The fourth and final ’35 I bought (so far I hope) from Dugout in Webster Groves featured four men who had the misfortune of suffering through the entire Boston Braves 1935 season. All are rather obscure and information about of them was difficult to come by.
“I had a Babe Ruth like that,” the owner said as I flipped through his ’35s, picking out the best condition cards from among the duplicates. My ears perked up. “Really?” I said, mishearing the “had.”
“Yeah, that sold fast.”
Disappointment stings. Of course, the guys on this card knew all about that.
Shanty Hogan was the most colorful of the four players. His nickname was a reference to his large size (240-280 pounds) and lack of speed. He came up with the Braves in 1925, and in 1928 the Braves traded him as part of a package for Rogers Hornsby. Giants manager John McGraw called Hogan “the best drunk catcher I’ve ever seen.” He was the Giants’ regular catcher from 1928 to 1932, and in 1928-29 he performed a vaudeville act with teammate Andy Cohen, performing standup comedy and playing parody songs. His best season was 1930 when he hit .339 for the Giants. In 1932, new Giants manager Bill Terry sold him back to the Braves. Weight issues diminished his playing time. In 1937 he managed to lose 50 pounds, but only hit .152 for the season and retired at the age of 31. He died in 1967 at the age of 61.
Ed Brandt was one of three Boston pitchers to lose 18 or more games in ’35. He also appears on the Babe Ruth card. That wasn’t his only brush with greatness: Mel Ott said Brandt could get him out if he was throwing basketballs. From 1931 to 1934, he won 15 or more games and led the team in innings pitched. Following the 1935 season, he was traded to the Dodgers. Although his career record was an unimpressive 121-146, his other pitching statistics were very close to league average for his time. He retired in 1939 and went on to operate a hunting lodge and own a tavern. Tragically, he was killed on November 1, 1944 when he was struck by a car while crossing a street.
Randy Moore was a backup first baseman/fourth outfielder. He was a productive backup but 1935 was his last good year. He happened to be the first baseman in the game when Ruth hit his final three home runs. Following the 1935 season, the Braves traded him along with Brandt to the Dodgers for catcher Al Lopez. He died in 1992 at the age of 85.
Fred Frankhouse was the star of this card, an All-Star in 1934. The Braves acquired him from the Cardinals in 1930 as part of a return package for Burleigh Grimes. A control pitcher whose best pitch was his curveball, he was their ace again in 1935 despite his losing record, the only pitcher to win more than 10 games. In 1937, while pitching for Brooklyn, he defeated Carl Hubbell to break Hubbell’s 24-game winning streak. He retired in 1939 with a career record of 106-97 and a respectable ERA of 3.92. He died in 1989 at the age of 85.