New York Yankees vs. Philadelphia Athletics, 1927-1932

This article was written by George T. Wiley

This article was published in the 1979 Baseball Research Journal


 On April 11, 1927, the Yankees won their home opener from the Athletics, 8-3. The victory came without any help from Babe Ruth, who struck out twice, popped out, and was lifted for pinch hitter Benny Paschal in the sixth. On September 22, 1932, the Yankees defeated the Athletics in ten innings despite two home runs from Jimmy Foxx. In between these two games the Yankees and the Athletics played each other 131 times as they shared six American League pennants. Here are the results of those games.

 

Year  

Pennant Winners

Athletics

Yankees

1927

New York

8

14

1928

New York

6

16

1929

Philadelphia

14

8

1930

Philadelphia

12

10

1931

Philadelphia

11

11

1932

New York

8

14

 

(one tie game in 1927)

59

73

 

Although Hoyt, Pennock, Pipgras, Ruffing, and Gomez pitched for New York during these years and Grove, Walberg, Rommel, Quinn, and Earnshaw hurled for the A’s, these games were usually dominated by the hitters. Pennock, for example, was only 8-7 against the A’s, and Grove 11-13 against the Yankees. The Yankees averaged over six runs a game and Philadelphia almost five. The following 20-13 games show the capabilities and the batting power of these teams:

 

May 22, 1930 (2) At Philadelphia

New York

AB

R

H

PO

A

 

Philadelphia

AB

R

H

PO

A

Combs CF

5

1

2

4

0

 

Bishop 2B

3

3

1

2

3

Lary SS

6

2

2

1

0

 

Haas CF

6

1

2

0

1

Ruth LF

4

2

1

3

0

 

Dykes 3B

5

1

1

7

0

Lazzeri 2B

4

5

4

1

7

 

Simmons LF

4

3

3

4

0

Reese 2B

1

0

0

0

0

 

Foxx 1B

5

2

2

6

0

Gehrig lB

5

3

3

8

0

 

Miler RF

4

1

2

1

0

Dickey C

6

2

3

7

0

 

Schang C

5

0

2

6

0

Cooke RF

4

1

3

0

0

 

McNair PR

0

0

0

0

0

Byrd RF

2

1

2

1

0

 

Perkin C

0

0

0

0

0

Chapman 3B

6

2

3

1

0

 

Boley SS

5

1

2

0

4

Hoyt P

1

0

0

1

0

 

Shores P

0

0

0

0

0

McEvoy P

1

0

0

0

0

 

Quinn P

0

0

0

1

0

Johnson P

0

0

0

0

1

 

Rommel P

1

1

0

0

0

Sherid P

1

1

0

0

0

 

Earnshaw P

2

0

0

0

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grove P

0

0

0

0

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harris PH

1

0

0

0

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liebhardt P

0

0

0

0

0

 

46

20

23

27

8

 

 

41

13

15

27

8

 

New York 720 201 215 — 20
Philadelphia   014 205 001 — 13

Errors – Schang, Earnshaw. Runs batted in – Lazzeri 4, Gehrig 8, Chapman 3, Ruth 2, Dickey, Lary, Combs, Simmons 2, Dykes 2, Foxx 6, Bishop, Boley. Two base hits – Cooke 2, Lazzeri 2, Miller, Haas, Schang, Chapman. Home runs – Ruth, Gehrig 3, Simmons, Dykes, Foxx 2.

