1926 All-Star Game: National League Drubs Americans 11 to 5 In Sloppy Contest
NATIONAL LEAGUE DRUBS AMERICANS
11 TO 5 IN SLOPPY CONTEST
GAME OUT OF REACH
ST. LOUIS, July 13.—In a game marred by slapdash fielding and a bushel of free passes handed out by American League hurlers, the National League, led by Pirates skipper Bill McKechnie, tied up the All-Star series at five wins apiece with a resounding 11-5 victory at Sportsman’s Park today. Not surprisingly, it was a Cardinal who sparked the team from atop the lineup, although the man responsible, outfielder Ray Blades, wasn’t the one expected to lead the troops.
Blades knocked out two hits, scored three times, drove in a run and drew a walk in his five trips to the plate. But for Les Bell’s error in his only fielding chance, all Cardinals contributed to the positive. But the real star of the day was Brooklyn Robins first baseman Babe Herman, who reached base four times and drove in four of the team’s 11 runs. Goose Goslin paced the AL with three runs batted in, courtesy of a three-run homer, and Eddie Collins came home twice to lead the Bucky Harris-led squad in runs.
Early on it looked like the senior circuit was going to take another beating at the hands of the Americans. Collins led off the tilt with a double down the first base line, then made a heads up play on the basepaths on a grounder that was muffed by shortstop Glenn Wright. Collins was off on the pitch to Al Simmons and came home to score when Wright dropped the bouncer, and the AL had a 1-0 lead after only two batters. Charlie Root retired Goslin, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig on fly balls to end the frame, although Ruth’s drive brought the crowd to its feet before it smacked into Paul Waner’s out-stretched glove. Waner raced into the gap, threw himself headlong into the air and came down with the ball amidst a thundering roar from the appreciative throng.
The Harrismen seemingly broke the game open in the third when they plated four more to take a commanding 5-0 lead. Collins walked on only four offerings, Simmons poled a two-bagger to left-center to put runners on second and third, and Goslin drove a Root fastball into the right field stands to put the AL up, 4-0. Ruth continued the onslaught with another double, and Root’s day came to an ignominious end. “Deacon” gave the ball to young Reds right-hander Pete Donohue in a move that could have blown up in his face, considering how bloodied and bruised Donohue was in last year’s Midsummer Classic.
Later McKechnie explained that Donohue wields a strong stick and he figured he’d save himself both a pitcher and substitute batter with one move. Donohue fanned in his only at-bat, but fared well on the mound. He surrendered a single to Joe Sewell, but would have held the AL scoreless form that point on had Pie Traynor not committed an error on Joe Dugan’s grounder. Traynor corralled the sphere and had plenty of time to complete the play, but dropped the ball during the transfer from leather to hand.
Ruth tallied to give the juniors their fifth run, but Donohue set down Pat Collins and Lefty Grove to end the stanza. That’s when the Nationals woke up and got into the game. Grove got catcher Bob O’Farrell to pop out to Sewell and blew a fast one past Donohue, but he walked Blades and surrendered a triple to Waner that put a run on the senior’s side of the board. Then Donohue enjoyed one of the most efficient innings in All-Star game history when he coaxed ground balls out of Collins, Simmons and Goslin on only six slants. Perhaps he knew what was coming next and wanted to get back to the dugout to enjoy the festivities.
White Sox ace Ted Lyons took over for Grove and hoped to throw hitters off with a completely different style that features a “pump handle” delivery and an assortment of pitches that rarely take a straight path to the plate. No matter how many times he brought ball and glove over his head, however, he couldn’t fool NL swatsmiths. Herman earned a base on balls to lead off the inning, Kiki Cuyler singled and moved Herman to third, and Glenn Wright poled a double past Joe Dugan to cash in Herman.
