Still considered by many baseball historians to be the greatest team ever assembled, the 1927 New York Yankees dominated the American League in every imaginable way over the course of the regular season. They finished the campaign with a record of 110-44, 19 games ahead of the second-place Philadelphia Athletics, en route to capturing their second consecutive pennant. New York led the junior circuit in virtually every major statistical category, outscoring their opponents by a total of almost 400 runs.
In addition to breaking their own league record by scoring 975 runs, the Yankees permitted the opposition to score a total of only 599 times, compiling in the process a team ERA of 3.20. Waite Hoyt, Herb Pennock, Urban Shocker, and Wilcy Moore all finished among the A.L. leaders in wins and earned run average. Meanwhile, the Yankee lineup, which earned the nickname Murderer’s Row for the manner in which it devastated opposing pitchers, compiled a league-leading .307 batting average, .383 on-base percentage, and an all-time record .489 slugging percentage. Led by the tandem of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, the team hit 158 home runs – a total that nearly tripled the output of the league runner-up in that category. Ruth and Gehrig finished first and second in the American League in six different offensive categories.
Yet, the Yankees were more than just a two-man team, also featuring four other players who eventually gained admittance to Cooperstown – Hoyt, Pennock, Tony Lazzeri, and Earle Combs. Needless to say, the Yankees entered the World Series a heavy favorite to win their second world championship.
Nevertheless, the Pittsburgh Pirates team New York faced in the Fall Classic could hardly be considered a pushover. Although they had a far more difficult time capturing the National League pennant, finishing the regular season with a record of 94-60, just 1 ½ games ahead of the second-place Cardinals, and only two games in front of the third-place Giants, the Pirates led the senior circuit with a team batting average of .305. They also featured three of the league’s top five hitters – future Hall of Famers Pie Traynor, Paul Waner, and Lloyd Waner. In fact, Paul, the elder of the two Waner brothers, captured N.L. MVP honors by leading the league with a .380 batting average, 131 runs batted in, 237 hits, 18 triples, and 342 total bases.
Legend has it that the World Series ended before it even began, suggesting that the Pirate players watched in awe as Yankee sluggers Ruth, Gehrig, Meusel, and Lazzeri drove pitch after pitch into the outfield seats during batting practice before the first contest. Members of the Pirates continued to vehemently deny that story through the years, stating that their American League counterparts simply outplayed them over the course of the next four games. Whether or not there exists a shred of truth to the legend, the fact remains that the Yankees dominated the Pirates throughout much of the Series, outscoring them by a combined margin of 23-10. Only the first and fourth games remained competitive.
Waite Hoyt got the better of Pittsburgh starter Ray Kremer in Game One, defeating the Pirates in their home ballpark by a score of 5-4. The Yankees won the next two contests in more convincing fashion, taking Game Two by a score of 6-2, before winning Game Three 8-1, on a complete game three-hitter by Herb Pennock. The fourth contest remained tied 3-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, when Earle Combs scored the winning run on a wild pitch thrown by Pittsburgh starter Johnny Miljus with two men out and the bases loaded.
Yankee starters Hoyt, Pennock, Pipgras, and Moore posted a combined ERA of 2.00 during the Series. Meanwhile, Babe Ruth and shortstop Mark Koenig were the hitting stars. Koenig collected nine hits in 18 times at-bat, for a batting average of .500. Ruth batted .400, knocked in seven runs, and hit the only two home runs delivered by either team during the Series.
New York Yankees, 110-44
Pittsburgh Pirates, 94-60
New York Yankees, Miller Huggins
Pittsburgh Pirates, Donie Bush
Ernie Quigley (NL), Dick Nallin (AL), Charley Moran (NL), Red Ormsby (AL)
Hall of Famers:
Yankees: Miller Huggins (mgr.), Earle Combs, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, Herb Pennock, Babe Ruth, Waite Hoyt.
Pirates: Kiki Cuyler (dnp), Pie Traynor, Lloyd Waner, Paul Waner
- 1927 World Series, Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel, Earle Combs, George Pipgras, Herb Pennock, Johnny Miljus, Lloyd Waner, Lou Gehrig, Mark Koenig, New York Yankees, Paul Waner, Pie Traynor, Pittsburgh Pirates, Ray Kremer, Tony Lazzeri, Urban Shocker, Waite Hoyt, Wilcy Moore, Yankee Stadium