1924: St. Louis Cardinal Jim Bottomley drives in 12 runs in a game - and the New York writers cover it with sarcasm

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From stltoday.com:

1924: Jim Bottomley drives in 12 runs in a game - and the New York writers cover it with sarcasm


Wed, Sep 17, 1924 – Page 27 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) · St. Louis Post Dispatch


"Sunny Jim" Bottomley made headlines in St. Louis with his 12-RBI game on Sept. 16, 1924.

The (St. Louis) Post-Dispatch gave the story all-capital-letters treatment:

JIM BOTTOMLEY SMASHES BATTING RECORD OF 32 YEARS' STANDING

In the St. Louis Globe-Democrat: Bottomley's Blows Blast Brooklyn For Cardinal Victory, 17 to 3

But Bottomley's big day actually wasn't that big of a deal outside St. Louis. In 1924, baseball didn't even know the statistic as an "RBI."

Rather, it was called RDI - runs driven in. The Globe even altered that phrasing in a secondary headline: First Sacker Creates Major League Record For Runs Driven Over.

Daily newspapers in 1924 didn't think enough of the stat to include it with the box score. Batting average, hits, runs scored, home runs and stolen bases were listed as major categories. (underlining by me)

Nowhere in box scores published by the Post-Dispatch, Globe-Democrat or the St. Louis Star is there evidence of Bottomley's 12 runs "driven" in - or "over." It is mentioned only in the game stories, which were written for the St. Louis papers by New York correspondents. (bolding, underlining, italicizing by me)

"Sunny Jim" Bottomley loosens up before a Cardinals game in 1931. AP Photo.

One might notice that sarcasm was a staple of sportswriting even in 1924:

Post-Dispatch: Sunny Jim Bottomley, Branch Rickey's agile first baseman, was the bright star of the hectic pastime. He drove across no less than an even dozen runs. . . . Besides getting six hits in six times at bat, including two home runs over the far-away right-field wall at Ebbets Field and breaking a major-league record of 32 years standing, Bottomley did not a thing to distinguish himself. (sarcasm alert)

Globe-Democrat: The Cardinals today brought heavy heartache to Brooklyn, when they came over the bridge and handed the Robins a terrific trimming. Jim Bottomley was the star of the pastime . . . with six safeties out of as many chances at bat and walloped in twelve runs for his share of the afternoon.

Outside of that, the Illinois lad was helpless.(sarcasm alert)

Star: The Cards knocked the Robins for a row of Flatbush bungalows. Bottomley's part was to achieve what is probably an all-time record by hitting in 12 runs during the afternoon. James was up six times against four Robin hurlers and hit three singles, a double and two homers.

That was all he did.(sarcasm alert) (parenthetical notes, underlining by me)
 
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