1932 World Series
The 1932 World Series was played between the New York Yankees (American League) and the Chicago Cubs (National League), with the Yankees holding home field advantage. The Yankees swept the Cubs, four games to none. The series was otherwise noteworthy for Babe Ruth's "called shot", for his tenth and last World Series appearance overall, and for the arguments that developed between the two teams. The heated atmosphere started before the series even began.
Bench jockeying, called "trash talk" nowadays, was standard procedure in baseball at that time, with no verbal punches pulled, but the jockeying was said to be taken to new heights (or depths) in this Series, on the grounds of a personal disrespect against a former teammate.
The initial cause of the bad tempers was over former Yankee shortstop Mark Koenig. The Cubs picked up Koenig from the Detroit Tigers via the Mission Reds of the Pacific Coast League on April 25th. Despite Koenig's regular-season contributions -He batted .353 and played well in the field -, the other Cubs players voted him only half a share of their World Series money because he only played in 33 games and was unable to play in the Series due to injury. Some of Koenig's Yankee friends heard of this; as a result, they began to criticize the Cubs players as "cheapskates" in the press. The Yankees felt the Cubs were being "tight" with their money.
Ruth's remarks seemed to set the Cubs players off the most when he called them cheapskates. Adding some spice to the verbal stew was the fact that the Yankees' manager, Joe McCarthy, had previously been fired by the Cubs. When the series started in New York, the Cubs players retaliated at Ruth by calling him fat and washed up along with every obscene name they could think of. Guy Bush, the Cubs starting pitcher in Game 1, was particularly vocal against Ruth, calling him "nigger" (a common bench-jockey slam against Ruth due to his German-featured broad nose and thick lips), and this type of "banter" lasted for most of the Series.
|1||September 28||Chicago Cubs||6||New York Yankees||12||1-0||41,459|
|2||September 29||Chicago Cubs||2||New York Yankees||5||2-0||50,709|
|3||October 1||New York Yankees||7||Chicago Cubs||5||3-0||49,986|
|4||October 2||New York Yankees||13||Chicago Cubs||6||4-0||49,844|
|New York Yankees win 4-0|
|New York (A)||0||0||0||3||0||5||3||1||x||12||8||2|
|W: Red Ruffing (1-0) L: Guy Bush (0-1)|
|HR: NYY – Lou Gehrig (1)|
|New York (A)||2||0||2||0||1||0||0||0||x||5||10||1|
|W: Lefty Gomez (1-0) L: Lon Warneke (0-1)|
Roughly 50,000 Cubs fans showed up for Game 3, the large crowd made possible by the construction of temporary bleachers in Waveland and Sheffield Avenues. In a prelude of things to come, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig put on an impressive batting display during batting practice. Ruth launched nine balls to the outfield stands while Gehrig hit seven. As reported in the first edition of A Day at the Park, by William Hartel, p. 82, Ruth said while batting: "I'd play for half my salary if I could bat in this dump all the time!"
Cubs starting pitcher Charlie Root struggled in the 1st inning. The first two Yankees reached base when Ruth came to bat and hit a home run into the right-center bleachers to put the Yankees up, 3-0. As the existing newsreel footage shows, Gehrig gave Ruth a friendly swat across the fanny as Ruth crossed the plate. Gehrig then hit a home run of his own in the 3rd inning, echoing a homer he had hit at Wrigley while in high school. This put the Yankees up, 4-1. The Cubs battled back with two runs in the 3rd and one in the 4th, tying the score at four runs apiece. Joe Judge, who scored the tying run in the 4th, had doubled to right after Ruth dove in a futile attempt to catch the ball.
What happened in the top of the 5th inning is the stuff of legend. The series is immortalized in many history books for just that reason. Though Ruth and Gehrig each hit a home run] in the inning (in back-to-back at-bats), it is Ruth's hit that is the better known. Ruth supposedly predicted his home run by pointing to the stands prior to a pitch.
Babe Ruth's Called Shot refers to the home run hit by Babe Ruth in the 5th inning. During the at-bat, Ruth made a pointing gesture, which existing film confirms, but the exact nature of his gesture is ambiguous. Although neither fully confirmed nor refuted, the story goes that Ruth pointed to the center field bleachers during the at-bat. It was supposedly a declaration that he would hit a home run to that part of the park. On the next pitch, he hit a "Ruthian" home run to deep center field, past the flagpole and into the temporary seating in the streets, the flight of the ball estimated at nearly 500 feet. A few reporters later wrote that Ruth had "called his shot" (a reference to pocket billiards), and thus the legend was born. Ruth, ever-aware of his larger-than-life public image, was quick to "confirm" the story once he became aware of it. Conflicting testimony and inconclusive film footage have placed the moment in the realm of baseball legends.
|New York (A)||3||0||1||0||2||0||0||0||1||7||8||1|
|W: George Pipgras (1-0) L: Charlie Root (0-1) S: Herb Pennock (1)|
|HR: NYY – Babe Ruth (1, 2) – Lou Gehrig (2, 3) CHI – Kiki Cuyler (1) – Gabby Hartnett (1)|
|New York (A)||1||0||2||0||0||2||4||0||4||13||19||4|
|W: Wilcy Moore (1-0) L: Jakie May (0-1) S: Herb Pennock (2)|
|HR: NYY – Tony Lazzeri (1, 2) – Earle Combs (1) CHI – Frank Demaree (1)|
|New York Yankees||6||0||5||3||3||7||7||1||5||37||45||8|
|Total Attendance: 191,998 Average Attendance: 48,000|
|Winning Player’s Share: – $5,232 Losing Player’s Share – $4,245|
This was Babe Ruth's tenth and final World Series of his legendary career. It was also the Babe's only World Series in which he had his famous number 3 on his back (uniform numbers were not used before 1929.)
- Enders, Eric. 100 Years of the World Series: 1903-2004, Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2005, p.78. ISBN 1402725841
- 1932 World Series at Baseball-Almanac.com
- 1932 World Series at WorldSeries.com (MLB.com)
- Audio - Babe Ruth's Comment's on His Called Shot
- 1932 World Series box scores and play-by-play at Retrosheet.org
- Robert W. Creamer: Babe: The Legend Comes to Life, Simon and Schuster, New York, NY, 1974.
- David S. Neft and Richard M. Cohen: The World Series, 1st ed., St Martins Press, New York, NY, 1990, pp. 142-146.
- Bruce A. Rubenstein: Chicago in the World Series, 1903-2005: The Cubs and White Sox in Championship Play, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2006.
- Ed Sherman: Babe Ruth's Called Shot: The Myth and Mystery of Baseball's Greatest Home Run, Lyons Press, Guilford, CT, 2014. ISBN 978-0762785391
- Glenn Stout: Yankees Century, Houghton Mifflin, New York, NY, 2003.
- Thomas Wolf: The Called Shot: Babe Ruth, the Chicago Cubs, and the Unforgettable Major League Baseball Season of 1932, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2020. ISBN 978-0-8032-5524-1
|Modern Major League Baseball World Series
Pre-1903 Postseason Series