Historical Hitter

Historical Hitter August 24 1935: Hank Leiber

On Saturday, August 24, 1935 in the second inning Hank Leiber hit two home runs in the Polo Grounds. Batting 6th in the lineup that day he lead off the inning with a solo home run and then as the ninth player to bat this fateful inning hit a two run homer. All in all the Cubs used three pitchers, the Giants sent 11 men to the plate and scored 8 runs on seven hits. The Giants as a team hit for the cycle in that inning and also had a walk and sacrifice fly plating a run. The final score was 9 to 4 with a Giants victory. Leiber’s two home runs in an inning was one of only two instances in the National League from 1900 to 1940, making it a remarkably rare event at the time. (Hack Wilson was the other player to do this feat). Below is the official play by play from retrosheet.com.


Leiber homered;

Mancuso flied out to right;

Bartell doubled;

Parmelee tripled to right [Bartell scored];


J. Moore walked;

Jackson flied out to left [Parmelee scored];

Terry walked [J. Moore to second];


Ott homered [J. Moore scored,Terry scored];

Koenig singled;

Leiber homered [Koenig scored];

Mancuso singled to center;


Bartell forced Mancuso (shortstop to second);

8 R, 7 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.

Cubs 0, Giants 8.

Leiber was an Arizonian for life, he was born in Pheonix in 1911, attended the University of Arizona, and died in Arizona in 1993. He was credited as being the first National Leaguer born that state. Batting right handed and noted for crowding the plate and in the era before mandatory batting helmets, he was known for getting hit by pitches. This eventually was his downfall for in a spring exhibition game in New Orleans he was hit in the head first by a Bob Feller fastball in 1937 and again by his former teammate Cliff Melton in 1941 when he was playing for Cubs. These two incidents are paramount to curtailing a promising career. The Giants did not wear batting helmets until June 6, 1941, some four years too late for Leiber.

Hank LeiberLeiber was an all-star three times, once with the Giants (1938) and twice with the Cubs (1940 & 1941), but 1935 was his best statistical year. He lead the league in two dubious categories: grounding into Double plays (20), and being Hit by pitch (10) in addition he hit 22 HR had 107 RBI So 29 times in 680 Plate appearances, batted .331 and had an OPS+ of 141, and played in 154 games of the 156 games the team played that year. The Giants had two early season ties. In his all-star years he did not exceed these 1935 stats. He played a total of 10 years in the majors, seven for the Giants and three for the Cubbies. In 1963 he was elected into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.

While the Giants won that day, and the win put them in first place by just a game, it was the high point for their season. After that game they went 17-19; however, the Cubs went an remarkable hot streak going 25-5 to win the pennant with a final record of 100-54. The Giants were 91-62 in 1935 which was good for 3rd Place in the National League some 8.5 GB of the pennant winning Cubs. Interestingly the next year the Giants won 92 games and won the pennant the Cubs came down to earth and finished tied for second some 5 GB.






The Giants Encyclopedia, Tom Schott and Nick Peters Sports Publishing LLC, Champaign Ill, 2003.

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