Sports in the 1930s

Joe Louis 1930s

The 1930s weren’t dominated by a superstar like they were in the 20s. Many people say that the “Golden Age of Sports” had come to a close when Bobby Jones retired in 1930.

Sports in the 1930s was still as exciting as ever, with many records getting smashed. We also saw two extremely talented Joes: Joe Louis and Joe DiMaggio.

As with everything else, The Depression took its toll on sports. Most everyone took a salary cut and all ballpark renovations were suspended. There was even talk of postponing the Winter Olympics.

Because of the shortage money, sports became increasingly commercialized. Everyone was looking for a way to make an extra buck. Sound familiar?

And no one will ever forget the triumph of Jesse Owens, winning four gold medals in the face of Hitler and his Aryanism at the 1936 Olympics.

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And he wasn’t the only one. Joe Louis lost to and then came back again to beat Max Schmeling in a virtual USA vs Germany pre-WWII battle in the ring. The Louis-Schmeling fights were some of the most important in boxing history.

1930s Major Sports Champions

1930
Pro BaseballPhiladelphia Athletics
Pro BasketballN/A
College BasketballN/A
Boxing (HW)Max Schmeling
Pro FootballGreen Bay Packers
College FootballN/A
Others
1931
Pro BaseballSt. Louis Cardinals
Pro BasketballN/A
College BasketballN/A
Boxing (HW)Max Schmeling
Pro FootballGreen Bay Packers
College FootballN/A
Others
1932
Pro BaseballNew York Yankees
Pro BasketballN/A
College BasketballN/A
Boxing (HW)Jack Sharkey
Pro FootballChicago Bears
College FootballN/A
Others
1933
Pro BaseballNew York Giants
Pro BasketballN/A
College BasketballN/A
Boxing (HW)Primo Carnera
Pro FootballChicago Bears
College FootballN/A
Others
1934
Pro BaseballSt. Louis Cardinals
Pro BasketballN/A
College BasketballN/A
Boxing (HW)Max Baer
Pro FootballNew York Giants
College FootballN/A
Others
1935
Pro BaseballDetroit Tigers
Pro BasketballN/A
College BasketballN/A
Boxing (HW)James Braddock
Pro FootballDetroit Lions
College FootballN/A
Others
1936
Pro BaseballNew York Yankees
Pro BasketballN/A
College BasketballN/A
Boxing (HW)James Braddock
Pro FootballGreen Bay Packers
College FootballMinnesota
OthersJesse Owens, Olympics
1937
Pro BaseballNew York Yankees
Pro BasketballN/A
College BasketballN/A
Boxing (HW)Joe Louis
Pro FootballWashington Redskins
College FootballPittsburgh
Others
1938
Pro BaseballNew York Yankees
Pro BasketballN/A
College BasketballN/A
Boxing (HW)Joe Louis
Pro FootballNew York Giants
College FootballTexas Christian
Others
1939
Pro BaseballNew York Yankees
Pro BasketballN/A
College BasketballOregon
Boxing (HW)Joe Louis
Pro FootballGreen Bay Packers
College FootballTexas A&M
Others

Sports in 1930

In America, baseball was the most popular professional team sport in 1930. If boxing wasn’t as popular they were very close. Babe Ruth saw his salary increase to an unbelievable $80,000. When told that his salary was larger than the President’s he joked, “Well, I had a better year than he did.” It’s hard to argue with him.

Bill Terry led the National League with an amazing .401 batting average, while Al SImmons led the AL with a .380 average. Hack Wilson led all major league hitters with a then NL-record 56 home runs, the most since by any player in either league Babe Ruth hit 60 in 1927.

Professional football club New York Giants defeated Notre Dame in a benefot game for the Unemployment Fund. Bronko Nagurski was a star player for the Chicago Bears. Chicago Cards player Ernie Nevers was another standout.

College Football All-Americans were led by Frank Carideo of Notre Dame and Leonard Macaluso from Colgate. Alabama defeated Washington State 24-0 in the Rose Bowl (which was actually played on January 1, 1931).

Amazing amateur Bobby Jones won the Grand Slam and then promptly retired. Interestingly, he made a wager that he would accomplish this feat, and reportedly won $60,000 on it.

Gallant Fox, ridden by jockey Earl Sande won horse racing’s most coveted races en route to a Triple Crown victory.

Max Schmeling beat Jack Sharkey for the heavyweight title in front of 75,000 spectators.

Sports in 1935

Pro Baseball

For the first time in over 15 years, Babe Ruth was no longer a New York Yankee. However, he did not stay unemployed for long. The same day of his release, the Boston Braves signed him.

1935 was a very special year for baseball because it ushered in the beginning of night-time baseball. On May 24, President Franklin D. Roosevelt turned on the lights at Crosley Field, for a game between the Reds and the Phillies in Cincinnati. It’s difficult to explain the significance of this event, but let’s just say it completely revolutionized baseball.

Five days before retiring, Ruth goes 4-4 with three home runs and 6 RBI. It would be his last hurrah.

The Chicago Cubs went on an amazing tear, winning 27 games in a row at the end of the season to steal the pennant. The Detroit Tigers bashed their way to the American League pennant, behind Hank Greenberg.

Even though Greenberg was injured by a pitch that ended his World Series, the Tigers went on to win their first MLB championship despite four previous tries.

After the season, MLB assumed control of the Boston Braves, who were virtually bankrupt.

Boxing

The boxing world was shaken by one of the most stunning upsets in sports history. James J. Braddock, with 24 losses to his name, defeated world champion Max Baer to take the world title, by a fifteen round unanimous decision in New York.

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While the mid-30s were owned by guys like Ott, Foxx and Dean, the late 1930s introduced three guys who would shape the next decade: Williams, Feller and DiMaggio (of, course we're talking about Dom, haha)

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Last modified: Aug 29, 2015 | Written by Paul Phipps