Cleveland’s Contrasting Historic Games in 1932

This article was written by Ron Liebman

This article was published in the 1982 Baseball Research Journal


The Philadelphia Athletics and the Cleveland Indians played two historic games in Cleveland in July 1932 — games which were a study in contrasts. On July 10, Philadelphia defeated Cleveland 18-17 in 18 innings at League Park, in a game in which many batting records were set or equaled and which featured a remarkable relief performance. On July 31, Cleveland played its first game in its new Municipal Stadium and lost 1-0 to Philadelphia in a game witnessed by the largest crowd ever to attend a stadium inaugural in the AL. Cleveland had played in League Park since 1910.

On Sunday, July 10, 1932, Philadelphia interrupted a home stand to make a one-day trip to Cleveland. The blue laws did not Permit Sunday baseball in Philadelphia until 1934. Athletics’ Manager Connie Mack took only two pitchers with him: Lew Krausse, father of another Athletics’ pitcher of the 1960’s, and Eddie Rommel, later an American League umpire, who was in the final year of a l3-year career spent entirely with the Philadelphia Athletics. Philadelphia had played doubleheaders the preceding three days and also had a doubleheader scheduled for the next day. When Krausse gave up 3 runs and 4 hits in the first inning, the runs scoring on a 3-run homer by Earl Averill, Connie Mack decided to switch to Rommel, who had pitched two innings Friday and three innings Saturday. Rommel was forced to stay in there for the remaining 17 innings. In that marathon relief effort, he gave up 14 runs, 29 hits, and nine walks before finally emerging as the winning pitcher! This was Rommel’s only win of the season, giving him 171 wins in his career, and this was the only game in four starts which Krausse did not complete in his two-year major league career, spent mostly as a relief pitcher. Cleveland Manager Roger Peckinpaugh used three pitchers, with starter Clint Brown pitching 6-1/3 innings, Willis Hudlin walking the two batters he faced, and Wes Ferrell hurling the final 11-2/3 innings.

There were several notable batting achievements in the game. Cleveland shortstop Johnny Burnett, who had an undistinguished nine-year career spent primarily as a utility infielder, set an all-time major league record by getting nine hits in the game — two doubles and seven singles. Only four other players in major league history managed seven hits in one game since major league baseball began in 1876 (two in 9-inning games and two in extra-inning games) and Burnett remains the on1y player to have seven singles in one game. Jimmie Foxx, who hit 58 home runs that year, made several statistical lists with 6-hit, 16-total base game, including three home runs and a double, along with eight RBIs. Besides Burnett and Foxx, three other players made as many as five hits in the game Al Simmons of Philadelphia and Earl Averill and Eddie Morgan of Cleveland. This was the only major league game where five different players had five or more hits.

The total of 58 hits in the game (including 33 by Cleveland) is the all-time record for either a 9-inning or extra-inning game, and Cleveland’s 33 hits is the all-time record for an extra-inning game. Since 1900, no other team had 33 hits in a game of any length. The game also produced one of the top composite totals in runs and in total bases. The boxscore probably looks unusual today in that there were no pinch hitters or pinch runners used during the long, grueling game. Each team used only 11 players, with Cleveland making two pitching changes and Philadelphia, besides its pitching change, making one catching change. When Cleveland scored six runs with none out in the seventh inning to go ahead 14-13, Connie Mack inserted Eddie Madjeski in place of John Heving. With two out in the top of the ninth inning and Cleveland leading 14-13, Eddie Morgan allowed Dykes’ easy grounder to go through his legs. Then Simmons walked and Foxx got a two-run single to put the Athletics ahead. Mule Haas made outstanding catches in the ninth and 16th innings to prevent Cleveland from scoring the winning run. Rommel’s 17-inning stint was the longest ever by a relief pitcher in the American League. One National League relief pitcher, George “Zip” Zabel of the Chicago Cubs, pitched the last 18-1/3 innings in relief, yielding one run, to emerge the winner in a 4-3 game in Chicago vs. Brooklyn on June 17, 1915. Rommel’s feat stands alone for perseverance, with his having faced 87 batters before emerging as the winning pitcher, and fanning two batters in the final inning!

 

July 10, 1932 box score

Philadelphia

AB

R

H

RBI

Cleveland

AB

R

H

RBI

Haas, rf

9

3

2

0

Porter, rf

10

3

3

2

Cramer, cf

8

2

2

1

Burnett, ss

11

4

9

2

Dykes, 3b

10

2

3

4

Averil, cf

9

3

5

4

Simmons, lf

9

4

5

2

Vosmik, lf

10

2

2

1

Foxx, 1b

9

4

6

8

Morgan, 1b

11

1

5

4

McNair, ss

10

0

2

1

Myatt, c

7

2

1

0

Heving, c

4

0

0

0

Cissell, 2b

9

1

4

3

Madjeski, c

5

0

0

0

Kamm, 3b

7

1

2

0

Williams, 2b

8

1

2

0

Brown, p

4

0

2

0

Krausse, p

1

0

0

0

Hudlin, p

0

0

0

0

Rommel, p

7

2

3

1

Ferrell, p

5

0

0

0

Totals

1

18

25

17

Totals

83

17

33

16

Philadelphia

201

201

702

000

000

201

— 18

Cleveland

300

311

601

000

000

200

— 17

Two-base hits — Burnett 2, Myatt, Cissell, Vosmik, Morgan 2, Haas, Dykes, Kamm, Porter, McNair, Foxx. Three-base hit — Williams. Home runs — Foxx 3, Averil. Stolen base — Cissell. Sacrifice hits — Kamm, Ferrell. Double plays — Williams, McNair, Foxx; Burnett, Cissell, Morgan; Kamm, Cissell, Morgan; Williams, Madjeski, Foxx. Left on bases — Philadelphia 15; Cleveland, 24. Base on balls — Krausse 1, Rommel 9; Brown 1, Hudlin 2, Ferrell 4. Strike-outs — Rommel 7, Brown 3, Ferrell 7. Hits — Off Krausse, 4 in 1 inning; Rommel, 29 in 17; Brown, 13 in 6-1/3; Hudlin, 0 in 0 (faced two batters); Ferrell, 12 in 11-2/3. Wild pitches — Rommel 2. Winning pitcher — Rommel. Losing Pitcher — Ferrell. Umpires — Hildebrand and Owens. Time of game — 4:05.

