1920 World Series

Cleveland Indians (5) vs Brooklyn Robins (2)

As America was welcoming in a new and promising decade, baseball was longing for days gone by. The 1919 World Series had sparked a major controversy amid rumors of a gambling fix. Eight members of the participating Chicago White Sox were all charged with conspiring to throw the Fall Classic against the Cincinnati Reds. After a lengthy investigation and highly publicized trial (lasting until 1921), the Black Sox were acquitted despite their own confessions (which were recanted later). However, all of the players involved were later banned from baseball because of their undeniable link to gamblers.

Throughout the 1920 season, the league offices were constantly denying accusations from the press that professional baseball itself was in on the take and made every effort to assure the fans that the 1919 scandal was an isolated incident. In an effort to win back the fan's approval, the commissioner decided on another best-of-nine series and went to great lengths to promote the integrity of baseball in the papers. Still, many wondered if the fan's trust in baseball and more specifically, the World Series would ever fully recover. Only time would tell as the National League's Brooklyn Robins (who would later become the Dodgers) returned for their second series appearance against the American's Cleveland Indians.

In Game 1, Cleveland's starting right-hander, Stan Coveleski, stifled Brooklyn's line-up in a five hit, 3-1 opening winner, but the Robins answered back quickly in Game 2 with a fantastic performance by Burleigh Grimes, who tossed a seven hit, shutout that ended in a 3-0 series-tying victory.

Brooklyn maintained their momentum over the Indians in Game 3 on the arm of Series veteran Sherri Smith, who threw a 2-1, three hitter to take the early lead. Coveleski returned for Game 4 against Leon Cadore, who had gone the distance in one of the longest games in baseball history just five months earlier, a twenty-six inning 1-1 tie with Boston. Surprisingly, the Brooklyn workhorse only lasted one inning (in his only Series start) which ended in a 5-1 Cleveland decision.

With the Series tied at two games apiece, Brooklyn's Burleigh Grimes, returned to rematch Cleveland's Jim Bagby. This time, the Indians line-up came out swinging and promptly loaded the bases in the bottom of the first. Elmer Smith, a twenty-eight year-old outfielder, stepped up to the plate and into the record books by smashing the first grandslam in World Series history. The historic blast scored Charlie Jamieson, Bill Wambsganss, Tris Speaker (as well as Smith) sending the home team crowd into a deafening frenzy that set the tone for the rest of the game. The score remained 4-0 until the fourth when Bagby homered off of his rival with two men on base. Now with a 7-0 lead, the Indians looked to have the advantage, although their pitcher had already given up Series high eight hits in 4+ innings. Brooklyn had yet to score, but was headed in the right direction with Pete Kilduff and Otto Miller on base and in scoring position. Relief pitcher Clarence Mitchell, who had entered the game in the fourth, was Brooklyn's next batter. The versatile Robin, who was used as a pinch-hitter, outfielder and utility infielder hit a sharp line drive to second baseman Bill Wambsganss who caught the ball, stepped on the bag and tagged out a returning Miller to complete the first triple play (completely unassisted) in World Series history. After managing to score a run in the ninth, Brooklyn fell to the Indians in an 8-1 loss.

Cleveland remained in control and went on to shutout the Robins in both Games 6 and 7. Brooklyn's recently acquired Waiter Mails threw a superb three hit, 1-0 winner and Coveleski returned for his third five hitter of the Series in a 3-0 masterpiece. Amazingly, the Indian's pitching staff had held the Robins to just two runs in the final forty-three innings of the Series on their way to their first World Championship.

The victory was bittersweet though as the team was still recovering from the loss of one of it's own. Ray Chapman, a twenty-nine year-old shortstop known for excellent defense and leadership, died after being struck by a pitch on August 16 in New York. His teammates had persevered, gone the distance and went on to dedicate their win in his memory. For the second consecutive season, a "first-timer" had won the championship, but this time... it was legit.

The 1920 season will also be remembered as the year that witnessed the birth of one of sports greatest dynasties and the death of another. The New York Yankees, previously known as the laughable Highlanders, purchased an outfielder/pitcher named George Herman Ruth from the financially strapped Boston Red Sox. Ruth, who had hammered twenty-nine home runs (a Major League record for Boston in 1919), brought the game into a new era in 1920 by knocking out fifty-four. He also set attendance records at the Polo Grounds as he and the Yankees, playing their home games in the Giants' park, outdrew John McGraw's team by more than 350,000.

