1933 World Series
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New York Giants (91-61, NL) over Washington Senators (99-53, AL)
New York Giants
CHANGING OF THE GUARD
John McGraw was sick.
He was having trouble with his sinuses, a yearly occurence, and with his prostate, a condition that would eventually be diagnosed as cancer.
He was also growing sick of his team. The New York Giants, the team McGraw had managed for 30 years, had started off the 1932 season with a record of 17-23 and they had not won a National League pennant since 1924, the year they had lost the World Series to the Washington Senators when a ground ball had hit a pebble and bounced over third baseman Fred Lindstrom’s head.
Giants owner Charles Stoneham was also concerned about his manager, not only his health but also his continued ability to manage the team. It was growing increasingly clear to both the owner and the manager that a change had to be made.
McGraw had contacted the Cardinals about Frankie Frisch but general manager Branch Rickey was not interested in a trade. The Giants had been run by former shortstop Dave Bancroft when McGraw was too sick to manage but that was not the long-term solution. McGraw knew that Stoneham had no confidence in Bancroft.
Finally, on June 3, 1932, McGraw called first baseman Bill Terry into his office even though the two had not spoken since February and had developed an intense dislike for each other.
“I was expecting to be notified I was traded,’’ Terry said.
Terry was a standout first baseman who had hit .401 in 1930 but also wasn’t afraid to stand up to the legendary manager, particularly at contract time.
Terry worked for Standard Oil in the off-season and always used that as a threat if the Giants did not meet his contractual demands.
“Terry you ask for more money in the winter and do less in the summer than any player I know,’’ McGraw once growled.
One year McGraw got so fed up with Terry that he told him to make a trade for himself.
Retorted Terry, “Make your own deals. I have enough trouble playing first base.’’
On another occasion, McGraw was chewing his team out after a defeat and getting on one player in particular.
Terry interrupted the manager’s tempest by telling McGraw, “You’ve been blaming other people for mistakes you’ve been making for 20 years.’’
McGraw definitely didn’t like Terry but knew he was the right man to manage the Giants and got right to the point in their meetings.
“Bill, how would you like to be manager of the Giants?’’ McGraw said.
“Why, are you quitting?’’ Terry asked.
“Yes, and I’d like you to succeed me,’’ McGraw said.
Terry also got to the point.
“I’d love to manage the Giants,’’ Terry said. “But I would have to be the real manager and not just a front for you.’’
“That’s the way it will be,’’ McGraw said. “You’ll be the boss. I’m just going to sit on the sidelines this year. It’s your team.’’
The next day McGraw told reporters the new manager was in, “full and complete charge of the team and will have to assume entire responsibility thereof. I am turning over a good team to who I believe will capably handle it.’’
Terry immediately made changes to show he was not McGraw.
For 30 years McGraw had run the Giants like a dictator, controlling every aspect of the franchise and his players’ lives. He was a stickler for rules, including curfew. They didn’t call him the “Little Napoleon’’ for nothing.
Terry eased up and allowed his players to relax. No longer did they have to worry about getting in a night.
Terry ran his team under a simple dictum: “Any team that hustles will win ballgames. Hustling comes from confidence that you get somewhere. The manager’s job is to instill that confidence and keep the fellows pulling together.’’
The Giants did not win in 1932. They were 55-59 under Terry and finished 72-82 for the season and in sixth place in the National League.
But after the season was over, McGraw convinced Stoneham to give Terry a two-year contract as a manager.
Stoneham agreed and in 1933, the New York Giants would return to greatness.
But the Giants weren’t the only ones changing managers.
The Washington Senators had won two pennants in 1924-25 under Bucky Harris, who had been just 27 when he was named manager and had been dubbed The Boy Wonder.
When the Senators slipped to 75-79 in 1928, Harris was traded to the Detroit Tigers and legendary pitcher Walter Johnson was named manager. Johnson led the Senators for four years but never finished higher than third despite winning over 90 games in each of the last three seasons.
