The Yankees, the Giants, and the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New York

Lyle Spatz and Steve Steinberg
Foreword by Charles C. Alexander

538 pages
53 photographs, 1 appendix, 4 tables


April 2010


$36.95 Add to Cart

March 2012


$24.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

At the dawn of the roaring twenties, baseball was struggling to overcome two of its darkest moments: the death of a player during a Major League game and the revelations of the 1919 Black Sox scandal. At this critical juncture for baseball, two teams emerged to fight for the future of the game. They were also battling for the hearts and minds of New Yorkers as the city rose in dramatic fashion to the pinnacle of the baseball world.
1921 captures this crucial moment in the history of baseball, telling the story of a season that pitted the New York Yankees against their Polo Grounds landlords and hated rivals, John McGraw’s Giants, in the first all–New York Series and resulted in the first American League pennant for the now-storied Yankees’ franchise. Lyle Spatz and Steve Steinberg recreate the drama that featured the charismatic Babe Ruth in his assault on baseball records in the face of McGraw’s disdain for the American League and the Ruth-led slugging style. Their work evokes the early 1920s with the words of renowned sportswriters such as Damon Runyon, Grantland Rice, and Heywood Broun. With more than fifty photographs, the book offers a remarkably vivid picture of the colorful characters, the crosstown rivalry, and the incomparable performances that made this season a classic.

Author Bio

Lyle Spatz is the author of many books, including Bad Bill Dahlen: The Rollicking Life and Times of an Early Baseball Star and Yankees Coming, Yankees Going: New York Yankee Player Transactions, 1903 through 1999. Steve Steinberg is the author of Baseball in St. Louis, 1900–1925 and numerous articles on early twentieth-century baseball, including feature articles for the annual New York Yankees official yearbooks. Charles C. Alexander is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at Ohio University. He is the author of several baseball books, including Spoke: A Biography of Tris Speaker and John McGraw (available in a Bison Books edition).


"1921 is a well crafted and enjoyable read that is highly recommended."—Bill Lamb, SABR Black Sox Scandal Research Committee Newsletter

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations  

Foreword by Charles C. Alexander   




Part 1. The Preseason

1. Prelude to the World Series     

2. Baseball Confronts the Black Sox Scandal    

3. The Shady Side of Baseball’s Flagship Franchise   

4. Ruppert and Huston Arrive, Ready to “Go to the Limit”   

5. “You can’t compare him with anybody else. He’s Babe Ruth.”    

6. The Giants Fail to Get Rogers Hornsby 

7. Ed Barrow Comes to New York     

8. “We fear only Cleveland”  

9. “I do not fear any club in the National League”   


Part 2. The Season

10. “My job is to knock <AP>em a mile”   

11. “This home run business is being carried too far”

12. The Trials and Tribulations of John McGraw 

13. Cobb and Speaker Await as the Yankees Head West  

14. “The Yanks are the best worst team in either league”   

15. Setbacks on the Road and in the Commissioner’s Office  

16. The Giants Solidify Their Lineup     

17. “You can’t play your outfielders in the middle of the next block”  

18. “Lay off Huggins and hope nothing happens to the Babe” 

19. A Terrible August for the Giants . . . So Far    

20. “Let’s go get <AP>em while the getting’s good”   

21. “It is no time in which to count McGraw and his men out of any race”     

22. Ascent to First and Then a Demoralizing Loss     

23. “It was the greatest game ever played”     

24. The Giants Clinch and the Repercussions Get Ugly 

25. A Pennant for the Yankees, At Last   


Part 3. The Postseason

26. Prelude to the World Series, Part 2  

27. Game 1, Wednesday, October 5: “Who said the Yanks were slow and clumsy and dull?”    

28. Game 2, Thursday, October 6: The Yankees Again Win with an Inside Game   

29. Game 3, Friday, October 7: The Giants’ Offense Comes Alive   

30. Game 4, Sunday, October 9: The Giants Finally Get to Carl Mays, or So It Seems 

31. Game 5, Monday, October 10: Ruth’s Gameness and Hoyt’s Guts  

32. Game 6, Tuesday, October 11: The Series Is Evened, but without RuthIs It Really Even?

33. Game 7, Wednesday, October 12: “Give me another game against those Yankees, and they’ll get even less”   

34. Game 8, Thursday, October 13: “New York and baseball are proud of the Yanks and the Giants”    


Appendix 1. 1921 Yankees and Giants Regular Season Batting and Pitching

Appendix 2. 1921 <SC>al</SC> and <SC>nl</SC> Batting and Pitching Leaders    

Appendix 3. 1921 World Series Box Scores

Appendix 4. 1921 Yankees and Giants World Series Batting and Pitching  






Winner of the 2011 Seymour Medal, sponsored by the Society for American Baseball Research.

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