1924 48 year old Washington coach Nick Altrock pitches two innings and becomes the oldest player to hit a triple. Altrock’s RBI triple is greatly aided by the Red Sox outfielders casually strolling after the ball. Nonetheless, the AL champs are decked in Fenway, 13-1, in the regular season finale.
1927 The Babe launches his historic 60th home run. Ruth’s 60th, a 2-run bomb, comes off Tom Zachary in the 8th inning of the Yankees 4-2 win. As Ruth takes his position in right, he is greeted by a handkerchief salute from an adoring New York crowd. Overshadowed by the Bambino’s home run is Walter Johnson‘s final appearance. The Big Train pinch hits for Zachary in the 9th and makes the final out by flying out to Ruth.
1928 7 hits in his last 15 AB’s earns Goose Goslin his only batting title. Goslin’s .379 edges the Brown’s Heinie Manush‘s .378 mark.Goslin raps 2 hits, including a homer, in the Nats 9-1 victory at St. Louis. Goslin would traded to the Browns for Manush in 1930 and they would later be teammates on the 1933 Senators.
1934 Griffith Stadium is the scene of the final game in Yankee pinstripes for Babe Ruth. Accompanied by his wife and daughter, Ruth is presented with a scroll of appreciation from Senator fans. Also on hand is the band from St. Mary’s Industrial School, where the Babe was raised. Ruth goes 0-for-3 in Washington’s, 5-3 victory. The Sultan of Swat flies out to CF for the final out of the game and leaves the field crying. Lou Gehrig‘s 3-for-4 afternoon locks up the Triple Crown.
1945 The Nats, not having played in a week due the Redskins use of Griffith, have their bags packed and ready to go to Detroit for a possible playoff to determine the AL champion. That is if St. Louis can knock off Detroit in a doubleheader at Sportsman. Hank Greenberg makes a playoff unnecessary by belting a grand slam in the 9th inning of the opener to clinch the pennant for the Bengals, 6-3.
September 30, 1971: The Final Game
The Washington Evening Star proclaimed it “The Wildest Funeral Ever”. “The evening was a bitter wake, a joyous circus, a shouting match with an absentee offender named Bob Short”, the Evening Star reported. It was 38 years ago on this day that 14,460 paid their final respects to the Senators at RFK on a cool, Thursday evening.
Drawing first blood, the Yankees score twice in the 1st and 2nd innings, with the Sens plating a run in their half of the 2nd, for a 4-1, New York lead. In the 3rd inning, the crowd applauds a sign that is unfurled reading “Short Stinks”. To the chagrin of the crowd, security confiscates the sign. But another banner is quickly made, stating that “Short Still Stinks”, which draws louder cheers.
The loudest ovation, however, belongs to Frank Howard. Leading off the 6th, with the Sens trailing, 5-1, Hondo draws a standing ovation as he steps to the plate. Howard gets the crowd in a frenzy by cracking his 26th home run off Mike Kekich. After the homer, Howard emerges twice from the dugout to give two curtain calls and tosses his helmet into the stands for a souvenir. With the raucous crowd still excited, the Senators score 3 more runs in the inning to tie the game at 5. In the bottom of the 7th, in his final Washington at bat, Hondo fouls out to catcher Thurman Munson. Howard receives another standing ovation on his way back to the dugout, tempering the “We want Short!” chant.
The start of the 8th inning is delayed by fans running onto the field. After the fans depart, the Nats take their positions and reliever Paul Lindblad allows a bunt single to Munson. Lindblad induces a double play grounder from former Senator Ron Hansen and a ground out from Gene Michael to retire the Yanks. The Senators take a 7-5 lead in their portion of the 8th, courtesy of a Tom McGraw bloop single and an Elliot Maddox sacrifice fly.
Joe Grzenda of Washington takes the mound for the infamous 9th inning. The chant of “We want Short!” resonates throughout RFK as the inning is delayed once again by groups of fans running on the field. Order is temporarily restored with an announcement that the Senators would forfeit the contest unless the field was cleared. Play resumes with New York’s Felipe Alou grounding out to SS Toby Harrah for the first out. When Bobby Murcer bounces out to Grzenda for out number two, hundreds of fans begin to swarm the field. Even with extra police on duty, they are unable to contain the hordes of people grabbing grass, dirt and the numbers from the scoreboard. With no alternative, umpire crew chief Jim Honochick awards the Yankees a forfeit win, 9-0. Thus, an unusual and painful end to 71 years of baseball in the nations capital.
Edward Aloysius Kenna B Sep. 30, 1897 D Aug. 21, 1972
One Season Wonder Eddie Kenna played in just 41 games with the 1928 Senators. A catcher, he’d hit .297, going 35 for 118, with 4 doubles, 2 triples 1 homer and 20 RBI.
Charles Evard (Gabby) Street B Sep. 30, 1882 D Feb. 6, 1951
Gabby Street was a light hitting second string catcher through most of his active career that spanned from 1904 through 1912, although he’d appear in 1 last game with the 1931 Cardinals at 48 years of age. He’d find more success as a manager and broadcaster after his playing days were over.
First appearing in 1904 with the Cincinnati Reds, Street would make it in to just 11 games and hit a paltry .121.
In 1905, he’d appear in 2 games for the Reds, be purchased by the Boston National League franchise, then known as the “Beaneaters” where he’d appear in just 3 games, and be bought back by the Reds less than 2 months later.
Street wouldn’t appear in the majors in 1906 or 1907, but would return in 1908 with the Washington Senators. 1908 & 1909 were Street’s most active seasons when he appeared in 131 and 137 games respectively. Street would remain with the Senators through 1911 although his playing time would be cut in the last 2 seasons.
While in Washington, Street was part of a stunt where he caught a baseball dropped from the Washington Monument. (See August 21st’s entry.)
Prior to the 1912 season, Street was traded to the New York Highlanders for Rip Williams. After 98 games in New York, Street’s playing career was over.
Street would remain in baseball, managing the St. Louis Cardinals from 1929 through 1933. The Street managed Cardinals would finish 1st in both 1930 and 1931, losing the 1930 World Series to the Philadelphia Athletics 4 games to 2, but would get their revenge the following year, defeating the Athletics in 1931, 4 games to 3.
Street would also manage the St. Louis Browns in 1938.
After his managing days were over, Street would find his way to the broadcast booth for the Cardinals as a color commentator after World War II, working with a young announcer named Harry Caray.
Street would succumb to heart failure in February of 1951 at age 68.
Herny Bert (Cy) Voorhees B Sep. 30, 1874 D Feb. 8, 1910
Cy Voorhees began his career with the 1902 Philadelphia Phillies, pitching in 10 games, posting a 3-3 record with a 3.86 ERA. Voorhees would earn the label “One Game Wonder” when he’d jump from the Phillies to the Senators late in the season.
For Washington, Voorhees would pitch in 1 game, going 8 innings, giving up 10 hits, 2 walks and 6 runs (4 earned) while striking out just 1. He’d depart the Senators, and the major leagues, after that final game in a Washington uniform.