The 1938 MLB All-Star game was staged in Cincinnati's Crosley Field 74 years ago today. 22 future Hall of Famers were on the rosters that day. It was the sixth edition of the Midsummer's Classic, as the New York Giants' Bill Terry managed the National League and the Yankees' Joe McCarthy the American League.
The National League triumphed 4-1 that day, on the back of a great pitching performance from Johnny Vander Meer, Bill Lee, and Mace Brown. Defense doomed the AL that day, as four errors helped lead to three NL runs. Hall of Fame Reds catcher Ernie Lombardi led the offense for the NL, earning two hits and an RBI. Joe DiMaggio kept the AL from going scorless, stroking a line-drive RBI double in the 9th inning. The game saw a new crop of young players coming to take over for the golden generation of the late 20's and early 30's. A 19-year old Bob Feller earned his first All-Star Game honor that year while future Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer made his last All-Star Game appearance.
Want to get a jersey with some of the '38 participants? Here are some from the Cooperstown Collection:
In the early to mid 1900's baseball players often spent the off season on "barnstorming tours" across the United States. They'd play local teams to large crowds as a way to supplement their off season incomes. One of the most well known tours occured in 1927 when Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig embarked on a barnstorming tour together. The Yankees were coming off their 1927 World Series victory over the Pirates and the country was in love with these stars of the game. Babe led one squad, called the Bustin' Babes. Gehrig's team was called the Larrupin' Lou's (are you familar with the word larrupin'? We weren't so we looked it up and it means to give a beating to.) The teams played 21 games from Providence, RI to Los Angleles, usually to huge crowds of adoring fans.
There are a decent number of pictures of these tours, and now a brief video clip has been discovered. It's not of one of the games, but of Gehrig and Ruth making some sort of public appearance together. Historians are speculating that this footage comes from a game in Sioux City, IA, on or around October 18, 1927.
You can see the video and learn more here. We think it's pretty cool, hope you do too.
After announcing Lou Gehrig's retirement from baseball on June 21, 1939 the Yankees declared July 4, 1939 "Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day" at Yankee Stadium. Over 60,000 fans showed to wish him farewell and say goodbye to an amazing ball player and man. Then Yankee Manager, Joe McCarthy delievered an intense, emotional goodbye to Gehrig with whom he had a very close relationship.
Struggling to control his emotions, Yankees Manager Joe McCarthy spoke of Lou Gehrig. After describing Gehrig as "the finest example of a ballplayer, sportsman, and citizen that baseball has ever known", McCarthy could stand it no longer. Turning tearfully to Gehrig, the manager said, "Lou, what else can I say except that it was a sad day in the life of everybody who knew you when you came into my hotel room that day in Detroit and told me you were quitting as a ballplayer because you felt yourself a hindrance to the team. My God, man, you were never that."
The Yankees retired Gehrig's number 4 making him the first player in history to be in honored this way. In December 1939, Lou Gehrig was elected unanimously to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in a special election by the Baseball Writers Association, waiving the waiting period normally required after a ballplayer's retirement. At age 36, he was the youngest player to be so honored.