Look back at the 1927 MLB season.
By Glen Sparks
The New York Yankees’ Lou Gehrig smashes 47 home runs and drives in a league-leading 173 runs. He hits .373 and wins A.L. MVP honors. Gehrig hits 493 homers and bats .340 in a 17-year career cut short by tragic illness. The Iron Horse tops 150 RBI in a season seven times.
Gehrig’s teammate, Babe Ruth, blasts a record 60 home runs, finishes with 165 RBI and hits .356. The Baltimore basher, MVP in 1923 (A player could only win the award one time in those days.), tops everyone with a .486 on-base percentage and .722 slugging percentage.
Paul Waner earns National League MVP honors. The Pittsburgh Pirates right-fielder leads the senior circuit in hits (237), batting average (.380), RBI (131), total bases (342) and triples (18). His younger brother is Lloyd Waner, also a Pirates player. Paul is “Big Poison”, Lloyd is “Little Poison.” Both will go into the Hall of Fame.
Harry Heilmann nearly enjoys a second .400 season for the Detroit Tigers (.403 in 1923). The outfielder from San Francisco ends the year at .398, with 120 RBI. Heilmann bats .342 over 17 seasons and finishes three of them at .393 or better.
Brooklyn Robins (a.k.a., the Robins) ace Dazzy Vance leads the N.L. in strikeouts for the sixth straight year. He fans 184 and will top the league for a seventh and final time in 1928 with 200. Vance, the 1924 MVP, wins 197 games in a Hall of Fame career that didn’t really get started until after he turned 30.
The Philadelphia A’s acquire Ty Cobb on Feb. 8 after the Georgia Peach had played 22 seasons in Detroit. He hits .357 in 133 games and bats .323 in 95 games in 1928 before retiring with a dozen batting titles and a .367 batting average (later reduced to .366).
Lefty Grove does something to the New York Yankees on Sept. 3 that no other pitcher does the entire season. The A’s ace tosses a shutout against the Bronx Bombers.
Ruth smacks his record 60th homer of the season on Sept. 30. He hits it off Washington’s Tom Zachary to break a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning. Ruth breaks the single-season mark of 59 that he set in 1921.
Heilmann makes a valiant attempt at batting .400 for the Tigers. He goes 7-for-9 with a walk in a season-ending doubleheader on Oct. 2. He ends up .002 percentage points short of the celebrated mark.
The Pirates finish 94-60, 1.5 games ahead of the second-place St. Louis Cardinals, to take the N.L. pennant. The Yankees easily take the A.L. flag with a 110-44 record, 19 games in front of the runner-up A’s. Not surprisingly, the Yanks sweep the Series but hit a relatively modest .279 as a team in the Fall Classic. (The Pirates hit .223.) Ruth bats a lofty .400 (6-for-15) and hits two homers, the only round-trippers for New York.