1914 Federal League All-Star Team

P-Cy Falkenberg, IND

P-Claude Hendrix, CHI

P-Jack Quinn, BAL

P-Russ Ford, BUF

P-George Suggs, BAL

P-Ed Lafitte, BTT

P-Gene Krapp, BUF

P-Doc Watson, CHI/SLM

P-Tom Seaton, BTT

P-George Kaiserling, IND

C-Art Wilson, CHI

C-Ted Easterly, KCP

1B-Hal Chase, BUF

2B-Duke Kenworthy, KCP

2B-Doc Crandall, SLM

3B-Ed Lennox, PBS

3B-Bill McKechnie, IND

SS-Joe Tinker, CHI

CF-Dutch Zwilling, CHI

CF-Charlie Hanford, BUF

CF-Al Shaw, BTT

RF-Benny Kauff, IND

RF-Steve Evans, BTT

RF-Al Wickland, CHI

RF-Tex McDonald, BUF/PBS

 

falkenberg2

P-Cy Falkenberg, Indianapolis Hoosiers, 34 Years Old

1913

25-16, 2.22 ERA, 236 K, .168, 0 HR, 11 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 13 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-8.4

WAR for Pitchers-8.6

Games Pitched-49

Innings Pitched-377 1/3

Strikeouts-236

Games Started-43

Shutouts-9

Batters Faced-1,502

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.11

Def. Games as P-49

2nd Time All-Star-For the first time in 24 years, there were now three Major Leagues in baseball. Wikipedia says, “The Federal League came together in early 1913 through the work of John T. Powers, and immediately challenged the operations of organized baseball. Playing in what detractors called the ‘outlaw’ league allowed players to avoid the restrictions of the organized leagues’ reserve clause. The competition of another, better paying league caused players’ salaries to skyrocket, demonstrating the bargaining potential of free agency for the first time.”

One of the players the new league drew was Falkenberg. As we’ve seen before with the Union Association in 1884, the Players League in 1890, and even the American League in 1901, when weak leagues acquire good players, they tend to dominate the league they’re in and that was Falkenberg.

Bill Phillips managed the Hoosiers to the Federal League’s first championship, guiding them to a 88-65 record. Indy had some of the best pitching around thanks to Falkenberg.

After this season, Cy pitched for the Newark Pepper and the Brooklyn Tip-Tops in the Federal league in 1915 and then for the Athletics in 1917. His career was done at that point, but he does have honor of pitching two great seasons for two different leagues in 1913 and 1914 and also winning a league title.

The Federal League will wreak havoc in the National and American League’s for a couple seasons, but would be finished by 1915. It’s the last time Major League Baseball had three leagues.

hendrix2

P-Claude Hendrix, Chicago Chi-Feds, 25 Years Old

1912

29-10, 1.69 ERA, 189 K, .231, 2 HR, 13 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

1914 FL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.69

Wins-29

Hits per 9 IP-6.514

Games Pitched-49

Complete Games-34

Adj. Pitching Runs-53

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.9

Def. Games as P-49

Assists as P-137 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Hendrix stumbled after making the All-Star team in 1912, going 14-15 in 1913 for the Pirates. However, the new Federal League was just the elixir he needed and he had a good year for the Chicago Chi-Feds. Hendrix had his best season ever, though obviously in a watered-down league.

SABR says, “In part to be closer to his new wife, though a substantial pay increase undoubtedly affected his decision, Claude elected to sign that winter with the Federal League’s Chicago Whales, for whom he enjoyed the best season of his career in 1914. Hendrix’s Chifeds lost both ends of a doubleheader in Kansas City in late September, however, and finished second to the Indianapolis Hoosiers. Things were reversed in 1915— — Hendrix was a mediocre 16-15 with a 3.00 ERA despite pitching a no-hitter on May 15, and the Chi-Feds rallied at the end of the season to claim the last FL pennant.

“He remained out of the spotlight until September 4, 1920, when the Chicago Herald & Examiner reported that the Cubs-Phillies game on August 31 had been fixed in favor of the last-place Phils. The newspaper revealed that Cubs President Bill Veeck Sr. had received six telegrams and two phone calls informing him that gamblers were wagering heavily on the Phillies. Veeck pulled the starting assignment from Hendrix, who had supposedly placed a bet against the Cubs with Kansas City gambler Frog Thompson, and replaced him with star pitcher Pete Alexander, but the Cubs ended up losing anyway, 3-0. A grand jury was convened on September 7 to explore not only the tainted Cubs-Phillies game but the entire issue of baseball gambling, and the focus quickly shifted from Hendrix to the 1919 World Series.”

quinn2

P-Jack Quinn, Baltimore Terrapins, 30 Years Old

1910

26-14, 2.60 ERA, 164 K, .273, 2 HR, 10 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. 99 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Hits Allowed-335

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.079

2nd Time All-Star-Since Quinn last made the All-Star team in 1910, he pitched three mediocre years for New York and Boston, before finding a home in the Federal League. He had his best season ever, finishing fourth in WAR (6.7); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.6); eighth in ERA (2.60); third in innings pitched (342 2/3), behind Cy Falkenberg (377 1/3) and Claude Hendrix (362); and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (128).

SABR states, “In 1913 Quinn won 19 games for Rochester and was acquired by the Boston Braves near the end of August. He won his first start for the Beantowners on the last day of the month, defeating Brooklyn 6-1. Although Quinn won only four games for the Braves in his short stay with them in 1913, he became the subject of a court battle the following year after he accepted $3500 to pitch for the Baltimore Terrapins of the upstart Federal League. A suit was brought in the United States District Court in Baltimore by James E. Gaffney, president of the Braves, asking for $25,000 in damages for the loss of Quinn’s services. Claiming that Quinn had already agreed to pitch for the Braves in 1914, the Boston club unsuccessfully sued Quinn, Terrapin officials, the Federal League, and its president for conspiracy. Undeterred by the suit, Quinn pitched Baltimore to a 3-2 win over Buffalo in the opening game of the Federal League season before 30,000 ecstatic fans. The Chicago Tribune reported it was the largest crowd ever to see a game in Baltimore and the most enthusiastic. The ex-coalminer went on to post 26 victories that season.”

ford4

P-Russ Ford, Buffalo Buffeds, 31 Years Old

1910 1911 1912

21-6, 1.82 ERA, 123 K, .128, 0 HR, 7 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.778

Walks & Hits per IP-0.934

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.492

Saves-6

Home Runs Allowed-11 (3rd Tme)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.000

Adjusted ERA+180

Fielding % as P-.988

4th Time All-Star-After having an off-year for the Yankees in 1913, Ford came over to the Federal League and put together a great season. He finished fifth in WAR (6.5); second in WAR for Pitchers (6.8), behind only Cy Falkenberg (8.6); second in ERA (1.82), trailing Claude Hendrix (1.69); and first in Adjusted ERA+ (180). His final year in the Majors was with the Buffeds in 1915 when he went 5-9 with a 4.52 ERA.

As for Buffalo this year, it finished fourth with a 80-71 record. Larry Schlafly managed the team in his first managerial stint ever. For a team that couldn’t hit, it did pretty well.

SABR says, “When New York offered him a cut in pay in 1914, Ford moved to the new Federal League, where he went 21-6 and posted a 1.82 ERA (second best in the league) with Buffalo.

“Following his release from the Federal League, Ford pitched two more seasons in the minors with Denver of the Western League and Toledo of the American Association. After his baseball career ended, Ford lived with his wife, Mary Hunter Bethell, whom he had married in 1912. The couple had two daughters, Mary and Jean. Ford worked in Newark, New York City and in Rockingham, North Carolina, near his wife’s hometown. He died of a heart attack in Rockingham on January 24, 1960, at age 76. His cremated remains were buried in Rockingham’s Leak Cemetery. In 1989, Ford was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame; his 2.59 career ERA remains the best of any Canadian-born pitcher.”

suggs4

P-George Suggs, Baltimore Terrapins, 31 Years Old

1910 1911 1912

24-14, 2.90 ERA, 132 K, .212, 0 HR, 8 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

4th Time All-Star-Suggs didn’t make the All-Star team in 1913, but found his groove in the Federal League. He finished sixth in WAR (6.3); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.7); and fourth in innings pitched (319 1/3).

Baltimore, managed by Otto Knabe, finished third in the FL with an 84-70 record. Thanks to Jack Quinn and Suggs, it had some of the best pitching in the league. This was the first managing stint for Knabe.

Wikipedia says, “Suggs made his major league debut on April 21, 1908, for the Detroit Tigers. Besides playing for Detroit (1908–09), Suggs also played for the Cincinnati Reds (1910–13) and the Federal League Baltimore Terrapins (1914–15). Suggs led the National League in least number of Bases on balls per 9 innings pitched in 1910 and as of June 2012 is ranked 76th on the all-time list in that category. He was a two-time twenty game winner (1910, 1914) and came just one win shy of the mark in 1912. Suggs finished his career with a 3.11 ERA and 99 wins.

“Following his retirement from major league baseball, Suggs took a very active role in promoting baseball in his hometown of Kinston, North Carolina. He managed two independent (known then as ‘outlaw’) teams in Kinston, the Kinston Robins and the Kinston Highwaymen. He was also the designer of their stadium, West End Park, which was modified in 1925 for the Virginia League Kinston Eagles. He was one of the initial inductees in the Kinston Professional Baseball Hall of Fame on February 11, 1983.”

lafitte

P-Ed Lafitte, Brooklyn Tip-Tops, 28 Years Old

18-15, 2.63 ERA, 137 K, .257, 1 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 130 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-127

1st Time All-Star-Edward Francis “Ed” or “Doc” Lafitte was born on April 7, 1886 in New Orleans, LA. The six-foot-two, 188 pound righty started with Detroit in 1909 and then back on the Tigers in 1911 and 1912. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1913, but then had his best season ever in the Federal League, finishing seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.2); ninth in ERA (2.63); ninth in innings pitched (290 2/3); and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (121). He then pitched for Brooklyn and Buffalo in 1915, his last Major League season.

Bill Bradley, who managed part of the season for the Cleveland Naps in 1905, took the reins of the Tip-Tops and led them to a .500 record and a fifth place finish. The team could certainly hit, led by Steve Evans, but it wasn’t enough to get it the crown. Bradley would never manage again.

Wikipedia says, “He returned to baseball in 1914 as a member of the Brooklyn Tip-Tops of the fledgling Federal League. That season he became the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter without throwing a shutout in a 6-2 victory over the Kansas City Packers on September 19. In 1915, he split his final season between the Tip-Tops and the Buffalo Blues.

“He served in the U.S. Army during both World Wars. Baseball helped him earn a degree in dentistry, and he practiced dentistry for 42 years in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, retiring in 1961. The Jenkintown, Pennsylvania resident died at age 85 at his home and is buried at Ivy Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.”

krapp

P-Gene Krapp, Buffalo Buffeds, 27 Years Old

16-14, 2.49 ERA, 106 K, .143, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 40 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Eugene Hamlet “Gene” or “Rubber Arm” Krapp was born on May 12, 1887 in Rochester, NY. The five-foot-seven, 165 pound righty started with Cleveland in 1911-12 going 15-14. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1913 and then came back with the Federal League this year. Krapp finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (4.6), seventh in ERA (2.49), and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (131). It was his best season ever. After pitching for Buffalo again in 1915 and going 9-19 with a 3.51 ERA, his Major League career was over.

SABR says, “In 1920 he was hired as manager of the Battle Creek Custers in the Class B Michigan-Ontario League. The team was young and not very talented; the facilities were substandard, but the team managed to avoid the cellar. Krapp pitched sparingly and had a 2-5 record. The team suffered financial woes and in July cut down the roster to save money. Krapp resigned in August citing mutual dissatisfaction by the owners and himself. In 1921 he was back playing in the Detroit sandlots.

“The following season he was found to be suffering from cancer of the bowels. His playing days were ended. In 1923 he was elected as an election commissioner for his village, but never had a chance to serve. He underwent surgery on March 31 for an intestinal blockage. The surgery was unsuccessful, and he died on Friday April 13 in the hospital. He is one of several ballplayers buried in Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit.”

watson

P-Doc Watson, Chicago Chi-Feds/St. Louis Terriers, 29 Years Old

12-12, 2.01 ERA, 87 K, .100, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 93 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Charles John “Doc” Watson was born on January 30, 1885 in Carroll County, OH. The six-foot, 170 pound lefty started with the Cubs in 1913 before coming over to the Federal League. This season, his best ever, he finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (3.8); third in ERA (2.01), behind Claude Hendrix (1.69) and Russ Ford (1.82); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (150). Doc would wrap up his Major League career with the Terriers in 1915, going 9-9 with a 3.98 ERA.

Speaking of the Terriers, they were the worst team in the FL finishing 62-89. Mordecai Brown (50-63) and Fielder Jones (12-26) managed the team which had the worst hitting in the league along with some of the worst pitching. Three Finger Brown never managed before and would never do so again while Jones would be back with the Terriers in 1915.

In a game description from SABR, it says, “Both teams sent southpaws to the mound in the eighth inning, Doc Watson for Chicago and Rudy Sommers for Brooklyn. With the score tied 4-4, Solly Hofman drew a walk from Watson to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Wisterzil singled sharply to third baseman Harry Fritz, and Hofman held at second base. Al Halt advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt, and Owens was walked intentionally to load the bases. With the game on the line and pitcher Sommers due up, manager Bradley sent utilityman Art Griggs to pinch-hit. The New York Sun reported what happened:

“Griggs ‘hit the ball at Southpaw Watson with such force that the latter had no chance to get his hands in the way. It hit him so hard on the leg just above the knee that Watson limped off the field. The ball caromed away out in left field and Hofman crossed the plate with the winning run.’”

seaton2

P-Tom Seaton, Brooklyn Tip-Tops, 26 Years Old

1913

25-14, 3.03 ERA, 172 K, .206, 1 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 25 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-Seaton, who led the National League in wins and strikeouts in 1913, must have seen like quite a coup of a pickup for the Federal League. He did do well in 1914, but not as well as expected. Seaton finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (2.5) and sixth in innings pitched (302 2/3). He’d split time with the Tip-Tops and Newark Pepper in 1915, before finishing his career back with the NL and the Cubs in 1916-17.

SABR says, “Seaton finally joined the Tip-Tops in early April of 1914. He pitched their first Federal League game, allowing four hits as Brooklyn edged Pittsburgh, 1-0, in a 10-inning game at Exposition Park. He also pitched in the first Tip-Tops home game at remodeled Washington Park on May 11. He lost to Howie Camnitz and the Pittsburgh Rebels, 2-0. Seaton was 25-14 for the Tip-Tops in 1914. He was in the top five in wins, strikeouts, complete games, shutouts and winning percentage. Between 1911 and 1914, Seaton pitched 1,262 innings. That work was too much.

Seaton was a big man for his day, standing six feet tall and weighing 175 pounds. Although he could throw hard, he was primarily a breaking ball pitcher, throwing a wide, sweeping curveball which was sometimes hard to control. All of those breaking pitches in all of those innings took their toll. In August of 1914, Seaton visited arm specialist Bonesetter Reese, who advised a good rest. Seaton sat out two weeks of the season in late August and early September. He still made ten starts in the final month of the season.” Bonesetter Reese? Really?

kaiserling

P-George Kaiserling, Indianapolis Hoosiers, 21 Years Old

17-10, 3.11 ERA, 75 K, .112, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 57 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-17

1st Time All-Star-George Kaiserling was born on May 12, 1893 in Steubenville, OH. The six-foot, 175 pound righty pitched only in the Federal League, for Indy in 1914 and for Newark in 1915. He has a possibility of making both All-Star teams. This year, his best, Kaiserling finished ninth in WAR for Pitcher (3.3) and was a big part of the Indianapolis championship

The Hoosiers started out 14-16 and were eight games out of first on May 26. On June 9, they were 19-23 and six games out. That’s when Indianapolis caught fire, winning 15 straight games and putting them up by two in the FL. It then faltered again and on August 8, found itself four-and-a-half games out of first. The Hoosiers kept battling and with nine games left, they were two-and-a-half games behind first place Chicago. That’s when they won eight of their last nine games, tying the other and ended up besting Chi-Town by one-and-a-half games. Kaiserling didn’t get any decisions in those games, but Cy Falkenberg won three of them.

There isn’t a lot of information on Kaiserling, except that he died early, which I’ll touch on next season. He was sixth in Win-Loss % (.630), easy to do on a good team. He also didn’t walk many, allowing 2.354 bases on balls per nine innings. His wildness did lead him to plunk the most Federal League batters with 17. At 21 years old, it certainly looked like Kaiserling was off to a good career, but it would be over after 1915.

wilsona

C-Art Wilson, Chicago Chi-Feds, 28 Years Old

.291, 10 HR, 64 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 20 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-132

Errors Committed as C-24

Double Plays Turned as C-19

Caught Stealing %-56.7

1st Time All-Star-Arthur Earl “Art” or “Dutch” Wilson was born on December 11, 1885 in Macon, IL. The five-foot-eight, 170 pound catcher started with the Giants in 1908 and played with them through 1913. This year, he went to the Federal League where he finally got a chance to play full time and had his best season ever. He finished eighth in WAR (5.0); third in WAR Position Players (5.0), behind Benny Kauff (7.8) and Dutch Zwilling (5.1); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.8); seventh in Defensive WAR (1.2); ninth in on-base percentage (.394); seventh in slugging (.466); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (151).

Interestingly, the Chi-Feds were the first team to play in what would eventually become Wrigley Field in 1914. The first two home runs hit there were by Art Wilson or as he’s called in the article, Artie “Home-Run” Wilson.

Oh, the article I’m talking about is at Misc. Baseball. It says, “Here’s some of how the Chicago Tribune described opening day:

“’Chicago took the Federal League to its bosom yesterday and claimed it as a mother would claim a long lost child. With more more frills and enthusiasm than had prevailed at a baseball opening here Joe Tinker and his Chifeds made their debut before a throng of fans that filled the new north side park to capacity, and the Chicago Feds trounced George Stovall’s Kansas City team, 9 to 1. All Chicago cheered and the north side was maddened with delight.’” You could win a lot of bets with that info.

easterly3

C-Ted Easterly, Kansas City Packers, 29 Years Old

1909 1910

.335, 1 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 21 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as C-24

Passed Balls-17

3rd Time All-Star-Easterly last made the All-Star team with Cleveland in 1909 and 1910. Since then, he played on the Naps and the White Sox, before coming to the Federal League and having his best season ever. Easterly finished seventh in WAR Position Players (3.9); seventh in Offensive WAR (3.8); third in batting (.335), behind Benny Kauff (.370) and Steve Evans (.348); 10th in slugging (.443); and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (140).

His team, the Packers, was managed by George Stovall, who led them to a sixth-place 67-84 finish. Thanks to Duke Kenworthy, the team could hit, but its pitching was awful.

Wikipedia says, “Easterly was a good contact hitter who batted over .300 four times. From 1910 to 1912, he collected three consecutive .300 seasons with a high .324 in 1911 and led the American League with 11 pinch-hitsin 1912. He jumped to the Federal League in 1914 and ended the season third in the batting race with a .335 average. A good defensive player with a solid throwing arm, he also served as a backup right fielder. In a seven-season career, Easterly was a .300 hitter with eight home runs and 261 RBI in 706 games played.

“Easterly died in Clearlake HighlandsCalifornia, at the age of 66.”

It’s always important to gauge players in the era in which they toiled and for Easterly to hit .300 as a beat-up catcher in the Deadball Era is certainly incredible. I don’t know whether he’s going to make the FL All-Star team in 1915, but he did three dingers, his lifetime high.

chase

1B-Hal Chase, Chicago White Sox (AL)/Buffalo Buffeds (FL), 31 Years Old

.347, 3 HR, 48 RBI (FL Only)

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 13 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Harold Homer “Prince Hal” Chase was born on February 13, 1883 in Los Gatos, CA. The six-foot, 175 pound first baseman started with the Yankees from 1905-1913. In midseason 1913, he was Traded by the New York Yankees to the Chicago White Sox for Babe Borton and Rollie Zeider. Then he jumped from the White Sox to the Federal League where he played in only 75 games but still made the All-Star team thanks to his talent and a lack of good first sackers in the FL. For the Buffeds, Prince Hal slashed .347/.365/.505 for an OPS+ of 145.

Wikipedia says, “Chase faced allegations of wrongdoing as early as 1910, when his manager, George Stallings, claimed that Chase was ‘laying down’ in games. But Stallings was unpopular with the team, and Chase was slated to replace Stallings at the helm. Chase ultimately prevailed in the spat and became the manager of the team, at the age of 28, in 1911, a year he hit .315 with 82 RBI.

“Chase was replaced as manager by Harry Wolverton, followed by Frank Chance in 1913. Chase battled injuries that impaired his play; many felt that Chase either would not or could not return to his previous form. Frank Chance stated that he worried that Chase was ‘laying down.’ Chance clarified that he was referring to the question whether Chase would put forth the effort necessary to overcome the current slump.” I remember reading an article by Bill James many years ago that Chase was evil incarnate and that he’d never want him on his team.

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1914 American League All-Star Team

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Dutch Leonard, BOS

P-Carl Weilman, SLB

P-Ray Caldwell, NYY

P-Earl Hamilton, SLB

P-Harry Coveleski, DET

P-Bill Steen, CLE

P-Ray Fisher, NYY

P-Ray Collins, BOS

P-Eddie Cicotte, CHW

C-Ray Schalk, CHW

C-Wally Schang, PHA

1B-Chick Gandil, WSH

1B-Stuffy McInnis, PHA

2B-Eddie Collins, PHA

2B-Del Pratt, SLB

3B-Home Run Baker, PHA

3B-George Moriarty, DET

SS-Donie Bush, DET

SS-Jack Barry, PHA

LF-Tillie Walker, SLB

CF-Tris Speaker, BOS

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

RF-Sam Crawford, DET

RF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, CLE

 

johnson7P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 26 Years Old

1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913

28-18, 1.72 ERA, 225 K, .221, 3 HR, 16 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-12.7 (3rd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-11.7 (3rd Time)

Wins-28 (2nd Time)

Games Pitched-51 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-371 2/3 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts-225 (4th Time)

Games Started-40 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-33 (4th Time)

Shutouts-9 (3rd Time)

Hits Allowed-287 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.041 (3rd Time)

Wild Pitches-14 (3rd Time)

Batters Faced-1,406 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-47 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.5 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as P-51 (2nd Time)

Putouts as P-30 (2nd Time)

7th Time All-Star-This is going to be the last year of the Chalmers MVP Award and it’s going out with controversy, at least in my mind. Walter Johnson didn’t receive one Most Valuable Player vote. Look at that season above. I think he should easily be MVP, but never mind that, how did he not get a vote?! My only thought is they compared his 1914 season to his 1913 season and it didn’t pass muster. That’s true, but only because his 1913 season was one of the best pitching years of all time. I don’t know.

I guess it’s Big Train’s “bad” season that allowed the Senators, under Manager Clark Griffith, to drop from second to third with an 81-73 record. Washington’s pitching was good, but it’s hitting lacked a bit.

SABR says Walter Johnson was the king of 1-0 games, stating, “Johnson, in the course of his career, participated in no less than 64 1-0 games, winning 38 and losing 26 (including two in relief). He took part in twice as many minimum scoring contests as any other hurler. Not counted is his classic 12-inning 0-0 tie game with Jack Quinn of the Yankees on May 11, 1919. Quinn gave up 10 hits, including one to Johnson, and the Big Train gave up only two in 12 frames. He retired 28 men in a row (George Halas of later football fame going 0-5), but the Nats couldn’t get him any runs.” In 1914, Barney went 3-1 in 1-0 contests.

(Ed. Note-From Reader, V: Can help a little here. When the Chalmers Award was instituted they gave the winner a car. It quickly became evident that Ty Cobb might be getting a new car with some frequency, which no one wanted. So the Award stipulated you were ineligible to win the Chalmers Award if you’d already won it.)

leonard

P-Dutch Leonard, Boston Red Sox, 22 Years Old

19-5, 0.96 ERA, 176 K, .147, 0 HR, 4 RBI

MVP Rank: 16

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. 25 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

1914 AL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-0.96

Walks & Hits per IP-0.886

Hits per 9 IP-5.568

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.050

Adjusted ERA+-279

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.95

1st Time All-Star-Hubert Benjamin “Dutch” Leonard was born on April 16, 1892 in Birmingham, OH. The five-foot-10, 185 pound lefty started with Boston in 1913 and could have made the All-Star team then. This year, one of most outstanding pitching seasons of all time, made him a star. Dutch finished third in WAR (9.3), behind Washington’s Walter Johnson (12.7) and teammate Tris Speaker (9.9); second in WAR for Pitchers (9.4), trailing Johnson (11.7); first in ERA (0.96); and first in Adjusted ERA+ (279). Those last two figures were modern day records. Tim Keefe did have a 0.86 ERA in 1880, but he was pitching underhand from 50 feet away, so it’s hardly a fair comparison. The Adjusted ERA+ record was beat by Pedro Martinez in 2000 (291).

Boston, under Manager Bill Carrigan, advanced from fourth to second with a 91-62 record. Speaker led its hitting and Leonard led the best pitching staff in the league. The best is yet to come for this team.

SABR says, “Because Leonard’s season was curtailed by injury, the pitcher failed to reach many of the milestones that were most noted at the time. He failed to win 20 games, and except for ERA (which had only been an official American League statistic since the previous season) did not lead the league in any major pitching category. For this reason, Leonard’s 1914 performance went largely unheralded in the press. Even Leonard regarded his work that year as incomplete. As he later told F.C. Lane, ‘If I hadn’t broken my wrist I think I would have done very well that year.’”

weilman

P-Carl Weilman, St. Louis Browns, 24 Years Old

17-12, 2.08 ERA, 119 K, .149, 0 HR, 1 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Carl Edward “Zeke” Weilman was born on November 29, 1889 in Hamilton, OH. The six-foot-five, 187 pound lefty started with St. Louis in 1912. This year, his best ever, he finished sixth in WAR (6.8); third in WAR for Pitchers (6.9), behind Walter Johnson (11.7) and Dutch Leonard (9.4); sixth in ERA (2.08); fifth in innings pitched (299); and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (131).

Branch Rickey, yes, that Branch Rickey, managed the Browns the whole season and they rose from eighth to fifth with a 71-82 record. That wasn’t bad for a team that had average hitting and poor pitching.

SABR says, “The next season, under new manager Branch Rickey, the Browns improved to fifth place and Weilman developed into one of the best pitchers in the American League. He compiled a 17-12 record and his 2.08 ERA ranked sixth in the league. Highlights included two shutouts against the Tigers and a 12-inning shutout of the Red Sox. On October 5, 1914, he married Lucy Owens Dresel, ‘a Kentucky society girl and heiress,’ whom he had met in Maysville in 1912.

“Popular with his teammates and respected by opponents, Weilman was modest and good-natured. He was also industrious. He followed a strict training regimen and abstained from alcohol and tobacco.

“Newspapers often mentioned Weilman’s size. He was slender, between 187 and 200 pounds, and at 6-feet-5½, he was one of the tallest players in baseball. Like the 6-foot-10 Randy Johnson in the 1990s, Weilman was viewed with curiosity. He was called the Human Skyscraper or ‘Woolworth,’ after the Woolworth Building in New York City, at the time the tallest skyscraper in the world.”

caldwell3

P-Ray Caldwell, New York Yankees, 26 Years Old

1911 1913

18-9, 1.94 ERA, 92 K, .195, 0 HR, 10 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 17 percent chance)

 

3rd Time All-Star-Slim Caldwell continued to be the Yankees’ most reliable pitcher and this year had his best season ever. He finished seventh in WAR (6.7); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.6); fourth in ERA (1.94); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (142). Caldwell never was much of an innings hog, only pitching over 300 innings once in his career. This year, he pitched 213 innings.

New York rose from seventh to sixth this season, under the guidance of Frank Chance (60-74) and Roger Peckinpaugh (10-10). Neither would be back for the Yankees’ 1915 season. The Yanks had the worst hitting in the league and couldn’t have known the end of those batting woes had joined the league as a pudgy pitcher in Boston.

Wikipedia says, “The 1914 season was the greatest of his career, going 17–9 with a 1.94 ERA for another Yankees team that finished well below .500. During the course of the season he had numerous run-ins with manager Frank Chance, resulting in him being fined on several occasions for drunkenness and general poor conduct. Towards the end of the season, Caldwell asked team owner Frank Farrell to rescind his fines – which by that point accounted for a substantial proportion of his annual wages. Farrell, fearing that Caldwell would follow former teammates Russ Ford and Hal Chase in accepting an offer to pitch for the Buffalo Buffeds of the Federal League, agreed to let Caldwell off. As a consequence of this, Frank Chance, feeling that his authority had been irrevocably undermined, handed in his resignation as manager of the Yankees.”

hamiltone

P-Earl Hamilton, St. Louis Browns, 22 Years Old

16-18, 2.50 ERA, 111 K, .176, 0 HR, 4 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Earl Andrew Hamilton was born on July 19, 1891 in Gibson, IL. The five-foot-eight, 160 pound lefty started with the Browns in 1911. This season was his best ever as he finished ninth in WAR (6.0); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.4); and third in innings pitched (302 1/3), behind Walter Johnson (371 2/3) and Detroit’s Harry Coveleski (303 1/3).

Wikipedia says, “Earl Andrew Hamilton (July 19, 1891 – November 17, 1968) was a left-handed pitcher for the St. Louis Browns (1911–16, later in 1916–17), Detroit Tigers (1916), Pittsburgh Pirates (1918–23), and the Philadelphia Phillies(1924) of Major League Baseball (MLB). He pitched a no-hitter against Detroit on August 30, 1912, becoming the first player to pitch a no-hitter without recording a strikeout. The Tigers did get a run on a Ty Cobb walkand an error, making the final score 5-1 Browns.

“Born in Gibson City, Illinois, Hamilton played his first major league game on April 14, 1911. Through the early to mid-teens, Hamilton was considered a quality pitcher and was one of the better pitchers on some terrible Browns teams. In 1914, Hamilton had a very quality season, going 17-18 with a 2.50 ERA in 302 and 1/3 innings pitched.”

SABR states, “Hamilton made headlines after the 1914 season when a car he was driving, with five female passengers, was involved in a predawn single-car accident on the Eads Bridge in St. Louis. Hamilton was badly injured, suffering a fractured arm, broken ribs, a broken collarbone, and facial lacerations. The left-hander was hospitalized for nearly two weeks and it was originally feared that his pitching career might be over. All five passengers were also seriously injured, and one died from her injuries.”

coveleski

P-Harry Coveleski, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old

22-12, 2.49 ERA, 124 K, .242, 0 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 18 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as P-123

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-4.01

Range Factor/Game as P-3.07

1st Time All-Star-Harry Frank “The Giant Killer” Coveleski was born on April 23, 1886 in Shamokin, PA. The six-foot, 180 pound pitcher started with the Phillies in 1907. Before the 1910 season, he was traded by the Philadelphia Phillies with Frank Corridon to the Cincinnati Reds for Ad Brennan and Bob Ewing. Then before the 1911 season, he was purchased by Chattanooga (Southern Association) from the Cincinnati Reds. The Tigers then purchased him from Chattanooga before this season and it ended up being a good pick-up.

Coveleski finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.2) and behind only Walter Johnson (371 2/3) in innings pitched (303 1/3). The three seasons of 300 or more innings pitched from 1914-16 would be the best years of his career, but most likely be the reason for his quick exit in 1918.

Hughie Jennings managed the Tigers and they improved from sixth to fourth with a 80-73 record. Thanks to Sam Crawford, Detroit was one of the best hitting teams in the league, but its pitching was mediocre.

As for his nickname, Wikipedia says, “Coveleski began his career with the Phillies in 1907. Over a span of five days at the end of the 1908 season, he beat the New York Giants three times, which enabled the Chicago Cubs to catch the first-place Giants in the NL standings and force a replay of the ‘Merkle’s Boner’ game. Thereafter, Coveleski was called ‘The Giant Killer’.

“In the 2008–2009 comic book series I Kill Giants, protagonist Barbara Thorson’s fantasy world features a war hammer named ‘Coveleski.’ Barbara explains that it is named after Harry Coveleski and his performance against the New York Giants.”

steen

P-Bill Steen, Cleveland Naps, 26 Years Old

9-14, 2.60 ERA, 97 K, .200, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 38 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

1st Time All-Star-William John “Bill” Steen was born on November 11, 1887 in Pittsburgh, PA. The six-foot, 180 pound righty started with Cleveland in 1912. This season was the only one of any significance as he finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.5). It wasn’t a great year for pitchers in the American League.

It also wasn’t a very good year for the Naps as they finished last with a 51-102 record. Joe Birmingham managed the team, which dropped from third in 1913 to eighth this year. The Naps had poor hitting and the worst pitching in the league.

Baseball Reference says, “’Bill Steen – if you kids don’t recognize the name – was a famous Pacific Coast League pitcher in the early 1900’s. In 1910 the Portland team had its terrific trio of Steen, Vean Gregg and Gene Krapp. During one stretch of eight plus games, they pitched 89 scoreless innings. Of that string, Steen claimed 56 scoreless frames.’ – from Baseball Digest, September 1953.

