The 1932 World Series was played between the New York Yankees (American League) and the Chicago Cubs (National League), with the Yankees holding home field advantage. The Yankees swept the Cubs, four games to none. The series was otherwise noteworthy for Babe Ruth's "called shot", for his tenth and last World Series appearance overall, and for the arguments that developed between the two teams. The heated atmosphere started before the series even began.
In this Series played a record thirteen future Hall of Famers.
|1||Chicago Cubs - 6, New York Yankees - 12||September 28||Yankee Stadium||41,459|
|2||Chicago Cubs - 2, New York Yankees - 5||September 29||Yankee Stadium||50,709|
|3||New York Yankees - 7, Chicago Cubs - 5||October 1||Wrigley Field||49,986|
|4||New York Yankees - 13, Chicago Cubs - 6||October 2||Wrigley Field||49,844|
Roughly 50,000 Cubs fans showed up for Game 3, the large crowd made possible by the construction of temporary bleachers in Waveland and Sheffield Avenues. In a prelude of things to come, Ruth and Lou Gehrig put on an impressive batting display during batting practice. Ruth launched nine balls to the outfield stands while Gehrig hit seven. As reported in the first edition of A Day at the Park, by William Hartel, p.82, Ruth said while batting: "I'd play for half my salary if I could bat in this dump all the time!"
Cubs starting pitcher Charlie Root struggled in the first inning of game 3. The first two Yankees reached base when Ruth came to bat and hit a home run into the right-center bleachers to put the Yankees up 3-0. As the existing newsreel footage shows, Gehrig gave Ruth a friendly swat across the fanny as Ruth crossed the plate. Gehrig then hit a home run of his own in the third inning, echoing a homer he had hit at Wrigley while in high school. This put the Yankees up 4-1. The Cubs battled back with two runs in the third and one in the fourth, tying the score at four runs a piece. Joe Judge, who scored the tying run in the fourth, had doubled to right after Ruth dove in a futile attempt to catch the ball.
What happened in the top of the fifth inning is the stuff of legend. The series is immortalized in many history books for just that reason. Though Ruth and Gehrig each hit a home run in the inning [in back-to-back at-bats], it is Ruth’s hit that is the better known. Ruth supposedly predicted his home run by pointing to the stands prior to a pitch. While it has been confirmed that he pointed somewhere during the at-bat, there has been much debate as to whether Ruth actually "called" the home run, as there is a lack of solid evidence proving exactly what he was pointing at.
The initial cause of the bad tempers was over former Yankee shortstop Mark Koenig. The Cubs picked up Koenig from the Detroit Tigers via the Mission Reds of the PCL on April 25, 1932. Despite Koenig's regular-season contributions, the other Cubs players voted him only half a share of their World Series money because he only played in 33 games and was unable to play in the Series due to injury. Some of Koenig's Yankee friends heard of this; as a result, they began to criticize the Cubs players as "cheapskates" in the press. The Yankees felt the Cubs were being "tight" with their money.
Ruth's remarks seemed to set the Cubs players off the most when he called them cheapskates. Adding some spice to the verbal stew was the fact that the Yankees' manager, Joe McCarthy, had previously been fired by the Cubs. When the series started in New York, the Cubs players retaliated at Ruth by calling him fat and washed up along with every obscene name they could think of. Guy Bush, the Cubs starting pitcher in game 1, was particularly vocal against Ruth, calling him "nigger" (a common bench-jockey slam against Ruth due to his German-featured broad nose and thick lips), and this type of "banter" lasted for most of the Series.