Sometimes baseball researchers spend too much time hunting down game and player statistics from past decades, without considering the context in which baseball existed. Obviously the Depression was far more important than the question of whether people can come up with a formula that will definitively, objectively tell us who was the best player in baseball in 1931 or 1932. Or whether we can find out exactly what Tony Lazzeri did in a game vs. the Chicago White Sox on May 9, 1929.
So, instead of trying to figure out such issues, this post will present the New York Times’ coverage of a charity game between the NYC police and firemen played at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, September 25, 1932. The results show up in no professional baseball record, but I think it’s quite safe to say that it was a more important and better remembered game than any played in the National League or American League on the same day (it was the last day of the regular season). With that, here’s some of how the Times reported the action between the police and fire squads at the Stadium:
The Police Department baseball team defeated its traditional rival, the Fire Department, in their annual game at the Yankee Stadium yesterday and thereby gained possession of the Mayor’s Cup. A crowd of 40,000 that included Mayor McKee [Acting Mayor Joseph V. McKee, who'd been installed when disgraced Mayor Jimmy Walker resigned on Sept. 1] attended and saw the policemen triumph by virtue of a three-run rally in the eighth inning, 5 to 4.
The contest was played for charity, the net proceeds of the game going to the Mayor’s committee for the relief of the unemployed and needy. While no official figures were announced, it was unofficially estimated that the receipts would compare favorably with last year’s sum of $63,000.
The Mayor assumed the role of a non-partisan spectator by sitting with Police Commissioner Edward P. Mulrooney for the first four and a half innings and then crossing the field to join Fire Commissioner John J. Dorman for the remainder of the game. . .
The firemen were unfortunate in the fifth inning when McCrystal sprinted home from third base while Fahey was at bat. He was off to a flying start from a huge lead and had the base nearly stolen, only to have the batter angle off a foul. Fahey then popped up to retire the side.
Note that Ruddy got the win for the cops, with two hits and two runs scored to help his team, and Auer getting the last two outs (the final one with the bases loaded) for what would have been a save if people were keeping that statistic.