02 January 2008

1924 National League

The Giants won their fourth straight pennant, fighting off Brooklyn and Pittsburgh to do so. Cincinnati and Chicago were also over .500. New York took the approach of outscoring everyone again, and it worked. The Dodgers were just 1.5 games behind, and Pittsburgh finished three games back. St. Louis trailed, Philadelphia was 7th with 96 losses, and Boston lost 100 games.

The Cardinals were just 6th, but had one of the great one-season performances from second baseman Rogers Hornsby. Hornsby set the 20th century record with a .424 batting average for the season, a mark hard to fathom today. It was 227 hits in 536 at bats, and his 222 OPS+ was the highest of his career. Hornsby also led in on-base, slugging, OPS, hits, total bases, walks, and tied Frankie Frisch for the lead in runs with 121. The few categories not led by Hornsby include triples, where Edd Roush had 21, home runs, where Jacques Fournier had 27, and RBI, led by George Kelly with 136. Max Carey had 49 steals.

Pitching was also dominated by one individual, as Dazzy Vance won the pitching Triple Crown with 28 wins, a 2.16 ERA, and 262 strikeouts. He won by wide margins, as second place in those categories went to Burleigh Grimes' 22 wins, Hugh McQuillan's 2.69 ERA, and Grimes' 135 Ks. Grimes did edge Vance in shutouts, and tied him in complete games.

Win Shares leaders, players: Rogers Hornsby (St. Louis) 38, Zack Wheat (Brooklyn) 35, Jack Fournier (Brooklyn) 34, Frankie Frisch (New York) 30, Ross Youngs (New York) 29, Andy High (Brooklyn) 28, George Kelly (New York) 26, Max Carey (Pittsburgh) 25, Kiki Cuyler (Pittsburgh) 24, Glenn Wright (Pittsburgh) 22.

WS leaders, pitchers: Dazzy Vance (Brooklyn) 36, Wilbur Cooper (Pittsburgh) 24, Jesse Barnes (Boston), Burleigh Grimes (Brooklyn), Eppa Rixey (Cincinnati), and Ray Kremer (Pittsburgh) 21 each, Carl Mays (Cincinnati) 20, Emil Yde (Pittsburgh) 19.

WARP3: Hornsby 12.2 (the .424 average year, and his best), Frisch 7.1, Youngs 6.8 (last big year before Bright's disease struck), Wheat 6.2, Fournier 6.1, Kelly 5.0, Heinie Groh (New York) and Babe Pinelli (Cincinnati) 4.7, Wright 4.6 (rookie), Cuyler 4.2 (rookie), Carey and Pie Traynor (also Pittsburgh) 3.8.

Pitchers, Vance 9.9, J. Barnes 6.2 (last good year), Rixey 4.7, Bill Doak (St. Louis/Brooklyn) 4.1, Mays and Jimmy Ring (Philadelphia) 3.9, Hal Carlson (Philadelphia) 3.5, Bill Hubbell (Philadelphia) 3.3, Burleigh Grimes (Brooklyn) 3.2, Virgil Barnes (New York) 2.8.

WAR leaders, position players: Hornsby 12.4, Frisch 7.6, Wheat 6.9, Fournier 6.6, Youngs 6.2, Wright 5.6, Kelly 5.1, High 5.0, Cuyler 4.9, Grantham 4.4, Carey, Williams, and Jackson 4.1. Pitchers: Vance 9.1, Rixey 4.5, J. Barnes 4.2, V. Barnes and Kremer 3.6, Doak and Yde 3.3, McQuillan 3.1, Aldridge 2.9, Cooney and Mays 2.7.

Actual award voting (MVP)- top 9
Name Team Points
1 Dazzy Vance 74
2 Rogers Hornsby 62
3 Frankie Frisch 40
3 Zack Wheat 40
5 Ross Youngs 35
6 George Kelly 34
7 Rabbit Maranville 33
8 Kiki Cuyler 25
9 Jack Fournier 21
Not very close this year.

Best player: Rogers Hornsby. Was top player in MVP voting (2nd to Vance) in spite of playing for 6th place team. Hornsby batted .424 for a record that still stands. Frankie Frisch #2, he tied Hornsby for the lead in runs. Zack Wheat #3, he was 2nd with a .375 average. Ross Youngs #4 and Jack Fournier #5.

Best pitcher: Dazzy Vance. A spectacular 28-6 year with a 2.16 ERA in a hitter's era lifted Brooklyn to within 1.5 games of the pennant. Jesse Barnes was 2nd best, which sounds odd since he was 15-20 with his 3.23 ERA...but that was for the sad-sack Braves. His team dragged him down. Eppa Rixey #3, Wilbur Cooper #4, Burleigh Grimes #5.

Best rookie: Kiki Cuyler. Had 43 previous MLB at bats, presumably would have had rookie status. Hit .354 in 117 games for Pirates.

Best manager: Wilbert Robinson nearly rode Dazzy Vance to a pennant.

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