In recent seasons, Yankees fans have often been frustrated at the team’s offense for leaving runners on base. No matter how bad they are now, it would take some effort to beat what they did on May 3, 1932.
The Yankees had gotten off to a 10-5 start in 1932. They were in Washington DC, playing the first-place Senators in the finale of a three-game series. In the top of the first, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig both drew two-out walks, but Ben Chapman grounded out to end the inning, stranding them both.
In the bottom of the first, things got off to a pretty rocky start. Starter Herb Pennock lasted just 0.1 inning, with that out coming only when Washington shortstop Joe Cronin was thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple. After allowing three runs on four hits and two walks, Pennock was taken out of the game. Johnny Allen came in and struck out two, keeping the Yankees down three runs.
In the top of the second, Tony Lazzeri and Allen both drew walks, but again the Yankees’ offense couldn’t bring them home. After stranding another two runners in the third, the Yankees did finally get on the board in the fourth. Arndt Jorgens singled home Lazzeri to make it 3-1. The offense threatened to add more, putting another two base runners on, but Gehrig grounded out to end to the third.
The Yankees put runners on again in the fifth and sixth, but couldn’t bring them home. Chapman led off the seventh inning with a walk, but was immediately erased by Frankie Crosetti grounding into a double play. However, Lazzeri, Jorgens, and a pinch-hitting Earle Combs then drew three-straight walks, loading the bases. Unfortunately, Samuel Byrd couldn’t bring them home, stranding another three runners.
In the top of the eighth Joe Sewell and Ruth led off the inning with two more walks. After Gehrig reached on an error, Chapman walked to bring home a run. A Crosetti sac fly plated a run, as did a Lazzeri ground out. Despite all the runners the Yankees had left on base, they were now up 4-3.
The lead wouldn’t last long, however. Yankees’ reliever Gordon Rhodes loaded the bases with one out before being replaced by Ivy Andrews. The first batter Andrews faced was Sam Rice, who doubled, scoring two runs. That put the Senators up 5-4.
The Yankees had one last chance in the top of the ninth. Jorgens got things off to a good start, singling to open the inning. After Jack Saltzgaver struck out, Byrd singled, putting two on with one out. However, Sewell then grounded into a double play, stranding another two runners and dooming the Yankees to a 5-4 loss.
In total, the Yankees left 16 runners on base that day, and went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position. The team drew 16 walks that day, and somehow only put up four runs. Ruth drew four walks on his own and only came around to score once. Gehrig had a bad day, stranding five runners on his own. Then again, he reached base three times and only scored once.
However bad the Yankees’ offense is at stranding runners right now, at least we haven’t seen them put up a game like May 3, 1932.