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"The score remained 4-0 (in Game 5) until the fourth when (Jim) Bagby became the first pitcher to homer in the Series. And Bagby made it a particularly meaningful shot, connecting off (Burleigh) Grimes with two runners on base." - The Sporting News

1920 World Series

1920 World Series Program

1920 World Series Program "Brooklyn Version"

1919 | Cleveland Indians (5) vs Brooklyn Robins (2) | 1921

Game 1
Date / Box Score
Location
1 st Pitch
From
To
John F. Hylan (Mayor of New York City, 1918-25)
Undetermined
Attendance
23,753
Game 2
Date / Box Score
Location
Attendance
22,559
Game 3
Date / Box Score
Location
Attendance
25,088
Game 4
Date / Box Score
Location
Dunn Field
Attendance
25,734
Game 5
Date / Box Score
Location
Dunn Field
Attendance
26,884
Game 6
Date / Box Score
Location
Dunn Field
Attendance
27,194
Game 7
Date / Box Score
Location
Dunn Field
Attendance
27,525
1920 World Series Fast Facts

1920 World Series
Game 1

Line Score / Box Score

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cleveland 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 5 0
Brooklyn 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 5 1
Stan Coveleski (W)
-
-
Rube Marquard (L)
Al Mamaux (7 th )
Leon Cardore (9 th )
None None

1920 World Series
Game 2

Line Score / Box Score

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cleveland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 1
Brooklyn 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 x 3 7 0
Jim Bagby (L)
George Uhle (7 th )
Burleigh Grimes (W)
-
None None

1920 World Series
Game 3

Line Score / Box Score

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cleveland 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 1
Brooklyn 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 x 2 6 1
Ray Caldwell (L)
Duster Mails (1 st )
George Uhle (8 th )
Sherry Smith (W)
-
-
None None

1920 World Series
Game 4

Line Score / Box Score

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Brooklyn 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 1
Cleveland 2 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 x 5 12 2
Leon Cardore (L)
Al Mamaux (2 nd )
Rube Marquard (3 rd )
Jeff Pfeffer (6 th )
Stan Coveleski (W)
-
-
-
None None

1920 World Series
Game 5

Line Score / Box Score

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Brooklyn 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 13 1
Cleveland 4 0 0 3 1 0 0 0 x 8 12 2
Burleigh Grimes (L)
Clarence Mitchell (4 th )
Jim Bagby (W)
-
None
-
Elmer Smith (1 st )
Jim Bagby (4 th )

1920 World Series
Game 6

Line Score / Box Score

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Brooklyn 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Cleveland 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 x 1 7 3
Sherry Smith (L) Duster Mails (W)
None None

1920 World Series
Game 7

Line Score / Box Score

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Brooklyn 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 2
Cleveland 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 x 3 7 3
Burleigh Grimes (L)
Al Mamaux (8 th )
Stan Coveleski (W)
-
None None

1920 World Series

Cleveland Indians

Composite Hitting Statistics

p
1b-4
p
p
of
3b
of-2
of-5
1b
2b
p
c-1
c
ss
of
of
c
p
2b
of
2
5
1
3
4
7
3
6
5
1
2
2
7
7
5
7
1
2
7
4
6
10
0
10
13
24
3
15
11
0
5
2
21
23
13
25
0
0
26
10
2
3
0
1
4
5
0
5
3
0
0
1
7
4
4
8
0
0
4
2
0
1
0
0
0
1
0
1
0
0
0
0
3
0
0
2
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
1
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
1
1
0
2
0
1
0
2
1
0
0
0
1
0
1
6
0
0
3
2
3
3
0
0
0
2
0
1
0
0
0
0
2
0
5
1
0
0
1
0
.333
.300
.000
.100
.308
.208
.000
.333
.273
.000
.000
.500
.333
.174
.308
.320
.000
.000
.154
.200
0
3
0
0
1
1
0
1
2
0
0
0
4
2
1
3
0
0
2
1
0
3
0
4
0
1
2
0
1
0
1
0
3
1
1
1
0
0
1
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Totals
217
53
9
2
2
21
18
.244
21
21
2

