1940 August

2nd In Detroit, the Red Sox pound 14 hits in beating the Tigers, 12–9. Shortstop Joe Cronin is 4-for-5 and hits for the cycle, the 5th cycle in Sox history. Cronin cycled in 1929, not the first player to cycle twice, but the first to do it a decade apart. His 8th inning homer, off Archie McKain, follows a Doc Cramer triple and ices it for the Sox. Boston also gets homers from Dom DiMaggio and catcher Jimmie Foxx, his 23rd. Ted Williams, pinch hitting in the 4th, draws a walk. Jack Wilson beats Tom Seats, with both pitching in relief.

Starter Joe Bowman is the winner in Pittsburgh 5-2 10-inning victory over the Phillies, though he’s not around for the finish. Neither is his relief, Danny MacFayden, who gets tossed for the only time in his career by umpire Bill Klem after disputing what he thinks should be a third-strike call to Bobby Bragan. MacFayden tosses his glove in disgust and when Klem approaches the mound, Danny takes off his glasses, handing them to the ump saying, “Here, Bill, you take ’em. You need ’em much worse than I do.” It will cost him $100. The Pirates win the game, on the first pitch from Danny’s replacement, Bob Klinger (as noted by Bill Nowlin in SABR’s Bioproject).

In San Antonio, a crowd of 11,956 is on hand to watch veteran Dizzy Dean pitch for the Cubs’ affiliate Tulsa Oilers (Texas League) against the Missions. Dean is rocked for 10 hits and 5 runs in 5 innings as the Mission hit seven “crowd rule doubles” in the game. Bob Muncrief allows 11 hits but pitches a 7–3 complete game for his 20th win.

3rd With Ernie Lombardi hurt, Reds C Willard Hershberger is hitting .309 after taking over. However, depressed in recent weeks, Hershberger commits suicide by slashing his throat in Boston’s Copley Plaza Hotel. Hershberger blamed himself for calling wrong pitches in the July 31st 5–4 10-inning loss to New York. Leading 4–1, Bucky Walters retired the first two batters in the 9th and had two strikes on each of the next four batters. But Harry Danning and Burgess Whitehead each homered with a man on. Hershberger’s father also committed suicide, in 1928.

Gee, I take showers so that’s not it. The Browns sign pitcher Willis Hudlin, making St. Louis his 4th team this season. The Indians, Senators and Giants all signed and released the veteran. His 11+ ERA in the Mound City will have St. Louis following suit.

4th Jimmie Foxx, who started as a catcher in 1925, is behind the plate for the Red Sox to catch a 7–3 win for long-time teammate Lefty Grove. Foxx cracks his 24th HR to start the Sox on an 8-game skein in which they will hit 20 homers.

In Boston, the two teams dedicate the game in memory of Willard Hershberger. Then Frank McCormick drives in 6 runs to lead the Reds to a 12–9 win over the Braves after Bucky Walters loses the opener, 5–3, for his 3rd straight defeat.

5th In a twin bill nitecap in St. Louis, the Browns John Whitehead pitches a 6-inning rain-shortened no-hitter against the Tigers, winning 4–0. An ankle injury will sideline him and this will be Silent John’s only 1940 victory. Detroit wins the opener, 9–2.

6th In an 11–0 laugher, rookie Sid Hudson one-hits the A’s on his way to a 17-win season for the hapless Senators. It’s his second 1-hit shutout this year. Hudson pitched for Sanford (Class D Florida) last year and was 24–4.

7th A crowd of 53,997, an NL record for a night game, watches the Dodgers beat the Giants 8–4 on Mel Ott Night at the Polo Grounds. Dixie Walker has 4 hits for Broolyn and Fred Fitzsimmons (11-2) goes 7 innings for the win. Not to be outdone by the Giants, the Dodgers announce a night for Fitzsimons on the 15th.

At Cincinnati, the Cubs use an unassisted DP by an outfielder, a couple of homers and a bunt in the 10th inning to beat the first-place Reds, 5-3. In the 9th, Harry Craft hits a shallow fly ball to RF that is snagged by Swish Nicholson who continues running to catch Mike Dejan off 1B. Chicago scores a go-ahead run in the 10th on Rabbit Wartsler’s squeeze bunt with 2 on. A pair of singles adds 2 more. Nicholson hits his 18th of the year.

