Golden Baseball Magazine

Post-Season Surprises

This feature discusses players who unexpectedly played key roles in the World Series or other post-season play .
Monte Pearson - 1936-39 World Series
Monte Pearson was by no means the top starter on the Yankees' staff during their four-season World Series winning streak (1936-39).

Here's his log for the four regular seasons.

1936 31 19 7 3.71
1937 20 9 3 3.17
1938 27 16 7 3.97
1939 20 12 5 4.49
Total 98 56 22 3.80

Here's what he did in the four World Series.

1936 1 1 0 2.00
1937 1 1 0 1.04
1938 1 1 0 1.00
1939 1 1 0 0.00
Total 4 4 0 1.01

Year-by-year performance in the Fall Classic.

  • Pearson had the lowest ERA (3.85) among the Yankees top five starters and the second-most victories (19) after Red Ruffing (20).
  • Yet Manager Joe McCarthy didn't start Monte until the 4th game of the World Series against the New York Giants. Pearson scattered seven hits in the complete game 5-2 victory that gave the Yanks a three-to-one edge on their way to a six-game triumph.
  • Plagued by a sore arm, Pearson started only 20 games, winning 9 and losing 3.
  • Still, McCarthy sent him to the hill for Game 3 against the Giants. Like Lefty Gomez and Red Ruffing in the first two games, Monte allowed only one run. With the score 5-1 and the bases loaded, Johnny Murphy got the last out to earn what would later be known as a save.
  • Pearson had the third-most wins (16) and the fourth lowest ERA (3.97) among the five starters.
  • By October, he suffered from a dead arm. Doctors advised him to undergo surgery for a spur on his elbow.
  • Despite the handicap, Monte pitched a complete game 5-2 victory in Game 3 of the four-game sweep of the Cubs. He struck out nine.
  • During the off-season, Pearson rejected the Yankees' initial contract offer, which was $10,000, the same salary he made the year before. Eventually, he signed for $13,500.
  • Although he compiled the seventh-highest winning % in the American League (.706), his ERA ballooned to 4.49 because his arm woes returned.
  • Monte pitched a masterpiece in Game 2 of the four-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds. He retired the first 22 batters he faced before giving up a single to Ernie Lombardi. He allowed another single to Billy Werber with two outs in the 9th before completing the 4-0 shutout.

Pearson started the 1940 season well enough to earn selection to the All-Star Game although he didn't pitch in it.

  • A week after the game, he tore a shoulder ligament while pitching a complete game victory.
  • A full examination of his arm caused doctors to shut down his season. During the off-season, the Yankees traded to the Reds.
  • He pitched in seven games for Cincy before he was released, never to return to the big leagues.

Monte Pearson

Joe McCarthy

Lefty Gomez

Red Ruffing