The Washington Senators finished up a 17-game road trip with a 7-10 record after beating the Chicago White Sox 4-2 before a crowd of about 20,000 at Comiskey Park. The normally woebegone Senators were in third place two games behind Detroit and New York who were in a virtual tie for first.
Washington was being managed by shortstop Bucky Harris, who was a mere 27 years old in 1924. Harris started George Mogridge. The White Sox were under the direction of Johnny Evers, who was managing the team for the second time in the season. Frank Chance originally was supposed to manage the team, but he never took over because of poor health and he would pass away during the season. Evers started as acting manager, then he gave way to Ed Walsh and then to Eddie Collins, before taking over again on June 19. Mike Cvengros was the starting pitcher for the White Sox.
The game marked the debut of center fielder Earl McNeely, whom the Senators had just picked up from Sacramento of the PCL. Washigton owner Clark Griffith sent popular outfielder Wid Matthews to Sacramento as compensation. This move would not sit well with Washington fans at the time, although it would be forgotten in time as we shall see.
Both teams scored in the first inning. With one out, Harris tripled and scored on a double by right fielder Sam Rice. Chicago got a run back in the bottom of the inning. Center fielder Johnny Mostil led off with a double to right. Right fielder Harry Hooper sacrificed Mostil over. Collins drew a walk and then Mostil scored when Mogridge couldn't turn first baseman Earl Sheely's grounder into a double play.
In the fourth, Harris led off with a walk, but was doubled off when Hooper made a running catch of a long drive by Rice. McNeely came through with a double and scored on a single by first baseman Joe Judge.
Washington had a chance to add to the lead in the fifth, when catcher Muddy Ruel doubled and went to third on a sacrifice. With Mogridge batting, Harris called for a 2-strike squeeze play. But Mogridge missed the pitch and struck out and Ruel was caught stealing.
In the ninth, Chicago brought in Sarge Connally to pitch. Judge greeted him with a double and the Connally followed with a wild pitch that went all the way into the stands and Judge scored. Second baseman Ossie Bluege walked, stole second, moved to third on a ground out and then scored on an infield hit by Mogridge.
Chicago had a rally in the bottom of the ninth. Hooper singled and scored on a triple by Collins. Sheely drew a walk, but Mogridge got the next two batters to end the game.
Washington would spend much of September on the road, but on the later trips they played well and managed to win their first ever AL pennant with a 92-62 record, two games better than the Yankees. The Senators would defeat the Giants in a thrilling seven-game World Series, winning the final game in 12 innings when McNeely hit a bad hop double over the head of Giants third baseman to score Ruel with the championship run.
Because they played in cavernous Griffith Stadium, the Senators managed to hit just 22 home runs all season. But they hit five in the World Series, thanks in part to some temporary stands installed for the World Series. Left fielder Goose Goslin led the team with 12 home runs. Babe Ruth led the AL with 46.
Although Harris received a good share of the plaudits for leading Washington to the title, nearly everyone felt happy for Washington's long time pitching ace, Walter Johnson. The 36-year old right hander was in his 18th season and he sported a 23-7 record with a 2.72 ERA with 158 strikeouts, all of which led the AL. Washington also had one of baseball's first relief aces, Firpo Marberry. He appeared in 50 games, but only 15 as a starter and he went 11-12 with a 3.09 ERA and was retroactively credited with 15 saves.
The White Sox would finish in last place at 66-87, one half game behind Boston who played an extra game. Collins would take over as manager in 1925 and make the team respectable for two seasons, but would rejoin his old boss Connie Mack in Philadelphia in 1927.
Washington would win pennants again in 1925 and 1933, but would never win the World Series again. The franchise went without a World Series title until the Minnesota Twins won the 1987 World Series.
Sources: Washington Post, Retrosheet, Baseball-reference.com