Anthony Michael Lazzeri (December 6, 1903 – August 6, 1946) was an Italian-American professional baseball second baseman during the 1920s and 1930s, predominantly with the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball. He was part of the famed "Murderers' Row" Yankee batting lineup of the late 1920s (most notably the legendary 1927 team), along with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Bob Meusel.
Lazzeri was born and raised in San Francisco, California. He dropped out of school to work with his father as a boilermaker, but at the age of 18, began to play baseball professionally. After playing in minor league baseball from 1922 through 1925, Lazzeri joined the Yankees in 1926. He was a member of the original American League All-Star team in 1933. He was nicknamed "Poosh 'Em Up" by Italian-speaking fans, from a mistranslation of an Italian phrase meaning to "hit it out" (hit a home run).
Lazzeri is one of only 14 major league baseball players to hit for the natural cycle (hitting a single, double, triple and home run in sequence) and the only player to complete a natural cycle with a grand slam. He also holds the American League record for the most RBI in a single game, with 11 on May 24, 1936. In that same 1936 game, he became the first major league player to hit two grand slams in one game. Lazzeri was posthumously inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1991.
|Born: December 6, 1903|
San Francisco, California
|Died: August 6, 1946 (aged 42)|
San Francisco, California
|April 13, 1926, for the New York Yankees|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 7, 1939, for the New York Giants|
|Runs batted in||1,191|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Election Method||Veterans Committee|
At age 15, Lazzeri was expelled from school. He began to work with his father, earning $4.50 a day ($75 in current dollar terms). Lazzeri also played semi-professional baseball and trained to become a prizefighter.
A friend of Lazzeri convinced Duffy Lewis, who managed the Salt Lake City Bees of the Pacific Coast League (PCL), to allow Lazzeri to tryout for the team in 1922. Lazzeri made the team, earning $250 a month ($3,742 in current dollar terms) as a utility infielder. He batted .192 in 45 games, and was demoted to the Peoria Tractors of the Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League in 1923 to gain more experience.
Lazzeri batted .248 with 14 home runs in 135 games for Peoria, before being recalled to Salt Lake City. Starting at shortstop for the Bees in 1924, Lazzeri batted .285 with 16 home runs. However, Lewis gave the starting shortstop role to Pinky Pittenger, and sent Lazzeri to the Lincoln Links of the Western League, where he batted .329 with 28 home runs in 82 games.
Returning to Salt Lake City under new manager Oscar Vitt in 1925, Lazzeri batted .355 with 60 home runs and 222 runs batted in (RBIs), the most RBIs in professional baseball history. That year he became one of what are today four Pacific Coast League hitters to have had a 30 home runs, 30 stolen bases season, along with Joc Pederson (2014), Frank Demaree (1934), and Lefty O'Doul (1927). Though Salt Lake City had a working agreement with the Chicago Cubs, the Cubs passed on Lazzeri due to his epilepsy. The Cincinnati Reds passed on Lazzeri as well. Bill Essick, a scout for the New York Yankees, convinced Ed Barrow, the Yankees' general manager, to sign Lazzeri. Barrow agreed after receiving confirmatory reports from other scouts, including Ed Holly and Paul Krichell, as well as ensuring that Lazzeri's insurance policy would cover his illness.
After the 1925 season, Barrow purchased Lazzeri from Salt Lake City in exchange for the rights to Frank Zoeller and Mack Hillis and $50,000 ($714,326 in current dollar terms). Lazzeri signed a contract with the Yankees worth $5,000 ($71,433 in current dollar terms).
Lazzeri debuted in the major leagues in 1926 as a member of the Yankees. Manager Miller Huggins moved Lazzeri from shortstop to second base. Huggins paired Lazzeri with Mark Koenig, also a rookie, as his double play combination. In his rookie season, playing all 155 games, Lazzeri hit 18 home runs and had 114 RBIs. He finished third in the American League (AL) in home runs behind Babe Ruth and Al Simmons, and tied for third in RBIs with George Burns, trailing only Ruth. The Yankees reached the 1926 World Series, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals. In a bases loaded situation in the seventh inning of the deciding game, Grover Cleveland Alexander struck out Lazzeri to save the series for the Cardinals.
