Baseball-Almanac.com's World Series section
Chapter 3: The 1930's
1930: St. Louis Cardinals (2) vs. Philadelphia Athletics (4)
As America welcomed in their 3rd decade of professional baseball, the Philadelphia Athletics had clearly re-established themselves as one of Major League baseball's elite. Connie Mack's franchise had taken longer than expected to rebuild itself into the dynasty of the early 1900's, but it was certainly worth the wait. They had almost upset the up-and-coming New York Yankees in the 1928 pennant race, dominated the AL for the title in 1929 and won it comfortably in 1930 to return for another World Series appearance. The 1930 post-season provided Mack with an opportunity to win his 5th championship title and his 2nd in a row. Their opponents, the National League's St. Louis Cardinals were more than worthy of the challenge while batting .314 with an all .300-hitting line-up. 1930 had been dubbed "The Year of the Hitter" as six NL clubs had above .300 averages, with the New York Giants setting a modern record with a .319 figure and the Philadelphia Phillies hitting .315. The American League was not far behind with a .288 average.
Despite their regular season rallies at the plate, the Athletics' bats struggled in Game 1 and only managed 5 hits to the Cardinals' 9. However, all 5 went for extra bases and each figured in the defending champions' scoring, which came on single runs in the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th innings. Two of the A's hits were homers by Al Simmons and Mickey Cochrane, and helped Lefty Grove to beat veteran Burleigh Grimes, 5-2. Despite the win, Philadelphia was determined to make amends for the "one-hit-an-inning" performance in the Series opener. Cochrane, Simmons and Foxx came out swinging and beat Cardinals' starter Flint Rehm in a 6-1 victory putting their team ahead 2 games to none. As the Series shifted to St. Louis, the home team once again, found themselves in familiar territory. Come-from-behind situations were nothing new to the 1930 Cardinals who were tied for 4th in August and trailed the then NL leading Brooklyn Robins by 11 games. Their tenacity had allowed them to rebound to the top of their league and nothing had changed in Game 3. Veteran ace, "Wild Bill" Hallahan shut out the returning World Champions for a 5-0 triumph and Series veteran, Jesse Haines, beat out Lefty Grove in a Game 4, 3-1 duel that tied the contest at 2 games apiece.
Game 5 represented the Series leading win and both teams were determined to turn the tournament in their favor. Burleigh Grimes and George Earnshaw went at it for a 9-inning pitcher's masterpiece as neither team could manage any offense at the plate. Grimes blinked first as Cochrane managed a walk in the top of the 9th. Two batters later, Jimmie Foxx, who had hit 37 homers during the regular season, added number 38 for the 2-0 Athletics' victory. Philadelphia had the advantage and was 1 game away from back-to-back championships.
Connie Mack's confidence in Earnshaw warranted the 30-year old right-handers return for Game 6 despite having only 1 days rest while the Cardinals skipper, Gabby Street chose Game 3 winner, "Wild Bill" Hallahan to even the score. The questionable decision to start Earnshaw would prove meaningless as the Athletics' line-up would tag both Hallahan and reliever Syl Johnson for 2 run scoring doubles in the 1st, a homer in the 3rd and a 2-run blast in the 4th. Once again, the A's had made each hit worth extra-bases and their poorly rested pitcher backed them up with a solid outing for a 5-hit, 7-1 victory. The win made the Philadelphia Athletics the first team in Series history to win back-to-back championships twice.
How ironic, that in "The Year of the Hitter", batting would be nothing more than a mediocre statistic in the World Series. Philadelphia managed to hit a meager .197 and St. Louis tallied an unimpressive .200 average. In this contest, "quality" apparently meant more than "quantity" as the A's had 18 of their 35 going for extra-bases. The lack of offense was a testament to the solid pitching on both sides. Earnshaw was a standout, going 2-0 with a 0.72 ERA for 25 innings of work and Grove was not far behind with a 2-3 record with a 1.42 ERA in 19 innings.
1931: St. Louis Cardinals (4) vs. Philadelphia Athletics (3)
Baseball's relentless dynasty, the Philadelphia Athletics, once again topped the American League on their way to a possible "three-peat" against their previous Series rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. Once again, the A's had dominated the standings with outstanding play by Al Simmons, who won his second consecutive AL batting title with a .390 average (9 points higher than in 1930) and added 22 home runs and 128 runs batted in. His equal on the defensive side was Lefty Grove, who won 16 consecutive decisions and was 79-15 over the last 3 seasons. Both players continued their pace in Game 1 with Grove throwing a 12-hit, 6-2 opener that was complimented by a Simmons' 2-run blast in the 7th.
