Murderer's Row - The 1927 New York Yankees

Yankee Stadium in game three of the 1927 World Series

"The Greatest Team of All-Time"


Introduction

During spring training before the start of the 1927 New York Yankee’s season Miller Huggins, the Yankee’s manager, said, “The Yankees pitching staff has reached a stage where I must gamble.” Huggins was willing to bet money on the Yankees to win the whole kit and caboodle, the World Series, because of the pitchers he saw on the Yankee’s pitching staff. After all, if you can’t score you can’t win, and the Yankee pitchers did their part to help get the team to the World Series. Their pitching staff in 1927 had the lowest ERA (Earned Run Average) at 3.20, and fostered the three lowest ERA’s in the American League – Wilcy Moore (2.28), Waite Hoyt (2.64), and Urban Shocker (2.83). The staff would only give up 599 runs to their opponents, which was the lowest in the AL. Chicago was second in the AL giving up only 708 runs, but that’s a difference of 109 runs! Waite Hoyt, Herb Pennock, and Wilcy Moore rounded out the top five pitchers with the most wins – 22, 19,19 – in the AL, and the overall Yankee’s pitching staff gave up the least amount of walks (409), and accumulated for an AL most 11 shutouts. The Yankees’ pitching staff lead the AL in nearly every pitching category, but the 1927 Yankees wouldn’t be remembered for their stellar mound work. It would be their hitting that put them above and beyond the competition, and a batting lineup that would earn the nickname “Murderer’s Row.”


The 1927 Yankee outfielders from left to right Meusel, Ruth, and Combs


"Murderer's Row"

On April 12, 1927, at Yankee Stadium the Yankees would open their 1927 season against the Philadelphia Athletics, and would start a record setting season. Earle Combs would lead off for the ’27 Yankees followed by Mark Koenig, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Meusel, Tony Lazzeri, Joe Dugan, John Grabowski, and the pitcher Waite Hoyt would bottom out the lineup. These Yankees could pitch with the best as seen earlier, but they could also hit and run better than anyone. In ’27 Murderer’s Row would account for 975 runs on 400 plus hits, which was 70 more than Detroit who was second in runs scored in the AL. The Row wouldn’t score these runs playing small ball – bunting to get on base and then hitting behind the runner to score a run – they would hit doubles, triples, and home runs on command. The Yankees didn’t hit the most doubles in the AL with 291, but why would they stop at second base when they could get to third? Murderer’s Row would hit 103 triples, and 158 home runs. No team in the AL would get close to these numbers, and opposing team’s pitching staffs had to have lost sleep at night knowing they had to pitch to the Yankees the next day. The Row also had the highest team batting average at .307, the highest slugging percentage at .489, and the most stolen bases at 90 in the American League in 1927. These 1927 Yankees would be of extreme significance to Major League Baseball history by becoming the first team to be in first place all year, have the most wins (an AL record, 110), highest winning margin (an AL record), first team in American league to finish higher than .700 winning percentage (.714), and the first AL team to sweep the World Series. The 1927 Yankees would win the AL pennant by 19 games (an AL record), and finish the season as World Series Champions beating the Pittsburgh Pirates with a final record of 110-44. Did I mention that they did all of this playing the in biggest park in MLB history? The dimensions of the field were 281 feet to the left field foul pole, 415 feet to leftfield, 490 feet to left-center, 487 feet to centerfield, 429 feet to right-center, 344 feet to right field, and 295 feet to the right field foul pole.


Lou Gehrig crosses home plate after a blast over left field!(left)
Babe Ruth hits his 60th home run on September 30th, 1927 (right)


1927 Yankee Individual Statistics


Ruth acknowledges the fan's standing ovation



How other Baseball Gurus See the 1927 New York Yankees

“It was a team that didn't often beat itself. Most baseball is a play on errors. In other words, the pitcher looks for the deficiency in a batter. And he works on that, he tries to capitalize on the weakness of his opponent. So many times you beat yourself. Once in a while, you take a walloping; the 1927 Yankees probably beat themselves less than any ball club that ever lived.” ~ The Unofficial 1927 New York Yankees Home Page

“The '27 Yankees were an exceptional team because they met every demand. There wasn't any requirement that was necessary at any particular moment that they weren't up to.” ~ USA Today

“The 1927 Pittsburgh Pirates were an outstanding team as the presence of Pie Traynor, Paul and Lloyd Waner and Glenn Wright would indicate. The Pirates were talented enough, in fact, to win the National League pennant, finishing 1 1/2 games ahead of the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals and two in front of the New York Giants. There was one major problem confronting manager Donie Bush's Pirates, though, as they prepared for the World Series. Their postseason opponent would be a truly great team -- quite possibly the best club in the history of the sport.” ~ The Sporting News

“The Greatest Team of All-Time” ~ National Baseball Hall of Fame



Gehrig scores after he hits his 47th home run. At the end of the '27 season he would lead the AL with 175 RBI's (top)

Ruth Embraces Gehrig inside Yankee Staduim on the field during the '27 World Series victory celebration (bottom)


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