Terry, McCarthy Loom As Rivals in Nickel Series

Damon Runyon

Reading Times/July 3, 1935

IT APPEARS that we are to have what the boys call a nickel world series for 1936.

The term is no disparagement of the caliber of the series, as in racing, when they speak of a nickel horse. It merely means a New York city series, the nickel reference being to the price of subway transportation to the baseball arbors.

As a matter of fact, it should be called a 10 cent series. The price is a nickel going, and a nickel returning.

The New York Giants are looked upon as a triple-plated cinch to win the National League pennant, unless they all fall dead between now and the end of the season. To be sure they became slightly unconscious on top of a seven game lead last year, but since then a federal law has been passed making it unconstitutional for them to do such a thing again.

The Yankees have commenced to haul ashes away from the rest of their company. They ought to win by four or five lengths, pulled up. Under the rules in such case made and provided, that leaves the world series to the Manhattan and Bronx teams, of the Greater City of New York, and reduces the rest of the baseball land to inoffensive inter-city demonstrations between their home clubs.

In 1921, 1922, 1923 and 1924, the Giants under McGraw won the National League pennant, and in three of those years, ’21, ’22, and ’23, played the series against the Yankees under Miller Huggins.

Both McGraw and Huggins are dead. Much water has run under the baseball bridges since the clubs last met 12 years ago. Those were great teams that McGraw and Huggins led against each other. McGraw’s team, or substantially the same team, won four pennants in a row, a league record that stands to this day.

The third series, that of 1923, between the teams produced the first of the million dollar gates that baseball has always dreamed of. The attendance was 301,430, the receipts $1,063,815. It was the beginning of the gold rush for the national game.

THE series of 1921 and 1922 were played just before the “good time Charley” era. The receipts in the first series was $900,233, but only $605,475 for the second, the attendance dropping to 185,947, mainly because the Giants won in four games, with one a tie.

The first series was won 5 games to 3 by the Giants, the second 4 games to 0, the third, that of 1923, was captured by the Yanks 4 games to 2. Thereafter Huggins’ great team blew up and the American League title passed to Washington for two years.

The 1921 pennant victory was the first for the American League in New York after some 18 years of trying. Since then the Yanks have won a total of seven pennants and a total of four world series. Under McGraw the Giants won 10 pennants and three world titles. The Yanks have three times won the big series in four consecutive games.

Joe McCarthy has won one American League pennant with the Yanks, and Bill Terry one National League pennant with the Giants. It looks as if they will be peering at each other from the rival dugouts.

From the peak of $1,207,864 in 1926, the series between Washington and the Yanks, the series money fell with the depression to below a million for four years, then perked up in 1931 to $1,030,723 for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Athletics. It fell again below a million for the next two years, going down to under $700,000 in 1933, when the Giants and Washington played.

The good, glad times returned last year with the greatest autumn baseball battle in many years. The Detroit Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals played to 281,510 spectators, for a total gate of $1,031,341, of which the players got $299,785, or $5,941 to each winner, and $4,313 to each loser.

Now that wasn’t a record attendance or a record gate by a long ways, but under the division, the individual players got more money than in other series save one. That was the 1923 series when each Yank got $6,000 though the Giants’ individual end of $4,112 was smaller than the Tigers’.

You see, last year, Henry Ford added $100,000 to the pot for the broadcast.

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