Baseball: Past and Present

Here’s the latest from Joe Guzzardi, a regular Wednesday and Saturday contributor. Every Saturday, Joe writes “Double the fun,” looking at one memorable doubleheader each week. Today, Joe recounts a few famous performances from Hall of Fame pitcher Carl Hubbell.

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Venue: The Polo Grounds

Date: Sunday, July 2, 1933

Teams: St. Louis Cardinals versus New York Giants

Starting Pitchers: Game One: Cardinals—Tex Carlton versus Carl Hubbell, New York; Game two: Dizzy Dean versus Roy Parmelee

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More than 50,000 fans showed up at the old Polo Grounds to watch the eventual World Series champion Giants take on arch rival foes, the St. Louis Cardinals during the Independence Day weekend doubleheader.

Both teams were loaded with future Hall of Famers and otherwise outstanding stars: for the Cards, Pepper Martin, Frankie Frisch, Joe Medwick, Leo Durocher, Rogers Hornsby, pitchers Dean, Carlton, Dazzy Vance and Burleigh Grimes; on the Giants, Mel Ott, premier first baseman and superior manager Bill Terry, Jo Jo Moore, pitchers Hubbell, Parmalee and Freddie Fitzsimmons

At the day’s beginning, the Giants held a 3-1/2 game margin over the second place Cards. But after Hubbell and Parmalee polished off St. Louis 1-0 and 1-0, the Giants pulled away for good.

In the 18-inning, 4:03 opener, Hubbell gave one of his most impressive exhibitions of mound mastery as he bested Carlton and relief pitcher Jesse Haines.

For 12 of the innings, Hubbell dazzled the minimum three batters with his fearsome screwball.

Some observers wrote that Hubbell had more command of his pitches than he did during his 1929 no-hit, 11-0 classic against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

For the first sixteen innings, Hubbell and Carlton matched each other pitch for pitch. But when Carlton gave way for a pinch hitter in the 16th inning, the Giants chipped away at 39-year-old Haines when Moore walked and catcher Gus Mancuso sacrificed him to second. Moore eventually scored on a single by Hughie Critz.

Hubbell’s daily line: IP 18; H 6; ER 0; BB 0; SO 12

After the intermission, the second game began near dusk with a light rain and fog hanging over the Polo Grounds.

Cardinal manager Gabby Street was desperate for a starting pitcher. Street tapped Dean even though he had pitched two evenings ago on Friday and coincidentally shut the Giants out, 1-0. In the Sunday nightcap, Dean hurled another gem but lost this one by the same 1-0 score.

Dean’s combined line for his two starts within three days:

IP 17; H 11; R 1; BB 3; SO 10

After the Giants’ sweep, the teams and their pitchers went in opposite directions. The Cardinals slowly fell out of contention, replaced Street with Frisch and finished in fifth place, 9.5 games off the pace.

Dean had an indifferent 20-18, 3.04 ERA.

King Carl, on the other hand, improved as the year continued. On September 1, Hubbell spun another outstanding game. At Braves Field, Hubbell notched his 20th victory and wrapped up the pennant for the Giants by besting Boston 2-0 over ten flawless innings. Coincidentally, the game was also the first of a doubleheader.

Hubbell’s line:

IP 10; H 4; R 0; BB 1; SO 6

For the season, Hubbell posted a 23-12 record, won the ERA title with a 1.66 mark and was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player award.

Then, saving his best for last, Hubbell and the Giants dominated the Washington Senators in the World Series, 4-1.

In Game One, Hubbell allowed two unearned runs while coasting to a 4-2 victory. Then, in the fourth game, on two days rest and over 11 innings, Hubbell gave up only another single unearned run.

For Hubbell’s two World Series appearances:

IP 20; H 13; ER 0; BB 6; S0s 15

During his career, Hubbell went 253-154, ERA 2.98, led the league in games won and ERA three times. Best remembered for his 1934 All-Star Game effort when he struck out in order Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin, Hubbell was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1947.

After he retired as an active player, Hubbell remained with the Giants as the team’s farm director and scout.

In 1988, at age 85, Hubbell died in Scottsdale, Arizona following an automobile accident.

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Joe Guzzardi belongs to the Society for American Baseball Research as well as the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America. Email him at guzzjoe@yahoo.com



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  • Written by Graham Womack