1939 July

1st At Fenway, Joe Cronin and Bobby Doerr each drive in two runs as the Red Sox beat the Yankees, 5-2. While watching the game in the stands, the mother of pitcher Bump Hadley is injured on the shoulder when she is hit by a line drive off the bat of Doc Cramer. Earlier in the year Bob Feller’s mother was also hit by a line drive.

2nd  In a doubleheader with the Dodgers before 51,435 at the Polo Grounds, the fireworks start 2 days early. The Dodgers take a uneventful opener 3–2, but in the 4th inning of the nitecap, Dodger player-manager Leo Durocher ends the inning by grounding into a DP and spikes 1B Zeke Bonura as he crosses the bag. Bonura takes off after Durocher, chases him down the RF line, and throws his mitt at him. He finally wrestles him to the ground. Both players are ejected, and the Giants go on to win 6–4. To Bonura’s charge of intentional spiking, the Lip retorts, “If that big clown hadn’t got his foot in my way, I wouldn’t have been close to him.”

In St. Louis, the Pirates take a pair from the Cards, winning 8-5 and 6-3. Elbie Fletcher, with his first homer of the year, contributes a grand slam in the Buc attack. The homer strikes the pavilion roof and bounds back on the field, causing a brief argument about whether it is a homer or double. Ray Mueller of the Pirates and Don Gutteridge of the Pirates, natives of Pittsburg, Kansas, along with umpire George Barr, a former resident there, were presented with gifts by a delegation from that city.

Four-hit pitching by Tommy Bridges enables the Tigers to beat the White Sox, 5-1. Sox manager Jimmy Dykes is fined $50 for his part in yesterday’s dustup when Hank Greenberg took a swing at Joe Kuhel, accusing the Sox player of deliberately trying to spike him at 1B. Reacting to the fine, Dykes pulls all his non-starting players out of the dugout and has them sit in the CF bullpen. Eric McNair of the Sox is ejected from the game for tossing his bat after a third strike call, and when Dykes and Ted Lyons add their two cents, they get tossed as well. Dykes joins his players in the bullpen from where he directs the game. As the Sox skipper passes the Tiger bench, all the Detroit players doff their caps.

In Philadelphia, Al Lopez hits a 2nd inning grand slam and the Bees sting the Phils, 9-7. Lopez will hit a career-high 8 homers this year.

The Senators move into 6th place in the AL by sweeping a pair from the A’s, winning 4-3 and 13-2. Johnny Welaj has 4 hits in the nitecap to drive in 6 runs.

3rd  Cleveland’s Ben Chapman tallies 3 triples, all consecutive, tying the ML record, as Bob Feller notches his 13th victory 4–2, over host Detroit. The next American Leaguer with 3 triples in a game will be Bert Campaneris, in 1967.

Johnny Mize equals a NL record with 4 extra-base hits—double, triple, and 2 HRs—in the Cards’ 5–3 win over the Cubs.

4th  In between games with the Senators, a tearful Lou Gehrig bids farewell to 61,808 fans at Yankee Stadium with a short and moving speech.

“Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and I have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I’m lucky. Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I’m lucky. When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift, that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies, that’s something. When you have a father and mother who work all their lives so that you can have an education and build your body, it’s a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed, that’s the finest I know. So I close in saying that I might have had a bad break, but I have an awful lot to live for. Thank you.”

His teammates give Gehrig a silver trophy with all their signatures on it and inscribed with the following poem by writer John Kieran:

We’ve been to the wars together;

We took our foes as they came;

And always you were the leader,

And ever you played the game.

Idol of cheering millions;

Records are yours by the sheaves;

Iron of frame they hailed you,

Decked you with laurel leaves.

But higher than that we hold you,

We who have known you best;

Knowing the way you came through

Every human test.

Let this be a silent token

Of lasting friendship’s gleam

And all that we’ve left unspoken.

—Your pals of the Yankee team

Gehrig’s uniform number 4 is then retired, the first ML player so honored. The Yankees split, losing the opener, 3–2, to Dutch Leonard, his third win of the year over New York, and taking the nitecap, 11–1. George Selkirk homers in both games, and adds a triple and single in the nitecap. Sundra wins over Alex Carrasquel, who is also feted by a Venezuelan delegation in between games. Alex was given a radio, watch and bag and he thanked the crowd in Spanish.

Red Sox 3B Jim Tabor hits 4 HRs as Boston sweeps Philadelphia 17–7 and 18–12 as the two teams combine for a ML record 54 runs in the twinbill. Jimmie Foxx and Tabor lead the plating with 7 runs apiece, with Tabor scoring 5 runs in game 2. Three of Tabor’s HRs, including a record-tying two grand slams (matches Lazzeri, in 1936), come in the nightcap, the first Red Sox player to clout three in a game. He totals 19 bases and 11 RBIs in the two slugfests on an afternoon featuring 65 hits. Boston accounts for 35 of them. Joe Heving and Denny Galehouse are the Boston winners, while A’s hurlers Cotton Pippen and Chubby Dean are the losers. Making his debut in game 1 as a pinch hitter is Eddie Collins Jr., son of Sox GM Eddie Collins.

