1920s Rickey Awards

I was reading the Old STATS Baseball Scorecards and they had a leadoff Triple Crown. It consisted of On Base Average, Runs and Stolen Bases. This is logical as On Base Average relates to batting average, Runs relates to RBIs and stolen bases is like, but not as helpful to winning as home runs.

I wondered who would be the leaders every year, as non-leadoff hitters try to get on base and score runs. Some even try to steal bases. I developed a formula like Bill James did for the regular triple crown. As Bill did his study, he came up with 1,000 total points which is impossible to hit. I did the same:

On Base Average: Maximum 400 points. I award two points for every point above .300 and up to .500.

Runs. Maximum 300 points. I awarded 2 points for every run up to 150 runs.

Stolen Bases. I award 3 points for each stolen base up to 100.

I debated the number of points for stolen bases, but decided I wanted an advantage for actual lead off men. Also, there haven’t been many years someone exceeded 100 stolen bases.

After reading a few of these listings, a Bill James online a reader came up with the name Rickey awards after Rickey Henderson, the man many of us consider the greatest leadoff man in baseball history. So, I will periodically call these the Rickey Awards.

1920 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1920 AL Rickey Awards:

1. Babe Ruth NY 742
2. George Sisler StL 698
3. Tris Speaker Clev 670
4. Eddie Collins Chi 570
5. Shoeless Joe Jackson Chi 525
6. Sam Rice Wash 517
7. Joe Judge Wash 474
8. Harry Hooper Bos 452
9. Ty Cobb Det 451
10. Baby Doll Jacobson StL 431

What I Learned:

A lot of repeats from previous years, but the offense was a lot more. Babe Ruth maxed out both in on base percentage (400 points) and RBIs (300 points). George Sisler was second in stolen bases tried to make it interesting, but Babe had too much of an advantage by maxing out.

Sam Rice led in stolen bases to carry him to sixth place.

For the readers interested in players’ names look who finished in 10th.

1920 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1920 NL Rickey Awards:

1. Ross Youngs NY 492
2. Rogers Hornsby StL 490
3. Edd Roush Cinn 442
3. Max Carey Pitt 442
5. George Burns NY 426
6. Zack Wheat Brook 372
6. Jack Fournier StL 372
8. Heinie Groh Cinn 370
9. Cy Williams Phil 358
10. Max Flack Chi 355

What I Learned:

Some really tight finishes throughout the top 10 and below. Rogers Hornsby led the National League in on base percentage with only Ross Youngs close, 4 percentage points behind. So, I thought he Hornsby would have an easy win. However, Hornsby edged Youngs by only 4 runs and Youngs stole 6 more bases than Hornsby to take the title. Ironically, they both had about 50% stolen base rate so neither really helped their team in that regard. However, a lot of the players of this era stole bases at about that rate.

1921 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1921 AL Rickey Awards:

1. Babe Ruth NY 751
2. Ty Cobb Det 618
3. George Sisler StL 577
4. Ken Williams StL 548
5. Harry Heilmann Det 522
6. Tris Speaker Clev 498
7. Lu Blue Det 477
8. Jack Tobin StL 475
9. Joe Sewell Clev 447
10. Bobby Veach Det 436


What I Learned:

Ruth and Cobb, together again.

With a name like Lu Blue don’t you think he would have been a better ballplayer.

1921 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1921 NL Rickey Awards:

1. Rogers Hornsby StL 617
2. Frankie Frisch NY 557
3. Jack Fournier StL 484
4. Max Carey Pitt 471
4. Dave Bancroft NY 471
6. Ross Youngs NY 465
7. George Burns NY 451
8. Jimmy Johnston Brook 436
9. Ray Grimes Chi 409
10. Austin McHenry StL 400

What I Learned:

The World Series Champs New York Giants had 4 of the top 7 players. St. Louis had two of the top three also had Austin McHenry who finished 10th. St. Louis only finished third but finished second to the Giants in runs scored.

1922 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1922 AL Rickey Awards:

1. George Sisler StL 755
2. Ken Williams StL 593
3. Ty Cobb Det 549
4. Tris Speaker Clev 542
5. Harry Heilmann Det 472
6. Lu Blue Det 470
7. Babe Ruth NY 462
8. Eddie Collins Chi 446
9. Jack Tobin StL 441
10. Harry Hooper Chi 428

What I Learned:

Sisler almost won the triple crown. He led the league in runs and stolen bases and lost the on base percentage crown to Speaker by only a few percentage points. Williams his teammate came in second for the Rickey Award as St. Louis finished a game behind the Yankees for the pennant. St. Louis led the league in runs scored.

Ruth was hurt part of the year, and played well but not super when he did play.