One standout on the Cardinals side was centerfielder Pepper Martin who had managed 3 hits off the A's veteran lefthander. After playing 7 minor-league seasons and making 2 small appearances in the majors, Martin had finally been given a shot at the big leagues and he responded with a .300 batting average. Both he and Series veteran "Wild" Bill Hallahan teamed up to even the score with Philadelphia on both sides of the plate. Martin got things rolling in the 2nd, when he doubled, stole 3rd and then scored on a long fly ball. In the 7th, he singled, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a squeeze bunt. Hallahan did his part too and held the A's hitless for 5 innings for a 3-hit, 2-0 victory.
St. Louis veteran Burleigh Grimes, a 17-game winner in the regular season, was given the start for Game 3. His specialty pitch "the spitball" had been outlawed by the league in 1920, but pitchers who were using the technique at the time, were allowed to continue for the remainder of their careers. Grimes, thankful for the league's generosity, had used the wet ball as an advantage for 11 seasons and many younger batters resented the 38 year-old as a result. The pitch served him well as he threw a 2-hit, 5-2 masterpiece that put his team ahead 2 games to 1. Down, but far from out, Connie Mack's Athletics were determined to even the score in Game 4. The '30 Series hero, George Earnshaw (a 20 game-winner) returned to the mound for a 2-hit, 3-0 triumph that put his team back in the hunt. Hitting had definitely taken a backseat to pitching throughout the Series and both bullpens were filled with talent. It was anyone's game and many fans felt that it would be a matter of who blinked first.
Philadelphia's skipper knew that Game 5 called for something special. Mack turned to a 32-year old veteran who he had signed on waivers from the Detroit Tigers in June. Waite Hoyt, who had pitched in six World Series for the New York Yankees and compiled a 6-3 record in the fall classic, was chosen to go up against "Wild" Bill Hallahan. In a shocking turn of events, it was Hoyt who blinked first in a 5-1 loss that featured more extraordinary play by Pepper Martin. Once again the centerfielder had dominated the scorecard with a run-scoring fly in the 1st, a bunt in the 4th, a two-run homer in the 6th and a run-scoring single in the 8th. After 5 games, Martin had obtained a .667 batting average (going 12 for 18 at the plate), 5 runs scored, 4 doubles, 1 homer, 5 RBIs and 5 stolen bases.
For the first time in 3 years, the Philadelphia Athletics had found themselves as the underdogs. Fortunately all was not lost as Lefty Grove came up clutch with 5-hit, 8-1 victory over rookie Paul Derringer. The A's had once again evened it up at 3 games apiece, but they were running out of chances. For the final outing, 2 unlikely heroes stepped up to the plate and made every at bat count. The Card's third-baseman Andy High and right-fielder George Watkins had been having a miserable Series while going for a combined 3 for 22. All that changed in Game 7 as they collected all of the Cardinals' hits. After a wild pitch and an error helped St. Louis to two 1st inning runs, High singled in the 3rd and Watkins followed with a home run that staked pitcher Burleigh Grimes to a 4-0 lead. The master of the "spitball" was strong through 8 innings, but needed relief from Hallahan in the 9th. Surprisingly, the last out of the 4-2 triumph, came on a fly ball to Pepper Martin who had left his mark all over the Cardinals 2nd World Series title. Although he had gone hitless in the final 2 outings, the "minor-league workhorse - turned major league thoroughbred" finished with a .500 batting average.
1932: Chicago Cubs (0) vs. New York Yankees (4)
Anger, emotion and controversy were the big stories of the 1932 Series and that was before the first pitch was ever even thrown. Babe Ruth, the most beloved (and hated) player in all of baseball, lived up to his reputation by ripping apart the Chicago Cubs organization in the press while sticking up for one of his former teammates. Remembering the contributions of shortstop Mark Koenig to the Yankees' great teams of 1926-1928, several New York players berated the National League champions for only offering him a half-share of the World Series payoff. Although he had been a late-season acquisition, the former Yankee had batted .353 in 33 games for his new team and many felt that he was being cheated. Chicago tempers were also flared by the return of Joe McCarthy, who had been fired by the Cubs after the 1930 season. Many around the league had felt that the Yank's new skipper had been unfairly treated after winning the pennant in '29 and taking his team to 2nd place the following year. However, many of his supporters quickly turned on him after he accepted a position with the hated American League powerhouse. Two years later he walked back onto Wrigley Field in a New York uniform determined to get the "last laugh" over his former employer. He certainly had the advantage this time as the Yankees won the first 2 games back home in the Bronx and were now locked in a 4-4 stalemate. What would follow has become one of the most memorable and controversial moments in the history of baseball…
With 1 out in the 5th, Babe Ruth stepped up to the plate and prepared to stare down Chicago's Charlie Root. "The Bambino" had launched a 3-run rocket off of the Cub's veteran in the 1st, but took a called strike on the first pitch. Two balls and another strike followed as "The Babe" acknowledged it with a raised hand. Confident that a "K" was coming, the Cubs fans started taunting Ruth from the stands. As the noise level rose to a deafening roar, Ruth pointed to center field (although some contest that he was pointing back at Root) and prepared his wind-up. Whatever the gesture, it certainly silenced the fans as he delivered the next pitch over the centerfield wall for the go-ahead score. Even Lou Gehrig (who was on-deck at the time) maintained that Ruth had definitely "called his shot" although Root wasn't buying into the "Sultan of Swing" sensationalism. He was quoted as saying, "If he had, I would have knocked him down with the next pitch." Ruth never expounded upon the matter and was content with another contribution to baseball folklore. It still remains a mystery.
