1910 National League All-Star Team

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Nap Rucker, BRO

P-Earl Moore, PHI

P-King Cole, CHC

P-Doc Scanlan, BRO

P-George Suggs, CIN

P-Mordecai Brown, CHC

P-Cy Barger, BRO

P-Buster Brown, BSN

P-George Bell, BRO

C-Larry McLean, CIN

C-Roger Bresnahan, STL

1B-Ed Konetchy, STL

2B-Johnny Evers, CHC

2B-Larry Doyle, NYG

3B-Bobby Byrne, PIT

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

SS-Al Bridwell, NYG

SS-Mickey Doolin, PHI

LF-Sherry Magee, PHI

CF-Solly Hofman, CHC

CF-Fred Snodgrass, NYG

CF-Dode Paskert, CIN

CF-Johnny Bates, PHI

 

mathewson9P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 29 Years Old, 1909 ONEHOF Inductee

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908 1909

27-9, 1.89 ERA, 184 K, .234, 1 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-8.8 (4th Time)

WAR for Pitchers-8.0 (5th Time)

Wins-27 (4th Time)

Complete Games-27 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.067 (5th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-158 (4th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.96 (6th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-36 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.0 (3rd Time)

Assists as P-114 (4th Time)

Range Factor/Game as P-3.32

9th Time All-Star-It took making nine All-Star teams, but at the still young age of 29, Christy Mathewson is the 1910 One-A-Year Hall of Fame Inductee. The ONEHOF picks the one greatest player every year who hasn’t already been inducted into its hallowed halls. Next year’s nominees are Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Eddie Plank, Vic Willis, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, Joe McGinnity, Sam Crawford, and Roger Bresnahan.

New York again fell short in its pennant hunt, finishing 13 games behind the Cubs. It had the league’s best hitting, led by centerfielder Fred Snodgrass and the league’s second best pitching, led by Big Six, but it wasn’t enough.

Mathewson finished first in WAR (8.8); first in WAR for Pitchers (8.0); third in ERA (1.89), behind two Chicago pitchers, King Cole (1.80) and Three Finger Brown (1.86); second in innings pitched (318 1/3), trailing Brooklyn’s Nap Rucker (320 1/3); and first in Adjusted ERA+ (158).

Larry Brunt writes in a Hall of Fame page, “Baseball in the beginning of the 20th century was considered an undignified game, played by ruffians for the pleasure of gamblers. In fact, many players did come from tough backgrounds, swinging out of coal mines and pitching out of farmlands to eke out a living at baseball. Few had college educations. Even fewer were seen as virtuous. Mothers (Mathewson’s included) did not want their sons to grow up to be baseball players.

“Christy Mathewson changed all that. And the combination of his talent on the field and charisma off it helped him become one of the first five members of the Hall of Fame in 1936.”

rucker4

P-Nap Rucker, Brooklyn Superbas, 25 Years Old

1907 1908 1909

17-18, 2.58 ERA, 147 K, .209, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Innings Pitched-320 1/3

Games Started-39

Complete Games-27

Shutouts-6

Hits Allowed-293

Batters Faced-1,261

4th Time All-Star-It would be interesting to see what Rucker would have done in his career on a good team. Playing for the pathetic Brooklyn Superbas, he struggled to win more than he lost, but you can’t blame him. He started just about every fourth game for seven straight years and was one of league’s best pitchers every single one of those seasons. This season, he finished second in WAR (7.3), behind only New York’s Christy Mathewson (8.8); second in WAR for Pitchers (7.0), again trailing only Big Six (8.0); 10th in ERA (2.58); and first in innings pitched (320 1/3).

Bill Dahlen took over the managing duties from Harry Lumley, but the team still finished sixth, though its record improved to 64-90. The team was a terrible 40 games out of first, but it wasn’t because of the pitching, which features four All-Star hurlers. It all had to do with the worst hitting in the league.

Despite rarely pitching for a good team, Rucker didn’t complain. SABR says, “Still, the gentlemanly Rucker loved pitching for the blue-collar borough. ‘It’s got New York beaten by three bases,’ he told a reporter in 1912. ‘You can get a good night’s rest in Brooklyn. You meet more real human beings in Brooklyn. Your life is safer in Brooklyn.’

“His record improved to 17-18 in 1910, the year he led the NL with 320 innings pitched, 27 complete games, and six shutouts.” He was the Ernie Banks of his day, the best player on a bad team.

moore3

P-Earl Moore, Philadelphia Phillies, 32 Years Old

1901 1909

22-15, 2.58 ERA, 185 K, .230, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-185

Shutouts-6

3rd Time All-Star-Moore is a fascinating study in resilience, as he had a terrible injury in 1905, but is now back as one of the top pitchers in the National League. Not only that, but he’s not making it through guile, as evidenced by his league-leading 185 strikeouts. This was Crossfire’s best season ever, finishing fourth in WAR (5.8); third in WAR for Pitchers (5.6), behind New York’s Christy Mathewson (8.0) and Brooklyn’s Nap Rucker (7.0); ninth in ERA (2.58); sixth in innings pitched (283); and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (120).

Red Dooin took over managing the Phillies and the team improved from fifth to fourth with 78-75 record, 25-and-a-half games out of first. Besides Moore, their pitching wasn’t too good, but the team had some good hitting.

From SABR: “He followed it up with an electrifying 1910 campaign, pacing the league in shutouts (6) and strikeouts (185), and finishing third in wins (22). Phillies catcher–manager Red Dooin used Moore wisely, yanking him at the first sign that his pitches were not finding the plate (he lasted just one inning in a loss to the Cubs on September 16). Other times, Dooin permitted him to go the distance and even well into extra innings when Earl found a groove. Like fellow workhorses Mathewson and Three Finger Brown, he also received occasional relief assignments.

“Future Hall of Fame umpire Bill Klem marveled at Moore’s mound mastery: ‘…I believe that Earl Moore, of the Phillies, has more stuff on his ball than any other pitcher I worked behind during the summer,’ he said in January 1911.”

cole

P-King Cole, Chicago Cubs, 24 Years Old

20-4, 1.80 ERA, 114 K, .231, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1910 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.80

Hits Per 9 IP-6.534

1st Time All-Star-Leonard Leslie “King” Cole was born on April 15, 1886 in Toledo, IA. The six-foot-one, 170 pound pitcher pitched one game with the Cubs in 1909, before having his breakout year, not to mention only good year, this season. He finished fifth in WAR (5.3); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.2), first in ERA (1.80); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (158), behind only New York’s Christy Mathewson (158).

After missing out on the National League pennant in 1909, the Cubbies were back, finishing 104-50 under Frank Chance. Chicago had some of the best hitting and pitching in the league and finished 13 games ahead of the second-place Giants. However, in the World Series, they were mowed over by the Philadelphia Athletics, four games to one.

Cole started the fourth game of the series, the only one Chicago won, and pitched decently if not great, allowing three runs in eight innings. Except for Jack Pfiester, none of the Cubs’ pitchers could contain the Athletics.

After this season, Cole’s career declined quickly. Though he had an 18-7 record for Chicago in 1911, he had a high ERA. Then in 1912, he moved to mainly relief pitching for the Cubs and Pirates. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1913 and then finished his career for the Yankees in 1914 and 1915. He finished 54-27 with a 3.12 ERA and a career 5.9 WAR, which mainly came from this one season. He died of tuberculosis after the 1915 season at the age of 29.

scanlan

P-Doc Scanlan, Brooklyn Superbas, 29 Years Old

9-11, 2.61 ERA, 103 K, .203, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000

1st Time All-Star-William Dennis “Doc” Scanlan was born on March 7, 1881 in Syracuse, NY. The five-foot-eight, 165 pound pitcher started his career with the Pirates in 1903 and got traded to Brooklyn in 1904. He pitched decently for many years, but this was his best season ever as Scanlan finished eighth in WAR (5.2) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.1). All of this despite walking more than he struck out (116-103). That was something Scanlan would do throughout his career as he finished with 608 walks and 584 whiffs.

Scanlan did pitch well enough to be in the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame, which writes of him, “They didn’t call them the Daffy Dodgers. And they weren’t yet referred to as ‘Dem Bums. But the Brooklyn teams of the early 1900s fit either nickname. William Dennis ‘Doc’ Scanlan pitched for those early-20th century Dodgers. And pitch well he did. So well, in fact, that in 1906 he became only the fourth pitcher in modern major league history to win two complete games that day – beating St. Louis, 4-0 and 3-2.

“Those who previously performed the feat? ‘Big Ed’ Walsh, ‘Iron Man’ Joe McGinnity and Grover Cleveland Alexander, Hall of Famers, all. Scanlan is not enshrined in Cooperstown. But his performance during the 1905-06 seasons was rather amazing when one considers how bad those Dodgers teams were.

“‘Doc’ Scanlan was a native son of Syracuse, living on Turtle Street and attending Sacred Heart Academy. Collegiately, he played for Manhatten, Fordham and Syracuse (going from campus to campus in those days was not unusual).”

suggs

P-George Suggs, Cincinnati Reds, 27 Years Old

20-12, 2.40 ERA, 91 K, .165, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Base on Balls per 9 IP-1.624

1st Time All-Star-George Franklin Suggs was born on July 7, 1882 in Kinston, NC. The five-foot-seven 168 pound pitcher started with Detroit in 1908 and 1909, pitching just a handful of games each season. He didn’t get to pitch in the World Series either year. In the middle of 1909, he was traded by the Detroit Tigers with Frank Allen and $2,800 to Mobile (Southern Association) for Bill Lelivelt. Before the 1910 season, the Reds picked him up and they were happy they did, because Suggs finished 10th in WAR (4.8); seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.7); sixth in ERA (2.40); ninth in innings pitched (266); and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (121).

Clark Griffith continued to manage Cincinnati as it dropped from fourth to fifth with a 75-79 record, 29 games out of first. Its hitting and pitching weren’t too good. It was a typical Reds season.

From ncpedia.org: “George Franklin Suggs, professional baseball player, was the first North Carolina–born major league star of the modern era. Born and raised in Kinston, he was the son of John and Winifred Aldridge Suggs. He was educated locally and later attended Oak Ridge Academy.

“After the 1909 season his contract was purchased by the Cincinnati Reds of the National League. Given the chance to pitch, Suggs became one of the outstanding pitchers in the league. Only five feet, seven inches tall, he was a finesse pitcher, with unusually good control and a fortunate facility for picking runners off base. In 1910 he won 18 games against only 11 losses, with a superb earned run average (ERA) of 2.40, and the best walk-perinning ratio in the league.”

brown6P-Mordecai Brown, Chicago Cubs, 33 Years Old

1903 1906 1907 1908 1909

25-14, 1.86 ERA, 143 K, .175, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-1.084 (3rd Time)

Saves-7 (3rd Time)

Complete Games-27 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-6 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-Unless you were on the Yankees for a decent stretch of time, it wasn’t easy to play in a World Series. However, Three Finger Brown is back in this fourth World Series after yet another good year. He finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.0); second in ERA (1.86), behind teammate King Cole (1.80); fifth in innings pitched (295 1/3); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (153), trailing New York’s Christy Mathewson (158) and Cole (158).

Unfortunately, he had a brutal World Series. In Game 2, Brown allowed nine runs, seven earned, in seven innings, giving up 13 hits as the Cubs lost, 9-3. Four days later, he relieved for King Cole and pitched two scoreless innings, getting the win in Chicago’s 4-3 victory. He then pitched the next day and struggled again, giving up seven runs, four earned, in a complete game loss to Philadelphia as the Athletics took the Series, 4-1. Brown ended up 1-2 with a 5.50 ERA and in his four World Series combined, Miner finished 5-4 with a 2.97 ERA.

After this season, he pitched two more seasons with Chicago, going 21-11 in 1911 and dipping to 5-6 in 1912. He then went to the Reds in 1913, finishing 11-12. In 1914 and 1915, Brown pitched for the Federal League, then finished off his career with the Cubs in 1916. For his career, he finished 239-130, with a 2.06 ERA and 58.3 WAR. His ERA ranks sixth all-time. He wasn’t good for as consistently long as Mathewson, but he still was one of the National League’s best pitchers for a long time.

barger

P-Cy Barger, Brooklyn Superbas, 25 Years Old

15-15, 2.88 ERA, 87 K, .231, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Eros Bolivar “Cy” Barger was born on May 18, 1885 in Jamestown, KY. The six-foot, 160 pound pitcher started with the Highlanders in 1906-07 and then didn’t pitch in the Majors in 1908 or 1909. This season, his best ever, he finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.3) and eighth in innings pitched (271 2/3). Brooklyn didn’t have a lot going for it, but it did feature four All-Star pitchers. Barger would stick with Brooklyn through 1912 and then pitch in the Federal League in 1914 and 1915 for the Pittsburgh Rebels. He would finish with a career 46-63 record with a 3.56 ERA and a career WAR of 6.0, most of which was garnered this season.

Wikipedia says, “A native of Jamestown, Kentucky, Barger was a dead-ball era pitcher who also played first base and shortstop as well as the outfield. He went to college at Transylvania University and debuted in the majors on August 30, 1906. With the Highlanders, he had a 0–0 record in 11 innings pitched over parts of two seasons.

“In 1909, Barger led Rochester to the Eastern League title with 23 wins and minuscule 1.00 earned run average. Again in the majors with the 1910 Superbas, Barger enjoyed a career year with 15 victories and a 2.88 ERA, winning 11 games the following season. With the Rebels, he won 19 games from 1914 to 1915.” Barger died 69 days before I was born, on September 23, 1964 in Columbia, Kentucky at the age of 79.

brownb

P-Buster Brown, Boston Doves, 28 Years Old

9-23, 2.67 ERA, 88 K, .198, 1 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Charles Edward “Buster” or “Yank” Brown was born on August 31, 1881 in Boone, IA, 114 years before my niece, Chiara. The six-foot, 180 pound pitcher started with St. Louis from 1905-07, then played for Philadelphia from 1907-09, before coming over to the Doves. All of this was in the National League. This season, his best ever, he finished 10th in innings pitched (263) and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (123).

Fred Lake took over the Doves this season, but it didn’t help as they still finished last with a 53-100 record, 50-and-a-half games out of first. Their pitching wasn’t too bad, but their hitting was awful as they scored the least amount of runs in the NL.

Brown would continue pitching for the Doves through 1913. Because he pitched on so many bad teams, he ended up with a 51-103 record, despite a decent ERA of 3.21. His career WAR was 12.5.

It must have been frustrating to be a player on Cincinnati, Brooklyn, Boston, Philadelphia, or St. Louis during the 1900s and early 1910s, when only three teams, the Cubs, Giants, and Pirates dominated the National League. It was rare any of these teams even cracked the top three. The Phillies and Superbas were second and third in 1901; Brooklyn and Boston were second and third in 1902; Cincinnati was third in 1904; Philadelphia was third in 1907; and then none of them would crack the top three until Boston won it all in 1914. There was definitely a harsh dividing line between top teams and bottom dwellers in the old National League.

bell

P-George Bell, Brooklyn Superbas, 35 Years Old

10-27, 2.64 ERA, 102 K, .134, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 37 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Losses-27

1st Time All-Star-George Glenn “Farmer” Bell was born on November 2, 1874 in Greenwood, NY. The six-foot, 195 pound pitcher started with Brooklyn as a 32-year-old in 1907. This was his best season ever as he finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5) and third in innings pitched (310), behind teammate Nap Rucker (320 1/3) and New York’s Christy Mathewson (318 1/3). Farmer would pitch one more season in 1911 to wrap up his career. He finished 43-79 with a 2.85 ERA and a career WAR of 8.1.

I like old-time newspaper articles. The New York Times on April 7, 1910 wrote “The Washington Americans took the first game of the series with Bill Dahlen’s Dodgers to-day by score of 4 to 1. George Bell’s bad form on the slab was entirely responsible for the Brooklyn defeat, the visitors looking all over winners until he relieved Scanlon.”

There are some things worth noticing here. Since Brooklyn is playing Washington, this has to be before the season began. Also, what’s with the nicknames? Baseball Reference is calling Washington the Senators, but here they’re the Americans. Meanwhile, it looks like Brooklyn has already adopted the Dodgers nickname. According to BR, they will be the Dodgers in 1911 and 1912, go back to being the Superbas in 1913, then will be the Robins until 1931. Starting in 1932, they will officially be the Dodgers. Nicknames at this point were unofficial and teams were called by many different monikers. It’s almost like people calling the modern-day Angels the Halos.

mclean

C-Larry McLean, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

.298, 2 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as C-18

1st Time All-Star-John Bannerman “Larry” McLean was born on July 18, 1881 in Fredericton, Canada. He was the biggest player of his day as he stood at six-foot-five, weighing 228 pounds. He would get a couple Hall of Fame votes, though he wasn’t really Hall quality. This season, he finished sixth in Defensive WAR (1.3) and was a good hitter for a backstop, slashing .298/.340/.378 for and OPS+ of 113. He possibly has one more All-Star season left. It’s always hard to tell with catchers.

PSA Cards writes, “John Bannerman “Larry” McLean (1881-1921) was giant when it came to catchers and at 6’5” tall; he remains the tallest Major League catcher in history. McLean was a solid hitter at the plate and posted a career .973 fielding percentage making him an above average backstop as well. Larry played 12 seasons, primarily for the Cincinnati Reds (1906-1912) and the New York Giants (1913-1915) with short stints with the Red Sox, Cubs and Cardinals. He won a National League pennant as a member of the 1913 Giants. His off-field antics and frequent barroom brawls, however, overshadowed his playing career. In 1915, in a drunken state, McLean challenged Giants coached including John McGraw to a fistfight outside a St. Louis hotel. Exhausted by his drunken fights, McGraw cut McLean the following day. Larry McLean retried with a .262 career batting average adding 694 hits, 183 runs, 90 doubles and 298 RBI. Larry McLean was shot at the age of 39 by a Boston bartender amidst yet another brawl.”

bresnahan7

C-Roger Bresnahan, St. Louis Cardinals, 31 Years Old

1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908

.278, 0 HR, 27 RBI, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

7th Time All-Star-I want my Hall of Fame to be based solely on numbers because I don’t want to make those hairy decisions about who’s in and who’s out. I wish I had another Hall of Fame which would be based on emotion to allow people like Bresnahan, Rube Waddell, and Sandy Koufax in. However, I already have the ONEHOF, which admits one player per year, and Ron’s Hall of Fame in which the number of All-Star teams is multiplied by Career WAR and all with over 300 are admitted. I can’t keep inventing Hall of Fames. I have a full-time job, you know!

In his second year of managing St. Louis, Bresnahan again finished in seventh place, with a 63-90 record, 40-and-a-half games out of first. The Cardinals’ pitching was awful, finishing with a 3.78 ERA in a league which had a 3.02 ERA.

The Duke of Tralee did what he always did, hit decently and get on base. He slashed .278/.419/.368 and has some good seasons left, but he just doesn’t play too many games in a season which makes it hard to judge whether or not he’s going to make another All-Star team and thus make my Hall of Fame.

Wikipedia says, “The Giants obtained younger and faster players in 1909; McGraw had Chief Meyers ready to succeed Bresnahan at catcher. Stanley Robison of the St. Louis Cardinals became interested in hiring Bresnahan to be a player-manager. As McGraw did not want to block Bresnahan from the opportunity, the Giants traded Bresnahan to the Cardinals for Red MurrayBugs Raymond and Admiral Schlei after the 1908 season. Bresnahan led the Cardinals, who won only 49 games in 1908, to 54 wins in 1909 and 63 wins in 1910. Attendance increased from 205,000 fans in 1908 to 299,000 fans in 1909, and 355,000 fans in 1910.”

konetchy2

1B-Ed Konetchy, St. Louis Cardinals, 24 Years Old

1909

.302, 3 HR, 78 RBI, 0-0, 4.50 ERA, 0 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,499 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,499 (2nd Time)

Assists as 1B-98 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.54 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 1B-11.09 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.991

2nd Time All-Star-Konetchy made his second consecutive All-Star team as he continued to be a solid and steady player for the Cardinals. He finished ninth in WAR (5.1); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.0); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.3); ninth in batting (.302); sixth in on-base percentage (.397); eighth in slugging (.425); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (144). Like I said, a very solid season for the National League’s best first baseman.

SABR says, “’I know I tried to play baseball as soon as I was big enough to raise a bat from the ground,’ Ed remembered. ‘I used to play all the time that I could get a chance with some little scrub team or other, but the first real serious experience I had along this line was after I’d gone to work.’ After attending school until age 14, Konetchy began working in a LaCrosse candy factory. ‘I used to get up and walk the two miles to the factory, carrying my dinner pail, and work ten hours,’ he recalled. ‘After that we’d all get together and walk two miles in another direction to the ball field. There we’d play baseball until it was too dark to see, and then we’d walk home. We did this not once or twice, but five times a week on average. Sunday we’d gather the club together and go off to some one-horse place maybe three or four hours ride away on a slow train to play baseball with some other club.’

“It wasn’t until Konetchy was 16 that he joined the competitive factory team.”

evers6

2B-Johnny Evers, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

1904 1906 1907 1908 1909

.263, 0 HR, 28 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

6th Time All-Star-Evers continued to be the best second baseman in the National League despite his diminutive, five-foot-nine, 125 pound size. He was scrappy and mean, but very few people wanted to win more than Crab. This season, he finished third in on-base percentage (.413), behind Philadelphia leftfielder Sherry Magee (.445) and New York centerfielder Fred Snodgrass (.440). This was because he walked a career-high 108 times. However, he wasn’t able to play in the World Series. As Wikipedia explains, “Evers drew 108 walks during the 1910 season, trailing only Miller Huggins. However, Evers missed the end of the season with a broken leg. Without Evers, the Cubs won the NL pennant, but lost the 1910 World Series to the Philadelphia Athletics, four games to one. Evers agreed to manage the Navy Midshipmen, a college baseball team, in 1911, despite the opposition of Cubs’ manager Frank Chance. He experienced a nervous breakdown in 1911; returning to the Cubs later in the season, he played in only 46 games that year. Evers indicated that this was a result of a business deal that cost Evers most of his savings.”

This was also the year “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon” was written by Franklin P. Adams in the New York Evening Mail. Part of it read, “These are the saddest of possible words: ‘Tinker to Evers to Chance.’ Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds, Tinker and Evers and Chance. Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble, Making a Giant hit into a double – Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble: ‘Tinker to Evers to Chance.’”

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1909 American League All-Star Team

P-Frank Smith, CHW

P-Ed Walsh, CHW

P-Cy Morgan, BOS/PHI

P-Chief Bender, PHA

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Harry Krause, PHA

P-Addie Joss, CLE

P-Jack Warhop, NYY

P-Barney Pelty, SLB

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

C-Bill Carrigan, BOS

C-Ted Easterly, CLE

1B-Jake Stahl, BOS

2B-Eddie Collins, PHA

2B-Nap Lajoie, CLE

3B-Home Run Baker, PHA

3B-Harry Lord, BOS

3B-George Moriarty, DET

SS-Donie Bush, DET

SS-Freddy Parent, CHW

LF-Clyde Engle, NYY

CF-Tris Speaker, BOS

CF-Sam Crawford, DET

RF-Ty Cobb, DET

RF-Danny Murphy, PHA

 

smithfr

P-Frank Smith, Chicago White Sox, 29 Years Old

25-17, 1.80 ERA, 177 K, .173, 0 HR, 20 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-7.0

Games Pitched-51

Innings Pitched-365.0

Strikeouts-177

Games Started-40

Complete Games-37

Hits-278

Batters Faced-1,376

Def. Games as P-51

Putouts as P-26

Assists as P-154

1st Time All-Star-Frank Elmer “Piano Mover” or “Nig” Smith was born on October 28, 1879 in Pittsburgh, PA. The five-foot-10, 194 pound pitcher stated his career with the White Sox in 1904. He’d always been a good pitcher, but this year Manager Billy Sullivan handed him the ball every four days and his rubber arm made him the best pitcher in the American League this season. Smith finished third in WAR (7.7), behind Detroit rightfielder Ty Cobb (9.9) and Philadelphia second baseman Eddie Collins (9.7); first in WAR for Pitchers (7.0); eighth in ERA (1.80); first in innings pitched (365); and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (132).

Sullivan’s White Sox dropped from third to fourth with a 78-74 record, 20 games out of first. The Hitless Wonders continued to struggle at the plate, though their pitching continued to be among the best in the league, led by Piano Mover.

Wikipedia says, “Smith had his best statistical season in 1909. Finally the White Sox staff ace, he pitched a career-high 365 innings and went 25–17 with a 1.80 ERA. He led all AL pitchers in games started, innings pitched, and strikeouts, and he finished second in wins. In 1910, Smith started off 4–9 and was traded to the Red Sox in August. He was then sold to the Reds in 1911. Smith spent 1912 and 1913 in the International League and led the league in innings pitched in 1913 while winning 21 games. He finished his career with two seasons in the Federal League.”

walsh4

P-Ed Walsh, Chicago White Sox, 28 Years Old

1906 1907 1908

15-11, 1.41 ERA, 127 K, .214, 0 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-0.938

Shutouts-8 (3rd Time)

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

Adj. Pitching Runs-25 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.1 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-4.54 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as P-3.74 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as P-.991

4th Time All-Star-With Cy Young’s career starting to fade out, someone had to take over the reins as the American League’s best pitcher. Walter Johnson wasn’t there yet, so the title went to Ed Walsh, the spitball master. This season was the only one from 1907-1912 in which Walsh pitched less than 300 innings, but he was still outstanding. Big Ed finished fourth in WAR (6.7); third in WAR for Pitchers (6.2), behind teammate Frank Smith (7.0) and Boston and Philadelphia hurler Cy Morgan (6.9); second in ERA (1.41), trailing Philadelphia’s Harry Krause (1.39); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (169), once again beat out by Krause (174).

SABR says of this season, “In 1909, Walsh’s numbers dipped as he recovered from the heavy workload he had sustained the year before. Starting in only 28 games, he finished the year with a 15-11 mark in 230 1/3 innings, less than half his 1908 total. Though his 1.41 ERA was nearly identical to his 1908 mark, Walsh’s strikeout rate fell slightly while his walk rate nearly doubled. The cause of this sudden bout of ‘wildness’ was that he was tipping his pitches. Specifically, the Cleveland Naps believed they had deciphered when he was going to throw the spitter, by noticing that he had a habit of ticking the bill of his cap prior to unleashing a wet one. Word spread quickly around the league, and hitters started to lay off the spitter, which usually dropped out of the strike zone. When Walsh learned what was happening, he changed his style.”

morgan

P-Cy Morgan, Boston Red Sox/Philadelphia Athletics, 30 Years Old

18-17, 1.81 ERA, 111 K, .096, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-6.259

1st Time All-Star-Harry Richard “Cy” Morgan was born on November 10, 1878 in Pomeroy, OH. The six-foot, 175 pound pitcher started with the St. Louis Browns from 1903-1905 and then didn’t play in the Majors in 1906. He came back for the Browns in 1907 and then was traded to Boston. That’s where he started this season, going 2-6 for the Red Sox until he was purchased with Biff Schlitzer by the Philadelphia Athletics from the Boston Red Sox for $3,500. It was his stretch with Philadelphia this year, when he went 16-11 with a 1.65 record that put him on his first and, most likely, only All-Star team.

With Morgan on the mound, Connie Mack managed his Athletics to a 95-58 second place finish, up from sixth in 1908. Philadelphia was three-and-a-half games out of first behind Detroit. It was the best hitting team in the league thanks to a newcomer named Eddie Collins and also the best pitching team in the league, thanks to Morgan. What it didn’t have was Ty Cobb and the fireplug led Detroit to its third straight American League title.

Fred Lake managed Boston to a third-place finish with an 88-63 record, nine-and-a-half games behind Detroit. Another newcomer named Tris Speaker helped the Red Sox’s hitting, but with the decline of Cy Young, their pitching was only average.

Morgan finished eighth in WAR (6.2); second in WAR for Pitchers (6.9), behind only Chicago’s Frank Smith (7.0); ninth in ERA (1.81); fifth in innings pitched (293 1/3); and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (136).

bender2

P-Chief Bender, Philadelphia Athletics, 25 Years Old

1907

18-8, 1.66 ERA, 161 K, .215, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.578

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.58

2nd Time All-Star-After an off season in 1908, Bender is back. So don’t you…forget about him. Breakfast Club, we salute you! This season, Chief finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.8); third in ERA (1.66), behind teammate Harry Krause (1.39) and Chicago’s Ed Walsh (1.41); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (147). He’s going to have a good career, but I doubt he’s going to make my Hall of Fame, despite making Cooperstown.

Bender’s Hall of Fame page says, “The winningest manager in baseball history saw his share of outstanding big-game pitchers. But when Connie Mack had everything on the line, Chief Bender was his guy.

“’If everything depended on one game, I just used Albert – the greatest money pitcher of all time,’ said Mack of Charles Albert Bender, a full-blooded Ojibwa Indian who pitched for Mack for the Philadelphia Athletics from 1903-14. ‘I’d tell Albert when I planned to use him in a crucial series. Then I relaxed. He never let me down.’”

