Thevenow Dimmed Ruth Splurge

This article was written by Arthur O. Schott

This article was published in the 1975 Baseball Research Journal


In this piece, Arthur O. Schott discusses the rivalry between Babe Ruth and Tommy Thevenow.It was 40 years ago that Babe Ruth hit his last home run in the majors. In fact, his final three all came in that same game between the Braves and Pirates on May 25, 1935. He played a few games after that but never collected another hit. An AP report of the game had this to say about Ruth’s performance.

“Ruth left the game amid an ovation at the end of the Braves half of the seventh inning and after his third home run — a prodigious clout that carried clear over the rightfield grandstand, bounded into the street and rolled into Schenley Park. Baseball men said it was the longest drive ever made at Forbes Field.”.

The box score of that game has been reproduced before, but a new evaluation is necessary in this anniversary year. In the first place, it was the most total bases ever achieved by Ruth in a game. He had hit three home runs before, in a May 21, 1930, tilt, but in this contest he also had a single for 13 total bases. Quite a feat for a 40-year-old literally on his last legs. Ruth’s first homer of the day came off starter Red Lucas, a crafty control pitcher. The other two both came off veteran Guy Bush. This brought in Waite Hoyt, a long-time teammate of Ruth on the Yankees. Hoyt became the winning pitcher because the Bucs won the game 11-7 in spite of the heroics of Ruth.

The player largely responsible for the Pirate victory was little Tommy Thevenow, a Ruth nemesis of the past. Always great in the field, he this time knocked in five runs with a double and triple. With a little help from the Waner Brothers, Arky Vaughan, and others, this was enough to do in the Babe-led Braves.

Having Ruth and Thevenow in the same box score was remarkable in itself, for they represented the extreme ends of the power spectrum. Here was the Sultan of Swat with 714 homers, one for every 11.8 times at bat in his career. And here was Thevenow, who played 1004 games from September 22, 1926, to the end of his career and never hit a fourbagger in 3351 at bats. He had hit only two homers, both early in his career, and both were inside-the-park fourbaggers.

But the 1935 game was not the’ first time that the normally light-hitting Thevenow had stolen some thunder from Ruth. They were unlikely rivals in the 1926 World Series between the Cardinals and Yankees. That was the Series where Ruth hit 3 homers in one game duplicated by no one but the Babe himself in the 1928 classic. But it was all to no avail in 1926. Shortstop Thevenow batted .417 to lead all Series batters — and this included such outstanding stickmen as Ruth, Gehrig, Combs, Hornsby, and Frisch as the Cards heat the Yanks 4 games to 3. Tommy’s 10 hits included one homer and (you guessed it) it was inside the park. He hit a drive that got away from the Yankee rightfielder – a guy named George Ruth.

The Babe may or may not have remembered that 1926 incident when the pesky Thevenow again threatened to rain on his power parade on Nay 25, 1935. Here is that box score.

BOSTON

AB

H

PO

A

   

PITTSBURGH

AB

H

PO

A

Urbanski, ss ..

3

0

1

1

   

L. Waner, cf

5

3

3

0

Mallon, 2b ….

4

1

4

4

   

Jensen, if

4

2

1

0

Ruth,rf………

0

4

3

0

   

P. Waner, rf

4

2

5

0

Mowry, rf .

1

1

0

0

   

Vaughan, ss

4

2

1

2

Berger, ci ….

5

3

4

0

   

Young, 2b……

3

1

3

3

Moore, lb…….

0

2

6

0

   

Suhr, lb…….

3

2

11

0

Lee, LF………

1

0

3

1

   

Thevenow, 3b

4

2

0

4

Coscarart, 3b .

4

2

0

3

   

Grace, c…….

4

0

3

0

Spohrer, c ….

4

0

3

0

   

Lucas, p…….

0

0

0

0

Betts,p………

0

0

0

1

   

Bush, p……..

3

0

0

3

Cantwell, p …

1

0

0

1

   

Hoyt, p……..

1

0

0

1

*Whitney……..

0

0

0

0

             

Benton, p…….

0

0

0

0

             
                       

Totals……..

38

13

24

11

   

Totals……..

35

14

27

13

*-Batted for Cantwell in 8th.

Boston……………………202 010 200 — 7

Pittsburgh……………………..000 430 31x – 11

R-Urbanski, Mallon 2, Ruth 3, Berger, L. Waner 2, Jensen, P. Waner 2, Vaughan 2, Young, Suhr 2, Thevenow. E-Mallon. RBI-Ruth 6, Suhr, Thevenow 5, Young 3, Grace, Lee, Vaughan. 2B-Mallon, Thevenow. 3B-Thevenow, Suhr, L. Waner. HR-Ruth 3, Young. SH-Mallon, Young, Jensen. DP-Vaughan-Young-Suhr;

Urbanski-Mallon-Noore. LOB-Boston 8, Pittsburgh 5. BB-Off Lucas 1, Betts 1, Bush 2, Cantwell 2. SO-By Betts 1, Hoyt 2. HO-Lucas 3 in 1/3; Betts 9 in 4-2/3; Cantwell 3 in 2-1/3; Benton 2 in 1; Bush 8 in 6; Hoyt 2 in 2-2/3. Winner-Hoyt. Loser-Cantwell. Umpires-Reardon, Magerkurth and Moran. Time-2:14. Attendance-l0,000.

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