YEAR IN REVIEW : 1919 National League

Off 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.

In 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.

In 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.

Around 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.

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"I cannot talk of the matter (fixing games). If anything is to be said, it must come from the players. As far as the Giants are concerned, (Hal) Chase and (Heinie) Zimmerman are through." - New York Giants Manager John McGraw

1919 National League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

New York
82
Cincinnati
.321
New York
31
Brooklyn
164
Philadelphia
12
New York
.396
Brooklyn
73
New York
86
Brooklyn
.436
New York
40
Brooklyn
223
Brooklyn
14
Pittsburgh

1919 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Pittsburgh
27
Chicago
1.72
St. Louis
45
St. Louis
4
Chicago
9
Chicago
141
Cincinnati
.760
New York
25

1919 National League

Team Standings

Cincinnati Reds 96 44 .686 0
New York Giants 87 53 .621 9
Chicago Cubs 75 65 .536 21
Pittsburgh Pirates 71 68 .511 24½
Brooklyn Robins 69 71 .493 27
Boston Braves 57 82 .410 38½
St. Louis Cardinals 54 83 .394 40½
Philadelphia Phillies 47 90 .343 47½

1919 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Cincinnati
405
New York
.269
Philadelphia
208
Brooklyn
1,272
Philadelphia
42
Cincinnati
.327
New York
605
New York
.366
Pittsburgh
196
Cincinnati
83

1919 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Brooklyn
98
Chicago
2.22
Fewest Hits Allowed
Cincinnati
1,104
Fewest Home Runs Allowed
Chicago
14
Fewest Walks Allowed
Pittsburgh
263
New York
13
Cincinnati
23
Chicago
495
baseball almanac flat baseball

baseball almanac fast facts

WAY before Cal Ripken Jr. there was Fred Luderus of the Phillies who broke Eddie Collins' record for consecutive games played (it was Luderus' four-hundred seventy-ninth) on August 2, 1919.

The quotation at the top of the page is in reference to the consistent complaints surrounding Hal Chase and his fixing of games by enlisting the help from teammates. Near the end of the year, National League president John Heydler acquired the "smoking gun" — a $500 gambling check — and Chase would be suspended then eventually banned from the game for life.

Two nearly unbeatable National League records occurred during the 1919 season: shortest doubleheader by time and shortest nine-inning game by time .

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