Baseball-Almanac.com's World Series section
Chapter 2: The 1920's
1920: Brooklyn Robins (2) vs. Cleveland Indians (5)
As America was welcoming in a new and promising decade, baseball was longing for days gone by. The 1919 World Series had sparked a major controversy amid rumors of a gambling fix. Eight members of the participating Chicago White Sox were all charged with conspiring to throw the Fall Classic against the Cincinnati Reds. After a lengthy investigation and highly publicized trial (lasting until 1921), the "Black Sox" were acquitted despite their own confessions (which were recanted later). However, all of the players involved were later banned from baseball because of their undeniable link to gamblers. Throughout the 1920 season, the league offices were constantly denying accusations from the press that professional baseball itself was in on the take and made every effort to assure the fans that the 1919 scandal was an isolated incident. In an effort to win back the fan's approval, the commissioner decided on another best-of-nine series and went to great lengths to promote the integrity of baseball in the papers. Still, many wondered if the fan's trust in baseball and more specifically, the World Series would ever fully recover. Only time would tell as the National League's Brooklyn Robins (who would later become the Dodgers) returned for their second series appearance against the American's Cleveland Indians.
In Game 1, Cleveland's starting right-hander, Stan Coveleski, stifled Brooklyn's line-up in a 5-hit, 3-1 opening winner, but the Robins answered back quickly in Game 2 with a fantastic performance by Burleigh Grimes, who tossed a 7-hit, shutout that ended in a 3-0 series-tying victory. Brooklyn maintained their momentum over the Indians in Game 3 on the arm of Series veteran Sherri Smith, who threw a 2-1, 3-hitter to take the early lead. Coveleski returned for Game 4 against Leon Cadore, who had gone the distance in one of the longest games in baseball history just five months earlier, a 26-inning 1-1 tie with Boston. Surprisingly, the Brooklyn workhorse only lasted 1 inning (in his only Series start) which ended in a 5-1 Cleveland decision.
With the Series tied at 2 games apiece, Brooklyn's Burleigh Grimes, returned to rematch Cleveland's Jim Bagby. This time, the Indians line-up came out swinging and promptly loaded the bases in the bottom of the 1st. Elmer Smith, a 28 year-old outfielder, stepped up to the plate and into the record books by smashing the first grandslam in World Series history. The historic blast scored Charlie Jamieson, Bill Wambsganss, Tris Speaker (as well as Smith) sending the home team crowd into a deafening frenzy that set the tone for the rest of the game. The score remained 4-0 until the 4th when Bagby homered off of his rival with 2 men on base. Now with a 7-0 lead, the Indians looked to have the advantage, although their pitcher had already given up Series high 8-hits in 4+ innings. Brooklyn had yet to score, but was headed in the right direction with Pete Kilduff and Otto Miller on base and in scoring position. Relief pitcher Clarence Mitchell, who had entered the game in the fourth, was Brooklyn's next batter. The versatile Robin, who was used as a pinch-hitter, outfielder and utility infielder hit a sharp line drive to 2nd baseman Bill Wambsganss who caught the ball, stepped on the bag and tagged out a returning Miller to complete the first triple play (completely unassisted) in World Series history. After managing to score a run in the 9th, Brooklyn fell to the Indians in an 8-1 loss.
Cleveland remained in control and went on to shutout the Robins in both Games 6 and 7. Brooklyn's recently acquired Waiter Mails threw a superb 3-hit, 1-0 winner and Coveleski returned for his third 5-hitter of the Series in a 3-0 masterpiece. Amazingly, the Indian's pitching staff had held the Robins to just 2 runs in the final 43 innings of the Series on their way to their first world championship. The victory was bittersweet though as the team was still recovering from the loss of one of it's own. Ray Chapman, a 29 year-old shortstop known for excellent defense and leadership, died after being struck by a pitch on August 16 in New York. His teammates had persevered, gone the distance and went on to dedicate their win in his memory. For the 2nd consecutive season, a "first-timer" had won the championship, but this time… it was legit.
1920 will also be remembered as the year that witnessed the birth of one of sports greatest dynasties and the death of another. The New York Yankees, previously known as the laughable Highlanders, purchased an outfielder/pitcher named George Herman Ruth from the financially strapped Boston Red Sox. Ruth, who had hammered 29 homeruns (a major-league record for Boston in 1919), brought the game into a new era in 1920 by knocking out 54. He also set attendance records at the Polo Grounds as he and the Yankees, playing their home games in the Giants' park, outdrew John McGraw's team by more than 350,000.
1921: New York Giants (5) vs. New York Yankees (3)
If the 1920 season had left Boston wondering if they had made a mistake, then the 1921 season surely removed any doubt. Babe Ruth was in New York and busy breaking his own records for the 2nd consecutive season. As the Red Sox were struggling to stay competitive, the Yankees were still getting used to winning after coming off of a 3rd place A.L. finish during the Babe's "rookie" season in a pinstriped uniform. Nothing changed in 1921 as their new acquisition raised his homerun record to a staggering 59, his RBI total to 171 and his batting average to .378 on the way to their first American League pennant and World Series appearance. The Babe wasn't alone though as teammate Bob Meusel contributed 24 homers and 135 RBIs and the rest of the Yankees batted .288 or higher. Two other "ex Red Sox", Carl Mays (a 27 game winner) and Waite Hoyt (with 19) added insult to injury while Bob Shawkey added 18 more victories.
The National League's Giants were veterans to the Fall Classic and had plenty to smile about themselves. With a line-up of "lumberjacks" including Frankie Frisch, Ross Youngs, George Kelly and Irish Meusel and a solid pitching staff known as the "fearsome foursome" (Art Nehf, Fred Toney, Jesse Barnes and Phil Douglas), they promised to give Babe Ruth and his re-born Yankees a run for their money. In the first World Series to be played entirely in one ballpark (the Polo Grounds), the Big Apple's "rival roommates" squared off in the first official "Subway Series". Despite rumors of Ruth on the mound, Miller Huggins gave the Game 1 start to Carl Mays while John McGraw selected Phil Douglas. The Yankee's pitchers quickly set the tone for the Series with an opening 3-0 victory that was repeated the following day with a 2-hit, 3-0 triumph by Waite Hoyt.
Down but not out, the Giants managed to come back in Game 3 after trailing 4 runs in the 4th. After tying it up in the bottom the inning, McGraw's team rallied for 8 runs in the 7th thanks to Ross Youngs' bases-loaded triple. In the end, the Yankees had blinked and were taken for 20 hits and a 13-5 victory that turned the momentum back to the veterans. The Giants continued as Douglas returned the following day and vindicated himself with a 4-2 win that tied the Series at 2 games apiece. Game 5 was even more dramatic as an injured Babe Ruth shocked everyone with a key bunt in the 4th inning, setting up the winning run off a Bob Meusel double. The Yankees had regained their composure and walked away with a 3-1, Series leading victory, but at a terrible cost as their most valuable player would be unable to continue due to arm and knee ailments.
Despite the absence of the Babe, the Yankees still felt confident with their remaining line-up. That was until they lost Game 6, 8-5 and Game 7, 2-1. Great performances at the plate by Irish Meusel and Frank Snyder as well as a solid outing on the mound by Phil Douglas had put the Giants out in front. Game 8 evolved into a classic pitcher's duel between Waite Hoyt and Art Nehf, who led the standoff 1-0 going into the bottom of the 9th. In a last chance effort, the desperate Yankee skipper went to his bench and replaced the struggling Wally Pipp (who had batted a miserable .154) with the still injured Babe Ruth who grounded out to first. Two plays later, the Series was over with the Giants winning 5 games to 3.
Although they had fallen short in their first World Series appearance, the Yankees had shown a glimpse of what would become a dynasty. Waite Hoyt had not allowed a single earned run in 27 innings and Carl Mays had been just as effective with an ERA of 1.73 over 26. Ruth batted an impressive .313 and added his first World Series homer and 4 RBIs. After 4 straight losses, the Giants had finally reclaimed the championship title for the first time since 1905.
