The third of three consecutive pennants by the A's, and by a comfortable margin over the Yankees and Senators. The Depression and success were making economic times hard for owners like Connie Mack, and the dynasty ended after this season. They even lost the World Series. Offense receded some after the high-water mark of 1930, but was still at a high level. Philadelphia won 107 games, New York 94, Washington 92, Cleveland 78 to finish just over .500, then St. Louis, Boston and Detroit all about even, with Chicago last.
Al Simmons won the batting title at .390, followed by Babe Ruth at .373. Ed Morgan of Cleveland was next at .351. Ruth led in on-base, slugging, and OPS. Lou Gehrig led with 163 runs, followed by Ruth at 149 and Earl Averill at 140. Gehrig edged Averill in hits, 211 to 209. Earl Webb set a single-season record for doubles that still stands with 67. Roy Johnson had 19 triples. Gehrig and Ruth tied with 46 homers, while Gehrig had 184 RBI to Ruth's 163. Ben Chapman had 61 steals.
Lefty Grove dominated the pitching stats, with 31 wins (against just 4 losses), 175 strikeouts, and a 2.06 ERA. The best anyone else could do was 22 wins for Wes Ferrell, 152 strikeouts for George Earnshaw, and a 2.67 ERA for Lefty Gomez. Wilcy Moore had 10 saves for Boston.
Win Shares leaders, players; Babe Ruth (New York) 38, Lou Gehrig (New York) 36, Joe Cronin (Washington) 35, Al Simmons (Philadelphia) 34, Earl Averill (Cleveland) 30, Mickey Cochrane (Philadelphia) 28, Lu Blue (Chicago) 27, Earl Webb (Boston), Max Bishop (Philadelphia) and Goose Goslin (St. Louis) 25 each.
WS leaders, pitchers; Lefty Grove (Philadelphia) 42, George Earnshaw (Philadelphia) 29, Wes Ferrell (Cleveland) 28, Rube Walberg (Philadelphia) 24, Lefty Gomez (New York) and Firpo Marberry (Washington) 20, George Uhle (Detroit) and Lloyd Brown (St. Louis) 19.
WARP3: Ruth 10.1, Gehrig 8.1, Cronin 8.0, Simmons 7.1, Cochrane 6.4, Lyn Lary (New York) 6.3, Bishop 5.9, Bill Dickey (New York) 5.2, Ben Chapman (New York) 4.6, Sam West (Washington) 4.4, Goslin 4.1, Averill 3.7.
Pitchers, Ferrell 7.6, Grove 6.8, Gomez (his first full year, 60 IP in 1930) and Uhle (last good year) 4.6, Lefty Stewart (St. Louis) 3.7, Wilcy Moore (Boston) 3.5, Vic Sorrell (Detroit) 3.4, Dick Coffman (St. Louis) and Earl Whitehill (Detroit) 3.3.
WAR, position players: Ruth 11.3, Gehrig 9.8, Simmons 8.4, Cronin 7.5, Bishop and Chapman 6.7, Averill 6.6, Cochrane 6.0, Goslin 5.9, Foxx 5.6, Webb 5.4, Lary 5.3. Pitchers: Grove 9.4, Gomez 6.0, Ferrell 5.6, Walberg 5.1, Earnshaw 4.8, Marberry 4.4, Uhle 4.2, Brown 4.0, Sorrell 3.7, Coffman 3.5.
Actual award voting (1931 was the first BBWAA "official" MVP award voting):
MVP (Top 15)
Place Name Team Points
1 Lefty Grove PHA 78
2 Lou Gehrig NYY 59
3 Al Simmons PHA 51
4 Earl Averill CLE 43
5 Babe Ruth NYY 40
6 Earl Webb BOS 22
7 Joe Cronin WSH 18
8 Ski Melillo SLB 17
9 Mickey Cochrane PHA 16
9 Sam West WSH 16
11 George Earnshaw PHA 12
11 Wes Ferrell CLE 12
13 Firpo Marberry WSH 11
14 Hal Rhyne BOS 10
15 Ben Chapman NYY 7
Best player: Babe Ruth. The Babe couldn't really run any more, but he hit so well it didn't matter. Gehrig had more RBI, but that's because he was driving in Ruth in front of him. Ruth was .373-46-163, while #2 Gehrig was .341-46-184. Al Simmons ranks #3 with a batting title and .390-22-128 line. I'll rank Joe Cronin #4 on the strength of defense plus a .306-12-126 line, and put A's catcher Mickey Cochrane #5.
Best pitcher: Lefty Grove, in his 31-4 season with a 2.06 ERA, winning the pitching Triple Crown. No one else was close. Wes Ferrell ranks #2 at 22-12 and 3.75, while Lefty Gomez is #3 at 21-9, 2.67. George Earnshaw #4, George Uhle #5.
Best rookie: None, really. Marv Owen hit .223 in 105 games, if you insist.
Best manager: Connie Mack, for the final time. He never got back to the winner's circle.