13 February 2008

1929 American League

Philadelphia took the first of three consecutive pennants, and they did it in a runaway. The Yankees' failure to build a pitching staff to match the Ruth-led offense cost them. The A's had offense and pitching both, and lapped the league with 104 wins, followed by New York (88 wins), Cleveland and St. Louis. Below .500 and in the second division were Washington, Detroit, Chicago, and Boston.

Lew Fonseca of the Indians won the batting title at .369, one of the few seasons he played regularly. Al Simmons was a close second at .365. Jimmie Foxx led in on-base percentage, Babe Ruth in slugging and OPS. Charlie Gehringer led in runs (131), triples (19) and stolen bases (27) and tied for the lead in hits and doubles. Teammate Dale Alexander tied Gehringer with 215 hits, and another teammate Roy Johnson as well as Heinie Manush tied with Gehringer at 45 doubles. The Babe led with 46 homers, Simmons with 157 RBI to edge Ruth's 154. Foxx, Ruth, and Simmons were all in a flat-footed tie with 148 runs created, a very unusual situation.

George Earnshaw led pitchers with 24 wins, and was 4th in ERA and second in strikeouts. Teammate Lefty Grove won 20 for third place and led in ERA (2.81) and strikeouts (170). Fred "Firpo" Marberry led in saves with 11 and was second to Grove with a 3.06 ERA. Marberry was also fourth in wins at 19. Wes Ferrell's 21 wins were second in the league.

Win Shares leaders, players; Jimmie Foxx and Al Simmons (Philadelphia) 34, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth (New York) 32, Tony Lazzeri (New York) 30, Charlie Gehringer (Detroit) and Mickey Cochrane (Philadelphia) 27, Earl Averill (Cleveland) 26, Lew Fonseca (Cleveland) and Earle Combs (New York) 25.

WS leaders, pitchers; Lefty Grove (Philadelphia) 28, Firpo Marberry (Washington) 26, Wes Ferrell and Willis Hudlin (Cleveland) 25, Dolly Gray (St. Louis) 24, George Earnshaw (Philadelphia) 23, Rube Walberg (Philadelphia) 22, Tommy Thomas (Chicago) and Alvin "General" Crowder (St. Louis) 20.

WARP3: Ruth 7.9, Simmons 7.5 (best season), Lazzeri 7.3, Foxx and Cochrane 6.3, Gehrig 6.2, Gehringer 4.9, Red Kress (St. Louis) 4.7, Bill Dickey (New York) 4.6, Jimmy Dykes (Philadelphia) 4.2, Joe Cronin (Washington) 3.6.

Pitchers, Hudlin 7.4 (best year), Ferrell 6.4 (Rookie? Not sure; three games in previous two years), Marberry 6.2 (best year), Grove 4.9, George Uhle (Detroit) 4.4, Jake Miller (Cleveland) and Milt Gaston (Boston) 4.3, Walberg (best year) and Danny MacFayden (Boston) 3.9, Gray 3.7, Thomas (last good year) and Earl Whitehill (Detroit) 3.5, Earnshaw 3.4 (best year).

WAR leaders, position players: Foxx 8.1, Simmons 8.0, Ruth 7.8, Gehrig 7.3, Lazzeri 7.2, Gehringer and Fonseca 5.0, Cochrane 4.6, Alexander and Combs 4.5, Blue 4.2. Pitchers: Grove 6.8, Hudlin 6.3, Marberry 5.5, Walberg 5.3, Gray 5.2, Earnshaw and Ferrell 4.9, Miller 3.9, Crowder 3.7, Thomas 3.6.

No MVP voting this year, at least not officially. 1931 marks the beginning of the "modern" award.

Best player: Al Simmons. Only 3rd on the OPS list, but he was the best defensively of the league's top hitters. Overall, he was the best in the league, although the margin is thin over Ruth, Foxx and Gehrig. I'd rank Simmons (.365-34-157), the RBI leader, as #1, with Ruth (.345-46-154) #2. #3 Foxx (.354-33-118), #4 Gehrig (.300-35-126) #5 Tony Lazzeri (.354-18-106),

Best pitcher: Firpo Marberry, the Senators' swingman. 2nd in ERA to Grove, Marberry had less of a team behind him but put up equally impressive stats. Marberry was 19-12 with 11 saves and a 3.06 ERA, Grove was 20-6 with 4 saves and a league-leading 2.81 ERA, and I'll put him #2. Wes Ferrell was 21-10, 3.60 for third place, and Willis Hudlin 17-15, 3.34 for 4th place. George Earnshaw 24-8, 3.29 for the winners in 5th.

Best rookie: Wes Ferrell, I believe, was a rookie and will take first place. Second is Earl Averill, a .332 average with 18 homers and 43 doubles in his first MLB season. Roy Johnson of Detroit had a strong season too, batting .314 with 128 runs.

Best manager: Connie Mack, as the A's ran away with the pennant and then won the World Series.

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