2004 World Series: Boston vs St. Louis

In 2004, Boston broke “The Curse of the Bambino”. The notion that Boston was somehow “cursed” arose from the failure of the Boston team to win a World Series after selling Babe Ruth to New York after the 1918 season. Prior to that time, Boston had won the World Series five times from 1903 to 1918.

Mind you it wasn’t until after the publication of the book The Curse of the Bambino by Dan Shaughnessy in 1990 that the term really entered the baseball lexicon. Shaughnessy did baseball fans a favor. Until that time the trading of Ruth to New York was often referred to by Boston fans as “Remember that time when that idiot Boston owner, Harry Frazee, sold the greatest player in baseball to New York for $100,000 and the New York went on to appear in seven World Series and win four of them from 1920 to 1934 while Boston finished no better than fourth in the American League?” (Note to reader: I may have made this up. I can only imagine this was the reaction of Boston fans!)

Whether you believe there was a curse or not, selling a player of Ruth’s caliber certainly didn’t help Boston during his playing days. That said, Ruth was part of a larger movement of talent out of Boston. Indeed, after winning three World Series with Boston, the team finished a dismal sixth in the American League in 1919, his last year with the team.

And it must be also be noted that this same team failed to win a World Series with the great Ted Williams, though they came close in 1946.

In any event, 2004 was a watershed year for Boston. Finishing 98-64, three games behind New York for the Eastern Division title, Boston beat Anaheim in the ALDS to set up a championship matchup with New York. Boston promptly lost three games in a row— the third game 19-8 in Boston— to go down 0-3 in the series. They rebounded with two gritty extra-inning wins at home before returning to New York, where they won 4-2 and 10-3 in the final.

Boston may not have been a great team but they had plenty of offensive weapons. Manny Ramirez led the way with 43 homeruns and 130 RBI but David Ortiz, affectionately known as “Big Papa” to fans, was not far behind, banging our 41 homeruns and 139 RBI. Center fielder Barry Gibb, who had several hit records with the Bee Gees in the late seventies … err, I mean center fielder Johnny Damon banged out 189 hits and added 94 RBI while catcher Jason Varitek and infielders Mark Belhorn and Kevin Millar were all solid at the plate. Indeed, Boston averaged an incredible 6.38 runs a game at Fenway and 5.86 runs per game overall.

On the mound, the Red Sox were dynamite, able to hit opponents with a 1-2 pitching punch that featured Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez. The 37-year-old Schilling finished the year 21-6 with a 3.26 ERA, good enough for second in the Cy Young Award voting. Martinez, on the other hand, suffered through a down year by his standards. After seven consecutive years with an ERA well below 3.00, Pedro posted a 3.90 ERA but still managed to win 16 games and tally 227 strikeouts, second best in the American League. A down year by Pedro is a very good year for everybody else.

Led by Keith Foulke, who recorded 32 saves, Mike Timlin and Alan Embree, Boston boasted a solid bullpen that could be relied on to keep them in games.

In the World Series, the now red hot Sox would face a St. Louis team that had steamrolled through the National League in 2004, winning 105 games against just 57 losses. St. Louis was loaded with offensive talent.

Albert Pujols batted .331, hit 46 homeuns and drove in 123 runs. Center fielder Jim Edmonds was nearly as good, batting .301 with 42 homeruns and 111 runs batted in. And yet it was 29-year-old third baseman Scott Rolen who led the team with 124 RBI. Rolen, too, could hit for power, swatting 34 round-trippers, while batting .314. The hit parade continued with John Mabry (.296, 13 HR) and Tony Womack (.307 BA). Not surprisingly, St. Louis averaged 5.28 runs per game, tops in the NL.

St. Louis boasted fewer stars on the mound but, together, they were effective, posting a major league best 3.74 ERA. Chris Carpenter lead  all starters in winning percentage, ERA and strikeouts.

The bullpen was very good. Jason Isringhausen recorded 47 saves while bullpen mates Cal Eldred (3.76 ERA), Julian Tavarez (2.38 ERA), Ray King (2.61 ERA) and Steve Kline (1.79 ERA) all logged a near-equal number of innings while posting low ERAs.

Series Outlook and Predictions

Despite having won fewer games, Boston matches up well against St. Louis. Pitching in a very hitter-friendly park, Boston’s pitching staff outperformed the St. Louis staff.

The reverse was true at the plate. The Boston batters benefitted from playing half their games at Fenway, where they averaged over a run more per game than on the road. On paper at least, this looks like another 6- or 7-game series in the offing. As for the winner: flip a coin!


Game 1: Boston strikes first!

Johnny Damon scored 3 runs in the second inning to give Boston a lead they would never relinquish. Meanwhile, starter, Curty Schilling, held St. Louis scoreless for five innings, maneuvering deftly through the treacherous early part of the St. Louis lineup that included Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen. By the time Tony Womack scored for St. Louis in the top of the eighth inning, Boston already led 5-0.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
St. Louis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2
Boston 0 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 X 5
W – Curt Schilling (1-0) L – Matt Morris (0-1) GW – Johnny Damon (1)

Game 2: Marquis shuts down Boston; St. Louis rolls, 6-1!

Johnny Damon scored the only run for Boston in the second inning while St. Louis received 3 runs each from John Mabry and Edgar Renteria to win going away, 6-1. Jason Marquis pitched 6 strong innings for St. Louis to earn the win.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
St. Louis 0 0 3 0 0 0 3 0 0 6
Boston 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
W – Jason Marquis (1-0) L – Pedro Martinez (0-1) GW – John Mabry (1)

Game 3: Walker wins it!

After Boston’s Kevin Millar scored 3 runs to give Boston a 9-7 lead in the top of the eighth inning, 37-year-old reserve outfielder, Larry Walker, in the game as the DH, scored three runs of his own to put St. Louis back on top, 10-9. David Ortiz, who would have a difficult series, then failed to score in the ninth, handing St. Louis a 10-9 win and 2-1 series lead.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
Boston 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 0 9
St. Louis 4 0 0 1 1 1 0 3 X 10
W – Ray King (1-0) L – Scott Williamson (0-1) GW – Larry Walker (1)

Game 4: Jeff Suppan pitches St. Louis to 3-1 Series edge!

Jeff Suppan held the explosive Boston lineup to just 2 runs, leaving the game after the fifth inning with a narrow 3-2 lead. Relievers Dan Haren, Kiko Calero and Jason Isringhausen (who earned the save) combined to pitch 4 innings of shutout ball resulting in a 5-2 St. Louis win and 3-1 Series lead. As has become a pattern now for Boston, only Johnny Damon contributed on offense, providing Boston with an early 2-0 lead.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
Boston 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
St. Louis 0 0 0 3 0 0 2 0 X 5
W – Jeff Suppan (1-0) L – Derek Lowe (0-1) GW – Reggie Sanders (1)

Game 5: Boston holds on; Ramirez the star!

Manny Ramirez got things started for Boston, scoring 4 runs to begin the game. Albert Pujols countered with two runs in the bottom of first inning but that was as close as it got. Johnny Damon scored a run in the second and Jason Varitek added 3 more in the third to give Boston an 8-2 lead they maintained to the end.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
Boston 4 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 8
St. Louis 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
W – Bronson Arroyo (1-0) L – John Carpenter (0-1) GW – Manny Ramirez (1)

Game 6: The Curse lives on!

It seemed like everything was falling into place for Boston. Trailing 6-5 entering the bottom-half of the eighth inning, Kevin Millar scored 3 runs to give Boston an 8-6 lead. Closer Keith Foulke, who’d earned a save earlier in the Series and finished the regular season with 32 saves and a 2.17 ERA was set to face Jim Edmonds, a dangerous hitter who’d nonetheless failed to score in the 5 previous games.

Edmonds struck for 4 runs to give St. Louis a 10-8 lead.

Boston still had one more chance. David Ortiz was due up against St. Louis’ ace closer, Jason Isringhausen, who’d already saved two games in the series. Like Edmonds, the normally reliable Ortiz had failed to score in the Series. It appeared as though it might be deja vu all over again. Instead, Isringhausen extended Ortiz’s misery to oh-for-the-series and St. Louis escaped with a 10-8 win and 4-2 series victory. 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
St. Louis 0 4 0 0 0 0 2 0 4 10
Boston 0 3 2 0 0 0 0 3 0 8
W – Julian Tavarez (1-0) L – Keith Foulke (0-1) GW – Jim Edmonds (1)

Recap

This series really should have gone seven games. Boston’s 10-9 loss in game 3 and 10-8 loss in game 6 could have gone either way but both broke for St. Louis. Game 6 was particularly heartbreaking. In addition to Edmonds late outburst and Ortiz’s ninth inning failure, the normally reliable Jason Varitek committed a 2 run error in the 7th inning that, had he made the play, would have prevented Edmonds blast from being the game-winner.

The breaks seemed to find St. Louis in this series. It felt like Boston was … well… cursed!

The Underachievers Series

As a longtime Seattle sports fan, I’m quite familiar with underachieving teams. If you look up the record for fewest yards in an NFL football game, for instance, you’ll find the Seattle Seahawks listed there.  Seattle concluded the 1979 season ranked fourth in the league in scoring but on November 4 they finished with an incredible -7 yards in offense in an embarrassing 24-0 loss to the Los Angeles Rams (on the plus side the game featured plenty of offense as the Rams accumulated 29 first downs, 303 yards rushing and 475 yards overall).

In pro basketball, the Seattle Super Sonics won 63 games in 1994 before becoming the first #1 seed to lose to a #8 seed in NBA playoffs history. It’s happened since but they were the first.

Then there were the 2001 Seattle Mariners. They tied the 1906 Chicago Cubs as the only team to win 116 games in a season and won their division by 14 games over a very good Oakland team.

The chinks in their armor started to appear in the Divisional Series against Cleveland. They were shutout 5-0 at home in game one, rebounded in game two then were routed in game three when the series moved to Cleveland. They fought back to win the series in five games.

When it came time to play the New York in the ALCS, they were on the verge of falling apart. They lost the first two games at home, managing to score just 4 runs on 10 hits. The series then moved to the Big Apple for the next three games.

Seattle shellacked the Yankees, 14-3, in the third game of the series then lost game four. In the decisive fifth game, they trailed 9-0 after six innings before eventually losing 12-3. Of the 11 teams with the most regular season wins in Major League Baseball history the Mariners are alone as the only team to not make it to the World Series.

The fourth team on that list, right behind the 1998 Yankees (who rolled through the postseason), are the 1954 Cleveland Indians, who won 111 games and lost just 43 (which works out to a higher winning percentage than Seattle). The Indians pitching staff featured four future Hall of Famers: Early Wynn, Bob Lemon, Bob Feller and reliever, Hal Newhouser. Toss in outfielder, Larry Doby, and they boasted five future Hall of Famers in all.

The New York Giants featured just three future Hall of Fame players, but one of them was named Willie Mays and it proved more than enough. The Giants swept the Indians in the World Series, outscoring them 21-9 over the four games.

A glutton for punishment, I decided I’d pit Seattle against Cleveland in a seven game series then, as was the case in an earlier match-up featuring 1927 New York against 1929 Philadelphia, I’d extend it to 20 games and see who came out on top.

Despite their lack of postseason success, both teams compiled impressive statistics. Led by Edgar Martinez, Ichiro Suzuki, Bret Boone, and John Olerud Seattle boasted a powerful offense that averaged 5.72 runs a game, best in the majors. Freddy Garcia (18-6, 3.05 ERA), Jamie Moyer (20-6, 3.43 ERA) and Aaron Sele (15-5, 3.60 ERA) anchored a strong starting rotation and Kazuhiro Sasaki (45 saves) and Arthur Rhodes (8-0, 1.72 ERA) were the leaders of a deep bullpen. Their combined 3.54 ERA led the majors.

Cleveland was also impressive, though perhaps a bit less so. Stars Larry Doby, Bobby Avila, Al Rosen and Al Smith led an offense that ranked fourth in runs scored at 4.78 per game. On the other hand, their pitching staff— the starters in particular— were uniformly brilliant, posting a 2.78 ERA that was far and away the best in baseball. Bob Lemon (23-7, 2.72 ERA) and Early Wynn (23-11, 2.73 ERA) were both 20-game winners and Mike Garcia (19-8, 2.64 ERA) fell just one win short of twenty while leading the starters in ERA.

Ray Narleski (13 saves, 2.22 ERA), Don Mossi (6-1, 1.94 ERA) and Hal Newhouser (7-2, 2.51 ERA) were magnificent in relief.

Series Outlook and Predictions

Despite their postseason blunders, these are two very good teams.

Seattle possesses a better offense. This is clear from the numbers but also by evaluating the two teams in depth. While Cleveland’s offensive stars compare well to Seattle’s top players, Seattle is simply deeper. Cleveland can match the quartet of Ichiro Suzuki, John Olerud, Mike Cameron and Mark McLemore with Bobby Avila, Al Smith, Larry Doby and Vic Wertz. They can come close to offsetting Edgar Martinez with Al Rosen. But they have no answer for Bret Boone. Moreover, Cleveland cannot match the rest of Seattle’s lineup which, while not great, is nonetheless superior.

On the other hand, Cleveland holds the edge from the mound. The problem for Cleveland is it’s a narrow edge and doesn’t compensate for the offensive difference. I calculate that Seattle should score about 5.05 runs a game against the Cleveland staff while I expect Cleveland to put up 4.79 runs a game against Seattle. Using these numbers, I give Seattle a 55% chance to win the series, most likely in 6 or 7 games.

Finally, I expect Seattle to win a small majority of the 20 game series.


Game 1: Cleveland routs Seattle, 12-5!

Cleveland’s heavy hitters were mostly silent while lesser-known players George Strickland, Jim Hegan and Wally Westlake combined to score 9 runs. Freddy Garcia started for Seattle and allowed 5 runs before being replaced by Ryan Franklin, who was scorched for 7 runs in just two innings work.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
Seattle 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 1 5
Cleveland 0 0 0 3 0 2 4 3 X 12
W – Early Wynn (1-0) L – Freddy Garcia (0-1) GW – Jim Hegan (1)

Game 2: Edgar to the rescue!

Edgar Martinez scored two runs in the ninth inning to push Seattle past Cleveland, 8-6, after Seattle squandered an early 4-0 lead. Reliever Don Mossi was the loser for Cleveland.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
Seattle 4 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 8
Cleveland 1 0 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 6
W – Joel Pineiro (1-0) L – Don Mossi (0-1) GW – Edgar Martinez (1)

Game 3: Avila strikes crushing blow!

Bobby Avila scored four runs in the tenth inning to break a 1-1 tie and give Cleveland the win, 5-1. The Cleveland pitching staff was brilliant, holding Seattle scoreless until the ninth inning when Edgar Martinez scored a run to tie the game off ace closer, Ray Narleski, who was charged with a blown save. Bob Hooper pitched a scoreless tenth inning for Cleveland and earned the win.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 F
Cleveland 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 5
Seattle 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
W – Bob Hooper (1-0) L – Jeff Nelson (0-1) GW – Bobby Avila (1)

Game 4: Boone delivers!

Seattle second baseman Bob Boone scored 4 runs in the eighth inning to give Seattle a narrow 8-6 lead and Arthur Rhodes did the rest, pitching a scoreless ninth inning to earn his first save and preserve the victory. For the second game in a row, Bobby Avila was the best player on the field for Cleveland, only this time in defeat.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
Cleveland 4 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 6
Seattle 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 4 X 8
W – Norm Charlton (1-0) L – Art Houtteman (0-1) GW – Bret Boone (1)

Game 5: Early Wynn shuts out Seattle; Cleveland wins 1-0!

Early Wynn pitched a gem, shutting out the high-powered Seattle offense to lead Cleveland to a 1-0 win. Bobby Avila scored the only Cleveland run in the first inning and Wynn made it stick. Freddy Garcia was the tough-luck loser for Seattle.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
Seattle 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cleveland 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 1
W – Early Wynn (2-0) L – Freddy Garcia (0-2) GW – Bobby Avila (2)

Game 6: Cleveland whips Seattle, win series!

Cleveland posted double-digit runs for the second time in the series to claim a 10-6 win in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicated. Cleveland led 7-0 after four innings and 10-0 entering the eight inning before a pair of 3-run shots by Boone and Martinez narrowed the score. The late outburst sullied starter Bob Lemon’s final pitching line but had no effect on the outcome. Lemon earned the win in the series clincher.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
Cleveland 0 3 0 4 0 0 3 0 0 10
Seattle 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 6
W – Bob Lemon (1-0) L – Aaron Sele (0-1) GW – Vic Wertz(1)

Recap

The results of the series seemed fitting. Seattle underachieved. The fact they lost was not all together surprising; it’s how they lost.

Seattle’s pitching staff surrendered 40 runs in the series, 6.7 a game. Light-hitting Jim Hegan accounted for 7 of those runs. Of Cleveland’s offensive stars, first baseman Vic Wertz (10 runs, 1 GW) and second baseman Bobby Avilla (10 runs, 2 GW) accounted for half the Cleveland runs. Meanwhile Larry Doby (3 runs) and Al Rosen (1 run) were content to play a smaller role.

Only Jamie Moyer, who pitched six shutout innings, shined for the Seattle pitching staff. Freddy Garcia (0-2, 4.15 ERA), Aaron Sele (0-1, 9.75 ERA) and Paul Abbott (0-0, 7.50 ERA) all disappointed.

Seattle performed better at the plate, scoring 28 run (4.7 a game) but many of those runs were meaningless. Martinez (7 runs) and Boone (9 runs), scored a total of 9 runs between them after the game had been decided.

Cleveland’s pitching starting staff performed well, particularly Wynn (2-0), who allowed a mere 2 runs in 14 innings, and Mike Garcia, who hurled 5 scoreless innings. Lemon (1-0) and Feller both posted high ERAs that were slightly misleading.

Fourteen games later…

It was bound to happen. After playing brilliantly in the first six games it was inevitable Cleveland would eventually fall apart. It didn’t happen right away.

After winning the 6-game series four game to two, Cleveland proceeded to win three of the next four by scores of 4-3, 7-4, 0-9 and 6-4, giving them a 7-3 record after 10 games. They then proceeded to lose 5 games in a row and 8 of the next 10.

The real problem was at the plate. After scoring 57 runs in the first 10 games, they scored only 30 in the next 10.

On the other hand, Seattle continued to score at roughly the same rate. John Olerud was quietly dazzling, Martinez and Boone flashed at various times, and Ichiro was steady. Pitching was the real difference. Seattle pitchers finished the 20-games with an 11-9 mark and 4.45 ERA. The Indians pitchers combined for a 4.91 ERA.

After dominating the first 10 games, in the end it was Cleveland who underachieved. Although their 9-11 mark against Seattle seems about right, their late collapse seemed eerily familiar.

