Golden Baseball Magazine
Baseball's Memorable Games
The articles in this series focus on interesting games from baseball's rich history.
A game may be interesting because of its importance (for example, World Series Game 7s
or the last game of a pennant race), because of the individual achievements involved
(for example, a no-hitter or a four-homer game), or because of the wacky events that
occurred during the contest.
September 16, 1930 Cardinals @ Robins
On Monday, September 15, 1930, the first-place Brooklyn Robins beat the Cincinnati Reds for their 11th victory in a row.
  • The next day, the Robins began accepting applications for World Series tickets. The total cost for the three games was $19.80 for a box seat and $16.50 for a reserved seat in the grandstand.
  • That same day, the Cardinals began a three-game series at Ebbets Field. The Redbirds arrived in Flatbush just a game behind and a half-game ahead of the third-place Cubs.
  • Those were hardly large leads that justified the Robins selling Series ducats.
  • Heading into their last series against St. Louis, Brooklyn was 11-7 against the Redbirds in 1930.

The Robins were hot but faced several challenges in the crucial series.

  • Their fine CF Johnny Frederick had pulled a hamstring.
  • LF Rube Bressler had broken a finger while trying to make a difficult catch.
    The Cards had a problem of their own. P Flint Rhem, a free spirit dubbed "Bad Boy" Rhem by the press, had won his sixth straight game September 12 at the Polo Grounds and was penciled in to start the opener against the Robins. When the Cardinals returned to New York City after winning two of three at Boston against the Braves, Rhem did not return to the team hotel the night before the first game in Brooklyn and didn't show up at the ballpark the next day. When he appeared at Ebbets Field the second day of the big series, newsmen demanded an explanation. Tongue in cheek, one reporter asked Flint whether he'd been kidnaped. Inspired, Rhem concocted a story for the skeptical writers. While standing outside the hotel, a big black limousine drove up. A passenger called him over, and occupants of the vehicle forced him inside at gunpoint. They drove him to a secret hideaway where they forced cups of whiskey down his throat.
Starting Lineups
St. Louis Cardinals
Taylor Douthit CF .301
Sparky Adams 3B .310
Frankie Frisch 2B .341
Jim Bottomley 1B .293
Chick Hafey LF .346
George Watkins RF .362
Gus Mancuso C .366
Charlie Gelbert SS .304
Brooklyn Robins
Eddie Moore CF .272
Wally Gilbert 3B .298
Babe Herman RF .396
Glenn Wright SS .325
Del Bissonette 1B .335
Harvey Hendrick LF .260
Neal Finn 2B .281
Al Lopez C .318

The first game of the series drew 28,000 to Ebbets Field on a Tuesday afternoon.

