Year In Review : 1930 American League
Off the field...
Economics dominated politics in the 1930's and the decade began with the construction of shanty towns called "Hoovervilles" (named after a president who felt that relief should be left to the private sector) and ended with a series of federal programs funded by the national government and an assortment of commissions set up to regulate Wall Street, the banking industry, and other business enterprises.
The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Hoover who desired a limited upward revision of tariff rates with general increases on farm products and industrial rates. The controversial act brought retaliatory tariffs from many foreign countries causing U.S. foreign trade to suffer while intensifying America's economic depression.
Many of America's most distinguished writers produced works of fiction during the thirties. The list includes such names as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thornton Wilder. Some of the novels of this period explored what was happening in America during the Great Depression. One standout, John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath", chronicled the life of a displaced Oklahoma family who had lost its farm to the drought of the Dust Bowl.
In the American League...
During an April 27th, 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Browns, Chicago White Sox first baseman Bud Clancy became the first player at his position since Al McCauley of Washington (American Association) in 1891 to have no chances in a nine-inning game.
The New York Yankees' and Detroit Tigers' outfields combined on May 9th for a meager two putouts setting an American League record that has never been equaled. The National League record for outfielder idleness was previously set at one putout when the Pittsburgh Pirates took on the "Brooklyn Superbas" back in August of 1910.
On May 11th, Cleveland Indians outfielder Bibb Falk accomplished true offensive symmetry after collecting five hits, five runs batted in and five runs (in the first five innings) during a 25-7 massacre over the Philadelphia Athletics.
In the National League...
New York Giants pitcher Larry Benton set an unwanted modern Major League record (since tied several times) by surrendering six separate home runs in a single game. Training the Chicago Cubs 14-4, Benton and his teammates managed to tack on five runs (on four home runs) in the bottom of the seventh to tie the Major League record for most runs in a side.
The rules governing homeruns was changed after Brooklyn Dodgers catcher Al Lopez bounced one over Cincinnati Reds' left fielder Bob Meusel and into the bleachers on September 12th. The lucky round-tripper marked the last recorded "bouncer" and has since then been marked as a guaranteed double.
On the final day of the regular season, a young nineteen-year-old rookie named Dizzy Dean made his Major League debut with St. Louis Cardinals surrendering just 3-hits en route to a 3-1 victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates.
Around the league...
On March 8th, Babe Ruth signed a new two year contract for $160,000 with the New York Yankees. At $80,000 per year, "The Sultan of Swat" became the highest paid player of all time and earned more money than the President of the United States. In an effort to assure posterity, Yankees General Manager Ed Barrow was quoted as saying that "No one in baseball will ever be paid more than Ruth."
By April 29th, suspicions that the 1930 ball was the "liveliest ever" increase as an astounding one-hundred twenty-three runs were scored in just seven Major League games.
With no Most Valuable Player Award for the second year in a row (due to financial strains), the Associated Press polled its members and named Joe Cronin as it's unofficial American League MVP for 1930. The Baseball Writers Association named Hack Wilson the MVP of the Nationals and his team (the Chicago Cubs) presented him with the $1000 bonus. The Sporting News, also acting to fill the MVP void, announced its own selection of Bill Terry as the Most Valuable Player for the National League, and Joe Cronin for the American League.
On November 23rd, Red Badgro, a St. Louis Browns outfielder / New York Giants receiver caught his third touchdown pass of the season (against the Green Bay Packers) igniting a two-sport career that would eventually land him in the Football Hall of Fame in 1981.