This page is designed for the benefit of those individuals interested in learning more about "The
Greatest Team of All Time".
It will also serve as a supplement for my indepth and definitive book covering the 1927 Yankees (links for excerpts provided).
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anecdotes as possible. The information provided, and its compilation, is a result of years of
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given to the site being directed/linked to. My intention is to help navigate the internet for relevant
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In 1927, as the United States continued its return to normalcy after their involvement in the Great War almost a decade earlier, it was a time when President Calvin Coolidge was trying to run the country very quietly, literally. Business, rather than politics, dominated the headlines, as corporations were making enormous profits, the economy was booming, the stock market was soaring, and America was as prosperous as ever. On top of it all, Prohibition was the law of the land, an amendment introduced to prohibit the manufacture and sale of intoxicating beverages, which many people believed it violated their right to live by their own standards, but instead of control, the law actually had the opposite effect; as it proliferated the illegal production and distribution of liquor, creating a black market, and giving birth to a dangerous business. Soon after Prohibition had gone into effect women gained the right to vote, and armed with a carefree lifestyle and attitude, and as the “Jazz Age” engulfed the nation, the “flappers” were born. People also yearned for that little audio box which was still relatively in its infancy, the newest national rage called the radio. Tying it all together, the “Roaring ‘20s” were in full swing.
Another characterization also surfaced that would accurately describe the era, “The Golden Age of Sports”, as the nation was truly embracing athletics on an epic scale. After the awfulness of the Great War the nation was hungry for heroes, and almost just as suddenly, they had stars to worship in almost every sport, and fans were even infatuated with a thoroughbred named Man o’ War, a horse many considered to be the greatest ever. Boxing could boast of heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey, one of the most popular athletes in the country, and million dollar gates, while golf countered with Walter Hagen and the brilliant, young Bobby Jones, and tennis had the court dominance of a personally controversial Bill Tilden. College football was the nation’s second favorite team sport and featured Notre Dame and legendary coach Knute Rockne, and Red Grange came out of Illinois as the most celebrated player to help the struggling professional ranks. But baseball was the king, and it was truly the national game.
In 1915, a pair of wealthy businessmen named Captain Tillinghast Huston and Colonel Jacob Ruppert purchased the New York Yankees (excerpt), a team born of humble beginnings just after the turn of the century, and the new ownership vowed to build a winner. Opening their pocketbooks, they steadily built the club through purchases and trades, brought in manager Miller Huggins in ’18 (excerpt), much to the chagrin of Huston, and nabbed the game’s brightest young slugger in ‘20 for a record price from the Boston Red Sox, Babe Ruth (excerpt). He went on to revolutionize the game with his prodigious home runs in New York shattering almost every record, as the Yankees first became the toast of the American League by winning consecutive pennants in ’21 and ’22 and drawing record crowds, before reaching the top of the baseball mountain as world champions in ’23, capping their first season in their new ballpark and the grandest venue in the game, Yankee Stadium (excerpt).
Falling just shy of a fourth straight pennant in ’24 by two games, it was followed by a disastrous ’25 season in which Ruth was sidelined by his famous bellyache at the start of the year, an aging team played poorly, Huggins went with youth, and he levied an enormous $5,000 fine and suspended the Babe in August, as the club limped home in seventh place. Shedding age and problems, the Yankees rallied in ’26 for the greatest one-year turnaround in baseball history to claim another pennant, only to fall short against the St. Louis Cardinals in the world’s series, who got a legendary and career defining performance by grizzled veteran pitcher Grover Alexander, leaving the heartbroken Yanks to pick up the pieces.
As spring training opened in 1927, the Yankees signed Ruth to the largest contract in baseball history (excerpt), paying him $70,000 a season for three years. Several other players received substantial raises, including star southpaw pitcher Herb Pennock, second highest paid on the team at $17,500 per year, and veteran outfielder Bob Meusel, home run and runs batted in champion in ’25 who received a $13,000 salary.
But because New York was young and had what was considered suspect pitching, they were far from favorites. Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics had been rebuilding for years, and upon signing several key veterans, he believed all the pieces were in place. He wasn’t alone.
Philadelphia was the favorite according to a poll of 100 players done by the Associated Press, while the same service also polled the “baseball experts”, and 29 picked the Athletics with only nine choosing the Yankees. Grantland Rice of the New York Herald-Tribune wrote in his column, “From present indications, the American League race figures as follows: Philadelphia, New York, Washington, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Boston.” John Keiran of The New York Times wrote “...the Yankees are the toughest team in either league to ‘dope’.” Professional odds makers showed the Athletics at 2:1, the Yankees at 3:1, and the Senators, just two years removed from consecutive league titles and world champs in ’24, at 7:2. As for outgoing American League President Ban Johnson, he predicted a historic five-team pennant race.
April 12, 1927 at Yankee Stadium
Opening Day Line-up vs. Philadelphia Athletics
CF Earle Combs
SS Mark Koenig
RF Babe Ruth
1B Lou Gehrig
LF Bob Meusel
2B Tony Lazzeri
3B Joe Dugan
C John Grabowski
P Waite Hoyt
The Yankees opened the 1927 season by hosting the Athletics (excerpt). In front of a record crowd of over 73,000 paying fans, Waite Hoyt bested their rising young southpaw ace Lefty Grove, 8-3. New York then won two of the next three games, with one game ending in a tie, to sweep the series and make an early statement as Ruth hit his first home run of the season in the finale. A few days later on Easter Sunday, young Lou Gehrig led the hit parade by smacking a pair of homers in a 14-2 victory over the Red Sox (excerpt), the center game of three more wins that upped New York’s record to 6-0, before they dropped the finale. From there, the Hugmen stumbled a bit, and Philadelphia gained some measure of revenge by taking their home opener against the Yanks and two of three games, overcoming back-to-back home runs by Ruth and Gehrig in the first inning on April 23 (excerpt) to take the decisive contest, 4-3, and both teams closed the month of April tied atop the league with 9-5 records. And it was all taking place amid the bulk of the nation succumbing to the Great Mississippi Flood that ravaged the area to become the country’s greatest natural disaster.
Ushering in May, the Athletics once again visited Yankee Stadium, where Pennock again beat back the Mackmen, 7-3, with help from Ruth and Gehrig, for having warmed up with four homers apiece in April, the former hit two and the latter hit one. From there, Philadelphia never could look like the team they were supposed to be until it was too late in the season, and the Yankees never looked back behind their two sluggers.
With a few key additions, Huggins had successfully meshed a wide array of personalities and talent to produce a historic season. Younger players blossomed into heroes, and the older veterans become more effective than ever before, as the Yanks quickly developed from contenders to favorites, with different clubs at different stages of the season emerging to challenge them, but all meeting the same fate. And by running way from the competition they transformed from favorites into assumed champions, and even further, into challengers of baseball history.
Instead of a league pennant race, there was the Great American Home Run Race, the first ever witnessed. Nothing before had ever prepared baseball fans for the season long home run chase, as teammates Ruth and Gehrig hit balls over the fences at a blistering and dizzying pace. For the first time the Babe had a worthy challenger going head to head with him, as the “Buster” matured into a force in only his third season as a regular and matched Ruth homer for homer most of the season and the two traded heroics almost daily, making up for the lack of interest in the standings. The Babe just may well have been spurred on by the competition, and they spent the year captivating the country. In baseball parks everywhere, it was the biggest show in town, with people clamoring out to see the power.
It was a surprising Chicago White Sox team that got as close as one game of the lead, but on May 7 in the Windy City, Pennock’s pitching and Gehrig’s monstrous grand slam into the right field pavilion off Sox ace Ted Lyons providing the icing, the first home run to be hit at newly remodeled Comiskey Park, the Yankees won, 8-0, and went on to take two of three games to start a western road trip that included a seven-game winning streak. While they were in Cleveland, a 25-year-old aviator named Charles Lindbergh made history with a solo flight from New York to Paris by landing on May 21, and he immediately became an American hero. Two days later in Washington, the Babe and the Buster again hit consecutive homers in the first inning, but the Senators were able to come back to win, 3-2. Meanwhile, it was a minor setback as the Yankees continued to roll, and behind their thunderous attack, New York swept a Memorial Day doubleheader in Philadelphia, 10-3 and 18-5. The Yanks’ 19-9 monthly record left them still atop the standings at 28-14 and with a two-game lead over Chicago at the end of May, looking more and more invincible each day, and with Ruth hitting five home runs during a seven-game span to close the month, he led Gehrig, 16 homers to 12.
