From 1929 to 1931 the Philadelphia Athletics were one of the greatest baseball teams of all-time. Over those three years the A’s won 313 games while losing only 143 for a winning percentage of .686. The A’s made the World Series in all three years and won the Fall Classic in 1929 and 1930 but lost the 1931 series to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.
The teams the Philadelphia Athletics fielded from 1929 to 1931 were among the greatest baseball teams of all-time but in each year the A’s team had weaknesses which prevent any one of the teams from being considered the greatest baseball team of all-time.
1929 Philadelphia Athletics
Led by Hall of Fame players Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Cochrane, Al Simmons and Lefty Grove the 1929 A’s dominated baseball going 104-46 (.693) in the regular season and then defeating the Chicago Cubs 4-1 in the World Series. But the 1929 A’s had a couple of weaknesses which prevent them from being called the best baseball team ever.
In 1929 the American League average ERA was 4.24. Led by Lefty Grove who was 20-6 with a 2.81 ERA every single A’s starting pitcher with at least 10 starts pitched to a lower ERA than the league average. The A’s had no weakness in their pitching in 1929.
In the American League in 1929 there were 6,140 runs scored in 42,180 at-bats for a run average of .146. Two of the A’s starting position players were well below the league average.
SS Joe Boley – scored 36 runs in 303 AB’s for run average of .119
3B Sammy Hale – scored 51 runs in 379 AB’s for run average of .135
1930 Philadelphia Athletics
The 1930 edition of the A’s went 102-52 (.662) in the regular season and then defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 in the World Series. This edition of the A’s had weaknesses in both pitching and hitting.
In the American League in 1930 the average ERA was 4.65 and the average player scored a run at a .156 rate (6,670 runs scored in 42,878 at-bats).
Rube Walberg – made 30 starts with an ERA of 4.69
Roy Mahaffey – made 17 starts and 33 appearances with a 5.01 ERA
SS Joe Boley – scored 41 runs in 420 AB’s for run average of .098
OF Bing Miller – scored 89 runs in 585 AB’s for run average of .152
1931 Philadelphia Athletics
The 1931 A’s went 107-45 (.704) in the regular season but lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3. The World Series loss alone would disqualify the 1931 A’s from being considered the best team of all-time but the team also had weaknesses in their lineup.
Led by Lefty Grove who went 31-4 with a 2.06 ERA every starting pitcher with at least 10 starts was well below the American League average ERA of 4.38 in 1931. The A’s had no weakness in pitching in 1931.
But the A’s had three starting position players who scored runs below the American League average of .146 (6,354 runs in 43,673 at-bats) in 1931.
SS Dib Williams – scored 41 runs in 294 AB’s for run average of .140
3B Jimmy Dykes – scored 48 runs in 355 AB’s for run average of .135
OF Bing Miller – scored 75 runs in 534 AB’s for run average of .141
The 1929-1931 Philadelphia A’s Among Best Teams Ever but Cannot Be Considered the Greatest
In all three years from 1929-1931 the Philadelphia A’s fielded some of the greatest teams in baseball history. But as was shown here in each year the A’s teams had weaknesses that other teams in baseball history did not have so none of the great Philadelphia Athletic teams from 1929 to 1931 can be considered the greatest baseball team of all-time.
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