1935 American League All-Star Team

P-Wes Ferrell, BOS, 1st MVP

P-Lefty Grove, BOS

P-Mel Harder, CLE

P-Ivy Andrews, SLB

P-Willis Hudlin, CLE

P-Red Ruffing, NYY

P-Johnny Marcum, PHA

P-Ted Lyons, CHW

P-John Whitehead, CHW

P-Lefty Gomez, NYY

C-Mickey Cochrane, DET

C-Rick Ferrell, BOS

1B-Lou Gehrig, NYY

1B-Jimmie Foxx, PHA

1B-Hank Greenberg, DET

2B-Charlie Gehringer, DET

2B-Buddy Myer, WSH

3B-Red Rolfe, NYY

SS-Luke Appling, CHW

SS-Billy Rogell, DET

LF-Joe Vosmik, CLE

LF-Moose Solters, BOS/SLB

CF-Earl Averill, CLE

RF-Pete Fox, DET

RF-George Selkirk, NYY

 

Burdick 325, R327.152
National Chicle Gum Company, Cambridge, Massachusetts Wes Ferrell, 1935 American, Commercial color lithograph; Sheet: 2 7/8 x 2 3/8 in. (7.3 x 6 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Jefferson R. Burdick Collection, Gift of Jefferson R. Burdick (Burdick 325, R327.152) http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/410707

P-Wes Ferrell, Boston Red Sox, 27 Years Old, 1st MVP

1929 1930 1931 1932

25-14, 3.52 ERA, 110 K, .347, 7 HR, 32 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1935)

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-10.6

Wins-25

Innings Pitched-322 1/3

Games Started-38

Complete Games-31 (2nd Time)

Hits Allowed-336

Batters Faced-1,391

5th Time All-Star-After making my All-Star team in 1932, Ferrell had a tough 1933 season for the Indians, though he made the All-Star game. With his skill seeming to dissipate and his temper starting to flare more frequently, Cleveland let him go, as he was traded by the Cleveland Indians with Dick Porter to the Boston Red Sox for Bob SeedsBob Weiland and $25,000. For Boston he had an excellent season in 1934, though he pitched only 181 innings and this year, Ferrell had his best year ever and I gave him the MVP. The writers gave it to Detroit first baseman Hank Greenberg.

Also, due just by his numbers, Ferrell entered my Hall of Fame though he never received more than 3.6 percent of the votes for Cooperstown. A player makes my Hall by a formula – number of All-Star lists made multiplied by Career WAR. If that numbers is 300 or above, the player makes it. Since this is Ferrell’s fifth All-Star team and his Career WAR is 60.00, he just sneaks in. He’ll make another one of these lists next year so it won’t be so close to being borderline. My full list is here.

As for Boston, Joe Cronin took the managing reins and the team remained in fourth place for the second straight year, finishing 78-75. The Red Sox struggled at the plate, finishing seventh in the American League in runs  scored, but with Ferrell and Lefty Grove, had the best pitching staff in the AL, leading the league in ERA+.

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P-Lefty Grove, Boston Red Sox, 35 Years Old

1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933

20-12, 2.70 ERA, 121 K, .079, 1 HR, 5 RBI

All-Star: Yes (Didn’t play)

MVP Rank: 14

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1928)

 

Led in:

 

1935 AL Pitching Title (6th Time)

WAR for Pitchers-9..4 (6th Time)

Earned Run Average-2.70 (6th Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-1.223 (4th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-175 (6th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.20 (7th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-54 (6th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.4 (6th Time)

Base-Out Runs Saved-53.45 (7th Time)

Win Probability Added-6.9 (7th Time)

Sit. Wins Saved-5.1 (7th Time)

Base-Out Wins Saved-5.2 (7th Time)

9th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team eight straight years from 1926-33, Grove was traded by the Philadelphia Athletics with Max Bishop and Rube Walberg to the Boston Red Sox for Bob KlineRabbit Warstler and $125,000. In his first year with the Red Sox in 1934, he developed a sore arm and had a terrible season, finishing 8-8 with a 6.50 ERA. At the age of 35, one certainly wouldn’t be amiss in thinking his career was headed downhill. But Grove, no longer the fastball pitcher of yore, fought back and had the incredible season as demonstrated by the stats above.