There’s a whole article by SABR on Chief Bender’s trapshooting prowess. I urge you to read the whole thing, but I print for you here a bit of it: “In an interview that appeared in the April 1915 issue of Baseball Magazine, Chief Bender explained his partiality for trapshooting:

“I have been shooting clay targets for about thirteen years and with every visit to a trapshooting club the hold of the sport on me grows…It would be pretty hard to give the biggest reason why trapshooting appeals.”

plank8

P-Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics, 33 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908

19-10, 1.76 ERA, 132 K, .219, 1 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

8th Time All-Star-I have grown up in the era of Reggie Jackson, Vida Blue, and Rickey Henderson; all great A’s players. But did you know the player with the highest lifetime WAR for this storied club is Gettysburg Eddie Plank? The top three for the franchise is Eddie Plank, 78.3; Rickey Henderson, 72.7; and Lefty Grove, 63.7. I’ll bet you could win a lot of bets with that knowledge.

This season, Plank finished ninth in WAR (6.0); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.5); seventh in ERA (1.76); eighth in innings pitched (265 1/3); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (138).

SABR says of this season, “In 1909, Philadelphia rebounded to second place, 3.5 games behind Detroit, and Plank came back with them. He finished the year 19-10 with his career-best ERA, a tiny 1.76. He had the honor of pitching the game dedicating Shibe Park on Monday, April 12, and responded by beating Boston, 8-1, giving up just six hits. The game had a tragic ending, however. A’s catcher Doc Powers caught all nine innings in agonizing pain due to suspected food poisoning, and was taken to a local hospital afterward. Two weeks later he was dead, with ‘strangulation of the intestines’ listed as the official cause. Powers, who was also a physician, starved to death because he could not eat. His intestines were mangled due to a hernia, which some believed he had suffered when he collided with the new park’s concrete wall while chasing a foul popup in the seventh inning.”

krause

P-Harry Krause, Philadelphia Athletics, 20 Years Old

18-8, 1.39 ERA, 139 K, .156, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1909 AL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.39

Adjusted ERA+-174

1st Time All-Star-Harry William “Hal” Krause was born on July 12, 1888 in San Francisco, CA. He started his career with Philadelphia in 1908, pitching four games and starting two. He then had his best season ever, and most likely his only All-Star season, this year, finishing 10th in WAR (5.7); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.9); first in ERA (1.39); and first in Adjusted ERA+ (174). If you take his 18-8 record from this year, Krause had an 18-18 record. After this year, he pitched for Philadelphia through 1912 and then went midseason to Cleveland to wrap up his short four-year career.

Just because his Major League career was limited doesn’t mean he didn’t have a lengthy pitching career. According to Wikipedia, “In 1913 and 1914, Krause won a total of 39 games with ERAs below 2.30. He had an off year in 1915, however, and played in the Western League in 1916. He went back to the PCL in 1917 with the Oakland Oaks.

“Krause spent 12 years in Oakland. In his first season there, he set career-highs in wins and innings pitched in the long PCL season, going 28–26 with a 2.35 ERA in 428.2 innings. He continued to pitch well for the Oaks over the next decade, becoming a fixture in the starting rotation and winning over 20 games two more times. In 1928, he joined the Mission Reds, where he finished his playing career. Krause won a total of 249 games in the PCL over 16 seasons. He is also a member of the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame.”

joss5

P-Addie Joss, Cleveland Naps, 29 Years Old

1905 1906 1907 1908

14-13, 1.71 ERA, 67 K, .100, 1 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.150 (2nd Time)

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

5th Time All-Star-What kind of career would Joss have had hadn’t he died so young. In just nine seasons, he ended up 160-97 with a 1.89 ERA and a 44.2 WAR. This season, Joss finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.5); fourth in ERA (1.71); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (150), behind Philadelphia’s Harry Krause (174) and Chicago’s Ed Walsh (169).

Of his death, Wikipedia says, “Joss attended spring training with Cleveland before the start of the 1911 season. He collapsed on the field from heat prostration on April 3 in an exhibition game in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was taken to a local hospital and released the next day. As early as April 7, press reports had taken note of his ill health, but speculated about ‘ptomaine poisoning’ or ‘nervous indigestion.’ The Naps traveled to Toledo for exhibition games on April 10 and Joss went to his home on Fulton Street where he was seen by his personal physician, Dr. George W. Chapman. Chapman thought Joss could be suffering from nervous indigestion or food poisoning. By April 9, as Joss was coughing more and had a severe headache, Chapman changed his diagnosis to pleurisy and reported that Joss would not be able to play for one month and would need ten days of rest to recover. Joss could not stand on his own and his speech was slurred. On April 13, Chapman sought a second opinion from the Naps’ team doctor, who performed a lumbar puncture and diagnosed Joss with tuberculous meningitis. The disease had spread to Joss’ brain and he died on April 14, 1911, 2 days after his 31st birthday.”

warhop

P-Jack Warhop, New York Highlanders, 24 Years Old

13-15, 2.40 ERA, 95 K, ,128, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-26

1st Time All-Star-John Milton “Jack” or “Chief” or “Crab” Warhop was born on the Fourth of July, 1884 in Hinton, WV. The five-foot-nine, 168 pound pitcher started with New York in 1908. This season, he finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.6). As shown by how many batters he hit, Warhop could be wild.

As for his team, the Highlanders, George Stallings took over as manager and the team improved from eighth to fifth with a 74-77 record, 23-and-a-half games out of first. The team’s hitting was average, but it’s pitching was among the league’s worst.

If you’ve heard of Warhop before (I hadn’t), then it’s probably because of this bit of trivia from Wikipedia, which says, “John Milton Warhop (July 4, 1884 – October 4, 1960) was an American baseball pitcher who played eight seasons in Major League Baseball from 1908 to 1915 for the New York Highlanders/New York Yankees. He is best known for giving up Babe Ruth‘s first two career home runs.

“Warhop had an underhand submarine delivery, which gave him the nickname “Crab”. He was also known for his rather small size, which is a subject of some conflict, although most historians and statisticians agree that he measured between 5 feet, 8 inches, used by several historians like Marty Appel[2] or 5 feet 9 inches, used by Baseball-Reference.com.” Well, someone had to give up the Bambino’s first dinger and, since later in his career, Warhop would give up a lot of homers, it had to be him.

pelty2

P-Barney Pelty, St. Louis Browns, 28 Years Old

1906

11-11, 2.30 ERA, 88 K, .165, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Pelty last made the All-Star team in 1906 and had decent seasons in 1907 and 1908 before making it again this season as the St. Louis Browns only representative. He pitched 199 1/3 innings with a 2.30 ERA and a 105 ERA+, which wasn’t great and wouldn’t have made the team if every squad didn’t need representation.

The Browns, still managed by Jimmy McAleer, dropped from fourth to sixth this season with a 61-89 record, 36 games out of first. As with most bad teams, they couldn’t hit and they couldn’t pitch.  After eight years of managing St. Louis, it would be McAleer’s last season. He finished with a 551-632 record for the Browns, a .466 winning percentage, which wasn’t terrible considering the team he led.

Here is some information on him from Wikipedia: “In 1909 he pitched 5 shutouts, 5th-best in the AL. He also was 10th-best in the league in fewest hits allowed per 9 innings pitched (7.13)

“It was often erroneously reported that he had changed his name from Peltheimer.

“Pelty was proud of his Jewish heritage as indicated by his nickname, and did not change his name or hide his identity like some other Jewish players of the era.

“During his career, Pelty ran a bookstore in his Farmington hometown in the off-seasons. He worked as an inspector for the Missouri State Food and Drug Department, and was an alderman for several terms in Farmington.

“Pelty pitched one last game in 1937 in an exhibition against Grover Cleveland Alexander, dropping the decision.”

johnson2

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 21 Years Old

1908

13-25, 2.22 ERA, 164 K, .129, 1 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

2nd Time All-Star-One thing about the all-time greats is they don’t usually make the All-Star team by a fluke, but that is the case for Johnson this season, who made it as the Senators’ lone representative. He had a decent year, finishing third in innings pitched (296 1/3), behind Chicago’s Frank Smith (365) and Detroit’s George Mullin (303 2/3). He would be among the league’s leaders in innings pitched for many years to come, making him a freak of nature much like Cy Young. And with his second All-Star team appearance, the Big Train already makes my Hall of Fame. The full list is here.

Joe Cantillon managed the Senators again, who dropped from seventh to eighth with a pathetic 42-110 record, 56 games out of first. They had the worst hitting and pitching in the league and Cantillon would never manage in the Major Leagues again.

He was a legend from the beginning, according to Wikipedia, which states, “Johnson was renowned as the premier power pitcher of his era. Ty Cobb recalled his first encounter with the rookie fastballer:

“’On August 2, 1907, I encountered the most threatening sight I ever saw in the ball field. He was a rookie, and we licked our lips as we warmed up for the first game of a doubleheader in Washington. Evidently, manager Pongo Joe Cantillon of the Nats had picked a rube out of the cornfields of the deepest bushes to pitch against us. … He was a tall, shambling galoot of about twenty, with arms so long they hung far out of his sleeves, and with a sidearm delivery that looked unimpressive at first glance. … One of the Tigers imitated a cow mooing, and we hollered at Cantillon: “Get the pitchfork ready, Joe—your hayseed’s on his way back to the barn.” … The first time I faced him, I watched him take that easy windup. And then something went past me that made me flinch. The thing just hissed with danger. We couldn’t touch him. … every one of us knew we’d met the most powerful arm ever turned loose in a ball park.’”

carrigan

C-Bill Carrigan, Boston Red Sox, 25 Years Old

.296, 1 HR, 36 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 24 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-William Francis “Bill” or “Rough” Carrigan was born on October 22, 1883 in Lewiston, ME. He started with Boston in 1906 and then didn’t play in 1907. He was a part-time catcher for it in 1908 and then became its main backstop this season, finishing with a slash line of .296/.341/.368 for an OPS+ of 121. His .296 batting average was eighth in the league. He wasn’t great, but he did garner some Hall of Fame interest.

It wasn’t easy in these days for catchers, even as the equipment began to improve. Even nowadays, catcher is a brutal position. It’s why players like Joe Mauer are moved to other positions. Carrigan would play a total of 10 years and only once play over 100 games, in 1910. He’d never hit as well as he did this season, but he was decent and caught a good game.

He also lived a long time, dying at the age of 85 back where it all started, in Lewiston. He was one of those rare players of this era alive at the same time as me. I was born in 1964 and Carrigan died in 1969. If I would have known I was going to start this webpage in my 50s, my five-year-old self could have called Carrigan and asked questions about his career.

If you’ve been reading this list, you’ll realize the American League shuffles out new catchers just about every year for this list. There were no dominant backstops in the AL at this time.

easterly

C-Ted Easterly, Cleveland Naps, 24 Years Old

.261, 1 HR, 27 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Theodore Harrison “Ted” Easterly was born on April 20, 1885 in the capital of Nebraska, Lincoln. The five-foot-eight, 165 pound catcher had a good first year and would continue to be one of the better hitting catchers in the league for the next few years. He finished 10th in the American League in slugging this season (.390).

From a book entitled “Napoleon Lajoie: King of Ballplayers” written by David L. Fleitz, it says, “The most important addition to the Cleveland pitching staff for the 1909 season was Cy Young, who had already won more games than any pitcher in the history of baseball. Young was the oldest pitcher in the game in 1908, but had pitched 299 innings for the Red Sox, winning 21 games and posting a 1.26 earned run average for a sub-.500 team. At season’s end the Red Sox, perhaps in a cost-cutting move, decided that the aging legend was past his prime and sent him to the Naps for $12,500 and two younger hurlers, Charlie Chech and Jack Ryan. Neither Chech nor Ryan lasted long with the Red Sox, and the deal appeared to be a steal for the Naps.

“The Naps had tried to work out a deal with the Red Sox for Lou Criger, a 37-year-old verteran who had served as Cy Young’s personal catcher for the previous 13 seasons on three different teams, but the Boston club sent Criger to the St. Louis Browns instead. The Naps then picked up catcher Ted Easterly, a rookie from the Pacific Coast League.”

stahlj

1B-Jake Stahl, Boston Red Sox, 30 Years Old

.294, 6 HR, 60 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-94 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Garland “Jake” Stahl was born on April 13, 1879 in Elkhart, IL. The six-foot-two 195 pound first baseman started with Boston in 1903 before not playing in the Majors in 1907. He started in 1908 with New York before being purchased by the Red Sox midseason. This season, Stahl, at 30 years old, made his first All-Star team, finishing ninth in Offensive WAR (4.2), ninth in batting (.294), fifth in on-base percentage (.377), sixth in slugging (.434), and third in Adjusted OPS+ (153), behind Detroit rightfielder Ty Cobb (.193) and Philadelphia second baseman Eddie Collins (170).

Wikipedia says, “Garland ‘Jake’ Stahl (April 13, 1879 – September 18, 1922) was an American first baseman and manager in Major League Baseball with the Boston Red SoxWashington Senators, and New York Highlanders. A graduate of the University of Illinois, he was a member of the Kappa Kappa chapter of Sigma Chi. He started off as a catcher before being traded to the Senators, where he moved to first base full-time, with occasional stints in the outfield. He was regarded as a good fielder and an average hitter, although he did lead all hitters in the American League in home runs with 10 in 1910. He also struck out 128 times that year, a record that would stand until 1938.

“Stahl has a measure of immortality as the acknowledged eponym of the term ‘jaking it’, a baseball phrase for faking an injury to stay out of the lineup, or otherwise loafing.” Never heard that term.

collinse

2B-Eddie Collins, Philadelphia Athletics, 22 Years Old

.347, 3 HR, 56 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-152

Putouts as 2B-373

Assists as 2B-406

Double Plays Turned as 2B-55

Fielding % as 2B-.967

1st Time All-Star-Edward Trowbridge “Eddie” or “Cocky” Collins, Sr. was born 79 years before my brother, Rob, on May 2, 1887 in Millerton, NY. The five-foot-nine, 175 pound second baseman started his outstanding career as a part-time player for Philadelphia in 1906, before becoming fulltime this year and showing the world what was to come. Collins had his best season ever, finishing second in WAR (9.7), behind only Detroit rightfielder and longtime rival Ty Cobb (9.9); second in WAR Position Players (9.7), trailing only Cobb (9.9); second in Offensive WAR (8.5), behind the Georgia Peach (9.6); seventh in Defensive WAR (1.3); second in batting (.347), trailing that pesky Cobb again (.377); second in on-base percentage (.416), behind, well, you know the drill (.431); third in slugging, trailing blah-blah (.517) and blah-blah’s centerfielding teammate Sam Crawford (.452); second in steals (63), behind holy cow, how many categories can Cobb lead in! (76); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (170), trailing Cobb’s 193.

Britannica says, “Collins was raised in affluent circumstances in the suburbs outside New York City. He attended Columbia University, where he was the quarterback of the football team as well as the shortstop of the baseball team. While still in college, he began playing semiprofessional baseball under an assumed name. When his side job was uncovered by Columbia, he forfeited his senior year of eligibility. His moonlighting paid dividends, however, when a vacationing Philadelphia Athletics player saw Collins play and raved about him to Athletics manager Connie Mack. Mack signed Collins to a contract, and the young infielder played abbreviated seasons with the Athletics in 1906 and 1907 before joining the team full-time in 1908 after graduating from Columbia.”

lajoie10

2B-Nap Lajoie, Cleveland Naps, 34 Years Old

1897 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1906 1907 1908

.324, 1 HR, 47 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as 2B-55 (6th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-5.52 (8th Time)

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.46 (7th Time)

10th Time All-Star-In one of his previous blurbs, I mentioned Lajoie’s on-field performance was probably dampened by him managing. Well, after years of doing that, he finally was let go as manager during the season and got to concentrate on playing. Not coincidentally, he will have a great season in 1910. Not that this one wasn’t good. Lajoie finished sixth in WAR (6.5); fourth in WAR Position Players (6.5); seventh in Offensive WAR (5.1); fifth in Defensive WAR (1.4); third in batting (.324), behind Detroit rightfielder Ty Cobb (.377) and Philadelphia second baseman Eddie Collins (.347); fourth in on-base percentage (.378); seventh in slugging (.431); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (151). With Collins in the league, he would have a rival as the American League’s best second baseman.

Lajoie also has made the most All-Star teams at his position. For the full list, click here.

As for the Naps, they dropped from second to sixth while being managed by Lajoie (57-57) and Deacon McGuire (14-25) for a combined 71-82 record, 27-and-a-half games out of first.

Wikipedia says of his time ending as manager, “Lajoie recommended to Somers on August 17, 1909, he find the team a new manager, although he wanted to remain on the club as a player. Somers responded to Lajoie by giving him more time to finalize his decision but when Lajoie came back days later and announced the same decision, Somers acted quickly to find a replacement. Lajoie later described the decision to take on the added duties as a player-manager as the biggest mistake of his career as he felt it negatively affected his play. The highest-paid player in the league, he also offered a $10,000 ($272,370 in current dollar terms) reduction in salary. Somers promoted Naps coach Deacon “Jim” McGuire to manager. The team finished 71–82 while Lajoie’s .324 average was third in the AL and 33 doubles second.”

bakerh

3B-Home Run Baker, Philadelphia Athletics, 23 Years Old

.305, 4 HR, 85 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-19

Def. Games as 3B-146

Putouts as 3B-209

Assists as 3B-277

Errors Committed as 3B-42

1st Time All-Star-John Franklin “Home Run” Baker was born on March 13, 1886 in Trappe, MD. The five-foot-11, 173 pound third baseman started with Philadelphia in 1908, but this was his rookie season and it gave a glimpse of what was to come. He finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.7); fourth in Offensive WAR (6.0); seventh in batting (.305); fourth in slugging (.447); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (146). Baker has many great seasons to come.

SABR has a long article on how Baker acquired his nickname. It was not because he hit two home runs in the 1911 World Series, as is widely believed. It came earlier. Read the whole thing. Here’s just a bit. “Lest fans feel they would be deprived of seeing any of the Athletics’ new talent, the article noted that the split ‘does not mean that Philadelphians will not have a chance to see at least some of his [Mack’s] new men in the series. Confident in their ability to make good, Mack assigned [Heinie] Heitmuller, the big California outfielder, ‘Home-run’ Baker, his sensational third sacker, and catcher [Jack] Lapp, who has shown ability, to the veteran combination.’

“What had earned Baker his nickname? The North American article continued, ‘All of these men have played impressively in the South [the Athletics had trained in New Orleans]. Baker’s work has possibly been the most spectacular. On three occasions he has won close games with home runs, while his fielding inspires the belief that Mack will have the best man at the corner since the days when Lave Cross was good.’”

lord

3B-Harry Lord, Boston Red Sox, 27 Years Old

.315, 0 HR, 31 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Harry Donald Lord was born on March 8, 1882 in Porter, ME. The five-foot-10, 165 pound third baseman started with Boston in 1907. This season was his best ever as he finished ninth in WAR Position Players (3.9); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.3); fourth in batting (.315); and fourth in steals (36). He possibly has one more All-Star team left in him.

Wikipedia reports of his early career, “He broke into Organized Baseball at age 24 in 1906, with Worcester in the New England League and the next year moved up to Providence in the Eastern League. His performance there caught the attention of the Boston Americans and, at 26 years of age, he began playing professionally on September 25, 1907, for Boston. He played for with the team for three years. On May 30, 1908, Washington Senators‘s Jerry Freeman’s single was the only hit allowed by Boston’s Cy Young. Lord had four hits to back Cy’s pitching. On April 21, 1909, Lord stole home on the front end of a triple steal in the bottom of the seventh, with Tris Speaker taking third and Doc Gessler taking second. The Sox won the game, 6-2.”

In a lot of the articles I’m reading, including this Wikipedia one on Lord, there is fascination with people who played on Boston in 1908, because that was the first year it was the Red Sox. But how important is that really? The American League Boston club still existed before it was the Red Sox, just under the nickname of the Americans.

moriarty

3B-George Moriarty, Detroit Tigers, 23 Years Old

.273, 1 HR, 39 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 3B-.939

1st Time All-Star-George Joseph Moriarty was born on July 7, 1885 in Chicago, IL. The six-foot, 185 pound third baseman started his career as a 17-year-old with the Cubs in 1903. He played one game for them in 1903 and four games in 1904. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1905, then started up again with the Highlanders in 1906. Before this season, Detroit purchased him from New York and it benefited it greatly. Moriarty finished sixth in Defensive WAR (1.4) and seventh in steals (34). In the World Series, he went six-for-22 (.273) with a double and three walks.

Speaking of the World Series, Detroit made it into the Fall Classic for the third straight year and lost all three times. Hughie Jennings managed the team to a 98-54 record, three-and-a-half games ahead of Philadelphia. They had great hitting and good pitching, despite not having any pitchers on the All-Star team. Pittsburgh and Detroit exchanged wins throughout the series and the Tigers lost, 4-3. Jennings would manage Detroit 11 more years, but he’d never win another league title.

Wikipedia has much to say about him as an umpire, including his defense of Jewish player Hank Greenberg while Moriarty was umpiring. It says, “Moriarty also was noted for coming to the defense of Tiger slugger Hank Greenberg in the 1935 World Series (eventually won by Detroit), when he warned several Chicago Cubs to stop yelling antisemitic slurs at Greenberg. When they defied him and kept up the abuse, he took the unusual step of clearing the entire Chicago bench—a move that got him fined by longtime Commissioner/Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis (known primarily to posterity for keeping blacks out of the major leagues throughout his quarter-century in office).”

bush

SS-Donie Bush, Detroit Tigers, 21 Years Old

.273, 0 HR, 33 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-157

Plate Appearances-678

Bases on Balls-88

Sacrifice Hits-52

Assists-567

Errors Committed-71

Def. Games as SS-157

Assists as SS-567

Errors Committed as SS-71

1st Time All-Star-Owen Joseph “Donie” Bush was born on October 8, 1887 in Indianapolis, IN. The small five-foot-six, 140 pound shortstop started with Detroit in 1908, but became its starting shortstop for many years to come starting this year. He actually does have a chance at making my Hall of Fame. If he does make it, it will be because of his fielding and his ability to walk. This season would be the first of four straight years leading the American League in base on balls and the first of five altogether. Bush had his best season ever, finishing fifth in WAR (6.5); third in WAR Position Players (6.5), behind teammate Ty Cobb (9.9) and Philadelphia second baseman Eddie Collins (9.7); fifth in Offensive WAR (5.7); third in Defensive WAR (2.2), trailing Chicago players, third baseman Lee Tannehill (2.5) and shortstop Freddy Parent (2.5); third in on-base percentage (.380), lagging only behind Cobb (.431) and Collins (.416); and third in steals (53), with only Cobb (76) and Collins (63) ahead of him. In the World Series, Bush did well in a losing effort, finishing seven-for-22 (.318) with five walks and five runs scored. He also was hit by pitches twice to give him a World Series on-base percentage of .483.

Wikipedia says, “At the end of the 1908 season, Baseball Magazine wrote: ‘This diminutive and youthful shortstop came to the rescue of the Detroit club and made it possible for them to win the American League pennant. . . . He helped to win the American Association pennant for the Hoosiers by his wonderful all around work, and then came on to Detroit in time to save Jennings‘ team from defeat. He is about as fast as Cobb on the bases, a great fielding shortstop and a good batsman, a man who hits right or left handed with equal efficiency.’”

parent4

SS-Freddy Parent, Chicago White Sox, 33 Years Old

1901 1903 1904

.261, 0 HR, 30 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-When Parent last made the All-Star team in 1904, he had a 50 percent chance of making my Hall of Fame. As you can see, it is now impossible. In four years of his prime, he never made this list. After the 1907 season, Parent was traded as part of a 3-team trade by the Boston Americans to the Chicago White Sox. The New York Highlanders sent Frank LaPorte to the Boston Americans. The Chicago White Sox sent Jake Stahl to the New York Highlanders. He bounced back this season on Chicago, finishing eighth in WAR Position Players (5.3); second in Defensive WAR (2.5), behind teammate and third baseman Lee Tannehill (2.5); and eighth in steals (32).

Baseball Reference says of his connection with baseball’s most famous player, “At age 37, he edged Neal Ball as Baltimore’s main second baseman, hitting .268/~.354/.309 with 15 steals in 79 games. In 1914, he served as a mentor to young left-handed pitcher Babe Ruth, who was making his professional debut. The Orioles were in financial straits by that point, facing competition from the Baltimore Terrapins of the new Federal League, and Parent advised Boston manager Bill Carrigan to buy the young pitcher, even if he was still raw. Parent remained a starter at his old age, playing 108 games, including a team-high 90 at shortstop. He hit .280/~.363/.348.”

Since shortstop is the most important defensive position, a player doesn’t have to be a great hitter to make an All-Star team there. However, they do have to be a decent hitter and Parent couldn’t even meet that low standard, which is why he’s not in Cooperstown and he’s not going to make my Hall of Fame.

engle

LF-Clyde Engle, New York Highlanders, 25 Years Old

.278, 3 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as LF-271

Assists as LF-17

Double Plays Turned as LF-6

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.40

1st Time All-Star-Arthur Clyde “Hack” Engle was born on March 19, 1884 in Dayton, OH. The five-foot-10, 190 pound leftfielder started out his career with his best season ever, but he’d never live up to his rookie potential. This season, Hack finished 10th in WAR Position Players (3.6). After this season, he would move from New York to Boston during the 1910 season, then move from Boston to the Federal League Buffalo Buffeds (really?) during the 1914 season. He’d finish his career with Cleveland in 1916.

Wikipedia says, “Engle will be known forever as the man who hit the ball that Fred Snodgrass missed in the eighth and final game of the 1912 World Series. The Series lasted eight games, due to a 6–6 tie in Game 2 when the game was called by darkness after 11 innings. Engle had appeared twice before during the Series in pinch-hitting duties. In Game 6, he hit a two-run RBI double off Giants pitcher Rube Marquard that scored Boston’s only runs in a 5–2 losing effort. The decisive Game 8 at Fenway Park faced Joe Wood for Boston and Christy Mathewson for the New York Giants, who had broken a 1–1 tie by scoring a run in the first half of the 10th inning. The Red Sox started its half and manager Jake Stahl sent Engle to pinch-hit for pitcher Wood. Then, he hit a fly ball off Mathewson that came toward CF Snodgrass, who dropped the ball. Snodgrass made a fine catch on the next batter, Harry Hooper, but Mathewson walked Steve Yerkes, gave a single to Tris Speaker, and Engle went on to score the tying run. Another walk to Duffy Lewis and a sacrifice fly by Larry Gardner scored Yerkes with the winning run to give Boston the game and the series.”

speaker

CF-Tris Speaker, Boston Red Sox, 21 Years Old

.309, 7 HR, 77 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as CF-142

Putouts as CF-319

Assists as CF-35

Double Plays Turned as CF-11

Putouts as OF-319

Assists as OF-35

Double Plays Turned as OF-12

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.49

Fielding % as CF-.973

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.59

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.49

1st Time All-Star-Tristram E. “Tris” or “The Grey Eagle” Speaker was born on April 4, 1888 in Hubbard, TX. The five-foot-11, 193 pound centerfielder started his career with Boston in 1907 as a 19-year-old, but this year he showed the world what was to come. Speaker finished seventh in WAR (6.3); fifth in WAR Position Players (6.3); sixth in Offensive WAR (5.5); sixth in batting (.309); seventh in on-base percentage (.362); fifth in slugging (.443); sixth in steals (35); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (151). He’s going to be on these lists for a long time to come.

Of his early career, Wikipedia says, “Speaker’s abilities drew the interest of Doak Roberts, owner of the Cleburne Railroaders of the Texas League, in 1906. After losing several games as a pitcher, Speaker converted to outfielder to replace a Cleburne player who had been struck in the head with a pitch. He batted .318 for the Railroaders. Speaker’s mother opposed his participation in the major leagues, saying that they reminded her of slavery. Though she relented, for several years Mrs. Speaker questioned why her son had not stayed home and entered the cattle or oil businesses.

“He performed well for the Texas League’s Houston Buffaloes in 1907, but his mother stated that she would never allow him to go to the Boston Americans. Roberts sold the youngster to the Americans for $750 or $800 (equal to $19,698 or $21,011 today). Speaker played in seven games for the Americans in 1907, with three hits in 19 at bats for a .158 average. In 1908, Boston Americans owner John I. Taylor changed the team’s name to the Boston Red Sox after the bright socks in the team’s uniform. That year, the club traded Speaker to the Little Rock Travelers of the Southern League in exchange for use of their facilities for spring training. Speaker batted .350 for the Travelers and his contract was repurchased by the Red Sox. He logged a .224 batting average in 116 at bats.”

crawford7

CF-Sam Crawford, Detroit Tigers, 29 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1905 1907 1908

.314, 6 HR, 97 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-35

Extra Base Hits-55 (2nd Time)

7th Time All-Star-It seems nowadays the definition of dynasty might have to change because it’s so hard to make the World Series. The last time any team made the World Series three times in a row or more was the New York Yankees of 1998-2001. Here in the early days of the World Series, it happened with the Cubs from 1906-08, the Tigers from 1907-09, and in a couple years, the Giants from 1911-13. Surprisingly, neither the Tigers or Giants won any of the Series. After this year, the Detroit Tigers of this era, featuring Crawford and Ty Cobb would never make the Fall Classic again, nor would those two Hall of Fame players.

Crawford this year finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.6); third in Offensive WAR (6.1), behind Cobb and Philadelphia second baseman Eddie Collins (8.5); fifth in batting (.314); sixth in on-base percentage (.366); second in slugging (.452), trailing Cobb (.517); ninth in steals (30); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (152). In the World Series, Wahoo Sam struggled for the third straight year, hitting only .250 (seven-for-28) though he did smack three doubles and a home run, a solo shot to deep centerfield in a losing cause.

More on the Cobb-Crawford rivalry from Wikipedia, which says, “The competition between the two was intense. Crawford recalled that, if he went three for four on a day when Cobb went hitless, Cobb would turn red and sometimes walk out of the park with the game still on. When it was initially (and erroneously) reported that Nap Lajoie had won the batting title, Crawford was alleged to have been one of several Tigers who sent a telegram to Lajoie congratulating him on beating Cobb.”

cobb3RF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 22 Years Old

1907 1908

.377, 9 HR, 107 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1909 AL Triple Crown

1909 AL Batting Title (3rd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-9.9

WAR Position Players-9.9

Offensive WAR-9.6 (3rd Time)

Batting Average-.377 (3rd Time)

On-Base %-.431

Slugging %-.517 (3rd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.947 (3rd Time)

Runs Scored-116

Hits-216 (3rd Time)

Total Bases-296 (3rd Time)

Home Runs-9

Runs Batted In-107 (3rd Time)

Stolen Bases-76 (2nd Time)

Singles-164 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-193 (3rd Time)

Runs Created-126 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-62 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-7.2 (3rd Time)

Times On Base-270

Offensive Win %-.874 (3rd Time)

Power-Speed #-16.1

AB Per HR-63.7

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

Putouts as RF-220 (2nd Time)

Assists as RF-21 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as RF-13 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as RF-5 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as OF-156

3rd Time All-Star-Wow, just wow! For all of his faults as a human being which certainly shouldn’t be excused, this man could play baseball. Along with all of the above in which he led the league, he also made it to this third straight, and last, World Series. Cobb and his Tigers also lost his third straight Fall Classic. For the second time in three Series, Cobb’s hitting was mediocre as he hit .231 (six-for-26) with three doubles. In his long career, he’ll never play in the postseason again.

Wikipedia wraps up this season, saying, “The Tigers won the AL pennant again in 1909. During that World Series, Cobb’s last, he stole home in the second game, igniting a three-run rally, but that was the high point for him, finishing with a lowly .231, as the Tigers lost to Honus Wagner and the powerful Pirates in seven games. Although he performed poorly in the postseason, he won the Triple Crown by hitting .377 with 107 RBI and nine home runs, all inside the park, thus becoming the only player of the modern era to lead his league in home runs in a season without hitting a ball over the fence.

“In the same season, Charles M. Conlon snapped the famous photograph of a grimacing Cobb sliding into third base amid a cloud of dirt, which visually captured the grit and ferocity of his playing style.” You can check out that picture on Wikipedia. It’s too bad we don’t have any film of the Georgia Peach playing.

murphy3

RF-Danny Murphy, Philadelphia Athletics, 32 Years Old

1904 1905

.281, 5 HR, 69 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as RF-5

Fielding % as RF-.977

Fielding % as OF-.977

3rd Time All-Star-Murphy missed the All-Star team for three straight seasons, but with Eddie Collins taking over second base for the Athletics, Murphy moved to rightfield and is back on this list. This season, he finished eighth in slugging (.412) and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (132) and will contribute a couple more good seasons, before his career starts petering to an end.

Of his transition to the outfield, SABR says, “Late in the 1907 campaign, 20-year old Eddie Collins played six awkward games at shortstop. In 1908 Collins played shortstop and in the outfield before Mack decided he might be better suited for second base. ‘So I got another idea,’ Mack later told sportswriter Fred Lieb. ‘I thought, why not put my second baseman, Danny Murphy, in right field and see what Eddie could do at second base? Though Danny had been my second baseman since my first pennant winner in 1902, he didn’t pivot too well on double plays, but Murphy always was a sweet hitter.’ The move was not popular with either the Philly faithful or the rest of the Mackmen. Murphy was well liked, and his fresh-out-of-college replacement had already earned the moniker ‘Cocky’ Collins. If Murphy himself was bitter, he didn’t show it…By 1909, when Mack opened baseball’s first steel and concrete stadium, Shibe Park, Murphy (who recorded Shibe’s first RBI, double and inside the park home run) was entrenched in right field. He batted .281, stole 19 bases, and ranked among the league’s top 10 with five homers and 69 RBI. Although Cobb and the Tigers won their third straight pennant, the Athletics’ climbed to second.”

1909 National League All-Star Team

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Mordecai Brown, CHC

P-Orval Overall, CHC

P-Nap Rucker, BRO

P-Art Fromme, CIN

P-Howie Camnitz, PIT

P-Ed Reulbach, CHC

P-Earl Moore, PHI

P-Vic Willis, PIT

P-Cliff Curtis, BSN

C-George Gibson, PIT

C-Ed Phelps, STL

1B-Ed Konetchy, STL

1B-Dick Hoblitzell, CIN

2B-Dots Miller, PIT

2B-Johnny Evers, CHC

2B-Larry Doyle, NYG

3B-Art Devlin, NYG

3B-Harry Steinfeldt, CHC

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Al Bridwell, NYG

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

LF-Fred Clarke, PIT

CF-Solly Hofman, CHC

RF-Mike Mitchell, CIN

 

mathewson8P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908

25-6, 1.14 ERA, 149 K, .263, 1 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1909 NL Pitching Title (3rd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-10.2 (2nd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-9.2 (4th Time)

Earned Run Average-1.14 (3rd Time)

Win-Loss %-.806

Walks & Hits per IP-0.828 (3rd Time)

Hits per 9 IP-6.276

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.177 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-4.139 (4th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-224 (3rd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.62 (5th Time)

9th Time All-Star-In a career filled with dazzling seasons, 1909 might have been his best ever. Mathewson was first in WAR (10.2); first in WAR for Pitchers (9.2); first in ERA (1.14!); 10th in innings pitched (275 1/3); and first in Adjusted ERA+ (224). It’s that ERA which stands out. Of course, this was the Deadball Era and it was difficult to score runs, but it doesn’t take away from Matty’s accomplishments.

John McGraw saw his team dip from second to third with a 92-61 record. It was a team which could hit, led by second baseman Larry Doyle, and could pitch, led by Big Six, but still fell 18-and-a-half games behind Pittsburgh.

SABR says of his season, “[I]n January 1909 Christy found the body of his youngest brother, Nicholas, dead in his parents’ barn of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Two years earlier, Detroit Tigers manager Hughie Jennings had wanted to sign the 17-year-old Nicholas and bring him directly to the majors, but Christy had advised against it.

“Mathewson was the toast of New York. Endorsement offers poured in, with Matty ‘pitching’ Arrow shirt collars, leg garters (for socks), undergarments, sweaters, athletic equipment, and numerous other products. He received an offer to put his name on a pool hall/saloon but turned it down when his mother asked, ‘Do you really want your name associated with a place like that?’” In the age of baseball in which he played, there weren’t too many gentlemen like Mathewson around. It’s rare to find men like this at any time.

brown5

P-Mordecai Brown, Chicago Cubs, 32 Years Old

1903 1906 1907 1908

27-9, 1.31 ERA, 172 K, .176, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-27

Games Pitched-50

Saves-7 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-342 2/3

Complete Games-32

Adj. Pitching Runs-45 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.3 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as P-50

5th Time All-Star-It’s an interesting thing about Baseball Reference and nicknames. Sometimes players are known by their nicknames and their player pages will be title by those monikers. For instance, Baseball Reference has pages for Old Hoss Radbourn and Home Run Baker. Others like Mordecai Brown, who is more commonly known as Three Finger Brown, don’t go by that common nickname on their pages. I just wonder how Baseball Reference determines this. During the time I was writing about John Ward, better known as Monte Ward, BR kept going back and forth on what his page was titled. I have a feeling I still have both names floating around out there.

Whatever he was called, Brown had his best season ever, finishing third in WAR (8.8), behind New York pitcher Christy Mathewson (10.2) and Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (9.2); second in WAR for Pitchers (8.7), trailing Big Six (9.2); second in ERA (1.31), lagging behind Mathewson (1.14); first in innings pitched (342 2/3); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (193), again being bested only by New York’s finest (224).

As for the Frank Chance-led Cubs, they finished out of the lead for the first time in three years, despite a 104-49 record. Pittsburgh beat them by six-and-a-half games. Chicago, led by Three Finger Brown, still had the best pitching in the league, but its hitting lacked.

It’s always dangerous to overload a pitcher with innings and the same will be true for Brown.  Especially since he’s already 32 years old. He’ll have another All-Star season next year, but after that will start to slump.

overall3

P-Orval Overall, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

1905 1907

20-11, 1.42 ERA, 205 K, .229, 2 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.474 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-205

Shutouts-9 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Overall had a short but impressive career and this season was his best ever. He finished fourth in WAR (8.1); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (7.2); third in ERA (1.42), behind New York’s Christy Mathewson (1.14) and teammate Mordecai Brown (1.31); seventh in innings pitched (285); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (179), trailing only Mathewson (224) and Brown (193). After this season, Overall would start to fade, pitching only 144 innings for the Cubs in 1910 and then taking two seasons off of Major League ball and then pitching 68 innings for the Cubs in 1913. He was done by the age of 32.

SABR says, “Prior to the 1908 season, Orval made a prediction: ‘I believe the new rule prohibiting a pitcher from soiling a glossy ball will greatly increase the hitting department of the game. You can’t curve a glossy ball, and in my judgment there will be more pitchers knocked out of the box the coming season than ever before. Unless I am mistaken the hitting averages will go soaring.’ Apparently he was the only pitcher negatively impacted by the rule; while the league’s ERA fell to its lowest level in history, his rose to 1.92. Overall lost his first game on May 12, snapping a personal 14-game winning streak that he had begun on August 11, 1907. His record fell to 15-11, as he was hampered by arm trouble for much of the regular season, but he did lead the NL in strikeouts per game (6.68) and finished fifth in fewest hits per game (6.60). In the 1908 World Series Overall once again matched up against the Tigers and Donovan, going the distance in Games Two and Five and winning by scores of 6-1 and 2-0. One of the keys to his success in the 1907-08 Series was holding Ty Cobb to a .125 average.”

rucker3

P-Nap Rucker, Brooklyn Superbas, 24 Years Old

1907 1908

13-19, 2.24 ERA, 201 K, .119, 0 HR, 0 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

3rd Time All-Star-On a team historically known for its pitching, Rucker is the first great Dodger/Superba hurler. This season, he finished fifth in WAR (7.3); third in WAR for Pitchers (7.8), behind New York’s Christy Mathewson (9.2) and Chicago’s Mordecai Brown (8.7); and third in innings pitched (309 1/3), trailing Brown (342 2/3) and Boston’s Al Mattern (316 1/3). He’d pitch 260 or more innings for seven straight seasons and that more than anything gives him a shot at my Hall of Fame.

His team, coached by Harry Lumley, moved up from seventh to sixth and finished with a 55-98 record. Neither its hitting or pitching was very good, but besides those two minor things, they weren’t bad.

SABR reports, “In 1909 Rucker set a career-high with 201 strikeouts, and on July 24 of that season he struck out 16 St. Louis Cardinals, tying the modern record that stood until Dizzy Dean broke it in 1933. (Nap always claimed that he fanned 17 that day, but a lackadaisical official scorer whose name he still remembered–Abe Yager–forgot to record one of them.) Once again he was the best pitcher on a terrible team, going 13-19 despite a 2.24 ERA.

“Nap Rucker was one of the Deadball Era’s top left-handed pitchers. Brooklyn’s winning percentage was an even .500 when the hard-throwing Southerner got the decision, but without him the Superbas played .430 ball, losing 175 more games than they won. ‘The Rucker appendage is the only thing that has kept Brooklyn in the league,’ wrote the New York Herald, while the Brooklyn Eagle lamented that ‘the fates have tied him up with an aggregation that has steadfastly refused to make a bid for championship honors.’”

fromme

P-Art Fromme, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

19-13, 1.90 ERA, 126 K, .191, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Arthur Henry “Art” Fromme was born on September 3, 1883 in Quincy, IL. He started with St. Louis from 1906-08 and then was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals with Ed Karger to the Cincinnati Reds for Admiral Schlei. He had his best season ever this year, finishing sixth in WAR (5.9); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.6); sixth in ERA (1.90); ninth in innings pitched (279 1/3); and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (136).

My Reds moved up from fifth to fourth with a 77-76 record. Clark Griffith managed the team which featured middle of the road hitting and middle of the road pitching and finished with a middle of the road record.

SABR mentions, “Cincinnati Reds manager Clark Griffith wanted to start pitcher Art Fromme on Wednesday, May 12, 1909, against the Boston Doves, but Fromme complained of a sore arm during warm-ups, which forced Griffith to choose another hurler. He selected Texan Ed Karger, a 26-year-old side-wheeling southpaw. Obtained from the St. Louis Cardinals in the previous offseason, Karger had pitched unimpressively for the Reds. Griffith hoped he would return to the form he showed in 1907, when he threw six shutouts for the Cardinals and compiled a 2.04 ERA in 314 innings.

“Though the Doves were aided by 12 walks and six Cincinnati errors (including two by Karger), they managed to score only two runs. They left 15 men on base. The Boston pitchers were also wild, walking eight Reds. There were 20 walks in the game altogether.” Nowadays, we see walks all day long every game.

camnitz

P-Howie Camnitz, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

25-6, 1.62 ERA, 133 K, .138, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.806

1st Time All-Star-Samuel Howard “Howie” or “Red” Camnitz was born on August 22, 1881 in Covington, KY. The five-foot-nine, 169 pound mini mite started with Pittsburgh in 1904, didn’t pitch in the Majors in 1905, then was back with the Pirates in 1906. This season was his best season ever as he finished eighth in WAR (5.4); seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.5); fourth in ERA (1.62); eighth in innings pitched (283); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (158). In the World Series, he didn’t do so well, losing one game of the two he pitched and allowing six runs (five earned) in three-and-a-third innings pitched. Pittsburgh still won the Series.

SABR says, “Though his reign as one of the National League’s top pitchers was short-lived, Howie Camnitz was the undisputed ace of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staff during their World Championship season of 1909. That season Camnitz, a right-handed curveball specialist, tied for the NL lead in winning percentage (25-6, .806) and ranked fourth in ERA (1.62). ‘I always inspect very closely the box score of the club we are about to meet next,’ he explained to a reporter who asked him for the secret of his success. ‘My object is to ascertain what players are doing the hitting. Every student of baseball knows that players hit in streaks. If a pitcher has men on bases, and a batsman facing him who has been having a slump in his hitting, he can take a chance on letting him line it out. On the contrary, if a player comes up who has been clouting the ball, it may be the safest plan to let him walk.’”

reulbach5

P-Ed Reulbach, Chicago Cubs, 26 Years Old

1905 1906 1907 1908

19-10, 1.78 ERA, 105 K, .140, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-At 26 years old, Big Ed Reulbach made his fifth All-Star team and certainly looks to be one of the all-time greats. Yet to the observant eye, there were already chinks in the armor. For instance, Reulbach walked quite a few more batters than the average elite pitcher. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was 1.39-1 through this season. He also received much of his fame through his impressive win-loss record, which was .713 through 1909. But he also pitched on the greatest team at this time, the Cubs, who won a high percentage of games. I’m not saying Reulbach wasn’t good, he absolutely was, but maybe not as good as one would think.

All this to say after this season, Reulbach is most likely not going to make a lot of All-Star teams, probably just one more after this season and that in the Federal League. His innings are going to drop and his ERA is going to balloon. You still have to give him credit for one of the greatest first five years in baseball history.

This season, Reulbach finished 10th in WAR (5.2), eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.9), fifth in ERA (1.78), and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (143). Also, according to SABR, “On May 30, 1909, Reulbach went on a 14-game winning streak, becoming the only 20th-century NL pitcher with two winning streaks as long as 14 games. He defeated every NL team, including five wins over the Brooklyn Superbas, before he lost again on August 14. A November 1913 article in Baseball Magazine judged Reulbach’s 1909 streak the most impressive in history; in 14 games he surrendered only 14 runs, giving up three on one occasion, while pitching five shutouts and five one-run games. One of the wins came on June 30, 1909, in the first game ever played at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field.”

moore2

P-Earl Moore, Philadelphia Phillies, 31 Years Old

1901

18-12, 2.10 ERA, 173 K, .094, 0 HR, 0 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-108 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-It’s been eight years since Moore last made an All-Star team, but he’s about to on a mini-streak of them. After making it with Cleveland in 1901, he stayed with it until 1907, when he was traded by the Cleveland Naps to the New York Highlanders for Walter Clarkson and Frank Delahanty. After the 1907 season, he was purchased by Jersey City and then towards the end of 1908, purchased by the Phillies. This season, Moore got some of his old mojo back, finishing fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.9), ninth in ERA (2.10), and fourth in innings pitched (299 2/3).

His team, the Phillies, managed by Billy Murray, dropped from fourth to fifth with a 74-79 record. Murray’s managing days were done, despite three seasons in which he compiled a 240-214 mark.

SABR says, “Moore astounded major league baseball in 1909 with an amazing comeback. Still using his rapid crossfire delivery, he became the ace of the Phillies staff and quickly ascended to the top echelon of National League hurlers. Despite persistent control problems–his 108 walks led the N.L.–Earl went 18–12 with a 2.10 ERA for a 74–79 team that finished in the second division. Known variously in the Philadelphia press as Big Earl, Big Moose, and Big Ebbie, Moore made it all the way back to the big time on August 19 by defeating Christy Mathewson, 1–0, at the Baker Bowl.” All of this after coming back from a debilitating foot injury in 1905.

willis8P-Vic Willis, Pittsburgh Pirates, 33 Years Old

1899 1901 1902 1903 1906 1907 1908

22-11, 2.24 ERA, 95 K, .136, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Games Started-35

8th Time All-Star-Before 1969, only one team per league made the playoffs and that team went straight to the World Series. What this means is that a lot of great players missed out on the postseason over baseball’s history. It certainly looked like Willis, one of the best National League pitchers during this era, would be one of them, but now in his fourth year with the Pirates, his team won the title. Willis finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.6) and fifth in innings pitched (289 2/3). In his only World Series, he pitched two games, starting one, and allowed six runs, all earned, in 11 2/3 innings. Though he went 0-1, Pittsburgh beat Detroit, 4-3.

Willis Hall of Fame page says, “In 1909 Willis went 22-11 winning 11 straight games at one point during the season. He played a key role in the team’s 110 total victories that season, helping the Pirates get to the Fall Classic and become World Series champions.

“He had long fingers, which allowed him to throw a very unique and sharp curveball. Local media outlets penned Willis as almost impossible to hit.

“’Willis has speed and the most elusive curves,’ the Boston Sunday Journal said. ‘His “drop” is so wonderful that, if anyone hits it, it is generally considered a fluke.’

“The ‘Delaware Peach’ won more than 20 games a total of eight times in his career. When Willis retired, he followed his love for the game and continued to participate in baseball, managing a semi-pro team and coaching at the youth and college level.”

curtis

P-Cliff Curtis, Boston Doves, 27 Years Old

4-5, 1.41 ERA, 22 K, .034, 0 HR, 0 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 107 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Clifton Garfield “Cliff” Curtis was born on July 3, 1881 in Delaware, OH. The six-foot-two, 180 pound pitcher had a decent rookie year and is the only All-Star on the Doves. Which doesn’t so much tell us how good Curtis is, but how bad Boston was. Still, Curtis did manage to have a dazzling 1.41 ERA in his 83 innings pitched. He’ll probably never make another All-Star team, but at least he has this one his family can brag about with their friends.

You might think a team whose best player is someone who only pitched 10 games would be bad and you would be absolutely correct. The Doves, managed by Frank Bowerman (22-54) and Harry Smith (23-54) finished last with a 45-108 record, dropping from sixth in 1908. They were the worst hitting team in the league and also stank at pitching, so you do the math.

                Some Wikipedia info on Curtis: “While pitching for the last-place Boston Doves (later known as the Rustlers, and later still as the Braves) in 1910 and 1911, Curtis set a record of 23 consecutive losses. The record was eventually broken in 1993, when New York Mets pitcher Anthony Young lost 27 consecutive games in which he had a decision.

“During his lengthy losing streak, Curtis also failed to pick up a win in 28 consecutive starts, which also established a Major League record. This record was tied by Matt Keough (1978–79) and Jo-Jo Reyes (2008–2011), but to date it has not been broken.”

gibson

C-George Gibson, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

.265, 2 HR, 52 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-150 (3rd Time)

Caught Stealing as C-138

Caught Stealing %-52.9

Fielding % as C-.983

1st Time All-Star-George C. “Moon” Gibson was born on July 22, 1880 in London, Canada. The five-foot-11, 190 pound catcher started with Pittsburgh in 1905 and slowly continued to build up the number of games played until he became its fulltime catcher in 1907. This season, Gibson finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.1); ninth in Offensive WAR (3.6); and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.6). Judging by his league-leading 52.9 percentage of throwing out base stealers, he had a rocket arm. In his only World Series, Gibson hit .240 (six-for-26) with two doubles as Pittsburgh beat Detroit, 4-3.

Wikipedia says, “Gibson was regarded as one of the National League‘s premier catchers because of his impressive defensive skills and his strong, accurate throwing arm. He was also known for his smart pitch-calling and his ability to hold runners on base. His reputation as a defensive stand out is enhanced because of the era in which he played. In the deadball era, catchers played a huge defensive role, given the large number of bunts and stolen baseattempts, as well as the difficulty of handling the spitball pitchers who dominated pitching staffs. He had to catch every type of pitch imaginable, such as shine balls, spitballs, knuckleballs, and emory balls. Gibson was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1958 and the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987.

                “Born a stone’s throw away from Tecumseh Park (today’s Labatt Memorial Park) in London, Ontario, Gibson gained the nickname “Mooney” as a youngster. Some sources suggest that the nickname was inspired by his round, moon-shaped face, while other sources claim he picked up the nickname because he had played on a sandlot team known as the Mooneys.”

phelps

C-Ed Phelps, St. Louis Cardinals, 30 Years Old

.248, 0 HR, 22 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 37 more All-Star teams. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Edward Jaykill “Ed” or “Yaller” Phelps was born on March 3, 1879 in Albany, NY. The five-foot-11, 185 pound catcher started with Pittsburgh from 1902-04, making the first modern day World Series in 1903. Phelps went six-for-26 (.231) with two doubles as the Pirates lost to Boston, 5-3. Then in 1905, he was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Cincinnati Reds for Heinie Peitz. The next season, after catching 12 games for Cincinnati, he was purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Cincinnati Reds. He then came to St. Louis before this season and, ta-da!, he made his first All-Star team.

Was it a coincidence he was being managed this season by one of the all-time greats, Roger Bresnahan? Probably not. St. Louis improved from eighth to seventh under its player-manager with a 54-98 record. The Cardinals’ hitting was third best in the league, but their pitching was the worst. I’ll bet Bresnahan wishes he had Christy Mathewson back, but then who doesn’t want Big Six on their team.

From the Times-Union: “Phelps was a friend of [Cy] Young, just as he was friends with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker. Ruth later gave autographed baseballs to two of Phelps’ four children; the family still has one of them. Among Phelps’ Pittsburgh teammates was a shortstop named Honus Wagner.

“His nickname was ‘Yaller,’ perhaps because a chronic stomach condition gave him a yellowish complexion. He was a big man for his time: 6 feet, 185 pounds.”

konetchy

1B-Ed Konetchy, St. Louis Cardinals, 23 Years Old

.286, 4 HR, 80 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,584

Def. Games as 1B-152

Putouts as 1B-1,584

Assists as 1B-97 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Edward Joseph “Big Ed” Konetchy was born on September 3, 1885 in La Crosse, WI. The six-foot-two, 195 pound first baseman started with St. Louis in 1907 and this will not be his last All-Star team. He was a good hitter for the Deadball Era. This season, he finished fifth in WAR Position Players (4.8); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.7); 10th in batting (.286); ninth in on-base percentage (.366); eighth in slugging (.396); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (144), behind only Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (177) and Cincinnati rightfielder Mike Mitchell (152).

SABR says, “Koney was a right-handed hitter who stood straight up at the plate, choked up on his bat, and sent liners to the outfield fences. He was the kind of player that ‘even the umpire liked,’ with a ‘handshake that is sincere and a friendship more than surface.’ ‘I not only play baseball for the salary connected with it, but I really and truly love the game,’ Ed once told a reporter, ‘and like to be a fan just as much now as I did in the old days back in LaCrosse, when we used to get the pictures of the athletes out of cigarette boxes.’

“When asked how he improved his batting, Ed replied, ‘Hard work. I made it my business to study closely the pitchers who bothered me most, particularly Nap Rucker’s high fastball.’ He asked teammates to throw him only high fastballs during batting practice, until he was able to ‘whale the stuffing out of it.’ On the advice of new manager Roger Bresnahan, Konetchy also started hitting to the opposite field. ‘[Bresnahan] said I was hitting the ball to left field too often, as the fielders knew where to play me,’ he said. ‘I changed my stance and started poking the ball in other directions.’”

hoblitzell

1B-Dick Hoblitzell, Cincinnati Reds, 20 Years Old

.308, 4 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 1B-28

Double Plays Turned as 1B-80

1st Time All-Star-Richard Carleton “Dick” or “Doc” Hoblitzell was born on October 26, 1888 in Waverly, WV. The small six-foot, 172 pound first baseman started with Cincinnati in 1908 and had his best season ever in 1909, finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (4.1); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.2); third in batting (.308), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (.339) and teammate and rightfielder Mike Mitchell (.310); 10th in on-base percentage (.364); fourth in slugging (.418); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (143).

SABR says, “Making his debut with the Reds on September 5, 1908, Dick took over at first base for player-manager John Ganzel and batted .254 over the last 32 games of the season. In 1909 he appeared in 142 games and batted a career-best .308, third highest in the National League behind only Honus Wagner and teammate Mike Mitchell. When the 1909 season was complete, having shaved a year off his true age, Hoblitzell was considered a 19-year-old phenom whose ‘rise in baseball has been of the meteoric variety.’ Commentators mentioned him in the same breath as Ed Konetchy and Kitty Bransfield as one of the NL’s greatest first basemen. Over the five-year period 1909-13, the left-handed-hitting slugger batted in the heart of the Cincinnati order and was the top run producer in the Reds’ strong offensive attack. During the offseason, Dick continued his education at the Ohio College of Dental Surgery and shared an office with his older brother, Bill, who had established a dental practice in Cincinnati.”

millerd

2B-Dots Miller, Pittsburgh Pirates, 22 Years Old

.279, 3 HR, 87 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-150

Assists as 2B-426

Fielding % as 2B-.953

1st Time All-Star-John Barney “Dots” Miller was born on September 9, 1886 in Kearny, NJ. The five-foot-11, 170 pound first and second baseman had an impressive rookie year and you would think he’d be a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. However, this was his best season ever and he’d have a nondescript career. This season, Miller finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.6) and seventh in slugging (.396). In his only World Series appearance, Dots hit .250 (seven-for-28) with a double, four RBI, and three stolen bases. Pittsburgh beat Detroit, 4-3.

 SABR says, “Playing shortstop as a property of the Pirates could be seen as a dead-end proposition in the Deadball Era, but Miller performed well enough to be brought up for a workout with the big club late in the 1908 season. When Honus Wagner was late reporting to spring training in 1909, Miller received his first extended opportunity to display his talents to Fred Clarke and the rest of the Pirates. The 22-year-old shortstop made all the plays, and soon the other Pirates began calling him ‘Hans,’ or ‘Hans No. 2.’ After Hans No. 1 finally arrived in camp, a reporter asked him, ‘Who’s the new kid?’ Wagner replied, ‘That’s Miller.’ The reporter, misunderstanding, listed the young infielder as Dots Miller. Henceforth John Bernard Miller, sometimes known as Jack, sometimes Barney, was now and forever known as ‘Dots.’ In an era of colorful nicknames, Miller had one of the best, acquired quite by accident.” Wagner must have had a heavy accent.

evers5

2B-Johnny Evers, Chicago Cubs, 27 Years Old

1904 1906 1907 1908

.263, 1 HR, 24 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

5th Time All-Star-When I was in 11th Grade, I stood at five-feet tall, 120 pounds. From Kindergarten through my junior year, I was always the smallest kid in my class. People kept saying I was going to grow, but I didn’t believe it. However, after that year, I had a growth spurt and ended up six-feet tall (now I’m five-foot-11, stupid aging!) So I can empathize with the tiny 125-pound Evers (pronounced EE-verz). I had the same bad attitude as him because when you’re small and playing sports, you’re constantly trying to prove yourself.

