Year In Review : 1937 American League

O ff the field...

On May 6 th , the German blimp "Hindenburg" burst into flames two-hundred feet over its intended landing spot at New Jersey's Lakehurst Naval Air Station. Thirty-five people on board the flight were killed (thirteen passengers and twenty-two crewmen), along with one crewman on the ground. The giant flying zeppelin measured eight-hundred three feet in length and weighed approximately two-hundred forty-two tons, but still managed a top speed of just over eighty miles per hour. As it reached its final destination in New Jersey, it hovered over its landing spot and was beginning to be pulled down to the ground by landing lines by over two-hundred crewmen when disaster struck. A small burst of flame started just forward of the upper fin, then blossomed into an inferno that quickly engulfed the dirigible's tail.

Once again, tragedy struck in the skies as America's first female pilot pioneer, Amelia Earhart, was lost over the Pacific during her attempt to make an around-the-world flight along the equator. The flight, which began in Miami, had made it around the world to Lae before she and her Lockheed Electra mysteriously vanished. Her last communication by radio was "we are flying northeast."

I n the American League...

On July 25 th , Mel Almada of the Washington Senators tied a Major League record by scoring five runs himself in the first game of a doubleheader against the St. Louis Browns. Almada added four more in the second game setting another Major League record for most individual runs in an eighteen inning period.

Harlond Clift of the St. Louis Browns equaled an American League record with nine assists in a 5-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers. By the end of the season, the third baseman went on to set a new Major League record for total chances and the still-standing mark of four-hundred five assists.

On December 6 th , the Boston Red Sox acquired the contract of an up-and-coming nineteen year-old named Ted Williams. Signed at the age of seventeen by his hometown San Diego Padres, Williams produced adequate numbers in the tough Pacific Coast League but improved beyond his years (and peers) while playing for the American Association in Minneapolis.

I n the National League...

On May 3 rd , the New York Giants tied an unusual Major League record after playing an entire nine inning game against the Boston Bees without a single chance for their outfielders. The Bees outfield managed only three chances themselves and went on to win 3-1.

En route to a 21-10 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies at the Baker Bowl, Cincinnati Reds catcher Ernie Lombardi matched the modern Major League record with six hits (five singles and a double) in six consecutive times at bat.

Mickey Owen, the catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, became only the third backstop to ever pull off an unassisted double play as the "Redbirds" went on to beat the Boston Bees 5-2 at Sportsman's Park III on August 3 rd .

A round the league...

In January, Cincinnati fell victim to its worst flooding disaster ever as rising water overwhelmed the lower city limits and Crosley Field. At its peak, river water covered the infield diamond and lower grandstands with as much as twenty-one feet of water. Taking advantage of a photographic opportunity, Reds pitchers Gene Schott and Lee Grissom rowed a boat out from the center field wall for a once in a lifetime image that appeared in newspapers across the country.

The American League All-Stars topped the Nationals 8-3 in the Midsummer Classic. However, the biggest story of the contest was a bizarre play that marked the beginning of the end of Dizzy Dean's spectacular career. With two out, Earl Averill cracked a low line drive that caught Dean directly on the front of his foot. Later, in the clubhouse, it was discovered that Dean's toe was broken. Anxious to get back in the game, Dean and the Cardinals management decided he would return to the mound before the toe was fully healed. Their impatience proved costly as the injury affected his delivery, which eventually injured his arm, and ultimately ended his glory days at the tender age of twenty-six.

"The next pitch (on May 25, 1937) was a fastball that sailed high and inside and it struck him (Mickey Cochrane) on the left side of the head. It made a sickening thud and it dropped straight off his head on to the plate. He dropped to the ground like he'd been shot." - Bill Dickey
1937 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

New York

127

Batting Average

Detroit

.371

Doubles

St. Louis

51

Hits

St. Louis

218

Home Runs

New York

46

On Base Percentage

New York

.473

RBI

Detroit

183

Runs

New York

151

Slugging Average

New York

.673

Stolen Bases

Washington

35

Boston

Philadelphia

Total Bases

New York

418

Triples

Chicago

16

Chicago

1937 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Boston

26

Washington

ERA

New York

2.33

Games

Chicago

53

Saves

Chicago

18

Shutouts

New York

6

Strikeouts

New York

194

Winning Percentage

Cleveland

.938

Wins

New York

21

1937 American League

Team Standings

New York Yankees

102 52 .662 0

Detroit Tigers

89 65 .578 13

Chicago White Sox

86 68 .558 16

Cleveland Indians

83 71 .539 19

Boston Red Sox

80 72 .526 21

Washington Senators

73 80 .477

Philadelphia Athletics

54 97 .358 46½

St. Louis Browns

46 108 .299 56

1937 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

New York

709

Batting Average

Detroit

.292

Doubles

St. Louis

327

Hits

Detroit

1,611

Home Runs

New York

174

On Base Percentage

Detroit

.370

Runs

New York

979

Slugging Average

New York

.456

Stolen Bases

Philadelphia

95

Triples

Washington

84

1937 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

New York

82

ERA

New York

3.65

Fewest Hits Allowed

New York

1,417

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Cleveland

61

Fewest Walks Allowed

New York

506

Saves

Chicago

21

New York

Shutouts

Chicago

15

New York

Strikeouts

Boston

682



On May 26, 1937, Billy Sullivan of Cleveland hit a pinch hit home run during the sixth inning. Three innings later Bruce Campbell hit a pinch hit home run making this the first game in American League history where two teammates had pinch hit homers during the same game.

More notable dates in 1937 included: June 1 - Bill Dietrich no hitting the Browns, July 5 - Joe DiMaggio hitting his first career grand slam, August 3 - Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium, and on August 25 Bob Feller striking out sixteen Red Sox hitters. One of those baffeled hitters, Joe Cronin , asked the umpire after being struck out the second time, "If I can't see it, how did you see it?"

On September 19, 1937, Hank Greenberg of the Detroit Tigers became the first player to ever hit a home run into the center field bleachers at Yankees Stadium. Three days later Greenberg blasted another long ball, this time completely out of Fenway Park.

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