I'm working on batters who set the modern record for home runs (HR) in a season and just stumbled onto something that deserves its own post.
Babe Ruth set the HR record for the first of four times in 1919, his final season with the Boston Red Sox. Ruth hit 29 HR. But here's the amazing thing. Only two of his teammates hit HR:
Harry Hooper 3, all on the road: Aug. 18 St. Louis, Sept. 6 Phiadelphia game one, Sept. 8 New York game one
Stuffy McInnis 1 - June 23 IPHR in Fenway Park.
Ruth didn't hit his fifth HR until June 17, which means that the HR McInnis hit June 23 was number six for the entire Red Sox team, which lost to Washington 12-3 for a record of 20-26. Ruth hit his sixth HR the next day and obviously picked up the pace.
Ruth was still pitching, which he all but abandoned the next season when he joined the Yankees. In 1919 Ruth pitched in 17 games, starting 15: 133 innings, 12 CG, 9 wins, 5 losses.
Ruth pitched a CG June 25 but lost to Washington 8-3 dropping his record to 6-3. Ruth pitched four games in July, one in August, two in September; he won his last two decisions.
Ruth pitched and homered in 1919 in these games:
Tuesday, May 20, 1919 Sportsman's Park - Browns lost 6-4; CG W (3-0); HR 2
Monday, July 21, 1919 Navin Field - Tigers won 6-2; CG L (6-5); HR 14
Saturday, September 20, 1919 Fenway Park - White Sox lost 4-3; Ruth started and pitched 5.33 innings then finished the game in LF. In the bottom of the ninth tied 3-3 with one out Ruth hit a walk off HR off Lefty Williams: CG L (23-10). Williams would soon achieve infamy by participating in the conspiracy among some Chicago White Sox players to deliberately lose the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds.
This was Ruth's final pitching appearance for the Red Sox. His HR was number 27, which tied the old discredited record of Ned Williamson. See:
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Home Run hitting on steroids: 1920s?
In 1884 Ned Williamson hit 27 home runs (HR). It's pretty well accepted that the record is tainted because the fences in his home park had been moved very close to home plate. He hit 25 of 27 at home. Plus 1884 is before the modern rules had been established.
Ruth pitched a CG victory in game one and homered in game two of two doubleheaders; here are those first games in which Ruth pitched:
Friday, May 30, 1919 Shibe Park (3 for 5 batting fourth)
Sunday, August 17, 1919 Sportsman's Park (0 for 4 batting fourth)
In 1919 Ruth batted third July 9 and played LF. Otherwise he batted fourth except:
- four games at 1B batting fifth
- four games batting ninth:
- May 15 pitching
- May 17 PH
- May 26 pitching then LF
- June 5 pitching.
That means that Ruth batted fourth in 14 of the 17 games in which he pitched in 1919.