St. Louis Browns pitcher Garland Braxton was on his way home to North Carolina after the conclusion of the1933 season when he had heard from the Washington Senators. Because he was one of the few screwball pitchers in baseball, he was offered a job to pitch to the Washington lineup during the second day of practice and batting practice in the Word Series. And since the Depression was in full swing in 1933, Braxton happily accepted the offer.
The Senators would be facing the best pitcher of 1933 during the World Series in Carl Hubbell, who won twenty-three games while posting a baseball’s best ERA at 1.66. He also led the majors in shutouts with ten. And because Hubbell’s bread-and-butter pitch was the screwball, Braxton would be very useful to Washington. Also just like Hubbell, he was a left-handed pitcher.
For over one hour, Braxton hurled nothing but screwballs to Joe Cronin, Goose Goslin, Heinie Manush, and the rest of the Washington lineup. After taking bating practice against Braxton the consensus among the Washington players was “bring on Hubbell.”
“Braxton’s screwball is similar to Hubbell’s but not as fast,” Cronin said.
“That was harder than pitching a ballgame,” an exhausted Braxton said after the session.
The next day, Cronin called a practice for the third consecutive day before Washington hit the road to play three games at New York; then would return home to play the Athletics to close out the season. If Washington could take three of the four remaining games, they would finish the season with one-hundred wins. Two players missing were pitcher Lefty Stewart and catcher Luke Sewell. They were sent to the Polo Grounds in New York to secretly scout the Giants.
While watching the game from several rows behind the New York dugout, word was received by the Giants that two Washington players were spying. The players turned to look, and they spotted the two Washington players. Several Giants waved to let them knew they were more than welcome to view the game from inside the dugout.
Washington took two of three games against the Yankees. The Senators infield made history in the third game of the series by turning a record six double plays. In a one game series at Griffith Stadium, the Nats lost to Philadelphia to finish the season with ninety-nine wins – a franchise record.
It was now on to the World Series