1922 Washington Nationals
Manager: Clyde Milan 1st Season (1st with Washington 69-85)
69 W 85 L 605 RS 706 RA 6th AL 25 GB (New York 94-60)
4.22 RPG (AL = 4.75) 3.81 ERA (AL = 4.03)
.685 DER (4th AL)
Franchise (1901-1922) 1452-1812-61
In January, Clark Griffith named Clyde Milan as the permanent replacement for George McBride as manager of the Washington Nationals. There had been some speculation that part of the reason Griffith brought in Roger Peckinpaugh was to make him manager, but, for the most part, the announcement was not a surprise (although it angered a lot of New York journalists who wanted to see Peckinpaugh get the job – possibly part of why Griffith didn’t squash the rumors immediately).
Milan was a very popular choice with everybody else, including the players. “Deerfoot” said that wanted to teach the team what he felt was a diminishing art: the stolen base. It may have been that he didn’t have good base-running players, but the Nats actually stole fewer bases under Milan than they had the previous season.
Washington hovered around .500 for the first few months, and looked poised to make a run at the Yankees. A 12-17 July ended that talk, however, and fans began to get restless during the summer months. Milan began to suffer from ulcers as the team limped into the gate with a sixth place finish. Although Griffith publicly stood behind his manager during the season, Milan was fired very soon after the last game.
Milan wanted to continue to play, but was passed on by all major league clubs. He continued to play and manage in the minors, first in Minneapolis for the 1923 season. His playing career continued in the minor leagues until 1926, but he continued to manage. He was back coaching with the Nats from 1938 until 1952. He was ready to start his 16th season as a coach when he died of a heart attack during spring training of 1953.
Bold = Player new to Washington in 1922
C Patsy Gharrity .256/.351/.414 5 HR 1.1 BFW 11 WS 11 FRAR 4.7 WARP3
At 30 years of age, Gharrity came back down to earth after a career season in 1921. His work load diminished in 1922, he only caught 96 games when he was over 110 in all of the previous three seasons. This was Gharrity’s final season as a regular; Muddy Ruel will take over behind the plate in 1923.
1B Joe Judge .294/.355/.450 10 HR 0.1 BFW 18 WS 3 FRAR 3.8 WARP3
Judge continued to be a steady hitter for the Nats at first base, and actually garnered some MVP votes in 1922. He finished 8th in the final tally. He also became the first player in franchise history to hit double-digit home runs in a single season. He matched that number in 1930, but never exceeded 10 home runs in a year.
2B Bucky Harris .269/.341/.346 2 HR 2.2 BFW 17 WS 34 FRAR 5.5 WARP3
Harris had another typical “Bucky Harris” season in 1922. He hit slightly below league average for his position, but was among the best fielding second basemen in the game. He was so respected around the league for his glove that he was named on a couple of MVP ballots.
SS Roger Peckinpaugh .254/.329/.308 2 HR 1.2 BFW 14 WS 47 FRAR 5.6 WARP3
In an effort to get some production out of the short stop position, Clark Griffith traded away three players to acquire the veteran in a three-team deal during the off season. Peckinpaugh was built a lot like Honus Wagner; big, broad shouldered and bow-legged. Still, he was one of the best shortstops in the league, and combined with Harris to create a tremendous double-play combination. Peckinpaugh was given credit for 93 double-plays in 1922, while Harris had 116. The 31-year old was past his prime offensively, but hit well enough throughout his time in Washington to keep a regular job until he was 35.
3B Bobby LaMotte .252/.307/.332 1 HR 0.0 BFW 4 WS 6 FRAR 0.8 WARP3
Third base was kind of up in the air all season. LaMotte played in only 68 games, but he had more time at third than any other player on the team. LaMotte had been around the team for a few years, and was used sparingly until this season. He shared time at third primarily with Howie Shanks. A young Ossie Bleuge got into a handful of games at third, and would take over that position a year later. LaMotte would resurface with the St. Louis Browns a few years later, but only stayed there for two seasons.
