Year In Review : 1931 American League

O ff the field...

Organized Crime icon Al Capone was finally convicted by a grand jury and sentenced to eleven years in prison for tax evasion. The American gangster had repeatedly escaped prosecution even after being implicated in multiple murders and had received numerous accolades from businessmen and politicians. His crime syndicate, which terrorized Chicago in the 1920s while controlling gambling and prostitution, was estimated by the federal Bureau of Internal Revenue to have taken in $105 million in 1927 alone.

"The Star-Spangled Banner" was officially made the national anthem by Congress, although it already had been adopted as such by the U.S. Armed Forces. On Sept. 13, 1814, Francis Scott Key visited the British fleet in Chesapeake Bay to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes, who had been captured after the burning of Washington, DC. Key was forced to seek shelter onboard a ship overnight during the shelling of Fort McHenry in Baltimore. In the morning, he was so delighted to see the American flag still flying over the fort that he began a poem to commemorate the occasion.

I n the American League...

The Major League record for catching fly balls was set during a June 29 th doubleheader between Detroit and Philadelphia. On the way to both 9-1 and 5-1 victories, the Tiger's outfielders boasted twenty-four putouts and the Athletics answered back with nineteen of their own for a two-team total of forty-three fly-outs in two games.

On July 7 th , the St. Louis Browns and Chicago White Sox met for a twelve inning marathon in which not a single strikeout was recorded. The 10-8 decision still remains the longest game in Major League history not to record a single "K".

Philadelphia Athletics ace Lefty Grove (25-2) recorded a 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on August 9 th for his sixteenth consecutive victory to tie an American League record originally set by Walter Johnson and Joe Wood in 1912.

I n the National League...

Chicago Cubs player / manager, Rogers Hornsby, inserted himself into the line-up on April 24 th and hit three consecutive home runs to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 10-6 at Forbes Field. Hornsby went on to lead the Cubs into third place (while batting .331), but was eventually fired due to a lifelong compulsion with gambling that had landed him in debt.

Wally Berger, the Boston Braves centerfielder who had established two National League rookie records with thirty-eight home runs and one-hundred nineteen runs batted in during 1930, tied a modern mark for the outfield by recording four assists during a Socks Seibold 2-0 shutout over the Philadelphia Phillies on April 27 th .

Pittsburgh Pirates' outfielder Adam Comorosky proved that lightning could strike twice after making an unassisted double play on May 31 st against the Chicago Cubs and another double player on June 13 th against the New York Giants.

A round the league...

On February 15 th , the New York Yankees' spring training facility in St. Petersburg, Florida was officially renamed "Miller Huggins Field" in honor of the team's late manager.

The Chicago White Sox and New York Giants met for the first major league night game (at Buffs Stadium, Houston Texas) on February 21 st . Both teams combined to collect twenty-three hits during the ten-inning exhibition.

On April 2 nd , a seventeen-year-old female named Jackie Mitchell from the Double A "Chattanooga Lookouts" took the mound against the mighty New York Yankees in a spring training exhibition. Mitchell, mainly a "gate attraction", boasted a single pitch, which was a wicked, dropping curve ball. The first two batters she faced from "Murderers Row" were Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. After seven pitches Mitchell fanned the "Sultan of Swat" AND the "Iron Horse," back-to-back.

"I went in and tore the clubhouse up - wrecked the place, tore those stall lockers off the wall and everything else (after ending his 16 game winning streak on August 23, 1931 with a loss to St. Louis)." - Lefty Grove
1931 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

New York

128

Batting Average

Philadelphia

.390

Doubles

Boston

67

Hits

New York

211

Home Runs

New York

46

New York

On Base Percentage

New York

.495

RBI

New York

184

Runs

New York

163

Slugging Average

New York

.700

Stolen Bases

New York

61

Total Bases

New York

410

Triples

Detroit

19

1931 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Cleveland

27

Philadelphia

ERA

Philadelphia

2.06

Games

Washington

55

Saves

Boston

10

Shutouts

Philadelphia

4

Strikeouts

Philadelphia

175

Winning Percentage

Philadelphia

.886

Wins

Philadelphia

31

1931 American League

Team Standings

Philadelphia Athletics

107 45 .704 0

New York Yankees

94 59 .614

Washington Senators

92 62 .597 16

Cleveland Indians

78 76 .506 30

St. Louis Browns

63 91 .409 45

Boston Red Sox

62 90 .408 45

Detroit Tigers

61 93 .396 47

Chicago White Sox

56 97 .366 51½

1931 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

New York

748

Batting Average

New York

.297

Doubles

Cleveland

321

Hits

New York

1,667

Home Runs

New York

155

On Base Percentage

New York

.383

Runs

New York

1,067

Slugging Average

New York

.457

Stolen Bases

New York

138

Triples

Washington

93

1931 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Philadelphia

97

ERA

Philadelphia

3.47

Fewest Hits Allowed

Philadelphia

1,342

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Boston

54

Fewest Walks Allowed

St. Louis

448

Saves

Washington

24

Shutouts

Philadelphia

12

Strikeouts

New York

686



On April 26, 1931, Lou Gehrig lost a home run from his career total when the ball bounced back onto the field, was fielded by Sam Rice of the Senators, and thrown back towards the infielders. Lyn Lary , who was on first base, thought the ball was caught so after rounding third he headed into the dugout. Gehrig touched home (passing the runner), was called out, and credited by the official scorer with a triple costing him a home run and eventually the exclusive home run title for the 1931 season.

Every fan knows who hit the most home runs during a single season. But, do you know which pitcher hit the most home runs during a season? That Major League record belongs to Wes Ferrell of the Cleveland Indians who slammed nine during the 1931 season.

Significant dates in 1931 included: August 8 - Bobby Burke no hitting the Red Sox, August 18 - Lou Gehrig's 1,000th consecutive game, and August 21 - Babe Ruth's 600th career home run.

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