Title

WAR for Pitchers-6.9

Earned Run Average-2.37

Wins-22

Win-Loss %-.786

Shutouts-4

Adjusted ERA+-160

Adj. Pitching Runs-46

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.9

Base-Out Runs Saved-53.32

Win Probability Added-5.5

Sit. Wins Saved-4.4

Base-Out Wins Saved-5.8

1st Time All-Star-Lonnie “Lon” or “The Arkansas Hummingbird” Warneke (pronounced WAR-a-key) was born on March 28, 1909 in Mount Ida, AR. The six-foot-two, 185 pound righty pitcher started with the Cubs in 1930, but didn’t become a regular until this year when he looked like the next big pitching star to come in the National League. Look at all the categories above in which he led and you can see why he finished second in the MVP voting. Shockingly, he’s the Cubs’ only All-Star.

Why’s that a shock? Because the Cubs won the NL pennant this year for the first time since 1929. Rogers Hornsby started as manager, guiding Chicago to a 53-46 record before Charlie Grimm took over, going 37-18, taking the team to the top. The lack of superstars hurt the Cubs in the World Series against the Yankees, as they were swept.

SABR says, “Warneke rapidly became one of the best low-ball pitchers in the league, winning his first five games of the 1932 season. By July 20th, Lon won his 14th game of the season, having beaten every team in the National League at least once. On the same date, Frank “Lefty” O’Doul, outfielder for Brooklyn, complimented Warneke.

“’He has showed me as much stuff as any other pitcher I’ve hit against this year…He has more than enough to make him a consistent winner. Now he’s pitching over the corners of the plate and it’s hard to clout the ball solidly against him.’”

Warneke would never have a season like this again, but he’d be steady over the next few years.

dean

P-Dizzy Dean, St. Louis Cardinals, 22 Years Old

18-15, 3.30 ERA, 191 K, .258, 2 HR, 12 RBI

MVP Rank: 19

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1953)

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 83 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.011

Innings Pitched-286

Strikeouts-191

Shutouts-4

Batters Faced-1,203

1st Time All-Star-Jay Hanna “Dizzy” or “The Great Man” Dean was born on January 16, 1910 in Lucas, AR. The six-foot-two, 182 pound righty pitcher started with St. Louis in 1930, didn’t pitch in the Majors in 1931 and then became a monster this season. He’s probably not going to make my Hall of Fame, though he’s in Cooperstown for the same reason Sandy Koufax is. Because people look at them and say, “What could have been.” I’m not saying Dean or Koufax weren’t great pitchers, they certainly were. I’m saying you can’t extrapolate what they did and fill in the rest of their career. Oy, I’m going have people hating me for sure!

After winning the World Series in 1931, St. Louis plummeted to sixth place. Gabby Street managed the team and watched its hitting dissipate, killing the chances for the Redbirds.

Dean’s Hall of Fame page states, “Dean attended public school only through second grade. His colorful personality and eccentric behavior earned him the nickname ‘Dizzy.’

“’Nobody ever taught him baseball and he never had to learn,’ said sportswriter Red Smith. ‘He was just doing what came naturally when a scout named Don Curtis discovered him on a Texas sandlot and gave him his first contract.’”

“Dean made his professional debut in 1930 and worked his way up to the major leagues that same year, throwing a complete game three-hitter for a win with the Cardinals.

“Dean became a regular starter for St. Louis in 1932, leading the league in shutouts and innings pitched. It was also the first of four straight seasons he led the league in strikeouts.”

lucas3

P-Red Lucas, Cincinnati Reds, 30 Years Old

1927 1929

13-17, 2.94 ERA, 63 K, .287, 0 HR, 19 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. 25 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Complete Games-28 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Since making the All-Star team in 1929, Lucas pitched terribly in 1930 and then better in 1931, though not All-Star caliber. He came back this year, bringing a combination of good pitching and solid hitting. Red was the Wes Ferrell of the National League. This is the third time he’s led the league in complete games and you have to figure it’s because they didn’t have to take Lucas out for a pinch-hitter.

This would have been a tough time to be a Reds fan, as you longtime readers know I am. Dan Howley was back as the manager and the team finished last for the second straight year. This was his last year managing as he finished with a career 397-524 record over six years.

If you read Wikipedia, it makes it sound like Lucas was put in the field multiple times over his career, like he’s Babe Ruth. The truth is he never played in the infield after 1927, though he did pinch-hit 505 times in his career, including 45 this season.

SABR agrees with everything I said, so I quote it: “His ability to hit no doubt kept him in many games. A right-handed thrower, he batted from the left side and said he always took the first pitch. His first year in Cincinnati he hit .303, with four triples, joining pitchers Dolf Luque (.346) and Pete Donahue (.311) to give the Reds three pitchers over the .300 mark.

“He became the club’s chief pinch hitter, led the NL in pinch hits four times, and ended with career 114 hits in 437 pinch at bats (.261). He held the major league career pinch- hit record from 1933 until Smoky Burgess broke it in 1965. His 80 Cincinnati pinch hits remain a club record.”

betts

P-Huck Betts, Boston Braves, 35 Years Old

13-11, 2.80 ERA, 32 K, .241, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 22 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000

1st Time All-Star-Walter McKinley “Huck” Betts was born on February 18, 1897 in Millsboro, DE. The five-foot-11, 170 pound righty pitcher started with Philadelphia in 1920 and pitched out of the bullpen for six years. He didn’t play in the Majors for six seasons, before joining the Braves this year and being one of the surprises of the league.

Manager Bill McKechnie was starting to bring some legitimacy to the Braves who moved up from seventh to fifth. The team couldn’t hit worth beans, but its pitching was among the best in the National League.

According to Eastern Shore Baseball, “The nickname ‘Huck’ was given to him by shortstop Dave Bancroft in his rookie year (1920) with the Phillies. The Phils were on a train to spring training when Bancroft spotted his shy-looking youngster sitting by himself and remarked, ‘Why, look who’s with us — a Huckleberry Finn!’”

During the time he was out of the Majors, he pitched for the St. Paul Saints of the American Association. He won at least 16 games every year from 1927 to 1931 and all but one year had an ERA under four. It makes you wonder why it took so long for him to catch on with a Major League team. It’s another “What could have been” situation. IF the Phillies made him a starter instead of a reliever and IF a big league team picked him up sometime during his minor league stretch, then who knows what kind of career Betts would have put together.

zachary3

P-Tom Zachary, Boston Braves, 36 Years Old

1926 1931

12-11, 3.10 ERA, 67 K, .273, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.212

3rd Time All-Star-I said last year Zachary would probably make one more of these lists and here he is. In an era in which balls were flying out of the park, Zach did a good job of limiting homers, leading the league this year by giving up just five homers in 212 innings.

After this year he would stay with the Braves until 1934 when he was signed as a free agent by the Dodgers. Brooklyn then released him in 1936 when he was picked up by the Phillies, with whom he would wrap up his career. Altogether, Zachary went 186-191 with a 3.73 ERA and a 39.8 career WAR. Certainly nothing to be ashamed of.

SABR says, “As time went on Tom found himself being invited to Old Timers’ games in New York and Washington and around the Carolinas. In 1948 he was in Yankee Stadium on June 13 for Babe Ruth’s final appearance, when his number 3 was retired. A two-inning old-timers’ game was held following Ruth’s speech and Tom’s team lost, 2-0, to the 1923 Yankees.

“In 1956 he made an appearance on Ed Sullivan’s “Toast of the Town” where he discussed Ruth’s sixtieth home run. His life slowed considerably in 1967 when he suffered a mild stroke. He shook off the effects of that attack but was hit with a more severe stroke on January 8, 1969. He died in the hospital in Burlington, North Carolina, on January 24 when a massive stroke took his life.”

rehm

P-Flint Rehm, St. Louis Cardinals/Philadelphia Phillies, 31 Years Old

15-9, 3.58 ERA, 53 K, .128, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 214 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Charles Flint “Shad” Rehm was born on January 24, 1901 in Rhems, SC. The six-foot-two, 180 pound righty pitcher started with the Cardinals in 1924. He pitched four innings in the 1926 World Series, giving up three runs in four innings to Yankees. Rehm also pitched in the 1928 Series, also against the Bronx Bombers, giving up no hits and tossing two scoreless innings. Then, according to Baseball Reference, “Rhem spent 1929 with the Houston Buffaloes of the Texas League and the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association where he went 12-13 in 211 innings. The Cardinals had decided to let him go because they got tired of his repeated hold-outs for more money and his lack of interest in following instructions. As manager Bill McKechnie put it: “He thought more about doing as he pleased than he did about helping out the club. Furthermore, in his infractions of club rules he took others with him.”

He was back on the Cardinals for their two World Series’ appearances against the Athletics. In 1930, he started one game, giving up six runs (four earned) in three-and-a-third innings and then in 1931 pitched one inning and gave up no runs.

After starting out this season 4-2 with a 3.06 ERA for the Cardinals, he was purchased with Eddie Delker by the Philadelphia Phillies from the St. Louis Cardinals. Philadelphia, managed by Burt Shotton, finished fourth with a 78-76 record.

Rhem lived to the age of 68, dying on July 30, 1969 in Columbia, SC.

swetonic

P-Steve Swetonic, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

11-6, 2.82 ERA, 39 K, .093, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 40 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-7.414

Shutouts-4

Fielding % as P-1.000

1st Time All-Star-Stephen Albert “Steve” Swetonic was born on August 13, 1903 in Mount Pleasant, PA. The five-foot-11, 185 pound righty pitcher started with Pittsburgh in 1929, but came around this year with his best year ever, including tossing four shutouts.

As for the Pirates, George Gibson took over the reins from Jewel Ens and they improved from fifth to second with a 86-68 record. Pittsburgh started out 9-17 and found itself 10 games out of first. After going 50-21 over the next 71 games, the Pirates led the National League by six games. Alas, it didn’t last as they finished 27-30 to end the year four games behind the Cubs.

Wikipedia says, “Swetonic provided a solid support in Pirates’ pitching staffs of the early 1930s that included Larry FrenchBurleigh GrimesWaite Hoyt, and Ray Kremer. His most productive season came in 1932, when he went 11–6 with a career-high 2.82 ERA and tied for the National League lead with four shutouts. In 1933 he recorded career-numbers in wins (12), starts (21), and innings pitched (164 ⅔ ). His career ended prematurely at the age of 28 because of a chronic sore arm.

“As of 2006, Swetonic has one of the lowest ERA (3.81) of any major league pitcher coming out of University of Pittsburgh with more than 100 innings, behind Bob Malloy (3.26) and Doc Medich (3.77).

“In a five-season career, Swetonic posted a 37–36 record with 154 strikeouts and a 3.81 ERA in 595 ⅓ innings. He died in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, at age 70.”

holley

P-Ed Holley, Philadelphia Phillies, 32 Years Old

11-14, 3.95 ERA, 87 K, .132, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 62 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Edward Edgar “Ed” Holley was born on July 23, 1899 in Benton, KY. The six-foot-one, 195 pound righty pitcher started with the Cubs in 1928, pitching 13 games with a 3.77 ERA. He didn’t play again in the Majors until this season and would have a pretty decent two-year stretch. His career didn’t last long, but he made his mark.

As you can tell by this list of pitchers, there weren’t a lot of great hurlers in the National League at this time. The top three – Carl Hubbell, Lou Warneke, and Dizzy Dean – are all good, but the rest of these have had just one or two good years. Certainly the days of Christy Mathewson and Pete Alexander were gone and even Dazzy Vance won’t be making any more All-Star teams.

One wonders if the amount of runs being scored in the National League gave pitchers less time on rosters. Though actually since 1930, when the league averaged a record 5.68 runs a game, hitting had dropped off. In 1931, the league averaged 4.48 runs per game and then this year it was 4.60. Next season, that mark will drop below four.

Back to Holley, he finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (3.7), eighth in complete games (16, and eighth in homers allowed (15). If you take away 1932 and 1933, Holley’s career was incredibly lackluster. He’s only got two years left. Next year, he’ll most likely be back on this list and in 1934 he’ll have an ERA of 8.12!

benge3

P-Ray Benge, Philadelphia Phillies, 30 Years Old

1928 1931

13-12, 4.05 ERA, 89 K, .173, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 20 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

3rd Time All-Star-Benge now made the All-Star team for the second consecutive year as the Phillies put together quite a staff this season, with three on this list. That doesn’t even include Snipe Hansen, who pitched 191 innings with a 3.72 ERA. It should be remembered all of this was done in Baker Bowl, the most difficult place to take the mound in all of baseball.

SABR says, “In 1932, for the first time in 15 years, the Phillies actually fielded a competitive club which remained within striking distance of the first-place Cubs through mid-August. Benge contributed to this improvement with his first winning season (13-12); he also placed among the team leaders in appearances (41), starts (28), complete games (13), shutouts (2), innings (222 2/3) and a pace-setting 89 strikeouts.

“Around the time Benge launched his playing career he married Cecil Beatrice ‘BeBe’ Cochran, a Texas native four years his junior. In 1942, the union produced one son before dissolving in divorce. In July 1942, Benge enlisted in the US Navy where he served as an officer through most of World War II. He later married Edna Barrett, another Texas native who was 16 years younger than he. This union survived until his death, producing one daughter. On September 6, 1965, Benge participated in an Old Timers Game in Houston’s Astrodome alongside former Texas League All Stars Paul Dean and Howie Pollet. Three decades later, on June 27, 1997 (two months after his 95th birthday), Benge died in Centerville, Texas, a small city located halfway between Dallas and Houston. He was buried in Concord Cemetery, 10 miles west of Centerville.”

daviss2

C-Spud Davis, Philadelphia Phillies, 27 Years Old

1931

.336, 14 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as C-15

2nd Time All-Star-Well a man named Spud made the All-Star team for the second consecutive year, again displaying the hitting style that made this his best season ever. This is an unusual All-Star team as the first place Cubs have one player and the fourth place Phillies have seven. Maybe it’s because as SABR says, “From 1930-33, Davis was one of the best offensive catchers in baseball, averaging a .333 batting average with ten home runs and 63 RBIs. While the Phillies of this era struggled in the standings (finishing above .500 in 1932 for the only time between 1918 and 1948), the team routinely put up impressive offensive numbers, no doubt helped by playing their home games in the hitter-friendly confines of the Baker Bowl.”

SABR continues, “Despite his tremendous success with the bat, Davis was not seen as an exceptional defender. He struggled with weight issues, thus making catching more difficult, and routinely ranked among the league leaders in stolen bases allowed. Likely because of how many runners attempted to steal against him, Davis also routinely ranked among leaders in runners caught stealing. He did lead the league’s catchers in fielding percentage with a .994 mark in 1931, committing only three errors and contributing 78 assists from behind the dish.”

While there were good hitting catchers at this time, teams looked for those who could contribute behind the plate as much or more than at it. Of course, if you could hit the ball as well as Spud, there was going to be a place for you on the team.

lombardi

C-Ernie Lombardi, Cincinnati Reds, 24 Years Old

.303, 11 HR, 68 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1986)

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 14 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as C-14

Passed Balls-17

1st Time All-Star-Ernesto Natali “Ernie” or “Schnozz” or “Bocci” Lombardi was born on April 6, 1908 in Oakland, CA. The six-foot-three, 230 pound righty catcher started with Brooklyn in 1931. He showed some ability at the plate, but he was traded by the Brooklyn Dodgers with Wally Gilbert and Babe Herman to the Cincinnati Reds for Tony CuccinelloJoe Stripp and Clyde Sukeforth. Schnozz was a good pick up for the Reds and would be a solid catcher for many years. A Hall of Fame catcher? We’ll see.

SABR says of a particular game this season, “On a warm Saturday afternoon in early May 1932, the day Burgoo King captured the 58th running of the Kentucky Derby, young Reds catcher Ernie Lombardi proved he was “king” of Redland Field when his screaming line-drive triple in the 12th inning completed an improbable 9-8 comeback victory for the hometown club over the Boston Braves. This heroic feat by “The Schnozz,” as he was affectionately known in the clubhouse because of his outsized proboscis, launched a decade-long love affair between Lombardi and Reds fans.

“Always good for a quote, Rabbit Maranville put it this way: ‘How’d you get the idea around here that that two-legged whale behind the bat for the Reds is named Lombardi. All wrong. His real moniker is Bombardi.’

“Maranville was correct. Lombardi accumulated five hits in seven plate appearances, including two doubles and the game-winning triple, driving in three crucial runs and scoring once. This day would prove to be the second most productive day in Lombardi’s career for hits.”

terryb6

1B-Bill Terry, New York Giants, 33 Years Old

1927 1928 1929 1930 1931

.350, 28 HR, 117 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1954)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1932)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-154

Putouts-1,493 (4th Time)

Def. Games as 1B-154 (3rd Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,493 (4th Time)

Assists as 1B-137 (4th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-10.73 (4th Time)

Range Factor/Game as 1B-10.58 (5th Time)

6th Time All-Star-John McGraw took over the Giants towards the latter end of 1902 and had managed them since, guiding them to 10 league titles and three world championships. He wasn’t the most well-liked man in the National League, but he was definitely a winner. In his 33 years of managing, including his time with the NL Baltimore Orioles, he only had five seasons in which his team played under .500 ball. Plagued by health problems, he resigned on June 3 and Terry took over. McGraw died at the age of 60 on February 25, 1934 of prostate cancer and uremia.

SABR says of the move, “McGraw had called Terry into his office that morning. Terry had not spoken to McGraw during the previous two years. He recalled to Bob Broeg, ‘I thought he was going to tell me I’d been traded.’ Instead McGraw said, ‘Bill, you don’t have to answer this now. Wait a while if you like, but would you like to manage the Giants?’ With characteristic decisiveness, Terry responded, ‘There’s no need for me to wait. I’ll take it now.’

“Terry took over with the clear understanding that he was the boss and not a stand-in for McGraw who had became a front-man for the Giants. Assured of this, Terry began to plan the moves he considered necessary to revitalize the Giants. Even without any player changes, Terry succeeded in raising the club from last place to a sixth-place tie with the Cardinals.” My favorite part of this story is Terry hadn’t spoken to McGraw for two years. You hear that a lot about players who played for the tough skipper.

One more thing, Terry made my Hall of Fame this year.

hurst

1B-Don Hurst, Philadelphia Phillies, 26 Years Old

.339, 24 HR, 143 RBI

MVP Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 23 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Runs Batted In-143

Base-Out Runs Added-69.25

Win Probability Added-7.1

Fielding % as 1B-.993

1st Time All-Star-Frank O’Donnell “Don” Hurst was born on August 12, 1905 in Maysville, KY. The six-foot, 215 pound lefty first baseman started with Philadelphia in 1928 and put together some decent seasons, but certainly nothing like this one. It’s his best season ever, easily, as he led the National League in RBI with 143.

Wikipedia wraps up Hurst’s career, stating, “In June 1934, Hurst was traded to the Cubs for first baseman Dolph Camilli. The deal proved to be a disaster for Chicago because, while Camilli went on to become one of the best sluggers in baseball, Hurst had nothing left in the tank. In 51 games for the Cubs, he batted .199 with only 3 home runs and 12 RBI and never played in the majors again.

“In a 7-year career, Hurst appeared in 905 games and had a .298 batting average (976-3275) with 115 home runs and 610 RBI. His career numbers include 510 runs, 190 doubles, 28 triples, 41 stolen bases, and 391 walks for a .375 on-base percentage and .478 slugging percentage. He posted a .987 fielding percentage as a first baseman.

“In 1952, Hurst became ill and died in December, at the age of 47. He was survived by his wife and three sons.”

There’s much chatter on the internet on how bad the trade for Hurst was for Brooklyn. That’s always the danger of trading for a hitter who plays in a bandbox like the Baker Bowl. For instance, this season Hurst slashed .402/.474/.643 at home and only .274/.347/.451 on the road.

cuccinello2

2B-Tony Cuccinello, Brooklyn Dodgers, 24 Years Old

1931

.281, 12 HR, 77 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 36 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-154

Def. Games as 2B-154 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 2B-113 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-One of things tricky about doing this page is that I rely heavily on Baseball Reference’s Wins Above Replacement calculations. However, WAR is in flux. Sometimes, BR changes the way it calculates it and sometimes an additional season changes past WARs. Well, since there hasn’t been any new baseball since I last wrote about Cuccinello in his 1931 season, I’m assuming they changed their calculations. In his last blurb, you’ll notice I have him down as being ninth in WAR, but now that I’m about to do his 1932 season, he’s not in the top 10 in WAR for 1931. Something changed. My hope is to go back over all of these lists after I’m done and do corrections, but I’ll be 106 years old by then.

