Year In Review : 1938 National League
Off the field...
On October 30th, actor Orson Wells broadcasted his own adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic "War of the Worlds". His original "news-style" format proved more than a little convincing and created a nationwide panic as many listeners actually believed that alien invaders had landed in New Jersey. After the controversial program established him as a creative genius, Wells was signed by RKO pictures where he co-wrote, produced, directed, and starred in his first film, "Citizen Kane" (1941) which is still considered by many to be the greatest movie ever made.
The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was passed to establish minimum living standards for workers engaged directly or indirectly in interstate commerce. A major provision of the act was the establishment of a Minimum Wage, initially $0.25 an hour, along with a maximum workweek of forty-four hours. These went on to become $0.40 an hour and forty hours after seven years.
In the American League...
New York Yankee icon Lou Gehrig hit his twenty-third (and final) grand slam during an 11-3 victory over the Philadelphia Athletics on August 20th for a Major League record that still stands today.
Indian catchers Frank Pytlak and Hank Helf broke the "all-time altitude mark" by catching baseballs dropped from the 706-foot Cleveland Terminal Tower on August 20th. Over the next few years, several players were seriously injured attempting to break this unusual record.
Cleveland ace Bob Feller set a Major League strikeout record after fanning eighteen Detroit Tigers on October 2nd (including six straight), yet still lost 4-1 on rival Harry Eisenstat's four-hitter.
In the National League...
The St. Louis Cardinals signed Texas Christian University All-American football star and Washington Redskins quarterback Sammy Baugh as an infielder. Although he started off with the team in spring training, he was eventually assigned to the "Redbirds" farm system in both Columbus and Rochester.
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Hal Kelleher set two unwanted Major League records on May 5th after surrendering twelve runs off of sixteen Chicago Cub batters in the eighth inning of a 21-2 massacre. Joe Marty led the attack with four hits for four runs and four runs batted in.
In December, the National League granted the Cincinnati Reds their season opener one-day before the rest of the league in recognition of the 100th anniversary of baseball and the 1869 Red Stockings who were baseball's first professional team.
Around the league...
A special committee from the Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Alexander Cartwright for originating baseball's original concepts and sports writer Henry Chadwick for the invention of the box score.
On June 18th, Babe Ruth signed on as a Brooklyn Dodgers coach for the remainder of the season. Desperately seeking a management position, "The Sultan of Swat" agreed to participate in many exploitive "non-coaching related" publicity stunts including appearing before games in uniform for batting demonstrations.
The founder of the Elias Sports Bureau and official statistician of the National League, Al Munro Elias, died in New York City on August 1st at the age of sixty-seven.
The New York Yankees became the first team to win three successive World Championships after defeating the Chicago Cubs by a score of 8-3. On a somber note, the ailing Lou Gehrig, went four for fourteen (all singles) for his last Series appearance.