The Yearly Reader
Leaders and Honors, 1928
Our list of baseball’s top 10 hitters and pitchers in both the American League and National League for the 1928 baseball season, as well as the awards and honors given to the game’s top achievers of the year.
The National League’s Top 10 Hitters, 1928
Bold type in brick red indicates league leader.
1. Jim Bottomley, St. Louis
Key Numbers: .325 average, 124 runs, 187 hits, 42 doubles, 20 triples, 31 home runs, 136 RBIs, 71 walks.
Bottomley’s top campaign included the rare feat of collecting at least 20 doubles, triples and home runs each in the same season.
2. Rogers Hornsby, Boston
Key Numbers: .387 average, 42 doubles, 7 triples, 21 home runs, 94 RBIs, 107 walks, .498 on-base percentage, .632 slugging percentage.
Exiled yet again for his abrasive ego (and alleged, extensive debts from horse racing bets), Hornsby became the first Brave to reach 20 homers in the year they brought the fences in at Braves Field.
3. Paul Waner, Pittsburgh
Key Numbers: .370 average, 142 runs, 223 hits, 50 doubles, 19 triples, 86 RBIs, 77 walks.
Alongside brother Lloyd, Waner came off as a diminutive type never to be confused with a superhero—but continued to play like one nevertheless.
4. Chick Hafey, St. Louis
Key Numbers: .337 average, 101 runs, 46 doubles, 6 triples, 27 home runs, 111 RBIs.
Evolving into an everyday star hitter, Hafey would begin the first of six seasons in which he would hit a collective .340.
5. Hack Wilson, Chicago
Key Numbers: .313 average, 32 doubles, 9 triples, 31 home runs, 129 RBIs, 77 walks, 94 strikeouts.
For the second straight year, Wilson had to share the NL home run lead—this time with Jim Bottomley.
6. Fred Lindstrom, New York
Key Numbers: .358 average, 231 hits, 39 doubles, 9 triples, 14 home runs, 107 RBIs, 15 stolen bases, 21 caught stealing.
If there was anyone left in New York who had yet to forgive and forget Lindstrom’s “pebble-induced” defensive lapses at the 1924 World Series, his 1928 performance would have likely turned them into converts.
7. Del Bissonette, Brooklyn
Key Numbers: 155 games, .320 average, 188 hits, 30 doubles, 13 triples, 25 home runs, 106 RBIs, 70 walks.
After a crackling minor league warmup for the International League’s Buffalo team, the 28-year-old first baseman skipped nary a beat at Brooklyn.
8. Bill Terry, New York
Key Numbers: .326 average, 100 runs, 185 hits, 36 doubles, 11 triples, 17 home runs, 101 RBIs.
Memphis Bill all but mimeographed his 1927 numbers, matching his .326 average of the year before among other similar results.
9. George Grantham, Pittsburgh
Key Numbers: 124 games, .323 average, 93 runs, 9 triples, 10 home runs, 85 RBIs, 59 walks.
An early bid to hit .400 was interrupted when Grantham missed three weeks of action in early June; he hit .290 the rest of the season after returning.
10. Pie Traynor, Pittsburgh
Key Numbers: .337 average, 192 hits, 38 doubles, 12 triples, 3 home runs, 124 RBIs, 42 sacrifice hits.
It wasn’t all about the hits for Traynor; he also completed 42 sacrifice hits, a figure nobody in the majors has since matched.
The American League’s Top 10 Hitters, 1928
1. Babe Ruth, New York
Key Numbers: .323 average, 163 runs, 173 hits, 54 home runs, 146 RBIs, 137 walks, 87 strikeouts, .709 slugging percentage.
Ruth led the AL in runs for the eighth (and last) time.
2. Lou Gehrig, New York
Key Numbers: .374 average, 139 runs, 210 hits, 47 doubles, 13 triples, 27 home runs, 147 RBIs, 95 walks, .467 on-base percentage.
The Iron Horse’s home run total dropped by 20 from the year before, but along with Ruth still continued to roll along without peer.
3. Goose Goslin, Washington
Key Numbers: .379 average, 36 doubles, 10 triples, 17 home runs, 102 RBIs, 16 stolen bases.
Goslin risked losing the AL batting title to Heinie Manush when he waived off a pinch-hitter for his last at-bat; he singled to cement a micro-thin margin.
4. Heinie Manush, St. Louis
Key Numbers: .378 average, 104 runs, 241 hits, 47 doubles, 20 triples, 13 home runs, 108 RBIs.
In his first year with the Browns, Manush hit all 13 of his home runs at home.
5. Al Simmons, Philadelphia
Key Numbers: 119 games, .351 average, 33 doubles, 9 triples, 15 home runs, 107 RBIs.
The A’s, who finished runner-up to the Yankees by three games in the AL race, might have wondered how much different the standings would have looked had Simmons not missed the season’s first month.
6. Jimmie Foxx, Philadelphia
Key Numbers: 118 games, .328 average, 29 doubles, 10 triples, 13 home runs, 79 RBIs.
The 20-year-old Foxx began the season as Mickey Cochrane’s back-up at catcher, but when he continued to hit .400 into June, the A’s had to find another spot for him somewhere, splitting his playing time afterward between first and third base.
7. Lu Blue, St. Louis
Key Numbers: 116 runs, 32 doubles, 11 triples, 14 home runs, 80 RBIs, 105 walks, 12 stolen bases.
Coming to St. Louis in the same trade that also gave the Browns Heinie Manush, the switch-hitting Blue had one of his most potent campaigns as offensive catalyst.
8. Charlie Gehringer, Detroit
Key Numbers: .320 average, 108 runs, 193 hits, 29 doubles, 16 triples, 69 walks, 15 stolen bases.
Nicknamed the Mechanical Man for his consistent level of great hitting, Gehringer perfectly matched his eventual .320 career batting average.
9. Harry Heilmann, Detroit
Key Numbers: .328 average, 183 hits, 38 doubles, 10 triples, 14 home runs, 107 RBIs.
Heilmann enjoyed the home cookin’, hitting nearly 100 points higher at Navin Field (Tiger Stadium) than on the road; he also hit a whopping .446 in 83 at-bats against the Yankees.
10. Tony Lazzeri, New York
Key Numbers: 116 games, .332 average, 30 doubles, 11 triples, 10 home runs, 82 RBIs, 15 stolen bases.
Lazzeri might have placed higher on this list, but he missed a month due to a shoulder injury.
The National League’s Top 10 Pitchers, 1928
1. Dazzy Vance, Brooklyn
Key Numbers: 2.09 ERA, 22 wins, 10 losses, 4 shutouts, 280.1 innings, 200 strikeouts.
Vance reigned as the NL strikeout king for the seventh straight (and last) time while posting a career-low ERA.
2. Burleigh Grimes, Pittsburgh
Key Numbers: 2.99 ERA, 25 wins, 14 losses, 48 appearances, 37 starts, 28 complete games, 4 shutouts, 330.2 innings.
The Pirates clearly got the better end of a deal that gave them Grimes, while his former Giants mates suffered with Vic Aldridge—who held out, seldom won and finally quit.
3. Larry Benton, New York
Key Numbers: 2.73 ERA, 25 wins, 9 losses, .735 win percentage, 42 appearances, 36 starts, 28 complete games, 310.1 innings.
The Giants’ pain of losing Grimes was eased with the addition of Benton from the Braves—who originally snagged the pitcher from New York in a big 1922 deal.
4. Sheriff Blake, Chicago
Key Numbers: 2.47 ERA, 17 wins, 11 losses, 4 shutouts, 240.2 innings.
Never an actual sheriff, Blake enjoyed a career year that ended with a hand injury, reducing the effectiveness of his bread-and-butter curve ball; he’d never be the same.
5. Bill Sherdel, St. Louis
Key Numbers: 2.86 ERA, 21 wins, 10 losses, 5 saves, 248.2 innings, 56 walks.
Nicknamed “Wee Willie” because of his 5’10”, 160-pound frame, Sherdel won 20 games for the first and only time of his major league career.
6. Eppa Rixey, Cincinnati
Key Numbers: 3.43 ERA, 19 wins, 18 losses, 43 appearances, 37 starts, 291.1 innings, 67 walks.
In the last workhorse effort of his career, Rixey received his worst run support since 1920—keeping him from winning 20 games for a fifth time.
7. Watty Clark, Brooklyn
Key Numbers: 2.68 ERA, 12 wins, 9 losses, 40 appearances, 19 starts.
The evolving southpaw was used mostly out of the bullpen in the summer—but three late starts, all complete-game victories, cemented his future as a rotation guy.
8. Art Nehf, Chicago
Key Numbers: 2.65 ERA, 13 wins, 7 losses.
Struggling with numbness of the hand, the former Giants ace turned Cubs reclamation project delivered a final positive effort at age 36.
9. Freddie Fitzsimmons, New York
Key Numbers: 3.68 ERA, 20 wins, 9 losses, 40 appearances, 31 starts, 261.1 innings.
Fat Freddie won 20 games for the only time in his 19-year career, his last three coming in a span of five days in a vain effort to give the Giants the pennant.
10. Jesse Haines, St. Louis
Key Numbers: 3.18 ERA, 20 wins, 8 losses, .714 win percentage, 240.1 innings.
One of the reasons the Cardinals were able to overcome Fitzsimmons and the Giants was that Haines finished a perfect 6-0 in September.
The American League’s Top 10 Pitchers, 1928
1. Lefty Grove, Philadelphia
Key Numbers: 2.58 ERA, 24 wins, 8 losses, .750 win percentage, 39 appearances, 31 starts, 24 complete games, 261.2 innings, 183 strikeouts.
Grove highlighted the start of an impressive six-year run by striking out the side on nine pitches—twice. (Only one other pitcher—Chris Sale in 2019—would throw two such “immaculate innings” in a season.)
2. Herb Pennock, New York
Key Numbers: 2.56 ERA, 17 wins, 6 losses, 5 shutouts, .739 win percentage, 40 walks.
The highly reliable veteran finished off a six-year stretch in which he posted a 115-57 record and 3.03 ERA.
3. Garland Braxton, Washington
Key Numbers: 2.51 ERA, 13 wins, 11 losses, 6 saves, 44 walks.
Moved from the bullpen, Broxton laid claim to the AL ERA title, despite a middling record for a middling team.
4. Waite Hoyt, New York
Key Numbers: 3.36 ERA, 23 wins, 7 losses, .767 win percentage, 8 saves, 42 appearances, 31 starts, 273 innings.
Hoyt’s Yankee tenure peaked as he finished a two-year run winning 48 while losing just 14 (World Series games included).
5. Jack Quinn, Philadelphia
Key Numbers: 2.90 ERA, 18 wins, 7 losses, .720 win percentage.
The ageless Quinn, who began playing professionally in 1907, turned in a vintage effort at age 45; he still had another five years of major league experience to give.
6. Sam Gray, St. Louis
Key Numbers: 3.19 ERA, 20 wins, 12 losses, 262.2 innings.
Along with General Crowder, Gray became part of the last pair of 20-game winners for the franchise until 1969.
7. George Pipgras, New York
Key Numbers: 3.38 ERA, 24 wins, 13 losses, 46 appearances, 38 starts, 300.2 innings.
With much of the Yankees’ rotation chronically hurt, Pipgras was one of the last healthy men standing and took on the workhorse burden—very well, we might add.
8. Tommy Thomas, Chicago
Key Numbers: 3.08 ERA, 17 wins, 16 losses, 24 complete games, 283 innings.
The White Sox thought they had a Lefty Grove clone in the hard-working Thomas—another ex-Baltimore Orioles standout—but he lacked the kind of support Grove had in Philadelphia.
9. Sad Sam Jones, Washington
Key Numbers: 2.84 ERA, 17 wins, 7 losses, .708 win percentage.
After burning out with the Yankees and bombing in 1927 with the Browns, Jones found solace at age 36 in D.C. thanks to his work on the road (11-2, 1.77 ERA, as opposed to 6-5 and 4.52 at home).
10. Ed Morris, Boston
Key Numbers: 3.53 ERA, 19 wins, 15 losses, 5 saves, 47 appearances, 29 starts, 257.2 innings.
The here-today, gone-tomorrow success of Morris kept the Red Sox from becoming the first AL team to lose 100 games in four straight years.