1939 September

1st The Dodgers and Cubs use an open date to play a doubleheader of two rained out games. The visiting Cubs take the opener, 6–2 behind Larry French, and the Dodgers take the nitecap, 3–1. In game 2, Gabby Hartnett sets a ML record for games caught of 1,722. The old mark was held by Ray Schalk.

2nd  Nine players hit homers, as the Giants beat the Dodgers 10–6 in the opener of a doubleheader at the Polo Grounds, falling one short of the record for two teams in one game set in 1923. Brooklyn wins the 2ndgame, 7–2.

3rd  With the Sunday curfew impending, and the score at 7–5 in the 8thagainst the Yankees in Boston, the Yanks start making outs to get the game in while the Red Sox starts stalling. Two Yankees are walked intentionally and the Fenway fans then litter the field with cushions and debris to help slow things down. Umpire Cal Hubbard forfeits the game to the Yankees, but AL President Will Harridge subsequently overrules him, fines both managers for their tactics, and the game is ordered to be replayed.

4th  In St. Louis, Bill McGee shuts out the Reds for a 4-0 Cardinals win. The two teams battle to a 6-6 tie in game 2. After the Labor Day games, the Reds lead the Cards by 4 games. In the AL, the Yankees are 141⁄2 ahead.

At Wrigley Field, the Pirates double the Cubs, winning 2-1 and 6-3. Elbie Fletcher contributes his second grand slam of the year in game 2.

7th  Houston’s Harry “The Cat” Brecheen sets a Texas League record with his fourth consecutive shutout as he beats Beaumont, 7-0. Brecheen’s other wins were against San Antonio, 3-0, on August 21; Ft. Worth, 6-0, August 25; Oklahoma City, 16-0, August 29th. The Cat’s 18-7 season will earn him a step up to Columbus next year.

8th  Twenty-year-old Bob Feller becomes the youngest 20th-century pitcher to win 20 games, as Cleveland beats St. Louis 12–1.

At Boston, the Yankees take a 4–1 lead into the 7th when the game is stopped because of violent thunder and lightning. Joe DiMaggio, hitting .409, will develop a painful infection over his right eye that causes swelling and eye problems (as noted by historian Craig Wright). Joe will hit just .233 over his last 73 at bats but will still finish with a league-high .381. He will come to blame manager Joe McCarthy for his missed .400 season, thinking that Marse Joe should have rested him.

9th  After being rushed to the hospital, Jimmie Foxx is operated on for appendicitis, and will be out for the season. His 35 HRs will still win the AL title.

10th Detroit’s Bobo Newsom beats the White Sox, 5–1, and, as noted by historian Lyle Spatz, stops Johnny Rigney’s consecutive win streak of 11 games. Rigney’s mark is a club record that will be tied (Gary Peters, 1963) and finally topped by LaMarr Hoyt (13 in one season) and Wilson Alvarez, both with 15 over 2 seasons.

The Reds Paul Derringer wins his 20th, beating the host Cubs, 7–2.

12th Trailing 2–0 to the visiting Dodgers, the Reds score 2 runs in the 9thon a 2-out HR by Billy Myers off Hot Potato Hamlin. Frank McCormick’s single in the 10th drives in the winning run.

Hank Lieber cracks a first-inning grand slam, off Bill Posedel, to jump start the Cubs to an 8-3 win over Boston. Bill Lee is the winner. Lieber will go 31-for-69 from today to the end of the season, including 9 homers and 31 RBIs (as noted in John Snyder’s Cubs Journal).

13th At Crosley Field, Reds P Junior Thompson shuts out the Dodgers, 3–0, on 2 hits, a single in the 2nd by Johnny Hudson and a bunt single in the 8th by Dixie Walker. The Reds lead the Cardinals by 3 ½ games.

15th The Cardinals keep close to the Reds by winning a pitching duel against the Braves, 1-0, in 14 innings. Enos Slaughter hits a double and scores on a single by Joe Medwick. Bob Bowman and Jim Turner each throw 11 scoreless innings.

In game 1 at Cincinnati, the Giants dig a hole for themselves when Bill Lohrman allows 10 hits and 8 runs in less than 2 innings, and the Reds win, 10-6. New York takes the second game, 4-3, in 7 innings. The Reds lead by 3 ½ over the Cardinals.

16th  The New York Yankees clinch their 4th successive pennant with a 10–3 win over Detroit.

17th  The Dodgers pull within one game of the 3rd-place Cubs, taking a pair at Wrigley Field. The yellow-dyed ball is used in the first game, as Brooklyn wins, 10–4, with Hugh Casey winning over Earl Whitehill. In the nitecap, the Dodgers win, 3–2, as Hot Potato Hamlin bests Claude Passeau.

18th  The Cards split a pair with the Giants, losing 7-2 before rallying in the nightcap to win, 15-5. St. Louis remains 3.5 games in back of the leading Reds. Johnny Mize has a triple in the first game and is 5-for-5 in game 2, including his 26th homer of the year.

19th  In a 6–2 Red Sox win at Fenway, Ted Williams hits a HR off Thornton Lee, one of 31 HRs he hits in his rookie season. Williams will homer off Thornton’s son, Don Lee, 21 years later.

In a barn burner at Griffith Stadium, the Indians take the lead with 3 runs in the 9th, only to see the Senators score 2 off reliever Willis Hudlin to win, 10-9. Nats rookie Early Wynn gives up 6 runs in 6+ innings and doesn’t help his cause when he’s called on to bunt with two runners on: he lines to Ken Keltner who starts a triple play. Ben Chapman scores 5 runs for Cleveland.

