The Phillies in 1932 reverted to a familiar pattern – lead the league in hitting, but finish down in the standings – this time fourth, with a winning record of 78-76. And this time close enough to think at times they might have a shot at the pennant – they finished only 12 games behind the winning Cubs, and a thin game ahead of the Boston Braves for a spot in the first division. The team scored 844 runs, almost 100 more than the Giants who scored 755; they led in team batting average at .292 (.333 at Baker Bowl). The middle of the Phillies batting order, finished 1-2-3 in RBIs, first baseman Don Hurst leading with 143, followed by Chuck Klein (137), and Pinky Whitney (124). Klein was second in batting average to Lefty O’Doul, now in Brooklyn .348 to .368. The Hoosier Hammer also led with 152 runs scored, and stolen bases with 20. In short, Chuck Klein did it all, and at the end was voted the league’s Most Valuable Player by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
The team got a lift from shortstop Dick Bartell who hit .308, scored 118 runs, and played well in the field with a modest 34 errors. Catcher Spud Davis was solid again, hitting .336, and making only six errors in 468 chances.
What about the pitching? Jumbo Elliot (11-10) was down to 166 innings pitched, compared to 249 and 19-10. Ed Holley (11-14), Ray Benge (13-12), and Lefty Snipe Hansen (10-10), all with ERAs around four, carried the main load, but the best pitching news came just when they needed it most. Near the beginning of June, the Phillies were sputtering along seven games below .500, and going nowhere, when they purchased the veteran righthander, Flint Rhem, from St.Louis. Rhem joined the team in Cincinnati and provided an immediate lift with a complete game 6-1 victory. The team was 63-54, and Rehm went 11-7 the rest of the way, with a 3.74 ERA in 168 innings.
In other news, on June 3rd, John McGraw retired after 30 years, 2,763 wins, 12 pennants, and three World’s Series wins. Star firstbaseman, Bill Terry became the Giants’ new manager.
On June 22nd, National League owners voted to allow numbers to be used on players’ uniforms, something the American League had been doing since 1929.
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- Baker Bowl, Chuck Klein, Dick Bartell, Don Hurst, Ed Holley, Flint Rhem, Jumbo Elliott, Lefty O'Doul, Philadelphia Phillies, Pinky Whitney, Ray Benge, Snipe Hansen, Spud Davis