 

June 3, 1932 at Philadelphia

New York

AB

R

H

PO

A

 

Philadelphia

AB

R

H

PO

A

Combs CF

5

2

3

3

0

 

Bishop 2B

4

2

2

3

2

Saltzgaver 2B

4

1

1

3

2

 

Cramer CF

5

1

1

1

0

Ruth LF

5

2

2

3

0

 

Roettger PH

1

0

0

0

0

Hoag LF

0

1

0

1

0

 

Mille rLF

0

0

0

0

0

Gehrig lB

6

4

4

7

0

 

CochraneC

5

1

1

10

2

Chapman RF

5

3

2

4

0

 

D. Williams PH

1

0

0

0

0

Dickey C

4

2

2

5

0

 

Simmons LF-CF

4

2

0

2

0

Lazzeri 3B

6

3

5

0

1

 

Foxx 1B

3

3

2

8

0

Crosetti SS

6

1

2

0

5

 

Coleman RF

6

2

2

2

1

Allen P

2

0

0

1

0

 

McNair SS

5

1

3

1

2

Rhodes P

1

0

1

0

0

 

Dykes 3B

4

1

1

0

1

Brown P

1

0

0

0

1

 

Earnshaw P

2

0

0

0

2

Gomez P

1

0

0

0

1

 

Haas PH

1

0

1

0

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mahaffey P

0

0

0

0

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walberg P

0

0

0

0

0

 

45

20

23

27

9

 

Krause P

0

0

0

0

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Madjeski PH

1

0

0

0

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rommel P

0

0

0

0

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

42

13

13

27

11

New York 200 232 326 —  20
Philadelphia 200 602 021 — 13

Errors Ruth, Gehrig, Crosetti 2, Allen, Earnshaw. Runs batted in – Gehrig 6, Combs, Ruth, Crosetti 2, Saltzgaver, Lazzeri 6, Chapman, Dickey, Cochrane 2, Cramer 3, Coleman 3, McNair 2, Foxx. Two base hits – Lazzeri, McNair, Ruth, Coleman. Three base hits – Bishop, Cramer, Chapman, Lazzeri, Foxx. Home Runs – Gehrig 4, Cochrane, Combs, Ruth, Lazzeri, Foxx.

 

Runs Scored Each Game, 1927-32

Runs

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

NY

4

6

15

13

13

10

14

15

10

10

6

2

6

Phil

4

11

9

20

24

12

12

13

10

4

7

2

0

 

Runs

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

 

Average Score

NY

3

0

1

1

0

1

0

2

 

6.12 runs

Phil

3

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

 

4.95 runs

 

Victory Spread

Runs

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

NY

10

14

7

10

8

8

6

0

4

1

1

3

1

Phil

21

9

10

7

1

0

4

3

1

3

0

0

0

 

Average Spread: NY, 4.58 runs, Philadelphia, 3.27 runs

 

These two teams were the two most consistent for high averages in the American League over this six-year stretch. However, except for New York in 1927, the batting averages against each other were always lower than the average they made against the rest of the league.

 

New York

 

 

 

Total League

New York vs.

New York vs.

 

Average

Philadelphia

Rest of League

1927

0.307

0.311

0.306

1928

0.296

0.295

0.296

1929

0.295

0.252

0.302

1930

0.309

0.285

0.313

1931

0.297

0.271

0.301

1932

0.286

0.280

0.287

Totals:

0.298

0.283

0.301

 

 

Philadelphia

 

 

 

Total League

Philadelphia vs.

Philadelphia vs.

 

Average

New York

Rest of League

1927

0.303

0.279

0.308

1928

0.295

0.265

0.300

1929

0.296

0.287

0.297

1930

0.294

0 .283

0.296

1931

0.287

0.253

0.293

1932

0.290

0.258

0.295

Totals:

0.294

0.271

0.298

 

The following list shows how the regulars performed from 1927 to 1932 in this most crucial series. The batting champion of this competition was Mickey Cochrane, who recorded a .359 average in 116 games. Even more significant to the challenge of the pressure game is the fact that Cochrane batted 38 points higher against the Yankees than he did against the rest of the league. Cochrane was one of four A’s players to accomplish this. The leader in responding to pressure, however, was Leo Durocher, who played 2B and SS for New York in 1928 and 1929. Leo hit 101 points higher against Philadelphia than he did against the rest of the league. Ten Yankees hit for a plus average against the A’s. The leader in games played, of course, was Lou Gehrig, 133, because he never missed a game against anybody.