With Boston, Grove will not make the postseason, but he might end up having the best seasons of his career while pitching at Fenway Park. It’s not easy being a left-handed pitcher when you have to face righty batters who get to aim at the Green Monster. As it turns out, Lefty did pitch better on the road than at home, with a 2.24 ERA away from Boston and a 3.17 ERA at Fenway.

It’s rare that a team has the two best pitchers in the league, but that was Boston for 1935. Grove was a better pitcher than Wes Ferrell, but the one advantage Ferrell had over Grove was at the  plate. Ferrell pinch-hit 35 times and slashed .347/.427/.533 with seven homers and 32 RBI. Grove had just seven hits in 89 at-bats, while striking out 49 times.  That’s why I gave Ferrell the MVP over Grove.

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P-Mel Harder, Cleveland Indians, 25 Years Old

1932 1933 1934

22-11, 3.29 ERA, 95 K, .206, 2 HR, 10 RBI

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

MVP Rank: 22

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. 67 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Bases On Balls per 9 IP-1.660

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.188

Putouts as P-18 (3rd Time)

Assists as P-81 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-3.10 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as P-2.36 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-For the fourth straight season, Harder pitched 250 or more innings, but after this season, he would never reach that amount again. For the next four years, he’ll still pitch 200 or more innings, but after that, he’ll never reach that amount again. At this time in baseball history, many pitchers would split between starting and relieving and that was certainly the case with Harder, who started 35 games this season, and relieved in seven.

Walter Johnson started the season as a manager and led the team to a 46-48 record before Steve O’Neill took over and the team caught on fire. O’Neill guided Cleveland to a 36-23 record, allowing the team to finish 82-71 and in third place in the American League. Johnson’s managing career was done as he finished with a career record of 529-432. O’Neill will managing into the Fifties. Led by Joe Vosmik, the Indians led the AL in extra base hits and with Harder leading the way, Cleveland led the league in FIP (3.99).

SABR says,

“Harder continued to flourish in 1935. He won a career-best 22 times, finishing second in victories to former teammate Wes Ferrell, now with the Red Sox. Harder did lead the league in fewest walks (1.7) and home runs (0.2) per nine innings pitched. He sparkled again in the All-Star Game. This time he pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Gomez in a 4-1 victory, picking up the save.”

It’s too bad Harder didn’t get to pitch on better teams.

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P-Ivy Andrews, St. Louis Browns, 28 Years Old

13-7, 3.54 ERA, 43 K, .132, 0 HR, 4 RBI

All-Star: No

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 16 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Ivy Paul “Poison” Andrews was born on May 6, 1907 in Dora, AL. The six-foot-one, 200 pound righty pitcher started with the Yankees in 1931 and went 2-0. The next season, he was 2-1 for New York before he was traded by the New York Yankees with Hank Johnson and $50,000 to the Boston Red Sox for Danny MacFayden. He pitched for Boston for two years before being traded by the Boston Red Sox with Smead Jolley and cash to the St. Louis Browns for Carl Reynolds.  For St. Louis, he had an outstanding season, pitching 50 games, starting 20 of them.

With Rogers Hornsby at the helm, the Browns continued to struggle, finishing seventh with a 65-87 record.  The problem with St. Louis was that despite having one of the greatest hitters of all time as its manager, it couldn’t hit, scoring less runs than all other American League teams. The Browns also couldn’t pitch, having the highest ERA in the league.

SABR says,

“In 1935 Andrews won more games than anyone else on the Browns, with a 13-7 record and a team-best 3.54 earned run average. That was the good season. An appreciation headed ‘Poison Ivy Climbs Heights’ in the September 19, 1935, Sporting News credited Browns manager Rogers Hornsby for the ‘unusual faith’ he’d placed in Andrews. Ivy had always been able to supplement his fastball with a curve and a knuckleball as parts of his repertoire, but it was during this stretch with St. Louis that he added a screwball, something he attributed to a little bit of covert fraternization with Tigers pitcher Alvin Crowder.”

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P-Willis Hudlin, Cleveland Indians, 29 Years Old

1927 1929

15-11, 3.69 ERA, 45 K, .279, 1 HR, 8 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-After making my All-Star team in 1929, Hudlin didn’t reach those heights again for quite a while. He was decent, just not All-Star level. He’s back again this year, with his highest ERA+ since 1929. He’s probably not going to make another one of these list, but he ended with a decent career.

