A record-setting hitting performance by the Boston Braves knocked the 1936 Cardinals out of first place. Seventy-six years later, the 2012 Cardinals became only the second big-league team to match the Braves’ feat of hitting seven doubles in an inning.
On July 21, 2012, six Cardinals collected seven doubles in a 12-run seventh inning of a 12-0 victory over the Cubs at St. Louis. Allen Craig, who appeared as a pinch-hitter in the inning, hit a pair of doubles. Right fielder Carlos Beltran, center fielder Jon Jay, third baseman David Freese, second baseman Skip Schumaker and left fielder Matt Holliday hit one double apiece. The seven doubles were hit against three Cubs relievers, James Russell, Manny Corpas and Rafael Dolis. Boxscore
The 1936 Braves were unlikely candidates to establish the standard of seven doubles in an inning. They would finish the season with the lowest batting average in the National League and would rank last among the eight teams in doubles.
(From 1936-41, the Braves also were called the Bees because Braves Field was dubbed The Bee Hive by team ownership.)
On the morning of Aug. 25, 1936, the Cardinals and Giants were tied for first place in the NL, each with a 72-46 record. The Cardinals had a doubleheader against the Braves that Tuesday afternoon at St. Louis. The Giants were facing the Reds.
The Cardinals started right-hander Si Johnson in the opener. Johnson, 29, had been acquired from the Reds on Aug. 6. With Cincinnati, Johnson had led the NL in losses in 1931 (19) and in 1934 (22). But he won two of his first three starts for St. Louis.
In the first inning of the first game, the Braves pounded Johnson for eight runs, seven hits and a walk. He recorded only two outs before being lifted for right-hander Ed Heusser, the Cardinals’ top reliever in 1936.
Three Braves _ right fielder Gene Moore, first baseman Buck Jordan and second baseman Tony Cuccinello _ hit two doubles apiece in the first inning. Shortstop Rabbit Warstler accounted for the other.
With Boston ahead 11-0 after a half inning that took nearly 24 minutes to play, Cardinals manager Frankie Frisch decided to stay with Heusser. Nicknamed “The Wild Elk of the Wasatch” for the mountain range in his native Utah, Heusser, 27, gave up 12 runs on 18 hits and four walks in 8.1 innings. Moore and Jordan each had five hits and five RBI in the Braves’ 20-3 victory. Boxscore
In the second game, St. Louis, behind ace Dizzy Dean, led 4-1 through five innings. But the Braves rallied and tied the score. In the ninth, Si Johnson, the Game 1 starter, relieved Dean. He yielded a RBI-single to Jordan and the Braves won, 5-4. Johnson was the losing pitcher in both games.
Coupled with the Giants’ 13th win in a row, a 6-5 victory over the Reds, St. Louis fell 1.5 games behind New York. The Giants went on to win the pennant, finishing five games ahead of the Cardinals and Cubs, who tied for second place.
Johnson and Heusser both recovered from their thumpings by the Braves.
Four days after losing both games of the doubleheader, Johnson pitched a complete-game shutout against the Phillies. Boxscore He finished 5-3 with a 4.38 ERA for the ’36 Cardinals.
Heusser was 7-3 with a 5.43 ERA in 42 appearances for the ’36 Cardinals. Eight years later, as a starter for the Reds, his 2.38 ERA led the NL.