BotYD: World Series – The 1939 Yankees @ The 1927 Yankees!
Earlier this month, we introduced the next month-long series that I’ll be running, called Battle of the Yankee Decades! To see the introductory and explanation post for this series, check it out here.
Last week, I announced the rules, seeding, and team rosters for each of the sixteen teams that were added into the tournament. Check that out here.
We began our tournament a few weeks back and today is the final series, the World Series, to determine who the best team of the decades in Yankees history was in a Best-of-Seven between 1939 and 1927.
The great thing about Out of the Park Baseball: 21 is that in these simulations, you can easily see which team is favored (when the logos are different).
After a long tournament, each of these teams has earned their way into a spot in the World Series. The 1939 team faced off against the 1962 Yankees in the Sweet Sixteen, beating them 2 games to 1, collected a 3 game sweep against the 1904 Highlanders in the Elite Eight as a well as a 4 game sweep against the 1998 Yankees in the Final Four.
For 1927, they took a 2 game sweep against the 2000 Yankees in the Sweet Sixteen, lost one in a 4 game series against the 1956 Yankees in the Elite Eight, which brought them to the Final Four where they swept the 1961 Yankees in 4 games.
Looking at the main line-ups, we see that the 1939 Yankees hold the advantage with a 6 to 2 favorability (with one tie) based upon the overall star ratings. Most of these however, came down to about a 1 star difference. This isn’t true for the pitching however, as the 1927 Yankees seem to have the clear advantage. It looks to be a true pitching vs. hitting match-up, which’ll be extremely fun to see.
Without further ado, let’s get into the action!
In an extremely important Game One, George Pipgras demonstrated why his star rating was so high as he held the bats of 1939 to just 3 hits, 4 walks, and 1 run over 6 innings of work with 7 strikeouts. This was matched by Lefty Gomez through his first 6 innings, allowing just 1 run, but in a 7th inning of work he wound up collecting just 1 lone out while eventually being credited for giving up 6 runs, notably from a Phil Collins 2-RBI double and an Earle Combs 2-RBI single. Bill Dickey did hit a solo HR late in the 9th inning for 1939 to try and start a rally, but Myles Thomas kept his 3 inning performance to just 2 hits en route to collecting the win.
Game Two was practically over just as soon as it started. Babe Ruth hit a solo HR in the bottom of the 1st, before Bob Meusel and Phil Collins would follow with HR’s of their own (a solo and 2-run shot respectively) in the 2nd. Mostly importantly, Meusel also collected a bases-clearing double in his second at-bat of the 2nd inning, as the 1927 Yankees went ahead 10-0 after just two innings. Red Ruffing got hit hard as the starting pitcher for 1939 (1.2 IP, 6 H, 8 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 3 HR) and his relief pitchers continued to allow 1927 to add runs, with the most notable coming off a Babe Ruth bases-clearing double in the 7th, as he collected his 5th RBI alongside a 2-3 (a HR and a double) and 3 walk performance on the day towards playing of the game honors. Herb Pennock went 7 innings allowing just 4 hits, 1 run (a solo HR from Charlie Keller), 2 walks, and 7 strikeouts as he collected the win in a game that ended 17-1 and gave 1927 a 2-0 series lead.
As the series moved to 1939, both the pitching and bats decided to start to come alive. A quick 1st inning 3 runs for 1939, all brought home from a Joe DiMaggio HR, helped set the pace in a game was increasingly important to win. These 3 runs would prove to be all they would need, but a Joe Gordon solo HR in the 2nd and another DiMaggio HR in the 6th helped to provide a nice cushion. Marius Russo went 6 innings, allowing just 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts as he collected a win, while Waite Hoyt got hit pretty hard going 5 innings with 6 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts in his performance for 1927. Going into Game Four, the series was now closer for 1939, down just 2-1.
