Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
On Sunday afternoon the Washington Nationals will play the first postseason game by a D.C.-based team in 79 years when the Nats take on the St. Louis Cardinals in the first game of the NLDS in Busch Stadium.
The last postseason game by a D.C.-based team took place 79 years ago to the day that the first postseason game of this season will be played tomorrow afternoon in St. Louis, on October 7, 1933 in Washington, D.C.'s Griffith Stadium. The Senators dropped two in a row on the road in the New York Giants' home, the Polo Grounds, to start the 1933 World Series and then battled back for a Game Three win that was mostly the result of Earl Whitehill's complete game shutout of the Giants in the first game at home in the nation's capital. New York took the fourth game to go up 3-1 in the Series and then beat the Senators in extra innings in Game Five when a then-24-year-old Mel Ott hit a home run to center with two down that bounced off Sens' center fielder Fred Schulte's glove as he followed the ball over the wall, but came up empty.
In the footage of the home run on the History Channel clip included below, you can see Ott pause as he passes second and wait for an official ruling. The camera then cuts to MLB President Kennisaw Mountain Landis who nods his head and signals that it's a home run. As Baseball-Reference's account of the controversial play explains it, however, "Umpire Cy Pfirman, working second base on a four-man crew, at first ruled a ground rule double but then was overruled by [Charlie] Moran and George Moriarty, two of his fellow umpires." Ott's blast to center was ruled a home run and the Giants handed 4-3 lead to "The Pride of Havana", 42-year-old Giants' reliever Dolf Luque.
A veteran of 18 of the 20 seasons he would eventually play in the majors in 1933, Luque had already thrown 3.1 innings in relief of Giants' starter Hal Schumacher before he came back for the bottom of the tenth, and he put two men on with two out before striking Senators' outfielder Joe Kuhel out to end the '33 Series.
The Senators, who had been to the World Series in three of the previous ten seasons would never return. The original D.C. major league team departed for Minnesota after the 1960 season. The second Senators finished above .500 once and then moved to Texas in 1972, eleven years after the nation's capital had been awarded a new franchise. 34 years later the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington and eight years after that they're bringing postseason baseball back to D.C. Well, after two games in St. Louis. Game One of the NLDS is Sunday at 3:07 pm EDT in Busch Stadium in St. Louis. 79 years to the day that the last D.C.-based team played a postseason game.
It's been a long time: