1924: The Next Classic Baseball Season
Two Great Pennant Races, Hornsby’s .424 and More
By Glenn Guzzo
A unique and exciting part of baseball history awaits Strat-O-Matic gamers in early 2009, when the game company makes the 1924 season its next classic baseball season.
The ’24 season was one of a kind in so many ways:
n The Washington Senators won their first pennant and only World Series.
n The New York Giants became the first team to win four straight pennants.
n Babe Ruth won his only batting title, hitting a lusty .378.
n The Cardinals’ Rogers Hornsby hit .424 – unmatched in the 20th or 21st Centuries.
The season had two thrilling, three-team pennant races.
And it had a pair of “Triple Crown” pitchers.
To win a World Series, the Senators needed a freak bad hop off a pebble that gave Earl McNeely a game-winning single over the third basemen’s head in the 12th inning of Game Seven.
But getting to the World Series was no fluke for the Senators, who needed their well-balanced offense and pitching to outmaneuver the New York Yankees by two games and the Detroit Tigers by six.
The Yankees had Ruth (.378-46-121 with .739 slugging and 142 walks). He single-handedly out-homered five other American League teams. But he was by no means 1924’s only slugger, as 18 men in the majors had slugging averages higher than .500. Ruth had powerful help in the lineup with outfielder Bob Meusel (.325-12-120, with 40 doubles, 11 triples and 26 stolen bases) and first baseman Wally Pipp (.295-9-113 with 30 doubles, 19 triples and 12 steals). Little did Pipp know that when Lou Gehrig filled in for him in 1925, Pipp never would never return to first base for the Yankees.
On the mound, the Yankees also had 21-game winner Herb Pennock, but no longer Carl Mays, who went to
As powerful as the Yankees were, the Tigers had the
Washington won with pitching – Johnson, 16-game winner George Mogridge, 15-game winner Tom Zachary and reliever Firpo Marberry – and with the hitting by future Hall of Fame OFs Goose Goslin (.344-12-129 with 30 doubles, 17 triples and 16 steals) and Sam Rice (.334, 38 doubles, 14 triples, 24 steals). Goslin’s RBIs denied Ruth the Triple Crown. 1B Joe Judge hit .324 and three men hit above .300 off the bench.
The Senators’ heroics kept the Yankees from joining the Giants as history’s first team to win four straight pennants and from an all-New York World Series.
There are stars on every other
Manager John McGraw’s Giants outscored the next-best NL offense by more than 100 runs, had the league’s third-best pitching and still won the pennant by only 1.5 games over
The heavy Giants’ offense features an MVP-caliber season from 1B George Kelly (.324-21-136), with much support from OFs Ross Youngs (.355 with .521 slugging) and Irish Meusel (.310, 102 RBIs), plus 2B Frankie Frisch (.328, 15 triples, 22 steals). The lineup has five future Hall of Famers (Kelly, Frisch, Youngs, SS Travis Jackson, who hit .302-11-78, and CF Hack Wilson) plus two more on the bench in young 1B Bill Terry and 3B Fred Lindstrom (the victim of McNeely’s bad-hop grounder).
But the league’s big hitter was Hornsby, who had 227 hits, including 43 doubles, 11 triples and 14 homers. He slugged .696, walked 89 times and scored 121 runs. Fellow future Hall of Famer Jim Bottomley hit .316-14-111 for Hornsby’s Cardinals, but they finished sixth.
Future HOF C Gabby Hartnett (.299-16-67) led
Slugging OF Cy Williams (.328-24-93, with .552 slugging) led seventh-place