Year In Review : 1917 American League

O ff the field...

The United States officially declared war on Germany as imperial, territorial, and economic rivalries led to the "Great War" between the Central Powers (Austria-Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria, and Turkey) and the Allies (U.S., Britain, France, Russia, Belgium, Serbia, Greece, Romania, Montenegro, Portugal, Italy, Japan). In the end, ten million combatants were killed and over twenty million were wounded.

American painter and illustrator James Montgomery Flagg designed over forty-five patriotic posters including the "I Want You" edition that featured Uncle Sam and attracted thousands of recruits to register for WWI military duty. Flagg also wrote for Life Magazine and Judge, and even acted in silent films. These were so well received that during World War One he was asked to write promotional films for both the Marines and the Red Cross. After the war, it was the magazines of America that were his gallery and nearly every major publisher featured his art at one time or another.

I n the American League...

New York Yankees lefty George Mogridge tossed a 2-1 no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox on April 24 th for the second of an American League record five no-hitters.

American League president Ban Johnson instructed all AL umpires not to tolerate unnecessary delays. His statement was in support of a complaint by Charles Comiskey that protested some managers and players who he felt were intentionally stretching games to two hours or more.

On September 15 th , the Washington Senators' Harry Harper and Walter Johnson tossed back-to-back shutouts (5-0, 4-0) during a double header against the Philadelphia Athletics.

I n the National League...

In April, the Cincinnati Reds purchased Olympic icon Jim Thorpe from the Giants, but eventually sent him back to New York in August. Thorpe never experienced the same success on a baseball diamond that he had in the Olympics and retired after an undistinguished six-season career.

On May 26 th , St. Louis Cardinals slugger Walton Cruise became the first player ever to hit a ball out of Braves Park. His four-hundred two foot blast landed in the twenty-five cent stands in right field (known as the "Jury Box"). Amazingly, the next ball hit out of the park also came off the bat of Cruise (1921) when he returned as a Boston Brave.

Hank Gowdy of the Boston Braves became the first Major League player to enlist in the armed forces after he registered with the Ohio National Guard. During the war, Gowdy saw considerable action in France and after he returned in 1919, he shared Boston's catching duties before he was re-acquired by the New York Giants in 1923.

A round the league...

Organized Baseball officially terminated relations with the union, leaving the players without representation. Players Fraternity president, Dave Fultz, called off a strike in which the players were attempting to eliminate a ten-day clause, in which teams refused to pay any injured player after ten days.

America's entry into WWI combined with an unusually wet spring to postpone forty-eight National League games in the first month. As a result, half of all Major League clubs showed losses for the year and eight of twenty Minor League teams folded before the end of the season. On a side note, the American League petitioned the United States Army to assign drill sergeants to each team for daily pre-game drills.

In June, 21,000 New York fans were treated to inter-league play as the Giants and Yankees met for the first Sunday game in the "Big Apple" (a war charity exhibition).

"Even then, on his biggest day in baseball, (Ernie) Shore's solid accomplishment was overshadowed by the Babe's (Ruth) personality." - Robert W. Creamer in Babe : The Legend Comes To Life (1974)
1917 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Cleveland

94

Batting Average

Detroit

.383

Doubles

Detroit

44

Hits

Detroit

225

Home Runs

New York

9

On Base Percentage

Detroit

.444

RBI

Detroit

103

Runs

Detroit

112

Slugging Average

Detroit

.570

Stolen Bases

Detroit

55

Total Bases

Detroit

335

Triples

Detroit

24

1917 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Boston

35

ERA

Chicago

1.53

Games

Chicago

50

Saves

Chicago

9

Shutouts

Cleveland

9

Strikeouts

Washington

188

Winning Percentage

Chicago

.750

Wins

Chicago

28

1917 American League

Team Standings

Chicago White Sox

100 54 .649 0

Boston Red Sox

90 62 .592 9

Cleveland Indians

88 66 .571 12

Detroit Tigers

78 75 .510

Washington Senators

74 79 .484 25½

New York Yankees

71 82 .464 28½

St. Louis Browns

57 97 .370 43

Philadelphia Athletics

55 98 .359 44½

1917 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Cleveland

549

Batting Average

Detroit

.259

Doubles

Cleveland

218

Hits

Detroit

1,317

Home Runs

New York

27

On Base Percentage

Chicago

.329

Runs

Chicago

656

Slugging Average

Detroit

.344

Stolen Bases

Chicago

219

Triples

Chicago

81

1917 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Boston

115

ERA

Chicago

2.16

Fewest Hits Allowed

Boston

1,197

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Chicago

10

Fewest Walks Allowed

Boston

413

Chicago

Saves

Cleveland

22

Shutouts

Chicago

22

Strikeouts

Washington

637



On June 30, 1908, Cy Young threw a no-hitter versus the New York Yankees. On June 21, 1916, Rube Foster threw a no-hitter versus the New York Yankees. On April 24, 1917, George Mogridge (a left-hander) threw the first no-hitter FOR the Yankees organization.

On June 23, 1917, Babe Ruth started the game with four called balls. Ruth was upset with each call and visited umpire Brick Owens at the plate each time. After issuing the base on balls to Eddie Foster , Ruth punched Owens and was ejected. Ernie Shore relieved Ruth and Foster was caught stealing on a pick-off. Shore went on to retire the next twenty-six batters for a game that some experts call a perfect game. Others disagree. Share your opinion in our history forum .

On June 30, 1917, Ty Cobb displayed his power when he hit an opposite-field home run in Sportsman's Park that cleared the left-field bleachers — a shot believed to be the longest ever hit in St. Louis.

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