In the summer of 1933 and 1935 the Major League powerhouse Philadelphia Athletics led by their Manager, Connie Mack and a young slugger named Jimmie Foxx visited Hartford to appear in charity baseball games against the Savitt Gems.
Bill Savitt, jewelry store entrepreneur, philanthropist and team owner hosted Connie Mack's Athletics in front of thousands of fans at Bulkeley Stadium. The Gems were made up of a few pros including Johnny Roser who played for the Boston Braves in the 1920's and other local amateurs and legends in their own right such as Jigger Farrell and Bob Cronin.
James “Jimmie” Emory Foxx, nicknamed "Double X" and "The Beast" played 20 seasons in Major League Baseball for the Philadelphia Athletics, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Philadelphia Phillies. In the 1933 season, Foxx was leading the home run race for in the Majors and was coming off his third AL MVP Award in 1932. Thanks to his strong bat, the Athletics visit to Hartford was highly anticipated. Massive crowds turned out at Bulkeley Stadium even though Connie Mack was unable to attend on both occasions in 1933 and 1935. To his credit, Mack accepted the invitations to play in Hartford and he telegraphed his lineup to the Hartford Courant in advance.
On June 15, 1933, the Philadelphia Athletics had a day off and agreed a few months prior to take part in a charity game vs Hartford's best baseball club, the Gems. Most of the team, minus their Manager traveled to Hartford to beat the Savitt Gems that day by a score of 6-1. The Gems were nearly shutout by the pitching of “Big” Jim Peterson who pitched a complete 9 inning game. Foxx, the Major League home run leader at the time, was held to a mere base hit single on the day.
On September 23, 1935, it was the Gems who overtook the Athletics; this time by a score of 6-4. The Gems led early and kept the lead throughout the game. On the mound for the Gems was the former Red Sox hurler Johnny Micheals who pitched the Gems to victory allowing 10 hits and 4 runs over a 9 innings of work - Michaels also gathered 3 hits of his own at the plate and scored the winning run. The Gem's brotherly duo Jigger Farrell and Tommy Farrell shined for the Gems, collecting 2 hits each in their win over the Athletics.
Jimmy Foxx was held hitless on the day. It was Foxx's teammate and another AL MVP (1934) Pinky Higgins who had a good day at the plate for the "Mackmen" as they were known, going 2 for 4 on the day with a towering home run. However the Athletics batsmen would not score enough to catch up to the Gems. Starting pitcher, Bill Dietrich struggled mightily to keep the Gems from reaching base. By the 2nd inning the score was 5-0 after a barrage of hits from Jigger Farrell and a triple from Johnny Michaels.
The well-attended contest ended under the lights as 27 year old Jimmy Foxx pitching the last two innings for the Philadelphia side. Since Connie Mack was absent due to an illness, Foxx also assumed the manager's role for the A's that evening in Hartford.