Gehrig and Ruth both traded 2-homer days in a close Game 3 that ended 7-5 in the Yankees' favor. New York prepared the next day to close out the Cubs for their 3rd consecutive sweep, but did not get off to a good start as they fell behind 4-1 when Chicago's Frank Demaree knocked a 3-run homer in the 1st. Despite the Cubs' strong start, New York stormed back, thanks in part to the bat of Tony Lazzeri who had two, 2-run homers during a late Yankees rally. In a game that was tied 5-5 for 6 innings, the Yanks wound up with a 13-6 win and another world championship. Although Ruth's "called shot" was the most widely contested and celebrated moment of the 1932 Series, it was Lou Gehrig who was without a doubt, the biggest hitter. Gehrig went 9 for 17 with a .529 average, slugged 3 homers, scored 9 runs and tallied 8 RBIs. He was backed up by Bill Dickey, who batted .438, Earle Combs, who hit .375 and Joe Sewell and "the Babe" who both finished with a .333 average. Strangely, the "called shot" would be Ruth's last homerun in World Series play.
1933: New York Giants (4) vs. Washington Nationals (1)
In 1933, few teams had as productive a batting order as the American League champion Washington Nationals. Heinie Manush hit .336 and had 95 RBIs, Buddy Myer finished with a .302 average, Joe Kuhel contributed with a .322 and 107 RBIs and Goose Goslin and Fred Schulte were .297 and .295 sluggers. Hitting wasn't their only weapon as Alvin Crowder won 24 games, Earl Whitehill had 22 victories and Lefty Stewart went 15-6. The Nationals had outdistanced the defending champion New York Yankees by 7 games for the A.L. pennant and were heavy favorites over the N.L.'s New York Giants. In stark contrast to Washington's "lumber yard", New York's team had only one .300 hitter in Bill Terry and one 100 RBI man in Mel Ott. What they lacked in offense the Giants certainly made up for in defense with Carl Hubbell, Hal Schumacher, Freddie Fitzsimmons, Roy Parmelee and Dolf Luque on the mound. Hubbell had led the National League in victories with 23, shutouts with 10 and earned-run average with a 1.66. Schumacher, Hubbell and Parmelee had ranked 1-2-3 in the league in fewest hits allowed per nine innings. Schumacher had won 19 games, and his 2.16 ERA ranked third in the NL. Fitzsimmons had won 16. And reliever Luque, at 43, had won eight of 10 decisions and boasted a 2.70 ERA.
Hubbell and Schumacher, who had combined for 17 shutouts, started the first two games of the Series for the Giants and were opposed by Stewart and Crowder. Hubbell did not permit an earned run while allowing only 5 hits and striking out 10 in a 4-2 opening victory that featured an Ott 2-run homer and run-scoring single. His teammate surrendered only 1 run in Game 2 (a Goslin homer), and wound up a 6-1 winner as the Giants erupted for 6 runs in the 6th inning. Pitching continued to rule in Game 3 although this time it would be Washington on top. Earl Whitehill, who was a key off-season acquisition from the Detroit Tigers, threw a crucial 5-hitter that resulted in a 4-0 victory and put his team back in the hunt.
