June 15, 2007

1927 Yankess were they the best?: Why were the 1927 Yankees the best baseball team of all time from a standpoint of someone who was there.

There has been written lots of articles and facts about Ruth & Lou and the boys of summer about the 1927 World Series Champions Yankees, but I witnessed about 102 games of that season and the world series and they has always been something that sports writers never really looked to my satisfaction. Everyone knows what the statistics were for the team: team batting average of .307, Ruth hit 60 homeruns, drove in 171 RBI's, 417 total bases, scored 158 runs and hit for a .356 batting average, and Lou hit 47 homeruns,175 RBI's,scored 147 runs and hit for an average of .373, Meusel hit .337,Lazzeri hit .309 and the lead off hitter Earle Combs hit .356. The rest of the team was made up of Mark Koenig, John Grabowski and Joe Dugan and combined they hit about .285 I am not real sure on that average. Then you had the pitchers Waite Hoyt,Herb Pennock, Dutch Rurther and Wiley Moore(used some as a reliever) and Urban Shocker. All this made for something extremely special, but I have always listened to my father and grandfather about what they were really like. I remember very well, Ruth and Gehrig and the boys, but Miller Huggins to my very young mind, I was 8 at that time, was the one factor history hasn't given enough credit to. I was in the stands all year watching what the players did always wondering who Huggins was besides the little guy walking up to the plate before the game and giving the umpires the list for that day's game. My father and grandfather were close friends with a lot of baseball people and their closest was Red Adair who had played with Ruth a number of years. They were very close to Grover Cleveland Alexander, Rodgers Hornsby, the Traynors and so many others I can't name because the list goes on and on. I was lucky I got what every small american boy wanted. To have active and former players around the house all the time was something that I have been lucky enough to share with my kids and grandkids and now great-grandkids. I use to come home from school in the off season just after the season and Grover and Rodgers were getting really to go fishing with my father and grandfather and many a day I was allowed to come along.Some of the stories that they told were even today unbelieveable. Stories of some of the barnstorming that the players did in the off season against the Negro Leagues players are classic. PaPa Joe, Josh Gibson and Paige were held in very high esteem by almost all of the players of those eras. It has already been told about Cobb and all his many problems with teammates and opposing teams as well as the umpires. That is a story for another time, back to the Yankees of 1927 and why they even today are considered by many historians of baseball as the best team ever. That team was held together by their manager Miller Huggins. He may not have been a great player but from watching him day in and day out and listening to stories he was the glue that held them together and started something in the spring of 1927 that stands today. He had decided early on after what had happened in 26 that he was the one to be in control of the path that the team was going to take. They had determined early on that they had something to prove to the baseball world just what they could do if they put their minds and bodies into it. My favorite player that year was Earle Combs, his hitting first and batting .356 set the stage for everyone. It was unbelieveable to sit they and watch Koenig set it even further for Ruth, then Gehrig then Muesel, then Lazzeri go crazy. Even the bottom half of the lineup wasn't really a weak spot, Dugan and Grabowski weren't just stand arounds. When a rally was started you could feel it in the air, but was really nice was to look into the opposing team's dugouts and watch what the managers were going to try to do and the faces of the other players. The stats speak for themselves on Ruth and Gehrig, both were the most feared hitters in baseball especially that year. And remember after those two you had to face Bob Muesel and Tony Lazzeri. The weakest hitter on the team was the pitchers spot and even then sometimes they hit the ball fairly well. It was beyond me to understand how in the world, Miller Huggins ever controlled Ruth and the boys because just watching from the stands you could heard Ruth and the rest yelling at the opposing players and really getting on the umpires at times. The Babe was the Babe. One of the craziest batters to play the game then or now. I truly believe if he had cut down on his swing he could have hit .400 or better anytime. Miller was constantly telling him the same thing according to Red and I am sure other players said the same thing. Managers then seemed to have more control over the team and Miller was no different. I got to talk to him later in the 30's at mine house and he told me that managing Ruth was like taking on wild tiger. Sometimes he didn't show any respect for anything and anyone, including himself, but that when it came time to hit and play baseball they wasn't anyone he could think of that he would rather have batting then the Bambino. Huggins said he was bigger than life and so into himself to a point that at times it became hard to talk to him. He was one of the biggest jokers in the major leagues and loved to really give it to the commissioner any chance he could. He did have vices and Miller tried to control some of them but that he really fled that he only could just curve them most of the time. It has been said by some that anyone could have been the manager and taken the lineup card to homeplate but I will always disagree with that kind of statement for the mirror fact that the Babe loved Muller Huggins to death and would have done anything for him if needed. There have been other great teams in baseball history that may have rivaled the 1927 Yankees in some small ways, some coming to mind are the Yankee teams in the 50-60's, some of the Dodger teams of 60's and the Big Red Machine, Yankees with Reggie and the boys and some of the St. Louis Cardinal teams. But the statistics position per position don't even come close to stacking up equally. It was nicknamed "Murders Row" for a reason and I can't think of any time since that presented a lineup that scares the hell out of the teams playing them. Sitting watching them play was now like reading poetry. The game would start and all of the sudden Combs is at second and here comes Koenig hitting towards first and Combs goes to third and up comes Ruth. Now what do you do walk Ruth to face Gehrig? That was done a number of times and that allowed Lou to hit .373 and hit 47 homeruns and drive in 175 rbi's. The pitchers were some of the best of there times but they didn't need to be extremely fine with the run support that was given them day in and day out. Huggins had his pick of Waite,Pennock, Rurther, Shocker and Moore to start and relieve and he use them to perfection. So just once I would like the historians to really figure out how much Miller Huggins had to do with the 1927 Yankees. The Yankees of 1927 without Miller Huggins may or may not have done as well as they did, that is something we will never know, but it is of my opinion after watching them that year that he was as important to them as the players. Babe made a comment to my grandfather during the second world war that he looked upon Miller as a little big brother that tried to tell him what to do, and that he gave him all the hell he could because he surely loved to get under his skin. This is my look at a team that really needs no explaination but when compared with other teams looks to be so far superior that even in today's game it wouldn't be a fair comparison.

posted by The Old Man to at 01:48 PM - 0 comments

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