The 1927 New York Yankees are, arguably, the best team ever.
They are best remembered by their fearsome lineup of hitters. This included the famous (infamous, if you were the opponent) “Murderer’s Row” of Earle Combs, Mark Koenig, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Meusel, and Tony Lazzeri.
But the best team ever also featured an incredible pitching staff. Here’s a look at that staff, which, because of the famous hitters, often seems almost forgotten as time rolls on.
Waite On The Best Team Ever
If casual fans remember any 1927 Yankees pitcher, it’s likely Waite Hoyt. He was the other guy the Yankees got from the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox famously traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919. Hoyt came in 1921 with a bit less fanfare. He went on to become one of the most dominant pitchers of the decade and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1969.
In 1927, he went 22-7 with a 2.63 ERA. He pitched into the eighth inning for the win in Game 1 of the 1927 World Series. He went 23-7 the next year and continued pitching until 1938. A native of Brooklyn and a Dodgers fan as a kid, he eventually pitched for Brooklyn in 1932, 1937 and 1938.
Pennock is one of the best left-handers of his generation, and maybe of all time. In 1927, Pennock went 19-8 with a 3.00 ERA. He also pitched a complete game victory in Game 3 of the World Series. Pennock pitched until 1934, all of them with the Yankees except his last season with the Red Sox. He died young, at age 53, from a brain hemorrhage. He was posthumously inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame.
Born Urbain Jacques Shockcor in Cleveland, Shocker is both a success story and a tragic tale. By the time he came to the Yankees in 1925, Shocker had been a dominant pitcher with the St. Louis Browns, including a 27-win season in 1921. He also had a heart condition, and by the fall of the 1927 season he was too ill to maintain his position in the starting rotation. George Pipgras took his start in the World Series.
Shocker went 18-6 with a 2.84 ERA in 1927. Unfortunately, a year later Shocker would be dead. He died on Sept. 9, 1928, after contracting pneumonia in Denver, Colo. The illness plus his heart condition led to his death. He was just 37.
Ruether was 33 in 1927, a year in which he went 13-6 with a 3.38 ERA. Despite the great numbers, it was Ruether’s last in the majors. After being a pitcher since 1917 in the majors, he decided to retire and join the Pacific Coast League. He pitched in the league until 1933. He eventually became a scout for the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs.
Pipgras joined the Yankees starting rotation in 1927 – a good year and team on which to begin your career as a starter. He went 10-3 with a 4.11 ERA and won a complete game victory in Game 2 of the World Series. The next year, he led the league in wins with 24. He pitched a total of seven seasons in the Bronx and was on four teams that won the World Series. After retirement, he became an umpire and has the distinction of both playing in and umpiring a World Series game.
Moore was a rookie in 1927 – although 30 years old – and ended up leading the league in ERA. He went 19-7 that year with a 2.28 ERA. He also pitched a complete game victory in Game 4 of the World Series. While he started 12 games that year, he was used primarily in relief, and he recorded 13 saves.
Despite the promising beginning, Moore’s career in the majors was relatively short because of his age. He pitched for the Yankees and Red Sox until 1933. The native Texas is now considered the first great relief pitcher for the Yankees.
This amazing crew of pitchers, all together for just one season, helped make the 1927 Yankees the best team ever in the history of the sport.