1935 – The redlegs shutout season

In 1935 Melbourne finished the year as minor premiers, the season included a remarkable 9 complete game shut-outs by Les Cheong and an 18-1 record. Melbourne won both finals, defeating Fitzroy 9-1 in the semi-final and Richmond 4-1 in the grand final.


From the Argus, 16th September 1935:




Owing to the rain on Friday night and Saturday morning the Fitzroy ground, which had been topdressed, was unfit for play in the final baseball game of the League A section between Melbourne and Richmond, and the match was transferred to the Richmond ground. In a full game Melbourne won by four runs to one.


RICHMOND    -- 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0  -- 1

MELBOURNE -- 0, 0, 3, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, *  -- 4


Splendid defensive work by the infield and good pitching, backed up by safe catching in the outfield by Morris (Melbourne) and Stuckey (Richmond), prevented any score until the third innings, when Ponsford after receiving a base on balls, reached second base on Quin’s hit, and unwound a good turn of speed to score the first run for Melbourne when Ballmer’s big smash went over left-field’s head. The run appeared to unsettle Richmond, which allowed other runners on the bags through mistakes, and when Stuckey dropped a catch from Morris, Quin and Ballmer raced over the plate to give Melbourne a 3-nil lead.

Attacking strongly in the fifth innings Richmond was dumbfounded when Morris and Wilson each fell over in bringing down a sensational catch from the big hits of Newstead and Stuckey. Melbourne scored its fourth run, when, with the bags full and one out, Ponsford “flied” deeply to centre-field, where House took the catch and Francis went “home” on the sacrifice.

Determined to prevent a “whitewash” Richmond adopted the hit-and-run tactics in its seventh innings, but found Ponsford anticipating the play and throwing the runner out at first base, where Ballmer played a great game for the redlegs. Big hits to centre-field by Newstead and House scored the only run for Richmond in its eighth innings, when Newstead crossed the plate.

Melbourne was steadier in the field than Richmond, and its batting was stronger. It made eight hits by Wilson and Darling (2 each), Quin, Morris, Ballmer, and Francis. Richmond’s judgement in the field was astray at times, but Newstead’s brilliant pick-ups at shortstop were a feature. Its five hits were made by Newstead and House (2 each) and Goodson.

It is Melbourne’s first pennant since 1932. The team lost only one game of 19 this season. L. Cheong (pitcher) has reason to be proud of his efforts in winning a premiership in his first season in League A section. Ponsford, Ballmer, and Quin helped Melbourne considerably.