We return once more to our second MLB Monday miniseries, where we examine today the infamous 1927 season and non-existent awards at the time. This was the year of the mighty New York Yankees, who established many different standards for excellence during the regular season and the postseason. There’s always some truth behind the legends, but it never hurts to explore things fully on our own to decide the facts. Enjoy!
1927 World Series MVP: Babe Ruth, RF, New York (AL)
For a four-game sweep, this Fall Classic between the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates was a lot closer than sports historians or journalists have led posterity to believe. There were two one-run games, and there was only one true blowout game (Game 3). If Game 1 and Game 4 had gone the other way, this could have been a World Series more like the 1960 version. All that aside, we have to decide which New York player will win our MVP nod. There are a few options.
Yankees right fielder Babe Ruth led his team in HRs (2) and RBI (7), but he was just one of three players with incredible OPS marks for the Series: Ruth (1.271), first baseman Lou Gehrig (1.207), and shortstop Mark Koenig (1.111) all had outstanding performances at the plate. On the mound, New York only used four pitchers total, and Wilcy Moore was the best of them, posting a win, a save, and a 0.84 ERA in 10 2/3 innings. But he wasn’t dominant with a mere 1.219 WHIP and only 2 strikeouts.
Thus, it comes down to the hitters, perhaps as it should: Ruth also tied for the team lead in steals (1) in the Series, so we’re going to just go with that for this hardware. Koenig hit .500 over the four games but never drew a walk, and Gehrig somehow did not hit a HR in the matchup against Pittsburgh. In fact, Ruth hit the only two Yankees dingers in the Fall Classic. That seals the deal.
1927 AL MOTY: Miller Huggins, New York
With the Yankees winning the pennant by 19 games, all New York Manager Miller Huggins had to do was not screw it up, and he did just that with a plus-1 PPP effort. The best manager, by straight-up PPP, was Philadelphia Athletics Manager Connie Mack (plus-4), but with his team’s second-place finish, it didn’t really matter. The A’s did finish six games ahead of third-place Washington; however, it certainly wasn’t a pressure-packed race for also-ran status. Miller wins this nod by default.
This is his sixth MOTY trophy from us, including 5 with the Yankees. Perhaps he is one of the most underrated managers in the history of the sport … food for (later) thought.
1927 NL MOTY: Bob O’Farrell, St. Louis
Pittsburgh won a very close pennant race, beating the St. Louis Cardinals by 1.5 games and the New York Giants by 2 games. All three managers posted positive PPP marks, but Cards Manager Bob O’Farrell was the best with a plus-7 PPP effort. That edged out Giants Managers John McGraw and Rogers Hornsby (combined plus-6 PPP) and Pirates Manager Donie Bush (plus-2 PPP). Thus, O’Farrell will take home our trophy for almost getting his team to the pennant.
Incidentally, O’Farrell had won the 1926 NL MVP vote despite being just the third-most valuable player on his own team. So, maybe this is poetic justice.