Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 8

Emil "Irish" Meusel patrolled the outfield for our Phillies from 1918-1921. His best years in the majors came after he left the Phillies. His nickname also fits in with the weekend festivities that many of us have been enjoying.

Initially signed by the Washington Senators, Irish joined our Phillies in 1918 after batting .311 for Los Angeles in the Pacific Coast League. As a rookie, Meusel batted .279 with 18 steals. Meusel would then raise his batting avg., with the Phils, each of the next three seasons, batting over .300 each year.

In 1921, Irish got off to a terrific start, but Meusel became a prime example of the Phillies' front office, at the time, selling off their best players to help pay the bills. While ripping through National League pitching with a .353 avg., Meusel was stunned, along with the phans and press, when owner William Baker traded Irish to the NY Giants for two players and $30,000. Meusel helped the Giants erase a 7 1/2 game deficit in the standings en route to winning the pennant and the World Series.

In back to back World Series wins with the Giants (1921 and 1922) Meusel proved to be highly clutch, as he knocked in 7 runs in both series, more than any other player. Meusel's first four seasons with the Giants led to four straight pennants.

In nearly 1,300 career games, Irish had a .310 batting average. He also led the NL in RBI in 1923 with 125.
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