This season, the crabby one didn’t make the World Series for the first time in three years, but he still finished seventh in on-base percentage (.369). Making the All-Star team this year despite it not being one of his best seasons definitely improves his chances of making my Hall of Fame.

From the Troy Record, it seems Evers was supposed to sit out the 1909 season. It states, “Friday, April 23, 1909. Johnny Evers’s sabbatical from Major League Baseball turns out to be short-lived. The Record reports that Troy’s hometown baseball hero will rejoin the Chicago Cubs at the end of this month.

“Evers, a product of the New York State League, was the second baseman for Chicago’s World Series winning team last season. Ever since the Cubs claimed the title, Evers has expressed his intent to sit out the 1909 season, or at least a large part of it, in order to get married and establish himself in business. In interviews with Troy and Chicago newspapers, Evers claimed that it was always his plan to take a year off at some point in his career.”

doyle

2B-Larry Doyle, New York Giants, 22 Years Old

.302, 6 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits-172

Putouts as 2B-292

1st Time All-Star-Lawrence Joseph “Laughing Larry” Doyle was born on July 31, 1886 in Caseyville, IL. The five-foot-10, 165 pound second baseman started with the Giants in 1907 and would be one of the best hitting second basemen around in a tough-to-hit-in era. This season, Doyle finished second in Offensive WAR (5.0), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (8.2); fourth in batting (.302); third in slugging (.419), trailing Wagner (.489) and Cincinnati rightfielder Mike Mitchell (.430); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (140).

Wikipedia says, “Born in Caseyville, Illinois, Doyle was a third baseman in the minor leagues before his contract was purchased by the Giants for a then-record $4,500. He debuted with the Giants on July 22, 1907, arriving late after taking the wrong boat across the Hudson River; he cost his team the game with a ninth-inning error, though he also had a pair of hits. Doyle moved to Breese, Illinois, where his family owned a motel next to the current city hall. He expected to be returned to the minor leagues; instead, he was retained by manager John McGraw, who named him the team’s field captain in 1908 – a year in which he finished third in the batting race with a .308 average. Doyle, who also became the roommate of Christy Mathewson for several years, followed up with a 1909 season in which he led the NL in hits (172) and was among the league’s top four players in batting (.302), slugging (.419), home runs (6) and total bases (239).”

devlin6

3B-Art Devlin, New York Giants, 29 Years Old

1904 1905 1906 1907 1908

.265, 0 HR, 56 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as 3B-21

6th Time All-Star-There weren’t many good third sackers in Devlin’s day. He made the All-Star team six consecutive seasons, while Harry Steinfeldt made his fourth this year. It is no mean feat to make six consecutive lists. If I had time or a research assistant or any energy whatsoever, I’d tell you how many times that’s been done, but take my word for it, it’s not a lot. However, after six straight seasons of making this team, Devlin’s All-Star career is going to start to fade and this is most likely his last time here.

Devlin finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.5); seventh in Offensive WAR (3.8); and 10th in Defensive WAR (1.3). For a long time, he always provided with the bat and with the glove.

SABR reports on an incident in 1910, saying, “An incident during the game against Brooklyn on June 23, 1910, suggests that Devlin didn’t study diplomacy at Georgetown. The Giants were winning at Washington Park when a fan, according to Sporting Life of June 30, hollered, ‘”Devlin, you dog, will you never stop?”’ A nearby youngster translated the epithet as ‘Yellow Dog,’ bringing Devlin into the stands. Larry Doyle and Josh Devore followed to help. Everybody got into it, including McGraw, before Bill Klem ‘butted in as a peacemaker.’ All three players were thrown out of the game. Devlin was arrested and released, but arraigned the next day as one Bernard J. Rossier Jr. charged him with assault and planned to sue him for $5,000 in damages. League president Thomas Lynch suspended Devlin and fined Doyle and Devore $50 each for being accessories. It all blew over. A gentleman signing himself ‘C. Steinmann’ wrote to National Commission Chairman Garry Herrmann on stationery from The Waldorf in Hamilton, Ontario, noting that ‘fining & suspending injured [i.e., insulted] players is not the fair method of punishment …’ Further, he said, ‘I have seen Arthur Devlin play many games & I know he is a player who is a credit to his profession being gentlemanly & has no bad habits.’”

steinfeldt4

3B-Harry Steinfeldt, Chicago Cubs, 31 Years Old

1903 1906 1907

.252, 2 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

4th Time All-Star-Steinfeldt garnered some Hall of Fame interest after he retired and maybe he would have made Cooperstown if he had been mentioned in the Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance doggerel. He didn’t make the All-Star team in 1908, but did make the World Series. Steinfeldt didn’t do great, hitting .250, but the Cubs won, giving the third baseman his second championship. This season, he finished sixth in Defensive WAR (1.5) and it was his defense that put him on this list.

SABR states, “The Cubs rewarded Steinfeldt’s efforts with a three-year contract, but from that point on his performance started to slip. In 1908 he batted a career-low .241, and though he rebounded somewhat to hit .252 in both 1909 and 1910, he tailed off significantly toward the end of the latter season. Steinfeldt’s slump continued during the 1910 World Series, when he managed only two hits in 20 at-bats. At this point in his career, few if any of his hits were of the infield variety, as is evident from this anecdote from 1909 that Spink related to illustrate the fielding prowess of Honus Wagner: ‘Steinfeldt hit the ball along the third-base line past Jap Barbeau, so fast that that player didn’t get a look at it. But Wagner made a couple of jack-rabbit jumps, speared the ball with his right hand way back of third, and, without straightening up, whizzed it to first, turning back the runner by a step.’” His hitting has declined, but his fielding is good enough to possibly have one more shot at this team.

wagner11

SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 35 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908

.339, 5 HR, 100 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1909 NL Batting Title (7th Time)

WAR Position Players-9.2 (9th Time)

Offensive WAR-8.2 (9th Time)

Batting Average-.339 (7th Time)

On-Base %-.420 (4th Time)

Slugging %-.489 (6th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.909 (7th Time)

Total Bases-242 (6th Time)

Doubles-39 (7th Time)

Runs Batted In-100 (4th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-177 (6th Time)

Runs Created-101 (7th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-48 (6th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-5.5 (6th Time)

Extra Base Hits-54 (7th Time)

Offensive Win %-.830 (6th Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-58 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.69 (3rd Time)

11th Time All-Star-For the last eight seasons, Wagner has been in the top four in WAR. In nine of the last 10 seasons, he’s been tops in WAR Position Players and Offensive WAR. Wagner has easily dominated the National League. Look at the stats above in which he led, he did so again. And for the next few years, he’ll continue to be great. But there will be a subtle drop in his stats. He’s the Flying Dutchman, so his stats are still incredible, they’re just not Wagner-esque.

Wagner made his second World Series and this time looked like himself. He went eight-for-24 (.333) with two doubles, a triple, six RBI, and six steals as the Pirates went on to beat Detroit, 4-3. Ty Cobb, battling for the only time against Wagner, faltered, hitting .231 with three doubles. Wikipedia says of the Series, “The speed demon Cobb only managed two steals, one of which Cobb himself admitted was a botched call. Wagner recounted: ‘We had him out at second. We put up a squawk, but Silk O’Loughlin, the umpire, overruled it. We kept the squawk going for a minute or so, making no headway of course, and then Cobb spoke up. He turned to O’Loughlin, an American League umpire, by the way, and said, “Of course I was out. They had me by a foot. You just booted the play, so come on, let’s play ball.”’” This was also the first year the famous Wagner baseball card came out and you can read about its history here.

bridwell2

SS-Al Bridwell, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

1908

.294, 0 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

AB per SO-31.7

2nd Time All-Star-Bridwell made his second consecutive All-Star team, having his best season ever. He finished eighth in WAR (5.5); second in WAR Position Players (5.5), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (9.2); third in Offensive WAR (4.8), trailing Wagner (8.2) and teammate and double play combination partner, second baseman Larry Doyle (5.0); fourth in Defensive WAR (1.8); fifth in batting (.294); third in on-base percentage (.386), with only Wagner (.420) and Brooklyn first baseman Tim Jordan (.386) ahead of him; and 10th in stolen bases (32).

SABR says, “In 1909 Bridwell batted a career-high .294, fifth best in the league, and stole a career-high 32 bases. He struck out only 15 times in 476 at-bats, the best ratio in the league. And he continued to shine at shortstop:

“’His spectacular fielding has pulled many a game out of the fire, when a hit would have resulted in either a tie-up or the winning tally. … His throwing is snappy and he shoots the ball to the bases on a line as true as a rifle bullet. … He is over the entire left section of the field during a game. The stands have no terrors for him, for he will rush up to the box seats and lean over to make a catch of a foul fly.’”

Bridwell’s hitting pretty much deteriorated after this season, but he’d continue to be a good fielder. It’s possible he’s still going to make another All-Star team. Gauging him at this time, you would have thought he had an incredible career ahead of him, but he was done by the time he was 31.

tinker4

SS-Joe Tinker, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

1902 1906 1908

.256, 4 HR, 57 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-3.0 (4th Time)

Fielding % as SS-.940 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-For the first time ever, the great Cubs shortstop made his second consecutive All-Star team. Tinker’s fielding continued to be his strength. This season, he finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.7) and first in Defensive WAR (3.0). It was always his glove that carried him, but that’s okay if you’re the best fielding shortstop in the league.

Wikipedia states, “Tinker was the starting shortstop for the Chicago Cubs from 1902 to 1912. He was a speedy runner, stealing an average of 28 bases a season and even stealing home twice in one game on July 28, 1910. He also excelled at fielding, often leading the National League in a number of statistical categories (including four times in fielding percentage). During his decade with the Cubs, they went to the World Series four times, winning in 1907 and 1908.

“Despite being just an average hitter, batting .268 for his career in an era of high batting averages, Tinker had a good amount of success against fellow Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson, batting .350 against the Hall of Fame pitcher over his career. In Mathewson’s 1912 book, Pitching in a Pinch, he referred to Tinker as ‘the worst man I have to face in the National League.’”

If you were a National League fan of anyone but the Cubs, Pirates, or Giants during this time, you must have been bored. I’m a Reds fan and they wouldn’t win a pennant until 1919. Those three teams dominated the National League through 1913.

clarke9

LF-Fred Clarke, Pittsburgh Pirates, 36 Years Old, 1909 ONEHOF Inductee

1895 1897 1901 1902 1903 1906 1907 1908

.287, 3 HR, 68 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-80

Times on Base-244

Def. Games as LF-152 (2nd Time)

Putouts as LF-361 (2nd Time)

Putouts as OF-362

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.49 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as LF-.987

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.51

Fielding % as OF-.987 (2nd Time)

9th Time All-Star-What an amazing season 1909 was for Cap Clarke! First, he is this year’s ONEHOF Inductee, the Hall of Fame I created to honor one player a year. This year, it’s the Pittsburgh player-manager. Next year’s nominees are Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Christy Mathewson, Eddie Plank, Vic Willis, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, Joe McGinnity, and Sam Crawford.

Secondly, he is now tied for most All-Star teams made at leftfield. The full list is:

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Nap Lajoie, 8

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Jack Glasscock, 11

LF-Ed Delahanty, Clarke, 9

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Thompson, Elmer Flick, 7

And if that wasn’t enough, he also won his first World Series as a manager and player. Pittsburgh finished 110-42 and beat the Cubs by six-and-a-half games. In the World Series, Pittsburgh and Detroit traded wins, but the Pirates defeated the Tigers, 4-3.

Clarke probably has one more All-Star team left in him. He made it this season by finishing fourth in WAR Position Players (5.3); eighth in Offensive WAR (3.7); ninth in batting (.287); fourth in on-base percentage (.384); and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (131). Also, Wikipedia says, “In the 1909 World Series, Clarke batted only .211 but hit both of Pittsburgh’s home runs and had more home runs and RBI than any player on either team. Clarke also set a record for most walks for one player in a World Series game with four in Game 7.”

hofman

CF-Solly Hofman, Chicago Cubs, 26 Years Old

.285, 2 HR, 58 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as CF-143

Errors Committed as CF-13

Double Plays Turned as CF-4

1st Time All-Star-Arthur Frederick “Circus Solly” Hofman was born on October 29, 1882 in St. Louis, MO. The six-foot, 160 pound centerfielder started with Pittsburgh in 1903 and then came to Chicago in 1904. He never could hit during the regular season, but had two good World Series, hitting .304 in 1906 and .316 in 1908. This season, Hofman slashed .285/.351/.351 for an OPS+ of 115, but it helped his cause there was a lack of good outfielders in the National League this year.

SABR says, “An above-average centerfielder and one of the Deadball Era’s finest utility men, Artie Hofman was a timely hitter and one of the fleetest men in the game. Known as ‘Circus Solly,’ a nickname some attributed to a comic strip character from the early 1900s, while others swore it came from his spectacular circus catches, Hofman garnered attention with his playing style and also his lively antics. He is ‘serious only when asleep,’ jibed Baseball Magazine. Along with fellow free spirits Frank ‘Wildfire’ Schulte and Jimmy Sheckard, Hofman completed what Ring Lardner once called ‘the best outfield I ever looked at.’

                “During his tenure with the Cubs, Hofman played every position outside of the battery and was universally regarded as the game’s best utility man before he became a regular in center field in 1909. Perhaps he is most famous as the outfielder who fielded Al Bridwell’s single and called Evers’ attention to the fact that Fred Merkle had not touched second base. Merkle’s baserunning blunder and the disputed game forced a one-game playoff with John McGraw’s Giants, allowing the Cubs to capture the 1908 flag. Hugh Keough, a newspaper writer who was friendly with Hofman, claims that the irrepressible Circus Solly fielded the ball and fired a curve to Evers, who missed it, allowing the ball to be picked up by Joe McGinnity, who lobbed it into the grandstand.”

mitchellm

RF-Mike Mitchell, Cincinnati Reds, 29 Years Old

.310, 4 HR, 86 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-17

1st Time All-Star-Michael Francis “Mike” Mitchell was born on December 9, 1879 in Springfield, OH. The six-foot-one, 185 pound rightfielder started with Cincinnati in 1907 and was a starter right from the get-go. This season was his best ever as he finished ninth in WAR (5.5); third in WAR Position Players, behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (9.2) and New York shortstop Al Bridwell (5.5); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.7); second in batting (.310), trailing only Wagner (.339); fifth in on-base percentage (.378); second in slugging (.430), behind Wagner (.489); sixth in steals (37); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (152), trailing the Flying Dutchman (177). Like many before him, Mitchell discovered being in the same league as Wagner meant you’re only going to be second best.

Wikipedia says, “Mitchell went to the major leagues the following season with the Cincinnati Reds. He made an immediate impact as a rookie, finishing seventh in the batting race and leading the National League in outfield assists, with 39. The assists mark set a record that was not broken until 1930. According to Bill James, Mitchell had the best outfield arm of his era.

“Mitchell slumped in 1908, but he rebounded in 1909 with a career-high .310 batting average and a career-high 152 OPS+. He led the league in triples, with 17, and finished second in batting average and slugging percentage.” Those 39 assists he had in 1907 were incredible to be sure but sometimes an outfielder gets high assists numbers because of a lack of a good arm when runners are willing to take chances on him. That doesn’t seem to be the case with Mitchell.

1908 American League All-Star Team

P-Ed Walsh, CHW

P-Cy Young, BOS

P-Addie Joss, CLE

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Rube Vickers, PHA

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Jack Powell, SLB

P-Bill Donovan, DET

P-Bob Rhoads, CLE

P-Tom Hughes, WSH

C-Gabby Street, WSH

C-Boss Schmidt, DET

1B-George Stovall, CLE

2B-Nap Lajoie, CLE

2B-Jimmy Williams, SLB

3B-Hobe Ferris, SLB

SS-Bobby Wallace, SLB

SS-George McBride, WSH

LF-Matty McIntyre, DET

LF-George Stone, SLB

CF-Sam Crawford, DET

CF-Fielder Jones, CHW

CF-Charlie Hemphill, NYY

RF-Ty Cobb, DET

RF-Doc Gessler, BOS

 

walsh3

P-Ed Walsh, Chicago White Sox, 27 Years Old

1906 1907

40-15, 1.42 ERA, 269 K, .172, 1 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-10.5

WAR for Pitchers-10.1 (2nd Time)

Wins-40

Win-Loss %-.727

Games Pitched-66 (2nd Time)

Saves-6 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-464.0 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-269

Games Started-49 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-42 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-11 (2nd Time)

Hits Allowed-343

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-4.804

Batters Faced-1,755 (2nd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.42

Adj. Pitching Runs-45 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.5 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as P-66 (2nd Time)

Putouts as P-41

Assists as P-190 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-4.48 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-If you ever want to see a pitcher win 40 games, you’re going to have a take a time machine back to 1908, which is the last year in which it was done. Walsh had his best season ever, finishing first in WAR (10.5); first in WAR for Pitchers (10.1); third in ERA (1.42), behind Addie Joss (1.16) and Cy Young (1.26); first in innings pitched (464); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (162), trailing Joss (204) and Young (193). Along with the last season any pitcher would win 40 games, it would also be the last year anyone pitched 400 or more innings.

Walsh wanted the workload given to him, according to SABR, which stated, “In 1908 Walsh put together his masterpiece, compiling 40 wins against just 15 losses, a 1.42 ERA, including a league record-breaking 11 shutouts, and 464 innings pitched. Pushing himself to the limit, during one nine-day stretch Walsh pitched five times, including a four-hitter on October 2 that he lost to Addie Joss, who threw a perfect game. Walsh’s pitching kept the White Sox in the American League’s thrilling four-way pennant race until the last day of the season, and the club finished in third place, 1½ games behind the front-running Detroit Tigers. For the season, Walsh struck out 269 batters, a career best, and walked only 56 men, giving him the fourth lowest walk rate in the majors that year.

“Not surprisingly, at the time Walsh’s spitball was considered the most effective pitch in baseball. Walsh disguised the pitch by going to his mouth before every delivery, regardless of what he was going to throw. When he did throw the spitter, according to Alfred Spink he moistened a spot on the ball between the seams an inch square.”

young17P-Cy Young, Boston Red Sox, 41 Years Old

1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907

21-11, 1.26 ERA, 150 K, .226, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

17th Time All-Star-Since I believe this is Young’s final All-Star team, let’s compile a couple of lists. First, here’s a list of players who have made the most All-Star teams thus far (WAR is total career WAR, even if they are still active):

  1. Cy Young, 17 All-Star Teams, 168.5 WAR
  2. Cap Anson, 17, 93.8 WAR
  3. Roger Connor, 13
  4. Kid Nichols, 12, 116.5 WAR
  5. Dan Brouthers, 12, 78.3 WAR
  6. Jim O’Rourke, 12, 51.5 WAR
  7. Tim Keefe, 11, 86.7 WAR
  8. George Davis, 11, 84.3 WAR
  9. Jack Glasscock, 11, 61.5 WAR
  10. Honus Wagner, 10, 131.0 WAR
  11. Bobby Wallace, 10, 76.3 WAR
  12. Bill Dahlen, 10, 75.2 WAR
  13. Billy Hamilton, 10, 63.3 WAR
  14. Mickey Welch, 10, 63.1 WAR
  15. Bobby Mathews, 10, 55.1 WAR
  16. Harry Stovey, 9, 44.9 WAR

Here are top players by All-Star teams by position:

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Fred Dunlap, Bid McPhee, Cupid Childs, Nap Lajoie, 7

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Jack Glasscock, 11

LF-Ed Delahanty, 9

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Thompson, Elmer Flick, 7

Young’s Boston team switched from being the Americans to its modern nickname, the Red Sox. They rose from seventh to fifth under the guidance of Deacon McGuire (53-62) and Fred Lake (22-17), finishing with a 75-79 record.

Cyclone finished with 511 wins. SABR says of the end of his life: “Despite his frugal habits and status as a baseball legend, Young was beset by financial problems late in life. In 1935 he traveled to Augusta, Georgia, where he joined a group of baseball veterans looking to make some money during the Great Depression by playing exhibition games. When this venture failed, Young returned to Ohio, where he found work as a clerk in a retail store in Newcomerstown and lived with a local couple, John and Ruth Benedum. He was invited to, and attended, reunions of old-timers around the country. He was still living with the Benedums when he died of a coronary occlusion on November 4, 1955, at the age of 88. He was buried in Peoli Cemetery. The next year, baseball instituted the pitching award that bears his name.”

joss4

P-Addie Joss, Cleveland Naps, 28 Years Old

1905 1906 1907

24-11, 1.16 ERA, 130 K, .155, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

1908 AL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-1.16 (2nd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-0.806 (2nd Time)

Hits per 9 IP-6.425

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.831

Adjusted ERA+-204

4th Time All-Star-Every time I write about Joss it saddens me, because I see his greatness, but also know he had a short career due to dying young. This season was his magnum opus, as he finished third in WAR (8.4), behind Ed Walsh (10.5) and Cy Young (10.0); third in WAR for Pitchers (8.1), trailing Walsh (10.1) and Young (9.6); first with a miniscule 1.16 ERA; second in innings pitched (325.0), behind Big Ed Walsh (464); and first with a dazzling 204 Adjusted OPS+.

This was the year of his perfect game, of which Wikipedia has details, saying, “On October 2, 1908, Addie Joss pitched a perfect game, the fourth in Major League Baseball history, and only the second in American League history. He threw it at League Park, in ClevelandOhio.

“The Naps faced future Hall of Fame pitcher Ed Walsh and recorded four hits; they were struck out by Walsh 15 times. The Naps’ Joe Birmingham scored the team’s only run, which came in the third inning. In the ninth inning, Joss retired the first two batters then faced pinch hitter John Anderson. Anderson hit a line drive that would have resulted in a double had it not gone foul. He then hit a ball to Naps third baseman Bill Bradley which Bradley bobbled before throwing to first baseman George Stovall. Stovall dug the ball out of the ground to preserve the Naps’ 1–0 lead.

“With the win, Joss recorded a perfect game, the second in American League history. He accomplished the feat with just 74 pitches, the lowest known pitch count ever achieved in a perfect game. Fans swarmed the field after the win, though the Naps would finish half a game out of first place to the Tigers.”

plank7

P-Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics, 32 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907

14-16, 2.17 ERA, 135 K, .180, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

7th Time All-Star-I often, on this webpage, yearn for a time machine to go back and watch the All-Time greats. Would Plank have driven me crazy with his endless gestures on the mound? Probably, but, hey, if he bothered me too much, I have a time machine and I can just go back home. Plank didn’t have a good record this season, but he’s, as always, among the league’s best. He finished fifth in WAR (7.3) and fourth in WAR for Pitchers (7.1). Any team would desire to have a pitcher of his caliber.

The team that did was the Athletics, coached by Connie Mack, who is 45 years old at this time. His team went 68-85 and dropped from second to sixth place, but that would be a one year aberration, as Philadelphia would be one of the best teams in the American League over the next few seasons. The Athletics had the league’s worst hitting and also some pretty bad pitching, with the exception of Plank and Rube Vickers.

Plank would only have one more won-loss record below .500, according to SABR, which says, “The Athletics weren’t a factor in the wild pennant race of 1908, dropping to sixth place with a 68-85 slate, just a half-game ahead of Washington. Plank’s won-lost record slid with the team’s although not as far; he endured his first losing season with a 14-16 mark despite a fine ERA of 2.17. The game of September 20 shows the kind of year it was. Frank Smith of the White Sox threw the second no-hitter of his career, beating Plank, 1-0. The run scored in the bottom of the ninth when Plank was trying to walk Freddy Parent intentionally; Parent crossed things up by reaching out and swatting a sacrifice fly to short right field. As testimony of his consistency, Plank would finish with a losing record only one more time in his long career.”

vickers

P-Rube Vickers, Philadelphia Athletics, 30 Years Old

18-19, 2.21 ERA, 156 K, .160, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

Games Finished-17

1st Time All-Star-Harry Porter “Rube” Vickers was born on May 17, 1878 in St. Mary’s, Canada. The six-foot-two, 225 pound pitcher was big for his day. He only had one season in which he pitched more than 18 games and that was this one. He started with Cincinnati in 1902 and then was purchased by Brooklyn for the 1903 season. He didn’t play Major League ball again until 1907 for the Athletics, where Vickers would finish off his career after three years. This season, he finished eighth in WAR (6.1), fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.0), and fourth in innings pitched (317).

This Great Games says, “Eccentric Rube Waddell helped give the Browns a rare prominence after his tiresome Philadelphia teammates lobbied to get him traded. The A’s replaced one Rube with another in one-shot wonder Rube Vickers, who would lack Waddell’s irksome panache—but also his career stamina.”

It is indeed true the great Waddell was purchased by the St. Louis Browns from the Philadelphia Athletics. He made his last All-Star team in 1906, but still had good seasons in 1907 for Philadelphia, finishing 19-13 and in 1908 for St. Louis when he finished 19-14. Waddell finished with a career 193-143 record, 2.16 ERA, and lifetime 58.6 WAR. The other Rube, on the other hand, finished with a career 22-27 record, a 2.93 ERA, and a lifetime 2.7 WAR. Neither Rube made my Hall of Fame, but Waddell made Cooperstown, so that’s a good consolation prize for the nutty pitcher.

johnsonw

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 20 Years Old

14-14, 1.65 ERA, 160 K, .165, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. Ya think!)

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

1st Time All-Star-Walter Perry “Barney” or “The Big Train” Johnson was born on November 6, 1887 in Humboldt, KS. The six-foot-one, 200 pound pitcher would…wait, do I really have to tell you about Walter Johnson! Probably the second greatest pitcher of all-time, he languished his whole career with the Washington Senators, whose motto was, “First in war, first in peace, last in the American League.” He would finally make a World Series in 1924 when he was 36 years old. This season, Johnson finished 10th in WAR (5.6), sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.1), fifth in ERA (1.65), and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (138). All of that in his second year as a 20-year-old.

His first manager was Joe Cantillon, who led Washington from its typical last place position in 1907 to seventh place in 1908 with a 68-84 record. Washington actually hit pretty well, led by shortstop George McBride. It was its pitching which lacked, but once The Big Train starts motoring down the track, that will change.

Johnson grew up in my area, according to Wikipedia, which says, “Soon after he reached his fourteenth birthday, his family moved to California’s Orange County in 1902. The Johnsons settled in the town of Olinda, a small oil boomtown located just east of Brea. In his youth, the young Johnson split his time among playing baseball, working in the nearby oil fields, and going horseback riding.[6] Johnson later attended Fullerton Union High School where he struck out 27 batters during a 15-inning game against Santa Ana High School.”

powell3

P-Jack Powell, St. Louis Browns, 33 Years Old

1897 1902

16-13, 2.11 ERA, 85 K, .236, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Every five years or so, Powell makes another All-Star team. Since last making it in 1902, he pitched for St. Louis in 1903, the Highlanders in 1904-05, and then St. Louis again starting in 1905, with which he would finish up his career in 1912. He definitely deserves a sniff at my Hall of Fame, but if Rube Waddell didn’t make it, Powell doesn’t get to make it. This season, he finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.4), pitching his usual consistent year.

SABR wraps up his career nicely, stating, “Jack Powell, a stocky righthander who pitched for the St. Louis Browns in ten of his 16 major league seasons, was labeled a ‘nothing’ pitcher because neither his fastball nor his curve impressed many people. He threw the ball with an easy sidearm motion that caused many fans to say, ‘I could hit Jack Powell,’ but his delivery put little strain on his arm and helped him earn a reputation as a workhorse. Powell led the National League with 40 complete games in 1899, and pitched more than 300 innings in six of seven seasons from 1898 to 1904. He played much of his career for mediocre teams, but won nearly 250 major league games by changing speeds, hitting the corners, and trusting his defense to make plays behind him. He lost more games than he won and never played for a pennant winner, but made a valuable contribution to pitching staffs that included such Hall of Famers as Cy Young, Rube Waddell, and Jack Chesbro.”

donovan4

P-Bill Donovan, Detroit Tigers, 31 Years Old

1901 1903 1907

18-7, 2.08 ERA, 141 K, .159, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-Donovan was proof it was easier to pitch on good teams rather than bad ones. Not that he wasn’t a good pitcher, he certainly was, but it didn’t hurt being on the American League champs. Donovan finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.6) and in the World Series, he struggled, losing two games while pitching 17 innings and allowing eight earned runs for a 4.24 ERA.

Of course, without Donovan, Detroit wouldn’t have made the Series at all. Hughie Jennings led the team to a 90-63 record, beating Cleveland by half-a-game and the White Sox by one-and-a-half games. Due to the rules of the day, Detroit didn’t have to make up the one less game they played less than the Naps. On Sept. 24, the Tigers were two-and-a-half games out of first, but after that put together a 10-game winning streak to take the crown.

SABR wraps up his season, saying, “Donovan was brilliant again in 1908. He started late again, was suspended twice for umpire-baiting, but still won 18 of 25 decisions, including six by shutout, posted a 2.08 ERA, and issued just 53 walks in 242 2/3 innings. He pitched 25 complete games, though he was ejected on five occasions. He was 8-1 against the other three pennant contenders in one of baseball’s greatest races, and he shut out the White Sox on the final day of the season in a winner-take-all match to clinch the AL flag. In the World Series, he lost twice to Chicago’s Orval Overall, who allowed just one run in 18 innings, and the Tigers fell four games to one.”

rhoads2

P-Bob Rhoads, Cleveland Naps, 28 Years Old

1906

18-12, 1.77 ERA, 62 K, .222, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 24 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-After not making the All-Star team in 1907, Rhoads came back this season with his best season ever. He finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.2), eighth in ERA (1.77), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (134). He would pitch one more season in 1909 before giving up the game after that. He’s one of these rare 1900s players still alive at the same time as me, as he died on February 12, 1967 at the age of 87.

SABR writes, “In the midst of the 1908 pennant race, Sporting Life declared that ‘Robert S. Rhoades of Cleveland is one of the most dependable of modern pitchers. … His habits are good, his conduct exemplary, and in all ways is he a credit to his club and profession.’ Embodied in this passage are two hallmarks of our subject’s career: (1) a variant, one of many published, of the Rhoads name, and (2) the almost universally favorable treatment that Rhoads received on the sports page. The good press, however, was not undeserved. For most of his eight-season major-league career, Rhoads was a dependable pitcher and occasionally an outstanding one.

“Rhoads encored as special World Series correspondent for the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1908, chronicling the Cubs’ second consecutive postseason triumph over Detroit. The paper’s sports page also made good use of Rhoads himself as copy during offseason down time. A March 1909 profile, complete with a photo of a rakishly-dressed Robert Bruce Rhoades, informed readers that he ‘assays pompadour hair and noisy raiment, but his friends do not hold that against him. … Loaded down with a bobtailed spring overcoat, tan shoes, red socks and a fashionable cigarette, Mr. Rhoades makes a picture for the society page.’”

hughes2

P-Tom Hughes, Washington Senators, 29 Years Old

1905

18-15, 2.21 ERA, 165 K, .195, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-11

2nd Time All-Star-Hughes didn’t make this list in 1906 or 1907, but had his best season ever this year. He finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.1) though in his next four seasons for Washington, he’d be in the shadow of The Big Train. He’s also probably made his last All-Star team. SABR wraps up his life and career, stating, “Long Tom Hughes mixed a happy-go-lucky lifestyle with a Chicago-tough pitching moxie. Tall for his time at 6’1″, he stayed at about 175 pounds throughout his career. A heavy smoker and drinker, he took no particular care of his body, yet managed to stay in the major leagues until nearly age 35, and in the semi-pro ranks past age 40. Hughes loved being on the mound, at the center of the game. He had an outstanding drop curveball, a good change of pace that helped his fastball, and a rubber arm. After throwing 200 or more innings every year from 1903 to 1908, Hughes’s arm finally gave out, and he spent the 1910 season in the minors. Yet, in this age before reconstructive surgery, Hughes then succeeded in doing what few pitchers of his era could: he came back from a lame arm, and pitched three more seasons in the major leagues, winning 28 games for the Senators from 1911 to 1913. ‘Prize fighters might not be able to come back,’ Alfred Spink observed prophetically in 1910, ‘but good, old, sturdy, big-hearted athletes like the grand old man, Hughes, can.’”

street

C-Gabby Street, Washington Senators, 25 Years Old

.206, 1 HR, 32 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 74 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-578

Double Plays Turned as C-14

1st Time All-Star-Charles Evard “Gabby” or “Old Sarge” Street was born on September 30, 1882 in Huntsville, AL. He started his career playing a handful of games for the 1904 Reds and then after playing a couple of games for them in 1905, he was loaned to the Boston Beaneaters by the Cincinnati Reds. Boston used him only for three games before paying back the loan on June 15. He ended playing 29 more games for Cincinnati. After that season, he was purchased by San Francisco (PCL) from the Cincinnati Reds. Street would be out of the majors until this year when he finally had a good season for Washington. Street finished ninth in Defensive WAR with a 1.2 mark. Old Sarge would do the same in 1909.

He was part of a stunt this season, as Wikipedia reports, “However, on August 21, 1908, Street achieved a measure of immortality by catching a baseball dropped from the top of the Washington Monument—a distance of 555 feet (169 m). After muffing the first twelve balls thrown by journalist Preston Gibson, he made a clean reception of number thirteen. In addition, Street was fabled as an early catcher and mentor of the American League‘s nonpareil right-handed pitcher, Walter Johnson.”

I know it is difficult to rate catchers and gauge how effective they were long term, but it’s still surprising to me Street garnered some Hall of Fame interest. He actually received Hall of Fame votes in 1937, 1938, and 1953. This is for a man who only played 504 total games and finished with a .208 batting average.

schmidt

C-Boss Schmidt, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

.265, 1 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 69 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as C-184

Errors Committed as C-37 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-134

Caught Stealing as C-129

1st Time All-Star-Charles “Boss” Schmidt was born on September 12, 1880 in London, AR. He started his career as a catcher in 1906 for Detroit and would finish it in 1911. In the 1907 World Series, Schmidt hit .167 (two-for-12) and this season was even worse, getting just one hit in 14 at-bats. Spoiler alert! Next season won’t be much better as he hit .222. Still he was an important member of these Tigers, which won three consecutive American League pennants.

Phil Williams of SABR writes, “’It’s a thankless job, this catching business,’ sighed Charley Schmidt in 1908. The stocky Tiger was not one of the era’s more dexterous backstops, but instead demonstrated an often overlooked physical bravery in helping his team to three memorable American League pennants. Yet, more so than many of his Detroit teammates, Schmidt is better remembered for the three unfortunate World Series which followed, when the best of his game abandoned him.

“After off-season ankle surgery, Schmidt reported to spring training in Augusta, Georgia. On March 16, Cobb became involved in a physical altercation with a black groundskeeper, then the groundskeeper’s wife. Schmidt objected to Cobb’s treatment of the woman, and the two engaged in a few blows, before being separated by Jennings.

“Schmidt and Cobb squared off again on March 29. The catcher was allegedly offended by comments Cobb made to a Georgia newspaper about his abilities to out-fight any of his teammates. If so, Schmidt convincingly settled the matter by pummeling Cobb, leaving the Georgian a bloody mess.”

stovall

1B-George Stovall, Cleveland Naps, 30 Years Old

.292, 2 HR, 45 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as 1B-79 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.990

1st Time All-Star-George Thomas “Firebrand” Stovall was born on November 23, 1877 in Leeds, MO. The six-foot-two, 180 pound first baseman started with Cleveland in 1904, but this was his best year ever in a league with a scarcity of good players at his position. Stovall finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.2), seventh in batting (.292) and seventh in slugging (.380). Not exactly the numbers that come to mind when you think of first basemen, but not bad for the era in which he played.

Firebrand would remain with Cleveland through 1911. After that, he was traded by the Cleveland Naps to the St. Louis Browns for Lefty George. Before the 1914 season, he jumped to the Federal League and played two seasons with the Kansas City Packers.

Stovall played alongside Nap Lajoie for years, but wasn’t thrilled with how he coached the team. SABR says, “Stovall played beside Nap Lajoie, the eponymous manager of the team. In later years, Stovall praised Lajoie’s hitting, but added “He wasn’t what I would call a good manager. ‘Bout all he’d ever say was “let’s go out and get them so-and-so’s today.” He knew he could do his share but it didn’t help the younger fellows much.’ Stovall also criticized Nap’s lack of on-field managing savvy, including not having any signs worth mentioning.

“Despite his protests, spitting on an umpire, and hurling a chair at his manager, George Stovall was not called Firebrand until he became the feared incarnation of the upstart Federal League. The firebrand was ‘the red symbol of insurrection and anarchy,’ and the papers of late 1913 and early 1914 were full of rumors of Stovall scouring the country for baseball talent that could be taken from the two established leagues.”

lajoie9

2B-Nap Lajoie, Cleveland Naps, 33 Years Old, 1908 ONEHOF Inductee

1897 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1906 1907

.289, 2 HR, 74 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-7.9 (6th Time)

Games Played-157

AB Per SO-29.1

Def. Games as 2B-156 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 2B-450 (5th Time)

Assists as 2B-538 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 2B-78 (5th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.32 (7th Time)

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.33 (6th Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.964 (5th Time)

9th Time All-Star-When I created the One-A-Year Hall of Fame, it was the Hall of Fame which would only induct the greatest players, the ones whose names would be instantly recognizable. In other words, the ONEHOF was created to honor players like Napoleon Lajoie and, what do you know!, he’s the 1908 inductee. Next year’s nominees are Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Fred Clarke, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, Joe McGinnity, Christy Mathewson, Eddie Plank, and Vic Willis.

Lajoie also this year tied for most All-Star teams at second base. For the complete list, check out the Cy Young blurb.

This season was also the closest a Nap Lajoie-managed team came to winning the pennant, as the Naps finished half-a-game behind Detroit. When you have Larry on your team, you’ll always be able to hit and Cleveland certainly could, but it was actually its pitching which carried Lajoie’s squad, led by Addie Joss.

In 1908, Lajoie finished fourth in WAR (7.9); first in WAR Position Players (7.9); third in Offensive WAR (5.2), behind Detroit sluggers Ty Cobb (6.4) and Sam Crawford (6.1); third in Defensive WAR (2.6), trailing St. Louis shortstop Bobby Wallace (3.3) and Washington shortstop George McBride (2.6); eighth in batting (.289); 10th in on-base percentage (.352); ninth in slugging (.375); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (137). It wasn’t a typical Lajoie season offensively, but as always, Nap’s glove added value to his game.

williams5

2B-Jimmy Williams, St. Louis Browns, 31 Years Old

1899 1901 1903 1906

.236, 4 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-When you’re Scottie Pippen to Michael Jordan or even Bill Dahlen to Honus Wagner, you can be forgotten. Who was the best second baseman in the early days of the American League? Easy, you say, Nap Lajoie. Ding, ding, ding! Yes, you are correct. Who was the second best at the position? Unless you follow the game voraciously, you probably wouldn’t come up with Jimmy Williams.

Yet here he is, making his fifth All-Star team and I thought he was done making them five years ago.

Since the last time he made the list in 1906, Williams played one more year for New York in 1907 and then was traded by the New York Highlanders with Hobe Ferris and Danny Hoffman to the St. Louis Browns for Fred GladeCharlie Hemphilland Harry Niles. He would finish his career in 1909, playing one last year for the Browns.

Against his old mates, SABR reports, “When the Browns reached New York for their first 1908 visit in late May, the revamped Yankees were clutching first place. The former captain was warmly greeted with gifts and dollars. Adrenalin flowing, he then proceeded to destroy his old friends. In a three-game sweep Williams hit for a collective ‘cycle’ (7 for 12) beating reliever Doc Newton, Chesbro and Al Orth. St. Louis continued to play great into early September before finally oozing to fourth. Yet the Browns reversed their 1907 record to 83-69. It remained the franchise-best until 1922.” They wouldn’t win a pennant until 1944.

ferris

3B-Hobe Ferris, St. Louis Browns, 33 Years Old

.270, 2 HR, 74 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-148

Putouts as 3B-222

Double Plays Turned as 3B-27

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.64

Fielding % as 3B-.952

1st Time All-Star-Albert Samuel “Hobe” Ferris was born on December 7, 1874 in Trowbridge, United Kingdom. He started with Boston in the inaugural American League year and was a second baseman from 1901-1907. He never was a good hitter, though he always had a decent glove. After the 1907 season, Ferris was Purchased by the New York Highlanders from the Boston Americans. Then he was Traded by the New York Highlanders with Danny Hoffman and Jimmy Williams to the St. Louis Browns for Fred GladeCharlie Hemphill and Harry Niles. The Browns moved him to third base where he had his best hitting season ever. Ferris finished eighth in Defensive WAR (1.4), while slashing .270/.291/.353 for an OPS+ of 109. Those were his highest batting average and on-base percentage in his career.

Here are some highlights of his career from Wikipedia: “He was a member of the Boston side that won the inaugural 1903 World Series. Despite being a gifted defensive player, Ferris committed an error in the top of the first inning of the opening game of the series, fumbling a ball hit by Pittsburgh’s Kitty Bransfield, and in doing so committed the first error in World Series history. He knocked in all of Boston’s runs in the final game, which they won 3-0.

“His first season with the Browns was the most productive of his entire career: he set new highs in OBP, batting average, and RBI and hit in 26 straight games. However, this relatively successful season with the bat proved to be something of a blip — in 1909 his numbers plummeted as he recorded the worst season of his career. Following this poor season Ferris’s contract was not renewed by the Browns.”

wallace10

SS-Bobby Wallace, St. Louis Browns, 34 Years Old

1898 1899 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907

.253, 1 HR, 60 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-3.3 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.951 (2nd Time)

10th Time All-Star-After a decade of dazzling at the game’s toughest defensive position, it’s possible Bobby Wallace has made his last All-Star team. It’s tough to say, because though his hitting is going to decline, he’ll still be a decent fielder for the next few years. This season, Wallace finished sixth in WAR (6.3); second in WAR Position Players (6.3), behind Nap Lajoie (7.9); seventh in Offensive WAR (4.1); and first in Defensive WAR (3.3). In this weak-hitting year for the American League, a .253/.327/.324 slash line will put you in the top 10 in Offensive WAR.

In 1908 and 1909, the American League teams averaged just 3.44 runs per game, the lowest total outside of 1968, in which the league averaged 3.41 runs per game. So even though the figures look low on some of the individual players who made the All-Star team this year, they are playing in the deadest year of the Deadball Era. Though 1911 and 1912 were aberrations by averaging over four runs per game, it wasn’t until 1919 when the league would start averaging over that mark for a long stretch.

Knowing these facts makes it easier to look at a season like this one from Wallace and understand why WAR would rate him so highly. If you just look at straight statistics and don’t weigh them against the competition of the time, it looks like a weak year. Also, since Wallace played so many years during this weak-hitting era, he actually is better than his stats show. I know what you’re asking. Well, what about Honus Wagner, smart guy? Yeah, well, he’s just a freak of nature.

mcbride

SS-George McBride, Washington Senators, 27 Years Old

.232, 0 HR, 34 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as SS-155

Double Plays Turned as SS-58

1st Time All-Star-George Florian McBride was born on November 20, 1880 in Milwaukee, WI. The five-foot-11, 170 pound shortstop was one of the greatest defensive shortstops of all time, but did absolutely zero with the bat. Mark Belanger, meet your predecessor. This season, McBride finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.5); and second in Defensive WAR (2.6), behind Bobby Wallace (3.3). There are questions about the accuracy of dWAR, but in eight of nine seasons, McBride would finish in the top three in that category, including four straight seasons in which he led the league.

SABR says everything I just said, but more eloquently, stating, “Like his contemporary in the National League, Mickey Doolan, George McBride was the prototypical ‘good-field, no-hit’ shortstop during the Deadball Era. Widely viewed as the best defensive shortstop in his league, McBride struggled mightily at the bat. A relatively large shortstop, standing 5’11’ and weighing 170 pounds, McBride was described in the press as an ‘aggressive, alert, and quick-witted’ fielder. He led the AL in fielding percentage five times, including four times consecutively from 1912 to 1915, and was near the lead in most other years. Meanwhile, he achieved only a .218 lifetime batting average, never exceeding .235 for a single season. He was an iron man during his days as the regular shortstop for the Washington Senators, and was recognized as one of the headiest players of his day.

“Beginning in 1908, McBride played 13 seasons with the Nats, holding down the regular shortstop position for the first nine of those years. He was considered an iron man for his time. From 1908 to 1914, he played at least 150 games a season, including every Senators game during the 1908, 1909, and 1911 seasons.”

mcintyre

LF-Matty McIntyre, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old

.295, 0 HR, 28 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Plate Appearances-678

Runs Scored-105

Singles-131

Times on Base-258

Def. Games as LF-151

Putouts as LF-330

Assists as LF-17

Double Plays Turned as LF-4

Def. Games as OF-151

Putouts as OF-329

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.30

Fielding % as LF-.977

Fielding % as OF-.977

1st Time All-Star-Matthew Martin “Matty” McIntyre was born on June 12, 1880 in Stonington, CT. The five-foot-11, 175 pounder started as an outfielder for the Athletics in 1901 and then didn’t play again in the Majors until 1904 when he joined Detroit. This was his best season ever as he finished ninth in WAR (5.9); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.9); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.8); fifth in batting (.295); second in on-base percentage (.392), behind Boston rightfielder Doc Gessler (.394); fifth in slugging (.383); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (149). In the World Series loss to the Cubs, McIntyre hit .222 with a double and three walks.

Wikipedia tells of his battles with a Tiger legend, saying, “Despite his impressive performance on the field, McIntyre may be best remembered as the leader of the ‘anti-Cobb’ clique on the Tigers during Cobb’s early years. McIntyre joined the Tigers in 1904 and was a 26-year-old starter when 18-year-old Cobb joined the team in 1905. Early in Cobb’s rookie season, Cobb went after a flyball that was clearly in McIntyre’s left field territory. By cutting in front, Cobb caused McIntyre to drop the ball, infuriating McIntyre. McIntyre was a Connecticut Yankee who had little in common with the taciturn kid from Georgia. McIntyre and his cohorts led a prolonged hazing campaign, locking Cobb out of an empty washroom, flicking food at Cobb, and nailing his shoes to the clubhouse floor. Cobb’s legendary temper only added fuel to the fire, and the McIntyre-Cobb feud continued until McIntyre was sold to the White Sox after the 1910 season. (Cobb’s feud with McIntyre is documented in Al Stump’s 1994 book, ‘Cobb: The Life and Times of the Meanest Man Who Ever Played Baseball.’)”

stone4

LF-George Stone, St. Louis Browns, 31 Years Old

1905 1906 1907

.281, 5 HR, 31 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Singles-131

Errors Committed as LF-16

Double Plays Turned as LF-4

4th Time All-Star-In last year’s blurb about Stone, an article I quoted said that Stone had a tough year. Well, it certainly wasn’t his 1906 season, but in a league in which scoring was at a minimum, it wasn’t bad. Stone finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.1), 10th in batting (.281), and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (132). I think most players would settle for a “tough” year like that. After this season, Stone would play two more seasons with the Browns before his Major League career was done. He only played six full seasons, but, in the Deadball Era, finished with a .301 career average.

SABR wraps us his career, stating, “Stone’s statistics fell off in both 1907 and 1908, though he was still an outstanding hitter. One account indicates that he contracted malaria in 1908, and Stone’s production plummeted in 1909 when he suffered an injury to his ankle. That injury cost Stone his speed, which had enabled him to beat out many infield hits. He also had problems with his arm, and ‘any time a ball was hit into his territory the opposing base runners advanced almost at will. The worry over all these things caused Stone’s batting to suffer and as a result the sensation of the American League of 1906 was a near joke in 1910.’ Stone never hit higher than .300 after 1907, and his average fell to .256 in 1910, his last season in the major leagues. Stone returned to the Milwaukee Brewers in 1911, batting .282, but injuries led him to retire from professional baseball just 12 games into the 1912 campaign. He wrote to manager Duffy ‘that he has retired from the game for good and will spend all of his future time attending to his business in Nebraska.’”

crawford6

CF-Sam Crawford, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1905 1907

.311, 7 HR, 80 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

At-Bats-591

Home Runs-7 (2nd Time)

Power-Speed #-9.5

Fielding % as CF-.970

6th Time All-Star-Every Simon needs a Garfunkel and every Hall needs an Oates and Ty Cobb had his Sam Crawford. It is no sad thing to play second fiddle to one of the greatest players of all-time and a man as good as Wahoo Sam certainly held his own. This season, he finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.1); second in Offensive WAR (6.1), behind Cobb (6.4); second in batting (.311), trailing the Georgia Peach (.324); eighth in on-base percentage (.355); second in slugging (.457), being muscled out only by his famous teammate (.475); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (160), falling short of, oh, you know, (170), and Boston rightfielder Doc Gessler (162). After having a bad World Series in 1907, he had another disappointing Fall Classic, hitting .238 with a double.

The problem with a personality as big as Cobb is eventually everything goes back to him, as evidenced by SABR, which says, “Despite, or perhaps because of, his disagreements with Cobb, Crawford remained one of the game’s most respected figures, admired for his honesty, intelligence, and endurance. ‘[Crawford] is a man of most exemplary habits, remarkable disposition, and is an example that it would be well for any man in any profession to follow,’ Detroit owner Frank Navin wrote in 1915. ‘He has always been a gentleman on and off the field. I have never had any occasion to worry in the least about his condition.’” Could have there been two different personalities than the two Detroit outfielders?

jonesf6

CF-Fielder Jones, Chicago White Sox, 36 Years Old

1901 1902 1905 1906 1907

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. Very slim chance)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as CF-149

Putouts as CF-286

6th Time All-Star-There were some great player-managers at this time. Along with Jones were Fred Clarke and Frank Chance in the National League. Nap Lajoie was also a player-manager, but his managerial skills were questionable as he was never able to lead his Naps to a first place finish. This season, Jones finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.8); 10th in Offensive WAR (3.7); and seventh in on-base percentage (.366).

As for his team, the White Sox, they continued to do much with little, finishing third in the American League with an 88-64 record, just one-and-a-half games from the crown. They were still the Hitless Wonders, being the second worst hitting team in the league, and even their pitching was only middle-of-the-road. You have to give some credit to Jones’ managing.

The SABR article on Jones is very detailed and I urge you to read it all, if you have a spare hour or so. Anyway, here’s a snippet: “George Stovall said of Jones, ‘He ranks right with McGraw and Connie Mack. He had an inspiring personality and his teams played flashing, dashing, smart baseball.’ An article in the St. Louis Republic in 1908 said, ‘Few men, in fact not any, save himself and, perhaps, McGraw, are given the art of winning championship with dub players as Fielder Jones is. Other managers must have champions to win championships for them.’ The New York Times, in Jones’ obituary, had him ranked with McGraw and Mack as ‘one of the three greatest baseball managers.’”

hemphill2

CF-Charlie Hemphill, New York Highlanders, 32 Years Old

1906

.297, 0 HR, 44 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as CF-19

Errors Committed as OF-20

2nd Time All-Star-After having a mediocre 1907 season, Hemphill, now on the Highlanders, had another good season and is the only All-Star for New York. He finished sixth in Offensive WAR (4.5); fourth in batting (.297); third in on-base percentage (.374), behind Boston rightfielder Doc Gessler (.394) and Detroit leftfielder Matty McIntyre (.392); second in steals (42), trailing Chicago leftfielder Patsy Dougherty (47); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (137).

New York struggled this season, finishing last in the American League. Clark Griffith (24-32) and Kid Elberfeld (27-71) managed the team to only one of four last place finishes this esteemed franchise would have in its 105-year (as of this date) history. While its hitting definitely wasn’t up to par, its pitching absolutely stank. The AL league ERA was 2.39, while the Highlanders was at 3.16. They were the only team with an ERA above three.

SABR says, “At his best, Charlie Hemphill was a strong-armed, fleet-footed outfielder and solid hitter who drew walks. In 1910, The Sporting News’s Alfred Spink described him as ‘a cracking good batsman and when right is a hard man to beat.’ At his worst, however, Hemphill was a poor fielder known to misjudge balls in the air, and an inattentive baserunner. Hemphill’s career was also marred by several bouts with dissipation. After his major-league career was over, drinking cost him his managerial post with the Atlanta Crackers and his chance for a long career in the minor leagues. Hemphill is in the ‘All Deadball Era’ outfield for both the Browns and Yankees, reflecting a weakness of both teams.”

cobb2

RF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 21 Years Old

1907

.324, 4 HR, 108 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1908 AL Batting Title (2nd Time)

Offensive WAR-6.4 (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.324 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.475 (2nd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.842 (2nd Time)

Hits-188 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-276 (2nd Time)

Doubles-36

Triples-20

Runs Batted In-108 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-170 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-100 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-43 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-5.1 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-60

Offensive Win %-.815 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as RF-150

Putouts as RF-214

Assists as RF-23

Errors Committed as RF-14

Double Plays Turned as RF-6

Assists as OF-23 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Cobb led Detroit to its second straight league title with his second straight dazzling season. There’s no need to waste my valuable space writing about his accomplishments when you can see them so clearly above. In the World Series, which Detroit lost to Chicago, 4-0-1, Cobb did much better than in 1907, hitting .368 with a double and two steals. Unfortunately, in his long career, the Georgia Peach only has one World Series appearance left. Oh, I forgot something. His career is so outstanding that he’s already made my Hall of Fame in just his second All-Star season.

Wikipedia has a story about Cobb assaulting a black groundskeeper in 1907, but some people believe Detroit catcher Boss Schmidt made it up. It’s too long to print here, but you can see it for yourself at the link. The free internet encyclopedia also says, “In September 1907, Cobb began a relationship with The Coca-Cola Company that lasted the remainder of his life. By the time he died, he held over 20,000 shares of stock and owned bottling plants in Santa Maria, CaliforniaTwin Falls, Idaho, and Bend, Oregon. He was also a celebrity spokesman for the product. In the offseason between 1907 and 1908, Cobb negotiated with Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina, offering to coach baseball there ‘for $250 a month, provided that he did not sign with Detroit that season’. This did not come to pass, however.

“The following season, the Tigers finished ahead of the Chicago White Sox for the pennant. Cobb again won the batting title with a .324 average, but Detroit suffered another loss in the World Series. In August 1908, Cobb married Charlotte (‘Charlie’) Marion Lombard, the daughter of prominent Augustan Roswell Lombard. In the offseason, the couple lived on her father’s Augusta estate, The Oaks, until they moved into their own house on Williams Street in November 1913.”

gessler

RF-Doc Gessler, Boston Red Sox, 27 Years Old

.308, 3 HR, 63 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.394

Fielding % as RF-.950

1st Time All-Star-Henry Homer “Doc” or “Brownie” Gessler was born on December 23, 1880 in Greensburg, PA. The five-foot-10, 180 pound rightfielder started with Detroit and Brooklyn in 1903, continued to play with the Superbas through 1906; got traded to the Cubs that season and then took 1907 off. This was his best season ever as he finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.6); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.6); third in batting (.308), behind Detroit outfielders Ty Cobb (.324) and Sam Crawford (.311); first in on-base percentage (.394); third in slugging (.423), trailing only Cobb (.475) and Crawford (.457); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (162), lagging behind only the Georgia Peach (170).

SABR says, “John I. Taylor chose to rename his team in December 1907, and the Boston Red Sox were born. Taylor had also planned a major shakeup of the team, looking ahead to 1908, so there were a number of moves such as acquiring Gessler. Once the season began, Gessler accomplished something that can never be taken away: He became the first man wearing a Red Sox uniform to hit a home run in a regular-season game, on April 23 in Washington, with two outs in the top of the fourth inning. Doc Gessler drove a liner to deep left-center and rounded the bases before the ball could be relayed home. It was one of 14 homers hit by the team that first year as the Red Sox. Gessler’s three home runs led the Red Sox in 1908. Yes, three. He also led the American League in on-base percentage, with a .394 mark, built on a .308 average, 51 bases on balls, and getting hit 11 times. No one else on the Red Sox hit any higher than .279 as the team finished in fifth place.”

1908 National League All-Star Team

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-George McQuillan, PHI

P-Mordecai Brown, CHC

P-Hooks Wiltse, NYG

P-Nap Rucker, BRO

P-Ed Reulbach, CHC

P-Kaiser Wilhelm, BRO

P-Bugs Raymond, STL

P-Andy Coakley, CIN/CHI

P-Vic Willis, PIT

C-Roger Bresnahan, NYG

C-Johnny Kling, CHC

1B-Frank Chance, CHC

2B-Johnny Evers, CHC

3B-Hans Lobert, CIN

3B-Tommy Leach, PIT

3B-Art Devlin, NYG

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

SS-Bill Dahlen, BSN

SS-Al Bridwell, NYG

LF-Fred Clarke, PIT

LF-Sherry Magee, PHI

CF-Red Murray, STL

RF-Mike Donlin, NYG

 

mathewson7P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907

37-11, 1.43 ERA, 259 K, .155, 0 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1908 NL Pitching Triple Crown

1908 NL Pitching Title

WAR for Pitchers-11.1 (3rd Time)

Earned Run Average-1.43 (2nd Time)

Wins-37 (3rd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-0.827 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.968

Games Pitched-56

Saves-5

Innings Pitched-390 2/3

Strikeouts-259 (5th Time)

Games Started-44 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-34

Shutouts-11 (4th Time)

Hits Allowed-281

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-6.167 (3rd Time)

Batters Faced-1,469

Adjusted ERA+168 (2nd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.29 (4th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-42 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.2 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as P-56

Assists as P-141 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-It’s a joy to research Mathewson as compared to other ballplayers of his time. He was clean cut, the type of player a young person could have as his or her hero. And if you’re going to be a hero, it helps when you ply your craft heroically. Oh, I know it’s only baseball, not soldiering or firefighting, but these are the people looked up to, whether we feel that’s right or not. Mathewson had an unbelievable season and because he led in virtually everything (besides overall WAR), I don’t have to recap his stats.

Led by Big Six, the Giants moved up from fourth to second, tied with Pittsburgh with a 98-56 record. This was the season of the famous Merkle’s boner, which ended up losing the pennant for New York by one game to Chicago. New York had the best hitting in the league and some of the best pitching, but due to a base running blunder, no league title.

