The 1931 World Series — Athletics and Cardinals


By Ron Griffitts

Contributing columnist

In fall 1931, the American League champion Philadelphia Athletics (107-45-1) managed by Connie Mack met the St. Louis Cardinals (101-53) managed by Gabby Street.

The defending champion Athletics were led on offense by Mickey Cochrane ( .349 BA, 17 HR, 89 RBI, 87 RS), Jimmy Foxx ( .291 BA, 30 HR, 120 RBI, 93 RS, 10 3B), Max Bishop ( ,294, 115 RS, 112 BB), Al Simmons ( .390 BA, 22 HR, 128 RBI, 105 RS, 200 H) and Mule Haas ( .323 BA, 82 RS).

Their pitching staff was led by the American League MVP and the most dominant pitcher of his day, Lefty Grove (31-4, 2.06 ERA), Rube Walberg (20-12), George Earnshaw (21-7), Roy Mahaffey (15-4), Waite Hoyt (10-5) and Eddie Rommel (7-5, 2.97 ERA).

The Cardinals were led by Jim Bottomley (.348 BA), National League MVP Frankie Frisch (.311 BA, 82 RBI, 96 RS, 28 SB), Sparky Adams (.293 BA, 97 RS), George Watkins (.288 BA, 13 HR, 93 RS, 13 3B), Chick Hafey (.349 BA, 16 HR, 94 RS), Pepper Martin (.300 BA) and Ripper Collins (.301 BA).

Their pitching staff was anchored by Bill Hallahan (19-9), Burleigh Grimes (17-9), Paul Derringer (18-8) and Jesse Haines (12-3) with Jim Lindsey (6-4, 2.77 ERA, 7 SV) and Allyn Stout (6-0, 3 SV) in the bullpen.

The series opened in Sportsman Park in St. Louis with Lefty Grove going for the Athletics and future Cincinnati Red Paul Derringer going to the mound for the Cardinals.

The Cards took a 2-0 lead in the first inning which lasted until the A’s scored four runs in the top of the third with a Jimmy Foxx single scoring Mule Haas and Mickey Cochrane to give the Athletics a 4-2 lead. Grove scattered 12 hits for a complete game 6-2 win with Al Simmons contributing a seventh inning two-run home run.

In game two, Cardinal starter Bill Hallahan quieted the Philadelphia bats with a complete game three-hitter for a 2-0 Cards’ win with RBI singles by Charlie Wilson and Charlie Geibert providing the St. Louis offense and the series is tied at 1-1.

For game three, the teams switched to Shibe Park in Philadelphia with thirty-seven year Burleigh Grimes opposing Lefty Grove. Grimes pitched a scoreless game until the bottom of the ninth inning when Al Simmons got to him for a two-run home run as the powerful A’s went seventeen innings without scoring a run.

Grimes helped his own cause with a two-run single in top of the fourth and St. Louis went on to a 5-2 win to go up 2-1 in the series.

In game four, the Athletics got good pitching from George Earnshaw, who threw a two-hit shutout, and with the help of a solo home run by Jimmie Foxx went on to a 3-0 win to tie the series at two games each.

The Cards bounced back with Bill Hallahan allowing just one run and pitching a complete game 5-1 victory helped by a two-run Pepper Martin home run, and the Cards went ahead in the series 3-2 as the teams go back to St. Louis to finish the series.

On the verge of elimination, Connie Mack gave the ball to Lefty Grove for his third series start and he held the Cardinals in check with five hits and one run while the Athletics erupted for eight runs for an 8-1 win to force a seventh game.

Cardinal manager Gabby Street sent Burleigh Grimes out to pitch the seventh game against George Earnshaw for the Athletics, and again Grimes was dominant as he held a 4-0 going into the top of the ninth inning.

He walked two hitters and had two outs when Doc Cramer singled in two runs and with two outs and two on, Bill Hallahan replaced Grimes and got the last batter to fly out to end the game for a 4-2 Cards win in the game and the World Series.

The Athletics were not back in the World Series until the Charlie Finley era in 1972 as the Oakland A’s while the Cards returned in 1934. Connie Mack, who was part owner of the team, played for eleven years in the major leagues and was the manager of the Athletics from 1901 to 1950 for a total of over 60 years in major league baseball. He won nine pennants and five World Series.

Paul Derringer appeared in the 1939 and 1940 World Series for the Cincinnati Reds with more success than in 1931, and Waite Hoyt formerly a star pitcher for the New York Yankees became a popular Cincinnati Reds radio announcer in the 1950’s and 1960,s.

Statistics for this article were from and

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