Record: 92-62 in the National
Manager: Gabby Street
By Keith Thronson
The year was 1930. What was so special about the year 1930? It only featured a team where all eight starters batted .300 or better. I know of no other team that accomplished that feat since 1901. I'm talking about the 1930 St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals won the National League pennant that year by two games over the Chicago Cubs. Their record was 92-62 for the regular season.
They were managed by Gabby Street. In 1929 he had only managed two games for the Cardinals and he was 0-2. But in 1930 he would help lead his team to a pennant and a trip to the World Series. They would have to face the powerful Philadelphia Athletics who finished the regular season 102-52 under manager Connie Mack. The Athletics had won the 1929 World Series by defeating the Chicago Cubs four games to one.
As I stated earlier the 1930 St. Louis Cardinals featured eight starters that batted .300 or better. George Watkins who played some outfield, first base and second base led the team with a .373 average. Now he only played in 119 games and batted 391 times, so second baseman Frankie Frisch who played in 133 games and had 540 at bats really led the team with a .346 average in my estimation. Outfielder Taylor Douthit led the team with 201 hits that year. His batting average was .303. Outfielder Chick Hafey was the slugger for the Cardinals that year, by slamming 26 homeruns and driving in 107 runs. His batting average was .336. He also led the team with a .652 slugging percentage. The first baseman Jim Bottomley hit 15 homeruns and drove in 97 runs. His average was .304. Shortstop Charlie Gelbert batted .304. Third baseman Sparky Adams hit .314. Catcher Jimmie Wilson batted .318.
You really couldn't pitch around any of these guys. Most anybody in the lineup could hurt you. Even some of the utility players batted .300 or better. Outfielder Showboat Fisher batted .374. He played in 92 games and had 254 at bats. Back-up catcher Gus Mancuso batted .366. He played in 76 games and had 227 at bats. This team was simply amazing. What was so strange was that no player on this team led the league in any offensive category.
As for the Cardinal pitching it was not that great. Their best pitcher was Wild Bill Hallahan. He had a 15-9 record with an ERA of 4.67. Pitcher Burleigh Grimes was 13-6 with an ERA of 3.02. See what I mean? Not much better. Pitcher Hi Bell led the pitching staff and the National League with eight saves.
There were four starters on this team that would be inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in the future. That being Frankie Frisch, Jim Bottomley, Chick Hafey and pitcher Burleigh Grimes.
I guess your wondering how the St. Louis Cardinals made out in the 1930 World Series. As I stated earlier they played the Philadelphia Athletics of the American League. The Athletics were victorious by winning four games to two. You must understand their lineup was nothing to sneeze about. It featured first baseman Jimmie Foxx, outfielder Al Simmons, catcher Mickey Cochrane and outfielder Mule Haas. Foxx, Simmons and Cochrane eventually would be inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame.
Their pitching staff was led by future Hall of Famer Lefty Grove. He posted a record of 28-5 in 1930 with an ERA of 2.54. Another effective pitcher for the Athletics was George Earnshaw who was 22-13 on the year with an ERA of 4.44. Their pitching staff was definitely better than the one St. Louis had that year. Pitcher George Earnshaw won two games in the 1930 World Series against St.Louis. He had an amazing ERA of 0.72. He pitched 25 innings and gave up 13 hits in the series. Pitcher Lefty Grove was 2-1 in the series.
Philadelphia Athletic manager Connie Mack would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1937. He holds the major league record for the most wins and the most losses by a manager. He managed for 50 years. I bet he had some ulcers. The Philadelphia Athletics were certainly a dynasty to be reckoned with in those days. They won the 1929 and the 1930 World Series. They were finally defeated in the 1931 World Series by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Cardinal outfielder Pepper Martin was the batting hero in that 1931 World Series. He got twelve hits in the seven game series, and batted .500. Cardinal pitchers Wild Bill Hallahan and Burleigh Grimes were both 2-0 in the series. Hallahan had an ERA of 0.49 in the World Series. The Cardinals had a dynasty pretty much themselves in the 1920's and 1930's.
I just want to mention an interesting fact that occurred with the 1921 St. Louis Cardinals. They had seven starters that batted .300 or better that year. The only starter that didn't bat .300 or better was shortstop Doc Lavan. He batted .259. Hall of Fame second baseman Roger Hornsby led the major league in batting that year with a .397 batting average. Nevertheless, that team finished third in their division that year with a record of 87-66. Seven games behind the league leading New York Giants. The Cardinals had a reputation for hitting back then and to think of it they still do. They were managed by Hall of Famer Branch Rickey in 1921. That's another story in itself.
I hope you enjoyed this amazing tale of the St. Louis Cardinals. They were a force to be reckoned with and they provided the fans of St. Louis with competitive teams year after year and extraordinary characters that seemed almost fictional. See you at the game.
Written by: Keith Thronson from Mobile,Alabama. He is a frequent contributor to Historic Baseball. He maintains a Web site at http://www.eteamz.com/majorleague.