Carl Hubbell is best known for his standout single-game performances, the most memorable one being during the three innings he spent on the mound in the 1934 All-Star Game.
But Hubbell’s career featured more than just electric moments. His consistent excellence during one of the game’s most prolific offensive ages made Hubbell one of the most revered pitchers of his time.
First, the All-Star Game: On July 10, 1934, in the Polo Grounds, Hubbell wrote himself some baseball history by striking out the final three men of the first inning and the first two of the second. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin all fell victim to Hubbell’s pinpoint control and awesome screwball – a reverse curve that broke in toward lefties and away from right-handed batters.
Prior to that game, though, the southpaw had another single-game stunner. On July 2, 1933 he threw 18 scoreless innings and allowed only six hits to beat the Cardinals 1-0 at Polo Grounds. He retired St. Louis in order in 12 of those innings, striking out 12 along the way without giving up a walk.
Nicknamed the Meal Ticket, Hubbell totaled 253 career wins and a 2.98 ERA in 3,590.1 innings pitched. From 1933 to 1937, he had five straight 20-win seasons, helping his team to three pennants and a World Series championship. In the 1933 Fall Classic, Hubbell pitched two complete game victories, one of them an 11-inning, 2-1 win. The run against him was unearned. In his six career World Series starts, the lefty went 4-2 with 32 strikeouts and a 1.79 ERA.
In 1936, Hubbell was the first-ever unanimous pick for the National League Most Valuable Player Award with a 26-6 record. Hubbell finished the regular season with 16 straight victories, leading the Giants to the World Series. He pushed the winning streak to 24 games – an all-time record – during the 1937 season.
When his playing days were done, Hubbell remained in the game as a talent evaluator in the Giants organization for more than 30 years.
Hubbell was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1947. He passed away on Nov. 21, 1988.