Year In Review : 1929 American League

O ff the field...

One February evening in north Chicago, seven well-dressed men were found riddled with bullets inside the S.M.C Cartage Company garage. All had been lined up against a wall, with their backs to their executioners (who were disguised as policemen) and shot to death. The men were mobsters working under the leadership of gangster and bootlegger, "Bugs" Moran and were casualties of what would become the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre". Ordered by rival gang leader, Al "Scarface" Capone, the notorious attack was carried out by Jack "Machine Gun" McGurn who had organized the hit. Thanks to prohibition, Capone had become the crime czar of Chicago, running gambling, prostitution and bootlegging rackets while continuously expanding his territories by getting rid of rival gangs.

Stock market prices plummeted from November to December and U.S. securities lost $26 billion, marking the first financial disaster of the Great Depression. The American depression produced severe effects abroad, especially in Europe, where many countries had not fully recovered from the aftermath of World War I. In Germany, the economic disaster and resulting social dislocation contributed to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Although it shared the basic characteristics of other such crises, the Great Depression was unprecedented in its length and in the wholesale poverty and tragedy it inflicted on society.

I n the American League...

The first-place Philadelphia Athletics scored a whopping eight runs off of Boston Red Sox pitcher Milt Gaston on the way to an embarrassing 24-6 massacre at Fenway Park on May 1 st . The twenty-four runs matched a franchise record previously set in the "Ty Cobb protest game" in 1912, and the twenty-nine hits set another franchise mark.

The Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers set a major league "marathon" record on May 24 th after going twenty-one innings (three hours and thirty-one minutes) for the longest game ever seen to date at Comiskey Park. George Uhle emerged the 6-5 winner, after going twenty innings, with Vic Sorrell finishing in relief. The loser, Ted Lyons, went the distance giving up a respectable twenty-four hits (over twenty-one innings).

I n the National League...

On April 29 th , Brooklyn Dodgers relief pitcher Clise Dudley became the first player ever to hit a home run against the first pitch he saw. Claude Willoughby of the Philadelphia Phillies gave up the inaugural round-tripper en route to an 8-3 victory. Amazingly Dudley would go on to hit only two more home runs in his four Major League years.

The Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds turned an amazing nine double plays on July 3 rd to tie the Major League double-play mark previously set in 1925 by Detroit and Washington.

The St. Louis Cardinals answered back after losing 10-6 in the opener of a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Phillies with a magnificent 28-6 victory on July 6 th . The "Redbirds" came out swinging in game two and collected ten runs in the first and ten more in the fifth. Their twenty-eight hits and twenty-eight runs set a National League record and both teams combined to tie a Major League title with seventy-three hits in a doubleheader.

A round the league...

The New York Yankees announced that they were adding numbers on the backs of their uniforms. Initially, continuous numbers were distributed based upon a player's position in the batting order (Combs #1, Koenig #2, Ruth #3, Gehrig #4, Meusel #5, Lazzeri #6, Durocher #7, Grabowski #8). Several weeks later, the Cleveland Indians agreed to follow suite and by 1931 all American League teams were utilizing the new identification technique. However, some National League players still remained numberless until 1933.

On August 3 rd , the Chicago Cubs voiced their complaint about the ragged sleeve on the pitching arm of Brooklyn Dodger ace Dazzy Vance (an old trick to distract the hitter). Soon after, a Major League rule was passed that required all pitchers to maintain neat attire. The mandate would expand over the years to include caps, gloves, glasses and other visual deterrents.

The New York Giants used the first public address system in a big-league ballpark during a July 5 th game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

On September 25 th , New York Yankees manager Miller Huggins died from accidental blood poisoning at New York's St. Vincent Hospital at the age of forty-nine. On the day of his funeral in Cincinnati, the American League canceled all games. Yankees coach Art Fletcher remained, as interim skipper, and Bob Shawkey was brought in as the official manager for the 1930 season.

"I have always wanted to pitch in the World Series Mr. Mack. There is one great game left in this old arm." - Howard Ehmke
1929 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Philadelphia

128

Batting Average

Cleveland

.369

Doubles

Detroit

45

Detroit

St. Louis

Hits

Detroit

215

Detroit

Home Runs

New York

46

On Base Percentage

Philadelphia

.463

RBI

Philadelphia

157

Runs

Detroit

131

Slugging Average

New York

.697

Stolen Bases

Detroit

27

Total Bases

Philadelphia

373

Triples

Detroit

19

1929 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Chicago

24

ERA

Philadelphia

2.81

Games

Washington

49

Saves

Washington

11

Shutouts

St. Louis

5

St. Louis

St. Louis

Boston

Strikeouts

Philadelphia

170

Winning Percentage

Philadelphia

.769

Wins

Philadelphia

24

1929 American League

Team Standings

Philadelphia Athletics

104 46 .693 0

New York Yankees

88 66 .571 18

Cleveland Indians

81 71 .533 24

St. Louis Browns

79 73 .520 26

Washington Senators

71 81 .467 34

Detroit Tigers

70 84 .455 36

Chicago White Sox

59 93 .388 46

Boston Red Sox

58 96 .377 48

1929 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

St. Louis

589

Batting Average

Detroit

.299

Doubles

Detroit

339

Hits

Detroit

1,671

Home Runs

New York

142

On Base Percentage

Philadelphia

.365

Runs

Detroit

926

Slugging Average

Detroit

.453

Stolen Bases

Chicago

109

Triples

Detroit

97

1929 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Boston

84

ERA

Philadelphia

3.44

Fewest Hits Allowed

Philadelphia

1,371

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Washington

48

Fewest Walks Allowed

St. Louis

462

Saves

Philadelphia

24

Shutouts

St. Louis

15

Strikeouts

Philadelphia

573



On Opening Day in 1929 the Cleveland Indians became the first American League team to wear uniform numbers on their backs onto the field. The Yankees, who had a rain delay in New York, were the first to permanently add numbers to their uniforms on this same date.

On May 13, 1929, two teams with uniform numbers on their backs faced off for the first time in Major League history. The Indians won that historic game in League Park versus the Yankees 4-3.

The founding member of the 500 Home Runs Club made it official on August 11, 1929

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