                “His best year in the majors was probably 1914, when he had a 2.60 ERA. The team ERA that year was 3.21.

“The Baseball Digest article cited above says that his favorite game was the one where he beat Walter Johnson. A line drive broke his finger in the sixth inning but he had it taped and continued to finish the game. At age 65, he was a building engineer at a hotel in San Francisco, CA.”

Steen lived a long time, dying at the age of 91 on March 13, 1979.

fisherr

P-Ray Fisher, New York Yankees, 26 Years Old

10-12, 2.28 ERA, 86 K, .138, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Ray Lyle “Pick” Fisher was born on October 4, 1887 in Middlebury, VT. The five-foot-11, 180 pound righty started with New York in 1910. This season was his best ever, finishing eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.4); ninth in ERA (2.28); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (121). Fisher would stay with the Yankees through 1917 and then finish his career pitching for the Reds in 1919 and 1920.

Wikipedia says, “Nicknamed ‘Pick’ (short for the freshwater fish pickerel), Fisher was an all-around athlete who played football, basketball, baseball, and competed in track events, though his father only permitted sports if the farm work was done. He played on Vermont’s 1904 State Championship football team and was offered multiple college scholarships in football, but his real love was baseball and he stayed on in his hometown attending Middlebury College.

“As a rookie, the newspapers were frequently comparing Fisher to Highlander’s spitball pitcher Jack Chesbro, and early in his tenure with the Yankees Fisher was also cited by Ty Cobb and Nap Lajoie as one of the 12 best pitchers in the American League, both players also listing Ed WalshRuss FordWalter Johnson and Smoky Joe Wood. His ERA ranked fifth in the league in 1915. Fisher was known for his stamina as a pitcher, considered a “workhorse” for the Yankees, but the following year, 1916, a bout of pleurisy was to cripple his effectiveness. (Doctors later thought that Fisher had probably had tuberculosis.)”

Fisher died at the age of 95 on November 3, 1882.<

collinsr4

P-Ray Collins, Boston Red Sox, 27 Years Old

1910 1912 1913

20-13, 2.51 ERA, 72 K, .139, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

4th Time All-Star-Collins continued making All-Star teams, this being his fourth one. However, it’s also his last one as he would be done after a 4-7 season in 1915. This season, Collins finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.1) and eighth in innings pitched 272 1/3, the only season in which he finished in the top 10 in innings. Maybe that’s what led to the demise of his career.

Wikipedia says, “Collins became the ace of Boston pitching staff in 1914 with a 20–13 record and a 2.51 ERA. His six shutouts ranked him fourth in the American League that season, and he was one of only three pitchers in the league to reach the 20-win plateau, joining Walter Johnson (28) and Stan Coveleski (22). Collins picked up his 19th and 20th victories on September 22, by pitching complete games in both ends of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers at Navin Field, winning by scores of 5–3 in the opener and 5–0 in the nightcap.

“In 1915, the Red Sox were in the enviable position of having too many good (and younger) pitchers: Rube FosterErnie ShoreDutch Leonard, and Babe Ruth made up the best rotation in major league baseball. Then Collins was relegated to the bullpen. Starting only nine games, the fewest since his rookie year, Collins finished with a 4–7 record and a 4.30 ERA in 25 pitching appearances. He did not pitch a single inning in the 1915 World Series as Boston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in five games. After the season the Red Sox expected him to take a cut in salary, but Collins, at age 29, announced his retirement from professional baseball stating simply that he was ‘discouraged by his failure to show old-time form.’”

cicotte2

P-Eddie Cicotte, Chicago White Sox, 30 Years Old

1913

11-16, 2.04 ERA, 122 K, .163, 0 HR, 4 RBI

MVP Rank: 27

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-star seasons. 75 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Cicotte already made his second All-Star team and his best years are yet to come. Too bad he got involved with shady gamblers and destroyed what could have been a Hall of Fame career. This season, Cicotte finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.0); fifth in ERA (2.04); ninth in innings pitched (269 1/3); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (132).

Jimmy Callahan coached his fifth and last season for White Sox as they dropped from fifth to seventh with a 70-84 record. Chicago had lackluster hitting and pretty good pitching, a typical Chisox team.

SABR says, “Cicotte once estimated that 75 percent of the pitches he threw were knuckleballs. The rest of the time the right-hander relied on a fadeaway, slider, screwball, spitter, emery ball, shine ball, and a pitch he called the ‘sailor,’ a rising fastball that ‘would sail much in the same manner of a flat stone thrown by a small boy.’ Whether he was sailing or sinking the ball, shining it or darkening it, the 5-foot-9, 175-pound Cicotte had more pitches than a traveling salesman. ‘Perhaps no pitcher in the world has such a varied assortment of wares in his repertory as Cicotte,’ The Sporting News observed in 1918. ‘He throws with effect practically every kind of ball known to pitching science.’”

More from SABR on a Cicotte incident in the minors: “The Tigers determined that he wasn’t ready for the majors, and optioned him to Augusta (Georgia) of the South Atlantic League, where he compiled a record of 15 wins against 9 losses, and brawled with his young teammate Ty Cobb after a Cobb stunt cost Cicotte a shutout. As a joke Cobb had taken popcorn with him to his position in center field and as a result committed an error that led to a run.6 This incident notwithstanding, among his teammates Cicotte was known as an easygoing prankster who enjoyed a good laugh.”

schalk

C-Ray Schalk, Chicago White Sox, 21 Years Old

.270, 0 HR, 36 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. 45 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-125 (2nd Time)

Putouts as C-613 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Ray William “Cracker” Schalk was born on August 12, 1892 in Harvel, IL. The five-foot-nine, 165 pound catcher was a very typical all-glove, no-hit backstop, but that glove was sensational. Cracker started his career with the White Sox in 1912. He finished eighth in Defensive WAR (1.3) and would finish in the top 10 in that category 11 times. However, the reason his chances for making my Hall of Fame are slim is because he never was a good hitter. His slash line this season of .270/.347/.314 gave him an OPS+ of 100, one of only two times he hit that mark.

SABR says, “In an era when the common impression of a baseball catcher was a sturdy player with bulging shoulders, a husky framework, and brute strength, the 5-foot-7 (many sources say 5-foot-9), 155-pound Ray Schalk did not convey an imposing figure behind the dish. But as John C. Ward wrote in Baseball Magazinein 1920, ‘Schalk is unquestionably the hardest working catcher in baseball as he is doubtless also the brainiest, the nerviest, the most competent. He presents the unique distinction of performing more work than any other catcher and at the same time performing it better. Both in quantity and in quality of service Ray Schalk is unquestionably the premier backstop in baseball.’”

The Los Angeles Times argues against Schalk being in the Hall, saying, “Ray Schalk: A very good defensive catcher with only 1,345 hits. Perhaps the worst player in the Hall of Fame, Schalk does bolster the chances of Jeff Mathis one day making it.”

schang2

C-Wally Schang, Philadelphia Athletics, 24 Years Old

1913

.287, 3 HR, 45 RBI

MVP Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 10 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as C-30

2nd Time All-Star-Schang made his second consecutive All-Star team and in an era without a lot of productive catchers, that 10 percent chance I have above for his making my Hall of Fame is probably low. If I had to pick between Schang or Ray Schalk making the Hall, I’d easily pick Schang. This season, he finished ninth in on-base percentage (.371), 10th in slugging (.404), and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (137). Great for a catcher. He didn’t have the glove of Schalk, but he his bat was far above the Chicago catcher.

The Philadelphia dynasty continued as it won its fourth pennant in five years. Connie Mack led the team to a 99-53 record, eight-and-a-half games ahead of Boston. The Athletics were one of the rare good teams with bad pitching. However, they did have the best hitting in the league, thanks to Eddie Collins.

This juggernaut fell apart in the World Series, being swept by the Miracle Braves. Schang went two-for-12 (.167) with a double and that was typical for the team, which only .172 against the tough Boston pitching.

Wikipedia says, “Schang was discovered by George Stallings in 1912, when he played in the sandlots of upstate New York for the Buffalo Pullmans. Schang started his major league career with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1913, who won the World Series in five games against the New York Giants and returned the next year, only to be swept by the 1914 Miracle Braves, who were managed by Schang’s mentor, George Stallings.”

gandil2

1B-Chick Gandil, Washington Senators, 26 Years Old

1913

.259, 3 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Sacrifice Hits-38

Assists as 1B-143 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 1B-84 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Gandil made his second consecutive All-Star team for the Senators, who were a good team at this time in their history. He finished 10th in Defensive WAR (1.1), which is great for a first baseman. His hitting faltered a bit this year as he slashed .259/.324/.359 for an OPS+ of 101. Most likely, he’s not making another All-Star team.

Chick played one more year for Washington, before being purchased by the Cleveland Indians from the Washington Senators for $7,500. He only played one year for Cleveland before being purchased by the Chicago White Sox from the Cleveland Indians for $3,500. He played three years for the White Sox before being tossed from baseball.

Wikipedia has quite a bit on the thrown World Series. Here’s part of it: “In the story, Gandil admitted to leading the plot to throw the Series and expressed guilt and remorse over having done so. However, he claimed that after an initial payment was made, the players actually abandoned the plan and had ultimately tried their best to win. According to Gandil’s story, the rumors which had spread about the Series being fixed (triggered by a sudden influx of money being bet on the Reds) caused the players to conclude that they could never get away with throwing the Series, as their every move would be closely scrutinized. Instead, they decided to betray the gamblers and keep the cash. While he believed that Landis’ decision to ban them all was draconian, he felt they deserved to be banned just for talking to the gamblers.”

mcinnis3

1B-Stuffy McInnis, Philadelphia Athletics, 23 Years Old

1912 1913

.314, 1 HR, 95 RBI

MVP Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. Eight percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Singles-160

Def. Games as 1B-149 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.995 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Stuffy made his third straight All-Star team and for the second consecutive year, Philadelphia has people on this list at all four infield positions. It truly was the “$100,000 infield.” McInnis finished seventh in batting (.314), but didn’t add much besides the average. Of his 181 hits, only 21 were for extra bases, which for a first baseman isn’t great. In the World Series, McInnis, like most of the Athletics, couldn’t hit, batting .143 (two-for-14) with a double as Philly got swept by the Miracle Braves.

SABR says, “’It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…’ During his 19-year career in the Major Leagues, John Phalen ‘Stuffy’ McInnis’ teams finished in first place six times, winning five World Series, and in last place four times. He started his career by becoming the youngest member of Connie Mack’s famed ‘$100,000 infield,’ replacing veteran Harry Davis at first base for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1911, and joining Eddie Collins, Frank (soon to be ‘Home Run’) Baker, and Jack Barry in that fabled infield. Following the dismantling of the Athletics after the 1914 season, Stuffy stayed on, suffering through three straight last-place A’s finishes. But whether it was feast or famine for his teams, McInnis remained a consistent singles hitter, an outstanding defensive first baseman, and a savvy clubhouse leader. A spry 5’ 9 ½” right-handed line-drive pull hitter with a boyish face, McInnis has a career batting average over .300, having amassed more than 2,400 hits. However, he is best known as one of baseball’s best defensive first basemen, due to his amazing consistency covering first base.”

collinse6

2B-Eddie Collins, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913

.344, 2 HR, 85 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

1914 AL MVP

Offensive WAR-9.1

Runs Scored-122 (3rd Time)

Times on Base-284

Def. Games as 2B-152 (4th Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.970 (3rd Time)

6th Time All-Star-As reader V pointed out in the Walter Johnson blurb, the Chalmers MVP given out from 1911-14 could only be won once by a player over the course of his career. That was helpful for Collins, because neither Johnson nor Tris Speaker were eligible. If Johnson were allowed to win the award, I would have easily given it to him, but of those allowed to win, I would have given it to Cocky Collins. He finished fourth in WAR (9.1); second in WAR Position Players (9.1), behind Speaker (10.0); first in Offensive WAR (9.1); second in batting (.344), trailing Ty Cobb (.368); second in on-base percentage (.452), behind Cobb (.466); fifth in slugging (.452); second in steals (58), trailing Fritz Maisel (74); fourth in caught stealing (30); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (176), behind Cobb (190) and Speaker (178).

In his fourth World Series, Collins, like the rest of his team, couldn’t hit the pitching of the Miracle Braves, batting just .214 (three-for-14) with no extra base hits. Philadelphia was swept, 4-0.

Wikipedia says, “In 1914, the newly formed Federal League disrupted major league contract stability by luring away established stars from the AL and NL with inflated salaries. To retain Collins, Athletics manager Connie Mack offered his second baseman the longest guaranteed contract (five years) that had ever been offered to a player. Collins declined, and after the 1914 season Mack sold Collins to the White Sox for $50,000, the highest price ever paid for a player up to that point and the first of only three times that a reigning MVP was sold or traded (the others being Alex Rodriguez in 2003, and Giancarlo Stantonin 2017 both to the New York Yankees). The Sox paid Collins $15,000 for 1915, making him the third highest paid player in the league, behind Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker.”

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2B-Del Pratt, St. Louis Browns, 26 Years Old

.283, 5 HR, 65 RBI

MVP Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 75 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-158 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 2B-152

Putouts as 2B-358 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as 2B-46 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Derrill Burnham “Del” Pratt was born on January 10, 1888 in Walhalla, SC. The five-foot-11, 175 pound righty second baseman started with the Browns in 1912 and was a fulltime player from the beginning. He played 152 games in 1912 and then led the American League in games played from 1913-16. Pratt was one of the first ironmen. This season, he finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.6); sixth in Offensive WAR (5.1); ninth in slugging (.411); seventh in caught stealing (28); and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (130).

SABR says, “Had Del not been tossed from a game on September 2, 1914, by umpire Bill Dinneen, causing him to miss the second game of a doubleheader, his streak would have exceeded 700 games. That was the only game he missed from 1913 to 1916.

“On September 1, 1914, Del married Leontine Mindora Ramsaur of Florida. She was only 17 at the time. A strikingly attractive and soft-spoken young lady, and a talented musician, she had swept Del off his feet during spring training earlier that year, when the Browns trained in St. Petersburg. The wedding was an impromptu and informal affair; the judge waived the five-day waiting period for a marriage license, and the bride’s friends learned of the ceremony by telegram. It took place in Boston, shortly after the Browns had dropped a doubleheader to the Red Sox. Branch Rickey attended, representing the Browns.

“Del was quoted in the Boston Globe, explaining the rush: ‘I believed that I could play better ball if I were married. Leontine is an inspiration.’ The Boston Journal noted that he played like a married man earlier that day, when he went 5 for 8 with 10 total bases.”

baker6

3B-Home Run Baker, Philadelphia Athletics, 28 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913

.319, 9 HR, 89 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-9 (4th Time)

Power-Speed #-12.2 (3rd Time)

Putouts as 3B-221 (4th Time)

6th Time All-Star-You might be amazed to hear up to this point, Eddie Collins and Baker both have six All-Star teams under their belt, from 1909-14. After this year, Baker will not be able to keep up, mainly because he didn’t play Major League ball in 1915. Wikipedia says, “After the 1914 World Series, Mack began to sell off some of his best players. However, he had given Collins a multiyear contract during the 1914 season to prevent him from jumping to the upstart Federal League. Baker, who had just completed the first year of a three-year contract, attempted to renegotiate his terms, but Mack refused. Baker sat out the entire 1915 season as a result of this contract dispute. He remained in baseball, playing for a team representing Upland, Pennsylvania, in the semi-professional Delaware County League.”

This season, Baker finished fifth in WAR (7.4); third in WAR Position Players (7.4), behind Tris Speaker (10.0) and Collins (9.1); third in Offensive WAR (7.1), trailing Collins (9.1) and Speaker (8.5); fifth in batting (.319); sixth in on-base percentage (.380); seventh in slugging (.442); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (151).  He, like all the Athletics, was stymied in the World Series, hitting .250 (four-for-16) with two doubles.

More from Wikipedia: “He led the league in home runs for a fourth consecutive season in 1914, with nine, despite suffering from pleurisy during the season. He also batted .319 and added 90 RBIs, 10 triples, and 19 stolen bases.” What could have this man have done if he didn’t miss a whole season in his prime.

moriarty2

3B-George Moriarty, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old

1909

.254, 1 HR, 40 RBI

MVP Rank: 27

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 20 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 3B-312

2nd Time All-Star-It’s been five years since Moriarty made his last All-Star team, but this season was his best ever. He finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.5) and fifth in Defensive WAR (2.3). As you can tell, it was his shining defense which most helped the Tigers. After this season, he’d play partial years for Detroit and the White Sox and be out of the Majors at the age of 30.

Wikipedia says, “Afterward, he became an American League umpire from 1917 to 1940, interrupted only by a 2-year stint as manager of the Tigers in 1927-28. He was one of the AL’s most highly regarded umpires in his era, working in the 1921192519301933 & 1935 World Series (as crew chief in 1930 & 1935), as well as the second All-Star Game in 1934.

“On Memorial Day in 1932, Moriarty worked behind the plate for a Cleveland Indianshome game against the White Sox. When several Chicago players took exception to his calls, he challenged them to settle the dispute under the stands of League Parkafter the game. Pitcher Milt Gaston took him on first but Moriarty knocked him flat, breaking his hand. Several White Sox, including manager Lew Fonseca and catcher and future AL umpire Charlie Berry, took him on in turn. The next day, AL president Will Harridge issued numerous fines and a 10-day suspension for Gaston.

“Moriarty was the grandfather of actor and former Law & Order star Michael Moriarty, who also played pitcher Henry Wiggen in the 1973 baseball movie Bang the Drum Slowly.”

bush4

SS-Donie Bush, Detroit Tigers, 26 Years Old

1909 1910 1912

.252, 0 HR, 32 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. 25 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Plate Appearances-721 (3rd Time)

Bases on Balls-112 (5th Time)

Outs Made-482 (2nd Time)

Assists-544 (4th Time)

Def. Games as SS-157 (3rd Time)

Putouts as SS-425 (2nd Time)

Assists as SS-544 (4th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.22 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.17 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-I mentioned in Bush’s 1912 blurb that Bush’s 425 putouts as a shortstop is still a Major League record and his total number of chances (969) is still and American League record. It was an outstanding fielding year for the light-hitting Bush. He finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.6); 10th in Offensive WAR (4.6); third in Defensive WAR (2.4), behind shortstops George McBride (3.0) and Jack Barry (2.7); eighth in on-base percentage (.373); and stole 35 bases in 61 tries.

SABR says, “One of the greatest defensive shortstops of the Deadball Era, Donie Bush used quick feet and soft hands to lead the American League in assists five times and putouts three times, and his 425 putouts in 1914 established an American League record and tied a major league mark which has never been broken. At the plate, the diminutive 5’6″ 140-pound switch-hitter utilized all his tools to set the table for Detroit’s powerful offense. Though he batted just .250 with little power during his career, Bush scored more than 100 runs four times, thanks to his patience at the plate and ability to work the count. Bush led the league in walks five times during his 16-year-career, including every season from 1909 to 1912. Bush was also a gifted bunter, leading the league in sacrifices twice, and an excellent base-stealer, swiping 406 bags in his career and stealing forty or more bases in a single season four times. Despite these achievements, Bush’s offensive skills remained largely overlooked in an era when fans and commentators focused mostly on batting averages. ‘Just why fans have relegated Bush to the “poor-hitting class” is beyond me,’ Baseball Magazine‘s J.C. Kofoed remarked in 1915. ‘Donie gets on base, and scores more often than any of his slugging mates on the Detroit club.’”

barry3

SS-Jack Barry, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

1910 1913

.242, 0 HR, 42 RBI

MVP Rank: 16

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

3rd Time All-Star-For the second consecutive year, the Athletics placed all four infielders on the All-Star team. It was a close call for Barry, but he eked it out. He finished second in Defensive WAR (2.7), behind only George McBride (3.0). He would eventually end up finishing in the top 10 in Defensive WAR seven times. He also made the World Series, but his hitting, never his best feature, went dead, as he went one-for-14 (.071) as the Miracle Braves swept the Athletics.

SABR says, “Beginning in 1910, the Athletics won four of the next five pennants and three World Series. Summaries of these Series never single out Barry, but baseball people knew better. In 1910 against the Cubs, Collins batted .429, Baker .409, Barry .235. But several members of the Cubs said it was Barry who beat them with his glove, and Cubs manager Frank Chance called him the best shortstop he had ever seen, including Honus Wagner. And despite Baker’s heroics in the 1911 World Series, the four umpires who worked the games picked a Barry play that looked routine to the crowd as the best of the Series.

“Following the A’s sweep at the hands of the Braves in 1914, Mack did not expect the team to go from first to last in a hurry, even though he sold Collins during the offseason. But Frank Baker held out for the entire 1915 season, and by July 1 the A’s had sunk into the cellar. Once Mack made the decision to cut his losses and sell Barry, several teams expressed their interest. The Yankees, Red Sox, and White Sox all wanted him, but Barry preferred to play near his home, so Mack sold him to Boston, where he played second base, a position he considered a snap compared to shortstop. Barry would play only a single inning at short over the rest of his career. “

walkert

LF-Tillie Walker, St. Louis Browns, 26 Years Old

.298, 6 HR, 78 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as LF-145

Putouts as LF-312

Assists as LF-30

Double Plays Turned as LF-6

Assists as OF-30

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.36

Fielding % as LF-.972

1st Time All-Star-Clarence William “Tillie” Walker was born on September 4, 1887 in Telford, TN. The five-foot-11, 165 pound righty would display great power of the course of his career. He stared with Washington in 1911-12. Then he was traded by the Washington Senators with Hippo Vaughn to Kansas City (American Association) for Bert Gallia and Duke Kenworthy and then he was traded by Kansas City (American Association) to the St. Louis Browns for Mack AllisonBunny Brief and $15,000. Walker had his best season ever this year, finishing 10th in WAR (5.8); fifth in WAR Position Players (5.8); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.8); ninth in batting (.298); eighth in slugging (.441); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (146).

SABR says, “Established as the club’s everyday left fielder, Walker, now often called ‘Tilly’ (though the precise origin of this nickname is not known), enjoyed his first standout season in 1914, batting .298 with six home runs (tied for third best in the league), 24 doubles (tied for sixth), 16 triples (fourth best in the league), and a .441 slugging percentage (eighth best in the circuit). Walker was also a patient hitter: his .365 on-base percentage, fueled in part by 51 walks, led the Browns, and his 72 strikeouts were the fourth most in the American League.

“But Walker distinguished himself even more with his throwing arm, as he racked up a league-leading 30 assists. According to The Sporting News, Walker’s throwing arm was ‘the talk of the American League circuit.’  However, some observers felt that Walker’s arm, while powerful, was also too wild.”

speaker6

CF-Tris Speaker, Boston Red Sox, 26 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913

.338, 4 HR, 90 RBI, 0-0, 9.00 ERA, 0 K

MVP Rank: 12

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-10.0 (2nd Time)

Games Played-158

Hits-193

Total Bases-287

Doubles-46 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-115 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-57 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-6.5 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-68

Def. Games as CF-157 (2nd Time)

Putouts as CF-424 (4th Time)

Assists as CF-30 (4th Time)

Double Plays Turned as CF-12 (3rd Time)

Putouts as OF-423 (4th Time)

Double Plays Turned as OF-12 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.89 (5th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.94 (5th Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.90 (5th Time)

6th Time All-Star-Since baseball has such a vast history, it shouldn’t be a surprise there would be two incredible players at one position. Ty Cobb and Speaker were two of the best players in the game, maybe the two greatest position players during this time, and both played centerfield. Which one was better? It depends on how you judge it. If you gauge by WAR, Speaker has bested Cobb three straight seasons. Of course, Cobb only played 98 games this year and still made the All-Star team. Look at the stats above and you might agree with me this was Speaker’s best season ever.

SABR says, “Boston fans loved him. Speaker received $50 each time he hit the Bull Durham sign, first at the Huntington Avenue Grounds and later at Fenway Park. He endorsed Boston Garters, had a $2 straw hat named in his honor, and received free mackinaws and heavy sweaters. Hassan cigarettes created popular trading cards of Speaker depicting him running the bases.

“Despite the team’s success on the field, tensions were often high in the clubhouse. Speaker and catcher Carrigan never got along and had several brawls. Speaker was often not on speaking terms with Duffy Lewis, who, like Carrigan, was an Irish Catholic. (Religious differences had created cliques on the club, with Speaker siding with other Protestants including Joe Wood and Larry Gardner). The atmosphere grew more complicated with the arrival of Babe Ruth in 1915. Ruth crossed Wood and Speaker never fully forgave him. In his book Baseball As I Have Known ItFred Lieb wrote that Speaker once told Lieb he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.”

cobb8

CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913

.368, 2 HR, 57 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

 

Led in:

 

1914 AL Batting Title (8th Time)

Batting Average-.368 (7th Time)

On-Base %-.466 (4th Time)

Slugging %-.513 (7th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.979 (7th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-190 (8th Time)

Offensive Win %-.867 (7th Time)

8th Time All-Star-Cobb doesn’t seem real to me. A writer created him, right? This player, who is the most talented of his time, but felled by his own demons. If you look at the stats in which Cobb led above, you’ll see he was having a great season indeed. Yet he only played 98 games because of his temper. There is a long and descriptive article at The Baseball Historian about Cobb breaking his thumb fighting a butcher’s brother-in-law over a dispute about bad fish. I suggest you read it all. I’ll just post a little of it: “When the police arrived, it was clear that Cobb had been the aggressor, but he had also injured his hand. He was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for a broken thumb, and then was taken into custody and held in jail over night. He was released the next day after Harding declined to press charges, but was re-arrested for disturbing the peace the following week after Carpenter decided that Cobb was going to pay for the damage and humiliation he had caused.”

As for his season, Cobb finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.6); fifth in Offensive WAR (6.2); first in batting (.368), on-base percentage (.466), and slugging (.513), stole 35 of 52 bases, and finished first in Adjusted OPS+ (190). Had his temper not once again got the best of him, the Georgia Peach was on his way to an outstanding season and Detroit might have made the World Series again.

crawford11

RF-Sam Crawford, Detroit Tigers, 34 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1905 1907 1908 1909 1911 1912 1913

.314, 8 HR, 104 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1912)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1957)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1905)

 

Led in:

 

Triples-26 (5th Time)

Runs Batted In-104 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as RF-157 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as OF-157

Fielding % as RF-.977 (3rd Time)

11th Time All-Star-Every time I write about Crawford’s teammate, Ty Cobb, it’s an adventure. In between jotting down his on-the-field exploits, there’s also some off-the-field mayhem that also needs to be noted. There isn’t any of that for Wahoo Sam, who just went out, played the game, and didn’t feel the need to beat up people for no good reason.

Crawford has made more All-Star teams than any other rightfielder thus far. Here’s the complete list:

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Nap Lajoie, 11

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Honus Wagner, 12

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Crawford, 8

Wahoo Sam finished eighth in WAR (6.2); fourth in WAR Position Players (6.2); fourth in Offensive WAR (6.7); sixth in batting (.314); fifth in on-base percentage (.388); third in slugging (.483), behind Cobb (.513) and Tris Speaker (.503); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (158).

Wikipedia says, “Crawford was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1957. At the time, he was living in a small cabin on the edge of the Mojave Desertnear Pearblossom, California. Reporters showed up in Pearblossom with the news, shocking the locals, who were unaware that their neighbor had even played Major League Baseball. After his election, Crawford told the curator in Cooperstown that he wanted his plaque to read, ‘Wahoo Sam.’ He noted: ‘That’s my hometown, and I’m proud of it.’” Apparently, Cobb sent many letters lobbying for Crawford to be in the Hall of Fame, which Sam didn’t know until after the Georgia Peach’s death. Why didn’t a player this good make it sooner?

jackson4RF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, Cleveland Naps, 26 Years Old

1911 1912 1913

.338, 3 HR, 53 RBI

MVP Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. Sure thing)

 

4th Time All-Star-It wasn’t Shoeless Joe’s greatest season, but he still made the All-Star team. It is worth noting Jackson’s best hitting seasons are behind him at only 26 years old. From 1911-13, his Adjusted OPS+ was 190 or above. The highest he will have going forward is in, ironically, his last season of 1920 (172). Still, he’s one of the best players in the game. Jackson finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.6); seventh in Offensive WAR (5.0); fourth in batting (.338); fourth in on-base percentage (.399); fourth in slugging (.464); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (156). Players would kill for an off season like that.

SABR says, “Joe turned down offers from the new Federal League in early 1914, though two Cleveland pitchers joined the new circuit and left the Naps shorthanded on the mound. Federal League raids and the sudden decline of Nap Lajoie caused the Naps to drop from contention, and injuries to Jackson and shortstop Ray Chapman doomed them to last place for the first time in their history. Forced by a broken leg to miss 35 games, Joe saw his average dip to .338 with only 61 runs scored and 53 runs batted in, and he posted new career lows in the speed-dependent categories of triples and stolen bases.”

I didn’t post this in his 1912 blurb, but this is also from SABR. It states, “However, Joe once again finished second in the batting race to Cobb, who batted .409 for the Tigers. ‘What a…league this is,’ Jackson wailed to a reporter. ‘I hit .387, .408, and .395 the last three years and I ain’t won nothing yet!’”

1914 National League All-Star Team

P-Pete Alexander, PHI

P-Bill James, BSN

P-Jeff Pfeffer, BRO

P-Dick Rudolph, BSN

P-Erskine Mayer, PHI

P-Slim Sallee, STL

P-Jeff Tesreau, NYG

P-Bill Doak, STL

P-Babe Adams, PIT

P-Red Ames, CIN

C-Chief Meyers, NYG

C-Roger Bresnahan, CHC

1B-Vic Saier, CHC

1B-Dots Miller, STL

2B-Johnny Evers, BSN

2B-Miller Huggins, STL

3B-Red Smith, BRO/BSN

SS-Buck Herzog, CIN

SS-Rabbit Maranville, BSN

SS-Art Fletcher, NYG

LF-George J. Burns, NYG

LF-Zack Wheat, BRO

LF-Sherry Magee, PHI

LF-Joe Connolly, BSN

RF-Gavvy Cravath, PHI

 

alexander4

P-Pete Alexander, Philadelphia Phillies, 27 Years Old

1911 1912 1913

27-15, 2.38 ERA, 214 K, .234, 0 HR, 7 RBI

MVP Rank: 10

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1938)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-9.1

WAR for Pitchers-8.7

Wins-27 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-355 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts-214 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-32 (2nd Time)

Hits Allowed-327

Batters Faced-1,459 (2nd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.26

Putouts as P-18

4th Time All-Star-A third Major League, the Federal League, started this year and I’ll have more on it in its own section and as it affects the other two leagues.

With the decline and eventual retirement of Christy Mathewson, Alexander takes the reins as the National League’s best pitcher. He had been great for years, of course, but this, and the next three years, are truly going to earn him his great reputation.

And yet, the great Alexander arm couldn’t get the Phillies out of the second division. Managed by Red Dooin, the Phillies dropped from second to sixth with a 74-80 record. The problem is when Old Pete wasn’t pitching, Philadelphia’s record was 47-66. It was actually the Phillies’ hitting, led by Sherry Magee, which helped them the most. Their pitching, outside of Alexander, was awful. It was Dooin’s last year as manager and he ended up with a 392-370 career record. I’m surprised he didn’t get another chance.

The Hall of Fame site gives this story about Alexander getting his nickname: “Alex and his regular catcher, Bill Killefer, went on a hunting trip together and after a day on the trail, the catcher looked at his dirt-encrusted friend and hung the name ‘Alkali Pete’ on him. Though hardly appropriate for a successful young athlete, the nickname stuck to the former Nebraska farm boy. Just before Alexander entered the Army in 1918 during World War I, Alexander’s teammates presented him with a wristwatch with that nickname engraved. As more players and reporters began to use the nickname, it morphed into ‘Old Pete.’”

james

P-Bill James, Boston Braves, 22 Years Old

26-7, 1.90 ERA, 156 K, .256, 0 HR, 9 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 33 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.788

Adj. Pitching Runs-37

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.2

1st Time All-Star-William Lawrence “Seattle Bill” James was born on March 12, 1892 in Iowa Hill, CA. Most people would kill to have one season like James’ 1914 campaign, but that’s all he did have, this one great season. Oh, he pitched in others for Boston. He started in 1913 and then pitched through 1915. He then pitched one game for the Braves in 1919, but 1914 was his only great year, heck, it was his only significant year at all. He finished second in WAR (8.6), behind Philadelphia’s Pete Alexander (9.1); second in WAR for Pitchers (8.1), trailing Alexander (8.7); second in ERA (1.90), with only St. Louis’ Bill Doak having a lower one (1.72); third in innings pitched (332 1/3), behind Alexander and teammate Dick Rudolph (336 1/3); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (150), trailing Doak (162).

James’ miraculous season led the Miracle Braves to the World Series title. They moved up from fifth to first under George Stallings, finishing with a 94-59 record. Boston couldn’t hit, but it had some of the best pitching in the league. On the Fourth of July, the Braves were 15 games out of first with a 26-40 record. The rest of the season, they went 68-19, and incredible .782 percentage to take the National League title handily.

