Chick Hafey Jim Bottomley

July 6, 1929: Jim Bottomley and Chick Hafey each hit grand slams in Cardinals’ win

When the 1929 St. Louis Cardinals finally broke their longest losing streak of the season, they did so in historic fashion.

Excluding a July 1 tie with the Chicago Cubs, the Cardinals had lost 10 consecutive games headed into their July 6 double-header with the Philadelphia Phillies. To make matters worse, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, “It was a hot, sultry day and swarms of Japanese beetles added to the discomfort of players and spectators.”[1]

The Cardinals extended their losing streak to a season-high 11 games, dropping the opener 10-6 despite two home runs from first baseman Jim Bottomley.

Bottomley drove in four runs, shortstop Charlie Gelbert added three hits and drove in two, and third baseman Andy High had four hits. Cardinals starting pitcher Bill Sherdel struggled, however, as the Phillies totaled 13 hits, including seven for extra bases. Third baseman Pinky Whitney and right fielder Chuck Klein each homered for the Phillies.

The 16 runs scored in the opener proved to be just the beginning of the day’s scoring as the Cardinals put together two 10-run innings in Game 2. Claude Willoughby immediately ran into trouble, walking Taylor Douthit and Carey Selph before allowing three consecutive RBI singles by High, Bottomley, and Chick Hafey. After Willoughby walked Wattie Holm, Phillies manager Burt Shotton summoned Elmer Miller to the mound.

He didn’t fare any better.

Miller walked Jimmie Wilson to load the bases, then walked Charlie Gelbhert as well, making the score 5-0. Shotton had a shorter leash this time, calling on Luther Roy to replace Miller.

Cardinals pitcher Fred Frankhouse greeted Roy with a two-run single into left field. Douthit followed with an RBI single to give the Cardinals an 8-0 lead. Selph mercifully laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance runners to second and third before High hit into a fielder’s choice for the second out of the inning.

Roy, however, would not escape the inning that easily.

With two outs, Bottomley singled into center field, scoring Frankhouse and High to give the Cardinals a 10-0 lead.

For Frankhouse, the double-digit first-inning lead was a gift. He was taking the mound despite a sore thumb that made it difficult for him to throw his curveball. Taking advantage of the sizeable lead, Frankhouse “merely lobbed the ball over the plate,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.[2] After a single from Denny Sothern and a pair of walks by Frankhouse, Philadelphia’s Fresco Thompson hit a two-run single to make the score 10-2.

In the second inning, a throwing error by Whitney at third base allowed Holm to reach third base, and Wilson drove him in with a single to right.

Sothern homered in the bottom half of the second to cut the Cardinals’ lead to 11-3, but the St. Louis offense was far from finished.

Douthit hit an RBI single and Selph drove him home with a triple in the fourth. In the fifth inning, after the Cardinals scored two more runs on a sacrifice fly by Holm and Wilson’s second RBI single of the game, the Phillies replaced Roy with June Greene.

Frankhouse welcomed Greene with a single to drive in his third run of the day. Douthit singled and Eddie Delker walked to load the bases before Greene hit High with a pitch to make the score 18-4.

With the bases still loaded, Bottomley launched a grand slam to right field, clearing the bases and giving the Cardinals a 22-4 lead. It was his 19th home run of the season.

For the next three innings, both teams’ bats were relatively quiet, but Greene ran into trouble once again in the eighth. After High hit an RBI single, Bottomley walked to load the bases and Hafey hit the Cardinals’ second grand slam of the game.

Hafey’s 21st home run of the season marked the Cardinals’ final offense in a 28-6 victory. The Redbirds’ 28 runs set a new major-league record, and until Fernando Tatis hit two grand slams in the same inning in 1999, it marked the only time that the Cardinals hit two grand slams in the same game. The previous major-league runs record came on July 7, 1923, when the Cleveland Indians scored 27 runs against Boston.[3]

Altogether, the Cardinals totaled 28 hits and nine walks. Hafey finished with five hits, including two doubles and his grand slam, as he drove in five runs on the day. Douthit added five hits and walked twice, and Bottomley finished the game with four hits, two walks, and seven RBIs.

Frankhouse actually had a better day at the plate than he did on the mound. He allowed the Phillies to score six earned runs on 17 hits and three walks, but as the Cardinals’ No. 9 hitter he finished the day with four hits, four RBIs, and two runs scored.

Despite finally snapping their losing streak, the Cardinals suffered five injuries on the day. Wally Roettger injured his ankle and left the first game early, Bubber Jonnard was spiked in the leg, Earl Smith pulled a leg muscle, and Selph sprained an ankle sliding into third base. Frankie Frisch, who already was favoring one leg due to a charley horse, pulled a muscle in the other leg.[4]

The Cardinals would finish the season with a 78-74 record, good for fourth in the National League. Hafey finished the season with a .338 batting average, 29 homers, and 135 RBIs, while Bottomley batted .314 with 29 homers and 137 RBIs.

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[1] J. Roy Stockton, “Cards crush Phillies under 28-6 score after losing by 10 to 6,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Page S3.

[2] J. Roy Stockton, “Cards crush Phillies under 28-6 score after losing by 10 to 6,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Page S3.

[3] Stan Baumgartner, “Cards capture second, 28 to 6, making record,” Philadelphia Inquirer, Page S1.

[4] “Five Cardinals injured in day,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Page S3.

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