The 1930 baseball season was filled with record-breaking hitting. Baseball had been riding a roller coaster of offense that started in 1920, when Babe Ruth fired the first 54 shots in the home run revolution, and continued throughout the 1920s, as home runs and run-scoring increased almost every year. The home run trend peaked in 1930; in 1931, the baseball was deadened, assuring a long life for many of the hundreds of hitting records set the year before.
Whether viewed from a hitting or a pitching perspective, the 1930 season was equally wild. The New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals each scored more than 1,000 runs, and the Philadelphia Phillies allowed 1,199. Seventy-one individual hitters, nine whole teams -- and the National League -- batted over .300; the league set a record for total home runs with 892.
On the pitching side, only one National League hurler, Brooklyn's Dazzy Vance, had an ERA lower than 3.87. The National League ERA, swelled by the Phillies' 6.71 team mark, was 4.97.
In the most telling commentary on baseball's lack of balance, the Cardinals sent outfielder Showboat Fisher to the minor leagues at a time when he was hitting .374 in 254 at-bats. Perhaps fittingly, no MVP honors were awarded in either league.
The A's Al Simmons won
the American League
batting title in 1930 and
went on to win it again
in 1930. Hack Wilson's 56 home runs established a National League record. The Giants' Bill Terry batted .401, the last National League .400 batting mark and the second-to-last in the majors; Terry's 254 hits tied Lefty O'Doul's 1929 performance for the National League record.
Wilson drove in the most runs ever, 190,
to outdo Lou Gehrig's 174 (sixth-best in history), Chuck Klein's 170 (eighth-best), and Al Simmons's 165 (13th-best). Klein banged out 59 doubles (to tie with Tris Speaker for seventh on the all-time list) and scored 158 runs (to tie with Babe Ruth for the fifth-most ever); Kiki Cuyler's 155 runs are ninth-best and Simmons and Woody English are tied for tenth place, all-time, with 152 runs.
In spite of the heroics of Wilson, Cuyler, and English, the Cubs came up 2 games short in the National League pennant race. St. Louis took the flag with a team that featured an eerie consistency on both sides of the ledger: The Cards led the league in runs with a lineup in which all eight hitters batted over .300 -- only Chick Hafey made the top four in a major hitting category, ranking fourth in slugging average -- and a staff of five pitchers with between 12 and 15 wins.
An oddity of the race was that last-place Philadelphia outhit the pennant-winners, .315 to .314, on the strength of twin .380-plus-hitters O'Doul and Klein, who hit 96 doubles and 62 homers between them.
The slugging A's won their second straight American League pennant, as Jimmie Foxx and Simmons combined for 321 RBI and 73 homers and catcher Mickey Cochrane batted .357. With 128, little Max Bishop was second in walks to the Babe and scored 117 runs.
The Athletics pitching staff consisted of three starters with ERAs well over 4.00 and Lefty Grove, who put up numbers that would look impressive in any year, much less the most disastrous year for pitchers in this century. The 28-5 Grove led the league in wins, winning percentage, games, strikeouts, and saves; in a year when the overall American League ERA rose by nearly half a run to 4.65, Grove lowered his ERA over the previous year by 0.27 to 2.54, lowered his walks total by 21, and upped his strikeouts by 39.
Grove finally got his first World Series start in 1930 and combined with George Earnshaw to dispatch the Cards in six games. The A's were held to a .197 batting average but still out-scored St. Louis 21-12, as Grove and Earnshaw went a combined 44 with a 1.02 ERA.
Check out the next page for some of the headlines from the 1930 baseball season.
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1930 Baseball Season Headlines
The 1930 baseball season was truly a slugfest, with records broken right and left. Here are some of the headlines from the 1930 baseball season:
Pat Malone Posts 20 Wins
Pat Malone's frequent tantrums on the diamond and highly publicized escapades off it slowed his progress to the majors and shortened his stay after he arrived. But for a brief while, he was the best right-handed pitcher in the National League. In 1930 with the Cubs, he tied for the league-lead in victories with 20 and paced the league in complete games with 22. With the Yankees in 1936, he paced the American League in saves and relief wins.
Chuck Klein, Bill Terry Burn Up National League
Chuck Klein scored 158 runs in 1930, a record in the National League, to become the circuit's top all-around hitter that year. Bill Terry led the league with a .401 batting average, the last .400 mark in the loop.
