The St. Louis Cardinals ended up winning a hard-fought, three-team battle for the National League pennant in 1928. The Cardinals finished the regular season with a record of 95-59, just two games ahead of the runner-up New York Giants, and only four games in front of the third-place Chicago Cubs.
The National League’s most well-balanced ball club, the Cardinals finished tied for first in the league with 807 runs scored, while also allowing the second-fewest runs of any team in the senior circuit (636). Bill Sherdel and Jesse Haines anchored the St. Louis pitching staff, combining to win a total of 41 games. The ancient Pete Alexander contributed another 16 victories.
Meanwhile, the quartet of Taylor Douthit, Frankie Frisch, Chick Hafey, and Jim Bottomley paced St. Louis on offense. Douthit batted .295 and scored 111 runs. Frisch batted an even .300, scored 107 runs, and finished second in the league with 29 stolen bases. Hafey placed among the league leaders with 27 home runs, 111 runs batted in, and a .337 batting average. Bottomley captured N.L. MVP honors by tying for the league lead with 31 homers and topping the circuit with 136 runs batted in, 20 triples, and 362 total bases. He also batted .325 and finished near the top of the league rankings with 123 runs scored, 42 doubles, and a .628 slugging percentage. By amassing 31 home runs, 20 triples, and 42 doubles, Bottomley became one of just a handful of players in baseball history to top the 20-mark in each category in the same season.
The Cardinals subsequently faced the New York Yankees in a World Series that amounted to more of a coronation than a competition. The Yankees swept the Cardinals in four straight games, outscoring them in the process by a combined margin of 27-10. New York also out-homered St. Louis, nine-to-one. By defeating the Cardinals in such overwhelming fashion, the Yankees exacted a measure of revenge for their earlier loss to St. Louis in the 1926 Fall Classic.
Although the Cardinals ended up representing the National League in the World Series, both the second-place Giants and third-place Cubs proved to be worthy contenders for the league championship. Led by the trio of Bill Terry, Mel Ott, and Fred Lindstrom, the Giants tied the Cardinals for the league-lead in runs scored. Terry batted .326 and drove in 101 runs. Ott batted .322 and led the club with 18 home runs. Lindstrom finished first in the senior circuit with 231 hits, and he also placed among the leaders with a .358 batting average, 107 runs batted in, and 39 doubles. Meanwhile, right-hander Larry Benton posted a 2.73 ERA and tied for the league lead with 25 victories and 28 complete games
The Cubs had the league’s best pitching staff, and they also had one of the circuit’s top sluggers. Hack Wilson tied Jim Bottomley for the league lead with 31 home runs, and he also finished third in the league with 120 runs batted in.
Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:
• January 10 - The New York Giants traded Rogers Hornsby to the Boston Braves for Shanty Hogan and Jimmy Welsh.
• November 7 - The Boston Braves sent Hornsby to the Chicago Cubs for Bruce Cunningham, Percy Jones, Lou Legett, Freddie Maguire, Socks Seibold, and $200,000.
• Rogers Hornsby won his seventh batting title in his only year in Boston, leading the National League with a mark of .387. His .387 average remains a franchise record. Hornsby also topped the circuit with a .498 on-base percentage and a .632 slugging percentage.
• Brooklyn’s Dazzy Vance won 22 games and led the major leagues with a 2.09 ERA and 200 strikeouts.
• Pittsburgh’s Burleigh Grimes tied Larry Benton for the league lead with 25 victories.
• Pie Traynor batted .337 and finished second in the league with 124 runs batted in.
• Paul Waner also had an outstanding year for the defending N.L. champion Pirates, who finished fourth in the league, nine games off the pace. Waner topped the senior circuit with 142 runs scored and 50 doubles, and he also placed among the leaders with a .370 batting average, 223 hits, 19 triples, and 329 total bases.
- 1928 World Series, Bill Sherdel, Bill Terry, Burleigh Grimes, Chick Hafey, Dazzy Vance, Frankie Frisch, Freddie Lindstrom, Hack Wilson, Jesse Haines, Jim Bottomley, Jimmy Welsh, Larry Benton, Mel Ott, New York Yankees, Paul Waner, Pete Alexander, Pie Traynor, Rogers Hornsby, Shanty Hogan, St. Louis Cardinals, Taylor Douthit