Before this season, Cuccinello was traded by the Cincinnati Reds with Joe Stripp and Clyde Sukeforth to the Brooklyn Dodgers for Wally GilbertBabe Herman and Ernie Lombardi. His new team, now the Dodgers again now that Wilbert Robinson no longer managed the team, did well, finishing third with an 81-73 record, under the guidance of Max Carey.

SABR says, “Despite Cuccinello’s performances on the field, he refused to sign the contract the Reds tendered to him and found himself shipped to the Brooklyn Dodgers to begin the 1932 season. Tony played in all 154 games that year, turning in respectable offensive numbers for a second baseman (.281, 12 homers, 32 doubles, and 77 RBIs) but, more importantly, becoming a teammate of future Hall of Fame manager Al Lopez, with whom he would begin a lifelong friendship.”

stripp

3B-Joe Stripp, Brooklyn Dodgers, 29 Years Old

.303, 6 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 22 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.25 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.15 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Joseph Valentine “Jersey Joe” Stripp was born on February 3, 1903 in Harrison, NJ. The five-foot-11, 175 pound righty started with Cincinnati in 1928, playing mainly third and first base. Before this season, Stripp was traded by the Cincinnati Reds with Tony Cuccinello and Clyde Sukeforth to the Brooklyn Dodgers for Wally GilbertBabe Herman and Ernie Lombardi.

Here’s Stripp’s wrap-up from Wikipedia: “ He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Cincinnati RedsBrooklyn DodgersSt. Louis Cardinals, and Boston Bees between 1928 and 1938. Stripp hit .300 or better 6 times, with a career best .324 with the Reds in 1931.

“’Jersey Joe’ Stripp was the last major league batter to bat against a legally thrown spitball, at the end of the career of Burleigh Grimes in 1934. Grimes was one of 17 pitchers who were allowed to continue to throw the spitball, after it was banned in 1920.

“In 1146 games over 11 seasons, Stripp posted a .294 batting average (1238-for-4211) with 575 runs, 219 doubles, 43 triples, 24 home runs, 464 RBI, 50 stolen bases, 280 bases on balls, .340 on-base percentage and .384 slugging percentage. He finished his career with a .972 fielding percentage playing primarily at first and third base.

“He died, aged 86, in Orlando, Florida.”

I would have never guessed it would take until 1932 when the Brooklyn squad officially became the Dodgers. For all of the years Wilbert Robinson managed the team, it was known as the Robins.

bartell

SS-Dick Bartell, Philadelphia Phillies, 24 Years Old

.308, 1 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 50 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-154

Sacrifice Hits-35

Assists-529

Def. Games as SS-154

Putouts as SS-359

Assists as SS-529

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.77

1st Time All-Star-“Rowdy Richard” William “Dick” or “Shortwave” Bartell was born on November 22, 1907 in Chicago, IL. The five-foot-nine, 160 pound righty shortstop started with Pittsburgh in 1927 and then after the 1930 season, he was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Philadelphia Phillies for Tommy Thevenow and Claude Willoughby. He would be one of the National League’s best shortstops over the next few years.

Why was the talented shortstop traded? SABR tells us: “Bartell had serious difficulties with the Pirates front office, especially club owner Barney Dreyfuss. He wrote in Rowdy Richard, his reminiscence, ‘(Dreyfuss’) office was upstairs over the clubhouse. He’d send a message down for some player to come up to his office. It was not a pleasant experience. He was always looking for a chance to tell you why you weren’t as good as you thought you were. To keep the payroll down. We all dreaded those summonses.’

“Bartell’s problems with Dreyfuss became even more serious before the 1930 season. He held out for a month before reporting. Then he had a fine year statistically, leading all National League shortstops in total chances per game and hitting .320 (in a year that produced an overall .303 National League batting average). But he feuded with the difficult Dreyfuss all season. It was no surprise when he was traded to the Phillies after the season.”

It would be a good trade for Bartell, whose bat and glove would benefit the Phillies and will put him on a few of these lists.

vaughan

SS-Arky Vaughan, Pittsburgh Pirates, 20 Years Old

.318, 4 HR, 61 RBI

MVP Rank: 23

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1985)

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed-46

Errors Committed as SS-46

Youngest Player-20 Years Old

1st Time All-Star-Joseph Floyd “Arky” Vaughan was born on March 9, 1912 in Clifty, AR. The five-foot-10, 175 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing shortstop had a great rookie year for the Pirates and is going to be around these lists for a while. I just can’t figure out why it took so long for him to be inducted into Cooperstown. It won’t take him that long to be inducted into Ron’s Hall of Fame.

Wikipedia says, “Vaughan began the 1932 season as the backup to the Pirates’ starting shortstop, Tommy Thevenow. Through the first thirteen games of the season, Vaughan appeared only twice, once as a late-game replacement for Thevenow and once as a pinch-hitter. However, Thevenow was still suffering the effects of a season-ending ankle injury he had suffered in 1931, which opened up the door for Vaughan to take over the job. When Thevenow returned at the end of May after missing a month, he found himself in a reserve role.

“Vaughan, who was the youngest player in the National League in 1932, wound up playing 129 games overall that year, all but one at shortstop. He finished with a .318 batting average and 61 RBI in his rookie season. His defense was a bit shaky, though, as he led the league in errors with 46. His year was impressive enough to garner a modicum of support for Most Valuable Player, finishing 23rd in the voting.” On almost any other franchise, Vaughan would be its best shortstop ever, but not in the organization that had one Honus Wagner.

odoul2

LF-Lefty O’Doul, Brooklyn Dodgers, 35 Years Old

1929

.368, 21 HR, 90 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

1932 NL Batting Title (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.368 (2nd Time)

Singles-158 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as LF-148 (3rd Time)

Putouts as LF-307 (3rd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team in 1929, O’Doul played in 1930 for the Phillies and then before the 1931 season, he was traded by the Philadelphia Phillies with Fresco Thompson to the Brooklyn Robins for Clise DudleyJumbo ElliottHal Lee and cash. For at least this season, it was a good pickup for the Dodgers, but his career would be over within a couple of years.

Wikipedia says, “O’Doul was instrumental in spreading baseball’s popularity in Japan, serving as the sport’s goodwill ambassador before and after World War II. The Tokyo Giants, sometimes considered ‘Japan’s Baseball Team’, were named by him in 1935 in honor of his longtime association with the New York Giants; the logo and uniform of the Giants in Japan strongly resemble their North American counterparts.

“O’Doul’s fame and popularity live on in his hometown of San Francisco and are enhanced by the fact that his former team now thrives as the San Francisco Giants. The popular hofbrau-style restaurant and bar he founded in 1958 operated for years after his death as Lefty O’Doul’s Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge on Geary Street, still serving his original recipe for Bloody Mary (although one news account says it was modified in the 1960s by O’Doul’s bartender Chuck Davis). However, a landlord-tenant dispute caused it to close its doors in early 2017. In November of 2018, the restaurant reopened in a new location at Fisherman’s Wharf.”

O’Doul died on December 7, 1969 at the age of 72 in the City by the Bay.

wanerl

CF-Lloyd Waner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 26 Years Old

.333, 2 HR, 38 RBI

MVP Rank: 13

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1967)

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. 1 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

AB per SO-51.4

Putouts as CF-378 (3rd Time)

Putouts as OF-426 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.94 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-3.43 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-3.32 (3rd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Lloyd James “Little Poison” Waner was born on March 16, 1906 in Harrah, OK. The five-foot-nine, 150 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing centerfielder started with Pittsburgh in 1927 and is one of those players overrated due to one stat – batting average. His career average is .316, but this is due to the era in which he played and the fact quite a few of his hits were singles. I’d predicted in some of his brother, Paul’s, write-ups, he wouldn’t even make it one time on this list. I admit I’m wrong, but this is probably his only appearance.

SABR says, “Lloyd Waner never took his career for granted, or how fortunate he was to make his living throughout the depths of the Great Depression as a major league ballplayer. He never had to look much further than his own hometown for a dose of reality. ‘We went from the hotel to the ballpark, back to the hotel, and then onto the train for the next go-around. All of our reservations were made for us, all of our meals were paid for. Did that for six months. Then the season would be over and my brother Paul and me would go back to Oklahoma, and then we would realize how bad things were. The farms were abandoned, their owners off to Lord knew where. Stores that had been doing business in the spring were boarded up. People were glum and poor. That was the real world.’”

Lloyd died at the age of 82 in Oklahoma City, OK.

 

berger2

CF-Wally Berger, Boston Braves, 26 Years Old

1931

.307, 17 HR, 73 RBI

MVP Rank: 13

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 50 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as CF-134 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as CF-.992

Fielding % as OF-.993

2nd Time All-Star-There’s something about the name of Wally Berger that doesn’t say centerfielder to me. It sounds like the name of a catcher. Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, those are centerfielder-sounding names. Yet Berger didn’t only play the position, he was one of the best in the National League for his time.

The wonderful thing about doing this page is I get to share my opinions and if anyone disagrees, they can write their own page. The Hardball Times disagrees with me about this season, saying, “After an unremarkable 1932 campaign, Berger finally received some recognition the following year when he was named to his first of four straight NL All-Star teams (three as the starting CF).”

Was it unremarkable? Well, it wasn’t up to many of his seasons in the ‘30s, but it still was one of the best in the National League. Especially considering Berger played in Braves Park, not an easy place to hit a baseball.

That’s the thing about good ballplayers. Even when then have “unremarkable” seasons, they still produce above many weaker players having great seasons. In this “unremarkable” season, Berger finished 11th in WAR Position Players and still led his team in runs scored, hits, homers, RBI, batting, on-base percentage, and slugging. If compared to his 1930 season, his year wasn’t great, but since the hitting in the league as a whole had fallen off since then, it is comparable. He didn’t make my All-Star team in 1930 yet he did this year. It’s important to compare players in the era in which they played.

ott5

RF-Mel Ott, New York Giants, 23 Years Old, 1st MVP

1928 1929 1930 1931

.318, 38 HR, 123 RBI

MVP Rank: 10

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1951)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1930)

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-8.3

WAR Position Players-8.3

On-Base %-.424 (2nd Time)

Games Played-154

Home Runs-38

Bases on Balls-100 (3rd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-174

Adj. Batting Runs-63

Adj. Batting Wins-6.0

AB per HR-14.9 (3rd Time)

Base-Out Wins Added-6.5

Def. Games as RF-154 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as OF-154

Fielding % as RF-.983

5th Time All-Star-There aren’t a lot of clear-cut choices for Most Valuable Player in the National League, but still, how does the great Ott finish 10th? If I had to guess and I can only guess, his walks and on-base percentage weren’t as big of deal as they would be nowadays. All but one of the position players above him in the vote hit for a higher average than his .318. The winner of the MVP, Chuck Klein, of Philadelphia, hit the same amount of homers but had a higher average (.349). Of course, Klein played in the easiest hitter’s park in the NL, the Baker Bowl. I think this is his best season ever and I gave him my MVP.

SABR says, “Ott played at the same high level during the 1930 through 1932 seasons, but the club could not produce another pennant for the physically and emotionally exhausted John McGraw. First baseman Bill Terry replaced McGraw as the Giants’ manager on June 3, 1932. But the club was unable to climb out of the second division despite powerful hitting by Terry and Ott, who tied Chuck Klein with a league-leading 38 home runs and also led the league in bases on balls.”

Look at the picture above. It’s from this season, 1932, and Ott looks like he’s still in high school. Of course, he’s only 22 at this time which makes his abilities so unbelievable. For some reason, when people talk about the all-time greats, I don’t hear the name Mel Ott too much.

klein4

RF-Chuck Klein, Philadelphia Phillies, 27 Years Old

1929 1930 1931

.348, 38 HR, 137 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1980)

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. 33 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

1932 NL MVP

Offensive WAR-8.1 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.646 (2nd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.050

Games Played-154 (2nd Time)

Runs Scored-152 (3rd Time)

Hits-226

Total Bases-420 (3rd Time)

Home Runs-38 (3rd Time)

Stolen Bases-20

Runs Created-169 (3rd Time)

Extra Base Hits-103 (3rd Time)

Times On Base-287

Offensive Win %-.819

Power-Speed #-26.2

Situ. Wins Added-6.0 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as RF-154 (2nd Time)

Assists as RF-30 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as RF-15 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as OF-154 (2nd Time)

Assists as OF-29 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as OF-15

4th Time All-Star-A few years ago, I remember having an argument with a friend of mine over how good Larry Walker was. He put up some monster stats, but I argued he played at Coors Field in Denver and it was a tremendous hitters’ park. I imagine there were quite a few of those arguments in Chuck Klein’s days since he played in the Baker Bowl, a park where hitters thrived. He’s going to be traded from the Phillies after the 1933 season and his stats are going to fall off dramatically. After 1933, Klein will never lead the National League in any offensive stat. That’s why I gave Mel Ott the MVP over him, though Klein was picked by the writers.

Wikipedia says, “After the 1932 season, Klein was awarded the National League MVP award. During the season, he led the league in home runs for the third time, as well as hits and runs scored, he also became the first player in the live-ball era to lead the league in both home runs and stolen bases. No player since has led the league in both categories in the same year. He finished the season with 226 hits, marking the fourth year in a row that he exceeded the 200 hit mark.”

I hate to keep harping on this issue of how much Klein’s home park helped him, but in Philadelphia, Klein hit .423 with 29 homers. On the road, Chuck hit .266 with just nine homers. His road stats would never have earned him an MVP.

herman3

RF-Babe Herman, Cincinnati Reds, 29 Years Old

1929 1930

.326, 16 HR, 87 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 10 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Triples-19

Putouts as RF-380

Double Plays Turned as RF-6

Double Plays Turned as OF-6

Range Factor/Game as RF-2.72

3rd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team two years in a row in 1929 and 1930, Herman didn’t make it last year for Brooklyn despite having a decent year. After the season, he was traded by the Brooklyn Dodgers with Wally Gilbert and Ernie Lombardi to the Cincinnati Reds for Tony CuccinelloJoe Stripp and Clyde Sukeforth. It ended up being a good trade for the Reds just for Lombardi. Herman definitely helped Cincinnati, but he was only here this one season.

SABR states, “Herman’s 1932 was still pretty productive. He led the 1932 Reds in batting (.326), homers (16), and RBIs (87). While 16 home runs might seem modest, then it was the second most ever hit by a Cincinnati player. Herman led the league in triples with 19. Perhaps one of his most successful days came on a return trip to Brooklyn on June 15. He went three-for-four against the Dodgers with a double, home run, and three RBIs to pace a 5-1 victory. Cincinnati won the next day as Herman drove in two runs. The Eagle’s coverage, suggesting possible Dodger remorse, was headed by an apt ‘Who’s Sorry Now?’

“Herman improved his once-suspect fielding in Cincinnati. He led 1932 NL right fielders in putouts with 392, establishing a still-standing major league record. And he did it in 146 games of the 154-game schedule.”

                For those of you who are regular readers, you know my team is the Reds. I would have probably been pretty excited for the team acquiring Herman at this time and then disappointed he was traded so quickly.

waner7

RF-Paul Waner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 29 Years Old

1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931

.341, 8 HR, 82 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1952)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1930)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-154

Doubles-62 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as OF-154

7th Time All-Star-I wrote in Waner’s 1929 blurb that his brother, Lloyd, probably wouldn’t make one of these All-Star teams and I was wrong, as Lloyd made it this season. I’m glad I tempered that prediction with the word “probably” instead of saying he absolutely will never make one of the All-Star teams. I’m getting better. After years of doing these write-ups, I realize sometimes I’m surprised even though I can see into the future and know the stats for all of these players.

In 1876, the first year of the National League, Ross Barnes, Dick Higham, and Paul Hines all hit 21 doubles. Two seasons later, Higham broke that record with 22 and then that fell the next season when Charlie Eden belted 31 two-baggers. King Kelly then ripped 37 doubles in 1882 and that NL record was topped the next year when Ned Williamson hit 49. In 1894, Hugh Duffy broke the 50 mark, hitting 51, and five years later Ed Delahanty hit 55 doubles. That Senior Circuit record held until 1930 when Chuck Klein hit 59 and then Big Poison set the new record this year, becoming the first National League player with over 60, smacking 62 doubles for the Pirates. His record would hold for four years and then be broken by Joe Medwick in 1936 when he hit 64 two-baggers. The all-time record for doubles had been set by Earl Webb for the Boston Red Sox in 1931 when he hit 67. There were a lot of hitting records being set around this time.

1931 American League All-Star Team

P-Lefty Grove, PHA

P-Wes Ferrell, CLE

P-George Uhle, DET

P-George Earnshaw, PHA

P-Lefty Gomez, NYY

P-Lloyd Brown, WSH

P-Rube Walberg, PHA

P-Vic Sorrell, DET

P-Firpo Marberry, WSH

P-Earl Whitehill, DET

C-Mickey Cochrane, PHA

C-Bill Dickey, NYY

1B-Lou Gehrig, NYY

1B-Lu Blue, CHW

1B-Jimmie Foxx, PHA

2B-Max Bishop, PHA

3B-Joe Sewell, NYY

SS-Joe Cronin, WSH

SS-Lyn Lary, NYY

LF-Al Simmons, PHA

LF-Ben Chapman, NYY

LF-Goose Goslin, SLB

CF-Earl Averill, CLE

RF-Babe Ruth, NYY

RF-Earl Webb, BOS

 

grove6P-Lefty Grove, Philadelphia Athletics, 31 Years Old, 2nd MVP

1926 1927 1928 1929 1930

31-4, 2.06 ERA, 175 K, .200, 0 HR, 12 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1928)

 

Led in:

 

1931 AL Pitching Triple Crown (2nd Time)

1931 AL MVP

1931 AL Pitching Title (4th Time)

WAR for Pitchers-10.4 (3rd Time)

Earned Run Average-2.06 (4th Time)

Wins-31 (3rd Time)

Win-Loss %-.886 (3rd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-1.077 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-175 (7th Time)

Complete Games-27

Shutouts-4

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-2.823 (5th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-217 (4th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.01 (5th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-74 (4th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-7.5 (4th Time)

Base-Out Runs Saved-87.84 (4th Time)

Win Probability Added-11.8 (4th Time)

Sit. Wins Saved-8.0 (5th Time)

Base-out Wins Saved-9.1 (4th Time)

Fielding % as P-1.000

6th Time All-Star-Now that we baseball fans are educated by the sabermatricians, we know wins and pitcher winning percentage is not important. Those numbers are influenced by the support of the team and many a mediocre pitcher has been overrated due to those archaic stats. However, that doesn’t mean looking at a 31-4 record doesn’t still give goosebumps, especially when the pitcher is as good as my pick, and the baseball writers’ pick, for American League Most Valuable Player, Lefty Grove.

Philadelphia, managed by Connie Mack, won its third straight AL title, finishing 107-45. Led by Al Simmons, the A’s could hit and led by Lefty, they were the best hurling team in the league. They lost to the Cardinals, four games to three, in the World Series. It would be the last league title for Mack.

I mentioned in an earlier Grove blurb he didn’t have the most ebullient personality, but he did lose his temper after a loss this season. SABR says, “In what was probably an unprecedented display of postgame pique, Grove tried to tear off the clubhouse door, shredding the wooden partition between lockers, banged up the lockers, broke chairs and ripped of his shirt, buttons flying. ‘Threw everything I could get my hands on — bats, balls, shoes, gloves, benches, water buckets, whatever was handy,’ he told author Donald Honig. If Grove couldn’t break one record, he might as well break another.”

In what would turn out to be Grove’s final World Series, he went 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA.

ferrell3

P-Wes Ferrell, Cleveland Indians, 23 Years Old

1929 1930

22-12, 3.75 ERA, 123 K, .319, 9 HR, 30 RBI

MVP Rank: 11

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require two more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Complete Games-27

Bases on Balls-130

Assists as P-74

3rd Time All-Star-Ferrell continued to be the Indians’ best pitcher and one of the best pitchers in the American League. His ERA might look high, but it ranked ninth in the league, while his Adjusted ERA+ of 123 ranked seventh. Here in the wild hitting Thirties, looking at straight stats isn’t always the right solution.

Cleveland, managed by Roger Peckinpaugh (pictured with Ferrell above), finished in fourth for the second straight season, with a 78-76 record. Ferrell led the Indians’ good pitching, while Earl Averill helped the team score the second most runs in the AL.

Ferrell’s nine homers this year is still the all-time record for homers in one season as a pitcher. There have been eight players who have hit seven, including Ferrell himself in 1933. Or as SABR says, “In his best year at the plate with the Indians, 1931, the right-handed hitting Ferrell compiled a .319 average with 30 runs batted in, 9 home runs, and 6 doubles in 48 games. Only outfielder Earl Averill (32) and first baseman Ed Morgan (11) had more home runs among his teammates.