1922: New York Giants (4) vs. New York Yankees (0)
The defending A.L. champion Yankees entered the 1922 season still recovering from a devastating loss to the Giants and without 2 of their star players. Both Babe Ruth and Bob Meusel had been suspended for an unauthorized barnstorming tour after the 1921 Series. To make matters worse, Commissioner Landis handed Ruth additional suspensions after several run-ins with umpires and other indiscretions off the field. In fact, the Babe did not play until May 20th and had only made 110 appearances out of 154 games at the end of the pennant race. His stats plummeted as a result, dropping him to 3rd in homers (with 35) and out of the top 5 for RBI's (with 99). Still, the Yankees managed to hold onto their A.L. crown and prepared for a rematch against the defending World Champion New York Giants.
The Yankees had continued to pillage the Boston Red Sox acquiring Everett Scott and Joe Dugan as well as Whitey Witt from the Philadelphia Athletics. The Giants had made some great deals too in trading for 3rd baseman Heinie Groh and pitcher Jack Scott. Once again, New York was host to its 2nd consecutive "Subway Series" which had finally reverted back to a best-of-seven format.
Game 1 found the Giants in familiar territory as they rebounded from a 2-0 deficit in the 8th on their way to a 3-2 victory. Newly acquired Heinie Groh performed exceptionally well going 3 for 3 despite the best efforts of Joe Bush who had shut out his hometown rivals through 7 innings. Things started differently in Game 2 as the Giants quickly set the pace with a 3-run homer off of Yankee veteran Bob Shawkey in the top of the 1st. Not to be outdone, the Yankees managed to tie it up with runs in the 1st, 4th and 8th innings. Both sides dug in for what promised to be a dramatic finish, but umpire George Hildebrand insisted on calling the game due to "darkness" after the 10th inning. With at least a ½ hour of sunlight left, the fans were outraged and demanded the official's resignation. In an effort to make the best of a bad public relations situation, the league decided that the gate receipts would be donated to various New York charities.
Babe Ruth's difficulties had continued to plague him well into the post-season and it wasn't looking any better for Game 3. At this point in the Series, the "Sultan of Swat" had gone 2 for 8 with 1 measly RBI and his teammates weren't looking any better. Giant's pitcher Jack Scott, who had compiled an impressive 8-2 record in only 17 games, blanked the Yankees with a 4-hit, 3-0 triumph and set a momentum that would last for the rest of the Series. Hugh McQuillan took the mound for the Nationals in Game 4 and notched a complete 4-3 win backed up by the slugging of Dave Bancroft. Art Nehf returned for Game 5 and the clincher (as he had in the previous year) in a 5-3 triumph that netted the Giants their 2nd consecutive title. Not only had the Giants pitching staff dominated the last 3 games for a back-to-back championship, they had done so while holding baseball greatest slugger to a miserable 0 for 9 record. The Bambino wound up with two hits in 17 at-bats for a .118 average and his teammates hit only .203 as a team.
1923: New York Giants (2) vs. New York Yankees (4)
The term "home field advantage" took on a whole new meaning in 1923 as baseball's grand cathedral, Yankees Stadium, opened much to the dismay of the Giants. Although the 2x defending champions would finally reclaim the Polo Grounds for themselves, "The House That Ruth Built" towered over their yard and featured an enormous seating capacity with an architectural beauty that was second to none. With the addition of a third ballpark, New York had established itself as THE premier city for professional sports entertainment. A sports columnist from Philadelphia had written that thousands of years in the future archeologists would uncover ruins in the lower Bronx that would resemble that of ancient Rome's coliseums. The Giants had generously shared their field with the Yankees (and Highlanders) since 1913 but now found themselves standing in the shadow of their cross-town rivals.
Although the Yankees had lost 2 consecutive World Series to the Giants, they were quickly becoming the more popular of the 2. The soon to be penned "Bronx Bombers" boasted the game's top player, the largest arena, and the best record in baseball after winning their 3rd A.L. pennant by a 16 game margin. Once again, the "Subway Series" was on as the Yankees and the Giants met for the 3rd consecutive year. In a strange twist, Giants' outfielder, Casey Stengel, who would later become one of the most successful and beloved Yankee managers, beat his future team in Game 1 with an inside-the-park home run off of Joe Bush to break a 4-4 tie in the 9th. The Yankees record was now 0-9 (8 losses and 1 tie) in Series games against the Giants, but New York had Babe Ruth and he would have something to say about that. After a disappointing season plagued with suspensions and poor play in 1922, the Babe was back in action, hitting .394 and sharing the home run title with the Phillies' Cy Williams (with 41). He was in top form for Game 2, hitting homers in the 4th and 5th innings on the way to a 4-2 victory at the Polo Grounds.
Game 1 hero Casey Stengel once again stole the spotlight in Game 3. Through six innings, the Yankees' Sam Jones and the Giants' Art Nehf were locked in a scoreless battle. Then, with one out in the 7th, Stengel homered into the right field stands at Yankee Stadium for the win. Not to be outdone, the Yankees dominated the next 2 outings while totaling 16 runs with 27 hits resulting in 8-4 and 8-1 victories. New York coasted through Games 4 and 5 on the arm of Joe Bush and the bat of Joe Dugan. Finally, the Yankees had beaten the Giants for their first world championship in their brand new stadium (which featured crowds in excess of 62,000 and over $1million dollars in ticket sales). In addition, Babe Ruth had finally beaten his post-season demons, hitting 3 home runs, a triple, a double and 2 singles while batting .368.
1924: New York Giants (3) vs. Washington Nationals (4)
After struggling to beat the Brooklyn Dodgers for the N.L. pennant by only 1 1/2 games, the New York Giants once again found themselves competing in their 8th World Series in 14 years. Their challengers, the Washington Nationals, had topped the American League and were determined to bring home a championship to the nation's capital. Game 1 promised a great Series as league-standout Walter Johnson and veteran Art Nehf went head-to-head in a 12-inning nail-biter that ended in a 4-3 Giants victory. Although Johnson had struck out 12 New Yorkers, "The Big Train" had allowed 14 hits and 6 walks. After winning 2 out of the next 3, Washington was pounded in Game 5 when Johnson surrendered 13 more hits including 4 by Fred Lindstrom on the way to a devastating 6-2 loss. The Nationals' ace was now 0-2 and they were one game away from elimination.
Washington managed to stay afloat thanks to a solid performance at the plate by Bucky Harris (who knocked a 2-run single in the 5th) and the arm of Tom Zachary, who held the Giants in tow for a crucial 2-1 win that tied the Series at 3 games each. Game 7 at Griffith Stadium provided a perfect backdrop for the Senators "Grand Finale". Although the Giants looked to add yet another title to their resume (with a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the 8th) a critical fielding error by the Giants'18-year-old third baseman Fred Lindstrom (on a routine grounder) netted 2 runs and a last minute tie. The stalemate continued until the 12th thanks to "big" relief from "The Big Train". Once again, the Giants committed 2 major fielding errors including a replay of the missed grounder to 3rd and a dropped foul by catcher Hank Gowdy, who tripped over his mask. Fittingly, it was Walter Johnson who had turned his game around (after 2 poor outings) in a 4-3 triumph that gave the Nationals' their first world championship. The 1924 contest was John McGraw's last championship appearance (although he would manage the Giants until 1932) and he would end it with a 3-6 Series record. Despite losing twice as many match-ups, the Giants skipper is currently 2nd all-time for World Series appearances (behind Casey Stengel with 10).
1925: Pittsburgh Pirates (4) vs. Washington Nationals (3)
As the "Roaring Twenties" reached their midpoint, the Washington Nationals returned for their 2nd consecutive Fall Classic against one of the Series' original pioneers, the Pittsburgh Pirates. After defeating the perennial Giants in a 7 game thriller the previous year, the Nationals showed no signs of slowing down and quickly set the pace by winning Game 1 with little resistance. The next day the Pirates evened the score with a 3-2 victory on the arm of Vic Aldridge (who had gone the distance) and the swing of Kiki Cuyler who knocked a 2-run homer in the 8th. Both teams continued to trade W's as the Nationals netted a 4-3 win thanks to spectacular fielding by Sam Rice and the Pirates' Vic Aldridge returned for a 6-3 triumph over Stan Covelski.
The Pirates maintained their momentum for a crucial 3-2 victory in Game 5 due to the efforts of rookie 2nd baseman Eddie Moore and 2nd year pitcher Ray Kremer. Moore had broken a tie in the 8th with a monster blast and Kremer held the Nationals to just 6 hits. With the Series tied at 3 games apiece, it would all come down to the final outing at historic Forbes Field. Veteran ace, Walter Johnson (who had won Game 7 the year before) drew the start against the Pirates' Vic Aldridge in what promised to be a fantastic finish. In 1925, "The Big Train" had reached 20+ wins for the 12th season and was within 4 wins of the 400 mark (and he had done it entirely in a Washington uniform). "Old Reliable" was coming off of a 15-7 season with the Pirates and was the only pitcher in Pittsburgh's rotation that was a billed in the New York papers as a "worthy opponent of the mighty Johnson".
The press couldn't have been more wrong about Aldridge as the Nationals tagged him for 4 runs in the 1st before being pulled and lasting only 1/3 of an inning. Washington maintained control with a 6-3 lead going into the 4th, but Johnson broke down as well on the way to surrendering 15 runs in 8 innings. They managed to hold onto a 6-4 lead thanks to several fielding errors on the Pirates' part but paid back the favor with several follies of their own including the 7th error by Roger Peckinpaugh who was having an awful postseason. Capitalizing on the National's backslide, Pie Traynor stepped up and laced a timely game-tying triple (but was tagged out himself as he tried to reach home). Pirates' reliever Ray Kremer took the mound against a desperate Washington team who must have cringed at the site of "Series goat" Peckinpaugh stepping up to the batter's box. The 34-year old veteran had experienced every ballplayer's nightmare with one error in Game 1, two in Game 2, one in Game 3, another in Game 5, one in Game 6 and, to this point, one in Game 7. Even worse, he had gone 5-23 at the plate. However, all that was momentarily forgotten as the struggling workhorse launched a rocket into the left-field seats, giving his team the 7-6 lead. Things appeared to be going in the National's favor as Johnson sat down the first 2 Pirates in the bottom of the 8th. Once again, "goat-turned-hero-turned-goat" Peckinpaugh made a poor throw while attempting to record a forceout at second allowing Eddie Moore and Max Carey to reach base. Game 2 hero, Kiki Cuyler, sealed the victory with a two-run ground-rule double (the Pirates 8th base hit of the day). The defending champions had fallen hard to the underdog Pirates whose comeback marked the first time a team had rallied from a 3-1 deficit in games to win a best-of-seven Series.
While Max Carey batted a Series-leading .458 for Pittsburgh and Aldridge and Kremer each won two games, the focus fell mainly on Washington's players. Goose Goslin had hit 3 Series home runs for the second straight year; Joe Harris hit .440 (with 3 HRs) and Sam Rice, batted .364 and played exceptional defense. One particular play involving Rice sparked a controversy that would last for over 50 years: In the 8th inning of Game 3 (with the Nationals leading by 1 run), the fielder tumbled into the right-field stands while reaching for a line drive. After several seconds he reemerged holding the ball signaling the out. Understandably, the Pirates contested umpire Cy Rigler stating that a Washington fan may have stuffed the ball into Rice's glove. Questions about that moment followed Rice for the rest of his life resulting in a letter being sent to the Hall of Fame Officials (to be opened after his death in 1974) that stated simply, "At no time did I lose possession of the ball."
1926: St. Louis Cardinals (4) vs. New York Yankees (3)
Once again, the New York Yankees had risen to the top of the American League with solid pitching and spectacular hitting by the soon to be penned "Murderer's". Babe Ruth was joined in the spotlight by 2 young up-and-coming sluggers named Lou Gehrig and Earle Combs who hit .348 and .357 during the regular season. Their opponents, the National League's St. Louis Cardinals, had similar success with Rogers Hornsby, a .317 hitter, and pitchers Flint Rhem and Bill Sherdel who had won 20 and 16 games respectively.
Both teams looked to be strong on both sides of the plate, but the Yankees remained heavy favorites after dethroning the Giants' dynasty in the previous Series. Rookie Lou Gehrig had a fantastic debut in Game 1 driving in the winning run for a 6-3 opening victory. New York was not as fortunate in Game 2 as the Cardinals returned with a vengeance for a 6-2 payback. Grover Alexander went the distance against 3 Yankees pitchers including Urban Shocker, Bob Shawkey, who came on in the 8th, and Sam Jones who finished the 9th. Things didn't get any better for the favorites in Game 3 as once again, a Cardinal pitcher (Jesse Haines) lasted all 9 against 3 of New York's finest (Dutch Ruether, Bob Shawkey and Myles Thomas). Haines also contributed the only home run in the 4-0 shutout. The underdog Cards' were now on top 2 games to 1.
Down, but not out, "Murderer's Row" came back in Game 4 with a new resolve. This time it was St. Louis exhausting their bullpen as Yankee vet Waite Hoyt stood tall against 5 Cardinal pitchers including Flint Rhem, Art Reinhart, Hi Bell, Bill Hallahan and finally Vic Keen. The Bambino was back to his old self too, knocking out 3 homers to the Cardinals none. Although the National League champs were still ahead by a single game, serious damage had been done in the 10-5 debacle, as New York was clearly not giving up without a fight. Both teams dug in as Game 5 resulted in a 10 inning pitcher's duel between the Yank's Herb Pennock and Card's Bill Sherdel. The Yankees managed to win it 3-2 and led the Series by 1 game with 2 to go. Game 6 offered a replay of Game 2 as Grover Alexander once again, went the distance in a crucial 10-2 triumph that left Bob Shawkey a loser and Urban Shocker and Myles Thomas unavailable for the final showdown.
Game 7 was a real nail-biter as Jesse Haines and Grover Alexander went head-to-head with Waite Hoyt and Herb Pennock. Both teams managed 8 hits apiece and Babe Ruth contributed the only homer in the contest. Down 3-2 in the 9th, the Yankees were still in good shape as baseball's greatest slugger stepped up to the plate. The Babe worked the count to 3 and 2, then drew his 11th walk of the Series. Clean-up man Bob Meusel prepared to put the winning run on base, but was denied when the anxious Bambino attempted to steal 2nd. Although he had successfully stolen against the Cardinals in Game 6, he was slow off the start and catcher Bob O'Farrell's throw to Hornsby nailed the Yankees' slugger ending the fall classic. Many fans were furious with Ruth and believed that his mistake had clearly cost the Series. St. Louis had managed to beat the mighty Babe Ruth and his defending world champion Yankees despite mediocre performances from their standout players. Hornsby hit a meager .250 against New York and both Rhem and Sherdel had failed to win a game.
1927: Pittsburgh Pirates (0) vs. New York Yankees (4)
1927 witnessed the play of what many baseball historians consider to be the greatest team in the history of baseball, The 1927 New York Yankees. With an all-star lineup known as "Murderer's Row", New York outscored its opponents by nearly 400 runs and hit .307 as a team. Babe Ruth, perhaps the greatest ever, set the original single season mark with 60 homeruns which was more than any other American League team had combined. The Sultan of Swat also had plenty of help from his fellow sluggers in pinstripes. Outfield counterparts, Earle Combs in center and Bob Meusel in left, hit .356 and .337 respectively. Lou Gehrig had his first big season, batting .373 with 47 homers and a league leading 175 RBIs. Second year man Tony Lazzeri ranked third in the loop with 18 homers. The pitching staff boasted four men who won 18 or more wins, led by Waite Hoyt at 22-7. Herb Pennock and Wilcy Moore gained 19 victories apiece while Urban Shocker added 18. This lethal trio complemented the dominant offense by claiming the league's three best ERAs. Moore, who pitched primarily in relief, led the way with a 2.28 mark. With a 110-44 record, the Bronx Bombers ran away with the American League pennant, winning by a staggering 19 games.
On the National League side, the Pittsburgh Pirates had managed a pennant, but were clearly not the caliber that New York represented. Game 1 opened at Forbes Field, but the "homefield advantage" offered the Pirates little comfort in a 5-4 loss that was highlighted by several crucial fielding errors by the home team. Little changed in Game 2 as the Yankees netted another 6-2 victory off the arm of George Pipgras who beat Pittsburgh's Vic Aldridge, Mike Cvengros and Joe Dawson. Herb Pennock, who entered the game with a 4-0 Series record, went the distance for the third outing mowing down the Pirates 1-2-3 in the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th innings. The result was an 8-1 triumph that left the Yankees 1 win away from sweeping the Series and reclaiming their crown.
Game 4 was anyone's for 9 innings as neither team blinked in a 3-3 stalemate. Pittsburgh manager, Donie Bush, had turned to Carmen Hill, who had peaked in 1927 as the ace of his pitching staff. Hill had never won more than three games, but in 1927, he chalked up 22. New York's Miller Huggins went with Wilcy Moore, a promising rookie who had made only 12 starts in his 50 appearances. Both had planned to go the distance, but the mental fatigue was starting to take its toll. Pittsburgh's John Miljus came in as relief in the 7th and looked strong until the 9th. Earle Combs walked and Mark Koenig beat out a bunt to advance to 2nd and 3rd. In a daring move, Ruth was walked intentionally, filling the bases with no outs and Lou Gehrig coming up next. Miljus managed to strike out the next 2 batters, but threw a disastrous wild pitch to Tony Lazzeri, scoring Combs and ending the game. The Yankees had won their 2nd championship title and the crowning achievement to a magnificent season. They also became the first team ever to sweep the National League in a World Series.
1928: St. Louis Cardinals (0) vs. New York Yankees (4)
After coming off of a magical season, the defending champion Yankees managed to hold off the Athletics to win their 3rd consecutive pennant by 2 1/2 games, but at a serious cost as injuries depleted their line-up. Pitcher Herb Pennock (17-6) was on the sidelines for the Series with a sore arm. Centerfielder Earle Combs was available only as a pinch-hitter because of a broken finger. Second baseman Tony Lazzeri suffered a lame-throwing arm, and Babe Ruth was playing on a bad ankle. The St. Louis Cardinals, however, were all in good shape and ready for a repeat of the 1926 contest when they had dethroned New York 4 games to 3.
For Game 1, Waite Hoyt went up against Bill Sherdel in a classic rematch of David vs. Goliath. The Babe managed to play, despite his inability to run and he and his young protégé both put on quite a show. Ruth had a single and 2 doubles, Gehrig went 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs and Bob Meusel knocked a 2 run homer on the way to a 4-1 opening victory. Grover Alexander (who had embarrassed the Yankees and their pitching staff in the '26 Series) returned for Game 2, but lacked the dominating presence of 2 years ago. Lou Gehrig started things off with a 3 run homer in the 1st inning and the Yankees continued to score without resistance on the way to a 9-3 victory.
As expected, Ruth and Gehrig continued to abuse the Cardinals' pitching staff with reckless abandon. The "Iron Horse" launched 3 blasts in Game 3 for a 7-3 win and "The Babe" knocked 3 into the seats in Game 4 (with Gehrig contributing 1) for another 7-3 triumph and a second sweep for the World Championship. Both sluggers had combined to go 16 for 27 at the plate, with a .593 average, 7 homers and 13 RBIs. Ruth set one of many Series records hitting an unbelievable .625 with 10 hits in 4 games. Gehrig hit .545 and set his own record with 9 RBIs in 4 games. It truly was a 2-man show as the rest of the Yankees batted .196, but were supported by solid pitching by Hoyt, George Pipgras and Tom Zachary. The perennial World Champions had managed to save-face after a difficult season and once again proved that they were the best-of-the-best.
1929: Chicago Cubs (1) vs. Philadelphia Athletics (4)
As baseball prepared to close its books on the 1920's, the National League's Chicago Cubs were still looking for their third World Series Championship. Joe McCarthy's team was more determined than ever after losing in their previous 2 attempts (1910 & 1918) and had made it back to the big show on the arm of Pat Malone, who boasted 22 victories during the regular season. On the American League side, one of baseball's original dynasties, the Philadelphia Athletics were back on top after a lengthy rebuilding process. Connie Mack had finally assembled a line-up of talent that brought back memories of the perennial championship A's and featured players like Al Simmons, who had topped the American League with 157 RBIs. The A's were 104-46 in 1929 and won the AL pennant by 18 games over the New York Yankees, who had swept the World Series in 1927 and 1928.
