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No Hope. Well, Maybe a Little
Another 7th place finish, 685 runs scored, same as last year, 873 runs allowed, almost 100 more than 1934. Could the pitching actually get worse? Pretzel Pezzulo did his part – 3-5, 6.40 ERA. It didn’t help that Lou Chiozza at second base and shortstop Mickey Haslin were booting the ball all over the place (39 errors each), to say nothing of first baseman Dolph Camilli who muffed 20 times. But lefthand hitting Camilli, when he wasn’t striking out (113 Ks) showed power (25 HRs). In a rare April win (team 2-10), Camilli hit two, three-run homers off the Giants’ “Fat Freddie” Fitzsimmons as the Phillies put up 18 runs to the Giants’ 7. In that same game, Chiozza, also hitting left, had five hits and scored five runs.
Bucky Walters was learning how to pitch. Manager Jimmie Wilson liked his bat, but he liked his fast ball more. He was in the starting rotation along with Curt Davis (16-14, 3.66 ERA); Joe Bowman (7-10, 4.25); Syl Johnson (10-8, 3.56); and Orville Jorgens (10-15, 4.83). Jim Bivin also started 14 games but was ineffective (2-9, 5.79).
Walters’ first major league win came against the 1934 World’s Champion, Gas House Gang, St. Louis Cardinals at Baker Bowl on May 9, 1935. He was matched against lefthand pitcher Bill Walker. Bucky got a break when Cardinal star thirdbaseman, John Leonard Roosevelt, better known as Pepper, Martin, “the Wild Horse of the Osage”, was not in the lineup, replaced for the day by Charlie “Swamp baby” Wilson. Into the 7th, the Phillies trailed 1-0 on a 2nd inning error by Chiozza; they tied it on an error by shortstop Charlie Gelbert, in for Leo “the lip” Durocher who had left for a pinch hitter. Walters led off the 9th with a hit and scored the winning run on a two out hit by Mickey Haslin.
Nine days later, Bucky Walters was up against another tough assignment: beat the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field. This was a Cubs team that closed the season with a 21- game winning streak to overtake and beat the Cardinals for the pennant. The game was scoreless for nine innings – Walters duking it out with Cubs’ lefty Roy Henshaw. Through nine, Henshaw had the edge in everything but the score; the Phillies only had two hits, one by Walters, batting 7th in the lineup behind catcher/manager Jimmie Wilson. Walters had stranded 11 Cubs, yielding seven hits and five walks. Cubs’ right fielder Chuck Klein was 0-4. In the tenth, Bucky singled to score manager Wilson with the games’ only run.
For the year Bucky Walters was 9-9, ERA 4.17, two shutouts, 68 walks, 40 strikeouts; at the plate he hit .250, 24 for 96. with six RBIs.
So the season was not without high moments, but mostly it was a downhill chug. The only thing that kept them out of the basement was the dreadful demise of the Boston Braves who, even with Pinky Whitney, won only 38 games, causing the the city of Boston to call for a vote to change the name of the team. It seemed to help as the 1936 Boston Bees won 71 games, leaving last place to the Phillies.
On November 21, the Phillies traded catcher Al Todd to Pittsburgh for righthanded pitcher Claude Passeau and left hand hitting catcher, Earl Grace.