1925 Pirate Replay: Bucs Prepare to Face AL Champion Senators, Part 1

The Pirates will be facing the American League pennant-winning Washington Senators in the World Series.  Washington went 96-55 and finished eight and a half games ahead of the Philadelphia Athletics.  The Pirates were 95-58, eight and a half games better than the New York Giants.  The Bucs will have the home field advantage; if seven games are needed, four will be in Pittsburgh.

The two teams present an interesting contrast.  While the Pirates don’t lack for stars, they’re a deeper team than the Senators, featuring strong players in every spot among their position players and pitchers.  Washington, by contrast, relies heavily on a few big hitters and three starting pitchers.

Offensively, the Pirates appear to have the advantage.  They averaged 6.0 runs per game, the best in baseball, while the Senators averaged a fourth-best 5.5.  As a team, the Pirates were second best in baseball in batting average (.307), third in OBP (.369) and first in slugging (.449).  That last figure didn’t result from home runs, as the Pirates were only a little above average with 78.  But they led the majors in doubles (316) and triples (105).  The Bucs led the majors in steals.  The Senators were third in batting (.304), second in OBP (.374) and eighth in slugging (.412).  Their hitters were hampered by their home park; they hit only 13 home runs in spacious Griffith Stadium and 43 on the road.  They were second in the majors in steals.

Among their regulars, the Senators get much of their offense from three players.  Young left fielder Goose Goslin is their star hitter.  He hit 334/394/547, with 20 triples and 18 home runs.  Goslin led Washington with 116 runs and was their only 100-RBI player with 113.  He also led the team in stolen bases with 27.  Veteran outfielder Sam Rice batted 350/388/442, scored 113 runs and stole 26 bases.  Rice bats either first or third and plays either center field or right.  First baseman Joe Judge batted 314/406/487, although he missed a lot of action in the season’s second half.

The rest of the Washington starters are singles hitters who hit for solid averages but limited extra-base power.  Most are outstanding defensive players, especially shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh, third baseman Ossie Bluege and catcher Muddy Ruel.  Peckinpaugh is so good with the glove that he was selected as the American League’s Most Valuable Player despite merely decent hitting numbers.  Second baseman Bucky Harris, another strong defender, is also the Senators’ manager.  The remaining outfielder, Earl McNeely, is the team’s most frequent leadoff hitter and center fielder.  When he doesn’t play, Rice moves over to center and sometimes hits leadoff.

The Senators’ secret weapon is veteran Joe Harris.  Washington acquired Harris early in the season from the Boston Red Sox.  In 100 games with the Senators, Harris batted 323/430/573 with a dozen home runs.  He plays either first base or right field.

The Pirates have a deeper lineup.  Of their top ten position players, only two — second baseman Eddie Moore and #2 catcher Johnny Gooch — batted below .300, and in both cases just barely at .298.  Nine of the ten, the exception being Gooch (.378), had higher slugging averages than the Washington team.

The Pirates’ standout was right fielder Kiki Cuyler.  Apart from the remarkable Rogers Hornsby, Cuyler was the NL’s best hitter.  He finished fourth in batting (.357), fifth in OBP (.423) and second in slugging (.598).  Cuyler led the majors in runs (144) and triples (26), was second in the NL in doubles (43) and tied for seventh in home runs (18).  Cuyler was second in the NL to teammate Max Carey in steals, with 41 to Carey’s 46, and he drove in 102 runs.

The Pirates’ other top run producers are center fielder Carey, shortstop Glenn Wright and third baseman Pie Traynor.  The 35-year-old Carey had his best season despite missing several weeks late in the year.  He batted 343/418/491, and scored 109 runs.  Wright was the team’s top power hitter apart from Cuyler, hitting 18 home runs and leading the team with 121 RBIs.  Traynor hit 320/377/464, scored 114 runs and drove in 106.

The Bucs have plenty of other contributions.  Moore scored 106 runs and left fielder Clyde Barnhart, who batted 325/391/447, drove in 114.  Pugnacious Earl Smith, the most frequent catcher, batted 313/374/471.  And the team’s two first basemen, George Grantham and in-season acquisition Stuffy McInnis, put up outstanding batting numbers.  Grantham hit 326/413/493 and McInnis 368/437/484.

Tomorrow the pitching.