Series Stats

1954 Cleveland Batting

Name G AB RN GW R/G
Vic Wertz 20 20 16 1 .800
Bobby Avila 18 20 14 2 .700
Larry Doby 20 20 13 1 .650
Jim Hegan 18 18 12 2 .667
Al Smith 20 20 11 1 .550
Wally Westlake 20 18 9 1 .500
Al Rosen 20 16 8 1 .500
George Strickland 20 20 3 0 .150
Dave Philley 20 20 1 0 .050
Hal Naragon 2 2 0 0 .000
Hank Majeski 1 1 0 0 .000
Rudy Regaldo 1 1 0 0 .000
TOTALS 180 176 87 9 .494

1954 Cleveland Pitching

Name G GS CG W L Sv IP RN ER ERA
Hal Newhouser 4 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 0.00
Ray Narleski 4 0 0 1 0 2 5 1 1 1.80
Mike Garcia 5 5 0 1 1 0 34 13 13 3.44
Bob Lemon 5 5 4 2 2 0 43 24 23 4.81
Early Wynn 5 5 4 2 3 0 40 22 22 4.95
Bob Hooper 3 0 0 1 0 0 5 3 3 5.40
Bob Feller 4 4 1 1 1 0 28 18 17 5.46
Don Mossi 4 0 0 0 2 0 4 3 3 6.75
Art Houtteman 4 1 0 1 2 1 11 14 14 11.45
TOTALS 38 20 9 9 11 3 176 98 96 4.91

2001 Seattle Batting

Name G AB RN GW R/G
John Olerud 20 20 19 1 .950
Bret Boone 19 18 17 2 .944
Ichiro Suzuki 20 22 15 2 .682
Edgar Martinez 20 15 12 2 .800
Mark McLemore 19 19 10 0 .526
Mike Cameron 20 20 9 2 .450
Dan Wilson 20 20 6 2 .300
David Bell 20 20 6 0 .300
Carlos Guillen 20 20 4 0 .200
Stan Javier 1 1 0 0 .000
Ramon Vazquez 1 1 0 0 .000
TOTALS 180 176 98 11 .557

2001 Seattle Pitching

Name G GS CG W L Sv IP RN ER ERA
Joel Pineiro 2 0 0 1 0 0 4 0 0 0.00
Arthur Rhodes 5 0 0 0 0 2 8 0 0 0.00
Brett Tomko 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.00
Jamie Moyer 5 5 0 2 0 0 33 4 4 1.09
Freddy Garcia 5 5 1 3 2 0 34 9 9 2.38
Norm Charlton 2 0 0 1 0 0 3 1 1 3.00
Jeff Nelson 4 0 0 1 1 0 9 5 5 5.00
Kazuhio Sasaki 6 0 0 1 1 3 9 4 4 4.00
Aaron Sele 5 5 1 1 3 0 34 20 20 5.29
Jose Paniagua 2 0 0 0 0 0 4 3 3 6.75
Paul Abbott 4 4 1 1 2 0 26 25 25 8.65
John Halama 3 1 0 0 0 0 6 6 6 9.00
Ryan Franklin 3 0 0 0 0 0 5 10 10 18.00
TOTALS 47 20 3 11 9 5 176 87 87 4.45

 

1979 World Series: Baltimore vs Pittsburgh

The 1979 World Series between Baltimore and Pittsburgh is one the earliest World Series I can remember. Pittsburgh and Baltimore played in a true Fall Classic that year, with Pittsburgh rallying from a 3-1 deficit to win in seven games.

I remember I bought my first tabletop baseball game that same year. It was Strat-O-Matic in the red box with the batter, catcher and umpire graphic that looked like it had been cut from pale green construction paper and appeared nothing like the major league ballplayers promised inside the box. Inside the box… I remember those first black and white basic cards. They came pre-cut in those days and already bundled into teams with narrow rubber bands. They were sturdier then, too, but I digress.

A lot of my interest in tabletop board games these days is nostalgia and, the truth is, I have a lot of nostalgia for those late seventies and early eighties seasons as a result. One of the first teams I created when I was rating teams for Baseball Trivia Challenge was the 1978 Seattle ball club (because that’s where I lived at the time) and the two teams I’m going to talk about here: 1979 Baltimore and Pittsburgh. After I’d finished the ratings for both teams a couple things sprang to mind.

To begin with, I wouldn’t characterize either team as great. Baltimore won 102 games and lost only 57, which is very good. Like the 1969 team, they played excellent defense. But outside Ken Singleton, Eddie Murray, Gary Roenicke and a few others, they weren’t a big-hitting team.

They scored 4.76 runs per game (R/G), sixth best in the majors just ahead of Pittsburgh, who ranked seventh at 4.75 runs per game. For context, California topped the majors at 5.35 R/G with Boston second at 5.26.

Baltimore’s starting pitching staff, which featured Cy Young Award Winner, Mike Flanagan, Dennis Martinez, Steve Stone, Scott McGregor and Jim Palmer were, with the exception of Stone (who was only so-so but would nonetheless win the Cy Young Award the following year), solid but not spectacular.

They had a solid bullpen but lacked the sort of shutdown closer we’re accustomed to today. That probably had more to do with the times than anything else. Tim Stoddard, Dave Ford, and Don Stanhouse all had excellent seasons and Sammy Stewart was a true long-reliever.

Pittsburgh had their own vibe— specifically, the Sister Sledge hit “We Are Family.” The patriarch of the family was 39-year-old, Willie “Pops” Stargell, who served as an inspiration to teammates both on and off the field. Named co-MVP in the National League, Stargell was quick to recognize his teammates contributions, dispensing “Stargell Stars” to his mates for great plays.

But while Stargell garnered the most attention, it was a man 11 years his junior who was Pittsburgh’s best player. Dave Parker entered the 1979 season fresh from winning the NL MVP the year prior and although 1979 was a regression year, it was still plenty spectacular. Indeed, the sturdy Parker managed to bang out 193 hits (6th best in the NL), bat .310 (7th best), and knock in 94 runs (8th best).  And, oh yeah, he also won a Gold Glove for his play in right field.

Pitching in hitter-friendly Three Rivers Stadium, the pitching staff performed admirably. Although none of the starting staff won more than John Candelaria’s 14 games, they performed well together as a group. The bullpen was a strength. Closer Kent Tekulve’s submarine delivery may have been a bit unusual but it achieved excellent results. Tekulve finished third in the majors with 31 saves and his 94 appearances topped all relievers. Enrique Romo, Grant Jackson and Jim Bibby were all solid contributors.

