If Shano Collins was feeling somewhat satisfied at the team’s performance in 1931, he felt otherwise some 1932. There they were, in last place again by June 18 – and he just couldn’t hack in any longer. There had been a pall over the season from the start when pitcher Ed Morris was stabbed to death on the eve of spring training. He was at a fish fry near his home in Alabama, meant to celebrate his departure, but got into an altercation and a service station operator stabbed him fatally.
The first time the team was able to put together a two-game winning streak was on June 4, when they unaccountably swept a doubleheader from the Senators. That morning, the team had trudged to the park with a 7-35 won-loss record.
The first time they won two days in a row was on July 12 and July 13. By that time, Collins had quit. On June 13, the team traded Earl Webb, who’d only led the 1931 team in average, home runs, and RBIs (not to mention settling the MLB record for doubles). Five days later, on June 18, Collins resigned. The Red Sox were 11-44 when he departed. He just said he was too discouraged, in the midst of a 5-23 month of June, and he suggested that second baseman Marty McManus could make a good replacement.
It was actually not a bad trade, Webb to the Tigers for Dale Alexander and Roy Johnson. The latter hit .298 and led the team with 11 home runs. Alexander was only hitting .250 for Detroit when he was dealt, but ended up winning the American League batting title! He hit .372 with the Red Sox and narrowly edged out Jimmie Foxx, with his final .367 average. The RBI leader was Smead Jolley, with 99.
Even for McManus, the Sox still couldn’t win even a third of their games (they were 32-67 under him), and the most they ever put together all year long was a three-game win streak.
Pitching? Naturally, that was part of the problem. A sizable part. The team ERA went over 5.00, to 5.02. Only one pitcher won more than eight games – Bob Kline (11-3) – and only one other pitcher won more than six. Ivy Andrews was 8-6.
It was the worst season in Red Sox franchise history, 43-11. The average attendance at a Fenway Park game was 2,365. Granted, the Great Depression was now pervasive, but who would want to spend good money to see a bad team? The Yankees finished first. The Red Sox finished 64 games behind them.
Things were so bad that the editor of The Sporting News even suggested (he was serious) that the Yankees should voluntarily trade the Red Sox some good players to create a little more balance in the league. After all, he pointed out, Harry Frazee had helped the Yankees become the team they were. The suggestion didn’t go far. “There is no charity in baseball,” was Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert’s reply.
It’s no wonder Bob Quinn was ready to sell the Red Sox. It’s not clear how much longer he could keep the team afloat.By Bill Nowlin
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- Bob Kline, Bob Quinn, Dale Alexander, Earl Webb, Ed Morris, Ivy Andrews, Jimmie Foxx, Marty McManus, Roy Johnson, Shano Collins, Smead Jolley