In the 1932 baseball season, the New York Yankees came back to go 107-47 and reclaim the American League pennant after a three-year exile. The year was the end of an era; the next Yankee pennant would not come until 1936, with Joe DiMaggio, Red Rolfe, George Selkirk, and Monte Pearson replacing Babe Ruth, Earle Combs, George Pipgras, and Herb Pennock.

In his last great year, the 37-year-old Ruth hit .341 with 120 runs, 137 RBI, and a league-leading 130 walks. Under manager Joe McCarthy and for the first time in the six seasons since his famous "bellyache" in 1925, the Babe did not lead the American League in home runs. Philadelphia's Jimmie Foxx won the Triple Crown with 58 homers, 169 RBI, and a .364 batting average. (Lou Gehrig was second in hitting at .349, tied for second in RBI with 151, and fourth in home runs with 34.)

Combs, the greatest leadoff man of the 1920s, also had his last big season, batting .321 and scoring 143 runs (third-most in the American League). Ben Chapman stole a league-high 38 bases and banged out 41 doubles, 15 triples, and ten homers. Lefty Gomez and Red Ruffing won a combined 42 games (Ruffing was runner-up to Lefty Grove in ERA at 3.09); 26-year-old Johnny Allen went 17-4 to lead the junior circuit in winning percentage.

Defending champions Philadelphia scored plenty of runs, as the one-two punch of Foxx and Al Simmons outproduced Ruth and Gehrig, only to be let down by their second-line pitching. Grove won another ERA title at 2.84 and posted a 25-10 record, while George Earnshaw and Rube Walberg (Connie Mack's only other reliable starters) slipped to ERAs of 4.78 and 4.73.

Paul Waner
Paul Waner hits 62
doubles, setting a National
League record in 1932.

Chicago manager Rogers Hornsby, with his team in first place, got himself fired on August 2 over a tiff with management. Charlie Grimm took over the reins, guiding the Cubs to the pennant by four games over Pittsburgh.

The once-fearsome home run attack of the Cubs disappeared along with Hornsby and Hack Wilson, who was shipped off to Brooklyn before the season; the offensive load was carried by rookie second baseman Billy Herman, who scored a team-high 102 runs, and veterans Kiki Cuyler and Riggs Stephenson, who hit .324 with 49 doubles (third in the National League behind Paul Waner with 62 and league MVP Chuck Klein with 50).

Cubs pitching, however, led the National League with a 3.44 team ERA on the strength of Lon Warneke, the National League wins leader with 22 (against only six losses) and the ERA titlist at 2.37, 19-11 Guy Bush, 15-10 Charlie Root, and 15-17 Pat Malone.

Brooklyn's Lefty O'Doul won the batting crown at .368. The Giants' Mel Ott and Philadelphia's Klein tied for home run honors with 38. First baseman Don Hurst led in RBI with 143; Klein, the outfielder, had 137.

The 1932 World Series featured one of the best-known episodes in Ruth legend -- the supposed "called shot" off Root. There was, as lore has it, bad blood between the two teams over the Cubs' alleged bad treatment of their former manager and then-Yankee skipper McCarthy, and the fact that the Cubs had voted only a half-share in the Series money for ex-Yankee shortstop Mark Koenig. New York was leading the Series 2-0 when Ruth came to bat.

With the score tied four-all in the fifth inning of game three, he took strike one from Root. As the Cubs players heckled Ruth -- and the fans hurled insults and fruit -- the Babe held up his hand, a gesture he repeated after strike two. He drove the next pitch deep into the center field stands; New York went on to win the game 7- 5 and sweep the 1932 World Series.

It will never be known for certain, but on-deck hitter Gehrig insisted that Ruth had meant to call his home run and point out where it would go.

Check out the next page for some of the headlines from the 1932 baseball season.

To learn more about baseball, see:

1932 Baseball Season Headlines

The Yankees took back the pennant this year but wouldn't win it again until 1936 -- without the Babe. Below are some other headlines from the 1932 baseball season.

Wes Ferrell Wins 23

Wes Ferrell may have won 20 games for the Indians in each of his first four seasons (he also took 23 games in 1932), yet manager Roger Peckinpaugh thought he had a bad attitude. Hence, he gave the coveted starting assignment on July 31, 1932, to Mel Harder, as the Tribe played its inaugural game in Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

Mel Ott Smacks 38 Homers


Mel Ott neither played a single day in the minors nor for any team other than the Giants. When he joined the club as a 17-year-old in 1926, John McGraw said, "No minor league manager is going to have a chance to ruin him." Ott nailed 38 home runs in 1932, tied for first in the National League. He tallied 511 career round-trippers, the most by any National League player prior to expansion.

