Thursday, January 5, 2012

1928 World Series: Sweep, repeat

The Teams
American League: New York Yankees (101-53); fifth World Series (won in 1923, 1927)
National League: St. Louis Cardinals (95-59); second World Series (won in 1926)

What Happened
It's the 1927 Yankees that are almost universally known as the greatest team in Major League history, but it was the 1928 version that put in the most dominating performance in World Series history. The main reason for that is the quality of the opposition - the 1927 Pirates were a genuinely good team, one that would have had a very good chance to win the Series in any other year. The 1928 Cardinals were good, but they were no match for the Yankees.

It's true the Yankees took a step back in 1928. Their pitchers fell back a little bit, the hitters that weren't name Ruth and Gehrig had lesser seasons, Ruth had the audacity to not hit 60 home runs, and so on. But they were still Murderer's Row, a lineup of stars that gave opposing pitchers no breaks.

The 1928 series was a clinic in efficiency. The Yankees scored in the first inning of the first game -with Gehrig driving in Ruth - and they never looked back. They trailed for only six of the 36 innings in the series, and they often put the games away early. The Cardinals only managed three hits in a 4-1 Game 1 loss, and that was the closest game of the series. It was a sweep, the Yankees' second straight, and it established this Yankees team as one of the true juggernauts in the game's history.

Defining Game
Game 4 - Babe Ruth did a lot of things on a baseball field that nobody before him had ever done. The latest was his performance in Game 4, when he became the first man to hit three home runs in a World Series game. Ruth went deep in the fourth, seventh, and eighth innings, all of them to deep right, to put the series away. It was a fitting exclamation point to the Yankees' two years of dominance.

Ruth and Gehrig. Pick a name out of a hat. Or, pick both of them. To wit:

Ruth's stats: .625 average, 10 hits, 9 runs, 3 doubles, and of course the three Game 4 home runs.

Gehrig's stats: .545 average, 4 home runs, 9 runs batted in (as many RBI as the entire Cardinals team).

Can you imagine what pitchers of that era felt when they were about to face the Yankees and knew they'd have to face those two batters back-to-back? Frightening.

The Scores
(Home team in Bold)

St. Louis 1 3 3 3
New York4 9 7 7

The List
I'm ranking all the World Series, from worst to best. Here's the ones I've done so far:

106. 1928 - New York (A) def. St. Louis (N) 4-0
107. 1917 - Cincinnati (N) def. Chicago (A) 5-3

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