Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 29, 1933: Ethan Allen's Inside The Park Home Run Never Makes It To The Record Books

     On June 29, 1933, Cardinals rightfielder Ethan Allen hit an apparent inside-the-park home run during the top of the second inning of a contest against the Giants in New York, only to have the run not count because he had batted out of turn. Allen was the sixth man on the lineup card, while Ducky Medwick had possession of the five hole. While Allen was trying to catch his breath the umpires conferred, and called Medwick out. Allen got another turn, and immediately grounded out. The mental error didn't cost the Birds,as they exploded for six runs in the next inning, then added one more in the ninth before starter Tex Carleton survived a late inning three run rally as he locked down a 7-3 complete game winner. No harm, no foul I guess when it comes to Allen's gaffe, and all these years later it just goes down as an odd play on the diamond. With that said, Allen is an interesting figure from baseball's past, and while this moment in his playing career was a bit rough to say the least, his story is a great one that should be told.

     Allen was well traveled ballplayer, as he spent time with the Reds, and Giants, before joining the Cardinals. He spent just one year with the Cardinals, and unfortunately it was a down season for him, as he hit just .241 for the club. He was sold to Philadelphia in February of '34, where he had a career year. Allen had a career in Philly as he batted .330 and led the league in doubles. Luckily in the grand scheme there were men that got the job done for the '34 Cardinals, so that getting rid of Allen is not a haunt from baseball's past.

     After two and a half seasons in the City of Brotherly Love, Allen was sent to the Windy City where he played 91 games for the Cubs as they made a run for a pennant in 1936. The Cubs fell short as the Giants took the flag, and he was sold during the offseason. The purchaser guaranteed a return to St. Louis, although, it would be as an American Leaguer with the Browns. Allen retired after the '38 season. In his 13 major league seasons Allen carried a .300 average, and had played in nearly 1,300 games.

     At age 34, Allen was still a young man with a lot of life ahead of him. He was an educated man, as he had earned a Bachelors Degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1927, then obtained his Master's Degree from Colombia in 1932. Immediately after retiring Allen was took a job leading the National League's first film bureau. From there he spent a short time in the booth calling games alongside Lefty Gomez, before joining the armed forces in 1945, where he taught a Special Services sports program in Italy. After serving, Allen was hired to coach Yale's baseball team where he spent the next 23 years, which included two trips to the College World Series in 1947 and 1948. Allen had a young future President manning first base on those squads by the name of George H. W. Bush, and they both maintained a lifelong relationship.

     Allen also wrote several  instructional books, and invented two popular baseball board games called Strat-O-Matic Baseball and All Star Baseball that remained popular for more than 50 years, and can still be bought today. Allen passed away in 1993 at the age of 89, and while his name might not be known by fans today, he had many great moments, and some not so great moments. One of those moments turned out being an inside-the-parker that did not count, which led to those who read this knowing a little bit more about the man who lived quite the baseball life.

Check out the box score here:

You can view his career numbers here:

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