Year In Review : 1936 American League
Off the field...
Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was re-elected with a whopping 61% of the vote. His immense popularity around the country was attributed to his successful efforts in helping the American economy out of the depression with his New Deal programs. Later, he went on to provide strong leadership in the winning of World War II, and was the only president to be elected four times. At the turn of the millennium, Time Magazine selected him as a runner-up for Person of the Century.
"Dust Bowl" problems continued to plague the Midwest and U.S. prairie states. Initially caused by the over-planting in support of World War I, farmers were encouraged to grow more wheat by plowing and seeding areas in Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, which were formerly used only for grazing. After years of adequate yields, livestock were returned to graze the areas, and their hooves pulverized the unprotected soil. Strong winds blew the soil into huge clouds, and in the succeeding years, from December to May, the dust storms recurred. As a result, miles and miles of crops and pasturelands were ruined and many farmers and their families experienced severe health problems.
In the American League...
New York Yankees second baseman Tony Lazzeri set several hitting records on May 24th after hitting two grand slams, a third home run, and a triple for fifteen total bases in a 25-2 massacre over the Philadelphia Athletics. Lazzeri had appeared unstoppable after tallying seven home runs in four games and six in three games as well a Major League record eleven runs batted in a single game.
An up-and-coming outfielder named Joe DiMaggio tied several Major League records after hitting two home runs (for eight total bases) and two doubles (four long hits in a game) during a June 24th outing between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox.
During a July 18th nightcap, the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Athletics combined to set an American League record for the most combined runs scored by two teams after posting a 21-14 final. White Sox outfielder Rip Radcliff tied an additional A.L. record with six hits (four singles and two doubles) in seven at bats.
In the National League...
Philadelphia Phillies catcher Earl Grace set an unwanted Major League record on April 26th after granting bases to Brooklyn Dodgers shortstop Ben Geraghty twice on two separate interference calls (tipped bat).
Second baseman Stu Martin tied the major league mark of eleven assists in the first game during a June 6th doubleheader between his St. Louis Cardinals and New York Giants.
On July 10th, Chuck Klein of the Philadelphia Phillies hit four home runs (in five at bats) during a ten inning game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Forbes Field. At age thirty-six, Klein became the oldest player ever to hit four round trippers in a single game as well as first National League player in the twentieth century to do so.
Around the league...
After Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis took a voluntary pay-cut in 1933 (from $65,000 to $40,000) due to the Depression, Internal Revenue figures posted Branch Rickey as the highest paid man in baseball at $49,470. Rickey would later gain fame as the man who signed Jackie Robinson, breaking the silently upheld "color barrier" that had existed since the 1880s. By exploiting the Negro Leagues as a new source of talent, Rickey built a dynasty in Brooklyn that won the National League pennant seven times from 1947 through 1956.
After purchasing the fledgling Boston Braves, the team's owners asked a local newspaperman to choose a new nickname for the franchise based on suggestions made by the fans. After hundreds of entries, the moniker Boston "Bees" was selected. Unfortunately, it would never catch on and be changed back to the Braves after the 1940 season.
The baseball writers association voted for the first set of players to be named to the new Baseball Hall of Fame. The inaugural class included Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson who each received the requisite 75% of ballots cast.
On April 29th, the first professional baseball game in Japan was played as Nagoya defeated Daitokyo by a score of 8-5.