1937 Baseball Season

The 1937 baseball season broke open with one of the many controversies in the career of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Dizzy Dean. In a preview of the 1988 balk brouhaha, baseball commissioner Ford Frick had ordered umpires to enforce the rule requiring pitchers to come to a discernible stop in the stretch position. During a Giants-Cardinals matchup on May 19, a balk of this type was called against Dean in the sixth; he became enraged and began throwing at the New York batters. The result was a bench-clearing brawl and a $50 fine for Dean.

In his next start, Dean made a mockery of the balk rule by coming to a several-second stop in his delivery. When he publicly called Frick a "crook" a few days later, he was suspended indefinitely. To add to his troubles, Dean broke his big toe in the 1937 All-Star Game, an injury that led to an unconscious change in his delivery and, in turn, arm trouble. He never again pitched in a regular rotation and retired soon after with a 150-83 record and a 3.04 lifetime ERA.

Without their ace, the Cardinals slipped to an 81-73 record, 15 games out, in spite of an MVP performance by Ducky Medwick. The muscular left fielder was "Mr. Everything" for the St. Louis offense, leading the National League in batting at .374, RBI with 154, doubles with 56, hits with 237, and runs with 111; he tied New York's Mel Ott for the league lead in homers with 31. Medwick won the Triple Crown that year, the last National League player to do so. Teammate Johnny Mize drove in 113 runs, hit 40 doubles (second in the National League), and batted .364 (also second-best).

Third-place Pittsburgh featured the three top triples hitters in the National League; Arky Vaughan with 17, Gus Suhr with 14, and Lee Handley with 12. Outfielder Paul Waner was third in batting at .354.

Runner-up Chicago scored the most runs of any National League team, 811, and finished three games out. Four Cubs -- Billy Herman, Stan Hack, Augie Galan, and Frank Demaree -- made the top five in runs scored, and Galan and Hack were first and second in stolen bases with 23 and 16.

The New York Giants successfully defended their National League flag, thanks to Ott's 95 RBI and great defense from shortstop Dick Bartell, who also hit .306 with 38 doubles, 14 homers, and 91 runs scored. Carl Hubbell went 22-8 and fellow lefty Cliff Melton turned in a 2.61 ERA, second only to Boston's Jim Turner at 2.38.

In the American League race, monster seasons from the Tigers' pure hitter Charlie Gehringer and slugger Hank Greenberg couldn't prevent another Yankee pennant. Gehringer won the batting title at .371 and scored 133 runs. Greenberg led the American League in RBI with 183 -- the third-highest total of all time -- and also had 40 homers, 49 doubles, and 102 walks.

The Yankees machine scored the most runs in the league (979), allowed the fewest (671), and finished at 102-52, 13 games up on Detroit. Lou Gehrig hit .351 with 159 RBI and 37 homers; Joe DiMaggio hit .346 with an American League-high 151 runs, 15 triples, and a league-leading 46 homers. Lefty Gomez and Red Ruffing led the American League in wins with 21 and 20, and Gomez took the ERA title at 2.33; reliever Johnny Murphy worked 39 games and saved ten. Ex-Yankee Johnny Allen, pitching for Cleveland, went 15-1 with a 2.55 ERA.

The Yankees made short work of the Giants in their second consecutive October meeting, outscoring them 28-12 in five games. Lefty Gomez went 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA; no Giants starter had an ERA lower than Carl Hubbell's 3.77.

Check out the next page for some of the headlines from the 1937 season.

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The 1937 baseball season would see another Subway Series go the way of the Yankees. Read about other headlines from the 1937 season below.

The Heart of New York

Joe McCarthy's 1937 team included his No. 1 star, Lou Gehrig, and the heir apparent, Joe DiMaggio. During McCarthy's regime, neither the Yankees dugout nor the clubhouse after the game was a place for frivolity. Baseball was strictly business to McCarthy, and the entire park was his office.

Bill Dickey
Catcher Bill Dickey hit
.313 and collected 202
home runs over his
17-year career.

Bill Dickey: .332 BA, 133 RBI

Over a 17-year career in which he played
no position other than catcher, Bill Dickey hit .313 and collected 202 home runs and 1,209 RBI. In 1937, he hit .332 with 29 home runs and 133 RBI. Although there were other receivers who had more flair, he had a quality that was the envy of all. As Charlie Gehringer put it, "Bill Dickey made catching look easy."

Charlie Gehringer Tops in BA

Charlie Gehringer became the oldest player in American League history to win a first batting title when he scored a .371 average in 1937 at the age of 34. A year earlier, he had rapped .354. Mickey Cochrane, Gehringer's manager, described him by saying, "He says hello on opening day and good-bye on closing day, and in between he hits .350."

