At the start of the 1933 baseball season, the National League opened without John McGraw in uniform -- it was the first time in three decades. The fiery Giants manager had resigned 40 games into the 1932 campaign in favor of first baseman Bill Terry, who then rallied the last-place Giants to a sixth-place finish.
Terry continued his good work in 1933, building a new Giants pennant-winner around screwballer Carl Hubbell, Mel Ott, and imports Gus Mancuso (a catcher traded from St. Louis), leadoff man Jo-Jo Moore (up from the minors), and spark plug Blondy Ryan. Ott's 23 homers were third-best in the league, as were his 103 RBI. Terry himself was third in batting at .322.
The strong suit of the 91-61 Giants was pitching, as the MVP Hubbell and supporting cast members Hal Schumacher and Freddie Fitzsimmons compiled the National League's best team ERA of 2.71. Hubbell went 23-12 to lead the league in wins. His ERA of 1.66 was the lowest National League ERA since Pete Alexander's 1.55 in 1916.
Although Paul Waner scored the second-most runs and triples and the fourth-most doubles in the league, the Pirates came in five back at 87-67. Wally Berger carried Boston as far as fourth place on his 27 home runs and 106 RBI, both league second-bests.
Philadelphia's Chuck Klein won the Triple Crown, adding 120 RBI to his league-leading batting average of .368 and 28 home runs. Although Klein also spearheaded the circuit in hits (223) and doubles (44), and teammate Spud Davis had the second-best league batting average (.349), the Phillies couldn't rise above seventh.
While the fifth-place St. Louis club finished 91/2 games out, the Branch Rickey-inspired farm system was busy producing the building blocks of the famous "Gas House Gang" teams. Ripper Collins, who hit .310, and Joe "Ducky" Medwick, who had 40 doubles and 18 homers, were called up to replace Jim Bottomley and Chick Hafey; they joined veterans Pepper Martin, Frankie Frisch, and Leo Durocher to lead the National League in runs with 687.
Baseball bid McGraw a classy adieu by naming him manager of the National League entry in the first All-Star Game, held in Comiskey Park, July 6. Connie Mack's American League squad won 4-2 on Babe Ruth's homer.
Shortstop Joe Cronin managed a Washington team to the pennant by 7 games over a fading New York club in the American League. The Senators' attack consisted of Cronin (who led the league in doubles with 45), Heinie Manush (who was second in hitting at .336 and first in triples with 17), first baseman Joe Kuhel (who had 107 RBI), and veteran Goose Goslin (who banged out 55 extra-base hits).
Led by General Crowder at 24-15, Washington's pitchers allowed the fewest runs in the league (665); Earl Whitehill was third in wins with 22 and Monte Weaver was fifth in ERA at 3.26.
Ruth "slid" to 97 runs, 34 homers, and a .301 batting average in his second-to-last Yankee season, as New York used Ruth's momentum to lead the American League in runs with 927 and in homers with 144; Lou Gehrig was third in hitting at .334 and in homers with 32, second in RBI with 139, and first in runs with 138. Lefty Gomez helped on the pitching end with his league-high 163 strikeouts.
Philadelphia's decline continued unchecked; MVP and Triple Crown-winner Jimmie Foxx (.356 average, 48 home runs, 163 RBI) and Lefty Grove (24-8) kept the third-place A's out of the second division virtually by themselves.
New York dominated the 1933 World Series, as Hubbell's 2-0 and perfect 0.00 ERA led the way to a 4-1 Giants victory. Terry's team outpitched the Senators, 1.53 to 2.74, and outscored them 16-11 in the affair.
Check out the next page for some of the headlines from the 1933 baseball season.
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1933 Baseball Season Headlines
The 1933 baseball season marked the first-ever All-Star Game, held this year in Comiskey Park. Read about it and other headlines below.
1933 Senators Win American League Flag
The 1933 Washington Senators, owned by Clark Griffith, won the American League flag. Contributing to the success of the team was Alex McColl, a 39-year-old rookie pitcher who hurled two perfect innings in the 1933 World Series.
Jimmie Foxx is 1933 American League MVP
Jimmie Foxx earned the second of two Most Valuable Player Awards in 1933, although he was just 25. Yet he still had not established himself as the American League's premier first baseman and never would. It was in no way Foxx's fault: He had to compete first with Lou Gehrig and then with Hank Greenberg.
Rick Ferrell Catches 1933 All-Star Game
Rick Ferrell started for the American League behind the bat in the first All-Star Game in 1933. He caught all nine innings while Mickey Cochrane and Bill Dickey sat on the bench. The following year, he began a string of five straight seasons in which he and his brother Wes formed the best sibling battery in American League history. On July 19, 1933, the two became the first brothers on opposing teams to hit home runs in the same game. To cap off his highlight-filled year, Ferrell tallied 77 RBI, the most in his career.
General Crowder Mounts Wins
General Crowder is one of the few pitchers to lead the American League two years in a row in both wins and most hits allowed (26 wins, 319 hits in 1932; 24 wins, 311 hits in 1933). Like Pete Alexander, another pitcher who twice performed the feat, Crowder's strength was pinpoint control. Although he gave up his share of walks, most came in an effort to get one of the many great sluggers in the American League during the 1930s to bite on a bad pitch.
