A History Lesson With Booze ®

Yankee Oddities and The Cooperstown

While history may not remember him as the most famous Yankee, in a 1932 game Tony Lazzeri accomplished one of the rarest feats in baseball: the natural cycle.

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Tony Lazzeri did the near-impossible… just not near-impossible enough.

It was June 3rd, 1932, and the Yankees were playing the Philadelphia Athletics. When it was over, Lazzeri had managed one of the rarest feats in baseball: he hit a single, a double, a triple and a home run, in that order. It’s called “a natural cycle.”

Now, the chance of a batter hitting a natural cycle in an average game is around a thousandth of a percent. There’ve been fewer natural cycles than even so-called “perfect games.” And Lazzeri not only beat those odds, but his climactic homer? Was a grand slam.

A star-making performance, right? Except one problem: Lazzeri had a teammate. Fella named Lou Gehrig. And in that same game, Lou swatted FOUR homeruns. The first batter to do so in modern major-league history.

A miraculous feat! But not actually as miraculous as Lazzeri’s. There’ve been 16 four-homer games since, compared to just 13 natural cycles. And Lazzeri’s still the only player who ever topped off a cycle with a grand slam. Even so, back in ’32… Lou was hailed as the star of the game.

Not surprisingly, Lazzeri seemed to harbor some resentment towards his more famous teammates.

Remembering Gehrig and another Yankee, Babe Ruth, he once said quote: “Gehrig thought Ruth was a big-mouth and Ruth thought Gehrig was cheap. They were both right.”

The Cooperstown

Photo credit: Elana Lepkowski, stirandstrain.com
Photo credit: Elana Lepkowski, stirandstrain.com

Called by Dan Greenbaum, co-owner and bar manager at The Beagle in New York City.

  • Fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 ounce of Dolin blanc vermouth
  • 1/2 ounce of Dolin dry vermouth
  • 2 ounces Beefeater London dry gin

Based on a recipe from the classic Savoy Cocktail Book (which was first published in 1930, just two years before the big game).

Toss mint leaves into a mixing glass and lightly bruise to release the essential oils, muddling with vermouth. Add gin and cracked ice; stir to combine and chill. Strain into a coupe glass (or a “Nick & Nora glass” as they would have said back in the 30s), letting a little bit of mint get in to suggest the bright green grass of a well-groomed baseball field.