In the 1934 baseball season, Bill Terry's New York Giants had another good showing, scoring 760 runs, second-best in the league, and allowing only 583, the fewest of any National League staff. Young Mel Ott hit .326 with 119 runs scored (second only to Paul Waner's 122) and drove in a league-leading 135; Ott also drew 85 walks and tied with Ripper Collins for the home run title at 35.
New York's other big gun, player/manager Terry, was second in the National League in hitting at .354 (behind Waner at .362) and scored 109 runs; leadoff man Jo-Jo Moore batted .331 and crossed the plate 106 times. Hal Schumacher won 23 games; Carl Hubbell won 21 contests and took the National League ERA title at 2.30.
It was, however, the rough and tumble St. Louis Cardinals, nicknamed the "Gashouse Gang" after the street gangs of one of Manhattan's worst neighborhoods, that won the pennant by two games in an exciting race. New York had led for 127 straight days, when on September 28, ace Dizzy Dean defeated the Reds 4-0 to bring the Cardinals even with New York. The next day, Dizzy's younger brother Paul won 6-1, while the Giants lost to Brooklyn. The day after that, the elder Dean shut out Cincinnati again, 9-0, to give St. Louis a lead it never relinquished.
Dizzy had been ridiculed for his preseason promise that the Dean brothers would win 45 games. By season's end, they had exceeded that total by four, and the 30-7 Dizzy was voted National League MVP. The other principal "Gashousers" were second baseman/manager Frankie Frisch, who hit .305; Collins, who batted .333 and drove in 128 runs; Leo Durocher, the league's top-fielding shortstop; Pepper Martin, the league's stolen base leader (23); and Ducky Medwick, who hit .319 with 18 triples.
Hard-hitting Detroit batted .300 -- the only major league team to do so -- on its way to a 101-53 record, seven games better than a New York Yankees team that finished second in runs scored. The 39-year-old Babe Ruth gave only a .288, 22-homer season performance; Lou Gehrig carried most of the weight, winning the Triple Crown with a .363 average, 165 RBI, and 49 homers. The New York pitchers rebounded to post a league-low 3.76 team ERA courtesy of titlist Lefty Gomez (who went 26-5 with a 2.33 ERA), 19-game winner Red Ruffing, and 14-game winner Johnny Murphy.
Charlie Gehringer, known
as "The Mechanical Man,"
led the American League
in runs, hits, and runs
Schoolboy Rowe (24-8) and Tommy Bridges (22-11) were Detroit's big winners. Jimmie Foxx drew an American League-high 111 walks and hit 44 homers for fifth-place Philadelphia, and Connie Mack sold 34-year-old Lefty Grove to the Boston Red Sox for $125,000. The defending champion Senators fell to seventh place, 34 out.
The Dean duo was the deciding factor in the close-fought, seven-game 1934 World Series. The brothers each recorded ERAs under 2.00 and won two games.
The 1934 World Series ended on a bizarre note, when in the midst of a St. Louis rout, the Detroit crowd interrupted the game to shower left fielder Medwick with garbage to protest his sixth-inning hard slide into Tiger third baseman Marv Owen. Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis ruled that the Cardinal outfielder leave the game for his own safety.
The departure made no difference to the Tigers, who went on to lose by a score of 11-0.
Check out the next page for some of the headlines from the 1934 baseball season.
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1934 Baseball Season Headlines
St. Louis stepped in where the Yankees' "Murderers' Row" left off with the "Gashouse Gang" in 1934. Below are some of the other headlines from the 1934 baseball season.
Carl Hubbell Ks the Best
After witnessing the incredible strikeout string established by Carl Hubbell in the 1934 All-Star Game -- Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin all fanned in order in the first two frames -- Frankie Frisch said, "I could play second base 15 more years behind that guy. He doesn't need any help." Heywood Broun wrote that with Hubbell pitching "first base itself is a Marathon route." On the year, Hubbell won 21 games and posted a league-leading 2.30 ERA. In his spare time, he toiled in the bullpen -- where he led the league in saves with eight.
Pepper Martin Has .289 Average
Pepper Martin tallied a .289 average in 1934 with five home runs and 49 RBI. At the beginning of the season, his roommate was Vallie Eaves, a pitcher of Indian descent who failed to stick with the Cardinals. Martin, however, never kept any of his roommates long. His normal attire was jeans and a workshirt open at the throat.
Paul Waner Takes 1934 National League Bat Title
Even with bat leader Paul Waner hitting .362, the Pirates could finish no better than fifth place in 1934. When the team, predicted by many to take it all, got off to a 27-24 start, popular George Gibson was replaced at the helm by Pie Traynor. Under Traynor, the Pirates played sub-.500 ball and finished with a 74-76 record. Pitching was their main problem. They posted a 4.20 team ERA.
The Babe Takes a Break
Babe Ruth was surrounded by admirers during a postseason tour of Japan. Wherever Ruth went, Jimmy Cannon said, "He was a parade all by himself, a burst of dazzle and jingle. Santa Claus drinking his whiskey straight . . . Ruth made the music that his joyous years danced to in a continuous party." The 1934 year would be the Bambino's last full season. During the campaign, he hit .288 with 22 homers, 84 RBI, and 103 walks in a mere 125 games -- not bad numbers for an out-of-shape 39-year-old.
Earl "Rock" Averill Solid Again
Earl Averill's year of fame came in 1936 when he hit .378 with a league-leading 232 hits. "Rock" had plenty of other excellent seasons as well. In 1934, he hit .313 with 31 homers and 113 RBI. In fact, his only off year in his first ten seasons came in 1935, when he hit .288 -- largely because he burned his hand testing Fourth of July fireworks.
Charlie Gehringer Hits .356
Known as "The Mechanical Man," Charlie Gehringer was second in the American League in 1934 with a .356 batting average. Satchel Paige deemed Gehringer the best white hitter he ever faced. What he lacked in flamboyance, Gehringer more than made up for in consistency. As teammate Doc Cramer said, "You wind him up on opening day and forget about him."
See the next section for more headlines from the 1934 baseball season.
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More 1934 Baseball Season Headlines
Following are more headlines from the 1934 baseball season, including Babe Ruth's 700th career homer.
The Bambino Nails No. 700
Babe Ruth crossed the plate on July 13, 1934, after hitting his 700th career home run against Detroit at Navin Field. The sports pages the following day deemed it "a record likely never to be surpassed in baseball." Lou Gehrig was second at the time with 314 homers and Rogers Hornsby third with 301.
1934 Detroit Tigers Grab American League Flag
Mickey Cochrane and Goose Goslin were the only two players in the American League to be on five pennant-winning teams between 1921 and 1939 without ever playing for the Yankees. In 1934, Cochrane had a .320 batting average, two home runs, and 76 RBI; Goslin had a .305 average, 13 home runs, and 100 RBI.
Hal Trosky Brings Respect to Tribe
The Indians had a team batting average of .261 and just 50 home runs in 1933. Rookie slugging star Hal Trosky helped pump up the stats to a .287 average and an even 100 four-baggers in 1934. What aided the Indians hitters even more, however, was moving most of the Tribe's home games from gigantic Cleveland Stadium to tiny League Park, the American League's version of the Baker Bowl.
Mickey Cochrane Wins 1934 American League MVP
In 1934, Mickey Cochrane became the first player who had studied under Connie Mack for at least one full season to manage a pennant-winning club. In the American League MVP balloting that year, Cochrane (.320, a pair of home runs, 76 RBI) narrowly edged teammate Charlie Gehringer for the title.
1934 St. Louis Cardinals Take World Title
The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Champion title in 1934. Dubbed the "Gashouse Gang" by New York sportswriter Frank Graham, the Cardinals' gritty, aggressive brand of ball came to symbolize the game during the 1930s -- at least in the National League. The American League had the Yankees, an altogether different breed of team.
1934 Cards and Tigers Go Neck-and-Neck
The Tigers returned home to Navin Field on October 8 with a 3-2 lead in games, only to lose a 4-3 squeaker to Paul Dean. The following day, they suffered an 11-0 blowout at the hands of Paul's brother Dizzy Dean.
Find highlights from the 1934 baseball season on the next page.
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1934 Baseball Season HighlightsThe 1934 baseball season was dominated by the St. Louis Cardinals -- nicknamed the "Gashouse Gang" -- and the Detroit Tigers. Hall-of-Famers like Lou Gehrig, Charlie Gehringer, and Dizzy Dean were among the outstanding players that year. Find highlights from the 1934 baseball season below.
- The Tigers cop their first American League flag since 1909.
- The Cards take the National League flag by two games over the Giants with a club that's known as the "Gashouse Gang."
- The Cards take the 1934 World Series in seven games under manager Frankie Frisch.
Clark Griffith, manager of
the Senators, sent his
son-in-law, Joe Cronin,
to the Red Sox in 1934.
- Clark Griffith of the Senators sends his son-in-law, Joe Cronin, to the Red Sox for Lyn Lary and $250,000.
