1935 Detroit Tigers season

1935 Detroit Tigers
1935 American League Champions
1935 World Series Champions
Major League affiliations
Other information
Owner(s) Frank Navin
Manager(s) Mickey Cochrane
Local television none
Local radio WWJ (AM)
(Ty Tyson)
(Harry Heilmann)
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The 1935 Detroit Tigers won the 1935 World Series, defeating the Chicago Cubs 4 games to 2. The season was their 35th since they entered the American League in 1901. It was the first World Series championship for the Tigers.

The players

As the 1934 Detroit Tigers won a club-record 101 games, the team made few changes in the off-season to alter their winning combination.

Catcher/Manager: Mickey Cochrane

Hall of Famer Mickey Cochrane returned as the team's manager and catcher. Known as "Black Mike", Cochrane is considered one of the greatest catchers of all time. In 1935, he hit .319 (9th in the AL) with a .452 on-base percentage (3rd in the AL), 96 walks (4th in the AL), 93 runs scored, and 33 doubles. Aside from his contributions as a player, Cochrane was invaluable as a manager and leader. Charlie Gehringer later said: "When Mickey was managing the Tigers from behind the plate I can't remember him ever fouling up anything. Seemed like he made snap judgments that always worked out well, especially in '34 and '35."[1]

Infield: Greenberg, Gehringer, Rogell, and Owen

Hank Greenberg, Hall of Famer and 2-time MVP

The Detroit infield of the 1934–1935 seasons was one of the best-hitting combinations in MLB history. With Hank Greenberg at first, Charlie Gehringer at second, Billy Rogell at shortstop, and Marv Owen at third, the 1934 Tigers infield collected 462 RBIs (139 by Greenberg, 127 by Gehringer, 100 by Rogell, and 96 by Owen) and 179 doubles (63 by Greenberg, 50 by Gehringer, 34 by Owen and 32 by Rogell).

"Hammerin' Hank" Greenberg led the major leagues with 170 RBIs in 1935—the eighth highest single season total in major league history. The second highest RBI total in the AL that year was Lou Gehrig's 119—51 fewer than Hank. Greenberg also led the major leagues in 1935 with 36 home runs, 98 extra base hits, 389 total bases, and 159 runs created. He also hit for average, with a .328 batting average (7th in the AL), .411 on-base percentage (6th in the AL), and .628 slugging percentage (2nd in the AL). Greenberg was named the American League's Most Valuable Player for 1935.

Charlie Gehringer also had a terrific season, hitting .330 for the year (5th best in the AL). He was also among the league leaders with 123 runs (2nd in the AL), 201 hits (5th in the AL), 125 runs created (5th in the AL), 306 total bases (6th in the AL), 19 home runs (8th in the AL), and 108 RBIs (9th in the AL). Gehringer also led AL second basemen with 489 assists and a .985 fielding percentage. Gehringer finished 6th in the AL MVP voting in 1935. Known for his consistency as a hitter and fielder, Gehringer was given the nickname "The Mechanical Man" by Yankee pitcher Lefty Gomez.[2] Mickey Cochrane joked that "Charlie says `hello' on Opening Day, `goodbye' on closing day, and in between hits .350."[3]

Shortstop Billy Rogell hit .275 and scored 88 runs in 1935 while drawing 80 walks. Rogell also led AL shortstops with 104 double plays and a .971 fielding percentage. Rogell and Gehringer played over 1,000 games together as the Tigers' double play combination. Rogell's fiery demeanor was a stark contrast to the calm, quiet demeanor of Gehringer. Once, after both failed to cover second on a steal attempt, Mickey Cochrane charged out from behind the plate shouting at Rogell and Gehringer. As reported in The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract: "Rogell, astonished, looked at Gehringer to see if he was going to say anything. Gehringer, of course, had nothing to say. 'Goddamn you,' yelled Rogell. 'Don’t you come charging out here telling me how to play shortstop. You go back there and do the catching, and I’ll play shortstop. If I’m not good enough, you can find someone else.' Cochrane went back to his own position."