SABR wraps up his career and life, stating,

“Hudlin’s highlights of the decade included a one-hit shutout of the Red Sox in the second game of a doubleheader on June 23, 1931; a 14-inning masterpiece on July 16, 1933, in which he allowed five hits and beat the Red Sox, 2-1; a two-hit shutout of the White Sox in the second game of a doubleheader on May 30, 1935, before a crowd of 42,000 at Comiskey Park; and a brilliant, 15-inning shutout of the Philadelphia Athletics on August 24, 1935.

“But in 1936 Hudlin had arm trouble and won only one game. He hung on for a few more seasons and was released by the Indians in May of 1940. He appeared briefly with the Washington Senators, New York Giants, and St. Louis Browns in 1940, and made one appearance with the Browns in 1944.

“Hudlin married Virginia Reuthinger of Parsons, Kansas, in 1927; the marriage ended in divorce six years later. In 1934 he married Elizabeth ‘Betty’ McHewey of Pittsburgh, but that marriage ended in the 1940s. He married his third wife, Hilda Coen of Hazlehurst, Mississippi, in 1948; this marriage lasted 54 years, until his death. Hudlin died in Little Rock on August 5, 2002, at the age of 96, and was buried at the Hazlehurst City Cemetery.”


ruffing3

P-Red Ruffing, New York Yankees, 30 Years Old

1928 1932

16-11, 3.12 ERA, 81 K, .339, 2 HR, 18 RBI

All-Star: No

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1967)

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Since last making this list in 1932, Ruffing had a tough season in 1933, going 9-14, and then had a decent 19-11 year in 1934. He didn’t make my list, but it wasn’t bad. This year, he’s back and, despite now being in his 30s, Ruffing’s got some good years ahead.

Managing the Yankees for the first time without Babe Ruth, Joe McCarthy just fell short of the American League title with an 89-60 record, good enough for second place, three games behind the Tigers. The Yankees never were too close, as a seven game winning streak towards the end of the season helped them get closer to the Tigers, but it was too late. Thanks to Lou Gehrig, New York could still score runs, finishing second in the AL, and thanks to Ruffing, the team allowed the least runs in the Junior Circuit.

Wikipedia wraps up the last three seasons, saying,

“Ruffing had a 9–14 win-loss record with a 3.91 ERA in the 1933 season, as the Yankees finished in second place in the AL. He threw a one-hitter on June 20, 1934, against the Cleveland Indians. Two weeks later, Joe Cronin selected Ruffing for the 1934 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. At that point, he had a 9–3 win-loss record on the season. He finished the season with a 19–11 win-loss record, as the Yankees finished second in the AL. Ruffing pitched to a 16–11 record in the 1935 season, as the Yankees again finished second in the AL. His 3.12 ERA was third in the league, behind only Grove and Ted Lyons.”

marcum

P-Johnny Marcum, Philadelphia Athletics, 25 Years Old

17-12, 4.08 ERA, 99 K, .311, 2 HR, 17 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 20

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-John Alfred “Johnny” or “Footsie” Marcum was born on September 9, 1909 in Cambellsburg, KY. The five-foot-11, 197 pound lefty hitting, righty pitcher started in 1933 with the A’s and after this season would be part of trade involving Jimmie Foxx that would send both of them to the Red  Sox. This was Marcum’s best year ever as he would fade out fairly quickly after this season.

Like the A’s of late Teens, Connie Mack, the manager, built the team up to an unbeatable juggernaut and then took it apart. Philadelphia finished last with a 58-91 record. It was a young team with bad pitching, giving up the most walks in the American League.

Wikipedia says,

“He went 14-11 in 1934 and 17-12 in 1935.

“Marcum spent 1936–1938 with the Boston Red Sox, going 8-13, 13-11, and 5-6, respectively. His ERA stayed relatively the same throughout the first six years in his career (between 4.00 and 5.00, roughly).

“The final year in Marcum’s career, 1939, was split between the St. Louis Browns and Chicago White Sox, mainly in relief.