  • The opener pitted southpaw Bill Hallahan (9-5) replacing Rhem for the Cards vs Dazzy Vance (16-13) for Brooklyn.
    Hallahan pitched with two fingers of his right hand packed in salve.The night of Rhem's "kidnaping," Bill and teammate Ray Blades came out of a movie and hailed a cab to return to the hotel. As Bill told it, "I got in and pinched my hand in the door. My right hand, across the fingers. Back at the hotel, Doc Weaver applied heat and cold. Did it ever hurt! (GM Branch) Rickey came in and asked if I could pitch. I said, 'I pitch with my left hand, Mr. Rickey.'"
  • Both starters were on their games, each twirling a nine-inning shutout. Hallahan was slightly better, retiring the first 20 batters before giving up four hits and walking none. Vance surrendered six hits and walked none.
    The pitching performances were remarkable given the fact that 1930 set all-time records for hitting thanks to tighter-wound baseballs that the majors ordered in hopes of increasing the number of home runs to put more fans in the stands.
    The 1930 Cardinals batted .314 for the season, which was good for only third place in the National League, but led the league by scoring 1,004 runs. The Robins hit "only" .304.
  • The closest the Cards came to scoring happened in the 6th. Sparky Adams led off with a single to LF, one of his four safeties in the game. He took 2nd on Frankie Frisch's groundout and Jim Bottomley's fly to CF (which counted as a sacrifice fly that year because it advanced the runner to 3rd). With Chick Hafey at bat, Adams took off for home. Vance cut short his windup and threw at Hafey. Adams recalled, "Vance just lobbed the ball, and Hafey stood there and let the ball hit him. I was across the plate when the ball hit him. If he had moved out of the way ..."
  • In the Brooklyn 8th, Harvey Hendrick singled with one out. Brooklyn manager Wilbert Robinson, the team's namesake, called for a hit-and-run, but Neal "Mickey" Finn took the pitch and Hendrick was out at second. Finn then singled and tried to stretch it into a double. He crashed into SS Charley Gelbert, who was knocked cold. Finn was safe but woozy. When he tottered off the base, Hallahan alertly picked up the loose ball and tagged him out.
  • The visitors finally broke the scoring ice in the 10th. Andy High, who had taken over at 3B when Adams moved to SS to replace Gelbert, doubled and went to third on Hallahan's sacrifice. Taylor Douthit drove him home with a single.
  • The Robins' half inning began promisingly when Glenn Wright doubled to the LCF gap. Del Bissonette walked, and Hendrick bunted the runners to 2nd and 3rd. Jake Flowers pinch hit for Finn, but Cardinals manager Gabby Street ordered Hallahan to walk him intentionally to set up a force at home or a double play. Roscoe McGowan reported what happened next in the New York Times: "Al Lopez blazed a drive to Sparky Adams's right, which bounded away from the Cardinal shortstop and it seemed a certainty that at least the tying run would be scored. But here came one of the fastest double plays on record. Adams recovered the ball, tossed to Frankie Frisch, and the Fordham Flash rifled it to Bottomley to end the game so suddenly that the fans scarcely registered it was over."

L-R: Sparky Adams, Frankie Frisch, Jim Bottomley and ChickHafey
With Rhem still in no shape to pitch, the second game of the series before another full house found the teams tied again going into the 9th, this time at 3-3.
  • Brooklyn hurler Dolf Luque retired the first two batters. Then he walked C Gus Mancuso. Gelbert hit a scratch single. Street sent up High to pinch hit, and he came through, doubling to RF to score Ernie Orsatti, running for Mancuso, and Gelbert.
    High, an ex-Robin, explained afterward that he was able to hit his double because "Robinson never thought it necessary to change the signs."
  • Jim Lindsey came in from the bullpen and set down the Robins 1-2-3 to give the Cards a one game lead in the pennant race.

L-R: Wilbert Robinson, Neal Finn, Glenn Wright, Jake Flowers
In the final game of the series, the Redbirds jumped ahead 3-0 in the 4th before 28,000.
  • The key hits were Frisch's triple that scored Adams and Bottomley's home run over the RF wall.
  • The Redbirds added what would turn out to be the winning run in the 6th when Douthit tripled and Frisch grounded out.
  • 36-year-old Burleigh Grimes, a Brooklyn mainstay from 1918-1926 and one of the last spitballers, gave up a run in the 6th on a sacrifice fly by Babe Herman, who struck again with a homer in the 8th. In an era when teams rarely used closers, Grimes got into hot water in the 9th. With one out, Hendrick and Ike Boone delivered singles to put runners on 1st and 3rd. As in the first game, Lopez hit a grounder to SS but this time beat the double play throw to 1st to make it 4-3. But Burleigh got Flowers to popout to complete the sweep.

The Cardinals left Brooklyn two games in front and never looked back.

  • Their winning streak reached five before they lost to the Phillies.
  • Then the Redbirds won four more in a row to go up by three with two games left to clinch the pennant.
  • The Robins' losing streak reached seven before they finally won a game. They finished fourth behind the Cubs and New York Giants.

L-R: Al Lopez, Dolph Luque, Burleigh Grimes, Ike Boone
References: Two Spectacular Seasons: 1930 and 1968, William B. Mead (1990)
The St. Louis Cardinals - the First Century: A Short History of the National League's Greatest Team, Mario Vricella (1992)

Flint Rhem

Bill Hallahan

Dazzy Vance

Charley Gelbert

Andy High

Taylor Douthit

Del Bissonette

Gabby Street

Gus Mancuso

Ernie Orsatti

Jim Lindsey

Babe Herman