Series Outlook and Predictions

Statistically, the two teams appear evenly matched. Of course, such comparisons are often overly simplistic. Baltimore and Pittsburgh each scored almost exactly the same number of runs per game but Baltimore compiled those numbers with the help of a designated hitter. On the other hand, Pittsburgh played in a run-friendly park.

I was a math major in college so I did what all math majors do in these circumstances: I started scribbling out a few equations. Without getting into the details, I calculated that Pittsburgh should win roughly 55% of the time. This allowed me to determine they had about a 60% chance to win the series. I further determined the most likely outcome was for them to win in 6 or 7 games (6 games was most likely but by less than 1%).

Mind you these calculations were based on the Game 1 batting lineups and both managers, but especially Baltimore skipper, Earl Weaver, changed the batting lineups as the series progressed. Also, according to the ratings, none of these lineups featured Baltimore’s best batsmen in the lineup together. On the other hand, Chuck Tanner, Pittsburgh’s manager, seemed to do a better job selecting lineups conducive to scoring runs.

Finally, I tried to utilize the same starting lineups the teams used during the actual series. This extended to the pitching staff as well, though this was obviously influenced by individual game conditions. In the end, I think I did a fairly decent job.

And with that, “Play ball!”


Game 1: Flanagan’s the man again!

Cy Young Award winning lefty, Mike Flanagan, was dominant, pitching 9 innings of shutout baseball to lead Baltimore to a 2-0 win and 1-0 lead in the series. Baltimore’s Eddie Murray scored the game-winning run in the first inning and shortstop, Mark Belanger, added an insurance run in the sixth. Pittsburgh starter, Bruce Kison, who had to leave the game after the fourth inning with an injury was the tough-luck loser.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
Pittsburgh 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Baltimore 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 X 2
W – Mike Flanagan (1-0) L – Bruce Kison (0-1) GW – Eddie Murray (1)

Game 2: Foli wins it for Pittsburgh!

Baltimore pitcher, Jim Palmer, extended Pittsburgh’s scoreless inning steak to 14 before shortstop, Tim Foli,  struck for 3 runs in the sixth inning to put Pittsburgh ahead 3-0. It was all they needed and then some. All-Star Ken Singleton scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to avoid the shutout but it was far too little too late.

Bert Blyleven pitched 8 shutout innings for Pittsburgh and closer, Kent Tekulve, earned the save despite allowing the final run to Singleton.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
Pittsburgh 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 3
Baltimore 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
W – Bert Blyleven (1-0) L – Jim Palmer (0-1) GW – Tim Foli (1)

Game 3: Baltimore wins Game 3; Stewart, Bumbry shine

After starting pitcher, Scott McGregor, was hurt after the third inning, Baltimore’s Jack Dempsey knew he had to do something to help reliever, Sammy Stewart, who’d entered the game to replace him. Dempsey’s strategy— to argue balls and strikes with home plate umpire, Russ Goetz, and get tossed from the game— didn’t help in the least, but fortunately for Baltimore, Stewart barely noticed, pitching 5 solid innings in relief to earn the win and help give Baltimore a 2-1 Series edge.

Center fielder, Al Bumbry, was the hero at the plate, scoring 4 runs and giving Baltimore a lead they would never relinquish.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
Baltimore 0 0 0 4 1 0 0 1 0 6
Pittsburgh 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 3
W – Sammy Stewart (1-0) L – John Candelaria (0-1) GW – Al Bumbry (1)

Game 4: Heartbreak and Elation!

Dave Parker scored 4 runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game and NL MVP, Willie “Pops” Stargell, scored the winning run in the 11th inning to lead Pittsburgh to an improbable victory over Baltimore. The victory was critical for Pittsburgh as it prevented them from facing the unenviable prospect of being down three-games-to-one, instead tying the series at two games a piece.

For Baltimore the loss was devastating and would prove a harbinger of things to come.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 F
Baltimore 2 0 0 3 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 7
Pittsburgh 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 4 0 1 8
W – Enrique Romo (1-0) L – Tippy Martinez (0-1) GW – Willie Stargell (1)

Game 5: Slow Collapse!

For the second game in a row, Baltimore jumped out to a large early lead and couldn’t hold on, relinquishing the last of a 5-0 lead on Tim Foli’s 2 run outburst in the sixth inning then failing to mount a response. Mike Flanagan, who’d pitched brilliantly in his first outing, was decidedly less effective in this one, allowing 6 runs in six innings work before being replaced by Tim Stoddard.

Pittsburgh’s, Jim Rooker, started the game and allowed 5 runs through 5 innings before being replaced by fellow starter, Bert Byleven, in a surprise move by Pittsburgh skipper, Chuck Tanner. Blyleven was brilliant again, holding Baltimore scoreless over the last 4 innings.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
Baltimore 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5
Pittsburgh 0 0 2 2 0 2 0 0 0 6
W – Bert Blyleven (2-0) L – Mike Flanagan (1-1) GW – Tim Foli (2)

Game 6: Onslaught!

Returning home for game 6 after two heartbreaking 1-run losses, Baltimore appeared flat out of the gate. Even so, after scoring on Bill Madlock’s error in the bottom of the sixth inning, Baltimore entered the seventh inning down just 2-1 with three-time Cy Young Award Winner, Jim Palmer, on the mound. It wasn’t the sort of scenario that augured disaster, but disaster struck all the same. Pittsburgh scored 7 runs in the final three frames— against three of Baltimore’s finest pitchers— turning a tight game into a blowout. The final score was a disheartening 9-1.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
Pittsburgh 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 2 3 9
Baltimore 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
W – John Candelaria (1-1) L – Jim Palmer (0-2) GW – Willie Stargell (2)

Recap

This one felt incomplete, like a book missing an important chapter. Just as in real-life, the statistics don’t help a lot. They paint a picture of a Baltimore team that struggled to score, tallying just 22 runs over the course of the series, but that’s a bit misleading. Coming into Game 6, Baltimore had outscored Pittsburgh 21-20 and had generally been the more explosive team.