Guy Bush Gives Up 155 Runs
Apart from the 1930 season, the year in which he surrendered 155 runs (a 20th-century National League record), Guy Bush usually had a respectable ERA and a bundle of wins. Arriving in the majors in 1925 from the Mississippi back country, he became Pete Alexander's protege and learned enough to net 176 victories. Bush is best remembered for surrendering Babe Ruth's final home run.
Joe Cronin Fails to Rate
Joe Cronin of the Senators had a seemingly monster year in 1930. He hit .346 with 203 hits, 41 doubles, 127 runs, and 126 RBI. Being a run-frenzy year, though, Cronin didn't even make the leader board in any offensive category that season. His RBI total fell 64 short of Hack Wilson's mark. Still, Cronin's numbers that year are some of the best ever by a shortstop.
Lefty Grove Triumphs in 30
Including his 1930 World Series output, Lefty Grove won 30 games and lost just six in 1930 (a half-dozen of his wins came in relief). Grove also rang up nine saves, as he toed the rubber in 53 contests. Heywood Broun once wrote: "When danger beckoned thickest, it was always Grove who stood towering on the mound."
Find even more headlines from the 1930 baseball season in the next section.
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More 1930 Baseball Season Headlines
Following are more major headlines from the 1930 baseball season, including the A's repeating as World Champs.
Sam Rice Sets Records
The only ostensible sign that Sam Rice might have slowed down in 1930, when he turned 40 years old, was that his number of stolen bases diminished from 16 the previous year to 13 that season. In every other respect, he more than held his own, setting four major league records and five American League records for players past their 40th birthdays.
Al Simmons Cops 1930 American League Bat Title
The last right-handed hitter to win back-to-back batting crowns in the American League (.381 in 1930, .390 in 1931), Al Simmons was traded by Connie Mack after the 1932 season. He returned twice more to the A's before retiring as an active player in 1944.
1930 Philadelphia A's Repeat as World Series Champs
The 1930 Philadelphia A's won the World Series Championship for the second year in a row. Among the many contributors to Connie Mack's last championship team was Jack Quinn, the oldest player to hit a home run in an American League game. Kid Gleason and Eddie Collins were among the coaches on the 1930 A's.
Kiki Cuyler Totals 134 RBI
Kiki Cuyler and Hack Wilson set a National League record for teammates in 1930 when they totaled 324 RBI between them. Although Gabby Hartnett chipped in another 122 ribbies, the Cubs still were outscored by the Cardinals, largely because Rogers Hornsby missed most of the season with a foot injury.
1930 Cards Win National League Pennant
Victory parades for winning teams seemed to grow in significance during the Great Depression. In St. Louis, denizens feted the Cardinals on September 27, 1930, the day after the Birds clinched the National League flag they ultimately won by a 2-game margin over the Cubs. During the season, the Cardinals scored a whopping 1,004 runs and batted .314. This was clearly a team effort: All eight Cardinals starters batted over .300. Moreover, reserve Showboat Fisher hit .374 in 254 at-bats, Gus Mancuso hit .366 in 227 at-bats, and Ray Blades hit .396 in 101 at-bats.
Jimmie Foxx Excels in 1930 World Series
In the six-game 1930 World Series, the A's hit only .197 as a team. Jimmie Foxx and Al Simmons, however, both registered healthy postseason stats (Foxx hit .333, Simmons hit .364). In game one, the A's garnered only five hits, one a home run by Simmons, but made every hit count for a run. Foxx homered in the game-five shutout, while Simmons again homered in game six. In the sixth game, the A's scored seven runs on just seven hits.
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1930 Baseball Season HighlightsThe 1930 baseball season saw the peak of the home run trend. Many individual hitting records were set by players such as Hall-of-Famers Hack Wilson and Bill Terry. Find highlights from the 1930 baseball season below.
- The A's win their second consecutive American League Flag.
- The Cards come home first in the National League, 2 games ahead of the Cubs.
- The A's repeat and win the 1930 World Series, this time in six games.
- George Earnshaw and Lefty Grove both win two Series games for the A's.
Gabby Hartnett of the
Chicago Cubs sets a
20th-century record for
catchers with his .630 SA.
- Cub Gabby Hartnett's .630 SA sets a 20th-century record for catchers.
- In a hitter's year, neither Philadelphia nor St. Louis hit above .200 in the 1930 World Series.
- On Oct. 2, Cardinal George Watkins becomes the first National League player to homer in his first Series at-bat.
