They’d be roasted on talk show hosts and internet forums today but prior to the 1926 World Series, both managers had left the orbit of confidence and rocketed straight to planet smug.
“We’re going to come through winners. We have the better pitching staff, the better hitters and the greater experience. That’s what it takes to win,” Hornsby told writers. “We’re going to beat the Yankees. Any of my ball players will tell you that, and we expect to do it.”
Huggins was just as arrogant.
“We have a more experienced team and more experienced pitchers. We’re about even in the strength of the infields, but ours is steadier. Our outfield is better, stronger and more experienced, and all the boys are cocky and ready to go. There’s no doubt in their minds or in mine that the Yankees will win.”
Prior to Game 1, Huggins’ super confident Yankees posed for a team photo. One of those original images, offered to newspapers for coverage of the series by International Newsreel, is among the key items at RMY Auctions this month. The 8×10 silver gelatin photo is among precious few shots of the Yankee squad that immediately preceded the legendary 1927 team. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig both appear in the photo, which includes the paper caption and dated cutline of 9/30/26.
The cocksure attitudes of the managers may have been somewhat understandable. Both teams were evenly matched.
The ’26 Yankees finished 91-63, holding off Cleveland by three games. The Cardinals won 89 and lost 65. The Yanks took a 3-2 lead but the tide turned in St. Louis where the Cards won Game 6. In Game 7, with the Yankees down by a run in the top of the ninth and Bob Meusel at the plate with two outs, Ruth tried to catch the Cards by surprise by trying to steal second. Meusel swung and missed and Cards’ catcher Bob O’Farrell gunned him down, with Hornsby, the player/manager, applying the tag. It remains the only time a World Series has ended with a player caught stealing.
Auction bidding continues through this Saturday at RMYAuctions.com.