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1924: Surprise for Gotham

by Steve Ehresman

When the 1924 baseball season began, the odds-on favorites to return to the World Series were Miller Huggins’ Yankees and John McGraw’s Giants, both located in the baseball capital of the world, New York City. For three consecutive seasons, these Gotham dynasties had clashed in the post-season. Further, each team entered 1924 with virtually the same talent that had allowed them to vanquish their opponents in the preceding years.

What could go wrong?

For the Giants, the answer was stout resistance by Brooklyn and Pittsburgh. For the Yankees, the answer was superb play by a talented Washington team. Whereas McGraw’s Giants survived the challenge to capture the National League flag, Huggins’ defending American League champions, the Yankees, succumbed to the rival Senators.

As the 1920s began to roar, baseball produced its share of dynamic performers, heroes whose grit would not have been out of place in the baseball novels of Zane Grey. Indeed, the 1920s was a decade of larger-than-life baseball legends

In the National League, Rogers Hornsby, despite the dismal performance of his St. Louis team, captured his fifth batting title with an other-worldly .424 average, while banging out 43 doubles, 14 triples, and 25 home runs. In the Senior Circuit, “The Rajah” was nonpareil.

The New York Giants, who edged out Brooklyn by 1 ½ games and Pittsburgh by 3 games, featured outstanding hitting by George Kelly (.324, 136 RBI), Frankie Frisch (.328), Travis Jackson (.302), and Ross Youngs (.355). On the mound, Jack Bentley (16-5, 3.78), Virgil Barnes (16-10, 3.07), and Art Nehf (14-4, 3.66) were reliable starters.

Despite the prowess of the Giants, the Robins, led by Jack Fournier (27 HR, 116 RBI), Zack Wheat (.375), and Dazzy Vance (28-6, 2.16), and the Pirates, paced by Max Carey (49 SB), Rabbit Maranville (20 3B), Kiki Cuyler (.354, 32 SB), Pie Traynor (24 SB), and Mort Cooper (20-14, 3.28), would keep the pressure on the Giants all season.

In addition to the pennant race provided by this trio of outstanding ball clubs, the National League boasted of stars like Ed Roush (.348, 21 3B), Carl Mays (20-9, 3.15), Gabby Hartnett (16 HR), Jim Bottomley (.316), and Cy Williams (24 HR), all of whom contributed to this Golden Age of American Sports.

Above all the rest stood Babe Ruth, enjoying one of his greatest seasons, as he led the American League in batting (.378) home runs (46), and RBI (142) in an effort to turn back the challenge posed by Goose Goslin’s (.344, 30 2B, 17 3B, 12 HR, 129 RBI) and Walter Johnson’s (23-7, 2.72) resolute Senators. Despite the Babe’s historic bating and Herb Pennock’s ace pitching (21-9, 2.83), the Nationals captured the pennant by a slender two-game margin.

Fans outside New York or Washington were entertained by the exploits of Ty Cobb (.338, 23 SB), Harry Heilman (.348, 113 RBI), George Sisler (.305), Baby Doll Jacobson (.318, 19 HR), Ken Williams (.324, 18 HR, 20 SB), Bing Miller (.342), Al Simmons (.308), Tris Speaker (.344), Charlie Jamieson (.359, 21 SB), Eddie Collins (.349, 42 SB), Harry Hooper (.328), and Bib Falk (.352), names that resonate with baseball fans to this day.

In a spirited 7-game World Series, the Washington Senators of player-manager Bucky Harris dispatched the New York Giants of John McGraw and on October 10, 1924 and stood alone atop the baseball world. The Gotham dynasties had been displaced by a new powerhouse.

Diamond Mind is excited to bring you this slice of American sporting history. Our season comes complete with the great pennant races, the powerful hitters, the rising stars, and the stalwart veterans that made 1924 and outstanding year for baseball. In fact, we give you everything you need for a realistic replay. Everything, that is, except bathtub gin, flappers, and gangsters.


The 1924 Classic Past Season database contains everything you need to play games using teams and players from the 1924 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.

 

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  • David Pyke