1919 American League All-Star Team

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Eddie Cicotte, CHW

P-Stan Coveleski, CLE

P-Jim Shaw, WSH

P-Allan Sothoron, SLB

P-Lefty Williams, CHW

P-Urban Shocker, SLB

P-Carl Mays, BOS/NYY

P-Bernie Boland, DET

P-Walt Kinney, PHA

C-Wally Schang, BOS

C-Steve O’Neill, CLE

1B-George Sisler, SLB

1B-Harry Heilmann, DET

2B-Del Pratt, NYY

2B-Eddie Collins, CHW

3B-Home Run Baker, NYY

SS-Roger Peckinpaugh, NYY

LF-Babe Ruth, BOS

LF-Bobby Veach, DET

LF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, CHW

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Tris Speaker, CLE

CF-Happy Felsch, CHW

RF-Sam Rice, WSH

 

johnson12P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 31 Years Old

1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918

20-14, 1.49 ERA, 147 K, .192, 1 HR, 8 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

1919 AL Pitching Title (4th Time)

Wins Above Replacement-10.8 (7th Time)

WAR for Pitchers-10.6 (7th Time)

Earned Run Average-1.49 (4th Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-0.985 (5th Time)

Hits per 9 IP-7.285 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts-147 (9th Time)

Shutouts-7 (6th Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-2.882 (7th Time)

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000 (3rd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-215 (5th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.07 (7th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-51 (6th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.8 (6th Time)

Fielding % as P-.988 (3rd Time)

12th Time All-Star-There aren’t too many seasons like the 1919 American League. It will feature a home run record by Babe Ruth, the throwing of the World Series by the White Sox, and yet another fantastic year from the rubber armed Walter Johnson. This year was the first season Johnson didn’t pitch 300 innings — he had 290 1/3 – since 1909 and he’d never have that many again. Still, look above at the categories in which he led, it didn’t hurt him a bit.

As usual, even The Big Train’s incredible arm couldn’t rescue the Senators from the doldrums. The team, managed by Clark Griffith, went 56-84, finishing in seventh place.

Here are my top 10 players, through 1919:

  1. Cy Young, P
  2. Walter Johnson, P
  3. Ty Cobb, CF
  4. Honus Wagner, SS
  5. Cap Anson, 1B
  6. Tris Speaker, CF
  7. Nap Lajoie, 2B
  8. Kid Nichols, P
  9. Eddie Collins, 2B
  10. Christy Mathewson, P

This ends the most astounding decade of pitching for an individual. Johnson would continue to remain good, but he’d never lead the league in WAR or Pitching WAR again. According to the Chicago Tribune, “Between 1910 and 1919, an average Johnson season was 29-15, 240 strikeouts, a 1.59 ERA and 371 innings.” That was his average season!

More from that same article: “This magnificent fastball was thrown by a man who looked as if he were just having a catch on the sideline.

“’Did you ever see one of those pitching machines they have?’ [Sam] Crawford asked. ‘That’s what Walter reminded me of, one of those compressed-air pitching machines. … You hardly saw the ball at all. But you heard it. Swoosh, and it would smack into the catcher’s mitt. … He threw so nice and easy–then swoosh and it was by you!’”

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P-Eddie Cicotte, Chicago White Sox, 35 Years Old

1913 1914 1917 1918

29-7, 1.82 ERA, 110 K, .202, 0 HR, 8 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-29 (2nd Time)

Win-Loss %-.806

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.438 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-306 2/3 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-30

5th Time All-Star-Cicotte, Chick Gandil, Happy Felsch, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Fred McMullin, Swede Risberg, Buck Weaver, Lefty Williams, eight names now part of the history books. They led the White Sox to the American League pennant with an 88-52 record. Kid Gleason managed this talented group. Then came the World Series against the Reds, a series in which the team was heavily favored. We all know what happened then.

From SABR: “According to the grand-jury testimony of Eddie Cicotte, his faction first began to discuss the feasibility of throwing the upcoming World Series during a train trip late in the regular season. Even before the White Sox clinched the 1919 pennant, Cicotte started to feel out Bill Burns, a former American League pitcher turned gambler, about financing a Series fix. Again according to Cicotte, the Sox were envious of the $10,000 payoffs rumored to have been paid certain members of the Chicago Cubs for dumping the 1918 Series against the Boston Red Sox. The lure of a similar score was enhanced by the low prospect of discovery or punishment.” More later.

Cicotte finished third in WAR (9.6), behind Washington pitcher Walter Johnson (10.8) and Boston leftfielder Babe Ruth (9.9); second in WAR for Pitchers (9.6), trailing Johnson (10.6); second in ERA (1.82), with only The Big Train with a lower one (1.49); first in innings pitched (306 2/3); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (176), far behind Barney Johnson (215).

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P-Stan Coveleski, Cleveland Indians, 29 Years Old

1917 1918

24-12, 2.61 ERA, 118 K, .213, 0 HR, 6 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1969)

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits Allowed-286

3rd Time All-Star-Even though Coveleski is in Cooperstown, he’s not a name with which too many people are familiar. Still, during the Deadball Era and the Let It Rip Era, he was one of the best in the game. This season, Coveleski finished fourth in WAR (7.0); third in WAR for Pitchers (6.6), behind Washington’s Walter Johnson (10.6) and Chicago’s Eddie Cicotte (9.6); sixth in ERA (2.61); fifth in innings pitched (286); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (128).

SABR says, “With one of the finest spitballs in baseball history, Stan Coveleski baffled American League hitters from the final years of the Deadball Era into the 1920s. To keep hitters off balance, Coveleski went to his mouth before every pitch. ‘I wouldn’t throw all spitballs,’ he later explained. ‘I’d go maybe two or three innings without throwing a spitter, but I always had them looking for it.’ Though he led the American League in strikeouts in 1920, Coveleski prided himself on his efficient pitching. ‘I was never a strikeout pitcher,’ he recalled, ‘Why should I throw eight or nine balls to get a man out when I got away with three or four?’ The right-hander often boasted of his control, once claiming he pitched seven innings without throwing a ball; every pitch was either hit, missed, or called a strike. During his 14-year career, Coveleski ranked among the league’s top ten in fewest walks allowed per nine innings pitched seven times.”

Even though Covey’s spitball would be banned in 1920, he was grandfathered in and allowed to continue to use it.

shawj

P-Jim Shaw, Washington Senators, 25 Year Old

17-17, 2.73 ERA, 128 K, .160, 3 HR, 6 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-45

Saves-5 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-306 2/3

Wild Pitches-10

Batters Faced-1,231

Def. Games as P-45

1st Time All-Star-James Aloysius “Grunting Jim” Shaw was born on August 13, 1893 in Pittsburgh, PA. The six-foot, 180 pound righty started with Washington as a 19-year-old in 1913. He’d always been a decent pitcher but it wasn’t until this year, Shaw put it all together. He finished seventh in WAR (6.3); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.5); and first in innings pitched (306 2/3).

SABR says, “Griffith’s money appeared well-invested when Shaw got off to a fast start in 1919. By now, Shaw had expanded his hurling arsenal to include a shineball-like pitch that he called a ‘sailer.’ Although toiling for a bad club – the Senators would finish the season in seventh place with a barely .400 (56-84) record – a 1-0 whitewash of St. Louis on July 30 boosted Shaw’s personal log to an admirable 15-8. But from there, his numbers spiraled sharply downward. Nine losses in his final 11 decisions leveled Shaw’s record to 17-17 at season’s end. Still, he led American League hurlers in game appearances (45), innings pitched (306⅔, tied with Chicago’s Eddie Cicotte), batters faced (1,231), and retroactive saves (5, tied with two others). He also placed second to Johnson (145) in strikeouts recorded (128).

“Shaw was among the hospital room visitors as the end drew near for his old boss and friend Clark Griffith in October 1955. Four years later, the passing of wife Anne Marie Shaw brought a happy 43-year marriage to an end. Soon thereafter, Jim’s health went into noticeable decline. He had long been afflicted with heart disease, and other vital organs began to lose function, as well. In early 1962, he was admitted to Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, and died there of multiple complications from heart, kidney, and liver failure on January 27. James Aloysius Shaw was 68. After a Requiem Mass at St. Agnes Church, his remains were interred next to those of his wife and son Leo at St. Mary Cemetery in Alexandria, Virginia. Survivors included daughter Jane, sons Jim and Howard, and nine grandchildren.”

sothoron2

P-Allan Sothoron, St. Louis Browns, 26 Years Old

1918

20-12, 2.20 ERA, 106 K, .175, 0 HR, 5 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-13 (3rd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Sothoron made the All-Star team for his second season in a row. He’ll most likely never make it again, but how many people in human history have put together two good pitching seasons in the Majors, huh? Abraham Lincoln? Walter Cronkite? No, no they haven’t. Sothoron finished 10th in WAR (5.7); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.0); fourth in ERA (2.20); sixth in innings pitched (270); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (150), behind Washington’s Walter Johnson (215) and Chicago’s Eddie Cicotte (176).

St. Louis, managed by Jimmy Burke, finished with a fifth place 67-72 record.

SABR says, “In 1919 Al had his most successful season ever in the major leagues, winning 20 games and posting a fine 2.20 earned run average. He tied for fifth in the number of wins and had the fifth best ERA in the league. He had the third best weighted rating and tied for fifth in the Faber System rankings. It appeared that he was on his way to fulfilling Fielder Jones’s expectations.

“However, actions of the joint rules committee of the major leagues knocked Sothoron’s express off the tracks. On February 9, 1920, the committee banned the spitball and other so-called ‘freak deliveries.’ Each American League club was allowed an exemption from the spitball ban for not more than two hurlers for the 1920 season. The Browns had three spitballers—Sothoron, Urban Shocker, and Bert Gallia. General manager Bob Quinn and the new field manager, Jimmy Burke, chose to use the St. Louis exemptions for Shocker and Gallia

“On June 17, 1939, the former spitballer died at St. John’s Hospital in St. Louis from a complication of diseases after a three-week illness. According to Bill Lee, Al died from heart trouble, acute hepatitis, and alcoholism. He was buried in New York. Sothoron was only 46 years old. He was survived by his third wife, Dorothy.”

williamsl

P-Lefty Williams, Chicago White Sox, 26 Years Old

23-11, 2.64 ERA, 125 K, .181, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Started-40

Hit By Pitch-11

1st Time All-Star-Claude Preston “Lefty” Williams was born on March  9, 1893 in Aurora, MO. The five-foot-nine, 160 pound lefty throwing (of course), righty batting pitcher started with Detroit in 1913-14. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1915 and then came to Chicago in 1916. He was part of its World Series winning team in 1917. In the Series, he pitched just one inning, giving up two hits and a run, despite striking out three batters. This season was his best ever until he decided to tank in the Fall Classic. Williams finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.4); eighth in ERA (2.64); third in innings pitched (297), behind teammate Eddie Cicotte (306 2/3) and Washington’s Jim Shaw (306 2/3); and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (121).

Of Williams’ role in the tainted Series, SABR says, “Williams expected to get paid by the gamblers for his losing effort, but when the money didn’t show up after Game Two or Three, he began to suspect a double-cross. Finally, after Game Four — with the White Sox now down three games to one — Williams collected $10,000 from Chick Gandil, who instructed him to give half of the cash to Joe Jackson. Lefty gave the money to Jackson in a dirty envelope, sealing both of their fates. Lefty’s wife, Lyria, was furious when she found out. ‘You have done it,’ she told him after seeing the cash. ‘What can I say now? Let it go and just get the best of it.’

“At age 66, Claude ‘Lefty’ Williams died at home on November 4, 1959, less than a month after the White Sox lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. A Christian Science funeral was held and his ashes were interred in an unmarked location at Melrose Abbey Memorial Park in Anaheim, California.”

shocker

P-Urban Shocker, St. Louis Browns, 28 Years Old

13-11, 2.69 ERA, 86 K, .138, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Urban James Shocker was born on September 22, 1890 in Cleveland, OH. The five-foot-10, 170 pound righty started with the Yankees in 1916-17. Then on January 22, 1918, he was traded by the New York Yankees with Nick CullopJoe GedeonFritz MaiselLes Nunamaker and $15,000 to the St. Louis Browns for Eddie Plank and Del Pratt. Considering the career Shocker would end up having for the Browns, it was a bad trade for the Yankees. However, later in his career, he’d be back with New York. This season, Shocker finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.6); ninth in ERA (2.69); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (123).

SABR says, “It almost seemed unfair that the Yankees obtained Urban Shocker from the St. Louis Browns. Shocker won 20 games four years in a row for the Browns, and now he was an added gun to the best team in baseball. Especially when one considers the Yankees were Shocker’s first major league club and they unloaded him to St. Louis in 1918. ‘There were a lot of things I had to find out, even about my own players,’ said Miller Huggins, who had just taken over as manager of the Yankees in 1918. ‘So I poked around and found out as much as I could about them before the training season started. One of the things I was told was that I would do well to get rid of Shocker as quickly as possible because he was a trouble-maker. I later discovered that my information had done Shocker a grave injustice. Urban has never made trouble for anyone.’ Huggins righted his wrong, reacquiring the St. Louis ace.”

mays3

P-Carl Mays, Boston Red Sox/New York Yankees, 27 Years Old

1916 1917

14-14, 2.10 ERA, 107 K, .224, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Mays didn’t make the All-Star team in 1918, but he did help Boston win the World Series against the Cubs, winning his two starts, completing both games while giving up just two runs in 18 innings. This season, Mays was struggling for the Red Sox, going 5-11 despite a decent 2.47 ERA. Then the Boston Red Sox sent a player to be named later to the New York Yankees for Bob McGrawAllen Russell and $40,000. That player to be named later was Carl Mays. Once Mays got to the Yankees, he started lighting it up, going 9-3 with a 1.65 ERA. For the season, Mays finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.4); third in ERA (2.10), behind Washington’s Walter Johnson (1.49) and Chicago’s Eddie Cicotte (1.82); seventh in innings pitched (266); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (148).

Boston dropped from first to sixth with a 66-71 record. They were managed by Ed Barrow. The Yankees, managed by Miller Huggins, finished in third with an 80-59 record.

SABR says, “But things went downhill for Mays in 1919. While he was at spring training, his farm house in Missouri burned to the ground; he suspected arson. During a Decoration Day series in Philadelphia, when Athletics fans were pounding on the roof of the visitors’ dugout, Mays threw a baseball into the stands, hitting a fan in the head. He also ran into a lengthy streak of bad luck on the mound, as the slumping Red Sox gave him almost no run support. Over a 15-day period in June, Mays lost three games by a combined score of 8-0. The last straw came on July 13, during a game against the White Sox. When Eddie Collins tried to steal second base, catcher Wally Schang’s throw hit Mays in the head. At the end of the inning, the pitcher stormed off the mound, left the team and headed back to Boston.” Read the whole thing about the brouhaha over the Mays trade.

boland2

P-Bernie Boland, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

1918

14-16. 3.04 ERA, 71 K, .108, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 28 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-Boland made his second consecutive (and most likely last) All-Star team as Detroit’s best pitcher. He finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.7). After this season, he would pitch for the Tigers one more season and finish his career with the Browns in 1921.

Hughie Jennings managed the team to an 80-60 record and fourth place finish.

Wikipedia says, “On September 25, 1919, Boland was the Tigers’ starting pitcher in a game against Cleveland that created a scandal in 1926 after Dutch Leonard testified that Ty CobbTris Speaker, Leonard and another player had met under the grandstand and agreed to ‘fix’ the game in favor of Detroit. It was also alleged that the players had further agreed to allow players to boost their batting averages. Detroit batters had 19 hits and scored nine runs, and Cleveland batters had 13 hits and five runs off Boland. Boland gave up two triples to Speaker, and Speaker later misplayed a fly ball giving Boland his only triple of the 1919 season. Boland denied any involvement in fixing the game and claimed in December 1926 to be the most surprised man in the world at the revelation. However, he acknowledged that there were a lot of ‘friendship games’ at the end of a season. Boland went on to say: ‘The way I figure it, about one in every 300 games is crooked.’

“Boland was married on May 21, 1917, to Grace Bell Russelo. He defeated the New York Yankees the day before the wedding. After retiring from baseball, Boland worked as a cement contractor and later as a construction foreman for the Detroit Department of Public Works. He retired in 1957 and died at Detroit’s Mount Carmel Hospital in 1973 following a three-week illness. He was age 81 when he died. He was survived by two sons and two daughters.”

kinney

P-Walt Kinney, Philadelphia Athletics, 25 Years Old

9-15, 3.64 ERA, 97 K, .284, 1 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 88 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Games Finished-21

1st Time All-Star-Walter William “Walt” Kinney was born on September 9, 1893 in Denison, TX. The six-foot-two, 186 pound lefty pitcher started with Boston in 1918 and then selected off waivers by Philadelphia before this season, his best ever. Two factors put him on the All-Star team. One, every team needs a representative and he’s the lone player on this list for the Athletics. Two, for a pitcher, he could hit. Philadelphia manager Connie Mack used him as a pinch hitter in 13 games and he slashed .284/.357/.386 for an OPS+ of 108. In 26 at bats in 1920, Kinney slashed .346/.393/.385 for an OPS+ of 106.

Philadelphia was plain awful this year, finishing in last with a 36-104 record.

SABR says, “In 1919, Kinney split his time between the starting rotation and the bullpen, appearing in a team-high 43 games (two fewer than the league leader). He led the AL with 21 games finished; a former 1918 Red Sox teammate, Jean Dubuc, led the NL with 22.

“In 202 2/3 innings, Kinney posted a 3.64 ERA (the league average was 3.32); his nine victories were exactly one-quarter of the team’s season total. Kinney had the fourth-best rate of strikeouts per nine innings in the American League, although his lack of control was still an issue (91 walks and 97 strikeouts).

“In his later years, Kinney had diabetes and a drinking problem. After his wife died in January 1970, he took a turn for the worse. His eldest son, Jack, put him in an assisted living home in Escondido, California, where he died on July 1, 1971.”

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C-Wally Schang, Boston Red Sox, 29 Years Old

1913 1914 1917

.306, 0 HR, 52 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as C-16

Passed Balls-14

4th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1917, Schang was traded by the Philadelphia Athletics with Bullet Joe Bush and Amos Strunk to the Boston Red Sox for Vean GreggMerlin KoppPinch Thomas and $60,000. He had an off-year for Boston in 1918, but still made his third World Series, hitting .444 (four-for-nine) in helping lead Boston to a 4-1 Series victory over the Cubs. This season, Schang’s bat was back as he finished ninth in Offensive WAR (4.0); second in on-base percentage (.436), behind teammate Babe Ruth (.456); and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (133). That’s pretty good for anybody, but for the days in which Schang played, it was incredible for a catcher.

Here’s more on the 1918 World Series from SABR: “Though that year’s Fall Classic, played in early September, was overshadowed by events overseas, Schang enjoyed a fabulous series, batting .444 over six games and making some key defensive contributions. In Game Three, with the Sox leading 2-1 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Chicago’s Charlie Pick singled putting the tying run on first. Pick stole second and on the next pitch broke for third on a ball that got away from Schang. Wally reacted quickly and fired to third beating the sliding Cub to the bag. But Pick’s hard slide knocked the ball out of third baseman Fred Thomas’s glove. As Thomas argued with the umpire, Pick raced for home. Thomas retrieved the ball and threw a strike to Schang who was waiting for Pick to arrive. The Cub may have had more success running into a brick wall. When the dust settled, Schang was standing over the fallen Cub, ball in hand, having tagged Pick with the final out of the game. In Game Four Schang scored the winning run and in Game Six, his stellar defense, including a pickoff of Les Mann in a key situation, led to the final Red Sox victory.”

oneills2

C-Steve O’Neill, Cleveland Indians, 27 Years Old

1918

.289, 2 HR, 47 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as C-16 (4th Time)

2nd Time All-Star-According to my write up in 1918, it was Tris Speaker’s advice to O’Neill that improved his bat and now he’s made two consecutive All-Star teams. This season, O’Neill finished ninth in Defensive WAR (1.0). At the plate, he slashed .289/.373/.427 for an OPS+ of 119, his best hitting year thus far, though his OPS+ would be higher in 1920. Oh, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself!

SABR states, “With a flattened nose and the grim jaw of a heavyweight boxer, Steve O’Neill looked like someone born to be a catcher, and for much of his 17-year major-league career he was arguably the best all-around backstop in the game. An extremely smart man, O’Neill did all the things a good catcher is supposed to do, and he did them better than almost anyone else. His legendary throwing arm stymied would-be basestealers, his agility behind the plate made him one of the game’s best at blocking pitches in the dirt, and he was universally regarded as a great pitch-caller. ‘He was one of the few who had the guts to call for a curveball with the tying or winning run on third base,’ teammate George Uhle said. ‘”Don’t worry ’bout throwing it in the dirt,” he’d say. “I won’t let it get by me.” And he wouldn’t.’

“As a youngster, Steve could box and wrestle, and he admired athletes of any description, but baseball was the only sport he ever really cared about. As a boy he played it from snow season to snow season. Besides Mike and Jack, another brother, Jim, carved out small major-league careers.”

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1B-George Sisler, St. Louis Browns, 26 Years Old

1916 1917 1918

.352, 10 HR, 83 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

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

 

Led in:

 

Power-Speed #-14.7

Assists as 1B-120

4th Time All-Star-In these days, if you were a great ballplayer, as Sisler was, you always found yourselves inevitably compared to the great Ty Cobb. They’d be battling it out over the next few years, but what neither could realize is how much the game is going to change, due to real best hitter in baseball, Babe Ruth. Sisler is going to adapt to this new way of play much easier, as he had double-digit homers this season and will for the next two.

This year, Sisler finished eighth in WAR (6.1); fourth in WAR Position Players (6.1); fifth in Offensive WAR (5.5); third in batting (.352), behind Detroit outfielders Cobb (.384) and Bobby Veach (.355); 10th in on-base percentage (.390); second in slugging (.530), trailing Ruth (.657); second in steals (28), behind Chicago second baseman Eddie Collins (33); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (156).

Bleacher Report says, “In an article on the Baseball Hall of Fame’s official site, research associate Gabriel Schecter writes that Sisler might have been the best all-around first baseman in baseball history, despite being overshadowed by Lou Gehrig and Jimmy Foxx.

“Sisler was a better baserunner than either, which is not to denigrate Gehrig, who was excellent on the bases, and as great as Gehrig was in the field, Sisler was better.”

The problem of Sisler’s all-time status is his longevity. He would have eye troubles which would cause him to miss a whole season and then he’d never be the same. Otherwise, he would have certainly been comparable to Gehrig.

heilmann

1B-Harry Heilmann, Detroit Tigers, 24 Years Old

.320, 8 HR, 92 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1952)

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 1B-140

Errors Committed as 1B-31

1st Time All-Star-Harry Edwin “Slug” Heilmann was born on August 3, 1894 in San Francisco, CA. The six-foot-one, 195 pound first baseman would eventually move to rightfield and be one of the best of all time. He started as a backup centerfielder for Detroit in 1914. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1915 and then moved to rightfield in 1916. This year, the Tigers put him at first and he shined. He finished eighth in Offensive WAR (4.4); 10th in batting (.320); seventh in slugging (.477); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (137). As you can tell by his 31 errors at first base, this wasn’t his best position and that would soon be rectified.

SABR says, “It didn’t start so promisingly for Heilmann, however, who struggled while being shuffled around to different positions. He batted just .225 in 68 games in 1914 and was sent back to the minors. Heilmann returned to the Tigers in 1916 and hit .282 and .281 in 1917. His most famous act during that time, however, was on July 25, 1916, when he dove into the Detroit River to save a woman from drowning. He received a thunderous ovation at the ballpark the following day. In 1918, Heilmann missed half of the season while on a Navy submarine and hit just .276 in 79 games.

“In 1919, Heilmann returned, but not to the outfield. Detroit placed him at first base in 1919 and 1920 and he led the American League in errors at his position both seasons. But while his fielding struggled, his hitting finally came around, batting .320 in 1919 and .309 in 1920.”

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2B-Del Pratt, New York Yankees, 31 Years Old

1914 1915 1916 1918

.292, 4 HR, 56 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require two more All-Star seasons. 50 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.7

Assists-491 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 2B-140 (5th Time)

Assists as 2B-491 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 2B-75 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.76 (4th Time)

5th Time All-Star-Unlike Cocky Collins, Pratt’s fame on the field came from his glove not his bat. Oh, he hit decently enough, but after 1916, he would never have an OPS+ above 120 again, as that stat would show he would be just a little above average at the plate. However, he could pick it in the field. This season, Pratt finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.3); first in Defensive WAR (2.7); and seventh in steals (22). He’s got one surefire All-Star team left. If he’s able to sneak onto one, he’ll make my Hall of Fame. The suspense is killing me!

SABR says, “But the Yankees didn’t do so poorly. On the diamond, they got a lot of production from Del Pratt. Miller Huggins told reporter Bozeman Bulger that Pratt was ‘the man who put the ball club on its feet.’ He immediately brought legitimacy and confidence to one of baseball ’s best infields, the tongue-twisting Pipp, Pratt, Peck (Roger Peckinpaugh), and Baker. Besides his solid glovework, Del averaged .295 the next three seasons, with both extra-base hitting and speed on the base paths. He continued to show his durability: he played in all but one game in 1918-1919-1920.

“Writers have noted that cartoonist-columnist Robert Ripley coined the phrase ‘Murderers’ Row’ for this Yankee infield in 1919, a year before Babe Ruth came to New York. Actually, sportswriter Fred Lieb used the phrase a year earlier. ‘Murderers’ Row,’ he called their infield, now that Pratt had joined it (he also included outfielder Ping Bodie), ‘the greatest collection of pitcher thumpers in baseball today.’”

collins112B-Eddie Collins, Chicago White Sox, 32 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918

.319, 4 HR, 80 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Plate Appearances-628

Stolen Bases-33 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 2B-140 (6th Time)

Putouts as 2B-347 (6th Time)

11th Time All-Star-One of the most asked questions about the 1919 World Series was “How much did Collins know?” According to SABR, the answer isn’t simple. It states, ‘Over the years Collins was inconsistent when discussing what he knew about his teammates’ plot to throw World Series games, as well as when he knew it. After the scandal was first exposed in the fall of 1920, Collins was quoted in Collyer’s Eye, a small gamblers’ newspaper, as saying, ‘there wasn’t a single doubt in my mind’ as early as the first inning of Game One that the games were being thrown. Collins added, ‘If the gamblers didn’t have (Buck) Weaver and (Eddie) Cicotte in their pocket then I don’t know a thing about baseball’ – and that he told ‘all this’ to owner Charles Comiskey (which Comiskey always denied). Years later, Collins changed his story considerably. ‘I was to be a witness to the greatest tragedy in baseball’s history – and I didn’t know it at the time,’ he told Jim Leonard of The Sporting News in 1950.”

At this point in his career, Collins is the ninth greatest player of all time. You can see the full list at Walter Johnson’s blurb. He also is tied for most All-Star teams made at second base. Here’s the list of every position:

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Nap Lajoie, Collins, 11

3B-Home Run Baker, 9

SS-Honus Wagner, 13

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Tris Speaker, 11

RF-Sam Crawford, 9

This season, Collins finished ninth in WAR Position Players (5.1); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.7); seventh in on-base percentage (.400); and first in steals (33).

baker9

3B-Home Run Baker, New York Yankees, 33 Years Old, 1919 ONEHOF Inductee

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1917 1918

.293, 10 HR, 83 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1919)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-141

Def. Games as 3B-141 (5th Time)

Putouts as 3B-176 (7th Time)

Double Plays Turned as 3B-27 (4th Time)

9th Time All-Star-At this point in baseball history, there had never been a greater third baseman than John Franklin “Home Run” Baker. Jimmy Collins was closest, but Baker’s consistency and power put him over the top. And so, H.R. Baker, welcome to the ONEHOF! That’s the One-a-Year Hall of Fame in which only the player who’s the best and hasn’t already been inducted goes in. You can see the whole list here. Next year’s nominees are Roger Bresnahan, Hardy Richardson, Collins, Elmer Flick, Johnny Evers, Sherry Magee, Larry Doyle, and Pete Alexander.

He also has made more All-Star teams than anyone at the hot corner. See Eddie Collins blurb for the whole list.

Ironically, Home Run Baker made the ONEHOF in the season that changed the home run altogether. Baker’s 10 home runs were a lot for his day, indeed second in the league. However, he was way behind the leader, Babe Ruth, who set a Major League record with 29. More on that in Ruth’s blurb. Can you imagine what Baker would have done if he played in the live ball era? No matter, he still was great.

This season, Baker finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.0) and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.2). It wasn’t his best season and it might be his last All-Star team, but he was still the best third baseman in the American League.

Baker didn’t play in 1920. SABR explains, “Following the 1919 season, during the winter that New York became intoxicated by the news that Babe Ruth had been purchased from the Boston Red Sox, Baker was humbled by personal tragedy. An outbreak of scarlet fever struck the Baker home, killing Frank’s wife, the former Ottilie Tschantre. His two infant daughters also caught the disease, though they eventually recovered. Quarantined, paralyzed by grief, and preoccupied with taking care of his family, Baker announced that he had lost interest in baseball and would not play in 1920.”

peckinpaugh4

SS-Roger Peckinpaugh, New York Yankees, 28 Years Old

1916 1917 1918

.305, 7 HR, 33 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as SS-434 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-64 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-5.86

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.83

4th Time All-Star-At this time in the American League, there weren’t a lot of great players on the left side of the infield. Home Run Baker and Peckinpaugh are the only players at their respective positions. Peckinpaugh had his best season ever, finishing sixth in WAR (6.3); third in WAR Position Players (6.3), behind leftfielders Babe Ruth (9.1) and Bobby Veach (6.7); seventh in Offensive WAR (4.6); and second in Defensive WAR (2.7), trailing only teammate Del Pratt (2.7).

Here’s the thing about Peckinpaugh’s 99 percent chance at making the Hall of Fame. If he’s going to do so, it’s going to be because of his glove. Peckinpaugh’s OPS+ was 123 this year, his highest ever. He’s never going to be above 97 again. However, because he’s such a good fielder, OPS+’s in the 90s might be enough. The suspense is killing me!

On June 29, the New York Times               had an article indicating Peckinpaugh was the leading hitter in the American League at the time. It says, “Roger Peckinpaugh of the Yankees is the leading hitter in the American League, with a batting mark of .395 for his forty-three games. During the last week Peck has displaced Ty Cobb as batting leader, and, incidentally, ran his latest hitting streak up to fourteen consecutive games. Peck also is showing the way in run getting with a total of forty-one to his credit, twelve of these coming in his last nine games.” I love reading articles from this era, because it’s fun to read phrases like “run getting.”

ruth4

LF-Babe Ruth, Boston Red Sox, 24 Years Old, 2nd MVP

1916 1917 1918

.322, 29 HR, 113 RBI, 9-5, 2.97 ERA, 30 K

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

 

Led in:

 

War Position Players-9.1

Offensive WAR-8.3

On-Base %-.456

Slugging %-.657 (2nd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.114 (2nd Time)

Runs Scored-103

Total Bases-284

Home Runs-29 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-113

Adjusted OPS+-217

Runs Created-128

Adj. Batting Runs-72

Adj. Batting Wins-7.3

Extra Base Hits-75 (2nd Time)

Times On Base-246

Offensive Win %-.872

AB per HR-14.9 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as LF-.996

Fielding % as OF-.996

4th Time All-Star-He’s here! That list above is going to be a common sight in the next dozen or so years as Ruth changed the game of baseball. That’s why he won his second MVP, because I was dazzled by his 29 homers, setting the record previously held by Ned Williamson in 1884 with 27. And Ruth hasn’t even started yet. Unfortunately for Boston, his real hitting is going to be done on the Yankees following this year.

Wikipedia says, “Two home runs by Ruth on July 5, and one in each of two consecutive games a week later, raised his season total to 11, tying his career best from 1918. The first record to fall was the AL single-season mark of 16, set by Ralph “Socks” Seybold in 1902. Ruth matched that on July 29, then pulled ahead toward the major league record of 24, set by Buck Freeman in 1899. Ruth reached this on September 8, by which time, writers had discovered that Ned Williamson of the 1884 Chicago White Stockingshad hit 27—though in a ballpark where the distance to right field was only 215 feet (66 m). On September 20, ‘Babe Ruth Day’ at Fenway Park, Ruth won the game with a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, tying Williamson. He broke the record four days later against the Yankees at the Polo Grounds, and hit one more against the Senators to finish with 29. The home run at Washington made Ruth the first major league player to hit a home run at all eight ballparks in his league.”

veach4

LF-Bobby Veach, Detroit Tigers, 31 Years Old

1915 1916 1917

.355, 3 HR, 97 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. 67 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Hits-191

Doubles-45 (2nd Time)

Triples-17

Putouts as LF-340 (4th Time)

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.57

4th Time All-Star-Veach had an off year in 1918, dropping to a .279 average and a 122 OPS+, despite leading the American League in RBI. This season he came back with his best year ever, finishing fifth in WAR (6.7); 2nd in WAR Position Players (6.7), behind Boston leftfielder Babe Ruth (9.1); fourth in Offensive WAR (5.7); second in batting (.355), trailing teammate Ty Cobb (.384); eighth in on-base percentage (.398); third in slugging (.519), with only Ruth (.657) and St. Louis first baseman George Sisler (.530) higher; and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (158).

SABR says, “In 1919, the Tigers rebounded with a winning season and Veach had one of the best years of his career. He posted a .355 batting average, second only to Cobb in all of baseball and the highest total of his career. In addition, he led the league in hits (191, tied with Cobb), doubles (45) and triples (17). As the Deadball Era ended, Veach’s hitting style seemed tailor-made for the free swinging offensive era that followed it.”

Meanwhile, Bleacher Report makes a push for Veach being in the Hall of Fame, stating, “Bobby Veach is one of the only players with 200+ hits and a .310+ batting average that isn’t in the Hall of Fame.  He was an RBI machine in a time when scoring wasn’t at a premium.  He put up incredible numbers in the Dead Ball Era…

“It may have been easy to overlook Veach because he played with the likes of Ty Cobb, Sam Crawford, Harry Heilmann, and Heinie Manush, but any guy who is good enough to pinch hit for Babe Ruth is good enough for me.  OK, that’s not the only reason I say he’s Hall of Fame worthy, but it is an interesting tidbit.”

jackson7

LF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, Chicago White Sox, 31 Years Old

1911 1912 1913 1914 1916 1917

.351, 7 HR, 96 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

 

Led in:

 

AB per SO-51.6

7th Time All-Star-Say it isn’t so, Joe. But it is. This season was the beginning of the end for Shoeless Joe Jackson, though he’s going to make one more All-Star team in 1920. After missing most of the 1918 season because of war work at a shipyard, he came back with a great 1919 season. Jackson finished ninth in WAR (5.8); fifth in WAR Position Players (5.8); third in Offensive WAR (6.0), behind Boston leftfielder Babe Ruth (8.3) and Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (6.1); fourth in batting (.351); fourth in on-base percentage (.422); fifth in slugging (.506); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (159), trailing Ruth (217) and Cobb (166).

Did Jackson throw the 1919 World Series? There are various opinions. History.com says, “Debate has raged ever since over the extent of Jackson’s participation in the scheme. He claimed his teammates gave his name to the gamblers even though he hadn’t agreed to participate, and the other players admitted that Jackson never attended meetings about the fix. Though Jackson signed a confession in 1920 stating that he was paid $5,000 (out of the $20,000 he was promised), he later asserted that a team lawyer manipulated him into signing a document he didn’t fully understand. (Jackson never learned to read or write.) He also said he tried to return the money and talk to White Sox owner Charles Comiskey about the plan both before and after the series, but was rebuffed.

“And finally, there’s the matter of Jackson’s play on the field. During the 1919 championship, the slugger made no errors and racked up 12 hits, a World Series record that stood until 1964. His batting average for the series (.375) was the highest on either team. If Jackson did try to throw the championship, his supporters argue, he did a pretty poor job.” You be the judge.

cobb13

CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 32 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918

.384, 1 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1915)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

 

Led in:

 

1919 AL Batting Title (12th Time)

Batting Average-.384 (11th Time)

Hits-191 (8th Time)

13th Time All-Star-This is the last year Cobb is going to win a batting title and the last time he’s going to lead the American League in hits. He’s still going to be a great hitter in the ‘20s, but there’s going to be a lot of great hitting in that decade. In other words, he’s still great, just not the greatest.

This season, Cobb finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.5); second in Offensive WAR (6.1), behind Boston leftfielder Babe Ruth (8.3); first in batting (.384); third in on-base percentage (.429), trailing Ruth (.456) and Boston catcher Wally Schang (.436); fourth in slugging (.515); second in steals (28), with only Chicago second baseman Eddie Collins ahead (33); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (166), behind the Bambino (217).

He had another famous fight in 1919, according to the Imaginative Conservative, which says, “So, when Cobb was accused in 1919 of assaulting a black maid at a hotel for objecting to a racial slur he made against her, Mr. Leerhsen at first admits that hush money was paid to the maid by Tigers’ management, but then weakly tries to question the veracity of the maid’s account by pointing out that an African-American newspaper that assailed Cobb at the time for his actions and called for justice spoke glowingly of Cobb forty-two years later (!) in its obituary to the baseball great.”

I have Cobb listed as the third greatest player as of 1919. See the full list at Walter Johnson’s blurb.

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1919 National League All-Star Team

P-Pete Alexander, CHC

P-Babe Adams, PIT

P-Hippo Vaughn, CHC

P-Leon Cadore, BRO

P-Wilbur Cooper, PIT

P-Jeff Pfeffer, BRO

P-Dutch Ruether, CIN

P-Dick Rudolph, BSN

P-Art Nehf, BSN/NYG

P-Lee Meadows, STL/PHI

C-Verne Clemons, STL

C-Bill Killefer, CHC

1B-Ed Konetchy, BRO

2B-Milt Stock, STL

2B-Larry Doyle, NYG

2B-Morrie Rath, CIN

3B-Rogers Hornsby, STL

3B-Heinie Groh, CIN

SS-Art Fletcher, NYG

SS-Charlie Hollocher, CHC

SS-Rabbit Maranville, BSN

LF-George J. Burns, NYG

CF-Edd Roush, CIN

CF-Hi Myers, BRO

RF-Ross Youngs, NYG

 

alexander8

P-Pete Alexander, Chicago Cubs, 32 Years Old, 4th MVP

1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917

16-11, 1.72 ERA, 121 K, .171, 0 HR, 4 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1938)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

1919 NL Pitching Title (4th Time)

Wins Above Replacement-7.5 (5th Time)

Earned Run Average-1.72 (3rd Time)

Hits per 9 IP-6.894 (3rd Time)

Shutouts-9 (6th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-166 (3rd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.11 (4th Time)

Fielding % as P-1.000 (2nd Time)

8th Time All-Star-There are certain years which stand out in baseball lore, the kind of years when heard bring to mind certain aspects about the game. I think of 1927, 1941, 1961, or 1968, for instance. Yet the year that stokes the most emotion is this one here, 1919, the year that almost ruined the game. More on that, much more, later, when I write up the American League. For now, let’s talk about Pete Alexander, back on the All-Star team after missing it in 1918.

SABR says, “With the war raging in Europe and the United States having entered the fray the previous April, the Philadelphia front office carried off one of the most cynical acts in baseball history. Gambling that Alexander would be drafted into the army, on December 11, 1917, they sent Alex and catcher Bill Killefer to Chicago for Mike Prendergast and Pickles Dillhoefer and $55,000.

“Adapting to Chicago nicely, a $5,000 bonus from Charles Weeghman helping the process, Alex won two of his three decisions in 1918, all complete games, with a 1.73 ERA when the army came calling. Philadelphia’s gamble paid off. Ironically, the Cubs won the pennant anyway behind the Triple Crown pitching of southpaw Jim Vaughn.

“A human wreck, Alexander returned to the Cubs on May 11, 1919. Working his way back into pitching shape, he dropped his first five decisions. Once he got turned around, Alex finished 16-11 for a distantly third-place team and led the league with 9 shutouts and a sparkling 1.72 ERA. His ERA remains the lowest for a Cub pitcher since the team began playing in Wrigley Field.”

Chicago, managed by Fred Mitchell, dropped from first to third with a 75-65 record.

adams4

P-Babe Adams, Pittsburgh Pirates, 37 Years Old

1911 1913 1914

17-10, 1.98 ERA, 92 K, .185, 0 HR, 4 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-7.4 (2nd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-0.896 (3rd Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.786

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-4.000

Fielding % as P-1.000 (4th Time)

4th Time All-Star-Adams was 32 years old since he last made an All-Star team. Since then, he struggled in 1915 and 1916 for the Pirates and then was released. He didn’t pitch in the Majors in 1917, before being loaned to the Pirates by Kansas City of the American Association in 1918. He would stay with Pittsburgh until 1926 and play until he was 44.

This season, Adams finished second in WAR (7.5), behind Pete Alexander (7.5); first in WAR for Pitchers (7.4); fifth in ERA (1.98); seventh in innings pitched (263 1/3); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (153).

Pittsburgh, still managed by Hugo Bezdek, stayed in fourth place, finishing 71-68. It was Bezdek’s third and last season helming the Pirates. He finished his Major League managing career with a 166-187 record.

According to SABR, it was World War I that got Adams back into the Majors. It says, “When his shoulder gained strength over the winter, Adams reported to St. Joseph and put together a stellar 1917 season, going 20-13 with a 1.75 ERA and just 34 walks in 308 innings. The team moved to Hutchinson, Kansas, in mid-season. Hutchinson transferred Babe’s contract to Kansas City of the American Association for the 1918 campaign, but players like Adams who were exempt from the military draft because they were over age 35 suddenly became attractive to major league clubs. Babe re-joined the Pirates and made three late-season appearances.” Marginal players became valuable during World War II also, but it’s rare when a war pickup ends up staying nine more years in the Majors.

vaughn5P-Hippo Vaughn, Chicago Cubs, 31 Years Old

1910 1916 1917 1918

21-14, 1.79 ERA, 141 K, .173, 0 HR, 2 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require two more All-Star seasons. 50 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Innings Pitched-306 2/3 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-141 (2nd Time)

Games Started-37 (2nd Time)

Batters Faced-1,224

Adj. Pitching Runs-34 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.1 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as P-9 (4th Time)

5th Time All-Star-After a stretch from 1911-15 where he didn’t make the All-Star team, Vaughn has made four straight and next year will be five straight. He’s still going to fall short of making my Hall of Fame, but that shouldn’t take away from how good he was from 1916-20. This season, Vaughn finished third in WAR (7.3), behind two pitchers, teammate Pete Alexander (7.5) and Pittsburgh’s Babe Adams (7.5); third in WAR for Pitchers (7.2), trailing Adams (7.4) and Alexander (7.3); second in ERA (1.79), with only Old Pete (1.72) ahead; first in innings pitched (306 2/3); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (160), behind his Hall of Fame teammate Grover Alexander (166).

SABR agrees Vaughn’s just shy of what it takes to make the Hall of Fame, saying, “Hubbell, Spahn, Koufax, and Steve Carlton are the four greatest southpaws in National League history and are enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Vaughn just didn’t pitch as long as Hubbell, Spahn, and Carlton; he wasn’t as overpowering as Koufax was during his five-year reign or Carlton was during his big seasons. He’s not in Cooperstown and isn’t likely to be, having never received a vote, but he’s not very far behind them. Nor is it clear who stands between Vaughn and the titans. Tom Glavine is a possibility, but he is still active and may eventually establish himself in the highest echelon. Jim Vaughn’s case shows that in baseball the difference between excellence and greatness is often the smallest matter of degree.”

cadore2

P-Leon Cadore, Brooklyn Robins, 27 Years Old

1917

14-12, 2.37 ERA, 94 K, .161, 0 HR, 7 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as P-15

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1917, Cadore only pitched two games in 1918. According to SABR, “The draft caught up with Cadore soon after the season ended. The Army sent him to officer training school at Camp Gordon, Georgia. He rejoined the Dodgers temporarily in June 1918 while in Brooklyn on furlough. On June 5 he shut out the Cardinals on four hits. Four days later he held Pittsburgh to two hits and one run in eight innings before he left the game with no decision. He spent some time with his buddy Stengel, and Cadore’s stories of Army life may have persuaded Stengel to enlist in the Navy.

“Lieutenant Cadore was one of the white officers assigned to command a ‘colored’ unit, the 369thInfantry Regiment. After landing in France, the regiment saw hard combat in the final weeks of the war. The 369th, nicknamed ‘the Harlem Hellfighters,’ captured a reported 1,000 German troops the day before the November 11 armistice ended the fighting. The French government awarded the unit the Croix de Guerre for its service in defense of the nation.”

Brooklyn stayed in fifth, finishing with a 69-71 record. Wilbert Robinson continued to manage, which is why the team was still called the Robins.

As for Cadore, he had his best season ever, finishing fifth in WAR (5.5); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.9); and eighth in innings pitched (250 2/3).

He also pitched a famous game, but you’ll have to wait till next year to hear about it.

cooper4

P-Wilbur Cooper, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

1916 1917 1918

19-13, 2.67 ERA, 106 K, .287, 0 HR, 7 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Complete Games-27

Home Runs Allowed-10

Earned Runs-85

Hit By Pitch-15

4th Time All-Star-I’m not exactly sure what’s kept Cooper out of the Hall of Fame, except for the fact his teams never won a pennant. Still, along with Pete Alexander, he was one of the National League’s best pitchers during this time. This year, he finished eighth in WAR (5.2); sixth in WAR for Pitchers (4.3); and third in innings pitched (286 2/3), behind Chicago’s Hippo Vaughn (306 2/3) and the Giants’ Jesse Barnes (295 2/3). That’s the thing about Coop, he was always a workhorse.

SABR says, “As Cooper developed, he increasingly relied on pinpoint control: from 1917 to 1924 he finished in the NL’s Top 10 five times in fewest walks per nine innings. A fast worker, he was often in mid-windup when he received the signal from Walter Schmidt, his catcher for eight years. When Wilbur and fellow quick-pitcher Pete Alexander once hooked up for a game in Forbes Field, the contest was over in 59 minutes. As the Pirates slowly built themselves back into contenders, they leaned heavily on Cooper to consume innings and protect their otherwise-mediocre staff. From 1918 to 1922 he finished no worse than third in the NL in innings pitched every season, leading the league in 1921. During that span he led the NL in complete games twice while finishing in the Top Five in ERA three times. In three of those five seasons Cooper was a 20-game winner, and in the other two he finished with 19 victories. In 1919 the New York Giants offered $75,000 for him; the Pirates turned them down.”

pfeffer5

P-Jeff Pfeffer, Brooklyn Robins, 31 Years Old

1914 1915 1916 1917

17-13, 2.66 ERA, 92 K, .206, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/Game as P-3.07

5th Time All-Star-Slowly but surely, the National League has built up quite a stable of good pitchers, along with the great Pete Alexander, of course. It featured Hippo Vaughn, Wilbur Cooper, and this man, all of who consistently made this list. Pfeffer didn’t make the All-Star team in 1918, as due to his service in World War I, he pitched only one game. Pitching this full season, Pfeffer finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (4.4) and sixth in innings pitched (267).

There’s a blog called 6-4-2—an angels/dodgers double play blog that, according to its subhead, is “A blog mostly about the Dodgers, Angels, baseball in general, and other minutiae as it may happen.” That’s a lot to cover, but it brings up a point often bandied around in the area I live, which is if a person can be both a Dodgers and Angels fan. Well, obviously he can, but should he or she. My wife and I are Angel fans (though the Reds come first in my heart) and we dislike the Dodgers. Her dad likes both and yearns to see a Dodgers-Angels World Series. I personally think it’s uncouth to root for two teams in the same area of the country.

Anyway, this blog rates Pfeffer as the 40th greatest Dodger of all time, saying, “Not a Hall of Famer nor even an All Star (which they wouldn’t have until 1933 anyway), Pfeffer had five phenominal seasons in a Brooklyn uniform, emerging as the ace of the Robins’ staff from 1914 through 1919.”

ruether

P-Dutch Ruether, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

19-6, 1.82 ERA, 78 K, .261, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.760

1st Time All-Star-Walter Henry “Dutch” Ruether was born on September 13, 1893 in Alameda, CA. The six-foot-one, 180 pound lefty started with Chicago in 1917, before he was selected off waivers by the Reds that same season. This season, Ruether finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.0); third in ERA (1.82), behind Chicago’s Pete Alexander (1.72) and Hippo Vaughn (1.79); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (154), trailing Alexander (166) and Vaughn (160).

This particular version of the Reds, which is also the modern-day Reds, didn’t start in 1869 as they like to proclaim. This team started in 1882 with the American Association and finished first. It never finished first again until this season, when Pat Moran led the Reds to their first National League pennant and then led them to a highly tainted World Series victory, as they defeated the Black Sox, five games to three.

In that Series, Ruether started two games and pitched 14 innings, going 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in 14 innings. Also, according to SABR, “Ruether was incensed at the citing of his opening game triple against Eddie Cicotte as evidence that the Sox weren’t on the level. [H]e said, ‘I was a pretty good hitting pitcher. I was often called upon to pinch-hit and every once in a while there was talk of me becoming a first baseman when my arm gave out. I hit a double off Dickey Kerr later in the Series, and everybody knows Dickey was straight as a string. . . . . Miller Huggins used me as a pinch-hitter seven years later in a World Series with the Yankees.’ Actually Ruether hit two triples in Game One – one off Cicotte in the fourth inning and one off Grover Lowdermilk in the seventh.”

rudolph5

P-Dick Rudolph, Boston Braves, 31 Years Old

1913 1914 1915 1916

13-18, 2.17 ERA, 76 K, .193, 1 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits Allowed-282 (2nd Time)

Wild Pitches-11

Putouts as P-15

5th Time All-Star-In an organization which would one day feature the three-headed monster of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz, Rudolph was one of the Braves’ first great pitchers. Of course, we can’t just ignore the 1870s and 1880s, because this team has been around a long time. Al Spalding, who pitched for the Boston Red Stockings, the predecessor to this team, is in my One-A-Year Hall of Fame. He was arguably the best pitcher in the old National Association, which led to the National League. Then there was Tommy Bond, who pitched from 1877-1881 for Boston and is also in the ONEHOF. Jim Whitney pitched for Boston from 1881-to-1885 and would make six All-Star teams. There are many others, but when Boston declined, so did its pitching, until Rudolph came along.

Boston moved up from seventh to sixth this season, finishing 57-82 under manager George Stallings.

SABR says, “Though he bounced back with one more workhorse season in 1919, he pitched in only 25 games over the next eight years, when he was more of a coach than a pitcher. Rudolph left the Braves after the 1927 season, retiring with a career record of 121-108 and a 2.66 ERA.

“The following year Rudolph and the Braves’ traveling secretary bought the Waterbury, Connecticut, club in the Eastern League. They lasted but one losing season. Dick then joined his brother in a Nyack, New York, undertaking business for a few years. Eventually he returned to baseball, this time as the supervisor for Stevens Brothers Concessionaires at Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds. Closing the circle of his baseball career, he returned to Fordham as a volunteer freshman baseball coach. Dick Rudolph died of a heart attack in the Bronx on October 20, 1949, at the age of 62, and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.”

nehf2

P-Art Nehf, Boston Braves/New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1918

17-11, 2.49 ERA, 77 K, .214, 1 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-After his first All-Star season in 1918, Nehf wasn’t doing well for Boston, going 8-9 with a 91 ERA+. So on August 1, he was traded by the Boston Braves to the New York Giants for Red CauseyJohnny JonesMickey O’NeilJoe Oeschger and $55,000. Then he started lighting it up, finishing 9-2 with a 189 ERA+ for the Giants. Altogether, Nehf finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.3) and fifth in innings pitched (270 2/3).

New York finished in second place, with manager John McGraw leading them to an 87-53 record, nine games behind Cincinnati. Surprisingly, the team was just out of first place when they acquired Nehf and then started faltering despite his good pitching.

Wikipedia says, “Nehf was traded to the Giants for four players and cash on August 15, 1919. He won a career-high 21 games in 1920, his first full year with the Giants. Nehf pitched in four consecutive World Series with the Giants: 192119221923 and 1924. He was the last man to win back to back clinching games in the World Series in 1921 and 1922. In 1924, he defeated Walter Johnson in 12 innings in the WS opener, but the Giants lost to the Washington Senators that year. The Giants won in 1921 and 1922 with the help of Nehf, who had an all-time World Series record of 4–4 with an ERA of 2.16 in twelve games, and nine starts, with six complete games. He had 28 strikeouts all-time in the World Series. Nehf also participated in the 1929 World Series with the Cubs in his last year, as the Cubs lost to the Philadelphia Athletics.

“Nehf died of cancer in his home in Phoenix, Arizona in 1960.”

meadows

P-Lee Meadows, St. Louis Cardinals/Philadelphia Phillies, 24 Years Old

12-20, 2.59 ERA, 116 K, .113, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. 30 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Losses-20 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Henry Lee “Specs” Meadows was born on July 12, 1894 in Oxford, NC. The six-foot, 190 pound right-handed throwing, lefty batting pitcher started with St. Louis in 1915. After going 4-10 with St. Louis this season, he was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals with Gene Paulette to the Philadelphia Phillies for Doug BairdElmer Jacobs and Frank Woodward. That’s what ended up putting him on this All-Star team, because Philly needed a representative and Meadows was the best it had.

Branch Rickey managed the Cardinals to a seventh place 54-83 record while the Phillies, managed by Jack Coombs (18-44) and Gavvy Cravath (29-46), finished last with a 47-90 record.

SABR says, “Meadows was involved in an automobile accident a week before the season opened in 1919.  Apparently feeling the effects of crashing into a trolley car in St. Louis, Meadows struggled for first-year skipper Branch Rickey (who also served as GM), losing his first six decisions, and was ultimately relegated to the bullpen in July. On July 14 the Redbirds sent Meadows and utilityman Gene Paulette to the Philadelphia Phillies for hurlers Elmer Jacobs and Frank Woodward and utiltyman Doug Baird. Based on statistics alone, the trade seems like a rare mistake by Rickey. Jacobs and Woodward won a combined 10 games and lost 19 in their short tenure with St. Louis, and Baird suited up for just 202 games. Meadows, on the other hand, regained his form and completed 15 of his 17 starts with the Phillies in 2½ months.”

clemons

C-Verne Clemons, St. Louis Cardinals, 27 Years Old

.264, 2 HR, 22 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 41 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Verne James “Stinger” or “Tubby” Clemons was born on September 8, 1891 in Clemons, IA. The five-foot-nine, 190 pound righty catcher started with the St. Louis Browns in 1916. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1917 or 1918 and then had a good rookie year in 1919. He slashed .264/.336/.360 for an OPS+ of 114.

Baseball Reference says, “Verne Clemons played catcher in the major leagues for seven years, all with St. Louis teams. He broke in with the St. Louis Browns in 1916 for four games, but spent the rest of his major league career with the 19191924 St. Louis Cardinals in the days of Rogers Hornsby.

“Clemons was a decent enough hitter, usually hitting higher than the team average. He was in the navy in 1918, and played baseball for the Great Lakes Naval Training Station that year. Clemons is remembered in the book ‘Stand and Deliver’ A History of Pinch-Hitting’, as a solid pinch-hitter who went 15-for-54.

“He often caught pitcher Bill Doak.”

Clemons would continue being the regular St. Louis catcher in 1920 and 1921 and then be its backup catcher from 1922-24. While he did .281 in 1920 and .320 in 1921, his hitting was actually better in 1919 when compared to the rest of the league. Still, he had a good bat for a catcher and did well in a league with very few good backstops at the time.

The catcher lived to the age of 67, dying on May 5, 1959 in Bay Pines, FL.

clemons

C-Bill Killefer, Chicago Cubs, 31 Years Old

.286, 0 HR, 22 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 83 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-100 (4th Time)

Putouts as C-478 (3rd Time)

Assists as C-124 (3rd Time)

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-91 (3rd Time)

Caught Stealing as C-76 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as C-6.02 (6th Time)

Fielding % as C-.987 (4th Time)

1st Time All-Star-William “Reindeer Bill” Killefer was born on October 10, 1887 in Bloomington, MI. The five-foot-10, 170 pound righty catcher started with the St. Louis Browns in 1909 and 1910. He then came to the Phillies in 1911 and then after the 1917 season, he was traded by the Philadelphia Phillies with Pete Alexander to the Chicago Cubs for Pickles DillhoeferMike Prendergast and $55,000. He had always been a good defensive catcher, finishing in the top 10 in Defensive WAR in 1912, 1913, 1916, and 1917, but never had enough bat to make this list. He finally put it together this year, slashing .286/.322/.330 for an OPS+ of 96, below league average, but good for a backstop.

Killefer didn’t hit well in the 1918 Series for the Cubs, going two-for-17 (.118) with a double and two walks.

The SABR article on Killefer is written by Charlie Weatherby, who actually knew the backstop. I suggest you read the whole thing, but I’ll admit it’s long. Here’s a bit of it: “Bill Killefer began his 48-year career in Organized Baseball in 1907 as an unlikely professional, weighing only 125 pounds when he played with Jackson of the Southern Michigan League. According to his brother Wade, ‘the bats he used were almost as big as he was.’ It would be years before he grew to be 5’10 1/2″ and 170 pounds, but along the way the skinny blonde youngster became one of the greatest defensive catchers of all time, playing over 1,000 games for the Browns, Phillies and Cubs. Pitcher Stan Baumgartner called him ‘smooth as silk with a natural intuition for calling for the pitch that the batter was not expecting.’ He was death to ambitious base runners and, according to writer Frank Pollock, ‘possessed unerring hands and an arm so accurate it threw bulls-eyes.’ Poised and clever behind the plate, Killefer was peerless as a field general and had the knack of getting the most out of his pitchers.”

He died on July 3, 1960 at the age of 72.

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1B-Ed Konetchy, Brooklyn Robins, 33 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1915 1917

.298, 1 HR, 47 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1919)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 1B-.994 (8th Time)

7th Time All-Star-In order for Big Ed Konetchy to make my Hall of Fame, he would have had to have a couple fluke seasons where he was the best first baseman in the National League because of a lack of talent at that position. And guess what? He did it! Welcome to my Hall of Fame, Big Ed! He joins first basemen Cap Anson, Jake Beckley, Dan Brouthers, Roger Connor, and Harry Stovey. As a reminder, my Hall of Fame is based all on numbers. I take the number of All-Star teams made and multiply it by the player’s Career WAR and if the number is 300 or over, he’s in.

On July 30, 2018, Bill James wrote an article called “The Ten Best Players in Each Decade Who are not in the Hall of Fame.” Just for fun, I thought I’d look at the 1910s and see if those players are in my Hall. Sherry Magee is in mine; Larry Doyle, yes; Clyde Milan, no; Konetchy, yes; George J. Burns, not yet and probably won’t be; Larry Gardner, no (could make it); Heinie Groh, no but possible; Hippo Vaughn, no; Babe Adams, not yet, but he will be; and Slim Sallee, no.

Look, I understand my Hall of Fame vote means nothing. It might mean less than that. However, it’s interesting to be able to study players like Konetchy, who isn’t a household name, but who, during the hardest time in baseball history to hit (along with the 1960s), hit the ball well and stood out at his position.

stock

2B-Milt Stock, St. Louis Cardinals, 25 Years Old

.307, 0 HR, 52 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Milton Joseph “Milt” Stock was born on July 11, 1893 in Chicago, IL. The five-foot-eight, 154 pound righty second baseman actually played at third for Philadelphia for a majority of his career up to this point. He started with New York in 1913-14, before he was traded by the New York Giants with Bert Adams and Al Demaree to the Philadelphia Phillies for Hans Lobert. After the 1918 season, Stock was traded by the Philadelphia Phillies with Dixie Davis and Pickles Dillhoefer to the St. Louis Cardinals for Doug BairdGene Packard and Stuffy Stewart. St. Louis moved him to second base and he had his best season ever, finishing sixth in WAR Position Players (4.8); sixth in Offensive WAR (3.9); eighth in Defensive WAR (1.4); fifth in batting (.307);  and sixth in on-base percentage (.371).

SABR says, “St. Louis finished last in the NL in 1918, and soon into the 1919 season, the team purchased shortstop Doc Lavan. Cardinals manager Branch Rickey moved his existing shortstop — budding superstar Rogers Hornsby — to third, and planted Stock at second. The Cardinals infield played well, but behind weak starting pitching the team finished seventh. Stock earned high praise from St. Louis sportswriters and fans for his unflagging efforts. Usually batting behind Hornsby in the fifth spot of the order, he hit .307, and achieved a career-high OPS+ of 124. Splitting his time between second and third, he was a plus defensive player.”

Stock hit well in the 1920s, but so did everyone else, but I think he’s got a possibility of making one more All-Star team.

doyle8

2B-Larry Doyle, New York Giants, 32 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1915 1916

.289, 7 HR, 52 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

 

8th Time All-Star-When Doyle last made the All-Star team in 1916, he had been traded to the Cubs for the last part of the season. Now he’s back on the Giants because after the 1917 season, Doyle was traded by the Chicago Cubs with Art Wilson and $15,000 to the Boston Braves for Lefty Tyler. That was on January 4, 1818. Four days later, he was traded by the Boston Braves with Jesse Barnes to the New York Giants for Buck Herzog and he was back in the Big Apple.

This season, Doyle finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.1); ninth in Offensive WAR (3.3); eighth in on-base percentage (.350); second in slugging (.433), behind Brooklyn centerfielder Hi Myers (.436); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (135).

Wikipedia says, “Doyle ended his career with a .290 batting average, putting him behind only Nap Lajoie (.338), Eddie Collins (then at .329) and Cupid Childs (.306) among players with 1000 games at second base. His 74 home runs placed him third at his position behind Fred Pfeffer (94) and Lajoie (83). He also had 960 runs and 793 RBI in 1766 games, as well as 300 stolen bases including 17 steals of home plate; he held the Giants club record for career steals from 1918 to 1919, when teammate George Burnspassed him. Baseball Magazine selected Doyle as the second baseman on their NL All-America Team in 1911 and 1915.

“Doyle contracted tuberculosis in 1942, and entered the Trudeau Sanitorium in Saranac Lake, New York. When the institution closed in 1954 due to the development of an effective antibiotic treatment, he was the last resident to leave; Life Magazinephotographers covered his last meal and his departure, on foot, from the grounds. He stayed on in Saranac Lake, and died there twenty years later, at age 87.”

rath

2B-Morrie Rath, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

.264, 1 HR, 29 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 28 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 2B-345

Assists as 2B-452

Double Plays Turned as 2B-62

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-5.74

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.78

1st Time All-Star-Morris Charles “Morrie” Rath was born on Christmas, 1886 in Mobeetie, TX. The five-foot-eight, 160 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing second baseman started in 1909 with the Athletics as a shortstop. The next season he moved to third base and also moved to Cleveland after he was traded by the Philadelphia Athletics with a player to be named later to the Cleveland Naps for Bris Lord. The Philadelphia Athletics sent Shoeless Joe Jackson (July 30, 1910) to the Cleveland Naps to complete the trade.

He didn’t play in the Majors in 1911 and then before the 1912 season, he was drafted by the Chicago White Sox from Baltimore (Eastern) in the 1911 rule 5 draft. He played two seasons at Chicago at second base and then was out of the Majors from 1914-18. He came back this season and his glove put him on the team as he finished second in Defensive WAR (2.2), behind New York shortstop Art Fletcher (3.9).

He didn’t hit much in the World Series victory over the White Sox either, batting .226 (seven-for-31) with a double and two steals.

Wikipedia says, “In 1918, Rath joined the U.S. Navy and missed the 1918 baseball season. In 1919, he was back in the major leagues, given a chance to start by the Cincinnati Reds. In his comeback season he hit for a .264 batting average, drew 64 walks, and was the leadoff hitter for the pennant-winning Reds. He led all National League second basemen that year in assists, putouts and double plays. In the 1919 World Series, Rath was hit by a pitch to start the series, which was later found out to be a signal used by White Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte that the fix of the World Series was on.”

hornsby4

3B-Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals, 23 Years Old

1916 1917 1918

.318, 8 HR, 71 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1942)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-6.7 (3rd Time)

Offensive WAR-5.8 (3rd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-150 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-32 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-3.5 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.738 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-So far Hornsby has made four All-Star teams, two at third base and two at shortstop. Next year, he will finally move to second base and the real Rajah will be displayed. Not that he’s any slouch now. This year, Hornsby finished fourth in WAR (6.7); first in WAR Position Players (6.7); first in Offensive WAR (5.8); sixth in Defensive WAR (1.5); second in batting (.318), behind Cincinnati centerfielder Edd Roush (.321); third in on-base percentage (.384), trailing New York leftfielder George J. Burns (.396) and Cincinnati third baseman Heinie Groh (.392); fifth in slugging (.430); and first in Adjusted OPS+ (150).

SABR says, “The Cardinals board of directors did not bring [Jack] Hendricks back for 1919 but instead persuaded Branch Rickey to manage as well as serve as team president. The team could only improve to seventh place, thanks in large measure to the woeful Phillies (47 victories), but Hornsby fared much better under Rickey’s leadership. He batted .318, second only to Edd Roush’s .321, and was among the league leaders in most categories.

“Hornsby’s play in the field continued to be indifferent. According to teammate Bill Doak, Hornsby wouldn’t think of working on his fielding and cared only about his batting average. Doak even suggested that manager Rickey switch Hornsby from third base to second because Milt Stock could play third and ‘Hornsby couldn’t be any worse at second base than he is at third.’ Even so, Hornsby managed to reduce his error total to 34 for the year, playing 72 games at third base, 37 at shortstop, 25 at second base, and five games at first.”

groh5

3B-Heinie Groh, Cincinnati Reds, 29 Years Old

1915 1916 1917 1918

.310, 5 HR, 63 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base Plus Slugging-.823

Offensive Win %-.738

Putouts as 3B-171 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 3B-23 (5th Time)

5th Time All-Star-If a team’s going to make the World Series, it’s going to need its superstars to step up and that was certainly the case with Groh and the Cincinnati Reds this season. Groh finished sixth in WAR (5.4); second in WAR Position Players (5.4), behind St. Louis third baseman Rogers Hornsby (6.7); second in Offensive WAR (5.2), trailing Hornsby (5.8); fourth in batting (.310); second in on-base percentage (.392), with only George J. Burns (.396) getting on more; third in slugging (.431), being outslugged by Brooklyn centerfielder Hi Myers (.436) and New York second baseman Larry Doyle (.433); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (149), with Hornsby (150) topping him.

Unfortunately for Groh, he didn’t have the same success in the postseason, even while facing a team not putting in a full effort. He hit .172 (five-for-29) with two doubles and a team leading six walks. Still, the Reds went on to “win” the Series, five games to three over the Black Sox. (Hey, maybe there were gamblers that got to Groh to throw the Series on the Reds’ side. A double conspiracy! Mind! Blown!)

Wikipedia says, “The Reds went on to defeat the favored Chicago White Sox in the scandal-tainted World Series; after the Chicago players were discredited as having fixed the Series, Groh was famously quoted as saying ‘I think we’d have beaten them either way.’”

And that’s the trouble with a fixed World Series, there’s no way of knowing what the Redlegs would have done in a straight up contest.

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SS-Art Fletcher, New York Giants, 34 Years Old

1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918

.277, 3 HR, 54 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1919)

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-3.9 (4th Time)

Assists-521 (4th Time)

Assists as SS-521 (4th Time)

7th Time All-Star-With the admission of the slick fielding Fletcher to my Hall of Fame, you might be saying I’m putting all kinds of mediocre into my esteemed museum. I would argue a.) Fletcher is certainly not mediocre and b.) that’s what my Hall of Fame is for. I have two Halls, the ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame that inducts one player a year. It should feature only the elite. My second Hall of Fame, cleverly named Ron’s Hall of Fame, inducts players based on the formula All-Star teams made times Career WAR. If the number is 300 or over, the player is in. That Hall of Fame is supposed to be the catch all. In the middle is probably Cooperstown, which inducts more than the ONEHOF and less than mine. Fletcher had a Career WAR of 47.0 and has now made seven All-Star teams. That puts him at 329 and he’s in. He joins fellow shortstops Bill Dahlen, George Davis, Jack Glasscock, Joe Tinker, Honus Wagner, Bobby Wallace, and John Ward, the latter making more All-Star teams as a pitcher, but playing more games at short.

Fletcher this season finished seventh in WAR (5.3); third in WAR Position Players (5.3), behind third basemen, St. Louis’ Rogers Hornsby (6.7) and Cincy’s Heinie Groh (5.4); and first in Defensive WAR (3.9). As always with Fletch, his glove leads the way. What’s astounding is the incredible season Fletcher had at the age of 34 and he’s not done making All-Star teams yet.

hollocher2

SS-Charlie Hollocher, Chicago Cubs, 23 Years Old

1918

.270, 3 HR, 26 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Hollocher, the tiny Cubs shortstop, made his second straight All-Star team, but probably won’t make another one for a few years. This season, he finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.3); third in Defensive WAR (2.1), behind New York shortstop Art Fletcher (3.9) and Cincy second baseman Morrie Rath (2.2); and ninth in on-base percentage (.347).

SABR says, “In the meantime, Charlie had received ‘greetings from Uncle Sam.’ Scheduled to enter the Army, he was attacked by the influenza epidemic then ravaging the Western hemisphere. By the time he recovered the Armistice had been signed, and as a result he was not drafted.

“Perhaps weakened by the flu, Hollocher fell to .270 in 1919 as the Cubs slipped to third place. On September 12 he took part in the first of two triple plays he would participate in during his career. In the sixth inning the Dodgers had Hy Myers on second base and Zack Wheat on first when Ed Konetchy came to the plate. He drove a sharp liner to Hollocher, who stepped on second to double Myers, then fired to first base to retire Wheat.”

I suppose it’s possible the flu made his 1919 season less valuable than 1918. However, I think it’s because World War I made 1918 a watered-down league and so Hollocher did better then. Also, his 1918 season was one of the better rookie seasons ever and that’s hard to match. Holly still has an All-Star team or two to make in his short career.

maranville4

SS-Rabbit Maranville, Boston Braves, 27 Years Old

1914 1916 1917

.267, 5 HR, 43 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1954)

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed-53 (2nd Time)

Putouts as SS-361 (5th Time)

Errors Committed as SS-53 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-79 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.53 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.48 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1917, Maranville was off to war. SABR says, “Maranville remained a fixture in the Braves infield for another six years, though he missed nearly all of 1918 when he enlisted in the Navy and served as a gunner aboard the USS Pennsylvania. On November 10, 1918, Rabbit told his shipmates that they would get big news the next day. ‘Everyone kept asking me what the big news was going to be,’ he remembered. ‘I said, “Wait until tomorrow; I will tell you then.” At 6:30 the next morning we got word that the armistice had been signed. That afternoon I was called in to the captain’s quarters. The captain said to me, “How is it you knew the armistice was going to be signed today? Who gave you that information?” I said, “I didn’t know anything about the armistice being signed. The reason I said the big day is tomorrow and they would hear great news is that today is my birthday.”’”

This season, Maranville finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.2); seventh in Offensive WAR (3.7); and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.6). This would be the last season Maranville’s OPS+ was above 100 (114), so he’s going to have to rely on his defense to make these teams in the future.

Baseball is going to change after this season. For seven consecutive seasons, from 1914 to 1920, the National League averaged less than four runs a game. Starting in 1921, it won’t be under four until 1933. We’re going to see an increase in hitting stats starting in 1920.

burnsg4

LF-George J. Burns, New York Giants, 29 Years Old

1914 1917 1918

.303, 2 HR, 46 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.396

Runs Scored-86 (4th Time)

Bases on Balls-82 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases-40 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-86

Adj. Batting Runs-32

Adj. Batting Wins-3.5

Times on Base-244 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as LF-139 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as OF-139 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as LF-.990

Fielding % as OF-.990

4th Time All-Star-As the leadoff hitter for the New York Giants, Burns was good at scoring runs, leading the league in runs scored for the fourth time. Next season will be his fifth and last. Unfortunately for him, after this season, his hitting is going to get worse which is what is going to keep him out of my Hall of Fame. Not that he was bad. You can see from the above stats he was consistent on offense and defense. Burns would be that way for many years, just not enough to make Cooperstown or my Hall of Fame.

Baseball History Comes Alive interviewed a relative of Burns who said of him, “’I used to hear my grandparents talking about him when I was a kid. I figured they were just exaggerating on a relative who was probably just a good local softball player. It wasn’t until 1989 when I was on my way to college in Utica that I decided to stop in Cooperstown to see what I could find. I realized then he was ‘the real deal.’ To my surprise, not only were my grandparents not exaggerating, they were actually understating how good he actually was. From that moment on, I was hooked on the legend of George Burns. Shortly after that I first watched Field of Dreams. I was blown away with the ending as I imagined it as me having a catch with Uncle George Burns. That movie still gets to me. I’ve spent the last 27 years feverishly researching and documenting his career and life.’”

roush3

CF-Edd Roush, Cincinnati Reds, 26 Years Old

1917 1918

.321, 4 HR, 71 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

1919 NL Batting Title (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.321 (2nd Time)

Assists as CF-22

Double Plays Turned as CF-6

Fielding % as CF-.989

3rd Time All-Star-For a good stretch of time in the late 1910s and early 1920s, there wasn’t a better National League centerfielder than Edd Roush. This season, his productivity helped lead the Reds to their first World Series. He finished 10th in WAR (5.1); fifth in WAR Position Players (5.1); third in Offensive WAR (4.5), behind St. Louis third baseman Rogers Hornsby (5.8) and teammate Heinie Groh (5.2); first in batting (.321); fifth in on-base percentage (.380); fourth in slugging (.431); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (146), trailing Hornsby (150) and Groh (149).

In Game Two of the World Series, Roush went one-for-two with an RBI and two walks as the Reds beat the White Sox, 4-2. Then in Game Five, he went one-for-four with a triple, two runs scored, and two RBI as Cincy thumped Chicago, 5-0. It was in the eighth and final game, Roush let it rip, going three-for-five with two runs scored, four RBI, and two doubles as the Reds went on to a 10-5 victory and won the Series, five games to three. Altogether, Roush went six-for-28 (.214) with two doubles and a triple.

SABR says, “The 1919 World Series is forever tainted by the Black Sox scandal. In 1920 word came out that eight members of the White Sox had thrown the series, purposely losing games after being paid by gamblers. Roush became vehement when questioned throughout his life about the series, consistently stating that the Reds were the better team. He was quoted as saying that after the first two games the Sox played it straight as the gamblers had not paid them off properly.”

myers

CF-Hi Myers, Brooklyn Robins, 30 Years Old

.307, 5 HR, 73 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 34 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Slugging-.436

Total Bases-223

Triples-14

Runs Batted In-73

Putouts as CF-358 (2nd Time)

Putouts as OF-358 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.83

1st Time All-Star-Henry Harrison “Hi” Myers was born on April 27, 1889 in East Liverpool, OH. The five-foot-nine, 175 pound righty centerfielder started with Brooklyn in 1909. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1910 and then game back to Brooklyn in 1911. He then again had a break from the Major Leagues in 1912 and 1913, before coming back as Brooklyn’s centerfielder in 1914. In the 1916 World Series, Myers hit .182 (four-for-22) with a homer as the Robins lost to the Red Sox, four games to one. This year, Myers finished 10th in Offensive WAR (3.3); sixth in batting (.307); first in slugging (.436); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (130).

I like this story from SABR: “After the 1916 season, Myers went home to his farm near Kensington, Ohio. It wasn’t much of a farm: a horse and a few chickens. He thought he had earned a substantial raise for the next season and decided to bluff [Brooklyn owner] Charlie Ebbets. According to sportswriter Frank Graham, Myers had a letterhead printed, ‘MYERS’S STOCK FARM,’ and wrote the following letter:

“’Dear Mr. Ebbets:

“’I am returning my contract unsigned. At the terms you offer me, I cannot possibly afford to play baseball any more. As you will see from this letterhead, I am now running a stock farm and I am doing so well that, in justice to my family, I must remain here. I have enjoyed playing in Brooklyn and will miss you and all the boys and the fans. Please remember me to the boys.’

“Ebbets had a group of holdouts to contend with that season. He decided that visiting them at their homes might be the best way to talk them into signing. When Myers learned that Ebbets was on his way, he quickly made the rounds of his more prosperous neighbors’ farms and borrowed enough cattle and horses to fill his pastures. Ebbets took one look at the spread and gave Myers what he wanted.”

youngs

RF-Ross Youngs, New York Giants, 22 Years Old

.311, 2 HR, 43 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1972)

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

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-31

Def. Games as RF-130

Putouts as RF-235

Assists as RF-23

Errors Committed as RF-16

Double Plays Turned as RF-7

Assists as OF-23

Double Plays Turned as OF-7

1st Time All-Star-Royce Middlebrook “Ross” or “Pep” Youngs was born on April 10, 1897 in Shiner, TX. The five-foot-eight, 162 pound lefty throwing, righty batting rightfielder started with the Giants in 1917. This year, Youngs finished 10th in WAR Position Players (3.9); eighth in Offensive WAR (3.7); third in batting (.311), behind Cincy centerfielder Edd Roush (.321) and St. Louis third baseman Rogers Hornsby (.318); fourth in on-base percentage (.384); seventh in slugging (.415); ninth in steals (24); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (140).

Youngs would tragically die at the age of 30, I imagine I’ll have more on that down the road. Because of his short, productive career, the Veteran’s Committee in 1972 voted him into the Hall of Fame. I don’t think he deserves it, though I think he was a heck of a ballplayer.

SABR says, “The Giants trained in Gainesville, Florida, in 1919. There McGraw convinced Youngs, who had always been a switch hitter, to bat only from the left side to take better advantage of his great speed. The team got off to another fast start, winning 24 of their first 32 games. Youngs, who was now batting second in the line-up behind George Burns, was also blistering hot out of the gate, and on May 31 was batting .407 after reaching .488 ten games into the season. His all-around play began drawing comparisons with Ty Cobb at a similar age, and he was even called ‘Ty Cobb Junior.’” He cooled down later, but it was still a good year, the first of many All-Star teams.

1918 American League All-Star Team

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Stan Coveleski, CLE

P-Scott Perry, PHA

P-Jim Bagby, CLE

P-Bernie Boland, DET

P-George Mogridge, NYY

P-Harry Harper, WSH

P-Allan Sothoron, SLB

P-Eddie Cicotte, CHW

P-Johnny Enzmann, CLE

C-Steve O’Neill, CLE

C-Truck Hannah, NYY

1B-George Sisler, SLB

1B-George H. Burns, PHA

2B-Del Pratt, NYY

2B-Eddie Collins, CHW

3B-Home Run Baker, NYY

3B-Larry Gardner, BOS

SS-Roger Peckinpaugh, NYY

SS-Ray Chapman, CLE

LF-Babe Ruth, BOS

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Tris Speaker, CLE

CF-Tillie Walker, PHA

RF-Harry Hooper, BOS

 

johnson11

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 30 Years Old, 5th Time MVP

1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917

23-13, 1.27 ERA, 162 K, .267, 1 HR, 18 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

1918 AL Pitching Triple Crown (2nd Time)

1918 AL Pitching Title (3rd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-11.6 (6th Time)

WAR for Pitchers-10.2 (6th Time)

Earned Run Average-1.27 (3rd Time)

Wins-23 (5th Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-.0954 (4th Time)

Strikeouts-162 (8th Time)

Shutouts-8 (5th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-214 (4th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-49 (5th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.1 (5th Time)

11th Time All-Star-After having an “off” year in 1917, in which he was only fifth in WAR, Johnson again proved he was the best player in baseball with an incredible 1918 season. You can see the results above. He’s already in all three Hall of Fames, he’s tied with Cy Young for most MVPs with five, and so all that’s left for him is to be the greatest player of all time. He’s in the top 10 as seen in this list:

 

  1. Cy Young, P
  2. Honus Wagner, SS
  3. Walter Johnson, P
  4. Ty Cobb, CF
  5. Cap Anson, 1B
  6. Nap Lajoie, 2B
  7. Kid Nichols, P
  8. Tris Speaker, CF
  9. Christy Mathewson, P
  10. Eddie Collins, 2B

This season, Tris Speaker entered the top 10 and Roger Connor, a great first baseman from the 1880s dropped out. Johnson moved up from fourth to third.

The Big Train was doing everything he could to bring a pennant to the nation’s capital, but the Senators still fell short, moving up from fifth in 1917 to third this year. Clark Griffith managed the team to a 72-56 record, five-and-a-half games behind Boston. As late as July 3, Washington was just two games out, but could never make it to the top. Its hitting was poor, as it left more men on base than anyone in the American League, but the Senators did have outstanding pitching, leading the league in ERA.

Back to Johnson, Wikipedia says, “In May 1918, Johnson pitched 40 consecutive scoreless innings; he is the only pitcher with two such 40+ inning streaks.”

coveleskis2

P-Stan Coveleski, Cleveland Indians, 28 Years Old

1917

22-13, 1.82 ERA, 87 K, .191, 0 HR, 3 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1969)

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Covey made his second straight All-Star team and had his best season ever. The problem is that season was overshadowed by Walter Johnson’s fifth best season ever. Coveleski finished second in WAR (9.5), behind Johnson (11.6); second in WAR for Pitchers (9.8), trailing Big Train (10.2); second in ERA (1.82), with only Washington’s speed baller ahead of him (1.27); third in innings pitched (311), behind Philadelphia’s Scott Perry (332 1/3) and, of course, Barney (326); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (164), trailing, well, you know (214).

As for the Indians, they advanced from third to second with a 73-54 record, two-and-a-half games behind Boston. Lee Fohl managed the team which had good hitting, leading the American League in runs scored, and good pitching, with a league-leading 13 saves.

Wikipedia points out, “Coveleski continued to improve during the war-shortened 1918 season. His outings that year included pitching a complete game against the New York Yankees, where he pitched 19 innings, allowing two runs as the Indians won, 3–2. He finished the season with a 22–13 record, a 1.82 ERA, and 311 innings pitched in 38 games, 33 of them starts; his wins and ERA were both second in the American League to Walter Johnson.”

According to his Hall of Fame page, Coveleski took the sport seriously. It quotes him as saying, “The pressure never lets up. Don’t matter what you did yesterday. That’s history. It’s tomorrow that counts. So you worry all the time. It never ends. Lord, baseball is a worrying thing.”

perry

P-Scott Perry, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

20-19, 1.98 ERA, 81 K, .134, 0 HR, 5 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 22 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Innings Pitched-332 1/3

Games Started-36

Complete Games-30

Hits Allowed-295

Losses-19

Batters Faced-1,342

1st Time All-Star-Herbert Scott Perry was born on April 17, 1891 in Denison, TX. The six-foot-one, 195 pound righty pitcher, lefty hitter started with the Browns in 1915. After going to the minors, he was purchased with Sam Mayer by the Chicago Cubs from Atlanta (Southern Association). He then went back to the minors after that 1916 season and then before 1917, he was purchased by the Cincinnati Reds from Atlanta (Southern Association). He bounced around some more before this season in which he was  Traded by Atlanta (Southern Association) to the Philadelphia Athletics for Lee Strait (minors) and Val Picinich.

In Philly, he had his best season ever, finishing third in WAR (7.7), behind Washington’s Walter Johnson (11.6) and Cleveland’s Stan Coveleski (9.5); third in WAR for Pitchers (8.4), trailing Johnson (10.2) and Coveleski (9.8); fourth in ERA (1.98); first in innings pitched (332 1/3); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (146), again behind Johnson (214) and Coveleski (164).

It was no small feat for Perry to have a winning record on the last place Athletics. Connie Mack’s squad finished 52-76. Both its hitting (last in the American League in runs) and pitching (first in walks allowed) were awful.

Perry’s SABR page has a lot of details about the fight between teams to get the righty to pitch for them. It also says, “After baseball, Perry cooked and washed dishes in Colorado and Missouri. On October 27, 1959, he died from bronchopneumonia. Scott Perry was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Independence, Missouri.”

bagby2

P-Jim Bagby, Cleveland Indians, 28 Years Old

1917

17-16, 2.69 ERA, 57 K, .212, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-45

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

Def. Games as P-45

2nd Time All-Star-Sarge is in a good stretch of making possibly four straight All-Star teams. He was the best of the second tier of pitchers in the American League. Those top three above dominated the league and then there was a big drop off to Bagby. He finished fourth in WAR for Pitchers (4.4) and sixth in innings pitched (271 1/3).

SABR says, “Ty Cobb once called Jim Bagby “the smartest pitcher he ever faced.” Bagby was a star as both a starter and reliever, noted for his fadeaway pitch and outstanding control.

“Through 1918 and 1919 Bagby continued to throw a ton of innings, win and save a lot of games, and help his team to second-place finishes. On May 11, 1918, he matched up with Walter Johnson. Each pitcher gave up four hits. Each helped his own cause, Bagby lacing a double and a single, while Johnson tripled in the sixth inning and scored the game’s only run to beat Bagby 1-0.

“As an example of his usage in this period, over 17 days from June 23 to July 9, 1918, Bagby pitched in 11 of his team’s 18 games. Four were complete-game starts; seven were relief appearances. He went 2-4 and saved four games, pitching 62 innings and allowing 18 runs.

“Sarge was always a scrapper, but would sometimes claim his manager was trying to ruin him. When he grumbled about a sore arm, Speaker would reply, ‘What difference does that make? With all that stuff you’ve got you don’t have to bother how your arm feels.’”

boland

P-Bernie Boland, Detroit Tigers, 26 Years Old

14-10, 2.65 ERA, 63 K, .174, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Bernard Anthony “Bernie” Boland was born on January 21, 1892 in Rochester, NY. The five-foot-eight, 168 pound righty started with Detroit in 1915 and always put together a good win-loss record. He was 39-21 coming into 1918, the year he had his best season ever. Boland finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (4.1).

As for Detroit, it struggled, dropping from fourth to seventh with a 55-71 record. Hughie Jennings managed his 12th straight year for the Tigers, a team that could still hit, finishing third in the American League in runs scored, but struggled on the mound, allowing the most runs scored.

Wikipedia says, “On August 28, 1914, the Nashville club sold Boland to the Detroit Tigers. He made his major league debut on April 14, 1915, as a member of the 1915 Detroit Tigers that compiled a 100-54 for the second best winning percentage in franchise history. Boland’s record in his rookie season was 13–7 with a 3.11 earned run average(ERA). On August 16, 1915, he came within four batters of throwing a no hitter, retiring the first 23 Cleveland Indians batters he faced, only to give up a lone single to Ben Paschal, a 19-year-old pinch-hitter who was making his major league debut. Paschal’s hit off Boland was his only hit of the 1915 season. Boland and the Tigers went on to win the game 3–1.

“In 1918, Boland appeared in 29 games, 25 as a starter, and compiled a 14-10 record with a 2.65 ERA.”

mogridge

P-George Mogridge, New York Yankees, 29 Years Old

16-13, 2.18 ERA, 62 K, .190, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-45

Saves-7

Games Finished-23

Def. Games as P-45

Fielding % as P-.989 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-George Anthony Mogridge was born on February 18, 1889 in Rochester, NY. The six-foot-two, 165 pound lefty started with the White Sox in 1912-13. He then came to the Yankees in 1915, but really started to shine this year. He finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.0); seventh in ERA (2.18); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (129).

However, the best thing to happen to the Yankees this season was the acquisition of a new manager, Miller Huggins. He would eventually lead this team to six pennants and three World Championships.

Wikipedia says, “With the New York Yankees of the American League (AL) not performing well, Yankees owners Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston sought to replace “Wild” Bill Donovan as manager.  Ban Johnson, AL president, suggested Huggins to Ruppert as a replacement for Donovan. Huston, who had been in Europe at the time that Ruppert had made the appointment, disliked Huggins and wanted to hire Wilbert Robinson, his drinking buddy. Ruppert himself had been put off by Huggins’ wool cap and practice of smoking pipes in public, which he felt was the mark of the working class. However, Ruppert interviewed Huggins upon Johnson’s recommendation, and agreed that Huggins knew much about baseball. Ruppert offered the job to Huggins, who initially did not want to take the position, as the Yankees were in no better a position than the Cardinals. J. G. Taylor Spink of The Sporting News eventually convinced Huggins to accept the offer, and he signed a two-year contract. The hiring of Huggins drove a wedge between the two co-owners that culminated in Huston selling his shares of the team to Ruppert in 1922.”

harper2

P-Harry Harper, Washington Senators, 23 Years Old

1916

11-10, 2.18 ERA, 78 K, .134, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wild Pitches-13

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1916, Harper slumped last season, going 11-12 with a 3.01 ERA. He rebounded this season, having his best year ever, finishing fifth in WAR for Pitchers (4.3); sixth in ERA (2.18);  ninth in innings pitched (244); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (125).

Wikipedia says, “In 1918, Harper went 11–10 in 244.0 innings, but his 2.18 ERA ranked him sixth between the American League pitchers. He had a 6–21 record with a 3.72 ERA for the hapless Senators in 1919 to lead the AL in losses, and in 1920 he had a 5–14 mark with the Red Sox. He did, however, manage to get a solid 3.04 ERA to rank seventh in AL. He also started for the Yankees in Game 6 of the 1921 World Series, but did not have a decision.

“In a 10-season career, Harper posted a 57–76 record with 623 strikeouts and a 2.87 ERA in 219 appearances, including 171 starts, 66 complete games, 12 shutouts, five saves, and 1256.0 innings.

“Following his baseball career, Harper made a fortune as a New Jersey industrialist. A resident of the Layton section of Sandyston Township, New Jersey, He died in New York City, just one day short of his 68th birthday.”

When you look at someone like his teammate Walter Johnson, who could pitch so well for so many years, it always makes you sad that someone with Harper’s potential was done by the time he was 28.

sothoron

P-Allan Sothoron, St. Louis Browns, 25 Years Old

12-12, 1.94 ERA, 71 K, .159, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 22 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-6.546

Errors Committed as P-8 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Allen (sic) (Ed. Note from SABR: “(The New York Times also spelled Allen’s name Southern in its report of the game. Some sources still misspell his first name as Allan, although he himself consistently spelled it as Allen in documents, such as his draft registration, passport application, and marriage license.)”) Sutton Sothoron was born on April 27, 1893 in Bradford, OH. The five-foot-11, 182 pound righty throwing, switch-hitting pitcher started with the Browns in 1914 and 1915. He didn’t pitch in the Majors in 1916 and then became a regular pitcher for St. Louis in 1917, a year in which he led the American League in losses with 19. This season, Sothoron finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (4.1); third in ERA (1.94), behind Washington’s Walter Johnson (1.27) and Cleveland’s Stan Coveleski (1.82); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (139).

It was another off season for the Brownies, who finished in fifth place with a 58-64 record under three different managers – Fielder Jones (22-24), Jimmy Austin (7-9), and Jimmy Burke (29-31). Jones would never manage again, finishing his career with a 683-582 record and a World Championship for the White Sox in 1906. This was Austin’s second interim managing job for St. Louis, doing the same in 1913. Burke would be sticking around for two more seasons.

More from SABR, which states, “In 1918 Sothoron improved his ERA to 1.94, third best in the league, and broke even in the won-lost column. Dixie, as he was called because his frequently mispronounced name led people to think he was from the South, held opponents to a .205 batting average, lowest in the league. Among American League pitchers he held opponents to the second lowest on-base percentage and allowed the third fewest base runners per nine innings.”

cicotte4

P-Eddie Cicotte, Chicago White Sox, 34 Years Old

1913 1914 1917

12-19, 2.77 ERA, 104 K, .163, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.353

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-2.600

Losses-19

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.02

4th Time All-Star-Last year, I said Cicotte wouldn’t make my Hall of Fame, but now I’m saying he’s a sure thing. Why? Because he made this All-Star team on a fluke, as Chicago’s best player. He’s not among the top 10 pitchers in the American League, but the top player in WAR on each team always makes the list and that’s Cicotte this year. Way to go, Eddie, at least you made one Hall of Fame.

This season, Cicotte finished seventh in innings pitched (266). He also unbelievably gave up the least walks per nine innings despite being a knuckleball pitcher.

While their city mates were winning the National League pennant, the White Sox dropped from first to sixth with a 57-67 record. This was Pants Rowland’s last year, despite leading the White Sox to their last championship in 1917, until 2005 anyway.

SABR says, “After Cicotte’s breakthrough season[in 1917], Comiskey offered his star pitcher a $5,000 contract, with a $2,000 signing bonus, making him one of the highest compensated pitchers in baseball. But Cicotte failed to produce an encore suitable to his dominant 1917 campaign, as he wrenched his ankle in early May, and limped his way through the season to a mediocre 2.77 ERA and 19 losses, tied for the most in the league. It was not a performance to inspire Comiskey to hand out a raise, and when the 1919 season began, financial troubles were weighing heavily on Cicotte.” I guess I’m going to be writing a lot on the tossing of the World Series next year.

enzmann

P-Johnny Enzmann, Cleveland Indians, 28 Years Old

5-7, 2.37 ERA, 38 K, .149, 0 HR, 0 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 142 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-“Gentleman John” or “Johnny” Enzmann was born on March 4, 1890 in Brooklyn, NY. The five-foot-10, 165 pound righty started with Brooklyn in 1914. He didn’t play in the Majors from 1915-17, before coming to the Indians this season, in which he had his best year ever. Enzmann finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (3.7) despite pitching just 136 2/3 innings.

Wikipedia says, “He pitched for the 1914 Brooklyn Robins, the 1918–1919 Cleveland Indians and the 1920 Philadelphia Phillies. Following his baseball career, Enzmann worked as toolmaker from which he retired in 1972.

“The Phillies celebrated the franchise’s centennial in 1983 and identified Enzmann as the team’s then-living oldest player. Enzmann was 93 years old and living in Ft. Lauderdale. As part of celebrations on May 1, 1983, Enzmann threw out the first-pitch prior to the Phillies game against the Houston Astros at Veterans Stadium.” He did indeed live a long life, dying at the age of 94 in Riverhead, NY.

Allan Wood wrote a book, Babe Ruth and the 1918 Red Sox: Babe Ruth and the World Champion Boston Red Sox, which talks about Babe’s power. Enzmann was part of a record as the book states, “Cleveland starter Johnny Enzmann met with [Lee] Fohl and [Tris] Speaker to discuss how to pitch to Ruth. Whatever was said, the advice appeared solid. Enzmann retired Ruth his first two times up. But in the sixth inning, with the score tied 1-1 and Shean on second, Ruth yanked a 3-2 pitch over the right field fence and screen. ‘Babe Ruth Establishes World’s Record of Four Home Runs in Four Successive Days’ shouted the Boston Herald and Journal’s banner headline.”

oneills

C-Steve O’Neill, Cleveland Indians, 26 Years Old

.242, 1 HR, 35 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-113 (2nd Time)

Assists as C-154 (2nd Time)

Caught Stealing as C-80 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as C-.983

1st Time All-Star-Stephen Francis “Steve” O’Neill was born on July 6, 1891 in Minooka, PA. The five-foot-10, 165 pound righty catcher started with Cleveland in 1911. Even though this is the first time he’s making my All-Star team, he’d already received some recognition in the game, finishing 24th in the MVP voting in 1913, a year in which he hit .295. However, the reason he’s never made my list before is because he didn’t usually hit that well, at least through 1917. He started getting better this season and will hit well over the next four years, having OPS+s over 100 each and every campaign.

This year, O’Neill finished 10th in Defensive WAR (0.9), the third time he’s been in the top 10 in that category, with one more still to go.

SABR says, “[Cleveland manager Tris] Speaker agreed that O’Neill was one of the best catchers in the business, but saw no reason why he shouldn’t be a good hitter as well. ‘Nobody with your guts and determination should be such an easy mark at the plate,’ Speaker told O’Neill. ‘Instead of floundering around .240, you should be a .300 hitter every year.’ ‘That would suit me fine,’ Steve said, ‘only how do I do it?’ ‘Well,’ said Speaker, ‘in the first place go up there figuring you’ll get a hit, not that you won’t. In the second, try to outthink the pitcher. And in the third, stop swinging at bad pitches.’

“The advice paid off, as O’Neill’s walk totals began to climb while his strikeout rate declined.”

hannah

C-Truck Hannah, New York Yankees, 29 Years Old

.220, 2 HR, 21 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 111 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as C-16

Caught Stealing %-54.8

1st Time All-Star-James Harrison “Truck” Hannah was born on June 5, 1889 in Larimore, ND. The six-foot-one, 190 pound righty catcher started this year with the Yankees and had an impressive rookie season. He showed a good arm in throwing out runners, though his hitting lacked a bit. However, it wasn’t a great year for backstops, so Hannah made the list.

Truck had played minor league ball since he was 20 and got his first opportunity in the Majors this season. He’d play three years for the Yankees before going back to the minors and never making it back up to the big leagues, despite playing until he was 51 years old for the Memphis Chickasaws in 1940.

SABR says, “Hannah also tried to get into the head of opposing batters and often succeeded. He constantly talked to the batter, trying to take his concentration off the pitcher. When this did not work, he would tip the bat just as the pitch was being delivered, toss pebbles onto the batter’s shoes, or spit tobacco juice on his feet.

“Ty Cobb was one player who didn’t appreciate Hannah’s constant chatter. When Truck was a rookie, Cobb said, ‘This fellow Hannah of the New York club keeps me busier at the plate than any other catcher in the league. I don’t like letting a recruit outtalk me, and in my effort to keep my end of the conversation, I had my work cut out for me making base hits off those Yankee pitchers.’

“Hannah died on April 27, 1982, from a chronic urinary infection and heart disease at Valley Convalescent Hospital in Huntington Beach, California. He was 92 years old. He was cremated. Six months later, in October 1982, his wife, Helen died.”

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1B-George Sisler, St. Louis Browns, 25 Years Old

1916 1917

.341, 2 HR, 41 RBI, 0-0, 4.50 ERA, 4 K

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-6.8

Stolen Bases-45

3rd Time All-Star-Now that Sisler’s on these lists, there’s no stopping him as he continues to rake the ball. He’s easily the best first baseman of his time. This year, Sisler finished fifth in WAR (6.5); first in WAR Position Players (6.8); third in Offensive WAR (5.3), behind Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (6.7) and Philadelphia first baseman George Burns (5.4); fifth in Defensive WAR (1.0); third in batting (.341), trailing Cobb (.382) and Burns (.352); sixth in on-base percentage (.400); fourth in slugging (.440); first in steals (45); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (158).

SABR says, “Arguably the first great first baseman of the twentieth century, George Sisler was the greatest player in St. Louis Browns history. An excellent baserunner and superb fielder who was once tried out at second and third base even though he threw left-handed, Sisler’s primary asset was his left-handed swing, which he used to notch a career .340 batting average. From 1916 to 1925, Sisler batted over .300 nine consecutive times, including two seasons in which he batted better than .400, making him one of only two players in American League history (the other was Ty Cobb) to post multiple .400 batting marks. Though Sisler’s greatest feats occurred in the years immediately following the end of the Deadball Era, by 1919 he had already established himself as one of the game’s top young stars, placing in the top three in batting average every year from 1917 to 1919, and leading the league with 45 stolen bases in 1918. That year one writer declared that Sisler possessed ‘dazzling ability of the Cobbesque type. He is just as fast, showy, and sensational, very nearly if not quite as good as a natural hitter, as fast in speed of foot, an even better fielder, and gifted with a versatility Cobb himself might envy.’”

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1B-George H. Burns, Philadelphia Athletics, 25 Years Old

.352, 6 HR, 70 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

Games Played-130

Hits-178

Total Bases-236

Singles-141

Hit by Pitch-8 (2nd Time)

Putouts-1,389 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,384 (2nd Time)

Assists as 1B-104

Errors Committed as 1B-26 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 1B-112

1st Time All-Star-“Tioga George” Henry Burns was born on January 31, 1893 in Niles, OH. The six-foot-one, 180 pound righty first baseman started with Detroit from 1914-17. Before this season, he was  purchased by the New York Yankees from the Detroit Tigers. He then was traded by the New York Yankees to the Philadelphia Athletics for Ping Bodie. He then said, “Nobody wants me, eh? Well, I’ll show them!” and he had his best season ever.

Wikipedia says, “Born in Niles, Ohio, Burns was a line drive hitter and a solid defensive first baseman who hit .300 or better in all but one of his full seasons between 1918 and 1927. After four unremarkable seasons with the Detroit Tigers (1914–17), he was acquired by the Philadelphia Athletics in 1918. In his first season with the team he hit .352, surpassed only by the .382 of Detroit’s Ty Cobb, and led the AL in hits (178) and total bases (236) while also setting a league record with 109 double plays at first base (Earl Sheely surpassed the mark three years later). After slipping to .296 in 1919, he was sent to the Indians in May 1920.

“During the 1920 regular season, Burns was stuck behind regular first baseman Doc Johnston; but his play revived in the World Series, in which he and Johnston were platooned by manager Tris Speaker. Burns started Game 6, and with the Indians up 3–2 in the Series and no score in the sixth inning, Burns doubled home Speaker with the only run of the game as the Indians edged the Brooklyn Dodgers 1–0 to take a 4–2 lead in the nine-game series. Cleveland won again the next day, capturing the first Series title for the franchise.

“Burns died in early 1978 at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland at age 84, and was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Seattle.”

pratt4

2B-Del Pratt, New York Yankees, 30 Years Old

1914 1915 1916

.275, 2 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. 67 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-126 (4th Time)

Putouts as 2B-340 (5th Time)

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

4th Time All-Star-Do you know the last time Eddie Collins didn’t have the highest WAR at second base? It was in 1908, when Nap Lajoie was still at his best. Well, Eddie had an off season this year and Pratt took advantage. Of course, their WARS (3.2 and 3.1) are very similar and neither had their best season. But for 1918, it’ll do. This year, Pratt finished eighth in Defensive WAR (0.9).

After not making the All-Star team in 1917 after slumping to a 98 OPS+, Pratt was traded by the St. Louis Browns with Eddie Plank to the New York Yankees for Nick CullopJoe GedeonFritz MaiselLes NunamakerUrban Shocker and $15,000. The Yankees are starting to put together quite a team and once the Bambino comes over in 1920, it will start their incredible history of World Series appearances.

Wikipedia says, “In 1917, the Browns were struggling. Owner Phil Ball accused some of the players of intentionally playing poorly so that they could be traded. Ball said, ‘Every $1,000 I lose on the Browns this season will cost the ballplayers $100. Salaries will be cut next season.’ Pratt was offended. He and teammate Doc Lavan sued Ball for slander. The Sporting News went so far as to call Pratt the Browns’ Trotsky. The suit was eventually settled in 1918, and Pratt was traded to the New York Yankees.”

If you read my previous blurbs on Pratt, you’ll see he was a fighter who usually won his arguments.

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2B-Eddie Collins, Chicago White Sox, 31 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917

.276, 2 HR, 30 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

10th Time All-Star-A person might ask if the great Cocky Collins is starting to fade. This wasn’t a great year for the man, though he’s still on this list and it’s the second consecutive off year for the diminutive second baseman. This year, he finished third in on-base percentage (.407), behind Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (.440) and Boston leftfielder Babe Ruth (.411) (oh, those guys) and 10th in steals (22). He could still walk and he could still run, but at 31 years old, it certainly looked like his best years were behind him. Spoiler alert, they’re not!

Collins is the number 10 player of all time at this point in baseball history. Read Walter Johnson’s blurb for the whole list.

SABR says, “Like many other players, Collins’s 1918 campaign was cut short by US involvement in the Great War. On August 19, 1918, Collins joined the Marine Corps, missing the final 16 games of the season. His decision to enlist in the military was greeted with patriotic fanfare – unlike his teammates Joe Jackson, Lefty Williams, and Byrd Lynn, who were harshly criticized for taking war-essential jobs in the shipyards. Collins’s actual service wasn’t much different from theirs, consisting mainly of drills and guard duty at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, but he received a Good Conduct Medal and was honorably discharged on February 6, 1919, in time for spring training.”

Collins would, of course, be part of the White Sox in 1919, but wouldn’t be one of those accused of throwing the Series.

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3B-Home Run Baker, New York Yankees, 32 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1917

.306, 6 HR, 62 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 3B-175 (6th Time)

Double Plays Turned as 3B-33 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.63 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.972 (2nd Time)

8th Time All-Star-Along with all of his other accomplishments, Baker is now tied for the most All-Star teams made at his position. Here’s the full list:

P-Cy Young, 17 All-Star teams made

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Nap Lajoie, 11

3B-Jimmy Collins, Baker, 8

SS-Honus Wagner, 13

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Tris Speaker, 10

RF-Sam Crawford, 9

He’s probably got one All-Star team left which will put him ahead of Collins.

This season, Baker finished 10th in WAR (4.9); sixth in WAR Position Players (4.9); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.6); ninth in Defensive WAR (0.9); fifth in batting (.306); eighth in slugging (.409); and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (129).

Pinstripe Alley says, “Although the main cogs of the lineup remained dangerous, the team overall slipped in 1917, costing manager ‘Wild Bill’ Donovan his job. In his place, Ruppert chose former Cardinals skipper Miller Huggins, infuriating Huston, who preferred Brooklyn manager Wilbert Robinson. They still finished under .500 with Huggins in 1918, but it was only by three games compared to 11 under with Donovan the year before. Baker turned in another fine season, remaining among the game’s elite third baseman by hitting .306/.357/.409, leading a lineup that was dubbed ‘Murderer’s Row’ by one columnist a decade before the 1927 Yankees all but trademarked that moniker.”

It’s interesting the Yankees were called “Murderer’s Row” years before Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were regular players. I’m learning it’s good to actually research things once in a while. As I mentioned in Baker’s 1909 blurb, he received his moniker long before the 1911 World Series and now I learn the Yankees were called “Murderer’s Row” long before the Roaring ‘20s.

gardner5

3B-Larry Gardner, Philadelphia Athletics, 32 Years Old

1911 1912 1916 1917

.285, 1 HR, 52 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-127 (2nd Time)

Assists as 3B-291 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 3B-33

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.60

5th Time All-Star-Baseball’s interesting in that having one great player isn’t necessarily helpful. For instance, the Athletics have four All-Stars, but they’re still going to finish last. Even adding the great Gardner didn’t help, but that wasn’t his fault. He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.1); ninth in Offensive WAR (3.5); and third in Defensive WAR (1.1), behind two shortstops, New York’s Roger Peckinpaugh (3.0) and Boston’s Everett Scott (3.0).

SABR says,”On January 10, 1918, Boston traded Gardner, reserve outfielder Tillie Walker, and backup catcher Hick Cady to the Philadelphia Athletics for first baseman Stuffy McInnis. ‘While the loss of Walker and Cady might be accepted with cheerful resignation,’ wrote Paul Shannon in the Boston Post, ‘the going of Gardner, one of the most powerful hitters on the team for years, one of its most dependable members and a model player in every way, will be severely felt.’ Philadelphia writers, on the other hand, welcomed news of the trade. ‘The report that Gardner has passed the zenith of his career and is on the decline is all camouflage, probably designed to placate the Boston fans, with whom he was extremely popular,’ wrote one of them. ‘His moral and corrective influence upon the younger men of whom the team will mostly consist this year should be invaluable.’

“The A’s were in the midst of an AL-record seven consecutive seasons in last place, and though they finished in the cellar again in 1918, the 32-year-old Gardner proved that he wasn’t washed up by batting .285. Though the Red Sox won another World Series, they missed Larry’s presence. ‘Gardner’s absence last year almost cost the Red Sox the world’s championship,’ wrote a Boston reporter. ‘The Sox tried out more than a dozen third sackers in an attempt to fill his shoes.’”

peckinpaugh3

SS-Roger Peckinpaugh, New York Yankees, 27 Years Old

1916 1917

.231, 0 HR, 43 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-3.0

Assists-439

Assists as SS-439 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-75 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-If Baseball Reference’s Defensive WAR is to be believed, Peckinpaugh was the American League’s best fielder. If that isn’t enough for you, then the comments of those who saw him play indicate the same, that Roger could pick it at shortstop. He wasn’t a great hitter. As a matter of fact, he had a terrible season at the bat this year, but his glove puts him on the list and put him 10th in WAR Position Players (3.3).

There’s not a lot on the net about Peckinpaugh’s 1918 season, maybe because defensive stats weren’t so readily available, so here’s a blurb from SABR on how he took up the sport: “Roger Thorpe Peckinpaugh was born February 5, 1891 in Wooster, Ohio, the third child of John and Cora Peckinpaugh. From an early age, Roger took an interest in baseball, and probably received special instruction from his father, who had been a semipro ball player. When Roger was a boy his family moved to the east side of Cleveland, taking up residence in the same neighborhood as Napoleon Lajoie, the manager and biggest star of the Cleveland Naps. Roger grew up idolizing Lajoie, and matured into a fine all-around athlete, starring in football, basketball, and baseball at East High School. Lajoie noticed Peckinpaugh’s talent, and upon the youngster’s graduation from high school in 1909, offered him a $125 per month contract to play pro ball. Roger’s father was against his turning pro, so he asked his high school principal, Benjamin Rannels, for advice. Probably aware of Roger’s love for baseball, Rannels urged Peck to sign the contract, advising him to allow himself three years to make it to the majors. If he didn’t make it, then he should go to college. Peck was a regular in two years.”

chapman3

SS-Ray Chapman, Cleveland Indians, 27 Years Old

1915 1917

.267, 1 HR, 32 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-84

Bases on Balls-84

Def. Games as SS-128

Putouts as SS-321

3rd Time All-Star-In an era in which shortstops were all glove, no stick, Chapman was different. He excelled at both. This season, he finished fifth in Offensive WAR (4.7), eighth in on-base percentage (.390); and third in steals (35), behind St. Louis first baseman George Sisler (45) and teammate, rightfielder Braggo Roth (36).

SABR says, “Chapman’s production declined in 1918, as he finished the year with just a .267 average and 28 extra-base hits. Despite those numbers, Chapman led the American League in runs scored with 84, thanks in large part to his league-leading 84 walks, which helped him post a career-high .390 on-base percentage. After the season ended in September, Chapman complied with the War Department’s work-or-fight order and enrolled in the Naval Auxiliary Reserve as a second-class seaman. He spent three months as a deckhand on the steamer H.H.Rogers, which sailed on the Great Lakes, and was captain of the Naval Reserve baseball and football teams. Chapman was also a sprinter on the track squad, where he specialized in the 20- and 100-yard dash. His best time in the latter event was 10.0 seconds. His service ended with the armistice in November 1918.

“In addition to his offensive skills, Chapman was also an excellent fielder who led the American League in putouts three times and assists once. Put it all together, and Chapman was, in the view of the Cleveland News, the ‘greatest shortstop, that is, considering all-around ability, batting, throwing, base-running, bunting, fielding and ground covering ability, to mention nothing of his fight, spirit and conscientiousness, ever to wear a Cleveland uniform.’”

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LF-Babe Ruth, Boston Red Sox, 23 Years Old

1916 1917

.300, 11 HR, 61 RBI, 13-7, 2.22 ERA, 40 K

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

 

Led in:

 

Slugging-.555

On-Base Plus Slugging-.966

Home Runs-11

Strikeouts-58

Extra Base Hits-48

AB per HR-28.8

Putouts as P-19

3rd Time All-Star-I made a mistake in the 1917 American League All-Star Team write-up because Ruth should have been inducted into my Hall of Fame last season. I determine my Hall of Fame by multiplying All-Star teams made by Career WAR and anyone 300 or over is in. Ruth made it in just his second season.

This season, Ruth started pitching less and playing in the field more and now made the All-Star team as a leftfielder after making it the last two seasons as a pitcher. He finished fourth in WAR (7.0); seventh in WAR Position Players (4.7); seventh in Offensive WAR (4.6); seventh in batting (.300); second in on-base percentage (.411), behind Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (.440); first in slugging (.555); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (192), trailing Cobb (194). He also led the league in homers. In other words, this was the Bambino most people recognize and he’s not even close to being at his best.

With Babe leading the way and Ed Barrow managing the team, the Red Sox won the AL pennant with a 75-51 record.  They then beat the Cubs in the World Series, four games to two, their last World Series win for 86 years. Ruth shutout Chicago in the first game, scattering six hits. In Game 4, he started the game, allowing two runs in eight innings and getting the win. He also batted sixth and ripped a triple that gave Boston a 2-0 lead they’d never relinquish. If they World Series MVPs in those days, it probably would have gone to Ruth.

cobb12CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 31 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917

.382, 3 HR, 62 RBI, 0-0, 4.50 ERA, 0 K

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1915)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

 

Led in:

 

1918 AL Batting Title (11th Time)

Offensive WAR-6.7 (8th Time)

Batting Average-.382 (10th Time)

On-Base %-.440 (7th Time)

Triples-14 (4th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-194 (11th Time)

Runs Created-95 (8th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-46 (7th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-5.1 (7th Time)

Offensive Win %-.864 (11th Time)

12th Time All-Star-It wasn’t obvious at first glance, but Cobb was starting to decline. His overall WAR was sixth this year and would never be that high again. This would also be the last year he’d lead the American League in Offensive WAR. Now if you look at his stats in the 1920s, they’re still impressive, but hitting was at premium during that decade and so the gaudy statistics, when measured against the league as a whole, aren’t as good as they look. I’m not saying he’s become Mario Mendoza, but when judged against himself, he wasn’t the same.

Check out Walter Johnson’s blurb and you’ll see I have Cobb rated as the game’s fourth best player ever through 1918.

According to the Detroit Athletic, Cobb was doing training of the Chemical Warfare Service in France (after the season) and, “During one exercise, Cobb and his troops either missed or were slow to react to the signal and many of them stumbled from the chamber having inhaled the poison into their lungs. For weeks Cobb suffered with a hacking cough while a ‘colorless discharge’ drained from his chest. Others were not so lucky – they died after the exposure. Christy Mathewson, the great National League hurler who also served in the CWS, inhaled so much of the gas while in France that he later developed tuberculosis. He died from the disease seven years later, in 1925.

“Cobb had been in France less than a month when the war ended suddenly on November 11. The Allies, bolstered by the influx of American troops, had deflected the last German offensives and hurtled the aggressors back into the Rhine. When the Hindenberg Line was breached by the Allies, the Germans collapsed in disarray. Within a few weeks, Cobb was onboard the largest ship in the world – the U.S.S. Leviathan – one of the first transport ships back to the United States.”

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CF-Tris Speaker, Cleveland Indians, 30 Years Old, 1918 ONEHOF Inductee

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917

.318, 0 HR, 61 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-33 (4th Time)

Times On Base-217 (3rd Time)

AB per SO-52.3 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as CF-128 (4th Time)

Putouts as CF-355 (6th Time)

Double Plays Turned as CF-6 (6th Time)

Def. Games as OF-127

Putouts as OF-352 (6th Time)

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.89 (6th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.92 (6th Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.89 (7th Time)

10th Time All-Star-It only took 10 straight years of making the All-Star team, but Tris Speaker finally entered the One-A-Year Hall of Fame, the accolade of my creation in which I induct one player a year into the ONEHOF. He is the fourth centerfielder to enter along with Paul Hines (inducted in 1883), Billy Hamilton (inducted in 1898), and Ty Cobb (inducted in 1915). The full list is here. Next year’s nominees for the ONEHOF are Roger Bresnahan, Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Johnny Evers, Sherry Magee, and Home Run Baker.

Along with that honor, Speaker has also made the All-Star team at centerfield more than any other player thus far. You can see the entire list at Baker’s blurb.

And along with all that, he is also my eighth best player of all time. That list can be seen under Walter Johnson’s write-up.

All of this and Speaker turned just 30 years old before the 1918 season began.

His fielding continued to be lauded, as SABR says, “ Twice in one month, April 1918, Speaker executed unassisted double plays at second base, catching low line drives on the run and then beating the baserunner to the bag. At least once in his career Speaker was the pivot man in a routine double play.” Can you imagine seeing either of those two plays nowadays?

He also served in the Armed Services, according to SABR, which states, “He kept busy hunting, fishing, and flying (Tris had served as a naval aviator in the fall of 1918 and was commissioned a lieutenant.) and kept in touch with old friends such as Ty Cobb, Joe Wood, and Stan Coveleski.”

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CF-Tillie Walker, Philadelphia Athletics, 30 Years Old

1914

.295, 11 HR, 48 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-11

Power-Speed #-9.3

Assists as CF-25 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as CF-13 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-In one of those flukes of my list, Philadelphia, the American League’s last place team, has four All-Stars, while Boston, the first place squad, only has two. That doesn’t usually happen, most of the time good teams have many All-Star players. Walker last made the list in 1914 for the St. Louis Browns. After the 1915 season, he was purchased by the Boston Red Sox from the St. Louis Browns for $3,500. He did make the 1916 World Series where, according to Wikipedia, “In that series, he batted twelve times and earned three hits, including a triple.” Then before the 1918 season, the Boston Red Sox sent Tillie Walker to the Philadelphia Athletics to complete an earlier deal made on January 10, 1918. January 10, 1918: The Boston Red Sox sent a player to be named later, Hick Cady and Larry Gardner to the Philadelphia Athletics for Stuffy McInnis. It’s understandable because Walker hadn’t done much since that 1914 season. SABR says, “The trade proved to be a steal for Connie Mack‘s ballclub, as Walker took advantage of Shibe Park‘s more accommodating dimensions to become one of the American League’s top longball threats.”

This season, however, he was back, finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (3.5); 10th in Offensive WAR (3.5); ninth in batting (.295); sixth in slugging (.423); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (136). He is also the answer to the trivia question of who tied Babe Ruth in homers the first year the Bambino ever led the AL in that category.

hooper

RF-Harry Hooper, Boston Red Sox, 30 Years Old

.289, 1 HR, 44 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1971)

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

 

Led in:

 

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

Putouts as RF-221 (8th Time)

Fielding % as RF-.963 (4th Time)

1st Time All-Star-Harry Bartholomew “Hoop” Hooper was born on August 24, 1887 in Bell Station, CA. The five-foot-10, 168 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing rightfielder started with Boston 1909. He’d been a great clutch hitter for them, hitting .290 with a double and a triple in Boston’s 1912 World Series win over the Giants. In the 1915 World Series, Hoop hit .350 with two homers as Boston defeated the Phillies. The next season, he hit .333 with a double and triple as the Red Sox beat Brooklyn in the Fall Classic. This season, the first year he’s made the All-Star team, he hit only .200 with no extra base hits, but Boston still beat the Cubs.

During the regular season, Hooper finished ninth in WAR (5.0); fifth in WAR Position Players (5.0); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.2); seventh in on-base percentage (.391); ninth in slugging (.405); eighth in steals (24); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (141).

My guess is Hooper made the Hall of Fame due to his World Series heroics and being part of Boston’s Golden Outfield with Duffy Lewis and Tris Speaker. My initial judgment is he shouldn’t be there, but I don’t get a vote and I certainly didn’t in 1971 when I was only six years old.

I’m thinking of adding a category to my website called What the WAR?! I pretty much use Baseball Reference WAR to compile these lists, because it’s just a quick and dirty way to do so. But I don’t pretend to understand the stat. For instance, according to BR, Hooper has a career 53.5 WAR. However, he has a 45.3 Offensive WAR and a -4.4 Defensive WAR. That doesn’t seem to add to 53.5. What the WAR?!

1918 National League All-Star Team

P-Hippo Vaughn, CHC

P-Lefty Tyler, CHC

P-Wilbur Cooper, PIT

P-Brad Hogg, PHI

P-Burleigh Grimes, BRO

P-Art Nehf, BSN

P-Hod Eller, CIN

P-Erskine Mayer, PHI/PIT

P-Mike Prendergast, PHI

P-Earl Hamilton, PIT

C-Mike Gonzalez, STL

C-Ivey Wingo, CIN

1B-Fred Merkle, CHC

1B-Jake Daubert, BRO

2B-George Cutshaw, PIT

2B-Bob Fisher, STL

3B-Heinie Groh, CIN

3B-Red Smith, BSN

SS-Rogers Hornsby, STL

SS-Charlie Hollocher, CHC

SS-Art Fletcher, NYG

LF-George J. Burns, NYG

CF-Max Carey, PIT

CF-Edd Roush, CIN

RF-Billy Southworth, PIT

 

vaughn4

P-Hippo Vaughn, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old, 1st MVP

1910 1916 1917

22-10, 1.74, 148 K, .240, 0 HR, 8 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. 67 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

1918 NL Pitching Triple Crown

1918 NL Pitching Title

Wins Above Replacement-8.1

WAR for Pitchers-7.6

Earned Run Average-1.74

Wins-22

Walks & Hits per IP-1.006

Hits per 9 IP-6.696

Strikeouts per 9 IP-4.588 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-290 1/3

Strikeouts-148

Games Started-33

Shutouts-8

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-1.974

Adjusted ERA+-159

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.25

Adj. Pitching Runs-33

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.9

4th Time All-Star-This Great Game says the public wasn’t happy with baseball’s seemingly lack of contribution to World War I, stating, “The American public was not enamored. After the 1917 season, the majors were hounded to be more active with the war effort, to make truer sacrifices. The owners listened—a little. They cut down on travel and relocated spring training sites closer to home, reduced the 1918 schedule from 154 games to 140 and, oh yes, trimmed player salaries down with it.

“So while the season would be shortened by another two weeks, it wouldn’t be killed in midstride. But with the vast number of players—an average of 15 per team—drafted or enlisted before the deadline, teams scrambled to replace veteran players with others of lesser quality and experience.”

The Cubs stocked up on pitching and Vaughn had his best season ever, leading Chicago to the World Series. Chicago had good hitting, leading the National League in runs scored and great pitching, allowing the least runs in the league. Fred Mitchell guided the Cubbies to a 84-45 record, though they lost to the Red Sox, four games to two in the Series. Vaughn was the recipient of bad luck, losing Game 1, despite pitching a complete game and allowing only one run. He then lost Game 3, despite pitching his second complete game and allowing just two runs. Finally a shutout in Game 5 netted him a victory, but Chicago went on to lost Game 6 and the Series.

tyler

P-Lefty Tyler, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

19-8, 2.00 ERA, 102 K, .210, 0 HR, 8 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.033 (2nd Time)

Putouts as P-17

1st Time All-Star-George Albert “Lefty” Tyler was born on December 14, 1889 in Derry, NH. The six-foot, 175 pound pitcher started with Boston from 1910-17 and wasn’t bad, having double digit wins six straight seasons. This season was his best ever, as he finished second in WAR (6.9), behind teammate Hippo Vaughn (8.1); second in WAR for Pitchers (6.7), again trailing Vaughn (7.6); second in ERA (2.00), behind Hippo (1.74); fifth in innings pitched (269 1/3); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (138), behind Vaughn (159). In the World Series, Tyler started three games, allowing five runs with three of those earned, in 23 innings. He went 1-1 with one no decision as the Cubbies lost to the Red Sox, four games to two.

SABR says, “Tyler was greatly affected the remainder of his life by the death of older brother Arthur, whose body was found the morning of December 2, 1932. Arthur had driven his vehicle onto the Derry Athletic Association ball field during the night and shot himself. Tyler suffered another setback when he received notice in October 1943 that his son, George A. Tyler, Jr., a Flying Fortress pilot, was shot down and imprisoned in a German POW camp. This incident had a happy ending when the younger Tyler was released after several months in captivity.

“Tyler died suddenly at his home of a heart attack on September 29, 1953 – exactly 39 years from the day that the Miracle Braves clinched the pennant. He left two children, George Jr. and his daughter, Jean. He is buried in Lowell’s St. Patrick Cemetery.”

cooper3P-Wilbur Cooper, Pittsburgh Pirates, 26 Years Old

1916 1917

19-14, 2.11 ERA, 117 K, .242, 0 HR, 5 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Saves-3

Fielding % as P-1.000

3rd Time All-Star-Cooper continued to pitch well despite the lack of recognition. He finished fourth in WAR (5.0); third in WAR for Pitchers (4.6), behind Hippo Vaughn (7.6) and Lefty Tyler (6.7); third in ERA (2.11), trailing Vaughn (1.74) and Tyler (2.00); third in innings pitched (273 1/3), behind Vaughn (290 1/3) and Boston’s Art Nehf (284 1/3); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (138), behind Vaughn (159) and Tyler (138).

Pittsburgh, managed by Hugo Bezdek, finished in fourth with a 65-60 record. Its hitting was weak as it tied for the least amount of doubles in the league though Cooper gave the team good pitching that tied for the least amount of hits allowed per nine innings.

SABR says, “Even though his 13 years in the Steel City fell between the World Championship seasons of 1909 and 1925, Wilbur Cooper was arguably the greatest pitcher in Pittsburgh Pirates history. Cooper holds the franchise single-season record for ERA (1.87 in 1916) and the all-time records for victories (202) and complete games (263). An exceptional control pitcher who allowed only 2.2 walks per nine innings over the course of his 15-year career, Cooper was slim in stature and threw his repertoire of a fastball, curve, and change-up with a fluid delivery, causing many to mistake his stylish manner for an indifferent attitude. ‘Nothing could be farther from the truth,’ wrote one reporter. ‘The Pirate southpaw works as hard as any other hurler, but his grace and ease of motion misleads some of the rooters.’”

hogg

P-Brad Hogg, Philadelphia Phillies, 29 Years Old

13-13, 2.53 ERA, 81 K, .228, 0 HR, 2 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 76 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Carter Bradley “Brad” Hogg was born on March 26, 1889 in Buena Vista, GA. The six-foot, 185 pound righty started with the National League Boston squad in 1911 and 1912. He then pitched on the Cubs in 1915 and then came to Philadelphia this year, having his best season ever. He finished seventh in WAR (4.6); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (4.2); 10th in innings pitched (228); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (118).

Hogg’s Phillies lost Pete Alexander to the Cubs and fell to sixth place with a 55-68 record. Pat Moran managed the team for the last time and would go to the Reds in 1919. He finished with an overall 323-257 record for Philadelphia, with one pennant in 1915. The team couldn’t hit as they were tied for the lowest batting average in the NL (.244).

On Baseball Almanac, Hogg’s great-nephew Clyde wrote, “After the [1919] season, when Major League baseball outlawed ‘trick deliveries’ including his spitball / shineball, he voluntarily retired — making him the first spitballer to retire as a direct result of the new rule — and became a full-time lawyer.

“In 1923, he became involved with the origination of Americus, Georgia’s entry in the new semi-pro South Georgia League, managing (and pitching ONE game) for about three weeks. Family and business constraints forced him to retire again, and he was replaced by an itinerant ballplayer and his team of itinerants, a man named “Shoeless” Joe Jackson who took the team from last to first and the pennant. What a surprise.

Bradley died in 1935 as a result of using the common dipper to drink water from the well in the center of town in Americus, contracting tuberculosis which killed him.”

grimes

P-Burleigh Grimes, Brooklyn Robins, 24 Years Old

19-9, 2.13 ERA, 113 K, .200, 0 HR, 4 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1964)

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-40

Def. Games as P-40

1st Time All-Star-Burleigh Arland “Ol’ Stubblebeard” Grimes was born on August 18, 1893 in Emerald, WI. The five-foot-10, 175 pound righty started with Pittsburgh in 1916 and 1917 and certainly didn’t look like a Hall of Fame pitcher with the Pirates. Before this season, Grimes was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates with Al Mamaux and Chuck Ward to the Brooklyn Robins for George Cutshaw and Casey Stengel. He found his way with Brooklyn, this season finishing ninth in WAR (4.5); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5); fifth in ERA (2.13); fourth in innings pitched (270); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (130).

Brooklyn increased from seventh to fifth under coach Wilbert Robinson, who guided them to a 57-69 record. Its problem was a lack of hitting as the Robins scored the least runs in the National League.

SABR says, “With Brooklyn, Grimes became an instant success. Reversing his 1917 stats, he won nine starts in a row at one stretch in 1918. He won 19 and lost only 9 for the Dodgers (or the Robins as they were frequently called during Wilbert Robinson’s reign as their manager from 1914 through 1931.) Although Grimes and teammate Rube Marquard both enlisted in the Navy during the season (the US was by then in World War I), they were assigned to a recruiting station in Chicago and allowed to continue pitching for Brooklyn. In an arrangement that defies explanation, Grimes’s naval duties cost him almost no playing time, as he led National League pitchers in game appearances with 40 in 1918. He tied for third in wins, ranked fifth in winning percentage, fourth in baserunners per nine innings, fourth in innings pitched, second in opponents’ batting average, third in opponents’ on-base average, and fifth in ERA.”

nehf

P-Art Nehf, Boston Braves, 25 Years Old

15-15, 2.69 ERA, 96 K, .168, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Complete Games-28

Hits Allowed-274

Earned Runs-85

Batters Faced-1,167

Assists as P-97

Range Factor/Game as P-3.44

1st Time All-Star-Arthur Neukom “Art” Nehf was born on July 31, 1892 in Terra Haute, IN. The five-foot-nine, 176 pound lefty started with Boston in 1915 and had a good year in 1917, going 17-8 with a 2.16 ERA. This season, Nehf finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (3.3) and second in innings pitched (284 1/3), behind Chicago’s Hippo Vaughn (290 1/3).

The Braves dropped from sixth to seventh under George Stallings, as they finished with a 53-71 record. Despite what looked to be a good team ERA of 2.90, they still finished third to last in Adjusted ERA+ (93), because of the pitcher’s park in which they played half their games.

From SABR: “The 1918 season, played against the backdrop of a world war and General Enoch Crowder’s ‘work or fight’ decree, ended four weeks early, on Labor Day. While the seventh place Braves fell precipitously from their ‘miracle’ championship just four years earlier, Nehf rose to new heights. He completed a NL-leading and career-best 28 games (in 31 starts), including 18 in a row. The streak concluded in a marathon on August 1 at Braves Field. Nehf held the Pittsburgh Pirates scoreless on eight hits for 20 innings. In the 21st frame he was tagged for four hits and two runs, and collared with a heartbreaking 2-0 loss in which he faced 77 batters. He split his 30 decisions and posted a 2.69 ERA in a career-best 284⅓ innings.” World War I had numerous effects on baseball, though that’s the least important part of the Great War.

eller

P-Hod Eller, Cincinnati Reds, 23 Years Old

16-12, 2.36 ERA, 84 K, .157, 0 HR, 0 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 30 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000

1st Time All-Star-Horace Owen “Hod” Eller was born on July 5, 1894 in Muncie, IN. The five-foot-11, 185 pound righty started with Cincinnati in 1917, mainly as a relief pitcher, before having his best season ever this year. He finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (3.3), seventh in ERA (2.36); and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (114).

Baseball Reference disagrees with me about this being his best season, saying, “He had his best season in 1919, going 19-9 with 7 shutouts and throwing a no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals on May 11th. His team reached the World Series, and he hurled two complete games in it: in Game 5, he earned a win while at one point striking out six straight Chicago White Sox batters; in Game 8, he went the distance as the Reds clinched the championship. Of course that World Series is forever tainted by the Black Sox Scandal.

“Eller’s particular weapon was the ‘shine ball’, a pitch obtained by doctoring the baseball. Hod would rub a patch of the baseball completely smooth; with the rest of the surface of the ball being rougher in comparison, the smooth patch would impart special movement on the pitch. The pitch was made illegal after the 1920 season when the major leagues cracked down on the spitball and other pitches that required the ball to be defaced to impart effectiveness. Eller had already begun his irreversible decline by that point, but the decision to ban his signature pitch put the final nail in the coffin.”

Eller died on July 18, 1961 in Indianapolis, IN.

mayer2

P-Erskine Mayer, Philadelphia Phillies/Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

1914

16-7, 2.65 ERA, 41 K, .190, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000

2nd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team for Philadelphia in 1914, Mayer didn’t just disapper. He had a good season in 1915, finishing 21-15 with a 2.36 ERA, and helping the Phillies make the World Series. In the Fall Classic, Mayer pitched two games, pitching 11 1/3 innings, allowing 16 hits, four runs, and three earned runs and finishing 0-1 with a 2.38 ERA. This season, Mayer finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (2.7). With Philadelphia, he was 7-4 with a 3.12 ERA. He was then traded by the Philadelphia Phillies to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Elmer Jacobs. For the Pirates, Mayer finished 9-3 with a 2.26 ERA.

Wikipedia says, “Mayer started the 1919 season with the Pirates; however, in August of that year, the Chicago White Sox selected him off waivers. In exchange, the Pirates received $2,500 ($35,300 today). Mayer appeared in six regular season games for the White Sox and also pitched one inning in game 5 of the 1919 World Series. It was the final appearance of his major league career. When he retired after the season, he had won 91 games, 12 of them by shutout, with a 2.96 earned run average while pitching 93 complete games.

“He was one of the all-time best Jewish pitchers in major league history through 2010, 3rd in career ERA (behind only Barney Pelty and Sandy Koufax), 7th in wins (91; directly behind Barney Pelty), and 10th in strikeouts (482; directly behind Scott Schoeneweis).

“After retiring from professional sports, Mayer moved to Los Angeles. While there, he opened a cigar store. On March 10, 1957, he died of a heart attack. He was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in nearby Glendale, California.”

prendergast

P-Mike Prendergast, Philadelphia Phillies, 29 Years Old

13-14, 2.89 ERA, 41 K, .082, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 51 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Michael Thomas “Mike” Prendergast was born on December 15, 1888 in Arlington, IL, just 75 years before my lovely bride. The five-foot-nine, 165 pound righty started with Chicago in the Federal League in 1914 and 1915 and then moved to the Cubs in the National League in 1916 and 1917. This was his best season ever, mainly due to the war-depleted lack of talent in the NL this year. He finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (3.0) and sixth in innings pitched (252 1/3).

He might be most famous for being traded for Pete Alexander. Bleed Cubbie Blue says, “Future Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland “Pete” Alexander had been acquired by the Cubs after the 1917 season in a huge deal, along with Bill Killefer, for Pickles Dillhoefer (yes, there really was a player by that name), Mike Prendergast and $55,000, which was an enormous amount of money in those days. He served in the army for most of 1918, and on returning to the Cubs in 1919 put together a terrific season, going 16-11 but leading the major leagues with a 1.72 ERA and hurling nine shutouts.”

Wikipedia says, “After his retirement from baseball Mike and his wife relocated to Omaha, Nebraska and Mike worked at Falstaff Brewery.

“In 1932, Mike won the Omaha Ping Pong championship.

“He died in Omaha on November 18, 1967 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Omaha.

“Mike’s younger brother, Jeremiah ‘Jerry’ Prendergast, nicknamed Jade, also played some minor league baseball.”

hamiltone2

P-Earl Hamilton, Pittsburgh Pirates, 26 Years Old

1914

6-0, 0.83 ERA, 20 K, .286, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team in 1914 with the Browns, Hamilton bounced around a bit. In 1916, he was purchased by the Detroit Tigers from the St. Louis Browns. Later that same season, he was Selected off waivers by the St. Louis Browns from the Detroit Tigers. Then before 1918, Hamilton was purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the St. Louis Browns.

This year was a very fluky All-Star pick as Hamilton only pitched six games, but won all of them with an incredible 0.83 ERA. Those half-a-dozen games were enough to allow him to finish 10th in WAR for Pitchers (2.7).

Or as Wikipedia says, “Then, in 1918, he finally left St. Louis for good after an 0-9 season, being purchased by Pittsburgh before the season began. That season, in 6 starts, he had one of the most amazing seasons ever recorded. Hamilton was 6-0 with a 0.83 ERA in 54 innings that year. He finished with 1 shutout in his 6 complete games. Hamilton had only given up 7 runs (5 earned) in 6 games. Oddly, he picked that season to enlist in the Navy. Hamilton returned for more fair seasons with the Pirates. Along with Wilbur CooperWhitey Glazner, and Babe Adams, he helped make up a good rotation for Pittsburgh, culminating with a second-place finish in 1921 (behind only the New York Giants, 4 games). However, they never made the World Series with Hamilton.

“He died in Anaheim, California, at the age of 77.”

gonzalez

C-Mike Gonzalez, St. Louis Cardinals, 27 Years Old

.252, 3 HR, 20 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 41 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Passed Balls-8

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-110

Caught Stealing as C-82

1st Time All-Star-Miguel Angel “Mike” Gonzalez was born on September 24, 1890 in La Habana, Cuba. The six-foot-one, 200 pound catcher started with Boston in 1912. His next session in the Majors was with Cincinnati in 1914. After that season, he was traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the St. Louis Cardinals for Ivey Wingo. This season was Gonzalez’s best ever as he finished 10th in Defensive WAR (0.9).

Jack Hendricks managed his first and only season for the Cardinals as they finished in last place with a 51-78 record. They had some of the worst pitching in the league, completing less games than anyone in the National League.

SABR says, “Miguel González enjoyed a long and prolific career as a major-league catcher and coach, and along with Adolfo Luque is considered to be one of the two true patriarchs of baseball in Cuba, where he was a player, manager, and owner in the Cuban League from 1910 through 1960.

“González’s issues with the language resulted in his coining one of the most famous phrases in baseball. After the 1921 season, Giants manager John McGraw told González to scout a young prospect in Cuba over the winter. González, never one for verbosity, replied with a four-word telegram. It read simply, ‘Good field, no hit,’ a phrase that has lived on in the scouting community ever since.

“González was married twice. After his first wife, Esther, died of cancer, he took his mother, Juana Cordero, into his home in the Havana suburb of Cerro. He later remarried and had a son, Miguel Jr., with his second wife, who was still alive when he died on February 19, 1977, from a heart attack at the age of 86. He is buried in the Christopher Columbus Cemetery in Havana.”

wingo2

C-Ivey Wingo, Cincinnati Reds, 27 Years Old

1917

.254, 0 HR, 31 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

Errors Committed as C-12 (5th Time)

2nd Time All-Star-There aren’t a lot of good choices for All-Star catchers in the National League this season, so Wingo made it for the second time in a row. He didn’t hit particularly well, slashing .254/.297/.337 for an OPS+ of 94, but he played consistently which is good enough for me. He also made the World Series in the 1919 season. You can read about that in his 1917 blurb.

Wikipedia says, “Wingo is best known for being the backstop for the 1919 World SeriesChampionship Reds team. That team is known for winning the a series fixed by, amongst others, Arnold Rothstein and Abe “Little Champ” Attell. He played with the Reds until 1926, then continued with the team as a coach before getting in one final major league appearance on the last day of the 1929 season, replacing regular catcher Johnny Gooch in the late innings of a game against the Cardinals.

“At the time of his retirement, he held the National League record for games caught in a career at 1,233. He still holds the post-1900 major league records for most career errors by a catcher (234).”

SABR states, “A fiery, redheaded, energetic catcher, Ivey Wingo retired with the National League record for games caught in a career, 1,233. Wingo was a popular man with teammates and fans. His belief in civic duty was demonstrated in 1918 when it was noted in a Sporting News article that he had purchased $7,000 in Liberty Bonds during World War I. Ivey’s competitive nature was shown in an incident during his minor league managing career. One umpire twice removed Wingo from the same game. He was first ejected for arguing and was later chased again when he was found to be hiding in the bullpen.”

merkle2

1B-Fred Merkle, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

1911

.297, 3 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,388

Def. Games as 1B-129

Putouts as 1B-1,388

2nd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team as a Giant in 1911, Merkle stayed with New York until 1916. Towards the end of the season, he was traded by the New York Giants to the Brooklyn Robins for Lew McCarty. Then on April 21, 1917, he was purchased by the Chicago Cubs from the Brooklyn Robins for $3,500. He made the list this year because of a lack of All-Star first sackers. He finished ninth in batting (.297) and 10th in steals (21).

Merkle had a decent World Series, hitting .278 (five-for-18) and walking four times. Unfortunately, the Cubs lost to the Red Sox, four games to two.

SABR says, “Over the course of his career, Merkle saved enough of his baseball earnings to move to Daytona Beach, Florida, and purchase a farm where he raised fruit crops. The Depression hit him hard and he was forced to work on a WPA county bridge project until his fortunes picked up after World War II, when he became a partner in a firm that manufactured fishing lures. Though Fred shunned reporters, who usually only wanted to ask him about his bonehead play, he was a regular at Daytona Beach Islanders games and baseball clinics. Merkle spent his retirement playing bridge, golf, and chess. Above average at all three games, Fred was a fixture at the bridge table with McGraw and Mathewson during his years with the Giants, and he was also one of the first active ballplayers to make a serious hobby of golf. On March 2, 1956, in Daytona Beach, the 67-year-old Merkle was out shopping when he became ill, asked for his pills, lay down, and died.”

daubert6

1B-Jake Daubert, Brooklyn Robins, 34 Years Old

1911 1912 1913 1915 1916

.308, 2 HR, 47 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require two more All-Star seasons. 50 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Triples-15

6th Time All-Star-Here’s the deal with my Hall of Fame; it’s all based on numbers. I take the number of All-Star teams made and then multiply by a player’s Career WAR. If that total is over 300, the player is in. So for Daubert to make my Hall, he’d have to make eight All-Star teams. He just made his sixth this season and will certainly make in 1922 at the age of 38. There is a possibility he will make it as a Reds first baseman in 1920. That’s the key year for him. If he makes in 1920, he’s in my Hall. If not, he’s most likely out.

This season, Daubert finished eighth in Offensive WAR (3.1); fifth in batting (.308); second in slugging (.429), behind Cincinnati centerfielder Edd Roush (.455); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (142), behind two Reds, Roush (151) and third baseman Heinie Groh (142).

The Hall of Fame page says, “In 1918, Major League Baseball stopped the season a month early because of the Great War. Charles Ebbets, a penny-pincher himself, didn’t pay the players for the last month of their contracts. Daubert, long an advocate for player rights, sued Ebbets (in 1913 he had the gumption to petition the owners to provide each new player a free uniform, excluding shoes. The petition was ignored). Ebbets angrily traded Daubert to the Cincinnati Reds before the verdict, which was eventually given in Daubert’s favor.” I’m not excusing what the White Sox did in 1919, but owners were certainly cheap in these days.

cutshaw2

2B-George Cutshaw, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

1913

.285, 5 HR, 68 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-126 (5th Time)

Putouts as 2B-323 (5th Time)

Assists as 2B-366 (4th Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.964 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team in 1913, Cutshaw played on Brooklyn until 1917. Before this season, he was traded by the Brooklyn Robins with Casey Stengel to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Burleigh GrimesAl Mamaux and Chuck Ward. Cutshaw then had his best season ever, finishing 10th in WAR Position Players (3.3), eighth in slugging (.395), and fourth in steals (25). While he wasn’t typically an All-Star, he was consistent, usually playing more games than most second sackers of his time.

On the website Hall of Fame Debate, it says, “The American League had Hall of Famer Eddie Collins leading the position in numerous offensive categories, and although Cutshaw was no Cocky Collins, he had a stranglehold on the stats among senior circuit second basemen.  In 1916, Cutty led NL second basemen in hits, RBI and stolen bases, but his .260 batting average paled in comparison to the perennial .330 hitting Collins.

“In the war-torn 1918 season, George led Major League second basemen in homeruns with the modest total of five.  Remember, this was the Deadball Era, before the jack-rabbit ball and steroids were circulated.  Cutty’s 68 RBI topped National League second basemen as he was the only second baseman from the senior circuit to reach 40.  All this was done with his new team, the Pirates, who acquired his services for Hall of Fame spitballer Burleigh Grimes.” I can see why there would be some debate on Cutshaw for the Hall. There weren’t very many good second basemen in the National League in his day.

fisherb

2B-Bob Fisher, St. Louis Cardinals, 31 Years Old

.317, 2 HR, 20 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 44 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Robert Taylor “Bob” Fisher was born on November 3, 1886 in Nashville, TN. The five-foot-nine, 170 pound infielder started his career with Brooklyn in 1912 as a shortstop. After the 1913 season, he went to the Cubs in 1914-15 and then was picked up by the Reds in 1916. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1917, but with World War I taking away players, he moved from shortstop to second and played with the Cards in 1918-19. This was Fisher’s best year ever, as he finished sixth in Defensive WAR (1.1). It often happens when a player moves from a more difficult defensive position to an easier one, he often shines at that new spot.

Baseball Reference says, “In 1918 he was with Little Rock half of the season, hitting .290, but came up to play 63 games with the 1918 Cardinals, for whom he was put primarily at second base, while Hornsby was at shortstop. Fisher had a batting line for the Cards of .317/.356/.411 while Hornsby had .281/.349/.416. Granted, it was one of Hornsby’s worst years in the majors, but still, Fisher matched him with an OPS+ of 136.

“In spite of that, Bob played only three more games in the majors. He did, however, play many more years in the minors through 1926, including in 1921 when he hit .351 for Minneapolis. Another veteran major leaguer, the 36-year-old Sherry Magee, hit .338 for Minneapolis.”

Fisher died on August 4, 1963 in Jacksonville, FL at the age of 76.

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3B-Heinie Groh, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1915 1916 1917

.320, 1 HR, 37 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.395 (2nd Time)

Runs Scored-86

Doubles-28 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-76

Adj. Batting Runs-29

Adj. Batting Wins-3.2

Times on Base-219 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 3B-126 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 3B-180 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 3B-35 (4th Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.969 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Groh continued to be the main reason to watch the Reds in these days and he had another good season. He finished sixth in WAR (4.7); third in WAR Position Players (4.7), behind St. Louis shortstop Rogers Hornsby (5.4) and Chicago shortstop Charlie Hollocher (5.0); second in Offensive WAR (5.1), trailing Hollocher (5.2); third in batting (.320), trailing Brooklyn leftfielder Zack Wheat (.335) and his teammate Edd Roush (.333); first in on-base percentage (.395); seventh in slugging (.396); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (142), trailing Roush (151).

Groh also took over from Christy Mathewson as manager for the last ten games of the year, finishing 7-3. Mathewson was 61-57 and the team overall finished third with a 68-60 record. This team could rip, tying with the Cubs for most runs per game scored, but its pitching was awful as they led the Senior Circuit in walks. Mathewson’s managing days were done, as he finished 164-176 in three seasons at the helm for the Reds. Groh would also never manage again.

Wikipedia gives its own recap of his season, saying, “1918 was an even better season in various ways, as despite a season curtailed by World War I and the influenza epidemic, he tied Billy Nash‘s 1890 major league record of 37 double plays, also leading the league in putouts (180) and fielding average (.969); Pie Traynor would set a new record with 41 double plays for the 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates. Groh hit .320 (third in the league), led the NL in runs (86), doubles (28) and on-base percentage (.395), and was second in hits (158) and third in walks (54) and total bases (195). He also managed the team for its final ten games (with a 7-3 record) after Mathewson entered the military.”

Red Smith of the Boston Braves (Nationals).

3B-Red Smith, Boston Braves, 28 Years Old

1913 1914 1915 1917

.298, 2 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 3B-291 (5th Time)

Errors Committed as 3B-35 (4th Time)

5th Time All-Star-Did you ever wonder why it’s only gingers who end up with the color of their hair becoming a nickname? Except for the movie, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, there aren’t people called Blondie. But if you have red hair, it’s almost guaranteed you’re going to end up with the nickname, “Red.” This Red had another good year, but it would be his last. Still only six third basemen up to this time have made more All-Star teams than him, so he deserves some respect.

Smith finished eighth in WAR Position Players (3.7); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.0); seventh in batting (.298); third in on-base percentage (.373), behind Cincinnati third baseman Heinie Groh (.395) and Chicago shortstop Charlie Hollocher (.379); and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (133).

SABR says, “On June 12, 1919, the Braves secured third baseman Tony Boeckel from Pittsburgh. Manager Stallings moved Smith to the outfield, where he finished his major-league career. In February 1920 he was sent on waivers to the New York Yankees, and a few days later the Yankees sold him to the Washington Senators. He wound up playing for the Vernon Tigers of the Pacific Coast League, and played in the minors until 1928. In his nine seasons in the majors he had played in 1,117 games, hit .278 with an on-base percentage of .353. Among his 1,087 hits were 208 doubles, 49 triples, and 27 home runs. He scored 477 runs and batted in 514.

“Unfortunately, Smith had only one season in which to cheer the Braves in his hometown. He died at the age of 76 in Atlanta’s Piedmont Hospital on October 11, 1966. The cause of death was listed as aortic insufficiency brought on by congestive heart failure. He is buried in Westview Cemetery in Atlanta.”

hornsby3SS-Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals, 22 Years Old

1916 1917

.281, 5 HR, 60 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1942)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-5.4 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-This great game comes easily for some, including Rajah. This is his third consecutive All-Star team and with it, he makes my Hall of Fame, joining fellow second basemen Cupid Childs, Eddie Collins, Larry Doyle, Johnny Evers, Nap Lajoie, Bid McPhee, and Hardy Richardson. The funny thing is he hasn’t actually had a season where he’s made the team as a second sacker, but he will. See the full list here.

Hornsby finished third in WAR (5.4), behind Chicago pitchers Hippo Vaughn (8.1) and Lefty Tyler (6.9); first in WAR Position Players (5.4); second in Defensive WAR (2.1), trailing Giants shortstop Art Fletcher (3.5); third in slugging (.416), behind Cincinnati centerfielder Edd Roush (.455) and Brooklyn first baseman Jake Daubert (.429); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (137).

Wikipedia says, “Many baseball players were drafted to fight in World War I in 1918, but Hornsby was given a draft deferment because he was supporting his family. During the offseason, Miller Huggins, unhappy with the Cardinals’ management, left the team to manage the New York Yankees. He was replaced by Jack Hendricks, who had managed the Indianapolis Indians to a pennant in the American Association the previous year. Hornsby lacked confidence in Hendricks’s ability to run the Cardinals, and the two men developed animosity towards each other as a result of Hornsby’s growing egotism and fondness for former manager Huggins. Under Hendricks, Hornsby’s batting average dipped to .281. He had problems off the field too; on June 17, Hornsby hit St. Louis resident Frank G. Rowe with his Buick when Rowe stepped out in front of traffic to cross an intersection. Rowe sued Hornsby for $15,000 ($244,049 today), but Hornsby eventually settled for a smaller, undisclosed amount, and the case was dismissed. He was still among the league leaders in triples and slugging percentage in 1918, but after the season ended with the Cardinals in last place, he announced that he would never play under Hendricks again. Partially due to Hornsby’s complaints, Hendricks was fired after the season and replaced by Branch Rickey, then president of the Cardinals.”

hollocher

SS-Charlie Hollocher, Chicago Cubs, 22 Years Old

.316, 2 HR, 38 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Offensive WAR-5.2

Games Played-131

At Bats 509

Plate Appearances-588

Hits-161

Total Bases-202

Singles-130

Runs Created-76

Def. Games as SS-131

1st Time All-Star-Charles Jacob “Charlie” Hollocher was born on June 11, 1896 in St. Louis, MO. The five-foot-seven, 154 pound left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing shortstop had such an incredible rookie season, you wouldn’t have been surprised if the Cubs thought they had found their new Joe Tinker. He did have a decent short career, with the emphasis on short, as he was out of the Majors after seven seasons.

This year was his best ever, as Hollocher finished fifth in WAR (5.0); second in WAR Position Players (5.0), behind St. Louis shortstop Rogers Hornsby (5.4); first in Offensive WAR (5.2); ninth in Defensive WAR (0.9); fourth in batting (.316); second in on-base percentage (.379), trailing Cincinnati third baseman Heinie Groh (.395); sixth in slugging (.397); third in steals (26), behind Pittsburgh centerfielder Max Carey (58) and New York leftfielder George Burns (40); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (134).

He didn’t fare so well in what would end up being his only World Series. Hollocher hit .190 (four-for-21) with a triple, a steal, and an RBI.

SABR states, “Hollocher, who generally batted second, was an intense hustler who was adept at beating out bunts and who sometimes even slid into first base on ground balls in hopes of beating the throw. Teammate Bob O’Farrell, the last survivor of the 1918 Cub champions, described Charlie nearly 60 years later as ‘the sparkplug of the team.’” Read the rest of the article for the story of his tragic life. I’ll most likely be covering that later.

fletcher6

SS-Art Fletcher, New York Giants, 33 Years Old

1913 1914 1915 1916 1917

.263, 0 HR, 47 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-3.5 (3rd Time)

Hit by Pitch-15 (5th Time)

Assists-484 (3rd Time)

Assists as SS-484 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.959 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-It’s obvious at this point in history which league has the best players. In the National League, Jake Daubert and Fletcher have both made six All-Star teams and that’s good. However, in the American League, five players – Walter Johnson, Eddie Collins, Home Run Baker, Ty Cobb, and Tris Speaker – have more than that and four of those (all but Baker) are in double digits. (I know you haven’t seen the list yet, but trust me.)

This year, Fletcher finished eighth in WAR (4.6); fourth in WAR Position Players (4.6); and first in Defensive WAR (3.5). His team, the Giants, led by John McGraw, finished second in the NL with a 71-53 record, 10-and-a-half games behind the Cubs. They could certainly hit, ranking third in the league in runs scored, and, despite not having any All-Star pitchers, were also impressive on the mound, walking less batters than any other NL team.

Back to the AL dominating the NL in All-Stars, does this reflect in the World Series? Absolutely, With the Red Sox beating the Cubs in the 1918 Series, the Junior Circuit has now won eight out of the last nine Fall Classics, with only a somewhat fluke win by the Braves in 1914 upsetting that streak. It’s possible it would have been nine out of 10 in 1919 if the White Sox hadn’t thrown the Series. Or it could just be my Reds are a dominating team that was unstoppable! Either way, there’s no doubt the younger league, which wasn’t even supposed to last, has shown it not only belongs, but reigns supreme.

burnsgeorgej3

LF-George J. Burns, New York Giants, 28 Years Old

1914 1917

.290, 4 HR, 51 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-This year is the first time that both George Burns’ are going to make the All-Star team. Trust me, George H. Burns is going to be an American League All-Star. This Burns made it for the third time and the second consecutive season, finishing 10th in WAR (4.3); fifth in WAR Position Players (4.3); seventh in Offensive WAR (3.2); 10th in batting (.290); 10th in slugging (.389); and second in steals (40), behind Pittsburgh centerfielder Max Carey (58).

                SABR says, “Not to be confused with the American League first baseman or the cigar-wielding comedian of the same name, who were roughly his contemporaries, George Burns of the National League was the most consistent hitter in major-league history, batting .287 for his 15-year career, but never higher than .303 nor lower than .272 in a full season. Though Burns is hardly remembered today, John McGraw described him as ‘one of the most valuable ball players that ever wore the uniform of the Giants.’ He consistently ranked among the NL leaders in hits, runs, walks, and stolen bases. George was tremendously strong even though he stood just 5’7″ and weighed only 160 lbs.; an excellent boxer and wrestler, he was one of the Giants who couldn’t resist challenging the much larger Jim Thorpe to wrestling matches before McGraw forbade the practice. He also demonstrated his strength by wielding a 42″, 52-oz. bat, which was a tree trunk even by Deadball Era standards.” Can you imagine swinging a 52-ounce bat against someone like Aroldis Chapman?

carey4

CF-Max Carey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

1912 1916 1917

.274, 3 HR, 48 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1961)

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-62

Stolen Bases-58 (5th Time)

Def. Games as CF-126 (2nd Time)

Putouts as CF-359 (3rd Time)

Assists as CF-25 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as CF-17

Double Plays Turned as CF-9 (3rd Time)

Putouts as OF-359 (5th Time)

Assists as OF-25 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as OF-17

Double Plays Turned as OF-9 (4th Time)

Range Factor/Game as CF-3.05 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-3.02 (4th Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-3.05 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Look at those stats above. If you hit a ball anywhere into centerfield, there was a good chance Carey would catch up with it. That being said, dWAR doesn’t rate him too highly. He had three decent defensive seasons, according to that stat, from 1916-18, but he’s going to have a lot of negative Defensive WARs in the upcoming years and wind up being a -0.1 overall.

According to SABR, Carey’s real name is Maxmillian George Carnarius. SABR says, “Although he did not distinguish himself at either the plate or in the field, he did earn a new name out of the experience. Although other accounts would erroneously report that his manager and the umpire could not pronounce his real name, the real story was even simpler. Max did not want to use his real name and lose his amateur standing, so he asked his manager to give him a new name. Grant told the umpire when lineups were announced that his new shortstop was named ‘Carney or Carey or something like that’. The umpire recorded his name as ‘Max Carey,’ and it would stick for the rest of his life.

“Carey’s career achievements look even more remarkable when one realizes that they were the products of a self-made player. The once nervous .158 batting divinity student made himself into a superb all-around ballplayer by continuously adapting and developing his one natural gift of speed. He listened intently to Wagner’s tips on conditioning his legs and watching the pitcher’s move to first base.”

roush2

CF-Edd Roush, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

1917

.333, 5 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1962)

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

 

Led in:

 

Slugging %-.455

On-Base Plus Slugging-.823

Adjusted OPS+-151

Offensive Win %-.737

Sacrifice Hits-33

AB per SO-43.5

2nd Time All-Star-It would’ve been as painful being a Reds fan in these days as it is for me to be a Reds fan now. This version of the Reds started in 1882 with the American Association and was that league’s first pennant winner. Since that time, they never won a pennant, even after switching to the National League in 1890. That will change next year, thanks in great part to Roush.

This season, Roush finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.1); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.2); second in batting (.333), behind Brooklyn leftfielder Zack Wheat (.335); seventh in on-base percentage (.368); first in slugging (.455); sixth in steals (24); and first in Adjusted OPS+ (151).

Roush had a tough year in 1918. SABR says, “Edd registered for the military draft in 1918 but was not chosen. Near the end of the season, as he was chasing his second straight batting title a tragedy occurred that took Edd away from the team. News reached Roush that his lineman father had been injured falling off a telephone pole. Edd rushed home to Oakland City where his father died from head injuries.”

As for losing the batting title, SABR knows that too, stating, “A January 1919 Sporting News story related that Edd lost the batting title because of a protested game. He was the culprit. As he came in from centerfield to make a catch he juggled and then held onto the ball. He then threw the ball into the infield to retire a runner whom the umpires ruled had not tagged up. The game was protested, and the protest was upheld, ruling that the runner could tag up and advance when the ball first made contact with Roush’s glove, not when the ball was finally secured. Roush had 2 hits in 3 at bats in the game, but the results were thrown out and the game replayed.”

southworth

RF-Billy Southworth, Pittsburgh Pirates, 25 Years Old

.341, 2 HR, 43 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (Yes as a manager)

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as RF-4

1st Time All-Star-William Harold “Billy” Southworth was born on March 9, 1893 in Harvard, NE. The five-foot-nine, 170 pound left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing rightfielder started with Cleveland in 1913, but only played one game and never hit. He then played for the Indians again in 1915, batting only .220. Pittsburgh picked him up this season and, though he only played 60 games, Southworth proved himself. He had his best season ever, finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (3.6). He slashed .341/.409/.443 and would make a decent career out of this.

Wikipedia says, “As a player in 1913 and 1915 and from 1918 to 1929 for five big-league teams, Southworth took part in almost 1,200 games, fell just short of 1,300 hits and batted .297 lifetime. Southworth managed in 1929 and from 1940 through 1951. He oversaw three pennant-winning St. Louis Cardinals teams, winning two World Series, and another pennant with the Boston Braves, the last National League title in Boston baseball history. As manager of the Cardinals, his .642 winning percentage is the second-highest in franchise history and the highest since 1900.

“For the last couple of decades of his life, Southworth lived outside of Sunbury, Ohio. By the summer of 1969, his health had begun to fail and he was confined to his home. He gave a final interview to a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; he commented on how difficult it would be for the 1969 Cardinals to win a third straight championship, as the 1944 team had done. Though he had quit smoking many years earlier, Southworth died of emphysema that year in Columbus, Ohio, and was buried in Green Lawn Cemetery.”

1917 American League All-Star Team

P-Eddie Cicotte, CHW

P-Babe Ruth, BOS

P-Jim Bagby, CLE

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Stan Coveleski, CLE

P-Carl Mays, BOS

P-Dutch Leonard, BOS

P-Bob Shawkey, NYY

P-Doc Ayers, WSH

P-Bob Groom, SLB

C-Wally Schang, PHA

C-Ray Schalk, CHW

1B-George Sisler, SLB

2B-Eddie Collins, CHW

3B-Home Run Baker, NYY

3B-Larry Gardner, BOS

SS-Ray Chapman, CLE

SS-Roger Peckinpaugh, NYY

LF-Bobby Veach, DET

LF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, CHW

LF-Ping Bodie, PHA

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Tris Speaker, CLE

CF-Happy Felsch, CHW

RF-Braggo Roth, CLE

 

cicotte3

P-Eddie Cicotte, Chicago White Sox, 33 Years Old, 1st MVP

1913 1914

28-12, 1.53 ERA, 150 K, .179, 0 HR, 9 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. 67 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

1917 AL Pitching Title

Wins Above Replacement-11.6

WAR for Pitchers-11.5

Earned Run Average-1.53

Wins-28

Walks & Hits per IP-0.912

Innings Pitched-346 2/3

Batters Faced-1,287

Adjusted ERA+-174

Adj. Pitching Runs-45

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.4

3rd Time All-Star-What kept Cicotte out of Cooperstown? Throwing the 1919 World Series. What will most likely keep Knuckles out of my Hall of Fame? Not making my All-Star team in 1915 or 1916. As a reminder, my Hall of Fame is based purely on numbers. You take number of All-Star teams made and multiply that by a player’s Career WAR and if the number is over 300, that player is in. My best guess is Cicotte is going to have five All-Star teams multiplied by his Career WAR of 58.7 which gives him a total of 293.5. Too bad.

He did have an MVP year this year, though, as again determined by me. It was a great season and he helped Chicago make it to the World Series. With Pants Rowland guiding the team, Chicago went 100-54, nine games ahead of Boston. They had good hitting, leading the American League in runs scored and great pitching, leading the AL in ERA.

Cicotte started Game 1 and limited the Giants to one run on seven hits. He also pitched in Game 3 and lost, allowing eight hits and two runs in eight innings. He pitched six innings of relief in Game 5, allowing eight hits, two runs, and one unearned run and getting no decision in a Chicago Win. The White Sox went onto win Game 6 and take the Series. It’s too bad a pitcher of this caliper felt the need to cheat, but it shouldn’t take away from his accomplishments.

ruth2

P-Babe Ruth, Boston Red Sox, 22 Years Old

1916

24-13, 2.01 ERA, 128 K,.325, 2 HR, 14 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

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

 

Led in:

 

Complete Games-35

2nd Time All-Star-This is the last year Ruth will make All-Star teams as a pitcher. He’ll be in leftfield and rightfield for the rest of his career. In 1917, he finished fourth in WAR (8.7); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.6); seventh in ERA (2.01); second in innings pitched (326 1/3), behind Chicago’s Eddie Cicotte (346 2/3); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (128).

Jack Barry managed the Red Sox for his first and only year of running a team. They finished in second place, with a 90-62 record, nine games behind Chicago. Boston’s hitting was average, but it led the league in least runs allowed. According to Wikipedia, “In the war year of 1917, manager Jack Barry chose to enlist and on October 18, 1917 Jack and four other Red Sox players, who had enlisted as yeomen in the naval reserve, were called to active duty and ordered to report for duty on November 3, 1917. He served all of 1918 in the military. After poor play in 1919, he decided to retire rather than be sold away in another fire sale following Harry Frazee‘s decision to sell his shortstop back to the Athletics.”

Wikipedia also states, “Ruth went 24–13 with a 2.01 ERA and six shutouts in 1917, but the Sox finished in second place in the league, nine games behind the Chicago White Sox in the standings. On June 23 at Washington, Ruth made a memorable pitching start. When home plate umpire ‘Brick’ Owens called the first four pitches as balls, Ruth threw a punch at him, and was ejected from the game and later suspended for ten days and fined $100. Ernie Shore was called in to relieve Ruth, and was allowed eight warm-up pitches. The runner who had reached base on the walk was caught stealing, and Shore retired all 26 batters he faced to win the game.”

bagby

P-Jim Bagby, Cleveland Indians, 27 Years Old

23-13, 1.99 ERA, 83 K, .231, 0 HR, 8 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits Allowed-277

Putouts as P-26

1st Time All-Star-James Charles Jacob “Jim” or “Sarge” Bagby was born on October 5, 1889 in Barnett, GA. The six-foot, 170 pound right-handed pitching, switch-hitting hurler started his career with Cincinnati in 1912. He didn’t pitch again in the Majors until 1916 when he joined the Indians. This season, Bagby finished third in WAR (8.7), behind Chicago pitcher Eddie Cicotte (11.6) and Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (11.3); second in WAR for Pitchers (8.4), trailing Cicotte (11.5); sixth in ERA (1.99); fourth in innings pitched (320 2/3); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (142).

As for the Indians, Lee Fohl managed the team as it improved from sixth to third with an 88-66 record. Cleveland’s hitting was fair and its pitching was decent, leading the American League in saves with 22.

SABR says, “In many ways, 1917 was his best season. He went 23-13, tossed eight shutouts and added seven saves in 12 relief appearances. On August 6, with the Indians leading the Red Sox 2-0 in the ninth, he relieved Ed Klepfer with the bases full and one out. He fanned the next two hitters to save the game. Bagby’s 1.99 ERA was sixth in the league and he was fourth in innings pitched as the Indians rose to third place, 22 games above .500.

“Around this time Bagby acquired the nickname ‘Sarge.’ This wasn’t a Great War moniker; he never served in the armed forces. According to James K. Skipper’s Baseball Nicknames, ‘Sergeant Jimmy Bagby’ was a character in a Broadway play some of his Cleveland teammates had seen. Irvin S. Cobb had a character with this name in his series of ‘Judge Priest’ stories, featured in the Saturday Evening Post in the ‘teens; that may have been the genesis of the play.”

johnson10

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 29 Years Old

1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916

23-16, 2.21 ERA, 188 K, .254, 0 HR, 15 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.190 (5th Time)

Strikeouts-188 (7th Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-2.765 (6th Time)

Hit By Pitch-14

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.98 (6th Time)

Fielding % as P-1.000 (2nd Time)

10th Time All-Star-Poor Walter Johnson had an off year! This was his lowest year in WAR since 1909. He only finished fifth. It was also his lowest in WAR for Pitchers since that same year, he only finished fourth. Still, he has now made double-digit All-Star teams and he’s only 29 years old. The Big Train also finished third in innings pitched (326), behind Chicago’s Eddie Cicotte (346 2/3) and Boston’s Babe Ruth (326 1/3).

Clark Griffith managed the Senators for his sixth straight year, and the team improved from seventh to fifth with a 74-79 record. The team’s hitting was lacking, as it hit only four home runs, and its pitching when Johnson didn’t start also stunk, leading the league with 42 wild pitches.

Johnson is still among the top 10 players of all-time as of 1917. Here’s the full list:

  1. Cy Young, P
  2. Honus Wagner, SS
  3. Ty Cobb, CF
  4. Walter Johnson, P
  5. Cap Anson, 1B
  6. Nap Lajoie, 2B
  7. Kid Nichols, P
  8. Christy Mathewson, P
  9. Eddie Collins, 2B
  10. Roger Connor, 1B

Wikipedia says, “In 1917, a Bridgeport, Connecticut munitions laboratory recorded Johnson’s fastball at 134 feet per second, which is equal to 91 miles per hour (146 km/h), a velocity which may have been unmatched in his day, with the possible exception of Smoky Joe Wood. Johnson, moreover, pitched with a sidearm motion, whereas power pitchers are usually known for pitching with a straight-overhand delivery. Johnson’s motion was especially difficult for right-handed batters to follow, as the ball seemed to be coming from third base.”

coveleskis

P-Stan Coveleski, Cleveland Indians, 27 Years Old

19-14, 1.81 ERA, 133 K, .134, 0 HR, 4 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1969)

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-6.094

Shutouts-9

1st Time All-Star-Stanley Anthony “Stan” or “Covey” Coveleski was born on July 13, 1889 in Shamokin, PA. The five-foot-11, 166 pound righty pitcher and hitter started with the Athletics in 1912. He didn’t pitch in the Majors again until 1916 when he joined the Indians. He’s the brother of Harry Coveleski, who made the All-Star team in 1914 and 1916. This season, Stan finished seventh in WAR (7.7); third in WAR for Pitchers (8.3), behind Chicago’s Eddie Cicotte (11.5) and teammate Jim Bagby (8.4); third in ERA (1.81), trailing Cicotte (1.53) and Boston’s Carl Mays (1.74); fifth in innings pitched (298 1/3); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (156), behind Knuckles Cicotte (174).

SABR says, “Coveleski was scheduled to pitch during the 1916 season’s first week against the Detroit Tigers and his brother Harry, a star coming off two straight 20 win seasons. Harry, however, demurred from pitching against his younger brother and the much-heralded matchup never occurred. Coveleski lost his first start, but went on to a respectable rookie season, finishing 15–-13 with an ERA of 3.41. Cleveland won 77 games in 1916, 20 more than the club’s 1915 total.

“In 1917 Cleveland and Coveleski both continued to improve. The team jumped to 88 wins and a third-place finish; Coveleski won 19 of those games, finished third in the league with a 1.81 ERA, and led the circuit with nine shutouts.” Harry Coveleski will never make another All-Star team and Stan is well on his way to a Hall of Fame career.

mays2

P-Carl Mays, Boston Red Sox, 25 Years Old

1916

22-9, 1.74 ERA, 91 K, .252, 0 HR, 14 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-14

Assists as P-118

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-4.36 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as P-4.00 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Mays, who threw the game’s most infamous hit by pitch, led the league in that category this year, but it would be the only year he’d do so. This season, he finished ninth in WAR (6.6); sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.8); second in ERA (1.74), behind Chicago’s Eddie Cicotte (1.53); seventh in innings pitched (289); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (148), trailing Cicotte (174) and Cleveland’s Stan Coveleski (156).

SABR says, “In 1917, Mays became a star. His 1.74 ERA was the third-lowest in the major leagues, and he ranked among the top 5 in the American League in fewest walks and hits allowed per 9 innings, and lowest opponents’ batting average and on-base percentage. But Mays also hit a league-high 14 batters and earned a reputation as a headhunter that dogged him for the rest of his life. ‘Mays is a low-ball pitcher,’ one opponent noted. ‘How does it happen that when he puts a ball on the inside it generally comes near the batter’s head?’

“Mays would often berate his fielders for making errors behind him. ‘I have been told I lack tact, which is probably true,’ he said. ‘But that is no crime.’ Late in his career, Mays praised another pitcher: ‘This fellow has no friends and doesn’t want any friends. That’s why he’s a great pitcher.’ He could have easily been talking about himself.” It was a bad reputation to have and it certainly led to the anger against Mays for when he hit and killed Ray Chapman.

leonard3P-Dutch Leonard, Boston Red Sox, 25 Years Old

1914 1916

16-17, 2.17 ERA, 144 K, .087, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Leonard’s 1917 season is another example of won-loss record not telling the whole story. Despite a relatively low ERA (119 ERA+) and pitching for a second place team, Dutch still ended up with a losing record. Altogether, he finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.2); 10th in ERA (2.17); and sixth in innings pitched (294 1/3).

Dutch finished his career with Detroit where he constantly fought with Ty Cobb, who became the Tigers manager in 1921. I suggest you read Wikipedia’s account of it. Here’s just a portion: “When Leonard returned to the Tigers in 1924 after two seasons in the San Joaquin Valley League, the feud with Cobb resumed. By the middle of the 1925 season, Leonard was 11–3, but that did not stop Cobb from accusing Leonard of being a shirker. In front of the team, Cobb berated Leonard: ‘Don’t you dare turn bolshevik on me. I’m the boss here.’ (Richard Bak, Peach, p. 147) Leonard accused Cobb of over-working him, and Cobb responded in July 1925 by leaving Leonard on the mound for an entire game despite Leonard’s giving up 20 hits and taking a 12–4 beating. After that, Leonard refused to pitch for Cobb. As a result, the Tigers put Leonard on waivers, and when no team picked him up, his baseball career came to an end. (Al Stump, Cobb, p. 364)

“Leonard did well for himself after baseball. He became a very successful California fruit farmer and wine maker. He was also an expert left-handed golfer. Leonard died in 1952 at age 60 from complications of a stroke. He is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Fresno, California. His estate at the time of his death was reportedly worth $2.1 million ($19,352,632 today).”

shawkey2

P-Bob Shawkey, New York Yankees, 26 Years Old

1916

13-15, 2.44 ERA, 97 K, .190, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Shawkey continued to be the Yankees’ best pitcher, despite the 13-15 record. He finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.3) as he put together a solid season.

Bill Donovan managed the Yankees for his third and last year, as the team dropped from fourth to sixth. He ended up with a total 220-239 record for New York. The Yankees were last in the American league in batting with a .239 average, while having about average pitching.

SABR says, “In 1917, Shawkey’s record fell to 13-15 although his ERA was 2.44. During World War I, he hoped to be exempt from the draft because he was married; however, his wife refused to sign an affidavit acknowledging her financial dependence on him. ‘I want him to go to war, the sooner the better,’ she said. After a quarrel, she threw him out of the house, and she ‘cast out upon the icy sidewalk’ two trunks of his clothes, two deer heads, his ‘coterie of dogs,’ and his sister. Shawkey divorced the Tiger Lady in June 1918.

“The Navy recruited major leaguers to play on shipyard baseball teams. This appealed to Shawkey, and in April 1918, he enlisted as a chief yeoman. He worked as an accountant and pitched at the Philadelphia shipyard. Miller Huggins persuaded him to pitch a couple games for the Yankees during a furlough, and on the Fourth of July, Shawkey undiplomatically shut out the Washington Senators in Washington. This did not sit well with the Navy brass, and soon he was aboard the USS Arkansas battleship in the North Sea, where German U-boats lurked. His ‘punishment’ was a remarkable experience, culminating in the surrender of the German fleet in November 1918 – ‘the greatest sight I ever saw,’ said Shawkey. Compared to sea duty, ‘baseball is a life of indolence and ease,’ he said.”

ayers2

P-Doc Ayers, Washington Senators, 26 Years Old

1915

11-10, 2.17 ERA, 78 K, .206, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Ayers had an off season in 1916, finishing 5-8 with a 3.78 ERA, but he’s back on this list this year, probably for the last time. He finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.0); ninth in ERA (2.17); and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (122).

Wikipedia says, “Ayers was a noted spitball pitcher who was allowed to throw the pitch after it had been banned in the major leagues after the 1919 season, having received special permission to do so. In 1920, he struck out 103 batters and led the American League in strikeouts per nine innings (4.44). In 299 career games, Ayers posted a 65–79 win–loss record with a 2.84 earned run average and 109 games finished.

“After getting married in 1914, Ayers moved to a farm near Draper, Virginia. He was the son of Jefferson Davis Ayers and Mary Frances Gardner. Doc married Mary Elizabeth Dunlap in Pulaski County, VA October 9, 1914. They had two children, Yancy Wyatt Ayers, Jr, (14 Apr 1916-13 Jan 1992), and Nancy Frances Ayers, (7 Sep 1922-25 May 2007). After he left baseball, Doc returned to his farm in the Draper Community of Pulaski County, and sold cars for the Wysor Motor Company to supplement his farming income. According to his WWII Draft Card, he was 6’1″ tall, 272 pounds, with a ruddy complexion, gray eyes and grey hair, and wore glasses. Doc died of a heart attack in the Pulaski Community Hospital, and was buried in the Grantham Family Cemetery in Pulaski County. His wife died in Jefferson County, KY only seven months after his death, and is buried next to him.”

groom2

P-Bob Groom, St. Louis Browns, 32 Years Old

1912

8-19, 2.94 ERA, 82 K, .111, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Losses-19

2nd Time All-Star-Since last making the American League All-Star team in 1912, Groom pitched one more season for the Senators in 1913, then gave the Federal League a try. Just like he did in the AL in 1909 and this season, Groom lead the FL in losses.. He then came to the Browns in 1916 and this year finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.1).

For the Browns, all they could say was, “Thank God for the Athletics.” St. Louis, managed by Fielder Jones, finished in seventh place with a 57-97 record. They couldn’t hit, scoring the least runs in the league, and they couldn’t pitch, striking out the least hitter in the AL, but besides that, they were okay.

Groom did have one memorable day, according to Wikipedia, which stated, “On May 6, 1917, while with the Browns, Groom no-hit the eventual World Champion Chicago White Sox 3–0. The no-hitter came in the second game of Sunday double-header, after Groom preserved the win in the first game, pitching the last two innings without allowing a hit. It also came the day after teammate Ernie Koob‘s 1–0 no-hitter against the White Sox; to date, Koob and Groom are the only teammates to pitch no-hitters on consecutive days.”

According to SABR, “Bob Groom died of pneumonia complicated by emphysema on February 19, 1948, at his home in Belleville and is buried in Walnut Hill Cemetery there…For his role in founding and coaching Belleville’s first team for the George E. Hilgard Post, Bob Groom was inducted into the Hilgard Hall of Fame on February 23, 2008.”

schang3

C-Wally Schang, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

1913 1914

.285, 3 HR, 36 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-9

3rd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team as a catcher in his first two years of 1913 and 1914, Philadelphia moved Schang to third base in 1915 and then leftfield in 1916 and his hitting, while great for a catcher, wasn’t good enough for either of those positions. This season, he moved back to catcher and right back onto the All-Star team. He finished eighth in slugging (.415) and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (140).

Philadelphia finished, you guessed it, last. Connie Mack’s squad had a dismal record of 55-98. The Athletics actually hit pretty well, finishing second in the league in batting (.254), but their pitching and defense allowed the most runs in the AL.

Here’s SABR’s take on his 1915 and 1916 seasons: “Schang continued to perform well for the next few years on some miserable teams. Despite Schang’s growing reputation as an excellent catcher, Mack needed to utilize Wally in a utility role, playing him more in the outfield and at third base than behind the plate. Nonetheless, the 1915 Reach Guide described Schang as ‘one of the most sensational catchers in recent years. He is a remarkably fast runner, a good hitter and a strong thrower.’ He finished the season with a .248 batting average, a career-high 18 stolen bases, and a team-high .385 on base percentage. In 1916, Schang led the 36-117 Athletics in home runs, with seven, a figure he reached with the help of his historic performance on September 8 at Shibe Park, when he became the first switch hitter in baseball history to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game.”

schalk4

C-Ray Schalk, Chicago White Sox, 24 Years Old

1914 1915 1916

.226, 2 HR, 50 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 43 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-139 (4th Time)

Putouts as C-624 (5th Time)

4th Time All-Star-Every year I question whether Schalk should be in the Hall of Fame, but for the last four years, he’s been on the All-Star team and continues to make his case. His strengths are simple, defense and durability. As for defense, Schalk finished third in Defensive WAR (1.4), behind Boston shortstop Everett Scott (2.4) and Cleveland shortstop Ray Chapman (2.2). Judging by his glove, this might have been his best season ever. In terms of durability, it was rare a catcher would catch 100 games in Schalk’s day and age, but he was out there 130 or more games every year.

Schalk also won his only World Series crown this season, as he hit better in the Series than he did during the season, stroking five hits in 19 at-bats for a .263 average. He also stole a base and walked twice as Chicago went on to beat the Giants, four games to two.

Wikipedia says everything I just said, just pithier, stating, “He batted only .226 in 1917, but his on-base percentage was .331 and he led all American League catchers in putouts for a fifth consecutive year. He once again guided the White Sox pitching staff to the lowest earned run average in the league as they won 100 games to win the American League pennant by 9 games over the Boston Red Sox, and went on to defeat John McGraw‘s New York Giants in the 1917 World Series, four games to two, for their last world championship until 2005.”

sisler2

1B-George Sisler, St. Louis Browns, 24 Years Old

1916

.353, 2 HR, 52 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 1B-22 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 1B-97

2nd Time All-Star-Why is it some players find hitting so easy? That’s the case for Sisler, who will be making these All-Star teams for a long time and isn’t even at his best yet. This year, Gorgeous George finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.9); fifth in Offensive WAR (6.0); second in batting (.353), behind Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (.383), another player who found hitting to be easy; fifth in on-base percentage (.390); fourth in slugging (.453); fifth in steals (37); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (161), trailing Cobb (209) and Cleveland centerfielder Tris Speaker (172).

Rick Huhn wrote a book called The Sizzler: George Sisler, Baseball’s Forgotten Great which says, “Most of the rest of the excitement for the Browns that year was generated by the bat of George Sisler. Among the league leaders in batting throughout the year, in mid-July he went four for eight in a seventeen-inning loss to the Yankees. That effort, along with several others, had George at .342, trailing only Ty Cobb among American League batters, and he was also leading the circuit in doubles. In mid-August, Sis began a hitting streak that worked itself up to twenty-six games. Perhaps the impetus for the streak was the birth on August 1, 1917, of George and Kathleen’s first son, George Harold Sisler, Jr. Moreover, from June 30 to September 4, George Sr. hit in every game he played except for three.”

One difference between Sisler and Cobb is George was much more introverted than The Georgia Peach.

collins9

2B-Eddie Collins, Chicago White Sox, 30 Years Old, 1917 ONEHOF Inductee

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916

.289, 0 HR, 66 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-156 (5th Time)

Putouts as 2B-353 (5th Time)

9th Time All-Star-Eddie Collins hit the trifecta this year, entering the ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame that inducts the best player every year who isn’t already part of this prestigious company. He is the third second baseman inducted along with old-timey player Ross Barnes and Nap Lajoie. Next year’s nominees are Roger Bresnahan, Tris Speaker, Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Johnny Evers, and Sherry Magee. I also have a list of the greatest players of all-time as of the year in which I’m recording and Eddie Collins is now ranked ninth. You can see the whole list at Walter Johnson’s blurb.

If that isn’t all enough, Collins also won his fourth World Series crown, having a great Series against the Giants. Cocky hit .409 (nine-for-22) with a double, two RBI, and three stolen bases as his White Sox defeated New York, four games to two. He was part of famous play in Series history that you can read about at SABR, a play in which Collins outmaneuvered the Giants to score the first run in Game 6. It’s worth reading just for Collins’ quotes.

Yet, for all of Collins’ huzzahs and accolades this year, it was actually an off season for the diminutive second baseman. It was the first time since 1908 he didn’t finish in the top 10 in WAR. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.0); sixth in Offensive WAR (5.7); sixth in on-base percentage (.389); and second in steals (53), behind Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (55).

baker7

3B-Home Run Baker, New York Yankees, 31 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914

.282, 6 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-146 (4th Time)

Putouts as 3B-202 (5th Time)

Assists as 3B-317 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.55 (2nd Time)

7th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team six consecutive seasons from 1909-14, Baker held out in 1915 and then didn’t play a full season in 1916. But Baker proves when he plays, he’s among the best there is and he’s back on the team this year. He finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.6); 10th in Offensive WAR (4.2); and eighth in Defensive WAR (1.0). Despite his nickname, Baker would never lead the league in homers after 1914, but here in the Deadball Era, he still managed to do damage with his bat.

Pinstripe Alley tells how Baker got to the Yankees, saying, “By the time 1916 rolled around, relations between Mack and Baker were as icy as ever and AL president Ban Johnson had enough. He told Mack that he had to let Baker go for whatever the best offer would be, and he also worked to make sure the recently-christened Yankees club would be the ones to get him rather than the powerhouse White Sox. Johnson liked the new owners in New York, Col. Jacob Ruppert and Cap. Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston, and he wanted to see them grow potent enough to compete with McGraw’s Giants and the beloved Brooklyn club. So Mack finally agreed to sell Baker’s rights to the Yankees in exchange for $37,500. Baker and the Yankees agreed to a three-year contract worth $27,500, and all sides were at last content.” This would allow Home Run Baker to be paired with the Home Run King for a couple of seasons.

gardner4

3B-Larry Gardner, Boston Red Sox, 31 Years Old

1911 1912 1916

.265, 1 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. 83 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-146

Errors Committed as 3B-31

4th Time All-Star-Gardner has always been a good combination of offense and defense. It’s the reason he keeps making these lists. This season, he finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.2) and seventh in Defensive WAR (1.1). He’s one of the better defensive third basemen of his day.

SABR says, “Despite [driving in the winning run in the 1916 World Series], Larry couldn’t get a raise. The most Red Sox owner Harry Frazee offered was to bring Larry’s new bride, the former Margaret Fourney of Canton, Ohio, to spring training at Hot Springs, Arkansas, as the club’s guest. ‘I told my wife to take 40 baths a day and ride horses the rest of the time,’ Larry said. ‘We really stuck Harry on that one!’ In 1917 his batting average fell from .308 to .265, giving the Red Sox an idea that he was slipping after 10 years of service.”

From VT Digger: “After the 1917 season, Boston management apparently believed it was time to cash in a valuable commodity that was sure to decline, so it traded the 31-year-old Gardner to Philadelphia. A Boston Post writer predicted that ‘the going of Gardner, one of the most powerful hitters on the team for years, one of its most dependable members and a model player in every way, will be severely felt.’” It must have been frustrating for Gardner to be traded from a perennial winner to a team that constantly in the cellar. However, as mentioned, he’s not done having good seasons (or All-Star seasons) yet.

chapman2

SS-Ray Chapman, Cleveland Indians, 26 Years Old

1915

.302, 2 HR, 36 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Plate Appearances-693

Sacrifice Hits-67 (2nd Time)

Outs Made-460

Assists-528

Putouts as SS-360 (2nd Time)

Assists as SS-528

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-5.66 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.69 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-It’s always difficult to write about the tragic Chapman. In an era in which Cleveland wasn’t too good, its shortstop stood out as one of the best players in the league. His death at the age of 29 would change the game in numerous ways and you wonder if that would have occurred if Chappie wasn’t such a good player. This season, he had his best season ever, finishing sixth in WAR (7.8); second in WAR Position Players (7.8), behind Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (11.3); third in Offensive WAR (6.8), trailing Cobb (10.6) and teammate Tris Speaker (7.2); second in Defensive WAR (2.2), behind Boston shortstop Everett Scott (2.4); 10th in batting (.302); eighth in on-base percentage (.370); ninth in slugging (.409); third in steals (52), trailing Cobb (55) and White Sox second baseman Eddie Collins (53); and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (131). All of those stats are great, of course, but outstanding for a shortstop.

Wikipedia says, “A top-notch bunter, Chapman is sixth on the all-time list for sacrifice hits and holds the single season record with 67 in 1917. Only Stuffy McInnis has more career sacrifices as a right-handed batter. Chapman was also an excellent shortstop who led the league in putouts three times and assists once. He batted .300 three times, and led the Indians in stolen bases four times. In 1917, he set a team record of 52 stolen bases, which stood until 1980. He was hitting .303 with 97 runs scored when he died. He was one of the few players whom Ty Cobb considered a friend.”

peckinpaugh2

SS-Roger Peckinpaugh, New York Yankees, 26 Years Old

1916

.260, 0 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as SS-84

2nd Time All-Star-In Peckinpaugh’s day, shortstops were mainly known for their glove and that was Roger. Only three times in his career was his OPS+ above 100 and this happened to be one of those seasons. This year, Peck finished fourth in Defensive WAR (1.3). His fielding will put him right on the verge of making my Hall of Fame. He had a little interest from Cooperstown, receiving votes nine times.

SABR says, “Roger Peckinpaugh was one of the finest defensive shortstops and on-field leaders of the Deadball Era. Like Honus Wagner, the 5’10”, 165-lb. “Peck” was rangy and bowlegged, with a big barrel chest, broad shoulders, large hands, and the best throwing arm of his generation. From 1916 to 1924, Peckinpaugh led American League shortstops in assists and double plays five times each. As Shirley Povich later reflected, ‘the spectacle of Peckinpaugh, slinging himself after ground balls, throwing from out of position and nailing his man by half a step was an American League commonplace.’

“According to Tris Speaker, opponents were able to cut down on Peckinpaugh’s batting average by cheating to the left side, where the right-handed dead pull hitter found the vast majority of his base hits. ‘Peck usually hits a solid rap when he does connect with the ball,’ Speaker explained to Baseball Magazine in 1918. ‘But he has the known tendency to hit toward left field. Consequently at least four men are laying for that tendency of his….A straightaway hitter whose tendency was unknown might hit safely to left field where the very same rap by Peckinpaugh would be easily caught.’”

veach3

LF-Bobby Veach, Detroit Tigers, 29 Years Old

1915 1916

.319, 8 HR, 110 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Batted In-110 (2nd Time)

Hit By Pitch-9

Power-Speed #-11.6

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

Putouts as LF-356 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as LF-17 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as OF-17

3rd Time All-Star-When you have Hall of Famers Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford as your teammates, you can be a forgotten man and that’s Bobby Veach. He made his third straight All-Star team this year, finishing 10th in WAR (6.6); fourth in WAR Position Players (6.6); fourth in Offensive WAR (6.1); fourth in batting (.319); fourth in on-base percentage (.393); third in slugging (.457), behind Cobb (.570) and Cleveland centerfielder Tris Speaker (.486); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (159).

Detroit dropped from fourth to third this season as Hughie Jennings guided the team to a 78-75 record. The team could certainly hit, leading the American League in OPS+ with a 105 mark, but its pitching was middle of the road.

SABR says, “Veach was known to be easygoing, steady and unassuming, characteristics that put him in stark contrast to, and at times at odds with, the volatile Ty Cobb who played next to him. At five feet 11 inches and a slim 165 pounds, Veach was small for a power hitter, but as baseball writer Fred Lieb noted, he ‘packed a terrific punch for his size.’ As a right handed fielder who batted from left side, Veach was a full and free swinger. He rarely altered his picturesque swing to adjust to pitchers, slumps or game situations. For this reason, he was remarkably consistent offensively, although he sometimes struggled to execute situational hitting staples like the hit and run. Although regarded as awkward in the field and on the basepaths while in the minor leagues, Veach was always blessed with a strong and accurate arm and good natural speed as a runner. In time, he worked hard to make himself an accomplished fielder, recording over 300 putouts six times and over ten assists 11 times, as well as a frequent base stealer, swiping 195 bases in his career.”

jackson6

LF-Shoelesss Joe Jackson, Chicago White Sox, 29 Years Old

1911 1912 1913 1914 1916

.301, 5 HR, 82 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.60

Fielding % as LF-.982

6th Time All-Star-There’s good reasons for Jackson being the subject of so many films, books, and assorted other pieces of art in his life. First of all, there’s the poor man from the south angle. Then you add an iconic nickname. Sprinkle in his outstanding talent, then mix all of this together with his career’s tragic end and you have a story for the ages.

This season, Shoeless Joe finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.8); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.7); seventh in on-base percentage (.375); fifth in slugging (.429); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (143). In his first World Series, he was a big part of the White Sox win over the Giants, hitting .304 (seven-for-23) and scoring four runs.

Bleacher Report states, “Black Betsy had a different type of charge, knocking the ball all over the field.

“Jackson had an emotional attachment to his bat, often hoping that she would bring him luck.

“Over the course of his time playing the game, he formed a relationship with Blond Betsy, Caroliny, Ol’ Genril and Big Jim.  Better bats than women.

“Shoeless Joe Jackson is a prime example of how society constantly remembers a man’s darkest hour regardless of what else he may have accomplished.

“Jackson might not have not been able to ‘say it wasn’t so,’ but his guilty confession certainly isn’t black and white.

“He was a man who just wanted to play the game for as long as he could.  Ray Liotta in Field of Dreams portrayed him as just that; somebody who lived to play baseball.”

bodie

LF-Ping Bodie, Philadelphia Athletics, 29 Years Old

.291, 7 HR, 74 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as LF-30

Double Plays Turned as LF-7

Assists as OF-32

1st Time All-Star-Frank Stephen “Ping” Bodie was born on October 8, 1887 in San Francisco, CA. The five-foot-eight, 195 pound outfielder started with the White Sox from 1911-14. He didn’t play Major League ball in 1915 and 1916 and then made his first All-Star team this year. Ping finished ninth in Offensive WAR (4.4), sixth in slugging (.418), and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (139).

Wikipedia says, “One of the most feared sluggers in the 1910s, Bodie was nicknamed ‘Ping’ for the sound made when his fifty-two-ounce bat crashed into the ‘dead’ ball of his era. Another nickname given to him was ‘The Wonderful Bop.’ He took the surname Bodie from the California town he once lived in.” It also mentions his full name was Francesco Stephano Pizzolo.

More from Wikipedia: “It said that Bodie provided much of the inspiration for Ring Lardner‘s creation of the famous baseball fictional series You Know Me Al. Appearing originally in the Saturday Evening Post, the piece was written in the form of letters written by a bush league baseball player to a friend back home.

“After his retirement from baseball, Bodie was an electrician for 32 years on Hollywood movie lots and a bit actor, mostly with Universal Studios. He is given credit for inspiring other West Coast Italian American ballplayers who followed him – Tony LazzeriFrank Crosetti, and the brothers JoeDom and Vince DiMaggio, between others.

“Bodie died of cancer in San Francisco, California, at the age of 74. He is a member of the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.”

cobb11

CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 30 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916

.383, 6 HR, 106 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1915)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

 

Led in:

 

1917 AL Batting Title (10th Time)

WAR Position Players-11.3 (5th Time)

Offensive WAR-10.6 (7th Time)

Batting Average-.383 (9th Time)

On-Base %-.444 (6th Time)

Slugging %-.570 (8th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.014 (9th Time)

At Bats-588

Hits-225 (7th Time)

Total Bases-335 (6th Time)

Doubles-44 (3rd Time)

Triples-24 (3rd Time)

Stolen Bases-55 (6th Time)

Singles-151 (6th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-209 (10th Time)

Runs Created-148 (7th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-75 (6th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-8.4 (6th Time)

Extra Base Hits-74 (3rd Time)

Times On Base-290 (4th Time)

Offensive Win %-.889 (10th Time)

Double Plays Turned as CF-7 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as OF-9 (3rd Time)

11th Time All-Star-This will be the last truly great season by The Georgia Peach, but what a season it was. Though he didn’t lead the league in WAR (loser!), he did have his highest Wins Above Replacement of his career at 11.3. Cobb’s also my third greatest player of all time through 1917, behind Cy Young and Honus Wagner. The full list is at Walter Johnson’s blurb. And here’s the incredible thing, he just turned 30 years old this season.

Way back in my 1907 write-up of Cobb, I mentioned his father was shot and killed by his mother in 1905 and that’s what motivated the fiery outfielder. Could that really be true? I mean if you’re playing in anger, how long can something like that continue? Yet there seems to be no doubt Cobb played every game like it was his last.

Wikipedia says, “In 1917, Cobb hit in 35 consecutive games, still the only player with two 35-game hitting streaks (including his 40-game streak in 1911). He had six hitting streaks of at least 20 games in his career, second only to Pete Rose‘s seven.

“Also in 1917, Cobb starred in the motion picture Somewhere in Georgia for a sum of $25,000 plus expenses (equivalent to approximately $477,532 today). Based on a story by sports columnist Grantland Rice, the film casts Cobb as ‘himself’, a small-town Georgian bank clerk with a talent for baseball. Broadway critic Ward Morehouse called the movie “absolutely the worst flicker I ever saw, pure hokum’.”

speaker9CF-Tris Speaker, Cleveland Indians, 29 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916

.352, 2 HR, 60 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as CF-23 (5th Time)

9th Time All-Star-At this time in baseball history, it’s likely there’d never been a better centerfielder than Speaker. I mean that Ty Cobb guy was pretty good, but he had started out his career as a rightfielder. Speaker has made more All-Star teams at the position than any previous player. Here’s the full list:

 

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Nap Lajoie, 11

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Honus Wagner, 13

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Speaker, 9

RF-Sam Crawford, 9

This season, The Grey Eagle finished eighth in WAR (7.7); third in WAR Position Players (7.7), behind Cobb (11.3) and teammate Ray Chapman (7.8); second in Offensive WAR (7.2), trailing Cobb (10.6); third in batting (.352), with only the Georgia Peach (.383) and St. Louis first baseman George Sisler (.353) hitting higher; second in on-base percentage (.432), behind, you guessed it, Cobb (.444); second in slugging (.486), trailing the Detroit centerfielder (.570); eighth in steals (30); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (172), looking up only at Cobb (209).

SABR says, “Almost 6 feet tall and a sturdy 193 pounds, Speaker batted from a left-handed crouch and stood deep in the batter’s box. He held his bat low, moving it up and down slowly, ‘like the lazy twitching of a cat’s tail,’ according to an admirer, and took a full stride. ‘I don’t find any particular ball easy to hit,’ he said. ‘I have no rule for batting. I keep my eye on the ball and when it nears me make ready to swing.’ Nevertheless, ‘I cut my drives between the first baseman and the line and that is my favorite alley for my doubles.’ He was a remarkably consistent batter.”

felsch2

CF-Happy Felsch, Chicago White Sox, 25 Years Old

1916

.308, 6 HR, 99 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as CF-440

Assists as CF-23

Putouts as OF-440

Range Factor/Game as CF-3.05

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-3.06

Range Factor/Game as OF-3.05

2nd Time All-Star-That infamous 1919 White Sox team sure had some good players, didn’t it? I mean a person is too busy thinking of Shoeless Joe Jackson, Eddie Collins, and Eddie Cicotte, to even remember how good players like Buck Weaver and Felsch were. This season, Happy finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.7), fifth in batting (.308), and 10th in slugging (.403), all in pitcher friendly Comiskey Park. In the World Series, Felsch belted .273 with a double and a homer. That dinger gave the White Sox a 2-0 lead in Game 1, a contest they’d eventually win 2-1. Chicago went on to beat the Giants, four games to two.

SABR says, “For Happy Felsch it would never get better than 1917. In only his fifth season of professional baseball, he had become a national hero, thanks to a remarkable regular season and an exceptional World Series. The White Sox center fielder was in a class with future Hall of Fame outfielders Tris Speaker and Ty Cobb thanks to his 1917 statistics: .308 batting average (fifth in American League); 102 RBIs (tied for second with Ty Cobb, first White Sox player ever with 100 RBIs); 440 putouts (first among AL outfielders); and six home runs (tied for fourth in AL).

“Climaxing this year of destiny was the 1917 World Series. Game One, played at Comiskey Park on Saturday, October 6, was decided by a ‘loud and vicious clout from the trusty bludgeon of Felsch.’ ‘Milwaukee’s famous beef and brawn’ hit a long home run to deep left field, giving the White Sox a 2-0 lead in a game they eventually won 2-1 over the New York Giants. The center fielder also made a sensational one-handed cutoff play of a Giant double, preventing a round-tripper.”

roth

RF-Braggo Roth, Cleveland Indians, 24 Years Old

.285, 1 HR, 72 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-73

Double Plays Turned as RF-7 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Robert Frank “Braggo” or “The Globetrotter” Roth was born on August 28, 1892 in Chicago, IL. The five-foot-seven, 170 pound rightfielder started with the White Sox in 1914. In mid-season of 1915, he was traded by the Chicago White Sox with a player to be named later, Ed Klepfer and $31,500 to the Cleveland Indians for Shoeless Joe Jackson. The Chicago White Sox sent Larry Chappell (February 14, 1916) to the Cleveland Indians to complete the trade. Roth had a good season, finishing fourth in steals with 51.

This man was not well liked. SABR says, “Bobby Roth, sometimes called Braggo, was an often insufferable self-promoter who bounced around among six American League teams in the years surrounding World War I, and was on the wrong side of two of the most lopsided trades of the Deadball Era. A player with diverse skills, Roth won a home run title and also stole home as many as six times in a season. But he was hampered by what one source called ‘the unhappy faculty of gaining enemies — apparently with cold deliberation.’

“In 1917, after a brief contract holdout, Roth displayed a different specialty, as he increased his stolen base total to 51, often swiping third on the front end of double steals with Bill Wambsganss. Though he was not credited with it at the time, Roth stole home six times in 1917, tying a major league mark.

“On September 11, 1936, Roth was the passenger in a car driven by a friend when they were struck by an oncoming vehicle. Roth’s friend was killed instantly and Roth died later that day in a Chicago hospital from severe head injuries. He was 44 years old. Ironically for Roth, a man who had spent much of his life promoting himself, his car had been struck by a newspaper truck.”

1917 National League All-Star Team

P-Pete Alexander, PHI

P-Wilbur Cooper, PIT

P-Hippo Vaughn, CHC

P-Leon Cadore, BRO

P-Jeff Pfeffer, BRO

P-Ferdie Schupp, NYG

P-Chief Bender, PHI

P-Fred Toney, CIN

P-Eppa Rixey, PHI

P-Elmer Jacobs, PIT

C-Ivey Wingo, CIN

C-Bill Rariden, NYG

1B-Ed Konetchy, BSN

2B-Dots Miller, STL

3B-Heinie Groh, CIN

3B-Heinie Zimmerman, NYG

3B-Red Smith, BSN

SS-Rogers Hornsby, STL

SS-Art Fletcher, NYG

SS-Rabbit Maranville, BSN

LF-George J. Burns, NYG

CF-Max Carey, PIT

CF-Edd Roush, CIN

CF-Benny Kauff, NYG

RF-Gavvy Cravath, PHI

 

alexander7

P-Pete Alexander, Philadelphia Phillies, 30 Years Old, 3rd MVP

1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916

30-13, 1.83 ERA, 200 K, .216, 1 HR, 13 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (inducted in 1938)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

1917 NL Pitching Title (3rd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-9.9 (4th Time)

WAR for Pitchers-9.4 (4th Time)

Wins-30 (5th Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.299

Innings Pitched-388.0 (6th Time)

Strikeouts-200 (5th Time)

Games Started-44 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-34 (5th Time)

Shutouts-8 (5th Time)

Hits Allowed-336 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.571 (2nd Time)

Batters Faced-1,529 (5th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-4.7 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-39 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.7 (3rd Time)

Putouts as P-24 (4th Time)

Assists as P-108 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as P-2.93

7th Time All-Star-With the absence of Honus Wagner and Christy Mathewson, the National League was short on superstars. If you look at the American League All-Star team, it’s full of people like Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Eddie Collins, not to mention the up-and-coming Babe Ruth. If there’s one man who can be dubbed one of the all-time greats in the NL, it’s Pete Alexander, who continued to dominate from the mound and thus earned his third MVP (as determined by yours truly, not anything official).

The problem for the Phillies is that, try as he might, Pete couldn’t pitch every day. The team was 30-13 in games in which Alexander got the decision and 57-52 in all of the other games. That’s why the 87-65 Phillies, managed by Pat Moran, finished 10 games back of the Giants. They led the league in ERA+ but had mediocre hitting at best.

SABR says of this season, “Philadelphia remained in second in 1917 albeit ten games behind the Giants, but it wasn’t Alexander’s fault. He went 30-13 and with 200 strikeouts to lead the league along with a 1.83 ERA and a league-best 8 shutouts, 44 starts, 34 complete games, and 388 innings pitched. Under the rules of 1917, Alexander was awarded the ERA title because he pitched 10 or more complete games. However, under today’s rules, the award goes to the Giants’ Fred Anderson, who compiled his 1.44 ERA in 162 innings with a nondescript 8-8 record and fewer than 10 complete games.”

cooper2

P-Wilbur Cooper, Pittsburgh Pirates, 25 Years Old

1916

17-11, 2.36 ERA, 99 K, .204, 0 HR, 5 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Cooper made the list for the second consecutive year as arguably the National League’s second best pitcher. At this time in NL history, the great pitchers were Pete Alexander and that was about it. But Cooper was definitely near the top of the second echelon. This season, he finished fourth in WAR (7.3); second in WAR for Pitchers (7.0), behind Alexander (9.4); fourth in innings pitched (297 2/3); and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (121).

Managed by three people over the season – Jimmy Callahan (20-40), Honus Wagner (1-4), and Hugo Bezdek (30-59) – Pittsburgh hit rock bottom, finishing in last with a 51-103 record. It scored the least runs in the league and also had the second highest team ERA. Callahan would never coach again in the Majors, finishing with a career 394-458 record for the White Sox and Pirates. Wagner’s five games at the helm were his first and last. Bezdek would continue in 1918 and see the team improve under his leadership.

SABR says, “Even though his 13 years in the Steel City fell between the World Championship seasons of 1909 and 1925, Wilbur Cooper was arguably the greatest pitcher in Pittsburgh Pirates history. Cooper holds the franchise single-season record for ERA (1.87 in 1916) and the all-time records for victories (202) and complete games (263). An exceptional control pitcher who allowed only 2.2 walks per nine innings over the course of his 15-year career, Cooper was slim in stature and threw his repertoire of a fastball, curve, and change-up with a fluid delivery, causing many to mistake his stylish manner for an indifferent attitude. ‘Nothing could be farther from the truth,’ wrote one reporter. ‘The Pirate southpaw works as hard as any other hurler, but his grace and ease of motion misleads some of the rooters.’”

vaughn3P-Hippo Vaughn, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

1910 1916

23-13, 2.01 ERA, 195 K, .160, 0 HR, 6 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.936

Errors Committed as P-7 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-After going from 1911-15 without making an All-Star team, Vaughn has now made two in a row. Unfortunately for him, he only has four full seasons left after this season and will probably not make this list in 1921, when he went 3-11 with a 6.01 ERA. So his chance at making my Hall of Fame is basically non-existent. That 75 percent chance showing up there is just to make Hippo’s family feel good.

This season, Vaughn finished sixth in WAR (6.5); third in WAR for Pitchers (6.7), behind Philadelphia superstar Pete Alexander (9.4) and the underrated Bucs hurler Wilbur Cooper (7.0); fifth in ERA (2.01); fifth in innings pitched (295 2/3); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (143), trailing New York Giants relief pitcher Fred Anderson (177) and Alexander (154).

Fred Mitchell took over the mantle for the Cubs and while they stayed in fifth, their record improved to 74-80. It was Mitchell’s first year managing and while his team couldn’t hit worth beans, they did have a good staff that led the National League in strikeouts.

SABR says, “Some ballplayers are defined by one moment. Jim “Hippo” Vaughn was such a player. Mentioning his name evokes a knee-jerk reaction from a knowledgeable fan: ‘Oh, yes, he threw the double no-hitter with Fred Toney in 1917.’ This is unfortunate because that game is but one in the career of a pitcher whose overall performance was excellent. From 1914 to 1920, Vaughn was the best lefty in the National League if not in the game, but his short career leaves him just this side of the Hall of Fame.”

cadore

P-Leon Cadore, Brooklyn Robins, 25 Years Old

13-13, 2.45 ERA, 115 K, .261, 0 HR, 8 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Leon Joseph “Caddy” Cadore was born on November 20, 1891 in the Windy City. The six-foot-one, 190 pound righty started with Brooklyn in 1915, but this is considered his rookie year and he made the most of it. Caddy finished eighth in WAR (5.4) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (4.8).

As for Brooklyn, 12 years before the Stock Market crash, the Robins had a tumble of their own, dropping from first to seventh. Wilbert Robinson coached the Ebbets Field residents to a 70-81 record. The team had poor hitting and mediocre pitching.

Wikipedia says, “Born in ChicagoIllinois, Cadore was orphaned at 13 and went to live with his uncle, Joe Jeannot, in northern Idaho in Hope, a village east of Sandpoint on the shore of Lake Pend Oreille. Cadore graduated from Sandpoint High School, then attended Gonzaga University in Spokane from 1906 to 1908. Cadore served as an officer in the U.S. Army during the First World War. Other sources cite Cadore’s birthplace as Muskegon, Michigan.”

SABR says of this year, “The Dodgers, defending National League champions, collapsed to seventh place. The 25-year-old rookie Cadore was one of the few bright spots. At 6-feet-1 and nearly 200 pounds, he fit the mold of the big, strong pitchers that manager Wilbert Robinson liked. ‘[H]e really has all the earmarks of a great pitcher,’ Robinson said. Cadore finished 13-13 for the losing club, but his 2.45 ERA was 14 percent better than average.” He’s got a few of these teams left.

pfeffer4P-Jeff Pfeffer, Brooklyn Robins, 29 Years Old

1914 1915 1916

11-15, 2.23 ERA, 115 K, .130, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. 50 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Hit by Pitch-16 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-There aren’t a lot of pitchers who have a stretch of years like Pfeffer did from 1914-17. Don’t let his win-loss record fool you, the man was still one of the best pitchers in the Nationals League. Pfeffer finished fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3); 10th in ERA (2.23); and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (125). My guess is he has two All-Star teams left, but we’ll see.

SABR says, “The 1916 season would prove to be the high tide of Pfeffer’s Brooklyn career. Although still posting a fine 2.23 ERA, he slumped (along with the rest of the team) to a lowly 11-15 record in 1917. After the season ended, Pfeffer announced plans to join the Navy. Brooklyn owner Charles Ebbets took money from a fund he had sent up for dependents of ballplayers in the military and bought Pfeffer an engraved wristwatch, as a token of gratitude for his baseball and Navy service. However, Ebbets was chagrined to see Pfeffer in the Hot Springs camp in 1918, in uniform (Brooklyn’s, that is) and proudly displaying the watch. As it turned out, Pfeffer had opted for a more convenient post in the Naval Auxiliary Reserves. In the end, the pitcher’s unit was activated, and he only pitched in one game in 1918, a 2-0 shutout over the eventual pennant-winning Cubs.”

I’ll remark on this more next season, but World War I is going to have a big effect on baseball, though its effect on the, well, world is much more important.

schupp2

P-Ferdie Schupp, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1916

21-7, 1.95 ERA, 147 K, .161, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 58 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.750

Hits per 9 IP-6.684

2nd Time All-Star-Schupp proved 1916 was no fluke and had his best season ever this year. He finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (4.6); fourth in ERA (1.95); 10th in innings pitched (272); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (130). In the World Series, Schupp started game two and lasted only one-and-a-third innings, giving up four hits and two runs. He did much better in his start in Game 4, shutting out the White Sox on a seven-hitter. The Giants would go on to lose the series, four games to two.

When John McGraw was coaching New York, you couldn’t keep it down for too long. It easily won the National League pennant with a 98-56 record. Thanks to Art Fletcher, the Giants had great hitting, leading the league in runs scored, and thanks to Schupp, the team also had outstanding pitching, leading the league in ERA.

After this season, Schupp would pitch two more seasons with the Giants, then pitch for the Cardinals for three years. He’d finished his career toiling for Brooklyn and the White Sox.

SABR says, “After his Organized Baseball career ended, Schupp moved to permanently to Southern California, working for the Shell Oil Company in Long Beach. He also spent time with the Lincoln Supply Company, headquartered in Victorville. Schupp died in 1971 at the age of 80; he is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles.” If going by the criteria in which it was set, Schupp still holds the record for ERA in a season, with a 0.90 in 1916.

bender5P-Chief Bender, Philadelphia Phillies, 33 Years Old

1907 1909 1910 1911

8-2, 1.67 ERA, 43 K, .205, 1 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (inducted in 1953)

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

 

5th Time All-Star-Since Bender’s last All-Star season in 1911, he still pitched well, just not All-Star well. He still helped lead the Athletics to the 1913 and 1914 World Series, not pitching too effectively in either series, despite his 2-0 record in the 1913 Fall Classic. After than he tried his hand in the Federal League with the Baltimore Terrapins in 1915 and faltered. He joined the Phillies in 1916 and had a revival season this year, despite pitching only 113 innings. Chief finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (3.7).

Wikipedia wraps up his career, stating, “Bender was well liked by his fellow players. Longtime roommate and fellow pitcher Rube Bressler called him ‘one of the kindest and finest men who ever lived.’ Ty Cobb called him the most intelligent pitcher he ever faced. Bender was also known as one of the best sign-stealers of his time; Mack often put this skill to use by occasionally using him as the third-base coach on days he wasn’t scheduled to pitch.

“In his last days, Bender remained close friends with Athletics coach Bing Miller, who used to bring Bender a container of ice cream almost every day. Bender was hospitalized in Philadelphia in mid-April 1954. He died there on May 22, 1954 of prostate cancer. He had also been suffering from cardiac problems. While he had been hospitalized, Bender sent Marie to Shibe Park for each home game so that she could report back to him on his team’s pitching. Bender was buried in the Philadelphia suburb of Roslyn, Pennsylvania.”

toney3

P-Fred Toney, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1915 1916

24-16, 2.20 ERA, 123 K, .112, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-7

3rd Time All-Star-Many times in this era of baseball, a pitcher would be so effective, like Toney, and have his innings increased every year, like Toney, who went up from 222 2/3 in 1915 to 300 in 1916 to 339 2/3 this season. However, possibly due to that workload, Toney would never be as effective again. This year, those innings pitched ranked second in the league to Philadelphia workhorse Pete Alexander (388). You’re saying, well, Pete pitched beaucoup innings every year and it didn’t seem to hurt him. Yes, but Alexander, like Cy Young and Walter Johnson, is blessed with a rubber arm. I’m just saying it doesn’t happen often. One highlight this season, according to Wikipedia, was “On July 1, 1917, Toney pitched two complete-game, three-hitters for victories in a doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates, to set a record for fewest hits allowed in a double header by a Major League pitcher.”

Toney had a manager who certainly knew about pitching, Christy Mathewson, who led the Reds to a fourth place 78-76 record. Cincinnati, led by Heinie Groh, could certainly hit, leading the National League in batting average and slugging average. Its pitching was just meh.

Read the whole SABR article for many examples of Toney’s volatile temper. Here’s a bit from the article: “Toney made headlines in December 1925 when he was arrested for violating Tennessee game laws after being found with two red fox pelts in his possession. In 1926 his wife, Goldie, gave birth to a son named Rogie. In his post-playing life, Toney worked as a spinner in a textile mill, coached for Nashville, ran a roadhouse 14 miles west of his hometown, operated a soft-drink and sandwich stand, worked as a security guard, and finally as a court officer for the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office.

“He died of a heart attack in Nashville on March 11, 1953. He was 64.”

rixey3

P-Eppa Rixey, Philadelphia Phillies, 26 Years Old

1912 1916

16-21, 2.27 ERA, 121 K, .191, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

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

 

Led in:

 

Losses-21

Fielding % as P-1.000 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Despite leading the league in losses, Rixey pitched his way to his third All-Star team. He finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (3.5), eighth in innings pitched (281 1/3), and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (124). The best is yet to come for Rixey, but it might be a few years until he’s back on this list.

SABR says, “Eppa Rixey’s career is a tale of two pitchers. As a Phillie, Rixie was inconsistent. His first two seasons were respectable (10-10 and 9-5), even promising given his youth, but his third (2-11, 4.37) was a disaster. His fourth season, with the Phillies winning their first pennant, was better in terms of ERA, but he was just 11-12 in wins and losses. A key to Rixey’s improvement was new manager Pat Moran‘s confidence in him. Moran brought him into the third inning of the deciding fifth game of the World Series with Boston in relief of Erskine Mayer. Rixey was stung by home runs by Duffy Lewis and Harry Hooper, the latter bouncing into the center-field bleachers constituting what would be a ground-rule double under today’s rules. He wound up taking the loss. In 1916 the Phillies improved their won-lost record but came in second to Brooklyn. Rixey, though, had perhaps his best season ever, going 22-10 with a microscopic 1.85 ERA and a career-high 134 strikeouts. He fell off in 1917, leading the league in losses with 21, but he had a good ERA (2.27) and threw four shutouts.”

jacobs

P-Elmer Jacobs, Pittsburgh Pirates, 23 Years Old

6-19, 2.81 ERA, 58 K, .179, 0 HR, 0 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 56 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-William Elmer Jacobs was born on August 10, 1892 in Salem, MO. The six-foot, 165 pound righty pitcher started his career with the Phillies in 1914. He then came to Pittsburgh in 1916 and this season had his best year ever. That’s mainly because it was a weak year for pitching in the National League. Jacobs finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (3.4), pitching decently for a bad team.

Baseball Historian has a story about Jacobs, Frank Woodward, and Doug Baird being traded to the Cardinals for Lee Meadows and Gene Paulette on July 14, 1919. It says, “This 5-player trade in mid-season by 2 teams with mirror-image season records left local fans wondering what was up. The year before, 1918, the St Louis Cardinals finished in the cellar with a lousy 51-78 record. The Philadelphia Phillies managed to escape the basement, but not by much, finishing with a poor 55-68 mark. So next season, on July 14, 1919, when the two squads were battling to stay out of last place again, the two teams worked out a 5-player deal.

“…Elmer Jacobs – his 47-81 career record doesn’t reflect the fact he pitched for some of the worst teams of this time-frame. Three straight years, 1916-1918, Elmer Jacobs had earned run averages under 3.00, and all he showed-for-it was poor season records. In 1917, Elmer Jacobs posted a career-best 2.81 ERA and still finished with a 6-19 record. Used mainly as a starter, he completed 65-of-133 starts an also relieved in 117 games.”

Jacobs pitched in the Majors through 1927 and died on February 10, 1958 in Salem, MO.

wingo

C-Ivey Wingo, Cincinnati Reds, 26 Years Old

.266, 2 HR, 39 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

AB per SO-30.7

Def. Games as C-120

Assists as C-151 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as C-21 (4th Time)

Passed Balls-16

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-97 (3rd Time)

Caught Stealing as C-86 (3rd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Ivey Brown Wingo was born on July 8, 1890 in Gainesville, GA. The left-handed batting Wingo was small for a catcher at five-foot-10, 160 pounds. He started with St. Louis in 1911. After the 1914 season, he was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Cincinnati Reds for Mike Gonzalez. Many times catchers make the All-Star team because they catch a lot of games and that was certainly the case with Wingo this season.

Here’s some highlights of Wingo’s life from SABR, “In 1916, while still a player, Wingo served as the interim manager of the Reds for two games, earning one win and one loss. In 1919 Wingo helped lead the Reds to their first world championship. He had begun the season with a severe cold. He recovered to platoon with Bill Rariden throughout the season; Rariden generally played against lefthanded starters, and lefty-swinging Wingo played against the righthanders. Wingo hit .571 in the World Series as the Reds defeated the notorious ‘Black Sox’ of Chicago.

“Wingo returned to his hometown of Norcross and his wife, Mattie May (Jones), after his baseball career. He was retired for only a short time, passing away on March 1, 1941. At his death, Wingo was eulogized by former teammate Eppa Rixey: ‘Ivey was one of the best hustlers on the team. He was a fine, intelligent catcher and played every minute of the game. He was my good friend and I am deeply sorry to learn of his death.’ After funeral services at the Norcross Baptist Church, Ivey was buried in the Norcross Town Cemetery. His wife and a son, Billy Jones Wingo, survived him.”

rariden2

C-Bill Rariden, New York Giants, 29 Years Old

1915

.271, 0 HR, 26 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Rariden is one of the rare players who made the All-Star team in the Federal League who would also make it in one of the two established leagues. This season, Rariden caught for the pennant-winning Giants after coming to them the year before. In 1916, his hitting wasn’t very good, but he came around this year, slashing .271/.372/.316 for an OPS+ of 115. It helped the Giants make it to the World Series, where Rariden played five games, hitting .385 (five-for-13) with two RBI. It didn’t help as New York lost the Series to Chicago, four games to two.

Speaking of the Series, he’s most remembered for one play, according to SABR, which says, “In the fourth frame [of the deciding sixth game] Eddie Collins hit a grounder to third. Heinie Zimmerman fielded the ball, but threw it past first baseman Walter Holke for a two-base error. Shoeless Joe Jackson then hit a fly ball to right field, which was dropped by Dave Robertson. Jackson was safe at first while Collins advanced to third. Happy Felsch hit one back to the box, and Collins strayed off third. Benton threw to Zimmerman, and Collins was trapped between third and home. He danced back and forth, trying to keep the rundown alive, so Jackson and Felsch could advance as far as possible before he was tagged out. Zimmerman threw the ball to Rariden, but when the catcher tossed the ball back to third base, Collins slipped past Rariden and sprinted for home. Both Benton and Holke had neglected to back up home plate, so the dish was uncovered. Zimmerman had no one to throw to. His only choice was to try to catch the speedy Collins, so he chased him home. Big, lumbering Zim had no chance of catching the much faster Collins, who slid across home plate for the first run in what turned out to be the deciding game of the Series, as Faber protected the lead.”

konetchy6

1B-Ed Konetchy, Boston Braves, 31 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1915

.272, 2 HR, 54 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 1B-.994 (6th Time)

6th Time All-Star-Konetchy is right on the cusp of being a Hall of Fame player. He was one of the best first basemen for his time, but there weren’t a lot of good players at that position during the 1910s. He made this All-Star team as a fluke, because my team needed a first baseman, so all he has to do is make one more of these lists as a fluke and he’s in my Hall of Fame. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but I didn’t think he’d make it this year either.

It’s been only three seasons since the Braves won the World Series and in 1916, Boston finished third in the league. However, George Stallings’ squad is starting to falter, this year dropping to sixth place with a 72-81 record. The team actually had decent hitting, finishing third in the league in OPS+, but its pitching, which finished second to last in ERA+, was miserable, as indicated by the fact Boston had no All-Star hurlers.

As I compile this list, I only do it year-by-year, meaning I haven’t made the All-Star teams for any future years. This means, when it comes to judging who will make the All-Star teams, I don’t know who’s going to do so until I right up that season. That’s why my Hall of Fames have numbers like one percent or 33 percent, because I don’t know whether players are going to make this list or not. Konetchy is one example of that. I had him at a one percent chance in 1915 and he’s still at a one percent chance this year.

miller3

2B-Dots Miller, St. Louis Cardinals, 30 Years Old

1909 1914

.248, 2 HR, 45 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.73

3rd Time All-Star-Miller didn’t consistently make the All-Star team like fellow second baseman Larry Doyle, but every few years he’d have a good enough season to sneak onto the list. This season, he finished sixth in Defensive WAR (1.5) as his glove put him on the All-Star team.

As for the Cardinals, they were starting to make some noise, improving from seventh to third under manager Miller Huggins. They achieved an 82-70 record despite the worst pitching in the league. Their Pythagorean W-L indicated they should have finished 71-81, so you have to give Huggins some credit. However, Huggins was mad at not getting a chance to buy the team and would start managing the Yankees in 1918, where he’d have his most success.

SABR says, “[Dots Miller’s] managerial career was tragically cut short partway through the 1923 season, however, when he was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis. Dots returned immediately to Kearny. After one week at home, he was sent to the tuberculosis retreat at Saranac Lake, New York, in the Adirondack Mountains. The mountain air, theorized the doctors of the day, could aid in what was termed the ‘cold weather cure.’ In reality there was no cure for tuberculosis in 1923. With his family at his bedside, Dots Miller passed away on September 6, 1923, three days shy of his 37th birthday. His body was returned to Kearny where he was buried in North Arlington Cemetery.” It was a tragic end for Miller, but once he stepped down from second base, it would open up the position for maybe the greatest ever at that position. You can read about him later.

groh3

3B-Heinie Groh, Cincinnati Reds, 27 Years Old

1915 1916

.304, 1 HR, 53 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.385

Games Played-156 (2nd Time)

Plate Appearances-685

Hits-182

Doubles-39

Times On Base-261

Def. Games as 3B-154

Putouts as 3B-178

Double Plays Turned as 3B-28 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.966

3rd Time All-Star-In 1912, the National League teams averaged 4.62 runs per game, their highest since 1903. By 1916, that total was down to 3.45, the lowest since 1908. The runs per game in the NL this season weren’t much higher, at 3.53, so the hitting stats in the league don’t jump out at you. That’s why Groh’s combination of offense and defense, as seen in the stats above in which he led make this his best season ever, though there might be seasons his statistics are better.

I like this story from SABR, about the five-foot-six, 160 pound Groh’s Major League debut in 1912: “Heinie Groh’s major league debut as a pinch-hitter against the Chicago Cubs on April 12, 1912, was a memorable one. The umpire was Bill Klem, who had a long-running feud with Giants manager John McGraw. As the small and boyish-looking Groh made his way to the plate, a voice from the Cubs dugout yelled, ‘McGraw’s sending in the batboy to show you up, Bill.’ The entire grandstand heard the voice and most of them believed it. Klem glared at the kid and asked, ‘Are you under contract with the New York club?’ ‘I am,’ replied Groh. The umpire let him bat, and Groh laced the first pitch for a single. Many fans left the Polo Grounds that day thinking they’d seen the batboy make a base hit.” I go to quite a few baseball games and have sometimes sat pretty close to the action, but I never hear the players talk on the field.

zimmerman33B-Heinie Zimmerman, New York Giants, 30 Years Old

1912 1913

.297, 5 HR, 100 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Batted In-100 (3rd Time)

Assists as 3B-349

3rd Time All-Star-When Zim last made the All-Star team, he was a third baseman for the Cubs in 1913. Then on August 28, 1916, he was traded by the Chicago Cubs to the New York Giants for Larry DoyleHerb Hunter and Merwin Jacobson. This year, he’s back on the list. Zimmerman finished ninth in WAR (5.3); fifth in WAR Position Players (5.3); ninth in Offensive WAR (3.9); fourth in Defensive WAR (2.0); and seventh in batting (.297). However, he struggled in the World Series, hitting just .120 (three-for-25) with a triple as the Giants lost to the White Sox, four games to two.

Wikipedia says, “However, he is best known for an infamous rundown in the decisive game. In the fourth inning, the game was scoreless when Chicago’s Eddie Collins was caught between third base and home plateCatcherBill Rariden ran up the line to start a rundown, expecting pitcher Rube Benton or first baseman Walter Holke to cover the plate. However, neither of them budged, and Collins blew past Rariden to score what turned out to be the Series-winning run (the White Sox won 4-2). With no one covering the plate, third baseman Zimmerman was forced to chase Collins, pawing helplessly in the air with the ball in a futile attempt to tag him. As pointed out by researcher Richard A. Smiley in SABR‘s 2006 edition of The National Pastime, Zimmerman was long blamed for losing the game, although McGraw blamed Benton and Holke for failing to cover the plate—a serious fundamental error in baseball. The play was actually quite close, as action photos show Zimmerman leaping over the sliding Collins. A quote often attributed to Zim, but actually invented by writer Ring Lardner some years later, was that when asked about the incident Zim replied, ‘Who…was I supposed to throw to, Klem (umpire Bill Klem, who was working the plate)?’” You can see the picture above. Zimmerman is number four.

smithr4

3B-Red Smith, Boston Braves, 27 Years Old

1913 1914 1915

.295, 2 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 3B-33 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Smith didn’t make the All-Star team in 1916, but he’s back this year, having his best hitting year ever, if judged by Adjusted OPS+. He finished fourth in Offensive WAR (5.2); 10th in batting (.295); ninth in on-base percentage (.369); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (139).

When Smith helped Boston to the World Series in 1914, I mentioned in his blurb he was unable to play in the World Series. Here’s the details of that from SABR: “Unfortunately, a serious mishap befell Smith on the last day of the season. It happened in the ninth inning of the first game of a doubleheader against his former team at Ebbets Field. On that occasion Smith was wearing a new pair of shoes with spikes longer than those he was accustomed to. He hit a long drive that bounced off the right-center-field wall. Red rounded first and headed for second, trying to stretch the hit into a double. As he neared second base he began a hook slide. Meanwhile, Brooklyn’s George Cutshaw received the throw from the outfield and lunged toward the runner. Smith’s right shin struck Cutshaw’s left leg and the long spikes dug into the dirt and threw the whole weight of his body on the ankle joint. His body was thrown several feet past the bag. He was taken by automobile to St. Mary’s Hospital in Brooklyn. The attending physicians reported that Smith had suffered an anterior dislocation of the ankle joint of his right leg, a fracture of the fibula three inches above the joint, a fracture of the tibia, and ruptures of the ligaments of the ankle joint. The doctors were uncertain whether Smith would ever regain full use of the badly damaged ankle. Unable to compete in the World Series, he was temporarily replaced at the hot corner by Charlie Deal. As the Braves never again won a pennant while Smith was with them, the accident deprived him of the only chance he had to play in a World Series.”

hornsby2

SS-Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals, 21 Years Old

1916

.327, 8 HR, 66 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1942)

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-9.9

WAR Position Players-9.9

Offensive WAR-7.7 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.484

On-Base Plus Slugging-.868

Total Bases-253

Triples-17

Adjusted OPS+-169

Runs Created-96

Adj. Batting Runs-41

Adj. Batting Wins-4.7

Offensive Win %-.796

Double Plays Turned as SS-82

2nd Time All-Star-Seasons like this one are going to be common for Rajah Hornsby. It would take a while for him to settle in at second, but once he does, there’s no stopping him. Last year, he made the All-Star team as a third baseman. He could have easily received my vote for MVP, but it’s hard to take away from the season Pete Alexander had. At 21-years-old, Hornsby is already arguably the best player in the National League. There will be no “arguably” needed in future years.

SABR says, “Hornsby, however, was almost as well known for his bluntness and complete lack of diplomacy as his prowess with a bat. He rarely argued with umpires but said whatever crossed his mind to anyone else, including the owners he worked for. Longtime Cardinals owner Sam Breadon remarked that listening to Hornsby was like have the contents of a rock crusher emptied over his head.

“By the time Hornsby reported to the Cardinals’ 1917 spring training in Hot Wells after a winter working for Swift & Company as a checker on the loading docks in Fort Worth, the club had new ownership and had installed Branch Rickey as president. For the next 20 years the careers of the two would be intertwined, although not always happily so. Under Rickey’s leadership the Cardinals won 22 more games than in 1916 and moved up to third place. Hornsby played shortstop exclusively for manager Huggins and raised his batting average to .327, second in the league behind Cincinnati’s Edd Roush’s .341. Rogers hit a powerful .327 as he led the league with 253 total bases and a .484 slugging percentage.”

fletcher5SS-Art Fletcher, New York Giants, 32 Years Old

1913 1914 1915 1916

.260, 4 HR, 62 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-5.1 (2nd Time)

Hit By Pitch-19 (4th Time)

Assists-565 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as SS-151

Assists as SS-565 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.956

5th Time All-Star-When Giants’ manager John McGraw was playing, he toiled on possibly the rowdiest team of all time, the Baltimore Orioles of the 1890s. McGraw never lost that attitude, even as a manager, and he looked for players with that same rambunctiousness. He found his spirit animal in the feisty Fletcher. Yet the shortstop wasn’t just pugnacious, he also played a mean game of baseball. This year was probably his best ever as he finished third in WAR (7.4), behind St. Louis shortstop Rogers Hornsby (9.9) and Philadelphia pitcher Pete Alexander (9.9); second in WAR Position Players (7.4), trailing Hornsby (9.9); and first in Defensive WAR (5.1). In New York’s World Series loss to the White Sox, Fletch hit only .200 (five-for-25) with a double.

How seriously can we take Defensive WAR? In 1906, Cleveland shortstop Terry Turner set the all-time Defensive WAR record with 5.4 that wouldn’t be broken until 2013 by Andrelton Simmons and this year, Fletcher didn’t end up too far behind that with a 5.1 mark. Can defense be that valuable? Can a player’s glove really add five wins above a replacement player over the course of a season? SABR says of his glove, “He also fielded brilliantly, drawing comparisons to Wagner, Tinker, and Doolan. With Art as their shortstop, the Giants won three pennants in a row–1911, 1912, 1913–and an additional one in 1917, the year that McGraw named him team captain.” I guess I could do some research and see how others of his era appraised his fielding, but that’s too much work!

maranville3

SS-Rabbit Maranville, Boston Braves, 25 Years Old

1914 1916

.260, 3 HR, 43 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1954)

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as SS-341 (4th Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Rabbit, the five-foot-five Braves shortstop continued to shine in the National League. I’d say he was underrated, but he did make Cooperstown, so he might actually be just a tad overrated. No biggie, he’s still one of the best shortstops in the game. This season, Maranville finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.5); ninth in Offensive WAR (3.9); fifth in Defensive WAR (1.8); and fourth in steals (27). While it’s true, Maranville didn’t have a great bat, it should be noted he played in one of the most difficult venues for batsmen, Braves Field in Boston.

SABR says, “Standing only 5’5″ and weighing a good deal less during the Deadball Era than his listed playing weight of 155 lbs., Rabbit Maranville compiled a lifetime batting average of just .258 and is known as much for his zany escapades and funny stories as for anything he accomplished on the diamond, but his outstanding glove work kept him in the big leagues for 23 seasons and eventually earned him a plaque in Cooperstown. ‘Maranville is the greatest player to enter baseball since Ty Cobb arrived,’ said Boston Braves manager George Stallings. ‘I’ve seen ’em all since 1891 in every league around the south, north, east, and west. He came into the league under a handicap–his build. He was too small to be a big leaguer in the opinion of critics. I told him he was just what I wanted: a small fellow for short. All he had to do was to run to his left or right, or come in, and size never handicapped speed in going after the ball.’”

burnsgeorgej2

LF-George J. Burns, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1914

.302, 5 HR, 43 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 50 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-103 (3rd Time)

Bases on Balls-75

Def. Games as LF-152 (2nd Time)

Putouts as LF-325

2nd Time All-Star-When you play in leftfield, you have to hit to make this All-Star team, and while Burns’ bat in 1915 and 1916 wasn’t bad, it wasn’t enough to put him on this list. That might have kept him from making Cooperstown or my Hall of Fame. This season, Burns’ bat was back, as he finished seventh in WAR (6.1); fourth in WAR Position Players (6.1); fifth in Offensive WAR (5.0); sixth in batting (.302); third in on-base percentage (.380), behind Cincinnati third baseman Heinie Groh (.385) and St. Louis shortstop Rogers Hornsby (.385); fifth in slugging (.412); second in steals (40), trailing Pittsburgh centerfielder Max Carey (46); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (146). He didn’t keep up the hitting in the World Series, however, as he hit .227 (five-for-22) with no extra base hits and three walks.

SABR says, “Burns bounced back to lead the NL in runs scored in 1916 and 1917, and during the latter season he also led the NL with 75 bases on balls. He went on to lead the league in walks five times in seven years, peaking with 101 in 1923. Apparently it took George several years to acquire his plate discipline; in his rookie season of 1913, sportswriter Hugh Fullerton wrote, ‘Burns looks odd on the New York team because of the quick, business-like manner he uses in batting. He walks right up and hits, as if in a hurry to get it over.’” Once he learned to take pitches, he became quite a force.

carey3

CF-Max Carey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

1912 1916

.296, 1 HR, 51 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1961)

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

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-46 (4th Time)

Def. Games as CF-153

Putouts as CF-439 (2nd Time)

Assists as CF-28 (2nd Time)

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

Def. Games as OF-153 (2nd Time)

Putouts as OF-440 (4th Time)

Range Factor/Game as CF-3.05 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-3.07 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-3.06 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-I remember when I first read about range factor in Bill James’ Baseball Abstract. Before that, defensive players were mostly judged on fielding percentage or by reputation. Range factor told us how much ground a player covered and it certainly tells us Carey was all over that Pittsburgh outfield. It really increased his value once he moved permanently to centerfield in 1916.

SABR says, “Certain types of ballplayers have always populated baseball history. Slow footed sluggers, crafty lefthanders, flame throwing relievers and flashy infielders all make up important baseball clichés. Hall of Famer Max Carey demonstrates all of the qualities of one such type — a hard working, fundamentally sound outfielder with great speed, sure hands, and good contact with a touch of power. These traits, commonly found in the early days of baseball, seemed less important in the Ruthian era in which Carey starred. His career thus represents a bridge from the bunting and speed game to the lug and slug home run era.

“Early in his career Max was nicknamed ‘Scoops,’ in homage to a Pittsburgh-born first baseman (his real name was George) who played sporadically from 1895 to 1903. However, contemporary pundits suggested that ‘Hawk’ would be more appropriate, in light of his defensive prowess. Carey covered both left and center field for the Pirates and excelled in both positions. He retired holding a major league record of six seasons with over 400 putouts, including a remarkable 450 in 1923. He led all other NL outfielders in range factor seven times, in assists four times, and in double plays five times. His 339 outfield assists remain as the highest total of any National League outfielder since 1900. He also led the league in outfield errors four times, running into errors trying to catch drives other players would not have attempted.”

roush

CF-Edd Roush, Cincinnati Reds, 24 Years Old

.341, 4 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1962)

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

 

Led in:

 

1917 NL Batting Title

Batting Average-.341

Singles-141

1st Time All-Star-Edd. J. Roush was born on May 8, 1893 in Oakland City, IN. The five-foot-11, 170 pound left-handed centerfielder started with the White Sox in 1913. He then played in the Federal League in 1914 and 1915, for Indianapolis and Newark respectively. Then Roush came to the Giants at the beginning of 1916 before being traded by the New York Giants with Christy Mathewson and Bill McKechnie to the Cincinnati Reds for Buck Herzog and Red Killefer.

This season, Roush finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.9); third in Offensive WAR (5.3), behind St. Louis shortstop Rogers Hornsby (7.7) and teammate, third baseman Heinie Groh (6.7); first in batting (.341); fourth in on-base percentage (.379); third in slugging (.454), trailing Hornsby (.484) and Philadelphia rightfielder Gavvy Cravath (.473); 10th in steals (21); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (159), behind only Rajah (169).

SABR says, “Roush hit .287 with 14 triples in 69 games for the Reds in 1916. Edd’s twin brother Fred spent that season playing third base for Dawson Springs of the Kitty League. A Sporting Life article stated that Fred had been looked over by major league scouts. He never did reach the major leagues although he played a few seasons in the minors. The trade really began to pay off for Cincinnati the next year when Edd won the first of his two batting titles, beating out Rogers Hornsby, .341 to .327. Roush’s only child, Mary Evelyn, was born to Essie on August 18, 1917.”

kauff4

CF-Benny Kauff, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1914 1915 1916

.308, 5 HR, 69 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Singles-141 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as OF-153

4th Time All-Star-Kauff was like a lightning strike in baseball, dominating the Federal League for two seasons and then playing well enough to be an All-Star for the Giants for two more. After this, he’d start fading out. This season, Kauff finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.7); seventh in Offensive WAR (4.6); fourth in batting (.308); fifth in on-base percentage (.379); third in steals (30), behind Pittsburgh centerfielder Max Carey (46) and teammate George J. Burns (40); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (138). In his only World Series appearance, he struggled at average but hit for power, hitting .160 (four-for-25) with a double and two home runs.

There’s a lot of information on SABR about the end of Kauff’s career due to accusations of auto theft. Here’s just a bit: “After his victory in court, Kauff had every expectation that he would be quickly reinstated into the good graces of organized baseball. He was in for a surprise. A former federal judge famous for handing down cavalier judgments, Landis sat on Kauff’s application for much of the summer, then refused to lift the ban. Despite the verdict, Landis insisted that the trial ‘disclosed a state of affairs that more than seriously compromises your character and reputation. The reasonable and necessary result of this is that your mere presence in the lineup would inevitably burden patrons of the game with grave apprehension as to its integrity.’ Landis later told Fred Lieb that the jury’s verdict ‘smelled to high heaven’ and was ‘one of the worst miscarriages of justice that ever came under my observation.’

“His playing career over, Kauff lived out much of the rest of his life in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife, Hazel, and the couple’s only child, Robert. According to his obituary, the banned player worked for 22 years as a scout, and later, appropriately enough, as a clothing salesman. Kauff died on November 17, 1961, after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. He is buried in Columbus’ Union Cemetery.”

cravath4

RF-Gavvy Cravath, Philadelphia Phillies, 36 Years Old

1913 1914 1915

.280, 12 HR, 83 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-12 (4th Time)

Extra Base Hits-57 (3rd Time)

AB per HR-41.9 (5th Time)

4th Time All-Star-Cravath, the best home run hitter of his day, didn’t make the 1916 National League All-Star team despite leading the league in on-base percentage and still hitting double digit homers (11). He missed a lot of games and he also played in the best hitters’ park in the league. This season, Cravath is back, finishing 10th in WAR Position Players (4.4); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.7); seventh in on-base percentage (.369); second in slugging (.473), behind only St. Louis shortstop Rogers Hornsby (.484); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (153), trailing Hornsby (169) and Cincinnati centerfielder Edd Roush (159).

SABR says, “Gavvy Cravath was an anomaly in the Deadball Era. Employing a powerful swing and taking advantage of Baker Bowl‘s forgiving dimensions, the Philadelphia clean-up hitter led the National League in home runs six times, establishing new (albeit short-lived) twentieth-century records for most home runs in a season and career. In an era when ‘inside baseball’ ruled supreme, Cravath bucked the trend and preached what he practiced. ‘Short singles are like left-hand jabs in the boxing ring, but a home run is a knock-out punch,’ he asserted. ‘It is the clean-up man of the club that does the heavy scoring work even if he is wide in the shoulders and slow on his feet. There is no advice I can give in batting, except to hammer the ball. Some players steal bases with hook slides and speed. I steal bases with my bat.’” This is definitely a player who played in the wrong era. If he had his prime in the 1920s, he’d probably be in the Hall of Fame.

1916 American League All-Star Team

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Babe Ruth, BOS

P-Bob Shawkey, NYY

P-Harry Coveleski, DET

P-Carl Mays, BOS

P-Dutch Leonard, BOS

P-Bullet Joe Bush, PHA

P-Harry Harper, WSH

P-Carl Weilman, SLB

P-Reb Russell, CHW

C-Les Nunamaker, NYY

C-Ray Schalk, CHW

1B-George Sisler, SLB

1B-Wally Pipp, NYY

2B-Eddie Collins, CHW

2B-Del Pratt, SLB

3B-Larry Gardner, BOS

SS-Roger Peckinpaugh, NYY

LF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, CHW

LF-Bobby Veach, DET

LF-Burt Shotton, SLB

CF-Tris Speaker, BOS

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Amos Strunk, PHA

CF-Happy Felsch, CHW

 

johnson9

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 28 Years Old, 1916 ONEHOF Inductee

1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915

25-20, 1.90 ERA, 228 K, .225, 1 HR, 7 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-10.7 (5th Time)

WAR for Pitchers-9.8 (5th Time)

Wins-25 (4th Time)

Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.551 (4th Time)

Innings Pitched-369 2/3 (5th Time)

Strikeouts-228 (6th Time)

Complete Games-36 (6th Time)

Hits Allowed-290 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-2.781 (5th Time)

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

Batters Faced-1,410 (5th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.82 (5th Time)

9th Time All-Star-Well, that didn’t take long. At the age of 28, Walter “Big Train” Johnson has entered the One-A-Year Hall of Fame, the Hall of my creation that allows just one player to enter per calendar year. The full list is here. Next year’s nominees are Roger Bresnahan, Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Johnny Evers, Sherry Magee, Eddie Collins, and Tris Speaker. That is not going to be an easy pick.

Walter is also one of the top 10 (technically top five) players of all-time, as of 1916. Here’s that list:

  1. Cy Young, P
  2. Honus Wagner, SS
  3. Cap Anson, 1B
  4. Ty Cobb, CF
  5. Walter Johnson, P
  6. Nap Lajoie, 2B
  7. Kid Nichols, P
  8. Christy Mathewson, P
  9. Roger Connor, 1B
  10. Eddie Plank, P

Washington, managed by Clark Griffith, dropped from fourth in 1915 to seventh this season with a76-77 record.  The Senators had no power, having the lowest slugging percentage in the American League, and had passable pitching.

Surprisingly, this will be the last season Johnson leads the AL in innings pitched. He’ll still pitch over 300 innings for the next two seasons, but then start declining after that. Of course, he is all of 28 at this point and still has an incredible amount of seasons left. My prediction is he’s going to wind up with 18 All-Star teams, which at this point would be the all-time record. I better start researching his life, because I’m going to be writing a lot about him apparently!

ruth

P-Babe Ruth, Boston Red Sox, 21 Years Old, 1916 AL MVP

23-12, 1.75 ERA, 170 K, .272, 3 HR, 16 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

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

 

Led in:

 

1916 AL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.75

Hits per 9 IP-6.396

Games Started-40

Shutouts-9

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

Adjusted ERA+-158

Adj. Pitching Runs-37

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.4

Putouts as P-24

1st Time All-Star-George Herman “Babe” or “The Bambino” or “The Sultan of Swat” or “Jidge” Ruth was born on February 6, 1895 in Baltimore, MD. The six-foot-two, 215 pound left-handed pitching, left-handed hitting pitcher is going to end being the greatest player of all-time. He started with Boston in 1914 and had an 18-8 record in 1915, but didn’t make the All-Star team. That’s okay, he’s got plenty of these lists in his future. I also named him the American League MVP this year, the first of many.

With Babe leading the way, Boston won the AL pennant, with Bill Carrigan coaching it to a 91-63 record. On May 19, Boston was 13-15 and seven games out of first, but went 78-48 the rest of the way to win the league by two games over the White Sox and four games over Detroit. Surprisingly, the Red Sox couldn’t hit, having the second lowest amount of homers in the league ironically. Their pitching staff, led by Ruth, had the lowest AL team ERA.

Boston then won its second consecutive World Series, defeating the Robins, four games to one. Ruth pitched 14 innings in game two to give Boston a 2-1 victory. He allowed six hits and one run.

Wikipedia says, “In 1916, there was attention focused on Ruth for his pitching, as he engaged in repeated pitching duels with the ace of the Washington Senators, Walter Johnson. The two met five times during the season, with Ruth winning four and Johnson one (Ruth had a no decision in Johnson’s victory). Two of Ruth’s victories were by the score of 1–0, one in a 13-inning game. Of the 1–0 shutout decided without extra innings, AL President Ban Johnson stated, ‘That was one of the best ball games I have ever seen.’”<

shawkey

P-Bob Shawkey, New York Yankees, 25 Years Old

24-14, 2.21 ERA, 122 K, .183, 0 HR, 4 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 50 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Saves-8

Games Finished-24

1st Time All-Star-James Robert “Bob” or “Sailor” Shawkey was born on December 4, 1890 in Sigel, PA. The five-foot-11, 168 pound righty pitcher started with Philadelphia in 1913, pitching in the World Series in 1914. He started one game, giving up three runs (two earned) in five innings and received the loss. In the middle of 1915, Shawkey was purchased by the New York Yankees from the Philadelphia Athletics for $3,000. Sailor came to life this year, finishing seventh in WAR (6.9); third in WAR for Pitchers (7.1), behind Walter Johnson (9.8) and Babe Ruth (8.8); eighth in ERA (2.21); eighth in innings pitched (276 2/3); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (132).

