Hack Brings ’em Home; A’s, Grove Get into Groove

The 1930 baseball season in brief

By Glen Sparks

  • The Brooklyn Dodgers’ Dazzy Vance posts a 2.61 ERA, more than one run lower than the next best ERA in the National League (3.87, the New York Giants’ Carl Hubbell). Vance suffers from a lack of run support and finishes with just a 17-15 won-loss record.

    Hack Wilson drove in 190 runs in 1930.

    Hack Wilson drove in 190 runs in 1930.

  • Hack Wilson, a portly 5-feet-6-inches, slugs his way to a 56-home run season, then an NL record. The Chicago Cubs’ outfielder also drives in 190 runs, still a major league record, and wins the league MVP.
  • George Watkins bats .373 for the St. Louis Cardinals, setting the major league mark for rookies. That is the best mark by far that the outfielder from Texas will ever post. He drops to .288 in his sophomore campaign and bats .312 in his third season. He retires after the 1936 season, a career .288 batter.
  • The Boston Braves’ Wally Berger also turns in a precocious rookie season. The outfielder sets National League rookie records for home runs (38) and RBI (119). Unlike fellow rookie Watkins, Berger enjoys several good seasons and hits .300 with 242 homers over an 11-year career.
  • Sam Rice shows off the wisdom of experience. The Washington Senators’ right-fielder collects 207 hits, 271 total bases and scores 121 runs at the age of 40. Rice goes on to play another four seasons. He bats .322 over his career, collects 2,987 hits and goes into the Hall of Fame in 1963.
  • The New York Giants’ Bill Terry hit .401. He is the last National League player to bat at least .400 over a single season. The first baseman retires with a .341 average over his illustrious career and enters the Hall of Fame in 1954.

    Lefty Grove won 28 games in the regular season and two more in the World Series.

    Lefty Grove won 28 games in the regular season and two more in the World Series.

  • Robert Moses “Lefty” Grove, ace of the Philadelphia A’s, tops the major leagues in wins (28), winning percentage (.848), strikeouts (209) and, believe it not, saves (nine). Like Vance, Grove wins the ERA title by a wide margin. He finishes at 2.54, or .77 lower than Cleveland’s Wes Ferrell. Grove wins exactly 300 games in his career and nine ERA titles. Maybe the greatest left-handed pitcher in history, he is elected to the Hall of Fame in 1947.
  • Babe Ruth holds out and signs a record contract–$80,000. The Babe leads the American League in home runs (49), but the New York Yankee slugger also becomes the first player to ever strike out 1,000 times in his career.
  • Al Simmons enjoys another big year in his career for the A’s. He leads the A.L. in batting average (.381), runs scored (152) and runs produced (281). “Bucketfoot Al”, born Aloys Szymanski, enjoys a Hall of Fame career, batting .334 lifetime with 307 home runs.
  • The A’s, behind the pitching of Grove and George Earnshaw, beat the Cardinals in a six-game World Series. Grove and Earnshaw both win two games for Philadelphia, which went 102-52 in the regular season. The Cardinals, who were 92-62, score just 12 runs in the Series after averaging a league-leading six runs a game. The longest game goes one hour, 58 minutes. The Series title is the A’s fifth and final in Philly.
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