The one-game playoff with the Cubs at the end of the season was tragic, according to SABR, which says, “Matty’s season ended in disappointment, however, when he took a no-decision in the ‘Merkle Game’ and lost to Mordecai Brown, 4-2, in the one-game playoff. By his own admission he had ‘nothing on the ball’ in that contest, and he also felt responsible that four people had lost their lives in falling accidents at the Polo Grounds that day (according to Christy’s second cousin, Harold ‘Alvie’ Reynolds, if Mathewson had only said the word, the Giants would’ve refused to play and those tragedies would’ve been averted).”

mcquillan

P-George McQuillan, Philadelphia Phillies, 23 Years Old

23-17, 1.53 ERA, 114 K, .151, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-George Watt McQuillan was born on May 1, 1885 in Brooklyn, NY. The five-foot-11, 175 pound hurler started out 4-0 with Philadelphia in 1907 before having his best year ever this season. He finished third in WAR (9.2), behind Hall of Famers Honus Wagner (11.5) and Christy Mathewson (11.2); second in WAR for Pitchers (9.4), behind Mathewson (11.1); third in ERA (1.53), trailing Mathewson (1.43) and Mordecai Brown (1.47); second in innings pitched (359 2/3), behind Mathewson (390 2/3); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (157), once again behind Mathewson (168) and Brown (160).

Billy Murray coached the Phillies again, leading them to an 83-71 record that dropped them from third to fourth. Led by McQuillan, Philadelphia had the best ERA (2.10) and ERA+ (114) in the league.

SABR says of his meteoric rise, “George McQuillan was the Doc Gooden of the Deadball Era. In 1908 he enjoyed one of the best rookie seasons in history, going 23-17 for the mediocre Phillies with a sparkling 1.53 ERA in nearly 360 innings of work (in 1985 the young Gooden posted an identical ERA). An unusually fast worker even in an era of briskly paced games, McQuillan pitched with ‘supreme self-confidence’ according to Baseball Magazine, becoming known as the brightest young pitcher in the game. Within three years, however, his career came crashing down in a sordid web of alcoholism, sexual escapades, and financial troubles.” He still has a shot at making one more All-Star team, but his career is an example of someone too good, too fast and the pressures of handling it.

brown4

P-Mordecai Brown, Chicago Cubs, 31 Years Old

1903 1906 1907

29-9, 1.47 ERA, 123 K, .207, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-6.167 (2nd Time)

Saves-5

Putouts as P-35

4th Time All-Star-Three Finger Brown pitched his third of six consecutive 20-win seasons, again helping his team to the league championship, his third one. He finished fourth in WAR (8.1); third in WAR for Pitchers (8.2), behind Christy Mathewson (11.1) and George McQuillan (9.4); second in ERA (1.47), behind Mathewson (1.43); seventh in innings pitched (312 1/3); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (160), trailing Mathewson (168).

In the World Series, Brown relieved for two innings in game one, allowing an unearned run and garnering the win. Then, with the Cubs up 2-1, he pitched a four-hit shutout in game four as the Cubs would go on to win the Series.

Wikipedia says, “Brown defeated Mathewson in competition as often as not, most significantly in the final regular season game of the 1908 season. Brown had a career 13–11 edge on Mathewson, with one no-decision in their 25 pitching matchups.

“Brown’s most important single game effort was the pennant-deciding contest between the Cubs and the New York Giants on October 8, 1908, at New York. With Mathewson starting for the Giants, Cubs starter Jack Pfiester got off to a weak start and was quickly relieved by Brown, who held the Giants in check the rest of the way as the Cubs prevailed 4–2, to win the pennant. The Cubs then went on to win their second consecutive World Series championship, their last until 2016, a span of 108 years.” The National League was short of great pitchers at this time, but Mathewson and Brown held their own.

wiltse

P-Hooks Wiltse, New York Giants, 28 Years Old

23-14, 2.24 ERA, 118 K, .236, 0 HR, 14 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-George Leroy “Hooks” Wiltse was born on September 7, 1879 in Hamilton, NY. He started his career with the Giants in 1904 and was a consistent pitcher for years, notching a 57-32 record from 1904-07. This season, he and Christy Mathewson shouldered the load for New York as Wiltse finished sixth in WAR (6.7), fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.9), and fifth in innings pitched (330).

Wikipedia says, “’Hooks’ earned his nickname because of his exceptional curveball and was one of the earliest pitchers to have a curveball that was regarded as more effective than his fastball. From 1904 to 1914, he pitched for the National League‘s New York Giants. During that time, he combined with teammate Christy Mathewson for 435 wins, making them one of the best lefty-righty duos in history.

“On July 4, 1908, Wiltse pitched a perfect game through 26 batters until he hit Philadelphia Phillies pitcher George McQuillan on a 2–2 count in a scoreless game. This was the only occurrence of a pitcher losing a perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning by hitting a batter until Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer did so on June 20, 2015. Like Wiltse, Scherzer eventually completed a no-hitter, but unlike Wiltse, Scherzer had a 6-0 lead and was able to retire the next batter to end the game. Umpire Cy Rigler later admitted that he should have called the previous pitch strike three, which would have ended the inning. Wiltse pitched on, winning 1–0 in ten innings, with the hit-batsman the only lapse separating him from a perfect game. Wiltse’s ten-inning complete game no-hitter still remains a Major League record.”

rucker2

P-Nap Rucker, Brooklyn Superbas, 23 Years Old

1907

17-19, 2.08 ERA, 199 K, .179, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-125

2nd Time All-Star-Rucker continues to be on his way to a Ron’s Hall of Fame career, which as you know, is incredibly prestigious and includes a ceremony in Carter Lake, IA. He finished ninth in WAR (5.7); sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.8); and third in innings pitched (333 1/3), behind Christy Mathewson (390 2/3) and George McQuillan (359 2/3). Sometimes good seasons are achieved by just putting in the work and that was certainly the case for Rucker.

SABR says, “Rucker’s teammates on the 1905 Augusta team included Eddie Cicotte, Clyde Engle, and a 19-year-old Ty Cobb. The two Georgians roomed together and often went to the park early so Cobb could practice hitting against left-handed pitching. That season Nap became one of the first players to experience his roommate’s fury firsthand. When they arrived home after each game, Cobb would bathe first, then Rucker, but one day Nap was knocked out of the game and left the park early. Cobb arrived home to find Nap already in the bathtub and flew into a rage, attempting to choke the naked Rucker. ‘You don’t understand,’ Cobb seethed, ‘I’ve just got to be first–all the time.’

“[Before the 1907 season], the Brooklyn Superbas drafted Rucker for $500. The 22-year-old rookie quickly established himself as the staff’s ace, more than earning his $1,900 salary by going 15-13 and leading the team in innings (275), strikeouts (131), and ERA (2.06). Rucker was even better in his sophomore season, somehow winning 17 games for a team that lost 101. The highlight came at Washington Park on September 5, 1908, when he pitched a no-hitter, striking out 14 Boston Doves.”

reulbach4P-Ed Reulbach, Chicago Cubs, 25 Years Old

1905 1906 1907

24-7, 2.03 ERA, 133 K, .232, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.774 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-For the fourth consecutive season, Reulbach made the All-Star team and also won his third straight league crown. Big Ed finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.9), ninth in innings pitched (297 2/3), and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (116). In the World Series, he started the first game, allowing four runs in six-and-two-thirds innings before being pulled. He also relieved Jack Pfiester in the third game, shutting out Detroit in his one inning in the only loss for the Cubs.

Wikipedia states, “His best year was 1908, when he won 24 games for the National Leagueand World Series champion Cubs, their last Series championship until they won it again in 2016. He pitched two shutouts in one day against the Brooklyn Dodgers on September 26, 1908. No other pitcher has ever accomplished this feat in the major leagues.”

And SABR says, “Reulbach remained one of the NL’s most dominant pitchers through 1909. In 1906 he pitched 12 low-hit games (five hits or fewer), not including the one-hitter he threw against the White Sox in Game Two of that year’s World Series, and started a 17-game personal winning streak that didn’t end until June 29, 1907, when Deacon Phillippe defeated him, 2-1. It was the post-1900 record for consecutive victories until Rube Marquard broke it in 1911-12, and it remains the fourth-longest streak in history.

“Reulbach also set an NL record with 44 consecutive scoreless innings late in the 1908 season and led the league in winning percentage each season from 1906 to 1908, a feat matched only by Lefty Grove.”

wilhelm

P-Kaiser Wilhelm, Brooklyn Superbas, 31 Years Old

16-22, 1.87 ERA, 99 K, .108, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 166 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Irvin Key “Kaiser” Wilhelm was born on January 26, 1877 in Wooster, OH. He started with Pittsburgh in 1903, winning a league title. It released him and he was picked up as a free agent by the Beaneaters before the 1904 season. He pitched for them for two seasons and then didn’t play in the Majors in 1906 or 1907. This season, easily his best ever, Wilhelm finished fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.1), seventh in ERA (1.87), fourth in innings pitched (332), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (124). His overall WAR would have been higher if not for his atrocious hitting.

Of course, if you look up Wilhelm in 1908, you don’t find much on him, but you do get a lot on the German Kaiser. The website faculty.virginia.edu says “In 1908 William caused great excitement in Germany by giving, after a visit to England, a tactless interview to The Daily Telegraph, telling his interviewer that large sections of the German people were anti-English. He had sent the text beforehand to Bülow, who had probably neglected to read it and who defended his master very lamely in the Reichstag. This led William to play a less prominent role in public affairs, and, feeling that he had been betrayed by Bülow, he replaced him with Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg. Bethmann’s attempts to reach agreement with Britain failed because Britain would not promise neutrality in a war between Germany and France unless Germany would limit its fleet. This the Kaiser and Tirpitz refused to allow. The Moroccan (Agadir) crisis of 1911, in which Germany again tried to intervene in Morocco against French encroachment, might have led to war if Germany (with the encouragement of the Kaiser) had not given way.”

raymond

P-Bugs Raymond, St. Louis Cardinals, 26 Years Old

15-25, 2.03 ERA, 145 K, .189, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Losses-25

Wild Pitches-9

Errors Committed as P-8

1st Time All-Star-Arthur Lawrence “Bugs” Raymond was born on February 24, 1882 in Chicago, IL. His Major League career started with Detroit in 1904, before he ended up with St. Louis in 1907. This was easily his best year ever in a very weak year for National League pitchers. Raymond finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.2), 10th in ERA (2.03), and sixth in innings pitched (324 1/3).

For the second straight season, the Cardinals finished last as John McCloskey led them to a 49-105 record. They couldn’t hit or pitch but besides that, they were terrible. After getting five chances to manage, McCloskey would be done after this year, finishing with a career record of 190-417.

SABR says, “New York Giants manager John McGraw considered Bugs Raymond one of the greatest pitchers he ever managed–or tried to manage. ‘What a terrific spitball pitcher he was,’ teammate Rube Marquard later reminisced. ‘Bugs drank a lot, you know, and sometimes it seemed the more he drank the better he pitched. They used to say he didn’t spit on the ball; he blew his breath on it and the ball came up drunk.’ But after only two successful seasons–1908, when he was the ace of the dreadful St. Louis Cardinals, and 1909, when he went 18-12 for the Giants–Raymond drank himself out of the National League in 1911. One year later he was dead at the age of 30.

“His nickname was short for ‘bughouse,’ another word for insane asylum.”

coakley

P-Andy Coakley, Cincinnati Reds/Chicago Cubs, 25 Years Old

10-18, 1.78 ERA, 68 K, .085, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Andrew James “Andy” Coakley, also known as Jack McAllister in 1902, was born on November 20, 1882 in Providence, RI. He started with the Athletics from 1902-06, before coming to Cincinnati in 1907. This season, he was 8-18 with Cincinnati and 2-0 with Chicago. He finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.2), fifth in ERA (1.78), and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (130). Except for the great Christy Mathewson and a couple of good pitchers on Chicago, there weren’t a lot of pitchers on the National League All-Star team this season who would go on to much in their careers.

Cincinnati, managed by John Ganzel, rose from sixth to fifth this year, finishing 73-81. Its hitting was mediocre, though the Reds’ pitching held its own.

Wikipedia says, “Coakley was born on November 20, 1882 in Providence, Rhode Island. He helped the Athletics win the 1902 and 1905 American League Pennants and the Cubs win the 1908 World Series, and although he didn’t play in the latter, he was the last surviving member of the 1908 team. His only postseason appearance was a complete game 9–0 loss to the New York Giants in the 1905 World Series. Although the Athletics gave up nine runs that day, Coakley was only charged with three earned runs, as the A’s committed five errors behind him.” I’m thinking being the last surviving member of the 1908 Cubs team wasn’t a good thing as it just meant more years of awkward questions when the Cubs failed to win the World Series for so many years.

willis7

P-Vic Willis, Pittsburgh Pirates, 32 Years Old

1899 1901 1902 1903 1906 1907

23-11, 2.07 ERA, 97 K, .165, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

7th Time All-Star-Pitchers during this time had the unfortunate burden of being compared to Cy Young, who was still effective even at the age of 41. Yet Young was an aberration. Most of the pitchers were like the last three on the list – Kaiser Wilhelm, Bugs Raymond, and Andy Coakley – pitchers who had occasional good seasons here and there, not dominating two decades like Cyclone. Willis certainly had a good stretch, being mostly outstanding from 1898 through 1909. He wasn’t Cy Young, but nobody was. In the National League at this time, he certainly stood out.

Willis finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (3.7) and eighth in innings pitched (304 2/3). He most likely has one more All-Star team left and he’ll be part of a pennant winner that season.

SABR states, “The famous 1908 National League pennant race came down to the last game of the season for the Pirates. On Sunday October 4, the Pirates faced the Cubs in Chicago’s old West Side Park in front of 30,247 fans, the most to have ever seen a baseball game up to that point and 6,000 more than had ever previously crowded into that park. A win for the Pirates and they would win the pennant; a loss and they would, for all intents and purposes, be eliminated.”

“Pirate manager Fred Clarke selected the well-rested Willis to start against the Cubs’ Three-Finger Brown, another future Hall of Famer. Brown was on his way to an excellent 29-9 record but this would be his third game in six days…Unfortunately for Willis and the Pirates, Brown singled in Tinker with the go ahead and winning run. The Cubs later added two insurance runs including another RBI from Brown and won the contest 5-2.”

bresnahan6C-Roger Bresnahan, New York Giants, 29 Years Old

1903 1904 1905 1906 1907

.283, 1 HR, 54 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-83

Putouts as C-657

Passed Balls-17 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-One thing about being the best at your position is you have the cache to make decisions and they will be heard. Bresnahan made many contributions to the position of catcher of his years, like face masks and shin guards, and they were adopted. Most likely they wouldn’t have been had they come from a man with less talent. This season was his best season ever as he finished eighth in WAR (5.9); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.9); third in Offensive WAR (5.8), behind Honus Wagner (11.5) and Hans Lobert (6.4); eighth in Defensive WAR (1.3); 10th in batting (.283); third in on-base percentage (.401), trailing Wagner (.415) and Johnny Evers (.402); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (138). That’s what happens when you catch 139 of a team’s 154 games.

SABR says, “At the end of the 1908 season, in which Bresnahan caught a career-high 139 games, St. Louis owner Stanley Robison expressed interest in obtaining Roger to serve as player-manager of the Cardinals. McGraw didn’t want to stand in the way of his 29-year-old protege-as long as the Giants benefited in the process. On December 12, 1908, New York traded Bresnahan to St. Louis for the Cardinals’ best pitcher, Bugs Raymond, their best hitter, Red Murray, and catcher Admiral Schlei, whom the Cards had obtained from Cincinnati (at the Giants’ insistence) for promising pitchers Art Fromme and Ed Karger.” That must have been a shocking trade for its time. Once Bresnahan started with the Cardinals, his amount of games played went down dramatically, which is why his admittance to the Ron’s Hall of Fame is no sure thing.

kling5

C-Johnny Kling, Chicago Cubs, 32 Years Old

1902 1903 1906 1907

.276, 4 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/Game as C-6.37

5th Time All-Star-So if you’re a young boy growing up in the 1900s, would you rather be Roger Bresnahan or Johnny Kling? Bresnahan was better offensively and the best catcher in the league yearly, but Kling was no slouch at the bat and now won his third straight pennant. This season, he finished seventh in Defensive WAR (1.3) and ninth in slugging (.382). In the World Series, Kling hit .250 (four-for-16) with a double. It was his best performance ever in the Fall Classic.

Wikipedia explains why he missed the 1909 season: “Although he once again told Cubs’ management he was considering giving up baseball for pool before the 1907 season, he once again returned to play for the Cubs, who won the World Series in both 1907 & 1908. Then, in early 1909, after several solid years with Chicago, he engaged in another dispute with the management over salary and this time decided to spend some time away from the club. During that time he continued to compete in pool, winning the world billiards championship, and played semi-pro baseball with a Kansas City team. He sat out the entire 1909 season, and in early October competed against Charles ‘Cowboy’ Weston and won the world’s championship of pool. When he decided to come back to baseball in early 1910 and asked to be reinstated, a debate ensued as to whether he should be permitted to return since he had not honored his contract during the 1909 season. National League President Thomas J. Lynch wanted him fined or possibly traded; in the end, he was fined $700 and allowed to return.”

chance6

1B-Frank Chance, Chicago Cubs, 31 Years Old

1903 1904 1905 1906 1907

.272, 2 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

6th Time All-Star-How important of part should fame play in the Hall of Fame? If we’re judging by fame, Chance, as a player, certainly deserves to be in Cooperstown. (No doubt the Peerless Leader is definitely in as a manager.) He was part of the most famous double-play combo in baseball history and he was the best first baseman for his time. Chance’s opportunity to be in Ron’s Hall of Fame will be based on whether he is an All-Star first baseman in 1909 or 1910, seasons in which he played less than 100 games. Chance made the list this year on a fluke, based wholly on him being the league’s best first sacker in a league bereft of talent at that position.

Chance did have an outstanding World Series in 1908. Not only did he lead the first place Cubs to third straight National League pennant, he hit .421 (eight-for-19) in the Series with five stolen bases. As you well know, the Cubs wouldn’t win a Fall Classic again until 2016.

Wikipedia wraps up his life, saying, “Chance died at age 48. Some sources simply said that he died after a ‘long illness’, while others attributed it to heart disease brought on by severe spasms of bronchial asthma. He was survived by his wife, mother, sister, and three brothers. Chance was interred in the Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles. His death was greatly mourned, and his funeral received widespread publicity in Los Angeles and Chicago. Among his pallbearers were [Los Angeles Angels owner John. F] Powers and race car driver Barney Oldfield. His estate was valued at $170,000 ($2.35 million today).”

evers4

2B-Johnny Evers, Chicago Cubs, 26 Years Old

1904 1906 1907

.300, 0 HR, 37 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

4th Time All-Star-One of the smallest men to ever play baseball made his third straight All-Star team, finishing 10th in WAR (5.6); fifth in WAR Position Players (5.6); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.9); fifth in batting (.300); second in on-base percentage (.402), behind Honus Wagner (.415); fifth in steals (36); and

fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (144). In the Cubs’ World Series victory over the Tigers, Evers hit .350 (seven-for-20 with a double and two stolen bases.

Wikipedia breaks down Evers’ role in Merkle’s boner, stating, “During the 1908 pennant race, Evers alerted the umpires to Fred Merkle‘s baserunning error in a game against the New York Giants, which became known as ‘Merkle’s Boner’. Al Bridwell hit what appeared to be the game-winning single for the Giants, while Merkle, the baserunner on first base, went to the clubhouse without touching second base. Evers called for the ball, and the umpire ruled Merkle out. NL president Harry Pulliam ruled the game a tie, with a makeup to be played. The Cubs won the makeup game, thereby winning the pennant. The Cubs then won the 1908 World Series over Detroit, four games to one.”

Evers’ Hall of Fame page says of him, “At 5-foot-9 and 125 pounds, Johnny Evers wasn’t built to hit home runs.

“Instead, the acrobatic Evers used his impressive knowledge of the rules and his scrappy, determined style of play to lead his teams to five National League pennants and three World Series titles in the first years of the 20th Century.”

lobert

3B-Hans Lobert, Cincinnati Reds, 26 Years Old

.293, 4 HR, 63 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-John Bernard “Hans” or “Honus” Lobert was born on October 18, 1881 in Wilmington, DE. He’s one of the rare players from his time who was still alive when I was. He died in 1968, I was born a few years earlier. Lobert started playing five games for Pittsburgh in 1903, then didn’t play in the Majors until 1905, when he played 14 games for the Cubs. Then before the next season, he was purchased by the Cincinnati Reds from the Chicago Cubs. He started playing regularly in 1907 at shortstop, but moved to third base this season and had his best season ever, finishing seventh in WAR Position Players (5.1); second in Offensive WAR (6.4), behind only Honus Wagner (11.5); sixth in batting (.293); fourth in slugging (.407); third in steals (47), trailing Wagner and St. Louis centerfielder Red Murray (48); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (143).

Wikipedia says, “During his career, Lobert was known as one of the fastest players in the game. He once raced a racehorse around the bases before a game, an event that he recounted in The Glory of Their Times. On September 27, 1908, Lobert became the first Reds player to steal 2nd base, 3rd base, and home plate in the same inning. At 26 years old, he was the top player almost every offensive category for the Reds and played all 155 games; he batted an average of .293, 570 at-bats, had 71 runs, 167 hits, 17 doubles, 18 triples, 4 home runs, had an RBI of 63, and 47 stolen bases, his new career high.”

leach4

3B-Tommy Leach, Pittsburgh Pirates, 30 Years Old

1902 1904 1907

.259, 5 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-Leach moved back from the outfield to third base and made the All-Star team for the second straight season. He finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.8), eighth in Offensive WAR (4.8), and 10th in slugging (.381). The little man had pop and also had enough speed to garner up extra bases.

In Christy Mathewson’s book, Pitching in a Pinch: Or, Baseball From the Inside, he wrote about how often clubs in his day used the double steal with runners on first and third. As the catcher drew back his arm to throw to second, the man on third would break for home. Mathewson wrote, “’Tommy’ Leach of the Pittsburg (sic) club was probably caught  oftener on this bluff throw than any other man in baseball. For some time he had been making the play against clubs which used the short throw, and starting as the catcher drew back his arm, as that was the only chance he had to score. One day in the season of 1908, when the Pirates were playing against the Giants, Clarke was on first and Leach on third, with one run required to balance the game. McGraw knew the double steal was to be expected, as two were out. Bresnahan was aware of this, too.

“McGinnity was pitching, and with his motion, Clarke got his start. Bresnahan drew back his arm as if to throw to second, and true to form, Leach was on his way to the plate. But Bresnahan had not let go of the ball, and he shot it to Devlin, Leach being run down in the base line and the Pittsburg club eventually losing the game.”

devlina5

3B-Art Devlin, New York Giants, 28 Years Old

1904 1905 1906 1907

.253, 2 HR, 45 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-157

Def. Games as 3B-157

Putouts as 3B-203

Assists as 3B-331 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.947

5th Time All-Star-I wonder why there are so few great players from the hot corner. I would guess if someone can field at shortstop, he doesn’t have to do much hitting to provide value, while at third, the player needs to be able to hit and field in order to contribute to the team. Devlin wouldn’t make the Cooperstown Hall of Fame and won’t make mine either, but it’s no mean feat making five straight All-Star teams at third base. This season, Devlin finished fifth in Defensive WAR (1.4). He didn’t contribute a lot offensively, but played every game and consistently gave the Giants their money’s worth.

SABR says, “The 1907 season, with the Cubs winning the pennant again and the Giants dropping into fourth place, was a prelude to 1908, the season of infamy to all Giant fans. Devlin fell off at the plate, but he showed off his glove work. On May 23, he tied a record by handling 13 chances at third; unfortunately, he made two errors, and the Cardinals won, 6-2. The errors and the loss were bad enough, given the outcome of the season, but Devlin made one off the field, too. With the Giants seemingly in first place for good, Harry Niemeyer of the New York Globe reported from Pittsburgh on August 26 that the players were spending money before getting it. Playing along, Devlin promised his wife a Persian lamb coat.” That’s how that story ends on SABR, leaving us with questions like, “Did Mrs. Devlin ever get the coat?”

wagner10SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 34 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907

.354, 10 HR, 109 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1908 NL Batting Title (6th Time)

Wins Above Replacement-11.5 (4th Time)

WAR Position Players-11.5 (8th Time)

Offensive WAR-11.5 (8th Time)

Batting Average-.354 (6th Time)

On-Base %-.415 (3rd Time)

Slugging %-.542 (5th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.957 (6th Time)

Hits-201

Total Bases-308 (5th Time)

Doubles-39 (6th Time)

Triples-19 (3rd Time)

Runs Batted In-109 (3rd Time)

Stolen Bases-53 (5th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-205 (5th Time)

Runs Created-126 (6th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-66 (5th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-7.8 (5th Time)

Extra Base Hits-68 (6th Time)

Times on Base-260 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.880 (5th Time)

Power-Speed #-16.8

Putouts as SS-354

10th Time All-Star-While perusing Wagner’s stats, it’s difficult to tell one season from another. Most of them are spectacular, not to mention far above the stats of mortal men, meaning, of course, pretty much every other player who played during this time. Yet of all of his great seasons, 1908 might have been the best. He led in just about every significant stat which means I don’t have to spend my time recapping this year. If I had to guess, the great shortstop has five or six All-Star teams left.

Of this incredible season, Wikipedia says, “Shortly before the 1908 season, Wagner retired. Starting to panic, owner Barney Dreyfuss offered him $10,000, making him the highest paid Pirate for many years. He returned to the Pirates early in the 1908 season, and finished two home runs short of the league’s Triple Crown, leading the league in hitting (for the sixth time)‚ hits‚ total bases‚ doubles‚ triples‚ RBI‚ and stolen bases. Wagner took over the batting lead from the New York Giants‘ flamboyant outfielder Mike Donlinduring a July 25 game against the Giants and their star pitcher Christy Mathewson. Wagner was 5-for-5 in the game; after each hit, he reportedly held up another finger to Donlin, who went hitless, and who had just beaten runner-up Wagner by a wide margin in a ‘most popular player’ poll.

Bill James cites Wagner’s 1908 season as the greatest single season for any player in baseball history. He notes that the league ERA of 2.35 was the lowest of the dead ball era and about half of the ERAs of modern baseball. Since Wagner hit .354 with 109 RBI in an environment when half as many runs were scored as today, he asks, ‘if you had a Gold Glove shortstop, like Wagner, who drove in 218 runs, what would he be worth?’”

tinker3SS-Joe Tinker, Chicago Cubs, 27 Years Old

1902 1906

.266, 6 HR, 68 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-4.3 (3rd Time)

Games Played-157

Assists-570

Def. Games as SS-157

Assists as SS-570 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.958 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-With the year Honus Wagner had in 1908, no one was going to talk about a .266 hitter like Tinker. Yet he had his best season ever, finishing fifth in WAR (7.9); second in WAR Position Players (7.9), behind Wagner (11.5); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.9); first in Defensive WAR (4.3); eighth in slugging (.391); and sixth in steals (30). He also did something Wagner didn’t, make the World Series. In it, Tinker hit .263 (five-for-19) with a home run. With no score in the second game, Tinker unloaded a two-run dinger to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead. It was the first World Series home run since the initial Fall Classic in 1903.

                SABR says, “It was during the 1908 season that Joe Tinker became a household name. Playing in all 157 games, Tinker held the Cubs together during a rash of injuries that forced several of his teammates to miss significant portions of the season. He batted .266 and led the Cubs in hits (146), triples (14), home runs (6), RBIs (68), and slugging percentage (.391), and his outstanding defensive play drew frequent mention in the newspapers. Joe also had key hits in the two biggest games of 1908. On September 23, in the so-called ‘Merkle Game,’ he hit a home run off Christy Mathewson for the only Cubs run in a game that was declared a 1-1 tie. In the one game play-off against the Giants on October 8–arguably the most famous game of the Deadball Era–the Cubs defeated Mathewson, 4-2, with Tinker’s triple the key hit in a four-run third inning. The great Giants pitcher was at his best that season, establishing a career high with 37 wins, but Tinker was his personal nemesis. The Cub shortstop hit over.350 against Matty over his career, but he hit over .400 against him in 1908.”

dahlen10

SS-Bill Dahlen, Boston Doves, 38 Years Old

1892 1896 1898 1899 1900 1902 1903 1904 1905

.239, 3 HR, 48 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as SS-58 (3rd Time)

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

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.86 (4th Time)

10th Time All-Star-According to WAR, Dahlen is one of the greatest players of all time. Yet before the 1908 season, he was traded by the New York Giants with Frank BowermanGeorge BrowneCecil Ferguson and Dan McGann to the Boston Doves for Al BridwellTom Needham and Fred Tenney. This made Boston his fourth team in his career and this would be his last full season. This will be his last All-Star team and as of Feb. 21, 2018, he still hasn’t made the Hall of Fame, maybe the Hall’s most egregious exclusion, not including the steroids gang.

This season, Dahlen finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.2) and second in Defensive WAR (3.6), behind only Joe Tinker (4.3). Not bad for a 38-year-old. As for his team, the Doves, Joe Kelley managed the team into a sixth place finish, up one position from 1907. They finished 63-91 thanks to the worst pitching in the league.

SABR states, “SABR’s 19th Century Committee selected Dahlen as its “Overlooked 19th Century Baseball Legend” for 2012. The Society’s article cited his skills as both a great defensive shortstop and an offensive shortstop. Another article, from SportingNews.com in 2015, pointed to Dahlen’s strong ranking on a newer statistic: Wins Above Replacement (WAR), again in terms of both offense and defense. Behavioral issues, if they are influencing Dahlen’s selection, should not necessarily overshadow results.

“Bill Dahlen died in Brooklyn on December 5, 1950 after a long illness. His daughter Corinne survived him. His final resting place is a currently unmarked grave in Brooklyn’s Cemetery of the Evergreens.”

bridwell

SS-Al Bridwell, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

.285, 0 HR, 46 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed-55

Errors Committed as SS-55

1st Time All-Star-Albert Henry “Al” Bridwell was born on January 4, 1884 in Friendship, OH. The five-foot-nine, 170 pound shortstop started as a third baseman for the Reds in 1905. Then he was traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Boston Beaneaters for Jim Delahanty. He played shortstop for Boston for two seasons before he was traded by the Boston Doves with Tom Needham and Fred Tenney to the New York Giants for Frank BowermanGeorge BrowneBill DahlenCecil Ferguson and Dan McGann. Now on the Giants, he made his first All-Star team, finishing 10th in Offensive WAR (4.1); third in Defensive WAR (1.7), behind Joe Tinker (4.3) and Dahlen (3.6); eighth in batting (.285); and sixth in on-base percentage (.364). That season made it easier on the Giants to lose Dahlen.

It seems almost everyone on this All-Star team had something to do with “Merkle’s Boner.” Wikipedia says, “Bridwell hit the (apparent) single which caused the crucial “Merkle boner” running error of the 1908 season against the Chicago Cubs. The error ended up costing the Giants the pennant (the apparent winning run was nullified, the game was thus declared a tie, and the Cubs won the makeup of that game).”

He speaks of his manager in that same entry, which says, “Bridwell had this to say about the reason why John McGraw was a great manager: ‘He knew how to handle men, some players he rode and others he didn’t. He got the most out of each man.’ Bridwell’s pugnaciousness fit right in with McGraw’s style of play. He once punched McGraw in the nose, earning a two-game suspension. However, in Lawrence Ritter‘s book The Glory of their Times, Bridwell said he was suspended to two weeks.”

clarke8LF-Fred Clarke, Pittsburgh Pirates, 35 Years Old

1895 1897 1901 1902 1903 1906 1907

.265, 2 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

8th Time All-Star-From 1901 to 1913, only the Pirates, Giants, and Cubs won the National League title. Those three teams were always battling each other and they did so again in 1908 with Chicago besting Pittsburgh and New York by one game. Clarke always had his team in contention as this year he led it to a 98-56 record. The Pirates had great hitting, led by Honus Wagner, but only fair pitching. They’ll be back on top next season.

In the field, Clarke finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.8) and 10th in on-base percentage (.349). He turned 35 this year, but he’s got a couple good seasons left.

Rob Neyer writes on ESPN Classic: “You probably know about the National League’s pennant race in 1908, when the NL’s three powerhouse clubs — the Giants, Cubs, and Pirates, who between them accounted for every league title in the decade — spent the second half of the season dueling for first place. Everyone remembers the Giants and Cubs because of Merkle’s Boner, but what a lot of people don’t remember is that the Pirates were in the race until the very end, too. The Cubs finished one game ahead of both the Giants and Pirates, and the three clubs combined for a .639 winning percentage.”

The addition of playoff teams seems to have taken the sting out of great pennant races. If this team wins today, it has a chance to go to the Wild Card game! It’s not exactly the fight for the World Series the Cubs, Giants, and Pirates went through.

magee4

LF-Sherry Magee, Philadelphia Phillies, 23 Years Old

1905 1906 1907

.283, 2 HR, 57 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-The consistent hard-hitting Magee continued to thrive in Majors, making his fourth All-Star team at the age of 23. Philadelphia didn’t win much in these days, but you couldn’t blame that on its leftfielder. This season, Magee finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.7); ninth in Offensive WAR (4.5); ninth in batting (.283); eighth in on-base percentage (.359); third in slugging (.417), behind Honus Wagner (.542) and Mike Donlin (.452); fourth in steals (40); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (145), trailing Wagner (205) and Donlin (155).

Magee continued to struggle with his temper. SABR says, “Off the field, the young slugger could be just as difficult. The captain of the Phillies during Magee’s early years was Kid Gleason, who kept an old leather belt in his locker that he used on young players who misbehaved, and on several occasions Magee literally felt the captain’s wrath. Sherry also became known for ‘crabbing’ at teammates. ‘Magee, like Evers, has an unusual amount of base ball gray matter and spirit,’ explained one reporter. ‘This spirit plays for victories and is easily upset when “bones” are pulled.’”

Of two players in this era in which is surprising they aren’t in Cooperstown, I’d nominate Bill Dahlen and Magee. Both of them had bad reputations which followed them. I guess if you’re as great as Ty Cobb, then a fiery temper doesn’t hinder you, but for merely greats like Dahlen and Magee, it could be the difference between the Hall of Fame and lifetime anonymity.

murray

CF-Red Murray, St. Louis Cardinals, 24 Years Old

.282, 7 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as OF-28

1st Time All-Star-John Joseph “Red” Murray was born on March 4, 1884 in Arnot, PA. The five-foot-10, 190 pound outfielder started his career with St. Louis in 1906 and this year had his best season ever. Murray finished seventh in Offensive WAR (4.8); fifth in slugging (.400); second in steals (48), behind Honus Wagner (53); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (139). He lagged only behind the Flying Dutchman in power-speed # as he could steal and hit for power, as least as compared to the era in which he played.

Murray would go to the Giants in 1909 and according to Wikipedia, “His obituary ranked him ‘with Mel Ott as one of the two greatest right fielders in New York Giant history.’

“J.C. Kofoed, in the April 1924 issue of Baseball Magazine wrote:

’Red Murray was for years noted as one of the greatest outfielders in the National League. His throwing arm was the best ever, his ground covering ability and sureness of eye were classic. Furthermore, he was remarkably fast as a base runner, and noted as a batter as well. In his seven seasons as a regular, Murray led NL outfielders in home runs, runs batted in, stolen bases, and assists a total of 16 times. Despite his impressive statistics in power hitting, baserunning, and fielding, he remains one of the least-recognized stars of the Deadball Era.’” Okay. However, using WAR to rate players, he’d never finish in the top 10 in any WAR category again and would never have an OPS+ above 115 for the rest of his career. I’m just saying putting him in the same sentence as Mel Ott is a little silly.

donlin4

RF-Mike Donlin, New York Giants, 30 Years Old

1901 1903 1905

.334, 6 HR, 106 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Singles-153 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as OF-155

4th Time All-Star-My favorite player in the late 80s, Eric Davis, couldn’t put a decent career together because of so many games missed due to injury. Mike Donlin also missed numerous games due to injuries and drinking binges. He could have had a great career. Turkey Mike played only 37 games in 1906 and missed the 1907 season entirely because as SABR says, “On April 11, 1906, Donlin married actress Mabel Hite, a stunning Broadway musical comedy sensation. Newspapers soon reported that marriage had tamed him, loosening his attachment to the bottle. Early that season Donlin broke an ankle sliding, finishing his season after just 37 games and depriving him forever of his blazing speed. In the spring of 1907 he demanded the same $3,300 he had been paid in 1906, plus a $600 bonus if he stayed sober all year. Owner John Brush declined. Mike held out and eventually went on the vaudeville circuit with his wife, missing the entire season. With characteristic confidence, he proclaimed: ‘I can act. I’ll break the hearts of all the gals in the country.’ Critics generally disagreed. One said that Donlin ‘never was the actor he thought he was or wanted to be.’”

This season, Donlin finished seventh in WAR (6.0); third in WAR Position Players (6.0), behind Honus Wagner (11.5) and Joe Tinker (7.9); fourth in Offensive WAR (5.3); second in batting (.334), trailing Wagner (.354); fifth in on-base percentage (.364); second in slugging (.452), behind only the Flying Dutchman (.542); sixth in steals (30); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (155), trailing the Pittsburgh shortstop (205).

1907 American League All-Star Team

P-Ed Killian, DET

P-Cy Young, BOS

P-Ed Walsh, CHW

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Addie Joss, CLE

P-Bill Donovan, DET

P-Ed Siever, DET

P-Chief Bender, PHA

P-Jack Chesbro, NYY

P-Charlie Smith, WSH

C-Nig Clarke, CLE

C-Ossee Schrecongost, PHA

1B-Harry Davis, PHA

2B-Nap Lajoie, CLE

3B-Jimmy Collins, BOS/PHA

SS-Bobby Wallace, SLB

SS-George Davis, CHW

SS-Terry Turner, CLE

LF-George Stone, SLB

LF-Topsy Hartsel, PHA

LF-Davy Jones, DET

CF-Sam Crawford, DET

CF-Fielder Jones, CHW

RF-Ty Cobb, DET

RF-Elmer Flick, CLE

 

killian2

P-Ed Killian, Detroit Tigers, 30 Years Old

1905

25-13, 1.78 ERA, 96 K, .320, 0 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-8.1

2nd Time All-Star-Killian didn’t make the All-Star team in 1906 due to only 149 2/3 innings pitched and a 3.43 ERA, but he came back this season with his best season ever. He finished first in WAR (8.1); third in WAR for Pitchers (6.6), behind Chicago’s Ed Walsh (7.7) and Boston’s Cy Young (7.6); second in ERA (1.78), behind only Walsh (1.60); seventh in innings pitched (314); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (146), trailing only Walsh (150). What put his season over the top was his great hitting as he slashed .320/.346/.410 for an OPS+ of 138. Killian’s hitting was so good, he actually got playing time in the field.

Hughie Jennings took over the reins from Bill Armour after Detroit finished sixth in 1906 and led it to the American League pennant. The Tigers finished 92-58, one-and-a-half games ahead of Philadelphia. They had the league’s best hitting, led by Ty Cobb, and the league’s best pitching, led by Killian. As of September 15, Detroit still trailed in the standings by three games, but a 10-game winning streak towards the end of the season put it on top to stay. In the World Series, they couldn’t overcome the Cubs juggernaut and were swept, 4-0-1.

Killian pitched relief in Game 3 and allowed one run in four innings. His hitting continued to be spectacular as he singled for one of Detroit’s six hits.

This was the last of the great seasons for Twilight Ed. He pitched three more years with the Tigers, never pitching over 180 2/3 innings and finished his career 103-78 with a 26.8 Career WAR and a 2.38 ERA.

young16P-Cy Young, Boston Americans, 40 Years Old

1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905

21-15, 1.99 ERA, 147 K, .216, 1 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-0.982 (7th Time)

16th Time All-Star-For 15 consecutive years, I had to write about the great Cy Young, as he made the All-Star team every year from 1891 to 1905. When he didn’t make it last year, I thought about shutting everything down, because the world just didn’t make sense anymore! Yet, he’s back, at the age of 40, still dominating on the mound. He has made more All-Star teams than any other pitcher. The leaders at every position are:

P-Cy Young, 16

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Fred Dunlap, Bid McPhee, Cupid Childs, 7

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Jack Glasscock, 11

LF-Ed Delahanty, 9

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Thompson, Elmer Flick, 7

Cyclone finished second in WAR (7.9), behind only Detroit’s Ed Killian (8.1); second in WAR for Pitchers (7.6), behind only Chicago’s Ed Walsh (7.7); fifth in ERA (1.99); fourth in innings pitched (343 1/3); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (129). This was a great season for anyone, but an unbelievable season for a 40 year old.

Boston fell apart in 1906, dropping to last place. This season, it improved to seventh but was still bad. Young coached the first six games and went 3-3. The Americans also put George Huff (2-6), Bob Unglaub (9-20), and Deacon McGuire (45-61) at the helm. They finished 59-90 with the worst hitting in the league and only mediocre pitching when Young wasn’t on the mound.

If I had to guess, Young has just one All-Star team left, in 1908. This will tie him Cap Anson for most All-Star teams made with 17.

walsh2

P-Ed Walsh, Chicago White Sox, 26 Years Old

1906

24-18, 1.60 ERA, 206 K, .162, 1 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

1907 AL Pitching Title

WAR for Pitchers-7.7

Earned Run Average-1.60

Games Played-56

Saves-4

Innings Pitched-422 1/3

Games Started-46

Complete Games-37

Wild Pitches-14

Batters Faced-1,622

Adjusted ERA+-150

Adj. Pitching Runs-36

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.1

Def. Games as P-56

Assists as P-227

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-5.59

2nd Time All-Star-Oh, what a different era it was in Walsh’s day. Pitchers could still pitch over 400 innings back then. Well, actually only Walsh, who was the first pitcher to throw that many innings since Jack Chesbro in 1904 and will be the last pitcher to throw over 400 innings ever in 1908. At least until the day when robots have taken over baseball. This season, Walsh finished fourth in WAR (7.6), first in WAR for Pitchers (7.7), first in ERA (1.60), first in innings pitched (422 1/3), and first in Adjusted ERA+ (150). He was easily the best pitcher in the league at this time.

From How Stuff Works: “Besides acquiring the best spitter in the game, Walsh also worked overtime to improve his fielding. A liability to himself early in his career, Walsh by 1907 had become his own biggest asset. That year he collected 227 assists, an all-time record for pitchers. Walsh also won 24 games in 1907 and worked 422 innings, but both figures were dwarfed by what he accomplished the following year.”

Bleacher Report says, “The next year, Walsh went 24-18 with a 1.60 earned run average. The less then impressive record is misleading, though. Walsh had eight losses in which he allowed two or less runs and lost. He had 37 complete games in 46 starts and pitched 422 innings. His ERA also led the league.” Most articles you read paint Walsh as the best White Sox pitcher ever and that certainly looks to be the case. However, it’s important to remember that as good of pitcher as Big Ed was, his ERA is a result of the time in which he pitched, the Deadball Era.

plank6P-Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics, 31 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905

24-16, 2.20 ERA, 183 K, .211, 1 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-8

6th Time All-Star-There is a sadness that comes over me when I write about Gettysburg Eddie. I just want to write about one year where he dominates the league and gets his due. But that wasn’t him. He was only once in the top three in WAR and that was in 1915 in the Federal League and he was only in the top three in WAR for Pitchers twice, once in 1903 and once again for the FL. He pitched in a pitcher’s era against some phenomenal pitchers like his teammate, Rube Waddell; the rubber-armed Cy Young; and the dazzling Ed Walsh. Plank was never the best, but he was consistently good.

This season, Plank finished sixth in WAR (6.6); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.2); and third in innings pitched (343 2/3), behind Chicago’s Walsh (422 1/3) and Detroit’s George Mullin (357 1/3).

As for the Athletics, they finished just one-and-a-half games out of first place. Connie Mack managed the team to a 88-57 record, as it relied on its hitting, second best in the league and led by leftfielder Topsy Hartsel, and its pitching, also second best in the league, dominated by Plank.

SABR says, “Appearing in a league-leading 43 games in 1907, the southpaw went back to his usual chores, pitching 343 2/3 innings and returning to the 20-win club, going 24-16 with a 2.20 ERA and a league-high eight shutouts. In addition, he was third in the league with 183 strikeouts. The year would be his last venture into 300 or more innings, as he would never again pitch more than 268 1/3 innings in any season, and that would be in the Federal League in 1915.”

joss3

P-Addie Joss, Cleveland Naps, 27 Years Old

1905 1906

27-11, 1.83 ERA, 127 K, .114, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-27

3rd Time All-Star-If you look at the 1930s, you would think there were a plethora of incredible batters during that era. It’s the same as if you look at the 1890s. Yet every era has to be judged on its own merits. There were many good pitchers in the 1900s, including Joss, but it was also a pitcher’s era. We look at earned run averages below 2.00 and are dazzled, but it actually happened pretty frequently during this decade. I’m not trying to take away from Joss, who was a great pitcher for a short time, but fairness dictates rating people by their own peers, not our own preconceived notions of good and bad.

Joss finished eighth in WAR (5.6); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.3); third in ERA (1.83), behind Chicago’s Ed Walsh (1.60) and Detroit’s Ed Killian (1.78); fifth in innings pitched (338 2/3); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (136), trailing Walsh (150) and Killian (146).

SABR says, “Joss won his first ten starts in a row to begin the 1907 season. That year he would tie for the American League lead with 27 victories. One of these victories was on September 5, when he threw a one-hitter against the Detroit Tigers. Three weeks later, on September 25, Joss fired another one-hitter, this time against the New York Highlanders. The following day, teammate Heinie Berger followed with his own one-hitter, marking the second time since 1900 that teammates threw back-to-back one-hitters.” What this man could have done with a longer career, eh?

donovan3

P-Bill Donovan, Detroit Tigers, 30 Years Old

1901 1903

25-4, 2.19 ERA, 123 K, .266, 0 HR, 19 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.862

3rd Time All-Star-It’s been four years since Wild Bill Donovan made an All-Star team and it looked like his 1906 season, when he was 29 years old could have done him in. He had an ERA+ of 87 and a disappointing 9-15 record. But playing with the good run support Detroit gave him this year seemed to inspire him and he had a good season, finishing 10th in WAR (5.6) and eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.7). The usually anemic hitter also boosted his batting stats, slashing .266/.304/.367 for an Adjusted OPS+ of 111, easily his best year at the bat in his career.

In the World Series, he pitched 12 innings in Game 1, allowing 10 hits and three runs, only one of which was earned. That game ended up in a tie. Then in Game 4, with the Cubs leading the Tigers 2-0-1, Donovan pitched another complete game, but gave up six runs (three earned) in a 6-1 loss.

SABR says, “Under new manager Hughie Jennings, Wild Bill bounced back in a big way. Donovan enjoyed his finest season in 1907, when he posted a 25-4 record with a 2.19 ERA, despite missing the first six weeks of the season because he wasn’t ‘in shape’ to pitch. In The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers, a Bill James statistical analysis proclaims Donovan’s 1907 campaign the luckiest pitching season in baseball history; according to James, Donovan’s merely passable ERA should have produced a record more like 16-13. In the campaign’s most crucial series, Donovan escaped two bases loaded jams to defeat Philadelphia 5-4 on the last Friday in September, and after two off days, came back Monday to pitch all 17 innings of a tie game, the last 10 brilliantly, to keep Detroit in first place.”

siever3

P-Ed Siever, Detroit Tigers, 32 Years Old

1901 1902

18-11, 2.16 ERA, 88 K, .160, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Wikipedia gives details of Siever’s life since making the All-Star team in 1902. “In December 1902, contract negotiations between the Tigers and Siever broke down over money. In the end, Siever was sold to the St. Louis Browns. In 1903, he compiled a record of 13-14 with a 2.48 ERA in 254 innings pitched. The following year, he had a 10-15 record 2.65 ERA in 29 games with the Browns.

“In January 1905, the Browns released Siever to the Indianapolis Indians in the minor leagues. He ended up with the Minneapolis Millers and, with his arm in “perfect working order,” compiled a 23-11 record with a 2.74 ERA in 35 games for the Millers.

“In February 1906, Siever signed with the Detroit Tigers. He appeared in 30 games for the 1906 Tigers and compiled a 14-11 record and 2.71 ERA in 222-2/3 innings pitched. The following year, Siever compiled an 18-11 for the 1907 Tigers team that went 92-58 and lost to the Chicago Cubs in the 1907 World Series. Siever’s 2.16 ERA ranked 10th in the American League in 1907. Siever started one game in the 1907 World Series and gave up two earned runs in four innings pitched. The Detroit Free Press later called 1907 season ‘the zenith of his career’ and described a change in strategy in Siever’s approach to the game: ‘While control and speed were “Eddie’s” best assets in his early career, in later years he resorted to the use of a slow ball, by using it in conjunction with a ball that burned its way plateward, he got away with many sensational victories.’

“After retiring from professional baseball, Siever continued to play amateur baseball in a Detroit Masonic league until he was badly injured in a fall. Siever was employed by the Board of Water Commissioners. He was married and had three sons with his wife, Charlotte. Siever died suddenly in 1920 at age 44. The cause of death was believed to be heart disease.”

bender

P-Chief Bender, Philadelphia Athletics, 23 Years Old

16-8, 2.05 ERA, 112 K, .230, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 66 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-Charles Albert “Chief” Bender was born on May 5, 1884 in Crow Wing County, MN. The six-foot-two, 185 pound pitcher started with the Athletics in 1903 and consistently shut down batters during his first four years. It was this year he turned it up a notch, finishing seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.8), sixth in ERA (2.05), and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (127). He has quite a few good seasons ahead and is part of Cooperstown.

As for his nickname, Chief, it was one of many, according to Wikipedia, which says, “Bender was born in Crow Wing County, Minnesota as a member of the Ojibwe tribe. His father was German and his mother was part Chippewa. As a child, he received the Indian name ‘Mandowescence’, meaning ‘Little Spirit Animal.’ His family had 160 acres on the White Earth Indian Reservation near Bemidji, Minnesota. His father taught him to farm on the reservation. He graduated from Carlisle Indian Industrial School and attended Dickinson College.”

And Wikipedia details the ugly side of the 1900s: “He also faced discrimination on the field. Swift writes that taunting from the bench was common in Bender’s era and that the opposition or the fans often made war whoops or yelled taunts such as ‘Nig!’ or ‘Back to the reservation!’ Bender usually remained calm, sometimes smiling at the insults. After an inning in which he had pitched particularly well, he might yell back, ‘Foreigners! Foreigners!’” We’ll read much more on this Native American pitcher over the years as he’ll making quite a few of these lists.

chesbro6

P-Jack Chesbro, New York Highlanders, 33 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905

10-10, 2.53 ERA, 78 K, .197, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

6th Time All-Star-When you think of the Yankees franchise, don’t great hitters come to mind? Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, those are the people I think of. Yet New York’s first superstar wasn’t a hitter, but a pitcher, Happy Jack Chesbro. Due to an off year in 1906, he didn’t make the All-Star team, but he came back this year, mainly due to the fact he’s the Highlanders best player. Chesbro finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5).

New York, still led by Clark Griffith, dropped from second to fifth with a 70-78 record. Considering the team had some of the worst hitting and pitching in the American League, that wasn’t actually a bad record.

It was the beginning of the end for Chesbro, as in 1908, he had a 14-20 record with a 2.93 ERA and in 1909, he lost all five of his decisions, splitting time between the Highlanders and the Red Sox. He ended up with a 198-132 record with a 2.68 ERA and 1265 Ks, all leading to lifetime WAR of 41.4.

From SABR: “In The Politics of Glory, Bill James illustrated how Chesbro’s career numbers (198-132 W/L, 2.68 ERA) were similar, and probably poorer, than his Pittsburgh teammates Sam Leever (194-100, 2.47), Deacon Phillippe (189-109, 2.59), and Jesse Tannehill (197-117, 2.80.) Primarily on the basis of one fantastic season, Chesbro is the only one of the quartet to receive baseball’s highest honor — election to the Hall of Fame. He was selected by the Old-Timers Committee in 1946.”

smithc

P-Charlie Smith, Washington Senators, 27 Years Old

10-20, 2.61 ERA, 119 K, .143, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

1st Time All-Star-Charles Edwin “Charlie” Smith was born on April 20, 1880 in Cleveland, OH. The six-foot-one, 185 pound pitcher started his career with Cleveland in 1902, then didn’t play in the Major Leagues for three seasons. He pitched 235 innings for Washington in 1906 and then had his best season ever this year. Of course, Smith only made the All-Star team because the Senators needed a representative.

Speaking of those Senators, Joe Cantillon took the reins and the team dropped from seventh to eighth with a 49-102 record. In a league in which the total ERA was 2.54, Washington’s was 3.11.

SABR says, “He won ten games in 1907, though he lost 20, despite an improved ERA of 2.61. This was for a last-place team which won 49 and lost 102, almost the same winning percentage as in 1906. Smith struck out a career-high 119, walking 75. And he had some tough luck, wrote the Washington Post: ‘On just one occasion this season has he had an easy game…in all his other games this season, he has had tight games to contend with, and has unquestionably lost more games by one run than any other pitcher in the league.’ He had, the Post wrote a week later, ‘a chin that indicates determination.’

“He seems to have gone into working with horses. When he registered for the draft in 1918, he was working at a boarding stable in Cleveland. At the time of the 1920 census, he was married and living in Cleveland with his wife Alice Hueffed; he was the proprietor of a livery stable. Pneumonia did him in, and he died in the greater Cleveland area (Wickliffe, Ohio), on January 3, 1929. Perhaps oddly, his profession was listed on his death certificate as a pitcher for the Chicago National League ballclub. Tragically, one hour after the funeral service for her husband Charley, Alice lost her mother – also to pneumonia – while Alice was still at the burial.”

clarken2

C-Nig Clarke, Cleveland Naps, 24 Years Old

1906

.269, 3 HR, 33 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 32 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-115

Passed Balls-25 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-120

2nd Time All-Star-Clarke made the 1906 American League All-Star team due to an incredible year with the bat, though he only played 57 games. This season, he played many more games and still hit well, but not up to his 1906 level. Still, Clarke finished eighth in slugging (.372) and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (124). In the era in which he played, at the position at which he toiled, those were great numbers.

Wikipedia says, “After spending the offseason playing winter baseball in Florida with several other major leaguers, Clarke became the everyday catcher for the 1907 season. He started off hitting well, and had a batting average of .381 through the first month of the league, which was second in the American League. He started nearly every game for the Naps until his finger was hit by a foul ball in a game in June, causing him to miss two weeks. By the end of the season, he had stopped playing well, finishing the season with a .269 batting average and six triples in 120 games, as well as a league-leading 25 passed balls. During the offseason, Clarke played winter baseball in Cuba, then returned to Cleveland in March.

“At the time of the 1920 U.S. Census, Clarke and his wife were living in Detroit. In June 1929, Clarke rejoined the Marine Corps, serving until August 1932. At the time of the 1930 U.S. Census, Clarke was stationed at the Quantico Marine Barracks in Prince William County, Virginia. After being discharged from the Marine Corps, Clarke built a house in River Rouge, a suburb of Detroit, where he lived with his mother. In June 1949, Clarke was found dead at his home in River Rouge.”

schrecongost4

C-Ossee Schrecongost, Philadelphia Athletics, 32 Years Old

1899 1903 1905

.272, 0 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-640 (6th Time)

Assists as C-145

Caught Stealing as C-94

Range Factor/Game as C-7.93 (6th Time)

Fielding % as C-.985 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-There aren’t many catchers during this time who consistently make All-Star teams, but Schrecongost was one of the best for his day. He finished ninth in Defensive WAR (1.0) as he continued to have a reputation as one of the league’s best glove men at his position. If you just look at his stats, you would say he doesn’t deserve even the least consideration for the Hall of Fame, but the people who saw him and remember him best would say differently.

From SABR: “Whatever other issues may have obtained, perhaps Schreck had simply passed his peak in terms of play on the field. The stats he put up in 1907 were comparable to 1906: .272 instead of .284, three fewer RBIs, one more run scored, and he improved on defense to a .985 fielding percentage, remarkably high for a catcher. He did suffer what at first, seemed to be a broken thumb on July 13, but it turned out to be just one which was ‘mashed’; he still played in 101 games.

“In 71 games in 1908, Schreck hit .222 for the Athletics, with only 16 RBIs. Near the end of the season, he was ready to leave Philadelphia ‘and had outlived his welcome with the fans of that city,’ so Mr. Mack placed him on waivers. One wonders what else was going on with the team; an August 1 story in Sporting Life said, ‘[h]alf a dozen of the Athletics have shaved their heads to stall off baldness. Schreck mowed a four-inch swathe along the middle of his scalp.’ There were indeed recurring notes in his last few years that made it clear Schreck had a problem with alcohol.”

davish4

1B-Harry Davis, Philadelphia Athletics, 33 Years Old

1904 1905 1906

.266, 8 HR, 87 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-35 (3rd Time)

Home Runs-8 (4th Time)

Power-Speed #-11.4 (4th Time)

AB per HR-72.8 (4th Time)

Errors Committed as 1B-38 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-In an era without a lot of good first basemen, Davis stood out. He couldn’t get on base, but he still had the kind of power which led the American League in homers for the fourth consecutive year. He finished fifth in slugging (.395) and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (125). His age was starting to catch up with him, and it’s doubtful he makes another All-Star team.