- In game seven of the 1934 World Series, Ducky Medwick's hard slide into Tiger third baseman Marv Owen triggers a near riot among Detroit fans.
- The Dean brothers, Dizzy and Paul, win two games each in the 1934 World Series.
- Dizzy Dean is selected the National League MVP.
- Detroit player/manager Mickey Cochrane is the American League MVP.
- Lou Gehrig wins the Triple Crown in the American League, batting .363 with 49 homers and 165 RBI.
- Paul Waner tops the National League in batting at .362.
- Dizzy Dean becomes the last National League hurler to win 30 games, as he wins 30 games exactly.
- The Dean brothers win a sibling record 49 games for the Cards.
- Yankee Lefty Gomez leads the American League in wins (26), win pct. (.839), Ks (158), and ERA (2,33), and ties in shutouts (six).
- Carl Hubbell's 2.30 ERA is the best in the majors.
- In the 1934 All-Star Game, Hubbell fans Babe Ruth, Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin consecutively.
- The American League wins the 1934 All-Star Game 9-7.
- Babe Ruth hits his 700th career homer.
- The Yankees obtain Joe DiMaggio from the Pacific Coast League's San Francisco Seals for $25,000 and four players.
- Lou Gehrig ties an American League record by leading the loop in RBI for a fifth time.
- The 1934 World Champion Cardinals draw only 350,000 fans in home attendance.
- Hal Trosky of Cleveland collects 374 total bases, a rookie record.
- On Sept. 21, the Deans take turns shutting out the Dodgers in a twinbill.
- A few members of the Reds fly to a game in Chicago; they were the first major league teammates to travel together by air.
- The Yankees release two future Hall of Famers, Herb Pennock and Joe Sewell, on the same day.
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More 1934 Baseball Season Highlights
Following are more highlights from the 1934 baseball season, including the year's stats from some of the game's best players.
- On May 1, Burleigh Grimes wins the last game in Major League Baseball history by a pitcher legally allowed to throw a spitball.
- Detroit's Schoolboy Rowe wins an American League record 16 straight games.
- Goose Goslin has a 30-game hitting streak.
- Bobo Newsom of St. Louis no-hits Boston for nine innings on Sept. 18 but loses 2-1 in ten innings.
- Paul Dean no-hits the Dodgers on Sept. 21.
- Paul Waner tops the National League in runs (122) and hits (217).
- New York's Mel Ott leads the National League in homers (35), RBI (135), and runs produced (219).
- Cardinal Ripper Collins tops the National League in total bases (369) and SA (.615) and ties in homers (35).
- Dizzy Dean leads the National League in win pct. (.811), shutouts (seven), and Ks (195).
- Tiger Charlie Gehringer leads the American League in hits (214), runs (134), and runs produced (250).
- Teammate Hank Greenberg tops the American League with 63 doubles.
- The Yankees' Myril Hoag goes 6-for-6 on June 6.
- This is the last season that both pennant-winning teams are piloted by player/managers.
- John McGraw dies.
- The Reds finish last in the National League for the fourth straight year.
- On April 28, Goose Goslin grounds into a record four double plays.
- Detroit's four regular infielders miss a combined total of one game during the season.
- Asked to assess the Dodgers' chances prior to the season, Giants manager Bill Terry says, "Is Brooklyn still in the league?"
- The Dodgers beat the Giants the last two games of the season to give the Cards the flag.
- Washington's Jack Russell is the first reliever selected to an All-Star Game.
- Firpo Marberry is the first pitcher to post 100 career saves.
- Cleveland deals Wes Ferrell and Dick Porter to the Red Sox for Bob Weiland, Bob Seeds, and cash.
June 30 against Washington, Gehrig hits three triples by the fifth
inning, but the game is rained out and the feat isn't counted.
- Milt Gaston leaves the majors with a .372 win pct. (97-164), the worst ever by a pitcher with more than 250 decisions.
- Kiki Cuyler and Philly Ethan Allen tie for the National League lead in doubles (42).
- Ducky Medwick leads the majors in triples with 18.
- Red Sox Billy Werber leads the majors in steals with 40.
- Schoolboy Rowe (24 wins) and Tommy Bridges team to win 46 games for Detroit.
- Rookie Curt Davis wins 19 for the seventh-place Phils and tops the National League in games pitched (51).
- The last-place Reds have two 20-game losers: Paul Derringer (21) and Si Johnson (22).
- Jimmie Foxx leads both leagues with 111 walks.
- The Tigers lead the American League in BA (.300) and FA (.974).