“Marcum was a very good hitting pitcher in his career, compiling a .265 batting average (141-for-533) with 56 runs, 5 home runs and 70 RBI. He batted .311 (37-for-119) for the Philadelphia A’s in 1935 and hit .329 (26-for-79) for the Browns and White Sox in 1939. He recorded 17 RBIs in 1935 and 1939 and 13 RBIs in 1934 and 1937.

“Marcum died on September 10, 1984 in Louisville, Kentucky.”

lyonst6

P-Ted Lyons, Chicago White Sox, 34 Years Old

1925 1926 1927 1930 1932

15-8, 3.02 ERA, 54 K, .220, 0 HR, 6 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 13

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1932)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000

6th Time All-Star-Shohei Ohtani is the new Ted Lyons, a Sunday pitcher. Lyons wasn’t going to start that this year, but he did pare back on the amount of games he pitched. It helped him quite a bit as he’s back on this list after having disappointing seasons in 1933 and 1934. He’s still going to make this All-Star team quite a few times and will most certainly enter my One-A-Year Hall of Fame (ONEHOF).

Jimmy Dykes, the White Sox manager, who had taken over the squad at the end of the 1934 season led Chicago to a fifth-place finish with a 74-78 record. Its hitting was weak as it had the second lowest slugging in the American League.

Earlier, in one of Lyons’ blurbs, I wrote that his Sunday pitching began in 1935. I thought I had read that, but I now read it wouldn’t begin until 1939. I must have just assumed because Lyons’ games started and innings pitched dropped this year and would never reach the levels they once were. He had led the AL in innings pitched in 1928 and 1930, but starting this year, Lyons would never pitch 200 innings again and never start more than 24 games. He’s still going to make this list three more times, one at the age of 41. He was ahead of the game as its now played when pitchers get more rest because they pitch fewer innings. Lyons would still complete the games he started, completing 19 of 22 starts this season, so that’s still different from modern days.

whitehead

P-John Whitehead, Chicago White Sox, 26 Years Old

13-13, 3.72 ERA, 72 K, .146, 0 HR, 9 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 19

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-“Silent John” Henderson Whitehead was born on April 27, 1909 in Coleman, TX. The six-foot-two, 195 pound righty pitcher had this outstanding rookie year and looked like he was off and running to a great career. He wasn’t. He would pitch seven years with the White Sox and the Browns, but never have another year like this one.

Whitehead started out winning his first eight games, completing seven of them and having one shutout. It reminds me of the start of Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 when the young Mexican took the baseball world by storm. Surprisingly, Silent John lost his next six games, despite completing four of those games also.

The main difference between those first eight games and the next six was the amount of run support Whitehead had. Chicago averaged almost eight runs a game in those first eight starts and just over two runs a game in the next six. It’s why win-loss record can be such a bad barometer for rating pitchers.

After going 13-13 this year, Silent John would finish 36-41 the rest of his career. He would be a starter for the White Sox for a total of four years before becoming a reliever for the Browns. He was done by the time he was 33. His problem was wildness as he walked 101 batters this rookie year and would walk 98 in 1936. He ended up walking more hitters (372) than whiffing them (254).

Whitehead died on October 20, 1964 at the age of 55 in Bonham, TX.

gomez3
1935: Pitcher Lefty Gomez #11 of the New York Yankees warms up before a game circa 1935. (Photo by National Baseball Hall of Fame Library/MLB via Getty Images)

P-Lefty Gomez, New York Yankees, 26 Years Old

1931 1934

12-15, 3.18 ERA, 138 K, .120, 0 HR, 4 RBI

All-Star: Yes (W, 6 IP, 1 R)

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1972)

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-I mentioned in John Whitehead’s blurb above the difficulty of relying on won-loss record as a gauge for the effectiveness of pitchers. Yet even on the mighty Yankees, there can be a drought when it comes to scoring. In half of Gomez’s starts, the Bronx Bombers scored four or less runs. That’s the reason for his 12-15 record, not his pitching.