With the 1927 Yankees, known as "Murderer's Row" due to the strength of their batting lineup, Lazzeri batted .309 with 18 home runs and 102 RBIs. He finished third in the AL in home runs, behind only teammates Ruth and Lou Gehrig. The Yankees finished the season with a 110–44 win-loss record, and defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1927 World Series. Baseball experts solicited by Billy Evans named Lazzeri the consensus best second baseman in the AL. He suffered a muscle injury that threatened to end his season. Nevertheless, Lazzeri returned to the team, and hit a key double off of Alexander in the 1928 World Series, which the Yankees won. Despite the games he missed, Lazzeri tied Joe Judge for third place in Most Valuable Player voting, with the award being won by Mickey Cochrane.
Lazzeri had his career-high batting average of .354 in 1929. He hit two home runs for the Yankees in the 1932 World Series. In 1933, Lazzeri was named to appear in the first MLB All-Star Game, representing the AL against the National League (NL). He suffered a knee injury during the 1934 season.
Lazzeri set an AL single-game record on May 24, 1936, when he recorded eleven RBIs. That month, he also set records for most home runs in three consecutive games (6) and four consecutive games (7). He hit a grand slam during the 1936 World Series, only the second grand slam in World Series history. Lazzeri scored the deciding run in the 1937 World Series, as the Yankees defeated the New York Giants.
As a member of the Yankees through 1937, he averaged 79 runs, 14 home runs, 96 RBIs and 12 stolen bases, including seven seasons with over 100 RBI and five seasons batting .300 or higher (including a high of .354 in 1929). During this period, the Yankees won six American League pennants (1926, 1927, 1928, 1932, 1936 and 1937) and five World Series championships (1927, 1928, 1932, 1936 and 1937).
The Yankees released Lazzeri following the 1937 season. He signed with the Cubs as a player-coach for the 1938 season. Though he received little playing time, the Cubs won the NL championship and appeared in the 1938 World Series against the Yankees, which the Yankees won. The Cubs released Lazzeri after the season, and he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers for the 1939 season. However, the Dodgers released him on May 13, after he batted .282 in 14 games. The next day, Lazzeri signed with the New York Giants, to replace George Myatt and Lou Chiozza at third base. Lazzeri received his release on June 7.
Lazzeri then returned to minor league baseball, where he managed the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League for the remainder of the 1939 season and entire 1940 season. He played for the San Francisco Seals of the PCL in 1941, and was released after the season. He played for and managed the Portsmouth Cubs of the Piedmont League in 1942. Lazzeri served as player-manager of the Wilkes-Barre Barons of the Eastern League in 1943, posting a .271 batting average in 58 games. He was asked to resign after the season.
Before the 1923 season, Lazzeri married Maye Janes. The couple had one child, David Anthony Lazzeri (1931-2013).
Lazzeri died in 1946 at age 42 from a fall that the coroner said was caused by a heart attack in his Millbrae, California, home. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991 by the Veteran's Committee. Many believe Lazzeri's fall was actually caused by an epileptic seizure rather than a heart attack.
Although his offensive production was overshadowed by the historic accomplishments of teammates such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio, Lazzeri is still considered one of the top hitting second basemen of his era. Koenig considered Lazzeri the team's most valuable player. He finished his career with a .292 batting average, 986 runs, 178 home runs, 1,191 RBIs and 148 stolen bases. Despite his hitting 60 home runs in an extended PCL season in 1925, Lazzeri never hit more than 18 home runs in a major league season (a mark he reached four times).
