Game of the Week: August 8, 1935: Tigers’ ‘Battalion of Death’ Rescues Starter General Crowder

From the SABR Games Project:

The Detroit Tigers won the 1934 American League pennant with the help of an outstanding infield: Hank Greenberg at first base, Charlie Gehringer at second, Billy Rogell at short, and Marv Owen at third. Dubbed the “Battalion of Death,” the quartet delivered offensive firepower and defended with military precision.

On August 7, 1935, the Tigers were in first place when the Chicago White Sox arrived in Detroit for a four-game series. The White Sox were a surprise in 1935: They had finished dead last the year before, but on August 7, they were in third place, eight games behind the Tigers. Moreover, they had won eight of 12 games against the defending champions.

Both teams were led by feisty playing managers, the Tigers by catcher Mickey Cochrane and the White Sox by third baseman Jimmy Dykes. Cochrane and Dykes were teammates for eight seasons on Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics. Unlike the “quiet and dignified” Mack, Cochrane and Dykes were “hustling, barking, meddlesome young men with hair-trigger tempers and bruised shins,” said sportswriter John Lardner.

The first game of the series was played on Thursday, August 8, with the temperature in the high 70s. Attendance at Navin Field was reported to be 22,000. Live play-by-play could be heard on radio in Michigan, from Ty Tyson on WWJ, and from former Tiger great Harry Heilmann on WXYZ.

Detroit’s starting pitcher was Alvin “General” Crowder, a savvy 36-year-old right-hander who “relied on his pitching instincts, sliders, sinkers, and offspeed pitches.”

Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *