1923 Classic Past Season with transaction and lineups available now!
1923: The Legacy That Ruth Built
by Steve Ehresman
In 1923, the first issue of Time magazine was published, Roy and Walt Disney founded The Walt Disney Company, Calvin Coolidge became the 30th President of the United States, and Jacob Ruppert opened a new 2.4-million-dollar baseball stadium in the Bronx. Known as “The Big Ballpark in the Bronx,” “The Cathedral of Baseball,” or simply “The Stadium,” this iconic edifice would stand 85 years and host 6.581 regular season baseball games, as well as numerous historic World Series contests. Christened with a home run by its most famous resident on April 18, 1923, Colonel Ruppert’s ballpark became known as “The House that Ruth Built.” The rest, as they say, is history.
The 1923 baseball season saw the New York Yankees emerge as the Big Apple’s premier baseball team, eclipsing John McGraw’s New York Giants. Led by MVP George Herman “Babe” Ruth (45 doubles, 13 triples, 41 home runs, 130 RBI, 170 Walks, 17 stolen bases, .393), the Yankees overwhelmed the American League, winning the pennant by 16 games and knocking out the Giants in a six-game World Series. Ruth’s first season at “The Stadium” is one of the greatest performances in the history of Major League Baseball. Babe was not alone, however, as the Yankees also featured a superb pitching staff of Sad Sam Jones (21-8), Herb Pennock, Bullet Joe Bush, Waite Hoyt, and Bob Shawkey to record a 98-54 record and leave the second-place Detroit Tigers in the dust, 16 games off the pace. A powerful 20-year-old first baseman, Lou Gehrig, made his major-league debut, blasting a home run and posting a.423 average in 26 at bats.
The Yankees were not alone in their boasting of all-star players in 1923. The Detroit Tigers’ Harry Heilmann smacked 44 doubles, 11 triples, 18 home runs, while driving in 115 runs and leading the league with a blistering .403 average. Aging Ty Cobb assisted Heilmann with 40 doubles and a .340 average, and ace pitcher Hooks Dauss posted a 21-13 record. Tris Speaker put a monster year on the board for the third-place Cleveland Indians, blasting 59 doubles, 11 triples, and 17 home runs, as he drove in 130 runs and batted .380. Speaker’s teammate George Uhle led the American League with a 26-16 record, while appearing in 54 games (44 starts), tossing 29 complete games, and logging 378 innings—all of which set the pace in the Junior Circuit. Stan Coveleski, Uhle’s teammate on the Indians, recorded a 2.76 ERA to lead the league.
Beyond the achievements of these superlative performers, Heine Manush (.334), Joe Sewell (.353), Charlie Jamieson (.345), Goose Goslin (18 triples, .300), Sam Rice (18 triples, 20 stolen bases, .316), Ken Williams (37 doubles, 12 triples, 29 home runs, 18 stolen bases, .357), Eddie Collins (49 stolen bases, .360), Urban Shocker (20-12), and Howard Ehmke (20-17) all contributed excellent performances.
Over in the National League, John McGraw’s Giants still reigned supreme, pushing past the Cincinnati Reds to capture the pennant with a 95-58 record. With George “High Pockets” Kelly (32 doubles, 10 triples, 16 home runs, 103 RBI, 14 stolen bases, .307), Frankie “The Fordham Flash” Frisch (43 doubles, 10 triples, 12 home runs, 111 RBI, 20 stolen bases, .348), Ross Youngs (33 doubles, 12 triples, 13 stolen bases, .336), and Irish Meusel (22 doubles, 14 triples, 19 home runs, 125 RBI) doing the heavy-hitting, the Giants set themselves up for third consecutive World Series against the Yankees.
Cincinnati stayed in the pennant race, thanks primarily to their pitching staff of Dolf Luque, Eppa Rixey, and Pete Donohue. Whereas Rixey (20-5, 2.80) and Donohue (21-15) were more than creditable starters, Luque was other-worldly, appearing in 41 games (37 starts), twirling 37 complete game, and chalking-up 322 innings, on his way to a 27-8 record and a microscopic 1.93 ERA. At the plate, Ed Roush (41 doubles, 18 triples, .351) stood out for the Reds.
Pittsburgh finished third, with Pie Traynor (19 doubles, 19 triples, 101 RBI, 28 stolen bases, .338), Charlie “Jolly Cholly Grimm (29 doubles, 13 triples, .345), Clyde Barnhart (25 doubles, 13 triples, .324), and speedster Max Carey (32 doubles, 18 triples, 51 stolen bases, .308) leading the charge with their bats. On the mound, Johnny Morrison had a phenomenal year, appearing in 42 games (37 starts), recording 27 complete games, pitching 302 innings, and posting a 25-13 record.
The rest of the Senior Circuit featured great seasons from a host of stars: Rogers “The Rajah” Hornsby (32 doubles, 10 triples, 17 home runs, .384), Jim Bottomley (.371), Jack Fournier (30 doubles, 13 triples, 22 home runs, .351), Cy Williams (41 home runs, 114 RBI), Jesse Haines (20-13), Burleigh “Ol’ Stubblebeard” Grimes, and Grover Cleveland “ Old Pete” Alexander (22-12).
In 1923, the New York Yankees, playing in “The House That Ruth Built,” began to forge an indelible legacy, making Pinstripes the height of sartorial fashion in the sporting world, as they epitomized excellence for the better part of four decades.
Diamond Mind Baseball has a brand-new version of the 1923 baseball season with everything you need to visit Yankee Stadium and be there when “The Golden Age of Sports” began in America.
The 1923 Classic Past Season database contains everything you need to play games using teams and players from the 1923 season -- a full set of ratings and statistics for every player who appeared in the big leagues that year, plus team rosters, manager profiles, ballpark ratings, transactions, and league schedules. Statistics include official batting, pitching and fielding totals for all batters and pitchers.
(The Diamond Mind Baseball game is required to use this product)
- David Pyke