Carl Hubbell: Biography
A breif biography of the life and baseball career of Carl Hubbell.
Carl Owen Hubbell was born in Carthage, Missouri on June 22, 1903. Hubbell's family later moved to Meeker, Oklahoma where he grew up and went to school. After graduating from high school, Hubbell signed with the Oklahoma State League that dissolved after only one year. Next he played for Oklahoma City in the Western League. In 1925, Hubbell was 17 years old when he won 17 games and lost 13 games.
The Detroit Tigers bought Hubbell's contract from Oklahoma City in 1925 for a reported $20,000. In spring training the next year, the Tiger managers advised Hubbell not to use his screwball because they were afraid he would injure his wrist and elbow by using this pitch too much. Without using his screwball, Hubbell was just an average pitcher so the Tigers sent him to a farm team in Toronto where he won 7 games and lost 7 games. In 1927, Hubbell was again discouraged from using his screwball during the Tigers spring training and was again sent to the minors. He had a record of 14-7 with Decatur, Illinois in the Three-I League that year.
The Tigers finally sold Hubbell to Beaumont, Texas in 1928. Beaumont manager Claude Robertson wanted Hubbell to use his screwball so Hubbell began to work on getting it under control. It took awhile to work out the kinks but once he did, Hubbell began winning. A New York Giants scout witnessed Hubbell beating another left-handed pitcher 1-0 in an 11-inning game. Since the Giants were in the middle of a pennant race against St. Louis and needed another pitcher, they wasted no time in making an offer for Hubbell. The Giants paid $30,000 for Hubbell's contract. Hubbell struggled in his first major league game but Giants manager John McGraw showed confidence in his new pitcher by using him as a relief pitcher in the first game of a crucial series with St. Louis. Hubbell had never used his screwball in major league play until that game. He blanked St. Louis until the 15th inning before losing the game in a valiant effort.
Hubbell tossed the first no-hitter by a left-handed pitcher in 11 years during the 1929 season. In 1933, he gained star attention by helping the Giants win their first pennant in 9 years. He won 23 games that year with 10 shutouts and an earned run average of 1.66. Hubbell was named the National League's Most Valuable Player and beat the Washington Senators twice in the World Series to help the Giants win the championship in 5 games.
During the 1934 season, Hubbell began experiencing soreness in his pitching arm but still managed to win 20 games that year. In 1936, after a slow start, Hubbell had a string of 16 wins beginning in mid-July. He finished that season with a record of 26-6 and was again voted at the National League's Most Valuable Player. He won one out of two games in the World Series that year and the New York Yankees went on to beat the Giants in 6 games. The 1937 season was similar to the previous year. Hubbell had a win-loss record of 22-8, won and lost a game in the World Series, and saw the Yankees again beat the Giants in 5 games to take the championship. Between the years of 1933 and 1937, Hubbell had pitched for at least 20 victories each year. He was finally forced to have surgery to remove bone chips from the elbow of his throwing arm and then retired in 1943.
Hubbell spent 16 years in the major league and amassed a win-loss record of 253-154. One of his more noted games was the 1934 All-Star game where he struck out 5 batters in a row that are now in the Hall of Fame. They were Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin. Hubbell pitched against the legendary Hall of Fame pitcher, Dizzy Dean, in 11 games during the 1930's and Hubbell won 8 of them.
After retiring from playing baseball, Hubbell continued working with the Giants as the director of their farm system in New York and then in San Francisco. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1947. He died on November 21, 1988 in Scottsdale, Arizona and is buried at Meeker New Hope Cemetery in Meeker, Oklahoma.