Thursday, October 29, 2009

PTWSW #19: The 1922 New York Giants

Manager: John McGraw
Record: 93-61
Ballpark: Polo Grounds
Owners: Francis X. McQuade and Charles Stoneham
Coaches: Jesse Burkett, Cozy Dolan, Hughie Jennings

Future Hall of Famers: Dave Bancroft, Frankie Frisch, Travis Jackson, George Kelly, Casey Stengel, Ross Youngs

Team Leaders, Batting

Frank Snyder, .343
OBP: Ross Youngs, .398
SLG: Irish Meusel, .509
OPS: Irish Meusel, .877
2B: Dave Bancroft, 41
3B: Irish Meusel, 17
HR: George Kelly, 17
RBI: Irish Meusel, 132
BB: Dave Bancroft, 79
SB: Frankie Frisch, 31

Team Leaders, Pitching

Art Nehf, 19
SO: Rosy Ryan, 75
ERA: Phil Douglas, 2.63 (NL leader)
IP: Art Nehf, 268.1
CG: Art Nehf, 20
SHO: Jesse Barnes, Art Nehf, 2
K/BB: Jesse Barnes, 1.37
SV: Claude Jonnard, 5 (NL leader)


Oldest Player: Fred Toney (b. December 11, 1888)

Youngest Player: Travis Jackson (b. November 2, 1903)

First to Leave Us: Ross Youngs (d. October 22, 1927)

Last Survivor: Carmen Hill (d. January 1, 1990)

First in Majors: Technically it was Cozy Dolan, who debuted on August 15, 1909, but he was a coach who only got into one game. Among regular players, it was Fred Toney, whose debut was on April 15, 1911.

Last in Majors: Fred Johnson (final game May 10, 1939). Johnson actually spent 1924 through 1937 in the minors before resurfacing with the Browns for two years.

First to Play For the Franchise: Heinie Groh (April 12, 1912)

Last to Play For the Franchise: Travis Jackson (September 24, 1936)

Pre-union Team: The 1919 Braves (Red Causey, Art Nehf, Johnny Rawlings, Hugh McQuillan and Jack Scott) and 1920 Phillies (Dave Bancroft, Red Causey, Irish Meusel, Johnny Rawlings and Casey Stengel) each had five.

Reunion Team: The 1924 Braves with five (Dave Bancroft, Jesse Barnes, Bill Cunningham, Earl Smith and Casey Stengel). Also noteworthy are the pennant-winning 1927 Pirates with four (Mike Cvengros, Heinie Groh, Carmen Hill and Earl Smith).


Ross Youngs, cycle on April 29

Season Summary

The Giants' offense led the league in only one major category (though it didn't exist at the time): on-base percentage. They were second- or third-best everywhere else. Their defensive efficiency and fielding percentage were both tops in the Senior Circuit, and those first-rate glovemen helped the pitching staff allow the fewest runs and post a league-best 116 ERA+.

The pennant race wasn't a come-from-behind story like the previous year's. The Giants spent almost the entire season in first place, with only the Cardinals pulling ahead of them at any point after the first few weeks. The most exciting period of the season was between July 14 and August 16, when neither team had more than a 2.5-game lead.

Perhaps the most noteworthy event that season was the scandal involving pitcher "Shufflin' Phil" Douglas. Douglas was a talented but problematic player who often butted heads with John McGraw. In July he wrote a letter to Cardinals outfielder Les Mann offering to quit the Giants in exchange for money, thereby leaving his detested manager shorthanded in the pennant race. Instead of dealing with Douglas, Mann sent the letter to McGraw. When confronted with the evidence, Douglas confessed his guilt and was subsequently banned from baseball. It was the most shocking incident to hit the American Pastime since the "Black Sox" were exposed two years earlier.

The loss of Douglas didn't hurt the Giants as much as the pitcher thought it would. McGraw's men won the pennant by seven games and got a rematch with the Yankees in the World Series. The Yankees won three Series games the previous year, but this time they wouldn't manage to win even one. The closest they'd come would be a tie when Game 2 was called on account of darkness. The Giants got two of their wins on 8th-inning comebacks, including the clinching Game 5. George Kelly's two-run single scored the tying and go-ahead runs, and the Yankees went quietly in the 9th to give the Giants back-to-back titles.


Baseball Reference
Baseball Almanac
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