SABR says he went on a barnstorming trip during the offseason after 1934 and then:

“Gomez reported to spring training a couple of weeks later decidedly out of shape. He soon developed a sore arm. Although he quickly recovered, the months of eating, drinking, and getting little exercise seemed to take its toll. He was inconsistent once the season began and by the All-Star break had only a .500 record. Nonetheless, American League manager Mickey Cochrane selected Gomez to start his third straight All-Star game, and then left him in there for six shutout innings as Lefty scattered three hits in a 3-0 American League victory. That performance remains an All-Star game record for the longest pitching performance and prompted the National League to force a rule change that limited pitchers to three innings in the game.

“The regular season, however, continued to be a disappointment as the Yankees finished second for the third year in a row, three games behind the Detroit Tigers. Gomez finished with a losing record for the first time with 12 wins against 15 losses. His ERA was 3.18, the same as for his banner 1934 season and fourth lowest in the league.”


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C-Mickey Cochrane, Detroit Tigers, 32 Years Old

1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934

.319, 5 HR, 46 RBI

All-Star: Yes (Didn’t play)

MVP Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1933)

 

9th Time All-Star-Back in the 1800s, specifically from 1878-1893, there was a National League catcher for the Detroit Wolverines and the Boston Beaneaters named Charlie Bennett. He was always among the league’s best backstops despite never playing in 100 or more games. Catching always had been a tough position, but Bennett did it without all of the modern equipment or even the equipment currently being used by Cochrane. He made nine of my All-Star teams and was the sole leader in that position until this year, when Black Mike tied him. Here’s the full list of leaders:

P-Walter Johnson, 18 All-Star teams

C-Bennett, Cochrane, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Eddie Collins, 17

3B-Home Run Baker, 9

SS-Honus Wagner, 13

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Tris Speaker, 18

RF-Babe Ruth, 11

Cochrane the manager guided Detroit to its second straight American League pennant and its first World Championship. SABR says,

“Cochrane was perceived as such a civic savior that his picture graced the cover of Time magazine on October 7, 1935. Inside that issue was a story that noted, ‘Cochrane’s arrival in Detroit coincided roughly with the revival of the automobile industry and the first signs of revived prosperity. His determined jolly face soon came to represent the picture of what a dynamic Detroiter ought to look like.’

“It was too much for Cochrane. Following the World Series victory in 1935, he suffered a breakdown in 1936 after being elevated to general manager in addition to his player-manager duties.

“In the late 1950s, Cochrane developed lymphatic cancer, which claimed his life prematurely at age 59 on June 28, 1962, in Lake Forest, Illinois. His body was cremated. His wife Mary survived him by nearly 37 years, dying on June 16, 1999, in Scottsdale, Arizona.”

ferrellr2

C-Rick Ferrell, Boston Red Sox, 29 Years Old

1932

.301, 3 HR, 61 RBI

All-Star: Yes (Didn’t Play)

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1984)

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as C-13 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as C-12 (2nd Time)

Caught Stealing as C-49 (3rd Time)

Caught Stealing %-59.8

2nd Time All-Star-For the first time in their careers, brothers Wes and Rick Ferrell played on the same team starting in 1934 and both of them made my All-Star team this year. I mentioned in Rick’s 1932 blurb it was shocking he made the Hall of Fame, but even more shocking is the fact Wes didn’t. How can someone look at the careers of the two brothers and decide it’s Rick who’s the more worthy? I just inducted Wes into my Hall of Fame this year, but Rick will never get there.

Please don’t take this as me saying he’s a bad player, he certainly isn’t. He’s one of the best Defensive catchers of his era and all-time, but overall he’s just not Hall of Fame caliber.

Wikipedia states,

“In 1934, the Red Sox signed Ferrell’s brother Wes, forming a formidable battery for the next three and half seasons. Rick ended the year with a .297 batting average and led the league’s catchers in fielding percentage and in putouts and finished second in assists. With Ferrell calling the pitches in 1935, his brother pitched to a 25–14 won–loss record, and was runner-up to Hank Greenberg in voting for the 1935 American League Most Valuable Player Award. Ferrell posted a .301 batting average for the year and led the league in baserunners caught stealing.”

It might not be a coincidence the two brothers had their best season while on the same team. I imagine Rick caught Wes a lot growing up.