8th At Fenway, 27-year-old Tiny Bonham makes his ML debut for the Yankees and loses, 4–1, to Fritz Ostermueller. Tiny, brought up to replace the sore-armed Lefty Gomez, will still end the season at 9–3, complete 10 games, and toss three shut outs. His ERA will be 1.90 (Feller will lead with 2.61)

9th Steve Sundra posts his first win of the year for the Yankees, beating the A’s and Johnny Babich, 2–0. The Yankees, at 51-51, seem to be out of the running for their 5th straight championship. However, they will go 37–15 the rest of the way and actually make the top for a few hours on September 11th. The Yanks will ultimately finish 3rd, losing three straight to the Browns on September 15-16.

10th In Boston, Chet Ross’s 6th inning grand slam is the difference as the Bees sting the Dodgers, 4-3.

11th In Philadelphia, the Giants lose the opener of a twinbill, 2-0, as Kirby Higbe shuts down New York on 5 hits. In game 2, Babe Young hits a first-inning grand slam off Hugh Mulcahy and the Giants roll to an 8-2 victory. Hal Schumacher allows 3 hits in the win.

At Yankee Stadium, Joe Gordon belts a walkoff homer in the 11th to give the Yankees a 7-6 win over the A’s. Yesterday, Gordon led off the game with a homerun. The next Yankees to match Gordon’s mark will be Roberto Kelly in 1990 and Brett Gardner in 2017.

12th Cleveland and Detroit, deadlocked for 1st place (64–44), square off. In the initial pitching duel between the two aces, Bob Feller tops Hal Newhouser, 8–5, to become the majors’ first 20-game winner.

13th The Indians move 2 games in front by besting the Tigers again, 6–5. Cleveland will win their next 2 games to go up by 3.

Joe DiMaggio hits a 3-run homer in the 1st, then mashes a grand slam in the 4th, off Herb Mash, as the Yankees bomb the Red Sox at the Stadium, winning 19-8. DiMaggio drives in 8 runs. Babe Dahlgren adds a 3-run homer. Foxx and Williams homer for Boston. The sluggish Yankees are just 55-51.

14th Cleveland’s Al Smith pitches a one hitter in beating the White Sox, 4–0, for his 13th victory. A 3rd-inning single by Skeeter Webb is the only safety.

15th Chicago ace Claude Passeau tosses a five-hitter and doesn’t allow a runner past first after the first inning as he beats the Reds, 1–0. Paul Derringer takes the loss.

In a 4–2 loss to the Phillies, Dodger SS Pee Wee Reese fractures his heel bone sliding into 2B and is out for the season. The Dodgers must like what they see in winning pitcher Kirby Higbe, who will go to the Dodgers in the off season.

Two days after saying he disliked Boston and wanted to be traded, Ted Williams hits a 5th inning grand slam to pace the Red Sox to an 11-1 victory over the host Yankees. Foxx has a 3-run homer in the 1stas Joe Heving (7-2) tosses a 3-hitter.

16th Jimmie Foxx smashes 2 homers to help the Red Sox beat the Senators, 7–6. The two round trippers move him ahead of Gehrig on the all time list with a total of 495. His 30 homers leads the AL over Joe DiMaggio’s 25.

17th Stan Hack’s 4th hit of the game, a 2-out single in the 13th, gives the Cubs a 6–5 win over the Pirates. Claude Passeau, the last of 5 Cub pitchers, is the winner. Veteran Danny MacFayden takes the loss for the Bucs.

Jimmie Foxx homers in his 5th straight game as the Red Sox outslug the Senators, 12–9. Foxx’s feat sets a club record.

18th The Sunday New York Daily News publishes a shocking article written by its sports editor, Jimmy Powers, suggesting that the 5thplace Yankees, had been hit by a “mass polio epidemic.” Powers charges that Lou Gehrig’s “infantile paralysis” had infected the other Yankees, accounting for the team’s uncharacteristic reversal of form. The article immediately causes a sensation among readers and fans. At Gehrig’s request, Milton Eisenberg, a Brooklyn attorney, brings suit for $1 million against Powers and newspaper charging that Gehrig’s reputation and credit had been hurt and that the article had caused him considerable mental anguish. Other angry Yankees, including Bill Dickey, also file suit against the News, causing the newspaper to issue a public apology on September 26, The three and a half column story appears under the headline “OUR APOLOGIES TO LOU GEHRIG AND THE YANKEES.” In his apology, Powers admits he had no business getting ‘snarled up in medical controversy,” stating “Gehrig has no communicable disease and was not suffering from the mysterious polio germ that supposedly played havoc with the Yankee ball club.” Lou is a personal hero, Powers adds. “Hurting his feelings was far from my mind.’