Traynor rapped a grounder to Sewell that would have plated only one, but when the Indians shortstop sailed his throw past Gehrig, Wright came around to score as well. O’Farrell earned the initial sack on another walk and McKechnie sent veteran slugger Cy Williams to the dish in Donohue’s stead in an effort to add emphasis to the rally. Alas, Williams bounced into a double play and it looked like the NL would fall short of knotting the tilt at 5-5. But Blades singled Traynor home, and when Waner walked, Harris turned to his veteran moundsman Walter Johnson to stifle the uprising.
No longer the dominant hurler he once was, “The Big Train” walked Hornsby to soak the sacks in seniors, then watched Herman line a single past Collins to cash in two more and give the National League a 7-5 advantage. The 38-year-old fanned Cuyler to finally quell the threat, but that was the beginning of the end for the juniors. The rest of the game was reserved for NL highlights, much to the delight of the Cardinals partisans among the more than 30,000 who witnessed the affair.
None of the runs will be credited to Johnson, and he gave the fans what many believe will be one last look at his blazing fastball in an All-Star setting, when he whiffed three of the six batters he faced. Herb Pennock and George Uhle weren’t as impressive, however, combining to allow four runs over the last three innings, the loudest of which was the sixth when singles by pinch-hitter Hack Wilson and Hornsby, and two-sackers by Blades and Herman plated three.
After tallying five times through the first three innings, the American League fell victim to the whitewash pail thanks to the expert hurling of Donohue, Eppa Rixey, Flint Rhem, Jesse Petty and Grover Cleveland Alexander, who hammered the final nail in the coffin in nail-biting fashion. The Harrismen poled out five hits in only two innings with Root on the slab, but recorded only four over the next six frames before “Old Pete” entered the fray to put the ribbon on the win.
Alexander had worn a Cubs uniform for so long it almost looked odd when he strolled to the mound adorned in the familiar Cardinals hues, but the crowd broke into spontaneous applause that greeted their new hero and winner of his last game against the Boston Braves only two days prior. Alex immediately got Bibb Falk to ground to Les Bell at third, but Bell choked on the bouncer and muffed it for an error. When Ruth strode to the plate the stadium went silent as the enormity of the situation became evident. A drive by Ruth would only give the AL a glimmer of hope, but that two of the game’s all-time greats were facing each other was not lost on those in attendance.
Ruth wasted little time and lined Alexander’s second pitch into left field for a base hit. Harry Heilmann was called in to hit and he bounced a single into right to fill the bases with juniors. With no one out and Bucky’s boys staging a rally, the fans began to get restless. Sewell allowed them to relax for a moment when he skied a pop up to Bell that kept the runners fastened to their bags. When Marty McManus grounded to Bell every man, woman and child held their breath until an out was made, but the National League infield gave them a two-for-one deal when Bell hit Frankie Frisch with a perfect toss and Frisch followed suit with a strike to Jim Bottomley that nipped McManus and ended the game in thrilling fashion.
Cast Your Vote For The 1927 All-Stars!
Nineteen twenty-seven is shaping up to be a momentous season for baseball. Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth are each having a season for the ages and are vying to become the best one-two punch in baseball history. Ted Lyons and Charlie Root are on pace to each bring thirty wins to their respective sides of the City of the Big Shoulders for the first time in seven years. And the mighty New York Yankees are challenging the fabled Red Sox of ’12 for the most wins in the history of the American League.
It’s a great time to be a baseball fan, and the greatest time of this and any season occurs on the second Tuesday of July. This year, on July 12th, the nation’s best baseball players will travel to our nation’s Capital to engage in the greatest midsummer spectacle know to man!
And YOU—the knowing fan—will be responsible for determining who will start that game! And NOW—today– is the time to make your voice heard. VOTE TODAY for the most deserving ballplayers in the majors to carry on this tradition!
Do not delay! Vote for the 1927 All-Star starters and pitchers today!
Voting will be open until 3:00 a.m. Eastern Time on February 14, 2014. The managers will round out the rosters, the games will be played using OOTP 14, and the game account and box score will be posted on Seamheads.com.
— Chuck Hildebrandt