1939 June

1st The Phillies plays their first-ever night game at Shibe Park, losing to the Pirates, 5–2. The Phils Gib Brack and the Bucs Bill Brubaker hit homers. Rip Sewell picks up the victory over newly acquired Kirby Higbe.

At Brooklyn, Gene Moore’s steal of home in the bottom of the 14th gives the Dodgers a 3–2 win over the Cubs. Vito Tamulis takes the W over Charlie Root. The Dodgers had squelched a Cub threat in the 12th inning with a triple play. Root was the pitcher in a July 2, 1933 game at Ebbets when Al Lopez stole home in the 9th inning for a walkoff steal.

2nd The Reds score 4 in the 13th inning—3 on a homer by Ernie Lombardi—and outlast the Braves, 4–0.

5th  The Philadelphia A’s sign Duke University All-American running back Eric Tipton.

6th At the Polo Grounds, the Giants unload on the first-place Reds with five HRs after two are out in the 4th inning, a ML record. Entering the inning, the Giants sport a 6–0 lead, thanks in part to homers by Jo Jo Moore and Met Ott. After two are out, Harry Danning homers off Peaches Davis. Then Ott singles, Zeke Bonura walks and Frank Demaree lifts a 3-run homer. Former batting practice hurler Wesley Livingood relieves and walks Tony Lazzeri. Burgess Meredith acts like a slugger, belting one of his two homers of the year, and pitcher Frank Salvo follows with his only career homer, an inside-the-park hit. Up for a 2nd time in the inning, Jo Jo Moore hits an upper deck blast for the 5th homer after 2 outs, an unsurpassed mark. The Giants coast to a 17–3 win.

In Cleveland, three Red Sox players throw a baseball 122 feet a second into a new photo-electric pitching meter (as noted by historian Dick Thompson). Three Cleveland Indians can only do 119 feet. Pitchers are not included in the test but ‘unofficially’ Bob Feller of Cleveland fires three balls into the meter from a distance of 20 feet. The best mark he recorded was 119 feet. His less-touted teammate, pitcher Johnny Humphreys, recorded 127 feet. There will be a contest for pitchers later. Jimmie Foxx, Jim Tabor and Roger Cramer made it a clean sweep with a first-place tie in the contest. The Indians best is a tie at 119 feet by Ben Chapman, Moose Solters and Jim Shilling. The Cleveland men who developed the speed meter said the only comparable scientific marks were made in 1917. Walter Johnson threw the ball 134 feet a second, Christy Mathewson 127 and ‘Smoky Joe’ Wood 124. Their speeds were shown by a gravity drop interval recorder. In the contest that counts, the Indians edge the Red Sox, 8–7.

7th With Joe DiMaggio back in CF after an absence of 35 games because of a foot injury, the Yankees roll to a 5–2 win over the White Sox. DiMaggio knocks in the Yanks’ first run with a triple and scores another in New York’s three-run 5th. Yankee nemesis Thornton Lee leaves the game with a torn muscle in his left shoulder after 5 1/3 innings, while New York’s starter Lefty Gomez goes 7 innings before wilting in the heat. New York’s lead over the idle Red Sox is now 9 games.

After the Phils release Chuck Klein, Pittsburgh signs the former triple crown winner, who will hit .300 in 85 games. Klein will return to Philley after the season.

8th DiMaggio leads New York to a 7–2 win over the White Sox by hitting a single, double, and his 2nd homer of the year. Joe is now hitting .464. Lefty Edgar Smith takes the loss for Chicago while rookie Atley Donald wins his 6th without a loss. New York’s record against southpaws is 15–4.

9th At Briggs Stadium, the Tigers pepper Buck Ross for 10 run in 6+ innings as they beat the A’s, 14-4. Ross serves up a grand slam to Pete Fox in the 2nd and a 3-run homer to Hank Greenberg in the 6th.

10th At Detroit, the Tigers score 3 runs in each of the 8th and 9th innings to trip the Senators, 6-5, in game 1 of a doubleheader. The Tigers then score in each of the first six innings of game 2 en route to a 17-5 victory. Rookie Frank Croucher hits his first ML homer in game 2, a grand slam off Jimmie DeShong.

11th In game 1 in Chicago, Ted Lyons wins another Sunday outing beating Boston, 7–5, and pitches the last 4 innings without allowing a walk. He will go 42 innings in all, until the 1st inning of the June 23rd game in Chicago, without giving up a base on balls. The Red Sox win the nitecap, 4–3.

12th  The greatest gathering of members and future inductees of the Baseball Hall of Fame assembles in Cooperstown, NY, for the dedication of the museum. A 6-inning game at Doubleday Field showcases lineups studded with players who will be elected in the future. Honus Wagner’s lineup defeats Eddie Collins’ squad, 4–2. Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, Grover Alexander, Nap Lajoie, George Sisler, Eddie Collins, Tris Speaker, Cy Young, and Connie Mack accept their plaques. Cobb, angry at Commissioner Landis, shows up after the ceremony and photo taking to accept his plaque. Other inductees, all deceased, include Cap Anson, Charles Comiskey, Candy Cummings, Buck Ewing, Hoss Radbourn, Al Spalding and Wee Willie Keeler.

