Year In Review : 1937 National League
Off the field...
On May 6th, the German blimp "Hindenburg" burst into flames two-hundred feet over its intended landing spot at New Jersey's Lakehurst Naval Air Station. Thirty-five people on board the flight were killed (thirteen passengers and twenty-two crewmen), along with one crewman on the ground. The giant flying zeppelin measured eight-hundred three feet in length and weighed approximately two-hundred forty-two tons, but still managed a top speed of just over eighty miles per hour. As it reached its final destination in New Jersey, it hovered over its landing spot and was beginning to be pulled down to the ground by landing lines by over two-hundred crewmen when disaster struck. A small burst of flame started just forward of the upper fin, then blossomed into an inferno that quickly engulfed the dirigible's tail.
Once again, tragedy struck in the skies as America's first female pilot pioneer, Amelia Earhart, was lost over the Pacific during her attempt to make an around-the-world flight along the equator. The flight, which began in Miami, had made it around the world to Lae before she and her Lockheed Electra mysteriously vanished. Her last communication by radio was "we are flying northeast."
In the American League...
On July 25th, Mel Almada of the Washington Senators tied a Major League record by scoring five runs himself in the first game of a doubleheader against the St. Louis Browns. Almada added four more in the second game setting another Major League record for most individual runs in an eighteen inning period.
Harlond Clift of the St. Louis Browns equaled an American League record with nine assists in a 5-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers. By the end of the season, the third baseman went on to set a new Major League record for total chances and the still-standing mark of four-hundred five assists.
On December 6th, the Boston Red Sox acquired the contract of an up-and-coming nineteen year-old named Ted Williams. Signed at the age of seventeen by his hometown San Diego Padres, Williams produced adequate numbers in the tough Pacific Coast League but improved beyond his years (and peers) while playing for the American Association in Minneapolis.
In the National League...
On May 3rd, the New York Giants tied an unusual Major League record after playing an entire nine inning game against the Boston Bees without a single chance for their outfielders. The Bees outfield managed only three chances themselves and went on to win 3-1.
En route to a 21-10 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies at the Baker Bowl, Cincinnati Reds catcher Ernie Lombardi matched the modern Major League record with six hits (five singles and a double) in six consecutive times at bat.
Mickey Owen, the catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, became only the third backstop to ever pull off an unassisted double play as the "Redbirds" went on to beat the Boston Bees 5-2 at Sportsman's Park III on August 3rd.
Around the league...
In January, Cincinnati fell victim to its worst flooding disaster ever as rising water overwhelmed the lower city limits and Crosley Field. At its peak, river water covered the infield diamond and lower grandstands with as much as twenty-one feet of water. Taking advantage of a photographic opportunity, Reds pitchers Gene Schott and Lee Grissom rowed a boat out from the center field wall for a once in a lifetime image that appeared in newspapers across the country.
The American League All-Stars topped the Nationals 8-3 in the Midsummer Classic. However, the biggest story of the contest was a bizarre play that marked the beginning of the end of Dizzy Dean's spectacular career. With two out, Earl Averill cracked a low line drive that caught Dean directly on the front of his foot. Later, in the clubhouse, it was discovered that Dean's toe was broken. Anxious to get back in the game, Dean and the Cardinals management decided he would return to the mound before the toe was fully healed. Their impatience proved costly as the injury affected his delivery, which eventually injured his arm, and ultimately ended his glory days at the tender age of twenty-six.