March 14, 1932—Acquired C Ernie Lombardi, OF Babe Herman, and 3b Wally Gilbert from Brooklyn for 2b Tony Cuccinello, 3b Joe Stripp, and C Clyde Sukeforth.

The Reds found catcher Lombardi available from Brooklyn for the Dodgers were committed to another young catcher, Al Lopez. Lombardi went on to become one of the greatest hitting catchers of all time, winning the MVP award in 1938 and anchoring the Reds during their National League championship years of 1939 and 1940.

Bill James lists Lombardi as the 22nd greatest catcher of all time. Lombardi was an incredible hitter, one of the few catchers to ever win the batting title. Lombardi batted .342 in his MVP year and won the batting title a second time with the Boston Braves, hitting .330. His lifetime average was .306, but he was so s-l-o-w that third basemen and shortstops would play as deeply as they could in the outfield grass knowing they could throw Lombardi out at first. I’ve seen two versions of the same quote from Lombardi concerning Dodger Hall of Fame shortstop Pee Wee Reese. “Pee Wee Reese was in the league (three or five) years before I realized he wasn’t an outfielder”

Lombardi was a big guy, with huge hands. James also reports that Lombardi essentially became a chick magnet after his MVP season. He was terribly shy and would wait in the locker room for the women to leave. But, no matter the fame off the field, Lombardi was famous on the field, too, for he was named to five consecutive all-star teams while playing for the Reds.

As so often seems to be the case, Lombardi was a throw-in on this deal. Sweet swinging outfielder Babe Herman was the target of the trade for the Reds. Herman had come within 20 points of batting .400 in two of the three previous seasons, but was usually an adventure waiting to happen in the outfield. Herman hit .326 for the 1932 Reds who turned around and traded him to the Cubs at the end of the season. Third baseman Gilbert was out of baseball a year later.

The Reds gave up quality in the deal. Cuccinello was a fine hitting young second baseman who went on to play 13 more seasons in the big leagues and Joe Stripp was a starting third baseman, who had seven more seasons to give, too. Sukeforth was a good hitting catcher in his own right, but only played part-time the next four seasons for the Dodgers.