Then, led by two victories each by James and Rudolph, the Miracle Braves continued to astonish the baseball world, sweeping the mighty Athletics. Boston’s staff allowed just six runs in the four games from a team known for its hitting.

pfefferj

P-Jeff Pfeffer, Brooklyn Robins, 26 Years Old

23-12, 1.97 ERA, 135 K, .198, 0 HR, 6 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 71 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-Edward Joseph “Jeff” Pfeffer was born on March 4, 1888 in Seymour, IL. The six-foot-three, 210 pound righty started by pitching two games for the St. Louis Browns in 1911. He then came to Brooklyn in 1913, but really took off this season. He finished third in WAR (7.5), behind Philadelphia’s Pete Alexander (9.1) and Boston’s Bill James (8.6); third in WAR for Pitchers (7.6), trailing Alexander (8.7) and James (8.1); third in ERA (1.97), behind St. Louis’ Bill Doak (1.72) and James (1.90); sixth in innings pitched (315); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (144), trailing Doak (162) and James (150).

Wilbert Robinson took over managing the team and Brooklyn, formerly the Superbas and now the Robins, improved from sixth to fifth with a 75-79 record. Robinson is going to be managing this team for a long time. Thanks to Zack Wheat, the team could hit and led by Pfeffer, it could also pitch, but for some reason, the Robins couldn’t put it all together and finished under .500.

From 1905 to 1911, there was a pitcher named Big Jeff Pfeffer. That was this Jeff Pfeffer’s brother. Why were they both given the nickname of Jeff? This Jeff is Edward Joseph, while Big Jeff was Francis Xavier. Are they purposely trying to confuse me?

Speaking of confusing, Bill James who made the All-Star team is not the only Bill James that was pitching at the time and George J. Burns, who made this All-Star team, is one of two with his name, the other being a rookie in Detroit named George H. Burns. I’m adding the middle initials just so I don’t get confused.

rudolph2

P-Dick Rudolph, Boston Braves, 26 Years Old

1913

26-10, 2.35 ERA, 138 K, .125, 0 HR, 8 RBI

MVP Rank: 7

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-Rudolph is back for the second consecutive year, but now he has a new addition to his name, World Series champion Dick Rudolph. During the season, he finished fifth in WAR (6.4); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.6); seventh in ERA (2.35); second in innings pitched (336 1/3), behind Philadelphia’s Pete Alexander (355); and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (121). In the World Series against the hard-hitting Athletics, Rudolph was outstanding, limiting Philadelphia to two runs (one earned) in 18 innings of pitching. If there would have been such a thing in those days, he would have probably been the Series MVP.

SABR says, “Though he stood only 5′ 9.5″ and weighed just 160 lbs., Dick Rudolph was a large component of George Stallings’ ‘Big Three’ that helped lead the 1914 Boston Braves to their miraculous pennant and World Series sweep. ‘He was the bellwether of the pitching staff,’ said Braves coach Fred Mitchell, ‘and being a little fellow, I believe his success had much to do with big Bill James and George Tyler putting out that little extra effort to keep pace with the cocky kid from the Bronx.’ Unlike the hard-throwing James and Tyler, Rudolph was a ‘pitching cutie’ who relied on his great curveball and spectacular control. He also threw a spitball, but ‘about the best you could say for it was that it was wet,’ recalled his catcher Hank Gowdy.

“In the World Series Rudoph beat Chief Bender, 7-1, in Game One, and Bob Shawkey, 3-1, in Game Four.”

mayer

P-Erskine Mayer, Philadelphia Phillies, 24 Years Old

21-19, 2.58 ERA, 116 K, .194, 1 HR, 5 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 21 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as P-105

1st Time All-Star-Jacob Erskine Mayer was born on January 16, 1890 in Atlanta, GA. The six-foot, 168 pound righty started with Philadelphia in 1912 and had his best season ever this year. He finished sixth in WAR (6.0); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.7); and fifth in innings pitched (321). Mayer probably has one All-Star team left.

Wikipedia says, “On September 4, 1912, Mayer made his major league debut as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies in their game against the New York Giants. Mayer appeared in seven games that season, starting one and losing his only decision of the year.

“Mayer spent his first full season in the major leagues in 1913. Unfortunately, Mayer’s pitching was marked by a dubious moment. In the ninth inning of the Phillies August 18 game against the Chicago Cubs, Mayer set the Major League Baseball record for consecutive hits allowed (9). It was a record that remained unmatched for less than 24 hours as teammate Grover Cleveland Alexander repeated the feat the very next day.

“1914 was the first of Mayer’s back-to-back 20 win seasons, as he won 21 games, 7th-most in the National League. That year, Honus Wagner became the second member of the 3,000 hit club when he hit a double off Mayer. Wagner is the only player to get his 3,000th career hit off a pitcher who won 20 games that same season.” By the way, if you’re wondering if Wagner will ever make another All-Star team, my guess is he’s going to make it in 1915.

sallee3

P-Slim Sallee, St. Louis Cardinals, 29 Years Old

1912 1913

18-17, 2.10 ERA, 105 K, .231, 0 HR, 3 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 14 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Saves-6 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-There weren’t a lot of consistent lefties in the National League during this time, but Sallee fits in that category. He made his third straight All-Star team, finishing seventh in WAR (5.7); seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.4); fifth in ERA (2.10); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (133). Saves wasn’t an official stat during this time, but Sallee tended to pitch in relief about 15-20 games a season, so was always among the league leaders in that category.

SABR says, “Hall of Fame catcher Roger Bresnahan claimed that Slim Sallee ‘had the best control of any southpaw that ever curved a ball over the plate.’ Pitcher Dutch Ruether said, ‘He [Sallee] is a wonderful pitcher. If I ever begin to learn all he knows about baseball I shall be satisfied.’ Baseball Magazine attributed Sallee’s success to ‘imperturbable calm which nothing can disturb, faultless control, and back of all a scheming, crafty brain wise to all the quirks and twists of the pitcher.’

“By 1914, amidst rumors that he was jumping to the Federal League, Sallee was the only member left from the 1908 Cardinal team. Manager Miller Huggins, who had replaced Bresnahan in 1913, led the Cardinals to a third place finish, the first time since 1901 the team landed in the first division. Sallee, an 18 game winner with an ERA of 2.10, led the league with six saves.” Sallee most likely has one more All-Star season left, but it was almost certainly be with another team.

tesreau3P-Jeff Tesreau, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1912 1913

26-10, 2.37 ERA, 189 K, .239, 0 HR, 11 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-6.645 (3rd Time)

Games Started-41 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-8

3rd Time All-Star-What could have this man done had he stuck around a few more years. He’s going to make the All-Star team again next year and then be gone from the Majors by 1918 at the age of 30. This season, the big man finished eighth in WAR (5.6); eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.9); ninth in ERA (2.37); and fourth in innings pitched (322 1/3). While he walked over 100 batters for the third straight season, he continued to be the best at not allowing hits.

John McGraw’s team dropped from first to second this year, thanks to Miracle Braves. The Giants finished 84-70 thanks to great hitting. However, the sudden decline of Christy Mathewson hurt them. By the way, in case you’re wondering what a decline looks like for Big Six, he was 24-13 with “only” a 3.00 ERA. That came out to a paltry 88 ERA+. New York had the worst pitching in the league.

SABR says, “On May 16, 1914, Jeff was only one out away from the second no-hitter of his career when Joe Kelly of the Pirates lined a single for Pittsburgh’s only hit of the game.

“While the rest of the Giants swooned late in the season to finish second to the Miracle Braves, Tesreau led the staff with a 26-10 record and 2.37 ERA. His eight shutouts were the best in the National League, and he also posted career highs in games started (41), complete games (26), innings (322.1), and strikeouts (189). After his big season Jeff barnstormed throughout the West and all the way to Hawaii as a member of an NL all-star team that won 29 of 50 games from an AL squad.”

doak

P-Bill Doak, St. Louis Cardinals, 23 Years Old

19-6, 1.72 ERA, 118 K, .118, 0 HR, 3 RBI

MVP Rank: 13

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. 23 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

1914 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.72

Adjusted ERA+-162

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-3.59

Range Factor/Game as P-2.83

1st Time All-Star-William Leopold “Spittin’ Bill” Doak was born on January 28, 1891 in Pittsburgh, PA. The six-foot, 165 pound righty started with Cincinnati in 1912. Then it let him go and he would play for the next 12 years on the Cardinals. After going 2-8 with a 3.10 ERA in his official rookie year, he came around this season, finishing 10th in WAR (5.0); sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.5); first in ERA (1.72); and first in Adjusted ERA+ (162). He’d have a decent career ahead.

Wikipedia says, “Doak’s main pitch, the spitball, earned him the nickname ‘Spittin’ Bill’. When the pitch was outlawed in 1920, Doak was one of 17 pitchers allowed to continue throwing the spitball.

“Doak made his most lasting contribution to baseball by innovating the design of the baseball glove. In 1920, he suggested to Rawlings that a web should be laced between the first finger and thumb, saying it would create a natural pocket. The Bill Doak glove soon replaced all other baseball gloves and is the standard to this day.”

Oh, the things I learn doing a baseball website! If you would have given me a hundred guesses as to the inventor of the modern baseball glove, I would have never come up with Bill Doak. I wonder if there were protests when the glove first came out, people saying it was an unfair advantage for the defense, these weird pocketed gloves. How big of babies were these ballplayers anyway? In my day, would yell Cap Anson, players didn’t wear gloves!

adams3P-Babe Adams, Pittsburgh Pirates, 32 Years Old

1911 1913

13-16, 2.51 ERA, 91 K, .165, 1 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. Great chance)

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-1.032 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as P-1.000 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Adams continued to pitch well, but I lowered his chances of making my Hall of Fame from Sure Thing to Great Chance. I’m not sure why, except I have a feeling one of his All-Star seasons might not be the sure thing I thought it was. We’ll see, he’ll probably still make it. This season, Adams finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (3.9) and continued to be best control pitcher in the National League.

Whither the great Pirates, who dropped from fourth to seventh, their lowest finish since in 1899. Fred Clarke continued to be the manager on a team with neither good hitting nor good pitching. The team finished 69-85.

Wikipedia says, “Adams was known as an excellent control pitcher. On July 17, 1914, he pitched an entire 21-inning game against the New York Giants without allowing a single walk, surrendering only 12 hits, but losing 3–1 on Larry Doyle‘s home run in the top of the 21st; it is the longest game without a walk in Major League history. Rube Marquard also went the distance for New York to gain the victory, allowing two walks.”

I’m trying to imagine these old ballplayers watching modern day ball with pitchers lasting about four or five innings. Can you imagine the hoopla if a modern day pitcher pitched 21 innings in a game? What would it take to be taken out of a game in those days? Even after giving up a two-run homer in the top of the 21st, Clarke let Adams keep pitching!

ames

P-Red Ames, Cincinnati Reds, 31 Years Old

15-23, 2.64 ERA, 128 K, .128, 1 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Saves-6

Losses-23

1st Time All-Star-Leon Kessling “Red” Ames was born on August 2, 1882 in Warren, OH. The five-foot-10, 185 pound righty might have the best career of someone making his first (and probably last) All-Star team. He pitched for the Giants from 1903-1913, going 108-77 with a 2.45 ERA. He also pitched in three World Series’, in 1905, 1911, and 1912, going 0-1 with a 2.45 ERA over a total of 11 innings. However, it’s a lot easier to pitch on a good team than a bad one and when Ames was traded by the New York Giants with Josh DevoreHeinie Groh and $20,000 to the Cincinnati Reds for Art Fromme, he found out that no matter how good you pitch, the losses will come and he ended up leading the National League in that category.

Ames finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.0) and ninth in innings pitched (297). He was always a strikeout master, finishing in the top 10 in Ks per 9 innings pitched for eight out of nine years from 1905-13. Surprisingly, in the year he didn’t finish in the top 10 in that category, he made the All-Star team.

Red pitched for the Reds (hey, that’s interesting!) through 1915. He was traded midseason to the Card, where he pitched until 1919. He then finished his career with the Phillies in the last part of that year. Altogether, Ames finished 183-167 with a 2.63 ERA and a 24.4 Career WAR. He died in his birthtown on October 8, 1936 at the age of 54.

meyers4

C-Chief Meyers, New York Giants, 33 Years Old

1911 1912 1913

.286, 1 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-126 (3rd Time)

Putouts as C-487 (5th Time)

Double Plays Turned as C-16

4th Time All-Star-Meyers continued to be the top catcher in the National League though it’s not like he had a lot of competition. He finished eighth in Defensive WAR (1.1), as it was his glove that carried him this time and not his bat. It should be mentioned his slash line of .286/.357/.354 for an OPS+ of 115 isn’t bad for his position.

Bleacher Report says, “When you think of Indian baseball players, the name that pops into mine and your head is Chief Bender. Bender was an incredible pitcher. He had 212 wins, 127 losses, a 2.46 earned run average and was the big game pitcher of the great Philadelphia Athletics.

“Meyers wasn’t a power hitter, but one of the greatest pure hitting catchers of his time. Since Bender rose to become one of the best pitchers of all time, Meyers is unappreciated and a forgotten one.

“One sports writer wrote about Meyers, ‘A strong love of justice, a lightning sense of humor, a fund of general information that runs from politics to Plato, a quick, logical mind, and the self-contained, dignified poise that is the hallmark of good breeding-he is easily the most remarkable player in the big leagues.’

“I don’t know about the most remarkable player in the big leagues, but he managed to hit .291 with the Giants, Dodgers and Red Sox in nine seasons, so that is good.

“He had one more fine season in 1914, with 55 RBI and a .286 batting average. He looked tired, though. Fans could tell it.”

bresnahan9

C-Roger Bresnahan, Chicago Cubs, 35 Years Old

1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1910 1911

.278, 0 HR, 24 RBI

MVP Rank: 11

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1945)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

9th Time All-Star-After not making the All-Star team in 1912 and 1913, Bresnahan is back. The Cubbies are the third team in which he made this list. He finished fourth in on-base percentage, a category in which he always ranked high. He has one more season left with the Cubs before hanging it up with a career .279 batting average, .386 on-base percentage, and 126 OPS+, all outstanding for the era and position in which he played.

Hank O’Day took over the managing reins from Johnny Evers and the Cubs dropped from third to fourth with a 78-76 record. He’d never manage again after this season.

One of the top baseball writers disagrees with Bresnahan’s induction to the Hall, the real one, not my fake one. Wikipedia says, “Bresnahan was elected to the Hall of Fame the year after his death. He had received 47 votes of the 226 electors in the 1936 Hall of Fame balloting, and between 43 and 67 votes each time from 1937 through 1942. In the 1945 balloting, occurring one month after Bresnahan’s death, he received 133 votes, still falling short of enshrinement. However, the Permanent Committee noticed the surge in votes and elected him in April 1945.

“Regarding his Hall of Fame induction, [baseball writer Bill] James has criticized the election, saying that Bresnahan ‘wandered in the Hall of Fame on a series of miscalculations’, and regarding his election, that ‘the Hall of Fame had, for the first time, selected a player who clearly had no…business being there.’”

saier2

1B-Vic Saier, Chicago Cubs, 23 Years Old

1913

.240, 18 HR, 72 RBI

MVP Rank: 16

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 18 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-In most seasons during the Deadball Era, Saier’s 18 home runs would have easily led the league, but Gavvy Cravath was on his roll during this time and hit one more dinger than the Cubs’ first baseman. No matter, he still had a good season, his best ever, finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (4.2); sixth in Offensive WAR (3.9); 10th in slugging (.415); and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (131).

At 23-years-old, it certainly looks like Saier is going to have a monster career, but the truth is he’s probably not going to make another All-Star team and will be done in Major League ball at the age of 28. Teams were willing to settle for a .240 average if you hit 18 dingers, but once his power started to decline, his value lessened.

SABR tells about the end of his career, saying, “In an article that appeared in newspapers across the country on July 31, 1915, sportswriter Grantland Rice ranked 24-year-old Chicago Cubs first baseman Vic Saier as one of the top players in the National League. A left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower with that much sought-after combination of power and speed, Saier at the time was leading the NL in runs scored, RBIs, doubles, and triples, and was tied for the lead in stolen bases. He had more extra-base hits than Sam Crawford and had hit for more total bases than Ty Cobb. It must have seemed that baseball immortality beckoned this young phenomenon, the worthy successor to the ‘Peerless Leader,’ Frank Chance. Alas, just 11 days before Rice’s article was published, Saier had suffered a serious leg injury sliding into the plate and had to be carried off the field. He was never again the same player and was out of baseball by the age of 28.”

millerd2

1B-Dots Miller, St. Louis Cardinals, 27 Years Old

1909

.290, 4 HR, 88 RBI

MVP Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 15 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.78

Range Factor/Game as 1B-11.82

2nd Time All-Star-Miller last made the All-Star team as a second baseman for the World Champion Pirates in 1909. Since his rookie year, he was moved to first base by Pittsburgh in 1912 and then traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates with Art ButlerCozy DolanHank Robinson and Chief Wilson to the St. Louis Cardinals for Bob HarmonEd Konetchy and Mike Mowrey before the 1914 season. This season, he finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.1), slashing .290/.339/.393 for an OPS+ of 119. It was easily his best year since his outstanding debut.

SABR says, “After playing regularly for the Pittsburgh Pirates at second base for three seasons and first base for two, Dots Miller became the quintessential utility man, spending time at every infield position for the Cardinals and Phillies during the last seven years of his 12-year career in the majors. In 1915 Ring Lardner picked Miller as the utility man on his personal all-star team. ‘When you’re picking utility guys, you want fellas that does that for a livin’,’ wrote Lardner. ‘The best utility infielder I know anything about is Jack Miller. You can’t call him a regular. He’s in the game everyday, but he don’t never play the same place two days in succession. They’re a’scared he might get thinkin’ the game was monot’nous and quit.’ A lifetime .263 hitter and widely respected baseball man, Miller was just embarking on a second career as a manager when he tragically fell sick and died at age 36.”

evers8

2B-Johnny Evers, Boston Braves, 32 Years Old

1904 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1912

.279, 1 HR, 40 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1912)

 

Led in:

 

1914 NL MVP

Fielding % as 2B-.976

8th Time All-Star-One of the arguments of the MVP voting is how much should a team’s success weigh into a player’s vote. I would argue not a whit, but even in these early MVP votes a winning team had a better chance at having one of its players honored. That’s what happened with Johnny Evers, who had a good season, an All-Star season, but not an MVP season. I would have given it to his teammate, Bill James. That’s not to take away from Evers, who was one of the main reasons the Braves went from last-to-first this year and won the National League pennant.

Evers finished fourth in WAR Position Players (4.9); fourth in Defensive WAR (1.8); and ninth in on-base percentage (.390). In Boston’s 4-0 World Series sweep of the Athletics, Crab hit .438 (seven-for-16) with a steal and two walks. It was a great season for Evers and most likely his last All-Star year.

SABR mentions Evers’ coming over to the Braves from the Cubs, saying, “Nevertheless the unorthodox deal benefited a number of people, none more than Evers himself. His new manager, the like-minded George Stallings, quickly appointed him the Braves team captain. Johnny took his duties seriously, running his teammates ragged in practice and taking it as a personal insult when anyone put forth an effort that he regarded as subpar. ‘He’d make you want to punch him,’ teammate Rabbit Maranville later recalled, ‘but you knew Johnny was thinking only of the team.’” Evers died on March 28, 1947.

huggins4

2B-Miller Huggins, St. Louis Cardinals, 36 Years Old

1905 1906 1911

.263, 1 HR, 24 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (Inducted as manager in 1964)

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-105 (4th Time)

4th Time All-Star-Huggins made his fourth, and most likely last, All-Star team this season, but the little man, managing his second year for the Cardinals, had some success at the helm, finishing third in the National League. This is just a taste of what he would bring to the Bronx Bombers in 1920s. At the plate, Huggins finished fifth in on-base percentage (.396) thanks to his league-leading 105 walks. He also finished eighth in steals with 32.

As for the Cardinals, they finished 81-72, far behind the first-place Braves. Thanks to Slim Sallee, they had arguably the best pitching in the league.

SABR says of his days as Yankees’ manager: “Another of the prima donnas was the game’s biggest star, Babe Ruth. From the start, Huggins knew that Ruth would be a ‘handful.’ Yet he was a challenge worth acquiring. Despite the fact that Huggins embodied the Deadball Era’s ‘small ball’ style of play, he saw the potential of Ruth to revolutionize the game, who could be called a ‘game-changer’ in the broadest sense of the word.

“It was Huggins who urged Ruppert to acquire the Boston slugger after the 1919 season. ‘Huggins had vision…Far-seeing judgment. He planned on a big scale,’ said Ruppert. ‘I doubt if anybody except Huggins had the foreknowledge of just how predominant Ruth could become in the baseball world.’

“Huggins also understood what a great drawing card the Babe would be. ‘He pulls them in. He makes the turnstiles click,’ said Huggins in Ruth’s first season in New York. The public ‘likes the fellow who carries the wallop. The fellow who can pound the ball is always the fellow that will win the hearts of the bleachers…Ruth appeals to everybody.’”

smithr2

3B-Red Smith, Brooklyn Robins/Boston Braves, 24 Years Old

1913

.272, 7 HR, 85 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-150 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 3B-220

Assists as 3B-332 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 3B-28

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.69

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.68

2nd Time All-Star-Smith made the All-Star team for his second consecutive year, starting the year with the Robins. Then on August 10, 1914, he was purchased by the Boston Braves from the Brooklyn Robins. He was hitting only .245 for Brooklyn, but turned it on when he got to Boston, hitting .314 for the Braves. Altogether, Smith finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.3); eighth in Offensive WAR (3.8); and ninth in Defensive WAR (1.1). He didn’t, however, play in the World Series. According to Wikipedia, “After going to Boston, he finally had the chance to compete for a pennant, and won a World Series with them in 1914, but he didn’t play due to broken right leg that he suffered on the final day of the season, and his team never got there again, peaking at a 2nd-place finish in 1915 under manager George Stallings.”

SABR says, “The redhead had threatened to jump to the Federal League and had met with representatives of the league. He also was considered one of a clique of players who were striving to have Robinson replaced as manager by Daubert. Robbie regarded Smith as a trouble maker, and resolved to get rid of him. His chance came when Brooklyn signed third baseman Joe Schultz from the Rochester club The Dodgers sold Smith to the Boston Braves on August 10, 1914.

“Aware of Red’s reputation as a malcontent, Boston manager George Stallings lavished praise on the third sacker, securing him a raise in salary and assuring him that he was just the man to win the championship for the team. The psychology paid off as Smith compiled the highest batting average of any of the Miracle Braves over the course of the 60 games in which he played.”

herzog2

SS-Buck Herzog, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1911

.281, 1 HR, 40 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-In Herzog’s 1911 blog, I mention how much he and Giants’ manager John McGraw battled. McGraw must have had enough because before the 1914 season, Herzog was traded by the New York Giants with Grover Hartley to the Cincinnati Reds for Bob Bescher. The Reds moved him from third base to shortstop and also made him their manager. As a player, Herzog had his best season ever, finishing ninth in WAR (5.3); second in WAR Position Players (5.3), trailing only Giants’ leftfielder George J. Burns (6.5); ninth in Offensive WAR (3.8); second in Defensive WAR (2.6), behind only Boston shortstop Rabbit Maranville (4.2); and second in steals (46), trailing Burns (62).

As a manager, Herzog took over for Joe Tinker and the team dropped from seventh to eighth with a 60-94 record. It had the worst hitting in the league with a 78 OPS+.

Baseball Reference says, “When Herzog broke in with the Giants in 1908, he was universally (and incorrectly) believed to be Jewish based upon his very large and mishapen nose (the result of a childhood broken nose that was never properly set). The following quote is from Joe Vila in the September 17, 1908 edition of The Sporting News, notable for its compact writing style and the number of stereotypes it shoves into two sentences:

“’The long-nosed rooters are crazy whenever young Herzog does anything noteworthy. Cries of “Herzog! Herzog! Goot poy, Herzog!” go up regularly, and there would be no let up even if a million ham sandwiches suddenly fell among these believers in percentages and bargains.’ (Ed. Note-Ouch!)

“Although Herzog apparently didn’t care about the mistaken notion at first, he finally outed himself as ‘Dutch as sauerkraut’ at the end of the season after being wished a Happy New Year by dozens of fans on Rosh Hashanah.”

maranville

SS-Rabbit Maranville, Boston Braves, 22 Years Old

.246, 4 HR, 78 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1954)

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 99 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-4.2

Games Played-156

Outs Made-469

Assists-574

Errors Committed-65

Def. Games as SS-156

Putouts as SS-407

Assists as SS-575

Errors Committed as SS-65

Double Plays Turned as SS-92

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.32

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.29

1st Time All-Star-Walter James Vincent “Rabbit” Maranville was born on November 11, 1891 in Springfield, MA. He started with Boston in 1912 and will be one of the rare people who made the Hall of Fame almost purely because of his defense. His incredible 4.2 Defensive WAR was a big reason the Braves made the World Series. In the Series, his bat came alive as hit .308 (four-for-13) with two steals. The Braves swept the Athletics, 4-0.

Whether or not he makes my Hall of Fame will depend completely on how many times his stellar defense puts him on the All-Star team. Shortstop’s a hard position to gauge, so we’ll see.

SABR says, “Maranville’s greatest contributions, of course, came with the glove. Boston had purchased second baseman Johnny Evers from the Chicago Cubs during the previous winter, and he and Rabbit gave the Braves the best middle infield in baseball. Though no sportswriter ever penned a poem about Maranville-to-Evers-to-Schmidt, that combination turned far more double plays in 1914 than Tinker, Evers, and Chance ever did in any one season. ‘It was just Death Valley, whoever hit a ball down our way,’ Rabbit recalled. ‘Evers with his brains taught me more baseball than I ever dreamed about. He was psychic. He could sense where a player was going to hit if the pitcher threw the ball where he was supposed to.’”

“[In Game Two of the World Series],  Rabbit was already playing only 10 feet from second base, but Evers looked over and told him to move closer. The young shortstop followed orders, moving only five feet from the bag. Bill James was about to deliver his pitch when Evers called time and instructed Rabbit to move even closer. Maranville moved within one yard of second base. On James’ first pitch, Murphy hit a rifle shot between the pitcher’s legs. Rabbit was practically standing on second when he fielded the grounder and fired the ball to first to complete a game-ending double play.”

fletcher2

SS-Art Fletcher, New York Giants, 29 Years Old

1913

.286, 2 HR, 79 RBI

MVP Rank: 13

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-13 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Fletcher made his second consecutive All-Star team and is well on his way to making my Hall of Fame. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.3); 10th in Offensive WAR (3.8); and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.7). Of all the good shortstops in the National League, Fletcher probably had the best bat, not counting Honus Wagner, of course.

SABR says, “McGraw saw something–perhaps a mirror image of himself–in the brash, brainy youngster. At the start of the 1911 season he benched his veteran third sacker, Art Devlin, in favor of Fletcher. In mid-May the Giants traded their regular shortstop, Al Bridwell, back to the Boston Nationals for Buck Herzog. McGraw installed Herzog at third base and gave Fletcher the regular job at shortstop. Initially the fans couldn’t believe that a former utility man was replacing the popular Bridwell, and they razzed Art unmercifully. But he soon won them over with his sterling defensive play and offensive skills that were far superior to Bridwell’s. The gritty right-handed hitter finished fifth in the National League in batting average (.319) and on-base percentage (.400), and began a 10-year streak of ranking among the league leaders in times hit by pitch (except for 1915, he led the NL in that category each year from 1913 to 1918). He was also a notorious free-swinger; his 30 bases on balls in 1911 were a career high, and in 1915 he drew only six walks despite a career-high 562 at-bats.” Fletcher’s very underrated.

burnsgeorgej

LF-George J. Burns, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

.303, 3 HR, 60 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 57 percent chance)

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-6.5

Runs Scored-100

Stolen Bases-62

Times On Base-264

Def. Games as OF-154

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.52

1st Time All-Star-George Joseph Burns was born on November 24, 1889 in Utica, NY. The five-foot-seven, 160 pound outfielder started with the Giants in 1911. This season, his best ever, he finished fourth in WAR (6.5); first in WAR Position Players (6.5); second in Offensive WAR (5.7), behind Philadelphia leftfielder Sherry Magee (5.9); eighth in batting (.303); second in on-base percentage (.403), trailing only Brooklyn rightfielder Casey Stengel (.404); ninth in slugging (.417); first in steals (62); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (148).

I’ve dubbed this George Burns as George J. Burns to keep from confusing him with the American League George Burns, George H. Burns. Both will be making some All-Star teams. Of course, neither of them should be confused with the famous comedian, Nathan Birnbaum, who changed his stage name to George Burns. He was already in vaudeville at this time.

Wikipedia says, “George Joseph Burns (November 24, 1889 – August 15, 1966) was an American left fielder in Major League Baseball who spent most of his career as the leadoff hitter for the New York Giants. A soft-spoken person, he was nicknamed ‘Silent George’ by his teammates, and he was said to be one of the best pool players ever to play major league baseball. An effective leadoff man who was revered for his plate discipline, Burns is one of only three players in major league history to lead the league in runs and walks five times each; the others are Ted Williams and Babe Ruth. A two-time stolen base champion, he holds the Giants franchise record for stolen bases in a single season (62, in 1914), and held the club’s career record from 1919 to 1972. At the end of his career, his 1262 games in left field ranked eighth in major league history, and his total of 1844 games in the outfield ranked sixth in NL history.”

wheat

LF-Zack Wheat, Brooklyn Robins, 26 Years Old

.319, 9 HR, 89 RBI

MVP Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1959)

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as LF-331 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as LF-14

Putouts as OF-331

1st Time All-Star-Zachariah Davis “Zack” or “Buck” Wheat was born on May 23, 1888 in Hamilton, MO. The five-foot-10, 170 pound left-hitting leftfielder started his career with Brooklyn in 1909, but is really going to take off from this point forward. This season, Wheat finished fifth in WAR Position Players (4.9); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.1); fourth in batting (.319); fourth in slugging (.452); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (144).

Wikipedia says, “Wheat continued his steady and consistent climb up the batting charts in 1912, hitting .305, and finished the season among the league leaders in home runs and slugging percentage. Over the next four seasons, he continued to be among the leaders of many offensive categories including home runs, batting average, slugging average, hits, doubles, triples, and RBIs. It was during the 1912 season that Wheat married Daisy Kerr Forsman, and she became his default agent, encouraging him to hold out for a better contract each season. Players in his day generally signed one-year contracts before every season. Each time Wheat held out, he received more money, the club not wanting to lose one of its best hitters and the team’s most popular player. This tactic of threatening to hold out served him well during throughout his career, including during the World War I era, when he raised and sold mules to the United States Army as pack animals. He claimed that he did so well, that he didn’t need to play during the summer. The team, fearing that they might lose a great player during the prime of his career, succumbed to his demands every year.”

magee7

LF-Sherry Magee, Philadelphia Phillies, 29 Years Old

1905 1906 1907 1908 1910 1913

.314, 15 HR, 103 RBI

MVP Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

Offensive WAR-5.9 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.509 (2nd Time)

Hits-171

Total Bases-277 (2nd Time)

Doubles-39

Runs Batted In-103 (3rd Time)

Runs Created-105 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-65 (3rd Time)

Offensive Win %-.791 (2nd Time)

Power-Speed #-18.8

7th Time All-Star-Proverbs 16:18 says, Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. Pride is not an uncommon virtue among ballplayers like Magee, who are so good but so arrogant. It doesn’t help he was good from the get-go, making an All-Star team at the age of 20. But my mind keeps wondering, is that really all there is that keeps him from Cooperstown? If he had a few more hits and batted .300, would he be there? It didn’t seem to help him to be a power hitter in a bunt-and-singles era.

According to SABR, something changed his personality this season. It says, “That all changed, however, when Magee was named captain of the Phillies in 1914. ‘When he was given the captaincy everyone looked at affairs from a different viewpoint,’ said one veteran teammate. ‘Now he could talk all he liked and there would be no resentment, for that was all a part of his job. And it gave the added stimulus to Magee that made him the greatest teamworker we had.’ After opening the season at his usual position in left field, Sherry demanded an opportunity to play shortstop in mid-May when it became apparent that none of the players attempting to replace the departed Mickey Doolan was adequate. ‘I can’t do any worse than some of the men that have been in there,’ he told Dooin. Before the Phils acquired Jack Martin in July, Magee played 39 games at Doolan’s old spot, performing surprisingly well for a career outfielder. With characteristic immodesty, he even declared himself among the best shortstops in the business. ‘Others were more conservative in their estimate of his ability,’ wrote one reporter, who nonetheless acknowledged that he was not the worst of Doolan’s replacements.”

connolly

LF-Joe Connolly, Boston Braves, 30 Years Old

.306, 9 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 36 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as LF-.974

1st Time All-Star-Joseph Francis Connolly was born on February 1, 1884 in North Smithfield, RI. The five-foot-seven, 165 pound leftfielder started with Boston in 1913 and ended in 1916. This was his best season ever, as he finished seventh in Offensive WAR (3.9); seventh in batting (.306); seventh in on-base percentage (.393); third in slugging (.494), behind Philadelphia outfielders Sherry Magee (.509) and Gavvy Cravath (.499); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (158), trailing only Cravath (162). In the World Series sweep of the Athletics, Connolly went one-for-nine. He would play two more seasons after this one and be out of the Majors.

