The 1936 National League season witnessed a seesaw three-team pennant race between the senior circuit’s last three World Series representatives. The New York Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, and Chicago Cubs battled down to the season’s final few weeks, before a 15-game winning streak finally enabled the Giants to separate themselves from their nearest rivals. New York finished the campaign with a record of 92-62, five games ahead of both Chicago and St. Louis.
Although the Giants finished just fourth in the league in runs scored, their lineup featured two of the senior circuit’s most productive offensive players. Leadoff hitter Jo-Jo Moore batted .316, scored 110 runs, and collected 205 hits. In addition to leading the league with 33 home runs, Mel Ott placed among the leaders with 135 runs batted in, 120 runs scored, and a .328 batting average.
Still, the Giants likely would never have finished atop the N.L. standings had it not been for the brilliant performance turned in by league MVP Carl Hubbell. The screw-balling left-hander led all National League hurlers with a record of 26-6 and a 2.31 ERA, and he also finished among the leaders with 25 complete games and 304 innings pitched. He ended the season with a 16-game winning streak.
Hubbell did all he could to bring the Giants their second world championship in three years, halting the Yankees’ 12-game winning streak in World Series play by defeating them in Game One of the Fall Classic. However, the Yankees proved to be too strong for the Giants, outscoring their National League counterparts by a combined margin of 43-23 over the course of the Series, which they won in six games. The Yankees even ended Hubbell’s personal winning streak in Game Four, defeating the Giants’ ace by a score of 5-2.
Although the Giants represented the National League in the World Series, the Pirates and Cardinals boasted the senior circuit’s top two offenses. Paul Waner had a big year for the fourth-place Pirates, winning his third batting title with a mark of .373 and also placing among the league leaders with 107 runs scored, 218 hits, 53 doubles, and a .446 on-base percentage. Joe Medwick had an even better year for St. Louis, hitting 18 home runs, leading the league with 138 runs batted in, 223 hits, 64 doubles, and 367 total bases, and finishing among the leaders with a .351 batting average and 115 runs scored. Meanwhile, Dizzy Dean anchored the Cardinals’ pitching staff, earning a second-place finish in the league MVP voting by winning 24 games and leading all N.L. pitchers with 28 complete games, 315 innings pitched, and 11 saves.
Billy Herman and Frank Demaree both performed extremely well for the Chicago Cubs. Herman batted .334, drove in 93 runs, scored 101 others, and collected 211 hits. Demaree batted .350, knocked in 96 runs, scored 93 others, and accumulated 212 hits.
Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:
• January 6 – New York Giants President Charles A. Stoneham died of Bright's disease. He was the last surviving member of the trio that purchased the team in 1919. His son, Horace Stoneham, was subsequently elected the team's new president. Stoneham‚ 32 years of age at the time‚ remained president for the next 40 years before selling the club in 1976.
• July 7 – The National League recorded its first All-Star Game victory over the American League, 4–3, at Braves Field in Boston.
• July 10 – Philadelphia Phillies right-fielder Chuck Klein became the fourth player in Major League history to hit four home runs in a game. His final home run came in the top of the 10th inning, leading Philadelphia to a 9–6 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The feat came nearly 40 years to the day since it was last accomplished in the National League.
• September 23 - Carl Hubbell logged his 16th victory in a row to improve his record to 26–6. His 24 straight wins over a two-year period remain the major league record.
• Joe Medwick’s 64 doubles established a National League record.
• On April 14, Cardinal Eddie Morgan became the first player to hit a pinch homer in his first major league at-bat.
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- 1936 World Series, Billy Herman, Carl Hubbell, Charles Stoneham, Chuck Klein, Dizzy Dean, Eddie Morgan, Frank Demaree, Horace Stoneham, Jo-Jo Moore, Joe Medwick, Mel Ott, New York Giants, New York Yankees, Paul Waner