Murderers' Row were the baseball teams of the New York Yankees in the late 1920s, widely considered one of the best teams in history. The nickname is in particular describing the first six hitters in the 1927 team lineup: Earle Combs, Mark Koenig, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Meusel, and Tony Lazzeri.
The term was originally coined in 1918 by a sportswriter to describe the pre-Babe Ruth Yankee lineup of 1918. A 1918 newspaper article described it: "New York fans have come to know a section of the Yankees' batting order as 'murderers' row.' It is composed of the first six players in the batting order—Gilhooley, Peckinpaugh, Baker, Pratt, Pipp, and Bodie. This sextet has been hammering the offerings of all comers."
The term was initially associated with the beginning of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig Yankee teams in the mid-1920s, and is commonly recognized to refer specifically to the core of the 1927 Yankee hitting lineup.
Owner Jacob Ruppert is the man most often credited with building the team, although general manager Ed Barrow may have had as much to do with it. In a game of a July series against the Washington Senators, the Yankees beat their opponents 21–1, and prompted Senators' first baseman Joe Judge to say, "Those fellows not only beat you but they tear your heart out. I wish the season was over."
The 1927 season was particularly spectacular by baseball standards for the Yankees. After losing in the 1926 World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals, they went 110–44 the next year, winning the A.L. pennant by 19 games and sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1927 World Series. Only four teams have won more regular season games: the 1906 Chicago Cubs and the 2001 Seattle Mariners with 116, the 1998 Yankees with 114 and the 1954 Cleveland Indians with 111. However, the 1998 Yankees and 2001 Mariners played in 162-game schedules. Both the Cubs and the Indians lost in the World Series, while the Mariners lost to the Yankees in the 2001 ALCS. The 1998 Yankees went 11–2 in the playoffs, sweeping the San Diego Padres in the World Series.
The 1927 Yankees batted .307, slugged .489, scored 975 runs, and outscored their opponents by a record 376 runs. Center fielder Earle Combs had a career best year, batting .356 with 231 hits, left fielder Bob Meusel batted .337 with 103 RBIs, and second baseman Tony Lazzeri drove in 102 runs. Gehrig batted .373, with 218 hits, 52 doubles, 18 triples, 47 home runs, a then record 175 RBIs, slugged at .765, and was voted A.L. MVP. Ruth amassed a .356 batting average, 164 RBIs, 158 runs scored, walked 137 times, and slugged .772. Most notably, his 60 home runs that year broke his own record and remained the Major League mark for 34 years until Roger Maris broke it by one with 61; however, just like the 1998 Yankees and 2001 Mariners, this was done in a 162-game schedule, a fact that Commissioner Ford Frick wanted noted when the single-season home run record was to be referenced.
The 1927 Yankees pitching staff led the league in ERA at 3.20, and included Waite Hoyt, who went 22–7, which tied for the league lead, and Herb Pennock, who went 19–8. Wilcy Moore won 16 as a reliever. Three other Yankee pitchers had ERAs under 3.00 that season.
After sweeping the Pirates in the Series, the Yankees repeated the feat by sweeping the Cardinals in the 1928 World Series. The Yankees remain the only team to ever sweep the World Series in consecutive years; the Yankee teams of 1938–1939 and 1998–1999 repeated the feat.
The 1927 Yankees would eventually send six players along with manager Miller Huggins and president Ed Barrow to the Baseball Hall of Fame. These were Ruth, Gehrig, Hoyt, Lazzeri, Combs, and Pennock. Only the 1928 Yankees had more, with nine players along with Huggins and Barrow.
|Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame|
|#||Position in the lineup|
|RBI||Runs batted in|
|Waite Hoyt||SP||36||256 1⁄3||22||7||2.63||86|
|Herb Pennock||SP||34||209 2⁄3||19||8||3.00||51|
|George Pipgras||SP||29||166 1⁄3||10||3||4.11||81|
|Myles Thomas||RP||21||88 2⁄3||7||4||4.87||25|
|Bob Shawkey||RP||19||43 2⁄3||3||4||2.89||23|
The term "Murderers' Row" is commonly used as a descriptor for teams with formidable talent. It has also been used outside of sports, an example being the Essex Class Carriers anchored at Ulithi Atoll, which were also known as Murderer's row. 