The first half of June found New York hosting the western-based teams. On June 7 it was Chicago visiting Yankee Stadium and only one game back, but Ruth and Gehrig hit back-to-back homers to lead the Yanks to a 4-1 victory, the following day Tony Lazzeri hit three home runs during a 12-11 extra inning victory, and the Yanks took three out of four to beat back any illusions the White Sox may have had. On June 13 against Cleveland, the Yankees pounded five home runs, but none came from their two biggest guns, as reserve outfielder Ben Paschal hit two and Lazzeri, Joe Dugan, and Pat Collins all chipped in with one apiece during a 14-6 victory. It was the beginning of a nine-game winning streak in which the two home run twins continued to dazzle fans with their impressive displays, going back-to-back on June 16th during an 8-1 victory over St. Louis in a game held up awaiting Lindbergh’s arrival that didn't come until after the contest, as Ruth hit three home runs in the nine games, including a pair on June 22 during a 3-2 win in Boston, to run his total to 24, and Gehrig exploded to hit seven homers, two coming on June 18 during an 8-4 victory over St. Louis and enjoying a three home run game on June 23 at Fenway Park in Boston during an 11-4 victory, to raise his total to 21. New York was able to put serious distance between them and their closest competitors, and closing the month by taking the final three games of a six-game series against Philadelphia to beat back their faint hopes, the Hugmen ended June with a 21-6 mark to open a huge 10 ½ game lead, essentially ending the pennant race with the season not even halfway over. Talk surfaced that the Yankees were the greatest team of all time, and at 49-20 at the end of June and with Ruth and Gehrig both tied at 25 home runs apiece, it appeared warranted.
When red-hot second place Washington, having ended the Yanks’ seven-game streak a day earlier and riding a ten-game winning streak that actually gave them illusions of regaining the pennant, visited Yankee Stadium for a holiday doubleheader on the Fourth of July, in front of a record crowd of over 74,000 fireworks exploded early and often as the Yankees destroyed the Senators in what is probably the most severe and resounding end of any winning streak in baseball history by unmercifully taking both games, 12-1 and 21-1, as the Buster homered in both games, including a grand slam in the nightcap, to go two up on Ruth. The following day the home team used Lazzeri’s 12th homer of the year and also beat Washington again for good measure, 7-6, before heading west.
In the first game of a twin bill at Detroit on July 8, where a heavy-hitting Tigers’ club was beginning to gel, it was again Lazzeri that hit a home run, his fourth in five games giving him 13 for the season, during an 11-8 loss, while in the nightcap the Babe hit an inside-the-park homer, his only one in ’27, to help New York to a 10-8 win and a split. He then hit two more the following day to retake the lead during a 19-7 victory in the opener, but the Tigers pinned a 14-4 loss on the Yanks in the second game for another split, one in which Lazzeri continued his personal surge and hit his 14th homer, and while only half what his two more illustrious teammates had hit, it was a total that ranked third in the league. The two clubs then also split the remaining two solo games, and Detroit had given New York all they could handle in the six contests.
Less than a week later on July 17, Gehrig and Meusel hit back-to-back homers during a 5-4 victory in St. Louis, only the latter’s fifth of the season while the former hit his 30th to tie the race with the Babe, and then the Buster hit another the next day to retake the lead. On July 24 in Chicago, Ruth shocked everyone and proved the architects wrong when hit a ball that sailed completely out of the newly renovated double-decked Comiskey Park, something the designers said would never be done, and #31 again tied the race, and two days later hit a pair of homers during a 12-3 win over St. Louis to regain top honors. Then on July 30, it was Gehrig’s turn again, as he crushed two homers during a 7-3 victory in the front end of a doubleheader sweep over Cleveland to move into the lead. The Buster certainly wasn’t conceding anything and he ended the month atop all three of the loop’s Triple Crown categories, the most important being ahead in homers, 35-34, and he appeared a lock for the league’s Most Valuable Player award, one that Ruth couldn’t win due to a no-repeat provision. As for the Yankees, they had posted a stellar 24-7 mark in July to leave the league in the dust, and they stood 13 games ahead of demoralized Washington.
