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Heading into the 1920s the 2 dominant teams in baseball were the Boston Red Sox (World Series Winners in 1915, 1916 and 1918) and the Chicago White Sox (who won the 1917 World Series and then whose ÎBlack Soxâ lost/threw the 1919 World Series). Between July 1919 and January 1923 the Red Sox Frazee sold/traded to the Yankees not only Babe Ruth (who as a Yankee became the greatest hitter ever) but also Bostonâs 5 top starting pitchers (Carl Mays, Joe Bush, Sam Jones and future Hall of Famerâs Waite Hoyt and Herb Pennock), plus starters catcher Wally Schang, shortstop Everett Scott and third baseman Joe Dugan. Even the Red (1918-20) Sox Manager Ed Barrow left to become Yankee general manager in 1921.
In late September, 1920, with the White Sox only ¸ game out of 1st place with a week to go, Charlie Comiskey suspended, and commissioner Keensaw Mountain Landis banned for life, the infamous Î8 Men Outâ (who threw the previous World Series to the Cincinnati Reds) who included 2 (Ed Cicotte and Lefty Williams) of the White Sox top 4 pitchers plus starters ö shortstop Swede Risberg, third baseman Buck Weaver, centerfielder Happy Felsh and leftfielder ÎShoelessâ Joe Jackson (with the 3rd highest batting average of all-time .356 and who is the best retired player not in the Hall of Fame.
With the two powerhouse Sox teams decimated by each losing 6-9 talented starting players/pitchers, it opened the door wide open for the Yankees to win their first ever Pennant in 1921, repeat in 1922 and then capture their first World Series Championship in 1923. Without obtaining Babe Ruth (and his 659 home runs as a Yankee) and their 5 top starting pitchers (won combined for 521 wins and 8-20 win seasons in New York) from the Red Sox, and without Chicago having their 8 Black Sox banned for the rest of their careers, it is extremely likely that the Yankees would have waited 15 more years, until their 1936-39 Juggernaut teams, to win their first A.L. Pennant and first World Series.
The 1918 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox were led by Babe Ruthâs League leading 11 homers and his 13 wins as their #4 pitcher. #1 pitcher Carl Maus has 21 wins, #2 Joe Bush had 15 wins and #3 Sam Jones had 16 wins, as these top 4 Red Sox hurlers combined for 65 wins or 86% of Bostonâs victories. Shortstop Everett Scott led the leagueâs shortstops in fielding % while Ed Barrow managed the Champs. Then over the next 31/2 years these 9 key Red Sox players and their manager were dispatched to the Yankees, where they turned New York into winners.
In 1920 Ruthâs .376 batting average, record 54 homers and 177 RBI plus #1 pitcher Carl Maysâ 26 wins guided the Yanks to 95 wins. Then in 1921, the New Yorkers won 98 games and their first A.L. Pennant with Ruth (.378, a new record 59 homers , 171 RBI), Schang (.316), #1 pitcher Mays (27 wins) and #2 Waite Hoyt (19 wins) plus new G.M. Ed Barrow, leading the way.
For each of the next 3 years (1922-24) the Yankees were boosted by having 4 ex-Red Sox in their starting lineup, plus 4 ex-Bostonian starting pitchers. 1922âs Pennant winners had Ruth (35 homers), Schang (.319), shortstop Everett Scott league leading fielding % and Joe Dugan as everyday players while #1 pitcher Joe Bush (26 wins), #3 Hoyt (19 wins), #4 Sam Jones (13 wins) and #5 Mays (12 wins) combined for 71 (75%) of New Yorkâs 94 wins.
In 1923, ÎThe Red Sox Connectionâ hit their peak leading the Yankees to their 1st World Series win ö just 5 years (1918) after leading Boston to what would be their last World Series triumph for 86 long years. Ruth (.393, 41 HR, 131 RBI), Duganâs league leading fielding % at third base, Scott leading the leagueâs shortstops in fielding % again and Schang were regulars. Plus 4 ex-Sox were now the Yankees top 4 pitchers - #1 Jones (21 wins), #2 Herb Pennock (19 wins), #3 Bush (19 wins) and #4 Hoyt (17 wins), as they combined for 76 (77%) of the teams 98 wins. Then in 1924, Ruth (.378, 46 HRs, 121 RBI), Dugan (.302), Schang and Scott were staring in the field. As #1 pitcher Pennock (21 wins), #2 Hoyt (18 wins), #3 Bush (17 wins) plus #5 Jones (9 wins) combined for 65 (73%) of the Yanks 89 wins.