In St. Louis, the White Sox wring a pair from the Browns, winning 7-3 and 7-4. The Sox score 5 in the 9th of game 2 for the victory. In game 1, Eric McNair completes a batting streak he started yesterday of 9 straight base hits.

In Detroit, a record crowd of 56,272 show up to see a twinbill between the Tigers and the Browns. Buck Newsom gives them their money’s worth by beating the Browns, 4-0, on 3 hits. Game 2 is rained out in the 3rd inning.

Cubs CF Hank Lieber clouts 3 homers, but the Cardinals win 6–4 in the first of two games at Wrigley Field. The Cubs take the nitecap, 3–2, when Gus Mancuso drives home the winning run in the 10th inning.

5th  Yankees rookie P Atley Donald wins his 10th game without a loss, beating Washington, 6–4.

7th  Sacramento (PCL) beats San Francisco 5–4 in an exhibition game played inside Folsom Prison.

9th  The Red Sox win 4–3 and 5–3 to sweep a 5-game series in Yankee Stadium. Joe Cronin drives in runs in both games, giving him 12 games in a row with an RBI. The Yankee lead is now 6 1⁄2 games, down from 13 ½ on July 1, a letdown that manager McCarthy attributes to “emotionalism” due to the Gehrig tribute.

The Giants beat the Dodgers 14-8 at Ebbets Field, even though Zeke Bonura grounds into his ML record 5th double play in two consecutive games. He grounded into 3 in yesterday’s nitecap.

Kirby Higbe beats the Bees 3–1 on a 6-hitter to give the Phils their 1st win after 11 straight losses.

11th  With another Yankee-dominated lineup, the AL defeats the NL 3–1 in the 7th All-Star Game, at Yankee Stadium. Joe DiMaggio excites the partisan crowd with a 5th-inning homer. Cincinnati OF Ival Goodman fractures his shoulder diving for a ball.

Archie Templeton of the Albuquerque Cardinals (Az-Texas League) strikes out 19 El Paso batters but fails to get credit as he is lifted in the 8th. A steal of home by El Paso’s Mel Berman ties the score in the 9th and when an argument ensues over the pitch, umpire Jack Rice is forced to call in the police as he tosses 3 Cardinals. Albuquerque wins in the 10th, 8-5.

13th The Red Sox play their first night game, defeating the Indians in Cleveland, 6-5, in 10 innings.

14th  The Yankees tie the AL record with only one assist, as Red Ruffing wins 8–3 over the Tigers.

15th  A disputed call on a Harry Craft fly ball down the LF foul line into the upper deck at the Polo Grounds touches off a melee in which the Giants Billy Jurges and umpire George Magerkurth spit at each other. Both will be fined $150 and suspended for 10 days. NL President Ford Frick announces that 2-foot screens are to be installed inside all foul poles to prevent future arguments. The AL eventually also adopts the rule. The Giants lose, 8–4, to the Reds and will add another 8 in a row to take them out of contention.

The second-place Red Sox plate 5 runs in the 1st inning against Willis Hudlin enrout to a 9-5 victory over the host Indians. Cleveland’s leadoff hitter Rollie Hemsley is 5-for-5 as he will set a season record for most at-bats (395) by a catcher batting leadoff. Jason Kendall will break it in 2000.

16th  Bees All-Star SS Eddie Miller collides with teammate OF Al Simmons and fractures a bone in his ankle. He will be out for the season. The Bees beat the Reds, 3–0, behind Bill Posedel, before losing game 2, 4–3.

17th Pittsburgh’s Chuck Klein makes his first appearance in Philadelphia since leaving the Phils, and cracks 2 HRs to lift the Bucs to a 7–4 win.

In a 4-3 loss to the Cardinals at the Polo Grounds, Giants infielder Lou Chiozza fractures his leg in a season-ending injury. Playing shortstop in place of the suspended Billy Jurges, Chiozza collides with LF Joe Moore.

18th J. Louis Comiskey, owner of the White Sox, dies at the age of 56 in Wisconsin.

Ernie White, the Texas League leader in strikeouts, fires a no-hitter as Houston beats Ft. Worth, 2-0. It is the first no-hitter by a Houston pitcher since July 5, 1920 when George Little stopped Galveston. White will go 15-7 with Houston this year and 13-4 with Columbia in 1940 to earn a promotion to the Cardinals.

19th Arky Vaughan hits for the cycle to pace the Pirates to a 10–3 win over the Giants.