“One reason for Ferrell’s temperamental behaviour may have been the growing anxiety he felt about his pitching arm. He first experienced pain in his right shoulder while warming up for a game against the Boston Red Sox on May 8, 1931. For the rest of that season he could only throw his fast ball intermittently. Increasingly, he came to rely upon his off-speed pitches.

“He pitched a no-hitter against the St Louis Browns on April 29, 1931.”

uhle5P-George Uhle, Detroit Tigers, 32 Years Old

1922 1923 1926 1930

11-12, 3.50 ERA, 63 K, .244, 2 HR, 9 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. 1 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000

5th Time All-Star-Unless something strange happens, George “The Bull” Uhle is going to fall short of making my Hall of Fame just as he fell short of making Cooperstown. This was his last productive season, though the writers didn’t think so, as he received no MVP votes. It was probably his 11-12 record, something valued highly in those days, that kept him from getting his name on any of those ballots.

Detroit, managed by Bucky Harris, dropped from fifth to seventh this year with a 61-93 record. Its lack of hitting hurt the team the most.

Did Uhle create the slider? According to SABR, “One day while pitching batting practice, with Tigers outfielder Harry Heilman in the cage, Uhle began to experiment with a new pitch. He released the baseball off his middle finger, much like a bowling ball. ‘What kind of a curve is that?’ asked the Hall of Fame outfielder. ‘Hey, that’s not a curve. That ball was sliding,’ replied Uhle. A new pitch called the slider was created, and George Uhle took full credit for it.

“In retirement, Uhle worked as a manufacturer’s representative for Arrow Aluminum Company. He enjoyed attending Indians games with clients at Cleveland Stadium. He never retired. Uhle died on February 26, 1985, as a result of a 20-year bout with emphysema. He was survived by his wife Helen, and their three children.”

Also, it should be noted in 110 at bats against Uhle, Babe Ruth hit just four homers. However, the Bambino did hit .336 against The Bull.

earnshaw2

P-George Earnshaw, Philadelphia Athletics, 31 Years Old

1929

21-7, 3.67 ERA, 152 K, .263, 2 HR, 13 RBI

MVP Rank: 11

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-Though he had a 22-13 record in 1930, Earnshaw’s league-leading 139 walks and a mediocre 106 Adjusted ERA+ kept him from making my list last season. It didn’t stop the A’s from winning the title though. Moose came back this year and was one of the reasons Philadelphia won its third straight American League pennant.

According to SABR, “Earnshaw contributed a 21-7 record and a 3.67 ERA. He again finished second to Grove in strikeouts and held opposing batters to a .288 on-base percentage, trailing only Grove’s .271. On September 5 Earnshaw pitched no-hit ball into the eighth inning before the Boston Red Sox’ Marty McManus grounded a single through shortstop. Earnshaw finished with a one-hitter in an 8-0 win.

“[In the World Series,] Earnshaw pitched well in the second game but lost when Bill Hallahan shut out the A’s, 2-0. He won the Game Four with a two-hit shutout and lost the decisive seventh game, 4-2. Catcher Cochrane was anointed the goat for letting the Wild Horse run wild, but Martin said neither Grove nor Earnshaw knew how to hold baserunners on because they didn’t allow many runners. Martin stole four of his five bases off Earnshaw.”

For the season, Earnshaw finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (4.9); seventh in ERA (3.67); third in innings pitched (281 2/3), behind two teammates, Rube Walberg (291) and Lefty Grove (288 2/3); and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (122). He’s probably got one more All-Star team left in him, but it most likely won’t be for the A’s.

gomez

P-Lefty Gomez, New York Yankees, 22 Years Old

21-9, 2.67 ERA, 150 K, .133, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1972)

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 57 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-Vernon Louis “Lefty” or “Goofy” Gomez was born on November 26, 1908 in Rodeo, CA. The six-foot-two, 173 pound left-handed pitcher started with the Yankees in 1930 and didn’t do too well, going 2-5 with a 5.55 ERA. That changed this year as he would be one of the American League’s best pitchers for most of the next decade. Does he deserve to be in Cooperstown? We have many years to have that argument.

Bob Shawkey was out and Joe McCarthy took over the reins for the Yankees. McCarthy managed the Cubs from 1926-30 and led them to a pennant in 1929. That was nothing compared with what he would do with his new club. This year, New York finished second with a 94-59 record, 13-and-a-half games behind the A’s. It led the AL in runs scored, led by the bat of Babe Ruth. The problem for the Yankees was their pitching, but with Gomez around, that would change over the next few seasons.

Oh, how medicine has changed over the years! Look at this snippet from Wikipedia, which says, “Coming into the 1931 season, Gomez had good pitching velocity, but the Yankees were concerned about the pitcher’s slender frame of 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) and 155 pounds (70 kg). Following a common medical strategy of the time, the team had most of his teeth extracted; they also had him drink three quarts of milk daily and gave him an unlimited meal allowance for road games. Gomez registered the second-best ERA in the American League in 1931.”

brownl

P-Lloyd Brown, Washington Senators, 26 Years Old

15=14, 3.20 ERA, 79 K, .229, 0 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Lloyd Andrew “Gimpy” Brown was born on Christmas, 1904 in Beeville, TX. The five-foot-nine, 170 pound lefty pitcher started Brooklyn in 1925, going 0-3 and then not pitching in the Majors again until 1928 when he pitched for the Senators. This season was his best ever.

How great must it have been to be a pitcher under the tutelage of manager Walter Johnson? He led the Senators to a third-place 92-62 record. It was indeed the pitching that propelled Washington, as its hitting was just mediocre.

SABR says, “There was a scare during spring training in March 1930. The car driven by Brown’s wife plunged into a river near Hattiesburg as she drove in a party of five cars carrying player wives; she was not seriously injured. Brown led the Senators in victories in 1930, with a 16-12 (4.25 ERA) record, but just by a hair. Four other Senators each had 15 wins: General Crowder, Bump Hadley. Sad Sam Jones, and Firpo Marberry. The team finished in second place, eight games behind the Athletics. He had another very good year in 1931 – 15-14 (3.20 ERA) –; though the Senators finished third.

“At the end of his life, Brown had been ‘critically ill and destitute’ but fortunately was befriended by John Priestes. Priestes had been an outfielder in the Phillies system and who played in 14 games for the Tampa Tarpons in 1955, but had gone on to become successful in the construction business. He came by to visit Brown, picked up his medical bills, and provided transportation for him until Brown died from cancer on January 14, 1974, in Opa-locka, Florida. Priestes was given the Good Guy Award by the Florida Major League Scouts Association to be presented that November in St. Petersburg.”

walberg2

P-Rube Walberg, Philadelphia Athletics, 34 Years Old

1929

20-12, 3.74 ERA, 106 K, .124, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Innings Pitched-291

Batters Faced-1,248

Fielding % as P-1.000

2nd Time All-Star-In 1930, Walberg struggled a bit, despite Philadelphia winning the American League pennant, going 13-12 with a 4.69 ERA. In the World Series that year he pitched in one game, pitching four-and-two-thirds innings, allowing two runs, and losing the game. He’d do a bit better this year in the Fall Classic.

This season, Walberg finished fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.7), eighth in ERA (3.74), first in innings pitched (291), and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (120). In the World Series loss to the Cardinals, he relieved in two games, pitching a total of three innings and giving up one run. The Cardinals beat the A’s, four games to three.

SABR says, “Rube had 140 complete games in his big-league career with 15 shutouts. He pitched 2,644 innings in his major-league career, which extended to the age of 41. He won 155 games while losing 141. During World Series play, Walberg compiled a 1.93 ERA in 14 innings.

“After retiring from baseball, Walberg and his wife owned a bar in Mt. Airy, a northern suburb of Philadelphia, for several years. He loved to reminisce with customers about the Athletics’ glory days. Walberg also did some scouting for the Athletics. After selling the bar, the Walbergs moved to Miami, Florida, where their daughter worked for the Strategic Air Command. They lived there for several years until the humidity became a problem for Walberg. They moved to Mesa, Arizona, which was a better climate for Walberg. He died in Tempe, Arizona, on October 27, 1978.”

sorrell2

P-Vic Sorrell, Detroit Tigers, 30 Years Old

1930

13-14, 4.15 ERA, 99 K, .159, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 16 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-Sorrell made his second consecutive All-Star team and has a good shot at a third next season. If you’ve heard of this man before, you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din, and yet for a little while, he was one of the Junior Circuit’s best pitchers.

SABR says, “The Tigers slumped to seventh place in 1931 and tied a franchise record with 93 losses. Though not a star, Sorrell was ‘regarded as the steadiest of the Tigers pitchers.’ He enjoyed some of his best games of the year against the Yankees. In six starts against them, he went 3-1 with four complete games and a 2.94 ERA. Two of the wins came during a two-week period in June. First, he tossed a ten-inning six-hitter to defeat Lefty Gomez in the Bronx. The other was a wild contest at Navin Field. Though Sorrell was not at his best (he surrendered 12 hits and seven walks in 11 innings), he picked up the win in dramatic fashion when Johnny Grabowski, pinch-hitting for Sorrell, executed a perfect walk-off squeeze bunt to score Marty McManus for an exciting 8-7 win. Sorrell’s third extra-inning complete-game victory of the season came in his next to last start, a 3-2 victory over the Senators at Griffith Stadium. Sorrell finished the season at 13-14; however, in 13 of the losses, the Tigers scored three runs or less (23 runs total). En route to setting career highs with 32 starts, 19 complete games (sixth best in the AL), and 245 innings, he also issued a career-high 114 walks. Eleven of them came in a complete-game 4-1 loss to the White Sox on September 6. The umpire of that contest was his former manager, George Moriarty, who had returned to umpiring after his stint as the Tigers’ skipper.”

 

marberry2

P-Firpo Marberry, Washington Senators, 32 Years Old

1929

16-4, 3.45 ERA, 88 K, .232, 1 HR, 8 RBI

MVP Rank: 13

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Saves-8 (5th Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Firpo Marberry achieved fame mainly to being one of the first great relief pitchers, but it should be noted the three seasons (I’m guessing) he’s going to make this list, he was mainly a starter. In these days, good pitchers were used in both roles and that was certainly the case with Marberry, who pitched in 45 games this year and started 25 of those.

Wikipedia says, “Marberry was never a full-time starter, but was often considered one of the few great pitchers that could go back and forth from the bullpen to being a starter, since there were so few of his era. In 1930 and 1931, Marberry was employed primarily as a starter, and posted an overall record of 31–9 for the two seasons. In 1931, showcasing his talents as both a starter (25 starts), and a reliever (20 appearances), he posted a 16–4 record with a 3.45 ERA (5th in the league) and 88 strikeouts. While he picked up 11 complete games and 1 shutout as a starter, he also had 7 saves, and finished 13th in MVP voting (Lefty Grove won the award).”

It should be noted save did not become an official stat until 1969 and wasn’t in general use until 1960, so all of these saves stats before that were retroactively figured out by people who had more time on their hands than even me. Firpo Marberry has 99 saves, a lot for the time in which he pitched, but nobody would have known that back then.

whitehill2

P-Earl Whitehill, Detroit Tigers, 32 Years Old

1927

13-16, 4.08 ERA, 81 K, .155, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 14 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs Allowed-22

Range Factor/Game as P-2.41

2nd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team in 1927, Whitehill continued to be a solid pitcher for the Tigers, having double digit wins every year. Interestingly, in both seasons he made this list, he allowed more walks than strikeouts. In 1927, he walked 105 and struck out 95. This season, be allowed 118 free passes and whiffed 81.

In his 1927 blurb, I mentioned he was married to a beautiful woman named Violet Oliver who was falsely rumored to be the model for the Sunmaid Raisins “maiden.” According to SABR, “Later in life, all may not have been happy, as (upon Whitehill’s death) there was rumored to be a divorce petition on file, but there is no evidence of a formally granted decree. In 1931, however, all was happy enough as the Whitehills welcomed their only child, daughter Earlinda.”

SABR also adds: “Over 10 years Whitehill posted a 133-120 record for the Tigers. Control was a feature of his game, and he used his array of off-speed pitches to win 14 or more games ten times, too often for mediocre teams.  In 1931, two years after the Yankees began issuing uniform numbers to players, Whitehill was assigned number 11 by the Tigers. He was switched to 15 in 1932.”

This season, Whitehill finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.3), fifth in innings pitched (271 1/3), and also allowed the most long balls (22) in the American League. Hey, just because someone walks a lot of people and gives up a lot of dingers doesn’t make him a bad pitcher.

cochrane5

C-Mickey Cochrane, Philadelphia Athletics, 28 Years Old

1927 1928 1929 1930

.349, 17 HR, 89 RBI

MVP Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

Ron’s: No (Would require two more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Passed Balls-6

5th Time All-Star-There’s no way you could know this, but at this point in his career, at only the age of 28, only eight catchers have made more All-Star teams than Mickey Cochrane’s five. The leader at this time is Charlie Bennett, an 1800s backstop, who made nine All-Star teams. It’s just difficult to last too long at this position because of the daily grind.

Wikipedia says, “Cochrane was a catalyst in the Athletics’ pennant-winning years of 19291930 and 1931, during which he hit .331, .357 and .349 respectively. He played in those three World Series, winning the first two, but was sometimes blamed for the loss of the 1931 World Series, when the St. Louis Cardinals, led by Pepper Martin, stole eight bases and the Series. However, in his book The Life of a Baseball Hall of Fame Catcher, author Charlie Bevis cites the Philadelphia pitching staff’s carelessness in holding runners as a contributing factor. Notwithstanding this, the blame for the 1931 World Series loss dogged Cochrane for the rest of his life.”

Certainly, giving up all of those steals would impute some of the blame on Cochrane, but it should also be noted his hitting was way below his standards. Black Mike hit only .160 (four-for-25) and had no extra base hits as the A’s lost to the Cards, four games to three. He had hit .400 in 1929, dropped to .222 in 1930, and then down again to his mark this year. He’d be able to rebound a bit when he played in the World Series with the Tigers.

dickey3

C-Bill Dickey, New York Yankees, 24 Years Old

1929 1930

.327, 6 HR, 78 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1954)

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-670

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-55

Caught Stealing as C-46

Range Factor/9 Inn as C-6.30

Range Factor/Game as C-5.98

Fielding % as C-.996

3rd Time All-Star-In these days, it wasn’t easy to catch daily. It pummeled the body so much, catchers needed their rest. Yet Bill Dickey would catch 100 or more games 13 straight years, he was just too valuable to have out of the lineup. This year, dWAR rates him ninth in the American League, the first of six times The Man Nobody Knows made the top 10 in that category. Combined with his always steady bat, he made the All-Star team for the third consecutive season and he’s only 24. He’s not up to Mickey Cochrane’s level yet, but he’s no slouch.

SABR says of this season, “New York finished second to the Athletics in 1931. Dickey continued his outstanding play. He made only three errors behind the plate and continued to swing a hot bat, with a .327 batting average and 78 RBIs. He collected five hits in a game on May 17 at Detroit’s Navin Field and had seven RBIs in a 17-0 pasting of the Browns on September 17 at Yankee Stadium.   He was rewarded with the first of six nominations as catcher to The Sporting News All Star Team.”

One could have a good argument over who had the better career – Black Mike Cochrane or Dickey. Offensively, Cochrane dominated while behind the plate Dickey prevailed. What hurts Mickey in this discussion is his relatively short 13-year career. Dickey would play 17 years and that doesn’t include the two he missed due to World War II. I would probably give it to New York’s backstop. It should be noted Dickey’s best seasons are yet to come.

gehrig61B-Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees, 28 Years Old

1926 1927 1928 1929 1930

.341, 46 HR, 185 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1928)

 

Led in:

 

Plate Appearances-738 (2nd Time)

Runs Scored-163

Hits-211

Total Bases-410 (3rd Time)

Home Runs-46

Runs Batted In-185 (4th Time)

Extra Base Hits-92 (4th Time)

Times On Base-328 (3rd Time)

6th Time All-Star-In 1901, the American League was formed and Nap Lajoie won the Triple Crown, leading the league with 125 RBI. Some 10 years later, Ty Cobb set the new AL record with 127 RBI, but that just lasted one year to when Home Run Baker knocked in 130 runners. In 1920, you can guess who broke this record as the Bambino brought in 135 runs and then the next year, he drove in 168. Then his teammate Gehrig set the new AL record with 173 in 1927, tying that in 1930. This year, the Iron Horse set the Junior Circuit record that still remains today, 185. Hank Greenberg had 184 RBi in 1937 and he’s the only one to get close. In the National League, the record is Hack Wilson’s 191 in 1930.

Along with being a baseball fan, I am also a movie fan and finally watched The Pride of the Yankees. It’s an interesting movie because there’s not a ton of baseball in it, just a picture of Gehrig, the son, the husband, and the lunch pail-carrying ballplayer. It’s known mainly for Gehrig’s final speech at Yankee Stadium and I’ll cover that as I get towards the end of his career. Though I wasn’t close to being alive when Gehrig played, it seemed to me Gary Cooper did a good job portraying Lou, despite the fact he never had played baseball before. Interestingly, Cooper was actually three inches taller than the Yankees’ first baseman. If you’re a baseball fan, you should see it. You can probably find it streaming somewhere. I found it on Hoopla.

blue3

1B-Lu Blue, Chicago White Sox, 34 Years Old

1928 1929

.304, 1 HR, 62 RBI

MVP Rank: 17

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,452 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 1B-155 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,452 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team two straight years for the Browns, Blue had an off season in 1930, so right before the 1931 campaign began, he was purchased by White Sox for $15,000. He ended up being the White Sox best player as he continued to hold his own at this very tough position.

Donie Bush managed the White Sox for the second straight year and the team declined from seventh to eighth, finishing with a 56-97 record. When you have a team that can’t hit and probably had the worst pitching staff in the league, that will happen. Bush was gone after the season.

Wikipedia says, “After a poor performance in 1930, the Browns sent a new contract to Blue reducing his salary of $14,500 to less than half that amount. Blue refused to sign on those terms, and on April 3, 1931, the Browns sold Blue to the Chicago White Sox. Blue returned to the leadoff spot for the White Sox and responded with one of the best seasons of his career. He compiled a .304 batting average and ranked among the American League leaders with 15 triples (second), 127 bases on balls (second), 309 times on base (third), a .430 on-base percentage (fifth), 119 runs scored (sixth) and 13 stolen bases (tenth). He also had an outstanding season defensively, leading the league’s first basemen with 1,452 putouts, and ranking among the league leaders with 81 assists (third), 105 double plays turned (fourth), and a 10.14 range factor per nine innings (fourth). His 16 errors also ranked second in the league. He wound up 17th in the voting for the 1931 American League Most Valuable Player award.

“Blue died at his home in Alexandria, Virginia in 1958 at age 61. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Blue’s cause of death was acute congestive heart failure due to bronchopneumonia with chronic arthritis as a contributing condition.”

foxx41B-Jimmie Foxx, Philadelphia Athletics, 23 Years Old

1928 1929 1930

.291, 30 HR, 120 RBI

MVP Rank: 25

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1951)

Ron’s: Yes (inducted in 1931)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-84 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Jimmie Foxx became the 101st player inducted into my Hall of Fame and the ninth first baseman, joining Cap Anson, Jake Beckley, Dan Brouthers, Roger Connor, Lou Gehrig, Ed Konetchy, George Sisler, and Harry Stovey. You can see the full list here along with all the links for the above players.

In what would end up being Foxx’s last World Series, he again produced big numbers for the Athletics, hitting .348 (eight-for-23) with a home run, but the A’s lost to the Cardinals, four games to three.

SABR repeats what I said above, but with better writing and more details. Take a look: “After winning consecutive World Series, the Athletics had an even better regular season in 1931. The team won 107 games and cruised to the pennant easily despite competition from a Yankees team that scored nearly seven runs per game. Foxx continued to play a key role, but was hampered by serious knee and foot injuries, as well as the beginnings of sinus trouble that would haunt him in later years. Still, he hit 30 home runs and had 120 runs batted in, the third of 12 consecutive seasons of over 30 home runs. In the World Series, the A’s again faced the Cardinals, but this time Philadelphia was upset mainly because the storied exploits of Cards outfielder Pepper Martin. Foxx hit .348 in the Series and smashed a ball completely out of Shibe Park in Game Four. In his three postseason appearances, Foxx hit .344 with four home runs. However, the 1931 World Series was the last one for Foxx and the Philadelphia Athletics.”

bishop2

2B-Max Bishop, Philadelphia Athletics, 31 Years Old

1928

.294, 5 HR, 37 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.2

2nd Time All-Star-Since making the All-Star team in 1928, Bishop continued to field well and walk a lot, but the rest of his game declined. This year, his hitting came back somewhat, as he stroked for a .294 average and again helped lead the Athletics back to the American League title. Unfortunately, his poor hitting came back in the Series, as he went four-for-27 (.148) with no extra base hits and three walks. Philadelphia lost to the Cardinals, four games to three.

Wikipedia states, “Eight times he collected 100 walks, leading the AL with 128 in 1929; twice walked eight times in a doubleheader, to set a major league record; twice draw five walks in a single game, to become the only major leaguer to do this twice and recorded a 2.55 walk-to-strikeout ratio (1153-to-452), as his walk percentage of .204 is only surpassed by Ted Williams‘s .207. He also scored 100 or more runs during four consecutive seasons (1928–1931), with a career-high 117 in 1930. Rated as one of the best fielders in the game, Bishop led AL second basemen four times in fielding percentage and played 18 World Series games without committing an error, recording 29 putouts and 40 assists in the 1929, 1930 and 1931 World Series. When Bishop scored 117 runs in 1930, he became the only man in major league history to score at least 70 runs while collecting more runs than hits.”

It’s unclear whether or not Bishop will be back on this list. He’s still a good fielder, but his hitting isn’t going to do him any favors.

sewell8

3B-Joe Sewell, New York Yankees, 32 Years Old

1921 1923 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929

.302, 6 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1977)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1928)

 

Led in:

 

AB per SO-60.5 (7th Time)

8th Time All-Star-When I first started writing about Sewell, there was doubt that he would make my Hall of Fame, but he just kept making All-Star teams. He’s now at the point where it wouldn’t shock me if he makes the ONEHOF, the Hall of Fame of my creation that admits just one player a season.  He could make it now, in all honesty, but if he somehow makes another All-Star team, he’s a sure thing.

After 11 years of playing for Cleveland, Sewell was released and then gobbled up by the Yankees. The picture up above is of two Hall of Famers, Sewell and Lou Gehrig. On a page at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Sewell says of Gehrig, “’He (Gehrig) was one of the nicest fellows that you’d ever be around. You can’t say nice enough things about him,’ Sewell added. ‘And he was loyal to everybody. If he liked you he couldn’t do enough for you. I can’t remember all the time that he and I roomed together of him ever criticizing anybody or saying any bad things about anybody.’”

More from this page, which has a plethora of quotes from Little Joe, “’I’ve been asked that I betcha thousands of times,’ Sewell told Roberts of questions about this renowned batting eye. ‘Back when I was going to elementary school, we had to walk about a quarter of a mile and I can’t ever remember when I couldn’t throw up a Coca-Cola cap or a rock and hit it with a broomstick handle or a hickory stick or a limb or something. … I would develop my reflexes and my coordination and my timing. I didn’t know I was doing it. But when I got into high school ball I very seldom struck out. … When I was through with college and hit the major leagues, that was the easiest part about it – the hitting.’”

cronin2

SS-Joe Cronin, Washington Senators, 24 Years Old

1930

.306, 12 HR, 126 RBI

MVP Rank: 7

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1956)

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-156 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as SS-155 (2nd Time)

Putouts as SS-323 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-94 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1930, Cronin put together another solid season, proving he’d be a force to be reckoned with for many years. He was one of those rare shortstops who had a good glove (common) combined with a powerful bat (not-so-common). For the second straight year, he hit double digit dingers, stroking 12.

I mentioned in Joe’s 1930 blurb he would eventually marry the niece of Clark Griffith, the Senators’ owner. For some reason, SABR spends a lot of ink on this portion of his life. I normally wouldn’t mention this fan magazine twaddle, but I still need some words for this write-up, so…

“Other than baseball, the principal excitement in Joe’s life was his relationship with Mildred Robertson. Per Joe Engel’s prophesy, Joe and Mildred had taken to each other right away, but it was anything but a whirlwind romance. Joe began by dropping in to the office more often than he needed to, but their courtship became more traditional in the spring of 1930 during spring training. As her uncle’s secretary, Mildred accompanied the team to their spring camp in Biloxi, Mississippi, every year. By the time the Senators returned from spring training to Washington in 1930, Joe and Mildred were dating twice a week when the team was home. Joe was adamant that the relationship remain a secret lest people write that Joe was trying to get in good with the boss.”

Stay tuned to this website for more from “The Shortstop and the Owner’s Niece.”

lary

SS-Lyn Lary, New York Yankees, 25 Years Old

.280, 10 HR, 107 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 15 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as SS-155

1st Time All-Star-Lynford Hobart “Lyn” or “Broadway” Lary was born on January 28, 1906 in Armona, CA. The six-foot, 165 pound righty shortstop started with the Yankees in 1929 and was a decent hitter at his position for his first three seasons. That’s going to fade after this season and he’ll end up bouncing around teams in both leagues.

SABR says, “Babe Ruth called him ‘Broadway’ because Lyn Lary loved the theater in New York, and Lary’s obituary in The Sporting News said he ‘tried his best to live up to the nickname the Babe hung on him. He was one of the best dressers in the majors and drove a big eight-cylinder car that had a silver nameplate on the door.’ And Lary married Mary Lawlor, who was part of the original 1925 cast in former Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee’s Broadway musical No, No, Nanette.

“Early in [1931] came another mental lapse. It came in the top of the ninth, with two outs and New York down by two runs. Lefty Gomez told the story several years later: ‘Lou Gehrig was fighting Babe Ruth for the home run championship. I think they finished in a tie, 49 to 49. Lary was on base. Gehrig belted one of his super-specials over the right-field wall, and jogged around, for the ball game. We kept our eyes on Gehrig. We never paid any attention to Lary. He touched third, and then streaked for the dugout, where he took a drink of water. … [Gehrig rounded the bases and crossed the plate – where he was ruled out, for passing Lary on the basepaths]. We did not realize that Lary had failed to score, and that the Gehrig home run was nullified. Lary could not explain the lapse.’ The date was earlier in the season than Gomez had made it seem; it was on April 26 in Washington. Lary did say that the ball had landed in the seats and then popped back onto the field and that he thought that Gehrig had flied out. The game ended without either run scoring, and the Yankees lost, 9-7. Gehrig was credited with a triple.”

simmons7LF-Al Simmons, Philadelphia Athletics, 29 Years Old

1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930

.390, 22 HR, 128 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1953)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1929)

 

Led in:

 

1931 AL Batting Title (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.390 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as LF-.986 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-When great players of this era are being discussed, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig have to be at the top of the list and that’s totally fair. Yet, Bucketfoot Al shouldn’t be forgotten as one of the premier hitters of his day and his hitting helped lead the A’s to their third straight American League title. Then, despite losing the World Series four games to three to the Cardinals, it wasn’t Simmons’ fault as he hit .333 (nine-for-27) with two doubles and two homers.

SABR wraps up his season, stating, “In 1931, the A’s won their third straight AL pennant, by 13.5 games over the Yankees, going 107–45. Simmons won his second batting title, hitting .390 with 22 home runs, 128 RBI, 100 runs scored, 200 hits, 37 doubles, 13 triples and a .641 slugging percentage while playing in only 128 games. He finished third in AL MVP voting behind his MVP teammate Lefty Grove and the Yankees’ Lou Gehrig. The A’s were upset in their quest for a third consecutive World Series title, losing the World Series in seven games to the Cardinals. Simmons hit .333 with 2 home runs and 8 RBI in the series.”

Though there’s no way anybody knew it at the time, this would be Simmons’ last outstanding season. He’d never be in the top 10 in WAR again and only one more time will he be in top 10 in WAR Position Players. Research it and you’ll be surprised how often this happens when a player turns 30 and it even happens to the greats.

chapmanb

LF-Ben Chapman, New York Yankees, 22 Years Old

.315, 17 HR, 122 RBI

MVP Rank: 15

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 14 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-61

Caught Stealing-23

Power-Speed #-26.6

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.45

1st Time All-Star-William Benjamin “Ben” Chapman was born on Christmas, 1908 in Nashville, TN. The six-foot, 190 pound righty outfielder would garner fame for his speed, leading the American League in steals numerous times. When Miller Huggins managed the Yankees, he didn’t like stealing because he wanted people on base for Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig to drive in. Based on Chapman’s 61 steals, we can see Joe McCarthy had a different mentality. Those steals would be the most in the Majors between 1921 and 1961. (George Case also had 61 in 1943).

While it was Chapman’s speed which gained him fame, his racism gained him infamy. This would be especially clear in the Jackie Robinson days, when he would abuse the Dodger as a manager of the Phillies, but it appeared even in his time as a player. Wikipedia says, “It was in New York that the extent of Chapman’s bigotry first surfaced. He taunted Jewish fans at Yankee Stadium with Nazi salutes and disparaging epithets.”

Let’s talk baseball, shall we? Chapman played third base as a rookie in 1930 and then moved to the outfield this year. According to SABR, “Manager Joe McCarthy explained: ‘He didn’t get the ball away quickly enough for an infielder and lost too many double plays. He had a full arm action instead of a snap throw. This was an asset in the outfield but a handicap in the infield. There wasn’t any question that he belonged in the outfield.’” I have him as a leftfielder, but he also played a lot of rightfield, too.

goslin7

LF-Goose Goslin, St. Louis Browns, 30 Years Old

1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1930

.328, 24 HR, 105 RBI

MVP Rank: 20

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1968)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1928)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as LF-151 (5th Time)

Assists as LF-13 (4th Time)

Errors Committed as LF-14 (7th Time)

7th Time All-Star-For a stretch of time from 1924-through-1931, there weren’t too many better players than Leon Allen Goslin, known as Goose. He didn’t lead in a lot of stats because he played in the Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig era, but he was always the best player on whatever team of which he happened to be a member. Browns fans didn’t always have a lot to root for, but they had the joy of watching Goose smack a baseball.

As for the Browns, Bill Killefer managed them to a fifth place finish, up from sixth in 1930, with a 63-91 record. They were a middle of the road team, whether it came to hitting or pitching.

Goslin would end up making three more World Series, giving in five in total. He made it 1933 with the Senators again and with Detroit in 1934 and 1935. He won his second championship with the Tigers in the latter season.

Wikipedia says, “Goslin was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1968, along with Kiki Cuyler, by the Veterans Committee. When he was inducted into the Hall, Goslin broke down and cried. ‘I have been lucky’, he said, ‘I want to thank God, who gave me the health and strength to compete with these great players. I will never forget this. I will take this to my grave.’

“After retiring from baseball, Goslin operated a boat rental company on Delaware Bay for many years, until he retired in 1969. He died in Bridgeton, New Jersey, aged 70 [in 1971], and is buried in the Baptist Cemetery, Salem, New Jersey.”

averill2

CF-Earl Averill, Cleveland Indians, 29 Years Old

1929

.333, 32 HR, 143 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1975)

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

At Bats-627

Def. Games as CF-155 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as OF-155 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-When I originally wrote Averill’s blurb for 1929, I said there was a chance he wasn’t going to make my Hall of Fame. However, he was actually a sure thing and I’ve changed that write-up since then. One of two things happened. Either I made a mistake (very likely) or his career WAR changed on Baseball Reference between the time I wrote that and today (not as likely). As a reminder, I pick my Hall of Fame based solely on numbers. I multiply the number of All-Star teams made by the player’s career WAR and if the number is 300 or over, that player is in. Averill’s career WAR is 51.1 so he would need to make six All-Star teams. No doubt he is going to do that.

Averill’s Hall of Fame page states, “Averill posted similar numbers in 1930 with 19 homers, 119 RBI and a .339 average, then found his power stroke in 1931 with 32 homers, 143 RBI and 140 runs scored. During his first 10 big league seasons, he averaged 22 home runs, 107 RBI and 114 runs scored a season and hit .319.

“’I thank the good Lord he wasn’t twins,’ said Hall of Fame pitcher Lefty Gomez, whose Yankees battled the Indians in the American League throughout the 1930s. ‘One more like him probably would have kept me out of the Hall of Fame.’” Averill probably would have made the Hall of Fame sooner if his career had been longer. He’s only going to end up playing 11 full seasons.

ruth15

RF-Babe Ruth, New York Yankees, 36 Years Old

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930

.373, 46 HR, 162 RBI

MVP Rank: 5

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1923)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-10.5 (10th Time)

WAR Position Players-10.5 (11th Time)

Offensive WAR-10.7 (10th Time)

On-Base %-.495 (9th Time)

Slugging %-.700 (13th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.195 (13th Time)

Home Runs-46 (12th Time)

Bases on Balls-128 (9th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-218 (12th Time)

Runs Created-184 (9th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-98 (10th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-9.0 (10th Time)

Times On Base-328 (8th Time)

Offensive Win %-.879 (11th Time)

AB per HR-11.6 (13th Time)

Base-Out Runs Added-97.01 (8th Time)

Win Probability Added-8.4 (9th Time)

Situ. Wins Added-8.2 (11th Time)

Base-Out Wins Added-9.2 (8th Time)

15th Time All-Star-For many of the 15 years I’ve been written about the Bambino, I’ve typed a list like the one above with all of those categories in which Ruth led the American League. However, after this season, he will no longer lead in any of those categories, except for walks. He’s still going to make the All-Star team, probably for the next three years, but when compared to himself, Ruth is going to look mortal.

I have Ruth rated as the fourth best player of all time through 1931. The full list can be seen here

Ruth also hit his 600th homer. Pinstripe Alley says, “The very next day, beleaguered Browns starter George Blaeholder pitched for the Browns. The righthander allowed five homers to Ruth in his career, and one of these clouts would occur that day.

“The Yankees had a 1-0 lead entering the third inning, when Blaeholder put two runners on for the ever-dangerous ‘Sultan of Swat.’ Ruth crushed a poorly-placed pitch high in the air, soaring far from home plate. By the time the ball came down, it had flown over the bleacher roof and crashed down onto a car parked on Grand Boulevard for a tape-measure home run. It was fitting that Ruth’s 600th homer would be such a monstrous shot.

“At the end of the day, here was how the all-time home run standings looked:

    1. Babe Ruth, 600
    2.  Rogers Hornsby, 293
    3. Cy Williams, 251
    4. Lou Gehrig, 221
    5. Hack Wilson, 205”

webb

RF-Earl Webb, Boston Red Sox, 33 Years Old

.333, 14 HR, 103 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 23 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-67

Def. Games as RF-151

Errors Committed as RF-16

Errors Committed as OF-16

1st Time All-Star-William Earl Webb was born on September 17, 1897 in White County, TN. The six-foot-one, 185 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing rightfielder started with the Giants in 1925, batting just four times. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1926 and then played for the Cubs in 1927 and ’28. He then took another year off from the Majors in 1929 before coming to the Red Sox in 1930. He had a decent season in his first year for Boston, but in 1931 he had one of those freaky years that happen occasionally. It was easily it was his best season ever.

In 1871, in the National Association, Cap Anson led the league with 11 doubles. Ross Barnes broke that in 1872 with 28 and again in 1873 with 31. In 1875, Cal McVey stroked 36 doubles. Then the National League’s King Kelly hit 37 doubles in 1882 and then Ned Williamson topped that the next year with 49. In 1887, Tip O’Neill, playing in the American Association, hit 52 and that held until Ed Delahanty, playing in the NL in 1899, crushed 55 doubles. Tris Speaker hit 59 doubles 24 years later in the American League and then George Burns hit 64 in 1926. Most of those player on that list are great players with multiple All-Star appearances, but it was Webb this season who set the all-time record for two-baggers with 67. Webb would never hit more than 30 in any other season.

Webb played out his career with the Red Sox, Tigers, and White Sox, retiring in 1933. He died in Jamestown, TN at the age of 67 on May 23, 1965.

1931 National League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-Wilbur Cooper

P-Watty Clark, BRO

P-Ed Brandt, BSN

P-Ray Benge, PHI

P-Carl Hubbell, NYG

P-Bill Walker, NYG

P-Tom Zachary, BSN

P-Bob Smith, CHC

P-Heinie Meine, PIT

P-Phil Collins, PHI

P-Bill Hallahan, STL

C-Spud Davis, PHI

C-Shanty Hogan, NYG

1B-Bill Terry, NYG

2B-Rogers Hornsby, CHC

2B-Tony Cuccinello, CIN

2B-Frankie Frisch, STL

3B-Pie Traynor, PIT

SS-Travis Jackson, NYG

SS-Woody English, CHC

LF-Chuck Klein, PHI

LF-Chick Hafey, STL

CF-Wally Berger, BSN

CF-Mel Ott, NYG

RF-Paul Waner, PIT

RF-Kiki Cuyler, CHC

 

cooper9

ONEHOF-Wilbur Cooper, P

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923

216-178, 2.89 ERA, 1252 K, .239, 6 HR, 106 RBI, 53.5 Career WAR

 

Every season, I pick a player to go in the ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame. It is the best player that isn’t already part of that group. This year I picked a player who didn’t even make Cooperstown and indeed never received over 4.4 percent of the vote. Yet for eight straight seasons, the lefty Cooper was the dominant pitcher on the Pirates and one of the best in the National League. From 1916-to-1923, he never finished out of the top 10 in Pitcher WAR and never below eighth during that time. In 1922, Coop led in that category while finishing 23-14 with 27 complete games. His problem is that the Pirates played mediocre ball during that time. In that eight year stretch, Pittsburgh finished 593-594 while Cooper went 153-111. He’s arguably the best Pirates pitcher of all time. He and Babe Adams are so close, it’s hard to pick, though Cooper has made the ONEHOF, while Adams is still in the nominee category. And speaking of nominees….

The nominees for next year are Hardy RichardsonJimmy CollinsElmer FlickJohnny EversLarry DoyleArt FletcherWally SchangJoe Sewell, Charley JonesFred DunlapGeorge GoreNed WilliamsonBid McPheeSam ThompsonJack ClementsAmos RusieCupid ChildsClark GriffithJesse BurkettJoe McGinnityEd WalshNap RuckerEd KonetchyLarry GardnerJake DaubertBabe AdamsBobby VeachGeorge SislerHeinie GrohCarl MaysDave BancroftUrban ShockerEddie Rommel,  Sam Rice, Burleigh Grimes, Dazzy Vance, Goose Goslin, and Al Simmons.

clark3

P-Watty Clark, Brooklyn Robins, 28 Years Old

1928 1929

14-10, 3.20 ERA, 96 K, .250, 0 HR, 5 RBI

MVP Rank: 20

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-6.3

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.154

Sit. Wins Saved-3.1

Fielding % as P-1.000

3rd Time All-Star-This is going to be an interesting year in the National League. After a 1930 season in which hitting number were through the roof, the league is going to settle down this year. In 1930, the NL averaged 5.68 runs per games, this season that number dropped over an entire run to 4.48. The number would never hit five again until the steroid era.

The other peculiar thing is that there weren’t any great individual seasons. According to bWAR, the best player in the league was this Brooklyn lefty, whose WAR was 6.3. That is the lowest total to ever lead the Senior Circuit. Only Hank Aguirre’s 6.2 WAR leading the American League is lower for the two Major Leagues. (Technically, the lowest total to lead any league was George Zettlein’s 4.5 in the 1871 National Association, but that league played a 30-game season.)

This was the last season for Wilbert Robinson as manager after 18 seasons at the Brooklyn helm. The team finished in fourth place for the second straight season, with a record of 79-73.

SABR says of the Brooklyn skipper, “Robinson and [Giants manager John] McGraw finally reconciled at the National League winter meetings in December 1930, ending their 17-year feud. Robbie remained on as Brooklyn manager through the end of the 1931 season, after which he left for his hunting camp, Dover Hall, near Brunswick, Georgia. He wasn’t there long when he received word that the Dodgers had replaced him as manager with Max Carey.

“In early August 1934 he fell in his hotel room, hitting his head on the bathtub and breaking his arm. While being administered to, he uttered his most famous line: ‘Don’t worry about it, fellas. I’m an old Oriole. I’m too tough to die.’
“He was wrong. Having suffered a brain hemorrhage, Wilbert Robinson died in Atlanta on August 8, 1934, with his wife at his bedside. It was just five months and 14 days after the death of McGraw.”

Clark died at the age of 69 on March 4, 1972 in Clearwater, FL.

brandt

P-Ed Brandt, Boston Braves, 26 Years Old

18-11, 2.92 ERA, 112 K, .256, 0 HR, 8 RBI

MVP Rank: 10

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Win Probability Added-3.9

1st Time All-Star-Edward Arthur “Big Ed” Brandt was born on February 17, 1905 in Spokane, WA. The six-foot-one, 190 pound lefty pitcher started with the Bravos in 1928 and led the National League in losses with 21. During his first three seasons, he never finished with an ERA under five. It wasn’t until this year, his best season ever, he put together a solid season.

Bill McKechnie managed the Braves as the team dropped from sixth to seventh with a record of 64-90. Despite the good year for centerfielder Wally Berger, Boston couldn’t hit, scoring the fewest runs in the league.

SABR, on Brandt’s season, states, “At some point, probably during spring training in 1931, McKecknie had a conversation with Brandt in which he asked the lefty, also known as Big Ed for his tall frame, what he liked to do in the winter. Brandt said he liked to hunt, to which McKechnie said, ‘Then you’d better make up your mind that you’re a major-league pitcher and not just a semipro star. If you don’t, you’ll be scratching the year ‘round on a job in a sawmill or a tin shop. Get me?’

“Brandt had undergone surgery for a chronic sinus condition over the winter, so whether it was McKechnie’s admonition or better health or both, he started the 1931 season like a house afire, winning his first eight starts, all complete-game victories. Although he cooled off a little once the dog days of summer arrived, Brandt still finished the season with 18 wins and 11 losses for a team that won only 64 games and finished in seventh place, 37 games out of the lead. His 2.92 earned-run average was third lowest in the league and his 23 complete games were second-most.”

benge2

P-Ray Benge, Philadelphia Phillies, 29 Years Old

1928

14-18, 3.17 ERA, 117 K, .205, 0 HR, 7 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 21 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-6.2

2nd Time All-Star-What a tough chore it was to pitch in the bandbox known as the Baker Bowl, the Phillies’ home park. Unless you’re Ray Benge, that is. He had no problem shutting down teams in Philly, going 10-7 with a 2.79 ERA. It was on the road he struggled, compiling a 4-11 record with a 3.55 ERA. It helped him that run scoring in the whole league had dropped so dramatically. See Watty Clark’s blurb for details.

Manager Burt Shotton helped the team make some ground in the National League, directing Philadelphia from eighth to sixth with a 66-88 record. Despite the presence of Benge and Phil Collins, the Phillies’ pitching still was their downfall.

SABR, as usual, details his season, saying, “But the 1931 season launched a career best four-year run for Benge. Except for a rough start against the Cincinnati Reds on May 15, 1931, that month was one of the best of Benge’s career: a 1.19 ERA and four victories, including his fifth career shutout. On June 16, he carried a 1-0 three hit shutout into the ninth inning against the Cardinals before back-to-back one out home runs by right fielder George Watkins and Frankie Frisch—the latter a massive drive off the roof of St. Louis’ Sportsman’s Park—sent Benge to a crushing defeat. He collected a career high marks in innings pitched (247) and strikeouts (117) and won seven of his last 10 decisions to finish with his first 14-win season. During the offseason, Benge, to his great displeasure, was rewarded for his work with a pay cut when the Phillies, like other major league clubs, cited financial hardship amid the Great Depression, and reduced roster payrolls.”

hubbell3

P-Carl Hubbell, New York Giants, 28 Years Old

1929 1930

14-12, 2.65 ERA, 155 K, .241, 1 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

Ron’s: No (Would require two more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-1.121

Hits per 9 IP-7.657

3rd Time All-Star-When you glance at the names above Hubbell on this list, you won’t be blamed for saying, “Who?” None of the three are even close to being Hall of Famers. The title for best pitcher in the National League during this stretch was between Dazzy Vance, who didn’t make the All-Star team this year, and King Carl. Vance was starting to fade, while the best of Hubbell remains ahead.

This would be the last full season for John McGraw, but I’ll save his wrap-up for next year. The Giants went 87-65, finishing in second place, 13 games behind the Cardinals. With my pick for MVP, Bill Terry, leading the way, New York finished third in the NL in runs scored. Hubbell’s leadership also gave it a stellar pitching staff.

For the year, Hubbell finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (4.4); second in ERA (2.65), behind teammate Bill Walker (2.26); ninth in innings pitched (248); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (139), again behind Walker (163).

Previewing some of the upcoming years for Hubbell, he’s not going to win 20 games in a season until he turns 30 and then he’ll accomplish that five straight seasons. At this point in his career, he’s obviously good, but has yet to make the top 10 in WAR or the top five in WAR for Pitchers. He’s going to hit those marks many times in years ahead. It’s not often a pitcher three decades old performs like Hubbell did, but that’s the fun part of baseball. You can always see something new.

walkerb2

P-Bill Walker, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1929

16-9, 2.26 ERA, 121 K, .065, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 19 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

1931 NL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-2.26 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-6

Adjusted ERA+-163

Adj. Pitching Runs-36

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.8

Base-Out Runs Saved-35.02 (2nd Time)

Base-Out Wins Saved-3.8 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1929, Walker pitched decently in 1930, going 17-15 with a 3.93 ERA, but couldn’t make the list. He’s back this year with a great season, only lacking enough innings to rate higher. For the second time, Walker led the National League in ERA (2.26).

SABR wraps up his life, stating, “At the age of 36, Walker retired after a 20-year professional baseball career. The two-time National League ERA leader won 97 games and posted a 3.59 ERA (114 ERA+) in 1,489⅔ innings. He won 132 games and pitched more than 2,100 innings in his 13-year minor-league career.

“A resident of East St. Louis and St. Clair County, Illinois, his entire life, Walker married Bernadine Parish in 1941. They had two children, Ann and Bill. A lifelong baseball fan, Walker regularly attended games at Sportsman’s Park and participated in occasional reunion games for the Gas House Gang. He supported local American Legion baseball and coached during the years his son played. Walker enjoyed a distinguished and varied career as an elected and appointed public servant in East St. Louis in his post-playing days. Even before retiring, he was elected trustee of the East Side Levee and Sanitation District in 1939, and subsequently was elected treasurer of St. Clair County, and later Probate Court clerk in Belleville.

“William Henry Walker died of cancer at Christian Welfare Hospital in East St. Louis on June 14, 1966, at the age of 62. Praised for his ‘indomitable spirit’ for overcoming his childhood health problems, Walker was buried in the Valhalla Garden of Memory in Belleville, Illinois.”

zachary2

P-Tom Zachary, Boston Braves, 35 Years Old

1926

11-15, 3.10 ERA, 64 K, .167, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team for the St. Louis Browns in 1926, Zachary had an interesting career. In midseason 1927, he was traded by the St. Louis Browns to the Washington Senators for General Crowder. Then in midseason 1928, Zach was selected off waivers by the New York Yankees from the Washington Senators. This gave him his third postseason opportunity as he pitched a complete game victory over the Cardinals, allowing three runs and striking out seven. Then towards the beginning of the 1930 season, Zachary was selected off waivers by the Boston Braves from the New York Yankees. He’ll end up spending the rest of his career in the National League.

Wikipedia mentions, “Zachary is well known for giving up Babe Ruth‘s record-setting 60th home run in 1927. Then the next year, pitching for Ruth’s team, the New York Yankees, he won the third game of the World Series, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals.

“Zachary went 12–0 for the 1929 Yankees, which is still the major league record for most pitching wins without a loss in one season.

“Zachary was a very good hitting pitcher, posting a .226 batting average (254-for-1122) with 79 runs, 6 home runs, 112 RBI and drawing 62 bases on balls. He had a career high 14 RBI in 1926 and batted a career high .306 (22-for-72) in 1928.”

This season, he finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (4.8); seventh in ERA (3.10); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (123). He’ll probably make one more of these lists.

smithb3P-Bob Smith, Chicago Cubs, 36 Years Old

1927 1930

15-12, 3.22 ERA, 63 K, .218, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000

3rd Time All-Star-Despite making the All-Star team in 1930, Smith was traded by the Boston Braves with Jimmy Welsh to the Chicago Cubs for Bill McAfee and Wes Schulmerich. It was a good pick up for the Cubs as Smith gave them a solid season. It will be his last season as a starter and, most likely, his last season on this list.

Smith finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (3.8) and 10th in ERA (3.22). Also on the mound, he accepted 63 chances without an error.

After this season, Smitty went to the bullpen for the most part and stayed with the Cubs in 1932. He pitched in relief in the World Series for Chicago that year and gave up two hits and one run in one inning to the Yankees. Then before the 1933 season, he was traded by the Chicago Cubs with Rollie HemsleyJohnny Moore and Lance Richbourg to the Cincinnati Reds for Babe Herman. The Reds released him and then we was selected off waivers by the Braves, where he would finish his career.

Back in 1927 when Smith made his first All-Star team, I should have mentioned he didn’t start his career as a pitcher, but as a shortstop. That was his main position for the Braves from 1923-25. He wasn’t a very good hitter, with 1925 being his best year when he slashed .282/.302/.379 for an OPS+ of 80.

Smith would live a long life, dying at the age of 92 in Waycross, GA.

meine

P-Heinie Meine, Pittsburgh Pirates, 35 Years Old

19-13, 2.98 ERA, 58 K, .146, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 49 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Wins-19

Innings Pitched-284

Games Started-35

Batters Faced-1,202

1st Time All-Star-Henry William “Heinie” or “The Count of Luxemburg” Meine was born on May 1,1896 in St. Louis, MO. The five-foot-11, 180 pound righty pitcher started with the Browns in 1922 pitching just one game. He then didn’t pitch in the Majors until 1929 when the Pirates picked him up and he muddled through two seasons. Then came this year and Meine shined for the first time, including leading the National League in wins with 19, along with Jumbo Elliott and Bill Hallahan. It was the first time in the Majors any league didn’t have a 20-game winner, not counting Al Spalding in the 1871 National Association when he only had 19 wins also. But his team played only 30 games. It, of course, happens frequently nowadays. The NL hasn’t had a 20-game winner since 2016.

Did those wins help the Pirates? Not really, as they ended up in fifth place with a 75-79 record. Thanks to Meine, their pitching was strong, but they had weak hitting. Jewel Ens managed his third and last season, altogether going 176-167. It’s surprising he didn’t get another chance in the Majors.

Wikipedia says, “He was given the nickname ‘The Count of Luxemburg’ on account of his operating a speakeasy/tavern in the Luxemburg section of St. Louis.

“After the 1931 season, Meine participated in an exhibition game at St. Louis between Max Carey‘s All-Stars (an all-star team of major leaguers) and the St. Louis Stars of the Negro Leagues. Meine gave up 10 runs as the Stars won 10–8. The game may have inspired Kevin King’s 2007 fictional account of a Negro League team defeating a team of major league all-stars. In King’s account, Negro League star Mule Suttles tries to recall the list of major league all-stars who played in the game: ‘Heinie Manush, Heinie Meine, Heinie Schuble. They had Heinies coming out of the hiney, and we kicked their hineys.’

“In March 1968, Meine died of cancer at the Alexian Brothers Hospital in St. Louis.”

collinsp2

P-Phil Collins, Philadelphia Phillies, 29 Years Old

1930

12-16, 3.86 ERA, 73 K, .168, 0 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 19 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as P-17

2nd Time All-Star-I mentioned in Ray Benge’s blurb how tough it was to pitch in the Baker Bowl, but Collins had a modicum of success there, now making his second straight All-Star team. Unlike Benge, who was incredibly more successful in his bandbox home field, Collins was ever, allowing a 4.03 ERA at home and a 4.06 ERA on the road.

The Phillies are the ultimate example of how much the National League changed from 1930 to 1931. For instance, Collins had an ERA of 4.78 in 1930 and I rated him as the second best pitcher in the league. This year, his ERA was 3.86 and I have him rated ninth. In 1930, Philadelphia scored 6.1 runs a game and gave up an atrocious 7.7. This season, the Phillies scored 4.4 per game while give up just 5.3. Those 5.3 runs still were the most in the NL.

The New York Times mentions this dip in scoring in an article about the depression, saying, “As the 1931 season dawned, Frank J. Navin, the acting American League president and the owner of the Detroit Tigers, saw no sign of the impending collapse.

“’Former business depressions have not hurt baseball,’ he told The Associated Press, ‘and I do not think the present depression will materially affect attendance this year.’

“But the hard times did arrive, and quickly. Attendance fell 16 percent in 1931, driven not just by rising unemployment but also a decision by the owners to dampen the scoring boom by changing the rules for what constituted a home run and tinkering with the composition of Spalding’s baseballs.”

hallahan2

P-Bill Hallahan, St. Louis Cardinals, 28 Years Old

1930

19-9, 3.29 ERA, 159 K, .099, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 19 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Wins-19

Strikeouts-159 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls-112 (2nd Time)

Wild Pitches-11

2nd Time All-Star-St. Louis dominated the National League this year, but the surprising thing to me is it just had three All-Stars and only one pitcher on this list, Hallahan. He was incredible during the year and in the World Series, where he won two games in leading the Cardinals to their third league title. They won the World Series in 1886 when they were the St. Louis Browns and in 1926 over the mighty Yankees. This year, they took down yet another powerhouse, the Athletics.

Gabby Street managed the team to an outstanding 101-53 season. Led by Chick Hafey, they had good hitting and led by Hallahan, the Cards showcased the league’s best pitching staff.

Wikipedia says, “In 1931, Hallahan again led the NL in strikeouts (159) and walks (112) and won 19 games, as St. Louis again took the league championship for a rematch against the Athletics. This time, Hallahan was even more effective. He shut out the A’s again in Game 2, pitched a complete game 5–1 victory in Game 5, and nailed down the decisive Game 7 in relief by getting the last out in the ninth inning. Altogether, he gave up only 12 hits and one run in ​18 13 innings — an ERA of 0.36 — as St. Louis triumphed in seven games. Hallahan’s dominance is even more impressive because the A’s featured a predominantly right-handed-hitting lineup, including fearsome sluggers Jimmie Foxx and Al Simmons.

“After retiring from baseball, Hallahan worked as a supervisor for General Aniline and Film Co. (now GAF) in Johnson City, New York. He lived on Davis Street on the West Side of Binghamton, where he led a very quiet life. He was a local legend to the young kids in that neighborhood who frequently begged him to show them his World Series watches and rings. He always obliged. Wild Bill would attend Little League games at nearby Recreation Park to cheer on the neighborhood kids. The field there is dedicated in his honor.

“He died at age 78 in Binghamton, New York.”

daviss

C-Spud Davis, Philadelphia Phillies, 26 Years Old

.326, 4 HR, 51 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. 18 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-114

Assists as C-78

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-48

Caught Stealing as C-40

1st Time All-Star-Virgil Lawrence “Spud” Davis was born on December 20, 1904 in Birmingham, AL. The six-foot-one, 197 pound righty catcher started with St. Louis in 1928, but after playing just two games for it, he was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals with Don Hurst and Homer Peel to the Philadelphia Phillies for a player to be named later, Art Decatur and Jimmie Wilson. The Philadelphia Phillies sent Bill Kelly (May 12, 1928) to the St. Louis Cardinals to complete the trade. He became the Phillies’ regular catcher fairly quickly and he’s going to put together a good enough career, he’ll actually garner some Hall of Fame interest.

SABR says, “While Davis left the pennant-winning Cardinals for the 43-109 Phillies, he didn’t mind the switch, saying many years later that he was happy to go anywhere that he could get a chance to play. Spud hit his first career home run on with the Phillies on June 8, taking Sheriff Blake of the Cubs deep for a game-winning three-run shot in the bottom of the eighth of the Phillies’ 6-5 win. Davis finished his rookie season hitting .280 with three home runs and 19 RBIs for the last-place Phillies, who finished 51 games behind the Cardinals squad he had begun the season with. Davis split the catching duties for the Phillies with fellow rookie backstop Walt Lerian.

“Davis became the Phillies’ primary backstop in 1930, not so much because of his play but because of tragedy. Just weeks after the conclusion of the 1929 season, Walt Lerian was killed in Baltimore when a delivery truck jumped a curb at a trolley stop and caught him as it ran into a building.”

hogan3

C-Shanty Hogan, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

1928 1930

.301, 12 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 15 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as C-.996

3rd Time All-Star-I haven’t mentioned in Hogan’s first two write-ups as to why he was nicknamed Shanty and that’s because I can’t find a reason. Lord knows, I’ve done minutes of research, but I’m coming up empty. Whatever the reason for James Francis Hogan being known as Shanty, he continued to be one of the best catchers in the National League. When comparing the hitting of 1931 with 1930 and accounting for NL’s offensive decline, Hogan’s hitting was similar.

The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract names Hogan the slowest player of the 1930s and indeed, starting in 1932, he’d never steal another base and also never hit more than two triples in a year. It was because Hogan always carried some extra weight. As Wikipedia says, “His vaudeville / baseball partner Andy Cohen recalled Hogan as someone who ‘could have been one of the best catchers ever… but he ate himself out of the big leagues.’ Hogan showed up for camp one year weighing 265 pounds (120 kg) and would run in a rubber suit and take hot showers in an effort to lose weight, but then he’d eat more to regain his strength, and weight. Giants manager John McGraw tried to control Hogan’s weight by watching his meal checks, but Hogan developed a system where he would write down foods McGraw would want him to eat, which the waitresses knew to replace with the foods Hogan wanted to eat. As Cohen recalled, ‘He’d write down spinach, but that meant potatoes. He had a whole code of his own.’”

terryb5

1B-Bill Terry, New York Giants, 32 Years Old, 1st MVP

1927 1928 1929 1930

.349, 9 HR, 112 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1954)

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-6.1 (2nd Time)

Runs Scored-121

Triples-20

Def. Games as 1B-153 (2nd Time)

Assists as 1B-105 (3rd Time)

5th Time All-Star-From 1910-1914, there was a Most Valuable Player award called the Chalmers Award, named after Hugh Chalmers of Chalmers Automotive. The from 1922-28 in the American League and 1924-29 in the National League, there was a League Award, with restrictions on voting, including a player unable to win more than once (in the AL only, the NL had no such limitations). Starting this season was the modern-day MVP award voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

In the NL, that award went to Frankie Frisch, the Cardinals’ second baseman, who had a decent season, but probably garnered votes because his team was so dominant. I had a hard time choosing my MVP, but I’m giving it to Terry, who was probably the best hitter in the league.

Wikipedia says everything I just said, but pithier: “While Terry never again reached the lofty heights of 1930, he had another excellent season in 1931. He led the league in runs scored with 121 and in triples with 20 while batting .349 with 112 runs batted in, and he finished third in the new Baseball Writers’ Association of America National League Most Valuable Player Award voting. He became the only Giants player (as of 2014) to hit two doubles and two triples in a game when he did so against the Cincinnati Reds on September 13, 1931.”

So to wrap up his season, Terry finished third in WAR (6.1), behind Brooklyn pitcher Watty Clark (6.3) and Boston pitcher Ed Brandt (6.2); first in WAR Position Players (6.1); second in Offensive WAR (5.4), trailing Philadelphia leftfielder Chuck Klein (5.7); second in batting (.349), behind St. Louis leftfielder Chick Hafey (.349); eighth in on-base percentage (.397); seventh in slugging (.529); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (149).

hornsby15

2B-Rogers Hornsby, Chicago Cubs, 35 Years Old

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929

.331, 16 HR, 90 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1924)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1942)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.421 (9th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.996 (11th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-163 (12th Time)

Offensive Win %-.787 (12th Time)

15th Time All-Star-Hornsby only played 42 games for the Cubs in 1930 and this year managed to play 100. However, for the rest of his career, which would last six more years, he’ll never play over 57 games as he’ll finish out his playing days with the St. Louis Browns of the American League. This will be his last All-Star team and I have him rated as the eighth best player of all time. Here’s the full list (through the 1931 season):

  1. Walter Johnson, P
  2. Ty Cobb, CF
  3. Cy Young, P
  4. Babe Ruth, RF
  5. Tris Speaker, CF
  6. Eddie Collins, 2B
  7. Honus Wagner, SS
  8. Hornsby, 2B
  9. Pete Alexander, P
  10. Cap Anson, 1B

I suggest you read the whole SABR article on Hornsby, as he had a long baseball career even after leaving the Majors.  I just want to post a bit: “Like all men with superior athletic ability of one kind or another, Hornsby was far from perfect. He mostly made a mess of his personal life and his blunt, opinionated, outspoken, speak-your-mind-at-any-time approach to life kept him in turmoil and cost him any number of jobs. He was, not surprisingly given his Texas upbringing at the time, bigoted and anti-Semitic, although he had a number of Jewish friends. Although he always claimed that he was hurting no one but himself, his betting on the horses got him cross-ways with Commissioner Landis, who may have blackballed Hornsby for a number of years.

“On the other hand, Hornsby had a real fondness for children, working with thousands over many years. He was a more successful minor-league than major-league manager, suggesting that he had more patience at that level. But as a player he was so good that any all-time team without him at second base is highly suspect. The Rajah was indeed royalty with a bat in his hands.