Except for Ruth, who contributed mightily through 1933, the Yankees 3 consecutive Pennants (1926-28) featured the last major contributors from the former Red Sox. By 1926, Ruth (.372, 47 HR, 145 RBI) and Dugan remained as everyday players, while #1 pitcher Pennock (23 wins), #3 Hoyt (16 wins) and #4 Jones combined for 52% of the teamâs 91 wins. The 1927 and 1928 Yankees won their 5th and 6th Pennants plus their 2nd and 3rd World Series, all since 1921, with all these winners strongly aided by ÎThe Red Sox Connection.â In 1927, Ruth (.356, new record 60 homers, 164 RBI) and Dugan were again regulars. While #1 pitcher Hoyt won 22 and #3 Pennock added 19 wins. Again in 1928, Ruth (.323, 54 homers, 142 RBI) and Dugan were starters, as #2 pitcher Hoyt (23 wins) and #3 Pennock (17 wins) continued their winning ways.
From 1929-31, only Ruth was still a major contributor with excellent seasons of .345, 56 HRs, 154 RBI/.359, 49 homers, 153 RBI/.373, 46 HRs, 163 RBI. In â29 Hoyt was the #5 pitcher (10 wins) while in both â30 and â31 Pennock was the #4 pticher with 11 wins both years.
In a last hurrah, Ruth in 1932 hit .341 with 41 homers and 137 RBI to lead the club to a 7th Pennant and a 4th World Series win, with him in Yankee pinstripes. In 1933 (at 38 years old) he still hit .301 with 34 HRs and 103 RBI and then in â34, his last year as a Yankee, he belted 22 homers (including his career 700th) as a 39 year old.
As for the Î8 Men Outâ Black Sox, in Chicagoâs World Series winning 1917 campaign, #1 pitcher Cicotte won 28 and #3 Williams-17, while outfielders Felsh hit .308 with 102 RBI and Joe Jackson batted .301. As the White Sox won the 1919 Pennant, #1 pitcher Cicotte had 29 wins while #2 Williams had 23, and Joe Jackson hit .356. In their last season together, 1920, before the banishment that September, the 8 Black Sox led the team to 96 wins with #2 pitcher Cicotte (21 wins), #4 Williams (22 wins), Joe Jackson batting .382 with 121 RBI, Felsh hitting .338 plus 115 RBI while Weaver hit .333.
Hall of Fame pitcher Joe McGinnity earned his nickname the "Iron Man." In his 26-year pro career, 'Iron Man' Joe McGinnity pitched 9 complete Doubleheaders (All 18 innings). In his 10-year Major League career, the 'Iron Man' hurled 5 complete twin bills - including 3 sweeps (winning both games himself) in one month - August 1903! During his 16-year Minor League career, 'Iron Man' McGinnity threw 4 more complete Doubleheaders, including 3 more sweeps, the last one coming in May 1917, when he was 46 years old!
After breaking into the Majors as a 28-year old rookie, McGinnity won 20 games in each of the first eight seasons of his 10-year M.L.B. career, wich resulted in 246 wins and election in the Hall of Fame. Then at 38, McGinnity pitched the next 10 years, plus 3 more years in his fifties, in the minors - while ringing up 207 more victories. In his forties - 'Iron Man' at 42 wins 22 and pitches 436 innings; at 43 wins 21 and pitchers 363 innings; at 44 wins 21 with a 1.75 E.R.A. in 355 innings; and at 45 wins 20 games for the 6th and final time in the Minors. Then after "retiring" for 3 seasons, the 'Iron Man' came back to pitch at 51, 52 and 54 years old, winning a total of 27 more games in his fifties.
McGinnity's 481 professional wins (246 in the Majors and 235 in the Minors) are 2nd Best All-Time, trailing only the incomparable Cy Young with 511 wins (all in the Major Leagues!).
As a counterpoint to my book - Baseball's Greatest Total Hitters, I've formulated a list entitled: 'Baseball's Greatest Total Pitchers' (since 1893).
Rankings are based on high seasonal win totals and
percentage ERA bettered league's ERA. *Short careers - Ed
Walsh, Addie Joss, Dizzy Dean
The greatest player who ever lived was Babe Ruth. His lifetime career statistics include a .342 batting average (#6 since 1900), .474 on base % (#2), .690 slugging % (#1), with 714 homers (#3), 2213 RBI (#2), 2174 runs (#3) and 2,062 walks (#3) resulting in his ranking as the #1 Hitter of All Time!
But there's more...Ruth was an excellent pitcher, before he became the greatest player ever. Ruth won 94 games as a pitcher with 67 wins before his 23rd birthday, before he started playing in the field in 1918, with a 2.28 career ERA and .671 career winning %. There is every reason to believe he would have been a 300+ game winner and Hall of Fame pitcher, had he continued to pitch. The Babe was a high average hitter, the best power hitter ever and a top pitcher, all of which combined clearly made him the best player ever.
Joe Jackson deserves his place in the Hall of Fame. His .356 career batting is the 3rd best ever. As for the $5,000 from the Black Sox 1919 World Series, he batted .375 (the best on either team) and made no errors in the field. He was given/thrown the $5,000 by a teammate then he tried to give it to the White Sox Team Owner - Charles Comiskey, who would not see Jackson. Jackson put the money in the bank, used it to help other people and never spent it on himself.