1935 Washington Nationals
Manager: Bucky Harris 12th Season (6th with Washington 496-420-10)
67 W 86 L 1 T 823 RS 903 RA 6th AL 27.0 GB (Detroit 93-58-1)
5.34 RPG (AL = 5.09) 5.25 ERA (AL = 4.46)
.668 DER (8th AL)
All Stars (2) Ossie Bluege, Buddy Myer
Franchise (1901-1935) 2529-2713-80; 8-11 WS
The first year of Bucky Harris’ second stint in Washington didn’t go nearly as well as his debut more than a decade earlier. In fact, 1935 was a bit of a bottoming out year in Washington. While they finished a half a game better than the previous year, the team looked to be in shambles.
The one bright spot in 1935 was probably the offense. Buddy Myer had a career season, while the Nats got good production from their catcher, center fielder, and right fielder. The combination of Ossie Bluege and Red Kress softened the blow of the Cronin loss, and the team actually scored more runs than league average after being well below a season earlier.
Hitting may have been the only bright spot however. The pitching staff in Washington was horrible, even with a home park that favored the pitchers. The only team that allowed more runs than the Washington staff allowed the most hits (10.9 per game) and the lowest ERA+ (82) in the league. On top of that, the Senators’ defense was among the worst in the league.
Bold = Player new to Washington in 1935
C Cliff Bolton .304/.399/.427 2 HR -0.5 BFW 13 WS 5 FRAR 3.6 WARP3
5′ 9″ 160 lb Bolton had been a back up catcher for Washington for several years, but 1935 would be his only chance to be a regular. Bolton hit very well, but it apparently wasn’t enough. 1935 would be the only season in which Bolton would see more than 100 games.
1B Joe Kuhel .261/.345/.338 2 HR -3.0 BFW 12 WS -4 FRAR 0.7 WARP3
This was Kuhel’s worst season as a regular in Washington. Fortunately for him, he will rebound and have one of his better seasons in 1936.
2B Buddy Myer .349/.440/.468 5 HR 5.3 BFW 33 WS 31 FRAR 10.7 WARP3
Myer’s OPS+ by season:
1929 (25 years old) – 99
1930 – 91
1931 – 100
1932 – 104
1933 – 115
1934 – 120
1935 (31 years old) – 128
Aside from another spike in 1938, the rest of Myer’s career will be spent right around 100.
1935 was Myer’s signature season. He finished fourth in the year-end MVP voting and won the AL batting title with a 4-for-5 effort on the last day of the season.
SS Ossie Bluege .263/.341/.325 0 HR -0.4 BFW 8 WS 19 FRAR 2.4 WARP3
SS Red Kress .298/.361/.405 2 HR 1.3 BFW 9 WS 19 FRAR 3.1 WARP3
After he lost his job at third base the year before, the long-time third baseman Bluege stepped in to fill a hole at short, a position he had wanted to play throughout his career. At the beginning of the season, the job belonged to Kress, but he “neither fielded or hit to the highest standards” according to The Sporting News. The 34-year-old Bluege began to break down later in the season, however, and Kress got more and more playing time as the season progressed.
3B Cecil Travis .318/.377/.399 0 HR 2.6 BFW 20 WS 38 FRAR 7.3 WARP3
Travis would become more valuable to the Nats as he learned to pull the ball and hit for more power, a skill that will develop over his next couple of seasons. As it stood, the 21-year-old was a very good third baseman, and one of the better hitters on the team.
LF Heinie Manush .273/.328/.390 4 HR -1.3 BFW 11 WS 13 FRAR 2.6 WARP3
Late in the 1935 season, Bucky Harris wanted to try Cecil Travis in the outfield, meaning that Manush was the odd man out. Though the Travis in the outfield experiment didn’t last long, the writing was on the wall for Manush. After holding down left field in Washington for six seasons, he was traded to Boston in the off season. His final numbers with Washington: .328/.371/.478 47 HR.
CF Jake Powell .312/.360/.428 6 HR -0.1 BFW 17 WS 8 FRAR 4.0 WARP3
Powell was sometimes compared to Ty Cobb, but not because of his play on the field (maybe John Rocker is a better comparison?). It was no secret that Powell had very racist views, and was actually suspended from the Yankees in 1938 for sharing those views on the radio (I’ll let readers follow the link if interested in an exact quote). Powell was traded to the Yankees early in 1936, but would find his way back to Washington during the war years.
RF John Stone .314/.372/.459 1 HR 0.5 BFW 15 WS 7 FRAR 4.0 WARP3
On June 16 Stone managed eight hits in a single day, though they were spread out over two games against St. Louis.
SP Earl Whitehill 14-13 4.29 ERA 1.51 WHIP 0.1 PW 13 WS 5.0 WARP3
The 35-year old pitcher was probably the ace of the 1935 staff, more an indication of how bad the staff was than how good Whitehill was late in his career.
SP Bump Hadley 10-15 4.92 ERA 1.60 WHIP -1.3 PW 7 WS 2.9 WARP3
Hadley’s second stint with Washington lasted exactly a year. He was acquired in January of 1935 and traded away in January of 1936. Hadley would find some success with the Yankees during their run in the late 30’s.
SP Bobo Newsom 11-12 4.45 ERA 1.54 WHIP 0.1 PW 10 WS 4.3 WARP3
Bobo Newsom may have been the man that the word “journeyman” was invented for. His career lasted from 1929 to 1953. He played for nine different teams, and had multiple stints with several teams, including the Senators who he played for on five different occasions. This first stop in Washington is the longest, lasting almost two full seasons.
SP Ed Linke 11-7 5.01 ERA 1.64 WHIP -0.7 PW 8 WS 2.7 WARP3
On July 26 Linke took a line drive to the head off of the bat of the Yankees’ Jesse Hill. Though Linke was hospitalized, the ricochet landed in the glove of catcher Jack Redmond who threw to second for the double play before checking on his teammate.
RP Jack Russell 4-9 5.71 ERA 1.64 WHIP -1.6 PW 3 WS 1.0 WARP3
Russell continued to get further and further away from his 1933 numbers. With his best seasons behind him, Washington will trade him in the middle of the 1936 season and he will bounce around the league, playing for five different teams in his final five seasons.
RP Leon Pettit 8-5 4.95 ERA 1.72 WHIP -0.7 PW 5 WS 2.1 WARP3
As a 33-year-old rookie Pettit didn’t find a lot of success, but may have been the best pitcher out of the bullpen for a very poor staff. Pettit would appear for three games with the Phillies in 1937, but 1935 was his only full year in the majors.
RP Henry Coppola 3-4 5.92 ERA 1.70 WHIP -0.9 PW 1 WS 0.5 WARP3
Coppola was more of a traditional rookie at 22 years of age, but his results were much like Pettit’s. After appearing in six games in 1936, his major league career is over.
1935 World Series
The Detroit Tigers defeated the Chicago Cubs 4-2. Charlie Gehringer hit .375/.423/.500 while Pete Fox turned in a .385/.385/.577 performance for the Tigers in the World Series.