October 20, 2014

1931 All-Star Game: Trio Leads American League To Victory Over Nationals

April 23, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

TRIO LEADS AMERICAN LEAGUE

TO VICTORY OVER NATIONALS

newspaper lineGrove, Kress, Cronin Star For Juniors

newspaper lineFERRELL BROTHERS FORM

LATE-GAME BATTERY

newspaper line

Lefty Grove tossed three perfect innings to help lead the American League to victory.

Lefty Grove tossed three perfect innings to help lead the American League to victory.

DETROIT, July 14.—In what can be described as a quick-paced and mostly clean contest, the American League edged the National League today at Detroit’s Navin Field by a count of 5 to 3, although the game was not nearly as close as the score would indicate.  Robert Moses “Lefty” Grove was obstinate on the hill for the junior circuit, surrendering nothing in the way of safeties, tallies or even the slightest glimmer of hope.  At the plate, Red Kress recorded a brace of hits and runs scored and drove home one; Joe Cronin added two hits, a walk, a run and an RBI; and Ski Melillo knocked in two of the AL’s five runs.

The Nationals had their share of heroes—Bill Terry crossed the plate twice and Wally Berger smashed a long homer that brought an audible gasp from the more than 30,000 in attendance—but they couldn’t keep pace with Connie Mack’s provisional squad.  Mack delighted in handing the ball to Grove for the third straight year and the southpaw didn’t disappoint.  He needed only seven pitches to send Terry, Berger and Rogers Hornsby from whence they came, and not one slant missed the strike zone.

Gabby Street’s opening hurler, “Fat Freddie” Fitzsimmons, wasn’t as efficient or dominant but he worked around a free pass to Babe Ruth and fanned Lou Gehrig to get out of the bottom of the first.  After tossing eight straight strikes to the first four hitters, Grove finally missed the plate with his second offering to Buzz Arlett, but the three swatsmiths he faced in the second were as helpless as those in the first and Arlett, Chuck Klein and Travis Jackson were retired with ease.

The Mackmen cashed in their first run in the bottom of the second when Kress started the frame with a double to center field, went to third on a deep fly out by Mickey Cochrane and crossed the dish on a Cronin two-bagger.  Fitzsimmons set down Melillo and Grove to escape further bruising, then he and Grove traded scoreless innings in the third, the AL portsider mastering Pinky Whitney, Spud Davis and Fitzsimmons, while the portly one labored around another Ruth trip to the initial station.

Mack pulled Grove after the customary three innings and turned to the lefty’s regular season complement, George Earnshaw, who immediately lost the lead when Terry poled a double and eventually worked his way home on an Arlett single.  In the bottom of the fourth, Street pulled the same trick, replacing Fitzsimmons with one of his teammates, Carl Hubbell, and the juniors took full advantage of the swap.  Kress grounded out to kick things off, but Hubbell sent one into Cochrane’s ribs to put the receiver on first and Cronin rapped out his second double of the tilt to put runners on second and third.  Melillo followed with a two-bagger that coined both runners and came around to score the third run of the inning when Jackson mishandled a hot smash by pinch hitter Goose Goslin that landed far enough from the shortstop to allow “Spinach” to score all the way from the keystone.

Mack called upon yet another White Elephant slantsmith and sent Rube Walberg into the fray to face the Streets in the top of the fifth, and he resembled Grove more than Earnshaw and kept the NL off the board to preserve the 4 to 1 lead.  Lefty O’Doul continued his mid-Summer dominance with a two-out pinch-hit single, but Whitney, Davis and Terry went down without fanfare.  “Big Ed” Brandt tried to do what Hubbell couldn’t but Gehrig greeted the Braves southpaw with an epic at-bat that confounded and frustrated Brandt for 11 pitches before “Biscuit Pants” finally went down swinging on the twelfth offering.

Kress then saw six tosses and worked the count full before blasting a drive into the right field seats to extend the juniors’ lead to 5 to 1.  With five innings in the books it looked as if the American League would walk away with an easy victory, but Berger fired a salvo that woke up the seniors and their fans, and cut the lead to 5 to 2.  After taking a called strike and two balls, Berger found a slant much to his liking and launched a mammoth drive to left that had many wondering if it would ever return to Earth.