There are always many reason for a fluke title like the Braves won, but one of them is many of Boston’s players played their best season ever in this one year. The Braves’ best pitcher, Bill James, would never have another good season, nor would Connolly, but at least for one year, both were at their finest.

Wikipedia says, “In 1914, Connolly was a member of the Braves team that went from last place to first place in two months, becoming the first team to win a pennant after being in last place on the Fourth of July. He was the offensive star of the 1914 Braves, playing predominantly against right-handed pitching and usually batting third in the order at bat. He led his team with a .306 average (the only regular to hit .300), 28 doubles (fourth in the National League), nine home runs (fifth in the league), and a .494 slugging percentage (third in the league). He hit .111 (1-9) with a run and one RBI during the 1914 World Series, as the Braves defeated Connie Mack‘s heavily favored Philadelphia Athletics in four games.”

cravath2

RF-Gavvy Cravath, Philadelphia Phillies, 33 Years Old

1913

.299, 19 HR, 100 RBI

MVP Rank: 22

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

On-Base Plus Slugging-.901 (2nd Time)

Home Runs-19 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-162 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-41 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-4.6 (2nd Time)

AB per HR-26.3 (3rd Time)

Assists as RF-34

Assists as OF-34 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Cravath came just a few years too late to be a true superstar and also most likely a Hall of Fame inductee. He was a power hitter in the Deadball Era, leading the National League in dingers six out of seven years. Unfortunately for him, the first time he led was in 1913 when he was 32. As for this season, he finished third in Offensive WAR (5.3), behind teammate Sherry Magee (5.9) and New York leftfielder George J. Burns (5.7); ninth in batting (.299); third in on-base percentage (.402), trailing only Brooklyn rightfielder Casey Stengel (.404) and Burns (.403); second in slugging (.499), with only Magee (.509) hitting for more power; and first in Adjusted OPS+ (162).

Wikipedia says, “Other historians disagree citing the fact that his numbers were largely a product of his tiny home park. He repeated as home run champion in 1914, hitting all of his 19 homers in home games, while again sharing the league lead in assists and finishing second in RBI and slugging.

“Regarded as one of the sport’s pioneer sluggers of the 20th century, Cravath went on to become the first player to win more than five home run titles. However, his home run total was overwhelmingly a product of the hitter-friendly dimensions of his home park with the Phillies, the Baker Bowl; Cravath hit 92 of his 119 career homers in the Baker Bowl.

“In a June 27, 2004 interview with the Washington Post, 7-time Jeopardy! champion Tom Walsh, who set the record for wins on the program in January 2004 before Ken Jennings came along later that year and won 74 games in a row, said, ‘I feel like “Cactus Gavvy” Cravath. Do you know who that is? Right. Nobody does. He’s the guy who had the home run record before Babe Ruth came along.’” Walsh should have done his research. Ned Williamson actually had the home run record of 27 in 1884. At the least, he could at least read my page!

1913 American League All-Star Team

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Reb Russell, CHW

P-Eddie Cicotte, CHW

P-Cy Falkenberg, CLE

P-Jim Scott, CHW

P-Willie Mitchell, CLE

P-Ray Collins, BOS

P-Vean Gregg, CLE

P-Ray Caldwell, NYY

P-Hugh Bedient, BOS

C-Wally Schang, PHA

C-Ed Sweeney, NYY

1B-Stuffy McInnis, PHA

1B-Chick Gandil, WSH

2B-Eddie Collins, PHA

2B-Nap Lajoie, CLE

3B-Home Run Baker, PHA

SS-Jack Barry, PHA

SS-Buck Weaver, CHW

CF-Tris Speaker, BOS

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Burt Shotton, SLB

CF-Clyde Milan, WSH

RF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, CLE

RF-Sam Crawford, DET

 

johnson6

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 24 Years Old

1908 1909 1910 1911 1912

36-7, 1.14 ERA, 243 K, .261, 2 HR, 14 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

1913 AL Pitching Triple Crown

1913 AL MVP

1913 AL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-16.4 (2nd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-15.0 (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-1.14 (2nd Time)

Wins-36

Win-Loss %-.837

Walks & Hits per IP-0.780 (2nd Time)

Hits per 9 IP-6.035 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.988

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.321 (3rd Time)

Innings Pitched-346 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-243 (3rd Time)

Complete Games-29 (3rd Time)

Shutouts-11 (2nd Time)

Home Runs Allowed-9

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-6.395 (2nd Time)

Batters Faced-1,271 (2nd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-259 (2nd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.90 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-71 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-8.3 (2nd Time)

Putouts as P-21

Fielding % as P-1.000

6th Time All-Star-Just wow! For once, the MVP voters and I agree, but if either of us would have picked anyone but Walter Johnson this year, we’d be nuts. Could this 1913 season of the Big Train be the most dominant pitching season of all time? It was the highest ERA+ of all time, a record that would be beat in 1914 by Dutch Leonard. However, Dutch would pitch 120 less innings than Johnson. I think in the years I’ve been doing this list, it’s the most incredible mound performance I’ve recorded.

This season helped the Senators finish second in the American League for the second year in a row, six-and-a-half games behind Philadelphia. Clark Griffith led the team to a 90-64 record, mainly due to Johnson. When the Big Train didn’t get the decision, the Senators went 54-57.

SABR says, “Walter’s peak years were 1912-13, when he went 33-12 and 36-7, winning a Chalmers automobile as American League MVP during the latter year. He was now admired all over America not only for his pitching exploits and his fierce competitiveness, but also for the modesty, humility and dignity with which he conducted himself, never arguing with umpires, berating his teammates for their errors, brushing back hitters or using ‘foreign substances’ on the baseball. At a time when many ballplayers were ruffians and drunkards, Walter was never in a brawl and didn’t patronize saloons.

“During the summer of 1913, Walter Johnson met the love of his life, Hazel Lee Roberts, the daughter of Nevada’s congressman. They renewed their acquaintance when Walter returned from Kansas in 1914 and their romance soon became the talk of Washington society. The couple was married June 24, 1914, with the Chaplain of the U.S. Senate officiating. Their marriage was blessed with six children, of whom five lived to adulthood.”

russell

P-Reb Russell, Chicago White Sox, 24 Years Old

22-16, 1.90 ERA, 122 K, .189, 1 HR, 7 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-52

Def. Games as P-52

1st Time All-Star-Ewell Albert “Reb” Russell was born on March 12, 1889 in Jackson, MS. The five-foot-11, 185 pound pitcher had a great rookie year for the White Sox, his best year ever. He finished second in WAR (9.1), behind only Washington’s Walter Johnson (16.4); second in WAR for Pitchers (8.8), trailing only Johnson (15.0); fourth in ERA (1.90); second in innings pitched (316 2/3), behind The Big Train (346); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (154). It certainly looked like Russell was off to a great career but that wouldn’t happen.

Jimmy Calllahan managed Chicago to a better record in 1913 (78-74) than in 1912 (78-76), but a worse finish as it dropped from fourth to fifth. As always, the White Sox had great pitching, led by Russell, but paltry hitting.

SABR says of his debut season, “With superb control and a rising fastball, left-hander Reb Russell rose to stardom with one of the best rookie pitching performances of the Deadball Era, notching 22 victories and tossing eight shutouts for the Chicago White Sox in 1913. A typical Russell start featured few walks, few strikeouts, few runs, and many balls hit in the air as popups to the infielders or soft flies to the outfielders. ‘Russell gets out of a lot of tight places on his nerve,’ White Sox manager Jimmy Callahan said. ‘Three men on the bases, with none out, is a situation that fails to shake him. In fact, it is in the pinches that he shows to advantage.’”

cicotte

P-Eddie Cicotte, Chicago White Sox, 29 Years Old

18-11, 1.58 ERA, 121 K, .143, 0 HR, 2 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 80 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as P-109

1st Time All-Star-Edgar Victor “Eddie” or “Knuckles” Cicotte (pronounced SEE-cott) was born on June 19, 1884 in Springwells, MI. The five-foot-nine, 175 pound pitcher was most famous for being one of the Chicago Eight who threw the 1919 World Series. There’s a lot of talk how getting thrown out of baseball kept Shoeless Joe Jackson out of the Hall of Fame, but Cicotte was well on his way to a Hall of Fame career himself. He’s going to come very close to making mine.

Cicotte started with the Detroit Tigers as a 21-year-old in 1905. He didn’t play in the Majors again until 1908, when he pitched for the Red Sox. In the middle of the 1912 season, he was purchased by the Chicago White Sox from the Boston Red Sox. Leaving Fenway Park and going to Comiskey saved his career and this season, he finished eighth in WAR (7.2); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (7.5); second in ERA (1.58), behind only Washington’s Walter Johnson (1.14); sixth in innings pitched (268); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (186), trailing Johnson (259).

SABR says, “Though he didn’t invent the pitch, Eddie ‘Knuckles’ Cicotte was perhaps the first major-league pitcher to master the knuckleball. According to one description, Cicotte gripped the knuckler by holding the ball ‘on the three fingers of a closed hand, with his thumb and forefinger to guide it, throwing it with an overhand motion, and sending it from his hand as one would snap a whip. The ball acts like a “spitter,” but is a new-fangled thing.’”

falkenberg

P-Cy Falkenberg, Cleveland Naps, 33 Years Old

23-10, 2.22 ERA, 166 K, .119, 0 HR, 5 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Wild Pitches-13 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Frederick Peter “Cy” Falkenberg was born on December 17, 1879 in Chicago, IL. The six-foot-five, 180 pound pitcher started with Pittsburgh in 1903. He then played his next season in the Majors with Washington from 1905-08. In the middle of the 1908 season, Falkenberg was purchased with Dave Altizer by the Cleveland Naps from the Washington Senators for $7,000. He didn’t play in the Major Leagues in 1912, but this season, finally came through, finishing ninth in WAR (7.0); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (7.3); eighth in ERA (2.22); fifth in innings pitched (276); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (138).

Cleveland, managed by Joe Birmingham, climbed from fifth to third with a 86-66 record, thanks in great part to Falkenberg’s pitching.

SABR says, “Cy Falkenberg was perhaps the most unlikely pitching star of the Deadball Era. Nothing special for most of his career, he developed a deadly emery ball at age 32 in 1913, and rocketed to the forefront of major league pitchers. ‘Falkenberg has upset all possible existing dope, has broken preconceived notions into a million scattered fragments,[and] has set a high-water mark that will stand as long as records stand,’ F.C. Lane declared during Falkenberg’s breakout campaign. Just four years later, however, Falkenberg was out of the majors for good after a dalliance with the ill-fated Federal League. A tall, gawky hurler with a peculiar delivery, Falkenberg’s three-year stretch as a dominant pitcher (1912–-1914) is often obscured by the fact that one of the three seasons occurred in the Federal League and another in the minors.”

scott2

P-Jim Scott, Chicago White Sox, 25 Years Old

1911

20-21, 1.90 ERA, 158 K, .072, 1 HR, 8 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Games Started-38

Losses-21

2nd Time All-Star-Scott made his second All-Star team and will most likely make one more. This season, the big man finished 10th in WAR (6.7); third in WAR for Pitchers (7.5), behind Washington’s Walter Johnson (15.0) and teammate Reb Russell (8.8); third in ERA (1.90), trailing Johnson 1.14 and teammate Eddie Cicotte (1.58); third in innings pitched (312 1/3), with only Johnson (346) and Russell (316 2/3) pitching more; and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (154).

SABR says, “The 1912 season was a lost one for Scott. He started well, pitching an entire 15 inning scoreless tie against Washington on April 20. The extended outing developed into a case of rheumatism that limited the pitcher to six games that season. In 1913, he recovered to become the staff ace and record a remarkable season. Scott started 38 games, completing 27, and relieved in 10 others to throw a total of 312 innings. He also achieved a rare feat of winning and losing 20 games in the same season. His 1.91 ERA still makes him the only pitcher in major league history to lose 20 games with an ERA less than 2.00. After the season, he joined teammate and close friend Buck Weaver and other big league stars on a goodwill tour to Asia, Australia, and Europe.”

With all of these great pitching seasons, you might guess Comiskey Park was a pitcher’s haven, but at this time, it only slightly favored the hurlers. There were some years, like 1914, that the park actually favored the hitter.

mitchellw

P-Willie Mitchell, Cleveland Naps, 23 Years Old

14-8, 1.91 ERA, 141 K, .086, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 21 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-William “Willie” Mitchell was born exactly 75 years before yours truly, on December 1, 1889 in Pleasant Grove, MS. The six-foot, 176 pound lefty started with Cleveland in 1909 and really put it together this season, finishing sixth in WAR for Pitchers (6.1); fifth in ERA (1.91); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (160), behind Washington’s Walter Johnson (259) and Chicago’s Eddie Cicotte (186). That’s not bad company.

After this season, Mitchell stayed with Cleveland until 1916, when he was traded midseason to Detroit. He would finish his career with the Tigers in 1919 with a lifetime record of 83-92 and a career ERA of 2.88.

Of course, he’s most famous for being the first pitcher to face Babe Ruth. SABR says, “The Cleveland Naps met the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on July 11, 1914. The pitching matchup was intriguing: The Naps started Willie Mitchell, a 24-year-old left-hander with a biting curveball, and the Red Sox sent a 19-year-old lefty, Babe Ruth, to the mound for his major league debut. The Naps were anxious to take a look at Ruth, to see what all the hype was about. Ruth was ‘heralded from one end of baseballdom to the other, this season, as the greatest youngster developed in the minor league ranks…’ In the second inning, he made his first major league plate appearance and was struck out by Mitchell. Both pitchers allowed eight hits, and Ruth came away with a 4-3 victory, with relief help from Dutch Leonard.”

collinsr3P-Ray Collins, Boston Red Sox, 26 Years Old

1910 1912

19-8, 2.63 ERA, 88 K, .150, 1 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

3rd Time All-Star-Collins continued to be Boston’s best pitcher even though he was a lefty in Fenway Park. He finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.4) and was helped with good run support. He most likely has one All-Star team left.

As for his team, the Red Sox dropped from first to fourth with a 79-71 record. That led to the dismissal of Jake Stahl (39-41) and the hiring of Bill Carrigan (40-30). Stahl, despite a World Series championship in 1912, would never manage again and die at the age of 43 in 1922. Carrigan would get the privilege of being Babe Ruth’s first manager. This year’s squad had good hitting, led by centerfielder Tris Speaker, but only average pitching.

Wikipedia says, “Collins enjoyed his best season yet in 1913, finishing at 19–8, as his .714 winning percentage was the second-highest in the league. In the midseason, he pitched a four-hit, 9–0 shutout and hit a home run St. Louis Browns on July 9. Later, on July 26, he pitched a five-hitter and hit a bases-loaded triple to give Boston a 4–1 victory over the Chicago White Sox. Collins also faced great Walter Johnson and the Washington Senators three times that season. Each game finished 1–0, with Collins winning two of them, including scoreless ball for 11 innings on August 29.”

When Wikipedia writes statements like “Collins enjoyed his best season yet in 1913,” who is making that judgment? In 1910, Collins went only 13-11, but he had a 1.62 ERA. I picked that one as his best year.

gregg3

P-Vean Gregg, Cleveland Naps, 28 Years Old

1911 1912

20-13, 2.24 ERA, 166 K, .131, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-124

3rd Time All-Star-There have many players like Gregg over the years, those who start impressively but fade quickly. After making the All-Star team for his third straight season, Gregg would fade out afterward. But let’s not be so negative, because this season, Gregg finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.6); ninth in ERA (2.24); fourth in innings pitched (285 2/3); and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (136).

SABR says, “Gregg had his last outstanding season in the major leagues in 1913. He started the season off underweight, the result of illness during spring training, but by June he had regained his strength and ran off 32 consecutive scoreless innings, beating Boston, Philadelphia, Washington and Detroit during the streak. When Gregg beat the league-leading A’s and Chief Bender on August 17 in front of the largest crowd in League Park history, the Naps were in second place, only 5 1/2 games back of Philadelphia. However, arm soreness again crept its way into Gregg’s season. He struck out Ty Cobb three times on September 4, only to lose when Cobb drove in Sam Crawford with the game winner in the twelfth inning. With his arm growing lamer as the season entered its final stages, Gregg became a 20-game winner for the third time on October 1, beating the Tigers 8-1. But it was too little, too late, and the Naps ultimately faded to a third-place finish under new manager Joe Birmingham.

“Suffering from prostate cancer, Gregg died at the age of 79 on July 29, 1964 in a convalescent home in Aberdeen, Washington.”

caldwell2

P-Ray Caldwell, New York Yankees, 25 Years Old

1911

9-8, 2.41 ERA, 87 K, .289, 0 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 29 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000

2nd Time All-Star-It seems very unusual to me a man with a 9-8 record is making this All-Star team, but Caldwell is making it for his all-around play not just his pitching. His pitching WAR was 3.8 and his Offensive WAR was 0.7. He was such a good hitter, he was frequently used as a pinch-hitter and also in the outfield. This season, Caldwell finished 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (124).

The Yankees brought in a new manager this season, Frank Chance, but it didn’t help the squad. Well, he did move them up from eighth to seventh with a 57-94 record, so maybe he helped a smidge. The team had awful hitting and bad pitching, but they did have a new nickname.

Fansided says, “But in 1913, the team moved to the Polo Grounds. The Polo Grounds had been devastated by a fire in 1911 and had needed to be rebuilt.The Highlanders had graciously allowed the Giants of the National League to share their home at Hilltop Park while the Polo Grounds were being rebuilt.

“With Hilltop Park becoming old and decrepit, the Giants returned the favor and invited the Highlanders into their home in 1913. The problem was that the Highlanders nickname no longer made sense. The team no longer played at the top of a hill, they now played in a hollow near the Harlem River.

“It was common for teams to go by more than one nickname in those days. Many fans had already referred to the team as the Yankees. So it was an easy transition to make that the new name.”

bedient

P-Hugh Bedient, Boston Red Sox, 23 Years Old

15-14, 2.78 ERA, 122 K, .192, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 52 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

1st Time All-Star-Hugh Carpenter Bedient was born on October 23, 1889 in Gerry, NY. The six-foot, 185 pound righty started with Boston in 1912 with an impressive season, finishing 20-9 with a 2.92 ERA. In the Red Sox’s World Series victory over the Giants, he pitched in four games, starting two, pitched 18 innings and allowed just two runs, only one of which was earned. If I had a vote in the matter, I might have named him MVP of the Series. Him or Buck Herzog on the losing team.

This season, Bedient finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.4) and ninth in innings pitched (259). After this season, he would finish his career pitching for the Red Sox in 1914 and the Federal League Buffalo Blues in 1915.

Look at this story from SABR: “After high-school graduation in June of 1908, the right-hander pitched that summer for his local semipro team, the Falconer Independents. On July 25, his team played a club from Corry, Pennsylvania. This was a highly anticipated rematch between the two teams and drew enormous local interest. Tied at 1-1 after nine innings, the game continued on and on with Hugh piling up strikeouts along the way.

“In the top of the 23rd inning, Falconer pushed across two runs on a wild throw. Likely running on adrenaline, Bedient promptly struck out all three Corry batsmen he faced in the bottom of the inning. In 23 innings, he had allowed just six hits, walked only one batter, and struck out a jaw-dropping 42 hitters.”

schang

C-Wally Schang, Philadelphia Athletics, 23 Years Old

.266, 3 HR, 30 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 33 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-Walter Henry “Wally” Schang was born on August 22, 1889 in South Wales, NY. The five-foot-10, 180 pound switch-hitter had a great rookie year for Philadelphia, slashing .266/.392/.415 for an OPS+ of 138. Schang would continue to be one of the best hitting catchers in baseball throughout his 19-year career. He proved this in the World Series, also, hitting five-for-14 (.357) with a triple, a home run, and seven RBI. If there would have been a World Series MVP in those days, Schang had a good shot at it. The Athletics would go on to beat the Giants, four games to one.

SABR says, “As the 1913 season opened, Connie Mack knew he had a talented roster. With Jack Lapp and the aging Ira Thomas already on board, Mack allowed the young rookie to observe his major league colleagues and slowly eased him into action. When the season was concluded, Schang had managed 207 at bats, hitting a healthy .266, and ranked first among all major league backstops with three home runs and a .392 on base percentage. Defensively, Schang quickly developed into one of the league’s best backstops, with 92 assists in 72 games behind the plate. ‘Schang has proved one of the wonders of the year,’ veteran sportswriter Hugh Fullerton observed. ‘Schang is steadier and works with more judgment than he did during the early part of the year, studies batters better, and works better with the pitchers.’” Even though I only rate him as having a 33 percent chance of making the Hall of Fame, those predictions are often wrong for catchers, so we’ll see.

sweeneye

C-Ed Sweeney, New York Yankees, 24 Years Old

.265, 2 HR, 40 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 49 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as C-180

Passed Balls-19

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-205

Caught Stealing as C-133 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Edward Francis “Ed” or “Jeff” Sweeney was born on July 19, 1888 in Chicago, IL. The six-foot-one, 200 pound catcher started with New York in 1908. He never could hit, making this All-Star team because of his glove and durability. He slashed .265/.348/.322 for an OPS+ of 96, his highest Adjusted OPS+ ever. He would end his career slashing .232/.310/.277 for an OPS+ of 73. Sweeney played with the Yankees through 1915 and then played 17 games for Pittsburgh in 1919. After that, his Major League career was over at the age of 30.

Look at this story from the New York Times: “[Frank] Chance, the manager, was deaf in one ear as a result of repeated beanings. As the Yankees’ losses piled up, [Hal] Chase took advantage of that.

“He would sit on the bench to the side of Chance’s deaf ear and mimic him. He would yell the same order while scrunching his face to mock Chance, deliberately misinterpreting his instructions. Some laughed, but not the starting catcher Ed Sweeney, who told Chance what Chase had been doing. By then, Chance had become aware of Chase’s antics.”

The article is about Hal Chase, a rapscallion who allegedly was throwing games this season. He’s one of the most interesting and vile people of this era and the article paints a great picture of him, so I would suggest reading the whole thing. Chase would be traded by the Yankees to the White Sox before the season ended.

mcinnis2

1B-Stuffy McInnis, Philadelphia Athletics, 22 Years Old

1912

.324, 4 HR, 90 RBI

MVP Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 14 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,504 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 1B-148 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,504 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.992

2nd Time All-Star-McInnis continued to establish himself as the American League’s best first baseman and again helped lead the Athletics to the pennant. Stuffy had his best season ever, finishing sixth in WAR Position Players (5.4); ninth in Offensive WAR (4.5); seventh in batting (.324); ninth in on-base percentage (.382); eighth in slugging (.416); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (135). In the first World Series in which he played regularly, McInnis faltered, hitting .118 (two-for-17) with one double. Still, Philadelphia went on to beat the Giants, 4-1.

Speaking of Philadelphia, Connie Mack led it to its third pennant in four years and his fifth overall. The Athletics finished 96-57, six-and-a-half ahead of the surprising Washington Senators. They were in first after their ninth game and never gave up the lead for the whole season. Philadelphia had the league’s best hitting, led by Eddie Collins, but had terrible pitching. You might have noticed it didn’t have any All-Star pitchers.

SABR says, “A spry 5’ 9 ½” right-handed line-drive pull hitter with a boyish face, McInnis has a career batting average over .300, having amassed more than 2,400 hits. However, he is best known as one of baseball’s best defensive first basemen, due to his amazing consistency covering first base.” Of course, if you’re playing the easiest position on the defensive spectrum, it’s not a position in which great defense or being a singles hitter is of much importance. Still, during a small stretch, no first baseman was better than Stuffy in the AL.

gandil

1B-Chick Gandil, Washington Senators, 25 Years Old

.318, 1 HR, 72 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 15 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 1B-103

Double Plays Turned as 1B-89

1st Time All-Star-Arnold “Chick” Gandil was born on January 19, 1888 in St. Paul, MN. The six-foot-one, 190 pound righty started with Chicago in 1910, but couldn’t hit and didn’t play in the Majors in 1911. In 1912, Washington picked him up and Chick figured out Major League hitting, batting .305. This season he finished eighth in batting (.318) as Washington fell just short of its first American League pennant.

SABR says, “Gandil was highly regarded by Washington. In 1914 Senators manager Clark Griffith wrote, ‘He proved to be “The Missing Link” needed to round out my infield. We won seventeen straight games after he joined the club, which shows that we must have been strengthened a good bit somewhere. I class Gandil ahead of McInnes [sic] as he has a greater range in scooping up throws to the bag and is just as good a batsman.’

“Gandil continued to perform well with Washington both at bat and in the field. In 1913 he hit for a career-high average of .318. He was also tough and durable, averaging 143 games during his three full seasons with Washington, despite knee problems that haunted him throughout his career. When asked by a reporter after the 1912 season what his greatest asset was, he replied ‘plenty of grit.’ He reportedly used the heaviest lumber in the American League, as his bats weighed between 53 and 56 ounces.” Unfortunately, he’s most famous for being the ringleader in the White Sox throwing the 1919 World Series.

collinse52B-Eddie Collins, Philadelphia Athletics, 26 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912

.345, 3 HR, 73 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-9.0

Runs Scored-125 (2nd Time)

Singles-145

Def. Games as 2B-148 (3rd Time)

Assists as 2B-449 (3rd Time)

5th Time All-Star-I’ve talked a lot about players who played in the wrong era, players like Gavvy Cravath, a home run hitter in the Deadball Era. However, Collins is the opposite, a man perfect for the time he played. In the low-scoring time in which he toiled, Collins’ game of singles and steals had great value. This season, Collins finished third in WAR (9.0), behind Washington’s Walter Johnson (16.4) and Chicago’s Reb Russell (9.1); first in WAR Position Players (9.0); fourth in Offensive WAR (7.8); fifth in Defensive WAR (1.2); fourth in batting (.345); third in on-base percentage (.441), trailing outfielders Ty Cobb (.467) and Shoeless Joe Jackson (.460); sixth in slugging (.453); third in steals (55), behind Washington players Clyde Milan (75) and Danny Moeller (62); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (164).

In the World Series, Collins was again fantastic, hitting .421 (eight-for-19), scoring five runs and hitting three triples. Philadelphia beat the Giants, four games to one.

Collins’ Hall of Fame page says, “’Eddie Collins is the best ballplayer I have seen during my career on the diamond.’ – John McGraw.

“In the second decade of the 20th Century, Eddie Collins thrived in the ‘small ball’ environment the game demanded.

“In the third decade of the 20th Century, Collins starred in a ‘go for broke’ hitters’ era as one of the game’s most productive catalysts.

“In any baseball environment, Collins’ skills and savvy were nearly without peer.” Good ballplayers are just good ballplayers and can adapt and win whenever they play.

lajoie13

2B-Nap Lajoie, Cleveland Naps, 38 Years Old

1897 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1912

.335, 1 HR, 68 RBI

MVP Rank: 11

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1901)

 

Led in:

 

AB per SO-27.4 (4th Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.970 (6th Time)

13th Time All-Star-This is probably Lajoie’s last All-Star season, but it’s a great one for a 38-year-old second baseman. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.3); 10th in Offensive WAR (4.2); sixth in Defensive WAR (1.1); sixth in batting (.335); seventh in on-base percentage (.398); ninth in slugging (.404); and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (132).

Lajoie is also on the list of Most All-Star Teams Made By Position. Here’s the complete list:

 

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Nap Lajoie, 11

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Honus Wagner, 12

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Thompson, Elmer Flick, Sam Crawford, 7

And here is my initial list of the greatest players of all time up to this point:

  1. Cy Young, P
  2. Honus Wagner, SS
  3. Cap Anson, 1B
  4. Nap Lajoie, 2B
  5. Kid Nichols, P
  6. Christy Mathewson, P
  7. Roger Connor, 1B
  8. Tim Keefe, P
  9. Dan Brouthers, 1B
  10. George Davis, SS

Interestingly, at this point, there are no outfielders on that list.

Wikipedia says, “Lajoie ended his career with a lifetime .338 batting average. His career total of 3,242 hits was the second-most in MLB history at the time of his retirement, behind only Honus Wagner’s total (3,420). Lajoie’s 2,521 hits in the American League was that league’s record until Cobb surpassed his mark.

“He died in Daytona Beach, Florida in 1959, at the age of 84 from complications associated with pneumonia. He had fallen in the autumn of 1958 and fractured his arm. His wife had died earlier in 1951.”

Frank 3B-Home Run Baker, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912

.337, 12 HR, 117 RBI

MVP Rank: 5

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-12 (3rd Time)

Runs Batted In-117 (2nd Time)

Power-Speed #-17.7 (2nd Time)

AB per HR-47.0 (3rd Time)

Putouts as 3B-233 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as 3B-44 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Third base has always been a position with a sparse amount of genuine superstars. It’s probably because of any position, it needs the best combination of offense and defense and it’s difficult to find players good at both. That’s why Baker’s induction into my Hall of Fame this year is so astounding. He’s only the third player at the hot corner to make it into my Hall, along with Jimmy Collins and Deacon White and White actually made more All-Star teams as a catcher (six-to-two). You can see the complete list here.

Baker had his best season ever, finishing fifth in WAR (7.9); third in WAR Position Players (7.9), behind Philadelphia second baseman Eddie Collins (9.0) and Boston centerfielder Tris Speaker (8.4); second in Offensive WAR (8.1), trailing only Cleveland rightfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson (8.2); fifth in batting (.337); fifth in on-base percentage (.413); fourth in slugging (.493); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (167).

He also acquired his third (and last) World Series ring, as he helped lead Philadelphia to a 4-1 Series win over the New York Giants. Baker hit .450 (nine-for-20) with a home run (of course).

                SABR says, “In an era characterized by urbanization and rapid industrial growth, Frank ‘Home Run’ Baker epitomized the rustic virtues that were becoming essential to baseball’s emerging bucolic mythology. Born and raised in a tiny farming community on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Baker developed his powerful back, arms, and hands by working long hours on his father’s farm.” The article also mentions his bat weighed 52 ounces.

barry2

SS-Jack Barry, Philadelphia Athletics, 26 Years Old

1910

.275, 3 HR, 85 RBI

MVP Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-There weren’t a lot of good shortstops in the American League at this time, but Barry was the best of them. In case you weren’t keeping track, yes, all four Athletics’ infielders made the All-Star team this season. This has only been done three times up to this point – the 1876 Chicago White Stockings, the 1898 Baltimore Orioles, and the 1906 Chicago  Cubs. Philadelphia is the first American League team to accomplish the feat.

This season, Barry  finished 10th in WAR Position Players and third in Defensive WAR (1.9), behind Washington and Chicago shortstops George McBride (3.6) and Buck Weaver (2.3), respectively. He hit .300 in the World Series, with six hits in 20 at-bats, including three doubles, as Philadelphia beat the Giants, four games to one.

SABR says, “The least known member of the Athletics’ famous $100,000 infield, Jack Barry was a .243 career hitter with little power and average speed, who nonetheless earned the respect and admiration of his peers because he did the so-called ‘little things’ well: pulling off the squeeze play, turning the double play, and hitting in the clutch, among others. Playing in an era that espoused the virtues of the ‘inside’ style of play, the quiet, brainy shortstop was thought by many teammates, opponents, and writers to be the most valuable member of Mack’s famous infield. As Philadelphia Inquirer writer Edgar Wolfe (writing under the nom de plume Jim Nasium) put it in 1913, ‘Barry is the weakest hitter of the quartet, but his hits are always timely and his sensational fielding is something that cannot be computed in cold, soulless figures.’”

weaverb

SS-Buck Weaver, Chicago White Sox, 22 Years Old

.272, 4 HR, 52 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Assists-520

Errors Committed-70 (2nd Time)

Putouts as SS-392

Assists as SS-520

Errors Committed as SS-70

Double Plays Turned as SS-73

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.19

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.04

1st Time All-Star-George Daniel “Buck” Weaver was born on August 18, 1890 in Pottstown, PA. The five-foot-11, 170 pound shortstop started for Chicago in 1912 and would stay with them until the bitter end, well, his bitter end, when he was one of eight players tossed from baseball for throwing the 1919 World Series. This season, Weaver finished second in Defensive WAR (2.3), behind Washington shortstop George McBride (3.6). So, what the heck, I’ll call this his best season ever.

SABR says, “In fact, as Weaver’s performance during the 1912 season demonstrated, Buck wasn’t as ready for the big leagues as the White Sox hoped or the beat writers imagined. Playing in 147 games, Weaver batted just .224 with nine walks, and led the league with 71 errors at shortstop. Knowing his position on the Chicago White Sox roster was not secure, he spent the entire offseason learning how to become a switch-hitter. Heading into the 1913 season with new ammunition, Buck was able to raise his batting average from .247 to .272 in the last month of the season. Despite his excellent range, Weaver’s defense remained problematic, as he again led the league with 70 errors, though he also led the circuit in putouts and double plays.

