1938 Chicago Cubs season

1938 Chicago Cubs
1938 National League Champions
Major League affiliations
Other information
Owner(s) Philip K. Wrigley
Manager(s) Charlie Grimm, Gabby Hartnett
Local radio WGN
(Bob Elson)
(Charlie Grimm, Pat Flanagan, Val Sherman)
(Hal Totten)
(Russ Hodges, Jimmy Dudley)
(John Harrington, Jack Drees)
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The 1938 Chicago Cubs season was the 67th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 63rd in the National League and the 23rd at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished first in the National League with a record of 89–63. The team was swept four games to none by the New York Yankees in the 1938 World Series.

The team is known for the season of pitcher Dizzy Dean. While pitching for the NL in the 1937 All-Star Game, Dean suffered a big toe fracture. Coming back too soon from the injury, Dean changed his pitching motion to avoid landing too hard on his sore toe enough to affect his mechanics. As a result, he hurt his arm, losing his great fastball.[1] By 1938, Dean's arm was largely gone. Cubs scout Clarence "Pants" Rowland was tasked with the unenviable job of obeying owner Philip K. Wrigley's direct order to buy a washed-up Dean's contract at any cost. Rowland signed the ragged righty for $185,000, one of the most expensive loss-leader contracts in baseball history. Dean still helped the Cubs win the 1938 pennant.

On July 20, Wrigley named 37-year-old Gabby Hartnett as the team's player-manager, replacing Charlie Grimm.[2] When Hartnett took over, the Cubs were in third place, six games behind the first place Pittsburgh Pirates who were led by Pie Traynor.[3] By September 27, with one week left in the season, the Cubs had battled back to within a game and a half game of the Pirates in the National League standings as the two teams met for a crucial three-game series.[3] Dean pitched the opening game of the series and with his ailing arm, relied more on his experience and grit to defeat the Pirates by a score of 2 to 1. Dean would later call it the greatest outing of his career.[1] The Cubs cut the Pirates' lead to a half game and set the stage for one of baseball's most memorable moments.[4]

On September 28, the two teams met for the second game of the series, where Hartnett experienced the highlight of his career. With darkness descending on the lightless Wrigley Field and the score tied at 5 runs apiece, the umpires ruled that the ninth inning would be the last to be played. The entire game would have to be replayed the following day if the score remained tied. Hartnett came to bat with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning. With a count of 0 balls and 2 strikes, Hartnett connected on a Mace Brown pitch, launching the ball into the darkness, before it eventually landed in the left-center field bleachers. The stadium erupted into pandemonium as players and fans stormed the field to escort Hartnett around the bases.[5] Hartnett's walk-off home run became immortalized as the Homer in the Gloamin'.[4] The Cubs were now in first place, culminating an impressive 19-3-1 record in September, and the pennant would be clinched three days later.[3]

It would be 50 years before lights were installed at Wrigley Field.[6]

Regular season

Season standings

National League W L Pct. GB Home Road
Chicago Cubs 8963 0.586 44–33 45–30
Pittsburgh Pirates 8664 0.573 2 44–33 42–31
New York Giants 8367 0.553 5 43–30 40–37
Cincinnati Reds 8268 0.547 6 43–34 39–34
Boston Bees 7775 0.507 12 45–30 32–45
St. Louis Cardinals 7180 0.470 17½ 36–41 35–39
Brooklyn Dodgers 6980 0.463 18½ 31–41 38–39
Philadelphia Phillies 45105 0.300 43 26–48 19–57

Record vs. opponents

1938 National League Records

Boston 10–1212–1011–98–1414–89–1313–9–1
Brooklyn 10–129–11–19–138–1415–79–119–12–1
Chicago 12–1011–9–111–1112–1018–412–1013–9–1
Cincinnati 9–1113–911–1112–914–710–1213–9–1
New York 14–814–810–129–1216–59–13–111–9–1
Philadelphia 8–147–154–187–145–168–12–16–16
Pittsburgh 13–911–910–1212–1013–9–112–8–115–7
St. Louis 9–13–112–9–19–13–19–13–19–11–116–67–15