As for the Yankees, the Bill Donovan-managed team moved up from fifth to fourth with a 80-74 record. They had average hitting and pitching and finished with an average record.

SABR says, “Shawkey was acquired by the Yankees midway through an uninspired 1915 season. His 1916 season was outstanding: a 17-10 record in 27 starts, plus a 7-4 record and league-leading eight saves in 26 relief appearances. His 24 wins were second in the AL behind Walter Johnson, and his 2.21 ERA ranked eighth in the league. Shawkey’s work as both a starter and reliever in 1916 was unusual: The only other pitcher in major league history to start at least 24 games, and finish at least 24 games as a reliever, was Mordecai Brown in 1911. Shawkey ‘is beyond any doubt one of the best right-handers in the game,’ wrote Grantland Rice. Shawkey attributed his success in 1916 partly ‘to the fact that he drove his high-power racing car in moderation.’ He left the vehicle at home in the spring so that it would not be a distraction.”>

coveleski2

P-Harry Coveleski, Detroit Tigers, 30 Years Old

1914

21-11, 1.97 ERA, 108 K, .212, 0 HR, 7 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as P-119 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1914, Coveleski had a good, if not All-Star, 1915, finishing 22-13 with a 2.45 ERA. This season, The Giant Killer finished eighth in WAR (6.6); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.5); fourth in ERA (1.97); second in innings pitched for the third consecutive season (324 1/3), behind only Walter Johnson (369 2/3); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (145).

Hughie Jennings managed Detroit to a third place 87-67 record, four games out of first. The Tigers, led by Ty Cobb, led the league in runs scored, but their pitching lacked, as they gave up the second most runs in the American League. Detroit was actually up by a game as late as Sept. 17, but went 4-7 the rest of the year to fall out of the running.

SABR says, “In 1916 he was even better, as his 1.97 ERA ranked fourth in the league and he pitched a career-best 324 1/3 innings, finishing the season with a record of 21-11. For the three year span of 1914-1916, Coveleski had won 65 games against only 36 defeats, and tossed 940 1/3 innings. The heavy workload proved too great for his well-traveled left arm, however, and, according to newspaper reports, his wing ‘went back on him’ during 1917 spring training. Coveleski struggled through 11 starts, winding up with a record of 4-6 before he was shelved for the season. He managed only one start in 1918 before drawing his release.

“Coveleski passed away on August 4, 1950 at the age of 64. He was buried in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, in Shamokin.”

maysc

P-Carl Mays, Boston Red Sox, 24 Years Old

18-13, 2.39 ERA, 76 K, .234, 0 HR, 8 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-4.78

Range Factor/Game as P-2.95

1st Time All-Star-Carl William “Sub” Mays was born on November 12, 1891 in Liberty, KY. The five-foot-11, 195 pound righty started with Boston in 1915 and led the American League in games finished (27) and saves (7). This season, he finished 10th in WAR (5.3) and ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5). In the World Series, Mays got the save in Game One, pitching one-third of an inning and allowing one hit, but no runs. He was the pitcher in Boston’s only loss, starting Game Three and allowing four earned runs in five innings pitched. The Red Sox won the Series over the Robins, 4-1.

He’s going to easily make my Hall of Fame and I have a feeling a lot of pitchers who pitched a majority of their careers in the 1920s are going to be underrated due to the increased runs scored of the era. I also wonder if there were those who didn’t want to induct the only pitcher to (inadvertently) kill a batter with a throw.

Baseball Reference says, “Mays is remembered for an incident during his rookie season in which he was naive and ignorant enough to pick a fight with Ty Cobb. In one game, he threw high and inside to Cobb, and the latter replied by laying a bunt down the first base line, where Cobb plowed into him and spiked his leg. After that, the two hard men held a grudging respect for the other’s no-holds-barred sense of competitiveness.” That’s one brave man!

leonard2

P-Dutch Leonard, Boston Red Sox, 24 Years Old

1914

18-12, 2.36 ERA, 144 K, .200, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-After setting the ERA record with a 0.96 in 1914, Leonard didn’t make the All-Star team in 1915 despite a 15-7 record and a 2.36 ERA. He did pitch in the World Series and won his only start, allowing one run in nine innings. This year, Leonard finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.0); 10th in innings pitched (274); and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (117). He then pitched in the World Series, starting one game, and winning it with only one unearned run allowed. Is this Groundhog Day? I say that because if you look closely at his 1915 and 1916 seasons, they’re very similar.

Leonard also pitched a no-hitter this season against the Browns on August 30.

SABR says, “A hard-throwing, spectacularly talented left-hander who posted the best single-season earned run average in American League history in 1914, Dutch Leonard was also one of the Deadball Era’s most controversial figures. At nearly every stop along his journey in professional baseball, Leonard feuded with management over his salary, and at one point was even suspended from organized baseball for nearly three years for refusing to report for work. Regarded as a selfish, cowardly player by many of his contemporaries, Leonard frittered away much of his major league career, alternating periods of brilliance with long bouts of inertia. ‘As a pitcher, he was gutless,’ Hall of Fame umpire Billy Evans once declared. ‘We umpires had no respect for Leonard, for he whined on every pitch called against him.’” What kind of career could have Leonard had if he just focused on the game?

bushb

P-Bullet Joe Bush, Philadelphia Athletics, 23 Years Old

15-24, 2.57 ERA, 157 K, .140, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Losses-24

Wild Pitches-15

1st Time All-Star-Leslie Ambrose “Bullet Joe” Bush was born on November 27, 1892 in Ehime, MN. The five-foot-nine, 173 pound righty started with Philadelphia in 1912. In two World Series games pitched in 1913 and 1914, he went 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA. He stayed with Philadelphia even when they dumped their best players in 1915 and this year finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.6) and sixth in innings pitched (286 2/3). I thought Philadelphia would have only one player per All-Star team out of necessity, but even in their terrible years, they had a couple of good ones.

Oh, did I say terrible year? Connie Mack’s squad went 36-117, a mere 54-and-a-half games out of first. They were so bad that even the seventh place Senators were only one game below .500.

Wikipedia says, “Bush led the American League in losses (24) in 1916, walks allowed (109) in 1924, and wild pitches in 1916 (15), 1923 (12) and 1924 (7). While with the Athletics in 1916, when he led the league in losses, he won 15 games; the entire team won only 36 during what was then a Major League-worst 36-117 (.235 won-loss percentage) season. This was 41.7% of the team’s total wins. On August 26 of that season, Bush no-hit the Cleveland Indians 5-0 at Shibe Park; a first inning, leadoff walk to Jack Graney was the only baserunner that kept him from a perfect game.” I can imagine how difficult it was to pitch on a team that lost day after day. Can you imagine where the A’s would have been without Bullet Joe?

harperh

P-Harry Harper, Washington Senators, 21 Years Old

14-10, 2.45 ERA, 149 K, .207, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 24 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Harry Clayton Harper was born on April 24, 1895 in Hackensack, NJ, the same city as Miss Teschmacher’s mom.

From Superman, the Movie (as opposed to what?):

Miss Teschmacher: [after learning that there is a missile heading toward Hackensack] Lex, my mother lives in Hackensack.

[Luthor checks his watch and shrugs]

Back to Harper. He started with Washington as an 18-year-old in 1913. This season, he finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.9). It must be tough pitching under the shadow of Walter Johnson.

SABR says, “Harper’s professional baseball career began in 1913. He was a protégé of pitcher George Davis, who had gone with 18-year-old Harry to his home in order to secure his mother’s consent for him to join the Washington Senators.4 His first appearance was in the big leagues, for the Senators, working the last three innings in the second game of a doubleheader on June 27, 1913, against the visiting Philadelphia Athletics. He gave up one run in the 11-5 loss. ‘Harper did so well yesterday,’ wrote the Washington Post, “that Griffith was thoroughly tickled.” The paper observed that he ‘has much to learn about fielding his position’ but was impressed that he had not been intimidated by ‘such a collection of vicious hitters as the Athletics.’

“Harper went on a postseason trip of all-stars and impressed Johnny Evers, who agreed with Griffith that ‘he must be classed with the best left-handers in either league.’ He was given the nickname ‘South,’ reflecting his status as a southpaw.”

weilman3

P-Carl Weilman, St. Louis Browns, 26 Years Old

1914 1915

17-18, 2.15 ERA, 91 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Weilman once again had a  losing record and once again made the American League All-Star team. He finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.6), seventh in ERA (2.15), ninth in innings pitched (276), and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (126).

His Browns had a new manager, Fielder Jones, and improved from sixth to fifth with a 79-75 record. They were second in the league in OBP, thanks to George Sisler, and were third in the league in ERA, thanks to Zeke.

SABR speaks of his later life, stating, “[H]is 1917 season was cut short in early May by his nemesis, mycobacterium tuberculosis; the contemptible pathogen had infected one of his kidneys. The tubercular kidney was surgically removed on May 17, 1917, eight days after his wife gave birth to their only child, daughter Mary Louise.

“Weilman sat out the remainder of the 1917 season and all of the 1918 season, endeavoring to regain his strength and fitness. Many doubted that he would return to baseball. He could earn a comfortable living as a machinist and avoid the physical strain of pitching. But Weilman returned to the Browns in 1919 with a performance worthy of a Comeback Player of the Year Award.

“[Starting in 1921], Weilman scouted for the Browns, and during spring training served as a pitching coach. He became critically ill in the spring of 1924 and died in Hamilton on May 25, 1924. The cause of death was tuberculosis of the throat.

“George Sisler, now manager of the Browns, said Weilman ‘stood for something more than baseball to us. … He was ever uncomplaining regardless of what happened to him. He was a genuine real friend who was a help to all who knew him.’”

russell2

P-Reb Russell, Chicago White Sox, 27 Years Old

1913

18-11, 2.42 ERA, 112 K, .143, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-0.942

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.430

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1913, Russell faltered in 1914 and 1915, but is back this season. He finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.2), with the ability not to allow people on base.

Chicago almost won the American League title, finishing two games behind Boston. Pants Rowland guided the White Sox to a 89-65 finish. They were in first as late as August 8, but never made it back to the top after that. Thanks to Eddie Collins, the Sox scored the third most runs in the league and, thanks to Russell, had the best ERA in the AL.

Wikipedia summarizes the rest of his career, saying, “Russell helped the White Sox win the 1917 American League pennant, with a won-loss record of 15–5 and an ERA of 1.95. He was the starting pitcher of Game 5 of the 1917 World Series, but was unable to retire a batter and was replaced in the first inning by Eddie Cicotte.

“Russell developed arm trouble in 1918 and, after a poor start, he was released by Chicago. However, in the minor leagues the decent-hitting Russell converted to playing the outfield and returned to the majors in 1922, playing for Pittsburgh. That year, he batted .368 with 75 RBI in 60 games. He was released by the Pirates at the end of the 1923 season, after which he returned to the minor league American Association (the highest level of minor league play in his era). Russell remained a highly paid star in the AA through age 40, and won the league batting title (.385) when he was 38 years old.”

Russell died at the age of 84 on September 30, 1973 in Indianapolis.

nunamaker

C-Les Nunamaker, New York Yankees, 27 Years Old

.296, 0 HR, 28 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Leslie Grant “Les” Nunamaker was born on January 25, 1889 in Malcolm, NE. The six-foot-two, 190 pound catcher started with Boston in 1911. Then on May 13, 1914, the Yankees purchased him from the Red Sox. In a weak year for catchers, Nunamaker slashed .296/.380/.404 for an OPS+ of 133 and made the list.

 SABR says, “Ornery, rambunctious, and immensely talented, Leslie Nunamaker became one of baseball’s stoutest hitting and best throwing catchers during the last decade of the Deadball Era—and one of the game’s colorful personalities. Cut from the same temperamental cloth as contemporaries Ty Cobb and John McGraw, Nunamaker was prone to explosive on-field behavior that resulted in an assortment of ejections and punishments in his 12-year American League career. “Leslie Nunamaker wants to run amuck when he gets mad,” Washington Post reporter J.V. Fitz Gerald remarked in 1918 after witnessing one of the catcher’s outbursts. Nunamaker got mad often, and his irascible nature often attracted as much publicity as his tremendous physical gifts and feats on the diamond. Equipped with a magnificent right arm, he once threw out three baserunners in an inning, tying a major-league record. His bat could be equally formidable: Twice he led American League catchers in hitting and might have done so again had he not been seriously injured in an automobile accident while still in his prime.

“Leslie Nunamaker developed carcinoma of the thyroid and died from complications in Hastings on November 14, 1938, at the age of 49. He is buried in Aurora, [Nebraska].”

schalk3

C-Ray Schalk, Chicago White Sox, 23 Years Old

1914 1915

.232, 0 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. 44 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-653 (4th Time)

Assists as C-166

Fielding % as C-.988 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-I’m giving Schalk a chance to make my Hall of Fame, but it’s not much. He’ll have to make it on his defense and, wouldn’t you know it, he continues to do so. This year his OPS+ was only 84 as he slashed .232/.311/.305, but he’s still here thanks to finishing fifth in Defensive WAR (1.7). The question will be how often his glove will carry him.

Wikipedia says, “In 1916, Schalk had a career-high 30 stolen bases (a record for a catcher, until John Wathan broke it in 1982) and led the league in fielding percentage, putouts assistsand range factor as the White Sox finished in second place, only two games behind the Boston Red Sox. His pitch-calling skills were evident as he guided the White Sox pitching staff to the lowest earned run average in the league.”

I like this from SABR, which states, “Another off-field adventure drew the ire of owner Charles Comiskey. Looking to use the Chicago skyline’s newly constructed Tribune Tower for a promotional stunt, a movie company came upon the idea of using Schalk to catch a ball dropped from the top of the Tower – a height of 463 feet. Smiling for the cameras, Cracker caught the third ball tossed. ‘Didn’t sting me any more than one of those high fouls Babe Ruth used to hit,’ he later said. But Comiskey caught wind of the stunt and was irate when Schalk arrived at the ballpark later that day. Comiskey chided Schalk over the consequences had his star catcher misjudged the ball. Schalk’s unadorned response – ‘But I didn’t misjudge it’ – did not placate the Old Roman.”

sisler

1B-George Sisler, St. Louis Browns, 23 Years Old

.305, 4 HR, 76 RBI, 1-2, 1.00 ERA, 12 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 1B-24

1st Time All-Star-“Gorgeous George” Harold Sisler was born on March 24, 1893 in Manchester, OH. The five-foot-11, 170 pound lefty first baseman would be one the American League’s great hitters for a while. He started with the Browns in 1915 and this season, finished 10th in Offensive WAR (4.2), eighth in batting (.305), eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (133), and was a poor 34 for 60 stealing.

SABR stated, “The highlight of his rookie season was a 2-1 win over Walter Johnson on August 29 in which he limited the Senators to six hits and struck out three, winning the game thanks to Del Pratt‘s successful execution of the hidden ball trick. For the remainder of his life, Sisler spoke of that game as his greatest thrill in baseball. ‘Sisler can be counted a baseball freak,’ the Washington Post reported the next day. ‘[Rickey] plays him in the outfield and he makes sensational catches… he plays him on first base and actually he looks like Hal Chase when Hal was king of the first sackers, and then on the hill he goes out and beats Johnson.’

Wikipedia says, “Sisler entered the major leagues as a pitcher for the Browns in 1915. He posted a career pitching record of 5–6 with a 2.35 earned run average in 24 career mound appearances. He defeated Walter Johnson twice in complete-game victories. In 1916, Sisler moved to first base, and finished the season with a batting average above .300 for the first of seven consecutive seasons. He also had 34 stolen bases that season, and stole at least 28 bases in every season through 1922.”

pipp

1B-Wally Pipp, New York Yankees, 23 Years Old

.262, 12 HR, 93 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-12

Strikeouts-82

Power-Speed #-13.7

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

Double Plays Turned as 1B-89 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Walter Clement “Wally” Pipp was born on February 17, 1893 in Chicago, IL. The six-foot-one, 180 pound lefty first baseman started with Detroit in 1913. Then on February 4, 1915, he was purchased with Hugh High by the New York Yankees from the Detroit Tigers. The fact he made an All-Star team should convince you he shouldn’t only be famous for missing a game and having Lou Gehrig take over, thus losing his position. He was a decent player in his own right.

SABR says, “Tall, lithe-limbed and broad-shouldered, the 6′ 2″, 180 lb. Wally Pipp carried himself with an unmistakable air of confidence and distinction, befitting one of the Deadball Era’s premier sluggers. Whether disembarking from a train, haggling with management over bonus money, scooping up grounders around first base, or swatting home runs, Pipp ‘was a high-class specimen of the ball player,’ New York Times reporter James R. Harrison observed. ‘On and off the field, he was a prime favorite.’ A harbinger for the style of play that would grip the game beginning in the 1920s, in 1916 the left-handed, free-swinging Pipp became the first player in American League history to lead the league in both home runs and strikeouts. In addition to his batting exploits, Pipp was one of the finest defensive first basemen of the Deadball Era; in 1915, he led all American League first basemen in putouts, assists, double plays, and fielding percentage.” He’ll make at least one more All-Star team and I’ll tell the Gehrig story then.

collinse8

2B-Eddie Collins, Chicago White Sox, 29 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915

.308, 0 HR, 52 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as 2B-75 (4th Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.976 (5th Time)

8th Time All-Star-Part of the appeal of this great game is stockier people like Babe Ruth and smaller people like Jose Altuve and Collins can all succeed. If I worked hard and had any talent, I could play baseball with my body frame, but it would be difficult for me to make it in basketball or football. Collins was small and had no power, but even in the 1920s, when homers were more prevalent, Collins still had some great seasons. He had the attitude of a winner and everywhere he went, victories followed.

This season, Collins finished fifth in WAR (7.1); third in WAR Position Players (7.1), behind Tris Speaker (8.7) and Ty Cobb (8.0); fourth in Offensive WAR (6.2); sixth in batting (.308); third in on-base percentage (.405), trailing Speaker (.470) and Cobb (.452); fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (140); and was a mediocre 40 for 61 stealing bases.

A website called Baseball Egg names Collins the second greatest second baseman of all-time. It says, “Collins rates behind Rogers Hornsby and ahead of Joe Morgan in second place on our list of the 100 greatest second basemen in baseball history. Collins was a great player at the age of 22 and a very good player at the age of 39. In between, he never had a bad season. He came into the league at almost the exact time as Ty Cobb and the two were together in the AL for 23 seasons. They were teammates for the last two years of Cobb’s career with the Athletics, but both were pretty ancient by then and served as part-time players for Connie Mack.”

pratt3

2B-Del Pratt, St. Louis Browns, 28 Years Old

1914 1915

.267, 5 HR, 103 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. 50 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-158 (4th Time)

Runs Batted In-103

Assists-491

Def. Games as 2B-158 (3rd Time)

Putouts as 2B-438 (4th Time)

Assists as 2B-491

Errors Committed as 2B-33 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.88 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Pratt, the durable second baseman, made his third consecutive All-Star team for the improving Browns. He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.8) and seventh in Offensive WAR (4.4). He would have got a lot of attention in some MVP votes for the 103 RBI.

A website called Historic Baseball says, “Pratt signed with the St. Louis Browns and proved to be a versatile player on the field. In his career, he played second base, shortstop, third base and in the outfield. He earned a reputation for being a hard-nosed player on the field and someone who would argue with his coaches, managers and owners off the field. Pratt even filed a lawsuit against the owner of St. Louis Browns when he suggested that the team had let up in a game. The suit was settled out of court — in Pratt’s favor.

“In 1916, Pratt hit  .267 with five home runs and drove in 103 runs. His RBI total led the American League.

“Pratt had quite a reputation for his temper and his willingness to fight anyone who insulted him. One of the stories of that temper came from his time in St. Louis. During the IntraCity Exhibition games between the Browns and the Cardinals, Pratt is described as becoming quite angry over an insult hurled at him from the Cardinals dugout.

“An angry Pratt ran into the Cardinals’ dugout and punched out rookie Zinn Beck. After that, the entire Cardinals team decided to defend their player.

“When the fight had ended, Pratt was unharmed except for a couple of bruises. The fight did earn him a suspension that forced him to miss two games of the exhibition series.”

gardner3

3B-Larry Gardner, Boston Red Sox, 30 Years Old

1911 1912

.308, 2 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. 88 percent chance)

3rd Time All-Star-As all of you know, making my All-Star team is the most prestigious honor any player can earn. That’s why Gardner’s hitting slump from 1913-15 hurt him, because if he would have made this list just one time in those three years, he’d be almost a guarantee for another great prize, making my Hall of Fame. He did make the World Series in 1915, hitting .235 (four-for-17) with a triple in helping Boston win the championship.

This season, Gardner finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.7); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.7); fifth in batting (.308); and eighth in on-base percentage (.372). He didn’t hit for a great average in the Series, batting only .176, but did hit two homers. One was in the fifth game, an inside-the-park homer that gave Boston a 3-2 lead they’d never relinquish. Or as SABR and Grantland Rice say, “In Game Four, with two men on base and Boston down 2-0, Gardner hit a fastball from Rube Marquard for an inside-the-park homer, giving the Red Sox a 3-2 lead they never relinquished. ‘That one blow, delivered deep into the barren lands of center field, broke Marquard’s heart, shattered Brooklyn’s wavering defense, and practically closed out the series,’ wrote Grantland Rice. Boston went on to win in five games, and Larry Gardner was considered the hero of the Series. As Tim Murnane put it, he had ‘a way of rising to the occasion as a trout rises to a fly in one of his favorite Vermont streams.’”

peckinpaugh

SS-Roger Peckinpaugh, New York Yankees, 25 Years Old

.255, 4 HR, 58 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 92 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as SS-145 (2nd Time)

Assists as SS-468

1st Time All-Star-Roger Thorpe Peckinpaugh was born on February 5, 1891 in Wooster, OH. The five-foot-10, 165 pound shortstop started with Cleveland in 1910. Then on May 25, 1913, he was traded by the Cleveland Naps to the New York Yankees for Jack Lelivelt and Bill Stumpf. He would have some success for the Yankees, mainly because of his glove. This season, Peckinpaugh finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.4) and third in Defensive WAR (2.0), behind Ossie Vitt (2.6) and Doc Lavan (2.1).

SABR says, “Jacob Ruppert and Cap Huston bought the New York franchise after the 1914 season and started turning the Yankees into winners. Ruppert hired Wild Bill Donovan to take the managerial reins but he kept Peck as captain. With the Federal League dangling big money in front of established stars, the Yankees signed Peck to a three-year contract at $6,000 per year for 1915 to 1917. While he continued to post pedestrian batting averages over that span–topping out at .260 with 63 runs scored in the final year of his contract–Peckinpaugh repaid the Yankees’ loyalty with his glove, leading the league in assists in 1916 and double plays the following year. To aid his fielding, Peck liked to chew Star plug tobacco, and then rub the juice into his glove. ‘[It] was licorice-flavored and it made my glove sticky,’ he later said. He also used the tobacco to darken the ball, ‘and the pitchers liked that. The batters did not, but…there was only one umpire[sic].’”

jackson5LF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, Chicago White Sox, 28 Years Old

1911 1912 1913 1914

.341, 3 HR, 78 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

 

Led in:

 

Total Bases-293 (2nd Time)

Triples-21 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-64

Double Plays Turned as LF-5

5th Time All-Star-Most likely, Shoeless Joe is never going to make it into Cooperstown and that’s okay with me. As a Reds fan, I’m asked if Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame and I’m actually good with him not being there. If you want to be in the Hall of Fame, don’t gamble on games. However, the reason I have the ONEHOF (the One-a-Year Hall of Fame in which one player is inducted yearly) and Ron’s Hall of Fame is that players will be inducted on stats only. To get in my HOF, I multiply All-Star seasons by Career WAR and if the number is 300 or over, you’re in. No judgments on personality or wrong doings. If you’re a great player, you’re in. This year, Jackson is in. He is the sixth rightfielder inducted along with Sam Crawford, Sam Thompson, Elmer Flick, Willie Keeler, and King Kelly.

After not making the All-Star team in 1915, a year in which he was traded from Cleveland to Chicago, he was back to his old self this season, finishing sixth in WAR (7.0); fourth in WAR Position Players (7.0); third in Offensive WAR (6.8), behind centerfielders Ty Cobb (8.7) and Tris Speaker (8.6); third in batting (.341), trailing Speaker (.386) and Cobb (.371); fifth in on-base percentage (.393); second in slugging (.495), behind The Grey Eagle (.502); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (166), lagging behind Speaker (186) and the Georgia Peach (179). You could form an unbeatable outfield with Speaker, Cobb, and Shoeless Joe on your team.

veach2

LF-Bobby Veach, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old

1915

.306, 3 HR, 89 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as LF-5

2nd Time All-Star-Veach was in a great stretch of seasons and made the All-Star team for the second consecutive year. He finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.0); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.4); seventh in batting (.306); 10th in on-base percentage (.367); fourth in slugging (.433); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (136). He still has greater years to come.

Wikipedia says, “On June 9, 1916, Veach scored a run to end Babe Ruth‘s scoreless innings streak at 25. Ruth then evened the score with one of the longest home runs ever at Navin Field, deep into the right field bleachers.”

If Veach doesn’t make my Hall of Fame, and right now it looks like he’s going to fall a little short, it’s going to be because of his defense. Most of these great players are good at bat and good in the field, but not this leftfielder, at least according to Baseball Reference dWAR. He also was one of those players who played in wrong era as he was already 32 by the time the Roaring Twenties and their emphasis on the long ball came. He did have back-to-back seasons of double digit homers in 1920 and 1921, but then started to decline after that.

Veach does get some Hall of Fame interest online, but most of it seems to come from his RBIs. However, when you hit behind Ty Cobb, it’s easy to have opportunities to drive in runs, so that’s a weak argument. The only way Veach will make my Hall is he has an unexpected All-Star season and that’s not impossible.

shotton4

LF-Burt Shotton, St. Louis Browns, 31 Years Old

1912 1913 1915

.283, 1 HR, 36 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

At-Bats-614

Plate Appearances-727

Bases on Balls-110 (2nd Time)

Caught Stealing-28

Def. Games as LF-156

Putouts as LF-357

Assists as LF-25

Errors Committed as LF-20 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as LF-5

Def. Games as OF-156 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as OF-20 (4th Time)

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.45

4th Time All-Star-Shotton made his fourth All-Star game in five years, but most likely it’s his last. This was his best season ever, though his base stealing continued to be miserable. He stole just 41 of 69 attempts. He did show great range in the outfield and continued to do well at drawing the base on balls.

Of his famous managing gig, Wikipedia says, “He inherited a contending Brooklyn team that had finished in a flatfooted tie for the 1946 National League pennant before losing a playoff series to the Cardinals. He also inherited what historian Jules Tygiel called Baseball’s Great Experiment — the Dodgers’ breaking of the infamous color line by bringing up Jackie Robinson from their Triple-A Montreal Royals farm club at the start of the 1947 season to end over sixty years of racial segregation in baseball. The rookie was facing withering insults from opposing players, and a petition by Dodger players protesting Robinson’s presence had only recently been quashed by Durocher.”

Though Shotton was Robinson’s main manager in 1947, he wasn’t his first. Clyde Sukeforth helmed the first two games of the season. However, it was Shotton who bore the brunt of this circus and from all I can read, kept the team calm throughout.

Wikipedia continues, “Shotton died in Lake Wales, Florida, from a heart attack at age 77 during the second All-Star break in 1962. Although his career win-loss record as a big league manager was 697–764 (.477), his mark with the Dodgers was 326–215 (.603).”

speaker8

CF-Tris Speaker, Cleveland Indians, 28 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915

.386, 2 HR, 79 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

1916 AL Batting Title

WAR Position Players-8.7 (3rd Time)

Batting Average-.386

On-Base %-.470 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.502

On-Base Plus Slugging-.972

Hits-211 (2nd Time)

Doubles-41 (3rd Time)

Singles-160

Adjusted OPS+-186

Adj. Batting Runs-64 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-7.1 (3rd Time)

Times On Base-297 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as CF-151 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as CF-10 (5th Time)

Double Plays Turned as OF-10 (5th Time)

8th Time All-Star-With his eighth All-Star team made at centerfield, The Grey Eagle tied Paul Hines for most All-Star teams at that position. Here’s the whole list:

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Nap Lajoie, 11

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Honus Wagner, 13

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Hines, Speaker, 8

RF-Sam Crawford, 9

Scott Maxwell has a website called Son of Sam Horn or SOSH that details Boston sports. He has an excellent article on why Speaker was traded to Cleveland between the 1915 and 1916 seasons and I suggest you read the whole thing. Here’s some of it:

“Despite Speaker’s reluctance, Lannin traded Speaker to Cleveland on April 9th, three days before the season began. The deal sent Boston $55,000 (roughly $1.25M today) in cash, along with players Sad Sam Jones, a relief pitcher, and Fred Thomas, a utility infielder. It was all about the money, and it set an unfortunate precedent. The deal rocked the baseball world. Red Sox players were stunned at the news, and opponents were delighted. Fans were shocked and mourned the loss of the team’s best player and two-time champion.

“Speaker continued his Hall of Fame career, finally pushing his way past Ty Cobb to win the 1916 batting title with a career-high .386 average. Despite having a remarkable .345 average over his 22-year career, it was the only batting title he ever won. To put it in context, Speaker’s 186 OPS+ that year is tied on the all-time list with Manny Ramirez’s 2000 campaign during which he batted .351 and hit 38 HR, good enough for a career-high 1.154 OPS.”

cobb10

CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 29 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915

.371, 5 HR, 68 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1915)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

 

Led in:

 

Offensive WAR-8.7 (6th Time)

Runs Scored-113 (5th Time)

Stolen Bases-68 (5th Time)

Runs Created-125 (6th Time)

Offensive Win %-.851 (9th Time)

Errors Committed as CF-17 (2nd Time)

10th Time All-Star-When a player makes this list as often as Cobb does, it can be difficult to find new things to write every year. However, that’s not a problem for the Georgia Peach, because he was such a big personality who did numerous non-baseball (and non-gentlemanly) extra-curricular activities. That’s why I like to focus on his baseball. Like how Cobb has made 10 consecutive All-Star teams and is not yet 30. How he might already at this time be the fourth greatest player of all-time, behind Cy Young, Honus Wagner, and Cap Anson. (You can see the full list here.) If I just concentrate on baseball, it’s a pretty picture.

This season, Cobb finished fourth in WAR (8.0); second in WAR Position Players (8.0), behind Cleveland centerfielder Tris Speaker (8.7); first in Offensive WAR (8.7); second in batting (.371), trailing Speaker (.386); second in on-base percentage (.452), behind The Grey Eagle (.470); third in slugging (.493), with Speaker (.502) and White Sox leftfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson (.495) ahead of him; second in Adjusted OPS+ (179), behind Speaker (186); and finished an acceptable 68 for 92 stealing.

Here’s another fascinating story about Cobb from Cut4: “Pop quiz hotshot: It’s 1916 and baseball season hasn’t started yet. What’s going to be the biggest news in sports? If you answered “Ty Cobb losing a diamond ring,” then ding, ding, ding, we have a winner.

“On March 11, 1916, the Toledo Bee reported that Cobb was ‘mourning the loss of a $600 diamond ring which he has been wearing for the past 10 years,’ with the ring likely residing somewhere along ‘the Big Four railroad tracks between Ivorydale and Lockland, near Cincinnati.’ The Tigers star had lost the jewelry while washing in a ‘new style basin’ — whatever that is.

“Two weeks later, the Pittsburgh Press reported that the ring was found by ‘Richard Harley, son of a railroad laborer,’ in the Elmwood Place neighborhood of Cincinnati. The paper made sure to note that in the time since Cobb had lost it, ‘every youngster in the neighborhood has been searching for the ring.’” Read the whole article by Michael Clair.

strunk2

CF-Amos Strunk, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

1915

.316, 3 HR, 49 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-It’s important to realize Strunk had a tremendous season and some years he would have been the best centerfielder in the league. Not this year, not with the seasons Cleveland’s Tris Speaker and Detroit’s Ty Cobb had. It was still Strunk’s best season ever as he finished ninth in WAR (5.6); fifth in WAR Position Players (5.6); fifth in Offensive WAR (5.4); fourth in batting (.316); sixth in on-base percentage (.393); seventh in slugging (.421); fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (151); and was a terrible 21-for-44 stealing.

Wikipedia has the wrap-up, saying, “Strunk reached the majors in 1908 with the Athletics, spending nine years with them before moving to the Boston Red Sox (1918–19), and played again for Philadelphia (1919–20) and in parts of four seasons with the Chicago White Sox (1920–23). Then, he returned with the Athletics in 1924, his last major league season. Five times he led American League outfielders in fielding percentage, and played in five World Series with the Athletics (191011191314) and Red Sox (1918).

“In a 17-season career, Strunk was a .284 hitter (1418-for-4999) with 15 home runs and 530 RBI in 1512 games played, including 696 runs, 213 doubles, 96 triples and 185 stolen bases.

“Following his baseball career, Strunk spent fifty years in the insurance business. He died in Llanerch, Pennsylvania, at the age of 90.

“He was the last surviving member of the 1910, 1911 and 1913 World Champion Philadelphia Athletics.” He played on some of the best and worst teams of all time.

felsch

CF-Happy Felsch, Chicago White Sox, 24 Years Old

.300, 7 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as CF-.981

Fielding % as OF-.981

1st Time All-Star-Oscar Emil “Happy” Felsch was born on August 22, 1891 in Milwaukee, WI. The five-foot-11, 175 pound centerfielder started with Chicago in 1915 and was, of course, one of the eight Black Sox banned from the game for his role in fixing the 1919 World Series. More on that down the road. For now, this season Felsch finished ninth in batting (.300); sixth in slugging (.427); and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (130).

SABR says, “The coming 1916 baseball season surely brought hope to Felsch and the White Sox. The promising club advanced to second place, overcoming a slow start to finish only two games behind the Red Sox. Charles Comiskey, the White Sox owner, was spending money to make money. Adding a pitcher of the caliber of Claude ‘Lefty’ Williams to a staff that already included stars Eddie Cicotte, Red Faber, and Reb Russell helped the White Sox break their attendance record with 679,923 fans, 140,462 more than in 1915.

“Comiskey Park loyalists enjoyed watching Felsch belt seven home runs, out of a team total of 17. He led the Deadball Era White Sox and tied for third in the American League. Suddenly the sophomore from the sandlots of Milwaukee was in the upper echelon of AL hitters as he batted an even .300 and finished sixth in the league with a slugging average of .427. Under the tutelage of coach William ‘Kid’ Gleason, the sure-handed Hap, an honorable mention member on Baseball Magazine’s AL All-America Baseball Club, topped all AL outfielders with a fielding percentage of .981.”