The big news during the 1924 baseball season was not what happened but what didn't happen. The New York Giants won again -- their fourth flag in four years -- but that was becoming routine. The Yankees, however, dropped to second place, 2 games behind the underdog Washington Senators, who had finished 231/2 games out only a year earlier.
You couldn't blame it on Babe Ruth; he won his only career batting title at .378 and led in homers (46), runs (143), walks (142), on-base average (.513), and slugging (.739). The rest of the offense wasn't bad, either. Wally Pipp legged out a league-leading 19 triples, third baseman Jumping Joe Dugan scored 105 runs, and Bob Meusel hit .325 and drove in 120 runs.
It was the Yankees' pitching that faltered a bit, compiling an ERA of 3.86, second in the league. Joe Bush's 17-16 record and Bob Shawkey's 4.11 ERA offset good efforts from 21-game winner Herb Pennock, Waite Hoyt, and Sad Sam Jones.
But the deciding factor in the 1924 American League race was the pitching of Walter Johnson, who after 19 years finally played on a team that provided him decent offensive support. The 36-year-old dead-ball veteran led the American League in strikeouts with 158, wins with 23, shutouts with six, and ERA at 2.72. He was voted American League MVP.
Rounding out the rest of Washington's staff, which led the American League in ERA at 3.34, was lefty Tom Zachary, who went 15-9 with a 2.75 ERA; George Mogridge, who finished 16-11; and early relief ace Firpo Marberry, who recorded 15 saves. The Senators' offense included Hall of Fame outfielder Goose Goslin, who hit .344 with a league-leading 129 RBI; Sam Rice, who hit .334 and scored 106 runs; and first baseman Joe Judge, who batted .324.
The National League race also featured a surprise contender in Brooklyn, which rose from sixth place in 1923 to win 92 games in 1924. Brooklyn was sparked by hitting stars Jack Fournier, who was second in the National League in RBI with 116 and first in home runs with 27; and Zach Wheat, who hit .375, second only to Rogers Hornsby's .424. Brooklyn also featured the pitching duo of spitballer Burleigh Grimes and Dazzy Vance, who combined for 50 wins, 60 complete games, and 620 innings. Vance, who led the league with a 2.16 ERA, won the National League's first MVP Award.
While Hornsby -- with a league-leading 121 runs, 227 hits, 373 total bases, and 89 walks -- was turning in a fine year for sixth-place St. Louis, it was the New York Giants who led the National League in runs scored. The Giants were driven by George Kelly, who batted .324 and drove in a National League-high 136 runs, as well as Frankie Frisch and Ross Youngs. McGraw's team survived tough challenges from Brooklyn, 11/2 games back at 92-62, and Pittsburgh, which came in 3 games off the pace at 90-63.
The 1924 World Series between the Giants and Senators was an exciting seven-game contest that was one of the closest in history. Four of the games were decided by one run and two went into extra innings.
New York won game one on a Youngs single in the 12th. Washington won game two on a Roger Peckinpaugh double in the ninth. The two teams split the next four games, thus setting up a game-seven showdown.
Game seven of the 1924 World Series went 12 innings, with Washington the winner. The game was decided by two bad-hop hits over third baseman Freddy Lindstrom's head, and comical misplays by New York catcher Hank Gowdy and shortstop Travis Jackson. Walter Johnson got the win in relief, his first career World Series victory.
Check out the next page for some of the headlines from the 1924 baseball season.
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1924 Baseball Season Headlines
The biggest news of 1924 was probably that the Yankees didn't make it to the World Series. There were, however, other major headlines, including the ones below.
Jimmy O'Connell Banned for Life
Jimmy O'Connell was the last major league player to be barred for either accepting or offering a bribe. His two-year career ended at the conclusion of the 1924 season. He contended that he solicited Phils shortstop Heinie Sand at the behest of several other Giants players, all of whom were exonerated by league commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis. It was widely believed that O'Connell, a substitute, was only a convenient fall guy. Nevertheless, O'Connell was cut short of a promising career. In 1924, at the tender age of 23, he batted .317. In just 104 at-bats, he scored 24 times. Two years earlier, the Giants had paid $75,000 for O'Connell's services.
Rogers Hornsby Takes National League Bat Title
Hitting was the obsession of Rogers Hornsby, and for the five-year period between 1921 and 1925 his dedication paid off in a .402 composite batting average. His mark would have been even higher were it not for an illness in 1923 that held him to just 107 games and reduced his average to a "mere" .384. He came back in 1924 to take the batting crown with a .424 average, a post-1901 record in the National League.
Goose Goslin Tops American League in RBI
Although Goose Goslin spearheaded the American League in 1924 with 129 RBI, he whacked just a dozen home runs. Not until 1952 would the American League again have an RBI leader who failed to finish among the loop's top five home run hitters (Al Rosen). In subsequent years, even though he played in mammoth Griffith Stadium, Goslin became one of the American League's more prolific sluggers, often finishing among the leaders in four-baggers.
Jim Bottomley: 12 RBI in One Day
One of the eyewitnesses to the record-shattering 12-RBI performance of Jim Bottomley on Sept. 16, 1924, was Dodger manager Wilbert Robinson, who held the one-game RBI record of 11. Bottomley started his onslaught against Dodger rookie Rube Ehrhardt, who had debuted with five straight wins before encountering Sunny Jim's hot bat.
Max Carey Brilliant in Field
Although it is safe to venture that Max Carey was the game's top base thief during the late 1910s and early 1920s, it is not so easy, in retrospect, to gauge his fielding prowess. On the evidence that is currently available, he would seem to have been one of the best, perhaps nearly the equal of Tris Speaker. In 1924, he led National League outfielders in chances accepted for the ninth time.
Find more headlines from the 1924 baseball season in the next section.
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More 1924 Baseball Season Headlines
Following are some of the other big news stories in 1924, including details on a tour of Europe by the Giants and White Sox designed to introduce baseball to a new audience.
Travis Jackson's a Series Bomb
Travis Jackson hit just .074 and made three errors in the 1924 World Series, the first in which he appeared as the regular shortstop for the Giants. In the 12th inning of the finale, he bobbled an easy grounder by Walter Johnson that ought to have been Washington's third out, opening the door for Earl McNeely's pebble-struck hit that won it. Jackson, a Hall of Fame shortstop, was an absolute bomb in World Series play. Along with his critical errors, he batted .074 in the 1924 World Series. In the 1933 fall classic, he batted .222. And in the 1936 Series, Jackson hit a mere .190. In 19 career World Series games, he posted a .149 batting mark and a .164 slugging average.
Senators Best Giants
John McGraw's last appearance, in the 1924 World Series, made him the only manager ever to lose two deciding World Series games in overtime. As in the 1912 loss to the Red Sox, the Giants lost on a misplayed pop foul that gave a Senators batter a second chance. McGraw won only three of the nine World Series in which he managed. He lost more Series games (28) than any manager in history.
Giants, Sox Depart for Europe
The Giants and the White Sox embarked on a tour of Europe after the 1924 season to display the American pastime to an audience which, for the most part, had never before seen baseball played. Baseball couldn't have sent two more diverse teams to Europe. The Giants won the National League pennant in 1924, while the Sox finished in the American League basement.
Griffith Hosts Series
Washington's Griffith Stadium was the American League site of the 1924 World Series. Despite its enormous dimensions -- the distance to the left-field foul pole was 350 feet -- the park seated just 27,410 attendees.
Jesse Haines Posts Dismal Year
The Cardinals paid the Kansas City team of the American Association about $10,000 for Jesse Haines after he won 21 games for the club in 1919; in 1924, Haines no-hit the Braves on July 17 yet posted an 8-19 record for the season. Not until World War II would the Cards purchase another minor leaguer, as their farm system supplied them with all the talent they needed for a quarter of a century.
Hank Gowdy Stumbles into Notoriety
A standout defensive receiver and a solid hitter, Hank Gowdy was 35 years old in 1924 and had not been a regular backstopper for a number of years. Because Frank Snyder was ailing, Gowdy had to do yeoman duty in the 1924 World Series. He was catching his seventh game in as many days when his foot got tangled in his own mask on Muddy Ruel's pop foul. Gowdy's goof, along with an error by Travis Jackson and two bad-hop hits past Freddy Lindstrom, allowed Washington to win the decisive game 4-3 in 12 innings.
Find highlights of the 1924 baseball season on the next page.
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1924 Baseball Season Highlights
Even though Babe Ruth continued to excel, the Yankees didn't make it to the 1924 World Series. Instead, the Giants played against the Washington Senators.
Here are more highlights of the 1924 baseball season:
- The Giants win their National League record fourth straight flag.
- Washington wins its first American League flag.
- The Senators win the 1924 World Series, one of the most exciting in history, in seven games.
- Washington wins game seven of the 1924 World Series on a bad-hop single by Earl McNeely in the 12th inning.
- Walter Johnson loses his two Series starts but wins game seven in relief.
- Washington's Goose Goslin is the 1924 World Series' hitting star with a .344 BA, three homers, and seven RBI.