During the 2006 ALDS, Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland referred to the 2006 Yankees as "Murderers' Row and Cano" since the entire lineup consisted of players such as Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu, Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matsui, Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, Jorge Posada and new second baseman Robinson Canó all of whom would have multiple All-Star game appearances over their careers. Despite Leyland's nomenclature, the team did not have the success of the original 1927 team as they were defeated by the Tigers in that series.
In 2016, ESPN announced 1927: The Diary of Myles Thomas. The core of the project is a historical novel in the form of a diary of Myles Thomas, written by Douglas Alden, published along the same timeline as the events unfolded almost 90 years ago. The project was an attempt to relive the 1927 season through Myles Thomas's diary entries, additional essays and real-time social-media components (including Twitter). The diary runs the length of the full 1927 season, from April 13 through October 10, 1927.
The 1927 New York Yankees season was their 25th season. The team finished with a record of 110–44, winning their fifth pennant and finishing 19 games ahead of the Philadelphia Athletics and were tied for first or better for the whole season. New York was managed by Miller Huggins. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they swept the Pittsburgh Pirates. This Yankees team is known for their feared lineup, which was nicknamed "Murderers' Row". This team is widely considered to be the best baseball team in the history of MLB.Ben Paschal
Benjamin Edwin Paschal (October 13, 1895 – November 10, 1974) was an American baseball outfielder who played eight seasons in Major League Baseball from 1915 to 1929, mostly for the New York Yankees. After two "cup of coffee" stints with the Cleveland Indians in 1915 and the Boston Red Sox in 1920, Paschal spent most of his career as the fourth outfielder and right-handed pinch hitter of the Yankees' Murderers' Row championship teams of the late 1920s. Paschal is best known for hitting .360 in the 1925 season while standing in for Babe Ruth, who missed the first 40 games with a stomach ailment.
During his time in baseball, Paschal was described as a five-tool player who excelled at running, throwing, fielding, hitting for average, and power. However, his playing time with the Yankees was limited because they already had future Baseball Hall of Famers Ruth and Earle Combs, and star Bob Meusel, in the outfield. Paschal was considered one of the best bench players in baseball during his time with the Yankees, and sportswriters wrote how he would have started for most other teams in the American League. He was one of the best pinch hitters in the game during the period, at a time when the term was still relatively new to baseball.Benny Bengough
Bernard Oliver "Benny" Bengough (July 27, 1898 – December 22, 1968) was an American professional baseball player and coach. He played the majority of his Major League Baseball career as a catcher for the New York Yankees during the 1920s when the team garnered the nickname of Murderers' Row, due to their potent batting lineup. He played the final two seasons of his career with the St. Louis Browns. Bengough was a light-hitting, defensive specialist. After his playing career, he spent 18 seasons as a major league coach.Bert Lytell (boxer)
Calvin Coolidge Lytle (January 24, 1924 – January 26, 1990), better known by his professional names Bert Lytell and Chocolate Kid, was an American boxer and middleweight contender in the 1940s and early 1950s. Recognized as a member of the famous Murderers' Row, the 5'8" Lytell fought (and often won) against other top black middleweights of his time, including Charley Burley, Herbert "Cocoa Kid" Lewis Hardwick, Holman Williams, and Charley Doc Williams, as well as other notable fighters including Archie Moore and Sam Baroudi.Like many of his contemporaries, Bert Lytell was denied a chance to fight for a world title largely due to his race.Lytell was born in Victoria, Texas. He enlisted in the Naval reserves in 1942 in San Antonio, Texas, and was discharged in 1944. He resided in New York City for most of his career, later moving to Oakland, California to be closer to his family, including brother Loyal Lytle. During his career, he was known as The Beast of Stillman's Gym. He was one of the members of the famous Black Murderers' Row, a group of world-class African American welterweights and middleweights who were avoided by most top white fighters of their era and never got the chance to fight for a world title, despite being well-regarded by the boxing community.
The "Chocolate Kid" died on January 26, 1990, two days after his 66th birthday.Bob Meusel
Robert William Meusel (July 19, 1896 – November 28, 1977) was an American baseball left and right fielder who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for eleven seasons from 1920 through 1930, all but the last for the New York Yankees. He was best known as a member of the Yankees' championship teams of the 1920s, nicknamed the "Murderers' Row", during which time the team won its first six American League (AL) pennants and first three World Series titles.
Meusel, noted for his strong outfield throwing arm, batted fifth behind Baseball Hall of Famers Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. In 1925, he became the second Yankee, after Ruth, to lead the AL in the following offensive categories: home runs (33), runs batted in (138) and extra base hits (79). Nicknamed "Long Bob" because of his 6-foot, 3 inch (1.91 m) stature, Meusel batted .313 or better in seven of his first eight seasons, finishing with a .309 career average; his 1,005 RBI during the 1920s were the fourth most by any major leaguer, and trailed only Harry Heilmann's total of 1,131 among AL right-handed hitters. Meusel ended his career in 1930 with the Cincinnati Reds. He hit for the cycle three times, and was the second of four major leaguers to accomplish this feat as many as three times during a career.
His older brother, Emil "Irish" Meusel, was a star outfielder in the National League (NL) during the same period, primarily for the New York Giants.Charley Williams
Charley Williams (born February 4, 1928 in Mahwah, New Jersey) is a former professional boxer from the 1940s and 50's. Best known as Charley "Doc" Williams, he fought many of the top fighters of his era, and held wins over several members of the famed Murderers' Row (boxing), including a win over Charley Burley and multiple wins over Bert Lytell. Williams also had a win over Bob Satterfield and notable bouts against all-time greats Archie Moore and Jimmy Bivins. Like many African American boxers of his era, including Burley and Lytell, he never received a title shot despite being ranked as a top ten light heavyweight for many years. He retired in 1954 after a streak of three straight wins, with a record of 51 wins (22 KO), 18 losses (9 KO), and 2 draws.Earle Combs
Earle Bryan Combs (May 14, 1899 – July 21, 1976) was an American professional baseball player who played his entire career for the New York Yankees (1924–35). Combs batted leadoff and played center field on the Yankees' fabled 1927 team (often referred to as Murderers' Row). He is one of six players on that team who have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame; the other five are Waite Hoyt, Herb Pennock, Tony Lazzeri, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.
Combs led the league in triples three times and was among the top ten in the category in several other seasons. He suffered a fractured skull and other injuries from a crash into an outfield wall in 1934, then retired after another injury the next season. Nicknamed "the Kentucky Colonel", Combs was known as a gentleman on and off the field. He remained in baseball as a coach for many years after his retirement as a player.Eddie Booker
Hilton Edward "Eddie" Booker (November 5, 1917 – January 26, 1975) was an American boxer who was active during the 1930s and 1940s.
Booker was one of the famous "Murderers Row" group of black boxers, along with the likes of Charley Burley, Holman Williams and Jack Chase, avoided by other elite fighters of the era because of their ability and their skin colour. Booker compiled a record of 66-5-8, which included wins over Williams, Chase, Archie Moore (being the first to knock him out) and Lloyd Marshall, although he never fought for a world title, and was forced to retire prematurely due to an eye injury, he is an inductee of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.Herbert Lewis Hardwick
Herbert Lewis Hardwick Arroyo a.k.a. "Cocoa Kid" (May 2, 1914 – December 27, 1966) was a Puerto Rican boxer of African descent who fought primarily as a welterweight but also in the middleweight division. Hardwick won the World Colored Championships in both divisions. He was a member of boxing's "Black Murderers' Row" and fought the best boxers of his time. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2012.History of the New York Yankees
The history of the New York Yankees Major League Baseball (MLB) team spans more than a century. Frank J. Farrell and William Stephen Devery bought the rights to an American League (AL) club in New York City after the 1902 season. The team, which became known as the Yankees in 1913, rarely contended for the AL championship before the acquisition of outfielder Babe Ruth after the 1919 season. With Ruth in the lineup, the Yankees won their first AL title in 1921, followed by their first World Series championship in 1923. Ruth and first baseman Lou Gehrig were part of the team's Murderers' Row lineup, which led the Yankees to a then-AL record 110 wins and a Series championship in 1927 under Miller Huggins. They repeated as World Series winners in 1928, and their next title came under manager Joe McCarthy in 1932.
The Yankees won the World Series every year from 1936 to 1939 with a team that featured Gehrig and outfielder Joe DiMaggio, who recorded a record hitting streak during New York's 1941 championship season. New York set a major league record by winning five consecutive championships from 1949 to 1953, and appeared in the World Series nine times from 1955 to 1964. Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Whitey Ford were among the players fielded by the Yankees during the era. After the 1964 season, a lack of effective replacements for aging players caused the franchise to decline on the field, and the team became a money-loser for owners CBS while playing in an aging stadium.
