AL Changed Schedule for Gehrig at 1st AS Game

Lou Gehrig, 1939 Six Years Earlier, AL President WIll Harridge Saved Gehrig's Run at the Consecutive Games Played MLB Record.

Lou Gehrig, 1939
Six Years Earlier, AL President WIll Harridge Saved Gehrig’s Run at the Consecutive Games Played MLB Record.

As we all know, our coast-to-coast Major League Baseball alignment of 30 clubs was all made possible by the jet-propelled commercial aircraft. Today we simply take for granted that all stars playing in games for their regular clubs on the previous Sunday will have no problems being on the field in Cincinnati two days later for a Tuesday evening All Star Game.

Things weren’t that simple in the summer of 1933, the year of the first All Star Game. The game was scheduled for Thursday afternoon, July 6, 1933, at Comiskey Park in Chicago, but no prior attention had gone into the planning of the regular season schedule to accommodate a super-star game that had been promoted into existence by Chicago sportswriter Arch Ward without any thought as to how that was going to effect the teams and their all star players who already were scheduled to play regular season games for the 16-clubs that comprised the big leagues in those days from upper east coast of Boston to the midwestern city of St. Louis. It wasn’t a problem in every instance, but it was enough to merit attention as a problem.

Without any change, the games scheduled for Wednesday, July 5, 1933 were going to require all star member clubs in cities far away from Chicago to play those games without one or more their best players. Most of those “All Stars” were going to need that July 5th time to travel by train to Chicago.

The biggest rationale for making some schedule change came to the attention of AL President Will Harridge. The New York Yankees were scheduled to play a game in Washington against the Senators on July 5th. That meant that the Yankees All Stars would have to miss that game and use July 5th for train travel to Chicago.

Lou Gehrig’s run at Everett Scott’s consecutive games played record of 1,307 was just a little shy at this point, but the fly of interest in baseball circles suddenly crash-landed in the soup of the AL standing pat on this matter. Without any change to the New York @ Washington game scheduled for July 5, 1933, Gehrig’s growing reputation as “The Iron Horse” was likely to fall as a victim to his July 5th ride on a regular “iron horse” ride to Chicago.

Will Harridge took action to avoid that unintended consequence of the first All Star Game. The AL President postponed the scheduled NY game in Washington of July 5th to a time to be determined later. Gehrig and his other Yankee All Star mates, including the great Babe Ruth, would be free to travel without causing an end to Gehrig’s games-played run until 1939.

A few other pre and post All Star event regular season games had to be rescheduled to accommodate other players and clubs, but that’s simply how things were done back in 1933. It’s hard to imagine that kind of SNAFU coming up in MLB today. Today the MLB schedule makers stumble over deeper, less controllable holes – like, how do you place a Central Time zone club in a division in which most of the other clubs are located in the Pacific Time zone – and then create a mostly night game schedule of games that will be so attractive that the Central Time zone fans will want to stay awake during the week and watch their clubs play games on television that start at 9:00 PM?

This information and further notes on the 1933 first MLB All Star Game are available in a nice article by Todd Radom for The Sporting News at the following link:

http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2015-07-06/mlb-all-star-game-lou-gehrig-consecutive-games-played-streak-alive-new-york-yankees-1933

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THE PECAN PARK EAGLE

THE PECAN PARK EAGLE

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