Monday, May 21, 2012


January 1936, pitcher Bobby Coombs was sold to Birmingham of the Southern League. The Boston Red Sox send Ellsworth "Babe" Dahlgren to the Chiefs after obtaining future "Hall of Famer" -Jimmy Foxx. While Mineral, Texas was selected as the teams new spring training site.

The good new was that "Babe" Dahlgren led the Chiefs' hitting a blazing .318 that summer. He still hold the Chiefs All-Time Record's for Most Game Played in one season 155, and Triples with 21 in one of his best years in professional baseball. The Chiefs classy first baseman's name would later become a trivia contest question on May 2, 1939. On that date "Babe" a reserve first baseman for the New York Yankees replaced the ill Lou Gehrig ending his consecutive game streak at 2,130. Gehrig's life ending illness diagnosed an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or as we known it today "Lou Gehrig's Disease". Many years later Dahlgren was quoted as saying "I rarely speak of that moment. I'm sick of that, I never wanted to be a Yankee. There was no way to replace Lou Gehrig." The Yankees did go on to win their fourth consecutive World Series in 1939. Dahlgren's career would see stops with the Dodgers, Cubs, Phillies, Pirates, Boston Braves and St. Louis Browns before his retirement in 1946.

The 1936 season could be called the year of disappointments and poor decisions. First the club lost the home opener to Montreal 3-0. A week later they were defeated in a 17-inning contest at Buffalo 10-9. Ray Starr provided the first bright spot May 19 as he shutout Toronto in both ends of a doubleheader 9-0 and 3-0. In the years first important trade the tribe receives Wally Cazen & Keith Molesworth from Buffalo in exchange for the very  popular Henry "Price" Oana. The speedy Cazen would provide some must needed spark in a lackluster year. Cazen would later be inducted into the Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame.

Boston arrived on June 15, for their yearly exhibition. A Crowd of over 7,000 greeted Jimmy Foxx, Joe Cronin, Herb Pennock (all Hall of Famer's) and ex-chief John Kroner, The fans cheered with delight as the hometown team down the Red Sox 7-5. Three days later 24 year International League record for scoring was shattered as Baltimore destroyed the Chiefs 31-9.

July 10, Nemo Leibold resigns as team manager, owner Jack Corbett names coach Mike Kelly as his replacement after attempts to sign George "Specs" Toporcer failed. Reports surface that Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey is irked with Leibold departure and may withdraw his Boston players from Syracuse. After a dismal years the Chiefs climb out of the I.L. basement August 22 (replaced by Albany) after splitting a doubleheader against Newark. The first old-timers game was played on September 3 showcasing former N.Y. Giant pitcher  George "Hooks" Wiltse. As the season wound down Boston purchased the contract of Dom Dallessandro for spring delivery. The Buffalo Bisons had overtaken Rochester to capture the I.L. Championship (94-60). and continued by also winning the Governors Cup. The Chiefs finished in seventh place at 59-95.

In a special I.L. meeting in New York City former Syracuse Stars manager Frank "Shag" Shaughnessy was named the new International League President. Shaughnessy who introduced the playoff system to baseball, succeeded Warren Giles. Mr. Giles had resigned to become general manager and vice president of the Cincinnati Reds. Back at home the Chiefs were in financial trouble. The teams operator the Jersey City Baseball Club Inc. headed by Jack Corbett filed for bankruptcy on December 7, 1936.

A bankruptcy auction was held on January 21, 1937. Jack Corbell bought back the Chiefs franchise for $5,000. Meanwhile, International League officials vote to return professional baseball to Syracuse for 1937.


  1. My father was born in Syracuse in 1917. He moved to Maryland when he was 5. He always told a story about when he was 4 and he and his brother (6) snuck in to watch the Yankees practice for an exhibition game. Babe Ruth hit a ball and the bat broke. He tossed the ball to my uncle and said "here kid you can have this." My Dad said his Dad fixed it and they played with it for many years.

    He moved back to Maryland in 1996 and had watched Antiques Road Show. He was sure the bat would be valuable and that it could be found in the barn where his family had lived. The barn was full, too full to look. Long story short…. we found a bat in that barn this past week. Dad died in 2007, his brother died in WWII. It says Bean Brothers Freeport Maine. I have learned from someone at L.L. Bean that the bat would be about 100 years old and from my sister searching the internet… she learned from your site that Babe Ruth was there in August 1922 which would be right!

    We are rather excited, the bat is indeed broken but how cool that my Dad's story seems to be true.

    We thought you might enjoy the story. Ruth

  2. I meant he tossed the broken bat, not the ball! They lived in a house near the barn, not in the barn!