Carl Hubbell strikes out five Hall of Famers in succession at the All-Star Game

Written by: Andrew Kivette

Carl Hubbell certainly lived up to his nickname of King Carl on July 10, 1934 when he struck out five future Hall of Famers in a row at the 1934 edition of the Mid-Summer Classic.

The 1934 All-Star Game was loaded with Hall of Fame talent. In all, 28 future Cooperstown members trekked to New York City for the game – 13 for the American League and 15 representing the National League.

In the second playing of the annual All-Star Game, Hubbell consecutively struck out Hall of Famers that would combine for a collective batting average of .329 – with all five of them hitting over .300 for their careers, in the process tallying 13,452 hits. Collectively, the five elite bats sent 2,208 long balls over the fence in their careers.

Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin – five of the game’s greatest hitters of all-time – all were set down in order. All in all, Hubbell’s final stat line for the day showed that he gave up no runs, two hits and recorded six strikeouts in three innings of work.

His performance on that July day at the Polo Grounds in New York City has long been remembered by baseball fans and media alike as one of the greatest All-Star performances ever. Longtime sports writer for the Boston Globe Bob Ryan said: “In terms of All-Star Game pitching feats, there is one standing far, far apart from all others. On July 10, 1934, in the Polo Grounds, the National League's Carl Hubbell wrote himself some baseball history by striking out the final three men of the first inning and the first two of the second. Any self-respecting baseball historian knows the names by heart, and almost invariably rattles them off so quickly it's as if the five men had one name: Ruthgehrigfoxxsimmonscronin.”

Carl Hubbell struck out (pictured above, from left to right): Al Simmons, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx, consecutively in the 1934 All-Star Game, as well as Joe Cronin, another future Hall of Famer. (National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum)

One-thousand, six hundred and seventy-seven times batters made the long walk back to the dugout with their heads down after being sent back by Hubbell in his 16-year career. But Hubbell was not known as a strikeout pitcher.

“I never was a strikeout pitcher like Bob Feller or Dizzy Dean or Dazzy Vance,” Hubbell said. “My style of pitching was to make the other team hit the ball, but on the ground. It was as big a surprise to me to strike out all those fellows as it probably was to them.”

A New York Giant for life, Hubbell earned nine All-Star Game selections and was a two-time National League Most Valuable Player – 1933 and 1936 – with the latter being the first unanimous MVP in National League history. In his first MVP season of 1933, King Carl led the Giants to a world championship by starting two of the five games in the World Series against the Washington Senators. Combining his starts, Hubbell pitched 20 innings, allowing no earned runs in two complete games. He gave up 13 hits while striking out 15 Senators.

Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1947 by 140 of 161 voters, Carl Hubbell’s performance at the 1934 All-Star Game will always be remembered as one of the greatest performances in the Mid-Summer Classic’s history.


Andrew Kivette was the 2013 public relations intern in the Hall of Fame’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development

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