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The story of a crazy Yankees-White Sox ending from 1934

Johnny Murphy pitched one inning to finish off a Yankees’ win. That doesn’t tell the whole story.

Arizona Diamondbacks v New York Yankees Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Things were going well for the Yankees on September 6, 1934.

After scoring the game’s opening run in the top of the second against the White Sox, they broke it open two innings later. Tony Lazzeri brought home two runs in the fourth after a bases-loaded double. That was followed by a George Selkirk single which scored another two. That gave the Yankees a 5-0 cushion.

Red Ruffing had cruised through the first four innings, but Chicago struck back in the fifth. After Ruffing walked the leadoff hitter, Lazzeri made an error on a ground ball two batters later. A double later in the inning brought home both runners for the White Sox, and the Yankees’ lead was down to three runs.

Ruffing settled down after that, and other than a single in the sixth, didn’t allow a baserunner in the next couple innings. Meanwhile, the Yankees stranded runners in the seventh and eighth, missing opportunities to pick up some insurance runs.

The Yankees went down scoreless in the top of the ninth, and Ruffing came back out to try and finish off a complete game. He had allowed just four hits and two walks in the previous eight innings, but he then proceeded to nearly double his hit total to immediately start the ninth.

Luke Appling led off the ninth for the White Sox with a single. Jimmy Dykes followed that with a single of his own.

Then Marty Hopkins made the game tense by striking Chicago’s third straight single, scoring Appling to make it 5-3. At that point with the go-ahead run at the plate, Joe McCarthy decided to go to the bullpen and brought in Johnny Murphy.

The White Sox sent up Charlie Uhlir as a pinch-hitter to face Murphy. During the at bat, Yankees’ catcher Arndt Jorgens picked Dykes off second for the first out of the inning. Without a ball being put in play, the Yankees reduced the batter at the plate to the tying run.

Murphy then struck out Uhlir, and Jorgens threw out Hopkins, who was trying to steal second. That rather suddenly ended the game, giving the Yankees a 5-3 win.

Johnny Murphy is recorded as having pitched one inning. However, he only faced one batter and is in a way, only responsible for one out. According to the Baseball Reference Play Index, there have been 24 times when a pitcher has finished with one inning pitched in a game while only facing one batter. (Note: the Play Index also has Pirates’ pitcher Xavier Rescigno as having pitched two innings in a game while only facing one batter, which seems impossible.)

Johnny Murphy is credited with the save on September 6, 1934. However, that is only half the story.


All data courtesy of the Baseball Reference Play Index