LF Goose Goslin .324/.373/.442 3 HR -0.2 BFW 12 WS -2 FRAR 2.3 WARP3
Goslin was the 1920’s equivalent of the September call up in 1921. Leon Allen Goslin made his debut on September 16, 1921 and played in 14 games for the Nats. 1922 was his first full season, and the 21-year-old made the most of it; his 116 OPS+ led the team. It is a good thing that Goslin could hit, because his fielding left something to be desired. It is reported that when Clark Griffith was scouting Goslin, he witnessed a game in which Goslin got hit on the head with a fly ball. Apparently, Goslin hit three home runs in that same game, prompting Griffith to sign him anyways.
CF Sam Rice .295/.347/.423 6 HR 0.0 BFW 20 WS 6 FRAR 4.0 WARP3
1922 was a bit of a down year for Rice. His .347 OBP was a career low (he would have lower OBP, but not until the age of 37). He would return to his normal .380 range by 1923.
RF Frank Brower .293/.375/.418 9 HR -0.3 BFW 16 WS 11 FRAR 4.4 WARP3
Brower was considered “the Babe Ruth of the Bushes” when he put up high home run totals in the minor leagues. Needless to say, Brower did not put up the same numbers in the majors. He was traded to Cleveland in the off season.
SP Walter Johnson 15-16 2.99 ERA 1.36 WHIP 2.8 PW 21 WS 7.8 WARP3
This was the star pitcher’s best season since 1919. Between June 18 and June 28, Johnson pitched three consecutive shut outs, prompting the Sporting News (7/6/22) to announce that “Walter will win nearly all his games from now on”; and if Mogridge could return to his 1921 form, “Washington may yet get somewhere.”
The third shutout in the streak came against New York on June 28. Johnson struck out nine Yankees in the 1-0 Washington win. The Sporting News noted, however, that Johnson’s nemesis still had his number:
Walter was no puzzle to Ruth, the Babe getting two ferocious singles in four times up, and pulling another to center in the ninth, which would have cleared the fence if hit toward right.
SP George Mogridge 18-13 3.58 ERA 1.48 WHIP 1.4 PW 17 WS 5.5 WARP3
George Mogridge was the opening day starter for Clyde Milan, who chose him over Johnson due in part to the star pitcher’s illness during the spring. Mogridge had a better record than Johnson despite an ERA that was more than half a run higher. On May 2, Mogridge allowed three consecutive home runs to Tilly Walker, Cy Perkins, and Bing Miller of the Philadelphia A’s; it was only the third time in the recorded history of the major leagues that a team had hit three in a row.
SP Tom Zachary 15-10 3.12 ERA 1.26 WHIP 2.8 PW 16 WS 6.3 WARP3
Zachary’s third full season was his best so far, though he will have a better season in 1924.
SP Ray Francis 7-18 4.28 ERA 1.47 WHIP -1.5 PW 6 WS 1.3 WARP3
At the age of 29, Francis pitched his way into his major league debut by impressing Clark Griffith in spring training. He had a decent first couple of months, but tailed off after that. He spent two more years with various teams in the majors, but 1922 was his best season.
SP Eric Erickson 4-12 4.96 ERA 1.53 WHIP -2.1 PW 1 WS -0.1 WARP3
The 27-year-old pitched his way out of the majors with a rough 1922.
RP Jim Brillheart 4-6 3.61 ERA 1.60 WHIP -0.2 PW 6 WS 1.6 WARP3
This was the 18-year-old’s first and best season in the majors. He spent part of the 1923 season in Washington, and played parts of two more seasons (1927, 1931) in the majors. Brillheart stuck around baseball, however, and logged over 900 games in the minor leagues. He finally retired as a player after the 1946 season.
1922 World Series
Once again the Giants defeated the Yankees, 4-0-1, in the World Series. McGraw’s team won with pitching, allowing only nine earned runs in the five games. Babe Ruth hit .118/.250/.176 for the Yankees.