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The Story

The Year 1919

The Ballplayers

Then and Now

Survey
PAGE 1    |   PAGE 2      

roubled by a decline in attendance and uncertain over the future of the economy, many baseball owners believed there would be less interest in the game for the upcoming 1919 season. As a result, a number of cost cutting measures were taken.

Spring training began in late March, two weeks later than normal. Team rosters as well as players salaries were cut and the 154 game season was reduced to 140 games.

But postwar enthusiasm for baseball would make 1919 a season to remember. Attendance doubled from 3 million in 1918 to 6.5 million. On the field, several records were broken. Opening day saw Washington Senators pitcher Walter Johnson throw his fifth career opening day shutout. Fred Luderus of the Philadelphia Phillies set the record for most consecutive games played with 479 on August 2nd, breaking Eddie Collins former mark and Detriot Tigers Ty Cobb won his 12th and final batting title by hitting .384.

1919 also saw both old and new faces. Pitcher Grover Alexander returned from military service to play for the Chicago Cubs, while rookies Lefty O'Doul, Bucky Harris and Al Schacht careers were just beginning.

But the highlight of the 1919 baseball season was a young lefthanded pitcher from the Boston Red Sox named "Babe" Ruth. The Babe would end the season hitting a record 29 homeruns, including his first career grand slam on May 20th. On December 26, 1919, due to financial difficulties, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee



sold Babe to the New York Yankees for $300,000 in loans and $125,000 cash.

In Chicago, Charles Comiskey's White Sox led by rookie manager Kid Gleason, fought against league rivals Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees for the American League pennant. After a long summer, the White Sox clinched the pennant on September 24th.

Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, manager Pat Moran was leading the Reds to their first pennant in franchise history. With the efforts of centerfielder Edd Roush, who won the National League batting title with a .321 average, and pitchers Slim Sallee (21-7), Dutch Ruether (19-6) and Hod Eller (19-9), the Reds finished the season with the best record in baseball, 96-44.


Below are the final standings for the 1919 baseball season:


W

L

PCT.

GB



W

L

PCT.

GB
Chicago
88
52
.629 --
Cincinnati
96
44
.686 --
Cleveland
84
55
.604 3.5
New York
87
53
.621 9.0
New York
80
59
.576 7.5
Chicago
75
65
.536 21
Detriot
80
60
.571 8
Pittsburgh
71
68
.511 24.5
Boston
66
71
.482 20.5
Brooklyn
69
71
.493 27
St. Louis
67
72
.482 20.5
Boston
57
82
.410 38.5
Washington
56
84
.400 32
St. Louis
54
83
.394 40.5
Philadelphia
36
104
.257 52
Phildelphia
47
90
.343 47.5
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