 

New York

 

Games

Total

 

vs. Rest

 

 

Player

Years

Played

Ave.

vs. Phil.

of League

Difference

 

Durocher

1928-29

32

0.257

0.343

0.242

+

101

Cooke

1930-31

18

0.267

0.321

0.252

+

69

Koenig

1927-30

48

0.296

0.343

0.289

+

54

Lary

1929-32

65

0.280

0.312

0.273

+

39

Dugan

1927-28

31

0.272

0.294

0.268

+

26

Grabowski

1927-29

27

0.250

0.261

0.248

+

13

Crosetti

1932.000

18

0.241

0.250

0.239

+

11

Reese

1930.310

21

0.286

0.295

0.285

+

10

Sewell

1930-31

31

0.287

0.293

0.286

+

7

Lazzeri

1927-32

119

0.311

0.312

0.310

+

2

Combs

1927-32

115

0.332

0.328

0.333

5

Gehrig

1927-32

133

0.353

0.343

0.355

12

Ruth

1927-32

122

0.350

0.326

0.354

28

Durst

1927-29

23

0.253

0.224

0.257

33

Byrd

1929-32

53

0.289

0.254

0.294

40

Meusel

1927-29

56

0.302

0.260

0.310

50

Chapman

1930-32

65

0.310

0.270

0.317

57

Dickey

1929-32

71

0.325

0.262

0.335

73

Bengough

1927-30

15

0.244

0.127

0.253

106

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philadelphia

 

Games

Total

 

vs. Rest

 

 

Players

Years

Played

Ave.

vs. N.Y.

of League

Difference

 

Cochrane

1927-32

116

0.326

0.359

0.321

+

38

Speaker

1928

14

0.267

0.283

0.262

+

21

Lamar

1927

18

0.299

0.303

0.298

+

5

McNair

1930-32

45

0.277

0.282

0.276

+

5

Haas

1928-32

85

0.305

0.304

0.306

2

Bishop

1927-32

101

0.271

0.260

0.273

13

Cobb

1927-28

36

0.343

0.324

0.347

23

Hale

1927-29

41

0.301

0.279

0.304

25

Foxx

1927-32

109

0.335

0.306

0.339

33

Simmons

1927-32

117

0.371

0.340

0.376

36

Miller

1928-32

99

0.310

0.272

0.316

44

Williams

1930-32

38

0.261

0.221

0.268

47

French

1927-29

28

0.292

0.237

0.301

64

Boley

1927-32

93

0.269

0.220

0.280

60

Dykes

1927-32

110

0.294

0.241

0.304

86

Cramer

1930-32

32

0.299

0.227

0.313

86

E. Collins

1927-29

27

0.325

0.210

0.360

150

 

Several players had excellent single-season series. Red Ruffing as a batter once had 11 for 22, and in 1927 Gehrig hit safely in 21 of 23 games.  Koenig hit safely in 15 straight games against the A’s in 1928. Simmons hit in 18 of 20 in 1929, including one 5 for 5 game. Combs had two five-hit games and Yankees Koenig, Lazzeri, and Sewell did it once. Dud Branom played only one year in the majors, 26 games at lB for the A’s in 1927, and batted only .234. Against New York, however, Dud hit .391, twice getting three hits.

 

Single Season Batting

Ruffing, 1932    .500 Cochrane, 1931  .403

Cochrane, 1930 .439 Lazzeri, 1928 .400

Gehrig, 1927 .426 Simmons, 1929 .398

Reese, 1930     .409 Byrd, 1932     .395

Dykes, 1927   .404 Branom, 1927   .391

 

During these six years Ruth and Gehrig dominated the American League in hitting home runs. It wasn’t until 1932 that the A’s Jimmy Foxx with 58 gave the league leadership to any but a Yankee. This domination was evident in the New York-Philadelphia series. In 11 games Ruth and Gehrig both hit home runs. On 12 occasions Ruth hit two or more homers. Gehrig did it five times, including the four he hit on June 3, 1932. Foxx and Simmons both homered in the same game four times, all in 1932. Foxx didn’t get two homers in one game against the Yankees until the last game in 1932. Simmons never did during these six years. In all, 37 players homered in these games. Gehrig with 10 in 1927 and 1932 and Foxx with 10 in 1932 had the single season high.

