The eternal struggle between offense and defense
saw the former gain the upper hand in this decade.
In 1920 the spitball and similar deliveries were
banned, and the league made a commitment to keep
clean, highly-visible balls in play at all times.
In the 1925 the ball itself underwent a change,
its new cork center making it livelier. As the
hitters began to realize it was now easier to
reach the fences, more of them began taking fuller
swings and adopting uppercuts. The home run
revolution had arrived, and attendance boomed.
The league outlawed the spitball as well as any
other deliveries that involved adding substances
to or defacing the ball, and a new era of
offensive dominance began. The loop’s batting
average rose to .279—the highest since 1899. Home
runs totals began to climb.
One team missed the memo with the news that the
batter was now king, and that team dominated the
league. Brooklyn posted a remarkable 2.29 team
ERA—more than a full run better than anyone
else—and ran away with the East, going 108-49 and
beating Philadelphia by 21 games. The West saw a
multi-team race, with Detroit emerging on top,
five games ahead of Chicago.
Chicago’s Smith Cambell hit .358 to earn his
second consecutive batting title, while Seemly Sam
Tucker of Buffalo hit 22 home runs, setting a new
single-season mark. Philadelphia’s Claud Hensley
knocked in 124 runs to win the RBI crown.
The pitching categories were not surprisingly
dominated by Bluebirds: Clay Baldwin led the
league in ERA at 1.56, while Brock Rutherford came
in second at 1.79. Baldwin also led in wins, with
29, while Rutherford and another Brooklynite,
Hermann Logan, tied for second, each chipping in
with 25. Rutherford won the strikeout title with
The World Series looked like a mismatch. Brooklyn
won 22 games more than Detroit in the regular
season, and carried a rich history of postseason
success, with six World Series titles; Detroit’s
four previous Series appearances had all ended in
defeat. As it turned out, the Wolverines were more
than competitive; they were victorious and
efficient to boot, requiring only six games to
vanquish their heavily-favored foes.
New York finally got its own concrete-and-steel
park, and what a park it was. Knickerbocker
Stadium was built to order for the nation’s
largest city, and boasted the league’s largest
capacity—seats for 51,000 fans. The Knicks were
not a particularly competitive team at this time,
so many of those seats were empty much of the
time, but the day that they would be needed would
The Knicks’ rivals from across the river were
having no trouble filling seats, and little
difficulty beating their Eastern Division
opponents for that matter. Brooklyn rolled to a
105-53 record, 15 games better than second-place
Philadelphia. In the West, St. Louis returned to
the top, besting Cincinnati by four games.
Smith Cambell of Chicago was making an annual
occurrence of winning the batting championship,
hitting .382 to top the league for the third year
in a row. Pittsburgh’s Fenn McCaffree and
Buffalo’s Sam Tucker each hit 19 round-trippers to
share the home run crown, and Brooklyn’s Howard
Russ was the RBI champ with 126. Brock Rutherford
of Brooklyn swept the pitching Triple Crown
categories with the top marks in ERA (2.02), wins
(21), and strikeouts (227).
Longtime Brooklyn star Dooley Sauer, closing out
his career with St. Louis at age 39, hit .407 in
the Word Series to lead the Explorers to a
surprise 4-2 triumph over the Bluebirds.
Buffalo joined the new ballpark club with Beaver
Park, a small but gorgeous 29,500-seat
venue. The park proved a hit, but the 1922 Beavers
came in last place.
For the first time in years, both divisions
featured exciting races. Philadelphia and Brooklyn
were tied going into the season’s final weekend;
the Quakers wrapped it up with minimal suspense by
sweeping New York while the Bluebirds were swept
by Baltimore. The West showcased an even tighter
race, as Cincinnati and St. Louis finished the
158-game schedule in a dead heat. The Packers had
to travel to St. Louis for the playoff, and
defeated the home team 3-2 to earn the division
The architects that built Beaver Park didn’t do
Sam Tucker any favors, as the new park featured
some of the most remote outfield fences in the
league; Tucker led the league in home runs for the
third consecutive year anyway, with 20.
Pittsburgh’s Fennimore McCaffree hit .376 to win
the batting crown, and Claud Hensley of
Philadelphia was the RBI champ for the second time
in his career, driving in 141. Warley Krueger of
St. Louis was the ERA king, posting a 2.11 mark,
as teammate Edgar Bath topped the loop in wins
with 27. Brooklyn’s Brock Rutherford led the
league in strikeouts with 188.
The World Series was a tight but quick affair,
featuring five close games with Philadelphia
winning four of the five to capture their seventh
By now, the big sluggers were more swinging for
the fences and reaching them with ever-increasing
frequency. The deadball era was dead; baseball was
becoming a pitchers’ nightmare and a hitters’
In one of the head-scratching-est trades in
league history, Brooklyn sent their young pitching
phenom, Brock Rutherford, and a good
outfielder, Antony Shipman, to St. Louis for a
minor league outfielder and Emery Connelly, a
36-year-old pitcher who had not started a big
league game since 1908.
Philadelphia’s Billy Peterson won the batting
title with a .387 mark, while teammate Pete
Humphrey drove in 141 to win the RBI crown. An
unprecedented four players hit 20 or more home
runs, but for the fourth year in a row Buffalo’s
Sam Tucker out-homered everyone; his 26 circuit
clouts set a new single-season record. Among
pitchers, Rutherford dominated the Western
Division just as he had dominated the East,
winning his second career Triple Crown with a 2.18
ERA, 27 wins, and 200 strikeouts.
Brooklyn and St. Louis won their divisions
easily, setting up a postseason confrontation that
would spotlight the curious off-season
It was an exciting World Series that went the
distance. Rutherford and Shipman, ironically,
struggled against their old teammates; Rutherford
was 0-2, and Shipman hit .207. The players that
Brooklyn received didn’t even play in the Series.
But St. Louis’ “other” ace, Edgar Bath, shut out
the Bluebirds twice to lead the Explorers to their
third world title in nine years.
St. Louis’s dominance over the West continued, as
the Explorers rolled to a 104-54 record and
finished 20 games ahead of runners-up Pittsburgh.
In the East New York bested Philadelphia by a more
modest 7 games.
Philadelphia’s Claud Hensley was the batting
champion, hitting a sizzling with a .385, while
teammate Pete Humphrey won the RBI crown for the
second year running by knocking in 126. Duncan
Nagle of Cincinnati matched Sam Tucker’s year-old
home run record, blasting 26; Tucker finished just
behind him with 25. St. Louis’ Brock Rutherford
almost won a second consecutive pitching Triple
Crown. He led the loop in ERA (1.73) and
strikeouts (213) but fell one short of
Pittsburgh’s Patrick Monday in victories. Monday
led the league with 28.
Fennimore McCaffree of Pittsburgh hit 19 home
runs to replace Pierre Ellsworth as the all-time
home run king. The 31-year-old McCaffree finished
the season with 170 career round-trippers.
Ellsworth retired in 1907 with 153.
Jason “Jaybird” Wall hit a blistering .522 to
lead New York to a 4-2 Series triumph over St.
Louis. It was the Knickerbockers’ ninth league
championship and sixth undisputed world title.
Sensing that the fans liked increased offense,
the league introduced a cork-centered ball that
they thought might be a bit livelier.
Surprisingly, the league’s batting average dropped
by a point (down to a still-high .290), but home
runs increased significantly, as did attendance—no
small feat during a season with no pennant races
whatsoever to speak of.
New York’s Doc Moore hit .395, the highest
average since 1894. Sam Tucker hit 35 home runs,
the highest total to date; Moore hit 33, the
second highest. Trick Sisson of Cincinnati drove
in 132 runs to lead the league. St. Louis’ Brock
Rutherford led the league in ERA (1.97) and
strikeouts (241) again, and with 28 wins was again
one win shy of the Triple Crown—Berry Hocker of
Detroit won 29.
St. Louis and New York easily won their divisions
again, so the World Series was a rematch. The
Explorers fell behind, dropping two of the first
three and three of the first four, but were able
to bring the Series back home for two final games
in St. Louis, which they won to earn their fourth
St. Louis dominated the league to an extreme not
seen since the record-smashing Chicago Traders of
1909. The Explorers went 116-42, winning the West
by 36 games over Pittsburgh. Eastern champion New
York’s 103-55 ledger seemed modest by comparison.