1933 American League Wins First All-Star Game
The gem of the first midsummer classic was the oldest player on the field, Babe Ruth. At the age of 38, Ruth lined a two-run round-tripper in the third inning. He then took away an extra-base hit in the eighth with a running catch of Chick Hafey's line drive.
Pepper Martin Scores Big
When asked what the Cardinals looked for, a scout on the staff replied, "Hard guys. I don't care whether they can field or not. I want strong-armed, strong-legged guys who can hit and run and throw. Guys like -- well, like Pepper Martin." Martin tallied 122 runs scored in 1933, tops in the National League.
Find even more headlines from the 1933 baseball season in the next section.
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More 1933 Baseball Season Headlines
Following are more headlines from the 1933 baseball season, including the Giants' World Championship win.
Joe Judge Bolts
Joe Judge missed a chance to join Sam Rice, Ossie Bluege, and Goose Goslin (the only members of the 1924 World Champion Senators still with the team when they won their flag in 1933), when he was sent to the Dodgers after the 1932 season. In 1933, he hit .214 in Brooklyn and .296 in Boston.
1933 New York Giants Win World Crown
Bill Terry's championship Giants squad was so deep in outfielders that Lefty O'Doul got into only one 1933 World Series game. Another backup gardener was Homer Peel, the holder of the best career average in the Texas League (a .325 mark).
Bill Terry's Team Well-Armed
Although the Giants under Bill Terry had neither the best hitting nor the best fielding team in the National League in 1933, they did have, by far, the best pitching staff. Spearheaded by Carl Hubbell (23 victories, a 1.66 ERA), the Giants had a composite 2.71 ERA -- 0.13 runs per game better than Lefty Grove's American League-leading ERA.
Nick Altrock Pinch Hits at Age 57
Forgotten by 1934 was the fact that Nick Altrock had once been much more than a clown and a coach who would take an occasional swing to perk up the Washington crowd (as he had done in 1933, when at 57 years of age, he pinch hit in a game for the Senators). For three straight years beginning in 1904, Altrock won 20 or more games for the White Sox and was among the best lefties in the game.
1933 Giants Take Series 4-1
Giants first baseman Bill Terry just missed nailing a Senator baserunner on a pickoff play in the 1933 World Series. Attendance for the four games following the opening contest was down; as a result, the Giants took home the smallest winning shares since 1920.
Chuck Klein King in Philadelphia
All of Chuck Klein's hitting stats declined so precipitously when he was traded to the Cubs -- .368 average, 223 hits, 28 home runs, and 120 RBI (all league-highs) in 1933 and .301 average, 131 hits, 20 home runs, and 80 RBI in 1934 -- that his great years with the Phils are often attributed to his having played with a weak team in a bandbox park. The fact, however, is that in his two full years with the Cubs, injuries severely cut his playing time.
Mel Ott One of Few to Walk
In 1933, National League hurlers gave up 1,386 fewer walks than American League pitchers. Mel Ott and Gus Suhr were the only two National League hitters to get more than 70 free passes.
Find highlights from the 1933 baseball season on the next page.
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1933 Baseball Season Highlights
The 1933 baseball season featured the first All-Star game, with Connie Mack (American League) and John McGraw (National League) managing. Babe Ruth sparkled, hitting a two-run homer that won the game. Find highlights from the 1933 baseball season below.
- Cincinnati's Red Lucas paces the majors in fewest walks per game -- an incredible .74.
- Washington's Joe Judge and Sam Rice are broken up after 18 years as road roommates, as Judge is traded.
- Brownie Sammy West goes 6-for-6 in an 11-inning game on April 13.
- Jimmie Foxx earns the second of two MVP awards.
- Mickey Cochrane becomes the only catcher ever to lead the majors in OBP (.459).
- On April 25, Russ Van Atta of the Yankees debuts with four hits -- a record for pitchers.
- Lloyd Waner's eight Ks are fewest ever by a major league regular outfielder.
- Brownie Ski Melillo's .991 FA is a new major league record for second basemen.
- Indian Willie Kamm's .984 FA is a new major league record for third basemen.
- The Phil's infielder Mickey Finn dies of an ulcer.
- The average major league player's salary is now down to $6,000.
- The Cards swap Sparky Adams, Paul Derringer, and Allyn Stout to Cincinnati for three players.
- The A's send Cochrane to Detroit for John Pasek and $100,000.
- The A's send Lefty Grove, Rube Walberg, and Max Bishop to the Red Sox for two players and $125,000.
- The A's finish third in 1933, the last time they'll finish that high under Connie Mack.
- Player/manager Joe Cronin is second in the American League MVP vote -- the highest finish ever by a Washington player.
- Cronin leads the American League in doubles (45), as well as FA by a shortstop.
- Mel Ott tops the National League in walks with 75.
- Arky Vaughan of Pittsburgh leads the majors with 19 triples.
- Ben Chapman again wins the American League theft crown (27).
- The Yankees top the American League in runs with 927 -- 240 more than the National League-leading Cards score.