The 1936 baseball season was the first without Babe Ruth since 1913. The 1936 season was also the year that the Yankees discovered another legend: Joe DiMaggio. DiMaggio ushered in a new Yankee dynasty that rivaled, and possibly even surpassed, the great "Murderers' Row" clubs of the late 1920s.

The 21-year-old DiMaggio had been purchased from the Pacific Coast League San Francisco Seals, his hometown team, for $25,000; the Yankees got a bargain when a knee injury lowered the price from $70,000. Breaking into the New York lineup with a triple and two singles against St. Louis on May 3, DiMaggio went on to bat .323 with 132 runs, 44 doubles, 29 homers, 125 RBI, and a league-leading 15 triples.

DiMaggio's Yankees went 102-51 to take the American League flag by 191/2 games, thanks to MVP Lou Gehrig (who hit .354 and racked up a league-leading 167 runs, 130 walks, and 49 home runs), shortstop Frankie Crosetti (who drew 90 walks and scored 137 runs), catcher Bill Dickey (who hit .362 with 22 homers in only 423 at-bats), and George Selkirk (who drove in 107 runs).

Second-place Detroit had its early-season hopes dashed by Mickey Cochrane's breakdown from exhaustion, which came 33 games into the season, and Hank Greenberg's broken wrist, which came after he had opened the month of April with 16 RBI in just 12 games. Tommy Bridges took over to win a circuit-topping 23 games. The bright spot in Cleveland's fifth-place finish was Hal Trosky's league-leading 162 RBI and Earl Averill's second-best .378 average. Luke Appling of third-place Chicago was the major leagues' best hitter at .388.

The 1936 pennant marked the beginning of a record streak of four consecutive World Championships for the Yankees. From 1936 through 1939, DiMaggio led New York to totals of 102, 102, 99, and 106 victories, and a 16-3 record -- including nine wins in a row -- against their World Series opponents.

Another historic debut came on July 7, when 17-year-old Cleveland pitcher Bob Feller struck out eight Cardinals in three innings in an exhibition game; in his first official game on August 23, the fireballing righty created a national sensation by beating the Browns 4-1 on six hits and 15 strikeouts, just one shy of Rube Waddell's American League record set back in 1908.

The 1936 year was a strong hitting season in the American League, whose pitchers recorded an overall ERA of 5.04. (Boston's Lefty Grove had the league's best ERA at 2.81). In both leagues, 1936 was the year of the double, with five of the all-time top 21 doubles seasons. Ducky Medwick of St. Louis tied George Burns's 1926 total for second-place on the all-time list with 64. Charlie Gehringer of the Tigers hit 60 (sixth-best ever), Billy Herman of the Cubs had 57 (tenth-best), Detroit's Gee Walker hit 55 (15th best), and Pittsburgh's Paul Waner had 53 (good for 21st all-time).

In a seesaw National League race, New York overtook Chicago and St. Louis for the flag with a 15-game team win streak and a personal 16-game streak from 26-6 MVP pitcher Carl Hubbell. Hubbell led the National League in ERA at 2.31 and wins; pacing the Giants' attack were Jo-Jo Moore, who scored 110 runs, and Mel Ott, who had 135 RBI (second only to the Cardinals' Medwick with 138) and a league-leading 33 home runs. Medwick also led in hits with 223 and total bases with 367.

Dizzy Dean went 24-13 for the Cards, who finished five games back, tied with Chicago for second. Fourth-place Pittsburgh, tops in the league in runs with 804, was powered by Waner's circuit-best .373 average.

In the first Subway Series since 1923, only the efforts of pitchers Hubbell and Hal Schumacher made for a respectable 4-2 Giants' defeat at the hands of the Yankees juggernaut. The pinstripers batted .302 and outscored Ott and his teammates 43-23.

Check out the next page for some of the headlines from the 1936 baseball season.

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1936 Baseball Season Headlines

Joe DiMaggio wasn't the only rookie in the majors to put up some numbers. Find headlines from the 1936 baseball season below.

Earl Averill
Earl Averill topped the
American League with
232 hits and tied for
the lead in triples.

Earl Averill Leads American League in Hits

In 1928, the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League featured an outfield of Smead Jolley, Roy Johnson, and Earl Averill. Johnson was rated the best prospect of the three and Jolley the best hitter, but Coast League players told Cleveland scouts that Averill was the real prize. The Indians soon learned they had made the right choice. In 1936, Averill topped the American League in hits with 232 and tied for the lead in triples with 15.

