1932 Washington Nationals
Manager: Walter Johnson 4th Season (4th with Washington 350-264-3)
93 W 61 L 840 RS 716 RA 3rd AL 14 GB (New York 107-47-2)
5.45 RPG (AL = 5.23) 4.16 ERA (AL = 4.48)
.703 DER (1st AL)
Franchise (1901-1932) 2305-2488-75; 7-7 WS
1932 marked the end of Walter Johnson’s run as manager of his home team, the Washington Nationals. His 350-264 record was a very good one, but it never really made the team a contender in the era of Philadelphia-New York dominance, and it was clear from the moves made that Clark Griffith was ready to take the team in a new direction following the season.
The 1932 season was a good one for Washington, and the team won 90+ games for the third straight season. It wasn’t good enough for Johnson to keep his job, and after 26 years with the Washington organization, he was fired and out on his own. Johnson managed Cleveland for three years before he was out of major league baseball.
In October, Griffith named star shortstop Joe Cronin as the new manager of the Nats. Shortly after, Cronin and Griffith made several big moves, the biggest of which brought Goose Goslin back to Washington (unfortunately for Walter Johnson, that may have been one of the biggest reasons he was removed as manager- Goslin did not want to play for the former pitching star).
Bold = Player new to Washington in 1932
C Roy Spencer .246/.301/.284 1 HR -2.0 BFW 6 WS 12 FRAR 0.2 WARP3
The Nats had a glaring weakness behind the plate in 1932. Spencer, at age 32, had his worst season in the majors, and would be gone after the season. His main back up, Moe Berg, was an even worse hitter (.236/.266/.303).
1B Joe Kuhel .291/.353/.415 4 HR -0.9 BFW 10 WS 10 FRAR 2.6 WARP3
Kuhel improved slightly on his 1931 numbers, but he has another year to wait for his break out season.
2B Buddy Myer .279/.360/.426 5 HR -0.4 BFW 20 WS 15 FRAR 4.6 WARP3
Almost identical numbers to his 1931 campaign, with just a touch more slugging. Like a lot of Senators, Myer was a year away from a big season.
SS Joe Cronin .318/.393/.492 6 HR 3.8 BFW 31 WS 51 FRAR 10.7 WARP3
By 1932 it had become expected in Washington that Joe Cronin would have a great season. He did not disappoint, and once again was the best player on the team. By October of 1932 he will take over as manager of the team.
3B Ossie Bluege .258/.367/.347 5 HR 0.3 BFW 18 WS 42 FRAR 6.4 WARP3
Very few ground balls found their way through the left side of the Washington infield. Bluege equaled his best season according to FRAR (he also had 42 FRAR in 1927). On July 18, 1932, Bluege walked five times in a game against Detroit.
LF Heinie Manush .342/.383/.520 14 HR 1.9 BFW 28 WS 9 FRAR 6.7 WARP3
Manush easily led the team in home runs with 14, a number that also equaled his career high.
CF Sam West .287/.345/.412 6 HR 0.6 BFW 19 WS 32 FRAR 5.6 WARP3
After the season, West was traded to St. Louis in the deal that brought Goose Goslin back to Washington. Like Goslin, West will find his way back to Washington before his career his over.
RF Carl Reynolds .305/.332/.475 9 HR -0.1 BFW 13 WS 15 FRAR 3.6 WARP3
Reynolds came in the December 1931 trade that sent Bump Hadley and Sam Jones among others to the White Sox. Reynolds didn’t last long as a replacement for Sam Rice in right field, he was shipped to St. Louis after the season in the Goose Goslin trade.
OF Sam Rice .323/.391/.438 1 HR 0.5 BFW 11 WS 6 FRAR 2.6 WARP3
Rice was used as a back up, but still put up some pretty good numbers at the age of 42.
SP Alvin Crowder 26-13 3.33 ERA 1.21 WHIP 3.8 PW 30 WS 8.7 WARP3
Crowder really enjoyed playing the White Sox in 1932. He earned eight of his AL-best 26 wins against the Sox. 1932 was the best season in Crowder’s 11-year major league career. He also led the league in innings pitched, and was second in WHIP.
SP Monte Weaver 22-10 4.08 ERA 1.49 WHIP 0.8 PW 19 WS 4.4 WARP3
Monte Weaver seemingly came out of nowhere to win 22 games for the Nats in 1932. One of the few ballplayers in history to earn a master’s degree before he played, Weaver earned his in mathematics from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. While he was earning his MS, Weaver taught geometry, earning him the nickname “professor”. From Weaver’s biography at SABR’s BioProject:
Weaver’s Master’s thesis was titled “The companion to the litnus: the curve whose vectorial angle is proportional to the square of the arc length.” Inevitably, sportswriters would connect this topic to the curveball, no matter how many times he explained that it was an investigation of curves on railroad tracks.
He appeared in three games for Washington in the 1931 season, and had his best season in his official rookie year of 1932. Starting on July 4th, Weaver won eight straight decisions.
SP Lloyd Brown 15-12 4.44 ERA 1.45 WHIP -0.9 PW 12 WS 2.1 WARP3
Brown’s final season in Washington was his worst, and he became a throw-in of sorts in the Goose Goslin trade.
SP Tommy Thomas 8-7 3.54 ERA 1.37 WHIP 1.3 PW 10 WS 3.3 WARP3
Thomas had been the workhorse for the Chicago White Sox from 1926-1929, pitching in the 250+ innings each season (including 308 innings in 1927). By 1930, the work had caught up with Thomas, who could barely make it past the fifth inning. After a rough start with Chicago in 1932, Thomas was sold to Washington on June 11. His numbers down the stretch were encouraging, but he wouldn’t pitch more than 135 innings in any of his three seasons with Washington.
RP Firpo Marberry 8-4 4.01 ERA 1.39 WHIP 0.3 PW 16 WS 3.3 WARP3
1932 would mark Firpo’s 10th, and really his final season in Washington (though he will return for five games in his final season of 1936). Marberry started as one of the first bullpen aces, and may have been one of the more valuable members of the franchise’s only World Championship so far. Later in his career he shifted to the starting rotation and had a lot of success there as well. His final line with Washington (including the five appearances in 1936):
117-71 3.59 ERA (117 ERA+) 11.8 PW 145 WS 41.8 WARP3
Firpo will be traded to Detroit after the season.
RP Bobby Burke 3-6 5.14 ERA 1.56 WHIP -0.6 PW 3 WS 0.8 WARP3
Aside from Marberry, there really wasn’t much else in the 1932 Washington bullpen. Burke may have been the most reliable option, which tells why most of the non-Firpo relief appearances came from members of the starting staff.
1932 World Series
The Yankees swept the Cubs, scoring 37 runs in four games. The hero was Lou Gehrig, who hit .529/.600/1.118 with 3 HR.