Speaking of Homeruns 7-26-09

Speaking of Homeruns

Richard J. Garfunkel

July 26, 2009

 

In 1884, the Chicago Cubs, who were known that season as the White Stockings also, played in Lake Front Park, where the dimensions in feet were from left to right: 186, 300, and 196. In that season where they played only 112 games, the 4th place Cubs finished 4th with a record of 62 and 50, under the legendary and infamous Adrian “Cap” Anson, who had a great deal with baseball’s “color barrier.”

 

The team hit 142 homeruns in that bandbox park. The Braves played in the South End Grounds during that same period and the measurements were: 250, 440, and 255. The Dodgers (Bridegrooms) played in Washington Park that measured 335, 445, and 215. In 1884 the next leading team in homeruns was the Buffalo franchise that hit 39. The top four homerun hitters in the league were all Chicago players: Williamson, Pfeffer, Dalrymple and Anson with 27, 25, 22, and 21. The mark of 27 set by Ned Williamson would stand until 1919 when Babe Ruth hit 29 with the Red Sox. Williamson would only hit 3 the next season when the Cubs (now Colts) moved to West Side Park which was larger dimensions. He would only hit a total of 63 homeruns in his 13 years career with 4553 at bats.

 

Frank “Homerun” Baker had his best power season with 12 homers in 1913 and would only hit 93 in his 13 seasons and 5985 at bats. He also hit 3 homeruns in 6 World Series appearances, but received the name, “Homerun” in the 1911 Series where he two and led the A’s with a .375 average. He hit one off Hall of Famer, Rube Marquand to win a game and was able to tie a game with his second homer when the legendary Christy Mathewson was pitching a i-0 shutout in the 9th inning. With regards to the 3rd baseman who played with the famous trio of Tinkers to Evers to Chance, it was not Baker, but Harry Steinfeldt. Steinfeldt starred on the great Cub club that set the National League record (also the Major League record for over 90 years) for wins with 116 (116-36). He led that team with a batting average of .327. The Cubs led the National League with a team batting average of .262, but were beaten by their light-hitting cross-town rivals, the White Sox, known also as the “Hitless Wonders.” The Sox (93-58) hit .230 which was probably the lowest batting average for a pennant winner in the history of baseball.

 

In 1968, the “Pitcher’s Year “of baseball, the Tigers, led by Denny McClain’s 31 victory season batted only .235. Oakland led the league with a .240 average and the vaunted 5th place Yankees hit an amazing .214. Mickey Mantle his only .237 but 23 points above the terrible Yanks, and 7 points above the league average. “King” Carl Yastrzemski led the American League in batting with a record low .301.  The Mets that year actually hit .228 and the great Willie Mays hit .289 for the SF Giants.

 

With regards to the Bambino, Babe Ruth actually broke Williamson’s record in 1919 with 29 homeruns in only 439 at bats as he also pitched for the 6th place Red Sox, who finished in 6th place. The next two years with the Yankees and in the friendly Polo Grounds, he would hit 54 and 59. Ruth’s total of 54 over the previous record of 29, was the greatest spread between home run champions. I am sure that Ruth was the first 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, and 700 home runs.

  

The team hit 142 homeruns in that bandbox park. The Braves played in the South End Grounds during that same period and the measurements were: 250, 440, and 255. The Dodgers (Bridegrooms) played in Washington Park that measured 335, 445, and 215. In 1884 the next leading team in homeruns was the Buffalo franchise that hit 39. The top four homerun hitters in the league were all Chicago players: Williamson, Pfeffer, Dalrymple and Anson with 27, 25, 22, and 21. The mark of 27 set by Ned Williamson would stand until 1919 when Babe Ruth hit 29 with the Red Sox. Williamson would only hit 3 the next season when the Cubs (now Colts) moved to West Side Park which was larger dimensions. He would only hit a total of 63 homeruns in his 13 years career with 4553 at bats.

 

Frank “Homerun” Baker had his best power season with 12 homers in 1913 and would only hit 93 in his 13 seasons and 5985 at bats. He also hit 3 homeruns in 6 World Series appearances, but received the name, “Homerun” in the 1911 Series where he two and led the A’s with a .375 average. He hit one off Hall of Famer, Rube Marquand to win a game and was able to tie a game with his second homer when the legendary Christy Mathewson was pitching a i-0 shutout in the 9th inning. With regards to the 3rd baseman who played with the famous trio of Tinkers to Evers to Chance, it was not Baker, but Harry Steinfeldt. Steinfeldt starred on the great Cub club that set the National League record (also the Major League record for over 90 years) for wins with 116 (116-36). He led that team with a batting average of .327. The Cubs led the National League with a team batting average of .262, but were beaten by their light-hitting cross-town rivals, the White Sox, known also as the “Hitless Wonders.” The Sox (93-58) hit .230 which was probably the lowest batting average for a pennant winner in the history of baseball.

 

In 1968, the “Pitcher’s Year “of baseball, the Tigers, led by Denny McClain’s 31 victory season batted only .235. Oakland led the league with a .240 average and the vaunted 5th place Yankees hit an amazing .214. Mickey Mantle his only .237 but 23 points above the terrible Yanks, and 7 points above the league average. “King” Carl Yastrzemski led the American League in batting with a record low .301.  The Mets that year actually hit .228 and the great Willie Mays hit .289 for the SF Giants.

 

With regards to the Bambino, Babe Ruth actually broke Williamson’s record in 1919 with 29 homeruns in only 439 at bats as he also pitched for the 6th place Red Sox, who finished in 6th place. The next two years with the Yankees and in the friendly Polo Grounds, he would hit 54 and 59. Ruth’s total of 54 over the previous record of 29, was the greatest spread between home run champions. I am sure that Ruth was the first 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, and 700 home runs.

 

 

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