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1B-Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees, 32 Years Old

1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934

.329, 30 HR, 120 RBI

All-Star: Yes (0-3, BB)

MVP Rank: 5

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1934)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1928)

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-8.7 (2nd Time)

Offensive WAR-8.0 (3rd Time)

On-Base %-.466 (3rd Time)

Runs Scored-125 (3rd Time)

Bases on Balls-132

Win Probability Added-6.5 (4th Time)

Situ. Wins Added-5.9 (2nd Time)

Base-Out Wins Added-6.8 (5th Time)

10th Time All-Star-There is a thought exercise around that tries to pick the game’s greatest active player. For years, it would have been Babe Ruth, but now that title gets handed to his former teammate, The Iron Horse. How could he not have that honor? He’s now made 10 consecutive All-Star lists and his consecutive games streak continued. Interestingly, the Yankees and Gehrig only played in 149 games this year.  I’m not sure why back in those days teams didn’t have to make up missed games especially considering the Yankees finished just three games out.

With Ruth now on the Braves, Gehrig led the league in walks for the first time and would top that category for three straight years. Pitchers didn’t want to have to pitch around both Ruth and Gehrig, but now with the Bambino gone, it was easier to avoid pitching to Biscuit Pants.

I have a list of the greatest players of all-time through the point I’ve reached on this webpage. With Ruth not making the All-Star list this year, the highest rated player right now is this man and I have him rated 14th. Because he’s going to end up quitting earlier than anticipated, he’s not going to make the top 10, even if he makes the All-Star list the next three years which is not a guarantee. However, you’ll want to be around the next couple seasons, because Gehrig is going to put up some monster numbers. This year, Gehrig’s stats seemed to be off, but actually runs scored in the league were down. Gehrig was still Gehrig and would be for a couple more years.

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1B-Jimmie Foxx, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934

.346, 36 HR, 115 RBI

All-Star: Yes (2-3, 1 HR, 3 RBI)

MVP Rank: 11

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1951)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1931)

 

Led in:

 

Slugging-.636 (3rd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.096 (3rd Time)

Home Runs-36 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts-99 (5th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-182 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-70 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-6.4 (3rd Time)

Offensive Win %-.827 (3rd Time)

AB per HR-14.9 (3rd Time)

Base-Out Runs Added-73.52 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.997 (2nd Time)

8th Time All-Star-Starting in 1929, Foxx and Lou Gehrig ranked one and two as first basemen every year, except for 1931, this according to bWAR. What Double X has going for him is he’s five years younger than the Iron Horse. Foxx wouldn’t play in another World Series for the rest of his career, but he’d be among the American League’s best for another half-decade.

This would be Foxx’s last year with the Athletics; I’ll talk about that more in his 1936 blurb. He’d started with this team as a 17-year-old in 1925 and was manager Connie Mack’s shining star. For the A’s, the Beast had hit 302 homers, which ranks second on the club behind Mark McGwire, who hit 363. Even to this day, Foxx is the Athletics’ leader in on-base percentage (.440), slugging (.640), on-base plus slugging (1.079), Adjusted OPS+ (175); Adj. Batting Runs (499); Adj. Batting Wins (46.3); Offensive Win % (.810); and a few of the more modern stats. He ranks fourth in the franchise’s all-time WAR (61.6), behind Eddie Plank (77.3), Rickey Henderson (72.7), and Lefty Grove (64.8). All of this by the time he was 27.

You might have noticed both Gehrig and Foxx had three at-bats in the All-Star Game. That’s because Double X played third base, a position he still occasionally tackled under Mack. He also caught 26 games this season. I’m not sure why you would take one of the Major League’s best hitters and play him at a dangerous position like catcher, but Mack always moved his players around like chess pieces.

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1B-Hank Greenberg, Detroit Tigers, 24 Years Old

1934

.328, 36 HR, 128 RBI

All-Star: No

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1956)

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

 

Led in:

 

1935 AL MVP

Total Bases-389

Home Runs-36

Runs Batted In-168

Runs Created-159

Extra Base Hits-98 (2nd Time)

Assists as 1B-99

2nd Time All-Star-Apparently since the beginning of the Most Valuable Player award, there has been a tendency to overrate players based on whether their teams won or not. This season, Greenberg had a great season, but I wouldn’t have put him any higher than fourth. But the writers gave him the MVP since he played on the pennant-winning Tigers.

