We Want Beer! The 1937 All-Star Game at Griffith Stadium

This … picture … is … awesome. This is why I love baseball.

 Lou Gehrig, Joe Cronin, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Charlie Gehringer, Jimmie Foxx, and Hank Greenberg - July 7th, 1937 (Library of Congress)
Lou Gehrig, Joe Cronin, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Charlie Gehringer, Jimmie Foxx, and Hank Greenberg at Griffith Stadium in Washington, DC - July 7th, 1937 (Library of Congress)

I could almost end the post with just this picture because it’s just that amazing.

The 1937 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was held in Washington at Griffith Stadium. The Senators were between mediocre and lousy by then, but this was reason to celebrate because it was only the fifth year of the all-star game and all the greats were here. DiMaggio, Gehrig,  Dean, Greenberg, Gehringer, Grove and Mize.

The clash of these stars led to a decisive victory by the American League, but it sounded like an excellent time. The Washington Post reported on the game the following day, July 8th, 1937.

With derisive shouts of “Oh, oh, Dizzy Dean, who’s dizzy now?” the American Leaguers trooped joyously into the dressing room following their 8-to-3 victory over the pick of the National League yesterday at Griffith Stadium in the All-Star game.

Led by Art Fletcher, veteran coach of the Yankees, the hard-bitten crew throated lusty yells of joy and then someone cried “We want beer!” and the cry was taken up in all sections and became a mighty roar.

Lou Gehrig, whose towering home run drive off Dean in the third inning with Teammate DiMaggio on base, sent the winners off to a lead they never relinquished, said he was just in there swinging when he sent the ball at a terrific clip far over the right field wall.

“It was a fast ball right over the middle. It was the three and two pitch.”

“Did you have a feeling you were going to hit?” we asked.

“Naw! You never know when you’re going to hit a pitcher like Dizzy Dean!”

Gehrig … what a humble man.

1937 All-Star game program (Smithsonian)
1937 All-Star game program (Smithsonian)

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt is truly the country’s No. 1 fan. Entering shortly after 1:15 escorted by 11 Eagle Boy Scouts, guard of honor, flanked by numerous Secret Service men and assisted by James, his oldest son, and preceded by his secretary, Steve Early, Col. Watson and several others, the President stood patiently smiling while batteries of photographers ground away, and yelled “Hold it, Mr. President, one more.”

Chatting with James, and commenting on the game while smoking numerous cigarettes, the Nation’s leader seemed to enjoy every minute.

Al Simmons was seated with the Secret Service men in front of the presidential box and snapped many pictures with a camera as did Beau Bell from the bench. Al made his presence known early in the game with a good-natured quip to Dizzy Dean after he had walked Joe DiMaggio in the first inning.

“Pitch, you bush leaguer, you’re in the big leagues, now,” he cried.

Gehrig and DiMaggio frequently ducked down on the dugout stairs to catch a cigarette between innings. DiMaggio, on the spot because of his failure last year and the big things predicted for him in this game was very nervous at the bat.

In the first inning Gehrig went down swinging on a fast curve of Deans’ but was not a bit disconcerted.

“He’s not so tough,” he said, on the second inning cigarette as he exhaled vigorously. And to prove his point he stepped up in the third and hit that home run, waving his cap to Roosevelt and smiling at the crowd as he jogged over the plate.

Starting Lineups

Here are the starting lineups for the American and National Leagues.

National League American League
Order Player Team Position Order Player Team Position
1 Paul Waner Pirates RF 1 Red Rolfe Yankees 3B
2 Billy Herman Cubs 2B 2 Charlie Gehringer Tigers 2B
3 Arky Vaughan Pirates 3B 3 Joe DiMaggio Yankees CF
4 Joe Medwick Cardinals LF 4 Lou Gehrig Yankees 1B
5 Frank Demaree Cubs CF 5 Earl Averill Indians CF
6 Johnny Mize Cardinals 1B 6 Joe Cronin Red Sox SS
7 Gabby Hartnett Cubs C 7 Bill Dickey Yankees C
8 Dick Bartell Giants SS 8 Sam West Browns LF
9 Dizzy Dean Cardinals P 9 Lefty Grove Red Sox P

Game Summary

The American League was out front from the third inning and never gave up the lead.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
National League 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 3 13 0
American League 0 0 2 3 1 2 0 0 8 13 2
WP: Lefty Gomez (1–0)   LP: Dizzy Dean (0–1)   Sv: Mel Harder (1)
Home runs:
NL: None
AL: Lou Gehrig (1)
Players scrambling for first pitch thrown by President Roosevelt
Players scrambling for first pitch thrown by President Roosevelt
Secretary of State views All-Star game. Washington D.C., July 7. Secretary of State with Mrs. Cordell Hull joined the thousands of other rabid baseball fans at Griffith Stadium today to witness the 1937 All-Star Game (Library of Congress)
Secretary of State Frank Kellogg views All-Star game. Washington D.C., July 7. Secretary of State with Mrs. Cordell Hull joined the thousands of other rabid baseball fans at Griffith Stadium today to witness the 1937 All-Star Game (Library of Congress)
Landis assumes camera pose. Washington D.C., July 7. Kenesaw Mountain Landis, High Commissioner of baseball, assumes his characteristic pose for the cameramen as he views the 1937 all-star game in the Capitol (Library of Congress)
Landis assumes camera pose. Washington D.C., July 7. Kenesaw Mountain Landis, High Commissioner of baseball, assumes his characteristic pose for the cameramen as he views the 1937 all-star game in the Capitol (Library of Congress)
School out for legislators. Washington D.C., July 7. Capitol Hill was deserted today as the House and Senate recessed to enable the legislators to view the 1937 All-Star Game, here we see, Rep. Bertram N. Snell (left) Republic Minority Leader; and Rep. John J. O'Connor, Chairman of the House Rules Committee (Library of Congress)
School out for legislators. Washington D.C., July 7. Capitol Hill was deserted today as the House and Senate recessed to enable the legislators to view the 1937 All-Star Game, here we see, Rep. Bertram N. Snell (left) Republic Minority Leader; and Rep. John J. O'Connor, Chairman of the House Rules Committee (Library of Congress)

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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