Monte Pearson (Number 455 Pitcher)

Ok why am I writing an article on Monte Pearson. After all the other two I did out of order were at least in the top 1,000. I have him 455th for starting pitchers and I have only rated 487 of them. About half the pitchers behind him I shouldn’t have rated because they were too early in their careers.

However, Pearson was a solid pitcher in his career. He was an above average pitcher according to Baseball Reference WAR and he had an All-Star type of season according to Win Shares. That’s right one of those. His life time win loss record was 100-61 but he wasn’t that good. He just happened to be a starting pitcher for the team I consider the greatest of all time the 1936 to 1939 New York Yankees. In his four years pitching for those teams Pearson went 56-22. He had a lot of help. If you do the math the rest of his career, he had a 44-39 record which is decent. It also tells us more about the type of pitcher he was.

However, the key thing about him was he was a superb World Series pitcher. Let me go through season by season of this four-year dynasty looking at Monte Pearson.

  1. Pearson had a real good season. He could arguably have been the best pitcher on the Yankee staff that year. He and Red Ruffing have the same WAR and led the pitchers in WAR. I give an edge to Ruffing, but still not bad. Lefty Gomez was not himself that year and didn’t have a very good earned run average (ERA). The first game of the series good old Carl Hubbell beat Red Ruffing with Hubbell having a great start. However, Gomez won game 2 with plenty of run support. Then Bump Hadley who started and relieved pitched game 3. This worked out well for the Yankees as they won 2-1. So, who gets to start game 4 against Hubbell? Right Monte. However, Hubbell isn’t as sharp as game one. Pearson has a 4-0 lead after 3. He holds on for a 5-2 complete game victory. His game score is 70. This is good for the Yankees as they lose game 5 in extra innings. Ruffing didn’t have a good World Series. Gomez gets great run support again and wins game 6. The Yankees scored 18 runs in game 2 and 13 runs in game 6 for Gomez. If I got over 15 runs of support a game, I might have a slim chance of getting a victory.
  2. Gomez came back and pitched great in 1937. Ruffing was his normal self. Pearson was probably hurt part of the year but pitched the fourth most innings on the squad. Bump Hadley pitched more innings but had an ERA over 2 runs higher per game. The Yankees won the first two games with Gomez and Ruffing winning 8-1. Gomez must have been shocked the Yankees weren’t in double figures for him. Monte got the start for game 3. He pitched great again. Going into the ninth he had a 5-1 lead and had given up four hits and one walk. In the ninth he got the first batter then Mel Ott singled. That wasn’t bad after all was Mel Ott. Pearson got the next batter, but then lost his control. He walked the next two batters. Now the tying run was coming to the plate. Not wanting to take any chances, McCarthy bought in his relief ace Johnny Murphy. At the time not a lot of teams had relief aces. Murphy got a fly ball to end the game. It would be the only batter he faced in the World Series, but he got a save. Bump Haley didn’t have it the next day and he was facing Carl Hubbell so the Giants won. Lefty Gomez won game 5 4-2 and the Yankees had another World Series victory.
  3. Red Ruffing and Lefty Gomez had solid seasons. Pearson didn’t pitch as well in 1938 as the previous two years. He, Bump Hadley and 2nd year pitcher Spud Chandler all pitched about the same. For some reason McCarthy went with a 3-man staff with Pearson as the third starter. Ruffing pitched great and won games 1 and 4. Gomez won game 2 with 2 innings of relief help from Johnny Murphy. Pearson got a complete game win in game 3. The Yankees used only four pitchers in the Series. They beat the Cubs fairly convincingly only giving up 9 runs in the series. Pearson won his game by a score of 5-2 with a game score of 78.
  4. Pearson didn’t pitch well in 1939. His ERA was below average. He gave up 4.49 runs per game. Lefty Gomez was hurt at the end of the year, so Pearson pitched game 2. Pearson gave up 2 hits and a walk. Both the hits were singles. The first was to Ernie Lombardi in the 8th inning. He won 4-0 in 87 minutes with a game score of 90. Babe Dahlgren the good field non hitting first baseman was the hitting hero of the game. He doubled to lead off the third and scored the first run. He homered in the fourth to score the fourth run. The Yankees won the last two games to win their fourth World Championship in a row. Monte Pearson was a significant part of these teams, especially in the World Series.

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