Both teams required the use of 6 pitchers to get them through Game Four, as a 5-5 tie after 9 innings quickly became a 13 inning affair. Each starting pitcher set them and their teams up well with Bob Shawkey for 1927 going 5 innings while allowing 3 runs and Monte Pearson for 1939 going 6 innings while allowing 3 runs. To get through the first 9, the 1927 Yankees collected 3 runs from HR’s by Babe Ruth and Bob Meusel as the 1939 Yankees collected 2 runs from a Tommy Henrich HR and 2 more from a Frank Crosetti 2-RBI single. However, it was clear that one pitcher was going to falter, as Spud Chandler in his 2nd inning of work allowed 2 walks and a hit to set up Babe Ruth in the top of the 13th to hit a go-ahead grand slam, setting up a 9-5 lead for 1927 late in the game. This would give Ruth his player of the game honors, going 2-6 with 2 HR’s, 6 RBI’s, and 1 walk as his 1927 Yankees took a 3-1 lead in the World Series.
In the final game at 1939 for the series, it was the home teams time to have a late game surrection. Lefty Gomez pitched much better than Game One, going 6 innings while allowing just 3 runs as he outlasted George Pipgras who went just 4.2 innings before handing it off to a bullpen that was tired after the long 13 innings the night before. This lack of rest would prove to behoove 1927 as they were unable to hold a 5-3 lead. Interestingly, two triples were hit during this game from Earle Combs and Joe DiMaggio, but most importantly was Babe Dahlgren’s bottom of the 8th inning grand slam off of Wilcy Moore to give 1939 a late 7-5 lead which they would be able to hold. That hit may have been the biggest change in winning probability seen throughout the series from a difference of about 20% to 90% for 1939. The series was now 3-2, as both teams were headed back to 1927.
Back in 1927, Game Six was a very close effort until the end. Neither starting pitcher gave it their best efforts, as Red Ruffing lasted just 4.1 innings from 1939, allowing 6 hits, 6 runs, and 3 walks while Herb Pennock wasn’t much better for 1927 going 5.2 innings allowing 10 hits and 5 runs. However, the hits came at the right times for 1927 as a 4 run bottom of the 5th helped to give them a 6-5 lead, which was only helped further by a 4-run bottom the 8th inning- marked by a bases-clearing single from Bob Meusel- provided a 10-5 lead with just 3 outs to go. Urban Shocker, in his 4th inning of work was able to quickly shut down the 1939 bats, ending the series on an incredible 66 MPH pitch, as the 1927 Yankees became World Series Champions!
Series Stats and MVP:
Looking at the stat-lines, Joe DiMaggio (.269/.269/.577, 2 HR’s, 6 RBI’s) and Bill Dickey (.333/.440/.571, 1 HR, 2 RBI’s) led the 1939 team on offense during the series. Babe Dahlgren helped keep them in it longer with his Game 5 heroic 8th inning Grand Slam, but unfortunately, the rest of the team did not supply on offense as they would have previously imagined. The pitching was also not quite as good as expected, as Johnny Murphy (4 IP) was the lone man with a 0.00 ERA, and Marius Russo seems to be the lone pitcher worthy of honor (6 IP, 3.00 ERA) as the only better pitcher by ERA (Spud Chandler, 1.80 ERA) allowed the late-game Grand Slam for Babe Ruth in Game Four.
For 1927 on the other hand, there is no question that they played to win the series. Bob Meusel ended up with the MVP honors with his .391/.464/.870 triple-slash along with 2 HR’s and 8 RBI’s, but other players like Tony Lazzeri (.273/.333/.773, 3 HR’s, 8 RBI’s) and especially Babe Ruth (.261/.419/.783, 3 HR’s, 16 RBI’s) were also extremely worthy of consideration for the honor. Urban Shocker proved to be a fantastic pitcher in relief (8.2 IP, 0.00 ERA) over his appearances in 5 games while George Pipgras and his 1.69 ERA over 10.2 innings proved to be best amongst starting pitching. Herb Pennock was also great as he went longer in his appearance with 12.2 innings with a 3.55 ERA.