13 August 2007

1920 American League

Cleveland, Chicago, and New York put on a great pennant race, although a cloud continued to hover over the Sox following their World Series loss the previous year. There were rumors that the Sox continued to throw games during the season. By the end of the year eight White Sox players had been indicted, and while they were acquitted, they were summarily thrown out of the game by the new commissioner, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Landis also tossed other players out of the game, and blackballed others who had conducted themselves in a suspicious manner. It did a lot to clean up the game.

Cleveland won the pennant, and then the World Series. Chicago finished two games out, and New York three. Below .500 were St. Louis, Boston, Washington, and Detroit, with Philadelphia last at 106 losses.

Statistical leaders: George Sisler batted .407, breaking Ty Cobb's string of batting titles. Sisler set a season record with 257 hits that would stand for many years. Tris Speaker led the league with 50 doubles, and Joe Jackson with 20 triples. Speaker was second with a .388 average, Jackson third with a .382 average. Sisler had 49 doubles and Jackson 42. Sisler had 18 triples and Harry Hooper 17. For all that, Babe Ruth stole the headlines. He hit an astounding 54 home runs, while Sisler was second with 19. Ruth also led the league in on-base, slugging, and (of course) OPS, as well as runs (158) and RBI (137). Speaker and Sisler tied for second with 137 runs. Sisler and Baby Doll Jacobson had 122 RBI each, Jackson 121. Sam Rice had 63 steals.

Jim Bagby led pitchers with 31 wins, Carl Mays won 26 and Stan Coveleski 24. Red Faber had 23 and Lefty Williams 22. Bob Shawkey's 2.45 ERA edged Stan Coveleski's 2.49, followed by Urban Shocker at 2.71 and Eddie Rommel at 2.85, and Jim Bagby at 2.89. Coveleski led with 133 strikeouts, then came Williams at 128, Shawkey at 126.

Win Shares leaders, players: Babe Ruth (New York) 51, Tris Speaker (Cleveland) 39, Eddie Collins (Chicago) 38, Joe Jackson (Chicago) 37, George Sisler (St. Louis) 33, Happy Felsch (Chicago) 30, Steve O'Neill (Cleveland), Bobby Veach (Detroit), Del Pratt (New York), and Baby Doll Jacobson (St. Louis) 25 each.

WS leaders, pitchers: Jim Bagby (Cleveland) 34, Stan Coveleski (Cleveland) 32, Carl Mays and Bob Shawkey (New York) 27, Red Faber (Chicago) 25, Eddie Cicotte (Chicago) and Urban Shocker (St. Louis) 24.

WARP3: Ruth 13.0, Collins 9.6, Sisler 9.4 (peak season), Speaker 7.4, Jackson 6.0, Pratt 7.6, Jacobson 8.6 (peak season), Larry Gardner (Cleveland) and Harry Hooper (Boston) 5.2, O'Neill 5.1, Felsch 4.7, Ray Chapman (Cleveland, killed by a pitched ball during the season) 4.6, Joe Judge (Washington) 4.5.

Pitchers, Coveleski 8.2 (best year), Bagby 8.0 (peak season), Shocker 6.5, Shawkey 6.1, Mays 5.7, Howard Ehmke (Detroit) and Eddie Rommel (Philadelphia) 5.6, Dixie Davis (St. Louis) 5.3, Scott Perry (Philadelphia) 4.8, Faber and Cicotte 4.6.

WAR leaders, position players: Ruth 14.1, Sisler 11.2, Speaker 9.8, Collins 9.5, Jackson 8.9, Jacobson 7.1, Felsch 6.6, Hooper 6.3, Pratt 5.9, O'Neill and Rice 5.5. Pitchers: Bagby 7.7, Coveleski 7.4, Shawkey 6.9, Mays 5.6, Faber and Shocker 5.2, Cicotte 5.0, Davis 4.7, Rommel 4.5, Quinn 3.9.

Best player: Babe Ruth. Sisler was incredible, and Speaker was terrific for the pennant winners, while Collins led the contending White/Black Sox, but it's gotta be the Babe. An unimaginable 54 home runs for the season. Ruth also led in runs, RBI, walks and OPS. Sisler's .407 earns him second. Collins' all-around excellence in the face of a season-long crisis puts him third. Speaker was 2nd in batting and led in doubles, he's 4th. Joe Jackson will go 5th in his last major league season.

Best pitcher: Jim Bagby. The Indians rode the arms of Bagby and Coveleski, plus Speaker's excellence, to the World Series. Bagby won 31 games and led the league in innings. Coveleski was 3rd in wins and 2nd in ERA, and ranks 2nd here. ERA leader Bob Shawkey is 3rd, Carl Mays 4th, Urban Shocker 5th.

Best rookie: Bob Meusel batted .328 for the Yankees in full-time play. Now that's putting an OF together quickly, with Bob and the Babe!

Best manager to Tris Speaker, holding Cleveland together for the pennant despite the White Sox publicity and the death of shortstop Ray Chapman.

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