1938 Chicago Cubs
Pitchers Catchers


Outfielders Manager



1938 Chicago Cubs game log

Player stats


Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
CGabby Hartnett8829982.2741059
1BRipper Collins143490131.2671361
2BBilly Herman152624173.277156
SSBilly Jurges137465114.245147
3BStan Hack152609195.320467
OFCarl Reynolds125497150.302367
OFAugie Galan110395113.286669
OFFrank Demaree129476130.273862

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Phil Cavarretta9226864.239128
Ken O'Dea8624765.263333
Joe Marty7623557.243735
Tony Lazzeri5412032.267523
Bob Garbark235414.25905
Jim Asbell17336.18203
Coaker Triplett12369.25002
Steve Mesner241.25000
Bobby Mattick1111.00001


Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Bill Lee442912292.66121
Clay Bryant44270.119113.10135
Larry French43201.110193.8083
Tex Carleton33167.21095.4280
Dizzy Dean1374.2711.8122
Kirby Higbe210005.404

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Charlie Root44160.2872.8670
Vance Page1368543.8418
Al Epperly927203.6710

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Jack Russell426133.3429
Bob Logan140222.7810
Newt Kimball10009.001

1938 World Series

Game 1

October 5, 1938, at Wrigley Field in Chicago

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York (A) 020 001 000 3121
Chicago (N) 001 000 000 191
W: Red Ruffing (1–0)   L: Bill Lee (0–1)

Game 2

October 6, 1938, at Wrigley Field in Chicago

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York (A) 020 000 022 672
Chicago (N) 102 000 000 3110
W: Lefty Gomez (1–0)   L: Dizzy Dean (0–1)   S: Johnny Murphy (1)
HR: NYYFrankie Crosetti (1), Joe DiMaggio (1)

Game 3

October 8, 1938, at Yankee Stadium in New York City

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chicago (N) 000 010 010 251
New York (A) 000 022 01x 572
W: Monte Pearson (1–0)  L: Clay Bryant (0–1)
HR: : CHIJoe Marty (1)    NYYJoe Gordon (1), Bill Dickey (1)

Game 4

October 9, 1938, at Yankee Stadium in New York City

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chicago (N) 000 100 020 381
New York (A) 030 001 04x 8111
W: Red Ruffing (2–0)  L: Bill Lee (0–2)
HR: : CHIKen O'Dea (1)    NYYTommy Henrich (1)

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AA Los Angeles Angels Pacific Coast League Truck Hannah
A1 Birmingham Barons Southern Association Fresco Thompson
B Moline Plowboys Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League Mike Gazella
B Portsmouth Cubs Piedmont League Dick Luckey
C Helena Seaporters Cotton States League Riggs Stephenson
C Hot Springs Bathers Cotton States League Spike Hunter
C Ponca City Angels Western Association Goldie Holt
D Greeneville Burley Cubs Appalachian League Sam Alexander
D Bisbee Bees Arizona–Texas League Charlie Mogli
D Eau Claire Bears Northern League Ed Garrity

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Ponca City, Greeneville


  1. 1 2 "1938: A Rockier Road". thisgreatgame.com. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  2. "Gabby Hartnett Succeeds Grimm As Cub Manager". The Daily Times. July 21, 1938. p. 9. Retrieved February 12, 2011.
  3. 1 2 3 "1938 Chicago Cubs Schedule". Baseball Reference. Retrieved February 12, 2011.
  4. 1 2 "Homer In The Gloamin'". mlb.com. Retrieved February 12, 2011.
  5. Carmichael, John (October 1978). When Gabby Hartnett Hit His Homer In The Gloamin'. Baseball Digest. Books.Google.com. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
  6. Vettel, Phil (August 8, 1988). "The Cubs Get Lights at Wrigley Field". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
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