Marv Owen was the one Tiger starter whose performance dropped off significantly from 1934 to 1935. In 1934, Owen had batted .317 with 96 RBIs and finished 9th in the AL MVP voting. In 1935, his average dropped 54 points to .263, and his RBI production fell to 71. Owen is remembered for a famous incident in Game 7 of the 1934 World Series. Joe Medwick tripled in the 6th inning with the Cardinals ahead by 7 runs. He slid hard into Owen at third, knocking him down. The two fought, and Detroit fans pelted Medwick with fruit and garbage when he returned to left field. As the fan reaction escalated, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis ordered Medwick removed from the game. Owen batted just .069 (2–29) in the 1934 World Series and .050 (1–20) in the 1935 World Series. He set a post-season record for the most consecutive plate appearances between hits with 31.

Rounding out the infield was utility infielder Flea Clifton. Clifton played in 43 games during the 1935 regular season, with a .255 batting average. However, when Hank Greenberg broke his wrist in Game 2 of the 1935 World Series, Marv Owen moved to first base, and Clifton stepped in as the starting third baseman. Clifton was 0-for-16 with 4 strikeouts in the Series. Clifton had been teammates with Hank Greenberg in the minor leagues, and the two became friends. In his autobiography, Greenberg joked about Clifton's unusual diet: "On the road, he used to eat nothing but doughnuts and bananas. He said they were cheap and filling and stretched his meal money. Flea was the only ballplayer who could show a profit on $1-a-day meal money."[4]

Outfield: Goslin, Fox, White and Walker

In the outfield, Hall of Famer Goose Goslin played in left field. Pete Fox played in right field. The speedy Jo-Jo White and Gee Walker shared responsibility for center field, with White playing in 98 games.

Pete Fox led the way among the outfielders, batting .321 with 116 runs scored, 38 doubles, and 15 home runs. Fox also had a 29-game hitting streak in June and July. During the hitting streak, Fox drove in 10 runs in a double-header against the St. Louis Browns.[5] During the six-game 1935 World Series, Fox also led the team in hits (10), RBIs (4), and batting average (.385).

Goose Goslin had a good year with 109 RBIs, 172 hits, and 34 doubles. After leading the Washington Senators to American League pennants in 1924, 1925, and 1933, owner Clark Griffith traded Goslin to Detroit before the 1934 season. Griffith told Goose he simply couldn't afford to pay his salary. With stars Goslin, Gehringer and Greenberg, the 1934 and 1934 Tigers became known as the "G-Men." Goslin was the hero of the 1935 World Series, as he drove in the winning run in Games 6. With the game tied 3–3, Goslin came to bat in the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs and Mickey Cochrane on 2nd base. Goslin hit a walk-off single to right, scoring Cochrane, as the Tigers won the Series.

Center fielder Jo-Jo White led the team with 19 stolen bases and also contributed 12 triples. White's real first name was Joyner, but he was called "Jo-Jo" because of the way he pronounced his native state of Georgia. Hank Greenberg, who was raised in the Bronx was rommates with White, and according to Greenberg the two of them "used to fight the Civil War every night." Greenberg recalled a game in which White stole home with Greenberg at bat: "He deprived me of a good chance at an RBI, and he did it deliberately because he knew it would burn me up."[6]

The Tigers fourth outfielder, Gee Walker played 45 games in center field but also covered 29 games in left and 11 games in right. Known as "The Madman from Mississippi", Walker was a fiery competitor and a clown. He hit over .300 for the 1935 Tigers, but his reputation for being inattentive and overzealous on the basepaths drew the ire of manager Mickey Cochrane. During the 1934 World Series, he was picked off first while arguing with the Cardinals' bench. On another occasion, he tried to steal a base while the batter was being given an intentional walk.