1920 World Series

Brooklyn Robins

Composite Hitting Statistics

p
of
p
3b
2b
1b
c-3
ph
p
p
pr
c
p-1
of
of-2
ss
p
ph
3b
p
of
2
7
3
4
7
7
4
3
3
2
1
6
2
7
4
7
1
1
3
2
7
0
21
6
14
21
23
6
3
1
1
0
14
3
26
5
25
1
1
11
6
27
0
4
2
3
2
4
1
0
0
0
0
2
1
6
0
8
0
0
2
0
9
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
1
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
2
0
3
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
.000
.190
.333
.214
.095
.174
.167
.000
.000
.000
.000
.143
.333
.231
.000
.320
.000
.000
.182
.000
.333
0
0
0
0
1
3
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
1
3
0
0
0
0
1
0
2
0
2
4
2
0
0
1
0
0
2
0
1
0
1
0
0
1
2
2
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Totals
215
44
5
1
0
8
8
.205
10
20
1

1920 World Series

Cleveland Indians

Composite Pitching Statistics

1
0
3
1
0
1
1
0
0
0
2
1
3
2
2
2
1
3
1
0
1
0
3
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
1
0
15.0
0.1
27.0
15.2
3.0
1.80
27.00
0.67
0.00
0.00
20
2
15
6
1
3
0
8
6
3
3
1
2
0
0
1
1
2
6
0
Totals
5
2
10
7
5
0
2
61.0
0.89
44
20
6
10

1920 World Series

Brooklyn Robins

Composite Pitching Statistics

0
1
0
0
0
0
1
1
2
0
1
0
0
1
2
3
3
2
1
1
2
1
3
0
1
0
0
2
0
1
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
2.0
19.1
4.0
9.0
4.2
3.0
17.0
9.00
4.19
4.50
3.00
0.00
3.00
0.53
4
23
2
7
3
4
10
1
4
5
6
1
1
3
2
9
2
3
0
1
1
1
9
0
3
3
2
3
Totals
2
5
14
7
3
0
1
59.0
2.75
53
21
18
21
baseball almanac flat baseball

baseball almanac fast facts

Game 5 of the 1920 World Series hosted many Series firsts including: Elmer Smith smashing the first ever grand slam during the first inning of play; in the fourth inning, Jim Bagby became the first pitcher to ever hit a home run during a Series; and the most improbable first happened in the fifth inning when Bill Wambsganss turned an unassisted triple-play, a feat that might never ever be duplicated...

The Cleveland Times ran the following article on Sunday, October 10, 1920. An article that describes in detail the improbable triple play:

Wamby Makes Unassisted Triple Play

CLEVELAND, Sunday Oct. 10, 1920 - Bill Wambsganss ' unassisted triple play highlighted the most unusual game in World Series history today and helped the Cleveland Indians to a wild 8-1 victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers. Elmer Smith hit a grand slam and Jim Bagby also homered as the Indians took the lead in games three to two. The triple play and grand slam were unprecedented in World Series history and Bagby became the first pitcher to homer in a World Series. "I've been in baseball 40 years," Dodger manager Wilbert Robinson said, "and I never saw one like this." The first Indian to face Burleigh Grimes was Charlie johnson , who singled. He stopped at second on Wambsganss' single. Then Grimes fell fielding Tris Speaker's bunt, loading the bases. Then Smith hit a 1-2 pitch over the rightfield screen for a 4-0 lead. In the home fourth, Doc Johnston singled to center and moved up on a passed ball. After Grimes put Steve O'Neill on, Bagby homered into the centerfield stands. Pete Kilduff began the top of the fifth with a single to left center. When Otto Miller singled to center, Speaker's quick throw to third drove Kilduff back to second. That brought up reliever Clarence Mitchell , who went six for sixteen as a pinch-hitter this season and sometimes fills in at first base and in the outfield. A lefthanded hitter, he drove the ball toward right center. Second baseman Wambsganss moved slightly to his right, tipped onto his toes, sprung a little bit and grabbed the ball with his gloved hand. Never hesitating, he continued to second base, easily doubling Kilduff. Then when Wamby turned to throw to first base he saw Miller frozen directly in front of him. Reaching out, Wamby tagged Miller easily. The crowd was silent momentarily, then , realizing what had happened, broke into thunderous applause. In the Brooklyn eighth, Ernie Krueger singled to center. But Mitchell grounded to first baseman Johnson, who started a double play. Thus, Mitchell made five outs in two at-bats.

Who do you believe would have won the World Series Most Valuable Player Award (had their been one in 1920)? Do you think it belongs to Jim Bagby (1.80 ERA & hitting the first World Series home run by a pitcher in a World Series game), Stan Coveleski (0.67 ERA and winner of three of the five Indians' games), Elmer Smith (most RBIs and first World Series grand slam) or Bill Wambgsanss (scored most runs and turned an unassisted triple play)? Share your thoughts on Baseball Fever .

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