YEAR IN REVIEW : 1920 American League

Off the field...

After several decades, the Nineteenth Amendment was finally added to the Constitution granting nation-wide suffrage to women. Initiated in 1890 by the merger of the rival women's rights organizations into the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), the feminist movement's priority was to push for the ratification of enough state suffrage amendments to force Congress to approve a federal amendment declaring women's rights. Despite some radical factions that continued to address corollary issues, NAWSA's new approach focused the group's energies exclusively on recruiting new members and winning the vote for women.

In the American League...

On January 5 th , the New York Yankees officially announced the purchase of Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox. The disgruntled pitcher had been unable to reach a contract agreement and was eventually sold to Colonel Jacob Ruppert for $100,000 (plus a loan collateralized by Fenway Park). Later, his .376 batting average, fifty-four home runs and one-hundred thirty-seven runs batted in would generate an attendance of 1,289,422 fans in his first year and lead to the construction of Yankee Stadium.

The Detroit Tigers lost their first thirteen games tying the Major League mark for consecutive losses (at the start of a season) set by the 1904 Washington Senators.

Tragedy struck the Cleveland Indians organization after twenty-nine year-old shortstop Ray Chapman was beaned in the head by a Carl Mays pitch and died the following day from a fractured skull.

In the National League...

A plan originally developed by Brooklyn Dodgers owner Charles Ebbets many years ago was finally adopted with the annual drafting of players from the Minor Leagues taking place in reverse order of each teams' final standings.

Several hours before the start of Game 4, Brooklyn Robins standout Rube Marquard (a Cleveland native), was arrested after attempting to sell a World Series ticket to an undercover police officer for $350. Marquard was later found guilty and ordered to pay a fine and court costs totaling $3.80. Adding insult to injury, his hometown opponents went on to win the game 5-1.

On December 15 th , the National League revealed a startling statistic by reporting the use of 27,924 baseballs during the season, which represented an increase of 10,248 over 1919.

Around the League...

The Joint Rules Committee voted to ban the use of all foreign substances (saliva, resin, talcum powder, paraffin) as well as any other alterations (shine or emery) to balls by pitchers. As a result, the American League opted to allow two pitchers from each club the option to use a spitball for one more season. The Nationals set no limitations as long as all "practicing" pitchers were identified and any other pitcher who was caught cheating would be suspended for a minimum of ten days.

Lou Gehrig (a junior at New York City's School of Commerce) was introduced to the nation after hitting a grand slam out of Wrigley Field during a high school championship game against Lane Tech on June 26 th .

The 1919 World Series 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. 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.

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"I'd play for half my salary if I could hit in this dump (Wrigley Field) all the time." - Babe Ruth

1920 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

New York
148
St. Louis
.407
Cleveland
50
St. Louis
257
New York
54
New York
.530
New York
137
New York
158
New York
.847
Washington
63
St. Louis
399
Chicago
20

1920 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Cleveland
30
New York
2.45
Cleveland
48
Chicago
5
St. Louis
New York
6
Cleveland
133
Cleveland
.721
Cleveland
31

1920 American League

Team Standings

Cleveland Indians 98 56 .636 0
Chicago White Sox 96 58 .623 2
New York Yankees 95 59 .617 3
St. Louis Browns 76 77 .497 21½
Boston Red Sox 72 81 .471 25½
Washington Senators 68 84 .447 29
Detroit Tigers 61 93 .396 37
Philadelphia Athletics 48 106 .312 50

1920 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Cleveland
576
St. Louis
.308
Cleveland
300
St. Louis
1,651
New York
115
Cleveland
.376
Cleveland
857
New York
.426
Washington
160
Chicago
98

1920 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Chicago
109
New York
3.32
Fewest Hits Allowed
New York
1,414
Fewest Home Runs Allowed
Cleveland
31
Fewest Walks Allowed
Cleveland
401
St. Louis
14
New York
15
Detroit
483
baseball almanac flat baseball

baseball almanac fast facts

St. Louis finished the 1920 season with 50 home runs. Philadelphia had 44. Chicago had 37. Washington had 36. Cleveland had 35. Detroit had 30. Boston had 22. Babe Ruth had 54.

On July 1, 1920, Walter Johnson of Washington pitched a no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway and came within one error, by Bucky Harris , of a perfect game .

Did you know that on September 28, 1920, a grand jury in Chicago, Illinois indicted the eight White Sox players involved in the 1919 World Series scandal?

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