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New Ballpark No Help
Maybe a new ballpark would help. Not. The Phillies left Baker Bowl in 1938 to take up shared residence with the American League Philadelphia A’s at Shibe Park. The immediate result was that the team scored only 550 runs, 154 fewer runs than in 1937, and the opposition scored about the same (840). The Phillies were shutout 16 times and scored just one run in a game 25 times. The brutal fact was that the Phillies were way overmatched with the rest of the league; they put on a furious end-of-season 1-12 rush to lose 105 games, 43 behind the winning Cubs, and 23 games behind the 7th place Brooklyn Dodgers. Their 840 runs allowed was 118 more than the next worst 6th place Cardinals. The Phillies were in a dismal, dark league of their own.
Bright spots? Maybe one. On July 9th at Shibe Park, Claude Passeau pitched a complete game 16-inning win over Brooklyn with their new firstbaseman, Dolph Camilli, obtained from the Phillies before the season started for $45,000 and a piece of the Brooklyn Bridge. Passeau’s three hour 25 minute effort was witnessed by 1,277 paying customers plus any number of gatecrashers.
Bucky Walters was even more precious; he went to Cincinnati on June 13 for $50,000 plus old amigo Spud Davis and lefty Al “Boots” Hollingsworth.
Pinky Whitney and Chuck Klein were still suiting up, but were of little help, knocking in 99 runs between them; they missed hitting in Baker Bowl. Hugh Mulcahy won 10 games, but was the losing pitcher in 20.
Manager Jimmie Wilson cashed it in two games before the season ended, handing off to coach Hans Lobert.
1938 was the year Grover Cleveland Alexander was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association. How Old Pete missed being in the original group of five is anybody’s guess. The first Hall of Fame selection took place in 1936 and included just five members: Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, and Honus Wagner. Alexander belonged.