13 August 2007

1921 American League

Mark this down as the beginning of the Yankees Era. This was the year of the first pennant won by the New York Yankees franchise, and the start of the most successful run ever by any sports franchise, still continuing today. While there would be dry spells, 29 of the next 44 pennants would be won by New York. In 1921, they held off defending champs Cleveland for the title, with St. Louis and Washington rounding out the first division. The Red Sox and Tigers trailed, the White Sox, shorn of the Black Sox, faded to 7th, while Philadelphia lost 100 to come in last.

Statistical leaders: Harry Heilmann took the batting title at .394, edging Ty Cobb by five points. Heilmann also led with 237 hits. Tris Speaker had 52 doubles, and George Sisler tied Howie Shanks and Jack Tobin with 18 triples as well as leading with 35 steals. Babe Ruth led in most everything else, including 177 runs, 59 homers, and 171 RBI. Tobin was second in runs with 132, Roger Peckinpaugh third with 128. Tobin was also second with 236 hits. Ken Williams and Bob Meusel were second with 24 homers each, Tillie Walker had 23. Heilmann had 139 RBI, Meusel 135.

Carl Mays and Urban Shocker tied for the lead with 27 victories, Walter Johnson had 143 strikeouts, and Red Faber posted a 2.48 ERA, the only pitcher below 3.00. Red Faber had 25 wins, Sad Sam Jones and Stan Coveleski 23 wins. George Mogridge had a 3.00 ERA, Mays 3.05, Waite Hoyt 3.08. Shocker struck out 132, Bob Shawkey 126.

Win Shares leaders, players; Babe Ruth (New York) 53, Harry Heilmann (Detroit) 28, Tris Speaker (Cleveland) and George Sisler and Ken Williams (St. Louis) 27, Joe Sewell (Cleveland) and Ty Cobb (Detroit) 26, Baby Doll Jacobson and Jack Tobin (St. Louis) 25, Bob Meusel (New York) 24.

WS leaders, pitchers; Red Faber (Chicago) 37, Carl Mays (New York) 35, Urban Shocker (St. Louis) 30, Sam Jones (Boston) 29, George Mogridge (Washington) 26, Stan Coveleski (Cleveland) 25, Joe Bush (Boston) and Waite Hoyt (New York) 24.

WARP3: Ruth 12.4, Sewell 6.2, Speaker 6.0, Heilmann 5.7, Cobb 5.0, Sisler 4.8, Meusel 4.4, Bobby Veach (Detroit) 4.3, Larry Gardner (Cleveland) and Patsy Gharrity (Washington) 4.2.

Pitchers, Faber 10.6, Shocker 6.9, Mays 6.7, Jones 6.6 (career year), Mogridge 6.1 (best year), Coveleski and Eddie Rommel (Philadelphia) 5.8, Bush 5.3, Walter Johnson (Washington) 5.1, Hoyt 4.3.

WAR leaders, position players: Ruth 14.4, Heilmann 7.6, Cobb 7.3, Speaker 6.9, Sisler 6.4, Williams 6.2, Veach 6.1, Sewell 5.1, Meusel 5.0, Gardner, Jacobson, and Collins 4.9. Pitchers: Faber 9.9, Shocker 6.6, Coveleski 6.5, Mays 6.1, Jones 6.0, Mogridge 5.9, Hoyt 5.2, Bush 4.4, Johnson 4.1, Leonard and Rommel 3.8.

Best player: Babe Ruth. Can't be any argument, because not only was he statistically the best, his team won. Ruth led in runs, total bases, homers, RBI, and OPS. The rest are closely grouped: Harry Heilmann #2, he led in average and hits and was 2nd in OPS, followed by Cobb #3, Speaker #4, George Sisler #5.

Best pitcher: Red Faber. Faber had a Steve Carlton 1972-type year, 25-15 with a 2.48 ERA for a 7th place team. Led league by a large margin in ERA, 4th in strikeouts, 3rd in wins. Urban Shocker #2, Carl Mays #3, Sam Jones #4, George Mogridge #5.

Best rookie: Lu Blue batted .308, although Bing Miller had more power. Blue had 17 Win Shares to Miller's 12.

Best manager: Miller Huggins. Any one who had to put up with Ruth on his team deserves a bunch of awards. Ruth made him a good bit of World Series money, though.

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