Joe McCarthy Propels Yanks to Top


In 1926, Joe McCarthy's first year at the helm of the Yankees, New York finished 131/2 games behind the A's. In 1932, the Yankees nearly reversed the record, topping the A's by 13 games.

Paul Waner Tops National League in Doubles


Paul Waner ranks ninth in career doubles, tenth in triples, and 11th in hits, yet just 26th in runs. The reason for the disparity is partly explained by his ranking 24th in games played; more to the point, however, is the fact that the Pirates were not a high-scoring team in his prime and never had a real slugger. In 1932, Waner hit .341 with a National League-high 62 doubles.

Johnny Burnett Racks Up Nine Hits


On July 10, 1932, Johnny Burnett of the Indians banged out nine hits in an extra-inning game against the A's. The game went into extra frames when Cleveland first baseman Eddie Morgan fumbled Jimmy Dykes's two-out dribbler in the ninth inning. The botched play allowed the tying Philadelphia run to score and send the game into overtime.

Jimmy Dykes Heads for Chicago


Jimmy Dykes may have welcomed his trade from the contending A's to the seventh-place White Sox after the 1932 season, a year in which he hit .265 and collected seven home runs and 90 RBI. In Philadelphia, Dykes became the target of the notorious Kessler brothers, who hounded him so relentlessly from their seats behind third base that the A's considered barring them from Shibe Park.

To learn more about baseball, see:

1932 Baseball Season Headlines

The Yankees took back the pennant this year but wouldn't win it again until 1936 -- without the Babe. Below are some other headlines from the 1932 baseball season.

Wes Ferrell Wins 23

Wes Ferrell may have won 20 games for the Indians in each of his first four seasons (he also took 23 games in 1932), yet manager Roger Peckinpaugh thought he had a bad attitude. Hence, he gave the coveted starting assignment on July 31, 1932, to Mel Harder, as the Tribe played its inaugural game in Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

Mel Ott Smacks 38 Homers


Mel Ott neither played a single day in the minors nor for any team other than the Giants. When he joined the club as a 17-year-old in 1926, John McGraw said, "No minor league manager is going to have a chance to ruin him." Ott nailed 38 home runs in 1932, tied for first in the National League. He tallied 511 career round-trippers, the most by any National League player prior to expansion.

Joe McCarthy Propels Yanks to Top


In 1926, Joe McCarthy's first year at the helm of the Yankees, New York finished 131/2 games behind the A's. In 1932, the Yankees nearly reversed the record, topping the A's by 13 games.

Paul Waner Tops National League in Doubles


Paul Waner ranks ninth in career doubles, tenth in triples, and 11th in hits, yet just 26th in runs. The reason for the disparity is partly explained by his ranking 24th in games played; more to the point, however, is the fact that the Pirates were not a high-scoring team in his prime and never had a real slugger. In 1932, Waner hit .341 with a National League-high 62 doubles.

Johnny Burnett Racks Up Nine Hits


On July 10, 1932, Johnny Burnett of the Indians banged out nine hits in an extra-inning game against the A's. The game went into extra frames when Cleveland first baseman Eddie Morgan fumbled Jimmy Dykes's two-out dribbler in the ninth inning. The botched play allowed the tying Philadelphia run to score and send the game into overtime.

Jimmy Dykes Heads for Chicago


Jimmy Dykes may have welcomed his trade from the contending A's to the seventh-place White Sox after the 1932 season, a year in which he hit .265 and collected seven home runs and 90 RBI. In Philadelphia, Dykes became the target of the notorious Kessler brothers, who hounded him so relentlessly from their seats behind third base that the A's considered barring

To learn more about baseball, see:

More 1932 Baseball Season Headlines

Following are more headlines from the 1932 baseball season, including Yankees winning the 1932 World Series.

Bill Terry Takes Over Reins

When Bill Terry replaced John McGraw as the Giants manager in 1932, the club was six games under .500. The Giants finished ten games below .500 that year, despite outscoring their opponents by 49 runs. In contrast, the Pirates finished second, 18 games over .500, while giving up ten more runs than they scored.

New York Yankees Win 1932 World Title

When the New York Yankees won the 1932 World Series Championship, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Herb Pennock were the only members on the New York Yankees' first World Championship squad in 1923.

