4th of July Collection | Now Available at the Barstool StoreSHOP HERE


On This Date in Sports October 13, 1921: The First Subway Series

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

The New York Giants beat the New York Yankees in the first Subway Series. The Giants win Game 8 at the Polo Grounds 1-0, as Art Nehrf throws a four-hit shutout. It was the final best-of-nine World Series, as it switched to seven games in 1922, after three years of going to nine-game series. The Yankees had a 3-2 series lead before Babe Ruth sustained an injury. Ruth missed Games 6 and 7 while making a pinch-hitting appearance in the Giants' clincher. 

The acquisition of Babe Ruth in 1920 changed everything. The New York Yankees had been an afterthought in their first 20 years. Moving to New York from Baltimore in 1903, they played their first ten seasons as the New York Highlanders in a small wooden stadium in Washington Heights. In 1913 they became a tenant of New York Giants at the Polo Grounds and took the name Yankees, which had long been the preferred name used by the press. The Yankees had existed in anonymity until they landed Babe Ruth. They battled for the American League Pennant, with Ruth becoming the first player to hit 50 home runs in a season in 1920. The Yankees won their first pennant in 1921, posting a record of 98-55 for Miller Huggins, as Babe Ruth extended his record to 59 home runs in a season. 

The New York Giants were the team of New York, as they had been successful since John McGraw took over as manager in 1902, after leaving the Baltimore Orioles. Under McGraw, the Giants had won the pennant in 1904, 1905, 1911, 1912, 1913, and 1917. They had won the 1905 World Series after refusing to play in the 1904 Fall Classic. Consistently among the best teams in the National League, the Giants won the pennant in 1921 with a record of 94-59. With the Giants in the World Series, it marked the second time that two teams from the same city met in the Fall Classic, with the Chicago White Sox beating the Chicago Cubs in 1906. This was the first Subway Series. 

With both teams calling the Polo Grounds home, the series was played entirely at Coogan's Bluff. The last of the best-of-nine series, the teams, alternated as the home team in every game, with the odd games giving the Giants last at-bats and the Yankees batting last in the even games. Babe Ruth gave the Yankees an early lead in Game 1, with an RBI single. Mike McNally made it 2-0 in favor of the Yankees with a  steal of home. The Yankees would win the game 3-0 as Carl Mays allowed just five hits. Frankie Frisch got four of the Giants' five hits. Game 2 was nearly an instant replay with the Yankees winning 3-0 again, with Waite Hoyt allowing two hits, with Bob Musel stole home. However, the news was not all good for the Yankees as Babe Ruth suffered an elbow injury. 

The Giants bats finally woke up in Game 3, but not before the Yankees had an early 4-0 lead with four runs in the third inning. The Giants answered right away, scoring four runs in the bottom of the ninth as Bab Shawkey walked two runs in to get the Giants their first runs of the series. The Giants took control of the game with eight runs in the seventh as Ross Youngs tripled with the bases loaded. The Giants would win the game 13-5. Wally Schang gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning of Game 4. However, the Giants finally solved Carl Mays in the eighth as they scored three runs sparked by a two-run double by George Burns. The Giants won the game 4-2 to even the series. 

The Yankees regained control of the series with a 3-1 win in Game 5, as Waite Hoyt spread out ten hits, allowing just one run in the first inning. The Yankees, meanwhile, go a big double by Bob Meusel in the fourth inning to take the lead. The double was over the head of Irish Meusel, and it marked the second time in World Series history that brothers faced each other, and Doc and Johnny Johnston faced each other in the 1920 Fall Classic. However, Babe Ruth's health continued to be an issue, as he could not play in Game 6 despite hitting his second home run of the series in Game 4.

Without Babe Ruth, the Yankees grabbed an early 3-0 lead in Game 6. The lead was quickly erased as the Giants scored three runs in the second with home runs by Irish Meusel and Frank Snyder. The Yankees regained the lead on a home run by Chuck Fewster in the bottom of the second. The Giants surged in front with four runs in the fourth, with Dave Bancroft, Frankie Frisch, and High Pockets Kelly providing the big hits. The Giants would even the series with an 8-5 win. 

In Game 7, the Yankees were without Babe Ruth again. Phil Douglas earned his second win of the series as the Giants took a 4-3 series lead, winning 2-1. Ruth would not start in Game 8 but would come off the bench as a pinch hitter in the ninth. The Giants scored an unearned run in the ninth as Art Nehrf had allowed just four hits. Down 1-0, Babe Ruth grounded out in his at-bat to pinch hit for Wally Pipp. Following a walk to Aaron Ward, Frank Baker ended the series by hitting into a double play as the Giants again were World Champions for the second time. 


The Yankees and Giants would meet in three straight World Series. By 1923 they had their own stadium in the Bronx after they were evicted by a jealous John McGraw. The Giants won the 1922 World Series, with the Yankees breaking through in 1923.