“In the fall of 1962 Hornsby entered a Chicago hospital for cataract surgery and suffered a stroke. He was unable to leave the hospital during the holidays and on January 5, 1963, the Rajah suffered a fatal heart attack. He was 66 years old.”

cuccinello

2B-Tony Cuccinello, Cincinnati Reds, 23 Years Old

.315, 2 HR, 93 RBI

MVP Rank: 25

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. 31 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Assists-499

Def. Games as 2B-154

Putouts as 2B-376

Assists as 2B-499

Errors Committed as 2B-28

Double Plays Turned as 2B-128

1st Time All-Star-Anthony Francis “Tony” or “Cooch” or “Chick” Cuccinello was born on November 8, 1907 in Long Island City, NY. The five-foot-seven, 160 pound righty second baseman started with Cincinnati in 1930 as a third baseman. He moved to second this season and was the Reds best player, so of course, he was traded before next year.

Dan Howley managed the Reds again and they dropped from seventh to eighth. Maybe they should stop trading their best players. Cincinnati finished 58-96 due to terrible pitching and mediocre hitting.

This Day In Baseball says, “On August 13, 1931 — 1931 – Tony Cuccinello wakes up the last-place Reds by going 6 for 6, with three singles, two doubles and a triple, as Cincy wins the first game of a doubleheader against Boston, 17 – 3. Cuccinello doesn’t stop there, belting a three-run homer in the 8th of the nitecap to give the Reds a 4 – 2 win. ‘Cooch’ has eight RBIs for the day.”

This was Cuccinello’s best season as he finished ninth in WAR (5.2); sixth in WAR Position Players (5.2); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.7); seventh in Defensive WAR (1.1); and some stellar defensive stats. Over his career, it would be his defense which would garner him fame.

As a Reds fan, it’s sad to me how few great players Cincy had during this stretch of time. When Rogers Hornsby played for four different National League teams in four years, the Reds weren’t one of them. They’re going to eventually win a World Series in about a decade, but they’ll be pretty bad before then.

frisch102B-Frankie Frisch, St. Louis Cardinals, 33 Years Old

1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1930

.311, 4 HR, 82 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1930)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1925)

 

Led in:

 

1931 NL MVP

Stolen Bases-28 (3rd Time)

10th Time All-Star-Some players seem to just be winners. Frisch was one of those. He led the Cardinals to their second straight pennant and the World Championship. Well, maybe. The truth is some people are always given credit for the intangibles they bring to a team, I think of someone like Pete Rose. Yet Frisch was probably only the third best second baseman this season and didn’t actually have a great World Series. Still, let’s give Frisch credit that he now has been on seven teams that have won the pennant and been part of three Fall Classic winners.

Wikipedia says, “Frisch played eleven seasons with the Cardinals. In 1931, he was voted the Most Valuable Player in the National League after batting .311 with 4 home runs, 82 RBI and leading the League in stolen bases with 28. The 1931 Cardinals also triumphed in the World Series, defeating Connie Mack‘s defending two-time champion Philadelphia Athletics in seven games.”

I’m not exactly sure why Frisch won the first National League Baseball Writers Most Valuable Player. His hitting was worse than it had been in over 10 years. Sure, he stole 28 bases, but this was a time of baseball history where steals didn’t add much value. It could be there were no real standout players on the Cardinals and the writers felt they had to pick a player who was on the pennant winning team. This would be a common them over the history of the MVP reward. In case you’re wondering, I picked Bill Terry.

traynor4

3B-Pie Traynor, Pittsburgh Pirates, 32 Years Old

1923 1925 1927

.298, 2 HR, 103 RBI

MVP Rank: 13

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1948)

 

Led in:

 

Win Probability Added-5.2

Def. Games as 3B-155 (3rd Time)

Putouts as 3B-172 (5th Time)

Errors Committed as 3B-37 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Back in Traynor’s 1923 write-up, I expressed doubt to whether or not he would make another All-Star team. He’s now made three more since then. It should be noted this isn’t due to a great ability, but to a lack of good third basemen in the National League during this stretch. His WAR this season is only 2.6, but that’s the highest there is among people at his position and I needed someone at the hot corner, so here he is.

SABR says, “Traynor’s reputation as a third baseman has taken a bit of a beating in recent years. Although people once called Traynor the best third baseman in history, Bill James ranks him just 15th. A discussion on the Baseball Think Factory website indicates there are some very knowledgeable fans who think Traynor is grossly overrated, some who don’t even consider him a worthy Hall of Famer.

“If the Beatles had released ‘Please Please Me’ or ‘She Loves You’ in 2015 instead of 1963, we never would have heard of them. Those songs sound terribly dated today; people don’t make music that sounds like that anymore. Times change. But that doesn’t diminish the Beatles’ legacy or the historic significance of those early recordings; in the context of their time, they were amazing. Similarly, in the context of his time, Pie Traynor was an amazing third baseman. Although history might have overrated Traynor for a while, today the pendulum seems to have swung a little too far in the other direction. No discussion of great third basemen should exclude him.”

jacksont6

SS-Travis Jackson, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1926 1927 1928 1929 1930

.310, 5 HR, 71 RBI

MVP Rank: 7

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1982)

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.8 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as SS-145 (3rd Time)

Assists as SS-496 (4th Time)

Fielding % as SS-.970 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-In the late 1890s and through the first decade and a half of the 20th Century, the National League had the best shortstop ever seen, one Honus Wagner. There were some other good ones like Bill Dahlen and George Davis, but it isn’t a position that’s given true superstars. (To me, it’s a true shame Dahlen isn’t in Cooperstown.) At this point in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Jackson could be considered a superstar. No other shortstop in the league flashed leather like he did and his consistency at making this list will put him in my Hall the next time he receives this honor.

The New York Times says, “Although he was widely regarded as the best shortstop in the National League for most of his career, Jackson, who joined the Giants in 1922 and played through the 1936 season, much of his time as the team captain, was passed over for the Hall of Fame during his initial period of eligibility. It wasn’t until 1982 that the Hall’s Veterans Committee gave formal recognition to what Giant fans had known all along – that the man they called Stonewall or Stoney, for short, was a very special player.”

For 1931, Jackson finished seventh in WAR (5.4), fourth in WAR Position Players (5.4), and first in Defensive WAR (2.8). He’s not going to make the All-Star team in 1932 or 1933 due to injuries, but he’ll be back in 1934 and make my Hall of Fame. I’ll bet you can’t wait!

english2

SS-Woody English, Chicago Cubs, 25 Years Old

1930

.319, 2 HR, 53 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-156 (2nd Time)

Plate Appearances-727 (2nd Time)

Putouts as SS-322

2nd Time All-Star-When English made the All-Star team last season, he made it as a third baseman, playing more games at third (83) than short (79). This year he’s back at short, but next year will be moving to third again. It’s puzzling why he wasn’t kept at short, because he was a heck of a fielder, according to dWAR.

SABR says, “English had another outstanding year at the plate in 1931. Again playing in all 156 games, he batted .319 and finished first in the NL in plate appearances (727), second in at-bats (634) and times on base (277), third in runs scored (117), tied for third in hits (202), fourth in sacrifice hits (18), fifth in walks (68), and in the top ten in total bases (262), doubles (38), and stolen bases (12). He led the league’s shortstops in putouts (322) and was third in the majors in fielding percentage at short (.965). That year English was fourth in voting for the National League MVP Award and runner-up to Philadelphia’s Chuck Klein in The Sporting News’s sportswriters’ poll of the league’s MVP.”

All of my lists and awards and honors are all based on numbers to some extent, because I’m trying to take feelings out of my picks. Still, it’s important to look at what the players and observers of their time saw. I wouldn’t have picked English as fourth in the MVP voting or second in The Sporting News poll, but that doesn’t mean I’m right. Of course, it doesn’t mean they’re correct, either, but that’s the great thing about baseball, we all have a voice.

klein3

LF-Chuck Klein, Philadelphia Phillies, 26 Years Old

1929 1930

.337, 31 HR, 121 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1980)

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. 50 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Offensive WAR-5.7

Slugging-.584

Runs Scored-121 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-347 (2nd Time)

Home Runs-31 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-121

Runs Created-138 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-43

Adj. Batting Wins-4.2

Base-Out Runs Added-57.05 (2nd Time)

Situ. Wins Added-5.4

Base-Out Wins Added-5.3

Assists as LF-9

3rd Time All-Star-This is the first year Klein made the All-Star team as a leftfielder. It should be noted his stats, like all National League hitters, declined this year, but it was still an impressive outing. He was again greatly helped by his home park, slashing .401/.465/.740 in Philly and .269/.327/.421 on the road. Also, 22 of his league-leading 31 homers were smashed at the tiny Baker Bowl.

Wikipedia says, “On July 1, 1931, in a game against the Chicago Cubs, Klein hit for the cycle, going 4-for-5 with five RBI. At the end of the season, he led the National League in runs scored with 121 and RBI with 121. He also lead the league in home runs for the second time in his career with 31, and amassed at least 200 hits for the third season in a row.”

The Kokomo Tribune wrote an article called “Who was Chuck Klein?” Here’s a bit of it: “A sign on West Rockville Road in Indy announces “The Chuck Klein Sports Complex,” a set of fields where soccer and softball games are played. An honor to be sure, but who is or was Chuck Klein?

“Known as the ‘Hoosier Hammer’ and the ‘Hoosier Hercules,’ his first five seasons were equal to anyone who ever played the game.

“Charles Herbert ‘Chuck’ Klein, the ‘Hoosier Hercules,’ Hall of Famer,  on the Sporting News list of 100 greatest players, nominated for Major League Baseball’s list of 100 greatest players,  jersey retired by the Phillies,  named by President Nixon on his greatest players list,  that’s who Chuck Klein was. And is.” I love local papers!

hafey4

LF-Chick Hafey, St. Louis Cardinals, 28 Years Old

1927 1928 1929

.349, 16 HR, 95 RBI

MVP Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1971)

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

1931 NL Batting Title

Batting Average-.349

4th Time All-Star-Hafey was a big reason the Cards made their fourth World Series in six years and also won their second championship in that time frame. He didn’t do well in the Series itself, hitting just .167 (four-for-24) with no extra base hits, but it didn’t matter as St. Louis downed the mighty A’s, four games to two.

Hafey won a tough battle for the batting title, as described by SABR, which says, “Carrying the numbers out an extra decimal place, Hafey’s average stood at .3489, Terry’s at .3486. There was some sentiment that Terry should share in the title because he had played in all but the last (canceled) game, while Hafey missed 32 games. National League President John A. Heydler ruled that Hafey had the higher average and was the champion. Overlooked in the matter was Jim Bottomley, Hafey’s roommate, who had finished at .3481. If Bottomley had made one more hit he could have won the title. Whether Heydler would have disallowed Bottomley because he appeared in even fewer games than Hafey (108 with 382 at bats) is a question that will never be answered.

“He was planning to come to a reunion of the 1933 National League All-Star Team, but that was not to be as he died on July 2, 1973. In keeping with his quiet persona, Hafey’s funeral was private; it was not until a few days later that the public at large became aware that one who had achieved much in his baseball career was no more.”

berger

CF-Wally Berger, Boston Braves, 25 Years Old

.323, 19 HR, 84 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 43 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-156

Def. Games as CF-156

Double Plays Turned as CF-5

Def. Games as OF-156

1st Time All-Star-Walker Anton “Wally” Berger was born on October 10, 1905 in Chicago, IL. The six-foot-two, 198 pound righty centerfielder had a famous rookie year in 1930, when he crushed 38 homers. That was the record for a rookie (along with Frank Robinson in 1956) until 1987 when Mark McGwire smashed 49. However, because everyone was hitting that season, he didn’t make the All-Star team. He’s back this year, though, putting together a decent season in a year there weren’t too many of those.

SABR has a lot to say about that 1930 season, but I’m going to copy and paste what they say about this one: “The team slipped to seventh in 1931 when Berger was reunited with his Los Angeles teammate, a five-foot-eleven, 210-pounder dubbed ‘Big Wes’ Schulmerich. Schulmerich, who the Braves thought might duplicate Berger’s rookie heroics, hit over .300 but with little power. Berger failed to match his 1930 home run total but achieved career highs in games played (156), at-bats (617), and batting average (.323). He showed his speed with 13 of his 36 career stolen bases and on May 30, 1931, became one of only five players ever to hit a ball out of Baker Bowl to left field. (Bogart)”

For the year, Berger finished fifth in WAR (5.7); second in WAR Position Players (5.7), behind Giants’ first baseman Bill Terry (6.1); third in Offensive WAR (5.2), trailing Philadelphia leftfielder Chuck Klein (5.7) and Terry (5.4); ninth in slugging (.512); sixth in steals (13); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (141).

ott4

CF-Mel Ott, New York Giants, 22 Years Old

1928 1929 1930

.292, 29 HR, 115 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1951)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1930)

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-80 (2nd Time)

AB per HR-17.1 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-With Master Melvin’s batting average dipping from .349 to .292, it certainly looked like an off season for the Giants’ star. Yet Ott’s Adjusted OPS+ actually went up from 1930 (150) to 1931 (151). He played only 138 games this season, the last time he’d play below 150 until 1939. This will be the only year he makes this list as a centerfielder instead of in right.

With Rogers Hornsby declining, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say the battle for National League’s best player was now between two teammates – Bill Terry and Ott. However, Terry was 10 years older than the incredible Ott, so I’m giving that meaningless title to this man.

Ott’s Hall of Fame page says, “During his playing career, longtime New York Giants outfielder Mel Ott was one of the game’s most feared sluggers. And according to Hall of Fame manager Leo Durocher, one of the most popular: ‘I never knew a baseball player who was so universally loved. Why even when he was playing against the Dodgers at Ebbets Field, he would be cheered and there are no more rabid fans than in Brooklyn.’”

His 1931 stats are as follows: 6th in WAR (5.6); third in WAR Position Players (5.6), behind Terry (6.1) and Braves centerfielder Wally Berger (5.7); fourth in Offensive WAR (5.1); fourth in slugging (.545); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (151). At this point in his young career, Ott hasn’t reached the World Series, but that will be coming.

waner6

RF-Paul Waner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

1926 1927 1928 1929 1930

.322, 6 HR, 70 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1952)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1930)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as RF-334 (2nd Time)

Assists as RF-27

Double Plays Turned as RF-9

Assists as OF-28

Double Plays as OF-8

Range Factor as RF-2.64 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as RF-.976 (3rd Time)

6th Time All-Star-No doubt Mel Ott is going to have a more prestigious career than Big Poison as a rightfielder, but that shouldn’t take away from Waner’s great career. He was so good, his much less talented brother Lloyd went in on his coattails. (The two are pictured above). Bleacher Report agrees he shouldn’t be in Hall, saying, “Waner did set a major league record with 198 singles during his rookie year and was a .316 hitter, but he was not an elite player for his era.

“Waner had an OPS+ of 99 during his career, which is below average. This fact makes it hard to see Waner as a Hall of Famer. Even with his ability to get on base at a high rate, Waner did not reach 3,000 hits, and he had a below-average OPS compared to his contemporaries.”

Sometimes people make the Hall because they’re paired in the minds with others during their time. Tommy McCarthy, another bad choice for Cooperstown, made the Hall because he was part of the Heavenly Twins, along with Hugh Duffy, from 1892-1895. By the way, Duffy didn’t make my Hall either, as he had his best hitting seasons during an easy time for batsmen.

This season, Paul Waner finished 10th in WAR (5.0); seventh in WAR Position Players (5.0); fourth in on-base percentage (.404); and first in many fielding categories. By the way, you might notice Waner had nine double plays as a rightfielder to lead the league and only eight as an outfielder, which also led the National League. This is obviously a mistake by Baseball Reference.

cuyler6

RF-Kiki Cuyler, Chicago Cubs, 32 Years Old

1924 1925 1926 1929 1930

.330, 9 HR, 88 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1968)

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. 50 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Times on Base-279 (3rd Time)

6th Time All-Star-Will Kiki Cuyler make my Hall of Fame? He needs to make one more of these All-Star teams and as you can see by his having a 50 percent chance of doing so, it’s a coin flip.By my guess,  it will depend on his 1934 season. If he makes it that year, he’s in, if not, he’s out. He had a good career, but I’m not sure he should be in Hall. Or maybe I do. He’s that close.

SABR says, “Cuyler proved to be one of the few bright spots in the Cubs’ mediocre and inconsistent season in 1931, during which players bristled at Hornsby’s autocratic managerial methods. Batting leadoff through most of June, Cuyler was moved back to the third spot to provide the team with more offense in light of Wilson’s precipitous drop in power (13 home runs). He batted .330, tied for third in the league with 202 hits, and ranked fourth by scoring 110 runs.

“Ironically Cuyler’s athleticism, seemingly effortless play, and gentlemanly persona also drew criticism. ‘Cuyler had only one flaw that kept him from being rated with the immortals of the game,’ suggested The Sporting News in his obituary, echoing sentiments heard throughout the player’s career. ‘He lacked the ruthlessness that might have carried him to greater heights and made his record even more brilliant.’ Considered sensitive to criticism, Cuyler responded best to players’ managers, like McKechnie and McCarthy, instead of authoritarian types (Bush and Hornsby).”

In 1932, Cuyler will have an injury that will hinder the rest of his career.

1930 American League All-Star Team

P-Lefty Grove, PHA

P-Wes Ferrell, CLE

P-Lefty Stewart, SLB

P-George Uhle, DET

P-Ted Lyons, CHW

P-Vic Sorrell, DET

P-Milt Gaston, BOS

P-General Crowder, SLB/WSH

P-Bump Hadley, WSH

P-Pat Caraway, CHW

C-Mickey Cochrane, PHA

C-Bill Dickey, NYY

1B-Lou Gehrig, NYY

1B-Jimmie Foxx, PHA

1B-Ed Morgan, CLE

2B-Charlie Gehringer, DET

2B-Johnny Hodapp, CLE

3B-Marty McManus, DET

SS-Joe Cronin, WSH

LF-Al Simmons, PHA

LF-Goose Goslin, WSH/SLB

LF-Earle Combs, NYY

CF-Carl Reynolds, CHW

RF-Babe Ruth, NYY

RF-Sam Rice, WSH

 

grove5P-Lefty Grove, Philadelphia Athletics, 30 Years Old, 1st MVP

1926 1927 1928 1929

28-5, 2.54 ERA, 209 K, .200, 2 HR, 17 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1928)

 

Led in:

 

1930 AL Triple Crown

1930 AL Pitching Title (3rd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-10.4 (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-2.54 (3rd Time)

Wins-28 (2nd Time)

Win-Loss %-.848 (2nd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-1.144

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.464 (5th Time)

Games Pitched-50

Saves-9

Strikeouts-209 (6th Time)

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-3.483 (4th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-185 (3rd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.09 (4th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-68 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.5 (3rd Time)

Base-Out Runs Saved-81.84 (3rd Time)

Win Probability Added-9.8 (3rd Time)

Sit. Wins Saved-6.6 (4th Time)

Base-Out Wins Saved-8.0 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as P-50

5th Time All-Star-Even though Philadelphia won the World Series in 1929, it had very little to do with Grove, its best pitcher, who didn’t start a game, pitching just six-and-a-third innings out of the pen. This year, the Athletics won the American League crown again and this time Grove got to pitch in the Fall Classic, pitching three games, starting two, and finishing with a 2-1 record and a 1.42 ERA. It was the capper to an outstanding season in which I handed Lefty his first Most Valuable Player. My guess is he’s going to have more of those.

SABR has more details on the Series, saying, “In the World Series, the A’s faced the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals, who had batted .314. The entire NL batted .303 for 1930 season, with the Cardinals’ .314 only third best (the Cards scored the most runs/game). Only two of the six NL teams didn’t hit at least .300 and they each hit .281 for the season. Grove won the opener, 5-2, while throwing 70 strikes and just 39 balls, fanning five and allowing nine hits. After George Earnshaw, Lefty’s polar opposite (right-handed, sharper-breaking curve, slower fastball, a party boy), throttled the Cards, 6-1, in Game Two, St. Louis beat Rube Walberg, 5-0, and got by Grove, 3-1, on two unearned runs. Lefty relieved George in the eighth inning of a scoreless Game Five and won it, 2-0, on Jimmie Foxx’s two-run homer. Whereupon Earnshaw returned on one day’s rest to end the series in Game Six, 7-1. For the series, MVP Earnshaw was 2-0, with 19 strikeouts in 25 innings and a 0.72 ERA, while Grove was 2-1, with 10 strikeouts in 19 innings and a 1.42 ERA.”

ferrell2

P-Wes Ferrell, Cleveland Indians, 22 Years Old

1929

25-13, 3.31 ERA, 143 K, .297, 0 HR, 14 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as P-19

2nd Time All-Star-One of the benefits of doing this page is being able to look at baseball era-by-era and be able to rate the players by those eras and not just by numbers. I have Ferrell as easily going to the Hall of Fame because he pitched in a hitters’ age, but also because of his bat. This year, he surprisingly didn’t hit any homers, but over the next few years, he’s going to put up outstanding power numbers for a pitcher.

