Noted for his exceptional throwing arm as well as his fine slugging, Bob Meusel was the overlooked bat in the mighty Yankees lineups of the Babe Ruth Era. Meusel had five 100 RBI seasons for the Bronx Bombers, but it was his prolific arm, and not his run-producing bat, that set Long Bob apart from his peers. After tallying 28 outfield assists in 1921 and 24 in 1922, the league got wise and stopped testing his arm.
Meusel joined the Yankees in 1920, the first year of The Lively Ball Era, and quickly established himself as a legit Major Leaguer. The rookie hit a lusty .328 and pounded out 40 doubles for the Yankees. Used primarily in right field during the 1921 season, Long Bob led AL right fielders in homeruns while also driving in 135 runs and scoring 104 times. He made the first of six World Series appearances that year but his Yankees fell to the Giants of John McGraw.
Meusel’s run production slipped in 1922 but he and Ruth led the Bombers to a World Series repeat. The result was the same, a Yankees loss at the hands of McGraw’s Giants, but Bob hit an even .300 in the Series. In 1923, Bob drove in 91 runs during the regular season and for the third straight year, the Fall Classic was a Yankees/Giants affair. This time the Yankees got the best of McGraw’s boys with Long Bob chasing home eight runs during the contest.
Meusel paced AL left fielders in doubles in 1924. He finished second in the league in stolen bases and third with 120 RBI. For the fifth straight year, he hit above .300. In 1925, his batting average dipped below .300 for the first time in his career, but the ’25 season is considered his best. With Babe on the mend, Meusel led the AL in homeruns and RBI, but the Yankees were a non-entity given the absence of Ruth and finished in the second division.
Meusel helped the Yankees reach the World Series again in 1926 and Long Bob had a terrific .393 on-base percentage during the Fall Classic, but the Yankees lost to the Cardinals. He topped all left fielders in the doubles department in 1927, finished second in the AL in steals, hit .337 and drove in 103 runs. Many historians list the 1927 Yankees as the greatest team of all-time as they sported a lineup of Meusel, Hall of Famers Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri and Earle Combs and got good years out of pitchers Waite Hoyt, Herb Pennock and Urban Shocker. They cruised to a Fall Classic victory over the Pirates.
Meusel’s 113 RBI in 1928 paced Major League left fielders and the veteran outfielder legged out 45 doubles, but it was Long Bob’s last good year. His RBI total was cut in half in 1929 and the Yankees sold his contract to the Reds after the season. He played one final year with Cincinnati, stroking ten homers his final campaign.
G 1,407/R 826/H 1,693/2B 368/3B 95/HR 156/RBI 1,067/BB 375/SO 619/SB 139/BA .309/SA .497