After being mired in mediocrity for most of their first 23 American League seasons, the Washington Senators captured their second straight league championship in 1925, finishing the campaign with a record of 96-55, 8 ½ games ahead of the second-place Philadelphia Athletics. The Senators won the pennant even though they finished just fourth in the junior circuit with 829 runs scored.
The tandem of Goose Goslin and Sam Rice paced the Senators on offense. Goslin hit 18 home runs, batted .334, accumulated 201 hits, placed among the league leaders with 113 runs batted in and 116 runs scored, and led the league with 20 triples. Rice hit .350 and finished near the top of the league rankings with 111 runs scored, 227 hits, and 26 stolen bases. Yet, surprisingly, the baseball writers selected Washington shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh as the league’s Most Valuable Player, even though he posted relatively modest numbers. Peckinpaugh finished the year with a solid .294 batting average, but he knocked in only 64 runs, scored just 67 others, and collected only 124 hits.
The Senators’ greatest strength lay in their pitching staff, which surrendered a league-low 670 runs to the opposition. Stan Coveleski finished 20-5 with a league-leading 2.84 earned run average. After being released by Brooklyn, Dutch Ruether posted a mark of 18-7 for Washington. Meanwhile, 37-year-old Walter Johnson went 20-7 with a 3.07 ERA.
The Senators subsequently faced the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series, eventually falling to their National League counterparts in seven games. After winning Games One and Four, Walter Johnson lost the decisive seventh contest by a score of 9-7, with his defense betraying him by allowing the Pirates to score four unearned runs. Roger Peckinpaugh struggled terribly in the field throughout the Series, committing a total of eight errors. Outfielder Sam Rice provided Washington fans with their greatest thrill of the Fall Classic by making a diving circus catch of Earl Smith’s Game Three drive into the right field stands.
Babe Ruth’s absence from New York’s lineup for much of the year helped the Senators finish atop the A.L. standings for the second straight time. Showing up at spring training overweight and worn-down, the 30-year-old outfielder suffered an intestinal abscess brought on by too much eating and drinking. Stomach surgery and a suspension levied by manager Miller Huggins for insubordination subsequently limited Ruth’s season to only 98 games, causing the Yankees to fall to seventh place in the league, with a record of just 69-85.
Washington’s stiffest competition in the junior circuit ended up being a young and improving Philadelphia Athletics team that appeared to be very much on the rise. Rookies Lefty Grove and Mickey Cochrane joined second-year man Al Simmons to help the A’s post 88 victories over the course of the regular season. Simmons established himself as arguably the American League’s best player by placing among the league leaders with 24 home runs, 129 runs batted in, 122 runs scored, 43 doubles, and a .387 batting average, and leading the league with 253 base hits, 392 total bases, and a .599 slugging percentage.
Other notable events from around the league and players who distinguished themselves over the course of the season included:
• May 5 - New York Yankees shortstop Everett Scott’s record streak of 1,307 consecutive games played came to an end when rookie Pee-Wee Wanninger replaced him in New York’s 6-2 loss to Philadelphia. Scott had played shortstop in every game from June 20, 1916, to May 5, 1925. Lou Gehrig eventually surpassed his mark on August 17, 1933.
• May 5 – Ty Cobb went 6-for-6 against St. Louis pitching, with three home runs.
• May 17 – Cleveland’s Tris Speaker reached the 3,000-hit plateau against Tom Zachary during a 2-1 loss to the Washington Senators.
• June 1 - Lou Gehrig pinch hit for Pee-Wee Wanninger to begin his 2,130 consecutive games played streak.
• June 6 - Eddie Collins of the Chicago White Sox recorded his 3,000th career hit.
• July 23 - Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig hit the first of his major league record 23 grand slams to beat Firpo Marberry and the Senators, 11–7.
• Joe Harris of the Senators led all 1925 World Series hitters with a .440 batting average, three homers, and six runs batted in.
• New York Yankee outfielder Bob Meusel led the American League with 33 home runs and 138 runs batted in.
• Harry Heilmann continued his penchant for winning the American League batting title every other year by hitting a league-leading .393.
• Joe Sewell of Cleveland established a new major league record for everyday players by striking out only four times over the course of the regular season.
• Sam Rice collected an American League record 182 singles.
• Walter Johnson established a single-season record for pitchers with at least 75 at-bats by compiling a batting average of .433.
• St. Louis first baseman George Sisler established an American League record by starting the season with a 34-game hitting streak.
• A's rookie Mickey Cochrane became the first catcher to hit three home runs in a game.
• St. Louis Browns pitcher Elam Vangilder established a new major league record by winning 11 games in relief.
• Chicago White Sox outfielder Johnny Mostil led the American League with 135 runs scored and 43 steals.
• Philadelphia compiled a league-leading .307 team batting average.
• Tris Speaker, at age 37, batted .389 and led the American League with a .479 on-base percentage.
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- 1925 World Series, Al Simmons, American League, Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel, Dutch Ruether, Earl Smith, Eddie Collins, Elam Vangilder, Everett Scott, Firpo Marberry, George Sisler, Goose Goslin, Harry Heilmann, Joe Harris, Joe Sewell, Johnny Mostil, Lefty Grove, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Cochrane, Miller Huggins, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Roger Peckinpaugh, Sam Rice, Stan Coveleski, Tom Zachary, Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Washington Senators