Cobb and Speaker were slowing down on the base paths. Cobb stole 9 bases and Speaker 8.

There were three catchers in the top 10 in on base percentage.

Steve O’ Neill OBA: 423 Times on Base: 202 Runs: 33 Extra Base Hits: 33 MVP Award Place: Sixth. How did he only score 33 runs?

Johnny Bassler OBA: 422 Time on Base: 191 Runs: 41 Extra Base Hits: 14 no triples or Home Runs MVP Award: Sixth Tied O’ Neill

Wally Schang OBA: 405 Times on Base: 199 Runs: 46 Extra Base Hits: 29 MVP Award: 13th

Apparently there was recognition from the MVP voters of catchers defense and maybe getting on base. Bassler would finish in the top 10 of the MVP two more years, which years later caused Bill to rate Bassler higher than he normally would have. Bassler always got on base. He had a career on base percentage of .416. His career slugging percentage was only .361 despite a career batting average of .304. He hit one home run and 16 triples in over 2,800 plate appearances. His greatest strength as a batter was he didn’t make many outs.

1922 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1922 NL Rickey Awards:

1. Rogers Hornsby StL 651
2. Max Carey Pitt 649
3. Carson Bigbee Pitt 508
4. Ray Grimes Chi 503
5. Dave Bancroft NY 476
6. Frankie Frisch NY 469
7. Jake Daubert Cinn 460
8. Ross Youngs NY 457
9. Charlie Hollocher Chi 443
10. Jack Smith StL 438

What I Learned:

Rogers Hornsby with 17 stolen bases put him in the top 10 in a four way tie for ninth. It also gave him a victory for the Rickey Award over Max Carey. One less stolen base and Carey would have won.

The World Champion Giants had 3 in the top 10. George Burns was close with 430 points.

1923 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1923 AL Rickey Awards:

1. Babe Ruth NY 751
2. Eddie Collins Chi 632
3. Harry Heilmann Det 631
4. Tris Speaker Clev 628
5. Charlie Jamieson Clev 558
6. Ken Williams StL 544
7. Joe Sewell Clev 535
8. Ty Cobb Det 459
9. Johnny Mostil Chi 457
10. Sam Rice Wash 456


What I Learned:

Babe Ruth maxed out in both on base average and runs. He was also in the top 10 in stolen bases.

Harry Heilmann and Tris Speaker were tied for second heading into stolen bases. Heilmann stole 9 bases one more than Speaker. Eddie Collins passed them both as he led the league in stolen bases. There was no catching Ruth.

1923 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1923 NL Rickey Awards:

1. Max Carey Pitt 569
2. Frankie Frisch NY 509
3. Rogers Hornsby StL 505
3. Ross Youngs NY 505
5. Jigger Statz Chi 457
6. Pie Traynor Pitt 454
7. Jack Fournier Brook 437
8. Jimmy Johnston Brook 426
9. Jim Bottomley StL 420
10. Edd Roush Cin 418

What I Learned:

Rogers Hornsby was hurt for part of the year, thus the third-place finish.

For the fans of strange names look who came in fifth. Of course, the name of the sixth place player is a little strange, but we already knew him.

1924 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1924 AL Rickey Awards:

1. Babe Ruth NY 713
2. Eddie Collins Chi 624
3. Ty Cobb Det 533
4. Harry Heilmann Det 509
5. Harry Hooper Chi 488
6. Goose Goslin Wash 487
7. Charlie Jamieson Clev 473
8. Tris Speaker Clev 467
9. Ken Williams StL 466
10. Sam Rice Wash 448

What I Learned:

Ruth exceeded the max in on base average, but not runs. He was 7 runs short of hitting the max for runs.

Eddie Collins had quite a year to get second.

Eight of the top 10 are in the Hall of Fame. Only Ken Williams and Charlie Jamieson aren’t Hall of Famers.

1924 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1924 NL Rickey Awards:

1. Rogers Hornsby StL 657
2. Ross Youngs NY 539
3. Max Carey Pitt 505
4. Kiki Cuyler Pitt 488
5. Frankie Frisch NY 482
6. Jack Fournier Brook 463
7. Zack Wheat Brook 449
8. Cy Williams Phil 429
9. George Grantham Chi 413
10. Andy High Brook 385


What I Learned:

The only player on the list not in the top 10 in on base average was Max Carey who had an on base average of .366, which was low for him.

Rogers Hornsby was above the max for on base average. He still won easily.

1925 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1925 AL Rickey Awards:

1. Johnny Mostil Chi 599
2. Ty Cobb Det 569
3. Al Wingo Det 562
4. Eddie Collins Chi 539
5. Tris Speaker Clev 531
6. Harry Heilmann Det 526
7. Al Simmons Phil 503
8. Goose Goslin Wash 501
9. Harry Rice StL 498
10. Earle Combs NY 492

What I Learned:

Johnny Mostil led the league in runs and stolen bases to obtain the Rickey Award.

The top 3 in on base average was Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb and Eddie Collins in that order. I thought I was back in the 1910s.

1925 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1925 NL Rickey Awards:

1. Rogers Hornsby StL 659
2. Kiki Cuyler Pitt 657
3. Max Carey Pitt 592
4. Jack Fournier Brook 502
5. Ray Blades StL 488
6. Zack Wheat Brook 465
7. Cy Williams Phil 438
8. Eddie Moore Pitt 435
9. Pie Traynor Pitt 427
10. Jim Bottomley StL 419

What I Learned:

Rogers Hornsby did it again. He stole only 5 bases, but it was enough to give him a 2-point edge over Kiki Cuyler. Cuyler led the league in runs scored with 144 and was second in stolen bases.

The World Champion Pittsburg Pirates had 4 players in the top 10 for the Rickey Award.

1926 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1926 AL Rickey Awards:

1. Babe Ruth NY 711
2. Johnny Mostil Chi 575
3. Lou Gehrig NY 528
4. Harry Heilmann Det 488
5. Goose Goslin Wash 484
6. Heinie Manush Det 465
7. Eddie Collins Chi 453
8. Lu Blue Det 449
9. Joe Sewell Clev 431
10. Max Bishop Phil 428
10. Sam Rice Wash 428

What I Learned:

Babe Ruth came back with a vengeance. However, he exceeded the maximum only for on base average.

Homer Summa came in 9th in stolen bases with a total of 15. After a cup of coffee with Pittsburg in 1920 he came back and played from 1922 to 1930 in the American League. He played from 1922 to 1928 in Cleveland and played his last two years in Philadelphia mainly on the bench. He did play 840 games in his career with 3,313 plate appearances. Despite a lifetime average of .302 he had a negative 32 runs for offence in career WAR. His total WAR was 4.1. He had 4 years as a regular and 2 other years where he played more than half the team’s games. His best year was 1926 at age 27. He had 2.9 WAR that year. He had career total of 18 of his name sake.

1926 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1926 NL Rickey Awards:

1. Kiki Cuyler Pitt 491
2. Paul Waner Pitt 461
3. Hack Wilson Chi 436
4. Taylor Douthit StL 411
5. Sparky Adams Chi 405
6. Ray Blades StL 398
7. Rogers Hornsby StL 377
8. Billy Southworth NY-StL 370
9. Cy Williams Phil 368
10. Cuckoo Christensen Cinn 358

What I Learned:

Kiki Cuyler led the league in runs and stolen bases. Rogers Hornsby had a really off year while leading (as manager) the Cardinals to the Championship still finished in 7th.

Paul Waner and Hack Wilson had really good introduction years. They might challenge Hornsby for the next few years. Speaking of the future, Pittsburg had the first and second place finishers for the Rickey Awards. The Pirates will win the pennant in 1927.

The current champs, St. Louis Cardinals finished 6th, 7th and 8th. Well Southworth played for two teams, but more with the Cardinals.

1927 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1927 AL Rickey Awards:

1. Babe Ruth NY 693
2. Lou Gehrig NY 676
3. Harry Heilmann Det 595
4. Ty Cobb Phil 554
5. Earle Combs NY 547
6. Al Simmons Phil 474
7. Max Bishop Phil 468
8. Bob Fothergill Det 439
8. Goose Goslin Wash 439
10. Charlie Gehringer Det 437

What I Learned:

Ruth maxed out in runs which almost cost him victory as it cost him 16 points. He was still able to hold off Gehrig. However, Gehrig driving him home helped Ruth score so many runs so maybe this evened out at the end.

Three teams the Yankees, (World Champs this year and next), the Philadelphia Athletics (World Champs the two years after that) and Tigers all had three players in the top 10. The only player who was not on those three teams who made the top 10 was Goose Goslin.

1927 NL

Here are the leaders for the 1927 NL Rickey Awards:

1. Rogers Hornsby NY 589
2. Frankie Frisch StL 542
3. Paul Waner Pitt 517
4. Lloyd Waner Pitt 500
5. Hack Wilson Chi 479
6. George Harper NY 461
7. Riggs Stephenson Chi 456
8. George Grantham Pitt 411
9. Chick Hafey StL 362
10. Bill Terry NY 359

What I learned.

Seven of the top ten were hall of famers. only Harper, Stephenson and Grantham weren’t.

It will be interesting to see how well Lloyd Waner does in future years as he is a marginal hall of famer and a leadoff man. I’m guessing this might have been his best season. This was his rookie year.

Pennant winning Pittsburg had 3 of the top 10 players.

1928 AL

Here are the leaders for the 1928 AL Rickey Awards:

1. Babe Ruth NY 638
2. Lou Gehrig NY 624
3. Max Bishop Phil 502
4. Goose Goslin Wash 492
5. Heinie Manush StL 484
6. Lu Blue StL 468
7. Charlie Gehringer Det 449
8. Earle Combs NY 443
9. Jimmie Foxx Phil 411
10. Alex Metzler Chi 407

What I Learned:

Ruth and Gehrig both the same number of bases 4. When you hit like that why steal bases. Ruth maxed out in runs again.

The League leader in stolen bases was Buddy Myer with 30. He just missed the top 10 with a total of 404.

1928 NL

Here is the 1928 NL Rickey Award Leaders:

1. Rogers Hornsby Bos 609
2. Paul Waner Pitt 594
3. Jim Bottomley StL 480
4. Frankie Frisch StL 449
5. Lance Richbourg Bost 441
6. George Grantham Pitt 429
7. Taylor Douthit StL 423
8. Lloyd Waner Pitt 420
9. Kiki Cuyler Chi 413
10. Bill Terry NY 409
10. Freddie Lindstrom NY 409


What I Learned:

Paul Waner is impressing me. He is a power hitter, but his on base average is helping finish high in the Rickey Awards.

National League Champions the Cardinals had three players in the top 10 of the Rickey Awards.

1929 AL

Here is the 1929 AL Rickey Award Leaders:

1. Jimmie Foxx Phil 599
2. Charlie Gehringer Det 553
3. Lou Gehrig NY 528
4. Babe Ruth NY 517
5. Lew Fonseca Cle 505
6. Lu Blue StL 502
6. Earle Combs NY 502
8. Tony Lazzeri NY 487
9. Roy Johnson Det 474
10. Mickey Cochrane Phil 471

What I Learned:

World Champion Philadelphia had two in the top 10 while the Yankees had 4 in the top 10. Philadelphia must of had a more balanced lineup as they outscored the Yankees during the season.

The highest scoring team in the league was Detroit. They also gave up the most runs in the league. They ended up 70-84 even though they scored about as many runs as they gave up. There Pythagorean record was 77-77.

Speaking of Detroit, Charlie Gehringer led the league in runs scored and stolen bases and had a good year getting on base to obtain second place.

1929 NL

Here is the 1929 NL Rickey Award Leaders:

1. Lefty O’ Doul Phi 636
2. Kiki Cuyler Chi 627
3. Rogers Hornsby Chi 624
4. Mel Ott NY 592
5. Paul Waner Pitt 555
6. Babe Herman Brook 545
7. Hack Wilson Chi 529
8. Taylor Douthit StL 512
9. George Grantham Pitt 508
10. Riggs Stephenson Chi 502

What I Learned:

OK both Rogers Hornsby exceeded the limit on runs. It cost Hornsby 12 points, which is what he lost by. However, it cost O’ Doul 4 points giving him back the victory. Taking away the points for runs did allow Cuyler to take second. Well they were both Cubs.

The pennant winning Cubs did have four of the top 10. Hornsby was named MVP and had the most WAR.

Top 10 AL 1920s

My method for decade leaders is 12 points for first place, 10 for second, 8 for third and down a point for every position until 1 for 10th. Here ae the 1920s Decade leaders for the Rickey Leaders in the American League:

  1. Babe Ruth 95 points
  2. Ty Cobb 48
  3. Harry Heilmann 47
  4. Eddie Collins 41
  5. Tris Speaker 36
  6. Lou Gehrig 36
  7. George Sisler 30
  8. Ken Williams 24
  9. Johnny Mostil 24
  10. Goose Goslin 23.5

What I Learned:

Ruth had an easy victory, but it was impressive for Cobb to come in second. Eddie Collins and Tris Speaker also did well in their second decade.

Lou Gehrig did well playing only half the decade.

Top 10 NL 1920s

Here ae the 1920s Decade leaders for the Rickey Leaders in the National League:

  1. Rogers Hornsby 102 Points
  2. Max Carey 52
  3. Frankie Frisch 48
  4. Kiki Cuyler 41
  5. Ross Youngs 37
  6. Paul Waner 34
  7. Jack Fournier 28.5
  8. Hack Wilson 18
  9. Taylor Douthit 14
  10. Zach Wheat 13.5

As Babe Ruth did in the American League, Rogers Hornsby dominated the National League.

Max Carey came in second for the second straight decade.

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