“After the 1913 season Buck joined the world tour organized by Charles Comiskey and John McGraw, one of only a few White Sox players to make the trip. The touring party traveled 38,000 miles over a span of 17 weeks, not returning to Chicago until the following March.”

speaker5CF-Tris Speaker, Boston Red Sox, 25 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912

.363, 3 HR, 71 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as CF-374 (3rd Time)

Assists as CF-30 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as CF-24

Putouts as OF-374 (3rd Time)

Assists as OF-30 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as OF-25

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.91 (4th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.92 (4th Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.91 (4th Time)

5th Time All-Star-For the second year in a row, Speaker beat Ty Cobb in WAR, not an easy accomplishment. The slick fielding centerfielder didn’t usually lead the league in any offensive stats, but he was consistent and played well on both sides of the ball. It should be mentioned for all of the Grey Eagle’s fame as a defensive wiz, he never made the top 10 in Defensive WAR and this year had a 0.0 Defensive WAR rating. I guess it all depends how seriously you take that stat.

This season, Speaker finished fourth in WAR (8.4); second in WAR Position Players (8.4), behind Philadelphia second baseman Eddie Collins (9.0); third in Offensive WAR (8.1), trailing Cleveland rightfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson (8.2) and Philadelphia third baseman Home Run Baker (8.1); third in batting (.363), behind Cobb (.390) and Jackson (.373); fourth in on-base percentage (.441); third in slugging (.533), trailing Jackson (.551) and Cobb (.535); fifth in steals (46); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (182), behind Cobb (194) and Jackson (192).

Here’s more defensive praise from Speaker’s Hall of Fame page: “Beyond his offensive prowess, Speaker also stood out for his defense, earning praise from his peers for his speed, range and arm. Speaker was known for playing a shallow center field, which helped him lead AL outfielders in assists three times, while his ability to cover ground on balls hit over his head helped him lead the league in putouts seven times.” I would have loved to see this man play.

cobb7

CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 26 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912

.390, 4 HR, 67 RBI

MVP Rank: 20

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

 

Led in:

 

1913 AL Batting Title (7th Time)

Batting Average-.390 (6th Time)

On-Base %-.467 (3rd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-194 (7th Time)

Fielding % as CF-.951

7th Time All-Star-Cobb wouldn’t have realized it at the time, but the game was starting to change. In 1914, Babe Ruth is going to enter the league and before you know it, the Deadball Era, with its sacrifices and steals and singles, is going to end. That’s why Cobb will never lead the league in WAR again as he did in 1909 and 1911, though to his defense, he will have his highest WAR ever of 11.3 in 1917, second to Eddie Cicotte (11.6). Hey, but I’m way head of myself and Cobb is still a great player if not exactly a Georgia Peach. He finished seventh in WAR (7.4); fifth in WAR Position Players (7.4); fifth in Offensive WAR (7.6); first in batting (.390); first in on-base percentage (.467); second in slugging (.535), behind Cleveland rightfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson (.551); fourth in steals (51); and first in Adjusted OPS+ (194).

Detroit, managed by Hughie Jennings, stayed in sixth place with a 66-87 record. As you might have guessed, the team had great hitting, led by Cobb, but no pitching.

Cobb actually held out at the beginning of the 1913 season. Deadspin says, “For a 1912 season in which he batted .409, drove in 83 runs, and stole 61 bases, Cobb was paid $10,000. Cobb asked for a raise to $15,000. Tigers owner Frank Navin refused. Cobb sat out. Navin did what any owner, deprived of his best player, would do: he took the fight to the press.

“’Mr. Cobb did not make baseball; baseball made him. A player cannot be bigger than the game which creates him. To give in to Mr. Cobb now in his present attitude would be to concede that he is greater than the game itself, for he has set all its laws at defiance.’”

shotton2

CF-Burt Shotton, St. Louis Browns, 28 Years Old

1912

.297, 1 HR, 28 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-99

Double Plays Turned as CF-12

Double Plays Turned as OF-11

2nd Time All-Star-For the second consecutive season, Shotton is St. Louis’ only representative on this All-Star team. He finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.9); seventh in Offensive WAR (4.7); sixth in on-base percentage (.405); seventh in steals (43); and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (131). Barney still has his share of good seasons left due to his ability to take a walk.

As for the Browns, they dropped from seventh to last, under the guidance of three managers: George Stovall (50-84), Jimmy Austin (2-6), and Branch Rickey (5-6). St. Louis had a combined record of 57-96. This was Stovall’s last year with the Browns, but he would get opportunities in the Federal League. Austin would get sporadic chances with the Browns over the next decade. Rickey, most famous for his role in integrating baseball, would manage the Browns through 1915, before becoming the Cardinals’ manager for a while, mostly in the ‘20s. The team couldn’t hit, though its pitching was at least middle of the road.

SABR says, “In 1913 Shotton met and befriended the man who would have the most impact on his career. That season Branch Rickey had taken over as manager of the Browns for their final twelve games. From the outset, Rickey respected his fellow Ohioan’s soft-spoken personality, grasp of the game’s fundamentals, and talent for imparting them to younger players. Rickey had vowed to his mother, a deeply pious woman, that he would avoid ballparks on Sundays. He sensed that he could trust Shotton and, in 1914–15, Burt became the Browns’ ‘Sunday manager.’ In 1919 after Rickey was hired by the Cardinals as vice president, general manager, and field manager, he acquired Shotton from Washington on waivers.”

milan4CF-Clyde Milan, Washington Senators, 26 Years Old

1910 1911 1912

.301, 3 HR, 54 RBI

MVP Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. 1 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-75 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as CF-153 (4th Time)

Def. Games as OF-154 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-This is likely Milan’s last All-Star team, but for the stretch from 1910-13, the speedster was one of the greats of the American League. This season, he finished eighth in Offensive WAR (4.6) and first in steals (75). He would remain with Washington through 1922 before hanging up his well-used cleats. His hitting and steals would start to fade out after this season despite being only 26 years old.

SABR says, “In 1914 Milan suffered a broken jaw and missed six weeks of the season after colliding with right fielder Danny Moeller. He rebounded to play in at least 150 games in each of the next three seasons, 1915 to 1917, and he continued to play regularly through 1921, batting a career-high .322 in 1920. Griffith appointed Milan to manage the Nats in 1922 but the job didn’t agree with him; he suffered from ulcers as the club finished sixth, and he was fired after the season amidst reports that he was ‘too easy-going.’

“On March 3, 1953, Clyde Milan died from a heart attack at a hospital in Orlando, Florida, two hours after collapsing in the locker room at Tinker Field. Three weeks short of his 66th birthday, he had insisted on hitting fungoes to the infielders during both the morning and afternoon workouts, despite the 80-degree heat. He was buried in Clarksville Cemetery in his adopted hometown.” In Southern California, where I live, we’ve been having an incredible heat wave. I’m praying for 80 degree heat!

jackson3

RF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, Cleveland Naps, 25 Years Old

1911 1912

.373, 7 HR, 71 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require two more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Offensive WAR-8.2

Slugging %-.551

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.011

Hits-197 (2nd Time)

Doubles-39

Runs Created-133

Adj. Batting Runs-65

Adj. Batting Wins-7.0

Times on Base-282

Offensive Win %-.873

Def. Games as RF-148

Assists as RF-28 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as RF-7

3rd Time All-Star-It’s worth noting at this time in baseball history, the American League has most of the dominant outfielders. The National League only had three outfielders on its All-Star team, but the American League has six, including Jackson, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, and Sam Crawford, all Ron’s Hall of Fame members or eventual members. And that list doesn’t include a pitcher who will start in 1914 and eventually move to the outfield to be the greatest outfielder and player of all time.

SABR says, “Jackson displayed his power on June 4, 1913, when he belted a fastball from the Yankees’ Russ Ford; the hit bounced off the roof of the right-field grandstand at the Polo Grounds and into the street beyond. The newspapers claimed that the blast traveled more than 500 feet. Jackson’s .373 average that year trailed Cobb once again, but he led the league in hits (197), doubles (39) and slugging (.551), finishing second in the Chalmers Award balloting. His total of walks also increased sharply, from 54 to 80.

“’I used to draw a line three inches from the plate every time I came to bat,’ Jackson said many years later. ‘I drew a right angle line at the end of it, right next to the catcher, and put my left foot on it exactly three inches from home plate.’ He stood in the box, feet close together, then took one long step into the pitch and ripped at it with his left-handed swing. ‘I copied my swing after Joe Jackson’s,’ Babe Ruth told Grantland Rice in 1919. ‘His is the perfectest.’”

crawford10RF-Sam Crawford, Detroit Tigers, 33 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1905 1907 1908 1909 1911 1912

.317, 9 HR, 83 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1912)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1957)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1905)

 

Led in:

 

At Bats-609 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-298 (2nd Time)

Triples-23 (4th Time)

Extra Base Hits-64 (3rd Time)

10th Time All-Star-When Sam Crawford legged out his 17th triple of the season, he passed Jake Beckley and became the all-time leader in three baggers, an honor he still holds. He led the league in triples this season and would lead again in 1914 and 1915. Needless to say, Crawford still has a few All-Star teams left. As for this year, he finished eighth in WAR Position Players (5.2); sixth in Offensive WAR (5.7); ninth in batting (.317); fifth in slugging (.489); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (152). He also is tied with Elmer Flick and Sam Thompson with the most All-Star teams made as a rightfielder. You can see the complete list at Nap Lajoie’s blurb.

SABR says, “Employing this pared-down philosophy, Crawford became a steady run producer for the Tigers. He ranked among the American League’s top ten in RBI every year from 1903 to 1915, and paced the circuit in 1910, 1914, and 1915 (tied with teammate Bobby Veach). During that 13-year span he led the league in triples five times, extra base hits four times, and doubles, home runs and runs scored once each. Despite his slugging, Crawford was a consistent contact hitter. Batter strikeout totals were not recorded in the American League until 1913, but in that season Crawford struck out only 28 times in 609 at bats, less than half as often as the average AL batter. For a top slugger, he also seldom walked, particularly during his prime. From 1903 to 1910, Crawford drew no more than 50 walks in any season.”

1913 National League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-Vic Willis

P-Babe Adams, PIT

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Pete Alexander, PHI

P-Slim Sallee, STL

P-Rube Marquard, NYG

P-Jeff Tesreau, NYG

P-Tom Seaton, PHI

P-Nap Rucker, BRO

P-Larry Cheney, CHC

P-Dick Rudolph, BSN

C-Chief Meyers, NYG

C-Tommy Clarke, CIN

1B-Jake Daubert, BRO

1B-Vic Saier, CHC

2B-Jim Viox, PIT

2B-George Cutshaw, BRO

2B-Larry Doyle, NYG

3B-Heinie Zimmerman, CHC

3B-Red Smith, BRO

3B-Hans Lobert, PHI

SS-Art Fletcher, NYG

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

LF-Sherry Magee, PHI

CF-Tommy Leach, CHC

RF-Gavvy Cravath, PHI

 

willis9

1913 ONEHOF Inductee-Vic Willis, P

1899 1901 1902 1903 1906 1907 1908 1909

249-205, 2.63 ERA, 1651 K, .166, 1 HR, 84 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1995)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1906)

 

For any new readers, every year I pick a player who I believe to be the best player not currently in the ONEHOF, the One-a-Year Hall of Fame. I also have a second Hall of Fame, which is creatively called Ron’s Hall of Fame, in which any player whose career WAR multiplied by the number of All-Star teams made is 300 or greater is in. You’ll see those in the individual player write-ups and can see both lists in the About page on this site.

ONEHOF Nominees for 1914: Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Roger Bresnahan, Joe Tinker, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, Joe McGinnity, Johnny Evers, Ed Walsh, Nap Rucker, Ty Cobb.

Willis is the first player since King Kelly in 1903 to be inducted into the ONEHOF after retiring. Most players, at least at this point in history, are being inducted while still active.

It’s shocking to me it took until 1995 for Willis to be inducted into Cooperstown. What’s even more puzzling is that the six-foot-two righthander never even got one Hall of Fame vote. He was voted in by the Veteran’s Committee. This is despite playing on two championship teams, the 1898 Boston Beaneaters and the 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates. Hey, but I delayed in putting him in the ONEHOF myself, so maybe I’m no better than all those other baseball writers. Well, he’s in now, the 43rd inductee into this august society.

adams2

P-Babe Adams, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

1911

21-10, 2.15 ERA, 144 K, .289, 0 HR, 13 RBI

MVP Rank: 22

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-9.1

WAR for Pitchers-8.1

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.40

2nd Time All-Star-It’s incredible someone named Babe didn’t pitch most of his good seasons until he was over 30. This year, the righty had his best season ever, finishing first in WAR (9.1); first in WAR for Pitchers (8.1); second in ERA (2.15), behind New York’s Christy Mathewson (2.06); second in innings pitched (313 2/3), trailing Philadelphia’s Tom Seaton (322 1/3); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (140). He did have the advantage of pitching in Forbes Field, a pitchers’ park.

Despite the great year of Adams, Pittsburgh had its worst finish, fourth, since 1904, when it also finished fourth. Fred Clarke continued to coach the Pirates, who finished 78-71. Their problem was that age finally caught up with Honus Wagner, who didn’t make this All-Star team for the first time since 1898. They would take a while to recover.

SABR says, “Best remembered for pitching three complete-game victories as a rookie to help the Pittsburgh Pirates win the 1909 World Series, Babe Adams was one of the Deadball Era’s greatest control pitchers. His record of 1.29 walks per nine innings over the course of his 19 years in the majors, 18 with the Pirates, ranks second on the modern list behind only teammate Deacon Phillippe’s 1.25. To put Adams’ mark in perspective, the preeminent control pitcher of recent years, Greg Maddux would have had to pitch another 217 consecutive nine-inning games without a walk to lower his lifetime walks per nine innings to the same level.” This year, he ranked third in bases on balls per nine innings (1.406), behind Mathewson (0.618!) and Chicago’s Bert Humphries (1.193).

mathewson12

P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 32 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912

25-11, 2.06 ERA, 93 K, .184, 0 HR, 9 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1910)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1903)

 

Led in:

 

1913 NL Pitching Title (5th Time)

Earned Run Average-2.06 (5th Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-1.020 (4th Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.618 (5th Time)

Hits Allowed-291 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-4.429 (8th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-153 (6th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-36 (6th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.0 (6th Time)

12th Time All-Star-For a man who struck out 267 batters in 366 1/3 innings in 1903, it’s hard to believe the great Mathewson actually K’d only 93 this year. He had another great year, no doubt. Big Six finished second in WAR (7.1), behind only Pittsburgh pitcher Babe Adams (9.1); second in WAR for Pitchers (7.1), trailing Adams (8.1); first in ERA (2.06); fourth in innings pitched (306); and first in Adjusted ERA+ (153). Mathewson even helped the Giants make their third straight World Series, where he pitched two games, allowing only three runs (two earned) for a 1-1 record and 0.95 ERA. This would be his last postseason appearance as he would finish 5-5 with a 0.97 ERA. Of course, that includes his three World Series shutouts of 1905.

John McGraw again managed the Giants to another first place finish with a 101-51 record, 12-and-a-half games ahead of Philadelphia. They had good overall hitting, especially from catcher Chief Meyers and great pitching, led by Mathewson.

This is most likely Mathewson’s last appearance on this list. SABR says, “In 1914, however, the 34-year-old Mathewson started experiencing a constant pain in his left side towards the end of the season. Doctors found nothing wrong and told him he was just getting old. It affected his performance, however; his ERA increased to 3.00 in 1914 even though he still managed to win 24 games, and the following year he was just 8-14 with a 3.58 ERA. By the midpoint of the 1916 season Matty had won just three games. Knowing that his days as an effective pitcher were behind him, he decided that he wanted to manage. On July 20 McGraw came through for his friend, trading him for Cincinnati Reds player-manager Buck Herzog on condition that he replace Herzog as manager.”

alexander3

P-Pete Alexander, Philadelphia Phillies, 26 Years Old

1911 1912

22-8, 2.79 ERA, 159 K, .126, 0 HR, 4 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1938)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-9 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as P-1.000

3rd Time All-Star-In doing this page, I’ve decided to do it in order so I don’t know 1914’s All-Star team yet and I can’t tell you every player that’s going to make it into my Hall of Fame. However, I do get to gaze into the future and know a player’s entire career, so I know Pete Alexander is going to have a WAR of over 100 and thus in his third year of pitching has made my Hall of Fame, the 61st member. This season, he finished third in WAR (6.2), behind Pittsburgh’s Babe Adams (9.1) and New York’s Christy Mathewson (7.1); third in WAR for Pitchers (6.8), trailing Adams (8.1) and Mathewson (7.1); and third in innings pitched (306 1/3), behind teammate Tom Seaton (322 1/3) and Adams (313 2/3). Alexander was one of the great ones, for sure, but he did it by just plugging away and packing in the innings year after year.

Philadelphia finished second, becoming the first team to finish in the top three in the National League standings that wasn’t New York, Chicago, or Pittsburgh since 1907 when the Phillies finished third. Red Dooin improved them from fifth with an 88-63 record, 12-and-a-half behind the Giants. Gavvy Cravath helped the team be one of the best hitting teams in the league, while Alexander’s exploits on the mound helped Philly be one of the top pitching squads. Old Pete pitched in the Baker Bowl, one of the infamous hitting parks of all time, so his stats look even more impressive.

sallee2

P-Slim Sallee, St. Louis Cardinals, 28 Years Old

1912

19-15, 2.71 ERA, 106 K, .211, 2 HR, 5 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. 25 percent chance)

 

2nd Time All-Star-From Sallee’s previous write-up, we know he’s a boozer who was great when sober, but struggled with alcohol throughout his career. This season, his second consecutive on this list and his best one ever, he finished fourth in WAR (6.1), fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.8), and ninth in innings pitched (276).

St. Louis, who finished last in the National League, had a new manager who would have great success…elsewhere. Miller Huggins led the team to a 51-99 record. It wasn’t his fault the team couldn’t hit or pitch and the Cardinals would stick with Miller for a while.

SABR says, “Sallee’s 1913 season was probably his finest effort in all his years in baseball. He won 19 games for a last place team that won only 51, a team that finished last or next to last in every offensive category. Sallee pitched in 50 games and had an ERA of 2.71, well below the team and league average. The 1944 book Kings of the Mound: A Pitcher’s Rating Manual, rated Sallee’s pitching in 1913 as one of the finest seasons in history. In addition, he slugged his only two career home runs that season, stole home in a game against the Giants, and he remains the last Cardinal pitcher to do so.

“Hall of Fame baseball writer Fred Lieb should have the last word: ‘As lefthanded as Rube Waddell, Slim wasn’t as colorful as the Rube, but he had many of Waddell’s foibles. However, he was a likeable, willing chap, and like Waddell he usually delivered when he was in the ball game. Until he was sold to the Giants in 1916, he was St. Louis’ best pitcher.’”

marquard3P-Rube Marquard, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1911 1912

23-10, 2.50 ERA, 151 K, .219, 0 HR, 6 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1971)

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 14 percent chance)

 

3rd Time All-Star-Last season, Marquard won the first 19 decisions of the season to set an all-time record. That’s probably the reason he’s in Cooperstown. He had a good stretch of years during the early 1910s, but there’s no way he should be in the Hall. This season, Marquard finished seventh in WAR (5.6), sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3), eighth in ERA (2.50), seventh in innings pitched (288), and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (126). In the World Series which the Giants lost to the Athletics, Marquard pitched two games with one of them a start and gave up seven runs, all earned, in nine innings. After winning two games in the 1912 Series, Marquard would be in three Fall Classics afterward and never win another World Series game.

Wikipedia says, “From 1911 to 1913, Marquard won at least 23 games each season and helped the Giants win three consecutive National League pennants. In 1911, he led the league with 237 strikeouts. In 1912, he led the league with 26 wins. He also made baseball history by winning 19 decisions in a row. Marquard allegedly celebrated by buying an opal stickpin to reward himself. Upon being told by a friend that opals were a jinx, he threw the pin into a river; but apparently the curse had already done its work, as he lost his next decision.” I wonder why it’s baseball that seems to be the most superstitious of all sports. I think it has to do with the long season and bored people sitting on the bench.

tesreau2

P-Jeff Tesreau, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

1912

22-13, 2.17 ERA, 167 K, .221, 0 HR, 7 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-7.085 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.330

Games Started-38

2nd Time All-Star-During this great stretch of the Giants from 1911-13, it was helpful to have three dominant pitchers like Christy Mathewson, Rube Marquard, and Tesreau. Tesreau’s the only one not to make it to Cooperstown, but he had a great stretch during the 1910s. This season, he finished sixth in WAR (5.6); seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.3); third in ERA (2.17), behind Mathewson (2.06) and Pittsburgh’s Babe Adams (2.15); eighth in innings pitched (282); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (145), trailing Mathewson (153). In the World Series loss to the Athletics, Jeff pitched two games, starting one, and gave up seven runs (five earned) in eight-and-a-third innings. He went 0-1.

SABR says, “At 6’2″ and 225 lbs., Jeff Tesreau was big and strong, just the way John McGraw liked his pitchers. With a steady personality and solid work ethic, Tesreau quickly leaped to stardom after developing a devastating spitball, which he threw with the speed of a top fastball. Over the course of his seven-year career he compiled a 115-72 record and 2.43 ERA while holding opponents to a .223 batting average (for comparison’s sake, Walter Johnson’s career mark was .227, Christy Mathewson’s was .236, and Pete Alexander’s was .250, though each pitched considerably longer than Tesreau), leading the National League in that category in each of his first three seasons. ‘That big fellow has the best spitball in the league,’ said Johnny Evers. ‘I think he is as good with the spitter as Ed Walsh.’ Despite Tesreau’s success, a petty dispute with McGraw in 1918 caused him to quit professional baseball when he was only 29 years old.”

seaton

P-Tom Seaton, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

27-12, 2.60 ERA, 168 K, .109, 1 HR, 2 RBI

MVP Rank: 11

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 26 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Wins-27

Innings Pitched-322 1/3

Strikeouts-168

Bases on Balls-136

Batters Faced-1,324

1st Time All-Star-Thomas Gordon “Tom” Seaton was born on August 30, 1887 in Blair, NE. The six-foot, 175 pound righty started with Philadelphia in 1912 and then had his best year ever this season, finishing eighth in WAR (5.5); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.3); 10th in ERA (2.60); first in innings pitched (322 1/3); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (127). He had a short career and showed some wildness, walking over 100 batters four straight seasons.

SABR speaks of this tragedy: “The biggest game of the year for Seaton occurred in Chicago on August 7, while Seaton took the mound against the Cubs. His wife Rene was in labor and in danger of losing her life. Seaton pitched seven innings that day and lost, 5-2. He immediately returned to Philadelphia. Seaton’s child had already died, and doctors gave Rene no hope of survival. Rene did survive. She harbored a grudge against the Phillies and Dooin, whom she felt kept her husband from rushing to her side.

“According to newspaper accounts, Dooin withheld a telegram from Seaton urging the pitcher to hurry to Philadelphia to be with his wife. Dooin denied it, maintaining that he had given Seaton the telegram before the game and that Seaton had insisted that he pitch the game and leave after the contest. Mrs. Seaton did not believe Dooin. When the time came to pay back the Phillies, Rene Seaton was ready.

“When the Federal League appeared with an offer for more money, Mrs. Seaton reminded her husband about how she had been ‘wronged’ by manager Dooin and the Phillies. She insisted that he sign with the Feds.”

rucker7

P-Nap Rucker, Brooklyn Superbas, 28 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912

14-15, 2.87 ERA, 111 K, .241, 0 HR, 0 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

7th Time All-Star-After seven straight seasons of making the All-Star team, I’m putting Nap Rucker into my Hall of Fame. He’s credited for the work he did and not being punished because his teams were putrid over that stretch of time. This season will be Rucker’s last appearance on this list. He finished ninth in WAR (4.8) and ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.4). Going forward, he would pitch for Brooklyn three more seasons and actually be in the World Series in his last season of 1916, relieving in one game and pitching two scoreless innings.

Bill Dahlen managed the Superbas for his fourth and last season, as the team finished in sixth with a 65-84 record. For some reason, the team switched back to being the Superbas after being the Dodgers the previous two years. Brooklyn actually had decent pitching this season, allowing the fourth lowest amount of runs in the National League, but only middle-of-the-road hitting.

Here’s SABR on his retirement:  “To honor its best pitcher of the Deadball Era, Brooklyn held a ‘Nap Rucker Day’ at Ebbets Field on October 2, 1916. ‘I will not monkey around with baseball any more,’ the veteran southpaw said on the occasion. ‘I have had my day, and it has been a long one, in which I have made money and gained thousands of friends.’ Knowing that Rucker would retire after the season, Wilbert Robinson allowed him two innings of mop-up duty in Game Four of the 1916 World’s Series. Rucker pitched scoreless ball, striking out three Red Sox in his swansong.”

cheney

P-Larry Cheney, Chicago Cubs, 27 Years Old

21-14, 2.57 ERA, 136 K, .192, 0 HR, 7 RBI

MVP Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 16 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-54

Saves-11

Wild Pitches-19 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as P-54

Errors Committed as P-9

1st Time All-Star-Laurence Russell “Larry” Cheney was born 80 years before my brother, on May 2, 1886, in Belleville, KS. The six-foot-one, 185 pound righty started with Chicago in 1911. He had a good season in 1912, going 26-10 with 28 complete games, before making his first All-Star team this season. Cheney finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5); ninth in ERA (2.57); fifth in innings pitched (305); and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (122). It was his best season ever. After this year, he would stay with the Cubs until 1915, when in midseason, he was traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Brooklyn Robins for Joe Schultz and $3,000. Cheney stayed with Brooklyn until 1919, pitching in the World Series in 1916, allowing two runs (one earned) in three innings. He ended up playing for three teams in 1919 – Brooklyn, Boston, and Philadelphia, all in the National League.

Johnny Evers took over managing duties on the Cubs and the team stayed in third place with a 88-65 record. Thanks to Heinie Zimmerman, Chicago was the best hitting team in the league, but its pitching, which used to be this squad’s specialty, was some of the worst in the NL. This was Evers last season coaching the Cubbies until 1921, when we would be back for a partial season.

Cheney would finish his career with a 116-100 record, a 2.70 ERA, and a 17.8 career WAR. He led the NL in wild pitches six times. Cheney died on January 6, 1969 in Daytona Beach, FL.

rudolph

P-Dick Rudolph, Boston Braves, 25 Years Old

14-13, 2.92 ERA, 109 K, .239, 0 HR, 6 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Richard “Dick” or “Baldy” Rudolph was born on the same day, just many years earlier, as my niece, on August 25, 1887 in New York, NY. The five-foot-nine, 160 pound righty started by pitching a handful of games for the Giants in 1910 and 1911. He didn’t pitch in the Majors in 1912 and then came to the Braves where he would garner his fame and fortune. This season, Baldy finished 10th in WAR (4.7) and 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.1). He has one better year ahead.

Rudolph’s team, the Braves, brought in George Stallings to manage and he immediately improved the team from eighth to fifth with a 69-82 record. As indicated by Rudolph being Boston’s only All-Star, this team had mediocre pitching and terrible hitting.

SABR says, “Rudolph became an immediate success in Boston, posting a 14-13 record and 2.92 ERA in 1913. Mitchell attributed the rookie’s solid performance to his brains and cunning. ‘He was one of the smartest pitchers who ever toed the rubber,’ said the Braves coach and future manager. ‘He wasn’t fast but had a good curve ball, which he mixed with a spitball, and he could almost read the batter’s mind. I’ve often sat on the bench with him and heard him tell whether a batter would take or hit. He made a real study of the profession.’” By the way, whenever you see me link information from SABR, I always recommend you clink the link and read the whole thing. The good people of SABR know more about baseball then I would be able to learn in a thousand years and always have great player articles.

meyers3

C-Chief Meyers, New York Giants, 32 Years Old

1911 1912

.312, 3 HR, 47 RBI

MVP Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-579 (4th Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Meyers was the National League’s best catcher for the third consecutive year and again helped lead the Giants to the pennant. He finished seventh in batting (.312), seventh in on-base percentage (.387), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (126). His hitting is going to start to decline after this year, though he’ll continue to be a good fielder. For whatever reason, Meyers played just one game in the World Series, going oh-for-four. New York lost the series to Philadelphia, 4-1.

SABR says, “From 1911 to 1913 Meyers finished in the Top 10 each year in Chalmers Award voting for the NL’s most valuable player. In 1911 he led the Giants in batting for the first of three consecutive seasons with a .332 average, third highest in the National League. ‘Meyers has become the deepest student of batting on the team,’ wrote a New York Times reporter after watching him correctly predict the type of pitches thrown by Pirates phenom Marty O’Toole. The next year Chief hit for the cycle on June 10 en route to a career-high six home runs and a .358 average, second in the NL behind only Heinie Zimmerman’s .372. His hot hitting continued in the 1912 World Series, when he started all eight games and batted .357. Meyers remained one of the Giants’ best hitters through the 1914 season, when he batted .286 in a career-high 134 games.” He still has one more World Series appearance left, but, as always with catchers, it’s tough to surmise whether Chief will make another All-Star team.

clarket

C-Tommy Clarke, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

.264, 1 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 23 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Thomas Aloysius “Tommy” Clarke was born on May 9, 1888 in New York, NY. The five-foot-11, 175 pound catcher started with Cincinnati in 1909 and would have good seasons this year and the next. He was a decent hitter, slashing .264/.345/.355 for an OPS+ of 100 and a pretty good defender. On a team with a dearth of superstars, Clarke was one of the Cincy’s best.

From Baseball Reference: “After his playing career ended, catcher Tommy Clarke was a New York Giants coach for several seasons from 1932 to 1935 and in 1938.

From the September 10, 1910 edition of ‘The Sporting Life’:

“’Thomas A. Clarke one of the catchers of the Cincinnati National League Club, was born in Harlem, New York City, May 9, 1888. He started playing ball on Public School No.43’s team in 1901. His battery partner being Sammy Smith, who was with Clarke in Montreal and who was with him for a short time in Cincinnati last year. Clarke later caught for the Bradhurst A. C., the Avonia A. C., and the All-Nationals. He joined the Montreal Club in July, 1907, and would have been with the Royals a year earlier if his parents had not objected to his playing professional ball. Manager Clark Griffith, then with the New York Americans, recommended Clarke to the Montreal Club, the ‘Old Fox’ having had Clarke practicing on the hilltop and then discerning his worth. Clarke was bought by the Cincinnati Club Fall of 1908 for $2,500, and has been a member of the Cincinnati team since, having measured up to major league calibre.’”

daubert3

1B-Jake Daubert, Brooklyn Superbas, 29 Years Old

1911 1912

.350, 2 HR, 52 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 60 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

1913 NL MVP

1913 NL Batting Title

Batting Average-.350

Singles-152 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 1B-91 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Daubert had his best season ever and was named National League MVP due to his league-leading batting average. My choice would have been Babe Adams, the pitcher from Pittsburgh. No biggie, because during this era, batting averages were king. Batting title races sometimes drew more attention than pennant races, so you can see why Chalmers handed Daubert the hardware This season, he finished fifth in WAR Position Players (4.0); ninth in Offensive WAR (3.7); first in batting (.350); third in on-base percentage (.405), behind St. Louis second baseman Miller Huggins (.432) and Philadelphia rightfielder Gavvy Cravath (.407); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (135).

SABR says, “Daubert began his major league career with a mediocre rookie season. He then began his rise to the top of National League first basemen. Daubert in his career went on to a .303 lifetime average, with 10 of his seasons ending with a .300 or better average. He won two batting titles, hitting .350 in 1913 when he was also selected as the Chalmers Award winner, an early Most Valuable Player award. Daubert helped lead a tour to play games in Cuba in November and December of 1913.

“A good hitter, the best part of Daubert’s game may have been his fielding ability. Frequently compared defensively to the legendary Hal Chase, Jake led the league three times in fielding percentage. The Deadball Era was a time when a first baseman had to be counted on first as a fielder because of the many bunts and hit and run plays.”

saier

1B-Vic Saier, Chicago Cubs, 22 Years Old

.289, 14 HR, 92 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 19 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Triples-21

Power-Speed #-18.2

Errors Committed as 1B-26

1st Time All-Star-Victor Sylvester “Vic” Saier (prounounced SEAR) was born on May 4, 1891 in Lansing, MI. The five-foot-11, 185 pound left-handed hitter started with Chicago as a 20-year-old in 1911. He would have a very short career as he had a good stretch for a few years and then petered out. Saier finished 10th in WAR Position Players (3.7); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.2); fourth in slugging (.480); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (142).

