At the White House, two of America’s most beloved were surrounded about one-hundred sportswriters on the morning of October 6th. The Writers listened as one of those American Heroes spoke while he had his arms around the other hero:
“During the 1920 presidential campaign, I walked into the lobby and found the crowd, which I thought was waiting for me, with their backs turned. I was surprised. I could not figure out why they were ignoring me. I found the center of attention to be the Babe.” Unsure what to say, the Babe grimed and shrugged his shoulders. When asked about the story, he said he did not remember.
The weather was gorgeous for Game Four, with the temperature expected to reach seventy degrees. Babe Ruth took a seat beside the empty presidential box. President Roosevelt told Griffith that he had a good time at Game Three and planned to attend the Game Four, but opted to attend to business at the White House.
Washington’s hopes were pinned on starting pitcher Monte Weaver, a twenty-two game winner in 1932 who fell to 8-6 in 1933. Injuries, which Cronin and Griffith believed were in the pitcher’s mind, limited his season to eighty-two less innings than the season before.
The Washington batters appeared to have busted out of their slump with four runs the day before, but on this day they would have a challenge against Carl Hubbell. The advantage in favor of the Senators was Hubbell would have to throw an American League baseball, which had lower seams than the National League ball. This would hopefully prohibit Hubbell from getting a better grip to throw his dazzling bread-and-butter pitch, the screwball. “I find I could get more speed on the ball, but nothing much in the way of stuff,” he said. Oh really? That was hard to believe after Hubbell retired the first nine Washington batters.
Weaver was able to match his counterpart through three scoreless innings, but in the top of the fourth, Bill Terry drove a line drive that barely cleared the four-foot centerfield wall and landed in the temporary bleachers for a home run.
In the bottom of the fourth, Myer bunted to the right side of the mound and appeared to be on his way to the Senators first hit of the game. Hubbell quickly got to the ball, slipped and fell, and threw to first base while in a reclining position, apparently too late to get the feet-footed Myer, but first base umpire Charley Moran called Myer out, and the grandstands went into an uproar. Myer let the National League umpire know how he felt about the call as he trotted back to the Washington dugout.
Goslin followed with a hit to snap Hubbell’s string of retiring ten in a row. Manush followed with a walk, but Cronin flew out and Schulte grounded out to end the threat.
Bottom of the sixth: Washington still trailed, 1-0, and still had just one hit, when Myer made an infield hit. Goslin sacrificed to move Myer to second. Next up was the overdue Heinie Manush, who was 1 for 12 in the World Series.
Manush grounded one out of Terry’s reach, but second baseman Hughie Critz got to the ball. Hubbell, who ran to cover first, caught Critz’s throw after Manush crossed the bag, or at least that was what Manush and 26,762 fans believed.
To Manush’s amazing, Charlie Moran called him out. Frustrated and stunned, the leftfielder responded by stomping toward the umpire and slapped the arbitrator across the chest which knocked his bowtie loose. Realizing that his reaction might result in a rejection, he immediately apologized and acted as if his actions were accidental. Charlie Moran raised his right arm, pointed his thumb backwards, and shouted “you’re outta here!”
The Senators immediately protested. During the altercation, a pop bottle fell at the umpire’s feet. Moran walked away to indicate the argument was over. Cronin peacefully followed, hoping to at least get his star hitter reinstated. As the argument continued, two more pop bottles landed close to the umpire.
When peace was restored, and the game resumed, Cronin, perhaps distracted by the incident, struck out to end the inning.
The ejected ballplayer grabbed his glove and headed to his position at the start of the next inning. He made an angry remark as he passed Moran. “And you’re out of the game,” Moran reminded him. After the ballplayer took his position, the umpire yelled to home plate umpire Red Ormsby to inform him that he had tossed the Washington leftfielder. Ormsby motioned to Manush to get off the field, and the angry ballplayer waved back which drew cheers and applause from the crowd. Third base umpire Charlie Pfirman jogged into the outfield to talk to the disqualified player. Manush agreed to leave the field, but announced that he was going to punch Moran on his way to the clubhouse. When he approached the infield, George Moriarity, the other umpire on the staff, whispered something to Manush which seemed to have a calming effect.
In the last of the seventh, the Nats finally broke through for a run to tie the game, 1-1. Hubbell fumbled Kuhel’s bunt for an error, Blugue sacrificed, and Swell socked a hit to score Kuhel for the third run against Hubbell in the series, all of which were unearned.
Both teams were unable to score in the last two innings, and Game Four moved into extra innings. After a scoreless tenth frame, Travis Jackson announced in the Giants dugout: “I am leading off this inning and I’m going to get on somehow, by taking one on the hip, or whatever, so have a pinch-runner ready for me.”
“Strike him out, Monte!” yelled a Washington fan as Jackson stepped in. As promised, Jackson delivered s single. He then looked in the direction of the New York dugout for a replacement to come onto the field, but nobody budged.
The next batter sacrificed. Jackson slid into second base, then he looked for a pinch-runner, but again nobody moved on the Giants bench.
Bill Terry did instruct a reserve to go in for Jackson, but when the player shook like a leaf, the New York manager opted to stick with Jackson.
The next batter, Blondy Ryan, drove a hit into the outfield. Jackson, ailing knees and all, rounded third and scored the go ahead run for a 2-1 Giants lead.
Fred Schulte came through in the do-or-die Washington twelfth with a hit. Then the pebble from the 1924 World Series reappeared when Kuhel laid down a bunt that was heading foul before the ball clearly nicked something that caused the ball to stay in fair territory for a hit.
With runners on first and second and nobody out, Bluege laid down a perfect bunt to advance the runners. The Giants infield went into a huddle to discuss their next move. Before the conference adjourned, Hubbell was ordered to purposely walk Sewell.
Bases loaded, one out, and the pitcher due up. Cronin looked to his bench. The obvious choice of pinch-hitting specialist Dave Harris was out since Harris had replaced Manush after the big outfielder was tossed. He had three right-handed hitters he could send up against lefty Hubbell in Moe Berg, Bob Boken, and John Kerr, or he could send up lefty hitting Sam Rice, who had plenty of World Series experience.
The choice…was Bob Bolton. Who? A rookie third string catcher who batted left -handed, and who was red-hot in September by going 9 for 18 with four ninth-inning hits and two game-winning pokes.
The confused Giants infield went into a huddle, totally unsure on how to pitch to Bolton. He was a rookie who hardly played in 1933.
Two stories are told as to what happened next. One is that shortstop Blondy Ryan and second baseman Hughie Critz requested to play back for a double play. “If he hits it to me, we’ll get a double play,” Ryan said. Terry agreed to let his middle infielders play back, “but not too far,” he warned. The Giants manager instructed his pitcher to pitch low and inside in order to get the ground ball. “Make him hit it to me, Hub,” said Ryan. “I’ll get him.”
The other story is Chuck Dressen, a Giants reserve who was added to the roster late in the season, came out of the dugout to join the conference. Dressen had played against Bolton during the 1932 Southern League season, and he had good advice for Terry. “Bill, I played against this bird down south. He’s awful slow. Play the infield deep and you may get a double play.”
“All right,” Hubbell said after hearing Dressen. “Let’s give him plenty of dipsydoos (screwballs).”
“I can’t look. I can’t look,” said a fan as he closed his eyes and covered his face.
Bolton swung and hit a groundball to Ryan, who threw to Critz for one out. Terry caught the relay throw to complete the double play.
The Washington fans got up from their seats and quietly headed for the exits. The Senators were now one game away from elimination.
Gary is the author of The Wrecking Crew of ’33; The Washington Senators’ Last Pennant.