The Washington Nationals will play the first major league post season game in D.C. since 1933 on Wednesday. Washington will face the St. Louis Cardinals in game three of the NL Divisional Series. This is what it was like 79 years ago when the Washington Senators took the field for game five of the 1933 World Series.
The Senators were an American League team. Their 99-53 record was the best in baseball. The team was led by three .300 hitters in Heinie Manush, Buddy Myer and Joe Kuhel. The pitching staff was led by General Crowder and Earl Whitehill.
Washington defeated the New York Yankees of Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, Bill Dickey and an aging Babe Ruth by seven games to win the pennant. In the World Series they faced the New York Giants who were led by outfielder Mel Ott and pitchers Carl Hubbell, Hal Schumacher and Fat Freddie Fitzsimmons.
After losing the first two games at the Polo Grounds in New York, Washington returned home and won game three behind Whitehill 4-0. Game four went to the Giants and Hubbell. This set up a do-or-die matchup for the Senators and Crowder.
A paid attendance of 28,454 filled Griffith Stadium on Saturday afternoon October 7. A lower grandstand seat cost all of $5.50. In the three games played at Griffith, the Senators drew over 80,000 fans. With a season on the line game five drew the biggest crowd.
There was no television in 1933, so the only way to catch the game was in person or by radio. The Giants-Senators World Series was the last broadcast with no rights fees. Ford Motor Company bought them in 1934. The game was broadcast by CBS and NBC. Fred Hoey and France Laux called the play by play for CBS while Hal Totten did the honors for NBC.
As for the game itself, Ott decided it was time to win a championship and hit a two run homer off of Crowder in the top of the second. In the sixth, Crowder was knocked out of the box as Gus Mancuso doubled to score Kiddo Davis.
Trailing 3-0 Washington rallied in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs Manush and player-manager Joe Cronin singled. Fred Schulte hit a three run homer to tie the score. Kuhel singled. Ossie Bluege singled him to third and Schumacher was taken out of the game. With the go ahead run 90 feet away Giants reliever Dolf Luque got Luke Sewell to ground out.
To the agony of Washington fans the game was still tied at three after nine innings.
In the tenth Ott once again decided to take matters into his own hands. He hit a home run over the center field fence and New York went ahead 4-3. In the bottom of the inning the Senators were down to their last out when Cronin singled and Schulte walked. With the tying and winning runs on base Kuhel came to the plate. The man who batted .322 during the regular season, but only .150 in the series, struck out to end the game.
A disappointed Washington crowd went home never to see an MLB post season for 79 years.