Fortunately for the rest of the American League, New York stumbled a bit in August, both individually and as a team, alternating losses with wins early before three distinctive streaks. The first consisted of five wins, but it was followed by four losses in a row for the first time in the middle of the month, three coming in Cleveland, and there was cause for a little concern that the Yanks were slipping even though they really weren’t losing any real ground, as Detroit was winning 13 in a row to move up into second place, 12 ½ games off the lead. But the two teams squared off in the Motor City and New York swept all three games to start a seven-game winning streak to close the month, and a 16-10 mark in the dog days of August was a little deceptive for the Yankees. Regardless, it appeared the only thing left for them to challenge was the record books, both as a team and personally, and heading into September they had a 17-game lead over Philadelphia and Ruth, who had turned in a good second half of the month with seven homers in 14 games, had a slim lead over Gehrig, 43-41, while Lazzeri was third in the league with 18.
As talk began to “Break up the Yankees”, on September 2 in Philadelphia the Babe and the Buster once again hit back-to-back homers in the first inning, Ruth’s being his 400th career home run, to power the Yankees to a 12-2 pasting of their closest rivals and register their eighth straight win. However, the following day, the winning streak came to an abrupt halt upon being shutout for the first time during the ’27 season, coming in their 129th game with a 1-0 loss to Grove, while also ending their major league record of having scored a run in 139 consecutive games dating back to September 17, 1926.
In Boston on Labor Day to open the Yanks’ final road series of the season, the Buster continued his awesome record-breaking performance in enemy ballparks and hit his 44th homer to tie the race during a 12-11 18-inning loss to the last place Red Sox, but New York salvaged a split in the nightcap with a shortened 5-0 victory. The following day, Gehrig launched his 45th to take the lead, but the Babe, who always liked playing in front of Bostonians and hitting at Fenway Park where he first broke into the majors, kicked it up in his very next at bat to tie the contest for the 22nd time during the season, and in his next at bat hit another to take the lead, powering the Yankees to a 14-2 victory before the pesky Sox’ 5-2 victory in the nightcap earned another split. Not finished, Ruth added two more homers the next day during a 12-10 New York win that enabled them to escape with the upper hand in the series, a power surge of five home runs in three games that left the Babe four ahead of Gehrig heading out of town, 49-45.
Back home to close out the season, Tony Lazzeri Day was held at Yankee Stadium on September 8, where Hoyt became a 20-game winner for the first time in his career when he beat St. Louis, 2-1. Two more victories over the Browns, including rookie Wilcy Moore’s 1-0 gem on September 10, ran the Yanks’ string to a major league record 21 consecutive wins over St. Louis and put them on the verge of history. But the following day, the Browns faced Pennock and emerged with a 6-2 win, sparing St. Louis the indignation of becoming the first team in history to be swept in a season series, a game in which the Babe hit his 50th home run of the season, leaving him ten shy of a new record with 17 games to play; a somewhat impossible task, but talk started nonetheless.
Two days later, Ruth hit a home run in each game of a doubleheader against Cleveland, and the sweep by identical 5-3 scores officially clinched the pennant for New York. With the flag secured, Huggins would be able to manipulate his pitching staff in preparation for the upcoming world’s series, while the players were left to chase personal records, albeit it without sacrificing any teams goals.
Another Ruthian homer the next day left him seven shy with a dozen to play, but then came three games without one. The Babe bounced back amid enormous pressure and smacked three homers in three straight games to get within striking distance. The third, #56 on the season, was hit on September 22, a two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth inning to win an 8-7 game over visiting Detroit, and Ruth carried his bat around the bases with him to ward off souvenir seekers and dragged a young boy across home plate with him, a game in which Earle Combs stroked three triples and Gehrig broke the Babe’s ’21 major league record for runs batted in. Later that evening in Chicago, and in the largest gate in boxing history, former heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey failed in his bid to reclaim the title from Gene Tunney in the instantly famous “Long Count” fight.