Lazzeri holds the American League record for most RBI in a game with 11, set May 24, 1936, as he also became the first major league player to hit two grand slams in one game. He holds the major league record of 15 RBIs in consecutive games (one more than Rudy York in 1946 and Sammy Sosa in 2002). He also set major league records of six home runs in three consecutive games, and seven in four consecutive games. Lazzeri continues to share the consecutive-game American League record, but the three-game record was topped by Shawn Green of the Dodgers (seven in 2002) and the four-game mark was broken by Ralph Kiner of the Pittsburgh Pirates (eight in 1947). Lazzeri is also the only player in major league baseball to hit a natural cycle with the final home run being a grand slam on June 3, 1932.
| Hitting for the cycle
June 3, 1932
The 1927 New York Yankees season was their 25th season. The team finished with a record of 110–44, winning their fifth pennant and finishing 19 games ahead of the Philadelphia Athletics and were tied for first or better for the whole season. New York was managed by Miller Huggins. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they swept the Pittsburgh Pirates. This Yankees team is known for their feared lineup, which was nicknamed "Murderers' Row". This team is widely considered to be the best baseball team in the history of MLB.1928 New York Yankees season
The New York Yankees' 1928 season was their 26th season. The team finished with a record of 101–53, winning their sixth pennant, finishing 2.5 games ahead of the Philadelphia Athletics. New York was managed by Miller Huggins. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they swept the St. Louis Cardinals. Pitcher Urban Shocker died in September due to complications from pneumonia.1929 New York Yankees season
The 1929 New York Yankees season was the team's 27th season in New York and its 29th overall. The team finished with a record of 88–66, finishing in second place, 18 games behind the Philadelphia Athletics. This ended a streak of three straight World Series appearances for the club. New York was managed by Miller Huggins until his death on September 25. They played at Yankee Stadium.1932 New York Yankees season
The 1932 New York Yankees season was the team's 30th season in New York, and its 32nd season overall. The team finished with a record of 107–47, winning their seventh pennant, finishing 13 games ahead of the Philadelphia Athletics. New York was managed by future Hall of Famer Joe McCarthy. A record nine future Hall of Famers played on the team (Earle Combs, Bill Dickey, Lou Gehrig, Lefty Gomez, Tony Lazzeri, Herb Pennock, Red Ruffing, Babe Ruth, Joe Sewell).
The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they swept the Chicago Cubs. They are the only major-league team ever to go an entire season without being shut out.1934 New York Yankees season
The 1934 New York Yankees season was the team's 32nd season in New York and its 34th season overall. The team finished with a record of 94–60, finishing 7 games behind the Detroit Tigers. New York was managed by Joe McCarthy. The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium. It would also be the final year Babe Ruth would play as a Yankee.1935 New York Yankees season
The 1935 New York Yankees season was the team's 33rd season in New York and its 35th season overall. The team finished with a record of 89–60, finishing 3 games behind the Detroit Tigers. New York was managed by Joe McCarthy. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium.1936 New York Yankees season
The 1936 New York Yankees season was the team's 34th season in New York and its 36th season overall. The team finished with a record of 102–51, winning their 8th pennant, finishing 19.5 games ahead of the Detroit Tigers. New York was managed by Joe McCarthy. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they beat the New York Giants in 6 games.1936 World Series
The 1936 World Series matched the New York Yankees against the New York Giants, with the Yankees winning in six games to earn their fifth championship.
The Yankees played their first World Series without Babe Ruth and their first with Joe DiMaggio, Ruth having been released by the Yankees after the 1934 season. He retired in 1935 as a member of the Boston Braves.1937 World Series
The 1937 World Series featured the defending champion New York Yankees and the New York Giants in a rematch of the 1936 Series. The Yankees won in five games, for their second championship in a row and their sixth in fifteen years (1923, 1927–28, 1932, 1936).
This was the Yankees' third Series win over the Giants (1923, 1936), finally giving them an overall edge in Series wins over the Giants with three Fall Classic wins to the Giants' two (after they lost the 1921 and 1922 Series to the Giants). Currently (as of 2018), the St. Louis Cardinals are the only "Classic Eight" National League (1900–1961) team to hold a Series edge over the Bronx Bombers, with three wins to the Yankees' two. The 1937 victory by the Yankees also broke a three-way tie among themselves, the Philadelphia Athletics and the Boston Red Sox for the most World Series wins all-time (five each). By the time the Athletics and Red Sox won their sixth World Series (in 1972 and 2004, respectively), the Yankees had far outpaced them in world championships with 20 in 1972 and 26 in 2004.
The 1937 Series was the first in which a team (in this case, the Yankees) did not commit a single error, handling 179 total chances (132 putouts, 47 assists) perfectly. Game 4 ended with the final World Series innings ever pitched by Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell who, during the ninth inning, gave up Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig's final Series home run.1938 Chicago Cubs season
The 1938 Chicago Cubs season was the 67th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 63rd in the National League and the 23rd at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished first in the National League with a record of 89–63. The team was swept four games to none by the New York Yankees in the 1938 World Series.
The team is known for the season of pitcher Dizzy Dean. While pitching for the NL in the 1937 All-Star Game, Dean suffered a big toe fracture. Coming back too soon from the injury, Dean changed his pitching motion to avoid landing too hard on his sore toe enough to affect his mechanics. As a result, he hurt his arm, losing his great fastball. By 1938, Dean's arm was largely gone. Cubs scout Clarence "Pants" Rowland was tasked with the unenviable job of obeying owner Philip K. Wrigley's direct order to buy a washed-up Dean's contract at any cost. Rowland signed the ragged righty for $185,000, one of the most expensive loss-leader contracts in baseball history. Dean still helped the Cubs win the 1938 pennant.
On July 20, Wrigley named 37-year-old Gabby Hartnett as the team's player-manager, replacing Charlie Grimm. When Hartnett took over, the Cubs were in third place, six games behind the first place Pittsburgh Pirates who were led by Pie Traynor. By September 27, with one week left in the season, the Cubs had battled back to within a game and a half game of the Pirates in the National League standings as the two teams met for a crucial three-game series. Dean pitched the opening game of the series and with his ailing arm, relied more on his experience and grit to defeat the Pirates by a score of 2 to 1. Dean would later call it the greatest outing of his career. The Cubs cut the Pirates' lead to a half game and set the stage for one of baseball's most memorable moments.On September 28, the two teams met for the second game of the series, where Hartnett experienced the highlight of his career. With darkness descending on the lightless Wrigley Field and the score tied at 5 runs apiece, the umpires ruled that the ninth inning would be the last to be played. The entire game would have to be replayed the following day if the score remained tied. Hartnett came to bat with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning. With a count of 0 balls and 2 strikes, Hartnett connected on a Mace Brown pitch, launching the ball into the darkness, before it eventually landed in the left-center field bleachers. The stadium erupted into pandemonium as players and fans stormed the field to escort Hartnett around the bases. Hartnett's walk-off home run became immortalized as the Homer in the Gloamin'. The Cubs were now in first place, culminating an impressive 19-3-1 record in September, and the pennant would be clinched three days later.It would be 50 years before lights were installed at Wrigley Field.1991 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1991 followed the system in place since 1978.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and elected three, Rod Carew, Ferguson Jenkins, and Gaylord Perry.
The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider older major league players as well as managers, umpires, executives, and figures from the Negro Leagues.
It selected two, Tony Lazzeri and Bill Veeck.Earle Combs
Earle Bryan Combs (May 14, 1899 – July 21, 1976) was an American professional baseball player who played his entire career for the New York Yankees (1924–35). Combs batted leadoff and played center field on the Yankees' fabled 1927 team (often referred to as Murderers' Row). He is one of six players on that team who have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame; the other five are Waite Hoyt, Herb Pennock, Tony Lazzeri, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.
