New York ended Philadelphia's three-year reign as American League champions in 1932, finishing 13 games ahead of the second-place Athletics. With a much-improved pitching staff that featured future Hall of Famers Lefty Gomez and Red Ruffing, the Yankees compiled an outstanding 107-47 record and led the league with a team ERA of 3.98. In just his second full year, Gomez won 24 games and tasted defeat only seven times. Ruffing, acquired from Boston two years earlier, compiled a record of 18-7, led the league with 190 strikeouts, and finished second in earned run average (3.09) and third in complete games (22).
Still, the Yankees’ greatest strength remained their powerful offense, which produced the most runs (1,002) in the American League for the seventh straight year. Bill Dickey batted .310 and drove in 84 runs. Tony Lazzeri batted .300 and knocked in 113 runs. Joe Sewell scored 95 runs and set a major-league record by striking out only three times in 576 total plate appearances. Earle Combs batted .321 and finished third in the league with 143 runs scored. Ben Chapman batted .299, knocked in 107 runs, scored 101 others, and led the league with 38 stolen bases. Babe Ruth began to show signs of aging, failing to win the home-run title for the first time in seven years. Nevertheless, he managed to hit 41 homers, drive in 137 runs, score 120 others, bat .341, and lead the league with a .489 on-base percentage. Lou Gehrig overtook Ruth as the team’s best player, placing among the league leaders with 34 home runs, 151 runs batted in, 138 runs scored, a .349 batting average, 208 hits, 370 total bases, a .451 on-base percentage, and a .651 slugging percentage, en route to earning a second-place finish in the league MVP voting.
New York subsequently faced the Chicago Cubs in the World Series, in what essentially amounted to a coronation. The Yankees outscored their overmatched opponents by a combined margin of 37-19 during the four-game sweep, and they also out-homered them by a margin of eight to three. Bill Dickey batted .438 and knocked in four runs, while Earle Combs batted .375, drove in four runs, and scored eight others. Lou Gehrig did more damage to the Cubs than anyone else, though, batting .529, hitting three home runs, knocking in eight runs, and scoring nine others. Yet, as was the case throughout most of his career, Gehrig found himself being upstaged by Babe Ruth, who also had a big Series, batting .333, hitting two homers, and driving in six runs. Although Gehrig clearly outperformed the Babe over the course of the four games, Ruth became the focal point of everyone’s attention when he allegedly “called his shot” in Game Three, played in Chicago’s Wrigley Field. With the score tied 4-4 in the fifth inning, Ruth raised two fingers in the air after taking a second consecutive called strike from Cubs pitcher Charley Root. The Babe then hit the next pitch into the center field bleachers, bringing the Wrigley Field crowd to its feet. Gehrig immediately followed with his second home run of the game, giving the Yankees all the runs they needed to post a 7-5 victory and take a commanding 3-0 lead in the Series. Nevertheless, the Iron Horse once again took a backseat to Ruth, since the defining moment of the Series ended up being the Babe’s “called shot.”
Although the Yankees were clearly the American League’s best team in 1932, Philadelphia’s Jimmie Foxx proved to be the circuit’s most dominant player. The slugging first baseman led the league with 58 home runs, 169 runs batted in, 151 runs scored, 438 total bases, and a .749 slugging percentage. While some sources have Boston’s Dale Alexander winning the batting title, others have Foxx capturing the Triple Crown by also topping the circuit with a batting average of .364. Foxx also placed among the league leaders with 213 hits and a .469 on-base percentage, en route to earning A.L. MVP honors.
Other notable events from around the league and players who distinguished themselves over the course of the season included:
• May 30 - The New York Yankees unveiled a plaque dedicated to former manager Miller Huggins. It made Huggins the first in a long line of Yankee personnel to be so honored.
• June 3 - In the New York Yankees' 20-13 victory over the Philadelphia Athletics, Lou Gehrig became the third player to hit four home runs in a game. Gehrig was the first player to accomplish the feat in the American League, and the first to do so in 36 years.
• Cleveland outfielder Earl Averill hit 32 home runs, drove in 124 runs, scored 116 others, batted .314, and collected 198 hits.
• Washington’s Heinie Manush batted .342, scored 121 runs, and accumulated 214 hits.
• In his last year in Philadelphia, Al Simmons batted .322, hit 35 home runs, knocked in 151 runs, scored 144 others, amassed 367 total bases, and led the league with 216 hits.
• Al Crowder of Washington led the major leagues with 26 wins.
• Lefty Grove finished second to Crowder with 25 victories and led the American League with a 2.84 ERA.
• On June 27, Goose Goslin became the first player to hit three homers in a game three times in his career.
• Ray Hayworth of the Tigers became the first catcher to work 100 consecutive errorless games.
- 1932 World Series, Al Simmons, Alvin Crowder, American League, Babe Ruth, Ben Chapman, Bill Dickey, Charley Root, Chicago Cubs, Connie Mack, Dale Alexander, Earl Averill, Earle Combs, Goose Goslin, Heinie Manush, Jimmie Dykes, Jimmie Foxx, Joe Cronin, Joe Sewell, Lefty Gomez, Lefty Grove, Lou Gehrig, Miller Huggins, Mule Haas, New York Yankees, Ray Hayworth, Red Ruffing, Tony Lazzeri