1920 Leaders & Numbers

Babe Ruth in 1920 was, as George Will would later say, like Mt. Everest in Kansas. Despite Ruth’s utter dominance, George Sisler astonishingly collected more total bases (399 to Ruth’s 388). Cy Williams was, for now, the NL’s answer to Ruth—while Rogers Hornsby became the senior circuit’s answer to Ty Cobb, beginning his superstar run with the first of six straight batting titles. Hornsby got support in the lineup from Jack Fournier, all but missing in action from the majors over the previous three years because of his suspect defense. Compact, young and aggressive, Ross Youngs—a pet favorite of Giant manager John McGraw—began to make a major impact. Joe Jackson, Happy Felsch and Eddie Cicotte played their one post-Black Sox campaign as if on a mission to prove their potential to the fullest; it would prove to be a futile gesture. A record 17 pitchers won 20 games in 1920, and rising above them all was Jim Bagby—one of 13 hurlers since 1900 to win 30. Four of the 20-game winners (Cicotte, Red Faber, Dickie Kerr and Lefty Williams) played for one team (the White Sox), a major league first. Pete Alexander returned to top-notch form, winning his first 11 games while racking up an unprecedented sixth straight campaign with a sub-2.00 ERA. Urban Shocker was a rarity for the 1920s: A good player stolen from, not to, the Yankees (they’d eventually get him back anyway). Wilbur Cooper, the Pirates’ all-time leader in wins, reached a career pinnacle with 24.

The Ten Best National League Hitters, 1920
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HB SB CS
1. Rogers Hornsby St. Louis 149 .370 589 96 218 44 20 9 94 60 3 12 15
2. Ross Youngs New York 153 .351 581 92 204 27 14 6 78 75 2 18 18
3. Edd Roush Cincinnati 149 .339 579 81 196 22 16 4 90 42 3 36 24
4. Cy Williams Philadelphia 148 .325 590 88 192 36 10 15 72 32 4 18 12
5. Zack Wheat Brooklyn 148 .328 583 89 191 26 13 9 73 48 6 8 10
6. Hi Myers Brooklyn 154 .304 582 83 177 36 22 4 80 35 1 9 13
7. Irish Meusel Philadelphia 138 .309 518 75 160 27 8 14 69 32 0 17 11
8. George Burns New York 154 .287 631 115 181 35 9 6 46 76 2 22 22
9. Jack Fournier St. Louis 141 .306 530 77 162 33 14 3 61 42 12 26 20
10. Dave Robertson Chicago 134 .300 500 68 150 29 11 10 75 40 1 17 23
The Ten Best American League Hitters, 1920
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HB SB CS
1. Babe Ruth New York 142 .376 458 158 172 36 9 54 137 150 3 14 14
2. George Sisler St. Louis 154 .407 631 137 257 49 18 19 122 46 2 42 17
3. Tris Speaker Cleveland 150 .388 552 137 214 50 11 8 107 97 5 10 13
4. Joe Jackson Chicago 146 .382 570 105 218 42 20 12 121 56 7 9 12
5. Eddie Collins Chicago 153 .372 602 117 224 38 13 3 76 69 2 20 8
6. Happy Felsch Chicago 142 .338 556 88 188 40 15 14 115 37 4 8 13
7. Baby Doll Jacobson St. Louis 154 .355 609 97 216 34 14 9 122 46 2 11 7
8. Elmer Smith Cleveland 129 .316 456 82 144 37 10 12 103 53 3 5 4
9. Sam Rice Washington 153 .338 624 83 211 29 9 3 80 39 4 63 30
10. Bobby Veach Detroit 154 .307 612 92 188 39 15 11 113 36 7 11 7
The Ten Best National League Pitchers, 1920
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV G GS IP TB ER BB WP HB BK
1. Burleigh Grimes Brooklyn 2.22 23 11 .676 2 40 33 303.2 286 75 67 9 4 0
2. Wilbur Cooper Pittsburgh 2.39 24 15 .615 2 44 37 327 319 87 52 1 11 0
3. Pete Alexander Chicago 1.91 27 14 .659 5 46 40 363.1 359 77 69 3 1 0
4. Babe Adams Pittsburgh 2.16 17 13 .567 2 35 33 263 258 63 18 5 1 0
5. Fred Toney New York 2.65 21 11 .656 1 42 37 278.1 290 82 57 6 6 0
6. Dolf Luque Cincinnati 2.51 13 9 .591 1 37 23 207.2 183 58 60 2 4 0
7. Jesse Barnes New York 2.64 20 15 .571 0 43 34 292.2 298 86 56 4 2 0
8. Art Nehf New York 3.08 21 12 .636 0 40 33 280.2 297 96 45 3 1 1
9. Al Mamaux Brooklyn 2.69 12 8 .600 4 41 17 190.2 178 57 63 3 4 1
10. Ray Fisher Cincinnati 2.73 10 11 .476 1 33 21 201 204 61 50 1 8 0
The Ten Best American League Pitchers, 1920
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV G GS IP TB ER BB WP HB BK
1. Stan Coveleski Cleveland 2.49 24 14 .632 2 41 38 315 302 87 65 1 4 0
2. Jim Bagby Cleveland 2.89 31 12 .721 0 48 38 339.2 365 109 79 6 5 0
3. Bob Shawkey New York 2.45 20 13 .606 2 38 31 267.2 276 73 85 3 1 0
4. Urban Shocker St. Louis 2.71 20 10 .667 5 38 28 245.2 254 74 70 0 4 0
5. Red Faber Chicago 2.99 23 13 .639 1 40 39 319 356 106 88 4 4 0
6. Eddie Rommel Philadelphia 2.85 7 7 .500 1 33 12 173.2 180 55 43 1 4 1
7. Carl Mays New York 3.06 26 11 .703 2 45 37 312 349 106 84 2 7 0
8. Eddie Cicotte Chicago 3.26 21 10 .677 2 37 35 303.1 334 110 74 3 2 0
9. Dickie Kerr Chicago 3.37 21 9 .700 5 45 27 253.2 287 95 72 3 4 1
10. Jack Quinn New York 3.20 18 10 .643 3 41 32 253.1 295 90 48 5 2 0

Brown type indicates league leader.
Notes: Walks (BB) do not include intentional walks (IB). For pitchers, caught stealing (CS) also includes pickoffs.
How does This Great Game determine the best hitters and pitchers? Find out here.


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