Hubbell returned for Game 4 and did not allow an earned run for 9 innings in a 1-1 tie. Neither club could score in the 10th, but the Giants pulled ahead in the 11th on a Travis Jackson bunt, a sacrifice and Blondy Ryan's single. The Nationals were unable to answer and New York held on for a 2-1 win and one game away from their first championship title since 1922. Schumacher was given the start for Game 5 and looked strong with a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the 6th. Down, but now out, Washington came alive with a Fred Schulte homer that brought in Heinie Manush and Joe Cronin for the tie. Now the game turned to a duel of the relievers as the Giants' Dolf Luque squared off against the Nationals' Jack Russell for the win. The 3-3 stalemate continued until the top of the 10th when Ott drilled a Russell pitch deep into the bleachers. Luque (who had first appeared in the majors in 1914) then went about the business of nailing down the Series title for the Giants. In the end, New York batted .267 in the Series (slightly above its season figure of .263) and Washington hit .214 after leading the majors in 1933 with a .287 team mark.
1934: St. Louis Cardinals (4) vs. Detroit Tigers (1)
Once again, the St. Louis Cardinals returned to the big show after edging out the defending champion New York Giants (in the final 3 1/2 weeks of the season) and winning the N.L. pennant by 2 games. Solid pitching had enabled them to hustle their way into the post-season thanks in a big way to Dizzy Dean, who had won an amazing 30 games for the N.L. champions. Dean was a dynamic and outspoken player who was quoted in the press as stating "it-ain't-bragging-if-you-can-do-it". Dean wasn't the only standout as Manager Frankie Frisch had assembled a line-up of mutli-talented players that would come to be known as "The Gas House Gang". Many felt that their "all-out" style of play was a decided advantage over the A.L.'s Detroit Tigers, who were 0-3 to date in World Series appearances. Dizzy Dean took the mound in Game 1 and was backed up by a solid performance at the plate by Joe Medwick who collected 4 hits including a home run. Detroit made their own contributions as well by tallying 5 errors in the first 3 innings in an 8-3 opening loss to the Redbirds. The Tigers struck back the following day with an outstanding outing by Schoolboy Rowe, who held the Cards to a single hit in the 12-inning, 3-2 victory. Rowe had won 16 consecutive games from June to August and showed no signs of slowing down as he dominated the St. Louis line-up. Apparently, the Cards weren't they only team with tenacity and resolve.
Game 3 tipped the scales again as Pepper Martin, the center fielder-turned-third baseman who had boasted a staggering .500 batting average during the '31 Series, shined with a double, triple and 2 scored runs. Dizzy's brother Paul (who had thrown a no-hitter against Brooklyn late in the season) shut out the Tigers for 8 2/3 innings for a 4-1 triumph and the Series lead. Detroit battled back with 2 crucial 10-4 and 3-1 victories that featured Billy Rogell and Hank Greenberg combining for 7 RBIs, with Eldon Auker and Tommy Bridges both going the distance. Schoolboy Rowe returned for a repeat appearance (and possible clincher) in Game 6 against Paul Dean who was coming off of a great debut outing in Game 3. The St. Louis rookie prevailed over the 2nd-year man on both sides of the plate as he held the Tigers to 7 hits and, with the score 3-3 in the seventh inning, delivered a game-winning single. As both teams had battled back and forth throughout the contest, tensions ran high in "The Motor City". The atmosphere around Game 7 was electric as Dizzy Dean went up against Eldon Auker for the grand finale.
St. Louis came out swinging with 7 runs by the 3rd inning and a 9-0 lead in the 6th. Detroit's fans were visibly upset (with the score) and a play involving a hard slide by Joe Medwick that momentarily injured 3rd baseman Marv Owen. They erupted after he apparently made eye contact with the left-field bleachers and retaliated by throwing empty bottles, fruit and other debris. In an effort to avoid a possible riot, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis stepped in and removed Medwick from the game (who was replaced by Chick Fullis). Understandably, the Cardinals argued the call, but the controversial decision had little impact on the outcome as St. Louis went on to an 11-0 victory and another World Series title.
The unpopular Medwick batted .379 against Detroit and drove in 5 runs, while Collins hit .367 and Martin finished at .355. Ernie Orsatti contributed a .318 mark, and Jack Rothrock led St. Louis with 6 RBIs. Charlie Gehringer led Detroit with a .379 average and Greenberg hit .321 with a Series leading 7 RBIs. Despite quality hitting on both sides, pitching was the deciding factor in the 1934 Series. Dizzy and Paul Dean were standouts after winning 49 games in the regular season and both had combined for all four St. Louis victories in the 1934 Series.
