A Biased Look at the New York Yankees, the Greatest Franchise in the History of Sports
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After ten straight season in which the Yankees finished no better then third in the American League, the Bronx Bombers finally captured their first pennant in 1921. Miller Huggins had led the team to two consecutive third place finishes, but with the emergence of Babe Ruth as the best hitter in baseball, the Yanks were finally able to get over the top.
George Herman Ruth set a new standard for power hitters as he set a new single season homerun record. His 59 homers eclipsed his previous record set the season before (54 homers). The only thing that prevented him from capturing the triple crown were incredible hitting seasons by Tiger teammates Harry Heilmann (.394) and Ty Cobb (.389).
The pitching staff was led by Carl Mays. His 27 wins led the American League and the Yankees led the league in ERA (3.82) and strikeouts (481).
The team set a team record for wins in a season with 98. Their previous mark of 95 was set the year before, and prior to that they had only won 90 or more twice.
In their first World Series, the Yankees faced the New York Giants. Both teams shared the Polo Grounds as their home stadium, so the World Series never left New York.
(All Game Recaps were created thanks to the the play by play information at Retrosheet)
Game 1 Highlights
Yankees 3, Giants 0 Yankees Lead Series 1-0
Carl Mays threw a gem to lead the Yankees to a 3-0 victory in their best of nine series. Four of the five Giants’ hits that Mays gave up were off the bat of Frankie Frisch. Mays was tagged for only one extra base hit as he dominated the Giant’s lineup.
The Yankees jumped out to an early lead. Lead off hitter Elmer Miller singled and was moved to second on a bunt. Then Babe Ruth made good use of his only hit by driving in Miller with a single to center.
The Yankees wouldn’t score again until the fifth inning. Third baseman Mike McNally led off the inning with a double and was moved over to third with a bunt. He then stole home to put the Yankees in front 2-0.
They’d put an insurance run on the board in the sixth when Irish Meusel drove in a run on a ground out.
Game 2 Highlights
Yankees 3, Giants 0 Yankees Lead Series 2-0
Things were looking extremely good for the Yankees as they took a 2-0 lead over the Giants. Once again, the Yankee’s starter completely shut down the Giants. Waite Hoyt threw a two hit shutout and he struck out five. Frankie Frisch seemed to be the only Giant who was able to solve the Yankee’s pitchers as he had one of the two hits.
The Yankees scored their first run in the fourth. Second baseman Aaron Ward scored an unearned run when Hoyt grounded into a double play. They wouldn’t score again until the bottom of the eighth. Babe Ruth scored on a groundout by Wally Pipp and Bob Meusell (Irish’s brother) scored when he stole home.
Game 3 Highlights
Giants 13, Yankees 5 Yankees Lead Series 2-1
The Giants’ bats finally came alive as they blew out the Yankees in grand fashion. The Yankees actually took a 4-0 lead in the top of the third, only to see it disappear when the Giants scored four runs, their first of the World Series, in the bottom half of the inning. Babe Ruth drove in two of the runs in the third with a single.
The two teams would go scoreless in the next 3 1/2 innings when the flood gates opened. In the bottom of the seventh, the Giants scored eight runs on eight hits to put the game away. Both teams would score another run, but after the big inning, the game was over. Reliever Jack Quinn took the loss and all four Yankees pitchers were tagged for at least one run.
Game 4 Highlights
Giants 4, Yankees 2 Series Tied 2-2
The Giants tied up the series 2-2 in what was the most exciting game of the series so far. For the fourth straight time, the Yankees got on the board first. In the bottom of the fifth, Wally Pipp scored on a triple by catcher Wally Schang.
Neither team would score again until the Giants put three runs on the board in the top of the eighth. They’d add an extra run in the ninth to put the game away. Babe Ruth ended up hitting his first homer of the series (and the first homer by either team) in the bottom of the ninth. Unfortunately it was with nobody on and it wasn’t enough.
Carl Mays took the loss and things weren’t looking good for the Yankees. They had lost two in a row and the Giants had finally gotten to their ace.
Game 5 Highlights
Yankees 3, Giants 1 Yankees Lead Series 3-2
For the first time in this series, the Giants got on the board first. Waite Hoyt gave up an unearned run in the first inning, but he was extremely effective after that. He pitched a shutout the rest of the way and improved to 2-0 without giving up an earned run in either of the two complete games.
The Yankees finally got a man across and tied the game up in the third. Elmer Miller drove in Mike McNally with a sac. fly. An inning later, they’d put two runs on the board to take the lead for good. Babe Ruth led off with a single and scored on Bob Meusel’s double. Meusel then scored on Aaron Ward’s sac. fly.
The win put the Yankees up 3-2 but they suffered a major loss as Babe Ruth was injured. The only thing I could find on this was at Baseball Almanac, which said he had arm and knee ailments.
Game 6 Highlights
Giants 8, Yankees 3 Series Tied 3-3
The Yankees once again blew the lead and they let the Giants tie the series back up. They jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning only to see the Giants tie the game back up in second
inning with three of their own. They scored two more in the bottom of the second to take the lead once again, but the Giants scored four in the fourth to take the lead for good.
Yankees starter Harry Harper couldn’t make it through the second inning. Chick Fewster scored twice and drove in two with a homerun and Aaron Ward had two RBIs.
Game 7 Highlights
Giants 3, Yankees 2 Giants Lead Series 4-3
For the first time the New York Giants took the lead in the series at they topped the Yankees 2-1. Carl Mays struck out seven and only gave up six hits, but an unearned run in the seventh cost the Yankees the ball game and quite possibly the chance at winning their first World Series.
The Yankees had an early lead after scoring a run on an RBI single by Mike McNally but he’d be the only Yankee to cross the plate. Despite outhitting the Giants, they were now down four games to three.
Game 8 Highlights
Giants 1, Yankees 0 Giants Win Series 5-3
The Yankees lost the game and their first World Series in yet another pitching duel. Waite Hoyt struck out seven and held the Giants to six hits, but a two out error in the first gave the Giants an unearned run and enough to win the game.
Babe Ruth made his first appearance since getting hurt in game five in a dramatic ninth inning pinch hitting attempt. Unfortunately, he grounded out to first base, and Yankees went away quietly.
In an odd quirk, Waite Hoyt threw three complete games and didn’t give up a single earned run. Unfortunately he gave up two unearned runs and one of those cost him game eight.
With the last two games being decided by one run, I’m pretty confident that this series would have gone in a completely different direction had George Herman Ruth been in the lineup. Unfortunately the Yanks would have to wait another year to have a chance to capture their first World Series Crown.
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