- John McGraw wins his National League record tenth and last pennant.
- Walter Johnson wins the 1924 American League MVP Award.
- The National League joins the American League in giving a league MVP award; the first National League winner is Brooklyn's Dazzy Vance.
- Rogers Hornsby leads the National League with a .424 BA, a post-1901 National League record.
- Babe Ruth tops the American League in homers (46) and BA (.378).
- Ruth fails to win the Triple Crown when he finishes second in RBI to Goose Goslin (129-121).
- Walter Johnson's 23 wins and 158 strikeouts pace the American League.
- Dazzy Vance leads the majors in wins with 28 and also in Ks with 262 -- a very high figure for this era.
- Washington's Firpo Marberry (15 saves) becomes the first relief specialist in Major League Baseball history.
- Jim Bottomley of the Cards collects a major league record 12 RBI in a Sept. 16 game vs. Brooklyn.
- Giant Heinie Groh's .983 fielding percentage sets a new major league record for third basemen.
- The Giants' Jimmy O'Connell becomes the last major leaguer to be banned for life while still active. This comes after an oral bribe to a Phils player on the last weekend of the season.
- Max Carey leads National League outfielders in chances accepted a loop record ninth time.
- On Aug. 2, Joe Hauser of the A's sets a new American League record with 14 total bases in a game.
- Sam Rice of Washington hits in 31 consecutive games.
- Freddy Lindstrom of the Giants, age 18, becomes the youngest World Series participant.
- Johnson's American League strikeout crown is his record 12th.
- Lyman Lamb of Tulsa in the Western League hits an OB record 100 doubles.
- Jesse Haines of St. Louis no-hits the Braves on July 17.
Learn about even more 1924 baseball season highlights in our final section.
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More 1924 Baseball Season Highlights
Following are more highlights from the 1924 baseball season, including stats from the 1924 World Series between the Giants and the Senators.
- Rogers Hornsby tops the National League in runs (121), hits (227), doubles (43), total bases (373), and SA (.696).
- Brooklyn's Jack Fournier leads the National League in homers (27) and is second to Hornsby in walks (89-83).
- WMAQ broadcasts the home games of both the Cubs and the White Sox in Chicago.
- Babe Ruth tops the majors in runs (143), walks (142), OBP (.513), SA (.739), and total bases (391).
- Pittsburgh rookie shortstop Glenn Wright knocks in 111 runs and tops National League shortstops in assists and DPs.
- The 1924 World Champ Washington hits the fewest homers in the majors -- 22.
- Pirates rookie Kiki Cuyler hits .354 and is fourth in BA and SA (.539).
- Cleveland's George Burns goes 6-for-6 on June 19.
- Kiki Cuyler goes 6-for-6 on Aug. 9.
- Giant Frankie Frisch goes 6-for-7 on Sept. 10.
- Dazzy Vance's 2.16 ERA is .53 runs better than any other pitcher's in Major League Baseball.
- The Giants win their third straight pennant without a 20-game winner.
- Reds manager Pat Moran dies in spring training of Bright's disease.
- Tony Boeckel becomes the first major leaguer to be killed in an auto accident.
- Jake Daubert dies at 40 after a routine operation.
- The Cubs swap Vic Aldridge, George Grantham, and Al Niehaus to Pittsburgh for Rabbit Maranville, Charlie Grimm, and Wilbur Cooper.
- The Cubs are caught stealing a National League record 149 times.
- George Grantham tops the National League in batter Ks with 63, the fewest ever by a leader.
- Stuffy McInnis fans just six times, a National League record for fewest by a first baseman.
- Edd Roush of the Reds leads Major League Baseball with 21 triples.
- The Giants' George Kelly leads the National League in RBI (136) and runs produced (206).
- Brooklyn's Burleigh Grimes leads the National League in innings (311) and is second in wins (22).
- Max Carey leads the majors with 49 steals.
- Wally Pipp, in his last full season as Yankees first baseman, leads the American League in triples (19).
- Sam Rice tops the American League with 216 hits.
- Sloppy Thurston wins 20 games for the last-place White Sox and tops the American League in CGs (28).
- Walter Johnson's 2.72 ERA narrowly edges teammate Tom Zachary's 2.75 mark for the American League crown.
- Johnson leads Major League Baseball in shutouts with six.
- A's rookie Al Simmons hits .308 and knocks in 102 runs.
- The Giants top the majors with a .300 team BA.
- Joe Shaute wins 20 games for Cleveland, but the Indians sag to sixth place.
- Brooklyn's Zach Wheat finishes second in the National League in BA (.375), hits (212), doubles (41), and total bases (311).