18 February 2008

1929 National League

The Cubs won the pennant by a comfortable margin over the Pirates and Giants. Chicago would now embark on a string of winning the pennant every three years: 1929, 32, 35, 38. The Cubs won 98 games and put up a 10.5 game advantage over the Pirates, with New York third and St. Louis, winners of two of the previous three pennants, fourth. Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Cincinnati, and Boston rounded out the league.

It was a big offensive year, and Lefty O'Doul led the way with a .398 batting average, followed by Babe Herman at .381 and Rogers Hornsby at .380. O'Doul led in on-base, while Hornsby led in slugging and OPS. Hornsby's 156 runs edged O'Doul's 152, while O'Doul's 254 hits set the pace. Johnny Frederick led with 52 doubles, Paul Waner with 20 triples, Kiki Cuyler with 43 steals. Chuck Klein had 43 homers to 42 by Mel Ott, and Ott was also second in RBI with 151 while Hack Wilson led the way with 159.

Pat Malone led with 22 wins, Bill Walker had a 3.09 ERA to 3.13 by Burleigh Grimes, and Malone had 166 strikeouts. Charlie Root and Red Lucas were second in wins with 19. Root was third with a 3.47 ERA. Guy Bush and Johnny Morrison each had 8 saves. A variety of circumstances favored the hitters, but NL pitching was also at a low ebb.

Win Shares leaders, players; Rogers Hornsby (Chicago) 42, Hack Wilson (Chicago) 32, Mel Ott (New York) and Lefty O'Doul (Philadelphia) 31, Paul Waner (Pittsburgh) 30, Lloyd Waner (Pittsburgh) 27, Babe Herman (Brookyn), Riggs Stephenson (Chicago) and Chuck Klein (Philadelphia) 26 each, Kiki Cuyler (Chicago) 25, Bill Terry (New York) 24.

WS leaders, pitchers; Red Lucas (Cincinnati) 26, Watty Clark (Brooklyn), Pat Malone and Charlie Root (Chicago), and Burleigh Grimes (Pittsburgh) 23 each, Guy Bush (Chicago) 21, Dazzy Vance (Brooklyn) and Carl Hubbell (New York) 19, Erv Brame (Pittsburgh) 18.

WARP3: Hornsby 9.7 (last 400-AB season), Ott 8.2, Travis Jackson (New York) 7.4, O'Doul 6.9 (best season), Wilson 5.6, Pie Traynor (Pittsburgh) 5.2, Pinky Whitney (Philadelphia) 5.1, Freddy Lindstrom (New York) 4.5, George Grantham (Pittsburgh) and Rabbit Maranville (Boston) 4.2, P. Waner and Cuyler 4.0, Stephenson and Johnny Frederick (Brooklyn) 3.9, Jimmie Wilson (St. Louis) 3.7, Terry 3.6, Herman 3.4.

Pitchers, Lucas 6.1 (best year), Clark 5.6, Vance 4.9, Malone 4.6 (best year), Root 4.2, Grimes 4.0, Les Sweetland and Claude Willoughby (both Philadelphia) 3.9, Clarence Mitchell (St. Louis) 3.4, Bush and Socks Seibold (Boston) 3.2, Hubbell and Syl Johnson (St. Louis) 3.1.

WAR leaders, position players: Hornsby 11.9, Ott 8.9, O'Doul 8.4, Wilson 7.3, Jackson 7.2, Waner 6.4, Cuyler 6.3, Terry 6.2, Klein 6.1, Herman 6.0, Stephenson 5.8. Pitchers, Root 5.5, Clark and Lucas 5.4, Malone 5.2, Grives 4.8, Vance 4.7, Hubbell 4.3, Walker 4.1, Bush 4.0, Kremer 3.6.

Actual MVP voting (top 16):
Place Name Team Points
1 Rogers Hornsby CHC 60
2 Lefty O'Doul PHI 54
3 Bill Terry NYG 48
4 Burleigh Grimes PIT 35
5 Lloyd Waner PIT 30
6 Red Lucas CIN 29
7 Pie Traynor PIT 27
8 Babe Herman BRO 24
8 Hack Wilson CHC 24
10 Guy Bush CHC 16
11 Chuck Klein PHI 15
11 Mel Ott NYG 15
13 Taylor Douthit STL 14
14 Charlie Grimm CHC 13
15 Travis Jackson NYG 8
15 Rabbit Maranville BSN 8

Best player: Rogers Hornsby. I'll agree with the voters and pick the best hitter in the league (.380-49-159) on the best team in the league. Add in defense and Ott has a claim, but I will put him 2nd in this year. Ott (.328-42-151) was also the 2nd-youngest player in the league, according to baseball-reference.com....and the only guy younger than him batted only 29 times. Lefty O'Doul was impressive as well with a .398 average and 254 hits. Hack Wilson drove in 159 in a prelude to his record the next year. Paul Waner at #5.

Best pitcher: Red Lucas. Tough call with no clear standout, but I'll go for the guy the MVP voters also ranked as top pitcher, or at least top vote-getter among pitchers. Lucas led the league in complete games and WHIP, tied for 2nd in wins and 5th in ERA. He was 19-12 with a 3.60 ERA. Watty Clark ranks #2, he led in innings and was 2nd in strikeouts with a mediocre Brooklyn team and went 16-19 with a 3.74 ERA. Pat Malone led in wins and strikeouts for the pennant winners, going 22-10, 3.57 to earn third place. Charlie Root #4, Dazzy Vance #5.

Best rookie: Johnny Frederick hit .328 for Brooklyn in 148 games, playing CF as a 27-year-old rookie.

Best manager: Joe McCarthy, Chicago skipper and one of the best ever.

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