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The 19 greatest starts in Cubs history, No. 8: Pat Malone, August 18, 1934

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This good 1930s pitcher has been nearly forgotten.

Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images

The Cubs of the 1930s were contenders nearly every year, winning four pennants (if you include the cusp-of-the-30s 1929 team).

Pat Malone was a solid rotation starter for the Cubs from 1928-34, having his best years in 1929 and 1930 when he was a 20-game winner both seasons. In ‘29 he finished 19th in N.L. MVP voting.

There was talk throughout Malone’s career that he liked the nightlife a little too much and might have had an alcohol problem. He’d had some run-ins with manager Charlie Grimm through the 1934 season, but on a warm August afternoon at Wrigley Field that year, Malone pitched the game of his life.

He allowed two hits and a walk, but faced just 28 batters, one over the minimum, as one of the runners he allowed was caught attempting to steal and another was erased on a double play and the Cubs beat the Phillies 2-0.

Of this game, Edward Burns wrote in the Tribune:

Malone in the course of his masterpiece fanned twelve, there being not one inning in which he did not snare at least one whiff victim. Only three Phillies reached first; only one got to second and none to third. G. Davis’ pass in the eighth was the only one issued by Malone.

Malone could scarcely have afforded to be less able than he was, for he struck a Tartar in his elongated old time Cub boy friend, Snipe Hansen. The Cubs made ten hits off Snipe, but six of them were infield scratches and Malone had only a one-run working lead until Chiozza tossed the Cubs their second marker in the eighth.

I looked up the phrase “struck a Tartar” and it appears it was in somewhat common usage in newspapers in the first three decades of the 20th Century. I could not, however, figure out the meaning from the context of any of them, nor from the context here. So there’s a mystery for you to solve.

As for Malone, the Cubs tired of his carousing — Malone had been “inseparable drinking buddies” with Hack Wilson, per Malone’s SABR bio — and traded him to the Cardinals for catcher Ken O’Dea. Malone refused to report to the Cards and they wound up selling him to the Yankees, where he was reunited with his first manager, Joe McCarthy.

Malone spent three years as a reliever/spot starter for the Yankees and pitched for them in the 1936 World Series. Just seven years later he died, aged just 40, of acute pancreatitis, which could have been caused by alcoholism. Sad, really.

But for one day in 1934, Pat Malone posted one of the greatest outings for a starting pitcher in Cubs history, with a Game Score of 94.