14th  Veteran OF Earl Averill is swapped by Cleveland to Detroit for Harry Eisenstat and cash.

15th At Fenway, Pete Fox hits a first inning grand slam, his second homer of the year and his second slam in a week, as the Tigers top the Red Sox, 6-3. Tommy Bridges is the winner. The Bengals have now won 8 straight. They’ll win tomorrow to move closer to 4th place.

Pittsburgh picks up Elbie Fletcher, who will be their regular 1B for 5 seasons, from the Boston Bees for infielder Bill Schuster and cash. Fletcher will also lead the NL in OBA for 3 straight years, while Schuster will play just 2 games for Boston. The Pirates then send P Jim Tobin to the Bees for P John Lanning.

16th Cubs manager Gabby Hartnett sends Dizzy Dean home to Chicago after he is called to Dean’s hotel room and discovers the pitcher with a gash in his left arm. The Chicago order is part disciplinary.

At Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, Jigger Statz hits two homeruns in the PCL Angels’ 10-run first inning. They beat San Diego 14-5, then lose 8-5.

18th  Dizzy Dean of the Cubs, trying to regain his old form, beats Brooklyn 1–0 on Gabby Hartnett’s HR. The Cubs sweep, winning the 2nd game, 9–1.

The Boston Red Sox trade minor leaguer shortstop Pee Wee Reese to the Brooklyn Dodgers in exchange for $35000 and 3 players and a player to be named later (Red Evans).

21st  The New York Yankees announce Lou Gehrig’s retirement, based on the report yesterday from the Mayo Clinic that he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The 36-year-old star will remain with the team as captain.

22nd Against the A’s Lynn Nelson, Detroit’s Barney McCosky leads off with a home run and Earl Averill quickly follows with another solo shot. It’s the 2nd time in AL history that the first two batters in a game have homered. But the A’s and Nelson come back to win, 6–5.

Dizzy Dean (4-0) stops the visiting Bees for a 7-1 Cubs win. Chicago scores 5 in the 2nd, 4 on a grand slam by Augie Galan off Dick Errickson, to ease Dizzy’s burden.

At Comiskey Park, the Yankees whip the White Sox, 6–1, to run their record to 44–11, the best start of the century.

23rd  The Indians score 7 in the 7th and beat the A’s, 11-5, behind Bob Feller’s 11th win. Feller has three hits while Bruce Campbell has two doubles in the 7th.

25th  Cleveland batters Ben Chapman, Hal Trosky, and Jeff Heath homer with two out in the 7th inning to tie an AL record while beating Philadelphia, 8–4.

27th  The Dodgers and Bees play a 23-inning, 2–2 game at Boston, called on account of darkness after 5 hours and 15 minutes. Whit Wyatt (7-0) pitches the first 16 innings for the Dodgers; the two teams total 30 hits and 12 walks. The Bees seemingly have the game won in the 13th when manager pinch runner Otto Huber rounded third base with room to spare. But he slipped and could not recover in time. In a story that Casey Stengel repeated for years, he asked Huber after the game why he was wearing his old baseball shoes with worn spikes instead of the new pair; Huber replied that they hurt his feet. From then on Stengel made sure to look at the shoes of pinch runners before putting them into the game. Umpire Tom Dunne, borrowed from the American Association, to replace an ailing Bill Klem, officiates his first ML game. The game draws 2,457 fans.

In the first night game in Cleveland, Bob Feller (12-3) allows just one hit and strikes out 13 as Cleveland beats Bobo Newsom (7-5) and the Tigers, 5–0. Earl Averill’s single in the 6th is the lone safety.

28th  In Philadelphia, the Yankees hit 8 homers (Dahlgren (2), DiMaggio (2), Dickey, Gordon, Henrich, Selkirk) in the first game of a doubleheader with the A’s, and 5 more in the nightcap. Both are ML records, as are the 87 total bases and 98 at bats in a doubleheader. The 53 total bases in game 1 breaks the AL mark the Yankees set in 1922. The Bronx Bombers also break a record they set in 1936 (11) with 13 homers in two consecutive games. In the 7th inning, the Yanks belt 3 homers with 2 outs tying a ML mark; they are the 3rd major league team to accomplish that feat this month. Joe DiMaggio, Babe Dahlgren, and Joe Gordon each hit 3 HRs for the afternoon as the Yankees win the opener 23–2. They are also the first ML team to have 7 starters each have 3 or more hits. The White Sox will match them in April 1955. Monty Pearson wins the laugher. New York then bangs out 16 hits takes the nightcap 10–0 behind Lefty Gomez’s 3-hitter. Gomez contributes 2 hits himself. Facing just 5 pitchers in the twin bill, the Yankees finish off the A’s in 2 hours, 27 minutes in the opener, and take 1 hour, 40 minutes in the 2nd game. The A’s have no four-baggers on the day.

The Giants rout to Phils, 7–1, and move into 2nd place behind the Reds. New York scores all its runs in the first three innings off Hugh Mulcahy, and Bill Lohrman rolls to his 6th triumph.