A variety of new rules were established for the 1920 baseball season that had a major impact on the game. Read about some of the headlines of the season below.
Ray Chapman Killed
Ray Chapman hugged the plate so closely when he batted that his head was usually in the strike zone. Carl Mays, to his dying day, insisted that the pitch that killed Chapman would have been called a strike had he managed to duck out of the way. Chapman had a .303 average in 1920, with 27 doubles and 49 RBI.
Indians Mourn Ray Chapman
The 1920 World Champion Cleveland Indians wore black armbands in memory of Ray Chapman, killed by a beaning. Joe Sewell was Chapman's replacement.
Eddie Cicotte Proves Dependable
Eddie Cicotte was one of the four 20-game winners on the 1920 White Sox. The quartet had a composite 87-46 record, while the rest of the Sox staff was 9-12. Manager Kid Gleason went with just six pitchers for most of the year, using Roy Wilkinson and George Payne primarily in relief. Late in the season, Cicotte was banned for his part in the Black Sox scandal. Eddie was truly sorry for dumping the 1919 World Series. His words dripped with irony when he said, "I'd give a million dollars to undo what I've done."
Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis Takes Charge
In his early years as commissioner, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis was like a kid at his first carnival, immediately trying all the wild rides. Landis was both feared and loathed by players, several of whom he banished for infractions that in retrospect seem ridiculously trivial. Landis later became known as a player's commissioner who was feared and loathed by many owners.
Rube Foster Forms NNL
The "Father of Black Baseball," Rube Foster created the Negro National League, the first organized black major league, in 1920. Although Foster was a pitcher in the early part of the century, by 1920 he functioned mainly as league administrator and manager of the Chicago American Giants, victors of the first three NNL pennants.
Jim Bagby Leads AL in Wins
After netting an American League-high 31 victories in 1920, Jim Bagby was good for only 21 more wins in his career. Ray Caldwell, a 20-game winner that year, collected just six more victories. And Duster Mails, a late-season sensation, was back in the minors two years later.
George Sisler Leads American League in Hitting
George Sisler was one of the greatest hitters in the game, though he seldom walked. He drew just 46 free passes as opposed to 257 hits in 1920. Strong in all other respects, Sisler also came close that year to becoming the first player to total 20 or more doubles, triples, and home runs in the same season.
Find highlights from the 1920 baseball season on the next page.