Year In Review : 1919 American League

O ff the field...

A federal prohibition act known as the "Volstead Act" was passed over the veto of President Woodrow Wilson making provisions for the enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment, which strictly forbid the manufacturing, sale, importing, or exporting of all intoxicating liquors. The act defined an intoxicating beverage as one containing more than .5% alcohol by volume and included all hard liquors and wines. It also gave federal agents the power to investigate and prosecute violations of the amendment at their own discretion.

On September 9 th , three-quarters of the Boston police force voted to go on strike. Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge quickly intervened to dismiss the strikers, stating that no labor dispute would be allowed to compromise public safety.

Race riots erupted in twenty-six U.S. cities during the summer including an extremely violent protest in Chicago that left thirty-eight dead, more than five-hundred injured, and many more homeless. The killing of a black teenager at the 26 th Street beach sparked the conflict, but racial tension had been brewing in the "Windy City" for years.

I n the American League...

In December, Colonel Jacob Ruppert purchased Babe Ruth from Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee. The New York Yankees owner paid a reported sum of $125,000 and guaranteed a $300,000 loan with Fenway Park as collateral for the promising pitcher/infielder who had completed the last season with fifty-four home runs and a .847 slugging percentage.

Chicago White Sox ace Eddie Cicotte (a member of the "Black Sox" scandal) beat the Philadelphia Athletics for the twelfth straight time on June 14 th en route to a 29-7 season and an astounding 1.82 ERA.

On June 23 rd , Boston Red Sox first baseman Stuffy McInnis made his first fielding error after successfully handling five-hundred twenty-six chances.

I n the National League...

On June 8 th , the Philadelphia Phillies outsmarted the New York Giants and broke the record for most stolen bases in an inning (set by Washington in 1915) after four runners made it to first base in the ninth and each stole both second and third.

Brooklyn Dodger Ed Konetchy went five-for-five on July 1 st during a 9-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies tallying his tenth straight hit and tying a record set by Washington's Jake Gettman in 1897.

The National League voted to ban the use of spitball's by all new pitchers. The ban was formally worked out by the Rules Committee the following February and was expanded to include the use of all foreign substances (saliva, resin, talcum powder, paraffin) as well as any other alterations (shine or emery) to balls by pitchers.

A round the league...

Anticipating a poor season at the gate, major league owners decided to open a reduced one-hundred forty game season. Despite the lack of close races, attendance remained high all year and every club managed to show a profit at the end of the year.

The 1919 World Series ignited the infamous "Black Sox" scandal after eight members of the participating White Sox including pitchers Eddie Cicotte and Claude (Lefty) Williams, outfielders Joe Jackson and Happy Felsch, first baseman Chick Gandil, shortstop Swede Risberg, third baseman Buck Weaver and reserve infielder Fred McMullin were all charged with conspiring to fix the outcome of the Fall Classic against the Cincinnati Reds. Cynics were tipped off before the Series even started when the pre-game betting odds swapped shortly before the first game. Despite the rumors, most fans and members of the press accepted the games to be true, but all that would change in 1920 as suspicions turned into confessions. To this day participants in the conspiracy have been denied entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

"I have pitched the best ball of my life, but I am not winning. The team (Red Sox) just deosn't win when I'm pitching, so I'm going home to Pennsylvania." - Carl Mays (July 12, 1919)
1919 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Cleveland

105

Batting Average

Detroit

.384

Doubles

Detroit

45

Hits

Detroit

191

Home Runs

Boston

29

On Base Percentage

Boston

.456

RBI

Boston

114

Runs

Boston

103

Slugging Average

Boston

.657

Stolen Bases

Chicago

33

Total Bases

Boston

284

Triples

Detroit

17

1919 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Chicago

30

ERA

Washington

1.49

Games

Washington

45

Saves

New York

5

Boston

New York

Washington

Shutouts

Washington

7

Strikeouts

Washington

147

Winning Percentage

Chicago

.806

Wins

Chicago

29

1919 American League

Team Standings

Chicago White Sox

88 52 .629 0

Cleveland Indians

84 55 .604

New York Yankees

80 59 .576

Detroit Tigers

80 60 .571 8

St. Louis Browns

67 72 .482 20½

Boston Red Sox

66 71 .482 20½

Washington Senators

56 84 .400 32

Philadelphia Athletics

36 104 .257 52

1919 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Cleveland

498

Batting Average

Chicago

.287

Doubles

Cleveland

254

Hits

Chicago

1,343

Home Runs

New York

45

On Base Percentage

Cleveland

.354

Runs

Chicago

667

Slugging Average

Cleveland

.381

Stolen Bases

Chicago

150

Triples

Detroit

84

1919 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Boston

89

ERA

New York

2.82

Fewest Hits Allowed

New York

1,143

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Boston

16

Fewest Walks Allowed

Chicago

342

Saves

Cleveland

10

Washington

Shutouts

Boston

15

Strikeouts

Washington

536



On April 23, 1919, Walter Johnson threw a record fifth career Opening Day shutout. President Woodrow Wilson missed this occasion, but sent Army Chief of Staff General Peyton C. March who became the first active General to throw out an Opening Day pitch.

Did you know that on May 20, 1919, Babe Ruth , who pitched seventeen games during the season for the Red Sox, hit his first career grand slam (6-4 win versus St. Louis)?

Strange, but true — on August 24, 1919, Ray Caldwell of Cleveland was about to deliver a pitch when he was struck by lightning. Caldwell recovered and won the game 2-1 versus the Athletics.

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