It was true, of course, that some of Baltimore’s stars failed to produce as expected: Team MVP, Ken Singleton, and to a lesser extent left fielder, John Lowenstein (who was eventually replaced by Gary Roenicke) both come to mind. In addition, Palmer, Stoddard and Stanhouse all had a rough go of it in Baltimore’s Game 6 loss but they were otherwise solid. Palmer was a tough-luck loser in Game 2 (allowing just 3 runs in 9 innings), Stanhouse earned a save in Game 3 and Stoddard didn’t allow an earned run in two appearances.

The real difference was Baltimore’s inability to hold a lead. Going into game 4, Baltimore held a 2-1 series lead and entered the ninth inning ahead 7-3. After Singleton failed to ice the game with a run, Dave Parker smashed home 4 runs and the Pirates wound up winning 8-7 in 11 innings. Baltimore followed that disappointing effort by taking a 5-0 lead in game 5 before fading down the stretch again, losing 6-5.

Pittsburgh won in much the same fashion as they did in real-life, closing out the series with three straight wins. Their top three stars— Parker, Stargell and Madlock— all played well as did future Hall-Of-Famer, Bert Blyleven, who pitcher 12 scoreless innings, including 4 in relief.

After going scoreless through the first 14 innings of the series, Pittsburgh’s offense responded with 29 runs over the last 41 (a clip equivalent to 6.4 runs per game).

In an evenly-matched series, they emerged the best!

Series Stats

1979 Baltimore Batting

Name G AB RN GW AVG
Al Bumbry 5 5 7 1 1.400
Eddie Murray 6 7 5 1 .714
Kiko Garcia 4 4 3 0 .750
Gary Roenicke 2 2 3 0 1.500
pitcher 6 6 1 0 .167
Mark Belanger 2 2 1 0 .500
Doug DeCinces 6 6 1 1 .167
Ken Singleton 6 5 1 1 .200
John Lowenstein 4 5 0 0 .000
Billy Smith 4 4 0 0 .000
Rick Dempsey 5 5 0 0 .000
Dave Skaggs 1 1 0 0 .000
Rich Dauer 2 2 0 0 .000
Benny Ayala 1 1 0 0 .000
TOTALS 54 55 22 4 .400

1979 Baltimore Pitching

Name G GS CG W L Sv IP RN ER ERA
Tim Stoddard 2 0 0 0 0 0 3 2 0 0.00
Scott McGregor 1 1 0 0 0 0 3 1 1 3.00
Mike Flanagan 2 2 1 1 1 0 15 6 6 3.60
Sammy Stewart 1 0 0 1 0 0 5 2 2 3.60
Jim Palmer 2 2 1 0 2 0 16 7 7 3.94
Tippy Martinez 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 1 1 4.50
Dennis Martinez 1 1 0 0 0 0 9 7 6 6.00
Don Stanhouse 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 3 3 13.50
TOTALS 12 6 2 2 4 1 55 29 26 4.25

1979 Pittsburgh Batting

Name G AB RN GW AVG
Tim Foli 6 6 7 2 1.167
Dave Parker 6 5 7 0 1.400
Bill Madlock 6 6 4 0 .667
Willie Stargell 6 7 3 2 .429
Phil Garner 6 6 3 0 .500
Ed Ott 1 1 2 0 2.000
John Milner 1 1 2 0 2.000
Omar Moreno 6 7 1 0 .143
pitcher 6 6 0 0 .000
Steve Nicosia 5 5 0 0 .000
Bill Robinson 5 5 0 0 .000
TOTALS 54 55 29 4 .527

1979 Pittsburgh Pitching

Name G GS CG W L Sv IP RN ER ERA
Bert Blyleven 2 1 0 2 0 0 12 0 0 0.00
Grant Jackson 2 0 0 0 0 0 3 2 0 0.00
Don Robinson 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.00
Enrique Romo 1 0 0 1 0 0 4 0 0 0.00
Bruce Kison 2 1 0 0 1 0 6 2 1 1.50
John Candelaria 2 2 1 1 1 0 14 6 6 3.86
Jim Rooker 2 1 0 0 0 0 9 6 6 6.00
Kent Tekulve 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 9.00
Jim Bibby 1 1 0 0 0 0 5 5 5 9.00
TOTALS 14 6 1 4 2 1 55 22 19 3.11

 

 

 

1929 Philadelphia vs 1927 New York: Who’s better?

I can’t pinpoint the exact day I first began to believe the 1927 New York Yankees were the best team in baseball history, but if I had to guess it was sometime in 1983 after reading about them in an edition of All-Star Replay, a periodical published by the Avalon Hill Game Company during the late seventies and early eighties. By then I’d played more than a few games of Strat-O-Matic and Statis-Pro baseball and was familiar enough with baseball statistics to recognize the statistics compiled by the ’27 Yank’s were pretty special.

This was the year of Ruth’s 60 homeruns, but “The Great Bambino” was far from the whole story; there was also Lou Gehrig’s .373 average, 47 homeruns and 175 RBI, for instance. Not to be outdone, center fielder, Earle Combs, matched Ruth’s .356 average and both left fielder, Bob Meusal, and second baseman, Tony Lazzeri, hit over .300 and topped 100 RBI. As a team, New York averaged 6.3 runs a game, far and away the best figure in baseball.

Throw out George Pipgras (4.12 ERA) and reliever, Myles Thomas (4.85 ERA), and none of the New York hurlers posted an ERA above 3.38. Not surprisingly, New York posted the best ERA in baseball that year, too.

Until recently, I’d heard very little about Philadelphia, who finished 19 games behind New York in second place in 1927 and 2½ games back the following year, despite contributions from aging stars Tris Speaker, Eddie Collins and Ty Cobb.

Things were different in 1929. After spending the first month of the season within about a game of first place, Philadelphia overtook the New York for good on May 14 and never looked back, winning the division by 18 games.

Led by 21-year-old first baseman, Jimmie Foxx, who batted .354 with 33 homeruns and 118 runs batted in, and outfielder, Al Simmons, who hit .365 with 34 homeruns and 157 RBI, the Philadelphia batsmen averaged nearly 6 runs a game, second to only the Cubs.

On the mound they were even better, posting a league-best 3.44 ERA. Lefty Grove led the staff with a 20-6 record to go along with a 2.81 ERA, while also leading the league in strikeouts with 170.

The Series: 7 games to decide!

On paper, I’d give the nod to the New York club, but only slightly. Both Ruth and Gehrig posted monster seasons, outperforming Philadelphia‘s dynamic duo of Foxx and Simmons by a wide margin.

On the other hand, Philadelphia’s starting rotation appears a tad better and they appear to possess a narrow edge in the bullpen, as well.