Statistically, though, the Knicks had the best
offense in either division, slugging 122 home runs
and hitting .308 as a team. Star keystone sacker
Doc Moore led the league in batting (.394) and
home runs (28). Teammate Ed Wall tied
Philadelphia’s Rip Rice for the top mark in RBI,
each driving in 131. St. Louis had a good hitting
team as well but pitching was their strength,
leading the league with a 2.50 team ERA, a half a
run better than anyone else’s. The Explorers were
once again led by Brock Rutherford, who took a
back seat to nobody in the Triple Crown
categories, leading in ERA (1.10), wins (32), and
In what was beginning to look like an annual
tradition, St. Louis played host to New York in
Game One of the World Series. Rutherford was
masterful in that game and in Game Five, the other
game he started, but those were the only two games
the Explorers won as the Knicks, with Moore
hitting .480, upset them in six to win their
seventh world title.
St. Louis once again wrapped up the West early,
winning 97 games and finishing 16 games ahead of
Cleveland and Pittsburgh. New York also repeated
in spite of a 98-win season by Brooklyn, who still
finished 8 games behind the Knicks’ juggernaut.
Chicago’s Dick Whitney hit .386 to win the
batting title. Doc Moore of New York led the loop
in home runs with 23. Bill McGonagil of Cleveland
was the RBI king, knocking in 112. St. Louis’
Brock Rutherford won his second consecutive
pitching Triple Crown while sharing the top spot
in victories with two other pitchers. Rutherford
posted a 1.52 ERA, won 24 games, and struck out
214. New York’s Edgar Blaney and Baltimore’s
Philpott Loveen were the other 24-game winners.
For the fourth consecutive season New York and
St. Louis faced off in the World Series, and for
the third time in four years the Knicks won it in
six. The “Three W’s”—shortstop Jaybird Wall, third
baseman Joe Wells, and right fielder Ed Wall—all
hit .400 or better to lead New York to the
championship for the eighth time.
New York again won the East handily, finishing
103-55, 8 games ahead of Brooklyn. St. Louis had
their hands full with Pittsburgh, as the two teams
traded the top spot in the West all season long
before the Explorers pulled away at the end to
edge the Industrials by three games.
Ron Ezzell of Pittsburgh claimed the batting
championship by hitting .366, while three
players—New York’s Doc Moore, Brooklyn’s Jessie
Royster, and New York’s Ed Wall, all hit 22 home
runs to lead the league. Philadelphia’s Lloyd
Williams was the RBI champ, driving in 125. The
familiar name of St. Louis’ Brock Rutherford
topped all three pitching Triple Crown categories
for the third consecutive season, with a 1.62 ERA,
27 wins, and 264 strikeouts.
The World Series, while featuring the same two
teams that had squared off for the title since
1924, was at least an exciting see-saw affair that
went the distance. The Knicks needed to win the
final two games at home to defend the
championship, and Game Seven was a wild 8-7
contest in which the Explorers had the tying run
on base when the final gun sounded. But when the
smoke had cleared, it was, again, New York sitting
at the top of the baseball heap.
Fans who were getting tired of New York/St. Louis
World Series reruns almost got an entirely new
slate this year, but ultimately had to settle for
just one new entry. Brooklyn won the East handily,
topping New York by ten games to end the Knicks’
five-year stranglehold on the division title. In
the West St. Louis held on to win their seventh
straight divisional crown, but it was close: they
beat Chicago and Cincinnati by just two games and
Pittsburgh by four.
New York was denied another title but second
baseman Doc Moore was still a champion, winning
his third batting crown with a .387 average. In
Chicago, a new slugging star emerged, as third
baseman Mel Harrison topped the loop in home runs
with 30 and RBI with 135. But it was business as
usual in the pitching ranks, as St. Louis’ Brock
Rutherford again dominated, leading the circuit in
ERA (1.98), wins (25), and strikeouts (231).
Unfortunately for Rutherford and his teammates,
the trend of St. Louis losing the World Series to
a New York-based team continued. Brooklyn
dispatched the Explorers in quick fashion, winning
in five as Pat “Toothbrush” Terrigan hurled two
complete game victories and center fielder Jessie
Royster hit .458. It was Brooklyn’s first world
title since 1914 and seventh overall.