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Series Wrapup

Story

A late-season surge that saw them win 20 of 23 games enabled the Chicago Cubs to edge out three other teams for the National League pennant in 1938.  Included in that surge was a nine-game winning streak that catcher/manager Gabby Hartnett punctuated with a ninth-inning, two-out, two-strike game-winning homer against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The Cubs finished the campaign with a record of 89-63, just two games ahead of the second-place Pirates.  The New York Giants finished third, five games back, and the Cincinnati Reds came in fourth, six games off the pace.

The Cubs lacked a potent offense, finishing third in the league with 713 runs scored.  Third baseman and leadoff hitter Stan Hack led the Chicago attack, placing among the league leaders with a .320 batting average, 109 runs scored, and 195 hits.  The strength of the Cubs lay in their pitching, which surrendered a league-low 597 runs to the opposition.  Right-hander Bill Lee headed Chicago’s staff, leading all N.L. hurlers with 22 victories, a 2.66 ERA, and nine shutouts.  Lee also placed among the league leaders with 19 complete games and 291 innings pitched, en route to earning a second-place finish in the N.L. MVP voting.  

The Cubs entered the World Series as heavy underdogs against a New York Yankees team that lost a total of only three games over the course of the previous two Fall Classics.  The Cubs fared no better than the Giants did in either 1936 or 1937, losing the Series to New York in four straight games.  The Yankees outscored their overmatched opponents by a combined margin of 22-9.  

Although the Cubs ended up representing the senior circuit in the World Series, each of the other pennant-contending teams had someone in their everyday lineup who exceed Chicago’s top offensive player in terms of total production.  Outfielder Johnny Rizzo had a fine year for second-place Pittsburgh, hitting 23 homers, driving in 111 runs, scoring 97 others, and batting .301.  Mel Ott put up big numbers for the third-place Giants.  In addition to leading the league with 36 home runs, 116 runs scored, and a .442 on-base percentage, Ott batted .311 and finished among the leaders with 116 runs batted in, 118 walks, and a .583 slugging percentage.  Meanwhile, the members of the BBWAA named Cincinnati catcher Ernie Lombardi N.L. MVP for hitting 19 homers, driving in 95 runs, and topping the circuit with a .342 batting average.

Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:

• June 18 - Babe Ruth joined the Brooklyn Dodgers as a coach for the remainder of the season.

• July 6 – At Crosley Field, home of the Cincinnati Reds, the National League earned its second victory in All-Star competition by defeating the American League by a score of 4–1.

• The Hall of Fame inducted Grover Cleveland Alexander, Alexander Cartwright, and Henry Chadwick.

• Stan Hack of the Cubs became the first member of a losing team to lead all World Series players in batting average (.471) and hits (8).

• Cincinnati's Johnny Vander Meer threw a no-hitter against Boston on June 11.

• Vander Meer became the only pitcher in major league history to throw back-to-back no-hitters when he blanked the Dodgers on June 15.

• Frenchy Bordagaray of the Cardinals established a single-season record by posting a .465 batting average as a pinch-hitter.  He collected a total of 20 pinch hits over the course of the campaign.

• The Phillies moved to Shibe Park on July 4.

• Ernie Lombardi grounded into a National League record 30 double plays.

Joe Medwick led the National League with 122 runs batted in and 47 doubles.

Johnny Mize topped the circuit with 16 triples, 326 total bases, and a .614 slugging percentage.

• Pittsburgh’s Mace Brown established a new major league record by winning 15 games in relief.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BRO 1818 5142 704 1322 647 .205 225 79 61 66 0 1888 .389 .271 .667 118 0 80
BSN 1699 5250 561 1311 519 .230 199 39 54 49 0 1750 .354 .282 .663 134 0 78
CHN 1707 5333 713 1435 673 .251 242 70 65 49 0 2012 .358 .330 .715 157 0 88
CIN 1671 5391 723 1495 679 .236 251 57 110 19 0 2190 .300 .305 .615 125 0 89
NY1 1659 5197 702 1415 669 .209 210 36 125 30 0 2072 .311 .286 .633 112 0 78
PHI 1754 5192 550 1318 503 .226 233 29 40 38 0 1729 .330 .273 .646 129 0 86
PIT 1697 5422 707 1511 659 .241 265 66 65 47 0 2103 .321 .318 .639 139 0 81
SLN 1834 5528 725 1542 680 .246 288 74 91 55 0 2251 .339 .316 .701 124 0 83

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BRO 306 69 80 1333 469 446 5811 1464 88 73.580 602 707 56 11 14 38 3
BSN 262 77 75 1380 413 465 5905 1375 66 159.260 522 618 83 15 12 17 2
CHN 302 89 63 1397 583 454 5935 1414 71 47.680 523 598 67 16 18 31 5
CIN 281 82 68 1361 542 463 5799 1329 75 58.040 548 633 72 11 16 26 4
NY1 270 70 57 1170 393 356 5000 1199 71 61.230 482 567 46 6 17 9 0
PHI 291 45 105 1329 492 582 6015 1516 76 125.990 728 840 68 3 6 27 2
PIT 296 86 64 1379 557 432 5848 1406 71 45.150 531 630 57 7 15 17 3
SLN 335 71 80 1384 534 474 6026 1482 77 72.250 591 721 58 10 16 21 1

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BRO 1629 5845 3992 1696 157 .973 0 0 0 0 14
BSN 1608 6167 4133 1861 173 .947 0 0 0 0 6
CHN 1610 6136 4164 1837 135 .962 0 0 0 0 11
CIN 1544 6023 4085 1766 172 .928 0 0 0 0 13
NY1 1531 6098 4037 1893 168 .957 0 0 0 0 10
PHI 1616 5886 3985 1700 201 .960 0 0 0 0 13
PIT 1569 6219 4139 1917 163 .960 0 0 0 0 7
SLN 1648 6112 4155 1758 199 .953 0 0 0 0 15

West

Central

East

Awards

Silver Slugger

Gold Glove

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Tagged:
1938 World Series, Babe Ruth, Bill Lee, Carl Hubbell, Chicago Cubs, Ernie Lombardi, Frenchy Bordagaray, Gabby Hartnett, Joe Medwick, Johnny Mize, Johnny Rizzo, Johnny Vander Meer, Mace Brown, Mel Ott, New York Yankees, Shibe Park, Stan Hack

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