After two more games went by without a home run, the Yankees breaking the American League record with their 106th victory of the season on September 24, Ruth was faced with having to hit four in the final four games for a new record, a tall order for anyone, even him. On September 27 the Babe pounded his first grand slam of the season, coming off Philadelphia’s Grove, during a 7-4 Yankee victory, taking the season series from the Athletics, 14 games to eight. Two days later, Ruth hit a pair of homers, including another grand slam, to tie his ’21 record of 59 home runs during a 15-4 pasting of Washington, and he had two games remaining. He didn’t make people wait long, and on September 30 in front of a scant crowd of only 10,000 fans at Yankee Stadium, the Babe victimized the Senators’ Tom Zachary and lifted a pitch just fair into the right field bleachers for #60, setting a new record.
Babe Ruth connecting for his record 60th home run, September 30, 1927
It was a record-breaking month where he hit an amazing 17 homers in September amid enormous pressure to set a new monthly mark en route to a single season record. The following day was the last game of the Yankees’ regular season, Lou Gehrig Day was observed and he hit his 47th homer, only Ruth had hit more, and the Buster’s 175th run batted in stood as the new mark, as New York closed out their campaign with a 4-3 victory over Washington.
And when it was all said and done, no club that had ever stepped on a field before had so dominated and suffocated an entire league. The ’27 Yankees became the first team in baseball history to occupy first place every day, winning 110 games, posting a .714 winning percentage, and finishing with 19-game margin, all new American League records. An amazingly balanced team, New York was the fourth team in league history to have both the highest batting average and the lowest earned run average in the same season.
It was easy to become a fan of the ‘27 Yanks, for it was an offensive juggernaut that was truly worthy of their “Murderers’ Row” moniker, as they rewrote the record books with an unprecedented and devastating attack that had power top to bottom. They set team records in every offensive category, with the lone exception being stolen bases. For the fifth straight year, and eighth of the last nine, the Yanks again led the league in home runs, this time setting a new major league record with 158, and they also set new major league marks with 975 runs scored and a .489 slugging percentage, while their 908 runs batted in set a new league record, and their .307 average led the league.
Ruth and Gehrig had combined to form the most devastating offensive tandem in baseball history, and what made it worse was that they did it while listed in succession in the batting order. They finished first and second, respectively, in the league in home runs, slugging, runs scored, walks, and unfortunately, strikeouts. Flipping the arrangement, Gehrig and Ruth finished one-two, respectively, in the league in runs batted in, total bases, and extra base hits. Together, they set major league records for teammates in six different batting categories, specifically with 107 home runs, 339 runs batted in, 864 total bases, 214 extra base hits, a .769 slugging average, and 307 runs scored. In fact, to further illustrate just how destructive this pair was, not only one of them, but both men had just posted one of the top five individual marks in history in each of those categories during the ’27 campaign, making it sound more like fictional entries than factual statements.
However, the Yankees were far from being characterized as a two-man team. Additionally, there were two other basic offensive lists that had a pair of Yanks at the top, as Combs and Gehrig finished one-two, respectively, in the league in hits and triples, making it ten simple categories in all. Furthermore, in several cases, New York had the next man also. Combs had finished third in the league in both runs scored and total bases, and for first time in modern history teammates finished 1-2-3 in home runs, as Lazzeri ranked third.
In addition to his new home run record, Ruth had batted .356 and finished second in the league with 164 runs batted in, and Gehrig had batted .373, third in the loop. Two other Yankees each knocked in over 100 runs, as Meusel had 103 and Lazzeri drove across 102, and the same pair ranked second and third in stolen bases respectively. Further support came as Combs batted .356 and Meusel .337 to give the Yanks an all-.300 hitting outfield an warrant mention among the all-time greatest outfields, and Lazzeri was the fifth different regular to hit over .300 and finished the year at .309, while Paschal, who could have started for many other teams in the league, contributed a .317 average off the bench in limited duty. Mark Koenig, despite missing 30 games due to an injury, just missed becoming the fourth member of the team to score 100 runs, finishing with 99 to go along with his .285 average.
The outfield (L-R): Earle Combs, Babe Ruth and Bob Meusel
Baseball was not only about run production, but also run reduction, and defensively the Yankees were more than capable, viewed as a solid club with the leather and posting a fielding percentage of .969. The young infield consisting of Gehrig at first base, the versatile Lazzeri at second, Koenig at shortstop, and veteran Dugan at third base, was steady and dependable, sometimes bordering on sensational, and even though they had turned the fewest double plays in their league they were also a team that didn’t beat themselves very often. The catching was merely adequate from a trio of receivers, but that was all that was needed on such a powerful team.
The infield (L-R): Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, Mark Koenig and Joe Dugan
The catchers (L-R): Pat Collins, Benny Bengough and John Grabowski
Often overlooked was how good pitching staffs set a few teams clearly above all the rest. What separated the Yanks apart from other great teams of the past was that they could also toe the rubber and pitch as well as their slugging teammates could hit. Their pitching staff had dominated the league as few staffs had before, and in one descriptive word, it was “superb”.
The Yankee staff led the league with a 3.20 earned run average. It was ¾ of a run better than their nearest competitor, and at almost a full run lower (.92) than the league average, it was the second largest margin in history. The staff also made baseball history by becoming the first to have the top four pitchers in winning percentage, and the top three in ERA, in the same year. And of the seven pitchers in the league with an ERA less than 3.00 who threw often enough to qualify for the title, four of them were Yankees.
The pitching staff (L-R): Bob Shawkey, Joe Giard, Myles Thomas, Urban Shocker, Waite Hoyt, Herb Pennock,Wilcy Moore, Don Miller (BP pitcher), Dutch Ruether and George Pipgras
“Schoolboy” Hoyt was the undisputed ace of the staff, posting a 22-7 record, leading the league with a .759 winning percentage among those who qualified, tying for the league lead in wins, and finishing second with a 2.63 ERA. The smooth and stylish Pennock was number two in the rotation, and the southpaw finished 19-8 with a 3.00 ERA. And then there was Urban Shocker, who had started slowly before winning 15 of his final 18 decisions to finish the campaign with an 18-6 record, and he was third in the league with a 2.84 ERA. Dutch Ruether began the year as a regular in New York’s rotation, before hitting a bit of a snag late in the season, but he still posted a 13-6 record with a 3.38 ERA. George Pipgras emerged as a pleasant surprise and contributed a 10-3 record that actually gave him the highest winning percentage (.769) on the team, but he didn’t qualify for the league title. And Moore burst onto the scene as the best rookie in the league and the best relief pitcher in baseball, winning 13 games in relief, leading the league, and saving another 13, tying for the loop lead, en route to a 19-7 record and league-leading 2.28 ERA.
Before the 1927 edition of the Yankees could be labeled as the greatest team in history, they had to try to win only their second world’s series. Despite having won four other pennants during the ‘20s, they had only the ‘23 world title to show for it, and while winning ten games they had also lost 15 and tied one against their senior circuit rivals. It wasn’t exactly the type of past showings that would instill fear into their opponents.
By contrast, the National League pennant race, as accurately predicted in the spring by president John Heydler, was the first in their history featuring four teams. The Pittsburgh Pirates were in and out of first place all season and struggled to win the flag, claiming their second in three years. At various stages of the season different teams had occupied first place, as the defending world champion Cardinals, the overhauled Giants, the young and upstart Cubs, and the hard-hitting Pirates all fought tooth and nail late into the season. But holding off the late season charges and clinching the flag on the next to last day of the season, Pittsburgh had reclaimed their spot as the kingpins of the senior circuit. Having just successfully beaten back the Cardinals, a team that had defeated the Yankees a year earlier, and the Giants, the Pirates were clearly the best the National League had to offer, and they were considered as good, if not better, than their pennant and series-winning predecessors of two years earlier.
In ’27, Pittsburgh had led the senior circuit with a team batting average of .305, which was just two points off the Yanks’ average, but lacking considerably in the long ball. The Pirates boasted four regulars batting .325 or higher, the same as the Yankees, including three of the top five in the senior circuit, batting champion Paul Waner at .380, brother Lloyd at .355, and Pie Traynor at .342. Pittsburgh also had three men who each had driven in over 100 runs, just one shy of the Yanks, led by Paul Waner’s 131, Traynor’s 106, and Glenn Wright’s 105, and overall, the Pirates had also led the league with 1,648 hits and tied for the lead with 817 runs scored. They also featured a solid pitching staff, led by an impressive trio led by a pair of 19-game winners in ace Ray Kremer, the league leader with a 2.47 ERA, and Lee Meadows, and the emergence of 22-game winner Carmen Hill. But after the grueling race for the pennant, both physically and mentally, manager Donie Bush knew he had his hands full in the coming World Series against the mighty Yanks.
