Year In Review : 1927 National League
Off the field...
On August 23rd, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts executed two Italian immigrants for a double murder. It was widely believed that the men's reputation as anarchists prevented them from receiving a fair trial and the case remains one of the most controversial in American history. On April 15, 1920, a paymaster for a shoe company in South Braintree, Massachusetts, and his guard were shot and killed by two men who escaped with over $15,000. It was thought from reports of witnesses that the murderers were Italians. The suspects, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were later arrested. Neither, however, had a criminal record, nor was there any evidence of their having had any of the money. In July of 1921, they were found guilty after a trial in Dedham, Massachusetts, and sentenced to death. Years later it was determined that Sacco was probably guilty of the crime, but that Vanzetti was innocent.
American Aviator Charles Lindbergh astounded the world on May 21st by landing in Paris after a solo flight from New York across the Atlantic in "The Spirit of St. Louis". Upon his return to the United States he received an unprecedented welcome, was promoted to colonel, and made a nationwide tour to foster popular interest in aviation. Lindbergh later married Anne Morrow, the daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico and made several more historic flights with her. After the kidnapping and death of their son in 1932, the Lindberghs moved to England where Charles collaborated with Alexis Carrel on the invention of a perfusion pump that could maintain organs outside the body.
In the American League...
With an all-star lineup known as "Murderer's Row", the New York Yankees outscored its opponents by nearly four-hundred runs and hit .307 as a team. Babe Ruth set the original single season mark with sixty home runs which was more than any other American League team had combined. Outfield counterparts, Earle Combs in center and Bob Meusel in left, hit .356 and .337 respectively. Lou Gehrig had his first big season, batting .373 with forty-seven home runs and a league leading one-hundred seventy-five runs batted in. Second year man Tony Lazzeri ranked third in the loop with eighteen home runs.
On May 30th, Washington Senators ace Walter Johnson tossed the final shutout of his career (number one-hundred ten) with a three hit, 3-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox. The "Big Train" went on to retire at the end of the season, but eventually returned to the majors as a manager for both the Senators and Cleveland Indians.
In the National League...
On May 3rd, Jess Barnes (Brooklyn Dodgers) and Virgil Barnes (New York Giants) combined for the first match-up in Major League history between two brothers. Jess pitched the last seven innings, surrendering runs in the seventh and eighth, while Virgil allowed twelve hits in the first seven 2/3 innings, and finished with a 7-6 loss.
Chicago Cubs shortstop Jimmy Cooney pulled off a rare unassisted triple play in the opener of a Memorial Day doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cooney first caught a Paul Waner line drive, then stepped on second to retire brother Lloyd Waner and finally tagged Clyde Barnhart who was attempting to get back on first. Amazingly, the feat would be duplicated the following day by Detroit Tigers first baseman Johnny Nuen against the Cleveland Indians.
Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Paul Waner set a new National League record after finishing fourteen straight games with at least one long hit (twelve doubles, five triples, three home runs). The following day, his twenty-three game hitting streak also came to an end.
Around the league...
During a May 14th game between the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals, a section of ten rows in the right field stands at the Baker Bowl collapsed spilling hundreds of fans onto spectators below. There are many injuries, but the one death that occurred was caused by the crowd's ensuing stampede, not the collapsing bleachers.
The New York Yankees grand finale for the 1927 season, the World Series, was the quickest ever played and lasted only seventy-four hours and fifteen minutes. They became the first American League team to sweep a World Series, and it was only the second four game sweep in World Series history (Braves over Athletics in 1914). The Yankees trailed a total of only two innings during the entire series out scoring the Pirates 23-10. Pittsburgh, only once, managed to score more than one run in an inning (during Game 4).