Cubs Jim Gleeson Scores The Tying Run – July 23, 1939

Cubs Jim Gleeson Ties Game & Giants Lose Their Ninth In A Row

Jim Gleeson scores July 23 1939 photo International News

Home On A Fly

New York – Gleeson, right fielder for the Chicago Cubs, comes home from third after (Mel) Ott, right fielder for the New York Giants, caught (Rip) Russell’s long fly in the sixth inning of the game which the Cubs won 7-5, at the Polo Grounds, New York. (Ken) O’Dea, Giants catcher is set to catch the throw-in. Loss was the Giants ninth in a row. photo: International News 7/23/1939

81 years ago today the Giants and Cubs were in the midst of the pennant race, not beginning their seasons as MLB is doing today. There was no pandemic, just a World War brewing a couple of months away when Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939.

The win kept the Cubs in second place. As noted in the news caption, the Giants lost their ninth game in a row. This losing streak saw the Giants drop from second to sixth place burying the team’s pennant chances.

The Giants did not play on July 24. Rejuvenated by a day’s rest they beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 in 13 innings on July 25 to end the losing streak. But they then lost the next three games after that. The Giants would post a 77-74 record finishing in fifth place 18½ games out of first. They had won the pennant in both 1936 and 1937. In 1938 the Giants finished third, five games behind the champion Cubs.

The Cubs had a disappointing 1939 as well, finishing fourth, just ahead of the Giants, but 13 games behind the pennant winning Cincinnati Reds.

The Players

Jim Gleeson the switch-hitting six foot one Cubs clean-up hitter was in his second season of a five year major league career. His career average was .263 with a total of 16 home runs. In 1942, Gleeson went into the Navy for the duration of World War II and never got to play in the big leagues again. After his playing career, Gleeson became a scout and coach. Gleeson died May 1, 1996 at age 84.

Catcher Ken O’Dea was with the Cubs from 1935-1938. In 1939 he joined the Giants. O’Dea also played for the Cardinals and the Boston Braves before hanging up his spikes in 1946 at age 33. During 12 seasons he compiled a .255 lifetime average with 40 homers and 323 RBI’s. O’Dea passed away at the age of 72, December 17, 1985.

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