1934 National League All-Star Team

P-Dizzy Dean, STL

P-Curt Davis, PHI

P-Carl Hubbell, NYG

P-Van Mungo, BRO

P-Paul Dean, STL

P-Waite Hoyt, PIT

P-Lon Warneke, CHC

P-Benny Frey, CIN

P-Paul Derringer, CIN

P-Phil Collins, PHI

C-Gabby Hartnett, CHC

C-Bill DeLancey, STL

1B-Ripper Collins, STL

1B-Bill Terry, NYG

1B-Sam Leslie, BRO

2B-Billy Herman, CHC

3B-Stan Hack, CHC

SS-Arky Vaughan, PIT

SS-Billy Urbanski, BSN

CF-Wally Berger, BSN

CF-Len Koenecke, BRO

CF-Kiki Cuyler, CHC

RF-Mel Ott, NYG

RF-Paul Waner, PIT

RF-Buzz Boyle, BRO

 

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

1932 1933

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

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

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1953)

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

 

Led in:

 

1934 NL MVP

Wins Above Replacement-9.5

WAR for Pitchers-8.9

Wins-30

Win-Loss %-.811

Strikeouts-195 (3rd Time)

Shutouts-7 (2nd Time)

Base-Out Runs Saved-57.97

Win Probability Added-6.7

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

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

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

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

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

davisc

P-Curt Davis, Philadelphia Phillies, 30 Years Old

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

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 8

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-51

Def. Games as P-51

Assists as P-95

Errors Committed as P-8

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-3.81

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

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

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

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

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

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

hubbell6

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

1929 1930 1931 1932 1933

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

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

MVP Rank: 9

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1933)

 

Led in:

 

1934 NL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Earned Runs Average-2.30 (2nd Time)

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

Hits per 9 IP-8.224 (2nd Time)

Bases On Balls per 9 IP-1.064

Saves-8

Complete Games-25

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

Adjusted ERA+-168 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-54 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.6 (2nd Time)

Sit. Wins Saved-6.3 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

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

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

mungo2

P-Van Mungo, Brooklyn Dodgers, 23 Years Old

1933

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

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

MVP Rank: 23

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Innings Pitched-315 1/3

Games Started-38

Bases on Balls-104 (2nd Time)

Hits-300

Batters Faced-1,329

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

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

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

deanp

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

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

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 9

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.786

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

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

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

hoyt4

P-Waite Hoyt, Pittsburgh Pirates, 34 Years Old

1921 1927 1928

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

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 22

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1969)

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.14

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

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

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

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

warneke3

P-Lon Warneke, Chicago Cubs, 25 Years Old

1932 1933

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

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

MVP Rank: 13

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

frey

P-Benny Frey, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

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

MVP Rank: 16

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

derringer

P-Paul Derringer, Cincinnati Reds, 27 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

collinsp3P-Phil Collins, Philadelphia Phillies, 32 Years Old

1930 1931

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs Allowed-30

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

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

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

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

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

hartnett7

C-Gabby Hartnett, Chicago Cubs, 33 Years Old

1924 1925 1927 1928 1930 1933

.299, 22 HR, 90 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-2)

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1933)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-605 (4th Time)

Assists as C-86 (5th Time)

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

Caught Stealing as C-36 (3rd Time)

Caught Stealing %-59.0 (5th Time)

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

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

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

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

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

delancey

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

.316, 13 HR, 40 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as C-6.01

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

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

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

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

collinsri

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

.333, 35 HR, 128 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 6

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Slugging %-.615

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.008

Games Played-154

Total Bases-369

Home Runs-35

Runs Created-144

Extra Base Hits-87

Win Probability Added-5.5

Def. Games as 1B-154

Assists as 1B-110

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

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

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

terry8

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

1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933

.354, 8 HR, 83 RBI

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

MVP Rank: 7

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1954)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1932)

 

Led in:

 

Singles-169 (2nd Time)

Putouts-1,592 (5th Time)

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

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

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

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

Fielding % as 1B-.994

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

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

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

leslie

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

.332, 9 HR, 102 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

hermanb

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

.303, 3 HR, 42 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-1)

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1975)

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

 

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

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

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

hack

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

.289, 1 HR, 21 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

vaughan3

SS-Arky Vaughan, Pittsburgh Pirates, 22 Years Old

1932 1933

.333, 12 HR, 94 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-2)

MVP Rank: 23

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1985)

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

 

Led in:

 

Offensive WAR-7.6

On-Base %-.431

Bases on Balls-94

Power-Speed #-10.9

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

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

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

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

urbanski

SS-Billy Urbanski, Boston Braves, 31 Years Old

.293, 7 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as SS-.961

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

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

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

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

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

berger4

CF-Wally Berger, Boston Braves, 28 Years Old

1931 1932 1933

.298, 34 HR, 121 RBI

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

MVP Rank: 12

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

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

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

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

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

koenecke

CF-Len Koenecke, Brooklyn Dodgers, 30 Years Old

.320, 14 HR, 73 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as CF-.993

Fielding % as OF-.994

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

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

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

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

cuyler7

CF-Kiki Cuyler, Chicago Cubs, 35 Years Old

1924 1925 1926 1929 1930 1931

.338, 6 HR, 69 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-2)

MVP Rank: 16

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1968)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1934)

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-42

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

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

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

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

1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933

.326, 35 HR, 135 RBI

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

MVP Rank: 5

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1951)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1930)

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-7.4 (2nd Time)

Home Runs-35 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-135

Adjusted OPS+-168 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-57 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-5.5 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.778

AB per HR-16.6 (4th Time)

Base-Out Runs Added-74.53

Situ. Wins Added-5.8

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

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

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

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

waner9

RF-Paul Waner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933

.362, 14 HR, 90 RBI

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

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1952)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1930)

 

Led in:

 

1934 NL Batting Title (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.362 (2nd time)

Runs Scored-122 (2nd Time)

Hits-217 (2nd Time)

Times On Base-287 (3rd Time)

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

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

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

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

boyleb

RF-Buzz Boyle, Brooklyn Dodgers, 26 Years Old

.305, 7 HR, 48 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as OF-20

Range Factor/Game as RF-2.39

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

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

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

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

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