SABR says, “As the stars of the great Cub teams of 1906-10 got older, their replacements generally didn’t perform as well–with the exception of Saier, whose seasons from 1912 to 1914 were at least in the same ballpark with many of Frank Chance’s. Vic hit .288 in 1912 and .289 in 1913, and during the latter season he led the NL with 21 triples and added 14 home runs, 92 RBIs, and 26 stolen bases. In 1914 Saier’s batting average fell to .240 but his 18 home runs placed him second in all of baseball to Gavy Cravath. Four of those homers came against the great Christy Mathewson, who said that Vic had hit some of the hardest balls ever hit against him. The Cubs had fallen apart into warring camps–they weren’t the most harmonious bunch even in the days when they were winning pennants–but in the midst of all the turmoil, the Chicago newspapers lauded Saier as ‘The Quiet Star.’ Vic had a self-effacing personality and went about his business with a minimum of fuss and bother.”

viox

2B-Jim Viox, Pittsburgh Pirates, 22 Years Old

.317, 2 HR, 65 RBI

MVP Rank: 13

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 31 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-James Henry “Jim” Viox (pronounced VEE-ox) was born on December 30, 1890 in Lockland, OH. The five-foot-seven, 150 pound second baseman started with Pittsburgh in 1912, but would have a short career. This season was his best ever as he finished eighth in WAR Position Players (3.8); second in Offensive WAR (4.8), behind Philadelphia rightfielder Gavvy Cravath (6.1); third in batting (.317), trailing Brooklyn first baseman Jake Daubert (.350) and Cravath (.341); fourth in on-base percentage (.399); 10th in slugging (.427); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (140).

The season was a fluke, Viox would never do this well again. He played three more seasons with Pittsburgh after this before his Major League career ended at the age of 25.

Wikipedia says, “Viox made his major league debut on May 9, 1912. In 33 games that season, he hit .186 while spending time in the field at third base and shortstop. The following season, in 1913, Viox became the team’s regular second baseman, replacing Alex McCarthy at that position. In his first full season, he hit .317, setting a rookie record for batting average by a second baseman that was not matched until 2007 when Dustin Pedroia also hit .317. During the season, Viox finished in the top 10 in batting average, on-base percentageslugging percentageruns scoreddoubles, and sacrifice hits.

“After his playing days were over, he managed for a time in the minor leagues. During this time, he won two Virginia League championships in 1920 and 1921 while managing Portsmouth.”

cutshaw

2B-George Cutshaw, Brooklyn Superbas, 26 Years Old

.267, 7 HR, 80 RBI

MVP Rank: 22

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 18 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 2B-402

Double Plays Turned as 2B-79

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.78

1st Time All-Star-George William “Clancy” or “Cutty” Cutshaw was born on July 29, 1886 in Wilmington, IL. The five-foot-nine, 160 pound second baseman started his career with Brooklyn in 1912. This season, Cutshaw finished sixth in Defensive WAR (1.2) and fifth in steals (39), a category in which he’d finish in the top 10 numerous times.

Be A Better Hitter says, “On August 9th [1914] the Brooklyn Robins beat the Chicago Cubs 13-0 at the old West Side Grounds in Chicago. The game was even more one-sided it than the final run tally. The Robins had 13 runs on 23 hits with one error; the Cubs managed just two hits while committing 2 errors.

“The hitting hero of the game was the team’s George Cutshaw who batted fifth in the lineup and had a perfect day at the plate, going 6 of 6. Not surprising during the dead ball era, all of this hits were singles. His perfection at the plate enabled him to be first Dodger to get six hits in a nine inning game.  For the record, only five other Dodgers have gotten a record 6 hits in a game, the last was Shawn Green in May of 2002 who achieved this feat in hitter friendly Miller Park in Milwaukee.

“While his feat was quite remarkable, however; it was not the best single day at the plate in the Brooklyn clubhouse. His manager, Wilbert Robinson went 7 for 7 for the Old Orioles on June 10, 1892.” There are a lot of newcomers to the National League All-Star list this year, but none of them would end up superstars.

doyle5

2B-Larry Doyle, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912

.280, 5 HR, 73 RBI

MVP Rank: 17

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require two more All-Star seasons. 99 percent chance)

 

5th Time All-Star-Last year, I rated Doyle as having a 67 percent chance of making my Hall of Fame. I also wrote, “You would have thought a man only 25 years old, who has now made four straight All-Star teams, would be a surefire Hall of Famer. Doyle’s going to be close in making my Hall of Fame, but his best years are behind him at this point.” So what changed that brought him to a 99 percent chance of making my Hall of Fame. I didn’t expect him to be an All-Star this season, yet here he is.

Doyle finished sixth in steals (38) this season and also slashed .280/.364/.388 for an OPS+ of 113. His Defensive WAR was a 0.0. Yet, because of a lack of talent in the National League, Laughing Larry made this list this year and now has a great shot at making my Hall.

In the World Series, which the Giants lost to the Athletics, 4-1, Doyle struggled, hitting .150 (three-for-20) with no extra base hits. Wikipedia says, “In 1913 the Giants won their third straight pennant; although he batted only .280, he stole 30 bases for the fifth year in a row and was eighth in the NL with 73 runs batted in. That year, he became the first player to hit a home run out of the Polo Grounds. He had an even more dismal 1913 World Series, hitting only .150 against the Athletics as the Giants lost in five games, though he did drive in the first run of the Series.”

zimmerman2

3B-Heinie Zimmerman, Chicago Cubs, 26 Years Old

1912

.313, 9 HR, 95 RBI

MVP Rank: 19

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 3B-36 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-After a Triple Crown season in 1912, Zimmerman came back to earth, but still was the best third baseman in the National League. He finished second in WAR Position Players (4.6), behind Philadelphia rightfielder Gavvy Cravath (5.7); third in Offensive WAR (4.7), trailing Cravath (6.1) and Pittsburgh second baseman Jim Viox (4.8); sixth in batting (.313); eighth in on-base percentage (.379); third in slugging (.490), with just Cravath (.568) and Cincinnati and Philadelphia outfielder Beals Becker (.502) ahead of him; and second in Adjusted OPS+ (147), behind, yep, Cravath (173). It wasn’t as good as his 1912 season, but Zimmerman still was one of the best players in the NL.

SABR says, “He enjoyed another fine offensive season in 1913, batting .313 and driving in 95 runs, but his swelled head led to confrontations with management and acrimonious contract negotiations became an annual event. More than once Zimmerman ‘retired’ from the game, only to un-retire once spring training rolled around. What money he did receive, he spent quickly — and often unwisely. ‘Zim never knew how much money he had because he made the team’s secretary his banker and “touched” the secretary for five and ten-spots until his salary was gone, then economized until the roll was replenished,’ wrote one observer, who noted Zimmerman’s fetish for lavish neckties.” This lack of money discipline ended up destroying his marriage after four years as Zimmerman didn’t send money back home for his wife and daughter. We sometimes forget the important things in life, don’t we?

smithr

3B-Red Smith, Brooklyn Superbas, 23 Years Old

.296, 6 HR, 76 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-40

Def. Games as 3B-151

Assists as 3B-295

1st Time All-Star-James Carlisle “Red” Smith was born on April 6, 1890 in Greenville, SC. The five-foot-11, 165 pound third baseman started with Brooklyn in 1911. He became the Dodgers’ fulltime third sacker in 1912 and even when the team switched back to the Superbas moniker, he kept the position. This year, Smith finished fourth in WAR Position Players (4.3); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.2); and seventh in slugging (.441). He’d have a good stretch during the late 1910s but would be out of the game before he turned 30.

SABR says, “However, events interceded to change his mind. Smith nearly won the Southern Association batting championship in 1911. He and Del Pratt of Montgomery both hit .316, but when the statistic was carried out to four decimal places, Pratt edged the redhead by a margin of .0006. Red’s hitting attracted the attention of Brooklyn scout Larry Sutton, and the Dodgers, or Superbas, as they were sometimes called (the nickname Robins came later), purchased his contract. Smith made his major-league debut on September 5, 1911. In 28 games he hit .261 and won the favor of Brooklyn fans and manager Bill Dahlen. As planned, he married his Rosalie. However, for the next 18 years his career was in baseball, not engineering. From 1911 to August 1914, he played third base for Brooklyn. In 1912 he was the club’s regular third baseman and hit .286. He had perhaps his best year in 1913, when he led the league in doubles and finished in the top ten in hits, total bases, extra-base hits, sacrifice hits, runs batted in, slugging average, and on-base percentage plus slugging average (OPS). Although sportswriter Tom Meany described the right-handed third sacker as a ‘squatty slugger,’ he was listed as 5-feet-11 and 165 pounds.”

lobert2

3B-Hans Lobert, Philadelphia Phillies, 31 Years Old

1908

.300, 7 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 3B-181 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.974

2nd Time All-Star-Because I’m writing about players in which I know their whole careers, I have to remember to put myself in the mindset of the people who were actually watching these players play. For instance, the Cincinnati fans of 1908 would have been thrilled with the play of Lobert, but then disappointed just a year later as he started to slump. Then after the 1910 season, Lobert was traded by the Cincinnati Reds with Fred BeebeDode Paskert and Jack Rowan to the Philadelphia Phillies for Johnny BatesEddie GrantGeorge McQuillan and Lew Moren. It wasn’t until this year, five years after his first one, that Lobert again made this list.

He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (3.9); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.4); third in steals (41), behind Pittsburgh leftfielder Max Carey (61) and Boston first baseman Hap Myers (57); and eighth in caught stealing (21).

SABR says, “Probably his best year, both off and on the field, was 1913. Hans married Philadelphia resident Rachael Campbell that year and defeated Jim Thorpe in a 100-yard dash at the Polo Grounds. He also played in all but one of the Phillies’ 151 games, batting an even .300, leading all NL third basemen in fielding percentage (.974), and ranking third in the NL in runs (98) and stolen bases (41) and fourth in hits (172) and total bases (243).

“That 1913 season proved to be the apex of Hans Lobert’s playing career.” Beating Thorpe in a 100-yard dash is no small feat!

fletcher

SS-Art Fletcher, New York Giants, 28 Years Old

.297, 4 HR, 71 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 99 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-1.9

Hit by Pitch-15

1st Time All-Star-Arthur “Art” Fletcher was born on January 5, 1885 in Collinsville, IL. The five-foot-10, 170 pound shortstop started with the Giants in 1909 and this year, for the first time since 1901, someone other than Honus Wagner is the top shortstop in the National League. It’s also the first time since 1899 the Flying Dutchman didn’t make the list. He’ll be back.

As for Fletcher, he finished third in WAR Position Players (4.5), behind Philadelphia rightfielder Gavvy Cravath (5.7) and Chicago third baseman Heinie Zimmerman (4.6); 10th in Offensive WAR (3.6); and first in Defensive WAR (1.9). He had his best World Series ever. After hitting under .200 in 1911 and 1912, this season, Fletcher hit .278 (five-for-18). However, it’s not his hitting, but his defensive prowess that is most likely going to put him into my Hall of Fame.

SABR says, “Art Fletcher was the leader of one of the Deadball Era’s finest infields–Merkle at first, Doyle at second, Fletcher at short, and Herzog at third. ‘If there be one among the gamesters of baseball who is gamer than the rest, that man be Fletcher,’ wrote sportswriter Frank Graham. In the early teens the New York Giants were hated all over the circuit, but no Giant other than John McGraw drew as much ire as the feisty shortstop. ‘There was fighting everywhere they went,’ wrote Graham, ‘and Fletcher always was in the thick of it. He fought enemy players, umpires, and fans. He was fined and suspended frequently.’ Fletcher’s feistiness made him as popular at the Polo Grounds as he was unpopular on the road. Beginning in 1913, a lady with a large hat invariably sat in the front row of the centerfield bleachers. When the Giants took the field at the start of each game, she would shout, ‘Come on, Artie!’ Fletch would wave his glove at her, all the fans would applaud, and then the visiting leadoff hitter would step to the plate.”

tinker8SS-Joe Tinker, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

1902 1906 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912

.317, 1 HR, 57 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.09 (4th Time)

8th Time All-Star-After 11 seasons with Cubs, Tinker moved on. If you read his 1912 blurb, you’ll read the Reds were interested in him as a player-manager that season, but it wasn’t until this year, he actually did it. SABR says, “After the season, however, Cubs owner Charles Murphy appointed Evers to replace Frank Chance as player-manager. Tinker wasn’t keen on playing under the command of a man with whom he wasn’t on speaking terms, and on December 15, 1912, the Cubs traded their shortstop of 11 years to the Cincinnati Reds in an eight-player deal. The 32-year-old Tinker became Cincinnati’s player-manager in 1913, but the Reds got off to a poor start when the Ohio River flooded Redland Field early that season. On a personal level, however, Joe continued to excel. ‘I believe I am playing the best game of my career right now,’ he told Lane. Though the Reds fared poorly as a team, finishing with a 64-89 record, Tinker played in 110 games and established career highs in batting average (.317), slugging percentage (.445), and fielding percentage (.968).

“Tinker was a players’ manager. ‘Because a man is placed in charge of a club does not make it necessary for him to be a taskmaster or a tyrant,’ he told Lane. ‘In my opinion he ought to be as lenient with his club as circumstances allow, and the less he interferes with the personal liberties of the men the better.’ When owner Garry Herrmann informed him that the Reds intended to send a spy on road trips in 1914 to report on the activities of the players, Joe balked and refused to sign a contract.”

magee6

LF-Sherry Magee, Philadelphia Phillies, 28 Years Old

1905 1906 1907 1908 1910

.306, 11 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

6th Time All-Star-In 1911 and 1912, Magee had decent seasons, but because he missed a few games in each campaign, he didn’t make the All-Star team those years. He’s back this season and he not only made the All-Star team, but my Hall of Fame. You can see the whole list here. This season, a weak one for outfielders in the National League, Magee finished 10th in WAR Position Players (3.7); seventh in Offensive WAR (3.9); eighth in batting (.306); fifth in slugging (.479); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (138). Magee also has a shot at the ONEHOF, my other Hall of Fame which inducts just one player a year.

                SABR says, “Overcoming his injuries to bat .306 in both 1912 and 1913, Sherry combined with Gavvy Cravath to give the Phillies what Ward called ‘the greatest “team” of extra-base specialists in existence.’ But despite all he had accomplished in his decade with the Phillies, Magee remained unpopular with the infamous fans of the City of Brotherly Love. ‘For five years, prior to 1914, the local fans have roasted Sherwood Magee,’ wrote a Philadelphia reporter. ‘They cheered his long swats as all fans do, but still they shouted for his release.’ Ward agreed, attributing Magee’s lack of popularity to the generally-held belief that he was ‘a man who played for his own personal record and not for the good of the team.’” As a Reds’ fan, I have that same complaint about Pete Rose. I always thought he cared more about his own glory than the good of the team.

leach5

CF-Tommy Leach, Chicago Cubs, 35 Years Old

1902 1904 1907 1908

.287, 6 HR, 32 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require two more All-Star seasons. 1 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-99 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as CF-.990 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as OF-.990

5th Time All-Star-It’s been five years since Leach made an All-Star team and he was playing third base then. He then moved back to the outfield in 1909 and that would be his main position for the rest of his career. Oh, and he also was a Pittsburgh Pirate in 1908, but in May of 1912, Leach was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates with Lefty Leifield to the Chicago Cubs for King Cole and Solly Hofman. That trade was worth it, at least for this one season. Leach finished fifth in WAR Position Players (4.0); eighth in Offensive WAR (3.8); fifth in on-base percentage (.391); and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (132).

As for the rest of his life, SABR says, “Tommie was often rumored to be a managerial candidate. He was contacted by the Reds to manage in 1908, but the Pirates demanded compensation and terms could not be reached. When Clarke resigned after the 1915 season, Leach was rumored to be in line for the Pirate job, but it went to Jimmy Callahan. He was a player-manager for Rochester in the International League in 1916, and managed for several years for various teams in the Florida State League in the 1920s. From 1935 to 1941, he was a scout for the Boston Braves.

“Tommie suffered tremendous personal loss during his baseball career. He lost his first wife to pneumonia in 1908 and a second to illness in 1911. His third wife, Sara Darling, survived him. He had a son by his first marriage and a daughter by his third.

“In 1914, Tommie bought citrus property in Haines City, Florida, and lived the rest of his non-baseball life there. He was a popular figure in the area for many years, and was active in local baseball activities. He died in Haines City in 1969 just shy of his 92nd birthday, the last surviving player from the 1903 World Series.”

cravath

RF-Gavvy Cravath, Philadelphia Phillies, 32 Years Old

.341, 19 HR, 128 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-5.7

Offensive WAR-6.1

Slugging %-.568

On-Base Plus Slugging-.974

Hits-179

Total Bases-298

Home Runs-19

Runs Batted In-128

Adjusted OPS+-173

Runs Created-117

Adj. Batting Runs-49

Adj. Batting Wins-5.3

Extra Base Hits-67

Times On Base-237

Offensive Win %-.819

AB per HR-27.6 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Clifford Carlton “Cactus” or “Gavvy” Cravath (prounounced cruh-VATH) was born on March 23, 1881 in Poway, CA. The five-foot-10, 186 pound leftfielder started with the Boston Red Sox in 1908. He then played the outfield for the White Sox and Senators in 1909. He wouldn’t then play in the Majors until 1912 when he started with the Phillies. Then, here in 1913, Cravath just went nuts! There’s no need to recap his season, because you can see it above. Cactus became the first true home run hitter until Babe Ruth came along a few years later.

SABR says, “It was during his semi-pro days that he gained the nickname ‘Gavvy.’ There are many stories about its origin, but it’s apparently a contraction for the Spanish word gaviota, which means ‘seagull.’ During a Sunday game in the early 1900s, Cravath reportedly hit a ball so hard that it killed a seagull in flight. Mexican fans shouted ‘Gaviota.’ The English-speaking fans thought it was a cheer and the name stuck. It’s pronounced to rhyme with ‘savvy,’ so sportswriters of the period added the extra ‘v,’ but Cravath himself spelled it G-A-V-Y. The Southern Californian also had another nickname, ‘Cactus’ (because of his western background and prickly personality), but he apparently didn’t care for it and never included it in his signature.

“Cravath’s greatest year in the majors arguably was 1913. Though that year’s Chalmers Award went to Brooklyn’s Jake Daubert, most historians agree that Cravath, who led the majors with 19 home runs, 128 runs batted in, and a .568 slugging average, was the NL’s true most valuable player.”

1912 American League All-Star Team

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Ed Walsh, CHW

P-Smoky Joe Wood, BOS

P-Vean Gregg, CLE

P-Jack Warhop, NYY

P-Ray Collins, BOS

P-Russ Ford, NYY

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Buck O’Brien, BOS

P-Bob Groom, WSH

C-Jack Lapp, PHA

C-Oscar Stanage, DET

1B-Stuffy McInnis, PHA

2B-Eddie Collins, PHA

2B-Nap Lajoie, CLE

3B-Home Run Baker, PHA

3B-Larry Gardner, BOS

3B-Eddie Foster, WSH

SS-Donie Bush, DET

CF-Tris Speaker, BOS

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Clyde Milan, WSH

CF-Burt Shotton, SLB

RF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, CLE

RF-Sam Crawford, DET

 

johnson5

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 24 Years Old

1908 1909 1910 1911

33-12, 1.39 ERA, 303 K, .264, 2 HR, 20 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

1912 AL Pitching Title

Wins Above Replacement-14.8

WAR for Pitchers-13.7

Earned Run Average-1.39

Walks & Hits per IP-0.908

Hits per 9 IP-6.317

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.390 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-303 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.987

Adjusted ERA+-243

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.03 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-76

Adj. Pitching Wins-8.4

5th Time All-Star-There came a time in my life as I got older that I had to get out of slo-pitch softball. It got to the point where the only position I could play was pitcher and I started to get scared of the ball being hit up the middle. I was thinking of that as I imagined facing Walter Johnson at the plate. I think I could do it in my youth, but I couldn’t do it now. I’d bail out of the batter’s box the second he went into his windup. Well, that’s what the American League batters of his time had to face all the time.

Johnson’s great pitching finally led to a good season for his team. The Senators, now managed by Clark Griffith, who left the Reds, finished second with a 91-61 record. It was still 14 games out of first, but at least the nation’s capital had something to watch even when the Big Train wasn’t on the mound. Washington had the best pitching in the league, leading the American League with a team 2.69 ERA.

SABR says, “In the ‘strange but true’ category, the modern records (since 1900) for consecutive wins by a pitcher in a single season were established in that one year; Marquard’s major league 19 and the 16 with which Johnson and Wood recorded American League highs.   The A.L. record has since been tied by Lefty Grove of Philadelphia in 1931 and Schoolboy Rowe of Detroit in 1934.   The most remarkable display of avoiding a pitching defeat, however, belongs to Carl Hubbell of the New York Giants.   King Carl, the ‘Meal Ticket’, ended 1936 with a run of 16 straight wins and then started the 1937 season with 8 more to make it 24 games without tasting defeat.” Read the whole thing for a description of an epic Johnson-Smoky Joe Wood battle.

walsh7

P-Ed Walsh, Chicago White Sox, 31 Years Old

1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911

27-17, 2.15 ERA, 254 K, .243, 0 HR, 12 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1910)

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-62 (5th Time)

Saves-10 (5th Time)

Innings Pitched-393 (4th Time)

Games Started-41 (3rd Time)

Hits-332 (2nd Time)

Batters Faced-1,532 (4th Time)

Games Finished-20 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as P-62 (5th Time)

Assists as P-140 (5th Time)

Errors Committed as P-15

7th Time All-Star-As longtime readers know (I like to pretend I have readers, humor me), I have two Halls of Fame. First there is the One-a-Year Hall of Fame, or the ONEHOF, which inducts the one best player a year that isn’t already in that Hall of Fame. Then there is the creatively named Ron’s Hall of Fame, which inducts players based on the formula-(No. of All-Star Teams x Career WAR). If that number is over 300, they’re in. If not, they’re out. It’s my way of doing a small Hall  of Fame, which inducts the best of the best, and a larger one, which inducts some of the fringe candidates who might have missed being inducted into Cooperstown.

Which leaves me with an Ed Walsh conundrum. During the seven years he made the All-Star team, Walsh was 168-112, with a 1.71 ERA and an incredible 2526 1/3 innings pitched. However, for his career, he wound up with a 195-126 record. Outside of those seven seasons, he didn’t do much. So he definitely deserves Cooperstown and Ron’s, but he’s not going to make the ONEHOF. Hey, all you Ed Walsh groupies, don’t write me mean letters! (I like to pretend people still write letters.)

Walsh’s White Sox, now managed by Jimmy Callahan, stayed in fourth place with a 76-78 record. As usual, the squad was no hit/all pitch.

After this season, Walsh would peter out fast, never pitching above 97 2/3 innings again. All of those years of pitching incredible amounts of innings and games finally got to him and he’d be out of the league by 1917.

woods2

P-Smoky Joe Wood, Boston Red Sox, 22 Years Old

1911

34-5, 1.91 ERA, 258 K, .290, 1 HR, 13 RBI

MVP Rank: 5

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 16 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Wins-34

Win-Loss %-.872

Complete Games-35

Shutouts-10

Putouts as P-41

2nd Time All-Star-Wood had easily his best season ever and was largely responsible for Boston winning the American League pennant. He finished third in WAR (11.5), behind Washington’s Walter Johnson (14.8) and Chicago’s Ed Walsh (12.2); third in WAR for Pitchers (10.2), trailing Johnson (13.7) and Walsh (11.5); second in ERA (1.91), with only the Big Train (1.39) ahead of him; third in innings pitched (344), again behind Walsh (393) and Johnson (369); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (177), way behind Johnson (243).

Playing in its new park and managed by its new manager, Jake Stahl, Boston finished 105-47 to win the AL crown. In Game 1, Wood allowed three runs in a complete game victory. In Game 4, Wood pitched another complete game, allowing one run and putting the Red Sox ahead 2-1-1. Wood fell apart in Game 7, allowing six runs in one inning as New York tied up the Series 3-3-1. As for the deciding Game 8, Wikipedia says, “Equally compelling in drama, Wood’s Red Sox faced John McGraw‘s New York Giants in the historic 1912 World Series. After slugging it out in seven close games, the teams met for the deciding game eight at Fenway with future Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson starting for the Giants. After Boston tied the score 1–1 in the bottom of the seventh, Wood came in to pitch. He matched Mathewson in the eighth and ninth, and the game went into extra innings. In the top of the tenth, Fred Merkle got to Wood knocking in a run with a single. But in the bottom of the tenth, Clyde Engle, pinch-hitting for Wood, hit an easy fly ball to Fred Snodgrass in center field, and Snodgrass dropped the ball. Given new life, the ‘Snodgrass Muff’ cost the Giants as Speaker and Larry Gardner each knocked in a run to overcome the 1-run deficit. Wood and the Red Sox won the game 3–2 and the series 4–3–1. For Wood, the game was his third win in the series against one loss. He also struck out 11 batters in one game, becoming the first pitcher to record double-digit strikeouts in a World Series game.”

gregg2

P-Vean Gregg, Cleveland Naps, 27 Years Old

1911

20-13, 2.59 ERA, 184 K, .175, 0 HR, 13 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-Gregg couldn’t match his rookie season of 1911, but it was an impressive year nonetheless. He finished ninth in WAR (7.1); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (7.4); seventh in ERA (2.59); eighth in innings pitched (271 1/3); and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (133). He probably has one more All-Star season left.

Cleveland had two new managers this year, Harry Davis and Joe Birmingham. Davis, in his oly year of coaching, went 54-71 and was released. Birmingham, however, did an impressive job, going 21-7, and he’d stick with the Naps for a little while. Altogether, the Naps went 75-78, finishing in fifth place.

SABR says, “After much off-season dickering, Gregg finally agreed to a 1912 contract calling for $3,500, plus a $1,500 bonus should he win 25 games. With sporadic arm soreness and visits to the noted chiropractor Bonesetter Reese, Gregg managed to win 20 games. While Cleveland retrograded to a sub-.500 fifth-place team in 1912, Gregg continued to impress, even with a sore arm. Naps manager Harry Davis, who tired of a bickering, faction-torn team and resigned a month before the end of season, claimed, ‘That fellow Gregg is an exact duplicate of Waddell when the Rube was at his best.’”

When I think of someone like Gregg, with so much potential, but little durability, my mind can’t help but go to Cy Young, who retired after the 1911 season, but only after finishing 511-316, pitching 7,356 innings and completing 749 of his 815 games started. Why did his arm last while Gregg’s didn’t? By the way, in order for 2017 innings leading pitcher Chris Sale to pitch 7,356 innings he’d have to pitch 214 1/3 innings, which was what he had that season, over 35 years.

warhop2

P-Jack Warhop, New York Highlanders, 27 Years Old

1909

10-19, 2.86 ERA, 110 K, .207, 0 HR, 6 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 17 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-Warhop didn’t make the All-Star teams in 1910 or 1911 as both seasons his ERA was 3.00 or above. This season, most likely his last time on this list and his best year ever, he finished 10th in WAR (7.0); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.8); and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (127).

As for the Highlanders, Harry Wolverton took over the managerial reins and the team plummeted to last place with a 50-102 record. It would be his only managing job.

Wikipedia says, “Warhop’s penchant for tough luck was best exemplified in the 1912 season, when he finished with a 10–19 record—the second highest number of losses in the AL—despite compiling a 2.86 ERA and 6.7 Wins Above Replacement (WAR). Both his ERA and WAR were tenth best in the AL, though he also finished second in hit batsmen (16) and fifth in errors as a pitcher (7). In a July 5 road game against the Washington Senators, he entered the game in the second inning and lost 6–5 in a walk-off, despite dueling Walter Johnson up to the 16th inning. Then, in a game on August 22, he held the Chicago White Sox to just two hits and no runs in the first five innings. While pitching with a 3–0 lead, Warhop surrendered one run in the sixth inning, before getting shelled in the seventh, giving up four runs and the lead. After another four runs were given up in the ninth inning, the Highlanders lost the game 9–4. Towards the end of the season, Warhop was again on the losing side of a bad luck game, when he lost a 3–0 pitchers’ duel against the St. Louis Browns, having held them scoreless for the first five innings.”

collinsr2

P-Ray Collins, Boston Red Sox, 25 Years Old

1910

13-8, 2.53 ERA, 82 K, .169, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-Collins went 11-12 in 1911 and didn’t make this list, but he’s back this season, finishing sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.7); fifth in ERA (2.53); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (134). In the World Series, he started Game 2 against Christy Mathewson and allowed five runs, three earned, in seven-and-a-third innings. The game ended up being a 6-6 tie. In Game 6, Collins relieved Buck O’Brien in the second inning and pitched seven scoreless innings in what ended up a 5-2 loss.

This is as good of time as any to talk about a new ballpark that is still around this day. Wikipedia says, “The Red Sox moved to Fenway Park from the old Huntington Avenue Grounds. In 1911, owner John I. Taylor purchased the land bordered by Brookline Avenue, Jersey Street, Van Ness Street and Lansdowne Street and developed it into a larger baseball stadium.

“Taylor claimed the name Fenway Park came from its location in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston, which was partially created late in the nineteenth century by filling in marshland or “fens“,[14] to create the Back Bay Fens urban park. However, given that Taylor’s family also owned the Fenway Realty Company, the promotional value of the naming at the time has been cited as well. Like many classic ballparks, Fenway Park was constructed on an asymmetrical block, with consequent asymmetry in its field dimensions. The General Contractor was the Charles Logue Building Company.

“The first game was played April 20, 1912, with mayor John F. Fitzgerald throwing out the first pitch and Boston defeating the New York Yankees, 7-6 in 11 innings. Newspaper coverage of the opening was overshadowed by continuing coverage of the Titanic sinking a few days earlier.”

ford3

P-Russ Ford, New York Highlanders, 29 Years Old

1910 1911

13-21, 3.55 ERA, 112 K, .286, 1 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs Allowed-11

Losses-21

Earned Runs Allowed-115

3rd Time All-Star-As Ford’s scuff ball got less effective, his pitching dominance started to fade. However, he still was good enough to finish ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.7); and fifth in innings pitched (291 2/3). He also had his best hitting year also, slashing .286/.322/.384 for an OPS+ of 97.

SABR says of his scuff ball, “In a 1935 interview with The Sporting News, Ford explained that he first discovered the secret behind the emery pitch in 1908, when he was still with Atlanta. On a rainy spring morning Ford was warming up under the stands with catcher Ed Sweeney when he became wild. One pitch struck a wooden upright; another sailed sideways about five feet. When Sweeney returned the ball, Ford examined it and saw that it was rough where it had hit the upright. He wondered if the roughened surface was responsible for the ball’s odd movement, so he gripped the sphere on the side opposite its roughened surface and when he pitched it, the ball shot through the air with a sailing dip. ‘It never occurred to me that I had uncovered what was to become one of the most baffling pitches that a Cobb, Lajoie, Speaker or Delahanty [sic] would be called upon to bat against in the big leagues,’ Ford told The Sporting News.

“But opposing batters had a much easier time handling Ford’s deliveries in 1912, as the pitcher lost a league-high 21 games, though his 3.55 ERA was still slightly better than the league average.”

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P-Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics, 36 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908 1909 1911

26-6, 2.22 ERA, 110 K, .267, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1904)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000

10th Time All-Star-It is amazing to see Gettysburg Eddie’s consistency. He wasn’t the flashiest pitcher, like a Walter Johnson, or the most lauded, like a Christy Mathewson, but you could hand him the ball every three or four games and know you were going to get a well-pitched game and probably a win. He did have 326 of those by the time his career ended, but I can’t get into that, because Plank’s not done making All-Star teams yet.

Philadelphia’s two-season streak of American League pennants came to an end when they couldn’t overcome the dominant Red Sox this year. Connie Mack led the team to a third-place 90-62 record. The A’s relied on great hitting, led by Eddie Collins, but their pitching was mediocre this year.

Of this season, SABR says, “Plank enjoyed another terrific year in 1912, posting a 26-6 record with a fine 2.22 ERA. However, the Athletics fell to 90-62, one game behind second-place Washington and 15 behind the powerful Red Sox. Indeed, the 1912 season is emblematic of a tendency to underestimate Plank’s greatness. His 26-6 record jumps out at us today, but it was only the fourth highest win total in the American League, behind Joe Wood’s 34-5,Walter Johnson’s 33-12 (and league-best 1.39 ERA), and Ed Walsh’s 27-17. In addition, Wood and Johnson each strung together league-record winning streaks of sixteen games, and Marquard won a major-league record nineteen straight games in the National League. Accordingly, Plank’s solid performance was lost in the shuffle of one of baseball’s great pitching seasons.”

obrienb

P-Buck O’Brien, Boston Red Sox, 30 Years Old

20-13, 2.58 ERA, 115 K, .138, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 42 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Thomas Joseph “Buck” O’Brien was born on May 9, 1882 in Brockton, MA. He started with Boston in 1911 and his six games were so dazzling, he earned himself a regular spot in the rotation in 1912. He went 5-1 with a 0.38 ERA in 47 2/3 innings pitched. This season, easily his best ever, O’Brien finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.4); sixth in ERA (2.58); seventh in innings pitched (275 2/3); and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (131).

Buck’s World Series was tough, as he lost both games he started, giving up seven runs, five earned, in a total of nine innings pitched. Still, Boston won, so O’Brien was able to claim one championship for his career.

It was a career that ended the next season as his fluke season turned out to be just that, a fluke. At 31 years of age, in 1913, he pitched for both the Red Sox and the White Sox, finishing 4-11 and O’Brien’s Major League career was done.

