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.
To learn more about baseball, see: