On a team best remembered for power, Chapman delighted Yankee fans with daring baserunning and fervent play from 1930 to 1936. An infielder in 1930, Chapman was moved to left field by new manager Joe McCarthy in 1931 to take advantage of his speed and throwing arm. Chapman led AL outfielders in assists in 1933 and 1935. He reached double figures in doubles, triples, HR, and steals in each of his first three seasons, and led the AL in stolen bases three straight years, 1931-33. He was the first batter for the AL in the inaugural 1933 All-Star Game.
Chapman moved to center in 1934, but he and his temper were displaced by Joe DiMaggio in 1936. Traded to Washington in mid-1936, Boston in mid-1937, and (despite batting .340) Cleveland after 1938, Chapman was a regular through 1940. In 1942, as pitcher-manager for Richmond (Piedmont League), he punched umpire I.H. Case and was suspended from playing for a year. He returned as a pitcher with Brooklyn in 1944, and went 5-3 (3.40). Two weeks after his trade to the Phillies in 1945, Chapman was named their manager. His spirited leadership brought initial improvement, but soon his temper and poorly timed comments, especially his widely publicized vicious baiting of Jackie Robinson in 1947, exasperated owner Bob Carpenter. Chapman was fired in 1948.