1921 Seventy-five Years Ago

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In New York City the hometown Giants and Yankees played the first in a long string of Subway Series that would continue until the Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers moved to California in 1958. The Giants defeated the upstart Yankees, who had just won their first American League pennant, by five games to three. The World Series was played entirely in the Polo Grounds and was the first to be broadcast on radio. It was the last to be the best-five-of-nine; the next year’s fall classic reverted to today’s best-four-of-seven format.

The Giants’ victory was helped by the absence of Babe Ruth from the last two contests, due to injury. Ruth was coming off his best year yet, in which he set career highs in total bases, runs scored, runs batted in, extra-base hits, and even stolen bases. He also pitched in two games. After the series, the famed theatrical manager Edward F. Albee signed the Bambino for a vaudeville tour. He asked a fellow promoter, Tex Rickard, whether it would be proper to bill Ruth as “The Superman of Baseball,” and Rickard cabled George Bernard Shaw, the author of Man and Superman , for his opinion. Shaw’s reply was of little help: “Sorry never heard of her. Whose baby is Ruth?”