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The Yankees extended their string of consecutive seasons in which they led the American League in runs scored to eight in 1933, crossing the plate a total of 927 times.  However, superior pitching by the Washington Senators, who surrendered a league-low 665 runs to their opponents, prevented the Yankees from winning their second straight A.L. pennant.  New York finished the campaign in second place, with a record of 91-59, seven games behind the first-place Senators.

Although Yankee pitchers failed to perform as well as the members of the Washington staff, they did a decent job.  Johnny Allen finished 15-7, with a 4.39 ERA.  Red Ruffing won only nine of his 23 decisions, but he posted a respectable 3.91 ERA and led the staff with 18 complete games.  Lefty Gomez led the team in victories for the second straight year, finishing 16-10, with a 3.18 ERA and 14 complete games.

On offense, Bill Dickey had his most productive season to-date, hitting 14 home runs, driving in 97 runs, and batting .318.  Tony Lazzeri had a solid year, hitting 18 homers, knocking in 104 runs, scoring 94 others, and batting .294.  Joe Sewell scored 87 runs and nearly tied the major league record he established just one year earlier by striking out only four times in 606 total plate appearances.  Ben Chapman batted .312, knocked in 98 runs, scored 112 others, and stole 27 bases, leading the league in thefts for the third straight time.  Lou Gehrig had another outstanding year, hitting 32 home runs, driving in 139 runs, scoring 138 others, and batting .334.  However, two of the team’s top players experienced sharp decreases in offensive production, contributing greatly to the team’s inability to repeat as American League champions.   Earle Combs began to show signs of aging for the first time, batting .300, but scoring only 86 runs.  The 34-year-old centerfielder saw his playing time diminish somewhat, as manager Joe McCarthy inserted 22-year-old outfielder Dixie Walker into the Yankee lineup more and more as the season progressed.  Meanwhile, 38-year-old Babe Ruth had his least productive season since his surgery-shortened 1925 campaign, compiling “just” 34 home runs, 103 runs batted in, 97 runs scored, and a .301 batting average.  Clearly surpassed by Gehrig as the team’s best player, Ruth appeared to be rapidly approaching the end of his career.

Nevertheless, the Babe was one of six Yankees selected to play in Major League Baseball’s inaugural All-Star Game, played in Chicago’s Comiskey Park on July 6th.  The contest, which pitted the American League’s best players against the National League’s top performers, also featured New York’s Lou Gehrig, Bill Dickey, Ben Chapman, Tony Lazzeri, and Lefty Gomez.  Ruth, Gehrig, Chapman, and Gomez all started for the American League.  Ruth ended up hitting the first home run in All-Star Game history, leading the junior circuit to a 4-2 victory.  Unfortunately, the blow turned out to be one of the few truly great moments left in Ruth’s career.    

By Bob_Cohen
 

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Tagged:
Babe Ruth, Ben Chapman, Bill Dickey, Dixie Walker, Earle Combs, Joe McCarthy, Joe Sewell, Johnny Allen, Lefty Gomez, Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees, Red Ruffing, Tony Lazzeri

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