After the 1932 season, Johnson was let go and Senators owner Clark Griffith named shortstop Joe Cronin as his manager.
Cronin had been acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates for the 1928 season and Harris wanted him as his shortstop. Griffith wanted Bobby Reeves and was dismayed when Harris played Cronin.
When the Senators were on the road, Griffith sent Harris a telegram stating, “Reeves will never learn to play shortstop if you don’t play him.’’
Shot back Harris, “Neither will Cronin.’’
After the 1928 season, Griffith was willing to include Cronin in a trade with Boston but the Red Sox wanted Reeves instead.
Harris’ assessment ultimately would prove correct. In 1930, Cronin hit .346 with 13 home runs and 126 RBI and established himself as the best shortstop in the American League. By 1933, Griffith was ready to name him manager.
“Cronin is a scrapper,’’ Griffith said. “He thinks nothing but baseball. I like those guys who fight for everything. I made no mistake with Bucky Harris. I think I’ve got another Harris.’’
Cronin was 26 at the time, a year younger than Harris.
But Griffith knew what he was doing. Cronin wasn’t the only shrewd move he made.
Griffith had been one of the first stars of the new American League when it was formed in 1901, As manager of the Chicago White Sox, he led his team to the first American League pennant.
Two years later, American League president Ban Johnson put him in charge of the New York team. He managed in New York for six seasons and three more with the Cincinnati Reds.
In 1912, when an opportunity came to buy into the Washington Senators, Griffith did so by mortgaging his Montana ranch. He would rule baseball in Washington for the next 43 years.
He was part visionary and part master promoter. He conceived the idea of the President of the United States throwing out the first pitch of the season. He was one of the first baseball executives to understand the importance of relief pitching and one of the first to scout in Latin America.
He also made a number of trades that would ultimately pay off in a pennant for the Senators in 1933.
In the winter of 1932-33, Griffith acquired pitchers Earl Whitehill from the Detroit Tigers for ace relief pitcher Firpo Marberry and Jack Russell from the Cleveland Indians. Catcher Luke Sewell was acquired from the Cleveland Indians for catcher Roy Spencer.
But the biggest deal occured on Dec. 14, 1932 when the Senators acquired pitcher Lefty Stewart and outfielders Fred Schulte and Leon “Goose’’ Goslin from the St. Louis Browns for pitcher Lloyd Brown and outfielders Sammy West and Carl Reynolds and $20,000 in cash.
Goslin was quite familiar to Senator fans, having been a star on the 1924-25 pennant winning teams, but Griffith had traded him on June 13, 1930 to the St. Louis Browns for outfielder Heinie Manush and pitcher Alvin Crowder.
Now Griffith was getting him back and the Senators still had Manush and Crowder as well.
There aren’t many baseball executives who have had such an active and ultimately successful off-season as Griffith did in the winter of 1932-33.
His completely re-worked team ended up winning 99 games and the American League pennant, putting them in the World Series against the National League champion Giants.
For the second time ever, the nation’s largest city and it’s capitol were going to square off in the Fall Classic and would do so for the first time since the thrilling seven-game battle in 1924.
But that was during the Roaring Twenties. This Series would be played out in the midst of the Great Depression. It was a bleak time for America in general and baseball in particular.
In 1930, the greatest year ever for offense, major league baseball had set an all-time record by drawing over 10 million fans between the 16 teams. In doing so, baseball made an aggregate profit of $1,462,000, according to research by baseball historian Bill Rabinowitz.
By 1933, according to Rabinovitz, attendance had sunk to 6 million and baseball was losing $1.65 million, a 23.9 percent loss margin. The New York Giants made no more than $59,416 as baseball’s most profitable team, winning the pennant in the largest city in America.
Solutions were sought.
There was talk of profit sharing but owners were opposed. Said Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, “I found out a long time ago that there is no charity in baseball, and that every club owner must make his own fight for existence.’’
Cubs president William Veeck proposed interleague play and National League president John Heydler said, “We can not afford to stand pat and rely on the return to the good old days.’’
