1931 Leaders & Numbers

Subtlety returned to the numbers as either the ball or the hitters were deadened in the aftermath of 1930’s sluggopalooza. The two-man wrecking crew of Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth ganged up for a record 347 RBIs while sharing the home run lead; it would be Ruth’s 12th and final placement at the top. No one continued to embrace Philadelphia’s Baker Bowl more than Chuck Klein, who for the second straight year hit over .400 there. Earl Averill was one of the few hitters whose stats actually improved over 1930. Mel Ott quietly hit his 100th career home run at age 22. Chick Hafey thanked the optometrist and became the first bespectacled batting champ. Earl Webb’s doubly good hitting theatrics helped the Red Sox end their six-year run in the AL cellar. Lefty Grove became the only AL pitcher to win 30 games between 1920 and 1968. Meanwhile, the NL had no 20-game winners for the first time ever, led with 19 by Heinie Meine—a junkballer whose career appeared doomed ten years earlier when his bread-and-butter spitball was declared toast by the majors. Lefty Gomez’s debut was a thriving oasis in a wasteland of bad Yankee pitching. Known qualities in Carl Hubbell and Freddie Fitzsimmons were overshadowed by relatively unknown Giant teammate Bill Walker, who won his second NL ERA title in three years. Firpo Marberry, baseball’s first full-time reliever and now a part-time starter, ran his three-year record to 50-21. Ed Brandt, on the other hand, turned a 21-45 record over his three previous years into something completely different, thanks to an 8-0 start.

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The Ten Best National League Hitters, 1931
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HB SB
1. Chuck Klein Philadelphia 148 .337 594 121 200 34 10 31 121 59 1 7
2. Bill Terry New York 153 .349 611 121 213 43 20 9 112 47 2 8
3. Chick Hafey St. Louis 122 .349 450 94 157 35 8 16 95 39 3 11
4. Mel Ott New York 138 .292 497 104 145 23 8 29 115 80 2 10
5. Babe Herman Brooklyn 151 .313 610 93 191 43 16 18 97 50 0 17
6. Kiki Cuyler Pittsburgh 154 .330 613 110 202 37 12 9 88 72 5 13
7. Wally Berger Boston 156 .323 617 94 199 44 8 19 84 55 2 13
8. Rogers Hornsby Chicago 100 .331 357 64 118 37 1 16 90 56 0 1
9. Woody English Chicago 156 .319 634 117 202 38 8 2 53 68 7 12
10. Buzz Arlett Philadelphia 121 .313 418 65 131 26 7 18 72 45 5 3
The Ten Best American League Hitters, 1931
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HB SB CS
1. Lou Gehrig New York 155 .341 619 163 211 31 15 46 184 117 0 17 12
2. Babe Ruth New York 145 .373 534 149 199 31 3 46 163 128 1 5 4
3. Al Simmons Philadelphia 128 .390 513 105 200 37 13 22 128 47 3 3 3
4. Earl Averill Cleveland 155 .333 627 140 209 36 10 32 143 68 6 9 9
5. Ben Chapman New York 149 .315 600 120 189 28 11 17 122 75 5 61 23
6. Goose Goslin St. Louis 151 .328 591 114 194 42 10 24 105 80 4 9 6
7. Jimmie Foxx Philadelphia 139 .291 515 93 150 32 10 30 120 73 1 4 3
8. Joe Cronin Washington 156 .306 611 103 187 44 13 12 126 81 4 10 9
9. Earl Webb Boston 151 .333 589 96 196 67 3 14 103 70 0 2 2
10. Mickey Cochrane Philadelphia 122 .349 459 87 160 31 6 17 89 56 3 2 3
The Ten Best National League Pitchers, 1931
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV G GS IP TB ER BB WP HB BK
1. Bill Walker New York 2.26 16 9 .640 3 37 28 239.1 230 60 64 2 3 0
2. Heinie Meine Pittsburgh 2.98 19 13 .594 0 36 35 284 302 94 87 4 7 0
3. Ed Brandt Boston 2.92 18 11 .621 2 33 29 250 261 81 77 3 4 0
4. Carl Hubbell New York 2.65 14 12 .538 3 36 30 248 253 73 67 3 4 0
5. Charlie Root Chicago 3.48 17 14 .548 2 39 31 251 261 97 71 1 7 0
6. Syl Johnson St. Louis 3.00 11 9 .550 1 32 24 207.1 241 62 29 3 2 0
7. Freddie Fitzsimmons New York 3.05 18 11 .621 0 35 33 253.2 290 86 62 5 0 0
8. Watty Clark Brooklyn 3.24 14 10 .583 1 34 28 233.1 255 83 52 3 1 1
9. Bill Hallahan St. Louis 3.29 19 9 .679 4 37 30 248.2 272 91 112 11 1 0
10. Bob Smith Chicago 3.22 15 12 .556 2 36 29 240.1 269 86 62 1 1 1
The Ten Best American League Pitchers, 1931
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV G GS IP TB ER BB WP HB BK
1. Lefty Grove Philadelphia 2.06 31 4 .886 5 41 30 288.2 279 66 62 2 1 0
2. Lefty Gomez New York 2.67 21 9 .700 3 40 26 243 227 72 85 1 4 0
3. George Earnshaw Philadelphia 3.67 21 7 .750 6 43 30 281.2 303 115 75 5 3 0
4. Lloyd Brown Washington 3.20 15 14 .517 0 42 32 258.2 295 92 79 3 0 0
5. Firpo Marberry Washington 3.45 16 4 .800 7 45 25 219 250 84 63 3 3 0
6. Bump Hadley Washington 3.06 11 10 .524 8 55 11 179.2 157 61 92 4 1 0
7. Wes Ferrell Cleveland 3.75 22 12 .647 3 40 35 276.1 303 115 130 3 3 0
8. Rube Walberg Philadelphia 3.74 20 12 .625 3 44 35 291 346 121 109 3 0 0
9. George Uhle Detroit 3.50 11 12 .478 2 29 18 193 220 75 49 6 4 1
10. General Crowder Washington 3.88 18 11 .621 2 44 26 234.1 294 101 72 4 1 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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1931 Awards


NL MVP
Frankie Frisch, St. Louis

AL MVP
Lefty Grove, Philadelphia