1931 in baseball
Awards and honors
- MLB Most Valuable Player Award
|AVG||Al Simmons PHA||.390||Chick Hafey SLC||.349|
|HR|| Babe Ruth NYY |
Lou Gehrig NYY
|46||Chuck Klein PHP||31|
|RBI||Lou Gehrig NYY||184||Chuck Klein PHP||121|
|Wins||Lefty Grove1 PHA||31|| Jumbo Elliott PHP |
Bill Hallahan SLC
Heinie Meine PIT
|ERA||Lefty Grove1 PHA||2.06||Bill Walker NYG||2.26|
|Ks||Lefty Grove1 PHA||175||Bill Hallahan SLC||159|
1MLB Pitching Triple Crown Winner
Major league baseball final standings
American League final standings
|New York Yankees||94||59||.614||13.5|
|St. Louis Browns||63||91||.409||45|
|Boston Red Sox||62||90||.408||45|
|Chicago White Sox||56||97||.366||51.5|
National League final standings
|St. Louis Cardinals||101||53||.656||--|
|New York Giants||87||65||.572||13|
Negro League Baseball final standings
Negro National League final standings
|Negro National League|
|Kansas City Monarchs||18||7||.720|
|St. Louis Stars||23||17||.575|
|Chicago Columbia Giants||16||13||.552|
|Louisville White Sox||19||23||.452|
|Cuban House of David†||7||23||.233|
† Columbus and HoD were not in the league but their games counted in the standings.
- No official standings were published.
- St. Louis was declared champion.
East (independent teams) final standings
A loose confederation of teams were gathered in the East to compete with the West, however East teams did not organize a formal league as the West did.
|Baltimore Black Sox||21||26||.447|
|Harlem Black Bombers||6||13||.316|
|New York Bacharach Giants||0||4||.000|
|Brooklyn Royal Giants||0||7||.000|
- January 24 – Following his release from the Cleveland Indians four days earlier, Joe Sewell joins the New York Yankees.
- February 5 – Chicago Cubs outfielder Hack Wilson, who set National League marks for home runs (56) and runs batted in (191) the previous season, signs for $35,000. His RBI record is still standing today.
- February 21 – The Chicago White Sox and New York Giants play a ten inning exhibition game at Buffalo Stadium in Houston, Texas. It is the first major league night game.
- April 2 – Seventeen-year-old female Chattanooga Lookouts pitcher Jackie Mitchell takes the mound against the New York Yankees in a Spring training game. She strikes out the first two batters she faces- Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
- April 24
- April 27 – Boston Braves centerfielder Wally Berger ties a modern record with four assists in a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
- April 29 – Wes Ferrell pitches a no-hitter as the Cleveland Indians defeat the St. Louis Browns, 9–0.
- May 26 – The New York Yankees defeat the Philadelphia Athletics 6-2, snapping the A's seventeen-game winning streak.
- June 13 – Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Adam Comorosky makes an unassisted double play in a 6-4 loss to the New York Giants. It is his second unassisted double play of the season (May 31 against the Chicago Cubs).
- June 30 – The Philadelphia Athletics purchased Waite Hoyt from the Detroit Tigers. Despite a 3-8 record with Detroit, Hoyt wins his first four starts with the A's.
- July 6 – The Philadelphia Athletics and Washington Senators play to a 0-0 eight inning tie.
- July 7 – The Chicago White Sox defeat the St. Louis Browns 10-8 in twelve innings. No one on either team strikes out all game.
- August 8 – Washington Senators pitcher Bobby Burke tosses a no-hitter in a 5–0 win over the Boston Red Sox.
- August 23 – Dick Coffman holds the Philadelphia Athletics to three hits on his way to a 1-0 victory, snapping Lefty Grove's sixteen-game winning streak. It is one of only two times the A's are shut out all season (the other being the 0-0 tie with the Senators on July 6).
- September 16 – The Philadelphia A's defeat the Cleveland Indians 7-5 for their 100th victory of the season.
