The Yankees had a far more difficult time capturing the American League pennant in 1928 than they did the previous season, finishing just 2 ½ games ahead of the hard-charging Philadelphia Athletics.  In fact, it took a mid-September sweep of the A’s to separate the Yankees from their closest competitors.  New York finished the campaign with a record of 101-53, while Philadelphia ended up posting a mark of 98-55.

Although the Yankee offense produced almost 100 fewer runs than the American League record 975 it fashioned one year earlier, it remained the best in baseball.  The pitching staff also remained solid, with only A’s pitchers surrendering fewer runs.

Waite Hoyt had another big year, finishing the campaign with a record of 23-7, a 3.36 ERA, and 19 complete games.  Herb Pennock posted a mark of 17-6, threw 18 complete games, and led the staff with a 2.56 ERA.  George Pipgras evolved into a top-flight starter, tying Philadelphia’s Lefty Grove for the league lead with 24 victories, while also compiling a 3.38 ERA and tossing 22 complete games.  However, Wilcy Moore, so effective one year earlier, finished just 4-4, with a 4.18 ERA and only two saves.      

The Yankee starters in the field remained basically intact, although the team got a look into the future when 21-year-old catcher Bill Dickey earned his first major-league call-up in mid-August.  Young Leo Durocher also received a significant amount of playing time filling in all over the infield.  Shortstop Mark Koenig had his finest season in pinstripes, batting .319 and scoring 89 runs.  Second baseman Tony Lazzeri batted .332 and knocked in 82 runs, despite missing 38 games due to injury.  Bob Meusel batted .297 and drove in 113 runs.  Leadoff hitter Earle Combs had another very good year, batting .310, leading the league with 21 triples, and placing among the leaders with 118 runs scored and 194 hits. 

Once again, though, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were primarily responsible for the team’s success, separating themselves as the league’s two most dominant players.  Ruth topped the circuit with 54 home runs, 142 runs batted in, 163 runs scored, 380 total bases, 135 walks, and a .709 slugging percentage, while batting .323 and finishing second in the league with a .461 on-base percentage.  Gehrig tied his teammate for the league-lead in RBIs, while topping the circuit with 47 doubles and a .467 on-base percentage.  He also finished second in home runs (27), runs scored (139), hits (210), and slugging percentage (.648), while placing third in batting average (.374) and total bases (364).

Led by the combination of Ruth and Gehrig, the Yankees entered the 1928 World Series seeking to exact revenge on the St. Louis Cardinals for the 1926 Fall Classic.  They did so in convincing fashion, sweeping St. Louis in four straight games.  In the process, the Yankees outscored the Cardinals by a combined margin to 27-10, hitting nine home runs to the Cardinals’ one.  Ruth duplicated his World Series feat from two years earlier by hitting three home runs in the Series finale, a 7-3 Yankee victory.  Ruth knocked in four runs, scored nine others, and batted .625 in the four games.  Gehrig was an even greater thorn in the side of the Cardinals, batting .545, hitting four homers, driving in nine runs, and scoring another five in the Series.

By Bob_Cohen

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1928 World Series, Babe Ruth, Bill Dickey, Bob Meusel, Earle Combs, George Pipgras, Herb Pennock, Lefty Grove, Leo Durocher, Lou Gehrig, Mark Koenig, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals, Tony Lazzeri, Waite Hoyt, Wilcy Moore


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