by Harold Friend
On September 6, 1934, the New York Giants' lead over second place St. Louis was seven games, which was viewed as a comfortable margin. The Cardinals were idle the next day, but the Cubs beat New York to chop one-half game off the Cardinals' deficit. On Sunday, Sept.9, the Pirates visited the Polo Grounds and shut out Bill Terry's crew, 1-0, while in Philadelphia, the Cardinals took both ends of a doubleheader from the lowly Phillies.
The Pirates Shut Out New York.
The Pirates had a disappointing season, but on this day, left-hander Larry French held the Giants scoreless through eight innings. Fat Freddie Fitzsimmons returned the compliment for the Giants, but in the Pirates' ninth, Gus Suhr, an extremely underrated player, hit a home run. French closed out the Giants in the ninth, and when the games in Philadelphia were over, the Giants led the Cardinals by five games.
The Giants Blow a Critical Game
The next day, the Cardinals, behind Dizzy Dean's 25th win, beat the Phillies. The Giants were again playing host to the Pirates, and all seemed well at Coogan's Bluff as Mel Ott, Hughie Critz, and Gus Mancuso each hit a home run for a 5-0 lead after three innings. Going to the Pirates' ninth, the Giants led, 7-4, with 21 game winner Prince Hal Schumacher still on the hill.
Not Even King Carl Hubbell Could Help
Third baseman Johnny Vergez fumbled Tom Padden's ground ball for an error. Pinch hitters Earl Grace and Lloyd Waner singled for one run, putting runners at the corners. Freddie Lindstrom's force out made it a one run game, but Schumacher walked Paul Waner, which prompted Bill Terry to make his move. He brought in King Carl Hubbell to face Arky Vaughn.
Errors, Errors, Errors
Vaughn immediately singled to tie the game, sending the older Waner brother to third with the potential lead run, which he scored on Pie Traynor's fly ball to center. Vaughn took off for second on the first pitch to Gus Suhr, went to third when catcher Gus Mancuso's throw went into center field, and scored when Hank Leiber's throw from center field to third base skipped past Vergez. The Giants made six errors in the game they lost, 9-7.
The Giants Had Doubts
The Giants won the next day as the Cardinals split a doubleheader with the Phillies, but New York was a team with doubts. The defending World Champions were finding it much more difficult to win a pennant almost everyone thought was theirs to lose. The day after 9/11, the Giants won, the Cardinals lost, and the lead was back to five and one-half games. On Sept. 13, the Cardinals played New York at the Polo Grounds.
Closer to Clinching
The Cardinals drew first blood when Paul Dean out-dueled Fat Freddie Fitzsimmons, 2-0. Two St. Louis runs in the twelfth inning won it. Yes, Dean and Fat Freddie both went the distance. The Giants won the next day to boost the lead back to five and one-half games, and the Associated Press ran an article stating that the Giants, with only 14 games remaining, were getting closer to clinching the pennant. It would turn out to be a pennant they never would win, thanks to Casey Stengel's Dodgers.
By JOHN DREBINGER.. (1934, September 10). FRENCH OF PIRATES BLANKS GIANTS, 1-0 :Wins Pitching Duel Against Fitzsimmons When Suhr Smashes Homer in 9th. ALLOWS ONLY FIVE HITS Lead Cut Game and Half, New York Now Is Five Contests in Front of Cardinals. . New York Times (1857-Current file),22. Retrieved July 14, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2006). (Document ID: 95056646).
By JOHN DREBINGER.. (1934, September 11). GIANTS ARE UPSET BY PIRATES IN 9TH :Visitors Stage Late Five-Run Drive, Rout Schumacher and Win, 9 to 7. LEAD CUT TO FOUR GAMES Defense of Terrymen Cracks After Ott, Mancuso and Critz Hit Early Homers. . New York Times (1857-Current file),26. Retrieved July 14, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2006). (Document ID: 93766362).
By The Associated Press.. (1934, September 15). GAIN IN PENNANT RACES :Giants, Tigers Near Clinching Point in Major Leagues. . New York Times (1857-Current file),12. Retrieved July 14, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2006). (Document ID: 95058688).