Year In Review : 1931 National League
Off the field...
Organized Crime icon Al Capone was finally convicted by a grand jury and sentenced to eleven years in prison for tax evasion. The American gangster had repeatedly escaped prosecution even after being implicated in multiple murders and had received numerous accolades from businessmen and politicians. His crime syndicate, which terrorized Chicago in the 1920s while controlling gambling and prostitution, was estimated by the federal Bureau of Internal Revenue to have taken in $105 million in 1927 alone.
"The Star-Spangled Banner" was officially made the national anthem by Congress, although it already had been adopted as such by the U.S. Armed Forces. On Sept. 13, 1814, Francis Scott Key visited the British fleet in Chesapeake Bay to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes, who had been captured after the burning of Washington, DC. Key was forced to seek shelter onboard a ship overnight during the shelling of Fort McHenry in Baltimore. In the morning, he was so delighted to see the American flag still flying over the fort that he began a poem to commemorate the occasion.
In the American League...
The Major League record for catching fly balls was set during a June 29th doubleheader between Detroit and Philadelphia. On the way to both 9-1 and 5-1 victories, the Tiger's outfielders boasted twenty-four putouts and the Athletics answered back with nineteen of their own for a two-team total of forty-three fly-outs in two games.
On July 7th, the St. Louis Browns and Chicago White Sox met for a twelve inning marathon in which not a single strikeout was recorded. The 10-8 decision still remains the longest game in Major League history not to record a single "K".
Philadelphia Athletics ace Lefty Grove (25-2) recorded a 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on August 9th for his sixteenth consecutive victory to tie an American League record originally set by Walter Johnson and Joe Wood in 1912.
In the National League...
Chicago Cubs player / manager, Rogers Hornsby, inserted himself into the line-up on April 24th and hit three consecutive home runs to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 10-6 at Forbes Field. Hornsby went on to lead the Cubs into third place (while batting .331), but was eventually fired due to a lifelong compulsion with gambling that had landed him in debt.
Wally Berger, the Boston Braves centerfielder who had established two National League rookie records with thirty-eight home runs and one-hundred nineteen runs batted in during 1930, tied a modern mark for the outfield by recording four assists during a Socks Seibold 2-0 shutout over the Philadelphia Phillies on April 27th.
Pittsburgh Pirates' outfielder Adam Comorosky proved that lightning could strike twice after making an unassisted double play on May 31st against the Chicago Cubs and another double player on June 13th against the New York Giants.
Around the league...
On February 15th, the New York Yankees' spring training facility in St. Petersburg, Florida was officially renamed "Miller Huggins Field" in honor of the team's late manager.
The Chicago White Sox and New York Giants met for the first major league night game (at Buffs Stadium, Houston Texas) on February 21st. Both teams combined to collect twenty-three hits during the ten-inning exhibition.
On April 2nd, a seventeen-year-old female named Jackie Mitchell from the Double A "Chattanooga Lookouts" took the mound against the mighty New York Yankees in a spring training exhibition. Mitchell, mainly a "gate attraction", boasted a single pitch, which was a wicked, dropping curve ball. The first two batters she faced from "Murderers Row" were Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. After seven pitches Mitchell fanned the "Sultan of Swat" AND the "Iron Horse," back-to-back.