It was a prosperous time for many. Calvin Coolidge was in the White House, and would be re-elected that November. The United States was not at war, people were working (the unemployment rate was at 5%) and the economy was booming.
The first ever Winter Olympics were held in the French Alps, and the Summer Olympics were held in Paris. Notre Dame went undefeated in college football, and the National Hockey League expanded into the U.S. For the first time, adding the Boston Bruins.
Macy's held its first ever Thanksgiving Day Parade.
More than nine and a half million fans passed through the turnstiles in 1924, which seems like a lot, but the reality is that only four teams averaged more than ten thousand spectators per game. The Boston Braves dew just over one hundred thousand, or an average of twenty three hundred per game. Granted, they were a last place team that would lose a hundred games that year.
But, the Washington Senators, who would win the World Series drew five hundred eighty thousand, averaging almost seventy four hundred per game.
The Boston Braves began the season in mourning. Their third baseman, Tony Boeckel, was killed the previous December in an auto accident. Inauspiciously, he is the first major league baseball player to die as a result of a traffic accident.
In other historic baseball feats:
Babe Ruth eclipsed the 40 Home Runs and 200 Hits totals for the third time in his career.
Rogers Hornsby of the Cardinals hit .424, which is still the National League record. He bested Zack Wheat, the runner up by .51, which is also a record.
Ike Boone of the Red Sox batted .337, the 8th highest for an American League rookie.
Kiki Cuyler of the Pirates set the National League record of hitting .354 as a rookie. That record would fall to his future teammate Paul Waner in 1927.
Al Simmons of the A's would hit .308 in his rookie season, beginning a run of 11 straight .300 plus seasons to start a career.
Goose Goslin of the Senators hit 12 Home Runs, while the team totaled just 22 for the season, making Goslin responsible for 55% of his team's Home Run totals, the 4th highest total in American League history.
Walter Johnson of the Senators and Dazzy Vance of the Dodgers each won the “Pitching Triple Crown”, which is when a pitcher leads their league in Earned Run Average, Wins and Strikeouts. Vance would be the first National League Pitcher to accomplish this feat, and Johnson's third. It is also the third time that it had been accomplished in both leagues the same year, and it would be the last time until it was done in 2011.
Wilbur Cooper of the Pirates would be the 5th National League pitcher to win 20 or more games while batting over .300. Joe Shaute of the Indians would be the 9th American League pitcher to do so.
White Sox pitcher Sloppy Thurston would be just the third American League pitcher to win 20 games for a last place team, going 20-17.
So let's look at the 1924 season at hand.
First, in the National League, the New York Giants were one of the teams to average over 10,000 fans per game. They had dominated the National League, and this would be their fourth consecutive National League championship. As a team, they batted .300, and led the league in Runs Scored, Home Runs and Runs per Game. Their offense carried them to a one and a half game lead over the upstart Brooklyn Dodgers.
That mark of .300 is the fifth highest team season batting average in National League history.
The Giants were led by future Hall of Famer Frankie “The Fordham Flash” Frisch, and George “High Pockets” Kelly.
The Washington Senators outlasted the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees to win the American league Championship. In doing so, they became the first team to win the World Series after finishing the previous season with a losing record. They were managed by Bucky Harris, who in a totally obscure and random statistic (the kind I like) holds the record for most managerial wins by someone whose astrological sign is Scorpio.
The World Series itself was one of the more exciting, with the Senators winning in seven games. The last game was won by an Earl McNeely single in the bottom of the twelfth to drive in Muddy Ruel with the winning run. Walter Johnson, who came in to pitch in the bottom of the ninth earned his first World Series win, and his only World Championship. (The Senators would lose the 1925 Series to the Pirates)
Of note in the Series, it marked the first time that two pitchers homered during the Series. Rosy Ryan in Game 3 and Jack Bentley in Game 5. Both for the Giants. That feat would not be repeated until 1967.
So let's delve, shall we?
The Power rankings were:
- SenatorsWorld Series ChampsGiantsNational League ChampsTigers3rd in American LeagueYankees2nd in American LeaguePirates2nd in National League
Why don't we start in the National League with the pitchers. Statistically, the Nationals were 8.16% moire effective than the Americans, but the American League hitters were far more dominant than the National League hitters. One would figure that an 8% swing would work both ways, and in theory, that AL hitters would be 8% better than their NL counterparts, but in 1924, the AL hitters were statistically 10.48% better than the NL.
