August 23, 1931:  Chick Hafey goes 5-for-5 in Cardinals’ 16-1 win over Braves

This article was written by Tim Hagerty

Chick Hafey (TRADING CARD DB)Future Hall of Famer Chick Hafey went 5-for-5 with two home runs, a double, and eight RBIs in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 16-1 win over the Boston Braves on August 23, 1931. It was the first game of a doubleheader that had to be scheduled because of a rainout on May 15. It was also one of 101 regular-season wins for the Cardinals, who won the World Series six weeks later.

The Cardinals entered the doubleheader at the tail end of a 17-game road trip, while Boston was winding down a 23-game homestand. The doubleheader was held at Braves Field, a ballpark that opened in 1915 and hosted National League games until 1952. St. Louis came in with a 76-44 record, in first place by 7½ games. Boston was 58-60, in fifth place, 17 games out of first.

Gabby Street was the Cardinals’ manager, in the third of his five seasons managing the team. Street later managed the crosstown St. Louis Browns in 1938.

The Braves were managed by Bill McKechnie, who was in the second of his eight seasons leading Boston. He managed the Cardinals in 1928 and 1929 and later became the first major-league manager to win pennants with three different franchises.1

Newspaper recaps noted that the weather was “uncomfortably cool, and a high wind gave the low temperature an added tang.”2

The Braves’ starting pitcher was right-hander Fred Frankhouse, who was in the fifth season of his 13-year major-league career. Frankhouse’s best season was in 1934, when he won 17 games and was named an All-Star for the only time in his career.

Righty Syl Johnson started for the Cardinals. Johnson was in the 10th season of his 19-year major-league career. The St. Louis rotation also featured future Hall of Famers Burleigh Grimes and Pop Haines.

Neither team scored in the first two innings, but the Cardinals broke through after loading the bases with two outs in the top of the third. Hafey stepped in against Frankhouse and launched a home run to left field to give St. Louis a 4-0 lead. It was one of three career grand slams for Hafey.

The Braves grabbed one run back in the bottom of the fourth when Earl Sheely hit an RBI single with one out to score future Hall of Famer Rabbit Maranville, who was in the second tour of his career with the Braves. Two Cardinals runs came in on a bases-loaded fielder’s choice in the top of the fifth to make it 6-1 St. Louis.

In the top of the sixth, the Cardinals made it a rout by surging for five runs after two outs. Sparky Adams and George Watkins singled and both scored on Frankie Frisch’s single. Jim Bottomley greeted reliever Hal Haid with an RBI double, bringing in the Cardinals’ third run of the inning and making it 9-1. With Bottomley on second after a double, Hafey struck his second home run of the day to cap off the Cardinals’ five-run outburst. Both of Hafey’s home runs went through the fog and over the left-field fence.3 It was 11-1 St. Louis after six innings.

Five more St. Louis runs crossed in the top of the seventh in a rally that included an RBI single by Frisch and an RBI double by Hafey. Neither side scored in the final 2½ innings and the Cardinals won 16-1. It was the Cardinals’ most lopsided win of the season.

The five-hit, eight-RBI effort from the eyeglasses-wearing Hafey earned him flowery praise in the press. “The four-eyed Hafey man had just earned the bouquets. It was he who led the Cardinals to a mad 16-1 stampede over the Braves yesterday,” the St. Louis Star and Times reported. “For a long time this Hafey man has been getting his hits, driving in his runs, playing his ball game in the steady, cool, dependable and entirely colorless way that is strictly the Hafey man’s way.”

Johnson got the win to move his record to 7-7. Frankhouse was the losing pitcher and his record dropped to 8-4. The game took 1 hour and 54 minutes and the attendance was 35,000.

Dolly Stark was the home-plate umpire and the first-base umpire was Bill Klem, who has the second-highest games total in major-league history. Jim Scott was the third-base umpire. National League President John Heydler witnessed the doubleheader.4

Hafey’s five hits moved his batting average to .318. It was the third and final five-hit game of his career. Hafey finished the 1931 season with a .3489 average (rounded up to .349), narrowly edging Bill Terry’s .3486 to win the National League batting title. It was the only batting title of Hafey’s career.

The second game of the doubleheader had a much different complexion, with the Cardinals beating the Braves 1-0 in 11 innings. The lone run came on Bottomley’s solo home run in the top of the 11th. The Boston Globe described the disparity between the scores of the two games in colorful terms, writing of “the first (game) being a slaughter of the innocents, who were simply annihilated, and the second, one of the most stubbornly contested and fiercely-fought games that has been seen here in many a day.”5

The Cardinals-Braves matchup the next day was rained out and had to be made up during a second doubleheader of the series, on August 26.

The Cardinals finished 101-53 in 1931 and won the National League pennant comfortably by 13 games over the New York Giants. The Braves finished seventh of eight teams, 37 games behind St. Louis, with a 64-90-2 record.

St. Louis met the American League pennant-winning Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series and clinched the title in a 4-2 Game Seven victory at home at Sportsman’s Park. It was an especially satisfying championship for the Cardinals, who had lost to the Athletics in the World Series the year before.

Hafey was an All-Star two years later with the Cincinnati Reds and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971. He is one of five members of the 1931 Cardinals enshrined in Cooperstown.



In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author used,, and



1 The three pennant-winning teams were the 1924 Pirates, 1928 Cardinals, and 1938 Reds. Warren Corbett, “Bill McKechnie,” SABR BioProject,

2 “Hafey Equals League Mark,” Boston Globe, August 24, 1931: 6.

3 “Cardinals Game with Braves Off Due to Downpour,” St. Louis Star and Times, August 24, 1931: 21.

4 “Pres Heydler a Spectator,” Boston Globe, August 24, 1931: 6.

5 “Braves Beaten Twice by Cards,” Boston Globe, August 24, 1931: 6.

Additional Stats

St. Louis Cardinals 16
Boston Braves 1
Game 1, DH

Braves Field
Boston, MA


Box Score + PBP:

Corrections? Additions?

If you can help us improve this game story, contact us.


1930s ·