I’m beyond excited to present the 1926 season – the latest offering from Deep Drive Baseball! (PDF Store)
The championship was won by the National League’s representative from St. Louis, who bested the American League’s New York in a 7-game series that ended with Babe Ruth being thrown out trying to steal second base and move into scoring position as the potential tying runner.
It was the first-ever championship for St. Louis (N), who (at the time of this writing) has won 11 titles.
For New York (A), it was their 4th appearance in the title game since 1921.
The regular season featured great pennant races in both leagues.
In the NL, St. Louis and Cincinnati were back-and-forth until the final week of the season, with the former finally finishing 2 games ahead in the final standings. Pittsburgh and Chicago were each within 7 games as well.
In the AL, New York finished just 3 games up on Cleveland. 6th place Detroit was just 12 games behind, with 5 teams finishing within 10 games of the pennant-winners.
Lou Gehrig (.313, 16 HR, 109 RBI) joined Ruth (.372, 47 HR, 153 RBI) and Tony Lazzeri (.275, 18 HR, 117 RBI) to lead the New York (A) offense, while Herb Pennock (23-11, 3.62) and Urban Shocker (19-11, 3.38) led the pitching staff.
The championship team from St. Louis won behind Jim Bottomley (.299, 19 HR, 120 RBI), Rogers Hornsby (.317, 11 HR, 93 RBI), Bob O’Farrell (.293), Grover Alexander (12-10, 3.05) and Flint Rhem (20-7, 3.21).
Here’s a brief look at some of the set highlights.
All teams shown next to player names are the team on which the player card appears.
Most Deep Drive Readings
NYY Babe Ruth 10 PHA Al Simmons 10 NYY Lou Gehrig 9 CLE George Burns 9
No big surprise here, right? Ruth and Simmons each had 82 extra-base hits in 1926, while Gehrig had 83. But what’s really interesting is Burns, who had just 4 HR and 3 3B to go along with… sixty-four doubles.
Most Deep Drive Home Runs
NYY Babe Ruth 54 SLB Ken Williams 41 CHC Hack Wilson 31 NYY Bob Meusel 31
How do you get 47 homers in 1926? You pair a set-based 10 Deep Drives with 54 Home Run chances, that’s how. (Compare Ruth to some of the 2017 cards and you’ll see that if you do a cross-era game, Ruth will more than hold his own!) Williams only played 108 games, but had 17 homers in his 39 extra-base hits.
Most On-Base Chances
NYY Babe Ruth 33 CHW Eddie Collins 25 NYY Lou Gehrig 24 CHW Johnny Mostil 24 WSH Goose Goslin 24
Ruth led the league with a .516 on-base percentage, 71 points higher than any other qualifying batter (Harry Heilmann). The 39-year old Collins didn’t qualify for the league lead, but his .441 OBP would have put him among the league’s best.
Most Strike Out Readings
NYY Tony Lazzeri 11 PHI Bernie Friberg 10 NYY Babe Ruth 8 STL Ray Blades 8
New York led the American League in runs and also struck out a whopping 26% more than any other team (580 to 460), giving further evidence that strikeouts aren’t the end of the world. Lazzeri (96 SO) and Ruth (76) finished 1st and 3rd in the league.
Top Base Stealers
CHW Johnny Mostil 3 A CHW Bill Hunnefield 3 A NYG Ross Youngs 3 A
There aren’t a whole lot of high-stolen base guys in 1926, but these are some of the best. Be aware, though, that league stolen base rates weren’t too great back then. Players ran with reckless abandon, so even these A stealers will get pegged plenty often.
Fewest Deep Drive Readings – Starters
CHC Percy Jones 1 WSH General Crowder 1
Jones had one of the top ERA (3.09) in the NL. Crowder didn’t serve up many deep balls, but his walks and inability to hold opposing base runners will inflate his ERA.
Most Deep Drive Readings – Starters
DET Lil Stoner 6 BOS Paul Zahniser 6 STL Vic Keen 6 DET Wilbur Cooper 6
What does one even see about a guy who went by the name “Lil’ Stoner”? The 6 Deep Drives allowed will help boost him up towards that 5.47 ERA.
Fewest On-Base Chances – Starters
STL Pete Alexander 10 BRO Jesse Petty 11 PIT Ray Kremer 12 PHA Eddie Rommel 12
Pete led the league with a 1.11 WHIP, with Kremer, Petter and Pete Donahue each falling behind with a 1.18 WHIP. Knuckleballer Eddie Rommel’s 1.27 was one of the best in the AL.
Most Strikeout Readings – Starters
BRO Dazzy Vance 16 PHA Lefty Grove 15
Lefty Grove fanned 194 batters, 35 more than any other pitcher. Vance made just 22 starts, but struck out a league-best 7.5 men per 9 innings of work.
Best Hold Ratings – Starters
DET Wilbur Cooper -10 BOS Hal Wiltse -2 CLE Sherry Smith -2 SLB Joe Giard -2
I have trouble picturing 1926 pitching staffs from focusing on shutting down the opposing running game, but apparently it was important to Wilbur Cooper.
Worst Catcher Arms
WSH Muddy Ruel +1
Ruel was an on-base machine at the plate. Behind the plate, however? He’s going to give Washington pitchers fits.
CHW Earl Sheely 1B-5 WSH Joe Judge 1B-5 CIN Hughie Critz 2B-5 PHA Max Bishop 2B-5 CHW Willie Kamm 3B-5 BOS Topper Rigney SS-5 CHC Jimmy Cooney SS-5 CHW Bibb Falk LF-5 CLE Tris Speaker CF-5 PHI Freddy Leach CF-5 BOS Ira Flagstead CF-5 CHC Cliff Heathcote RF-5
Though none of them are at key defensive positions, check out Chicago (A) with three 5s out there! Both Chicago teams finished with league-best .974 fielding percentages. St. Louis (N) led in overall defensive efficiency and have a few 4s to show for it.