1920 New York Yankees season

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1920 New York Yankees
Babe Ruth's First Season in New York
Major League affiliations
Other information
Owner(s) Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston
Manager(s) Miller Huggins
Local television none
Local radio none
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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 Yankees of 1920 were the first team in the history of Major League Baseball to have an attendance of more than one million fans.[1]


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.

Regular season[edit]

Ruth in 1920, the year he joined the Yankees.

The Indians won the pennant despite a horrific incident at the Polo Grounds on August 16. 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.[2] 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 second-place Chicago White Sox and three behind the Indians. Ruth's 54 home runs marked an end to the dead-ball era, and ushered in a new style of play with an emphasis on power hitting. 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 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[edit]

American League W L Pct. GB Home Road
Cleveland Indians 98 56 0.636 51–27 47–29
Chicago White Sox 96 58 0.623 2 52–25 44–33
New York Yankees 95 59 0.617 3 49–28 46–31
St. Louis Browns 76 77 0.497 21½ 40–38 36–39
Boston Red Sox 72 81 0.471 25½ 41–35 31–46
Washington Senators 68 84 0.447 29 37–38 31–46
Detroit Tigers 61 93 0.396 37 32–46 29–47
Philadelphia Athletics 48 106 0.312 50 25–50 23–56


1920 New York Yankees
Pitchers Catchers



Other batters


Player stats[edit]


Starters by position[edit]

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
OF Ruth, BabeBabe Ruth 142 457 172 .376 54 137

Other batters[edit]

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI


Starting pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Mays, CarlCarl Mays 45 312 26 11 3.06 92

Other pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Collins, RipRip Collins 36 187.1 14 8 3.22 66

Relief pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO

Awards and honors[edit]


  • Babe Ruth, 20th century record, Highest slugging average in one season (.849) [1]


  1. ^ a b Baseball’s Top 100: The Game’s Greatest Records, p.22, Kerry Banks, 2010, Greystone Books, Vancouver, BC, ISBN 978-1-55365-507-7
  2. ^ My Pitch That Killed Chapman Was A Strike! by Phyllis Propert, Baseball Digest, July 1957, Vol. 16, No. 6, ISSN 0005-609X