The hit that won the Tigers first World Series title

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On October 2, 1935, J. Edgar Hoover, America’s wildly famous FBI agent, was in the stands at Navin Field for the start of the World Series. At the end, it was another “G-Man” who made headlines, as it was Goose Goslin’s single that drove in the game-winning run in the ninth inning of Game Six, giving the Tigers their first championship.

The Tigers, behind their potent offensive attack spearheaded by outfielder Goslin, second baseman Charlie Gehringer, first baseman Hank Greenberg, and catcher Mickey Cochrane, rolled to their second consecutive pennant in 1935. All four of those ballplayers would end up in Cooperstown one day.

Their opponent was the Chicago Cubs, skippered by the popular Charlie Grimm. The Cubs won 100 games and captured their third National League flag in seven years. Catcher Gabby Hartnett, second baseman Billy Herman, right fielder Chuck Klein, and super-sub Freddy Lindstrom, all future Hall of Famers, helped the Cubs to the Fall Classic. In addition, Chuck Klein, also destined for Hall of Fame enshrinement, was on the Cub roster.

The Series opened in Detroit, billed as a battle of lumber. But right-hander Lon Warneke was the star of Game One, limiting the Tigers to four hits in tossing a 3-0 shutout. The next day, Greenberg slugged a first inning homer and curveball specialist Tommy Bridges cruised to a 8-3 victory to square the Series.

The Series switched to Chicago for Game Three, and Detroit was handicapped by injury. Greenberg, who led all of baseball in runs batted in in 1935, was lost to an injured wrist. He would miss the remainder of the Series. The game was one of the more exciting in the Fall Classic, as Detroit rallied late to force extra-innings, where they won in the 11th, 6-5. The contest was made even more thrilling when Grimm and two of his Cubs were ejected after reacting furiously to a call by umpire George Moriarty, who felt the wrath of the Chicagoans the entire Series.

In Game Four, Detroit’s Alvin Crowder pitched his team to a tight 2-1 win, giving the Tigers a 3-games-to-1 lead. But Warneke responded with another gem in Game Five at Wrigley Field, halting the Tigers, 3-1, though he left the game with an injury in the seventh inning. It was the first victory for the Cubs at home in the World Series since Game Five in 1918.

Navin Field was once again the venue for Game Six of the Series. Larry French was on the mound for the Cubs and Bridges was back on the rubber for Detroit. Each team hit the ball very hard, as 24 hits were produced, but runs were scarce. With the score tied 3-3 in the ninth, Goslin lined a sharp single to right field, scoring manager/catcher Cochrane with the winning run and sending the Detroit crowd into a frenzy.

“This is the happiest day in my life,” Cochrane said breathlessly in the clubhouse moments after scoring the winning run. “It was the most sensational series I have ever played in. My greatest thrill was scoring that winning run.”

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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is the author of three books about baseball, including Ty Cobb: A Biography. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and Major League Baseball Advanced Media. He lives in Michigan where he writes, runs, and enjoys a good orange soda now and again.
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