The proposal never got far. Rosters were cut from 25 to 23 players but baseball did little else except try to weather the storm.
“Our business has held up at least as well as any other,’’ Griffith said. “We’re going on just the way we are.’’
But it was a sign of the times that there were 8,000 empty seats for Game 1 of the World Series at the Polo Grounds and another 20,000 missing for Game 2.
Those that did show up would witness something special. They would witnessing the beginning of the crowning achievement for two of the greatest players to ever wear the New York Giants uniform.
THE MEAL TICKET AND MASTER MELVIN
Carl Hubbell was originally the property of the Detroit Tigers but in two spring training camps he pitched just one inning and that was in a B game against the University of Texas.
In 1928, the Tigers optioned Hubbell to Beaumont in the Texas League. He immediately informed his manager that he would not return to the Tigers. If he was not sold to another major league team, Hubbell said, he would quit and go to work for an oil company.
Hubbell was from petroleum-rich Oklahoma but never did go into the oil business because that summer Dick Kinsella, who was working for the Giants as a scout, was also an Illinois delegate to the Democratic National Convention being held in Houston.
As the convention dragged on, Kinsella took a break and went to watch a game between Beaumont and the Houston Buffaloes. Hubbell happened to be on the mound that day for Beaumont and pitched brilliantly, beating Houston, 1-0, in extra innings.
Kinsella was so impressed that he immediately telephoned John McGraw and told him that he had discovered “another Art Nehf.’’
Nehf, a two-time 20-game winner in 1920-21, had been a star lefthander for the Giants during a run of four straight pennants and McGraw accepted Kinsella’s recommendation. Hubbell was bought for $30,000, a record price at the time for a player in the Texas League.
Hubbell had played around with a screwball while with the Tigers but was warned against it by his pitching coach because it would hurt his arm.
But when he joined the Giants, he used the screwball to strike out Cardinals hitting star Chick Hafey and his catcher Shanty Hogan told him, “I don’t know what that pitch was but keep throwing it.’’
Hubbell accepted the advice and became the Giants most reliable pitcher, winning 77 games between 1928-1932.
Then in 1933 he blossomed into the best pitcher in the National League, going 23-12 with a 1.66 ERA. In July, before 50,000 fans at the Polo Grounds, Hubbell beat the St. Louis Cardinals 1-0 in 18 innings, allowing six hits and striking out 12. He also did not walk a batter, showing the outstanding control that would be a significant part of his Hall of Fame career.
“Hard work did it,’’ Hubbell told writer Dan Daniel. “I saw other pitchers work with the screwball mainly as a change of pace ball. I decided to make it my big specialty and this finally achieved my goal. I was able to pitch the screwball with three speeds. That, and experience, did the trick.’’
Said Cubs Hall of Fame second baseman Billy Herman, “When he was pitching, you hardly ever saw the opposing team sitting back in the dugout. They were all on the top step watching him operate. He was a marvel to watch with that screwball, fastball, curve, screwball again, changes of speed, control.
“He didn’t really have overpowering stuff, but he was an absolute master of what he did have and he got every last ounce out of his abilities. I never saw another pitcher who could so fascinate the opposition the way Hubbell did.’’
While Hubbell, the National League’s Most Valuable Player that year, was the star of the Giants pitching staff, Mel Ott was their offensive hammer. Like Hubbell, Ott had his own distinctive style.
He was just 16 years old when McGraw signed him out of Louisiana. He was also a catcher but McGraw immediately decided Ott was better off in the outfield.
He also recognized that there was nothing wrong with Ott’s unique lefthanded batting style that featured a high leg kick before he strode into the pitch.
McGraw brought him along slowly and rebuffed anybody who might change him.
Toledo manager Casey Stengel offered to take him for a year and develop him but McGraw refused.
“Ott stays with me,’’ McGraw roared. “No minor league manager is going to ruin him.’’
Ott was 17 when he broke in with the Giants and McGraw brought him along carefully. It wasn’t until 1929 that he became a full-time player.
