Our second MLB Monday miniseries examines 1931 awards that didn’t exist at the time. This was still an era where no team had ever won the World Series three years in a row, even though the new York Giants fell short in 1923 of becoming the first—thanks to a guy named Ruth. The Philadelphia Athletics also had a chance in October 1931 to win their third consecutive MLB title and cement themselves in the historical lore of the sport. Alas, it was not meant to be for Connie Mack & Co., either. Read on …
1931 World Series MVP: Bill Hallahan, SP, St. Louis (NL)
The St. Louis Cardinals won Game 7 at home to win the Fall Classic in seven games over the two-time defending champs, and they did it by beating 1930 WS MVP George Earnshaw. The Cards could not have done it without rookie centerfield Pepper Martin, who hit .500 in the Series with 1 home run, 5 RBI, 5 steals, and a 1.330 OPS. That is a pretty insane stat line, and it will be tough for any player to top that in our MVP analysis. But we have to try, nonetheless.
A’s left fielder Al Simmons also delivered a hot bat: 2 HRs, 8 RBI, and a 1.030 OPS. But Simmons was quiet in Game 7, when his team needed him most. On the pitching side for St. Louis, we like Bill Hallahan, who posted a 2-0 record and got the save in Game 7 as well, when he retired the final Philly batter with the tying runs on base. Will Bill pitched a total of 18 1/3 IP to the tune of a 0.49 ERA and a 1.091 WHIP. He won Game 2 over Earnshaw, and he also won Game 5 on the road to give the Cards an edge.
So, who do we choose here? Martin or Hallahan? Well, Martin did not have a hit in Game 7, and the fact Hallahan came out of the bullpen to retire the last batter under tremendous pressure—the batter was the go-ahead run—says a lot. Also, in holding the high-scoring A’s to just 1 one run in his two complete-game starts earlier in the Series, Hallahan gave his team a great shot to win it all. Winning Game 2 at home tied the Series, and winning Game 5 on the road gave the Cards a 3-2 lead in the Series. Case closed.
1931 AL MOTY: Connie Mack, Philadelphia
Well, the Grand Old Man of Baseball did it again: Mack posted a plus-10 PPP mark in leading Philadelphia to a third-straight AL pennant, this time by 13.5 games over the New York Yankees—whose new manager, Joe McCarthy, posted a minus-6 PPP mark. Do the math. Strange, too, as McCarthy was coming off three consecutive NL MOTY nods from us for his work with the Chicago Cubs. He must have needed an adjustment period to get used to his new roster? We’ll never know, but Mack wins his sixth MOTY.
1931 NL MOTY: Gabby Street, St. Louis
The Cardinals won the pennant by 13.5 games over the New York Giants, thanks to Manager Gabby Street and his plus-4 PPP mark, which was tied for best in the league. Meanwhile, his counterpart, Giants Manager John McGraw, posted a minus-6 PPP finish. The race could have been a lot closer if McGraw had been better. Little Napoleon won this award three times from us, but the last time was 1913—and it seems there have been a lot of seasons since then where he actually cost his team the pennant.