Wednesday, November 18, 2009

PTWSW #21: The 1924 Washington Senators

Manager: Bucky Harris
Record: 92-62
Ballpark: Griffith Stadium
Owners: Clark Griffith and William M. Richardson
Coaches: Nick Altrock, Al Schacht

Future Hall of Famers: Goose Goslin, Bucky Harris, Walter Johnson, Sam Rice

Team Leaders, Batting

Goose Goslin, .344
OBP: Goose Goslin, .421
SLG: Goose Goslin, .516
OPS: Goose Goslin, .937
2B: Sam Rice, 39
3B: Goose Goslin, 17
HR: Goose Goslin, 12
RBI: Goose Goslin, 129 (AL leader)
BB: Roger Peckinpaugh, 72
SB: Sam Rice, 24

Team Leaders, Pitching

Walter Johnson, 23 (AL leader)
SO: Walter Johnson, 158 (AL leader)
ERA: Walter Johnson, 2.72 (AL leader)
IP: Walter Johnson, 277.2
CG: Walter Johnson, 20
SHO: Walter Johnson, 6 (AL leader)
K/BB: Walter Johnson, 2.05 (AL leader)
SV: Firpo Marberry, 15 (AL leader)


Oldest Player:
Technically it was Nick Altrock (b. September 15, 1876), but he was actually a coach. Among regular players it was Walter Johnson (b. November 6, 1887).

Youngest Player: Bennie Tate (b. December 3, 1901)

First to Leave Us: Ralph Miller (d. March 18, 1939)

Last Survivor: Showboat Fisher (d. May 15, 1994)

First in Majors: Once again, Nick Altrock (debut July 14, 1898) is the technical winner here, but Walter Johnson (debut August 2, 1907) debuted first among regulars.

Last in Majors: Ossie Bluege (final game July 13, 1939)

First to Play For the Franchise: Walter Johnson (August 2, 1907)

Last to Play For the Franchise: Ossie Bluege (July 13, 1939)

Pre-union Team: The 1917-19 Yankees had four: George Mogridge, Roger Peckinpaugh, Muddy Ruel and Allen Russell.

Reunion Team: The 1925 Red Sox had three: Doc Prothro, Ted Wingfield and Paul Zahniser.


Sam Rice, 31-game hitting streak
Walter Johnson, Pitching Triple Crown
Goose Goslin, cycle on August 28
Walter Johnson, AL MVP
Firpo Marberry, 15 saves, new Major League record

Season Summary

For the last decade the Senators had been a middling team with no real pennant hopes. Just the previous season, in fact, they'd finished in fourth place with a mediocre 75-78 record. Owner Clark Griffith responded by firing manager Donie Bush and tabbing his 27-year-old second baseman Stanley "Bucky" Harris as player-manager. The move would prove to be a wise one.

Even though it was several years into the live ball era, you'd think the Senators were a deadball team from a look at their stats. Griffith Stadium was a pitcher's park, so they relied on the traditional speed, defense and pitching formula to win games. Their 22 team homers (led by Goose Goslin's 12) were last in the AL, and their 116 steals were second only to the White Sox. In an eight-team league they were sixth in runs scored per game. The pitching staff, led by ace Walter Johnson, blew away all competitiors with a 121 ERA+, and their defensive efficiency was also tops by a good margin. Their innovative employment of Firpo Marberry as a bullpen ace paid off, as he racked up 15 saves (retroactively figured, of course). Allen Russell was second on the team (and in the league) with eight saves of his own.

The AL was wide-open in 1924. The Senators were 24-26 on June 16, but they were only four and a half games behind the first-place Yankees. They proceeded to win 17 of their next 19 games to take first place. The Senators were a streaky team all year. They fell out of first on July 11 and fluctuated between second and third until late August. On August 28 they beat the first-place Yankees to take over the top spot, where they remained the rest of the season. The Yankees fought their way back to tie a few times, but they never could overtake Washington. It snapped a three-year New York pennant streak.

Over in the NL the New York Giants won their fourth straight pennant to face the Senators in the World Series. The presence of Walter Johnson, one of baseball's most respected figures, made the Senators a sentimental favorite over the big-market Giants. The Giants beat Johnson in both Games 1 and 5, after which they led the Series 3-2. The Senators won Game 6 and took a risk in Game 7. Harris started right-handed pitcher Curly Ogden and replaced him with lefty George Mogridge after two batters to gain the platoon advantage. After eight innings, with the game tied 3-3, Johnson entered in relief. This time "The Big Train" would be a hero. He held the Giants scoreless the rest of the way, and the Senators won in the 12th inning when Earl McNeely's grounder hit a pebble and bounced over third baseman Fred Lindstrom's head, scoring the winning run.


Baseball Reference
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