Wikipedia says of the World Series, “O’Brien started Game 3 of the 1912 World Series against the New York Giants, but lost. Boston eventually took a 3–1 series lead, with ace pitcher Smokey Joe Wood slated to start Game 6. However, club owner Jimmy McAleer wanted the series to go back to Boston so he could get the gate receipts; he ordered manager Jake Stahl to start O’Brien instead of Wood. Buck, not knowing that he was going to pitch, was hungover the day of the game. He gave up three earned runs in the first inning, and Boston lost.”

groom

P-Bob Groom, Washington Senators, 27 Years Old

24-13, 2.62 ERA, 179 K, .117, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 27 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Robert “Bob” Groom was born on September 12, 1884 in Belleville, IL. The six-foot-two, 175 pound righty started with Washington in 1909 and lost a league-leading 26 games, giving up the most walks in the American League with 105. Still, his ERA was 2.87 and his ERA+ was 86 and the rookie stayed in the league. It must have been tough to pitch on the same team as Walter Johnson, but Groom held his own. This season was his best ever as he finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.7), eighth in ERA (2.62), fourth in innings pitched (316), and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (129).

SABR says, “With Clark Griffith at the helm in 1912, the Nationals improved dramatically, winning 91, losing 61, and finishing in second place. Pitching a career-high 316 innings, Groom won 24 games and Johnson won 33, combining for over 60 percent of Washington’s victories. A major highlight of the 1912 season was the Nationals’ 17-consecutive-game winning streak. Bob started and won four of the games in that streak, his most impressive win being the last, on June 18. Only after that game was over did the Nationals’ fans learn the grit it had taken for Bob Groom to win that game. Before the game, he discovered a painful abscess on his back between his shoulders. The Nationals’ team physician recommended a debilitating operation, but Bob refused, and instead had the doctor insert a drainage tube. With the tube in his back, he put on his uniform and pitched a complete game, giving the Nationals a 5-4 victory over Philadelphia.”

lapp2

C-Jack Lapp, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

1911

.292, 1 HR, 35 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 23 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-One of Philadelphia’s most underrated players during its five-year stretch in which it won four pennants, Lapp made his second American League All-Star team. He didn’t match his incredible .353 average and .902 OPS of 1911, but he still did great for a catcher, slashing .292/.337/.399/.735 for an OPS+ of 113. In an era in which catchers couldn’t hit, Lapp was the exception.

SABR says, “Lapp didn’t bark at umpires. He never complained about his standing in Philadelphia’s catching order, nor became embroiled in team politics. He was a light drinker, an avid golfer, and enjoyed off-season hunting vacations with his teammates. His most defining characteristic was his premature baldness. ‘Johnny Lapp, who owns the closest haircut in the American,’ a correspondent quipped in August 1912, ‘is catching great ball for the champs; in fact, he is now the Athletic Club’s most dependable catcher.’

“But by that point in the 1912 season, perhaps in a championship hangover, Philadelphia had fallen out of the race, and would eventually finish in third place. Thomas battled health issues. Mack had sold Livingston, and brought back Ben Egan, who couldn’t hit major-league pitching. Lapp’s playing time thus increased to 91 games, in which he achieved a .292 BA, .337 OBP, and .399 SLG. He threw out 47% of would-be base stealers, and committed a career-high 20 errors.”

It is almost impossible to look at the stats of a catcher and judge whether or not he’ll make another All-Star team. If I had to guess, Lapp probably has one left in him.

stanage

C-Oscar Stanage, Detroit Tigers, 29 Years Old

.261, 0 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 49 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-120 (2nd Time)

Assists as C-168 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as C-14

Passed Balls-17

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-172 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Oscar Harland Stanage was born on March 17, 1883 in Tulare, CA. The five-foot-11 190 pound righty had something many backstops of his day didn’t, endurance. For eight straight seasons, he caught 80 or more games, which was rare during this time. Stanage started his career with one at-bat for the Reds in 1906 and then didn’t play in the Majors again until 1909 when he landed with Detroit. This season, he slashed .261/.326/.305/.631 for an OPS+ of 83. It wasn’t great, but combined with his fielding landed him on this list.

Wikipedia says, “A native of Tulare, California, he began his baseball career with the Stockton Millers. He was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1906 and promptly traded to the Reds for whom he had only one plate appearance before returning to the minor leagues. In August 1908, Stanage was purchased by the Tigers and remained with them from 1909 to 1920. He appeared in 1,096 major league games, 1,074 as a catcher, and compiled a .236 batting average and .284 on-base percentage. In 1911, he set an American League record with 212 assists as a catcher, a record that still stands. He led the American League in assists by a catcher three times (1911, 1912, and 1914) and threw out 830 base runners in the 1910s, more than any other American League catcher. He ranks among the all-time career leaders at catcher with 1,381 assists (14th), 931 runners caught stealing (14th), and 1,297 stolen bases allowed (10th).”

mcinnis

1B-Stuffy McInnis, Philadelphia Athletics, 21 Years Old

.327, 3 HR, 101 RBI

MVP Rank: 21

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. 25 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,533

Def. Games as 1B-153

Putouts as 1B-1,533

Assists as 1B-100

Errors Committed as 1B-27

Double Plays Turned as 1B-88

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-10.84

Range Factor/Game as 1B-10.67

1st Time All-Star-John Phalen “Stuffy” or “Jack” McInnis was born on September 19, 1890 in Gloucester, MA. The five-foot-nine, 162 pound righty was small for a first baseman, but would have a long, decent career and be a big part of the Athletics’ dynasty. He started with Philadelphia in 1909, then moved from shortstop to first base in 1911 and would be a regular in the lineup for many years. This season, McInnis finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.7); seventh in Offensive WAR (5.1); seventh in batting (.327); eighth in on-base percentage (.384); ninth in slugging (.433); and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (137).

                SABR says, “The Athletics won the 1911 American League pennant, limping into the World Series with the aged Davis replacing Stuffy at first base. It was the second year in a row that McInnis’ team played in the World Series without Stuffy taking a meaningful part in the outcome. However, with the Athletics up 13-2 with two outs in the ninth inning, and a 3-2 series lead, Mack put Stuffy into the game defensively at first base, so that Stuffy could say he’d played in a World Series. A’s pitcher Chief Bender promptly induced Giants catcher Artie Wilson to ground weakly to Frank Baker at third base. The Series ended as Stuffy touched the ball for the first time, nabbing Baker’s throw for the final putout. For Stuffy, it was the first of five World Series with three different teams.” It was this season of 1912 McInnis took over regularly for Harry Davis, a four-time qualifier on this list.

collinse42B-Eddie Collins, Philadelphia Athletics, 25 Years Old

1909 1910 1911

.348, 0 HR, 64 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-137

Putouts as 2B-387 (4th Time)

Errors Committed as 2B-38

Double Plays Turned as 2B-63 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-At what point do you realize a player is a genuine superstar and not just a fluke? Whatever that time may be, Collins has reached it, making his fourth straight All-Star team as the American League’s best second baseman. This season, Collins finished eighth in WAR (8.8); fifth in WAR Position Players (8.8); fifth in Offensive WAR (8.1); fifth in batting (.348); fourth in on-base percentage (.450); eighth in slugging (.435); second in steals (63), trailing Washington centerfielder Clyde Milan (88); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (158). It was an outstanding season anyone would kill to have, yet it was actually an off season for Collins. His eighth place finish in WAR was his lowest in the eight-year stretch from 1909-1916.

SABR mentions some of the superstitions of Cocky: “The bright, confident, and successful Collins was given to a litany of less than ‘rational’ practices and observances. At the plate he kept his gum on his hat button until two strikes, then would remove it and commence chewing. He loathed black cats, and would walk or drive out of his way to avoid crossing paths with one. If he saw a load of barrels, he believed he’d make one or two hits that day. Finding a hairpin meant a single, two hairpins a double. Scraps of paper littering the dugout steps drove him crazy. He would refrain from changing game socks during a winning streak, and as player-manager for the White Sox is said to have fired a clubhouse man for acting in violation of this practice. He believed it lucky to have someone spit on his hat before a game. Each winter Collins soaked his bats in oil, dried them out, and rubbed them down with a bone. This practice became the stuff of lore, as it has even been said that he buried his bats in cow dung piles to ‘keep ’em alive.’ On the more practical side, he would wear heavier shoes as spring approached so that his feet would feel lighter when the season opened.”

lajoie12

2B-Nap Lajoie, Cleveland Naps, 37 Years Old

1897 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910

.368, 0 HR, 90 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1901)

 

Led in:

 

AB per SO-40.7 (3rd Time)

12th Time All-Star-Twilight is coming on the great career of Nap Lajoie. My guess is he has only one more All-Star team left after this season. He was among the first great stars of the American League, along with Cy Young, and even now, at the age of 37, could still rip the ball. Lajoie has also made more All-Star teams than anyone at his position. Click here for the whole list. If I was doing a greatest of all time list in 1912, Lajoie would probably rank fifth behind Cy Young, Honus Wagner, Cap Anson, and Kid Nichols. By next year, his 13th All-Star team will put him ahead of Nichols.

Lajoie didn’t make the All-Star team in 1911, because he only played 90 games. According to the Baseball Think Factory, he ruptured a leg muscle. Poli missed his share of games over his career or it could have been even greater.

Of course, the saddest part of his career was his lack of championships. No Lajoie team ever won the pennant, so he never made the World Series. Some people use players’ postseasons to judge players and that can be useful. However, baseball isn’t like basketball where one player can turn a team around. One player can’t do it all or Mike Trout would have a room full of World Series trophies.

This season, Lajoie finished 10th in WAR Position Players (5.3); seventh in Offensive WAR (5.1); fourth in batting (.368); fifth in on-base percentage (.414); sixth in slugging (.462); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (146).

baker4

3B-Home Run Baker, Philadelphia Athletics, 26 Years Old

1909 1910 1911

.347, 10 HR, 130 RBI

MVP Rank: 7

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames;

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-10 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-130

AB Per HR-57.7 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 3B-25 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.67

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.61

4th Time All-Star-Baker is in a great stretch of his career, making the All-Star team for his fourth straight season. He finished sixth in WAR (9.3); third in WAR Position Players (9.3), behind Boston centerfielder Tris Speaker (10.1) and Cleveland rightfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson (9.5); fourth in Offensive WAR (8.3); fifth in Defensive WAR (1.5); sixth in batting (.347); sixth in on-base percentage (.404); fourth in slugging (.541); seventh in steals (40); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (174).

SABR says, “Despite his newfound fame, Baker remained a rugged individualist, retiring to his Maryland farm every offseason where he kept in shape by chopping wood and hunting for quail. Sportswriters who managed to track him down for a hot stove feature soon learned that the quickest way to get Frank to open up was to go hunting with him. ‘Frank is the best shot in Talbot County, and he’s wild about duck shooting,’ one friend explained. ‘Whenever you look at him he’s either just shot fifteen or twenty ducks or is just going to, and he’ll call you blessed if you save him the trouble of bringing up the subject. After that he’ll discuss anything under the sun with you.’

“From 1912 to 1914, Baker continued to lead the league in home runs every season, and also collected his first RBI title in 1912, with a career high 130, and a second in 1913, when he drove in 117 runs. Continuing to rank among the league leaders in assists and putouts, Baker was also widely regarded as one of the game’s best fielding third basemen.”

gardner2

3B-Larry Gardner, Boston Red Sox, 26 Years Old

1911

.315, 3 HR, 86 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 99 percent chance)

 

2nd Time All-Star-It wasn’t easy to be an All-Star third baseman in these days, yet Boston in the American League’s short history has already had two good ones, Jimmy Collins and this man. Gardner finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.8); ninth in Offensive WAR (5.0); sixth in Defensive WAR (1.3); ninth in batting (.315); ninth in on-base percentage (.383); seventh in slugging (.449); and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (134). It was his best season ever.

In the World Series, Gardner knocked in the only run in Boston’s 2-1 loss to the Giants in Game 3 at Fenway Park. He was one of the heroes of the Game 4 victory for the Red Sox as he went two-for-three with a triple and scored two of Boston’s three runs. In Game 7, Boston lost 11-4, but Gardner launched a two-run homer. But in Game 8, he proved the difference, hitting a sacrifice fly off of Christy Mathewson that scored Steve Yerkes and won the Series for Boston.

SABR describes the winning hit, saying, “Realizing that Mathewson was working him to hit a low ball, Larry allowed two balls to go by before he swung and missed at the third pitch. A walk meant forcing in the winning run, so Matty couldn’t afford to be cute. His next pitch was over the inside corner, well above the knee. Larry swung and a shout went up as the ball headed for deep right field. ‘I was disappointed at first because I thought the ball was going out,’ Larry remembered, ‘but then when I saw Yerkes tag up, then score to end it, I realized it meant $4,024.68, just about double my earnings for the year.’”

foster

3B-Eddie Foster, Washington Senators, 25 Years Old

.285, 2 HR, 70 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

At Bats-618

Def. Games as 3B-154

Assists as 3B-348

1st Time All-Star-Edward Cunningham “Eddie” or “Kid” Foster was born on February 13, 1887 in Chicago, IL. The five-foot-six, 145 pound third baseman started as a shortstop for the Highlanders in 1910. He didn’t play Major League ball in 1911 and this season had his best year ever for the Senators. Foster finished eighth in WAR Position Players (5.4); and second in Defensive WAR (2.0), behind teammate and shortstop George McBride (2.7). He’d continue to play good defense throughout his 13-year career.

SABR says, “Foster didn’t get into any games for Washington in 1911, but made the club in 1912, played in every one of the 154 games, and hit for an impressive .285. He had, however, been converted into a third baseman, where Washington had more of a need. In the first few weeks of the new season, he made his mark – particularly against the New Yorkers. ‘With his batting and fielding, no one person has helped to keep the Highlanders in last place more than third baseman Eddie Foster, of the Washingtons. And the Highlanders had him once, too.’ Indeed, the Highlanders could have pulled him back from Rochester but had elected to sell his contract to Clark Griffith’s Washington club.

“Foster drove in 70 runs, which remained his career best. His three-run inside-the-park home run on April 27 off New York’s Ray Caldwell came in the bottom of the sixth, neither team having scored, and was ‘a resounding Rooseveltian rap,’ in the words of Sporting Life editor Paul W. Eaton. In his 13 years in the majors, Foster hit six home runs.”

bush3

SS-Donie Bush, Detroit Tigers, 24 Years Old

1909 1910

.231, 2 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 80 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-117 (4th Time)

Assists-547 (3rd Time)

Assists as SS-547 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.20

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.00

3rd Time All-Star-Bush’s chance of making my Hall of Fame dropped from 99 percent to 80 percent and that’s because after 1910, the diminutive shortstop lost most of his ability to hit. The reason he’s still going to make All-Star teams is because he could still draw walks and he flashed good leather in the field. This season, Bush finished fourth in Defensive WAR (1.8) and eighth in steals (37). He was the best of a weak pool of American League shortstops this year.

Here’s Wikipedia’s description of his fielding prowess: “Bush was one of the best defensive shortstops of the dead-ball era. He collected more putoutsassists, and total chances than any other shortstop of the era, and his 1914 total of 425 putouts is still the Major League record for shortstops. His 1914 total of 969 chances is also still the American League record. He also led the American League in assists by a shortstop on five occasions: 1909 (567), 1911 (556), 1912 (547), 1914 (544), and 1915 (504). Bush also holds the Major League record (shared with Bid McPhee) for most career triple plays with nine. Bush’s triple plays came on May 4, 1910, April 24, 1911, May 20, 1911, September 9, 1911, April 6, 1912, August 23, 1917, August 14, 1919, May 18, 1921, and September 14, 1921.

“In 1912, Bush led the major leagues with 117 bases on balls. The Sporting Life noted: ‘Bush is one of the hardest men in the game to pitch to. He is so small that a pitcher has to have absolute control to get the ball over for him, and it makes him a most valuable lead-off man for a team, because there is hardly a day that he does not reach the bases one or more times.’”

Full-length of Tristan Speaker as Boston Red Sox

CF-Tris Speaker, Boston Red Sox, 24 Years Old

1909 1910 1911

.383, 10 HR, 90 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

1912 AL MVP

WAR Position Players-10.1

Offensive WAR-9.2

On-Base %-.464

Doubles-53

Home Runs-10

Runs Created-149

Adj. Batting Runs-73

Adj. Batting Wins-7.6

Extra Base Hits-75

Times on Base-310

Power-Speed #-16.8

Assists as CF-35 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as CF-12 (2nd Time)

Assists as OF-35 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as OF-9 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.62 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as CF-.957 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.73 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.66 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Speaker might always be behind Ty Cobb and Shoeless Joe Jackson in some of the hitting stats, but that doesn’t take away from his own abilities. This season, Speaker was named the American League MVP (I would have picked Walter Johnson) finishing fourth in WAR (10.1); first in WAR Position Players (10.1); first in Offensive WAR (9.2); third in batting (.383), behind Cobb (.409) and Jackson (.395); first in on-base percentage (.464); third in slugging (.567), trailing Cobb (.584) and Jackson (.579); fourth in steals (52); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (189), once again behind Cobb (200) and Jackson (191).

But, hey, Cobb and Jackson, did you make the World Series? Because Speaker did. He was one of the heroes of the clinching Game 8 over the Giants, hitting a single in the 10th inning to tie up the game, 2-2, before Larry Gardner hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the winning run. Altogether, The Grey Eagle  hit .300 (nine-for-30) with a double and two triples.

SABR says, “But when executing a hook slide on the bases, tracking a fly ball at the crack of an opponent’s bat, or slashing one of his patented extra-base hits, Speaker made everything he did look easy. ‘You can write him down as one of the two models of ball-playing grace,’ Grantland Rice wrote of the Grey Eagle. ‘The other was Napoleon Lajoie. Neither ever wasted a motion or gave you any sign of extra effort. … They had the same elements that made a Bobby Jones or the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame — the smoothness of a summer wind.’”

cobb6CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 25 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911

.409, 7 HR, 83 RBI

MVP Rank: 7

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

 

Led in:

 

1912 AL Batting Title (6th Time)

Batting Average-.409 (5th Time)

Slugging %-.584 (6th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.040 (6th Time)

Hits-226 (5th Time)

Singles-166 (4th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-200 (6th Time)

Offensive Win %-.857 (6th Time)

Caught Stealing-34

6th Time All-Star-It wouldn’t be until 1920 that caught stealings would be officially counted. However, they were counted sporadically before then. So I’m shocked how many times Cobb got thrown out trying to steal. I’d always heard he was a good base stealer, stealing 897 times in his career, but in the seasons in which CS are counted, he added very little value to his game through stealing.

Oh well, and the Mona Lisa is wearing an off-the-rack dress, I shouldn’t be so picky. Cobb still had an outstanding year, finishing seventh in WAR (9.2); fourth in WAR Position Players (9.2); second in Offensive WAR (8.9), trailing Boston centerfielder Tris Speaker (9.2); first in batting (.409); third in on-base percentage (.456), behind Speaker and Cleveland rightfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson (.458); first in slugging (.584); third in steals (61), trailing Washington centerfielder Clyde Milan (88) and Philadelphia second baseman Eddie Collins (63); first in caught stealings (34); and first in Adjusted OPS+ (200).

Cobb’s most famous, or should I say, infamous, accomplishment in 1912 was beating up a man in the stands in a game in New York. The New York Times has an article detailing it. Read it all. Here’s a bit of it: “The Tigers’ Sam Crawford asked Cobb what he intended to do. And with that, Cobb suddenly vaulted into the stands toward Lucker, seated about 12 rows up in the grandstand. Knocking Lucker down, Cobb began kicking and stamping him.

“’Cobb,’ someone cried, ‘that man has no hands!’

“’I don’t care if he has no feet!’ he yelled, continuing the attack with his cleats.” Would he have been kicked out of baseball if this happened nowadays?

milan3

CF-Clyde Milan, Washington Senators, 25 Years Old

1910 1911

.306, 1 HR, 79 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 20 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-88

Def. Games as CF-154 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as CF-25 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as OF-154 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as OF-25

3rd Time All-Star-Different eras of baseball have valued the stolen base more than others. This Deadball Era, with its lack of runs and lack of power certainly had more than its share of steals. And since there weren’t statistical nudges around telling players there was only value in thefts if you stole only 70 percent or above, steals were tried frequently without the concern there is nowadays for success. In 1912, there was a total of 1,822 stolen bases, an average of 228 a team, and 1,340 caught stealings, or 168 a team. That’s a 58 percent success rate. Milan, who led the American League in steals with 88 got caught stealing 31 times or a 74 percent rate.

As for the rest of his season, Deerfoot finished ninth in WAR Position Players (5.4); 10th in Offensive WAR (4.5); and third in caught stealing (31), behind Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (34) and Chicago third baseman Harry Lord (33). Lord was thrown out more times than he succeeded (30).

SABR says, “Milan’s peak was from 1911 to 1913 when he played in every game but one, batted over .300 each season, and averaged almost 74 stolen bases per season. In 1912 he finished fourth in the Chalmers Award voting, and his American League record-breaking total of 88 steals would have been 91 if Washington’s game against St. Louis on August 9th hadn’t been rained out in the third inning. unning into Milan on a train that summer, Billy Evans, who had umpired Milan’s first game back in 1907, remarked on his wonderful improvement in every department of the game, base running in particular.”

shotton

CF-Burt Shotton, St. Louis Browns, 27 Years Old

.290, 2 HR, 40 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as CF-374

Errors Committed as CF-25

Def. Games as OF-154

Putouts as OF-381

Errors Committed as OF-25

1st Time All-Star-Burton Edwin “Burt” or “Barney” Shotton was born on October 18, 1884 in Brownhelm, OH. The five-foot-11, 175 pound lefty started with the Browns in 1909, but didn’t play in the Majors in 1910. He was back as St. Louis’ regular centerfielder in 1911. This season, Shotton is the Browns’ lone representative on this list. He finished seventh in on-base percentage (.390); 10th in steals (35); and seventh in caught stealing (26). He has a couple more All-Star seasons left.

His team moved up from last to seventh this season with a 53-101 record. St. Louis was coached by Bobby Wallace (12-27) and George Stovall (41-74). It had the league’s worst hitting, as it was the only team to average less than four runs a game, and also some of the league’s worst pitching. Being a St. Louis Browns fan would have been almost as bad as being a Cleveland Browns fan nowadays.

SABR says, “Shotton began his professional career in 1908, batting .244 in twenty-two games for Erie in the Ohio-Pennsylvania League. He reached the majors the following season, when he made it into seventeen games with the St. Louis Browns. In his first major-league at-bat, on September 13 in Detroit, Shotton singled off George Mullin. He had his first major league home run, an inside-the-parker, on June 22, 1912 at Comiskey Park off Joe Benz.” Of course, most of his game comes as a manager and for being Jackie Robinson’s first Major League skipper. Apparently, Leo Durocher was out with a suspension for the season.

jackson2

RF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, Cleveland Naps, 24 Years Old

1911

.395, 3 HR, 90 RBI

MVP Rank: 9

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Hits-226

Total Bases-331

Triples-26

Assists as RF-24

Errors Committed as RF-13

Range Factor/Game as RF-1.97 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-What a talent this man was! At 24-years-old, he was already one of the American League’s superstars. What kind of stats could Shoeless Joe have compiled if his career wasn’t so short? Oh well, such is life, let’s just focus on the positive. This year, Jackson finished fifth in WAR (9.5); second in WAR Position Players (9.5), behind Boston centerfielder Tris Speaker (10.1); third in Offensive WAR (8.8), trailing Speaker (9.2) and Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (8.9); second in batting (.395), only behind Cobb (.409); second in on-base percentage (.458), trailing Speaker (.464); second in slugging (.579), lagging only behind the Georgia Peach (.584); 10th in steals (35); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (191), behind Cobb (200). The Junior Circuit certainly had its share of great outfielders at this time.

How did he acquire his nickname? According to Wikipedia, “According to Jackson, he got his nickname during a mill game played in Greenville, South Carolina. Jackson had blisterson his foot from a new pair of cleats, which hurt so much that he took his shoes off before he was at bat. As play continued, a heckling fan noticed Jackson running to third base in his socks, and shouted ‘You shoeless son of a gun, you!’ and the resulting nickname ‘Shoeless Joe’ stuck with him throughout the remainder of his life.”

If indeed Jackson helped throw the 1919 World Series, I don’t think he belongs in the Hall of Fame, but remember this Hall of Fame included Ty Cobb, who, as mentioned in his write-up, pummeled a man in the stands. That’s why my Hall of Fame is based purely on stats, because I don’t want to be the morality judge.

crawford9

RF-Sam Crawford, Detroit Tigers, 32 Years Old, 1912 ONEHOF Inductee

1901 1902 1903 1905 1907 1908 1909 1911

.325, 4 HR, 109 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1912)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1957)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1905)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as RF-.983 (2nd Time)

9th Time All-Star-My dear readers, you probably have been scouring the 1912 NL All-Star list and this list wondering if you missed this year’s ONEHOF Inductee. Nope, it just happened to be the last player of which I’m writing for the 1912 season, Wahoo Sam Crawford. Next year’s nominees are Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Vic Willis, Roger Bresnahan, Cal McVey, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, Joe McGinnity, Johnny Evers, Joe Tinker, and Ed Walsh.

Crawford this season finished sixth in Offensive WAR (5.5); eighth in batting (.325); fifth in slugging (.470); sixth in steals (42); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (143). Many of you know Yahoo Sam is the leading triple hitter of all time. At this point, Crawford has 228 triples, 16 behind Jake Beckley. When will he catch him? You’ll have to keep reading!

Detroit had a new park this year, according to SABR, which says, “The first game to be played at Navin Field was scheduled for Thursday, April 18, 1912, with the Detroit Tigers hosting the Cleveland Naps. To commemorate this special Opening Day of the season, many activities were scheduled, all to take place on the 18th. A parade featuring both teams was to work its way from the middle of downtown Detroit to the new ballpark at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull Avenues. After the game the Tigers and Naps were to attend a banquet in their honor at the elegant Hotel Pontchartrain, sponsored by the Detroit Board of Commerce. However, once again, the best plans did not occur as planned. It rained hard on April 18 and the game was postponed.”

1912 National League All-Star Team

P-Nap Rucker, BRO

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Pete Alexander, PHI

P-Claude Hendrix, PIT

P-Rube Marquard, NYG

P-Slim Sallee, STL

P-George Suggs, CIN

P-Jeff Tesreau, NYG

P-Art Fromme, CIN

P-Eppa Rixey, PHI

C-Chief Meyers, NYG

C-Jimmy Archer, CHC

1B-Ed Konetchy, STL

1B-Jake Daubert, BRO

2B-Johnny Evers, CHC

2B-Bill Sweeney, BSN

2B-Larry Doyle, NYG

3B-Heinie Zimmerman, CHC

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

LF-Bob Bescher, CIN

LF-Max Carey, PIT

CF-Chief Wilson, PIT

CF-Dode Paskert, PHI

RF-John Titus, PHI/BSN

 

rucker6

P-Nap Rucker, Brooklyn Dodgers, 27 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911

18-21, 2.21 ERA, 151 K, .245, 0 HR, 12 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-8.3 (2nd Time)

War for Pitchers-8.1 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-6 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-As of this writing, the Golden State Warriors won yet another basketball championship because they have two of the best players in the game, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. In basketball, there are fewer championship teams, because you can be successful with the game’s best players. Not so in baseball. You need to have a good all-around team to win. Mike Trout is the best player in baseball and has only been to the playoffs once. He’s having an incredible 2018 season and it looks like the Angels could fall short again.

Which brings us to Rucker. He was one of baseball’s best players during the time he pitched, but his career won-loss percentage is .500. That’s because he always pitched on bad teams. Am I saying he would have been a Christy Mathewson if he had pitched on the Giants? Yes, though without the longevity. This season, Rucker finished first in WAR (8.3); first in WAR for Pitchers (8.1); third in ERA (2.21), behind the New York combo of Jeff Tesreau (1.96) and Mathewson (2.12); sixth in innings pitched (297 2/3); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (151), trailing only Tesreau (173) and Mathewson (161).

Speaking of Rucker’s bad team, Brooklyn stayed in seventh with a 67-86 record under the guidance of Bill Dahlen. Its problem was when Rucker wasn’t on the mound, the team’s pitching was awful. Rucker would have garnered much more fame if he pitched in these modern times, due to his dominance in the advanced stats.

mathewson11

P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 31 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911

23-12, 2.12 ERA, 134 K, .264, 0 HR, 12 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1910)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1903)

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.987 (4th Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.941 (7th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.54 (8th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-42 (5th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.3 (5th Time)

11th Time All-Star-Mathewson’s manager, John McGraw, was part of an incredible team, the Baltimore Orioles of the late 1890s. That team had a reputation as scofflaws, breaking rules and starting fights at the drop of a cap. It’s why it’s amusing to think of the fiery McGraw managing the clean-cut Big Six. Yet I have yet to read of any disagreements between the two men in all of the seasons of which I’ve written of Mathewson.

This season, Mathewson finished second in WAR (8.0), behind Nap Rucker (8.3); second in WAR for Pitchers (7.5), trailing Rucker (8.1); second in ERA (2.12), with only teammate Jeff Tesreau having a lower one (1.96); second in innings pitched (310), behind Pete Alexander (310 1/3); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (161), trailing Tesreau (173). In his third World Series, Mathewson went 0-2, giving up 11 runs (three earned) in 28 2/3 innings. New York lost the Series, 4-3-1, to the Red Sox.

New York made the Series by winning its second consecutive National League pennant, 10 games ahead of the Pirates. Second baseman Larry Doyle helped the team’s great hitting. The Giants averaged 5.34 runs per game, .37 ahead of the Cubs, who finished second in that category. Also, with Mathewson and Tesreau, the team had the best pitching in the league. Wikipedia says, “Though Mathewson threw three complete games and maintained an ERA below 1.00, numerous errors by the Giants, including a lazy popup dropped by Fred Snodgrass in game 7, cost them the championship.”

alexander2

P-Pete Alexander, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

1911

19-17, 2.81 ERA, 195 K, .186, 2 HR, 13 RBI

MVP Rank: 22

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1938)

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.655

Innings Pitched-310 1/3 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-195

Home Runs Allowed-11

2nd Time All-Star-I wrote in Alexander’s 1911 blurb that he and Christy Mathewson will be battling for top pitcher for many years to come, but in 1911 and 1912, the top pitcher by WAR has been Nap Rucker, the underrated gem from Brooklyn. This season, Old Pete finished fifth in WAR (6.4); third in WAR for Pitchers (6.4), behind Rucker (8.1) and Mathewson (7.5); first in innings pitched (310 1/3); and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (128).

Philadelphia continued to be a middle-of-the-pack team, finishing fifth this season, dropping from fourth in 1911. It continued to struggle with hitting, though Alexander did give them one of the best pitching staffs in the league.

SABR says, “Had Grover Cleveland Alexander been a writer, the French would have called him a poete maudit, a cursed poet. Alexander had within him the greatness and the frailty that make for tragedy. Except for Ty Cobb among his contemporaries, no other player had to cope with so many personal demons. With Cobb and Christy Mathewson, Alexander is one of the most complex players of the Deadball Era.

“Life on the Nebraska plains was harsh, as the infant and child deaths in the Alexander family amply prove. The Alexander farm was self-sufficient, however, and there was always enough food. Alex-called ‘Dode’ by family and folks around Elba and St. Paul-considered himself ‘an average farm boy’ and described his youth as ‘more or less a matter of long days of work and short nights of sleep.’ He acquired a reputation as a corn shucker, a task his father credited with giving him the powerful right wrist that made his curveball so deadly.”

hendrix

P-Claude Hendrix, Pittsburgh Pirates, 23 Years Old

24-9, 2.59 ERA, 176 K, .322, 1 HR, 15 RBI

MVP Rank: 20

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.727

Assists as P-91

Range Factor/Game as P-2.51

1st Time All-Star-Claude Raymond Hendrix was born on April 13, 1889 in Olathe, KS. The six-foot, 195 pound righty started with Pittsburgh in 1911, but really broke through this year. Hendrix finished sixth in WAR (6.1); ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.7); eighth in ERA (2.59); 10th in innings pitched (288 2/3); and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (128). He also added something many pitchers didn’t – a great bat. He slashed .322/.339/.529 for and OPS+ of 135 and was used eight times as a pinch hitter.

Pittsburgh couldn’t get past the Giants and finished second in the league with a 93-58 record. Fred Clarke continued to manage the team that had great hitting thanks to Honus Wagner and great pitching thanks to Hendrix.

SABR says, “Making the jump from semipro ball directly to the majors, Claude debuted with the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 11, 1911, and soon befriended Honus Wagner, with whom he often joined on business deals. Hendrix finished the season with a 4-6 record, but his 2.73 ERA and 85 hits allowed in 118.2 innings provided a hint of the performance that was soon to come.