But with a swing perfect for the Polo Grounds, with the right field wall just 257 feet down the line, Ott broke through that year by hitting .328 with 42 home runs and 151 RBI.
“Ott was in the right park,’’ former major league manager Bobby Bragan told author Bob Allen in the book The 500 Home Run Club. “He could pull on anybody. I mean, he could hit them out, but that park was made for his swing. He raised that right leg higher than anybody I ever saw. If you were in front of the centerfield clubhouse 500 feet away from the plate, you wouldn’t have any trouble identifying Ott.
“He would have hit 500 in Ebbets Field, Wrigley Field, Crosley Field...Master Melvin could hit.’’
Ironically, 1933 was far from his best year. He hit just .283 with 23 home runs and 103 RBI. His .467 slugging percentage was far and away his lowest between 1928 and 1939.
But he made up for all that in the World Series a showcase for Carl “The Meal Ticket’’ Hubbell and Master Melvin Ott from just outside New Orleans.
IN THE GROUNDS OF POLO
The Washington Senators scored 850 runs in 1933 despite hitting just 60 home runs. Their .287 batting average led the American League.
Cronin had driven in 118 runs while hitting .309. First baseman Joe Kuhel hit .322 with 107 RBI. Heinie Manush hit .336 with 115 runs scored, 221 hits, 17 triples and 95 RBI. Second baseman Buddy Myer hit .302 and scored 95 runs. Goose Goslin hit .297 and scored 97 runs.
Every player in the lineup had at least 60 RBI. The Giants, on the hand, did not have a player with more than 72 RBI except Ott. Third baseman Johnny Vergez had driven in 72 runs but he would miss the Series because of appendicitis.
He would be replaced by Travis Jackson, who had been a star shortstop for the Giants until a knee injury limited him to 52 games in 1932 and 53 in 1933.
It was because of their offensive superiority that the Senators were favored to win the Series.
But Terry said prophetically well before the Series started: “If we have an advantage over the Senators, it is on our pitching staff and our hustle.’’
The Giants pitching included Hubbell, Hal Schumacher (19-12, 2.15 ERA), Freddie Fitzsimmons (16-11, 2.89), Dolf Luque (8-2, 2.70), Hi Bell (6-5, 2.06) and Roy Parmelee (13-8, 3.18), the bulk of a staff that led the National League with a 2.71 ERA.
The Senators had good pitching too. The only question the day before the Series was scheduled to begin in New York was who would Cronin send out to oppose Hubbell in Game 1.
The two leading candidates were Earl Whitehill (22-8, 3.33) and General Alvin Crowder (24-15, 3.97). But the day before the Series began, Cronin said he was also considering Lefty Stewart, who was 15-6 with a 3.82 ERA during the regular season.
“All I can tell you is that it will be Alvin Crowder or Earl Whitehill or Lefty Stewart,’’ Cronin said. “They are all ready to pitch and I’ll make up my mind tomorrow.’’
The choice turned out to be Stewart.
- Charlie Moran (NL), George Moriarty (AL), Cy Pfirman (NL), Red Ormsby (AL)
In his book on baseball managers, historian Bill James wrote: “Earl Whitehill was scheduled to start the opening game of the World Series. At the last minute Whitehill was pulled and Lefty Stewart started the game...It is generally thought that Whitehill reported to the park that day in no condition to pitch.’’
Whether that was true or not, Hubbell was in condition to pitch and started the game by striking out the side in the first inning.
It got worse for the Senators in the bottom of the inning. Second baseman Buddy Myer fumbled Jo-Jo Moore’s leadoff grounder for an error and Ott made the Senators pay with a two-out, two-run home run that gave the Giants a 2-0 lead.
The story has it, also told by Bill James, that Myers was on his way to the Polo Grounds that day when he witnessed a fatal car accident. He was supposedly so shaken up by it that he committed three errors in Game 1, tying a World Series record.
The Giants added two more in the third. Second baseman Hughie Critz led off with a single, went to third on Terry’s single and scored on a single by Ott. That was it for Stewart as Cronin brought in Jack Russell.