- September 18 – Lefty Grove wins his 30th game of the season, 3-1 over the Chicago White Sox.
- September 27 – In a double header on the last day of the season, the St. Louis Cardinals win their 100th & 101st game of the season. The Cardinals spent eight games out of first place all season, and were never more than 1.5 games back.
- October 1 – The Reigning World Champion Philadelphia A's take game one of the World Series, 6-2 over the team they defeated in the 1930 World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals.
- October 2 – George Earnshaw grounds into a double play and strikes out to end two potential rallies for the Athletics. The Cards take game two of the Series, 2-0, behind Bill Hallahan's three hit performance.
- October 5 – Burleigh Grimes gives up just two hits, including a two run home run by Al Simmons in the ninth, to lead the Cardinals to a 5-2 victory in game three.
- October 6 – George Earnshaw two hits the Cards to even the series at two games apiece.
- October 7 – Bill Hallahan wins his second start of the series, 5-1.
- October 9 – Sloppy play in the fifth and seventh innings lead to five unearned runs as the A's cruise to an 8-1 victory behind Lefty Grove.
- October 10 – The St. Louis Cardinals defeat the Philadelphia Athletics, 4–2, in Game seven of the 1931 World Series, earning their second World Championship title. Bill Hallahan pitches the final out for the Cards to end the series with a 0.49 ERA.
- November 30 – George Gibson comes out of retirement to manage the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ten years earlier, Gibson had led the Pirates to three first-division finishes.
- December 4 – The Washington Senators trade Bump Hadley, Jackie Hayes and Sad Sam Jones to the Chicago White Sox for John Kerr and Carl Reynolds.
- December 11 – The Chicago Cubs trade future Hall of Famer Hack Wilson and pitcher Bud Teachout to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for pitcher Burleigh Grimes. Wilson slumped to .261 with 13 home runs and 61 RBI, after he hit .356 with 56 HR and set a major league record with 191 RBI a year earlier.
- January 1 – Foster Castleman
- January 6 – Fern Battaglia
- January 6 – Dick Tomanek
- January 7 – Ray Semproch
- January 7 – Bunky Stewart
- January 9 – Roy Dietzel
- January 17 – Don Zimmer
- January 18 – Barbara Hoffman
- January 18 – Laurin Pepper
- January 19 – Ed Sadowski
- January 29 – Jim Baumer
- January 29 – Hy Cohen
- January 30 – Charlie Neal
- January 31 – Hank Aguirre
- January 31 – Ernie Banks
- February 1 – Bob Smith
- February 2 – Ted Tappe
- February 3 – Glenn Cox
- February 14 – Joe Caffie
- February 16 – Maurice Fisher
- February 22 – Chet Nichols
- February 25 – Jim Dunn
- March 7 – Dick Rand
- March 12 – Chuck Oertel
- March 13 – Don Bessent
- March 13 – Carlos Pascual
- March 18 – Shirley Stovroff
- March 19 – Al Salerno
- March 19 – Paul Smith
- March 20 – Hank Izquierdo
- March 23 – Stan Pitula
- March 27 – Bobby Prescott
- March 31 – Gene Snyder
- April 5 – Fred Besana
- April 6 – Sonny Senerchia
- April 14 – Don Minnick
- April 14 – Kal Segrist
- April 15 – Ed Bailey
- April 23 – Patricia Brown
- May 6 – Willie Mays
- May 10 – Bob Bowman
- May 13 – Jack Shepard
- May 15 – Ben Johnson
- May 20 – Ken Boyer
- May 25 – Jim Marshall
- May 26 – Jim Frey
- May 29 – John Baumgartner
- May 31 – Betty McKenna
- June 1 – Hal Smith
- June 2 – Marshall Bridges
- June 2 – Larry Jackson
- June 6 – Rudy Árias