I don’t need to rely on crude guesses, though. Instead, I’ll play a 7-game series to decide. Then, to provide further evidence, I’ll extend that to 20 games in order to avoid the sort of luck that is often concomitant with short series.

So, with that, let the games begin!


Game 1: Grove cruises!

Waite Hoyte held Philadelphia scoreless in 6 of his 8 innings pitched, but the first and third innings were brutal, with Philadelphia scoring 6 runs. Meanwhile, Lefty Grove pitched 6 solid innings and relievers Rommel, Shores and Yerkes did the rest. Philadelphia cruised to an easy win!

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
New York 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Philadelphia 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 X 6
W – Lefty Grove (1-0) L – Waite Hoyt (0-1) GW – Jimmie Foxx (1)

Game 2: Fisticuffs and mayhem!

Tony Lazzeri was tossed in the second inning for arguing balls and strikes with the home plate umpire and things only deteriorated from there when, in the fifth inning, the teams engaged in a benches-clearing brawl that saw New York third baseman, Joe Dugan, and shortstop, Mark Koenig, both ejected along with Sammy Hale and Max Bishop from Philadelphia.

Between all the arguing and fighting, Philadelphia dominated once more, winning easily, 8-6.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
New York 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 6
Philadelphia 0 2 4 0 2 0 0 0 X 8
W – Rube Walberg (1-0) L – Herb Pennock (0-1) GW – Mikey Cochrane (1)

Game 3: Jimmie Foxx spoils New York rally!

Not to be outdone by the horrific starts New York pitchers had experienced in the first two games of the series, Urban Shocker began the game by quite possibly pitching three of the worst innings in baseball history, surrendering 10 runs to Philadelphia before his shell-shocked teammate realized what hit them. Even then, they were slow to react, posting three more scoreless innings while Philadelphia added a run in the sixth.

Entering the seventh inning down 11-3, New York finally started rolling. Light-hitting Mark Koenig and catcher, Pat Collins, combined for 5 runs in the next two innings and the score was 11-8 in favor of Philadelphia entering the ninth.

Ruth scored 4 runs to give New York a 12-11 lead and what appeared to be their first win of the series. But in the bottom-half of the inning Jimmie Foxx countered with 4 runs of his own off reliever Bob Shawkey and Philadelphia escaped with a 15-12 win.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
New York 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 2 4 12
Philadelphia 4 2 4 0 0 1 0 0 4 15
W – Bill Shores (1-0) L – Bob Shawkey (0-1) GW – Jimmie Foxx (2)

Game 4: Victory at last!

Dutch Ruether pitched 6 shutout innings and Myles Thomas, Wilcy Moore and Bob Shawkey each contributed a scoreless inning of their own as New York rolled to a 4-0 victory over Philadelphia to remain alive— if barely— in the series.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
New York 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 4
Philadelphia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
W – Dutch Ruether (1-0) L – Eddie Rommel (0-1) GW – Mark Koenig (1)

Game 5: New York wins again on Mule Haas’ blunders!

After being roughed-up in the first game of the series, Waite Hoyte returned to pitch 8 innings of 2-run ball. In addition, he contributed 2 runs to the offense’s cause to help lead his team to a 4-2 win.

Despite Hoyte’s heroics, it was the horrid play of Philadelphia’s Mule Haas that was the difference. The normally competent outfielder committed two costly errors, leading to all of New York’s runs.

To add injury to insult, starting pitcher, Lefty Grove, had to leave the game with a bruised arm after pitching just one inning, forcing Philadelphia’s already tired bullpen to finish the game.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
New York 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 4
Philadelphia 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
W – Wilcy Moore (1-0) L – Eddie Rommel (1-1) GW – Babe Ruth (1)

Game 6: Redemption!

Mule Haas made up for his poor play in game five with a 2-run shot in the fourth inning to break a 3-3 tie and give Philly a lead they would never relinquish. With the 5-3 win, Philadelphia won the series over New York, 4 games to 2.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
New York 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 3
Philadelphia 0 0 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 5
W – George Earnshaw (1-0) L – George Pipgras (0-1) GW – Mule Haas (1)

Recap

The stats tell the story.  Jimmie Foxx and Al Simmons outplayed Ruth and Gehrig and Mickey Cochrane outplayed them all. Meanwhile, big-hitters Combs and Meusal slumped, failing to produce a single run between them the entire series.

In addition, their starting pitching too often failed them early in games.  While Reuther was very good in his one outing and Hoyt adequate in two starts, no one else was. Pipgras compiled a 7.50 ERA and Pennock a 9.00 ERA. Urban Shocker’s ERA, a whopping 16.50, would be considered poor in a slow-pitch softball game.

While the series didn’t prove Philadelphia superior, it did demonstrate that the Bronx Bombers need to play well to beat them. For the better part of the series, they did not.

Series Stats

1927 New York Batting

Name G AB RN GW R/G
Babe Ruth 6 6 8 1 1.333
Lou Gehrig 6 6 7 0 1.167
Mark Koenig 5 5 7 1 1.400
Tony Lazzeri 5 5 4 0 .800
pitcher 6 6 2 0 .333
Pat Collins 6 6 2 0 .333
Earle Combs 6 6 0 0 .000
Bob Meusel 6 0 0 0 .000
Joe Dugan 5 5 0 0 .000
Julie Wera 2 2 0 0 .000
Ray Morehart 1 1 0 0 .000
TOTALS   54 30 2 .556

1927 New York Pitching

Name G GS CG W L Sv IP RN ER ERA
Dutch Ruether 1 1 0 1 0 0 6 0 0 0.00
Myles Thomas 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0.00
Wilcy Moore 3 0 0 1 0 0 4 0 0 0.00
Waite Hoyt 2 2 1 0 1 0 16 8 8 4.50
George Pipgras 1 1 0 0 1 0 6 5 5 7.50
Herb Pennock 1 1 1 0 1 0 8 8 8 9.00
Bob Shawkey 3 0 0 0 1 0 3 4 4 12.00
Urban Shocker 1 1 0 0 0 0 6 11 11 16.50
TOTALS 14 6 2 2 4 0 51 36 36 6.35