Pitching: Bridges, Rowe, Auker and Crowder

The pitching staff was led by starters Tommy Bridges, Schoolboy Rowe, Alvin Crowder, and Elden Auker.

Tommy Bridges was the only 20-game winner with a record of 21–10. In 34 starts, Bridges threw 23 complete games. He led the American League with 163 strikeouts, and his 3.51 ERA was 6th best in the league. He finished the season 11th in the American League MVP voting. In a nationwide poll, Bridges was named the No. 2 sports hero of 1935, behind Notre Dame football player Andy Pilney.[7]

Elden Auker, a 24-year-old underhand pitcher out of Kansas A&M, also had a big year for the 1935 Tigers. Auker led the American League in win percentage (.720) with a record of 18–7. During the 1935 World Series, Auker was interviewed by a young Cubs broadcaster, Ronald Reagan. When they met after Reagan had been elected Governor of California, Reagan told him, "You probably won't remember me, but I'll remember you as long as I live." The 1935 radio interview, Reagan said, "was my first big break."[8]

After making a big splash in 1934 with an American League record 16 consecutive wins, Schoolboy Rowe had another big year in 1935. Schoolboy had become a fan favorite not only for his pitching performance in 1934 but for his nationally publicized romance. While appearing on the Eddie Cantor radio show, Rowe famously asked his fiancee, "How'm I doing, Edna honey?" The line endeared Schoolboy to the nation, and also resulted in relentless teasing from opposing players and fans. Schoolboy and Edna married after the 1934 season and had their first child during the 1935 season. Schoolboy led the league in 1935 with six shutouts and finished the season with a 19–13 record in 34 starts. Despite a 2.51 ERA in the 1935 World Series, Rowe had a 1–2 record. He was the losing pitcher in Game 1, despite striking out 8 batters, pitching a complete game and allowing only 2 earned runs. In Game 3, Rowe got the win, pitching 4 innings in relief. But Game 5 was another tough loss, as Schoolboy threw a complete game and allowed 2 earned runs, but the Tigers scored only once.

The Tigers' #4 starter was 36-year-old Alvin Crowder, who served in the U.S. Army during its occupation of Siberia after World War I.[9] Crowder, known as "General", was 16–10 in his 32 starts. The General pitched a complete game in Game 4 of the 1935 World Series for a 2–1 victory. Crowder pitched in three World Series consecutively (1933–1935), posting a record of 1–2 with 3.81 ERA in 26 innings pitched.

The Tigers' main reliever in 1935 was Chief Hogsett, who appeared in 40 games, finishing 30, with an ERA of 3.54. When Hogsett would take the mound at Navin Field, Detroit fans greeted him with "war whoops." Hogsett later reported that, while he was "one-thirty-second Cherokee on my mother's side", he got the nickname in the minor leagues when he "roomed with a full-blooded Kiowa Indian and the nickname just kind of stuck."[10]

Regular season

Detroit's final regular season record was 93–58, placing them three games ahead of the second place New York Yankees. For the season, the 1935 Tigers outscored their opponents 919 to 665.

Season summary

After losing the 1934 World Series in a close seven-game series with the Gashouse Gang from St. Louis, the Detroit Tigers were determined to win the first baseball championship for the City of Detroit since the Detroit Wolverines won the National League pennant in 1887.

The season started out poorly. Schoolboy Rowe lost on Opening Day, and the Tigers were 2–9 after two weeks of play. At the end of April, the Tigers were in last place. By the end of May, the Tigers had started to turn things around but still had a mediocre 20–18 record.

On June 25, 1935, the Yankees were in first place, and the Tigers were still playing unexceptionally with a record of 33–28. However, the Tigers got red hot after that, going 35–10 between June 26 and August 15, 1935. During that period, they put together win streaks of 10 games (June 30 to July 7) and 9 games (July 31 to August 11). On July 26, 1935, the Tigers passed the Yankees and moved into first place.