- June 6 – Carlton Willey
- June 9 – Bill Virdon
- June 19 – Hank Mason
- June 22 – Faye Throneberry
- June 23 – Doris Cook
- June 23 – Karl Spooner
- June 27 – Chuck Coles
- June 30 – Don Gross
- July 3 – Ed Roebuck
- July 4 – Bobby Malkmus
- July 5 – Arnie Portocarrero
- July 7 – Betty Francis
- July 8 – Zach Monroe
- July 8 – Eddie Phillips
- July 9 – Gene Fodge
- July 11 – Dick Gray
- July 12 – Paul Penson
- July 15 – Bob Will
- July 16 – Norm Sherry
- July 23 – Joe Stanka
- July 28 – Gus Keriazakos
- July 31 – Rip Coleman
- July 31 – Joe Durham
- August 7 – Ray Crone
- August 9 – Chuck Essegian
- August 16 – Don Rudolph
- August 22 – Curt Barclay
- August 27 – Joe Cunningham
- September 3 – Tom Brewer
- September 6 – Stan Pawloski
- September 9 – Earl Averill
- September 9 – Pete Naton
- September 10 – Harry Anderson
- September 13 – George Susce
- September 14 – Don Williams
- September 16 – Jerry Schypinski
- September 19 – Ron Shoop
- September 22 – Ken Aspromonte
- September 24 – Mike Krsnich
- September 29 – Margaret Russo
- October 1 – Fred Kipp
- October 3 – Bob Skinner
- October 4 – Joe Kirrene
- October 8 – Patricia Courtney
- October 11 – Gary Blaylock
- October 13 – Eddie Mathews
- October 15 – Gail Harris
- October 16 – Janet Rumsey
- October 16 – Dave Sisler
- October 17 – Dan Porter
- October 18 – Andy Carey
- October 19 – Don Leppert
- October 20 – Mickey Mantle
- October 23 – Jim Bunning
- October 25 – Dick Murphy
- October 28 – Gair Allie
- November 1 – Russ Kemmerer
- November 4 – Marie Mansfield
- November 5 – Bill Guilfoile
- November 9 – Whitey Herzog
- November 9 – George Witt
- November 11 – Dutch Dotterer
- November 16 – Frank Bolling
- November 22 – Neal Hertweck
- November 24 – Dick Phillips
- November 25 – John Pyecha
- November 29 – Paul Pettit
- November 30 – Ed Mayer
- December 3 – Bill Harris
- December 4 – Jean Buckley
- December 10 – Rudy Hernández
- December 10 – Bob Roselli
- December 13 – Don Erickson
- December 13 – Bubba Morton
- December 15 – Sammy Esposito
- December 16 – Neil Chrisley
- December 20 – Julio Bécquer
- December 24 – Evelio Hernández
- December 30 – Frank Torre
- January 4 – Roger Connor, 73, Hall of Fame first baseman, an outstanding slugger for the New York Giants who posted a .317 career average and held major league home run record until 1921, ranking first all-time in triples and second in hits, runs and RBI and upon retirement, while leading the National League in batting, hits, HRs, RBI and doubles once each, and hitting the first grand slam in major league history.
- January 14 – Hardy Richardson, 75, second baseman and outfielder who batted .300 seven times, led National League in hits and home runs with the 1886 Detroit team, and also was among to first ten players to reach 1500 hits.
- February 11 – Charles Dryden, 71, sportswriter who made his name with an idiosyncratic style that emphasized personalities in the game for the many nicknames he created, including "The Peerless Leader", "The Old Roman", "Hitless Wonders".
- February 13 – Dick Phelan, 76, second baseman for the Baltimore Monumentals, Buffalo Bisons St. Louis Maroons between the 1884 and 1885 seasons.
- February 15 – Billy Kinloch, 56, third baseman for the 1895 St. Louis Browns.
- March 17 – Tom Gunning, 69, catcher who played from 1884 through 1889 for the Boston Beaneaters and the Philadelphia Quakers/Athletics teams.
- March 19 – Joe Gannon, 54, pitcher for the 1898 St. Louis Browns.