1935: Chicago Cubs (2) vs. Detroit Tigers (4)
The Detroit Tigers were still searching for that first elusive championship title as they stood atop the American League and returned for their 2nd consecutive World Series against Charley Grimm's Chicago Cubs (who had won 21 consecutive games in September). Hank Greenberg and Charlie Gehringer set the pace for Detroit's line-up hitting 36 and 19 homers during the regular season and Greenberg topped the list with 170 RBIs. On the mound, Tommy Bridges went 21-10, Schoolboy Rowe won 19 of 32 and Elden Auker finished 18-7 in an average, but well-balanced effort that resulted in a 93-58 season. Chicago was not on par (at the plate) managing a team high of only 21 homers for Chuck Klein and 91 RBIs from Gabby Hartnett. However, what the Cubs lacked in offense, they made up for with dangerous pitching as Bill Lee (20-6) and Lee Warneke (20-13) helped their team go 100-54 and edge out the defending N.L. champion St. Louis Cardinals who had been picked for a repeat.
Game 1 pitted Cub's ace Lee Wanrneke against Schoolboy Rowe resulting in a 3-0 shut out, but the scales tipped considerably in Detroit's favor during Game 2 when Hank Greenberg broke his wrist (trying to score from 1st on a single). As a result, he was removed from the line-up for the remainder of the Series. With Greenberg on the sideline, Detroit switched 3rd baseman Marv Owen to 1st and inserted Flea Clifton at Owen's position. Both went 1-for-36 in the Series and many felt that Greenberg's injury was the biggest deciding factor between victory and defeat as he had helped Detroit even the Series at a game apiece. Before the injury he had capped a 4-run rally in the 1st with a 2-run homer off of Charlie Root (who was in his first Series appearance since Ruth's "called shot"). The Tigers went on to win, 8-3, on Tom Bridges' 6-hitter.
With the Series tied at a game apiece, both teams went head-to-head for an 11-inning, Game 3 nail biter that ended on a Jo Jo White run-scoring single for a 6-5 Tigers' triumph. Detroit made it 3 in a row the next day when Alvin Crowder out dueled Tex Carleton in a 2-1 effort that put his team ahead 2 games and one win away from their first world championship. Chicago's last stand resulted in a crucial Game 5 win featuring 6 shutout innings by Warneke, who left the contest due to a sore shoulder. Bill Lee came in as relief and finished the job with a 3-1 victory that set the stage for a dramatic Game 6. The Cubs were still alive, but for how long? The answer came slowly the following day as the score remained tied 3-3 for 8 1/2 excruciating innings. In the top of the 9th, Chicago's Stan Hack was perched on third base with no one out. With the potential Series-tying run standing 90 feet from home plate, pitcher Tom Bridges remained hopeful. Luckily, he wasn't facing the heart of Chicago's order. Instead, 8th-place hitter Billy Jurges, pitcher Larry French and leadoff man Augie Galan were due up. The Tigers' ace came up clutch as he struck out Jurges, induced French to ground out, and forced Galan to fly out all while holding Hack stranded on 3rd.
As Detroit took their turn, Mickey Cochrane knocked a single past Bill Herman and proceeded to advance to second on Charlie Gehringer's groundout. With 2 outs, the winning run was in position and things were looking good. Goose Goslin, who had delivered the 12th-inning hit that won Game 2 of the '34 Series for Detroit, was up next. Goslin, in what would be his 129th (and last) at-bat in World Series play, launched a single to the right field wall and Cochrane scored from second with the winning run. Pete Fox, who doubled home Detroit's first run in the finale, was the leading batter in the Series with a .385 average. Gehringer hit .375 for the Tigers (after hitting .379 in the previous year's fall classic). Bill Herman, who drove in all three of the Cubs' runs in Game 6, had a Series-high 6 RBIs and tied Klein for Chicago's batting lead with a .333 mark. The Tigers' Bridges and the Cubs' Warneke each were 2-0. After their 4th attempt, Detroit had finally won their first World Championship title while their opponents (who hadn't won since 1908) are still waiting to this day.
1936: New York Giants (2) vs. New York Yankees (4)
In 1936, the New York Yankees were not only without their best player, but also perhaps the greatest player in the history of the game. Prior to 1935, the Yankees had released the legendary Babe Ruth, who went on to play briefly for the Boston Braves, and shortly thereafter retired from baseball. Many felt that "The Babe" was directly responsible for the Yankees' dominance of the late 20's and 30's and the prospect of returning to post-season glory without him was grim. If New York would be able to prosper without Ruth in the line-up; it would be a tremendous boost for the future of the franchise. Ruth's "replacement" was an up-and-coming rookie outfielder named Joe DiMaggio who hit 29 homers and 129 RBIs in his debut season. Third only to Lou Gehrig and Bill Dickey, "Joe 'D" as he would later be called, was a perfect fit for the old "Bronx Bombers". Gehrig was coming off of a MVP season in which he hit 49 homeruns and drove in 152 with a .354 batting average. Dickey hit 22 homers with 107 RBIs and led the team with a .362.
Pitching was also a major player in the Yankees 1936 season as 6 finished the regular season with double-digit wins. Their records include: Red Ruffing (20-12, 3.85 ERA); Monte Pearson (19-7, 3.71); Bump Hadley (14-4, 4.34); Lefty Gomez (13-7, 4.38); Pat Malone (12-4, 3.80); and Johnny Broaca (12-7, 4.24). Not only had New York proved themselves to be worthy without Ruth during the regular season, they were on the verge of a World Series streak that would last for the next 4 years. The Yankees return to the Series also coincided with the comeback of the National League champion New York Giants who were returning to the big show after a 3-year hiatus. Although the Giants did not share the dominant pennant run that the Yanks had (winning by only 5 games), they did have the most dangerous pitcher in all of baseball. Carl Hubbell, a 33 year-old lefty, had just won his last 16 games and finished the season 26-6 with a 2.31 ERA.
Hubbell had more than earned the start for Game 1 and went up against 20-game winner Red Ruffing. Mid-season acquisition, Jake Powell (who came over from Washington) was obviously not intimidated by the Giants' "giant" and managed 3 base hits in his first 3 attempts. It mattered little as Ruth's replacement in rightfield, George Selkirk, scored the Yankees' only run with a homer in the 3rd. Hubbell struck out 8 and only allowed 7 hits (none of which flew past the infield) on his way to a 6-1 opening lead. Despite the miserable debut, the Yankees went on to win four of the next five games while paying back the Giants' pitching staff for Hubbell's performance. In Game 2, they took Hal Schumacher and four relievers for 17 hits including the second grand slam in World Series history by Tony Lazzeri. The entire line-up (all 9) had at least 1 hit and scored 1 run in the 18-4 massacre (Bill Dickey and Lazzeri each had 5 RBIs apiece). The following day, newly acquired Bump Hadley delivered a 2-1 victory with a tie-breaking run knocked in by Frankie Crosetti in the 8th and solid relief from Pat Malone in the 9th.
Hubbell returned to seek revenge for his counterparts in Game 4, but suffered their same fate, allowing 4 Yankee runs (2 off Gehrig's 2nd homer in as many days) in the first 3 innings. Despite his best efforts, the Giants' ace was bested 5-2 by Monte Pearson, a recent trade-acquisition from Cleveland. On the brink of elimination, the Giants managed to stay alive with a crucial 5-4; 10-inning victory in Game 5, but it only postponed the obvious. Once again, the Yankee sluggers stepped up to the plate and blasted their cross-town rival's pitching staff in an embarrassing 13-5, Game 6 romp. Powell, Lazzeri, DiMaggio and Rolfe each had 3 hits (with Powell adding a homer and 4 RBIs) as the Yankees wrapped up the Giants and another World Series title. In the end, the Yankees had finished the contest with an amazing 65 hits. Powell batted .455, Rolfe hit .400, DiMaggio batted .346 and Gehrig knocked in 7 runs while boosting his RBI total in Series play to 31 in 25 games. The only highlight for their opponents came on opening day as Hubbell's Game 1 masterpiece ended the newly crowned champion's 12-game winning streak. However, it would be of little consolation to the fallen Giants (and the rest of the National League) as the Yankees were about to start a new winning-streak of a different kind.
1937: New York Giants (1) vs. New York Yankees (4)
Once again, Joe McCarthy's New York Yankees dominated the American League for the 2nd consecutive season, winning the AL pennant by a 13-game margin with league-leading hitting by 3 of the games greatest. Second-year man Joe DiMaggio drove in 167 runs, veteran Lou Gehrig added 159 and Bill Dickey contributed 133 for an amazing 459 RBIs. Gehrig, known as the "Iron Horse" had enjoyed a magnificent season that would sadly be his last before amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (later named Lou Gehrig's disease) began to take its toll on his career and his life. He batted .351 and recorded 37 homers, his protégé "Joe D"; hit .346 with 46 homers and Dickey came in third with a .332 and 29. The 3 were without equals at the plate, although George Selkirk was on pace (18 homers in 68 games) and may have made it 4, if not missing half a season due to injuries. The Yankees also had the AL's only 20-game winners with Lefty Gomez (21-11) and Red Ruffing (20-7) as well as standout relief in Johnny Murphy, who recorded 12 saves and 13 overall.