The team remained hot through Labor Day, having a record of 85–44 on September 7, 1935. But the Tigers' bats went cold for the last three weeks of the season, as the team went 8–14 to end the season. Despite having a ten-game lead over the Yankees on September 8, 1935, the Tigers let the Yankees back into the race, eventually winning by three games.

On September 21, 1935, the Tigers clinched the American League pennant by winning both games of a double-header against the St. Louis Browns. Tommy Bridges won the opener, 6–2, and Elden Auker pitched a complete game shutout to win the second game, 2–0. After clinching the pennant, the Tigers finished the season by losing 6 of their last 7 games.

Season standings

American League W L Pct. GB
Detroit Tigers 93 58 .616 --
New York Yankees 89 60 .597 3
Cleveland Indians 82 71 .536 12
Boston Red Sox 78 75 .510 16
Chicago White Sox 74 78 .487 19½
Washington Senators 67 86 .438 27
St. Louis Browns 65 87 .428 28½
Philadelphia Athletics 58 91 .389 34

Record vs. opponents

1935 American League Records


Boston 13–9 9–13–1 9–13 9–12 16–6 10–12 12–10
Chicago 9–13 10–12 11–11 9–11 12–10 11–11–1 12–10
Cleveland 13–9–1 12–10 7–15–1 8–14 12–10 15–6–1 15–7
Detroit 13–9 11–11 15–7–1 11–11 14–5 17–5 12–10
New York 12–9 11–9 14–8 11–11 14–6 12–10 15–7
Philadelphia 6–16 10–12 10–12 5–14 6–14 11–11 10–12
St. Louis 12–10 11–11–1 6–15–1 5–17 10–12 11–11 10–11–1
Washington 10–12 10–12 7–15 10–12 7–15 12–10 11–10–1


1935 Detroit Tigers
Pitchers Catchers


Outfielders Manager


Season highlights

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
C Cochrane, MickeyMickey Cochrane 115 411 131 .319 5 47
1B Greenberg, HankHank Greenberg 152 619 203 .328 36 170
2B Gehringer, CharlieCharlie Gehringer 150 610 201 .330 19 108
3B Owen, MarvMarv Owen 134 483 127 .263 2 71
SS Rogell, BillyBilly Rogell 150 560 154 .275 6 71
OF Goslin, GooseGoose Goslin 147 590 172 .292 9 109
OF Fox, PetePete Fox 131 517 166 .321 15 73
OF White, Jo-JoJo-Jo White 114 412 99 .240 2 32

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
Walker, GeeGee Walker 98 362 109 .301 7 53
Hayworth, RayRay Hayworth 51 175 54 .309 0 22
Clifton, FleaFlea Clifton 43 110 28 .255 0 9
Walker, HubHub Walker 9 25 4 .160 0 1
Schuble, HeinieHeinie Schuble 11 8 2 .250 0 0
Shelley, HughHugh Shelley 7 8 2 .250 0 1

Note: pitchers' batting statistics not included


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
Bridges, TommyTommy Bridges 36 274.3 21 10 3.51 163
Rowe, SchoolboySchoolboy Rowe 42 275.7 19 13 3.69 140
Crowder, AlvinAlvin Crowder 33 241 16 10 4.26 59
Auker, EldenElden Auker 36 195 18 7 3.83 63

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
Sullivan, JoeJoe Sullivan 25 125.7 6 6 3.51 53
Sorrell, VicVic Sorrell 12 51.3 4 3 4.03 22
Lawson, RoxieRoxie Lawson 7 40 3 1 1.58 16
Hatter, ClydeClyde Hatter 8 33.1 3 1 1.58 16
Marberry, FirpoFirpo Marberry 5 19 0 1 4.26 7
Fischer, CarlCarl Fischer 3 12 0 1 6.00 7

Relief pitchers

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

Hogsett, ChiefChief Hogsett 40 6 6 5 30 3.54 39

1935 World Series

Main article: 1935 World Series

The 1935 World Series featured the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago Cubs, with the Tigers winning in six games for their first championship in five World Series appearances. They had lost in 1907, 1908, 1909, and 1934.

