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Baseball's Greatest Season, 1924

Reed Browning

Publication Year: 2003

With the possible exception of 2004 no season in the history of baseball has matched 1924 for escalating excitement and emotional investment by fans. It began with observers expecting yet another World Series between the Yankees and the Giants. It ended months later when the Washington Nationals (Senators), making their first Series appearance, grabbed the world championship by scoring the season-ending run on an improbable play in the bottom of the twelfth inning of the seventh game. On the eve of the return of major league baseball to Washington, D.C., Baseball's Greatest Season recovers the memory of the one and only time when the championship of the national pastime resided in the nation's capital.

Published by: University of Massachusetts Press

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. xi-xvi

WHEN THE baseball season of 1923 ended, one question stood uppermost in the minds of observers of the game: What would it take to defeat a New York baseball team? For the third straight year John McGraw’s Giants had faced Miller Huggins’s Yankees in the World Series. Twice the Giants had won; most...

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1. Waiting for the Cry, “Play Ball!”

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pp. 1-16

IN FEBRUARY1924, sixteen major league baseball teams began gathering at sites stretching across the southern United States from Florida to California. They were launching the eight-week exercise called spring training. The tradition of assembling players in warm climes—whether for drying out, honing skills, or raising...

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2. From Opening Day to Memorial Day

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pp. 17-29

THE 1924 SEASON opened on April 15 with all sixteen major league teams in action. In the American League, the Yankees, scoring 2 unearned runs in the ninth inning off luckless Howard Ehmke, launched their campaign for a fourth consecutive pennant with a 2–1 victory over the Red Sox in Boston. Characteristically, Babe...

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3. The Business of Baseball

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pp. 30-40

THROUGHOUT its entire existence, organized baseball has been a branch of the entertainment business. By pulling that sentence apart and identifying the implications of each of its three key terms for the 1920s, we can understand the relationship of the general statement to the circumstances of the 1924 season. The key terms are...

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4. From Memorial Day to Independence Day

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pp. 41-55

THE OPENING WEEKS of June found National League fans focusing their attention on the continuing challenge that the upstart Cubs were mounting against the talent-rich Giants. The contest pitted New York hitting against Chicago pitching—Frank Snyder, George Kelly, Frankie Frisch, and Ross Youngs against...

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5. The Players

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pp. 56-62

DURING THE 1924 season more than five hundred men— from Adams (Babe) to Zahniser (Paul)—played in a major league baseball game. Almost 90 percent of them came from British, German, or Irish stock; none was of known African descent.¹ The youngest was the Giants’ rookie third baseman, Freddy...

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6. From Independence Day to Labor Day

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pp. 63-83

THE PHASE of the baseball season that stretched from Independence Day to Labor Day—the great backstretch of summer— was the game’s annual test of physical endurance. In any major league city, daytime temperatures might rise into the 90s, and thermometers sometimes broke the 100-degree mark in...

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7. The Game of Baseball in the 1920s

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pp. 84-93

WHAT WAS IT LIKE to attend a major league baseball game in 1924? How were the ballparks different from today’s? What about the rules and conventions of the game? The planning and strategizing? The equipment and uniforms? The fans? The assumptions? Now we’ll go on a tour, as I identify some...

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8. From Labor Day to the End of the Season [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 94-116

NOT SINCE 1908, the year of Merkle’s boner, had the baseball public been offered the September spectacle of two transfixing pennant races. In the National League, the once-soaring New York Giants were flailing about, having squandered their mighty lead to the general rejoicing of a national fandom that had grown weary...

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9. The Season in Review

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pp. 117-130

NO OBSERVER was surprised that the New York Giants did well in 1924. Although not every writer had picked them to win their fourth straight pennant, no one had doubted that they would be in the thick of the National League race. In fact, their year-to-year consistency over the course of their four consecutive pennant...

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10. The World Series

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pp. 131-157

THE 1924 WORLD SERIES was scheduled to begin in Washington on October 4. After 2 games in the nation’s capital, the teams would move immediately to New York City for as many as 3 games. If a sixth game was needed, it was to be played back in Washington on October 9. If a decisive seventh game was needed...


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pp. 159-182


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pp. 183-197


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pp. 199-205

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781613760765
E-ISBN-10: 1613760760
Print-ISBN-13: 9781558494060
Print-ISBN-10: 1558494065

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2003