The Detroit Tigers made a colossal error when they released Carl Hubbell, a prospect they signed when they worried he was dependent on the screwball. Hubbell did use it a lot, but he did it so well that it landed him a spot in Cooperstown.
Hubbell’s contract was sold by Beaumont (Texas) to the New York Giants during the 1928 Season, and he wasted no time proving his worth. Hubbell quickly ascended to an upper-tier hurler for the Giants and would begin a four-year streak of WHIP Titles in 1931 and a four-year run atop the leaderboard in SO/BB in 1932. He was climbing to the top, and he would take that mantle in 1933.
Hubbell led the NL in Wins (23) and ERA (1.66), with the latter being a career-best. This was also the case for his only FIP win (2.63), and of the seven WHIP Titles he had, this was the only one where he was below one. Hubbell won the MVP that year and led the Giants to a World Series Championship. As great as that was, Hubbell was best known for his performance in the 1934 All-Star Game, where "King Carl" fanned Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin in order.
Hubbell remained a dominant hurler in the mid-30s, winning a second ERA Title in 1934 (2.30) and a third in 1936 (2.31). He won his second MVP that year but also began a streak that bled into the year after, where he won a record 24 straight decisions. The Giants went to the 1936 and 1937 World Series but, despite Hubbell's skill, were overmatched both times by the cross-town New York Yankees.
Hubbell lost his effectiveness waned after '37, but he was still a better-than-average Pitcher over the next four years. After his play fell off in 1943, Hubbell was released, but the screwball master became an influential figure to many who followed. Hubbell finished his career with a record of 253-154, 1,677 Strikeouts, and an ERA of 2.98.
Hubbell was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1947. San Francisco also retired his number 44, having done so in 1941.
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