Mickey Cochrane Beaned Down

Mickey Cochrane was taken away by an ambulance after being beaned by Bump Hadley on May 25, 1937. Cochrane, who was in and out of consciousness for ten days with a fractured skull, was the victim of a pitcher who had almost everything going for him except control. Hadley averaged nearly 100 walks a season during his career. Cochrane never played in the majors again.

Arky Vaughan Tops National League in Triples

Arky Vaughan never again approached his .385 average of 1935, though he did hit .318 over his career. In 1937, he hit .322 and led the National League with 17 triples. Arky, who was named after his home state of Arkansas, always had an outstanding walk-to-strikeout ratio. Over his career, he walked 937 times and fanned just 276 times. He fanned a mere 22 times in the 1937 season.

Johnny Allen Nearly 16-0

Although Johnny Allen was long on talent, he had a short fuse. Guarding a 15-0 record for Cleveland on the last day of the 1937 season, Allen lost a potential 16th straight win when Detroit beat him 1-0 on a hit he thought his third baseman, Bad News Hale, should have handled. Allen wanted to fight Hale after the game.

See the next section for more 1937 baseball season headlines.

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Following are more headlines from the 1937 baseball season, including the 1937 World Series battle between the Yankees and the Giants.

Rudy York: 18 August HRs

Rudy York couldn't win a regular job until he went on his record home run binge of 18 moon shots in August 1937. York also drove in 49 runs in August to set another major league record. For the season, York hit .307 with 35 home runs and 103 RBI in a mere 375 at-bats. Tried and found wanting at catcher, third base, and the outfield, York finally forced the Tigers to move Hank Greenberg to left field in 1940 so that he could play first base. York was known for his power binges. On July 27, 1946, he blasted two grandslams and drove in ten runs in one game.

Gus Suhr's Skein Finally Ends

Gus Suhr was little more than a journeyman first baseman in the majors. His claim to fame was a National League-record streak of 822 consecutive games, which ended in 1937. Returning after the 1940 season to the San Francisco Seals, for whom he had hit .381 with 51 homers in 1929, Suhr played three full seasons while collecting just one homer.

Joe McCarthy Takes Yanks All the Way

By 1937, Joe McCarthy was already being called a "push-button manager" who, with all the talent the Yankees had, couldn't miss winning. Close observers, however, knew that many of his players were household names by virtue of being Yankees. With other teams, they would have been nonentities.

1937 Giants Take National League Pennant

The Giants clinched the 1937 National League flag. Shortstop Dick Bartell was the club's infield anchor. Carl Hubbell led the National League in wins that season with 22. Cliff Melton won 20 games as a rookie that year.

Lefty Gomez: 21-11

Lefty Gomez went 21-11 in 1937, leading the American League in wins, ERA (2.33), strikeouts (194), and shutouts (six). He also won two 1937 World Series games. Gomez anchored a pitching staff that was far and away the best in the league.

Yankees Take 1937 World Title

Rookie Tommy Henrich had a respectable season that year, hitting .320 in 206 at-bats and collecting 14 doubles, five triples, eight home runs, and 42 RBI. Batting practice pitcher Paul Schreiber was activated briefly in 1945 after not having pitched in pro ball since 1931. This Yankees team was extremely well-rounded. They scored 44 more runs than any other American League team and allowed 69 fewer runs than any other American League club. They topped the league in homers, shutouts, and saves.

Find highlights from the 1937 baseball season on the next page.

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In the 1937 baseball season, the extremely well-rounded New York Yankees continued to dominate baseball, while the St. Louis Cardinals slipped, due to the suspension of their star pitcher, Dizzy Dean. Find the highlights from the 1937 baseball season below.

  • The Yanks take the American League flag by 13 games.

  • The Giants win the National League pennant for the second straight year.

  • The Yanks win the 1937 World Series in five games.

    Bob Feller
    In his first full season,
    Bob Feller of Cleveland
    strikes out 150 batters
    in 149 innings.

  • Cleveland's Bob Feller, in his first full season, Ks 150 batters in 149 innings.

  • Carl Hubbell's win in game four averts a humiliating sweep.

  • Lefty Gomez wins two CGs for the Yanks in the 1937 World Series.

  • Giant Jo-Jo Moore leads all World Series hitters with a .391 mark.

  • Ducky Medwick is named the National League MVP.

  • Charlie Gehringer is named the American League MVP.

  • Medwick wins last Triple Crown in the National League, batting .374 with 31 homers and 154 RBI.

