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Random Game Callback, June 20, 1938
2006-06-20 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

The two-time defending World Series champions finished up a rain-plagued four game series against the St. Louis Browns with a win of a makeup game on a Monday afternoon before 2,337 lonely souls at Sportsman's Park, 8-4. The Yankees had dropped the first two games of the series and had played to a tie in the second game of a doubleheader.

The Yankees, managed by Joe McCarthy, had Spud Chandler starting. The 30-year old was in just his second year in the majors. Chandler is the only Yankee pitcher ever to win an MVP award (1943). St. Louis manager Gabby Street, who had managed the Cardinals to a World Series title in 1931, was trying right hander Les Tietje.

The Browns were giving the Yankees some trouble early in this game and led 2-1 after five innings. In the top of the sixth, center fielder Joe DiMaggio tripled and scored on a home run by first baseman Lou Gehrig. With two outs and Tommy Henrich aboard, rookie second baseman Joe Gordon homered to make it 5-2 Yankees. Then Chandler followed with another homer to make it 6-2 Yankees.

The Browns scored twice more in the bottom of the sixth to make it 6-4, but the Yankees scored twice more off of Tietje in the seventh for the 8-4 final score. Chandler pitched a complete game, giving up eight hits and three walks with just one strikeout, but it was enough to beat the Browns.

The Yankees moved into second place ahead of Boston and were just a game and a half behind first place Cleveland, where the Yankees were headed for a big three game series including a doubleheader at Municipal Stadium that was expected to draw 80,000. It actually drew "just" 67,549, perhaps losing some spectators who wanted to get ready for the Joe Louis-Max Schmeling fight (fought at Yankee Stadium and it drew 80,000). The Indians swept that three-game series, but the Yankees pulled away in July and August going 48-13. The Yankees won 99 games and beat out the Red Sox by 9 1/2 games for first place. Cleveland finished in third, 13 games out. The Browns were a distant seventh at 55-97. The Yankees would win the World Series in a four game sweep over the Cubs.

There were five future Hall of Fame players (not counting manager Joe McCarthy) on the Yankees: DiMaggio, Gehrig, catcher Bill Dickey, and pitchers Lefty Gomez and Red Ruffing. DiMaggio led the team with 32 home runs and 140 RBI while batting .324. Dickey hit 27 home runs and batted .313 and finished second in the MVP voting to Boston's Jimmie Foxx.

With the Great Depression still hurting baseball's attendance, the Yankees led the AL in attendance, but with just 970,916 fans for the season. The Browns drew just 130,417 fans.

The Browns had only two players of any quality: first baseman George McQuinn, who batted .324 with 12 home runs and third baseman Harlond Clift, who batted .290 with 34 home runs and an OBP of .423. Street would not last the year as manager and was let go late in the season and Ski Melillo finished up for the last 10 games.

Sources: Retrosheet,, New York Times

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