 

Home Runs

New York Philadelphia

Total vs. Phil.   Total vs. NY

1927 158   16 56   5

1928 123   26 89   11

1929 142   21   122 30

1930 152   27   125 17

1931 155   24   118 13

1932 160   32   173 30

 

Long Hits by Individuals

Home Runs   Triples     Doubles

Ruth 49 Foxx   14 Simmons   33

Gehrig   44    Gehrig     12 Lazzeri     29

Simmons   27 Lazzeri   10 Gehrig   26

Foxx 22 Cochrane     10 Cochrane   24

Dykes     8 Combs      8   Combs   23

Bishop   7 Bishop  7   Miller 19

Haas 7 Simmons      6   Bishop   16

Lary   6 Hale      6   Ruth 16

Chapman   6 Haas    5   Haas 15

Chapman   5   Chapman   15

 

Not all of the players in the A’s-Yankees games from 1927-1932 were responsible for these teams dominating the American League. Bubbles Hargrave ended his career in 1930 by catching 34 games for New York, Baby Doll Jacobson played outfield for the A’s in 1927. Art Daney pitched only one game in the majors and it was against New York in 1928. Neal Baker had his only hit in the majors against the Yankees, driving in two runs. New York used 68 players and Philadelphia 72 in the 133 games; 16 playing in only one game.

The New York-Philadelphia rivalry carried over from the field to the stands. Record crowds in both parks were frequent as the league leadership was usually on the line. Few such scenes were as picturesquely described as the record crowd of 85,265 in Yankee Stadium on September 9, 1928, by Westbrook Pegler of the Chicago Tribune Press Service:

The crowd was so vast and so wild that the ball game had to be halted several times until the players, the umpires, and the house policemen cleared the ground of old straw hats and drifting papers.

When all was over the ground and the stands were covered with such debris that the cleaners were still at work loading the litter into hand trucks long after darkenss had fallen.

Police lines were set a quarter of a mile from the Yankee Stadium and perhaps 20,000 more customers were turned away after 1:30, half an hour before time of the first game.

Automobiles were parked in solid acres on the regular parking spaces generally sufficient for the stadium trade and thousands more were drawn up in rows on one of the city’s undeveloped playgrounds just north of the ball park, where policemen and racketeers seemed to be partners in the parking business. They must have collected thousands of dollars, for the tariff was one dollar per car.

No  world  series games, not even the first ones in Washington, St. Louis or Cincinnati, where the citizens achieved something rather distinguished in the way of frenzy ever drew a more frantic crowd. The patrons were so eager to be on the scene that some of them lay flat on the concrete footways leading from tier to tier of the grand stand and peered through gaps in the architecture.

The aisles and the cat walks overhead were packed solid with trade. People sat on the steps, perched or teetered in comfortless places on the railings, and even dangled in festoons from the beams. The roofs of apartment houses three furlongs away were fringed with optimists and policemen were seen chasing hundreds off the fire escapes lest they tear down the walls with their weight.

The day was hot, dusty, and close, and the air outside the stands just before the game was thick with the fumes of auto-mobiles gnashing their fenders and bleating angrily in the traffic jams.

 

On September 22, 1932, correspondent William Brandt wrote:

Another prospective world series ace (Lefty Gomez) was trumped with Philadelphia homers today, but the Yankees staged a finish that was truly championship in caliber to take a ten-inning 8-to-7 decision over the Athletics for an even break in  the two-game series concluding the season’s relations between the champions and ex-champions.

But the domination by two of baseball’s greatest teams was over. In 1933 Washington won the flag with New York second and Philadelphia a distant third. In 1935 Philadelphia finished last.

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