The 1920 Brooklyn Dodgers had their strongest week to date, getting their victories in bulk thanks to three doubleheaders, winning eight of nine games to vault back into first place in the National League.
Brooklyn last week swept a home doubleheader against the Phillies Sunday, then did the same to the Braves in Boston on Monday, then won single games against the Braves Tuesday and the Cardinals on Thursday in St. Louis. The Cards took one from Brooklyn in the first game of yet another doubleheader Friday — the makeup of a May 16 rainout — but the Dodgers won the second game, then got another win the next day for an 8-1 week.
The Dodgers are a game ahead of Cincinnati in the standings, and with 75 results tallied were almost exactly at the halfway point of the 154-game season. The All-Star Game was still 13 years from existing, but let’s take a stab at guessing some Brooklyn All-Stars, if such a thing existed.
Pitching was supposed to be the Dodgers’ strength this season, and that has proved true. Brooklyn leads the majors in fewest runs allowed at 3.16 runs per game, and three of their rotation members rank in the top five in ERA in the National League.
1920 National League ERA leaders
Leon Cadore has the eye-catching 26-inning Herculean effort, and two other extra-inning complete-game wins to his credit, but two of his rotation mates have better earned run averages. Burleigh Grimes has a better ERA, more complete games, and leads the team in wins, innings pitched, and strikeouts, while also hitting .396 with six extra-base hits and 10 RBI.
Al Mamaux has the second-best ERA in the league, behind only Reds’ righty Dutch Ruether, but Mamaux just doesn’t have the bulk totals of his compatriots. If I’m picking All-Star pitchers from the Dodgers, Grimes and Cadore would be selected.
Sherry Smith has been excellent as well, though in limited duty, only starting five of his 14 appearances. His 2.20 ERA would rank fourth in the NL, just a shade ahead of Cadore, but at just 61⅓ innings Smith doesn’t qualify for the leaderboard. Perhaps my favorite Smith stat is that he has nine strikeouts — two since the beginning of June, in 22⅓ innings — to go along with 14 walks so far this season.
As for the hitters, a quintet stood out.
Hi Myers is hitting .305/.334/.450 and leads the team in extra-base hits (27). He ranks third in the NL in hits (91), fourth in RBI (38), and tied for eighth in runs scored (42). But he probably wouldn’t start in center field, taking a back seat to Cy Williams of the Phillies, hitting .316/.341/.502 with 46 runs scored, 31 RBI, and a league-best nine home runs
The trio of candidates to start at first base for the National League has a combined two home runs between them. Brooklyn’s Ed Knoetchy has shined, hitting .325/.367/.421, including .353 (12-for-34) with six RBI and nine runs scored last week. Konetchy fares well compared to Cincinnati’s Jack Fournier (.288/.365/.424) and former Dodger MVP winner Jake Daubert (.310/.376/.389), now with Cincinnati.
Zack Wheat has the star power as a 12th-year vet, and is hitting .297/.372/.402 with 17 extra-base hits, 40 runs scored, and 35 RBI. Among left fielders, he lags behind the Cubs’ Dave Robertson, hitting .311/.369/.502 with 26 extra-base hits, 33 runs scored, and 50 RBI. George Burns of the Giants also looms large, hitting .285/.365/.404 with 24 extra-base hits, 51 runs scored, and 21 RBI atop New York’s lineup.
Jimmy Johnston is fourth in the NL with 90 hits while hitting .284/.342/.334, including a scorching .410 (16-for-39) last week with 12 runs scored in nine games. Though the starting third base job in an All-Star Game would probably go to either Heinie Groh of the Reds (.312/.380/.391) or the Cardinals’ Milt Stock (.309/.362/.375).
I briefly overlooked catcher Otto Miller, who hit .291/.315/.348 while splitting time behind the plate, mostly with Ernie Krueger. For the entire season in 1920, no NL catchers qualified for the batting title, and as it was a largely defensive position at the time, Miller should get credit for helming the Dodgers pitching staff that is best in the majors at preventing runs. Verne Clemons of the Cardinals (.307/.372/.410, nine more starts than Miller) probably gets the start behind the plate, but Miller is a worthy All-Star backup.
I’d have Konetchy start at first base for the National League, with Myers making the team as a reserve outfielder and Miller as backup catcher. That gives Brooklyn five hypothetical All-Stars in total, along with pitchers Grimes and Cadore.
Here are the team’s “first-half” stats:
Brooklyn first-half* batting
Brooklyn first-half* pitching
Week 13 summary
66 runs scored (7.33 per game)
21 runs allowed (2.33 per game)
.890 pythagorean record
Year to date
314 runs scored (4.13 per game)
240 runs allowed (3.16 per game)
.621 pythagorean record (37-29)
NL standing: 1st place, a game up on the Reds
- Sunday, July 4: Game 1 — Dodgers 10, Phillies 1
- Sunday, July 4: Game 2 — Dodgers 7, Phillies 0
- Monday, July 5: Game 1 — Dodgers 9, Braves 5 (10)
- Monday, July 5: Game 2 — Dodgers 5, Braves 2
- Tuesday, July 6: Dodgers 4, Braves 2
- Thursday, July 8: Dodgers 14, Cardinals 2
- Friday, July 9: Game 1 — Cardinals 7, Dodgers 2
- Friday, July 9: Game 2 — Dodgers 8, Cardinals 0
- Saturday, July 10: Dodgers 7, Cardinals 2
The Dodgers run the Pop Schriver gauntlet, finishing up in St. Louis before heading to Chicago for six games at Wrigley Field in four days, then on to Cincinnati. After Wednesday’s travel day, Brooklyn won’t have another day off for four weeks, until August 4. The current road trip, which started Monday in Boston, has the Dodgers play in five cities, totaling 23 games in 20 days.