Lynch: 1922, a season of firsts and lasts

From SABR member Mike Lynch at The National Pastime Museum on March 9, 2016:

In a year that brought the world the Eskimo Pie, Reader’s Digest, James Joyce’s Ulysses, the rise of Benito Mussolini, the formation of the Soviet Union, and the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, 1922 was also a banner year for Major League Baseball. It marked the first time that the league reached 1,000 home runs, boasted three .400 hitters for the only time in the modern era, and saw both batting champs hit .400 for the only time.

The season also saw two no-hitters, including a perfect game, the highest scoring game in MLB history, a suspension of two of the best players in the big leagues, the longest hitting streak of the twentieth century (at the time), and the first time an entire World Series was broadcast over radio. But it also included controversy that impacted both pennant races and unceremoniously ended one player’s career when he was expelled from the game for life.

The banishment of the spitball, except for those grandfathered, in 1920; better quality baseballs that were introduced into games more frequently; and a paradigm shift away from “small ball” and toward power hitting ushered in a new era that saw offense climb to new heights. In 1922, the 16 Major League teams averaged 4.87 runs per game, the highest output since 1900, and averaged .43 homers a game, the highest in history until 1925.

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Originally published: March 9, 2016. Last Updated: March 9, 2016.