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A Game From Cubs History: September 14, 1933

The Cubs made a run at the pennant again in 1933, but fell short.

Courtesy Mike Bojanowski

The 1933 Cubs couldn't repeat the success of 1932. The team dropped to third place in the National League in both run-scoring and run prevention, and so the third-place finish, six games behind, shouldn't be much of a surprise. The team also had tremendous trouble winning on the road. They won 56 home games -- to this day, the club record -- but went just 30-45 away from Wrigley Field.

But they made a run at it in September; in those days, teams tended to play tremendously long homestands (compared to today), then go on comparably long road trips (maybe that's the reason this Cubs team couldn't win on the road). They began a 23-game (!) homestand September 3, lost the first game, then reeled off 10 wins in 11 games (a five-game winning streak, a loss, then another five-game winning streak).

The last of those wins came September 14 on a rainy day against the Giants. Irving Vaughn of the Tribune has the story:

Babe Herman, the same Babe who recently was benched because his comics in the field did not fit in with the Cubs' idea of baseball, had his big moment yesterday. In the role of a pinch hitter the much abused Babe came through with a double in the ninth inning. Two runs were woven around the hit and the Cubs, clinging tenaciously to their threadlike pennant hope, charged to a 4 to 3 victory over the league leading but apparently jumpy Giants. The last minute reverse cut the percentage advantage of the New Yorkers to five and one-half games.

The sudden ninth inning flareup of the Cubs completed a program that started as a double header. A steady drizzle descended during the battle, but the umpires could not take it for more than nine innings. They consulted about the possible loss of the creases in their trousers and announced the second show would not start. It was good news to the Giants who were punch drunk, but not to the Cubs.

Anyway, the Cubs made merry at the expense of the enemy leaders. They should have been retired runless, but they kept the inning going until two had scored, one of the pair being the result of another blunder. This one was in the shape of a fumble by Blondy Ryan, who also was jittery on a couple of other plays.

I'm assuming Vaughn was being sarcastic about the umpires and their "trousers"; can you imagine a game in 2012 being called off due to "a steady drizzle"? The postponement forced back-to-back doubleheaders on September 15 (which had been previously scheduled) and September 16. The Cubs, hot as they were, could have cut further into the Giants' lead; instead, the visiting New Yorkers swept both of them, eliminating the Cubs from the pennant race by putting them 9½ games behind with nine remaining.