1927 All-Star Game: Pitchers Dominate As National League Holds Off Junior Circuit
PITCHERS DOMINATE AS NATIONAL LEAGUE
HOLDS OFF JUNIOR CIRCUIT
SENIORS AT THE DISH
WASHINGTON, July 12.—In what can be compared to a Shakespearean tragedy, some of the greatest sluggers to ever grace a ball diamond were forced to ply their trade in cavernous Griffith Stadium and the result was as predictable as Alfred E. “Al” Smith’s victory over Herbert Hoover in next year’s presidential election.
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The contest was devoid of power, at least from the bats, and lacked in excitement but for a bushel full of swings and misses.
Taken alone, either Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig has almost as many circuit clouts as the top two National League sluggers combined. With 29 apiece, the “Murderers’ Row” teammates are only one four-bagger behind the added figures of Rogers Hornsby and Cy Williams, each of whom boast 15. Hack Wilson has 15 as well, but is laid up with a malady. Another Yankee, Tony Lazzeri, has 14, good for only third in the junior circuit but almost enough to lead the seniors.
But it was the wings of NL hurlers Jesse Haines and Dazzy Vance that stole the show, and though there was little in the way of fireworks from the club-wielders, there were plenty of flames coming from the slab. It was that heat that gave the National League a 4 to 2 win and one-game advantage in this All-Star series that began in 1916.
White Sox ace Ted Lyons took the hill for the American League to begin the tilt against Pirates greenhorn Lloyd Waner and Waner promptly introduced himself to the junior circuit with a ringing single to right-center field. But Freddie Lindstrom, Lloyd’s big brother Paul and Hornsby went down in order without much of a fight. Haines was one better, retiring the AL in order, and the fight had one round in the books. Neither flinger budged and the game remained without a tally through three frames.
Haines was flawless to that point and had Hornsby adorned the skipper’s hat that he’d worn for the Cardinals since 1925 he might have stuck with his former teammate. But the long-time Red Bird is wearing Giants hues these days and Reds skipper Jack Hendricks was put in charge in Hornsby’s stead. Hendricks cleared a place for Haines right next to the electric fan and sent Vance to the box to face the top of Miller Huggins’ lineup. Vance surrendered a hit to Tigers third baseman Jack Warner to lead off the fourth session and the flagging spirits of the local fans were revived. But Dazzy tossed a moist blanket on the throng when he coaxed Al Simmons to bounce back to the mound for the first out, then fanned Ruth and Gehrig in succession.
Yankees hurler Waite Hoyt, who’d taken over for Lyons in the top of the fourth, was the victim of defensive flubs in the fifth when the Nationals pushed across the game’s first run. Cubs catcher Gabby Hartnett poled an easy grounder to short, but Sewell couldn’t field it cleanly and Hartnett landed on first. Doc Farrell followed with a single that sent Hartnett to third and the backstop crossed the scoring disk when Vance’s Baltimore chop was thrown into right field by AL catcher Mickey Cochrane.
Hoyt escaped without further damage to his ego, but Huggins’ stickmen weren’t as fortunate. “Long Bob” Meusel was logged as Vance’s third whiff victim and after a Cochrane pop to Hornsby, Lazzeri went down flailing as well. The Hendricks bowed to the “Schoolboy Phenom” with nary a whimper in the sixth, and Vance barely had time to wet his whistle before taking the hill one last time. He made quick work of Sewell and pinch hitter Sammy Hale, both of whom bounced to Gehrig, but Warner and Simmons scratched safeties between Lindstrom and Farrell and the junior loop had something brewing.
Ruth ambled to the dish and suddenly the 32,000 in attendance rose from their despair. The Bambino swung through a Vance offering, and then took a ball to even the count. The next two twirls followed suit and the count was two balls and two strikes. Though it borders on sacrilege to cheer for a New York Yankee, the Washington patrons set their animosity aside and put their full support behind Ruth. It didn’t help. Vance’s fifth pitch baffled “The Wizard of Wallop” and he stood at the dish, his cudgel at his side as he eyed home plate umpire Dinneen as if to say “you try hitting against this bum.”
Ruth took his misfortune to the right field garden and cost his team a run when he misplayed a Paul Waner safety that allowed Travis Jackson to score the Nationals’ second run. Jackson, a pinch hitter, led off with a base knock against Tommy Thomas and moved to the keystone sack when Pie Traynor drew a free pass as Lindstrom’s substitute. Waner the elder slashed a single to right and when Ruth muffed it, Jackson scampered home to extend the lead to 2 to 0.
Sticking with the typical three inning limit, Hendricks turned to “Old Pete” Alexander, who took the mound for the 11th time in All-Star play. Gehrig lined a hit past first baseman Bill Terry to begin the inning, and Huggins fingered Senators star Goose Goslin to step in for Meusel. The admiring crowd gave their approval and roared lustily when Jackson booted Goslin’s grounder to put Americans on first and second with nobody out. Cochrane skied a pop up to Terry to calm the din, but Charlie Gehringer stirred the throng again with a two-bagger that plated Gehrig and sent Goslin to third.
When Sewell walked to fill the pegs with Hugmen it looked like Alexander’s day was done, but Hendricks stayed with the legend and the strategy proved fruitful when George Sisler, batting for Thomas, grounded into a double play that went from Traynor to Frankie Frisch to Terry and snuffed the junior circuit’s rally. Perhaps sensing a reprieve that might not last into the early evening hours, the seniors busied themselves with the task of lengthening their lead.
Huggins called upon his versatile 30-year-old rookie Wilcy Moore to face the National League in the eighth inning, but he immediately put his team into a deeper hole when he allowed two runs to effectively put the game out of reach. With one out, pinch hitter Clyde Barnhart plunked a hit in front of the Babe, Bubbles Hargrave worked a base on balls and Jackson lined a shot that split Simmons and Ruth, and sent the runners scurrying around the bags.
Barnhart scored, and Hargrave and Jackson settled at third and second. Veteran slugger Cy Williams was called to action and sent his league’s fourth run home with a grounder to second.
The American League was game and struck back with a Warner double, Ruth single and fly out by Goslin that cashed in the juniors’ second run, but Lee Meadows took over for Carmen Hill and coaxed a fly out by Gehringer with the sacks soaked to end the frame.
The ninth inning was a mere formality and a means to an end. Lefty Grove allowed singles to Paul Waner and Frisch in the top of the stanza, but no runs scored. Meadows needed only eight slants to dispose of Wally Schang, Ira Flagstead and Warner, and American League fans went home disappointed for the second straight year.
The 1928 All-Star Game Is Nigh!
Make Your Voice Heard! Cast Your Vote!
All real baseball men know that Cincinnati is the home of the first truly great professional baseball team. In 1869, the “Red Stockings” won fifty-seven games while losing NONE, still the greatest feat any team has ever accomplished.
Almost six decades on, Cincinnati will earn yet another distinction: that of host of the 1928 All Star Game taking place on Tuesday, July 10 at Redland Field, aka “The Old Boomerang,” at the corner of Findlay & Western. It is a marvelous palace, a fit setting for the most marvelous game of the summer!
And you, the Knowing Fan, will alone be responsible for which of the Greatest Stars of today will be on the field for the first pitch of that game! Will that coterie include The Babe? Rajah? Ol’ Stubblebeard? Big Poison or Little Poison? Only YOU can say!
Have your say TODAY! Cast your vote for the starters of the 1928 All Star Game!
Do not delay! Vote for the 1928 All-Star starters and pitchers today!
— Chuck Hildebrandt