1920 New York Yankees

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1920 New York Yankees
Major league affiliations
1920 Uniform
1920 Information
Owner(s) Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston
Manager(s) Miller Huggins
Local television none
Local radio none
Baseball-Reference 1920 New York Yankees

Record: 95-59. Finished 3rd in American League (1920 AL)

Managed by Miller Huggins

Ballpark: Polo Grounds

History, Comments, Contributions[edit]

The 1920 New York Yankees played their 18th season for the Yankees in New York and their 20th overall. The team finished with a record of 95-59, just 3 games behind the American League champion Cleveland Indians. New York was managed by Miller Huggins. Home games were played at the Polo Grounds.

The year started with a bang on January 5th, when the Boston Red Sox sold their star pitcher-turned-outfielder Babe Ruth to the Yankees for $125,000. The sub-headline in the New York Times the next day read: "Highest Purchase Price in Baseball History Paid for Game's Greatest Slugger." This deal would live in infamy for generations of Boston fans, and would vault the Yankees from respectability (80 wins in 1919) to pennant contention.

The big news story in baseball in 1920 was the gathering storm over what became known as the Black Sox Scandal, the throwing of the 1919 World Series by the Chicago White Sox. With three games left in their 1920 season schedule, White Sox management suspended Shoeless Joe Jackson and other 1919 perpetrators. The Sox lost two of their final three games to finish two games behind Cleveland, who would go on to win the World Series over the Brooklyn Robins.

The Indians had won the pennant despite a horrific incident at the Polo Grounds on August 17th. Yankees pitcher Carl Mays, another of several ex-Red Sox players who had come the Yankees' way, used a "submarine" (underhand) pitching style. He threw one up and in on Cleveland shortstop Ray Chapman, who tended to crowd the plate and apparently never saw the ball coming. Chapman suffered a severe skull fracture, and died the following morning. Mays was absolved of any wrongdoing, but the incident would haunt him for the rest of his life. Meanwhile, the Indians rallied around the memory of their shortstop, and won the pennant.

However, with Ruth leading the Yankees, and with his stunning total of 54 home runs, nearly doubling his own major league record from just the previous year, New York finished just a game behind the White Sox and three behind the Indians. The Yankees had once been the "poor relations of the Polo Grounds", as Lamont Buchanan characterized them in The World Series and Highlights of Baseball. But the New York Giants had faded a bit in the late 1910s while the Yankees had grown stronger. The Yankees were now poised to take the next step to beginning the greatest dynasty in professional sports.

Season standings[edit]

American League W L Pct. GB
Cleveland Indians 98 56 .636 --
Chicago White Sox 96 58 .623 2
New York Yankees 95 59 .617 3
St. Louis Browns 76 77 .497 21½
Boston Red Sox 72 81 .471 25½
Washington Senators 68 84 .447 29
Detroit Tigers 61 93 .396 37
Philadelphia Athletics 48 106 .312 50

External links[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Gary Sarnoff: The First Yankees Dynasty: Babe Ruth, Miller Huggins and the Bronx Bombers of the 1920s, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2014. ISBN 978-0-7864-4966-8
  • Mike Sowell: The Pitch that Killed: The Story of Carl Mays, Ray Chapman and the Pennant Race of 1920, Ivan R. Dee Publisher, Chicago, IL, 2004. (Originally published in 1989)
  • Glenn Stout: The Selling of the Babe: The Deal That Changed Baseball and Created a Legend, Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin's Press, New York, NY, 2016. ISBN 9781250064318