Mel Ott Leads National League in Homers


Mel Ott led the National League in home runs in 1936 with 33. An established star by the time he was 20 years of age, Ott played until he turned 38. It seems that World War II extended a career that otherwise would probably have ended several years sooner. In 1946, with all the top players back from military service, Ott hit .074 in 31 games.

Tony Lazzeri: 11 RBI in One Game

Despite clubbing 60 homers one year in the minors, Tony Lazzeri was only a moderate slugging force in the majors, never collecting more than 18 round-trippers in a season. His shining moment in the bigs came on May 24, 1936, when he drove in 11 runs in one game, a record in the American League. One writer said that interviewing the taciturn Lazzeri was "like trying to mine coal with a nail file and a pair of scissors."

Paul Waner Takes 1936 National League Bat Title


Paul Waner captured the batting title in the National League in 1936 with his .373 average, making it the 11th year in a row that he hit .309 or better. He showed no signs of slowing up the following season, rapping .354 with 219 hits, then tumbled to a .280 average in 1938. The timing was unfortunate. Pittsburgh came so close to winning in 1938 that even an average season by Waner would probably have meant a flag.

Jake Powell Excels for Two Clubs

Jake Powell's fine rookie season for the Senators in 1935 caused the Yankees to overlook his hatchet job on Hank Greenberg the following spring and trade Ben Chapman for him. Splitting the 1936 season, Powell tallied a .295 average, one home run, and 30 RBI in 210 at-bats with Washington; he had a .302 mark, seven home runs, and 48 RBI at New York.

See the next section for more 1936 baseball season headlines.

To learn more about baseball, see:

1936 Baseball Season Headlines

Joe DiMaggio wasn't the only rookie in the majors to put up some numbers. Find headlines from the 1936 baseball season below.

Earl Averill
Earl Averill topped the
American League with
232 hits and tied for
the lead in triples.

Earl Averill Leads American League in Hits

In 1928, the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League featured an outfield of Smead Jolley, Roy Johnson, and Earl Averill. Johnson was rated the best prospect of the three and Jolley the best hitter, but Coast League players told Cleveland scouts that Averill was the real prize. The Indians soon learned they had made the right choice. In 1936, Averill topped the American League in hits with 232 and tied for the lead in triples with 15.

Mel Ott Leads National League in Homers


Mel Ott led the National League in home runs in 1936 with 33. An established star by the time he was 20 years of age, Ott played until he turned 38. It seems that World War II extended a career that otherwise would probably have ended several years sooner. In 1946, with all the top players back from military service, Ott hit .074 in 31 games.

Tony Lazzeri: 11 RBI in One Game

Despite clubbing 60 homers one year in the minors, Tony Lazzeri was only a moderate slugging force in the majors, never collecting more than 18 round-trippers in a season. His shining moment in the bigs came on May 24, 1936, when he drove in 11 runs in one game, a record in the American League. One writer said that interviewing the taciturn Lazzeri was "like trying to mine coal with a nail file and a pair of scissors."

Paul Waner Takes 1936 National League Bat Title


Paul Waner captured the batting title in the National League in 1936 with his .373 average, making it the 11th year in a row that he hit .309 or better. He showed no signs of slowing up the following season, rapping .354 with 219 hits, then tumbled to a .280 average in 1938. The timing was unfortunate. Pittsburgh came so close to winning in 1938 that even an average season by Waner would probably have meant a flag.

Jake Powell Excels for Two Clubs

Jake Powell's fine rookie season for the Senators in 1935 caused the Yankees to overlook his hatchet job on Hank Greenberg the following spring and trade Ben Chapman for him. Splitting the 1936 season, Powell tallied a .295 average, one home run, and 30 RBI in 210 at-bats with Washington; he had a .302 mark, seven home runs, and 48 RBI at New York.

See the next section for more 1936 baseball season headlines. 

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More 1936 Baseball Season Headlines

Following are more headlines from the 1936 baseball season, including another World Series win for the Yankees.

Bob Feller, 17, Sets K Record

Bob Feller, the 17-year-old who struck out an American League-record 17 batters on September 23, 1936, was nearly declared a free agent by Kenesaw Mountain Landis after it became clear that Cleveland had signed him illegally. A few months later, Landis got back at the Indians by making farmhand Tommy Henrich a free agent. Henrich signed with the Yankees and played on pennant-winning ballclubs in each of his first three seasons, while Feller had to wait until 1948 to be on a winner.

