The Chicago Cubs replaced St. Louis as National League champions in 1932, finishing four games ahead of the second-place Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cardinals fell to sixth in the senior circuit, 18 games off the pace. Chicago managed to capture the N.L. pennant even though player-manager Rogers Hornsby got himself fired on August 2 over a tiff with management. Assuming control of the team immediately thereafter, Charlie Grimm guided the Cubs to their second pennant in three years.
With both Hornsby and Hack Wilson gone (Chicago traded Wilson to Brooklyn before the season started), Chicago finished just fourth in the senior circuit in both team batting average (.278) and runs scored (720). Riggs Stephenson and rookie second baseman Billy Herman shouldered much of the offensive burden for the Cubs. Stephenson batted .324 and finished third in the league with 49 doubles. Herman batted .314 and placed among the league leaders with 102 runs scored and 206 hits.
The Cubs’ greatest strength lay in their pitching staff, which compiled a major-league best 3.44 team ERA. Lon Warneke was the circuit’s top pitcher, leading all N.L. hurlers with a record of 22-6 and an ERA of 2.37. He also finished second with 25 complete games and third with 277 innings pitched, en route to earning a second-place finish in the N.L. MVP voting. Guy Bush (19-11) and Charley Root (15-10) ably assisted Warneke in Chicago’s starting rotation.
However, Cubs’ pitchers proved to be eminently hittable against the Yankees in the World Series. New York outscored Chicago by a combined margin of 37-19 during the four-game sweep, also out-homering the Cubs by a margin of eight to three. Babe Ruth provided the Fall Classic’s most memorable moment with his legendary “called shot” in Game Three.
Although Chicago ended up representing the National League in the World Series, most of the senior circuit’s best players performed for other teams. Paul Waner had an outstanding year for second-place Pittsburgh, leading the league with 62 doubles and also placing among the leaders with a .341 batting average and 215 hits. Lefty O’Doul had an even better year for the third-place Dodgers, winning his second batting title with a mark of .368 and finishing near the top of the league rankings with 120 runs scored, 219 hits, a .423 on-base percentage, and a .555 slugging percentage.
However, the National League’s top player was a member of the fourth-place Philadelphia Phillies, who finished 12 games behind the pennant-winning Cubs. Chuck Klein earned N.L. MVP honors by tying New York’s Mel Ott for the league lead with 38 home runs, topping the circuit with 152 runs scored, 226 hits, 20 stolen bases, 420 total bases, and a .646 slugging percentage, and also placing among the leaders with 137 runs batted in, 50 doubles, and a .348 batting average.
Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:
• June 22 - National League club presidents approved the addition of numbers on player uniforms. The New York Yankees first introduced the concept in the American League in 1929.
• December 15 - Farm systems, originally known as "Chain store baseball," received approval by a joint meeting of American and National League owners despite objections by Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis.
• John McGraw stepped down as Giants manager after 40 games, turning the reins over to player Bill Terry. McGraw spent the previous 30 years managing the ball club.
• St. Louis rookie Dizzy Dean led all National League pitchers with 191 strikeouts.
• Paul Waner’s 62 doubles established a new National League record (since broken).
• By tying Chuck Klein for the league lead with 38 homers, New York's Mel Ott won his first of many home run crowns.
• New York’s Sam Leslie set a new major league record with 22 pinch hits.
• Brooklyn's Johnny Frederick hit a record six pinch-hit home runs during the season.
• Philadelphia’s Don Hurst led the National League with 143 runs batted in.
- 1932 World Series, Babe Ruth, Bill Terry, Billy Herman, Carl Hubbell, Charley Root, Charlie Grimm, Chicago Cubs, Chuck Klein, Dizzy Dean, Don Hurst, Guy Bush, Hack Wilson, John McGraw, Johnny Frederick, Kenesaw Landis, Lon Warneke, Mel Ott, New York Yankees, Paul Waner, Riggs Stephenson, Rogers Hornsby, Sam Leslie