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.

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