Russell struck out Kiddo Davis but Jackson smacked a grounder off Kuhel’s glove that bounded over to Myers. He threw to first for the out but Terry scored and the Giants led 4-0 after three innings.
That was enough for Hubbell, although there was one tense moment in the end.
The Senators managed an unearned run off him in the fourth and it was still 4-1 going into the top of the ninth.
Manush reached leading off the inning on shortstop Blondy Ryan’s error and then the Senators loaded the bases with no outs when Joe Cronin and Fred Schulte both singled.
Kuhel grounded out to short, forcing Schulte with Manush scoring but Hubbell then struck out Ossie Bluege for the second out and got Luke Sewell on a grounder to third to end the game.
Wrote Roscoe McGowen in the New York Times: “Terry took Jackson’s throw on Sewell’s grounder to end the game, tossed the ball to Hubbell and ran down toward the clubhouse with his arm about the great southpaw’s shoulders. Carl had just pitched himself out of a very tough spot and the feelings of both himself and the manager could be imagined.’’
For Game 2, both managers used the same starting lineups and would do so throughout the Series. But both teams had interesting players on their benches.
The Senators reserves included outfielder Sam Rice, who was 43 years old and was used primarly as a pinch-hitter. Also a star on the 1924-25 pennant-winning teams, Rice was in the final stages of a Hall of Fame career and he would ultimately finish with 2,987 hits and a career .322 average.
In a part-time role in 1933, Rice managed to hit .294 but would bat just once in the World Series.
At the other end of the age spectrum was 20-year-old rookie infielder Cecil Travis, who had played in just 18 games in 1933 but would ultimately become a three-time All-Star shortstop.
Then there was Moe Berg, the mysterious backup catcher and a Princeton graduate who, the joke went, could speak seven languages but hit in none of them. He would go on to greater renown as a spy for the United States during World War II but would not get off the bench in his only World Series.
The Giants bench included two future distinguished managers, infielder Chuck Dressen and catcher Paul Richards.
But the Giants also had Lefty O'Doul.
Francis Joseph O’Doul was one of the best players ever to come out of San Francisco and ended up making the major leagues not once but twice. His first shot was as a pitcher with the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox but he ruined his arm before he could ever amount to anything and he was finished by 1923.
He went back West to play for the San Francisco Seals and five years later he was back in the majors, this time as an outfielder. He was 31 years old but he could hit.
He batted .319 with the Giants in 1928 and then .398 after getting traded to the Philadelphia Phillies the following season. That was the first of two batting titles. He won a second with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1932, batting .368.
On June 16, 1933, he was traded back to the Giants along with pitcher Watty Clark for first baseman Sam Leslie who was a .321 hitter while sharing time with Terry.
O’Doul was 36 but still hit .306 with nine home runs and 35 RBI in 229 at-bats. They hadn’t heard of OPS back then but his .860 on-base plus slugging percentage was the highest on the team for players with at least 200 at-bats.
Like Rice he would only get one at-bat in the 1933 World Series but it proved to be an important one in Game 2.
This time Cronin went with Crowder, his 24-game winner, against Schumacher, the 19-game winner for the Giants.
Goslin hit a home run for the Senators in the third inning and Crowder took a two-hit shutout with his one-run lead into the sixth.
Jo-Jo Moore led off the Giants sixth with a single, then was forced at second on a bunt by Critz. But Terry kept things going with a double to left. moving Critz to third, and Ott was intentionally passed to load the bases.
That brought up Kiddo Davis, the Giants center fielder who had batted .256 during the regular season. Terry seized the chance and sent up O’Doul.
In his only World Series at-bat in a distinguished career, O’Doul lined a single over second base to drive home two runs and give the Giants the lead. Jackson singled as well, scoring Ott and moving O’Doul to third and then Gus Mancuso added a fourth run by beating out a bunt.
Ryan struck out but Schumacher singled home Jackson and Moore came up with his second hit of the inning, a single to center that scored Mancuso and finished Crowder for the afternoon.
