St. Louis won a wild and woolly pennant race where five teams finished within 12 games of the lead. Chicago was 2nd, 2 games out, while New York and Brooklyn were 5 and 6 games out respectively, with Pittsburgh 12 back. Boston, Cincinnati, and a 102-loss Philadelphia team brought up the rear. The Giants and Pittsburgh broke on top, Brooklyn held the lead for much of mid-summer, and the Cardinals played .500 ball much of the season, then put on a big finish to rise from fourth place to the pennant.
Bill Terry set a mark as the last of the .400 hitters, though no one knew it at the time, of course. Terry won the batting title with a .401 average for the Giants. It was a big year for NL offense, as Babe Herman hit .393, Chuck Klein .386, and Lefty O'Doul .383. It tells you something about the Phillies that both Klein and O'Doul played for them, hit like that, and they went 52-102. Mostly, it tells you they played in an extreme hitters' park and had a team 7.69 RA and 6.71 ERA.
Mel Ott led in on-base average, and Hack Wilson in slugging and OPS. Klein led the league with 158 runs, Kiki Cuyler had 155. Terry had 254 hits, Klein 250. Klein had 59 doubles. Adam Comorosky had 23 triples. Wilson had 56 homers and 191 RBI. The RBI is still a single-season record. Cuyler led with 37 steals, more than double the second-place guy.
That kind of hitting means there wasn't much pitching. Dazzy Vance led the league with a 2.61 ERA, while second place was Carl Hubbell at 3.87. Ray Kremer and Pat Malone had 20 wins, Fred Fitzsimmons 19. Wild Bill Hallahan led with 177 strikeouts, Vance was second with 173.
Win Shares leaders, players; Hack Wilson (Chicago) 35, Babe Herman (Brooklyn) and Bill Terry (New York) 32, Kiki Cuyler and Gabby Hartnett (Chicago) 29, Woody English (Chicago), Freddy Lindstrom and Mel Ott (New York) and Chuck Klein (Philadelphia) 28.
WS leaders, pitchers; Dazzy Vance (Brooklyn) 26, Pat Malone (Chicago) 24, Socks Seibold (Boston) 20, Larry French (Pittsburgh) 19, Freddie Fitzsimmons, Carl Hubbell and Bill Walker (New York) and Erv Brame (Pittsburgh) 18 each.
WARP3: Wilson 6.5, Glenn Wright (Brooklyn) 6.4, Terry, Lindstrom, and Johnny Frederick (Brooklyn) 6.3, Hartnett, English (best year), and Frankie Frisch (St. Louis) 6.2, Ott 6.1, Travis Jackson (New York) 5.6, Cuyler 5.2, Herman 5.0, Klein 4.3.
Pitchers, Phil Collins (Philadelphia) 6.2, Vance 4.6, Benny Frey (Cincinnati) 4.3, Malone and Burleigh Grimes (St. Louis) 4.1, French 4.0, Seibold 3.7 (best year), Bob Smith (Boston) 3.6, Ray Kolp (Cincinnati) 3.4, Charlie Root (Chicago), Red Lucas (Cincinnati), and Ray Benge (Philadelphia) 3.2, Brame 3.1.
WAR, position players: Terry 8.9, Wilson 8.8, Herman 8.5, Cuyler 7.8, Lindstrom 7.6, Ott 7.5, Klein 7.3, English 6.7, Wright 6.4, Hartnett 6.3, Frisch 6.1, Jackson 5.8. Pitchers: Vance 7.3, Collins 4.5, Malone 4.4, Seibold 4.1, Hubbell and Smith 3.9, French 3.6, Hallahan 3.5, Elliott 3.4, Root 3.2.
The Cardinals won the pennant without having any of the real standout players. They were a more balanced team. Frankie Frisch led the players with 25 Win Shares, Burleigh Grimes led the pitchers with 16 Win Shares.
Best player: Hack Wilson. Wilson set the single-season RBI mark (191) that still stands. Chuck Klein and Bill Terry (.401) were also impressive, but Wilson was the OPS+ leader. Klein was also hitting in a tremendous hitters' park. I would rank Terry #2, Gabby Hartnett #3, Freddy Lindstrom #4, and Woody English #5.
Best pitcher: Dazzy Vance. Led in ERA by over a run, 2.61 to Carl Hubbell's 3.87. Also 2nd in strikeouts and tied for 4th in wins. Cub ace Pat Malone tied for the league lead in wins and ranks #2. An up-and-coming Hubbell ranks #3. Larry French #4, Socks Seibold #5.
Best rookie: Wally Berger, .310 with 38 HR and 110 RBI for Boston at age 24.
Best manager: Gabby Street, guiding that balanced Cardinals team.