It’s unknown how far the ball traveled, but those who witnessed Berger’s smash that exited Baker Bowl in May are willing to swear on a stack of bibles that today’s blast was even more impressive.  Alas, it counted for only one run and the Nationals couldn’t add more before Walberg escaped the inning.  The Americans filled the sacks in the bottom of the frame, courtesy of walks to back-up catcher Rick Ferrell and Babe Ruth, and a single by Gehrig, but Brandt cajoled Kress into a ground out to end the inning.

The top of the seventh witnessed history when Mack gave the ball to Wes Ferrell, younger brother of Rick, and created the first all-brother battery in All-Star Game history.  “The Old North State” natives acquitted themselves well and set down Charlie Grimm on a grounder and Hogan on a twin killing that followed a base on balls to Pie Traynor.  Then Wesley showed folks why he’s considered one of the most well-rounded ballplayers in the game when he ripped a single to left to start the bottom of the seventh.  Dazzy Vance relieved Brandt and retired Cronin and Charlie Gehringer before the warm applause had died down.

Red Kress poled out two hits, including a homer, and scored twice for the American League.

Red Kress poled out two hits, including a homer, and scored twice for the American League in their 5 to 3 win.

Wildness got the better of Wes in the top of the eighth and the senior loop was able to trim the lead to 5 to 3 before he escaped the jam.  Young Mel Ott lead off with a base on balls but was erased on the bases when Ferrell the younger fielded a bouncer by Terry and fired a strike to second for the force out.

Berger stepped to the plate to a roar of approval and anticipation, but surprised everyone when he topped a high bouncer off the plate and beat the throw for an infield single.  It was such a contrast to his long drive in the sixth that most in attendance chuckled, including Berger who was getting a good-natured razzing from fans on the first base side of the diamond.

With Rogers Hornsby at the plate, Wes heaved wildly past Rick and both runners advanced ninety feet.  After a brief family meeting, the hurler regained his bearings and got Hornsby to ground to short for the second out, and coaxed a pop up out of Arlett to end the inning.  Terry scored on Hornsby’s out but the junior circuit held the lead at 5 to 3.

Not wanting to be upstaged by his younger sibling, Rick Ferrell shot a hit to the same exact locale Wes had found earlier, then moved to second on a single by Mule Haas.  Watty Clark bore down, though, and fanned Al Simmons before wheedling a double play grounder off Earl Webb’s stick to send the game to the top of the ninth.

With a two-run lead “The Tall Tactician” called on versatile Washington Senators hurler Firpo Marberry, and Marberry was up to the task, setting down Chuck Klein and Rabbit Maranville in quick succession before allowing a single to Traynor.  Marberry closed out the game with one final offering that Hogan bounced to first for the final out.

1931 All-Star Game Box Score
1931 All-Star Game Play-By-Play

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1931 Final Rosters
1931 All-Star Game National League Batting, Fielding and Pitching Averages
1931 All-Star Game American League Batting, Fielding and Pitching Averages

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Cast Your Vote For Starters of the 1932 All-Star Game!

Lombardi

In these trying times, fraught with uncertainty about what might lie around the bend tomorrow, there is comfort in the confidence of knowing that certain traditions can always be counted on to take place, year after year, without fail.  The All Star Game is one of those traditions.

And in the tradition of All Star Games going back to 1916, we are dependent upon you, the Knowing Fan, to determine who among the current greats of the Game will be worthy of the coveted starting assignments when that first pitch is thrown.

When the tradition started, the vaunted names of Home Run Baker, Hans Wagner, Zack Wheat and Walter Johnson were among those that appeared at the top of that generation’s ballots.  This generation of stars is no less deserving of the honor that you will bestow upon them with your own vote.

This year’s game will be played at Shibe Park, home of Phillies, who will act as hosts on behalf of the National League, on Tuesday, July 12.  But the vote is open TODAY, right now, and the clarion call is being made!

Will YOU answer that call?  If so, do it TODAY!  Do NOT delay!  Cast your ballot for the 1932 All Star Game starters RIGHT AWAY!

Do not delay! Vote for the 1932 All-Star starters and pitchers today!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ASG1932

Voting will be open until 3:00 a.m. Eastern Time on April 25, 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.

(Learn more about the Retroactive All-Star Game Project hosted by SABR here.)

— Chuck Hildebrandt

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