George Steinbrenner bought the club in 1973 and regularly invested in new talent, using free agency to acquire top players. Yankee Stadium was renovated and reopened in 1976 as the home of a more competitive Yankees team. Despite clubhouse disputes, the team reached the World Series four times between 1976 and 1981 and claimed the championship in 1977 and 1978. New York continued to pursue their strategy of signing free agents into the 1980s, but with less success, and the team eventually sank into mediocrity after 1981. In the early 1990s, the team began to improve as their roster was rebuilt around young players from their minor league system, including Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. After earning a playoff berth in 1995, the Yankees won four of the next five World Series, and the 1998–2000 teams were the last in MLB to win three straight Series titles.
As the 2000s progressed, the Yankees' rivalry with the Boston Red Sox increased in intensity as the sides met multiple times in the American League Championship Series (ALCS), trading victories in 2003 and 2004. New York regularly reached the postseason, but were often defeated in the first two rounds. In 2009, the Yankees opened a new Yankee Stadium and won the World Series for the 27th time in team history, an MLB record. The furthest the Yankees have gone in the postseason since then is the ALCS, in 2010, 2012, and 2017.Jack Chase (American boxer)
Jack Chase was an African-American middleweight, who boxed in the 1930s and 40s. He was born in Texas and fought mainly on the west coast of the United States. He boxed under the name ‘Young Joe Lewis’ for the first part of his career, before changing to Jack Chase in 1942. His official fight count stands at 122, but it is believed he competed in an additional 40 plus fights prior to 1936, during which time his full record is unknown.He was ranked second in the world in his division, but never took part in a world title fight. He was included in the group dubbed ‘Black Murderers’ Row’, by Budd Schulberg, of boxers of the era who were so feared that they were avoided by title holders and so were unable to ever secure a title shot.Jack Chase did win several regional belts in the US, including the Colorado state title, the Rocky Mountain Regional Middleweight and Welterweight Titles in the 1930s and the California State's Middlweight and Light Heavyweight titles in the 1940s. He retired from boxing in 1948.
Chase had several run ins with the law during his life, including serving jail time in Colorado on a few occasions and being arrested for shooting fellow boxer Aaron Wade in California.Mark Koenig
Mark Anthony Koenig (July 19, 1904 – April 22, 1993) was an American baseball shortstop who played twelve seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). He played for the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and New York Giants from 1925 to 1936. A switch hitter who threw right-handed, he was listed at 6 feet 0 inches (1.83 m) and 180 pounds (82 kg). Although he primarily played as a shortstop, Koenig was utilized at second base and third base as well.
Koenig played minor league baseball for four different teams until May 1925, when he signed for the New York Yankees. After making his debut in September 1925 and spending five seasons with the Yankees, he was traded to the Detroit Tigers, where he spent the next two seasons. He subsequently joined the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds via trades in 1932 and 1934, respectively, and was finally traded to the New York Giants, with whom he played his last game on September 27, 1936. Koenig is most famous for being the last surviving member of the Murderers' Row.Miller Huggins
Miller James Huggins (March 27, 1878 – September 25, 1929) was an American professional baseball player and manager. Huggins played second base for the Cincinnati Reds (1904–1909) and St. Louis Cardinals (1910–1916). He managed the Cardinals (1913–1917) and New York Yankees (1918–1929), including the Murderers' Row teams of the 1920s that won six American League (AL) pennants and three World Series championships.
Huggins was born in Cincinnati. He received a degree in law from the University of Cincinnati, where he was also captain on the baseball team. Rather than serve as a lawyer, Huggins chose to pursue a professional baseball career. He played semi-professional and minor league baseball from 1898 through 1903, at which time he signed with the Reds.
As a player, Huggins was adept at getting on base. He was also an excellent fielding second baseman, earning the nicknames "Rabbit", "Little Everywhere", and "Mighty Mite" for his defensive prowess and was later considered an intelligent manager who understood the fundamentals of the game. Despite fielding successful teams for the Yankees in the 1920s, he continued to make personnel changes in order to maintain his teams' superiority in the AL. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1964.Murderers' Row (boxing)
Murderers' Row refers to a group of middleweight boxing contenders in the United States competing in the 1940s, primarily of an African-American background. Renowned for their toughness and great boxing ability, they were feared throughout the boxing world and never received a shot at the world title. According to boxing pundit Jim Murray, they were “the most exclusive men’s club the ring has ever known. They were so good and so feared that they had to have their own tournament”.Fighters recognized under the Murderers’ Row banner include Charley Burley, Lloyd Marshall, Holman Williams, Herbert "Cocoa Kid" Lewis Hardwick, Jack Chase, Eddie Booker, Aaron Wade, and Bert Lytell. Avoided by many of the famous names of the day, the eight Murderers’ Row fighters faced each other a total of 62 times, the fights often classics and grueling contests.The expression "murderers' row" had been used previously to describe the batting line-up of the New York Yankees baseball team in the late 1920s.Murderers' Row (film)
Murderers' Row (sometimes incorrectly punctuated Murderer's Row) is a 1966 American comedy spy-fi film starring Dean Martin as Matt Helm. It is the second of four films in the Matt Helm series, and is very loosely based upon the spy novel Murderers' Row by Donald Hamilton, which was published in 1962.Ann-Margret and Karl Malden co-star in this sequel to The Silencers.Murderers' Row (novel)
Murderers' Row is the title of a 1962 spy novel by Donald Hamilton. It was the fifth novel featuring his creation Matt Helm, a Second World War assassin recruited as a counter-agent by a secret American agency. This was the last Matt Helm novel to not use Hamilton's naming convention of The (Verb)-ers (as in The Annihilators, The Ambushers, etc.). The expression "murderers' row" had been used previously to describe the batting line-up of the New York Yankees baseball team in the late 1920s.Pat Collins
Tharon Leslie "Pat" Collins (September 13, 1896 – May 20, 1960) was an American baseball catcher who played ten seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). He played for the St. Louis Browns, New York Yankees and Boston Braves from 1919 to 1929. Collins batted and threw right-handed and also played five games at first base.
Collins played minor league baseball for the Joplin Miners until 1919, when he signed with the Browns. After spending six seasons with the organization, Collins spent a one-year sojourn in the minor leagues before he was traded to the Yankees, where he spent the next three years and played in the famous 1927 Murderers' Row lineup. At the conclusion of the 1928 season, he was traded to the Braves, with whom he played his last major league game on May 23, 1929. A two-time World Series champion, he is famous for being the only major league player to pinch hit and pinch run in the same game.Springs Toledo
Springs Toledo is a prominent American boxing historian and essayist. His work has been featured in The Sweet Science, Salon, City Journal, Boxing News, and THE RING magazine. He is also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), International Boxing Hall of Fame Committee, Ring 4 Boston, and is an editor for the BoxRec database. Toledo was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts and since 2010, has won 35 BWAA writing awards. He is the author of The Gods of War (Tora 2014), In the Cheap Seats (Tora 2016),, Murderers' Row (Tora, 2017), and Smokestack Lightning: Harry Greb, 1919 (2019). Toledo is one of the founding members of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and serves as a contributing member and in the role of Oversight.Tony Lazzeri
Anthony Michael Lazzeri (December 6, 1903 – August 6, 1946) was an Italian-American professional baseball second baseman during the 1920s and 1930s, predominantly with the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball. He was part of the famed "Murderers' Row" Yankee batting lineup of the late 1920s (most notably the legendary 1927 team), along with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Bob Meusel.
Lazzeri was born and raised in San Francisco, California. He dropped out of school to work with his father as a boilermaker, but at the age of 18, began to play baseball professionally. After playing in minor league baseball from 1922 through 1925, Lazzeri joined the Yankees in 1926. He was a member of the original American League All-Star team in 1933. He was nicknamed "Poosh 'Em Up" by Italian-speaking fans, from a mistranslation of an Italian phrase meaning to "hit it out" (hit a home run).
Lazzeri is one of only 14 major league baseball players to hit for the natural cycle (hitting a single, double, triple and home run in sequence) and the only player to complete a natural cycle with a grand slam. He also holds the American League record for the most RBI in a single game, with 11 on May 24, 1936. In that same 1936 game, he became the first major league player to hit two grand slams in one game. Lazzeri was posthumously inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1991.
|Division titles (17)|
|Wild Card titles (7)|
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