1936 Giants Snare Flag


Although other National League teams scored more runs and fielded better, Bill Terry's crew had Carl Hubbell. The Giants, who finished 92-62 in 1936, had just a 66-56 record for games in which Hubbell did not figure in the decision.

Lou Gehrig Named 1936 MVP


In 1935, the one year that Lou Gehrig played with neither Babe Ruth nor Joe DiMaggio, he had his lowest RBI total of any season between 1926 and 1938. In 1936, Gehrig was named the American League's Most Valuable Player with 49 home runs, 167 runs, a .696 slugging average, 130 walks, and 270 runs produced -- all top marks in both circuits.

Arky Vaughan Sets SS Record

Arky Vaughan had the highest career batting average (.318) of any shortstop who played exclusively in this century (he placed fourth overall in the National League in 1936 with his .335 mark). Indeed, he may well have been the best of all the shortstops who played exclusively in this century. It hurt him, however, to play in Pittsburgh, where he couldn't escape the inevitable comparison to Honus Wagner.

1936 Yankees Over Giants in Six

Mel Ott hit a bases-loaded shot at Lou Gehrig in the first inning of game six of the 1936 World Series. The Giants scored two runs in the frame to get off to an early lead, but the Yankees put seven tallies across in the top of the ninth to sew up the Series.

Joe Medwick: 64 Doubles

Joe Medwick hated to be called "Ducky" nearly as much as National League hurlers hated what he did to their best pitches, even when they were not strikes. Medwick racked up 64 doubles in 1936, a record in the National League. He paced the circuit with 367 total bases, 138 RBI, and 223 hits.

Luke Appling Collects 128 RBI

Luke Appling knocked home 128 runs in 1936, and teammate Zeke Bonura tallied 138 RBI. Between them, though, they collected just 18 home runs. Just two years earlier, Bonura had been the first White Sox player to hit as many as 20 four-baggers with 27; in 1935, he collected 21 dingers. Appling, in 20 years with the Sox, never had more than eight.

Find highlights from the 1936 baseball season on the next page.

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1936 Baseball Season Highlights

The 1936 baseball season marked the beginning of a four-year World Series winning streak for the New York Yankees. Hall of Famers Lou Gehrig, Bob Feller, and Joe DiMaggio contributed to this exciting year. Find highlights from the 1936 baseball season below.
  • The Yankees take the American League flag by 191/2 games, a loop record.

  • The Giants win in the National League.

  • The Yankees take the first Subway Series since 1923 in six games.

  • Yankee Jake Powell is the 1936 World Series hitting star at .455 with five RBI. In game two, the Yanks score a Series record 18 runs.

    Tony Lazzeri
    Tony Lazzeri drove in an
    American League record
    11 runs in one game.

  • On May 24, Yankee Tony Lazzeri drives in an American League record 11 runs in a game.

  • Lou Gehrig is the 1936 American League MVP.

  • Carl Hubbell wins his second National League MVP Award.

  • Chicago's Luke Appling wins the American League bat crown with .388 BA, highest in this century by a shortstop.

  • Paul Waner wins his last National League bat crown (.373).

  • Gehrig leads the majors in homers (49). runs (167), OBP (.478), SA (.696), walks (130), and runs produced (270).

  • The Hall of Fame is created; in the first vote for enshrinement, the leading vote-getter is Ty Cobb.

  • Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson join Cobb as the first Hall electees.

  • Hubbell wins a record 24 straight games over a two-year period.

  • Hubbell's 26 wins top the majors.

  • Ducky Medwick cracks a National League record 64 doubles.

  • Cleveland's Hal Trosky leads the major league in total bases (405) and RBI (162).

  • Trosky's 42 homers set a new Cleveland club record.

  • The Yankees have a record five men with 100 or more RBI.

  • The Phils commit 252 errors and are the last major league team to top 250 in a year.

  • On Sept. 23, 17-year-old Indian Bob Feller sets a new American League record (since broken) when he Ks 17 batters in a game.

  • Hank Greenberg breaks his arm in April, shelving him for the season and sinking the Tigers' chances.

  • Gehrig hits 14 homers vs. Cleveland, a record vs. one team in a season.

  • On April 14, Cardinal Eddie Morgan becomes the first player to hit a pinch homer in his first major league at-bat.

  • Ed Coleman of the Browns sets a new American League record with 20 pinch hits (since broken).

  • Pirate Woody Jensen's 696 at-bats are a record for a 154-game schedule.

  • Joe DiMaggio scores 132 runs, an American League rookie record.

  • Chuck Klein, back with the Phils, hits four homers in a ten-inning game on July 10.
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