The 32nd President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, threw out the Ceremonial First Pitch that officially started the Washington Senators' 1936 season on April 14th that year, before a game against the New York Yankees which saw NY left-hander (and Future Hall of Famer) Lefty Gomez and the Senators' right-hander Bobo Newsom carry dueling shutouts through eight and a half innings before the Senators won it 1-0 on a walk-off RBI double by right fielder Carl Reynolds in the bottom of the ninth.
A month earlier, on March 1, 1936, construction of the Hoover Dam was completed, or the transfer of the Dam to Federal control, actually, most construction had ended a year earlier and President Roosevelt had attended a ceremony there as part of a western trip in 1935. President Roosevelt visited the dedication of Thomas Jefferson's sculpted visage at Mount Rushmore on August 1, 1936. The Washington Senators lost their 51st game that day, to Al Simmons, Ray Hayworth, former Senators' outfielder Goose Goslin and the Detroit Tigers, falling to 49-51 on the season.
The summer of 1936 saw a series of seventeen so-called "killer tornadoes" ravage the South, resulting in the deaths of over four hundred people. The Midwest had record heatwaves that year, with the temperature over a 100 for eleven straight days in early July. Joe Louis and Max Schmeling fought in Yankee Stadium on June 19, 1936, with Schmeling knocking Louis out in the 12th Round. Bing Crosby's "Pennies from Heaven" and Billie Holliday's recording of the Gershwin song "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess were the top hits on the charts, and the 1936 German Olympics were the first live televised sporting event.
The '36 Senators were plenty rugged. Bucky Harris' boys were no average joes. If first baseman Joe Kuhel's .321/.392/.502 slash line, 16 HR's and 118 RBI's in 149 games and 659 plate appearances didn't blow your wig, surely outfielder Ben Chapman's team-leading .429 OBP and his ability to make tracks on the basepaths with 19 stolen bases were enough to bring the average Washingtonians out of their caves, get them togged to the bricks and out to old Griffith Stadium to watch Bobo Newsom use his bean shooter to give 156 batters the high hat. The New York Yankees' put the kibosh on the '36 Senators playoff hopes, however, running away with the American League and eventually beating the New York Giants in the '36 Series.
In 1936, the San Diego Padres were a Pacific Coast League (PCL) team, featuring a then-17-year-old Ted Williams, and 18-year-old Bobby Doerr and a 23-year-old Vincent Paul DiMaggio. Padres' owner Bill "Hardpan" Lane had moved the franchise from LA, where they played as the Hollywood Stars to San Diego and a new waterfront park named after its owner. That first season in San Diego will be celebrated tonight on the 75th anniversary of the Padres' inaugural campain.
The Washington Nationals will wear their '36 Senators throwbacks and the Padres will turn the clock back too, hopefully donning what were then pin-striped duds. 8:35 pm EDT in D.C., John Lannan vs Clayton Richard, 1936-style. Throw down a saw buck or a Lincoln for some rot gut and tune in, should be a real ring-a-ding-ding, pally and hopefully not another trip for biscuits for the k-balling Senators' tin offense.