1920 World Series
1920 World Series program.jpg
Team (Wins) Manager(s) Season
Cleveland Indians (5) Tris Speaker (player/manager) 98–56, .636, GA: 2
Brooklyn Robins (2) Wilbert Robinson 93–61, .604, GA: 7
DatesOctober 5–12
VenueEbbets Field (Brooklyn)
League Park (Cleveland)
UmpiresBill Klem (NL), Tommy Connolly (AL), Hank O'Day (NL), Bill Dinneen (AL)
Hall of FamersUmpires:
Bill Klem
Tommy Connolly
Hank O'Day
Indians:
Stan Coveleski
Joe Sewell
Tris Speaker
Robins:
Wilbert Robinson (mgr.)
Rube Marquard
Zack Wheat
Burleigh Grimes
← 1919 World Series 1921 →

The 1920 World Series was the championship series for Major League Baseball's 1920 season. The series was a best-of-nine format played between the American League (AL) champion Cleveland Indians and the National League (NL) champion Brooklyn Robins, with the Indians defeating the Robins five games to two. The only World Series triple play, the first World Series grand slam and the first World Series home run by a pitcher all occurred in Game 5 of this Series. The Indians won the series in memory of their former shortstop Ray Chapman, who had been killed earlier in the season when struck in the head by a pitched ball.

The triple play was unassisted and turned by Cleveland's Bill Wambsganss in Game 5. Wambsganss, playing second base, caught a line drive off the bat of Clarence Mitchell, stepped on second base to put out Pete Kilduff, and tagged Otto Miller coming from first base. It was the second of 15 (as of 2016) unassisted triple plays in major-league baseball history, and it remains the only one in postseason play. Mitchell made history again in the eighth inning by hitting into a double play, accounting for five outs in two straight at-bats.

The fifth game also saw the first grand slam in World Series history (hit by Cleveland's Elmer Smith) and the first Series home run by a pitcher (Cleveland's Jim Bagby, Sr.). And in that same game, Brooklyn outhit Cleveland but lost 8–1.

Cleveland had won the American League pennant in a close race with the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees. The Sox's participation in the Black Sox Scandal the previous year had caught up to them late in the season, and their star players were suspended with three games left in the season, when they were in a virtual tie with the Indians. The Yankees, with their recently acquired star Babe Ruth, were almost ready to start their eventual World Series dynasty. For Cleveland, it would prove to be one of their few successes in a long history of largely either poor or not-quite-good enough clubs.

It is notable that all seven games of the 1920 World Series were won by the team who scored first. In fact, Game 4 was the only game in which the losing team scored a run before the winning team had scored all of its runs. The lead never changed hands in any game.

This would be the last World Series until 1980 to feature two franchises that had not previously won a championship.

Summary

AL Cleveland Indians (5) vs. NL Brooklyn Robins (2)

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance 
1 October 5 Cleveland Indians – 3, Brooklyn Robins – 1 Ebbets Field 1:41 23,573[1] 
2 October 6 Cleveland Indians – 0, Brooklyn Robins – 3 Ebbets Field 1:55 22,559[2] 
3 October 7 Cleveland Indians – 1, Brooklyn Robins – 2 Ebbets Field 1:47 25,088[3] 
4 October 9 Brooklyn Robins – 1, Cleveland Indians – 5 League Park 1:54 25,734[4] 
5 October 10 Brooklyn Robins – 1, Cleveland Indians – 8 League Park 1:49 26,884[5] 
6 October 11 Brooklyn Robins – 0, Cleveland Indians – 1 League Park 1:34 27,194[6] 
7 October 12 Brooklyn Robins – 0, Cleveland Indians – 3 League Park 1:55 27,525[7]

Matchups

Game 1

Game 1 at Ebbets Field
Game 1 at Ebbets Field
Tuesday, October 5, 1920 2:00 pm (ET) at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cleveland 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 5 0
Brooklyn 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 5 1
WP: Stan Coveleski (1–0)   LP: Rube Marquard (0–1)

Game 1 took a mere 1 hour, 41 minutes. Steve O'Neill supplied RBI doubles in the second and fourth innings in support of Stan Coveleski, who won it for the visiting Indians with a five-hitter.

Game 2

Wednesday, October 6, 1920 2:00 pm (ET) at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cleveland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 1
Brooklyn 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 X 3 7 0
WP: Burleigh Grimes (1–0)   LP: Jim Bagby (0–1)

A first-inning run on a Jimmy Johnston single and Zack Wheat double would be all Dodger pitcher Burleigh Grimes would require in a complete-game shutout.

Game 3

Thursday, October 7, 1920 2:00 pm (ET) at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cleveland 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 1
Brooklyn 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 2 6 1
WP: Sherry Smith (1–0)   LP: Ray Caldwell (0–1)

Brooklyn scored twice in the first on hits by Zack Wheat and Hi Myers that chased Cleveland starter Ray Caldwell from the game. The only run winning pitcher Sherry Smith gave up in a three-hitter came when Tris Speaker came all the way around on a double that was misplayed in left field.

Game 4

Saturday, October 9, 1920 2:00 pm (ET) at League Park in Cleveland, Ohio
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Brooklyn 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 1
Cleveland 2 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 X 5 12 2
WP: Stan Coveleski (2–0)   LP: Leon Cadore (0–1)

Brooklyn starter Leon Cadore didn't make it past the first inning. His relievers didn't fare much better, Al Mamaux being removed in the third and Rube Marquard greeted by a George Burns two-run double. Stan Coveleski cruised with a five-hitter for his second win of the Series.

Game 5

Sunday, October 10, 1920 2:00 pm (ET) at League Park in Cleveland, Ohio
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Brooklyn 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 13 1
Cleveland 4 0 0 3 1 0 0 0 X 8 12 2
WP: Jim Bagby (1–1)   LP: Burleigh Grimes (1–1)
Home runs:
BRO: None
CLE: Elmer Smith (1), Jim Bagby (1)

The Cleveland Times ran the following article on Monday, October 11, 1920, recounting Game 5 and Wambsganss' triple play:

Bill Wambsganss (upper left) completing his unassisted triple play in Game 5, about to tag a stunned Otto Miller after touching second to double up Pete Kilduff (right foreground, touching third).
Bill Wambsganss (upper left) completing his unassisted triple play in Game 5, about to tag a stunned Otto Miller after touching second to double up Pete Kilduff (right foreground, touching third).

Wamby Makes Unassisted Triple Play

Game 6

Monday, October 11, 1920 2:00 pm (ET) at League Park in Cleveland, Ohio
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Brooklyn 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Cleveland 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 X 1 7 3
WP: Duster Mails (1–0)   LP: Sherry Smith (1–1)

Even faster than Game 1, this one was done in just 94 minutes. Duster Mails twirled a three-hit shutout, and the lone run came in the sixth on a Tris Speaker two-out single, followed by a George Burns double.

Game 7

Tuesday, October 12, 1920 2:00 pm (ET) at League Park in Cleveland, Ohio
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Brooklyn 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 2
Cleveland 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 X 3 7 3
WP: Stan Coveleski (3–0)   LP: Burleigh Grimes (1–2)

The Robins didn't score in the last two games. Their pitcher, Burleigh Grimes, committed an error on a Cleveland double steal that resulted in the game's first run. Stan Coveleski needed no more, but got one in the fifth from a Tris Speaker run-scoring triple and another in the seventh on Charlie Jamieson's RBI double. Spitball pitcher Coveleski won for the third time and the Indians celebrated before their home fans.

Composite line score

1920 World Series (5–2): Cleveland Indians (A.L.) over Brooklyn Robins (N.L.)

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cleveland Indians 6 2 2 6 2 2 1 0 0 21 53 12
Brooklyn Robins 3 0 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 8 44 6
Total attendance: 178,557   Average attendance: 25,508
Winning player's share: $4,168   Losing player's share: $2,420[8]

Notes

  1. ^ "1920 World Series Game 1 – Cleveland Indians vs. Brooklyn Robins". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "1920 World Series Game 2 – Cleveland Indians vs. Brooklyn Robins". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  3. ^ "1920 World Series Game 3 – Cleveland Indians vs. Brooklyn Robins". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  4. ^ "1920 World Series Game 4 – Brooklyn Robins vs. Cleveland Indians". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  5. ^ "1920 World Series Game 5 – Brooklyn Robins vs. Cleveland Indians". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  6. ^ "1920 World Series Game 6 – Brooklyn Robins vs. Cleveland Indians". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  7. ^ "1920 World Series Game 7 – Brooklyn Robins vs. Cleveland Indians". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  8. ^ "World Series Gate Receipts and Player Shares". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved June 14, 2009.

References