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1923 Yankees Diary: July

The 1923 Yankees kept motoring along throughout July.

Babe Ruth at Bat

Throughout this year here at Pinstripe Alley, we’ve been commemorating 25 years since the 1998 New York Yankees by doing daily entries looking back at what that historic team had done on a given day.

However, 2023 also marks the anniversary of another notable Yankees’ team. One-hundred years ago, the 1923 Yankees made their mark by becoming the first team in franchise history to win a World Series title. In their honor, we’re going to do a monthly look back at what was happening for that year’s team, and today, it’s time for July.

Through July 31st: 65-30, .684 (13.5 GA)

The Yankees went into July with a solid eight-game lead in the AL standings. They ended the month fully in control of the pennant race. July began in the midst of a nine-game win streak that dated back to the late couple games of June. Over the nine games, they outscored opponents 68-24, including a July 4th doubleheader sweep of the Washington Senators that featured 12-2 and 12-6 wins. July 3rd featured a 2-1 win that came on a 15th inning, walk-off Babe Ruth home run. After the streak was snapped, the Yankees then immediately followed it with a five-game one.

Not everything went perfectly for them though, as July 13th saw them lose in what would’ve been an impressively frustrating manner. Down 2-1 in the top of the ninth to the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees got a big, bases loaded, two-out single from Everett Scott. Two runs scored on the play giving the Yankees the lead. However, Aaron Ward was thrown out at home plate trying to score a third. It turns out, that run would’ve been quite useful. The White Sox scored a run in the bottom half of the inning, and then on a walk-off single in the 10th. On the other hand, the July 25th victory over the Philadelphia Athletics saw them go from being blanked through seven innings to tying the game in the eighth and winning 5-4 in the ninth.

Unsurprisingly, Babe Ruth led the way for the Yankees in that time, but July was on another level for him. Over 31 games in the month, he hit .460/.571/.865 with 10 home runs and 29 walks. He smacked 22 extra-base hits over the course the July and drove home 27 runs. For context, the next best Yankee who played a significant amount in the month was Aaron Ward, who OPSed .936.

On the pitching side of things, Bullet Joe Bush and Waite Hoyt had especially good Julys. In 46.1 innings, Bush had just a 2.14 ERA, while Hoyt was at 2.17, while also being the winning pitcher in five of the Yankees’ 23 July wins. Meanwhile, pitcher Bob Shawkey had a day at the plate on July 12th where he went 2-for-4 with a double, a triple, and three RBI. Both hits came in the third inning of that game as the Yankees scored seven runs in the fame.

In total, the Yankees went 23-8 in July 1923. Only May’s 21-6 record was a better month for them in terms of winning percentage. After finishing June up eight games in the AL, they ended July up 13.5 and that lead would never dip back under double digits for the rest of the season.