The Cubs had the better regular season record and had a 21-game win streak during the pennant stretch. The Tigers, on the other hand, went 8–14 in their last 22 games. Based on momentum, it appeared the Cubs would roll past the Tigers.

The Cubs won Game 1, 3–0, on 4-hit shutout by pitcher Lon Warneke. Schoolboy Rowe took the loss.

The Tigers evened the Series in Game 2, with an 8–3 win, but the Tigers lost Hank Greenberg who fractured his left wrist when colliding with Cubs catcher Gabby Hartnett. Greenberg had tried to score from first on a single. He finished the game, but he developed severe pain on the train ride to Chicago that night, and x-rays revealed fractures of two bones in his wrist. Greenberg was sidelined for the rest of the Series, and Mickey Cochrane was left to decide who could replace Greenberg. Initially, Cochrane decided to play first base himself and have backup catcher Ray Hayworth take over at catcher. But Tigers owner Frank Navin ordered Cochrane to move third baseman Marv Owen to first base and play utility infielder Flea Clifton at third base. Cochrane disagreed, as Clifton was the weakest hitter on the team, and Owen was in a slump. Navin insisted, and Owen went one for twenty in the Series, while Flea went 0-for-16 in the Series.

In Game 3, the Cubs tied the game in the bottom of the 9th, but the Tigers won it with an unearned run in the 11th inning. In the 3rd inning, umpire George Moriarty (who had played for the Tigers from 1909 to 1915) called Phil Cavarretta out in a close play at second base. When the Cubs protested, Moriarty verbally abused the Cubs, and ejected Cubs' manager Charlie Grimm and player Bill Jurges. After the game, Grimm said: "If a manager can't go out and make a decent kick, what the hell is the game coming to? I didn't swear at him but he swore at us."[11] Coach Roy Johnson accused Moriarty of making improper reflections on the Cubs' ancestry. Judge Landis later levied $200 fines on Moriarty‚ Grimm‚ and Jurges for their conduct in the World Series.

In Game 4, Alvin Crowder pitched a 2–1 complete game victory. The Tigers won on an unearned run in the 6th inning.

In Game 5, Cubs' pitcher Lon Warneke kept the Cubs alive with 6 innings of shutout ball for his 2nd win. The Cubs won 3–1 on a 2-run home run by Chuck Klein off losing pitcher Schoolboy Rowe.

In Game 6, Tommy Bridges pitched a complete game victory to win the Series for Detroit. With the score tied 3–3 in the top of the 9th inning, Bridges gave up a leadoff triple to Stan Hack, but retired the next three batters without the runner on third scoring. In the bottom of the 9th, Goose Goslin drove in the winning run with 2 outs. After the game, manager Mickey Cochrane said the following of Bridges' gutsy performance: "A hundred and fifty pounds of courage. If there ever is a payoff on courage this little 150- pound pitcher is the greatest World Series hero."[7]

Delirious Detroit fans rushed onto Navin Field in celebration after Goslin's game-winning hit. The celebration spilled out onto Michigan Avenue and Trumbull. People from throughout Detroit flooded the central city in a celebration that newspapers reported went on until three in the morning. For a few hours, the worries of the Great Depression were gone and the only thing that mattered was the Tigers.