The Athletics' skipper shocked everyone after selecting Howard Ehmke, their 7th best pitcher, for the start in Game 1. The 35 year-old veteran had a 7-2 record with an unimpressive ERA of 3.29. In a brilliant move, Mack had placed Ehmke in the stands at various games to study the Cub's hitters anonymously. His strategy paid off as the surprise underdog went on to beat Charlie Root and Guy Bush in a 3-1 opening victory. George Earnshaw and Lefty Grove maintained the Athletics' momentum with a Game 2 win over 4 of the National League's best. Pat Malone, Sheriff Blake, Hal Carlson and Art Nehf all came up short in a game that featured a combined 23 hits in a 9-3 Philadelphia romp. The Cubs struck back in Game 3 with a crucial 3-1 triumph that put them back in the hunt and set the stage for one of the most exciting comebacks in the history of the World Series.
Game 4 rotated 9 different pitchers including the Cubs' Charlie Root, Art Nehf, Sheriff Blake, Pat Malone, Hal Carlson and the A's Jack Quinn, Rube Walberg, Eddie Rommel and Lefty Grove. Things appeared to remain in Chicago's favor even as Al Simmons added to his league leading stats with a homerun in the bottom of the 7th. Jimmie Foxx, Bing Miller and Jimmy Dykes followed him with singles. With the score still in the Cubs' advantage at 8-3 (with 2 runners on and no outs) Joe Boley stepped up to the plate and delivered another run-scoring single and the 5th consecutive hit off of starter Charlie Root. As the rally continued, Philadelphia had pulled within 4 and Root was pulled in favor of Art Nehf. The veteran lefty had won several crucial games for the New York Giants (in 4 consecutive World Series match-ups) but promptly surrendered 3 more runs on an error by outfielder Hack Wilson, who had let a long drive roll to the fence. The A's line-up had clearly taken control leaving Chicago in shock as they watched their significant lead dissolve to a single run in a single inning. Then, Mickey Cochrane walked as Sheriff Blake came in to replace the struggling Nehf. Simmons, who had started the Athletics' comeback, stepped up for the 2nd time in the inning and added yet another single. Jimmie Foxx returned as well driving in the tying run making it an 8-8 contest. McCarthy's team had fallen into "quicksand" and was sinking fast. Pat Malone was summoned from the bullpen, but nothing changed as he hit Miller with a pitch, loading the bases. Dykes followed suite and slammed a double scoring the 9th and 10th runs of the inning, but Malone dug in and struck out Boley and Burns ending the devastation. Lefty Grove came in to finish to job and retired Chicago in order in the 8th and 9th innings while striking out four consecutive batters. The A's, staring at the likelihood of a 2-2 tie in games when they came to bat in the 7th inning, now boasted a three games-to-one lead after their unlikely 10-8 triumph and looked to close out the Cubs in Game 5.
A battered Pat Malone returned for the start in Game 5 hungry for payback after his team's Game 4 debacle. Paired up against the unlikely Game 1 winner Howard Ehmke, he managed to keep the Cubs' hopes alive with a clutch performance. Both aces were locked in a 0-0 struggle until the 4th inning when Chicago drove in 2 runs and Ehmke off the mound. Rube Walberg came in as relief and matched the NL ace until the bottom of the 9th. With 1 down and a 2 run lead, the Cubs stood 2 outs away from sending the Series back to Wrigley Field, but Max Bishop kept the A's alive with a crucial single. Mule Haas stepped up to the plate for his biggest at-bat of the season and tied the game with a bomb over the right-field wall. Down, but not out, Malone remained tough and got out #2 off a Mickey Cochrane grounder. With 2 down now and 1 to go, the Cubs still had a chance. That was until Al Simmons came up big with a priceless double - forcing the intentional walking of Jimmie Foxx. Bing Miller completed the cycle, hitting one off Shibe Park's scoreboard for the winning run and another World Series Championship. The 3-2 comeback gave Connie Mack's Athletics' their first title since 1913 and sent Chicago packing after surrendering leads in both Games 4 and 5.
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