Schumacher finished with a five-hitter and the Giants took Game 2 with a 6-1 victory to go up two games to none with Series headed back to Washington.
ONE FOR THE PRESIDENT
The Series resumed the next day without a travel day in front of 25,727 at Griffith Stadium. A drizzling rain soaked the nation’s capitol in the morning but the sun came out just before game time.
At that moment, a car entered the field carrying Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States who had taken office earlier that year telling the nation “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’’
He was greeted by Clark Griffith.
“We’re glad you are here, Mr. President,’’ Griffith said. “And we hope to win this one for you.’’
“Wait a minute Clark,’’ said Roosevelt, the former Governor of New York. “I’m neutral. Don’t forget. I may be living in Washington but I’m from New York.’’
Roosevelt then threw out the first ball and there was a mad scramble for it among the Washington players. Heinie Manush claimed it but gave it to a teammate after the game, the Senators starting pitcher.
Earl Whitehill had been a reliable pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, annualy good for 16-17 wins a season. He was known for a mean curve ball, a windmill delivery, his satorial spendor in clothing and a fierce temper.
With the Tigers he was renown for refusing to back down to Manager Ty Cobb and he had once thrown an umpire’s whisk broom into the stands while arguing a home run call on a ball hit by Lou Gehrig.
He was also known to take a drink but Cronin asked Berg to room with him on the road for the sake of team harmony.
Berg felt, “that Earl’d make fun of one suitcase filled with clothes and the other with books. But it worked out satisfactorily...Whitehill wound up by winning us a pennant. Also by carrying my bags. Both of them.’’
In Game 3, Whitehill was at his best, pitching a six-hit shutout as the Senators stayed alive with a 4-0 victory. Buddy Myers, recovered from his Game 1 jitters two days before, had a big game with three hits in four at-bats, scoring one run and driving in two more.
THE TRIUMPH OF KING CARL AND MASTER MELVIN
The Senators were back in the Series but Carl Hubbell was back on the mound for the Giants in Game 4. This time he was opposed by Monte Weaver, the Senators No. 4 starter who was 10-5 with a 3.26 ERA during the regular season.
He was far more ready to face Hubbell than Stewart in Game 1 and the two waged a terrific pitching duel on Oct. 6, 1933 before 26,762 at Griffith Stadium.
Terry gave the Giants a 1-0 lead with a one-out home run in the fourth and Hubbell opened the game by retiring the first ten hitters he faced.
Leon Goslin got the Senators first hit with a one-out single in the fourth and Manush walked on four pitches. But Cronin lined to right and Schulte grounded out and the Senators failed to score. In the fifth Moore made a terrrific catch on Ossie Bluege’s fly ball.
Myer got another rally started in the sixth by beating out an infield hit and was bunted to second by Goslin. Then came one of the crucial plays of the Series.
Manush hit a grounder to the right side hole. Terry couldn’t get it but Critz, the Giants second baseman, could and he threw to Hubbell covering to barely just get Manush.
Only the Senators didn’t think so. Manush argued vocifierously with umpire Charley Moran and became the first player ever thrown out of a World Series game.
“I was too smart to lay a hand on Moran when I came back to argue the call,’’ Manush said years later. “But when he bellied up to me and asked me what I was going to do about it, there was temptation that was too much.
“Like all umpires of that day, Moran was wearing a little black leather bow tie, the kind that comes ready-made with elastic around the neck. I didn’t lay a hand on Moran, but I did pull the tie two feet away from his neck and let it snap back against his throat.’’
Manush was gone but Weaver kept it close and the Senators finally tied it in the seventh after Hubbell fumbled Kuhel’s bunt with one out for an error. Bluege sacrificed Kuhel to second and Sewell brought him home with a single to center.
The duel continued but both pitchers were hardly overpowering. Both teams put a runner in scoring position with two out in the eighth but couldn’t get him home.
In the ninth, Ryan led off with a single for the Giants and was sacrificed to second by Hubbell. But Moore bounced back to the mound and Critz flied to left.
The game went into extra innings and Cronin made a curious decision. Weaver set down the Giants in order in the top of the 10th and was due up first in the bottom of the inning.
Cronin had two choices: Rice and backup catcher Cliff Bolton who had batted .410 (16-for-39) late in the season. But Cronin stayed with Weaver, who had been pitching well, and Hubbell struck him out.
Myer then singled to left and advanced to second on Goslin’s ground out. But after Dave Harris – who had replaced Manush – walked on four pitches.
That brought up Cronin of whom Connie Mack once said, “Oh my yes, Joe is the best there is in the clutch. With a man on third and one out, I’d rather have Cronin hitting for me than anybody I’ve ever seen.’’
This time Cronin was batting with runners on second and first with two outs and he grounded out to end the inning.
Weaver went back to the mound and Travis Jackson led off for the Giants. The future Hall of Famer and Giants team captain was playing on a bad knee but he showed why Casey Stengel called him the best bunter he had ever seen.
Jackson caught the Senators off-guard with bunt down the third baseline and beat it out for a hit.
Mancuso bunted him to second base, bringing up Ryan with Hubbell on deck. At that point, Lefty O’Doul was on both managers’ minds.
Terry could have used O’Doul in this situation but Cronin would have likely walked him to face Hubbell. Cronin could have walked Ryan but figured O’Doul would hit for Hubbell.
So Weaver pitched to Ryan and he singled to left to bring home Jackson with the winning run.
Hubbell, as it turned out, also singled but Jack Russell took over, striking out Moore and getting Critz to fly to left.
That left Hubbell with a 2-1 lead and three outs to go but, like Game 1, the last three weren’t easy.
Schulte singled to left to lead off the 11th. Kuhel then dropped a bunt down the first baseline and Terry decided to let it roll foul. But the ball stayed fair and the crowd was alive again with runners on first and second and nobody out.
Bluege bunted the runners to second and third and Sewell was walked intentionally, loading the bases. Cronin now sent up Bolton to hit for Russell.
That left Terry with a decision to make, whether to move the infield in to cut off the tying run at home plate or play back for the double play.
On the bench, Dressen hollered at Terry with some advice. He had managed Bolton the year before at Chattanooga in the Southern League and knew he was a slow runner.
“Make him hit it on the ground and you’ll have a cinch double play,’’ Dressen advised.
Terry went for the double play. Hubbell threw a low screwball and Bolton hit it right at Ryan for a game-ending double play.
The Senators were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position despite getting eight hits and four walks of the redoubtable Hubbell.
The Senators were down but not out. Crowder, their 24-game winner, would pitch Game 5 and Whitehill would follow in Game 6. Hubbell would be a formidable obstacle in Game 7 and the Senators had yet to score an earned run off him in 20 innings.
But Washington fans also remembered 1925, when their team won three of the first four against the Pittsburgh Pirates, only to lose the last three and the Series.
There was also some concern that Manush might be suspended by Kennesaw Mountain Landis for his stunt with the umpire in Game 4. But Landis settled on a $50 fine and also decreed that only the Commissioner could throw a player out of a World Series game.
So 28,454 fans filled Griffith Stadium on a Saturday afternoon, only to see the Giants take a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Schumacher smacked a two-run single off of Crowder.
Overlooked in the 1933 World Series was that Prince Hal Schumacher, the Giants second best pitcher, was also their second best RBI. Only Mel Ott would have more RBI in the Series for the Giants than the three driven in by Schumacher.
The Giants made it 3-0 in the sixth on doubles by Kiddo Davis and Gus Mancuso, and Crowder was replaced by Russell.
But Schumacher didn’t get through the sixth inning either. Manush and Cronin singled with two out and then Schulte tied it up with a three-run home run into the left field pavilion
Kuhel followed with a single and Bluege hit a smash that Jackson knocked down, but then threw wildly to first for an error, putting runners on second and third. Terry brought in Adolph “The Pride of Havana” Luque, who was 43 years old, having first pitched in the major leagues for the Boston Braves back in 1914.
