What the world was like when Washington last won the pennant
George Rinhart / Corbis Historical / Getty

On Sept. 21, 1933, the Washington Senators beat the St. Louis Browns by a score of 2-1 to clinch the American League pennant. It took 86 years and 24 days for the city to get another one.

Washington's National League pennant on Tuesday was a truly historic moment for long-suffering baseball fans in the nation's capital. It marked the end of a drought that often goes overlooked in the sport, largely because Washington went 34 years without a baseball team between the Senators' second move to Texas in 1972 and the Nationals' arrival in 2005.

So, let's hop in our time machine and look back at what the world was like the last time Washington won the pennant.


  • Unfortunately, for the Senators, their joy was short-lived when the New York Giants won the World Series in five games. Legendary slugger Mel Ott hit .389 and mashed the series-winning homer off Jack Russell in the top of 10th inning of Game 5.
  • The World Series was not televised. CBS and NBC split the games on the radio.
  • It featured two player-managers in Senators shortstop Joe Cronin and Giants first baseman Bill Terry. Both are in the Hall of Fame.
  • An upper grandstand ticket to Game 3 at Griffith Stadium was priced at $5.50. Programs went for 10 cents.
  • Beer - or any type of alcohol - could not be sold, because prohibition was still in effect. This was the last dry World Series, as the 18th Amendment would be officially repealed less than two months later.
  • None of MLB's 16 ballparks had lights.
  • The first MLB All-Star Game was played on July 6 at Chicago's Comiskey Park. Babe Ruth homered in a 4-2 AL win.
  • The Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Athletics entered the season tied for the most World Series titles, with five apiece. The New York Yankees had only four.
  • Giants ace Carl Hubbell won the NL MVP, while A's superstar Jimmie Foxx took home the AL honors after winning the Triple Crown. None of the other major MLB awards existed - in fact, Cy Young himself was alive and well.
  • The National Baseball Hall of Fame did not exist.
  • Ruth was two years from retirement, his $52,000 salary was the highest in MLB, and he finished the season 14 homers shy of 700 for his career.
  • Baseball was still over a decade from integration. The legendary Chicago American Giants, featuring four future Hall of Famers, won the Negro National League for their seventh and final pennant.
  • In the minors, a young Pacific Coast League outfielder named Joe DiMaggio hit safely in 61 straight games.

Other sports

  • The Chicago Bears won the first-ever scheduled NFL championship game on Dec. 17, beating the New York (football) Giants 23-21 at Wrigley Field. This was the first season in which quarterbacks could legally throw a forward pass from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Washington didn't have an NFL team yet, as the Redskins - playing only their second season, and first under that name - were still based in Boston. The Philadelphia Eagles played their first game, a 56-0 loss to the Giants, eight days after the World Series.
  • In college football, Michigan was named national champions. USC won the Rose Bowl in January.
  • Primo Carnera claimed the heavyweight title from Jack Sharkey via sixth-round knockout in New York on June 29.
  • Broker's Tip won the Kentucky Derby.
  • Tennis star Helen Jacobs was named The Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year thanks to her US Open win. Hubbell won the AP male award.
  • The New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup on Bill Cook's overtime goal in Game 4 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. At the time, it was still a best-of-five Cup Final and there were nine NHL teams.
  • Good luck if you were a basketball fan: neither the NBA nor the NCAA tournament existed.
  • The World Cup of Soccer had been contested only once, in 1930. Host nation Uruguay won and the U.S. finished third.
  • Hall of Fame hockey coach Scotty Bowman was 3 days old when the Senators won the pennant. Hall of Fame basketball coach Hubie Brown was born four days after they clinched.

Music and entertainment

  • Ethel Waters' original recording of "Stormy Weather (Keeps Rainin' All the Time)" was one of the most popular songs of the year, spending 11 weeks on the U.S. Billboard charts.
  • Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady" was named ASCAP Song of the Year.
  • Radio was still the dominant form of home entertainment. On Jan. 31, Detroit station WXYZ broadcast the debut episode of a new radio program called "The Lone Ranger."
  • But radio was only available on the AM dial in October. Edwin H. Armstrong was awarded patents for FM radio on Dec. 26.
  • "Cavalcade" was the year's highest-grossing film, taking home $3.5-million at the box office en route to winning Best Picture. Katherine Hepburn won her first of four Best Actress Oscars for "Morning Glory."
  • Other notable films released include the original "King Kong," the famous musical "42nd Street," and the iconic Marx Brothers comedy "Duck Soup."
  • Richard Hollingshead's patent on the drive-in movie theater was awarded on May 16. He opened the first drive-in on June 6 in Pennsauken, New Jersey.
  • Notable births in the entertainment world included: Yoko Ono (Feb. 18), Michael Caine (March 14), Willie Nelson (April 30), Roman Polanski (Aug. 18), and Larry King (Nov. 19).

Day-to-day life

  • Unemployment in the U.S. peaked at 25.2% and the average salary was $1,550, according to ThePeopleHistory.com.
  • The average price of gasoline was 18 cents a gallon, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • A loaf of bread was seven cents, and sliced bread had been invented just five years earlier. One pound of hamburger meat could be had for 11 cents.
  • A new Buick 60 car with a rumble seat cost $825.
  • The population of the U.S. was estimated at around 122.775 million persons, according to the 1930 census. Washington was the nation's 14th-largest city, with a population of 486,869.

Around the world

  • There were only 48 states in the union. Alaska and Hawaii were still territories.
  • Canada had nine provinces. Newfoundland and Labrador was still its own self-governing "Dominion" in October. It rejoined Great Britain before the year was over due to financial woes.
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt was sworn in as the 32nd president on March 4. FDR threw out the first pitch before Game 3 of the World Series. His pitch was delayed, though, when nobody could find a baseball, according to Jacob Bogage of The Washington Post.
B Bennett / Bruce Bennett / Getty
  • Canada was governed by prime minister Richard Bedford Bennett. George V was King of the United Kingdom and Emperor of India. Princess Elizabeth - now styled Queen Elizabeth II - was 7 years old.
  • Minnie D. Craig became the first woman to be named Speaker of a House of Representatives at any level of government when she was elected to the position in North Dakota's House on Jan. 3.
  • Construction on San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge began on Jan. 5.
  • Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany on Jan. 30. He would open the first concentration camp, Dachau, two months later.
  • On July 22, Wiley Post landed his plane in Brooklyn to complete the first-ever solo flight around the world.
  • Physicist Leo Szilard discovered the nuclear chain reaction eight days before the Senators clinched.
  • Air France, the country's national airline, was officially founded on Oct. 7 - the same day as Game 5 of the World Series.
  • Albert Einstein fled Nazi Germany and arrived in the U.S. 10 days after the World Series ended.
What the world was like when Washington last won the pennant
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!
Daily Newsletter
Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox