August 1937 started like any other month in the baseball career of 23-year-old Rudolph Preston (Rudy) York. He still was trying to win a regular job with the Detroit Tigers.
York, a stern-visaged, part Cherokee from Cartersville, Ga., had a three-game trial with the pennant-winning Tigers in 1934, then was sent the next two seasons to Beaumont in the Texas League and Milwaukee in the American Association in the hopes his fielding would improve to augment his long-ball hitting.
At various stages, York was tried at second base, third base, the outfield and behind the plate. First base, however, was his normal position. This posed a problem, since Detroit had a first baseman named Hank Greenberg. York obviously had to be tried elsewhere.
Thus came the hot days of August, with York hopping from position to position and the fourth-place Tigers riding a five-game losing streak.
On Tuesday, August 3, Detroit lost 2-1 to the Athletics in Philadelphia. Changes, quite plainly, were in order.
A rumor buzzed Shibe Park the next day: York, the broad-shouldered rookie, was to be traded to Philadelphia. "I know Mr. Connie Mack has a fondness for me," York told interviewers.
Gossip increased when Manager Mickey Cochrane summoned York from practice into the dressing room. York, for sure, was on his way to the A's.
Cochrane had started the season as Detroit's regular catcher. On May 25 he suffered a skull fracture when beaned by Yankee Pitcher Bump Hadley. Ray Hay-worth, Cliff Bolton and Birdie Tebbetts had been tried as replacements.
As York approached, Cochrane tossed him a catcher's mitt.
"Here," said Cochrane, "You're my No. 1 catcher."