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1906 Chicago Cubs and 1927 New York Yankees Auction

For this auction we will deconstruct two of the most dominant teams in baseball history, the 1906 Cubs and the 1927 Yankees! What will make this auction interesting is that these two teams were dominant in completely different ways. The Cubs were triumphant with pitching and of course the Ruth & Gehrig led Yankees dominated with hitting. What strategy will prevail – hitting, pitching, or something in between? Lets find out!

The 1906 Chicago Cubs won 116 games, which ties the 2001 Seattle Mariners for the most games won in a season in baseball history. The Cubs achieved the feat in only 152 games which gives them the best winning percentage in MLB history.

The Cubs pitching dominance is confirmed by the fact that they were tied for the 2nd lowest team ERA in history (1.75). Another Cubs team (the 1907 version) is first with a 1.73 ERA! The entire pitching staff was magnificent, but they were led by Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown who had a 1.04 ERA, the second lowest in history since 1900. Brown is the epitome of the adage “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. In his youth, Brown suffered a farming accident which severed most of his index finger, he had another accident which broke his middle fingers and injured his pinky finger, the hand did not heal well and remained deformed the rest of his life. That might have shut the door on a baseball career for most mortals, but not for Brown, instead he used his disability to develop a devastating knuckle-curve grip that baffled hitters and elevated him to greatness.


The 1927 New York Yankees are considered by many as the best team in baseball history. Even if you don’t agree with that assessment, it would be difficult to keep them out of the top 5 teams is history. Their 110 victories ties with the 1909 Pirates for 4th place in wins, their run differential was second highest in history (371), trailing only the 1939 Yankees (411). They had the highest team OPS in baseball history (since 1900), and it wasn’t all about hitting, they also led all teams in ERA with a 3.20 mark.

The lineup was outstanding top to bottom, but of course it was highlighted by perhaps the best hitting duo of all time: Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig.

The 1927 season was one of Ruth’s best, although probably not his best, that distinction should go to the1920 or 1921 season. What made 1927 special was the Babe hitting 60 home runs to brake his own record which he had set in 1921! The record would stand for 34 years until Roger Maris came along to hit homer #61 on the last day of the 1961 season. From 1918 to 1931, Babe Ruth had perhaps the most dominant stretch by any hitter in baseball history, leading the league in OPS 13 of 14 years!

The second half of the dynamic duo complemented Ruth beautifully by having the best season of his career, Gehrig hit 47 homers, had the best OPS of his career (1.240) and drove in an astounding 173 runs.


THE AUCTION: My opponent in this auction typically tends to allocate more of his auction budget towards pitching, I was curious to see if he would maintain that strategy even with the surplus pitching that was available in this auction.

I nominated the first player and wasted no time in bringing Babe Ruth up for auction. The bidding quickly escalated, finally setting on my winning $45 bid. I proceeded to purchase the first 6 players, including the best hitter (Ruth) and the best pitcher, “Three Finger” Brown ($38). This typically does not happen, and although I was concerned that my auction fund was depleted to $132 dollars, compared to my opponent’s intact $260, my concerns were allayed by the fact that I though I had acquired the players at market value, or below value (based on my valuations).

My opponent decided he had waited long enough and proceeded to purchase 5 of the next 7 players. Since all 5 of the acquisitions were pitchers, I knew that my rival GM had stayed true to his preferred auction methodology, and was going to allocate most of his funds to acquire the best pitching. Although I acquired the best pitcher (Brown), my opponent purchased the next best three pitchers, so I was concerned, and knew I needed to acquire a supporting cast for Mordecai Brown, but I also knew my offense would be superior, so midway through the auction I felt pretty good about my team. At this point, I had $100 left in auction capital, my rival GM had $150 remaining.

Through the first 13 rounds my opponent had not purchased a single hitter, I thought this was a dangerous tactic, based on the fact that hitting was less abundant in this auction than pitching.

My opponent went back to his penny pinching ways from round 14 to 17, I was able to acquire 3 quality pitchers to buttress Mordacai Brown and I was also able to purchase one of the last remaining good hitters, Earle Combs for $23. After 17 rounds, my auction capital was down to $27 dollars, my opponent had a dominant $150, the problem was (for him), there wasn’t a lot of talent left to be purchased!

My opponent finally purchases his first hitter in round #21, the longest span of time in Sim history that it’s taken an owner to purchase a hitter. The good thing for my opponent was that the hitter he purchased was Lou Gehrig, and that the price he paid was only $16, that’s probably a 20 to $25 profit and is a consequence of all the money I spent early in the auction. Although this was a tremendous profit purchase for my opponent, he was now left with $101 dollars (compared to my $15), the problem was there was not $101 in talent left to be purchased.

After the Gehrig purchase, I acquired Cy Young as my last pitcher, then my opponent purchased the next 14 players to fill out his roster. Because of my lack of money to bid against him, and the lack of talent left in the auction pool, my opponent left $33 unspent! This of course is never a good thing, since one of the goals of every auction is to spend as close to all your auction capital as possible.

Below are the first 10 players purchased, you can click HERE for the complete sequence of the auction and the prices paid, you’ll also be able to see the composition of both teams.

AUCTION ANALYSIS: I went into this auction planning to spend more on hitting than pitching based on the fact that my analysis indicated there was a surplus of pitching. My bidding was aggressive early on and it resulted in the acquisition of 7 of the top 8 position players. Although my opponent acquired better overall pitching, I was able to purchase the best pitcher (Brown) and as I anticipated was able to purchase enough complementary pitchers to support Brown.

My rival GM was not aggressive enough with his bidding for hitters and when he finally did land a big hitter (Gehrig), he was not able to surround him with enough quality hitters to make a difference. Additionally, my opponent’s pitching advantage was somewhat negated by my team’s superior hitting.

SIM AUCTION WORLD SERIES: As we do with all SIM Auctions, we determine the winner by simulating entire seasons using the APBA Computer Game, each season counts as a game, the team that wins 4 seasons wins the World Series. In this Sim, my team wins convincingly, 4 games to none. A combination of superior hitting, stellar performances from Babe Ruth and Mordecai Brown and poor money management by my opponent led to the victory for my team.


Below are the the top hitting and pitching performances, click HERE if you would like to see the entire statistical file. Babe Ruth averaged 61 home runs in the 4 seasons that were simulated, how’s that for accuracy! His four season totals were 56,58,62 and 68!


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