Detroit owner Frank Navin, then 64 years old, had been running the organization for 30 years and had seen four of his teams win American League pennants, only to lose four World Series. On November 13, 1935, five weeks after the Tigers finally won the World Series, Navin suffered a heart attack while riding a horse and died.[12]

GameScoreDateLocationAttendanceWinning PitcherLosing Pitcher
1 Cubs – 3, Tigers – 0 October 2Navin Field 47,391Lon WarnekeSchoolboy Rowe
2 Cubs – 3, Tigers – 8 October 3Navin Field 46,742Tommy BridgesCharlie Root
3 Tigers – 6, Cubs – 5 (11 innings)October 4Wrigley Field 45,532Schoolboy RoweLarry French
4 Tigers – 2, Cubs – 1 October 5Wrigley Field 49,350Alvin CrowderTex Carleton
5 Tigers – 1, Cubs – 3 October 6Wrigley Field 49,237Lon WarnekeSchoolboy Rowe
6 Cubs – 3, Tigers – 4 October 7Navin Field 48,420Tommy BridgesLarry French

Detroit: "City of Champions"

Detroit Celebrates

When the Tigers won the 1935 World Series, the City of Detroit was mired in the Great Depression, which had hit Detroit and its industries particularly hard. But with the success of the Tigers and other Detroit athletes in 1935, Detroit's luck appeared to be changing, as the City was dubbed the "City of Champions."[13]

Detroit's "champions" included Detroit's "Brown Bomber", Joe Louis, the heavyweight boxing champion; native Detroiter Gar Wood who was the champion of unlimited powerboat racing and the first man to go 100 miles per hour on water; Eddie "the Midnight Express" Tolan, a black Detroiter who won gold medals in the 100- and 200-meter races at the 1932 Summer Olympics. The Detroit Lions also won the 1935 NFL Championship Game, and the Detroit Red Wings won the 1935–36 Stanley Cup championship, but the biggest celebration came when the Tigers won the World Series, as the "City of Champions" moniker took hold.

Baseball was hugely popular in Detroit during the Great Depression, as attendance at Navin Field in 1934 and 1935, accounted for nearly 25 percent of baseball's total paid attendance.

Postseason player stats


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
Flea Clifton 4 16 0 .000 0 0
Mickey Cochrane 6 24 7 .292 0 1
Pete Fox 6 26 10 .385 0 4
Charlie Gehringer 6 24 9 .375 0 4
Goose Goslin 6 22 6 .273 0 3
Hank Greenberg 2 6 1 .167 1 2
Marv Owen 6 20 1 .050 0 1
Billy Rogell 6 24 7 .292 0 1
Gee Walker 3 4 1 .250 0 0
Jo-Jo White 5 19 5 .263 0 1


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

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Schoolboy Rowe 3 21 1 2 2.57 14
Tommy Bridges 2 18 2 0 2.50 9
Alvin Crowder 1 9 1 0 1.00 5
Elden Auker 1 6 0 0 3.00 1
Chief Hogsett 1 1 0 0 0.00 0

Awards and honors

1935 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

League leaders

Players ranking among top 100 all time at position

The following members of the 1934 Detroit Tigers are among the Top 100 of all time at their position, as ranked by The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract in 2001:

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AA Toledo Mud Hens American Association Fred Haney
AA Portland Beavers Pacific Coast League Buddy Ryan and Bill Cissell
A Beaumont Exporters Texas League Dutch Lorbeer
B Springfield Senators Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League Bob Coleman
C Charleston Senators Middle Atlantic League Russ Young and Val Picinich
C Henderson Oilers West Dixie League Roy Flaskamper
D Charleroi Tigers Pennsylvania State Association Earl Smith



  1. Anthony O'Connor, "Voices from Cooperstown", p. 96.
  2. Hank Greenberg, "Hank Greenberg: The Story of My Life" (1989), pp. 23–24.
  3. Pete Fox at Baseball Library
  4. Hank Greenberg, "Hank Greenberg: The Story of My Life" (1989)
  5. 1 2 Tommy Bridges at the SABR Baseball Biography Project, by Ralph Berger, retrieved November 22, 2013
  6. Tom Deveaux, "The Washington Senators, 1901–1971" (McFarland 2001), p. 105.
  7. Richard Bak, "Cobb Would Have Caught It" (Wayne State Univ. Press 1991), p. 252.
  8. Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 3rd edition. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 2007


External links

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