- Hack Wilson drives in a major league record 190 runs.
- Wilson sets a National League record with 56 home runs.
- Dodger Dazzy Vance's 2.61 ERA is 1.15 runs better than the next-lowest ERA in the National League.
- Lefty Grove's 2.54 ERA is 0.76 runs better than the next-lowest ERA in the American League.
- Grove leads the majors in wins (28), win pct. (.848), Ks (209), and amazingly, saves (nine).
- Grove is the only American League pitcher to fan more than 200 since 1916.
- Al Simmons tops the American League in batting (.381), runs (152), and runs produced (281).
- Giant Bill Terry leads the National League with a .401 BA, the last .400 average in the league.
- After a long holdout, Babe Ruth signs for $80,000 -- a Major League Baseball record salary at this juncture.
- Adam Comorosky of the Pirates leads the majors with 23 triples.
- Philly's Chuck Klein sets National League records for runs (158), total bases (445), and runs produced (288).
- Klein tops the National League in doubles (59) and runs produced (288).
- Klein hits .386 with 40 homers, 170 RBI, and 250 hits.
- Klein registers a 20th-Century National League record 44 assists by an outfielder.
- Dodger Babe Herman's .393 BA is the highest of the 20th Century by a National League runner-up.
- Philly pitchers give up a record 1,199 runs and have a record-high 6.71 ERA. Opponents hit .342 off Philly pitching.
- Les Sweetland's 7.71 ERA for the Phils is the worst ever by an ERA qualifier.
- Philly Claude Willoughby posts a 7.59 ERA.
Find even more highlights of the 1930 baseball season in our final section.
To learn more about baseball, see:
- 1929 Baseball Season
- 1931 Baseball Season
- Baseball History
- How Baseball Works
- How the Baseball Hall of Fame Works
- How Minor League Baseball Teams Work
- Babe Ruth
More 1930 Baseball Season Highlights
Following are more highlights from the 1930 baseball season, including the myriad hitting records set this year by some of baseball's greatest players.
- The National League as a whole has a 20th-Century record .303 BA and .448 SA.
- The American League posts a loop record .421 SA.
- The Cards score a National League record 1,004 runs.
- All eight Cardinals regulars hit .300 or better.
- Cincinnati's Hod Ford is the only National League regular to hit below .250.
- The Cubs slug a major league record .481.
- The Giants hit a major league record .319.
- The Senators have a staff ERA of 3.96 and are the only Major League Baseball team with an ERA below 4.00.
- Cub Pat Malone and Pirate Remy Kremer tie for the National League lead in wins with 20.
- Harry Heilmann becomes the first player to homer in every major league park in use during his career.
- Babe Ruth becomes the first documented player to fan 1,000 times.
- On May 6, Gene Rye of Waco in the Texas League hits three home runs in one inning.
- At age 46, Jack Quinn of the A's becomes the oldest player to homer in a major league game.
- Guy Bush of the Cubs gives up a post-1901 National League record 155 earned runs by a pitcher.
- George Watkins sets a major league rookie record when he hits .373.
- Watkins's .621 SA is also a rookie record.
- Brave Wally Berger sets all-time National League rookie records with 38 homers and 119 RBI.
- Senator Sam Rice's 207 hits, 121 runs, and 271 total bases all set records for a player past his 40th birthday.
- Red Barber begins his broadcast career with WRUF in Gainesville, Florida.
- Lou Gehrig tops the American League in total bases (419) and RBI (174).
- Cleveland's Johnny Hodapp leads the American League with 225 hits and 51 doubles.
- Babe Ruth leads the American League with 49 homers.
- Cub Kiki Cuyler tops the majors with 37 steals; American League leader Marty McManus of Detroit has just 23.
- Jimmie Foxx goes 6-for-7 on May 30.
- On Jan. 10, Art Shires knocks out Braves catcher Al Spohrer in a boxing match at Boston Garden.
- On July 25, the A's perform two triple plays in a game against Cleveland.
- The 1930 Pirates are the last National League team to hit 100 triples in a season as they bang out 119.
- Earle Combs tops the American League with 22 triples.
- Wild Bill Hallahan of the Cards leads the National League in Ks with 177.
- Cubs pitcher Hal Carlson dies of an intestinal hemorrhage.
- The average player's salary in 1930 is around $7,000.
- In June, Washington trades Goose Goslin to the Browns for Al Crowder and Heinie Manush.