Cleveland, managed by Roger Peckinpaugh, dropped from third to fourth this season with an 81-73 record.  Besides Ferrell, the Indians didn’t really pitch too well and it hurt them.

Wikipedia says of this season, “In 1930, he began the season as the Indian’s number two starting pitcher behind Willis Hudlin, who made the team’s opening day start. He quickly established himself as the team’s ace by significantly improving his pitching performance. He increased his win total to 25, which finished second in the league, this time behind Lefty Grove‘s 28, and lowered his ERA to 3.31. His batting skills improved in 1930; his batting average jumped from .237 in 1929 to .297 in 1930.”

Altogether, Ferrell finished fourth in WAR (9.4); second in WAR for Pitchers (8.3), behind Grove (10.4); second in ERA (3.31), trailing Grove (2.54); second in innings pitched (296 2/3), behind Chicago’s Ted Lyons (297 2/3); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (145), trailing Lefty (185).

Ferrell is one of those rare pitchers who had positive WARs every season as a hitter. This year his Position Player WAR was 1.1, which is high for a player who only had 133 plate appearances.

stewart

P-Lefty Stewart, St. Louis Browns, 29 Years Old

20-12, 3.45 ERA, 79 K, .244, 0 HR, 7 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs Allowed-21

1st Time All-Star-Walter Cleveland “Lefty” Stewart was born on September 23, 1900 in Sparta, TN. The five-foot-10, 160 pound righty hitting, lefty pitcher started with Detroit in 1921, pitching five games with a 12.00 ERA at the age of 20. He wouldn’t be back in the Majors again until 1927 when he started with the Browns. He finally put it together this year as the Browns’ best player.

Bill Killefer took over managing St. Louis and it dropped from fourth to sixth with a 64-90 record. The Browns’ hitting and pitching both were among the American League’s worst.

A book called Charmed Circle: Twenty-game-winning Pitchers in Baseball’s 20th Century by Mel R. Freese says “Wes Ferrell pitched Cleveland to fourth place with 25 wins, while Lefty Stewart won 20 games for the sixth-place Brownies.

“Stewart had only three winning seasons during his nine-year career, but he chose this year to be his big one and won 20 games. Without him St. Louis would have been 44-78 and would have challenged Boston for last place.”

uhle4

P-George Uhle, Detroit Tigers, 31 Years Old

1922 1923 1926

12-12, 3.65 ERA, 117 K, .308, 2 HR, 21 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require two more All-Star seasons. 50 percent chance)

 

4th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team for the Indians in 1926, Uhle couldn’t put it together in 1927 or ’28 and so before the 1929 season, he was traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Detroit Tigers for Ken Holloway and Jackie Tavener. The Bull went 15-11 for Detroit in 1929 and then had an All-Star year this season, due to his hitting and always outstanding hitting.

Bucky Harris guided the Tigers up from sixth to fifth in the American League with a 75-79 record.  Led by Uhle, Detroit pitched pretty well.

SABR speaks of the 1929 and ’30 seasons, stating, “As impressive as the streak was for Uhle, as had occurred the season before in Cleveland, he was less effective as the season progressed. After his nine-game streak, he won only six more games to go 15-11 for the year with an ERA of 4.08. His 15 victories led the Tigers’ staff. This was the last season in which Uhle had a winning record in the major leagues.

“Uhle led the Detroit staff in ERA with 3.65 in 1930. He was .500 at 12-12. Vic Sorrell, Earl Whitehill, Tommy Bridges, and then later Whit Wyatt became the core of the starters for Detroit.”

For the season, Uhle finished eighth in WAR (7.3); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.2); fourth in ERA (3.65); 10th in innings pitched (239); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (131). Except for his one season with Cleveland in 1920, he’d never pitch on a pennant-winning team, but he put together a consistent career.

lyonst4P-Ted Lyons, Chicago White Sox, 30 Years Old

1925 1926 1927

22-15, 3.78 ERA, 69 K, .311, 1 HR, 15 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Innings Pitched-297 2/3 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-29 (2nd Time)

Hits Allowed-331 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-77 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as P-2.17 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Since Lyons made the All-Star team in 1927, he had two good, but not great seasons, for the White Sox, but was back this year, leading the American League with 297 2/3 innings and 29 complete games. This was not a good time in White Sox history, the team had never recovered from the Black Sox scandal, but Lyons was a sure thing for them for a long stretch of time.

Donie Bush took over from Lena Blackburne as manager of Chicago but the team didn’t improve. The White Sox finished in seventh place with a 62-92 record. As usual with this squad, its hitting was its weakness.

Wikipedia says, “Lyons was at his crafty best in 1930, when he posted a 22–15 record and A.L.-leading totals of 29 complete games and 297⅔ innings for a team that finished 62–92. Prior to a 1931 arm injury, his pitches included a ‘sailer’ (now known as a cut fastball), knuckleballcurveball, and changeup. After the 1931 injury, his pitches included a fastball, slow curve, knuckleball and an even slower curveball used as a changeup.”

His stats for the year included finishing sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3); sixth in ERA (3.78); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (122). Lyons would eventually be known as the Sunday Pitcher as he would just take the mound once a week to save his arm, but he’s not at that point yet. The arm injury in 1931 would change that as this is the last year he would start over 30 games (36).

sorrell

P-Vic Sorrell, Detroit Tigers, 29 Years Old

16-11, 3.86 ERA, 97 K, .188, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 17 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Victor Garland “Vic” Sorrell was born on April 9, 1901 in Morrisville, NC. The five-foot-10, 180 pound righty pitcher started with Detroit in 1928, going 8-11 that season and 14-15 in 1929 with a 5.18 ERA. He certainly didn’t look like he was going to be a stellar pitcher, but that changed this year and he’d have a good stretch of season here in the early Thirties.

Wikipedia says, “Born in Morrisville, North Carolina, he attended Wake Forest University, and did not break into Major League baseball until he was age 27. Sorrell was the subject of an eligibility controversy at Wake Forest in 1925. In April 1925, in a game attended by 8,000 fans (a record for a baseball game in North Carolina), North Carolina State College challenged Sorrell’s eligibility, claiming he had played in an excessive number of games per week in semi-pro baseball the previous summer. Following the challenge, Sorrell went on to pitch a 12-inning victory over State College.  Sorrell later became State College’s baseball coach in 1946 after his professional career.

“In 1928, Sorrell joined the Tigers and played there for ten years. He was one of the first major league pitchers to wear glasses.  Sorrell was a starting pitcher and workhorse for the Tigers from 1928 to 1933, starting 175 games, and completing 80, in his first 6 seasons. His best season was 1930, when Sorrell had a 16–11 record, and was among the American League leaders in ERA (7th), wins (8th) and shutouts (4th).”

gaston2

P-Milt Gaston, Boston Red Sox, 34 Years Old

1929

13-20, 3.92 ERA, 99 K, .204, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 17 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Losses-20 (2nd Time)

Wild Pitches-11 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Gaston was a hard luck pitcher during 1929 and 1930 as he had ERA+ numbers over 100, but was a total of 14 games under .500 during that time. That’s the problem with being a good pitcher on a terrible team.

Did I say terrible team? Boston finished in last place for the sixth consecutive season. Heinie Wagner took over as the manager for one season as the Red Sox finished 52-102. Gaston was their only All-Star.

Gaston made it to the century mark. SABR says, “In retirement, he moved to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

“On his 100th birthday, a party was held for him attended by about 40 friends and relatives. He was reportedly only the eighth major league player to make it to age 100, out of over 14,000 at the time – and the only one to have worked in as many as 10 seasons. At the party, he got up and sang, ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame.’

“His nephew Don Lyons said that shortly after that he’d suffered a spill, and was recovering but very tired. The two watched the Red Sox lose to the Indians, 11-7 on April 21. When Lyons told him he’d be able to come home once he got better. Gaston replied, ‘I don’t want to come home, I want to go home.’ He died on April 26, 1996, in a rehabilitation center in Hyannis, Massachusetts, near his home in Marston Mills. He was buried next to his wife in Tampa.”

crowder

P-General Crowder, St. Louis Browns/Washington Senators, 31 Years Old

18-16, 3.89 ERA, 107 K, .171, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Alvin Floyd “General” Crowder was born on January 11, 1899 in Winston-Salem, NC. The five-foot-10, 170 pound lefty batting, righty throwing pitcher started with Washington in 1926-27 and then in mid-1927, he was traded by the Washington Senators to the St. Louis Browns for Tom Zachary. He pitched well for St. Louis, twice finishing in the top 10 in Pitcher WAR, including during an impressive 21-5 season in 1928. This season, he was struggling with the Browns, going 3-7 with a 4.66 ERA, so back to the Senators he went. He was traded by the St. Louis Browns with Heinie Manush to the Washington Senators for Goose Goslin. He then went 15-9 with a 3.60 ERA for Walter Johnson’s crew.

In his second season managing the Senators, the Big Train guided them a second place finish with a 94-60 record, eight games behind the A’s. They had five All-Stars, two pitchers and three position players. As late as July 10, Washington was in first before falling off.

SABR says, “With the Barons in 1925, he proved to be a durable, rubber-armed pitcher, and led the league with 59 appearances, logged 226 innings, and won 13 times. Because he reported to service whenever called, teammates began calling him ‘General’ after General Enoch Crowder, the provost marshal of the US Army who instituted the draft lottery during World War I.”

It should be understood this All-Star page is just for fun, it shouldn’t be used for any serious research. Crowder could have made three All-Star teams by this point, but due to the rules I’ve set for this page, he didn’t. Sorry, General!

hadley2

P-Bump Hadley, Washington Senators, 25 Years Old

1927

15-11, 3.73 ERA, 162 K, .226, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 14 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-8.366

2nd Time All-Star-Since making the All-Star team in 1927, Hadley struggled a bit in 1928-29, but is back this year. He still has another All-Star team coming, but it would be for another team other than the Senators. The 8.366 hits he allowed per nine innings was the second highest to lead the American League in its long history. Ted Blankenship led the AL with 8.457 hits per nine innings in 1925.

According to SABR, Hadley had a weight problem. It states, “That less than impressive season spurred Hadley to get an early start on spring training in 1930. That and improved conditioning helped him improve to a 15-11 record for the second-place Nats.

“Hadley took exception when his next contract contained a weight clause, stipulating forfeiture of salary for tipping the scales at more than 195 pounds. A gym equipped with a rowing machine and stationary bike was added to his basement. ‘Working out in a gymnasium at his home in Lynn, Mass., the chunky chucker was minus the superfluous poundage he was usually burdened with after a winter of idleness,’ The Sporting News reported.”

“’Hadley has a world of stuff,’ remarked Walter Johnson to Washington Post writer Shirley Povich. The pitcher was also admired from a distance by a sapient Joe McCarthy, the new manager of the New York Yankees. Marse Joe had a passion for hard throwers, especially those with the capability of starting or relieving. McCarthy offered veteran second baseman Tony Lazzeri for Hadley and infielder Jackie Hayes. The deal was later nixed by Griffith, after New York insisted on Buddy Myer instead of Hayes.”

caraway

P-Pat Caraway, Chicago White Sox, 24 Years Old

10-10, 3.86 ERA, 83 K, .172, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 230 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Cecil Bradford Patrick “Pat” Caraway was born on September 26, 1905 in Erath County, TX. The tall six-foot-four, 175 pound lefty pitcher had an impressive rookie year and it certainly looked like he was going to have a long, successful career. Nope! This was his only good year and he’d be out of the Majors by the time he was 26. In 1931 and ’32, his ERA was over six. He isn’t the first rookie to fizzle out quickly and won’t be the last.

Wikipedia says, “Caraway was a lanky Texan who debuted professionally in 1927 with the minor league Rock Island Islanders. He also played for the Amarillo Texans and Topeka Jayhawks before being called up to the Chicago White Sox for the 1930 season, pitching in his first Sox game on 19 April 1930. His last major league game was 17 July 1932. A left-handed submarine delivery pitcher, Caraway was one of the few submariners in MLB history to develop a knuckleball. Though also possessing a blazing fastball and looping curve, Caraway always struggled with pitch control.

“Caraway’s most remarkable day came in 1930, when he struck out Joe Sewell twice. Sewell was the most difficult batter in baseball history to strike out, and he struck out only three times all that season.

“When Pat Caraway left baseball, he lived in El Paso, Texas, and became an engineer for the Texas and Pacific Railroad until his retirement in 1971. He is buried with other family members in the Caraway plot next to his wife, Harriet Christensen Caraway, in the New Gordon Cemetery on Cemetery Road in Gordon, Palo Pinto County, Texas.”

cochrane4

C-Mickey Cochrane, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

1927 1928 1929

.357, 10 HR, 85 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-130 (4th Time)

Putouts as C-654 (5th Time)

Assists as C-69

Double Plays Turned as C-11

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-54 (4th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as C-6.08 (5th Time)

Range Factor/Game as C-5.56 (5th Time)

Fielding % as C-.993

4th Time All-Star-There hadn’t been many catchers like Black Mike up to this point in baseball history. This is the fourth consecutive year he’s made my All-Star team and he’s been the American League’s top backstop every time. His hitting continued to improve. When Cochrane started, his OPS+ was 108 in 1925, moved to 129 in 1927, and was 134 this season. He would have a few higher seasons going forward.

He was appreciated by his teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Lefty Grove. Cochrane’s Hall of Fame page says, “’Hardly ever shook him off,’ Grove said. ‘If Mickey was living today, he’d tell you I only shook him off about five or six times all the years he caught me. Funny, before I’d even look at him, I had in my mind what I was going to pitch and I’d look up and there’d by Mickey’s signal, just what I was thinking. Like he was reading my mind. That’s the kind of catcher he was.’”

                In the A’s six-game World Series triumph over the Cards, Cochrane hit only .222 (four-for-18). However, 75 percent of his four hits were for extra bases, including two homers. For the season, Cochrane finished ninth in Offensive WAR (5.3); fifth in batting (.357); sixth in on-base percentage (.424); and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (134). Incredibly, though he had been belting the ball for years, this was his first year in the top 10 in OPS+. He’s got plenty more of those ahead as his career is just about to heat up.

dickey2

C-Bill Dickey, New York Yankees, 23 Years Old

1929

.339, 5 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1954)

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as C-11

2nd Time All-Star-Dickey is only 23 years old and he’s already made two of these lists. He’s got quite a few to come. He wasn’t the flashiest of the mighty Yankees, but he was very important to their winning ways. The Man Nobody Knows didn’t put up the offensive numbers of Mickey Cochrane, but he was just as good.

SABR says, “Offensively, the Yankees were as powerful as ever in 1930. Ruth and Gehrig combined for 90 home runs and, along with second baseman Tony Lazzeri, combined for 448 RBIs.   Every starting position player hit at least .289. Dickey hit .339, proving that his rookie campaign was no fluke. The Yankees averaged 6.9 runs per game. But none of the starting pitchers had an ERA under 4.00. The Yankees finished in third place, 16 games behind the Athletics, and Shawkey was fired.”

Dickey would eventually be a great defensive catcher, but this season finished with a minus 0.2 Defensive WAR. Starting in 1933, he’d never be under zero in that category again. That category can be so fluid however, that it isn’t really accurate except over a long period of time. Dickey would end up playing 17 years and play over 100 games for 13 consecutive years, quite a feat for a catcher. That’s why he’s going to be on this list for many years.

Incredibly, over his long career, Dickey would never play one game at any other position besides catcher. He’d pinch-hit, but never actually step on the field anywhere but behind the plate.

gehrig51B-Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees, 27 Years Old

1926 1927 1928 1929

.379, 41 HR, 173 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1928)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-154 (2nd Time)

Plate Appearances-703

Total Bases-419 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-173 (3rd Time)

Runs Created-192 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-100 (3rd Time)

Times On Base-324 (2nd Time)

Base-Out Runs Added-93.26 (2nd Time)

Base-Out Wins Added-8.5 (2nd Time)

Assists as 1B-89

5th Time All-Star-Runs Batted In has gotten a bad rap in this era of newfangled stats. It’s overrated, it’s based on the other people in the lineup around him, it shouldn’t be used to rate a player, and all of that is true. Still, it’s incredible to look at the RBI numbers of the Iron Horse. In 1927, he became the first player ever to have over 170 RBI with 173 and this season, became the first with two of those seasons with 173. He’s the only player in baseball history to have more than one season of 170 or more RBI and he’d end up with three. Yes, he does get the advantage of hitting behind Babe Ruth, but Gehrig produced in those circumstances and certainly deserves praise for that. It should be noted three of the seven 170 RBI seasons occurred this year, by Hack Wilson (191), Gehrig (173) and Chuck Klein (170). Gehrig’s 1927 season was the only season of this sort outside of the 1930s.

SABR says, “A little more than a month after [Yankees manager Miller] Huggins died, the stock market crashed, and the nation soon fell into the Great Depression. After a decade of glitz, glamour and overindulgence, an era exemplified by Babe Ruth, the country was entering hard times, and it needed a new kind of baseball hero, one who was solid, dependable and dignified. They would find that hero in Lou Gehrig.” Isn’t it interesting when I see the picture of the real Gehrig, it confuses me, because I keep expecting him to look like Gary Cooper.

ifoxxji001p1

1B-Jimmie Foxx, Philadelphia Athletics, 22 Years Old

1928 1929

.335, 37 HR, 156 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1951)

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-66 (2nd Time)

Putouts-1,362

Putouts as 1B-1,362

3rd Time All-Star-Foxx would play in three World Series three times and not one of those sets of games would he hit under .333, which he did this Series, nor not hit a homer. Foxx hit a homer this year and Philadelphia went on to its second straight Championship. Beast was only 22 but he still has an incredible career ahead.

SABR summarizes this season for Foxx, saying, “The 1930 season brought more of the same to Foxx and the Athletics. The team took a bit longer to put away its competition, this year coming from Washington, but it repeated as American League champions. A torrid early season was again the fashion for Foxx, as he hit 22 home runs through June and had a 19-game streak in July when he hit .446. He finished the season with a .335 average and 37 home runs, and was one of four A’s players to have an on-base percentage over .420.

“The 1930 World Series pitted the A’s against the St. Louis Cardinals, and they battled to a 2-2 tie going into Game Five at Sportsman’s Park. The game was scoreless into the top of the ninth inning. With one on, Foxx announced to his teammates that he would ‘bust up the game right now’. He then proceeded to hit a Burleigh Grimes pitch in the left-center-field bleachers, giving the A’s the win and providing the impetus for them to wrap up the Series in Game Six. The game-winning home run gave Foxx one of his proudest moments and he later cited the blow as one of the greatest moments of his career.”

morgane

1B-Ed Morgan, Cleveland Indians, 26 Years Old

.349, 26 HR, 136 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 20 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-66

1st Time All-Star-Edward Carre “Ed” Morgan was born on May 22, 1904 in Cairo, IL. The six-foot, 180 pound first baseman started with Cleveland in 1928 and easily had his best season ever this year. He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (5.7), sixth in Offensive WAR (5.9), ninth in batting (.349), fifth in slugging (.601), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (150).

SABR states Morgan’s best season ever actually had consequences for him. It says, “Understandably, Morgan was looking for a sizable increase in pay, and when the Indians failed to meet his expectations, he said of the offer the team had made him, ‘If that’s all the money I can make after the year I had last year, I realize now that I am foolish to stay in baseball when I can make so much more in business with my father.’ His father, the Chicago Tribune reported, was wealthy and had been trying to get Eddie to quit the game and join him in business.

“To make matters worse, Morgan married debutante Frances Tobin on February 26. The Cleveland club suspended him several days later. But things were worked out, as he brought his holdout to a close on March 16, and for the fourth year in a row Morgan hit for a higher average than the year before, and registered a better on-base percentage, too. In 1931 he hit .351, third in the league, in 462 at-bats. He drove in 86 runs and scored 87. His on-base percentage was .451.

