A lot of hype and hoopla
surrounds the 2009 World Series especially as it
swirls around the Yankees of New York - - an
odds on favorite to win it all.
Win or lose it - - the Yankees
of 2009 are no way the powerhouse the Yankees of
What happened before the World
Series of 1927 would provide a source of
controversy through the ages. The Waner
brothers, Lloyd, "Big Poison" and Paul, "Little
Poison," sent up their baseball cards to Babe
Ruth who was at ease in a manner of speaking in
his room in a hotel in Pittsburgh.
"Why, they're just kids," he said, "if I was
that little, I'd be afraid of getting hurt."
That was the first year the
Waners played together in the Pirate outfield.
"That was a great thrill for us," Paul recalled.
"We even brought Mother and Dad and our sister
to the World Series.
"We won before it even got
started," Babe Ruth wrote later. "The first two
games were scheduled for Pittsburgh's Forbes
Field. Naturally we showed up a day early and
worked out in the strange park."
The Pirates," Ruth recalled," had
their workout just before we went out onto the
field. We came out from the clubhouse. Most of
the Pirates had dressed and were sitting in the
stands to watch us go through practice."
Earl Combs hit a shot into the
centerfield stands. Mark Koenig hit a ball off
the right field wall and one off the left field
barrier. Then it was Babe Ruth's turn.
"The first ball I hit over the
roof of the right field grandstand," the Bammer
said. "I put another one into the lower tier.
Then I got hold of one and laid it into the
"We really put on a show," Ruth
said. "Lou and I banged ball after ball into the
right field stands. Bob Meusel and Tony Lazzeri
kept hammering balls into the left field seats."
All of the games of the 1927
World Series were scheduled for 1:30 P.M starts
except for 2 P.M for a Sunday game. Prices for
seats for all games were six dollars, five
dollars, three dollars and one dollar. Four
umpires were assigned.
Outside of Forbes Field scalpers asked $25 a
ticket, a price that was considered extreme
gouging, which it was. The price for a World
Series program featuring Miller Huggins and
Pittsburgh manager Owen J. Bush on its cover,
sold for 25 cents.
The pitching match up was Yankee
right-handed ace Waite Hoyt against the big
horse of the all right-handed Pirate staff, Ray
Kremer, National League ERA leader who had won
19 of 27 decisions. The sloppy, herky-jerky game
played in two hours and four minutes finally
ended Yankees 5, Pirates 4.
Grantland Rice in the New York
Herald-Tribune wrote: "It was scramble and rush
and hullabaloo and stampede to look upon a gaudy
spectacle which turned out to be one of the
dullest games of the year. If Pittsburgh
couldn't beat the Yankees today, it may be a
tough job later on."
Babe Ruth shouted: "Well, it won't be long now
boys. It won't be long now."
Miller Huggins, a gambler, a
hunch player, a manager with six starting
pitchers available to him - tabbed George
Pipgras, the big guy from Minnesota, as a
surprise starter for the second game of the
series Thursday, October 6th,
Still using the old, greasy
glove, the one that had stood him in good stead
in minor league stops at Atlanta, St. Paul,
Charleston, and more, Pipgras took the mound
against the Pirates.
Vic Aldridge, in his eighth major league season,
a 15-game winner, took the mound for Pittsburgh.
Festive Forbes Field became boo city in the late
innings. Jeers and catcalls rained down from
unhappy Buc rooters. Others simply expressed
their displeasure with the home team's
ineffectiveness by exiting the ball park. The
Bucs lost, 6-2.
"I was fast that day," Pipgras
recalled. "I didn't throw but three curves.
They kept coming up there looking for the curve
but never got it."
It was called "The World's
Dullest World Series after just two games!" in a
New York Herald-Tribune headline.
On Friday October 7, lines for bleacher seats
were up and running at 5 A.M. - five hours
before the gates of Yankee Stadium were
scheduled to open.
There were 60,695 on hand, "the
biggest money crowd in the history of the title
series," in James R Harrison's phrase in The New
York Times. There was also the biggest gate ever
to that point in time for a World Series game -
$209,665. Southpaw Herb Pennock, called "the
aristocrat of baseball" by writer Will Wedge,
was unbeaten in four World Series decisions.
The Yankees scored in the first
inning off Buc right-hander, bespectacled Lee
Meadows. Gehrig poked the ball to the running
track in left center field scoring Combs and
Koenig both of whom had singled.
The Squire Pennock set down Pittsburgh batter
after batter. The Bucs were hitless through the
seventh inning, an inning when the Yankees put
the game away by scoring six times. The
highlight of the Yankee big inning came when
Mike Cvengros, a surname according to Grantland
Rice "that you said with a sneeze," relieved
A three run shot, Ruth's first
home run of the world series, pushed the Yankee
lead to 8-0. It triggered wild cheers for the
Colossus of Clout as he made his way around the
bases behind Combs and Koenig.
The screams of one fan captured
the moment: "Take off those Pirates uniforms,"
he bellowed, "we know you're the St. Louis
Browns." The Yankees surely manhandled the Bucs
like they treated the Browns. Maybe Worse.
The 8-1 romp placed the Yankees
one win away from becoming the first American
League team to sweep a World Series.
Saturday October 8th was damp,
cloudy like the spirits of the Pirates. Rain in
the morning would hold the announced Yankee
Stadium attendance down to 57,909.
In the fifth inning, Ruth's
second home run of the Series scored Earle
Combs. The Yanks led 3-1. The Ruthian blast,
according to James Harrison in The Times:
"climbed uphill, while 60,000 shrieked in
ecstasy and turned their eyes on the right field
Desperate, the Pirates, fought
back. They tied the score in the seventh.
However, that was as far as they got. The
Yankees, as everyone seemed to know they would,
won the game.
Outside the Stadium about 3,000
Babe Ruth admirers waited patiently. Many
policemen kept them company, at the ready to
ease the Yankee icon to his car, parked on 157th
The 1927 World Series, quickest
ever played, lasted only 74 hours and 15 minutes
and was just the second four game sweep in
World Series history, the Braves over Athletics
in 1914 was the first.
The Pittsburgh offense was held to a .223
average. Yankee pitchers combined for an
incredible earned run average of only 2.00.
Outscoring the Pirates 23-10, the men of
Murderer's Row trailed a total of only two
innings during the entire series. The Yankees
used only 15 different players, just four
The New York Times declared on
October 12th that it had no argument with those
"who assert that these Yankees are the greatest
team in more than 50 years of baseball history.
George Herman Ruth once again demonstrated that
he is the superman of the game. . . (Dodger
manager) Uncle Wilbert Robinson put it, 'That
guy ought to be allowed to play only every other
The Yankees were the toast of the
town, the champions, not only the best team in
baseball in 1927, but they had strong bragging
rights now to the mantle of the best baseball
team of all time.
It was, as Waite Hoyt said, great to be young
and to be a Yankee.