The Boston Red Sox trade Louisville SS Pee Wee Reese to Brooklyn in exchange for $35,000 and 3 players plus a player to be named (Red Evans, September 1, 1939). Reese will finish the season at Louisville, hitting .279, and then move to Brooklyn.

22nd  A Boston Bees fan, outraged when Al Lopez drops a pop foul, his 2nd error and the team’s 7th of the game, jumps from the stands to punch the Boston catcher. Pittsburgh wins, 9–3.

Detroit pitcher Schoolboy Rowe helps his own cause by bashing a 2ndinning grand slam off A’s pitcher Nels Potter. Rowe drives in five runs before being chased in the 6th inning, but his Tigers hang on for an 11–10 win. In game 1, Lynn Nelson allows 5 hits—3 to Hank Greenberg—as his A’s win, 4-2. Buck Newsom gives up 16 hits in the loss.

23rd  The Dodgers use the new yellow-colored baseball again, but the Cardinals see it better in a 12–0 win. Johnny Mize and Jimmy Brown each have 4 hits as the Birds collect 20 to back Bob Bowman’s 3-hitter.

The Tigers roll by the Philadelphia A’s, 16-3, as every starter collects a hit for Detroit except winning pitcher Tommy Bridges, He has 2 RBIs. Pitchers let down Connie Mack as starter Buck Ross allows 6 runs while recording just one out. Bob Joyce and Nels Potter allow 3 runs apiece, and Jim Schelle puts his name in the record books by allowing 3 runs without getting an out in his lone ML appearance.

The Pirates and Boston Bees split a pair with the Bucs taking the opener, 3-2 and Boston shading Pittsburgh, 1-0. in game 2. Lou Fette tosses his 6thshutout in the nitecap and will lead the NL in that category. This is his last ML win, however, as arm trouble will curtail his career. Fette will make six more starts this year, all losses for Boston, but he will log 146 innings, just short of qualifying for 6th place in ERA (2.96) in the league. He will finish at 10-10.

24th  The Detroit Tigers release oft-injured Dixie Walker. He signs with Brooklyn, with whom he will have his most productive years.

25th  Unbeaten rookie Atley Donald wins his 12th in a row for the Yankees, beating the visiting Browns 5–1. DiMaggio’s HR off Brownie southpaw Howard Mills is the big blow, as the ball travels an estimated 450 feet into the LF Bleachers. Only Hank Greenberg, last year, has reached those distant seats in 16 years. Red Rolfe also homers to back Atlee’s five-hit victory. His 12 wins in a row is a rookie AL record for starting pitchers, tying him with Russ Ford of the 1910 Highlanders.

With the score tied 3–3 at the end of 8 innings, Cleveland scores 9 runs and Philadelphia 5 in a record-setting 9th inning. Tribe pinch hitter Jeff Heath has a double and triple in the big inning.

Salisbury’s (Eastern Shore League) Count Henri S. “Hank” Bertrand de la Vigne, known as the only titled pitcher in baseball, wins his 11th of the year, beating Milford 8–0 and striking out 11. The Count will be 14–9 for the year, but he will never make it to the majors.

26th At Yankee Stadium, the Yankees score in all 8 innings to beat the Browns, 14–1. Bill Dickey leads the 20-hit attack by slamming three straight homers. Red Ruffing coasts to the win, allowing 3 Brownie safeties.

27th The Dodgers acquire Louisville shortstop Pee Wee Reese, sending the Red Sox a reported $75,000 and 4 players to be named. Pitcher Red Evans (21-14 for New Orleans in 1938) and OF Art Parks + two minor leaguers eventually trade uniforms. Tom Yawkey, one of three partners who bought the Louisville team for $100,000, voted against the sale: his partners, Donie Bush and Frank McKinney, voted for the sale.

Pinch hitter Don Padgett cracks a grand slam, off Manny Salvo, to lead the Cardinals to a 9-4 victory over the visiting Giants. Padgett will hit .399 this year in 233 at bats.

28th With the addition of 1B Elbie Fletcher, the Pirates send 1B Gus Suhr to the Phillies for P Max Butcher.

Washington’s Ken Chase loses his no hitter in the 9th inning when he gives up two safeties, but holds on to beat Bob Feller and the Indians, 2–0. Skeeter Webb has the first hit.

At Fenway, Chet Laabs belts a first inning grand slam, off Eldon Auker as the Browns jump to a 7-0 lead and hang on for an 11-6 victory over the Red Sox.

30th In Cincinnati, the Reds extend their win streak to 10 games by sweeping the Phils, 9-2 and 5-1. In game 2, Billy Myers hits a walkoff grand slam in the 9th inning, off Boom-Boom Beck and the first-place Reds lead the Cardinals by 12 games.

The Cardinals, partial to MacPhail’s yellow-dyed baseballs, use them at Sportsman’s Park to beat the Dodgers twice by ,5–2 scores.