The trend toward runs and homers continued through the 1922 baseball season, particularly in the National League. Philadelphia and St. Louis became the first National League teams in this century to crack more than 100 home runs during the season; the Phillies hammered 116, St. Louis hit 107. The National League batted .292 to the American League's .285 and saw its overall ERA rise to a bloated 4.10.
Only one National League pitcher, Shufflin' Phil Douglas of the Giants, recorded an ERA under 3.00. Once again, spitballers led each league in ERA -- Douglas at 2.62 and White Sox Red Faber at 2.81 (though Douglas's ERA crown is disputed).
In both leagues, a host of sluggers crowded Babe Ruth for the limelight. In the American League, the St. Louis Browns' George Sisler won the batting title at .420 -- the third-best batting average of the century -- and also led the league in runs with 134, hits with 246, triples with 18, and even stolen bases with 51.
The modern MVP Award was established in the American League in 1922 as successor to the defunct Chalmers Award, last given in 1914. Sisler won handily over Philadelphia knuckleballer Eddie Rommel, who went 27-13 to lead the American League in wins. Sisler's teammate Ken Williams led the American League in home runs with 39, two more than runner-up Tilly Walker of the Athletics. Williams also led the league in runs batted in with 155 and total bases with 367.
In the National League, Rogers Hornsby completed his adjustment to the home run era by producing the National League's first undisputed 20th-century Triple Crown (some historians say Heinie Zimmerman won the Triple Crown in 1912). Hornsby put together one of the greatest seasons in National League history, hitting .401 with 42 home runs and 152 RBI. He also banged out 250 hits and 46 doubles, slugged .722, and scored 141 runs. To top it off, Hornsby led National League second basemen in put-outs, double plays, and fielding average.
Ruth's season was ruined by a preseason run-in with new commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. The two battled over the Babe's post-World Series barnstorming trip, which Landis had ruled illegal. Angry at being openly defied by the Yankees slugger, Landis suspended Ruth (and teammate Bob Meusel, who also made the trip) for the first month of the 1922 season. A pouting Ruth batted only .315 with 35 home runs in 110 games.
As a result of the partial loss of their two best hitters, the Yankees were outscored 867-758 by a Browns team that nipped at their heels all season and even took over the lead for a while in midsummer. Besides Sisler and Williams, St. Louis fielded Baby Doll Jacobson, who hit .317 with 16 triples, as well as the American League's best pitching staff, led by 24-game winner Urban Shocker.
Nevertheless, the Yankees edged the Browns by 1 game to repeat as pennant-winners. A big factor was the addition of several more former Red Sox, including 26-game winner Joe Bush, pitcher Sad Sam Jones, and shortstop Everett Scott. The Yankees' Wally Pipp batted .329 with 32 doubles and ten triples, and Whitey Witt scored 90 runs and led the American League in walks with 89.
The 1921 National League pennant-winners also repeated in 1922, as the Giants finished 7 games ahead of a Cincinnati team led by pitchers Eppa Rixey, who topped the National League in wins with 25, and Pete Donohue, who was third in ERA at 3.12.
In a rematch of the 1921 Subway Series -- this time under a best-of-seven format -- Ruth and the Yankees were thrashed again, managing only a game two 3-3 tie out of five games. Giants pitchers Jesse Barnes, Art Nehf, Hugh McQuillan, and Jack Scott completely shut down the Yankees, who scored only 11 runs in the five games. Irish Meusel knocked in seven runs for the Giants, while Ruth batted just .118 with no homers.
Check out the next page for some of the headlines from the 1922 baseball season.
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1922 Baseball Season Headlines
Ken Williams ousted Babe Ruth from his throne as home run king in 1922 -- albeit temporarily. Find out more about this and other headlines from the 1922 baseball season below.
Charles Comiskey's Sox Flop
Charles Comiskey's uncharacteristic extravagance proved too little too late. In 1922, Comiskey's White Sox finished fifth, 17 games out. A year later, even their expensive new purchase, Willie Kamm, could not keep them from tumbling to seventh. In 1924, the Pale Hose landed in the basement for the first time in club history.
Ken Williams Tops the American League in HRs
Ken Williams interrupted Babe Ruth's unchallenged reign as the American League slugging king in 1922, topping the league with 39 home runs (Ruth hit 35 dingers). On his home turf, Sportsman's Park, Williams was virtually unstoppable that year; on the road, he, as the rest of the Browns, had problems.
