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1920 New York Yankees
From BR Bullpen
| 1920 New York Yankees |
|Major league affiliations|
|Owner(s)||Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston|
|Baseball-Reference||1920 New York Yankees|
The 1920 New York Yankees season was the 18th season for the Yankees in New York and their 20th overall. The team finished with a record of 95-59, just 3 games behind the American League champion Cleveland Indians. New York was managed by Miller Huggins. Home games were played at the Polo Grounds.
The year started with a bang on January 5, when the Boston Red Sox sold their star pitcher-turned-outfielder Babe Ruth to the Yankees for $125,000. The sub-headline in The New York Times the next day read, "Highest Purchase Price in Baseball History Paid for Game's Greatest Slugger." This deal would live in infamy for generations of Boston fans, and would vault the Yankees from respectability (80 wins in 1919) to pennant contention.
The big news story in baseball in 1920 was the gathering storm over what became known as the Black Sox Scandal, the throwing of the 1919 World Series by the Chicago White Sox. With three games left in their 1920 season schedule, White Sox management suspended Shoeless Joe Jackson and other 1919 perpetrators. The Sox lost two of their final three to finish two games behind Cleveland, who would go on to win the World Series over the Brooklyn Robins.
The Indians had won the pennant despite a horrific incident at the Polo Grounds on August 17th. Yankees pitcher Carl Mays, another of several ex-Red Sox players who had come the Yankees' way, used a "submarine" (underhand) pitching style. He threw one up and in on Cleveland shortstop Ray Chapman, who tended to crowd the plate and apparently never saw the ball coming. Chapman suffered a severe skull fracture, and died the following morning. Mays was absolved of any wrongdoing, but the incident would haunt him for the rest of his life. Meanwhile, the Indians rallied around the memory of their shortstop, and won the season.
However, with Ruth leading the Yankees, and with his stunning total of 54 home runs, nearly doubling his own major league record from just the previous year, New York finished just a game behind the White Sox and three behind the Indians. The Yankees had once been the "poor relations of the Polo Grounds", as Lamont Buchanan characterized them in The World Series and Highlights of Baseball. But the New York Giants had faded a bit in the late 1910s while the Yankees had grown stronger. The Yankees were now poised to take the next step to beginning the greatest dynasty in professional sports.
 Season standings
|Chicago White Sox||96||58||.623||2|
|New York Yankees||95||59||.617||3|
|St. Louis Browns||76||77||.497||21½|
|Boston Red Sox||72||81||.471||25½|
 Further Reading
- Mike Sowell: The Pitch that Killed: The Story of Carl Mays, Ray Chapman and the Pennant Race of 1920, Ivan R. Dee Publisher, Chicago, IL, 2004.