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The Yankees entered the 1935 season without Babe Ruth as a member of the team for the first time since 1919.  Ruth’s absence from the squad left a huge void in the middle of the lineup that New York found impossible to fill.  The Yankees also found themselves unable to replace Ruth’s incredible drawing power at the gate.  With the sport’s most popular and charismatic player missing from their batting order, the Yankees drew only 657,508 fans to their home ballpark over the course of the season – easily their lowest total since Ruth’s surgery-abbreviated 1925 campaign.  

Despite the loss of Ruth, the Yankees managed to draw closer to the Detroit Tigers, who captured their second consecutive American League pennant.  New York finished the year in second place with a record of 89-60, just three games behind Detroit.

Yankee pitchers allowed the fewest runs in the A.L. for the second straight time, posting a league-leading 3.60 ERA.  Johnny Allen finished 13-6, with a 3.61 ERA.  Second-year right-hander Johnny Broaca went 15-7, with a mark of 3.58.  Red Ruffing led the staff with 16 victories, a 3.12 ERA, and 19 complete games.  Only Lefty Gomez disappointed, finishing the year with a record of 12-15, despite finishing fourth in the league with a 3.18 ERA.

On offense, Ben Chapman batted .289 and scored 118 runs in his final full season with the team.  Appearing in only 89 games before announcing his retirement at the end of the year, Earle Combs surrendered his starting center field job to Jesse Hill.  The 28-year-old rookie batted .293, but knocked in only 33 runs and scored just 69 others.  George Selkirk tried his best to replace Babe Ruth in right field, batting .312 and driving in 94 runs.  Bill Dickey batted just .279 but knocked in 81 runs.  Red Rolfe claimed the starting third base job, batting .300, scoring 108 runs, and leading the team with 192 hits.  Affected more by Ruth’s absence than anyone else on the team, Lou Gehrig found opposing teams pitching around him more than ever before.  Gehrig drew a league-leading 132 bases on balls, en route to having his least productive offensive season since first becoming a full-time regular in 1926.  Nevertheless, most players would have been happy with Gehrig’s numbers: 30 home runs, 119 runs batted in, 125 runs scored, a .329 batting average, a league-leading .466 on-base percentage, and a .583 slugging percentage.  In fact, with New York finishing a close second to Detroit in the final standings, Gehrig placed fifth in the league MVP voting.  He also earned All-Star honors for the third straight time, joining teammates Ben Chapman and Lefty Gomez on the American League roster.    

By Bob_Cohen
 

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Tagged:
Babe Ruth, Ben Chapman, Bill Dickey, Earle Combs, George Selkirk, Jesse Hill, Johnny Allen, Johnny Broaca, Lefty Gomez, Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees, Red Rolfe, Red Ruffing, Tony Lazzeri

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