However, the Yankees weren't the only repeaters in '37 as the National League's Giants returned for a classic rematch against their hated cross-town rivals. Unlike the Yankees, Bill Terry's club did not possess the dominant hitting (Mel Ott was closest with 31 homers and 95 RBIs), but they did boast two, 20-game winners with Carl Hubbell (22-8) and rookie Clift Melton (20-9). Game 1 echoed the previous Series opener with the Giants on top 1-0 going into the 6th, but before the inning concluded, the Yankees struck for 7 runs on their way to a 6-hit, 8-1 victory for Gomez. Game 2 started the same as the Giants led 1-0 going into the bottom of the 5th. This time the American Leaguers struck for 2 in the 5th, 2 more in the 6th and headed for their 2nd consecutive 8-1 comeback that featured a 7-hitter from Red Ruffing. Things didn't get any better for the National Leaguers in Game 3 either as Monte Pearson, getting last-out relief help from Murphy in the 9th, won - despite the fact that the Giants had loaded the bases.
As the Yanks prepared to go for their 4th sweep in their last 5 World Series appearances, the Giants were still trying to get their first win in their last 4 Series games. Things seemed to finally turn in their favor for Game 4 as they managed 6 runs in the 2nd inning. Center fielder Hank Leiber got things going with a base hit and then capped the rally with a 2-run single. Hubbell went on to record a 7-3 victory while throwing a clutch 6-hitter. In the 9th, the last he would pitch, (in a Series) he allowed a homerun to Lou Gehrig, the last he would hit (in a Series). Once again, the Giants had comeback from the brink of elimination, and once again, the Yankees had an answer the following day. In Game 5, Myril Hoag whacked a 2nd inning homer for the Yanks and DiMaggio connected in the top of the 3rd. Ott returned fire with a 2-run blast in the bottom of the inning, but Lazerri hit a leadoff triple in the 5th and scored on Gomez's single due to 2nd baseman Burgess Whitehead's fielding error. Two outs later, Gehrig doubled home Gomez on the way to a 4-2 Series ending victory.
The back-to-back titleists had won their 6th World Series championship, (breaking the mark they had shared with the Philadelphia Athletics) and they were only getting started. Believe it or not, the 4-games-to-1 humiliation that the New York Giants were forced to endure was only the tip of the iceberg and the defending champion's next 2 opponents would not find themselves as fortunate.
1938: Chicago Cubs (0) vs. New York Yankees (4)
After a 6-year hiatus, the Chicago Cubs managed to top the National League, despite making it there by the slimmest of margins. After a 9th-inning, 6-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates (who had led the NL for 2 1/2 months) on September 28th, the Cubs managed to hold onto first place while winning the pennant by a mere two games. Rip Collins led the team in homers with 13, and outfielder Augie Galan topped the Cubs in RBIs with 69. Stan Hack batted .320 and led the National League with 16 stolen bases, and Carl Reynolds hit .302. Bill Lee and Clay Bryant were the staff pitching aces with 22 and 19 victories. Dizzy Dean, who tried to come back too soon after his All-Star Game toe injury of 1937 and hurt his arm, had been obtained from the St. Louis Cardinals in April and won 7-of-8 decisions.
Their opponents, the 2x-defending champion Yankees were still dominating things on the American League side. This time 5 New Yorkers compiled RBI totals over 90, and those five; Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dickey, Lou Gehrig, rookie Joe Gordon and Tommy Henrich had homerun totals ranging from 32 to 22. Red Ruffing led the American League in victories with 21, followed in the rotation by Lefty Gomez (18 wins), Monte Pearson (16) and Spud Chandler (14). The result was a 9 1/2-game lead over the Boston Red Sox for the AL pennant.
Bill Lee got the call for the Cubs in the Series opener and while the big right-hander pitched well, he did not pitch well enough to win. Bill Dickey went 4-for-4 against him; scoring a run and driving home another as the Yankees pulled ahead with a "predictable" 3-1 triumph. Nothing changed for Game 2 although the Cubs' Dizzy Dean appeared in control almost till the end. He contained the Yankees for 7 innings at Wrigley Field and had given up only three hits while leading the contest, 3-2. George Selkirk added the Yankees' 4th hit as the leadoff man in the 8th, but 2 force-outs left Dean in a position to escape with 1 more out. Frankie Crosetti (who was on the bottom of the Yank's home-run list with 9) stepped up with Myril Hoag leading off of first base. Swinging at the first pitch, the unlikely hero sent a shockwave through the stands with a bomb over the left-field wall. Dean and his teammates stood in disbelief and were unable to answer the call in the 9th as the Yankees held on for the 6-3 victory.