  • Medwick leads the National League in runs (111), hits (237), doubles (56), SA (.641), runs produced (234), and total bases (406).

  • Hubbell again leads the majors in wins with 22.

  • The ease with which the Yankees again win the pennant earns Joe McCarthy the nickname "Push-Button Manager."

  • Gehringer wins the American League bat title at .371.

  • Lou Gehrig is runner-up for the American League bat crown (.351), hitting .300 for the last time.

  • Pirate Gus Suhr's National League record streak of 822 consecutive games ends (record has since been broken).

  • Detroit's Rudy York hits a record 18 homers in a month -- August.

  • On June 15, Boston's Ben Chapman makes seven putouts on seven consecutive fly balls.

  • Medwick is the first player to collect four hits in an All-Star Game.

  • The National League loses the All-Star Game 8-3 at Washington.

  • On May 25, Mickey Cochrane is beaned by Yankee Bump Hadley, ending Cochrane's career.

  • The Braves have two rookie 20-game winners, Lou Fette and Jim Turner; both are over age 30.

  • Cleveland's Johnny Allen tops the American League with loop record .938 win pct.

  • Allen wins his first 15 starts of the season, then loses on the season's closing day.

  • Chicago's Bill Dietrich no-hits Browns on June 1.

  • Pirate pitcher Red Lucas leads the National League in pinch hits for the fourth time.

  • Mel Ott ties for the National League homer crown (31) and leads in walks (102).

  • Hubbell tops the National League in win pct. (.733) and Ks (159).

  • Turner leads the National League in ERA (2.38) and ties for lead in shutouts (five).
We have even more highlights from the 1937 baseball season on the next page.

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Following are more highlights from the 1937 baseball season, including the year's Hall of Fame inductees.

  • Joe DiMaggio tops the American League in runs (151) and total bases (418).

  • Hank Greenberg tops the American League in RBI (183) and runs produced (280).

  • Greenberg's RBI total is one off the American League record.

  • Beau Bell of the Browns leads the American League in hits (218) and doubles (51).

  • Lefty Gomez tops the American League in wins (21), shutouts (six), Ks (194), and ERA (2.33).

  • Gomez's teammate Red Ruffing is the only other 20-game winner in the American League.

  • Braves have the best ERA in the National League (3.22) but post worst BA in the majors (.247).

  • The Yankees have three men with 130-plus RBI -- Joe DiMaggio (167), Lou Gehrig (159), and Bill Dickey (133).

  • The Giants have no one with 100 RBI.

  • Cincinnati's Ernie Lombardi goes 6-for-6 on May 9.

  • Cub Frank Demaree goes 6-for-7 in a 14-inning game on July 5.

  • DiMaggio is second in the American League MVP vote as a sophomore.

  • The Cubs' Gabby Hartnett hits .354 and is second in the National League MVP vote.

  • Dizzy Dean breaks his toe in the All-Star Game and never recovers his blazing fastball.

  • The Browns lose a club record 108 games.

  • The Indians trade Joe Vosmik, Bill Knickerbocker, and Oral Hildebrand to the Browns for Ivy Andrews, Lyn Lary, and Moose Solters.

  • The Red Sox swap Rick and Wes Ferrell and Melo Alamada to Washington for Ben Chapman and Bobo Newsom.

  • Harlond Clift turns 50 DPs, a major league record for third basemen in a 154-game schedule.

  • Clift handles a major league record 603 chances at third base.

  • Jim Walkup of the Browns has a 7.36 ERA in 150 innings.

  • The Hall of Fame inducts Nap Lajoie, Tris Speaker, Cy Young, John McGraw, Connie Mack, George Wright, Morgan Bulkeley, and Ban Johnson.

  • Pittsburgh's Arky Vaughan tops the National League in triples (17).

  • Chicago's Augie Galan leads the National League in steals with just 23.

  • Phillie Dolph Camilli tops the National League in OBP (.446).

  • Rookie Cliff Melton wins 20 for the Giants.

  • The National League has three rookie 20-game winners -- a modern Major League Baseball record.

  • Gehrig tops the majors with 127 walks.

  • Wes Ferrell leads the American League in innings (281) and CGs (26).

  • Clint Brown of the White Sox tops the majors with 18 saves.

  • The Tigers again lead the majors in batting (.292).

  • The Browns again have the worst ERA in the majors (6.00).

  • The Braves go 79-73 two years after going 38-115.

  • Johnny Mize of the Cards hits .364 with 25 homers and 113 RBI.

  • The Cubs lead the National League in runs (811), batting (.287), slugging (.416), and fielding (.975), though are mediocre on the hill.

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