 

Cleveland and Philadelphia met again three weeks later in the first game ever played in the Cleveland Municipal Stadium on the lakefront This stadium, which remains the home of the Cleveland Indians today after a half century, had the second largest seating capacity of any major league stadium. Only the Los Angeles Coliseum, Which was used by the LA Dodgers from 1958-1961 while they were waiting for their new stadium in Chavez Ravine (Dodger Stadium) to be completed, was larger. On July 31, Lefty Grove of Philadelphia, one of the greatest pitchers of all time, opposed Mel Harder of Cleveland, one of the star pitchers of his era who later served many years as Cleveland’s pitching coach. Both pitchers were sharp that day with Philadelphia winning 1-0, scoring the only run of the game off Harder in the eighth inning when Max Bishop walked, Mule Haas sacrificed, and Mickey Cochrane had an RBI single. Harder gave up only five hits in eight innings with one hit off reliever Hildebrand in the ninth. Grove pitched a six-hitter and each pitcher walked two men.

The paid attendance for this mid-year opener was 76,979 with the total crowd listed at 80,000+. This was believed to be the second highest paid attendance for a game until that time, being topped only by a Yankee-Athletic game at Yankee Stadium in 1928. The only higher attendance total for a stadium inaugural was the paid attendance of 78,672 drawn at the LA Coliseum for the LA-SF game on April 18, 1958. Ironically, Cleveland also lost the second game played in Municipal Stadium by a 1-0 score the following day with Rube Walberg beating Wes Ferrell (both had complete games) with a paid attendance of only about 12,000. In the August 1st game, Cochrane, Foxx, and McNair had ninth inning singles. Burnett hit the first home run in the spacious park on August 7th (1st game) vs. Washington in the seventh game played in the Stadium.

It was not unusual for Lefty Grove to pitch a shutout under dramatic circumstances. Grove, in September 1927 and August 1933 shut out the New York Yankees marking the only time in each of those seasons that the Yankees had a scoreless game. The Yankees were not shut out by anyone in 1932, and Grove’s 1933 shutout ended a record streak by the Yankees of 308 consecutive games without a shutout.

Of the players who played in at least one of these two historic games, Foxx, Simmons, Cochrane, Grove, and Averill became Hall of Famers. Mule Haas, who made possible the 18-17 win with his brilliant catches, replaced Ty Cobb as an outfield regular for the Athletics in 1928, as Bing Miller moved from center to right and Haas filled in as the regular in center. The Athletics had won 3 consecutive pennants in 1929-1931, also winning the World Series in 1929 and 1930, but they were second to the New York Yankees in 1932.

Although Cleveland moved to Municipal Stadium on July 31, 1932, it turned out not to be their permanent home until the 1947 season. The Cleveland management announced in October, 1933 that the team would return to its former home stadium, League Park in 1934 because of difficulty in meeting the financial terms of its lease with the City of Cleveland. From 1934 through 1946, the Cleveland Indians played most of their games at League Park, using Municipal Stadium only for some of its weekend and holiday games. When Bill Veeck purchased the team in 1946, he signed a long-term lease with the City of Cleveland to use Municipal Stadium exclusively beginning in 1947. Veeck also shortened the fences to increase home run hitting. Municipal Stadium was the only new major league park between 1923 (Yankee Stadium) and 1953 (Milwaukee’s County Stadium).

Here is the box score of the second historic game played by Philadelphia at Cleveland in the summer of 1932:

 

July 31, 1932

Philadelphia

AB

H

O

A

Cleveland

AB

H

O

A

Bishop, 2b

3

1

1

3

Porter, rf

3

0

3

0

Haas, cf

3

1

3

0

Burnett, ss

4

1

1

1

Cochrane, c

3

1

5

1

Averil, cf

4

1

3

0

Simmons, lf

4

1

2

0

Vosmik, lf

4

1

1

0

Foxx, 1b

4

1

12

2

Morgan, 1b

4

0

8

0

McNair, ss

3

0

0

2

Sewell, c

3

0

8

0

Miller, rf

4

0

3

0

Cissell, 2b

2

1

2

3

Dykes, 3b

4

0

1

0

Kamm, 3b

2

0

1

1

Grove, p

3

1

0

6

Harder, p

3

0

0

2

*Ferrell

1

0

0

0

 

Hildebrand, p

0

0

0

0

Totals 31 6 27 14

Totals

39

4

27

7

*Batted for Harder in eighth.

Philadelphia

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0-1

Cleveland

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0-0

Run — Bishop. Error — Morgan. Run batted in — Cochrane. Two-base hit — Foxx. Sacrifices -_ Kamm, Haas, McNair. Double play — Burnett to Cissell to Morgan. Left on bases — Philadelphia, 7; Cleveland, 5. First base on balls — Off Grove, 2; by Harder, 2. Struck out By Grove, 4; by Harder, 7. Hits — Off Harder, 5 in 8 innings; off Hildebrand, 1 in 1 inning. Losing pitcher — Harder. Umpires — Guthrie, Ormsby, Geisel and Connolly. Time of game — one hour 50 minutes.

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