Rookie lefthander Carl Fischer won his seventh game of the season as the second place Washington Senators kept pace with first place Philadelphia with a 7-1 win over Cleveland before a Ladies Day crowd of about 11,000 at Griffith Stadium.
Cleveland, managed by Roger Peckinpaugh, started his ace, Wes Ferrell, who had thrown a no-hitter on April 29 against St. Louis. Ferrell, besides being a great pitcher, was also known as a great hitter. He batted .319 in 1931 and hit 9 home runs, a single season record for home runs by a pitcher in a season. Babe Ruth hit more home runs in a season with Boston, but he was playing games in the outfield as well. Ferrell hit 38 home runs in his career.
Ferrell was 9-2 coming into this game, but he was not effective this day and Washington got to him quickly. (The Washington Post story of the day called the team by its "official" name of the time, the Nationals.). Washington scored a run on the first on a single by shortstop Buddy Myer, a walk to left fielder Heinie Manush, and an RBI single by shortstop Joe Cronin. In the third, Manush led off with a triple and scored on a Cronin single. Center fielder Sam West followed with a walk. First baseman Joe Kuhel doubled home Cronin and third baseman Ossie Bluege drove home West with a ground out to make it 4-0 Washington.
in the fourth, Myer singled and Cronin and West drew walks to load the bases with two outs. Kuhel came up with his second double to score Myer and Cronin and it was 6-0 Washington. Jake Miller came into relieve in the fifth for Cleveland.
Miller gave up just one unearned run. In the seventh, West singled and moved up on a sacrifice by Kuhel. Bluege drew a walk. Catcher Roy Spencer looked to have hit into a 6-4-3 DP, but second baseman Johnny Hodapp's throw skipped past first baseman Ed Morgan to allow West to score.
Cleveland scored its only run in the top of the seventh on a double by right fielder Dick Porter and a single by Hodapp. When Cleveland threatened in the eighth, Washington manager Walter Johnson sent Firpo Marberry, one of baseball's first relief specialists, down to the bullpen to warmup. Not that Marberry particularly liked pitching in relief, but that seemed to be his niche. He pitched in 551 games in his career and started just 187. Marberry wasn't needed as Fischer was able to work his way out of the jam and picked up a complete game win.
Washington finished in third place in the AL in 1931 at 92-62, but they were 16 games behind champion Philadelphia, who won 107 games. The second place Yankees won 94 games and scored 1067 runs, but they were 13 1/2 games out. Cleveland finished a distant fourth place at 78-76, 30 games out.
The Senators played in spacious Griffith Stadium, so home runs were rare. Cronin led the team with 12 and the team hit 49 overall. The 24-year old from San Francisco would bat .306 and drive in 126 runs. Myer and Manush did a good job of getting on base and both men scored over 110 runs. Johnson used Marberry more in a starting role in 1931 (25 starts, 20 relief appearances) and he went 16-4 with a 3.45 ERA.
Cleveland outfielder Earl Averill hit 32 home runs, the most in the AL by someone not named Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig, who tied for the lead with 46. Morgan, who had an otherwise mediocre career, had his best season in 1931, batting .351, third best in the AL. Morgan also had a .451 OBP and a .511 slugging percentage. (Morgan's 1930 season, when he hit 26 home runs, wasn't bad either). However, Morgan was out of the majors after the 1934 season at the age of 30. Cleveland had sent him to the minors in 1933 and he played one more season in 1934 after the Red Sox claimed in the Rule 5 draft.
Ferrell finished 1931 with a 22-12 record and a 3.75 ERA. It was his third straight 20-win season and he would have six in his career. He finished his career with 193 wins and a 4.04 ERA. He also batted .280 with 38 home runs and in 1933, Cleveland used him in the outfield for 13 games. Ferrell's brother, Rick Ferrell, would make the Hall of Fame as a catcher. He hit 10 fewer home runs than his brother and batted just a tick higher at .281.
Johnson would lead his old team to another third place finish in 1932, but he would be dismissed at the end of the season and Cronin would take over as player-manager and lead Washington to an AL pennant. Peckinpaugh would lead Cleveland to another fourth place finish in 1932 and in August of 1933, he was fired and Johnson took his place as manager of Cleveland.
Sources: Washington Post, Retrosheet, Baseball-reference.com