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Looking back at the time Herb Pennock allowed ten runs and still got the win

Pitching wins are a bit sketchy as a stat. This game is an example of why.

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Herb Pennock was a Hall of Fame pitcher. He made his debut in 1912 when he was just 18 and went on to have a 22-year career. The 1930 season was near the end of that career. After the year, he had just two more seasons as a regular starter and pitched two more after that, primarily out of the bullpen. In 1930 though, he was still a serviceable starter--just not in this game.

On June 26, 1930, Pennock got the start at home against the Cleveland Indians at Yankee Stadium. Against an Indians lineup that contained the likes of Bob Seeds and Johnny Hodapp, Pennock allowed two runs in the first inning. The Yankees' lineup was pretty potent itself, however. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and the rest of the Yankees' lineup overturned the deficit in the second and opened up a giant lead. After five innings, the Yankees led 11-2.

After the first, Pennock settled down, but in the top of the sixth, things started to get away from him. He allowed three runs in the sixth. Despite that, the Yankees were still up 11-5. The Yankees then added two more runs in the bottom of the inning, and seemingly put away the Indians. Now up 13-5, Pennock was sent back out for the seventh. He allowed another two runs, but the Yankees were still up six.

Despite having allowed seven runs in seven innings, Pennock was sent back out for the seventh. It was the 1930s. Only in old timey baseball would a struggling pitcher be sent out for another inning after allowing five runs in the last two innings, especially considering his team had a big lead. Pennock was a part of the rotation.

Shockingly, Pennock struggled in the seventh. He allowed three runs, only getting one out in the process. With the lead now down to three runs, Pennock was taken out. Roy Sherid then came in, faced two batters, got no outs, and allowed another run. Now the lead was just two runs and Sherid was taken out. Hank Johnson was then brought in. He got the last two outs of the eighth and pitched a scoreless ninth. The Yankees finally won 13-11.

Let's go back to Pennock. His final line for the game was 7.1 innings pitched, allowing 10 runs on 16 hits. Oh, and he got the win. Pennock improved his record to 7-1 in a game where he allowed 10 runs. In his recent Twitter spree, Dan Haren talked about a similar game he had:

Haren actually gave up just nine runs, so Pennock's got him beat there. Pennock holds the Yankee record for most runs allowed in a loss. The major league record actually belongs to Gene Packard of the Cardinals. Packard allowed 12 runs in 8.1 innings and still got the win against the Phillies in 1918.

Pitching wins should be taken with a grain of salt. If a pitcher has a lot of them, chances are he's good. But there are also plenty of games where a pitcher gets bailed out by his offense. On June 26, 1930, Herb Pennock was bailed out by his offense.


All data courtesy of the Baseball-Reference Play Index