Sep 20

This Date in Washington Senators History – ’33 Senators clinch at the very least a tie for the AL crown

September 20

1908 – 17 Nationals strike out in St. Louis at the hands of the Brown’s Rube Waddell. Walter Johnson is gallant as he tries to keep the Nats close, but the Browns win in 10 innings, 2-1.

1924 – Had the Senators lost out on the 1924 AL pennant, manager Bucky Harris would have looked upon this game as the turning point. In one of the worst starts of his career, the Big Train, pitching on 2 days rest, is chased by the Browns after only 1 inning. Nevertheless, Washington takes a 14-13 lead in the top of the 10th courtesy of a Goose Goslin home run. With dependable reliever Firpo Marberry on the mound, the game appears in the bag for the Nats. The Browns have other ideas. St. Louis scores 2 in their half of the 10th, to steal a 15-14 victory. An errant Marberry throw to second base is the culprit for Washington’s potentially deflating defeat.WashingtonSenators1227

1933 – Washington clinches, at the very least, a tie for the AL crown in Washington. A 7 run outburst in the 3rd inning lifts the Senators to a 13-5 rout of the Browns. The official coronation of the Senators as AL champions will take place tomorrow.

1941 – Dutch Leonard‘s knuckleball stymies visiting Philadelphia in a 1-0 Sens victory. 30 year old rookie and future Nat 20 game winner Roger Wolff makes his ML debut for the A’s, scattering 3 hits in a losing cause.

1952 – For the first time since May 28, 1948, the Senators defeat Boston’s Mel Parnell, 10-6. Parnell is pounded out of the box in the bottom of the 4th. Prior to this game, the Red Sox’s southpaw had won 17 consecutive against Washington.

1971 – Unbeknownst at the time, the Senators win their final road game at RFK. That is not a typo. The “road” Senators outlast the “home” Tribe in 20 innings, 8-6, in a completion of a suspended game from September 14th in Cleveland. 30 walks are issued by both squads, an AL record for an extra inning affair. Both teams combine to leave 42 runners on base, another AL record, and combine to score 4 runs in the 20th inning, a record for most runs scored in the 20th frame. In the regularly scheduled home contest, the Indians serve Denny McLain his 21st loss, a 3-1 Tribe win.

Senators Birthdays

Albert Eldon McLean B Sept. 20, 1912 D Sept. 29, 1990

Appearing in 4 games in July of 1935 with the Nats, McLean would post a 7.27 ERA in his only major league action.…hp?p=mcleaal01

Henry John (Zeke) Bonura B Sept. 20, 1918 D March 9, 1987

In today’s game, Zeke “What a Physique” Bonura would be a designated hitter in all probability. The prototypical good hit, no field first baseman, Bonura would serve two tours of duty with the Senators. Annual holdouts and a lack of range on defense would contribute to Bonura’s banishment from the majors after 7 years.

A rare slugger who had more walks than strikeouts in his career, Bonura began his career in 1934 with the White Sox. The righthanded slugger damaged AL pitching to the tune of 27 HR and 110 RBI, with a .302 BA. While his numbers dipped in 1935 (.295, 21, 92), Bonura finished 15th in the AL MVP voting.

Over the next two seasons, Bonura would post some gaudy stats at the plate. In 1936, Zeke batted .330, with 12 HR and 138 RBI to garner a 19th place finish in the MVP balloting. Bonura hiked his average to .345 in 1937, while belting 19 HR and 100 RBI. Despite his hitting exploits, Pale Hose manager Jimmy Dykes fumed about Bonura’s lack of range and perceived indifference to fielding.

In spring training of 1938, Clark Griffith thrilled Dykes by trading Joe Kuhel to Chicago for Bonura. After a slow start, the New Orleans product did not disappoint, hitting .289 with 22 HR and 114 RBI in his maiden season in D.C. After the season, Griffith, in need of cash, would peddle the first sacker to the Giants for 2 minor leagues and the important $20,000.

After one season in New York, Bonura would return to Washington in 1940. However, the magic in his bat had slowly vanished. In 79 games before being sold to the Cubs, Bonura would hit only 3 HR and 45 RBI. With the Cubs, Bonura would play 49 more games before being set sold out of the majors for good to Minneapolis of the American Association.…hp?p=bonurze01