It’s October 1, 1932. We’re at Wrigley Field, Chicago. The count is 2-2 in a Yankees vs Cubs World Series. It’s Game 3 with the series being led by the Yankees 2-0. Babe Ruth, the batter at the plate, pointed in the CF area, and you know what will happen next. But everything that made this moment special, were the moments that led up to it.
Let’s start with the Cubs. It’s 1930. The Cubs have finished 90-64, good for 2nd place in the National League. They were only 2 games out of making the World Series. Most predicted that the Cubs would make the World Series in 1931, but that didn’t happen. Instead the Cubs winded up 84-70, far from ordeal for them. It was angering to see their stats, and then their finish. They finished 1931 with a .289 team BA. The problem was the pitching. Charlie Root was a veteran pitcher, and he finished 17-14 with a 3.48 ERA. Aside from him and Bob Smith, the ERAs were disastrous. The team ERA was 3.97.
Fast forward to the next year, 1932. Something has changed about this team, and it’s pitching. One person in particular. His name is Lon Warneke. He finished the year 22-6 with a 2.37 ERA, and the team ERA is down to 3.44. Even though their record is 90-64, they’re back in the World Series. The next closest team to them is the Pirates, and they had a -0.1 run differential. So you can imagine. This wasn’t a great Pirates team. The matchup for the 1932 World Series? The Yankees.
The Yankees were the most feared team in baseball, but this dates back for awhile. But let’s go back to 1930. The Yankees had a freakish team, and I will prove that in one stat. In their starters, 7 out of 9 were above .300, and everyone was above .285. EVERYONE. The pitching was horrendous, though, and that’s why they finished 86-68, 3rd place in the AL.
It’s 1931. The team is still led by Babe Ruth, 7 out of 9 people in the starting lineup had an average above .300. The pitching had one star, Lefty Gomez. He would go 21-9 with a 2.67 ERA. So the Yankees were due in 1932. They finished 107-47, and blew away the AL. This year, it’s a combo of both hitting and pitching. The Yankees were unstoppable at home in the Bronx, as they went 62-15 at home.
So here we are. It’s the World Series. The Yankees took game 1 behind a Red Ruffing complete game. Keep in mind the score was 12-6. And Ruffing threw a COMPLETE GAME! Times were different. Babe Ruth went 1-3 with 2 walks, and Lou Gehrig homered and went 2-4. For the Cubs, Billy Herman led the way. He went 2-5 with 1 RBI and 2 runs.
Game 2 was still in the Bronx. This time it’s a Lefty Gomez start for the Yankees. Gomez threw a complete game, giving up 2 runs, 1 earned run. Lou Gehrig went 3-4 with 2 runs and 1 RBI. It was Riggs Stephenson leading the way for the Cubs, and he went 2-4 with a run and an RBI.
Now it’s Game 3. Babe Ruth homered in the 1st inning, and the Yankees got darn close to scoring again before the inning ended. But after the Cubs tied it after 1, it looked like we had a game on our hands. There wouldn’t be scoring again until the third, when Lou Gehrig led off the inning with a home run. When the Cubs scored 2 in the bottom of the third, it looked like we could have a game again with the score being 4-3 Yankees. The Cubs tied it at 4 in the bottom of 4, and that’s when the fifth inning started. Joe Sewell Grounded out to SS, and then Babe Ruth stepped up to the plate.
We had seen a Yankees team trying to pull away in the World Series, and we had seen a Cubs team trying desperately to get back in the game. Most knew that when it happened, it would be remembered forever.
Babe Ruth stepped in the batter’s box in a 2-1 count, and Cubs pitcher Charlie Root quick-pitched Ruth. Ruth, either pointed at CF or Root, but we do know what happens next. Ruth hits a monster home run to deep, deep CF.
Ruth would later confirm that he was pointing to CF.
The Yankees would sweep the Cubs, and Babe Ruth dominated the World Series.