Prior to Game One of the 1927 World Series in Pittsburgh (L-R): Lloyd Waner, Babe Ruth, Paul Waner and Lou Gehrig
In the opening game in Pittsburgh, the Yankees jumped out to a run in the first inning off Kremer on a single by Ruth and a triple by Gehrig to stake Hoyt to a lead. The Pirates tied it before their two errors helped New York to three third-inning runs, they knocked Kremer form the box in the sixth, and with Hoyt wavering late, Moore came on in a one-run contest to save the game, a 5-4 Yankee win. New York could only manage six hits, and three of them same from the Babe’s bat, all singles.
For the second game, Huggins furnished a mild surprise and sent a rather inexperienced Pipgras to the hill. He yielded a triple to the first batter he faced, Lloyd Waner, and a sacrifice fly to the second (Clyde Barnhart), before settling down. Three Yankee runs in the third off Vic Aldridge allowed them to take the lead, and three more runs in the seventh put the game out of reach, as Pipgras allowed a meaningless run and cruised along for a 6-2 victory, sending the series back to New York and the Hugmen brimming with confidence.
The third game of the series matched Pennock, who entered with a 4-0 postseason record, opposite Meadows. In the home half of the first with teammates Combs and Koenig aboard, Gehrig unloaded a mammoth shot to the wall that scored both runners, but he was out by the narrowest of margins trying for an inside-the-park home run. The two runs proved enough for Pennock, who retired the Pirates in order once through the lineup, and then twice through the lineup through six innings, and carried a perfect game into the seventh inning stretch, while Meadows had picked himself up after the first and matched him inning for inning, and the pitching duel headed for the seventh inning stretch. Afterwards, the Yankees broke open a tight game by driving Meadows from the box during a six-run outburst, capped by Ruth’s three-run homer, the first of the series. The game clearly decided, the only drama left was Pennock’s perfect game, but that went by the wayside when Traynor was the second man up in the eighth and he singled to end the streak at 22 batters retired consecutively, and Barnhart immediately followed with a double that broke the shutout bid. Regardless, Pennock’s three-hitter and the Yankees’ 8-1 victory put them one game from a clean sweep.
Trying to stave off elimination in the fourth game, Bush turned to Hill, while Huggins opted for Moore to close it out. Each team scored in the first inning, and with the Buccaneers staging a desperate fight, Ruth’s two-run homer in the fifth broke a deadlock and put the Yanks ahead, 3-1. But two New York errors in the seventh enabled the Pirates to tie the game, and it remained that way into the bottom of the ninth. Pittsburgh’s John Miljus, who had pitched well in the opener and had come on in the seventh, walked Combs, Koenig beat out a bunt, and wild pitch that moved both runners into scoring position necessitated intentionally walking Ruth, loading the bases with nobody out and putting the Pirates in a dire predicament where a mere fly ball would end the series. Miljus regrouped and struck out Gehrig, and then did the same to Meusel, providing some light at the end of the tunnel, but it wasn’t in the cards, for with Lazzeri at the plate, Miljus let loose with his second wild pitch of the inning and Combs galloped across the plate with the winning run.
The Yankees had made quick work of the Pirates in the series, becoming the first American League team to sweep a blue ribbon classic, and it left all of Pittsburgh’s players and fans stunned. And New York had done it while exhibiting very little of their vaunted “Murderers’ Row” power. Nonetheless, the four-game sweep capped a record-breaking year, and the Yankees officially staked their claim to the greatest team ever assembled.
Thank you to all of those in the baseball community who offered their help, insight, thoughts, and
information over the years. Specifically, and not in any particular order, Mark Koenig
(posthumously), Pete Palmer at Total Baseball, Pete Enfield at CMG World Wide, Dr. Lawrence
Hadley at the University of Dayton, Paul Suppes from Ballparks.com, Steve Gietschier at The
Sporting News, Sean Lahman and Dave Smith at Retrosheet, Jim Weigand, Lyle Spatz, and the
New York Yankees.
This site was constructed in December 1997. As such, it is neither perfect, nor complete. Please
bear with me...It will be updated and modified as needed. What type of information would you like
to see? Please feel free to email me and offer your comments and suggestions.