When the Senators arrived at the Polo Grounds for Game 2 of the World Series, a host of college-aged boys greeted them by humming a funeral tune. The same group of youngsters hummed their song as the Washington players walked down the steps leading from centerfield clubhouse to the field. Joe Cronin, Buddy Myer, Heinie Manush, and the rest of the team looked at the kids with a smile.
Cronin was confident that his team would recover from the first game’s 4-2 loss. Feeling that Game One had given his men a taste of World Series competition, things would be different for the rest of the series. He was also going with his best pitcher in the second game in General Crowder; a twenty-four game winner in 1933. Opposing him would be nineteen-game winner Hal Schumacher.
Washington gained their first lead of the series when Goose Goslin whistled a home run into the upper deck in right field. Crowder, meanwhile, was moving right along. Through the first five innings, he allowed just two hits. Cronin and Myer ended the New York fifth by turning a double play to preserve the 1-0 lead.
The bottom of the sixth began innocent enough when a single was followed by a failed sacrifice attempt that resulted in a force at second base. Bill Terry followed with a pop fly down the right field line that barely fell into fair territory for a double.
With runners on second and third and one out, Cronin and catcher Luke Sewell made a trip to the mound to check on Crowder and discuss strategy. They decided to intentionally walk Mel out. As the crowd booed while the batter was being purposely passed, Terry played a hunch by sending up Lefty O’Doul, a fan favorite, as a pinch-hitter, and the booing quickly turned to cheers as O’Doul headed to the plate.
With a 2-2 count, O’Doul tipped Crowder’s next pitch. The ball grazed off Sewell’s big catcher’s mitt, hit his chest and fell to the ground. Had the veteran catcher been able to hold the ball, it would have been a strikeout, just what Crowder and the Senators needed.
O’Doul hit the next pitch through the middle to score two runs and give New York a 2-1 lead. Travis Jackson followed with another hit to score Ott and send O’Doul to third base.
Terry played another hunch by having his next batter bunt which caught the Senators infield flatfooted. O’Doul scored on the play for the fourth run of the inning.
Crowder struck out the next batter for the second out of the inning, but then gave way to a hit by the pitcher. Travis Jackson, wincing from the pain of his post-surgical knees, rounded third. Manush fielded Hal Schumacher’s hit and fired the ball to Sewell. Jackson slid beneath the catcher’s tag to score the fifth Giants run, and the crowd let out a cheer which was deafening. Jo-Jo Moore followed with another hit to score another run for a 6-1 lead. Cronin decided to call to his bullpen, and in came Tommy Thomas who got the last out of the inning, but the damage was done.
Schumacher breezed through the last four innings to complete a five-hitter in a 6-1 win and a 2-0 series lead.
As the Senators walked to their cabs after the game, that group of humming collegians made another appearance. The Washington players, in no mood for music, told them to shut up or else. The boys peacefully walked away.
Gary is the author of The Wrecking Crew of ’33; The Washington Senators’ Last Pennant.