Max Carey Pilfers 51
Max Carey was an ace basestealer in the 20 seasons of his major league career, though records are not available as to the number of times he was caught swiping. On what evidence there is, however, Carey was not only a prolific basestealer but an efficient one as well. In 1922, he stole 51 bases in 53 attempts.
Irish Meusel: .331 BA, 132 RBI
Of the members of the Giants and Yankees dynasties of the 1920s who played at least ten seasons and had career batting averages above .300, all but two are in the Hall of Fame. Oddly, the two were siblings: Irish and Bob Meusel. Irish hit .331 with 132 RBI in 1922.
So-So George Uhle Wins 22
George Uhle's 22 wins and 4.08 ERA for Cleveland in 1922 were just one important measure of how different the game had suddenly become. Uhle became the first pitcher since 1897 to reach 20 wins while posting an ERA over 4.00.
Find highlights of the 1922 baseball season on the next page.
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1922 Baseball Season Highlights
The New York Yankees and the Giants topped off the 1922 baseball season by facing off in the 1922 World Series. Also during the year, Babe Ruth continued to make the news, and George Sisler won the first MVP award in the American League. These highlights and others are listed below.
- The Yankees take their second American League flag in a row.
- The Giants take their second straight National League pennant.
- The 1922 World Series -- the second straight Subway Series -- comes a cropper as the Giants win in a four-game sweep (plus one tie).
- Giant Irish Meusel is again the slugging star in the 1922 World Series with a homer and seven RBI.
- Babe Ruth hits .118 in the 1922 World Series, his second.
- Suspended part of the season for an illegal barnstorming tour the previous fall, Ruth drops to 35 homers.
- The American League gives out a league MVP Award for the first time; George Sisler wins handily.
- Ken Williams of the Browns becomes the new American League homer king (39).
- Williams also leads in RBI (155), total bases (367), and runs produced (244).
- Sisler leads the American League with a .420 BA, a record for first basemen in this century.
- Spearheaded by Sisler, the Browns finish second in the American League, 1 game out.
- Rogers Hornsby sets new National League records with 42 homers, 152 RBI, and a .722 slugging average.
- Hornsby's .401 BA makes him the first National Leaguer since 1901 to top the .400 mark.
- Eddie Rommel of the seventh-place A's leads the American League with 27 wins.
- Sisler hits in 41 straight games, a new American League record.
- Ray Grimes of the Cubs drives in at least one run in 17 straight games.
Find more highlights of the 1922 baseball season in our final section.
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More 1922 Baseball Season Highlights
Following are more highlights of the 1922 baseball season, including a Supreme Court ruling that baseball is a sport -- not a business.
- The White Sox fork over $125,000 to San Francisco of the Pacific Coast League for Willie Kamm.
- George Uhle becomes the first pitcher since 1901 to both win 20 games and have an ERA over 4.00.
- Detroit's Harry Heilmann hits 21 homers, and ten of them come in Shibe Park against the A's.
- On April 22, Ken Williams becomes the first player since 1900 to hit three homers in a game.
- The Browns are the first team in major league history to have four 100-RBI men.
- Rogers Hornsby hits in 33 straight games.
- In late August, the Cubs beat the Phils 26-23 in the highest-scoring game in major league history.
- The Supreme Court rules baseball is a sport, not a business, and thus not subject to anti-trust laws.
- Pittsburgh's Max Carey sets a stolen base pct. record of .962 when he's successful in 51 of 53 attempts.
- White Sox Ray Schalk leads American League catchers in FA a record eighth time.
- Jesse Barnes of New York no-hits the Phils on May 7.
- On April 30, White Sox Charlie Robertson tosses a perfect game vs. Detroit -- baseball's last until 1956.
- Max Carey steals a record (since broken) 31 consecutive bases.
- Chicago's Red Faber tops the American League in ERA (2.81), CGs (31), and innings (352).
- Led in wins by Art Nehf with 19, the Giants are the first National League team to win a pennant without a 20-game winner.
- The Reds' Eppa Rixey tops the National League with 25 wins and 313 innings pitched.
- Cards catcher Pickles Dillhoefer dies of typhoid fever.
- Cards outfielder Austin McHenry, a .350 hitter in 1921, dies of a brain tumor.
- Dodger Dazzy Vance's 134 Ks are the fewest ever by a National League leader.