1927 Chicago Cubs - Rookie Season
Before Woody English joined the Chicago Cubs, the owner, William Wrigley Jr., had started to make changes to ensure the Cubs would be competitive and eventually win the National League Pennant. The Cubs had not won the NL Pennant since 1918, under previous owner Charles Murphy and a syndicate in which Wrigley was a part. In 1925, the Cubs finished with 68 wins and was in last place, 25 1/2 games behind the NL Champs, Pittsburgh. Cubs President, Bill Veeck, brought Joe McCarthy to manage for the 1926 season. With "Marse Joe" at the helm, the Cubs improved to finish in forth place, with 82 wins and only seven games behind the first place St. Louis Cardinals. McCarthy came from the Louisville Cardinals of the American Association and had seen Woody play for the Toledo Mud Hens.
The Toledo Mud Hens parent team, the New York Giants, already had a good short stop. So, Casey Stengel, manager of the Mud Hens, gave Woody a choice of playing for the Philedelphia A's, Cleveland Indians or the Chicago Cubs. Since former Mud Hens' Hack Wilson and Earl Webb were with the Cubs, Woody decided he would join them. Woody would come at a high price. Wrigley paid $50,000 and a couple players which was top dollar at that time.
At the beginning of the 1927 season the starting line-up consisted of:
The starting short stop, Jimmy Cooney was traded in May to the Phillies. Joe McCarthy came to Woody the day of the trade and said, "You're my short stop now."
Woody had a fairly good rookie season playing in 87 games, compiling a .290 batting average. Future Hall of Famer, Gabby Harrnett, became the starting catcher, and the Cubs had a 6 1/2 game lead going into their final eastern road trip before loosing Charlie Root to an injury. Everything then seemed to go wrong for the Cubs and they ended up in forth place.