Combs led the league in triples three times and was among the top ten in the category in several other seasons. He suffered a fractured skull and other injuries from a crash into an outfield wall in 1934, then retired after another injury the next season. Nicknamed "the Kentucky Colonel", Combs was known as a gentleman on and off the field. He remained in baseball as a coach for many years after his retirement as a player.List of Major League Baseball single-game grand slam leaders
In baseball, a grand slam is a home run that is hit when all three bases are occupied by baserunners ("bases loaded"), thereby scoring four runs—the most possible in one play. Thirteen players have hit two grand slams in a single Major League Baseball (MLB) game to date, the most recent being Josh Willingham of the Washington Nationals on July 27, 2009. No player has accomplished the feat more than once in his career and no player has ever hit more than two in a game. Tony Lazzeri was the first player to hit two grand slams in a single game, doing so for the New York Yankees against the Philadelphia Athletics on May 24, 1936.Every team which had a player hit two grand slams won their milestone games. These games have resulted in other single-game MLB records being set due to the extreme offensive performance. Lazzeri, for example, proceeded to hit a third home run in the game and finished with a total of eleven runs batted in, an American League record. Fernando Tatís became the only player to hit two grand slams in the same inning, when he attained the milestone, slugging two in the third inning for the St. Louis Cardinals on April 23, 1999. In achieving the feat, he also set a new major league record with eight runs batted in in a single inning.Tony Cloninger is the only pitcher to have accomplished the feat. Bill Mueller hit his grand slams from both sides of the plate, while Jim Northrup hit his grand slams on consecutive pitches received in the fifth and sixth innings. Nomar Garciaparra is the sole player to achieve the feat at home, doing so at Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox. Cloninger is the only player who never hit a grand slam before or after his milestone game, while Robin Ventura—with 18 grand slams—hit more than any other player in this group. Frank Robinson is also a member of the 500 home run club.Of the nine players eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame who have hit two grand slams in a game, two have been elected, one on the first ballot. Players are eligible for the Hall of Fame if they have played in at least 10 MLB seasons, and have either been retired for five seasons or deceased for at least six months. These requirements leave ineligible one player—Josh Willingham— who is living and has played in the past five seasons and one—Jim Tabor—who did not play in 10 seasons.List of Major League Baseball single-game runs batted in leaders
In baseball, a run batted in (RBI) is awarded to a batter for each runner who scores as a result of the batter's action, including a hit, fielder's choice, sacrifice fly, sacrifice bunt, catcher's interference, or a walk or hit by pitch with the bases loaded. A batter is also awarded an RBI for scoring himself upon hitting a home run. Sixteen players have batted in at least 10 runs in a single Major League Baseball (MLB) game to date, the most recent being Mark Reynolds of the Washington Nationals on July 6, 2018. No player has accomplished the feat more than once in his career and no player has ever recorded more than 12 RBIs in a game. Wilbert Robinson was the first player to record at least 10 RBIs in a single game, driving in 11 runs for the Baltimore Orioles against the St. Louis Browns on June 10, 1892.As of 2018, every team that has had a player achieve the milestone has won the game in which it occurred. These games have resulted in other single-game MLB records being set due to the stellar offensive performance. Robinson, for example, also amassed seven hits in that same game, setting a new major league record that has since been tied by only one other player. Mark Whiten hit four home runs to complement his 12 RBIs for the St. Louis Cardinals on September 7, 1993, tying the single-game records in both categories. By attaining both milestones, he became one of only two players to hit four home runs and drive in 10 or more runs in the same game, with Scooter Gennett being the other. Tony Lazzeri, Rudy York, and Nomar Garciaparra hit two grand slams during their 10 RBI game, equaling the record for most grand slams in one game. Norm Zauchin has the fewest career RBIs among players who have 10 RBIs in one game with 159, while Alex Rodriguez, with 2,086, drove in more runs than any other player in this group and hit the third most in major league history.Of the eight players eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame who have batted in 10 runs in a game, four have been elected and one was elected on the first ballot. Players are eligible for the Hall of Fame if they have played in at least 10 MLB seasons, and have either been retired for five seasons or deceased for at least six months. These requirements leave three players ineligible who are living and have played in the past five seasons and two—Phil Weintraub and Zauchin—who did not play in 10 seasons.Murderers' Row
