Suspicions Existed About the St. Louis Cardinals’ Miracle 1934 Pennant

The St. Louis Cardinals had staged one of baseball’s greatest miracles when they overtook the New York Giants to win the 1934 pennant. They went on to defeat the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, just as the 2006 Cardinals would do.

In 2006, television cameras revealed that Detroit Tigers’ left-hander Kenny Rogers had a brown substance just below the thumb of his left hand. Rogers claimed that it was dirt on his inner palm. Major League Baseball spokesman Rich Levin said the incident was investigated and the substance was described as dirt.

In 1934, there were no suspicions with respect to the World Series, but the pennant race was a different matter.

National League president John Heydler addressed some dark thoughts with respect to the exciting race.

About one month after the regular season ended, Mr. Heydler disclosed how he had kept all the games played by the contenders under close surveillance in order to avoid any scandal.

Shades of Homeland Security, FEMA, ATF, NSA, the FBI and the CIA.

Nothing would have been publicized, but Mr. Heydler realized that there were suspicions that the Cincinnati Reds’ performances had been under great scrutiny. He admitted that surveillance had occurred.

The last place Reds dropped their last four games of the season to the Cardinals, while the sixth place Brooklyn Dodgers took two vital games from the Giants, resulting in the Cards finishing two games ahead of the Giants.

Mr. Heydler denied that the Reds had been checked more closely than any other team.

“There is no basis for any suggestion that we had cast suspicious eyes at the performance of the Reds. I had reports immediately after every game participated in not only by New York and St. Louis, but by the contestants for fourth place. I had my confidential representatives watching not only what took place on the playing field but off the field.”

The specifics were released.

1. What was the character of baseball played against New York and St. Louis by otherwise hopelessly beaten clubs?

2. Did they present their best lineups and a fair rotation of their pitchers?

3. Did they put forth their best efforts?

4. Were any decisions made that could possibly lead to a protested game or that could be construed as discriminating against either contesting club?

It was explained that the league didn’t want a repeat of the Dolan-O’Connell scandal of 1924.

After the Giants had won their fourth consecutive pennant, there were accusations that some Giants’ players had offered Philadelphia Phillies’ shortstop Henie Sand a bribe of $500 to “lay down” during the final games between the two teams.

The players involved were young Giants’ outfielder Jimmy O’Connell, who claimed that he was put up to the dastardly deed by first base coach Cozy Dolan. O’Connell also claimed that Frankie Frisch, Ross Youngs, and George Kelly of the Giants knew about the scheme.

Frisch, Youngs, and Kelly denied any involvement and insisted that it was only a joke.

Commissioner Landis held secret meetings, after which it was announced that young Giants’ outfielder Jimmy O’Connell and first base coach Cozy Dolan were banned from baseball for life. Frisch, Youngs, and Kelly, were exonerated of any wrong doing.

Few individuals thought that the 1924 Giants would lose their final two games to the Phillies while second place Brooklyn would win two from the Boston Braves to tie for the pennant. but the possibility existed.

It turned out that Boston beat Brooklyn and the Giants beat the Phillies without help from Henie Sand.

Baseball could have used John Heydler when Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte,Jason Giambi, Dave Martinez and many others played the game.


By The Associated Press.. (1934, November 1). HEYDLER UPHOLDS PLAYERS’ INTEGRITY :Discloses Strict Surveillance of Critical Games in National League Pennant Race. New York Times (1857-Current file),27. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2006). (Document ID: 94577136)

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