By Calvin J. Butterworth
Detroit Free Enterprise
March 30, 1924
AUGUSTA, GEORGIA—With the 1924 American League campaign finally upon us, the duty of establishing the final order of clubs has come to the forefront. Few fortune-tellers of the horsehide will doubt that the Yankees of New York City will see the pennant banner rippling in the wind over their sparkling new stadium for the fourth consecutive year. This reporter's predicted hierarchy follows:
1. NEW YORK. Babe Ruth, the famed Behemoth of Bust, personally christened his team's first worlds' championship in 1923 by batting .393, walloping 41 circuit clouts and driving home 131 tallies. His feat enabled the Yankees to win the league pennant easily by 16 games over the Tigers. The New York moundsmen also excelled and finished with 101 complete games, most in either league. With their cheeks flushed from their recent celebratory endeavors, I expect the Gothams to find themselves in the seat of lords once more.
2. DETROIT. Ty Cobb's angry cats should battle for team batting honors again, as they did last season with the Clevelanders, but to make more of an impact in league business they will need to improve their hurling reliability. Detroit had only 61 complete games, the lowest mark in the league and only underperformed by Boston's Braves, who threw but 54. Harry Heilman enjoyed a sterling campaign with a league-best .403 average and knocked home 115, Heinie Manush batted .334 and Mr. Cobb .340, but the Peach's squad lacked in the home run department with 41, 64 to the rear of New York's 105, and this will need beefing up. "We don't hit many out of the yard, " said Cobb to me yesterday over a jug of Georgian aged whiskey, "but we can scorch them outfield gaps and gallop over the sacks with fertile abandon."
3. CLEVELAND. Tris Speaker's team batted a combined .301 to Detroit's .300, and finished a lone half game behind them in the league standings, so it is likely the two clubs will prove to be the superior western outfits once again. The Grey Eagle batted .380 with a league-best 59 doubles, while Sewell, Jamieson and Homer Summa all batted well over .300. The Tribe's weakness should be in the pitching department, where George Uhle won 26 but the other chuckers tended to suffer from chronic arm rot. Regardless, chances of another fierce 22-game skirmish between the lake dwellers appears guaranteed.
4. ST. LOUIS. The Browns finished second in the league with 82 long bashes, and I intend for them to regain the offensive allure they displayed in their exciting 1922 campaign. George Sisler, one of three sterling player/managers out here in the west, will certainly have his ruffians snorting for pennant blood. And for those who believe the Brownies are a one-dimensional squad, I offer that their hurling placed third in the league in average of earned runs per game, as Dave Danforth, Elam Vangilder and Urban Shocker won 52 of their 74 victories.
5. WASHINGTON. Big Train Walter Johnson has no fountain of youth to drink from, and the Nats play their contests in a cavernous yard more suited for infantry manuevers than base ball play, as their pitiful amalgamation of just 26 home runs attests. Washington will tally plenty of three-base hits, but with the likes of New York and St. Louis on their dance card, I cannot fathom then cracking into the first division.
6. CHICAGO. The White Stockings are still reeling from the scandal and stench of 1919 and the loss of some of their best stick and glove men, and we should not expect them to rally forth quickly, perhaps not before a far future date such as 1959. Eddie Collins is an exciting little pepper-pot, but I find the remainder of the club sleep-provoking, and do not look forward to visiting Comiskey's field for the sweaty July afternoons of inglorious small balling.
7. PHILADELPHIA. The Mackmen are still in their downward spiral that has entombed them since the Miracle Boston Braves Worlds' Series win of 1914, and it would be an icicle-plagued day in Hades before the Detroiters do not have their slugging way with these impostor elephants.
8. BOSTON. A sad compendium of girl-swingers and wallahonies, the Red Stockings will be truly fortunate to enjoy more than the 61 wins they miraculously garnered last season. Joe Harris and George Burns are their only stick-wielders deemed competent, and Howard Ehmke their lone professional sphere-thrower. The departure of Babe Ruth and others to the occupants of the Bronx has truly weakened them, and it should be at least three years before they are able to combat the pennant-contenders with any degree of comfort.
My prognostications for the National League will follow in two days hence.
|1923 AMERICAN LEAGUE FINAL|
|New York Yankees||98||54||.645||—|
|St. Louis Browns||74||78||.487||24|
|Chicago White Sox||69||85||.448||30|
|Boston Red Sox||61||91||.401||37|