A 27-game winner for the Reds in 1923, Luque still had something left as he retired Luke Sewell on a grounder to end the threat.
He and Russell then matched three scoreless frames and the World Series was going into extra innings for the second straight game.
In the top of the tenth, Russell got Critz on a fly to left and Terry on a grounder to second. That brought up Ott, who was just 2-for-13 since going 4-for-4 in Game 1.
Ott worked the count to 2-2. Russell then threw a fastball and Ott hit it to deep center where temporary bleachers were set up behind a three-foot fence.
Schulte went back to the fence, leaped up and got the finger tips of his glove on the ball but no more. The ball went over the fence and so did Schulte, tumbling into the crowd.
Umpire Cy Pfirman, working second base on a four-man crew, at first ruled a ground rule double but then was overruled by Moran and George Moriarty, two of his fellow umpires.
Cronin and the Senators protested vigorously but the call stood.
“I saw Schulte leap for the ball,’’ Cronin said later. “It hit his fingertips and fell into the seats. I knew that it was a home run but you like to say something quick to the umpire in a situation like that, hoping you’ll get them to call the play your way.
“Anyway I ran out to where the umpire, Cy Pfirman, was standing and I was yelling, “It’s two bases, two bases.’ Pfirman started to wave Ott back to second base and then he said, “Oh no, that’s a home run.’’
Ott finished circling the bases for the biggest home run in his long and glorious career.
“I was overdue on that one,’’ Ott said. “I couldn’t go on indefinitely up there without a hit. You just can’t miss all the time.’’
The Giants led the Senators 4-3.
Luque took the mound in the bottom of the tenth, getting Goslin on a grounder to first and Manush on a liner to second. Cronin kept it going with a single to left and Schulte walked on four pitches.
But Luque struck out Kuhel on three pitches and the New York Giants, for the first time since 1922 and the fourth time in franchise history, had won the World Series.
They had done so on the strength of their pitching. Led by Hubbell and Schumacher, the Giants pitchers had a 1.53 ERA for the Series while holding the Senators to a .214 average.
Hubbell was named the Most Valuable Player of the Series in a poll of sports writers by the Associated Press.
“They’re a good team but as I said before the Series, pitching told the story,’’ Terry said. “They may be a little stronger offensively than we are but they’re not better defensive players. And they haven’t the pitchers.’’
On the other side, Cronin was gracious in defeat.
“Without a doubt the Giants deserved to win,’’ he said. “They had a hustling team and great pitching. They got timely hitting and got just about everything they needed.
“We had a chance to win every one of the four games we lost but couldn’t take advantage of it. Hubbell was reported to be a great pitcher before the Series started and he showed that he was great while Schumacher also came through in fine style.’’
As for his pitching, Cronin said, “Our pitching was good enough to win an ordinary series for us but our batters simply threw down our pitchers.’’
In the off-season, urged Stoneham to give Terry a five-year contract to continue as manager. The Giants of Hubbell, Ott and Terry were only getting started. They would eventually be back in the World Series.
But on Feb. 25, 1934, John McGraw passed away at the age of 60 because of cancer.
As for the Senators, the nation’s capitol had hosted it’s last World Series game.
Goslin was traded to the Detroit Tigers and in 1934, beset by a number of injuries, the Senators dropped to seventh place. Cronin married the owner’s niece, Mildred Robertson, and went on his honeymoon to San Francisco.
While he was there, Red Sox new owner Tom Yawkey, flushed with cash, offered Griffith $250,000 and infielder Lyn Lary for his new son-in-law.
Cronin told Griffith, “Make the deal. You can’t afford not to.’’
Griffith did and then hired Bucky Harris as his manager again.
- Lou Hernández: The 1933 New York Giants: Bill Terry’s Unexpected World Champions, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2017. ISBN 978-1-4766-6403-3
- Gary A. Sarnoff: The Wrecking Crew of '33: The Washington Senators' Last Pennant, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2009.
|Modern Major League Baseball World Series
Pre-1903 Postseason Series
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