A terrific hitter in the 1920s, Bing Miller was an exceptional component to the powerhouse Philadelphia A’s during their heyday at the end of the 1920s and the early 1930s. With Jimmy Dykes and Mule Haas, he gave the A’s three classic needlers who had a knack for getting the opposition’s goat. But Bing was more than a man with a hatful of zingers–he was a solid batter who hit with authority.
Originally called up by the Senators in 1921, Bing led Washington in homeruns as a rookie. In a near-sighted move, Washington traded Bing to the A’s for Jumpin’ Joe Dugan and he became a fixture in the outfield for Connie Mack’s Athletics. Placed in center field by Mr. Mack in 1922, Bing led AL center fielders in homeruns. Bing and Hall of Famer Ty Cobb were the only American League center fielders to reach 90 runs scored and 90 RBI.
Bing reached his highwater mark in batting average during the 1924 season when he hit a solid .342. Although Bing showed power early in his career, it evaporated and his last year with at least ten homers was 1925, when only he and Hall of Famer Harry Heilmann reached double-digit figures in all the extra base hit departments among AL right fielders.
During the 1926 season, Connie Mack traded Bing to the Browns for an aging Baby Doll Jacobson and quickly saw his blunder. Bing hit .325 in 1927 for the Browns and netted some MVP votes. Watching Bing hit for authority in St. Louis irked Mr. Mack and he quickly reacquired Miller for the 1928 season, sending the Browns pitcher Dolly Gray in exchange. Mr. Mack inserted Bing into center field and he paced AL center fielders in batting average, slugging average, homeruns and RBI.
Philadelphia finally had another dynasty in 1929 when the A’s won the first of three straight pennants. In the A’s championship season of 1929, Miller finished third in triples and stolen bases while hitting .331. Bing wore out Cubs pitchers in the World Series, hitting baby bear hurlers to the tune of a .368 batting average. The A’s repeated as World Champs in 1930 with Bing driving home 100 runs during the regular season. They copped their final AL pennant in 1931 with Bing leading the team with 43 doubles. They lost the World Series to the Cardinals and then fell to second place in 1932.
Connie Mack then began the fire sale, breaking up the last good team the Philadelphia A’s ever had. Bing was kept by Mr. Mack through 1934, and was used strictly as a reserve given his advanced age. Bing joined the Red Sox in 1935 at the age of 40 and hit .305 as a backup. He played one final year with Boston before hanging ’em up.
G 1,820/R 946/H 1,937/2B 389/3B 96/HR 116/RBI 990/BB 383/SO 340/SB 128/BA .312/SA .461