Ahead 2 games-to-none with the Series shifting to Yankee Stadium, the New Yorkers seemed to be a lock. Game 3 and 4 were quick (and painful) as the hometeam's momentum carried them to 5-2 and 8-3 finales that featured solid hitting by Crosetti who added a double, triple and 4 RBIs to his stats. On a somber note, the ailing Lou Gehrig, went 4 for 14 (all singles) for his last Series appearance. The Yankees had completed their 4th Series sweep in their last 6 appearances and became the first team to win the World Series in 3 consecutive years. The American Leaguers appeared unstoppable and most felt that the Cubs never had a chance.
1939: Cincinnati Reds (0) vs. New York Yankees (4)
The Cincinnati Reds returned to the big show for the first time since 1919 when they were the beneficiaries of the famous "Black Sox Scandal" in which their opponents, the Chicago White Sox, intentionally threw the Series. After a lengthy investigation in 1920, the members of Chicago's team were amazingly acquitted the following year despite their own confessions (which were recanted later). Many Reds fans later realized that their "championship title" had been tainted and were anxious to see their team win one on their own terms. Their sudden rise to the top of the National League was more than impressive (after finishing at the bottom of the NL in 1937) and their "Cinderella season" featured the 2 winningest pitchers in all of baseball. Bucky Walters led the major-leagues with 27 wins and Paul Derringer backed him up with 25 of his own. For their opponents, the perennial championship Yankees, it was business as usual. New York finished the regular season with a 106-45 record and won their 4th consecutive pennant by 17 games.
Reds manager, Bill McKechnie, went with Derringer for Game 1 and Joe McCarthy selected Series regular, Red Ruffing. The Yankee veteran played true to form with an opening 4-hit, 2-1 victory that featured a last-inning, tie-breaker on a Bill Dickey single. Cincinnati was down, but not out as they had shown that they could stand tall against the 3x defending champions. Unfortunately for Reds fans, nothing changed the following day as Monte Pearson beat out Walters with a 2-hit, 4-0 masterpiece that put his team up 2 games-to-none. Babe Dahlgren (who had replaced Lou Gehrig for the Yankees) doubled and homered in support. The first-baseman had taken over May 2 when failing health and an accompanying decline in skills had forced the "Iron Horse" out of the New York lineup after 2,130 consecutive games. Not since 1923 had the Yankees engaged in postseason play without Gehrig and fans and players alike dearly missed his presence.
For Game 3, the Reds came out swinging and finally generated some offense against the Yankees pitching staff while out-hitting the Bronx Bombers by more than a 2-to-1 margin. However, as in most sports, "quality" mattered more than "quantity" as all 10 of Cincinnati's hits resulted in mere singles. New York, on the other hand, got 2-run homers from rookie Charlie Keller in the 1st and 5th innings, a 2-run blast from Joe DiMaggio (who batted a career-high .381 in the regular season) in the 3rd and a bases-empty shot from Bill Dickey in the 5th. The final was a 7-3 romp that put the Yanks one game away from their 4th consecutive championship.
Game 4 was a tense 0-0 standoff until the 7th, when Charlie Keller and Bill Dickey both launched bases-empty homers off of the returning Derringer. The Reds quickly answered back in their half of the inning for 3 unearned runs off reliever Steve Sundra, who had replaced ailing starter Oral Hildebrand in the 5th. Johnny Murphy tacked on an "insurance" run in the 8th, but shortstop Billy Myers' error on Dickey's potential double-play ball in the 9th enabled the Yankees to move within one. Then, New York scored again when DiMaggio beat a throw to the plate on Joe Gordon's grounder for the 4-4 tie. With runners on the corners and 1 out in the 10th, "Joe D" came up big again and singled to right for the game winner. That would have been trouble enough for Cincinnati, but rightfielder Ival Goodman misplayed the ball and another run headed home. That, too, would have been trouble enough for Cincinnati, but catcher Ernie Lombardi not only failed to hold Goodman's throw to the plate, but he also was knocked down by the onrushing Keller and the ball rolled away. As a result, DiMaggio was able to circle the bases untouched, as the Reds' receiver lay stunned. "Schnozz's snooze" the play was called, and it won a special place in baseball folklore despite its minimal impact overall. In the bottom of the 10th, Cincinnati managed to send the tying run to the plate three times, but were unable to finish the job as Johnny Murphy protected the Yankees' 7-4 lead for their second consecutive sweep, and fourth consecutive World Series title. Keller, the Series star, led the contest in runs scored (8), hits (7), home runs (3), RBIs (6) and batting average (.438). In the end, the Yankees had won 13 of their last 14 Series games and 28 of their last 31 games in baseball's premier event.
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