It’s not like Greenberg couldn’t play baseball. Along with Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx, Hammerin’ Hank completed a trifecta of great ballplayers at one position such is as rarely seen in the long history of the sport. He did certainly help the Tigers to their second straight pennant and first World Championship. Unfortunately, Greenie sprained his wrist in the second World Series game and was out the remaining four games.

Back to the MVP award. I gave it to Boston’s Wes Ferrell, who used his arm and bat to put together a monster season. Just because the Red Sox didn’t win the pennant doesn’t take away from the individual contributions of a player. This is something Mike Trout is battling nowadays because he plays on terrible teams year after year though he is almost always the best player in the league. Do you penalize Mike because he’s surrounded by lesser talent?

Not that the team’s effort should never be taken into account. If you have a close MVP vote, why not give a little edge to those who play on winners. I just don’t like that players are almost automatically eliminated just because their team stinks.

gehringer7

2B-Charlie Gehringer, Detroit Tigers, 32 Years Old

1928 1929 1930 1932 1933 1934

.330, 19 HR, 108 RBI

All-Star: Yes (2-3, 2B, BB)

MVP Rank: 6

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1949)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1932)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 2B-489 (5th Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.985 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-In this year in which the Tigers won their first ever championship, the right side of the infield was the best in baseball. There was the league MVP Hank Greenberg, who brought power and RBIs to the mix and then there was this man, the team’s all-star second baseman who brought offense and defense every game. I wouldn’t have given the Most Valuable Player to either of the Tigers, but if I did, it would have been to Gehringer.

Wikiwand says,

“In 1935, Gehringer and the Tigers won a World Series, beating the Chicago Cubs 4 games to 2. It was the Tigers’ first-ever World Series win, after failing in the fall classic in four previous appearances. For the year, Gehringer hit .330 with a .409 on-base percentage and a .502 slugging percentage, collecting 201 hits, 123 runs, 108 RBI, and 19 home runs. Once again, Gehringer was among the top vote getters in the MVP race, again losing to one of his own teammates, Hank Greenberg.

“Gehringer also continued his consistent hitting into the 1935 World Series, where he played all six games, and hit .375 with a .423 on-base percentage, a .500 slugging percentage and 4 RBI.”

It wasn’t until 1955 that World Series MVP awards were given. If there had been one, it could have easily gone to The Mechanical Man. He went two-for-three with two runs and three RBI in Detroit’s Game 2 victory; two-for-five with a run scored in the team’s Game 3 win; two-for-four with an RBI in Game 4 including hitting a game-tying double in the third inning; and two-for-five with a double in the Series-winning Game 6 victory.

myer3

2B-Buddy Myer, Washington Senators, 31 Years Old

1933 1934

.349, 5 HR, 100 RBI

All-Star: Yes (Didn’t play)

MVP Rank: 4

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1935 AL Batting Title

Batting Average-.349

Times On Base-315

Def. Games as 2B-151

Putouts as 2B-460

Double Plays Turned as 2B-138

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.18

3rd Time All-Star-In the early days of baseball, batting title races were covered with the same fervor of pennant races. This year was another close one as Myer hit .3490 and Joe Vosmik, the Cleveland leftfielder hit .3484. SABR, as usual, had the details:

“In the 1930s, and for decades afterward, a player’s batting average was his meal ticket. A batting championship was the pinnacle of achievement. Myer, Vosmik, and Philadelphia’s Jimmie Foxx vied for the lead down the stretch. Going into the final day, Vosmik stood at .349, Myer at .345, and Foxx at .343.

“Vosmik’s name was missing from the lineup for the first game of Cleveland’s season-ending doubleheader against the St. Louis Browns. It’s not clear whether he decided to sit out to protect his lead or his manager, Steve O’Neill, made the decision. Myer calculated that he needed four hits in the last game against the Athletics to win the title. He got three in his first four at-bats: a bunt single, a single to center, and another to left. In his final plate appearance, in the eighth inning, the count ran to 3-and-2. Myer thought a walk would kill his chances. He reached for a wide pitch and fouled it off, then cracked a long double to left-center. The 4-for-5 day (and 10 for his last 15) lifted his average to .349.”

Washington, managed by Bucky Harris, finished sixth with a 67-86 record. Its pitching was awful, as the team finished last in the American League in ERA+.

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