“Morgan was married a second time, to Ruth Borne, in 1959. He died on April 9, 1980, in New Orleans.”

gehringer32B-Charlie Gehringer, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

1928 1929

.330, 16 HR, 98 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1949)

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-154 (2nd Time)

Caught Stealing-15

Def. Games as 2B-154 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.979 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Since 1901, there had been three outstanding second basemen whose names stood among the all-time greats – Eddie Collins, Nap Lajoie, and Rogers Hornsby. Hornsby was starting to decline with injuries, so now Gehringer could rightfully claim the crown as the best at his position. He didn’t match the playing streak of Lou Gehrig, but from 1928 to 1938, he played 150 or more games all but two seasons

Wikipedia says, “Gehringer’s consecutive game streak continued as he played in every game of the 1928, 1929, and 1930 seasons. In 1930, he hit .330 with a .404 on-base percentage and a .534 slugging percentage (9th best in the American League). He also scored 144 runs (3rd best in the league) and collected 201 hits, 78 extra base hits, 47 doubles (3rd in the league), 15 triples (5th in the league), and 19 stolen bases (2nd in the league).

“Each year from 1926 to 1930, Gehringer improved his statistics in the three triple crown categories (batting averagehome runs and RBI). The only other player to do that for five years running is Rogers Hornsby.”

Altogether this season, Gehringer finished 10th in WAR (6.5), sixth in WAR Position Players (6.5), seventh in Offensive WAR (5.8), sixth in Defensive WAR (1.1), ninth in slugging (.534), and went a middling 19-for 34 stealing. The Mechanical Man has many great seasons ahead, but what’s amazing is his consistency. He’d be in the top 10 in Offensive WAR 11 times and in the top 10 in dWAR nine times.

hodapp

2B-Johnny Hodapp, Cleveland Indians, 24 Years Old

.354, 9 HR, 121 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 24 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-154

Hits-225

Doubles-51

Def. Games as 2B-154

Putouts as 2B-403

1st Time All-Star-Urban John “Johnny” Hodapp was born on September 26, 1905 in Cincinnati, OH. The six-foot-185 pound righty second baseman started with Cleveland in 1925 at the age of 19, but didn’t play regularly until 1928. This was his best season ever as he didn’t miss a game for the Indians and slashed .354/.386/.502 for an Adjusted OPS+ of 121. He’d be done playing in the Majors by 1933 at the age of 27.

SABR says, “In 1930 Hodapp had his best season on offense. On April 30, he was so badly beaned by a Dick Coffman fastball that he had to be helped from the field, but he didn’t miss a day. May 1 was a day off, and on May 2 he went 3-for-5…He hardly made a national headline other than briefly when he took the lead in batting average in mid-June, on the strength of a 22-game hitting streak that pushed him to a .391 average on June 19, collecting 42 hits in the 22 games.

“It was time to go back to Cincinnati and pursue the mortician’s trade as a funeral director. A 1970 clipping in Hodapp’s Hall of Fame file said he was in business with his two brothers. ‘I’ve been with our firm, John Hodapp Sons, since I returned from baseball,’ he said. It kept him busy. ‘My business is confining,’ he said. ‘I never know when the phone is going to ring.’ He worked at the Hodapp funeral home until his retirement in 1974. The company had been founded in 1886 and in 2010 was being run by the fourth generation of Hodapps, with seven Hodapps among the nine members of the board of directors. Johnny Hodapp died in a long-term care facility at North College Hill, Ohio, from prostate cancer on June 14, 1980. He was 74. He was survived by his wife, Martha, who lived to the age of 98 when she died in 2005, and by their five children.”

mcmanus2

3B-Marty McManus, Detroit Tigers, 30 Years Old

1922

.320, 9 HR, 89 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-23

Putouts as 3B-152

Double Plays Turned as 3B-23

Fielding % as 3B-.966

2nd Time All-Star-When McManus last graced these pages, he was a second baseman for the St. Louis Browns in 1922. At 22, it looked like Mac was off to an incredible career. Yet for the next few years, he was a decent player but never All-Star level.  He played third base for St. Louis in 1926 and then after the  season, McManus was traded by the St. Louis Browns with Pinky Hargrave and Bobby LaMotte to the Detroit Tigers for Otis MillerBilly MullenFrank O’Rourke and Lefty Stewart. In his first season with Detroit, he played short and then moved to third permanently. He made the list this season as the American League’s best player at the hot corner.

In the 30-year history of the AL, no one led the league in steals with a total less than McManus’ 23. It wouldn’t happen again until 1949 when Bob Dillinger led with just 20 thefts. SABR says, “He’s quoted as quipping, ‘I presume that I might get away with the statement that I am faster than ever before. Or I might tell you that I had some muscles taken from a jackrabbit or deer and parked in my legs. The fact is that I became tired of being like “Old Man River Just Rolling Along” … then George Moriarty, who used to be one of the great baserunners of the game, gave me some valuable tips.’ [thebaseballpage.com, McManus entry; Moriarty was a former player and Detroit manager, and then an umpire]”

croninj

SS-Joe Cronin, Washington Senators, 23 Years Old

.346, 13 HR, 126 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1956)

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.7

Games Played-154

Def. Games as SS-154

Putouts as SS-336

Assists as SS-509 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-95

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.49

1st Time All-Star-Joseph Edward “Joe” Cronin was born on October 12, 1906 in San Francisco, CA. The five-foot-11, 180 pound righty shortstop started with Pittsburgh in 1926 as a sparse-playing second baseman. After the 1927 season, he purchased by the Minor League Kansas City squad, who then sold him to the Senators in midseason of 1928. By 1929, at the age of 22, Cronin was a regular for the DC squad and had a great season this year.

SABR says, “Joe reported to Washington in mid-July [of 1928]. When Engel brought him to meet Clark Griffith, the Senators’ owner, they first had to meet Mildred Robertson, Griffith’s niece and secretary. In fact, Engel had sent a telegram to Mildred before his arrival, warning her that he had signed her future husband. As it turned out, Joe and Mildred soon began a long courtship before being married after the 1934 season.

“In 1930 Cronin took his game up another notch, becoming the best shortstop and one of the best players in baseball. Joe hit .346 for the season, with 203 hits and 126 runs batted in. In fact, the baseball writers voted Joe the league’s MVP, ahead of Al Simmons and Lou Gehrig. It was not until 1931 that the writers’ award became the ‘official’ MVP award, but Cronin was recognized in the press as the recipient in 1930. The Sporting News also gave Cronin its Player of the Year award. The Senators’ 94 wins were eight shy of the great Philadelphia Athletics’ 102-52 record.”

simmons6

LF-Al Simmons, Philadelphia Athletics, 28 Years Old

1925 1926 1927 1928 1929

.381, 36 HR, 165 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1954)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1929)

 

Led in:

 

1930 AL Batting Title

Batting Average-.381

Runs Scored-152

Win Probability Added-10.3 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as OF-.990

6th Time All-Star-Besides Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, there isn’t a scarier hitter in the American League during this time than Bucketfoot Al. His bat again helped lead the A’s to the World Series. In the sixth game Series against the Cardinals, Simmons hit .364 (eight-for-22) with two doubles and two homers. Philadelphia won the Series four games to two.

Wikipedia says, “Simmons’ best year as a player was in 1930, when he won his first of successive batting titles, hitting .381 with 36 home runs, 211 hits, 41 doubles and 16 triples. He had a slugging percentage of .708, drove in 165 runs and scored 152 runs in 138 games. The A’s won the AL pennant again, going 102–52, and defeated the St. Louis Cardinals to win back-to-back World Series titles. In that World Series, Simmons batted .364 with 2 home runs, 4 RBI with a .727 slugging percentage.”

Would I agree with Wikipedia and rate this as Simmons’ best season? Probably not, but it’s hard to say, because he had so many sterling seasons. I guess if you had me pinned against a wall and asked me, I’d say 1929 when he was second in WAR (7.9), but if you had me pinned against a wall, I’m not sure I’d be discussing the old 1920-30 Athletics.

Simmons finished sixth in WAR (7.8); fourth in WAR Position Players (7.8); third in Offensive WAR (7.3), behind Ruth (10.0) and Gehrig (9.9); first in batting (.381); seventh in on-base percentage (.423); third in slugging (.708), trailing Ruth (.732) and Gehrig (.721); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (175), behind the Bambino (211) and the Iron Horse (203).

goslin6

LF-Goose Goslin, Washington Senators/St. Louis Browns, 29 Years Old

1924 1925 1926 1927 1928

.308, 37 HR, 137 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1968)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1928)

Led in:

 

Power-Speed #-23.3 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as LF-148 (4th Time)

Putouts as LF-308 (3rd Time)

Assists as LF-15 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as LF-12 (6th Time)

Double Plays Turned as LF-2 (3rd Time)

6th Time All-Star-Look at this play:

When you look at Goslin’s stats, you’ll see he many times led the American league in errors AND assists. Could it be because like Yoenis Cespedes in this video, he would misplay a ball and then save himself with his cannon arm? Without a lot of film to watch of Goslin, it’s impossible to know.

After making this list five consecutive times, Goose didn’t make it in 1929, as he had his worst season in a while, slashing .288/.366/.461 for an OPS+ of 110. This year, at the age of 29, he started out slow for Washington and it traded its star.

SABR says, “After a salary dispute, Goose was shuttled to the St. Louis Browns on June 13, 1930, for Heinie Manush and General Crowder. Both teams were in St. Louis when the news broke and traveled like wildfire. Goose was greeted with ‘go to your own clubhouse’ when he sauntered in from his pregame constitutional. A bellman handed him a telegram advising him of the trade; he read the correspondence and said: ‘They weren’t kidding, were they?’

“The move invigorated Goose, who was having a subpar year. His average climbed to .308 and his home-run total increased to 37 with the two teams; it was the highest seasonal total of his career.”

Altogether, Goslin finished ninth in WAR Position Players (5.3); fifth in slugging (.601); seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (143); and went an unimpressive 17-for-28 stealing. He’s probably got one All-Star team left.

combs4

LF-Earle Combs, New York Yankees, 31 Years Old

1927 1928 1929

.344, 7 HR, 82 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1970)

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. 25 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Triples-22 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-This was an era in which speed rarely mattered, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t important. Combs might have stolen only 16 bases but he did fly around the bases for 22 triples, leading in that category for the third time, all three times hitting over 20. He’s probably got only one more All-Star team coming to him and he’s not going to make my Hall of Fame, but the Christian Combs still played an important role on his team.

Yeah Pot says, “During his career, he batted over .300 nine times, had 200 or more hits three times, paced the American League in triples three times and twice led all AL outfielders in putouts. His career batting average was .325. As a fielder Earle was widely described as ‘swift, and sure-handed.’ With his speed, and with the lumbering Ruth often beside him, he could and did cover much of the Yankee outfield, leading the league in putouts with 411 in 1927 and 424 in 1928.”

Because of his shortened career, Combs would finish below Lou Gehrig in career triples as a Yankee (163-154). However, his 23 triples in 1927 are the most all time for this mighty team, while his 22 this season are second, along with Birdie Cree in 1911 and Snuffy Stirnweiss in 1945.

This season, Combs finished 10th in WAR Position Players (5.2), 10th in Offensive WAR (5.2), fifth in on-base percentage (.424), and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (142). He set a career high for OPS+.

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CF-Carl Reynolds, Chicago White Sox, 27 Years Old

.359, 22 HR, 104 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Carl Nettles Reynolds was born on February 1, 1903 in LaRue, TX. The six-foot, 194 pound righty outfielder started with the White Sox in 1927 in leftfield, before moving to right in 1928 and 1929. This season he played more games at center for the first time and it was his best season ever. As a matter of fact, it was a fluke of a season altogether. It was the only year Reynolds hit 20 or more homers or slugged over .500 (.584). It will probably be his only All-Star team.

SABR says of an incident in 1932, “It was in Washington that Reynolds suffered another fracture — this time, the fracture of his jaw dealt by Bill Dickey. It happened on the Fourth of July, in the seventh inning of the first game of a doubleheader against the visiting Yankees. Reynolds was batting just over .300 at the time. It may have been a simple misunderstanding, without malice aforethought. Reynolds scored standing up, crashing into Dickey. The Senators bench wasn’t sure Reynolds had touched the plate so yelled at him to return and do so. Dickey thought he was coming back for more, and threw a pre-emptive punch, breaking Reynolds’ jaw. AL President Will Harridge fined Dickey $1,000 and suspended him for 30 days. The penalty was upheld on appeal by Commissioner Kenesaw M. Landis. More than 20 years later, Harridge called it the most difficult decision he’d had to make on the job.

“Carl Reynolds suffered from myelofibrosis and myeloid metaplasia for the last three years of his life, and acute blastic crisis the last six weeks. He died on May 29, 1978, at Methodist Hospital in Houston, and was buried at Wharton City Cemetery, Wharton, Texas.”

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RF-Babe Ruth, New York Yankees, 35 Years Old

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1926 1927 1928 1929

.359, 49 HR, 153 RBI, 1-0, 3.00 ERA, 3 K

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1923)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-10.5 (9th Time)

WAR Position Players-10.3 (10th Time)

Offensive WAR-10.0 (9th Time)

On-Base %-.493 (8th Time)

Slugging %-.732 (12th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.225 (12th Time)

Home Runs-49 (11th Time)

Bases on Balls-136 (8th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-211 (11th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-95 (9th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-8.5 (9th Time)

Offensive Win %-.848 (10th Time)

AB per HR-10.6 (12th Time)

Situ. Wins Added-7.1 (4th Time)

14th Time All-Star-As incredible as all of those stats are above, there is one not listed there that is even more unbelievable. Babe Ruth, the Bambino, the Sultan of Swat, was fifth in the league in sacrifices with 21. This was incredibly the fourth time he had 10 or more sacrifice hits and he wouldn’t have any more after this. Do you know how many sacrifice hits Mike Trout has in his career? Zero. It’s amazing to me any coach would have the Big Man bunt.

Wikipedia says, “On January 7, 1930, salary negotiations between the Yankees and Ruth quickly broke down. Having just concluded a three-year contract at an annual salary of $70,000, Ruth promptly rejected both the Yankees’ initial proposal of $70,000 for one year and their ‘final’ offer of two years at seventy-five—the latter figure equalling the annual salary of then US President Herbert Hoover; instead, Ruth demanded at least $85,000 and three years. When asked why he thought he was ‘worth more than the President of the United States,’ Ruth responded: ‘Say, if I hadn’t been sick last summer, I’d have broken… that home run record! Besides, the President gets a four-year contract. I’m only asking for three.’ Exactly two months later, a compromise was reached, with Ruth settling for two years at an unprecedented $80,000 per year. Ruth’s salary was more than 2.4 times greater than the next-highest salary that season, a record margin as of 2019.”

My Top 10 players through 1930 are:

  1. Walter Johnson, P
  2. Ty Cobb, CF
  3. Cy Young, P
  4. Babe Ruth, RF
  5. Tris Speaker, CF
  6. Eddie Collins, 2B
  7. Honus Wagner, SS
  8. Pete Alexander, P
  9. Rogers Hornsby, 2B
  10. Cap Anson, 1B

rice7RF-Sam Rice, Washington Senators, 40 Years Old

1919 1920 1921 1923 1924 1925

.349, 1 HR, 73 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1925)

 

Led in:

 

Singles-158 (4th Time)

Range Factor/Game as RF-2.08 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-It’s been five years since Rice last made an All-Star team and I thought he was done. He came into this year as an anomaly for this era, a man relying on base hits and not the big blasts. Rice turned 40 this year and yet still continued to lead off for Washington and had now played 140 or more games 12 straight years. He would end up playing all but one of his 20 years for Washington, before moving to Cleveland in his last year.

That picture above is from 1930. Look how fit Rice is at his advanced age. No wonder he played good enough to make this list.

Wikipedia says, “With 2,987 hits, Rice has the most of any player not to reach 3,000. Rice later said, ‘The truth of the matter is I did not even know how many hits I had. A couple of years after I quit, [Senators owner] Clark Griffith told me about it, and asked me if I’d care to have a comeback with the Senators and pick up those 13 hits. But I was out of shape, and didn’t want to go through all that would have been necessary to make the effort. Nowadays, with radio and television announcers spouting records every time a player comes to bat, I would have known about my hits and probably would have stayed to make 3,000 of them.’ In postseason play, Rice produced 19 hits and a .302 batting average.” With 3,000 hits or not, he’s still one of the all-time greats.

1930 National League All-Star Team

P-Dazzy Vance, BRO

P-Phil Collins, PHI

P-Bob Smith, BSN

P-Pat Malone, CHC

P-Socks Seibold, BSN

P-Burleigh Grimes, BSN/STL

P-Larry French, PIT

P-Ray Kolp, CIN

P-Carl Hubbell, NYG

P-Bill Hallahan, STL

C-Gabby Hartnett, CHC

C-Shanty Hogan, NYG

1B-Bill Terry, NYG

2B-Frankie Frisch, STL

3B-Freddie Lindstrom, NYG

3B-Woody English, CHC

SS-Glenn Wright, BRO

SS-Travis Jackson, NYG

CF-Hack Wilson, CHC

RF-Babe Herman, BRO

RF-Chuck Klein, PHI

RF-Mel Ott, NYG

RF-Kiki Cuyler, CHC

RF-Harry Heilmann, CIN

RF-Paul Waner, PIT

 

vance7

P-Dazzy Vance, Brooklyn Robins, 39 Years Old

1923 1924 1925 1927 1928 1929

17-15, 2.61 ERA, 173 K, .135, 0 HR, 7 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1928)

 

Led in:

 

1930 NL Pitching Title (3rd Time)

WAR for Pitchers -7.3 (4th Time)

Earned Run Average-2.61 (3rd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-1.144 (3rd Time)

Hits per 9 IP-8.385 (4th Time)

Shutouts-4 (4th Time)

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-3.146 (7th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-189 (3rd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.61 (6th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-63 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.1 (3rd Time)

Base-Out Runs Saved-62.52 (2nd Time)

Win Probability Added-6.2

Sit. Wins Saved-5.7 (2nd Time)

Base-Out Wins Saved-6.0 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as P-5

7th Time All-Star-It wasn’t easy to be a pitcher in 1930. This was the year of the hitter and you’ll be dazzled by the offensive numbers on this list. That’s what makes Vance’s season so incredible. Look at those stats he put up in a year runs were being scored in droves. And he’s 39! What amazes me about Vance is it took him 17 tries before he was finally voted into the Hall of Fame. What did the man have to do?

As you can tell by the nickname Robins, Wilbert Robinson continued to manage Brooklyn. He guided it to a fourth place finish with an 86-68 record, six games behind the first place Cardinals. After the Robins’ 144th game, they were in first in the National League, but went 2-8 to finish the year and lose out on the title.

Wikipedia says, “He retired after the 1935 season. Vance led the league in ERA three times, wins twice, and established a National League record by leading the league in strikeouts in seven consecutive years (1922–1928). He retired with a 197–140 record, 2,045 strikeouts and a 3.24 ERA – remarkable numbers considering he only saw 33 innings of big league play during his twenties.

“Vance died of a heart attack in 1961 in Homosassa Springs. His obituary in The Sporting News said that he had been under a doctor’s care but that he was active and thought to be in relatively good health when he died. His survivors included his wife Edyth and a daughter.”

collinsp

P-Phil Collins, Philadelphia Phillies, 28 Years Old

16-11, 4.78 ERA, 87 K, .253, 3 HR, 10 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 20 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-5

1st Time All-Star-Philip Eugene “Fidgety Phil” Collins was born on August 27, 1901 in Chicago, IL. The five-foot-11, 175 pound righty started with the Cubs in 1923 and then didn’t pitch again in the Majors until 1929 for the Phillies. It would have been awful to be a pitcher in the Baker Bowl at any time, but especially during this run-heavy era. You might be looking at Collins’ 4.78 ERA and wondering how I can have him so high up on the list and his home park and year he pitched explains it.

Collins was one of the few reasons to watch the Phillies, who, under Burt Shotton, finished last with a 52-102 record, 40 games out of first. Because of its park and lack of talent, Philadelphia allowed 7.69 runs per game, far and above the most in the league.

You might notice that picture above is of a different Phil Collins. Why that one instead of the real Phillies pitcher, you might ask? Is it because I don’t care anymore? Or is there something in the air tonight? If you’re going to take the page that seriously, maybe we should live separate lives. As it turns out, Baseball Reference doesn’t have a mug shot for Collins (the pitcher) so the Genesis vocalist and drummer will have to do. Against all odds, maybe I’ll find a picture of the pitcher the next time he makes the All-Star team.

One note about Collins, he started the last game the great Pete Alexander pitched. Ol’ Pete relieved for two innings on May 28, 1930 and less than a week later was released. He was 43.

smithb2

P-Bob Smith, Boston Braves, 35 Years Old

1927

10-14, 4.26 ERA, 84 K, .235, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-Since making the All-Star team in 1927, Smith continued to be a steady pitcher and even though his numbers don’t look that good this year, believe me, in the 1930 National League, they shine. He finished third in WAR for Pitchers (4.9), behind Brooklyn’s Dazzy Vance (7.3) and Philadelphia’s Phil Collins (5.2). Only five eligible p