“In his first full season in Pittsburgh, Hendrix emerged as one of the National League’s premier pitchers in 1912, placing second in the NL in strikeouts (176) and leading the league in winning percentage with a 24-9 record to go along with a 2.59 ERA. He also was spectacular at the plate, hitting .322 with a .529 slugging percentage, which would have placed him second in the NL to Heinie Zimmerman if he had batted a sufficient number of times.”

marquard2

P-Rube Marquard, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

1911

26-11, 2.57 ERA, 175 K, .219, 0 HR, 10 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1971)

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. 25 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Wins-26

2nd Time All-Star-What a trio of pitchers the Giants had with Christy Mathewson, Jeff Tesreau, and Marquard. No wonder they won the pennant! Marquard finished eighth in WAR (5.9); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.9); seventh in ERA (2.57); eighth in innings pitched (294 2/3); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (133). In the World Series, Marquard dominated, pitching two games and winning them both while allowing just one earned run. It didn’t help New York, however, as it lost to the Red Sox, 4-3-1.

SABR says, “But 29 years before Joltin’ Joe was smacking the horsehide around American League parks, another one of the great players in Gotham set his own streak. And it was just as impressive. Rube Marquard, who was a pitcher on the 1912 New York Giants, put together a single-season winning streak that, like DiMaggio’s, still stands. Beginning with his first start of the season, at Brooklyn on April 11, Marquard won 19 games in a row. He didn’t lose until July 8. During the streak, left-handed pitcher Marquard had an earned-run average of 1.63.

“If the same streak were played under the rules that are employed today, Marquard would have won 20 in a row. On April 20, against the Brooklyn Superbas, Marquard relieved Jeff Tesreau in the ninth inning. Tesreau had given up three runs and Brooklyn had taken a 3-2 lead over the New Yorkers. Marquard recorded all three outs in the ninth, and retreated to the dugout to watch the Giants score two in the bottom of the frame to win, 4-3. In those days, the win went to the pitcher who had pitched the most innings. In today’s game, Marquard would get the win since he was the pitcher of record when the Giants took the lead.”

sallee

P-Slim Sallee, St. Louis Cardinals, 27 Years Old

16-17, 2.60 ERA, 108 K, .136, 0 HR, 0 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. 33 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Saves-6

Putouts as P-17

1st Time All-Star-Harry Franklin “Slim” or “Scatter” Sallee was born on February 3, 1885 in Higginsport, OH. The six-foot-three, 180 pound lefty started with St. Louis in 1908. This season, he finished ninth in WAR (5.4); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.0); ninth in ERA (2.60); ninth in innings pitched (294); and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (131).

Roger Bresnahan coached his fourth and final season for the Cardinals as they dropped from fifth to sixth this season, with a 63-90 record. It was their pitching that lacked, as St. Louis gave up over five runs a game.

SABR says, “After Sallee got in shape and again promised to behave, Bresnahan declared that in 1911 his pitcher would be the best lefthander in the National League. As it turned out, Sallee’s 15 wins helped St. Louis to its first winning record since 1901. However, in early July, Pittsburgh’s Fred Clarke, who the prior year wouldn’t take Sallee ‘for nothing,’ was hit in the head by a Sallee pitch, for all intents and purposes ending Clarke’s Hall of Fame playing career.

“Later that month, while en route to Boston, the Cardinals were involved in a tragic train wreck, claiming the lives of 12 passengers. Sallee and his teammates received many accolades for their part in the rescue effort; however, this event left a lingering effect on the ball club. While in New York in late August, Sallee again ‘fell off the water wagon’ and was unable to pitch. He was fined and suspended for the remainder of the season, a season that had started off with promise.”

suggs3

P-George Suggs, Cincinnati Reds, 29 Years Old

1910 1911

19-16, 2.94 ERA, 104 K, .160, 1 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Hits Allowed-320

3rd Time All-Star-Sometimes when you look at a name, a picture comes to mind. When I see the name George Suggs, I just imagine a big man for some reason. But he wasn’t; Suggs was just five-foot-seven and 168 pounds. He was a good pitcher, though, making this list for the third straight season. The righty Suggs finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.3) and fourth in innings pitched (303).

Hank O’Day took over the managing duties from Clark Griffith and led the team to a fourth-place 75-78 finish. This was his first and last year managing Cincinnati. This team just couldn’t hit, scoring the least amount of runs in the National League. Griffith is mentioned in an article on Baseball History Daily, grousing about the lack of good-hitting pitchers.       “In 1911 Reds manager Clark Griffith told The Cincinnati Times-Star that pitchers no longer hit like they did when he played:

’Give me pitchers who can hit the ball instead of fanning out weakly, I wish there were a few more pitchers available like the top notchers of twenty years ago.  In those days a pitcher believed that he was hired to soak the ball as well as curve it, and he always did his best to get a hit.

“’(Tim) Keefe (career .187), (Mickey) Welch (.224), (Thomas “Toad”) Ramsey (.204), and (James “Pud”) Galvin  (.201) were among the old-time pitchers who could not bat, but they tried all the time, and if one of them got a hit he was as proud as a kid just breaking into the big league.’”

tesreau

P-Jeff Tesreau, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

17-7, 1.96 ERA, 119 K, .146, 0 HR, 7 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

1912 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.96

Hits per 9 IP-6.556

Adjusted ERA+-173

1st Time All-Star-Charles Monroe “Jeff” Tesreau was born on March 5, 1888 in Ironton, MO. The six-foot-two, 218 pound righty had a marvelous rookie year, finishing eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.1); first in ERA (1.96); and first in Adjusted ERA+ (173). In the World Series, Tesreau pitched three games, finishing 1-2 with a 3.13 ERA as the Giants lost to the Red Sox, 4-3-1.

From Wikipedia: “After two years in the minors, Tesreau learned how to throw a spitball, which became his signature pitch. He started the second game of the 1912 season for the Giants. The New York Times wrote, ‘Tesreau has curves which bend like barrel hoops and speed like lightning. He’s just the kind of a strong man McGraw has been looking for.’ In the 1912 World Series, Tesreau went 1–2 against Boston Red Sox ace Smoky Joe Wood.

“In 1912, Tesreau was 17–7 and had a league leading ERA of 1.96. ERA officially became a statistic of Major League Baseball in 1912, and Tesreau along with the American League‘s Walter Johnson became the first players recognized for leading the major leagues in that category. On September 6 of that season, Tesreau no-hit the Philadelphia Phillies 3-0.”

As for his nickname, Jeff, SABR says, “In 1910 he pitched the whole season for Shreveport and posted a 15-14 record with 179 strikeouts against only 71 walks. The New York Giants purchased him and brought him to New York in September. Though Tesreau didn’t get into any games, he did catch the eye of sportswriter Bill McBeth, who noticed the big pitcher’s resemblance to heavyweight boxer Jim Jeffries and nicknamed him ‘Jeff.’”

fromme2

P-Art Fromme, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1909

16-18, 2.74 ERA, 120 K, .087, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 25 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-9

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1909, Fromme missed much of 1910 due to what I presume was an injury and then had an off season in 1911, in which he led the league in hit batsmen. He’s back this year, though it’s most likely his last year on this list. Fromme finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.6); and seventh in innings pitched (296). Following this season, he would pitch for both the Reds and Giants in 1913, before finishing his Major League career with New York in 1914 and 1915.

Red Reporter says, “On this day [Sept. 3] in 1883, former Red Art Fromme was born in Quincy, IL. Fromme had an Aaron Harang-type career with the Reds. He pitched well while in Cincinnati, but played on mediocre teams. In 1909, Fromme went 19-13 on a team that went 77-76. He missed most of the 1910 season, going 4-3 on a team that went 75-79. Fromme went 10-11 in 1911, and the Reds finished with a 70-83 record. In 1912, Fromme finished with a 16-18 record on a team that went 75-78. He was 1-4 with the Reds in 1913 when Cincinnati traded him on May twenty-second. The team’s record coming into that day was 9-22. Why am I looking at his won-lost records? Well, Fromme went 49-50 with the Reds, but posted a 2.74 ERA, which even in the midst of the deadball era was good for an ERA+ of 112. Fromme was a good pitcher, but you wouldn’t know that if you simply looked at his won-lost record.”

rixey

P-Eppa Rixey, Philadelphia Phillies, 21 Years Old

10-10, 2.50 ERA, 59 K, .170, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000

1st Time All-Star-Eppa “Jephtha” Rixey was born on May 3, 1891 (I believe he’s my first All-Star born in the 1890s) in Culpeper, VA. The six-foot-five, 210 pound lefty would have a fascinating Hall of Fame career as most of his good seasons would come after he reached the age of 30. He had a great rookie season this year, finishing 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.7); sixth in ERA (2.50); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (144). He is going to end up having a 21-year career which won’t end until 1933.

Wikipedia says, “During the off-season, umpire Cy Rigler worked as an assistant coach for the University. He recognized Rixey’s talent and tried to sign him to the Philadelphia Phillies. Rixey originally declined, saying he wanted to be a chemist, but Rigler insisted, even offering a substantial portion of the bonus he received for signing a player. With his family in financial trouble, Rixey accepted the deal. The National League, upon hearing of the deal, created a rule that prohibits umpires from signing players. Neither Rixey nor Rigler received any signing bonus.

“Rixey joined the Phillies for the 1912 season without playing a single game of minor league baseball. His time with the Phillies was marked by inconsistency. He went 10-10 in his first year, with a 2.50 earned run average (ERA) and 10 complete games in 23 games pitched. He had a three hit shutout against the Chicago Cubs on July 18. Rixey was on the losing end of a no-hitter by Jeff Tesreau on September 6. After the season, the Chicago Cubs, under new manager Johnny Evers, offered a ‘huge sum’ to the Phillies for Rixey, but manager Red Dooin declined the offer.”

meyers2

C-Chief Meyers, New York Giants, 31 Years Old

1911

.358, 6 HR, 60 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.441

Def. Games as C-122 (2nd Time)

Putouts as C-576 (3rd Time)

Passed Balls-12 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-His career wasn’t long enough to put him into the Hall of Fame, but Meyers certainly shined among catchers in his day. This season was his best ever as he finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.6); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.8); second in batting (.358), behind Chicago third baseman Heinie Zimmerman (.372); first in on-base percentage (.441); fourth in slugging (.477); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (147), trailing only Zimmerman (170). That’s a great season, regardless, but a flat out dazzling year for a catcher. Meyers’ awesome hitting continued in the World Series loss to the Red Sox as he went 10-for-28 (.357) with a triple.

Wikipedia says, “Meyers had his greatest success in the 1912 season, hitting .358 and finishing third in the MVP award voting. His .441 on-base percentage led the league. Meyers was also a key player in that year’s World Series versus the Boston Red Sox, which featured the infamous “Snodgrass Muff” as well as captivating performances by Mathewson and Smoky Joe Wood.

“Meyers was the primary catcher for Hall of Fame pitcher Christy Mathewson. In only two years of playing Major League Baseball, Meyers teamed up with the great Christy Mathewson, putting on a sketch entitled ‘Curves.’ The half-hour sketch included both Mathewson and Meyers explaining the art of their position. This wasn’t the only project they teamed up for, as both Mathewson and Meyers would act in another sketch which toured for several weeks.” I’m assuming this was on stage somewhere, but it isn’t mentioned. Hey Wikipedia, leave the bad writing to me!

archer

C-Jimmy Archer, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

.283, 5 HR, 61 RBI

MVP Rank: 22

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 55 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as C-149

Errors Committed as C-23

1st Time All-Star-James Patrick “Jimmy” Archer was born on May 13, 1883 in Dublin, Ireland. He started his career playing seven games for Pittsburgh in 1904, then didn’t play again in the Majors until 1907, when he toiled for Detroit. He then took another year off of the Major Leagues until 1909 when he started catching regularly for the Cubs. Archer was steady and made the All-Star team this season due to a lack of good catchers in the National League.

The Cubs finished third this season, with Frank Chance leading them to a 91-59 record in his last year of managing for the team. He would finish coach eight seasons for the Cubbies, leading them to four pennants and two World Series championships, the last title for the club until Joe Maddon in 2016. His career record for Chicago was 768-389, a .664 winning percentage.

Wikipedia says, “As a catcher, he could remain squatting and still throw out runners attempting to stealsecond base due to his unique arm strength, which became his trademark, acquired from the healing of burns that shortened his muscles after an industrial accident in which Archer fell into a vat of boiling sap at the age of 19.” So instead of turning into a supervillain when he fell into the vat, he just acquired super-strength. Those comic books really are true!

If you don’t believe he’s a superhero, Wikipedia has more, saying “After his retirement from baseball, Archer worked as a hog purchaser for the Armour meat packing company in Chicago. He received a medal from the National Safety Council in 1931 after using prone pressure resuscitation to revive two truck drivers who had been overcome by carbon monoxide in the Union Stock Yards.”

konetchy4

1B-Ed Konetchy, St. Louis Cardinals, 26 Years Old

1909 1910 1911

.314, 8 HR, 82 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. 33 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-10.60 (4th Time)

4th Time All-Star-Konetchy continued to be the National League’s best first sacker, but his stats are going to start to decline a bit starting next year (not counting a year spent in the Federal League). He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (3.8); eighth in Offensive WAR (3.8); 10th in batting (.314); seventh in slugging (.455); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (133). If he could have stayed this proficient a couple more seasons, he’d have a good shot at making my Hall of Fame.

SABR says, “In February 1912 he met with Bresnahan in a St. Louis hotel bar to talk contract. The negotiation turned into a drinking contest that lasted from the time the bar opened that morning until late in the afternoon. Amidst a table of empty beer bottles, Konetchy finally agreed to terms. That year he batted .314, tying the highest average of his career, but the following year he fell off to .276.

“Being the star player on a second-division team, Konetchy was the frequent subject of trade rumors throughout the early part of his career. ‘I’m the most traded man in baseball without getting anywhere,’ he said. Philadelphia reportedly once offered Sherry Magee, Fred Luderus, and Earl Moore for him, while other teams offered up to $20,000. When interviewed in 1938, Konetchy wondered ‘what kind of tag they’d have on me in this high pressure era. One thing is certain, I was born 23 years too soon.’ During the 1913 NL annual meeting, the Cardinals’ manager Miller Huggins traded Konetchy, along with Mike Mowrey and Bob Harmon, to Pittsburgh for five players. It was said that Pittsburgh manager Fred Clarke had been so eager to acquire Konetchy that he even considered trading an aging Honus Wagner for him.”

daubert2

1B-Jake Daubert, Brooklyn Dodgers, 28 Years Old

1911

.308, 3 HR, 66 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 66 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 1B-.993

2nd Time All-Star-If not for Ed Konetchy, Daubert would be the National League’s best first baseman. He’s going to have some good seasons ahead, but this year was good enough to make this list. He was solid and steady, reminding me of a Dodger first baseman of the future — well, Daubert’s future, my past — Steve Garvey.

Should Daubert be a Hall of Famer? Funny, but the Nashville Sounds News asks the same question, saying, “Another former Nashville Vol player has been considered by many to be National Baseball Hall of Fame-worthy is Jake Daubert. Daubert also played just one year (1908) in Nashville; the first baseman batted .262 with six home runs in 138 games. He was part of the Vols historic Southern Association championship club that won the pennant on the final day of the season.

“George Daubert, Jake’s son, told the New York Post in a 1989 interview:

“’He lived baseball. [George Daubert was 80 years at the time.] After every game, he played the…game over six times. He was as student of the game. He would study the game. When dad was playing, he carried a little black book, and he would write in there the eccentric movements of a pitcher. If he was going to throw a fastball, he may do some little thing to tip him off. He watched those little things.

“’In those days nobody said, “Now this is the way you slide into the bag, this is the way you throw, this is the way you run, this is the way you hit.” Nobody told you anything. You went to spring training, and it was everybody for himself.’”

evers7

2B-Johnny Evers, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1904 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910

.341, 1 HR, 61 RBI

MVP Rank: 20

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1912)

 

7th Time All-Star-After playing only 46 games in 1911 (read Evers’ 1910 blurb for details), Crab is back playing regularly and back making All-Star teams. Even though he won the MVP in 1914, I’m going to say this was his best season ever. Evers finished seventh in WAR (6.0); third in WAR Position Players (6.0), behind Honus Wagner (8.0) and teammate Heinie Zimmerman (7.1); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.8); sixth in Defensive WAR (1.3); fourth in batting (.341); second in on-base percentage (.431), trailing Giants catcher Chief Meyers (.441); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (140). He also is the sixth second baseman inducted into my Hall of Fame.

This was the last year of the Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance double play combination, as the Chicago Tribune notes, saying, “The Tinker-Evers-Chance triumvirate was broken up just two years after ‘Baseball’s Sad Lexicon’ was published. Chance left the Cubs after the 1912 season to manage the New York Yankees. He died in 1924 after a long battle with pneumonia. Tinker was traded to Cincinnati in 1912, played four more years in the majors and finished his career with the Cubs in 1916. He died in 1948 of complications from diabetes. Evers, who took over as Cubs manager after Chance left, was traded to the Boston Braves in 1914, his last season as a full-time player. He died in 1947 from a cerebral hemorrhage.” The Bridwell-to-Evers-to-Saier combination of 1913 isn’t going to be nearly as noteworthy. It should also be noted Chance was already down to playing only two games this season and neither Chance nor Evers played regularly in 1911, so the last season this combo played together in any real way was in 1910.

sweeneybi

2B-Bill Sweeney, Boston Braves, 26 Years Old

.344, 1 HR, 99 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 21 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-153

Plate Appearances-697

Singles-159

Times on Base-277

Def. Games as 2B-153

Putouts as 2B-459 (2nd Time)

Assists as 2B-475

Errors Committed as 2B-40 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 2B-76

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.19 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.10 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-William John “Bill” Sweeney was born on March 6, 1886 in Covington, KY. The five-foot-11, 175 pound infielder started as a shortstop for the Cubs in 1907, before being traded by the Chicago Cubs with Newt Randall to the Boston Doves for Del Howard. Boston moved him from short to third base and then back to short in 1910. In 1911, Sweeney found a home at second base and would have his best season ever this year. He finished 10th in WAR (5.3); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.3); third in Offensive WAR (5.2), behind Chicago’s Heinie Zimmerman (7.2) and Pittsburgh’s Honus Wagner (6.1); third in batting (.344), trailing Zimmerman (.372) and New York’s Chief Meyers (.358); sixth in on-base percentage (.416); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (135).

Did all of that hitting help Boston, now going under the nickname “Braves?” Nope. Even with new manager Johnny Kling, it finished last with a 52-101 record. Besides Sweeney, the Braves had no hitters and they had the worst pitching in the league. It would be Kling’s first and last year managing.

SABR says, “…Sweeney put together a season that surpassed even his splendid 1911 campaign. He batted leadoff for the first twenty-five games of the 1912 season but then was moved to the number three position in the lineup. (Sporting Life, May 15, 1912) He never missed a beat and swatted a prodigious .344 for the year while driving in a hundred runs. The total is astonishing considering Sweeney’s time in the leadoff spot and that he ranked among the league leaders in sacrifice bunts with 33.”

doyle4

2B-Larry Doyle, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

1909 1910 1911

.330, 10 HR, 91 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

 ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. 67 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

1912 NL MVP

AB Per SO-27.9

4th Time All-Star-You would have thought a man only 25 years old, who has now made four straight All-Star teams, would be a surefire Hall of Famer. Doyle’s going to be close in making my Hall of Fame, but his best years are behind him at this point. He did win the MVP in the National League this season and it was a good year, but he wouldn’t have been my choice. I would have probably taken Christy Mathewson. That doesn’t mean Laughing Larry had a bad year. He finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.0); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.6); fifth in batting (.330); ninth in on-base percentage (.393); fifth in slugging (.471); seventh in steals (36); and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (132). In the World Series which the Giants lost to the Red Sox, 4-3-1, he hit just .242 with a home run.

From SABR: “At the height of his stardom Doyle earned an annual salary of $8,000, only $3,000 less than his road roommate Mathewson. He invested in Florida real estate, and he and Matty studied the stock market intensely. In 1912 Doyle again reached double figures in home runs and posted career highs in batting average (.330) and RBIs (90), winning the Chalmers Award as the NL’s most valuable player. The prize, of course, was a Chalmers automobile. ‘I didn’t even know how to put gasoline into it,’ Larry recalled. The following season he might have wished he’d remained ignorant; a week before the end of the season he lost control of the car and crashed it into a tree, bruising his arm and shoulder. Doyle missed the end of the regular season but recovered sufficiently to play in the World Series, though he managed only three hits and committed three errors in the five games (the Giants losing for the third straight year). Defense undoubtedly was the former third baseman’s biggest weakness. Doyle shaded closer to second base than other second basemen, preventing him from covering as much ground on the first-base side, and he also reportedly had trouble coming in to field slow grounders.”

zimmerman

3B-Heinie Zimmerman, Chicago Cubs, 25 Years Old

.372, 14 HR, 104 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

1912 NL Triple Crown

1912 NL Batting Title

Offensive WAR-7.2

Batting Average-.372

Slugging %-.571

On-Base Plus Slugging-.989

Hits-207

Total Bases-318

Doubles-41

Home Runs-14

Runs Batted In-104

Adjusted OPS+-170

Runs Created-131

Adj. Batting Runs-51

Adj. Batting Wins-5.2

Extra Base Hits-69

Offensive Win%-.813

Power-Speed #-17.4

Errors Committed as 3B-35

1st Time All-Star-Henry “Heinie” Zimmerman was born on February 9, 1887 in New York, NY. He started with the Cubs in 1907 and played various infield positions throughout the years. He had only one at bat in the 1907 World Series, striking out. In 1910, he hit .235 (four-for-17) with a double. After playing a lot of second base in 1911 in place of Johnny Evers, he moved to third base this year and had one of those out of the blue seasons that happen periodically. If the Triple Crown would have had more worth in 1912, there’s no doubt Zimmerman would have won the MVP. As it was, I don’t really have to recap his season, do I? Look at that list above.

SABR says, “A versatile fielder who could play second, third, or short, Heinie Zimmerman rose to prominence with the Chicago Cubs during the early teens as a lovable eccentric whose aggressive batting style won the loyalty of fans and the respect of opposing pitchers. But despite winning the National League’s Triple Crown in 1912, the lifetime .295 hitter never fulfilled his immense potential, instead becoming one of the Deadball Era’s best examples of wasted talent. ‘Zimmerman’s disposition has not always been fortunate and his all round record hasn’t been quite what it should have been,’ wrote F.C. Lane in 1917. ‘But there is no possible doubt that he is one of the greatest natural ball players who ever wore a uniform.’ By the end of the decade, the man who had once come within an eyelash of the Triple Crown found himself driven from the game in disgrace.”

There is an article at the link detailing why Zimmerman’s Triple Crown was legit and if you like reading loan contracts or tax codes, you should check it out.

wagner14

SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 38 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911

.324, 7 HR, 101 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1906)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1901)

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-8.0 (11th Time)

Defensive WAR-3.0

Double Plays Turned as SS-74 (4th Time)

Fielding % as SS-.962

14th Time All-Star-Wagner’s 12th stint on the All-Star team at shortstop moves him past Jack Glasscock for the most times making this list at that position. Here’s the whole list:

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Nap Lajoie, 10

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Honus Wagner, 12

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Thompson, Elmer Flick, 7

As for his season, ho-hum. Wagner finished second in WAR (8.0), behind Brooklyn pitcher Nap Rucker (8.3); first in WAR Position Players (8.0); second in Offensive WAR (6.1), trailing Chicago third baseman Heinie Zimmerman (7.2); first in Defensive WAR (3.0); sixth in batting (.324); eighth in on-base percentage (.395); third in slugging (.496), lagging behind Zimmerman (.571) and teammate Chief Wilson (.513); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (143), with only Zimmerman (170) and New York catcher Chief Meyers (147) ahead of him. This season allows me to go on one of my rants asking why Wagner’s Offensive WAR (6.1) plus his Defensive WAR (3.0) doesn’t give him an overall war of 9.1 instead of 8.0.

SABR says, “Honus Wagner was no angel or saint. Some opponents thought him a fine fellow off the diamond but overly rough on it. Most umpires thought he ‘kicked’ too much. He affected to dislike formal affairs, but he really hated the next morning. Yet he also embodied the American dream as the son of immigrants who rose from humble roots to greatness. Frailties aside, he was one of baseball’s first heroes, a basically gentle, hard-working man, a loyal friend and teammate who treated young players kindly, dealt with adversity, inspired millions, and was devoted to Bessie, the ‘boys,’ and Leslie. Bill James in The Historical Baseball Abstract put it best: ‘[T]here is no one who has ever played this game that I would be more anxious to have on a baseball team.’”

tinker7

SS-Joe Tinker, Chicago Cubs, 31 Years Old

1902 1906 1908 1909 1910 1911

.282, 0 HR, 77 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as SS-354 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-5.97 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.80 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-Tinker is what we envision when we hear the word “shortstop.” He stood at five-foot-nine, 175 pounds, while Honus Wagner, the best in the world at the position, weighed in at 200. It wasn’t until Cal Ripken came along that teams started inserting bigger men into the position. That’s why people, pre-Ripken, tended to think of people with the size of Ozzie Smith as shortstops.

This season, Tinker made his fifth straight All-Star team, finishing second in Defensive WAR (2.4), behind Wagner (3.0). As usual for Tinker, it was his fielding that put him on this list.

The Cubs almost lost Tinker this season, as Wikipedia says, “Garry Herrmann, the owner of the Reds, identified Tinker as an ideal candidate to become his player-manager for the 1912 season. According to Tinker, shareholders of the Reds approached Tinker about his interest in the job, and he then met with Charles W. Murphy, the Cubs’ owner, and Chance, then serving as the Cubs’ manager. They forbade him from taking the role with Cincinnati, which left Tinker unhappy. Herrmann began to listen to entreaties from his players, who wanted to retain Clark Griffith as manager, but decided to hire Hank O’Day. In the 1912 season, Tinker had a .282 batting average, and scored 80 runs and recorded 75 RBIs, both career records. He again led the league in putouts by a shortstop, with 354. Tinker finished in fourth place in the Chalmers Award voting following the season, behind Larry DoyleHonus Wagner, and Chief Meyers.”

bescher

LF-Bob Bescher, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

.281, 4 HR, 38 RBI

MVP Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-120

Stolen Bases-67 (4th Time)

Errors Committed as LF-14 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Robert Henry “Bob” Bescher was born on February 25, 1884 in London, OH. The speedy switch-hitter started his career with the Reds in 1908 and this was his fourth consecutive year of leading the National League in steals. It was also his best season ever as he finished ninth in WAR Position Players (3.7); 10th in Offensive WAR (3.4); and first in steals (67). He would stay with Cincinnati through 1913, move to the Giants in 1914, play for the Cardinals from 1915-17, and then finish off his career with Cleveland in 1918.

Wikipedia says, “The switch-hitting Bescher played 5 seasons with Cincy, and established himself as a dangerous player on the basepaths with the Reds. He led the NL in stolen bases for four consecutive years from 1909 to 1912, and his 81 stolen bases in 1911 set a league record which was not broken for over 50 years.

“Outside of stolen bases, he was the NL leader in runs in 1912, and was the NL leader in walks in 1913. Also in 1912, he hit a career-best .282 and finished 5th in voting for the Chalmers Award, a forerunner to the modern MVP award.

“He played for the New York Giants in 1914, after being traded there in exchange for Buck Herzog, and hit .270 in his lone year in the Big Apple. Three seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals followed, which ended after he was traded to the minor league Milwaukee Brewers, the trade coming at a time before minor league teams were affiliated with Major League clubs.”

carey

LF-Max Carey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 22 Years Old

.302, 5 HR, 68 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1961)

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Sacrifice Hits-37

Def. Games as LF-148

Putouts as LF-358

Double Plays Turned as LF-11

Putouts as OF-369

Double Plays Turned as OF-10

Range Factor/Game as LF_2.54

Fielding % as LF-.969

1st Time All-Star-Max George “Scoops” Carey was born on January 11, 1890 in Terre Haute, IN. The five-foot-11, 170 pound switch-hitter started his Hall of Fame career with Pittsburgh in 1910. He’s going to be one of the game’s most prolific base stealers over the next decade or so. This season, Carey finished second in steals (45), trailing only Cincinnati leftfielder Bob Bescher (67). However, Scoops would go on to lead the National League in that category 10 of the next 13 years.

Wikipedia says, “Carey’s parents wanted their son to become a Lutheran minister. He attended Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, studying in the pre-ministerial program. He also played baseball, and was a member of the swimming and track-and-field teams. After graduating in 1909, he went to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.

“The President of the Central League recommended Carey to the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball‘s (MLB) National League at the end of the 1910 season. The Pirates bought Carey and McCarthy from South Bend on August 15, and Carey made his MLB debut with the Pirates, appearing in two games as a replacement for Fred Clarke.

“In 1912, Carey played in 122 games as the Pirates’ center fielder, replacing Tommy Leach. He had a .258 batting average on the season. The next year, he succeeded Clarke as the Pirates’ left fielder on a permanent basis.”    Yes it’s true, Clarke, the game’s greatest leftfielder and perhaps its best player-manager of all-time stopped playing regularly in 1911, making only occasional appearances with the Pirates from 1913-15.

wilsonc

CF-Chief Wilson, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

.300, 11 HR, 94 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 22 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Triples-36

Def. Games as OF-152 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-John Owen “Chief” Wilson was born on August 21, 1883 in Austin, TX. The six-foot-two, 185 pound lefty started with Pittsburgh in 1908 and this year was his best ever and, of course, most famous ever as he set the all-time mark for triples with 36. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.0); second in slugging (.513), behind only Chicago third baseman Heinie Zimmerman (.571); and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (132).

Now you might ask yourself who held the triples record before Wilson. Well, in 1886, Dave Orr hit 31 for the American Association New York Metropolitans and then in 1894, Heinie Reitz also hit 31 three-baggers for the Baltimore Orioles. The surprising thing about Orr is he weighed 250 pounds!

No one would ever have over 30 triples again. The closest any player got was Sam Crawford with 26 in 1914.

Wikipedia says, “In 1912, Wilson recorded the same batting average as the year before and came second in the league in slugging (.513) and games played (152), third in home runs (11), fourth in RBI (95) and seventh in hits (175). Furthermore, he set the single-season record for triples, hitting 36 in total that year. However, his record received almost no press coverage whatsoever. Baseball sportswriter Ernest Lanigan suggested that this was because a record book erroneously attributed Nap Lajoie with having 44 triples in 1903, when he hit only 11 that year. As a result, several newspapers—most notably the Pittsburgh Press—were under the belief that Lajoie held the record.”

paskert2

CF-Dode Paskert, Philadelphia Phillies, 30 Years Old

1910

.315, 2 HR, 43 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as CF-.967 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-After not making the All-Star team in 1911, Paskert is back this season with the Phillies, after first making this list with the Reds in 1910. He finished ninth in WAR Position Players (3.7); ninth in Offensive WAR (3.6); ninth in batting (.315); fourth in on-base percentage (.420); and seventh in steals (36).

SABR says, “Fleet-footed Dode Paskert was one of the finest defensive center fielders of the Deadball Era. ‘It is no exaggeration to say that Paskert is one of the greatest judges of a fly ball in the game today,’ wrote Baseball Magazine‘s J. C. Kofoed in 1915. ‘Those who have seem him circle, hawk-like, turn his back and speed outward, and then make a daring leap, with the spoiling of a three-bagger at the end of it, know how true that statement is.’ As for his offense, Paskert was an extremely patient hitter who worked pitchers deep into the count, often ranking among the National League leaders in both walks and strikeouts. A pronounced pull hitter, he choked up on the bat and found his hits by punching the ball into left field. Though used most often in the leadoff position, Paskert frequently hit for extra bases; from 1912 to 1918 he ranked among the NL’s top ten in doubles four times and home runs once.

“Paskert brought more to the Phillies than his fielding. In 1912 he enjoyed the best offensive season of his career, posting career highs in batting average (.315), on-base percentage (.420), and slugging percentage (.413).”

titus2

RF-John Titus, Philadelphia Phillies/Boston Braves, 36 Years Old

1905

.309, 5 HR, 73 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-Titus last made the All-Star team in 1905 and after a long break, he’s back on the list. He finished seventh in Offensive WAR (4.0); seventh in on-base percentage (.416); 10th in slugging (.446); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (134). Despite that, 1913 would be his last season, as he would finish up playing for the Braves.

SABR says, “Philadelphia led the NL in late May 1911 when Titus broke his leg sliding into home plate in a game against the Cardinals. By the time he returned to the lineup, the Phillies had sunk to third and the once-fleet outfielder had lost a lot of his speed–after stealing more than 20 bases in each of the previous three seasons, he totaled only 17 in the next three years combined. On June 21, 1912, the Phillies traded Titus to the Boston Braves. He finished the season strong, batting 325 in 96 games for Boston, and began 1913 as the Braves’ starting right fielder. But when manager George Stallings sorted out his team’s many outfielders, he relegated Titus to the bench. The Braves ended up selling him to Kansas City of the American Association after he suffered another broken leg in July.
At the beginning of the 1914 season Titus was 38 years old, though the papers now said he was 31. In late April he suffered a fractured skull and remained unconscious for several hours after being beaned by Bill Burns, a former teammate who was later linked to the 1919 World Series scandal. Titus remained out of the lineup for two months. The following summer he was hitting only .263 when Kansas City released him on July 22. He decided to retire.”