Year In Review : 1933 American League
Off the field...
The legal prevention of alcoholic beverages known as "Prohibition" was finally repealed due to the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment. After World War I, national prohibition had become the law as stated in the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which strictly forbid the manufacturing, sale, import, or export of any and all intoxicating liquors. In spite of the Volstead Act (1919), law enforcement proved to be very difficult and smuggling (or bootlegging) on a large scale could not be prevented. As a result, the illicit manufacture of liquor sprang up with such rapidity that authorities were unable to suppress it.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt initiated his "New Deal" domestic reform program. The first phase (1933-34) attempted to provide recovery and relief from the Great Depression through programs of agricultural and business regulation, inflation, price stabilization, and public works. As a result, Congress established numerous emergency organizations, notably the National Recovery Administration (NRA), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Public Works Administration.
In the American League...
During a May 16th marathon at Griffith Stadium, the Washington Senators and Cleveland Indians both combined to break a Major League record by using eleven different pitchers in twelve innings. With both bullpens depleted, the Senators finally broke through the stalemate for the 11-10 decision.
On August 14th, Philadelphia Athletics slugger Jimmie Foxx hit for the cycle against the Cleveland Indians while driving in nine runs for a new American League record. Eight players amazingly would hit for the cycle during the 1933 season.
New York Yankees icon Babe Ruth returned to the mound on October 1st to pitch the final outing of his career. Adding a homerun to support his own cause, "The Bambino" finished the complete game with a 6-5 victory over his old teammates (and rivals) the Boston Red Sox.
In the National League...
Honus Wagner left retirement to rejoin the Pittsburgh Pirates as a coach. Wagner had previously played seventeen years with the ball club and would remain for thirty-nine more while giving batting tips to future Hall of Famers Pie Traynor, Kiki Cuyler, Arky Vaughn, Ralph Kiner, and the Waner brothers.
On March 11th, a substantial earthquake rocked the Los Angeles area interrupting an exhibition game between the Chicago Cubs and New York Giants. As fans exited the grandstands amidst panic, players from both teams were forced to huddle around the center of the diamond until the tremors stopped.
Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Dick Bartell equaled a Major League mark on April 25th with four doubles in four at bats during a 7-1 victory over the Boston Braves at the Baker Bowl.
Around the league...
Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis took a voluntary pay-cut of forty percent setting an example for the league-wide salary cuts that were anticipated due to the lingering Depression.
The All-Star Game made its debut on July 6th 1933, at Chicago's Comiskey Park. It was initiated at the insistence of Arch Ward, a sports editor for the Chicago Tribune, to coincide with the celebration of Chicago's Century of Progress Exposition. The National League's manager John McGraw and American Leagues's Connie Mack were chosen to lead a line-up of big hitters including Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Babe Ruth. With fellow All-Star, Charlie Gehringer on first in the bottom of the third, Ruth drove one into the right-field stands for the first homer in All-Star history. The rest of the American Leaguers followed suite and went on to beat the Nationals in the inaugural Midsummer Classic 4-2.