The 1927 National League campaign began with two of the senior circuit’s top players wearing uniforms previously unfamiliar to them. During the offseason, the St. Louis Cardinals fired Rogers Hornsby as their manager and subsequently traded him to the New York Giants for fellow standout second baseman Frankie Frisch. After failing to win the batting title for the first time in seven seasons by batting just .317 the previous year, Hornsby rebounded to finish second in the league with a mark of .361. He also placed among the league leaders with 26 home runs, 125 runs batted in, and 133 runs scored. Meanwhile, Frisch had a tremendous all-around year for the Cardinals, batting .337, scoring 112 runs, collecting 208 hits, leading the league with 48 stolen bases, and topping all league second basemen in both putouts and assists, en route to earning a second-place finish in the MVP balloting.
However, neither the Giants nor the Cardinals ended up representing the senior circuit in the World Series. That honor fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who finished the season with a record of 94-60, just 1 ½ games ahead of second-place St. Louis, and only two games in front of third-place New York. The pennant-winning Pirates had an exceptional player of their own in outfielder Paul Waner, who captured N.L. MVP honors by leading the league with 131 runs batted in, a .380 batting average, 237 hits, 18 triples, and 342 total bases. Waner also scored 114 runs, compiled a .437 on-base percentage and a .549 slugging percentage, and collected 42 doubles.
The Pirates had three other future Hall of Famers in their everyday starting lineup. Brother Lloyd batted .355, collected 223 hits, and led the league with 133 runs scored. Pie Traynor batted .342 and knocked in 106 runs. Kiki Cuyler missed extensive playing time due to a suspension. Nevertheless, he performed well whenever he found his name written on the lineup card, batting .309, scoring 60 runs, and stealing 20 bases, in only 285 official at-bats.
The efforts of all four men helped Pittsburgh tie New York for the league lead with 817 runs scored. The Pirates also finished third in the senior circuit in runs allowed (659). Their staff featured three pitchers who won at least 19 games. Carmen Hill finished third in the league with 22 victories. Ray Kremer and Lee Meadows each won 19 games. Kremer also led all N.L. pitchers with a 2.47 ERA.
Nevertheless, the Pirates found themselves badly overmatched by the powerful New York Yankees in the World Series. After dominating the American League throughout the regular season, the Yankees swept the Pirates in the Fall Classic in four straight games, outscoring them by a combined margin of 23-10.
Other notable events, outstanding performers, and points of interest from around the league follow:
• Pirates star Kiki Cuyler found himself benched for the entire 1927 World Series after a dispute with Pittsburgh manager Donie Bush.
• Chicago Cubs hurler Charley Root topped the major leagues with 26 wins.
• Lloyd Waner collected a rookie record 223 hits, 198 of which were singles.
• The Waner brothers hit a combined .367 with 460 hits - both marks remain single-season major league records for siblings.
• On May 17, the Braves' Bob Smith pitched a 22-inning complete game, losing 4-3 to the Cubs.
• On May 3, Jesse and Virgil Barnes became the first brothers to oppose each other as starting pitchers in a major league game.
• On May 30, Cubs shortstop Jimmy Cooney recorded an unassisted triple play.
• Giants star Ross Youngs died of Bright's disease at age 30.
• Lloyd Waner scored 133 runs and compiled only 27 RBIs for a differential of 106 - the largest in major league history.
• On June 19, Philadelphia’s Jack Scott (age 35) became the oldest pitcher to hurl two complete games in one day.
• Frankie Frisch established records for second basemen by accepting 1,059 chances and compiling 641 assists.
• Brooklyn’s Dazzy Vance topped the National League with 184 strikeouts.
• Jesse Haines won 24 games for the Cardinals and led the majors with six shutouts.
• Chicago's Hack Wilson and Philadelphia’s Cy Williams tied for the National League homer crown with 30.
• Pete Alexander mounted a comeback with the Cardinals at age 40, compiling a record of 21-10 and placing second in the league with a 2.52 ERA.
- 1927 World Series, Bob Smith, Burleigh Grimes, Carmen Hill, Charley Root, Cy Williams, Dazzy Vance, Donie Bush, Edd Roush, Frankie Frisch, George Kelly, Hack Wilson, Jack Scott, Jesse Barnes, Jesse Haines, Jimmy Cooney, Kiki Cuyler, Lee Meadows, Lloyd Waner, New York Yankees, Paul Waner, Pete Alexander, Pie Traynor, Pittsburgh Pirates, Ray Kremer, Rogers Hornsby, Ross Youngs, Virgil Barnes