The Pittsburgh Pirates ended New York’s four-year reign as National League champions in 1925, finishing 8 ½ games ahead of the second-place Giants, with a record of 95-58. While the Pirates had a solid pitching staff that placed third in the N.L. rankings in runs allowed (715), it was their potent offense that enabled them to replace the Giants atop the National League standings. Pittsburgh’s league-leading total of 912 runs scored exceeded by almost 100 the mark posted by the second-highest scoring team in the circuit.
The quartet of Glenn Wright, Max Carey, Pie Traynor, and Kiki Cuyler paced the Pirates on offense. Shortstop Wright hit 18 home runs, batted .308, scored 97 runs, and finished among the league leaders with 121 runs batted in. Carey batted .343, scored 109 runs, and led the league with 46 stolen bases. Traynor batted .320, drove in 106 runs, and scored 114 others. Cuyler earned a second-place finish in the league MVP voting by hitting 18 home runs, knocking in 102 runs, batting .357, accumulating 220 hits, and topping the senior circuit with 144 runs scored and 26 triples.
Pittsburgh concluded the campaign by defeating the Washington Senators in seven games in the World Series. Although the Pirates lost Games One and Four to Walter Johnson, they took advantage of fielding miscues by the Senators to score four unearned runs against him in the decisive seventh contest, en route to posting a 9-7 victory. The World Series win gave the Pirates their first world championship since the days of Honus Wagner.
Although the Pirates had the National League’s best offense, the fourth-place St. Louis Cardinals featured the circuit’s top hitter. Rogers Hornsby won his second Triple Crown by leading the league with 39 home runs, 143 runs batted in, and a .403 batting average. He also led the loop with a .489 on-base percentage and a .756 slugging percentage, while placing among the leaders with 133 runs scored and 203 hits. Hornsby’s exceptional performance earned him recognition as the National League’s Most Valuable Player.
Meanwhile, the third-place Cincinnati Reds dominated nearly every major pitching category in the senior circuit, compiling an extraordinarily low team ERA of 3.38 in the highest scoring year of the 1920s. Eppa Rixey and Pete Donohue each posted 21 victories for the Reds, with Rixey, Donohue, and Dolf Luque combining for 879 innings pitched. The three hurlers also claimed the top three spots in the league in ERA, with Luque finishing at 2.63, Rixey at 2.89, and Donohue at 3.08.
Still, after claiming the N.L. MVP trophy the previous year, Brooklyn’s Dazzy Vance remained arguably the league’s best pitcher. Despite toiling for a team that finished just a half-game out of the cellar, Vance posted the second-best winning percentage in the senior circuit. The hard-throwing right-hander finished the campaign with a record of 22-9 and a league-leading 221 strikeouts. Considering that only four major league pitchers compiled as many as 100 strikeouts in 1925, Vance’s strikeout total was truly remarkable. Dolf Luque placed second in the league with only 140 strikeouts.
Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:
• May 7 - Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Glenn Wright turned the fifth unassisted triple play in major league history in the ninth inning of a 10-9 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
• July 3 - Brooklyn's Milt Stock collected four hits for a record fourth day in a row.
• September 13 - Dazzy Vance pitched a no-hitter for the Brooklyn Robins in a 10-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
• September 27 - Rogers Hornsby went three-for-three to raise his batting average to .403. With the Cardinals trailing the first-place Pirates by 19 games, Hornsby elected to sit out the remaining four games on his team's schedule to secure a .400 average for the third time in his career.
• October 15 – After earlier winning Games One and Four, Walter Johnson again took the mound for Game Seven. He carried a 6–4 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning, but errors by 1925 A.L. MVP Roger Peckinpaugh in the seventh and eighth innings led to four unearned runs, and the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Washington Senators, 9-7. The victory enabled the Pirates to become the first team in a best-of-seven Series to overcome a 3–1 Series deficit to win the World Championship.
• George Burns stole home for an N.L. record 27th time.
• Cincinnati’s Pete Donohue suffered his first loss to the Phillies after beating them 20 straight times.
• Max Carey’s 46 stolen bases made him the N.L. leader in that category for a record 10th time.
• Pittsburgh’s Glenn Wright became the first player in major league baseball history to surpass 100 RBIs in each of his first two seasons.
• Teammate Kiki Cuyler’s league-leading 26 triples remain the most by any player since 1915.
• Christy Mathewson passed away at the age of 45.
• The Chicago Cubs finished last in the National League for the first time in their 53 years of existence.
• Cincinnati’s Elmer Smith tied Tris Speaker's career record for outfielders when he completed his fourth unassisted double play.
• Cincinnati's Sparky Adams established a new record for second basemen by compiling a .983 fielding average.
• St. Louis first baseman Jim Bottomley led all National League batters with 227 hits and 44 doubles.
• Pittsburgh’s .307 team batting average tied the Philadelphia Athletics for the major league lead.
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- 1925 World Series, Christy Mathewson, Dazzy Vance, Dolf Luque, Elmer Smith, Eppa Rixey, George Burns, Glenn Wright, Jim Bottomley, Kiki Cuyler, Max Carey, Milt Stock, Pete Donohue, Pie Traynor, Pittsburgh Pirates, Roger Peckinpaugh, Rogers Hornsby, Sparky Adams, Walter Johnson, Washington Senators