- March 27 – Ernest Barnard, 56, who served as general manager of the Cleveland Indians from 1903 to 1926, and effectively ran the team following the death of owner James Dunn in 1922, while becoming the second president of the American League in following the retirement of Ban Johnson in 1927.
- March 28 – Ban Johnson, 67, founder and president of the American League from 1901 to 1927, who played major role in eradicating rowdyism prevalent in the game of the 1890s, and fiercely protected authority of umpires.
- April 10 – Mickey Hughes, 64, pitcher from 1888 to 1890 for the Brooklyn Bridegrooms and Philadelphia Athletics.
- April 25 – August Herrmann, 71, owner of the Cincinnati Reds from 1902 to 1927, who led the sport as chairman of the National Commission from 1903 to 1920, and ensured that the World Series would be held annually.
- April 28 – Mike Mattimore, 72, pitcher/outfielder for four seasons from 1887 to 1890.
- April 29 – Jimmy McAleer, 66, center fielder for the Cleveland Spiders who later managed American League teams in Cleveland, St. Louis and Washington, and also was part owner of the Boston Red Sox in the 1910s.
- April 29 – John Waltz, 71, manager for the Baltimore Orioles of the National League in 1892, and also an American Association executive.
- May 14 – Doc Newton, 53, pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Superbas and New York Highlanders in part of seven seasons spanning 1901–1909.
- April 16 – Bucky Veil, 49, pitcher for the 1903–1904 Pittsburgh Pirates.
- April 17 – George Daisy, 74, left fielder for the 1884 Altoona Mountain City.
- April 22 – Bill Otey, 44, pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Senators during three seasons between 1907 and 1911.
- May 5 – John Riddle, 67, catcher/outfielder in 11 games from 1889–1890 for the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Athletics.
- May 8 – George Noftsker, 71, outfielder/catcher for the 1884 Altoona Mountain City.
- May 17 – Charlie Ferguson, 56, pitcher for the 1901 Chicago Orphans.
- May 18 – Charlie Hamburg, 64, outfielder for the 1890 Louisville Colonels.
- May 23 – Bob Miller, 62, pitcher/outfielder from 1890–1891 for the Rochester Broncos and the Washington Statesmen.
- June 8 – Ed Ford, 69, infielder for the 1884 Richmond Virginians.
- June 13 – Bill O'Hara, 47, Canadian center fielder who played from 1909 to 1910 with the New York Giants and St. Louis Cardinals.
- June 16 – Andy Sommerville, 55, pitcher for the 1894 Brooklyn Grooms.
- June 23 – Clarence Cross, 75, shortstop for the Altoona Mountain City, Philadelphia Keystones, Kansas City Cowboys and New York Metropolitans in a span of four seasons from 1884–1887.
- June 25 – Con Lucid, 57, Irish pitcher who played from 1893 through 1897 with the Louisville Colonels, Brooklyn Grooms, Philadelphia Phillies, and St. Louis Browns.
- June 30 – Lee Dressen, 41, shortstop for the 1914 St. Louis Cardinals and the 1918 Detroit Tigers.
- July 11 – Alexander Donoghue, 67, outfielder/shortstop for the 1891 Philadelphia Phillies.
- July 14 – Babe Danzig, 44, first baseman for the 1909 Boston Red Sox.
- July 26 – Ben Ellis, 61, infielder for the 1896 Philadelphia Phillies.
- July 29 – Conny Doyle, 69, outfielder from 1883 to 1884 for the Philadelphia Quakers and Pittsburg Alleghenys.
- August 14 – Bob Edmundson, 52, outfielder who played for the Washington Senators between the 1906 and 1908 seasons.
- August 30 – Tinsley Ginn, 39, outfielder who played with the 1914 Cleveland Naps.
- September 11 – Joe Marshall, 55, outfielder for the 1903 Pittsburgh Pirates and the 1906 St. Louis Cardinals.
- September 11 – Carl Sitton, 49, pitcher for the 1909 Cleveland Naps.
