The Nats are currently having a successful road trip against powerful western foes while fighting for first place.
This reminded baseball writer Fred Frommer of the Senators’ 1924 pennant, because everything reminds baseball writer Fred Frommer of the Senators’ 1924 pennant. Frommer — the author of You Gotta Have Heart, a history of Washington baseball — is singularly devoted to the task of comparing the 2014 Nats to the 1924 Senators. He sent along this file, based on his book. The topic is September of ’24.
Back then, with no baseball on the West Coast, baseball’s “West” referred to Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis and Chicago. Senators player-manager Bucky Harris recognized that the four-city jaunt — which came in the middle of a whopping 20-game road trip to end the season — would be unusual.
“Let’s not make any enemies if we can help it,” he told the players. “Most of the western clubs would rather see us win the pennant than the Yankees. Let’s beat ’em, but treat ’em nice.”
The Washington Evening Star wrote: “No army fighting in foreign lands ever had the support that the old home town is giving to the Nationals in their dazzling fight for the American League pennant out there in the West, where men are men, where base hits are a blessing and errors the saddest words of tongue or pen.”
“We were never so surprised in our lives at the way those western teams fought us — fought us in the face of the boos and protests of their own fans,” first baseman Joe Judge recalled a few weeks later. “You know we knocked St. Louis out of the pennant race two years ago, and I guess they just smacked their lips in anticipation when we landed in town, needing that series like we never needed anything else in our lives. Man, they came at us like an avalanche.”
Washington wound up winning nine of 12 game on its trip against the Tigers, Indians, Browns and White Sox. Three days later, the team clinched the pennant at Fenway Park.