20th  At Boston, the Browns score 3 runs in the 16th off Fritz Oestermueller and outlast the Red Sox, 11-8. Fritz shuts out the Browns for 7 innings before allowing the winning runs. Bob Harris is the winner, pitching 9 innings of relief and allowing 2 runs. Ted Williams hits his 29thhomer and is walked 4 times, while Lou Finney has 4 hits and 4 RBIs for Boston. Myril Hoag, George McQuinn and Joe Gallagher each have 4 hits for the Brownies.

21st  The NL announces that for the first time in the 20th century, games will be transferred from one city to another. The Dodgers’ doubleheader in Philadelphia will be moved to Brooklyn in an effort to top one million paid attendance.

At Fenway, a crowd of 598 paying customers, believed to be a low for the park, watch the Red Sox top the Browns, 6-2, behind Denny Galehouse. Galehouse gives up solo homers to opposing pitcher Jack Kramer and to rookie Bob Neighbors, both hitting their first in the majors. It is Neighbors only ML homer. He will go in the Armed Services, serve in WW2, and die in a plane crash in Korea in 1952, the last major leaguer after WW2 to die in combat.

22nd The first-place Reds sweep a pair from the Pirates, 6–0 and 10–9. Wally Berger has a grand slam in the 3rd inning of game 2. The Reds now lead the Cardinals by 3 games.

23rd  Cookie Lavagetto goes 6-for-6 as Brooklyn swamps Philadelphia, 22–4, in the first of two. Da Bums collect 27 hits against the host Quakers. Cookie has 4 singles, a double, a triple and a walk in 7 plate appearances—but no RBIs, the only Dodger not to register at least 2 runs knocked in. In the two games Cookie reaches base 11 times, tying a record. In the second game, reliever Larry Doyle (1-2) makes his first start of the year and shuts out the Phils, 8-0.

24th  OF Johnny Cooney of the Boston Bees, playing at the Polo Grounds, hits his first HR after 15 years as P/OF in the majors. The dinger is a two-run shot off Randy Gumbert in game 1 of a Sunday twinbill, but the Giants win 5–4. Tomorrow Cooney will repeat the feat. Boston wins game 2, 5–3, behind George Barnicle’s 2nd ML win in 5 days.

25th  Johnny Cooney hits his 2nd homer in two days, a third-inning blast off Giants pitcher Bill Lohrman. But the Giants prevail over Boston, 6–5. For Cooney, it is the 2nd and last homer in what will be a 20-year career.

26th  At the Polo Grounds, the Giants and Dodgers split a pair, with New York taking the opener, 9-5, and Brooklyn winning game 2, 3-2 in 7 innings. Cookie Lavagetto has a grand slam for Brooklyn in the opener, and Hot Potato Hamlin is the winner in the nitecap.

27th  The hometown White Sox play the first “day-night” doubleheader against Cleveland, but lose both games 5–2 and 7–5. Fans are charged a single admission for the two games. For just the 2nd time this century, visitors sweep more doubleheaders than the home team; 58 sweeps for the visitors, 47 for the home team. Retrosheet stats by Dave Smith will show that the first season this occurred was 1923; 1962 will be the last.

28th  Starting the day with a 2 ½ game lead, host Cincinnati clinches the pennant with Paul Derringer defeating 2nd-place St. Louis, 5–3, despite allowing 14 hits. It is Derringer’s 25th win. He also drives in the go-ahead run in the 6th with a single. Harry Craft adds an 9th-inning HR.

In a split with the visiting Red Sox, Senators knuckleballer big Dutch Leonard wins his 20th game, a 6-1 win in game 2.

The Giants and Phillies combine for a record setting 13 double plays in their double header. The mark will be tied on September 6, 1948. New York sweeps winning 4–3 and 8–3.

29th  The Dodgers split a pair with the host Bees, losing 2-1 and winning, 7-1, before an announced crowd of 474. They maintain a half game lead over the Cubs for 3rd place. In an announcement Dodger secretary John McDonald says that Dodger batsmen will wear helmets in the second game of the final Sunday doubleheader provided that third place has been settled before that game. The second game is rained out.

The hotel in Cincinnati where the Yankees are to stay for the World Series announces that the New Yorkers will have to sleep on cots due to the lack of rooms. The American Federation of Labor has a large convention in town that week and has had room reservations for many months.

30th  In a split with the Browns, White Sox reliever Clint Brown sets a ML record with his 61st relief appearance. Chicago takes the opener, 5–1, then drops the nitecap, 7–5.

New York splits with Boston, winning 5-4 before losing in 7 innings, 4-2. Steve Sundra (11-1) takes the loss for the Yankees after winning his first 11 decisions. He serves up a homer to Ted Williams (#31).

The Senators beat the A’s, 9–5, behind rookie Joe Haynes pitching. He allows 11 hits, including native Philadelphian Al Brancato’s 1st ML homer. A’s PH Elmer Valo walks, but at Connie Mack’s behest, official scorer Red Smith removes his name from the box score because Valo has not signed a ML contract. (in 1972, Smith wrote a letter about this to Jim Charlton). Thus, Valo will later miss joining the four-decade list.

Hot Potato Hamlin wins his 20th, 5-1, in a 7 inning nitecap as Brooklyn sweeps the Phils. The Dodgers are led in the first game, a 14-5 smacking, by Gene Moore, who has a homer, 2 doubles and a single, and Cookie Lavagetto, with a single, double, triple and 2 walks. Mayor LaGuardia is in attendance to help push the Dodgers to 990,000 for the season. They will top a million tomorrow.