- September 12 – Pop Dillon, 57, first baseman who played with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers and Brooklyn Superbas in parts of five seasons spanning 1899–1904.
- September 21 – Walter Byrne, 82, American Association umpire.
- October 2 – George Bradley, 79, St. Louis Brown Stockings pitcher who hurled the first no-hitter in the National's League 1876 inaugural season, also winning 45 games and leading the league with a 1.23 ERA, while setting a major league season record with 16 shutouts tied only by Grover Alexander 40 years later.
- October 6 – John Kirby, 66, National League pitcher from 1884 to 1888 for the Kansas City Cowboys, St. Louis Maroons, Indianapolis Hoosiers and Cleveland Blues.
- October 14 – Al Niehaus, 32, first baseman who played with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds during the 1925 season.
- October 15 – Oscar Graham, 53, pitcher for the 1907 Washington Senators.
- October 24 – Pete Lamer, 57, catcher for the 1902 Chicago Orphans and the 1907 Cincinnati Reds.
- October 26 – Charles Comiskey, 72, Hall of Fame first baseman/manager and owner of the Chicago White Sox since the team's formation in 1901, during which time they won four American League pennants and two World Series (1906, 1917), who previously became the first manager to win four consecutive pennants, with the St. Louis Browns (1885–1888), including the 1886 World Series title. and posted the highest winning percentage (.608) among managers of at least 1200 games.
- October 30 – Joe Hornung, 74, solid left fielder and speedy base runner, who played for the Buffalo Bisons, Boston Red Caps/Beaneaters, Baltimore Orioles and New York Giants in a span of 11 seasons between 1879 and 1890.
- October 30 – Jim Tyng, 75, known as the first baseball player to wear a catcher's mask while playing for Harvard University (1877), who later pitched in the National League for the Boston Red Caps (1879) and the Philadelphia Phillies (1888).
- November 6 – Jack Chesbro, 57, Hall of Fame pitcher; a five-time 20-games winner in 12 seasons who led both leagues in wins and winning percentage, topped the National League in shutouts twice, guided the Pittsburgh Pirates to their first pennant in 1901 and the World Series in 1902, and holds modern records with 41 wins and 48 complete games while pitching for the 1904 New York Highlanders of the American League, though he is best remembered for the wild pitch he tossed to score the Boston Red Sox pennant-clinching run on the final day of that season.
- November 8 – Sam Brown, 53, catcher for the 1906/1907 Boston Beaneaters/Doves of the National League.
- November 8 – Frank Meinke, 68, pitcher who played from 1884 to 1885 for the Detroit Wolverines of the National League.
- November 9 – Chris Fulmer, 73, National League catcher who played with the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles in parts of three seasons spanning 1884–1889.
- November 24 – Fred Lake, 65, Canadian catcher for the Boston Beaneaters, Louisville Colonels, Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Doves in five season between 1891 and 1910, who also managed the Boston Red Sox in part of the 1909 season.
- November 27 – Jack Burdock, 79, National Association second baseman for three teams from 1872–1875, and then part of the National League's inaugural year in 1876 while playing for the Hartford Dark Blues, who later played 14 more seasons for the Boston Red Stockings/Beaneaters and the Brooklyn Bridegrooms between 1877 and 1881, became the third out of the first triple play in National League history during the 1876 season, and also batted the first unassisted triple play two years later.
- December 8 – Jack Bellman, 67, backup catcher for the 1889 St. Louis Browns.
- December 10 – Tex Covington, 44, pitcher for the Detroit Tigers from 1911–1912.
- December 11 – George Harper, 65, pitcher who played with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1894 and the Brooklyn Bridegrooms in 1896.
- December 13 – Al Schulz, 42, pitcher for the New York Highlanders/Yankees, Buffalo Buffeds/Blues and Cincinnati Reds from 1912 through 1916.
- December 18 – C. V. Matteson, 70, who pitched one game for the 1884 St. Louis Maroons of the Union Association.