Back for more? Our second MLB Monday miniseries now checks out the 1932 awards that didn’t exist at the time. This postseason saw the return of the New York Yankees to the World Series, after the Philadelphia Athletics had won three American League pennants in a row to minimize the prime seasons of first baseman Lou Gehrig and outfielder Babe Ruth. In truth, this would be the last of 10 Fall Classics in Ruth’s illustrious career; the fact he won seven “rings” is impressive. Enjoy!
1932 World Series MVP: Lou Gehrig, 1B, New York (AL)
The Yankees famously swept the Chicago Cubs in four games, outscoring them 37-19. This was the Series where Ruth allegedly “called his shot” against Cubs pitcher Charlie Root. Either way, four different N.Y. hitters posted OPS marks over 1.000 in the four games, while four different Yankees pitchers each got wins in the matchup as well. How do we choose an MVP? We have to narrow each group down first and then proceed to a final analysis. Here we go!
Hitters first … Despite Ruth’s heroics (1.233 OPS overall), the most dominant hitter in the Series was Gehrig—with 3 HRs, 8 RBI, and a 1.718 OPS. He also hit .529 in the four games, while walking twice and striking out just once. In addition, centerfielder Earl Combs (1.125 OPS) and second baseman Tony Lazzeri (1.015) shone brightly, the four stars combining for 8 HRs and 23 RBI against the Cubs. Yet no one outdid Gehrig here, so he steals Ruth’s thunder in the Babe’s last Series hurrah.
Pitchers next … To us, this comes down to Lefty Gomez, the Game 2 starter, or Herb Pennock, who saved Games 3 and 4 on the road in Chicago. Gomez allowed one earned run in 9 innings, while striking out 8 batters and posting a 1.111 WHIP. Pennock tossed four innings in two appearances, allowing 1 earned run and striking out 4 batters for a 0.750 WHIP. Game 3 was tied when Ruth hit the famous HR, and Pennock saved that game which could have changed the Series direction. We like Pennock here.
In the end, while Pennock did important things, Gehrig’s bat dominated the Series by a wide margin (almost 500 OPS points). He hit the only HR in Game 1; he led all players with 3 hits in Game 2; he hit two HRs in Game 3; and he drove in 3 runs in Game 4. The Chicago pitchers had no answer for Gehrig here, so he wins our MVP nod. Along with his 1928 nod from us, he ties Ruth as the only players to win this award from us twice (so far).
1932 AL MOTY: Joe McCarthy, New York
The Yankees won the pennant by 13 games over the A’s, with New York Manager Joe McCarthy posting the highest PPP mark in the league (plus 8). Philadelphia Manager Connie Mack was underwhelming with a minus-1 PPP effort, so what could have been a close pennant race turned into a cake walk for the Yankees, thanks to McCarthy’s wisdom and guiding hand. This is McCarthy’s first AL MOTY trophy from us, after he previously won three straight NL MOTY nods from us (1928-1930).
1932 NL MOTY: George Gibson, Pittsburgh
The Cubs finished 4 games ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates to win the pennant, in spite of the incredible managerial job done by George Gibson (plus-10 PPP). Chicago finished with a plus-4 PPP mark under two different managers, but the Cubs could have run away with this pennant. Instead, the Pirates put up an incredible fight to make it closer than it should have been. In fact, Pittsburgh was outscored on the season and should have finished under .500 instead of with an 86-68 record. Just incredible.
Gibson also won our NL MOTY nod back in 1921, by the way, when his team finished second as well. Go figure!