The Red Sox claim infielder Charlie Gelbert after he is put on waivers by Washington. Gelbert, along with Willis Hudlin, are the only two players to play for two or more AL teams this year, an AL record.

19th Hot-hitting Jimmie Foxx belts his 33rd HR, against Cleveland, and Jim Tabor hits a grand slam as the host Red Sox roll to a 16-7 win. The two teams combine for 7 homers.

20th In the second of two games, Wally Moses steals home in the 10thinning to give the A’s the 4–3 victory over the White Sox. Chicago wins the opener, 6–1.

At Fenway, Ken Keltner hits a grand slam off Hal Newhouser in a 7-run 8th as the first-place Indians beat Boston, 11-6.

The Reds score 3 runs in the 9th—2 coming home on a single by Frank McCormick—to defeat the Giants, 3–2.

21st Rookie pitcher Charlie Frye belts a 2-run pinch homer off Ken Raffensberger to give the Phils a 7–5 win over the Cubs. It’s Frye’s only ML homer.

At Yankee Stadium, George Selkirk’s first-inning grand slam off Al Benton powers the Yankees to a 6-5 win over the Tigers.

22nd    At Yankee Stadium, Joe DiMaggio hits the Yanks 2nd grand slam in two days as the New York whip the Indians, 15-2. The Yankees score 9 runs in the 2nd inning. The slam is Joltin’ Joe’s 2nd in 9 days.

Les Mueller, pitching for Beaumont (Texas League) pitches a no-hitter over Dallas.

23rd The Reds purchase Jimmy Ripple from the Dodgers.

24th At Fenway, Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox pitches the last 2 innings in a 12–1 first-game loss to the Detroit Tigers and Tommy Bridges. Williams allows 3 hits and one run scores when 3B Charlie Gelbert juggles a DP grounder. On 3 pitches Williams strikes out Tiger slugger Rudy York, who had driven in 5 Detroit runs. Trivia alert: Joe Glenn, who caught Babe Ruth’s last pitching appearance in 1933, is Williams’ catcher. Pitcher Jim Bagby plays the OF for the Sox. The Red Sox come back in the second game by overcoming an 8thinning grand slam by Pinky Higgins, off Bill Fleming. The Sox plate 2 in the bottom of the 9th to win, 8-7. The split leaves the 2nd-place Tigers 3.5 games behind the Indians.

The Dodgers split a pair in Pittsburgh, losing the opener, 4–3 before winning, 8–1. In the nitecap, Joe Gallagher hits a double and homer in the same inning, the second player this year to do so.

25th Lefty Tom George, who started in pro ball in 1907, returns to the mound for York (Interstate League) at age 54, and wins, 3–2. He had been inactive for 5 years.

After losing 7–2 to the Browns in game 1 of a twinbill, the Red Sox explode in the 2nd game for 11 runs in the 6th inning. Jimmie Foxx hits his 3rd grand slam of the year in the inning, connecting off the Browns Emil Bildilli. Starter Willis Hudlin, acquired on August 3, gives up 10 runs in 4+ innings. Hudlin, pitching for his fourth team this season, will make one more appearance before being released. The game is mercifully called after 7 innings, with the Sox ahead 17–3.

26th Bucky Walters pitches the first-place Reds to a 3–2 win over the lowly Phillies. Bucky wins his 18th, driving in two runs with a homer and single. Ancient—40 in December—Syl Johnson then holds the Reds to three hits to win the nitecap, 6–1.

Bob Feller rescues Mel Harder in the 7th and the Indians top the Senators, 4–3. Hal Trosky’s two-run homer off Dutch Leonard is the big blow for the Tribe. Cleveland leads the idle Tigers by 3 games.

28th Homestead Grays (Negro League) P Ray Brown earns his 27thconsecutive victory over a 2-year span when he shuts out the Baltimore Elite Giants 5–0 on a 3-hitter. The win raises his record to 12-0 for the season.

The Cubs recall Dizzy Dean from Dallas and release Billy Rogell.

29th The Yankees blitzkrieg crushes the Browns as they win twice, 10-3 and 6-5, to move 4.5 games behind the Indians. In game 1, the Yanks score all their runs in the 5th inning to rout Vern Kennedy. The bases are filled 9 times as New York sends 16 batters to the plate. In game 2, Joe DiMaggio’s pinch 3-run homer in the 9th ties it and New York wins in the 13th on Frankie Crosetti’s bases loaded squeeze.

Jim Tabor of the Red Sox leaves the hospital after undergoing an emergency appendectomy. He’ll be out of action nearly a month.