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Random Game Callback, June 5, 1935
2006-06-05 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

The newspapers didn't record how many people showed up at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis to watch the last place Browns snap the eight-game winning streak of rookie pitcher John Whitehead, 2-0. It was a year when the Browns drew a total of 80,922 fans. The few who made it did get to enjoy a well-pitched game.

With the Great Depression hurting attendance and the Browns being a disaster on the field and sharing a stadium with the far more successful Cardinals, a year of crowds averaging a little over 1,000 were to be expected. Chicago manager Jimmie Dykes hoped that Whitehead, a 26-year old righthander out of the Texas League, could keep up his good pitching. Browns manager Rogers Hornsby settled on 28-year old righthander, Ed Knott, who like Whitehead, hailed from Texas.

Whitehead's first nine pitches were balls, but Browns leadoff man, second baseman Ollie Bejma, was caught stealing. Moose Solters singled and when Chicago left fielder Rip Radcliff misplayed the ball, Sam West of St. Louis moved to third. A ground out by Ed Coleman drove in West.

In the fourth inning, right fielder Coleman homered to right field to give the Browns a 2-0 lead and all the margin Knott would need.

Knott was not overpowering as he struck out two and gave up numerous hard hit balls that the Browns caught up to. However, the White Sox finished with just two hits, a single by third baseman Marty Hopkins and a double by shortstop Luke Appling. The White Sox got a man on in the ninth on a walk, but he was not able to advance.

Whitehead's 8-0 start turned out to be a 13-13 season overall in 1935. Whitehead posted a 3.72 ERA, the best of his career. He pitched in seven major league seasons, finishing up with the Browns in 1942. His lifetime record was 49-54.

Knott went 11-8 in 1935 with a 4.60 ERA and, if saves had been an official statstic in 1935, he would have led the AL with seven. Knott would pitch 11 seasons in the majors and would stop off with the White Sox, and Athletics. He would go 82-103 in his career with a 4.97 ERA.

The Detroit Tigers would win the AL in 1935 with a 93-58 record and win their first World Series with a 6-game win over the Cubs. The White Sox finished in fifth place at 74-78, 19 1/2 games out. The Browns would finish in seventh at 65-87, 28 1/2 games out.

For a mediocre team, the White Sox in 1935 had four future Hall of Famers. In addition to Appling, the White Sox also had Al Simmons and Ted Lyons. The other Hall of Famer was outfielder Jocko Conlon, who would make it to Cooperstown as an umpire. The Browns only future Hall of Famer was Hornsby, who still put himself into 10 games. He would keep making cameo appearances through the 1937 season when the Browns fired him as manager.

The Browns would win their only AL pennant in 1944 when many of the game's stars were away for military service. Their manager that year would be the White Sox catcher this day, Luke Sewell. Luke's brother, Joe Sewell, would have a Hall of Fame career as an infielder for Cleveland and the Yankees and managed to strike out just 114 times in a 14 year career in which he amassed 7132 at bats.

St. Louis, apparently anticipating a poor box office, had itself scheduled to be on the road for the entire month of September. And the Browns went 16-12 during that stretch and finished the last two months 35-26 to get out of the cellar.

Sources: Retrosheet, Chicago Tribune, Baseball-Reference.Com

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