Anyway, the National League pitchers, with Runs Allowed Average along with Earned Runs Allowed:
- PitcherTeamW-LERARADazzy VanceDodgers28-62.162.60Hugh McQuillanGiants14-82.693.333 savesPete AlexanderCubs12-53.034.36Emil YdePirates16-32.833.25Carl MaysReds20-93.153.86Eppa RixeyReds15-142.763.251 saveWilbur CooperPirates20-143.283.891 saveVirgil BarnesGiants16-103.063.412 savesBill DoakDodgers/Cardinals13-63.103.473 savesJack BentleyGiants16-53.784.071 save
And against their team:
- Jesse BarnesBraves15-203.233.87Dazzy VanceAboveJohnny CooneyBraves8-93.183.932 savesPete AlexanderAboveJimmy RingPhillies10-123.975.14Hugh McQuillanAboveAllan SothoronCardinals10-163.574.67Bill DoakAboveVic AldridgeCubs15-123.504.05Emil YdeAbove
So then factoring everything, we get a final ranking of:
So now to the American League:
- Walter JohnsonSenators23-72.723.14Herb PennockYankees21-92.833.273 savesTom ZacharySenators15-92.753.292 savesStan BaumgartnerA's13-62.883.734 savesGeorge MogridgeSenators16-113.764.10Rip CollinsTigers14-73.714.13Sloppy ThurstonWhite Sox20-143.804.641 saveHoward EhmkeRed Sox19-173.463.974 savesCurly OgdenA's/Senators9-52.583.88Firpo MarberrySenators11-123.094.0615 saves
And against their team:
- Sloppy ThurstonAboveStan BaumgartnerAboveRed FaberWhite Sox9-113.854.35Sherry SmithIndians12-143.024.001 saveJoe ShauteIndians20-173.754.392 savesHerb PennockAboveErnie WingardBrowns13-123.514.25Howard EhmkeAboveWalter JohnsonAboveEddie RommelA's18-153.954.50
Which brings us this list:
Now, on to the offensive side of the game.
Beginning with the National League:
- NameTeamHRRBIAVGOBPSLGSBRogers HornsbyCardinals2594.424.507.69612Kiki CuylerPirates985.354.402.53932High Pockets KellyGiants21136.329.371.5317Ross YoungsGiants1074.356.441.52111Jim BottomleyCardinals14111.316.362.5005Zack WheatDodgers1497.375.428.5493Jack FournierDodgers27116.334.428.5367Frankie FrischGiants769.328.387.46822Cy WilliamsPhillies2493.328.403.5527Emil (Irish) MeuselGiants6102.310.351.42311
And then against their teams:
- Rogers HornsbyAboveKiki CuylerAboveCy WilliamsAboveZack WheatAboveEdd RoushReds372.348.376.50117Jim BottomleyAboveJack FournierAboveHigh Pockets KellyAboveStuffy McInnisBraves159.291.311.3609George GranthamCubs1260.316.390.45821
This then brings us the following rankings:
High Pockets Kelly
Over in the American League, where the heavy hitter live, we have a bunch of very familiar names populating these lists. The Yankees had individual leaders in just about all of the offensive categories, thanks to babe Ruth. Of course, their first baseman was also able to nab on offensive title. For triples. But it wasn't who you think. It was Wally Pipp, who hit 19 triples. Twenty-one year old Lou Gehrig would play in just ten games in 1924.
But, the initial numbers are:
- Babe RuthYankees46124.378.513.7399Harry HeilmanTigers20225.346.478.53313Goose GoslinSenators12129.344.421.51615Bob MeuselYankees12124.325.365.49426Eddie CollinsWhite Sox686.349.441.45542Joe SewellIndians4106.316.386.4293Bibb FalkWhite Sox699.352.406.4876Harry HooperWhite Sox1062.328.413.4812Ike BooneRed Sox1398.337.404.4972Joe HauserA's27115.288.358.5167
Then compared to their teams:
- Babe RuthAboveJoe HauserAboveGoose GoslinAboveBob MeuselAboveIke BooneAboveJoe SewellAboveHarry HeilmanAboveJoe HarrisRed Sox377.301.406.4306Bobby VeachRed Sox599.295.359.4265Al SimmonsA's862.308.353.43116
So our final rankings are:
Now, as I talked about during the 1912 season recap (and the 1927 article as well), the Chalmers Award was the annual award presented each year, but it didn't last very long. In its absence, each league would present a League Award annually to the best player in each of the leagues. The voting was convoluted, and players who had previously won the award were exempted from further voting.
The League Awards belonged to Walter Johnson and Dazzy Vance. It would be the first time that pitchers were awarded the “most valuable' awards in the same season. Johnson had won a Chalmers Award in 1912, so was till eligible for the League Award. It was Vance's first award.
Now, were I to have voted back then, and imagining that there was no restriction on voting, I would have voted as follows:
- PlayerLeague Award votingDazzy Vance1stRogers Hornsby2ndZack Wheat3rd (tie)Jim Bottomley17thHigh Pockets Kelly6th
And in the American League:
- Babe RuthNo votes, won in 1923Goose GoslinNo votesWalter Johnson1stSloppy ThurstonNo votesHerb Pennock4th