Murderers' Row were the baseball teams of the New York Yankees in the late 1920s, widely considered one of the best teams in history. The nickname is in particular describing the first six hitters in the 1927 team lineup: Earle Combs, Mark Koenig, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Meusel, and Tony Lazzeri.Paul Krichell
Paul Bernard Krichell (December 19, 1882 – June 4, 1957) was a Major League Baseball catcher, best known for being the head scout for the New York Yankees for 37 years until his death. Krichell's talent evaluations and signings played a key role in building up the Yankees' run of success from the Murderers' Row teams of the 1920s to the 1950s teams led by Casey Stengel.Krichell began his professional career in the minor leagues, playing as the reserve catcher for the St. Louis Browns before a serious injury threatened his career. He continued to play in the minor leagues and began to move into coaching before Yankees manager Ed Barrow signed him as a scout in 1920. Considered one of the greatest scouts in baseball history, Krichell signed over 200 players who later played professional baseball, including future Baseball Hall of Famers Lou Gehrig, Hank Greenberg, Phil Rizzuto, Whitey Ford, and Tony Lazzeri. His recommendation of Stengel as the Yankees manager was instrumental in Stengel's appointment in 1948. Barrow called Krichell "the best judge of baseball players he ever saw".Second baseman
In baseball and softball, second baseman is a fielding position in the infield, between second and first base. The second baseman often possesses quick hands and feet, needs the ability to get rid of the ball quickly, and must be able to make the pivot on a double play. In addition, second basemen are usually right-handed; only four left-handed throwing players have ever played second base in Major League Baseball since 1950. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the second baseman is assigned the number 4.
Good second basemen need to have very good range, since they have to field balls closer to the first baseman who is often holding runners on, or moving towards the base to cover. On a batted ball to right field, the second baseman goes out towards the ball for the relay. Due to these requirements, second base is sometimes a primarily defensive position in the modern game, but there are hitting stars as well.The Winning Team
The Winning Team is a 1952 biographical film directed by Lewis Seiler. It is a fictionalized biography of the life of major league pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander (1887–1950) starring Ronald Reagan as Alexander, Doris Day as his wife, Aimee, and Frank Lovejoy as baseball star Rogers Hornsby.
It includes his heroic performance in three games in the 1926 World Series against the New York Yankees, where the 7th inning strikeout of Tony Lazzeri is used as the game-ending, Series-winning pitch.
The film earned an estimated $1.7 million at the North American box office in 1952.Yankeeography
Yankeeography is a biography-style television program that chronicles the lives and careers of the players, coaches, and other notable personnel associated with the New York Yankees Major League Baseball team. The series is aired on the YES Network and is produced by MLB Productions . The series is hosted by Yankees radio personality John Sterling. The series has earned five New York Sports Emmy Awards since its inception. In addition to airing on YES, MLB Productions has packaged many of the shows into DVD boxed sets.
After debuting as a weekly show with the 2002 launch of YES, Yankeeography only debuts new episodes periodically (as there are fewer prominent Yankees yet to be spotlighted). For instance, four episodes premiered in 2006: Tino Martinez, David Cone, the Yankees' 1996 World Series team, and Billy Martin. All Yankees with retired numbers have had shows completed with the exception of Bill Dickey. The show has been criticized for producing episodes on players who remain active while Hall of Famers from much earlier eras such as Jack Chesbro, Tony Lazzeri, Red Ruffing and Lefty Gomez were not profiled. Some profiles have been updated to reflect new developments.
|Inductees in Yankees cap|
|Inductees who played|
for the Yankees
|J. G. Taylor Spink Award|
|Ford C. Frick Award|
Italics denotes players who have been voted in but not yet inducted.