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.’”

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