Welcome to 2023, as we return to our second MLB Monday miniseries, looking at 1929 awards that didn’t exist back then. We’re taking on the World Series MVP Award, which would not be awarded until 1955, and the Manager of the Year awards, which would not be awarded until 1983. Eventually, we may add some Gold Gloves to this miniseries, but not for awhile, as the defensive metrics are so sketchy for the old-school seasons. In the meantime … enjoy!
1929 World Series MVP: Jimmie Foxx, 1B, Philadelphia (AL)
The Philadelphia Athletics won the first of three straight AL pennants and went on to crush the Chicago Cubs in five games to win the World Series for the first time since 1913. We say crushed, because Game 4 was perhaps the worst loss ever for any team in Fall Classic history: After the A’s won the first two games in Chicago, the Cubs came back to win Game 3 in Philly and then held an 8-0 lead in Game 4 by the middle of the seventh inning, also on the road. However, that would be Chicago’s high-water mark.
The A’s famously scored 10 runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to steal Game 4, and they went on to clinch the Series in Game 5 with a 3-2 victory. No wonder the Cubs didn’t win a World Series until 2016! But we digress … who was the MVP for Philadelphia? Well, it was either first baseman Jimmie Foxx (1.081 OPS, 2 HRs, 5 RBI)—our pick for AL MVP in 1932, 1933, and 1938—or it was pitcher Lefty Grove, who didn’t allow a run in two appearances while notching two saves.
The Cubs had a lineup dominated by righthanders, so the A’s didn’t start Grove in the Series. But by saving both Game 2 and Game 4, he played a pivotal role in the matchup, striking out 10 batters in just 6 1/3 IP while allowing only 3 hits. However, we will go with Foxx, who had huge hits in Game 1, Game 2, and Game 4 to be more consistently a thorn in the Cubs’ side. His two HRs broke scoreless ties in Game 1 and Game 2, respectively, and a single in Game 4 tied the score at 8-8. Foxx was pretty clutch.
1929 AL MOTY: Connie Mack, Philadelphia
The A’s won the pennant by a whopping 18 games over the two-time defending champion New York Yankees, and Philadelphia Manager Connie Mack posted the second-highest PPP mark (plus-4) in the league. With New York Manager Miller Huggins squeezing just a plus-1 PPP effort out of his roster, this award goes readily to Mack, for not screwing it up and for solid managerial achievement, as well. This is Mack’s fourth nod from us—but the first one since the 1911 season.
1929 NL MOTY: Joe McCarthy, Chicago
The Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates by 10.5 games for the NL flag, and Chicago Manager Joe McCarthy posted the highest PPP mark among winning managers (plus-4). Therefore, he wins his second NL MOTY nod from us in a row. Sidebar: New York Giants Manager John McGraw posted a shameful minus-8 PPP finish, and his team finished third, just 3 games behind Pittsburgh. This pennant very well may have come down to managing, and that’s another reason McCarthy gets our hardware here.