1929 Philadelphia Batting

Name G AB RN GW R/G
Mickey Cochrane 6 6 13 1 2.167
Jimmie Foxx 6 5 8 2 1.600
Al Simmons 6 4 6 0 1.500
Jimmy Dykes 6 6 4 0 .667
Mule Haas 6 6 2 1 .333
pitcher 6 6 2 0 .333
Sammy Hale 3 3 1 0 .333
Max Bishop 5 5 0 0 .000
Bing Miller 6 6 0 0 .000
Joe Boley 1 1 0 0 .000
Jim Cronin 3 3 0 0 .000
TOTALS   51 36 4 .706

1929 Philadelphia Pitching

Name G GS CG W L Sv IP RN ER ERA
Jack Quinn 1 1 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0.00
Carroll Yerkes 4 0 0 0 0 1 5 0 0 0.00
Lefty Grove 2 2 0 1 0 0 7 1 1 1.29
Eddie Rommel 4 0 0 0 2 0 7 6 4 5.14
George Earnshaw 2 2 0 1 0 0 10 6 6 5.40
Rube Walberg 1 1 1 1 0 0 9 6 6 6.00
Bill Shores 4 0 0 1 0 0 11 11 9 7.36
TOTALS 18 6 1 4 2 1 54 30 26 4.33

Fourteen games later…

After the series concluded New York proceeded to lose twice more, coming up just short in a  2-1 decision and a lot short in a 10-5 drubbing. They rebounded with an 11-3 win then were subsequently annihilated, 14-4. After 10 games, their record stood at a dismal 3-7.

Then, suddenly, they started to win — 8 games in a row, to be exact. Gehrig accounted for an amazing 8 runs in a 10-6 extra-inning affair to get things started for New York. Then it was Lazzeri and Dugan contributing every run in a 7-3 win; then Ruth and Gehrig in a 5-4 win, the start of a 3-game stretch during which Ruth accounted for 12 runs. They won the last two of those games, 13-9 and 6-4.

And it didn’t stop there. Suddenly the pitching was very good, too. They won their next three games allowing just 4 runs, winning 4-1, 4-2 and 2-1.

They lost game nineteen, 7-4, then finished the 20-game series with a 7-3 win, again fueled by Ruth.

As before, the stats tell the story. Over the last 14 games, Ruth, Gehrig and Combs were sensational. Ruth accounted for 20 runs in just 12 plate appearances and Gehrig was nearly as brilliant, tallying 17 runs in 17 trips to the plate while also accumulating 4 game-winning runs. Earle Combs, who was ice-cold in the first six games, picked it up over the last fourteen, accounting for 14 runs, and Bob Meusal, who was likewise silent during the original six game affair, was solid, too, accounting for 9 runs.

Starting pitcher, Herb Pennock, bounced back from a horrible first start and allowed just 4 runs over his next 24 innings and Waite Hoyt posted a 2.89 ERA and 3 complete games in 3 starts.

It was just the opposite for Philadelphia. While Foxx, Simmons and Cochrane still performed at a high-level, each saw the their results on the field diminish. Jimmie Foxx led the way with 15 runs while Simmons and Cochrance each contributed 10. Shortstop, Jimmy Dykes, a solid contributor in the first six games, managed to score just a single run in 14 plate appearances.

Philadelphia’s pitchers saw their cumulative ERA rise by nearly a run. Lefty Grove finished the 20 game series just  1-3 with a 4.50 ERA. Jack Quinn was 1-1 with a 4.62 ERA. George Earnshaw (2-1, 5.46 ERA) and Rube Walberg (1-1, 6.48 ERA) were even worse.

Final Impressions

Overall, New York won 12 games and Philadelphia won 8, which seems about right. The 1929 Philadelphia team was as advertised: a great club but not quite up to the standard set two years earlier by the New York club.

Series Stats

1927 New York Batting

Name G AB RN GW AVG
Babe Ruth 20 18 28 3 1.556
Lou Gehrig 20 23 24 4 1.043
Earle Combs 20 20 14 1 .700
Tony Lazzeri 19 19 12 0 .632
Mark Koenig 19 19 12 3 .632
Bob Meusel 20 20 9 0 .450
Pat Collins 20 20 9 1 .450
pitcher 20 20 5 0 .250
Joe Dugan 19 19 0 0 .000
Julie Wera 2 2 0 0 .000
Ray Morehart 1 1 0 0 .000
TOTALS 181 113 12 .624

1927 New York Pitching

Name G GS CG W L Sv IP RN ER ERA
Wilcy Moore 6 1 1 3 0 0 23 7 7 2.74
Myles Thomas 4 0 0 0 0 0 9 3 3 3.00
Herb Pennock 4 4 2 2 2 0 32 12 12 3.38
Waite Hoyt 5 5 4 3 1 0 44 17 17 3.48
George Pipgras 4 3 0 1 1 0 18 9 9 4.50
Dutch Ruether 3 3 1 2 1 0 20 16 16 7.20
Bob Shawkey 7 0 0 0 1 2 8 9 9 10.13
Urban Shocker 4 4 1 1 2 0 26 32 32 11.08
TOTALS 37 20 9 12 8 2 180 105 105 5.25

1929 Philadelphia Batting

Name G AB RN GW AVG
Jimmie Foxx 20 22 25 2 1.136
Mickey Cochrane 20 20 23 4 1.150
Al Simmons 19 17 16 0 .941
Mule Haas 20 20 12 1 .600
Sammy Hale 17 17 9 0 .529
Bing Miller 20 20 6 0 .300
Jimmy Dykes 20 20 5 0 .250
pitcher 20 20 5 1 .250
Max Bishop 19 19 4 0 .211
Joe Boley 1 1 0 0 .000
Jim Cronin 3 3 0 0 .000
Homer Suma 1 1 0 0 .000
TOTALS 180 180 105 8 .583

1929 Philadelphia Pitching

Name G GS CG W L Sv IP RN ER ERA
Ossie Orwoll 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.00
Howard Ehmke 3 2 0 2 0 0 11 4 3 2.45
Bill Shores 8 0 0 1 0 2 21 12 10 4.29
Lefty Grove 5 5 3 1 3 0 34 21 17 4.50
Jack Quinn 5 5 1 1 2 0 37 19 19 4.62
Eddie Rommel 7 0 0 0 3 0 14 10 8 5.14
George Earnshaw 5 5 1 2 1 0 28 17 17 5.46
Rube Walberg 3 3 2 1 1 0 25 18 18 6.48
Carroll Yerkes 7 0 0 0 2 1 10 12 12 10.80
44 20 7 8 12 3 181 113 104 5.17