Baseball postseason in the Daily Worker – 80 years ago
The Daily Worker Sports page from October 10, 1938. | People's World Archives

Baseball’s biggest rivalry heads to Game 4 of the American League (AL) division series as the Boston Red Sox fight to eliminate the New York Yankees tonight.

The Yanks were thrashed last night by the Red Sox and suffered their worst loss, 16-1, in franchise history.

“An embarrassing day,” Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius said.

Rick Porcello will start Game 4 for Boston.

New York Veteran CC Sabathia will make his 23rd,  and likely final, career postseason appearance. He’s made 17 of those as a Yankee, going 8-3 with a 3.29 ERA.

But before you settle in to see what Boston has lined up, let’s take a look at the postseason 80 years ago—guess who was playing.

Al Neal, People’s World Sports Desk


Daily Worker—October 10, 1938

Hail to the mightiest team in baseball annals, the New York Yankees, who crushed the Chicago Cubs today for the fourth straight time, 8-3, and became the first club ever to capture three consecutive world’s championships.

Where John J. McGraw and Connie Mack, two of baseball’s greatest strategists, failed in the quest of three in a row, Joseph Vincent McCarthy, who never played a game of major league baseball, succeed in leading the Yanks to a goal never before attained in 35 years of World Series play.

But great manager and fine strategist as he is, Joseph Vincent must pay due credit to what now looks conclusively, and without any further argument, like the greatest baseball team ever assembled.

With little Frankie Crosetti, the slim, dark-eyed Italian from San Francisco’s telegraph hill again playing the hero’s role before a throng of 59, 847 persons, the Yanks butchered the Cubs in a game which shifted swiftly from a tense, hard-fought battle into a rout at the finish.

Ruffin Puts Over Clincher

Red Ruffing, once a soft coal miner in southern Illinois, bridged the gap over which no other team has ever passed when he hurled his second victory of the series.

Manager Gabby Hartnet4t, who benched himself in an effort to break the spell of Cubs’ defense, used every resource at his command in a desperate bid to salvage something from the maddening series. He poured 17 cub players into the game, using six of the eight pitchers on his staff in a dying effort to head off the murderous Stadiumites.

The last Cub spurt really proved their death warrant, when Jimmy O’Dea, young Cub catcher who wore the harness of Gabby Hartnett today, blasted a home run into the right-field stands, shunting Phil Cavarretta home ahead of him and cutting the Yanks lead to 4-3, he touched off the spark that produced the final flare of Yankee glory.

Even the crowd, largely Yankee partisans, was pulling for the visitors to make a series of it.

In their half of the eight McCarthy’s men really went to work, and when the smoke cleared they had pulled the National League champions into sections and laid them out for inspection.

Four pitchers, including the pathetic Dizzy Dean, were trotted out by Hartnett in his futile attempt to smother the Yankee attack.

With one down in the eight, Joe DiMaggio, who had done hitless in his first three trips to the plate, lifted a single into left, Lou Gehrig, who hadn’t driven the ball out of the infield in his first three appearances, followed with a line single into right.

Vance Page, Cubs’ rookie who had taken over the pitching assignment following Big Bill Lee and Charley Root, was taken out in favor of left-handed Larry French. French’s job was to get Bill Dickey, a left-handed hitter.

After Dickey had worked the count to 3-2, he popped to shortstop Jurges for the second out. With right-handed hitting Myril Hoag coming up, Hartnett decided to trust a right-handed pitcher to stop him. He chose Tex Carleton.

It was a bad selection. Carleton uncorked a pitch three feet outside the plate and DiMaggio trotted home.

Gehrig moved to second. Then Hoag slapped a double into left, scoring Gehrig. Joe Gordon who was purposely passed and another wild pitch by Carleton allowed Hoag to go to third. Then Gordon stole second, and Carleton walked Ruffing, filling the bases.

Fates Again Smite Dean

Dizzy Dean, who was a Yankee victim in the dramatic second game, came striding from the bullpen, a thundering ovation from the crowd ringing in his hears. With the bases loaded and the air charged with drama, it was the kind of spot dean loves dearly. But the same fates which mocked him in Chicago scorned him once more.

Little Frank Crosetti, the supposedly weak-hitting Yankee shortstop who broke Dean’s heart with his eighth-inning homer in the second game, was up there facing Dizzy. On the second pitch, Crosetti dropped a short, high fly into left field which Frank Demaroe, playing deep, was unable to reach. It went for a double and Hoag and Gordon scored. Rolfe lined to Cullins to end the rout.

It was another great day for Crosetti, who slashed out a triple in the second inning and drove in four runs, enough to win for the Yanks.

Lee gave way for a pinch-hitter in the fourth, and 29-year-old Charley Root went to the slap, erasing the Yanks in order in the fourth and fifth. Then Tommy Henrich greeted Root with a line drive homer into the right-field stands at the start of the sixth. This eventually proved the winning run.

Cavaretta started the Cub eighth with another double to right, but Marty fanned and Demaree ruled out. Then O’Dea came through with his homer into the right fired stands, and the Cubs were back in the ballgame, trailing by one run.

The Cubs hopes were short-lived, however, as the Yankee assassins ripped them apart in the fatal eighth and five minutes later the tired and weary Chicago players reeled out of the arena.


Special to People’s World
Special to People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.