Al Crowder Tops American League in Wins


Al Crowder was nicknamed "General" by admirers in memory of General Enoch Crowder, a World War I hero. In 1928, he became the only Browns hurler ever to top the American League in win percentage; that same year, he shut out the World Champion Yankees in two consecutive starts against them. In 1932, he led the circuit with 26 wins. Crowder's control in 1932 was impeccable. He pitched 327 innings without hitting a batter and without throwing a wild pitch. He did, however, walk a fair amount of batters (77).

John McGraw Bids Farewell

John McGraw won his last pennant in 1924, and by the time he stepped down as the Giants manager in 1932 (leaving the team at 17-23), much of the aura that surrounded him had dimmed. He had become, said Bill Terry, "the type of fellow who would call all your pitches until you got in a spot, then he'd leave you on your own." Nevertheless, McGraw's career managerial record was astounding. In 33 years, he won 4,879 games -- second only to Connie Mack. Little Napoleon guided his team to ten pennants.

Goose Goslin Tallies 104 RBI


Goose Goslin and Senators owner Clark Griffith had what seemed at times to be a father-son relationship. Piqued when Goslin had a bad season in 1929, Griffith swapped him to the Browns, only to regret it almost immediately. Griffith worked for three years to get him back in time to play on Washington's last flag-winner. Goslin hit .299 with 17 home runs and 104 RBI for St. Louis in 1932.

Lefty O'Doul Wins 1932 National League Bat Title

Three years after he won his second National League batting crown (.368 in 1932), Lefty O'Doul returned to the Pacific Coast League as the player/manager of the San Francisco Seals. O'Doul had a ploy he used to touch off a rally: Pacing the third-base coach's box and waving a white handkerchief.

See the next section for highlights from the 1932 baseball season.

To learn more about baseball, see:

1932 Baseball Season Highlights

The 1932 baseball season marked the end of an era -- it was the first time in six seasons that Babe Ruth did not lead the American League in home runs. The season ended with a famous moment in World Series history. Find highlights from the 1932 baseball season below.
  • The Yankees win their first flag under Joe McCarthy.

  • The Cubs triumph in the National League after Charlie Grimm replaces Rogers Hornsby as manager.

    Bill Terry
    Bill Terry replaced John
    McGraw as the Giants
    manager in 1932.

  • John McGraw steps down as Giants manager after 40 games and turns the reins over to player Bill Terry.

  • The Yankees sweep the third World Series in a row in which they've appeared.

  • In game three of the 1932 World Series, Babe Ruth hits two home runs.

  • According to some, Ruth "calls" his last Series homer, pointing toward where it eventually lands.

  • Overshadowed by Ruth, Lou Gehrig leads all Series hitters with a .529 BA, three homers, and eight RBI.

  • Philly's Jimmie Foxx is selected American League MVP.

  • Philly's Chuck Klein is the National League MVP.

  • Foxx wins the Triple Crown in the American League (though some sources give the bat title to Boston's Dale Alexander).

  • Foxx's 58 homers are the most at this juncture by anyone other than Ruth.

  • Al Crowder of Washington tops the majors with 26 wins.

  • The Red Sox again tumble into the cellar and set a new club record for losses with 111.

  • St. Louis rookie Dizzy Dean tops the National League with 191 Ks.

  • Lon Warneke of the Cubs is the National League's top winner with 22.

  • Warneke leads the National League in ERA (2.37) and win pct. (.786).

  • Lefty Grove leads the American League in ERA (2.84).

  • Grove "slips" to 25 wins and posts his most losses (ten) since 1927.

  • Red Ruffing leads the American League in Ks (190).

  • Brooklyn's Lefty O'Doul wins his second National League bat crown in four years.

  • Paul Waner sets an National League record (since broken) with 62 doubles.

  • New York's Mel Ott wins his first National League homer crown (38).

  • After the 1932 season, the A's sell Al Simmons, Jimmy Dykes, and Mule Haas to the White Sox for $100,000.

  • Giant Sam Leslie sets a new major league record with 22 pinch hits.

  • On June 27, Goose Goslin becomes the first to hit three homers in a game three times in his career.

  • Ray Hayworth of the Tigers becomes the first catcher to work 100 consecutive errorless games.

  • Brooklyn's Johnny Frederick hits a record six pinch-hit home runs during the season.
We have even more highlights from the 1932 baseball season on the next page.

To learn more about baseball, see: