Oh, Danny Boy

It turned out that the clutch pinch hit double Chuck Klein delivered in Brooklyn a year ago in May was not his last hurrah after all. The Phillies decided that a diminished Chuck Klein was a better option than a LeGrant Scott at his best, and in March signed the aging (35) slugger to play right field in 1940. Bad move, Phillies. Klein played in 116 mostly losing games (103) causing fans to wonder who was that guy batting third and masquerading as Chuck Klein; the Chuck Klein they knew could hit .218 with seven homeruns and 37 RBIs with one hand tied behind his back. In a late September game at the Polo Grounds, Klein homered off Carl Hubbell in a 6-0 Hugh Mulcahy win, the 299th of his career. In 1941 he finally did call it a career when one of his nine hits was homerun number 300.
Probably it wouldn’t have mattered in the final standings, but there were those who wondered why the Phillies waited so long before giving a chance to a 24 year-old rookie outfielder named Danny Litwhiler; in 36 games late in the forlorn season, the kid hit .345 with five homeruns and 17 RBIs. On September 2nd at Shibe Park, in the first game of a doubleheader against the Giants, Litwhiler hit a grand slam homerun in a Kirby Higbe win (14-19, 3.72 ERA). In the second game, Litwhiler, batting second in the lineup ahead of Joe Marty, was 3 for 5 with a two-run triple in a 6-5 win for the sweep. Walter “Boom-Boom” Beck was the winning pitcher in that game over Paul “Daffy” Dean who, after all the glory years with the St.Louis Cardinals, was ending his career as a New York Giant.
Boom-Boom Beck was a forgettable pitcher with a memorable nickname. In 1940 he started 15 games for the Phillies, completing four; he won four and lost nine on the season, in line with his 12-year major league record of 38-65. He got his nickname in 1934 while pitching for the Brooklyn Dodgers against the Phillies in Baker Bowl. Dodger manager, Casey Stengel hung the moniker on him after hearing the boom of several linedrives off the rightfield wall, and a resounding Boom when Beck fired the ball against the wall when Casey came to remove him from the game.
On the 11th hour of the 11th month, the Phillies surrendered once again, and traded Kirby Higbe to the Brooklyn Dodgers for three players and $100,000.

By max blue

More From Around the Web

Sponsored Links

This day in baseball history

May 06

  • 2008

    On May 6, 2008, Gavin Floyd of the White Sox carried a no-hi ...

  • 1998

    On May 6, 1998, Chicago Cubs rookie Kerry Wood ties a major ...

  • 1982

    On May 6, 1982, Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry enters the exclu ...

More Baseball History

Hall of Fame

Pie Traynor

SS, Pittsburg Pirates

Read Bio
Season Profile

1975 Detroit Tigers

Ralph Houk entered h

Read Bio
Historical Figure

Jon Miller


Read Bio
Manager Profile

Charlie Grimm

Pittsburg Pirates

Read Bio
Ballpark Profile

West Side

West Side Park was the name

Read Bio
Boom-Boom Beck, Casey Stengel, Chuck Klein, Danny Litwhiler, Joe Marty, Kirby Higbe, Philadelphia Phillies, Polo Grounds, Shibe Park


    Be respectful, keep it clean.
Login or register to post comments

Stay Connected

Share |

Today's Poll

Will Red Sox Repeat in 2014: