What made the Murderers’ Row Yankees the greatest team of all time?


Bettmann Archive

(Original Caption) Left to right: Waite Hoyt, Babe Ruth, Miller Huggins, Bob Meusel and Bob Shawkey – Yankees who have been in five World Series.

When thinking about the baseball team that dominated the most throughout history, the only one that has to come to mind is the criminal “Murderers’ Row.” The 1920s Yankees were by far the most feared club in the league, and the players on whatever team they were playing woke up knowing it was going to be a bad day.

Obviously, the staple of the Yankees was the infamous Babe Ruth, but what really made the team great was the five other “murderers” to back him up. The depth in the lineup was no joke, with the first six hitters making up this legendary name, because each was extremely dangerous at the plate. The lineup consisted of Earle Combs, Mark Koenig, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Meusel, and Tony Lazzeri. Those six players were the reason that the 1927 team batted .307 as a whole and scored nearly 1,000 runs. With those 1,000 runs, they outscored their opponents by a record 376. The best season for Earle Combs came with a .356 batting average with 231 hits. More achievements in the 1927 season included Lou Gehrig batting a record at the time of 175 runs and was voted American League MVP, and Ruth broke his own record with 60 home runs in a season.

The manufacturers and men who deserve credit for building this team are Jacob Ruppert and Ed Barrow, who were the owner and manager of the team. The way they built the team was to completely and utterly destroy their opponents, making teams wish the season was over. The Washington Senators knew this all-too-well as they suffered a brutal 21-1 loss to this frightening Yankees squad. As stated before, the 1927 season was a special one for the “Murderers’ Row.” It was a bounce back season after falling to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1926 World Series, and they made it a big one. The Yankees won 110 regular season games which was only ever done by five other teams, two if you count teams that played the same number of games. On top of that, the team won the Pennant by nineteen games and won the World Series by sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates.

All I’ve talked about so far is the famed batting lineup, but the pitching staff was also elite. The pitchers combined for the lowest ERA in the league in 1927, with the leaders of that being Waite Hoyt, who tied for the most wins in the league, and Herb Pennock, who was just three wins short of Hoyt’s mark. Apart from those two, four other pitchers on the staff had earned run averages below 3.00 that season.

In my opinion, there is only one other team in history that could make an argument for being the greatest organization, and that would be the Atlanta Braves from the late 90s, who were led by the greatest pitching staff of all time: Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Greg Maddux. On the offensive side of that team, a candidate for greatest 3rd baseman, Chipper Jones, was a respectable leader for the run manufacturing, and he was able to make a plethora of clutch plays to limit opposing runs on defense. While Atlanta was an outstanding team, it was the team’s inability to finalize playoff runs and win all of the World Series titles they should have that proves that the Braves don’t deserve the title of greatest baseball team in history.

You don’t get coined “Murderers’ Row” by being mediocre, decent, or even good. You get the name for being amazing, phenomenal, and immaculate. The New York Yankees of the 1920s will always be the greatest baseball team in history.