According to SABR, “1911 would be Harry’s last real hurrah with the Athletics as a player, although it did not get off to a promising start. Harry struggled mightily at the plate in the early season, starting out 2-for-28 as the A’s stumbled out of the gate in April. It was early May before the team reached .500. On May 3, at the Hilltop Grounds in New York, Harry hit his last home run, a long drive into the centerfield bleachers, as the A’s beat the Highlanders. Fittingly, Jack ‘Stuffy’ McInnis, the A’s young recruit who would soon take Davis’s place, also homered in that game. The torch was passed, though no one knew it at the time. McInnis, known historically for the high quality of his fielding at first base, ironically played himself into a regular position because of his bat. His work at shortstop for the A’s was abysmal, but he was hitting well over .400 and Harry wasn’t hitting a lick. By early June, McInnis was the regular first baseman and Davis’s playing days were virtually over. Harry, ever the professional, handled the move with class, tutoring McInnis on the finer points of play around first, and the youngster eventually developed into one of the finest fielders in history. The A’s began winning and took the pennant going away.”

lajoie82B-Nap Lajoie, Cleveland Naps, 32 Years Old

1897 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1906

.301, 2 HR, 63 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-7.6 (5th Time)

Defensive WAR-3.3

Assists as 2B-461 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 2B-86 (4th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.15 (6th Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.969 (4th Time)

8th Time All-Star-Starting this season, Lajoie and Ty Cobb are going to battle for hitting supremacy, but the problem is Cobb is 20 years old at this time, while Larry is 32. After winning four consecutive batting titles from 1901-04, Lajoie would win only one more, in 1910, a controversial one in which he bested the Georgia Peach by .001, .384 to .383.

But I’m way ahead of myself. This season, Lajoie finished third in WAR (7.6), behind Detroit pitcher Ed Killian (8.1) and Boston hurler Cy Young (7.9); first in WAR Position Players (7.6); seventh in Offensive WAR (4.3); first in Defensive WAR (3.3); sixth in batting (.301); ninth in on-base percentage (.347); sixth in slugging (.395); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (135). How good his season was depends on how seriously you take Defensive WAR, because it was actually an off year for Lajoie in hitting.

He also managed the Naps again and the team dropped from third to fourth place with a 85-67 record. With Addie Joss leading the way, Cleveland actually had good pitching, but its hitting wasn’t up to its usual standards. This was one of those rare seasons where a Lajoie-managed team actually did better than their Pythagorean W-L record would indicate.

Of his managing, SABR states, “Despite this assortment of talent, under Lajoie’s leadership the Naps only twice challenged for the American League pennant, losing out to the White Sox by five games in 1906 and the Detroit Tigers by .004 in 1908. Lajoie blamed himself for the team’s second-place finish in 1908, as he batted just .289 for the season and failed in the clutch in two critical games down the stretch. In fact, there is much evidence to suggest that Lajoie’s managerial responsibilities detracted from his on-field performance. After winning four consecutive batting titles from 1901 to 1904, Lajoie put together only one comparable season during his managerial career, posting a .355 batting average in 1906. In both 1907 and 1908, Lajoie failed to clear the .300 barrier.”

collins83B-Jimmy Collins, Boston Americans/Philadelphia Athletics, 37 Years Old

1897 1898 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905

.278, 0 HR, 45 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-139 (6th Time)

8th Time All-Star-Well, Collins surprised me, because I gave him the ol’ wrap up in his 1905 write-up. Yet he made yet another All-Star team. He continues to be the third baseman with the most of these lists to his credit. See Cy Young’s blurb for the entire list. It’s hard to believe Boston would trade its one-time manager and an all-time great. According to Wikipedia, “In 1905, the Americans slipped to fourth place, and Collins clashed with team president John I. Taylor, reportedly quitting on the team during the season. As a player, Collins batted .276, but again missed time due to injury. In 1906, Collins found himself in hot water, as not only were the Americans in last, but he himself was suspended twice, and was eventually was replaced as manager by Chick Stahl. He also missed the end of the season with a knee injury.

“Collins began 1907 with Boston, but it was only a matter of time before he departed. Unable to cope with the pressures of managing, Stahl had committed suicide during the offseason, but instead of Collins the Americans turned to Cy Young as manager. After playing 41 games for Boston, Collins was traded to the Philadelphia Athletics in 1907 for infielder John Knight. While he batted .278, he had a career-low (to that point) .330 slugging percentage, and failed to hit a home run for the first time in his career. In 1908, he slumped even further, batting just .217, and was let go.”

wallace9

SS-Bobby Wallace, St. Louis Browns, 33 Years Old, 1907 ONEHOF Inductee

1898 1899 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906

.257, 0 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Assists-517 (4th Time)

Def. Games as SS-147 (2nd Time)

Assists as SS-517 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as SS-54 (2nd Time)

9th Time All-Star-Wallace becomes the fourth consecutive shortstop to make the One-A-Year Hall of Fame, the ONEHOF, which inducts the best player every year who isn’t currently part of that Hall. The nominees for the 1908 ONEHOF are Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Nap Lajoie, Elmer Flick, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, Joe McGinnity, and Fred Clarke.

Jimmy McAleer managed Wallace’s Browns this season and the team dipped from fifth to sixth, finishing with a 69-83 record. St. Louis was a good hitting team, thanks to leftfielder George Stone, but its pitching lacked.

This season, Wallace finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.3), eighth in Offensive WAR (4.0), and fourth in Defensive WAR (2.4).

While Wallace had a reputation as a defensive wizard, it didn’t mean every play was easy for him, according to SABR, which states, “The toughest play for Wallace was the ball hit directly at him. He explained that ‘when you were going either way, you could gauge the length, height and speed of the hit as you moved over to get it. But you had to play the ones straight at you by ear.’” Still, he was good enough for Barney Dreyfuss, the Pittsburgh owner, to say, “The best player in the American League, the only man I would get if I could, plays on a tail-end team, and few people pay any attention to him. I mean Bobby Wallace of St. Louis. There’s boy who can play any position and hit. I wish I had him.”

davis11

SS-George Davis, Chicago White Sox, 36 Years Old

1893 1894 1897 1899 1900 1901 1902 1904 1905 1906

.238, 1 HR, 52 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

11th Time All-Star-Want to know how easy it is to underestimate the great Davis? When his name came on this list once again, I said to myself, “Really? 11 All-Star teams?!” In a league that averaged only 3.65 runs per game, the hitting stats look mediocre at first glance, but, as always, we have to take into account the era in which these players toiled. Despite Davis’ .238 average, he finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.6); and third in Defensive WAR (2.9), behind Cleveland second baseman Nap Lajoie (3.3) and shortstop Terry Turner (3.2). During this era, Bobby Wallace had the better defensive reputation. Everything you read on him speaks of the fluidity of his play and his changing of the game. However, based on Defensive WAR, Davis trails only 28.7 to 24.0 and Wallace had a much longer career.

Now, if people actually read this page, there might be questions about why the emphasis on Defensive WAR, that it’s not a very accurate or reliable stat. All of that’s true, but this page is just meant to put together quick and easy All-Star teams and give a bird’s eye view history of the game. After this season, I still have 110 seasons and 222 leagues to write up (oh my gosh, I think I’m going to be sick) so I’m not taking the time to go in-depth. By the time I finish (222 leagues, oh man….) hopefully the best players in the game will be lauded and their place in the history of the game will be examined.

turner2

SS-Terry Turner, Cleveland Naps, 26 Years Old

1906

.242, 0 HR, 46 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as SS-67 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.950 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-As good as Bobby Wallace and George Davis were with the glove, Turner might have been better at short. However, after this season, Turner is going to have injury issues and be moved all over the diamond. According to last year’s blurb, the reason he’s being moved about is because he could play any position well. I don’t know how true that is, but it’s a ridiculous theory. If a man can play short as well as Turner could, that’s where he should be – the game’s most important defensive slot.

This season, Turner finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.4) and second in Defensive WAR (3.2), behind only teammate, second baseman Nap Lajoie (3.3). No matter what position he would play over the next few seasons, he would be in the top 10 in Defensive WAR five more times.

Wikipedia says, “Listed at 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m), 149 lb., Turner was basically a line-drive hitter and a fearless base stealer. Because normal slides hurt his ankles, he pioneered the use of the head-first slide. As a fielder, he spent most of his playing time between shortstop and third base. He also broke up three no-hitters and spoiled a perfect game effort by Chief Bender after receiving a fourth-inning walk.

“In 1904 Turner started a long tenure with Cleveland that lasted 15 years, appearing in a team-record 1,619 games.” There have been a lot of famous Cleveland ballplayers over the years, but you rarely see Turner included in that list.

stone3

LF-George Stone, St. Louis Browns, 30 Years Old

1905 1906

.320, 4 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Times on Base-256

3rd Time All-Star-Stone made his third consecutive All-Star team as he continued to plaster the ball. He definitely took a step down from his incredible 1906 season, but not too many players can hit at that level too many times. This season, Stone finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.5); fourth in Offensive WAR (5.1); third in batting (.320), behind Detroit outfielders Ty Cobb (.350) and Sam Crawford (.323); second in on-base percentage (.387), trailing Philadelphia leftfielder Topsy Hartsel (.405); fourth in slugging (.399); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (152). It’s important to note Stone’s numbers went down from 1906, but so did the numbers throughout the league.

SABR says, “After his great initial success, Stone held out for $5,000 to start the 1907 campaign. In order to make sure that team owner Robert Hedges met his demands, Stone did not report to the team until right before the start of the season. The holdout, as one publication put it, ‘seems to have been the turning point of his career.’ On one level, ‘the papers aired the case and naturally by some Stone was censured for what was termed unreasonable demands.’ Moreover, ‘when he was finally granted the amount he asked, the fans figured that a player getting such big money should never fail to deliver the goods. Any time Stone failed, and unfortunately for him he had a rather tough year in 1908, he was roasted to a turn by the fans. Stone began to show signs of slowing up that year.’”

hartsel3

LF-Topsy Hartsel, Philadelphia Athletics, 33 Years Old

1901 1905

.280, 3 HR, 29 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.405 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls-106 (4th Time)

3rd Time All-Star-One area Hartsel consistently excelled was drawing walks. He would lead the American League in walks four straight seasons (1905-08) and also in 1902. Hartsel had an off season in 1906, but this season, he finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.3), fifth in Offensive WAR (4.5), first in on-base percentage (.405), ninth in slugging (.367), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (144).

SABR says, “The A’s returned to the top of the American League in 1905. Now 31 years old, Hartsel was on top of his game, too. He led the league in on base percentage (.409) and bases on balls (121) while swiping 37 bases. The A’s again led the league in scoring and won the pennant narrowly over Chicago. In a pivotal September series with the White Sox Hartsel was involved in a very rare play. Until 1954 players left their gloves on the field when they came in to bat. Seldom did these ever come into play, but such was not the case for a game in Philadelphia on September 28, 1905. Hartsel scored from second base on a single to left by Harry Davis when the batted ball struck Hartsel’s own glove, providing just enough delay for Hartsel to score the winning run on a very close play at the plate. The A’s went on to finish just two games ahead of the Sox. In that year’s World Series against the New York Giants, Topsy tied for the team lead with four hits and had two walks, a pair of steals and scored a run–one third of the A’s series total (all three runs were unearned) as they were shut down by Christy Mathewson and Joe McGinnity.”

jonesd

LF-Davy Jones, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

.273, 0 HR, 27 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.38

1st Time All-Star-David Jefferson “Davy” or “Kangaroo” Jones was born on June 30, 1880 in Cambria, WI. The five-foot-10, 165 pounder is one of three Detroit outfielders to make the All-Star team this year and easily the least famous of them. He started as a part-time outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1901. When they moved to St. Louis in 1902, so did he, for part of the year anyway. Then Kangaroo hopped over to the National League and played three years for the Orphans/Cubs. After not playing in the majors in 1905, he came to Detroit in 1906. This year, Jones finished seventh in on-base percentage (.357) and eighth in steals (30).

Jones had a very good World Series in a losing cause, hitting .353 (six-for-17) with four walks and three steals. Detroit still lost 4-0-1.

Wikipedia says, “Jones spent much of his career playing outfield with the Detroit Tigers, alongside Hall of Fame outfielders, Ty Cobb and Wahoo Sam Crawford. With Cobb and Crawford solidly entrenched in the outfield, Jones was forced to battle for the 3rd outfield spot with Matty McIntyre each year from 1906 to 1910.

“As a speedy leadoff man, he was a reliable run scorer with Cobb and Crawford following him in the lineup. Jones’ speed also made him a fine outfielder, with tremendous range. In 1907, he made 282 putouts and had a range factor of 2.45, 58 points higher than the average outfielder of his day. Jones had his best season in 1907.”

crawford5CF-Sam Crawford, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1905

.323, 4 HR, 81 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-102

Extra Base Hits-55

5th Time All-Star-Despite a good year in 1906, Crawford didn’t make the All-Star team, but he’s back this season. He and Ty Cobb would be synonymous starting this season as two of the greatest outfielders in the American League. Cobb would garner much of that fame, of course, which short shrifts the great Crawford. Detroit is going to be good for next three seasons, but with these two incredible outfielders on the team, I’m surprised it didn’t win even more pennants.

This season, Crawford finished seventh in WAR (5.9); third in WAR Position Players (5.9), behind fellow Hall of Famers Nap Lajoie (7.6) and Cobb (6.8); second in Offensive WAR (5.8), trailing Cobb (6.5);  second in batting (.323), again behind Cobb (.350); fifth in on-base percentage (.366); second in slugging (.460), trailing the Georgia Peach (.468); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (160), once again playing bridesmaid to Cobb (167). Crawford trailing Cobb will be a common thread throughout the next few seasons.

Wahoo Sam didn’t have a great World Series, hitting .238 (five-for-21), with a double, no walks, and no steals. Detroit lost 4-0-1.

SABR says, “[Cobb] made for himself a slew of enemies within the clubhouse, including the normally easygoing Crawford. Cobb ‘came up with an antagonistic attitude, which in his mind turned any little razzing into a life-or-death struggle,’ Crawford recounted for Lawrence Ritter in The Glory of their Times years later. ‘He came up from the South, you know, and he was still fighting the Civil War. As far as he was concerned, we were all damn Yankees before he even met us.’”

jonesf5

CF-Fielder Jones, Chicago White Sox, 35 Years Old

1901 1902 1905 1906

.261, 0 HR, 47 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-Jones continued to be a successful outfielder and manager in the league. As a hitter, he finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.1) and 10th in on-base percentage (.345). This wasn’t bad for a 35-year-old centerfielder.

As a manager, his team dropped from first to third with an 87-64 record. The White Sox still couldn’t hit and this year, their pitching lacked from where it was in 1906. Still, it was a good seaaon and though he didn’t seem to have the fame of Jimmy Collins, he was right up with in when it came to player-managers.

SABR starts mentioning the C Word, Charles Comiskey, stating, “Charles Comiskey didn’t help the team’s title chances for 1907. After the World Series victory, Commy gave the players a check for $15,000 to share as bonus money. But as the players got their contracts for the ’07 season, they found the bonus was factored into their salaries. In February Walsh announced that he might hold out. Jones was only enticed back to the team with a contract worth $10,000, the most money paid to date by Comiskey for any player. The White Sox players were not happy going into 1907. Comiskey had done nothing to improve the team’s offense. The White Sox had the oldest lineup in the AL in 1906 and suffered from numerous injuries. They were only older and more injury-prone in 1907. The White Sox offense showed little improvement and the team was carried by the league’s best pitching staff. The Sox were in first place in early August, but their lack of depth ruined their chances. They again had the league’s best pitching and defense and finished third in runs scored. Jones felt that defense and pitching were more important than offense. He believed that if his team got a one-run lead, they would win the game. But the Tigers, who scored 106 more runs than Chicago, won the pennant. Detroit scored too many runs for the Sox pitching and defense to overcome. In November, Jones once again pondered retirement. But a blank contract from Comiskey, lured Jones back to the fold. Jones was able to name his price, $10,000.” The signs for the disaster of 1919 were already there.

cobb

RF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 20 Years Old

.350, 5 HR, 119 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

1907 AL Batting Title

Offensive WAR-6.5

Batting Average-.350

Slugging %-.468

On-Base Plus Slugging-.848

Hits-212

Total Bases-283

Runs Batted In-119

Stolen Bases-53

Singles-165

Adjusted OPS+-167

Runs Created-106

Adj. Batting Runs-43

Adj. Batting Wins-5.0

Offensive Win %-.817

Assists as OF-30

Double Plays Turned as OF-12

1st Time All-Star-Tyrus Raymond “Ty” or “The Georgia Peach” Cobb was born on December 18, 1886 in Narrows, GA, woke up and said, “I’m going to wreak havoc on the world of baseball.” I’m thinking he’s going to make so many All-Star teams, I’m going to run out of words to write, but he is absolutely without a doubt one of the best players the game has known. He was also, with just some doubt, one of the worst people the game has known. Hey, but he didn’t use steroids, so he’s got that going for him.

Cobb started with Detroit in 1905, played 98 games while hitting .316 in 1906, and then started his march through the American League this season, leading the Tigers to an American League pennant. In the Series, Cobb fizzled, hitting .200 (four-for-20), with a triple and no stolen bases. The Cubs had an outstanding pitching staff and kept him and most of the Detroit hitters at bay.

Wikipedia says, “On August 8, 1905, Cobb’s mother fatally shot his father with a pistol that his father had purchased for her. Court records indicate that Mr. Cobb had suspected his wife of infidelity and was sneaking past his own bedroom window to catch her in the act. She saw the silhouette of what she presumed to be an intruder and, acting in self-defense, shot and killed her husband. Mrs. Cobb was charged with murder and then released on a $7,000 recognizance bond. She was acquitted on March 31, 1906. Cobb later attributed his ferocious play to his late father, saying, ‘I did it for my father. He never got to see me play… but I knew he was watching me, and I never let him down.’”              

flick8

RF-Elmer Flick, Cleveland Naps, 31 Years Old

1898 1900 1901 1903 1904 1905 1906

.302, 3 HR, 58 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Triples-18 (3rd Time)

 

8th Time All-Star-At this point in his career, the great Flick is only 31-years-old and seems to have some great career numbers in front of him, but this would be his last All-Star season and his last full season. He finished 10th in WAR (5.6); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.6); third in Offensive WAR (5.2), behind Detroit’s Ty Cobb (6.5) and Sam Crawford (5.8); fourth in batting (.302); third in on-base percentage (.386), trailing Philadelphia’s Topsy Hartsel (.405) and St. Louis’ George Stone (.387); third in slugging (.412), behind Cobb (.468) and Crawford (.460); second in steals, trailing Cobb (53); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (153), behind only Cobb (167) and Crawford (160). He also has more All-Star teams than any other rightfielder. You can see the full list at Cy Young’s blurb. It was another great season, but then trouble came.

SABR says,Flick came down with a gastrointestinal illness that caused him to miss most of the 1908 season and play in a total of only 90 games during the 1909 and 1910 seasons.  He lost weight, his power and speed declined, and the pain was so severe there were times when he thought that he would die.  ‘My last three years [with the Naps] . . . were awful,’ Flick later admitted. ‘I shouldn’t have played at all.’ Initially, Flick’s doctors were mystified by what was ailing him, and the exact cause of the illness was never determined, but according to Flick, many of the physicians said that it was acute gastritis, which resulted in Flick taking pills for the rest of his life.”

1907 National League All-Star Team

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Ed Karger, STL

P-Bob Ewing, CIN

P-Orval Overall, CHC

P-Mordecai Brown, CHC

P-Carl Lundgren, CHC

P-Vic Willis, PIT

P-Tully Sparks, PHI

P-Nap Rucker, BRO

P-Ed Reulbach, CHC

C-Roger Bresnahan, NYG

C-Johnny Kling, CHC

1B-Frank Chance, CHC

1B-Fred Tenney, BSN

1B-Tim Jordan, BRO

2B-Johnny Evers, CHC

3B-Dave Brain, BSN

3B-Harry Steinfeldt, CHC

3B-Art Devlin, NYG

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

LF-Sherry Magee, PHI

LF-Fred Clarke, PIT

CF-Tommy Leach, PIT

CF-Ginger Beaumont, BSN

CF-Cy Seymour, NYG

 

mathewson6

P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905

24-12, 2.00 ERA, 178 K, .187, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-7.6 (2nd Time)

Wins-24 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-178 (4th Time)

Shutouts-8 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.359 (2nd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.78 (3rd Time)

6th Time All-Star-I almost verbally “gulped” when I saw the great Mathewson was only 26 years old. It feels like I’ve been writing about him forever. Yet the truth is he didn’t make the All-Star team last year when he went 22-12 with a 2.97 ERA or 88 ERA+. This season, Big Six is back, finishing second in WAR (7.8), to Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (9.0); first in WAR for Pitchers (7.6); eighth in ERA (2.00); third in innings pitched (315), to St. Louis hurler Stoney McGlynn and Cincinnati pitcher Bob Ewing (332 2/3); and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (123). If I gave you a list of seasons from 1901 through 1914, I doubt you’d be able to tell which is which. Mathewson was consistent and great ever year.

As for his team, the Giants, John McGraw’s squad dropped from second to fourth in the National League. The 82-71 team could certainly hit, led by third baseman Art Devlin, but, besides Mathewson, its pitching wasn’t enough to keep them in contention.

There is a book titled, Christy Mathewson, the Christian Gentleman: How One Man’s Faith and Fastball Forever Changed Baseball by Bob Gaines. It says of his 1907 season, “There was a time that Christy would have instinctively lowered his shade as the train came to a halt, barely sensing the large crowds that always gathered on the depot platforms, gawking for a glimpse of the Great Mathewson. But that was the old days; when fame was new and he was hiding within his private war against immaturity.

“One afternoon in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in August 1907, Christy straightened his collar and stepped off the train to the delight of a huge crowd, mostly kids. Once awkward and shy, the heroic ballplayer now understood his obligations; happily shaking hands, signing autographs, and thanking each for their kindness.”

karger

P-Ed Karger, St. Louis Cardinals, 24 Years Old

15-19, 2.04 ERA, 73 K, .179, 2 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as P-29

1st Time All-Star-Edwin “Ed” or “Loose” Karger was born on May 6, 1883 in San Angelo, TX. He started in 1906 with Pittsburgh before, on June 3, 1906, he was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the St. Louis Cardinals for Chappie McFarland. He then had his best season ever this year, finishing third in WAR (6.9), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (9.0) and Giants’ pitcher Christy Mathewson (7.8); second in WAR for Pitchers (6.7), trailing only Mathewson (7.6); 10th in ERA (2.04); fourth in innings pitched (314); and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (123).

Despite having one of the best pitchers in the league, the Cardinals still finished last, dropping from seventh in 1906. John McCloskey guided the team to a 52-101 record and he’ll be back again in 1908. St. Louis couldn’t hit and it couldn’t pitch and it didn’t win.

Baseball Reference says, “On August 111907, playing for the St. Louis CardinalsEd Karger pitched a perfect game through 7 innings. The game was ended due to a prior mutual agreement between the Cards and the Boston Doves. It was the second game of a doubleheader, and the rules of the time permitted the teams to decide on a seven-inning game in that circumstance. It is the only major league abridged perfect game or no-hitter that was not abridged by weather or darkness.

“He was discovered by former major leaguer Hick Carpenter, who was working as a border inspector in Nogales, AZ. Karger was pitching for a semi-pro club from Tucson, AZ in 1905. while employed as a policeman in Tucson. His baseball prowess landed him a job with the Houston Buffaloes of the South Texas League.”

ewingb3

P-Bob Ewing, Cincinnati Reds, 34 Years Old

1905 1906

17-19, 1.73 ERA, 147 K, .154, 1 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Ewing is back for the third straight year on the All-Star team. He finished fifth in WAR (6.2); third in WAR for Pitchers (6.5), behind New York’s Christy Mathewson (7.6) and St. Louis’ Ed Karger (6.7); seventh in ERA (1.73); second in innings pitched (332 2/3), behind the Cardinals’ Stoney McGlynn (352 1/3); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (150).

Ned Hanlon guided the Reds to a sixth-place finish, the same place they finished in 1906. Their 66-87 record reflected a lack of hitting. Cincinnati’s pitching was decent thanks to Ewing. This would be Hanlon’s last year as a manager. He’d finish his coaching career with five National League pennants and a lifetime 1313-1164 record.

SABR says, “In his prime, Long Bob Ewing-the ‘Long’ referring to his 6’1″, 170-pound frame-was the workhorse of the Cincinnati Reds’ staff, becoming their winningest pitcher of the Deadball Era and the most significant spitball pitcher in the history of the franchise. Toiling for six managers in eight years on a succession of teams that never finished within 15 games of first place, Ewing led the Reds in complete games twice, victories and strikeouts three times each. He has the second highest career E.R.A. (1,000 or more innings) in franchise history, trailing only Noodles Hahn. Though he never led the National League in a major statistical category, Ewing did finish second in innings pitched, complete games and strikeouts in 1907.” Most likely, Ewing is done making All-Star teams. He would stay with Cincinnati through 1909, before moving to Philadelphia in 1910-11 and finish with St. Louis in 1912.

overall2

P-Orval Overall, Chicago Cubs, 26 Years Old

1905

23-7, 1.68 ERA, 141 K, .213, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-8

2nd Time All-Star-Overall pitched for two teams in 1906, a year he didn’t make the All-Star team. He started with the Reds and then mid-season, he was traded by the Cincinnati Reds with $2,000 to the Chicago Cubs for Bob Wicker. His addition to the team added to an already stacked Cubs team and he pitched for them in the 1906 World Series, coming in relief for two games and allowing two runs in 12 innings for a 1.50 ERA. This season, Overall finished sixth in WAR (6.0), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.6), fifth in ERA (1.68), and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (149). In the World Series, in which the Cubs beat Detroit, 4-0-1, Overall started the first game, allowing three runs (one earned) in nine innings. The game ended in a 3-3 tie. He then started game four three days later, allowing one run in nine innings in leading Chicago to a 6-1 victory and a 3-0 lead in the Series. Altogether he finished 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA.

SABR says, “His breakout season was 1907, when he tied with Christy Mathewson for the NL lead in shutouts (8) and finished second in wins (23), third in winning percentage (.767) and fewest hits per game (6.74), fourth in strikeouts per game (4.73) and base runners per game (9.42), and fifth in ERA (1.68). Overall’s strong performance led the Cubs back to the World Series, this time against the Detroit Tigers, and he received the start in Game One against Wild Bill Donovan.”

brown3P-Mordecai Brown, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1903 1906

20-6, 1.39 ERA, 107 K, .153, 1 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. A virtual lock)

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-0.944 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Three-Finger Brown continued to confuse National League hitters in helping the Cubs to their second straight pennant. He finished 10th in WAR (5.1); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3); third in ERA (1.39), behind teammates Jack Pfiester (1.15) and Carl Lundgren (1.17); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (179), also behind Pfiester (216) and Lundgren (213). In the World Series, he started the clinching game five against Detroit, tossing a seven-hit shutout in leading Chicago to their first Series title.

His deformed hand led to some interesting pitches. Brown’s Hall of Fame page says, “’It was a great ball, that downward curve of his,’ said Ty Cobb, owner of the game’s best career batting average, of the curveball that evolved from Brown’s misshapen fingers. ‘I can’t talk about all of baseball, but I can say this: It was the most deceiving, the most devastating pitch I ever faced.’”

SABR says, “The following year was also a good one for Three Finger Brown. In 1907 he posted a 20-6 record and an ERA of 1.39. That year the Cubs did win the World Series, beating the Detroit Tigers in five games. In that series Brown pitched in only Game Five, winning 2-0.”

Has there ever been a staff like the 1907 Chicago Cubs? They had five starting pitchers with ERAs of 1.69 or lower. The team overall had an ERA+ of 144. Well, unless you count the 1906 Chicago Cubs, which finished with an ERA+ of 151 and also had five pitchers with ERAs under 2.00.

lundgren

P-Carl Lundgren, Chicago Cubs, 27 Years Old

18-7, 1.17 ERA, 84 K, .106, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-5.652

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

Adj. Pitching Runs-29

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.5

1st Time All-Star-Carl Leonard Lundgren was born on February 16, 1880 in Marengo, IL. He started with the Cubs in 1902 and finished with them in 1909. In the stretch from 1906-08 when the Cubs made three straight World Series, Lundgren never pitched in the postseason. This season, Lundgren finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3); second in ERA (1.17), behind teammate Jack Pfiester (1.15); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (213), behind Pfiester’s 216.

Wikipedia says of him, “Lundgren played football and baseball for the University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign and played eight seasons of Major League Baseballas a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. In eight years with the Cubs, he compiled a record of 91 wins and 55 losses. His best season was 1907 when he won 18 games, pitched 207 innings without allowing a home run, threw seven shutouts, and gave up only 27 earned runs in 28 games. His 1.17 earned run average was the second lowest in the Major Leagues, and his average of 5.652 hits allowed per nine innings was the lowest in the Major Leagues.

“Control problems held him back from greater renown. The Atlanta Constitution in 1913 summarized Lundgren’s strengths and weaknesses: ‘He had everything including speed to burn green hickory and an assortment of curves that would keep a criptograph specialist figuring all night but he was wild as a March hare in a cyclone and couldn’t locate the plate with a field glass.’” That’s exactly the analogy I was going to use!

willis6

P-Vic Willis, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

1899 1901 1902 1903 1906

21-11, 2.34 ERA, 107 K, .136, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

6th Time All-Star-At a time where pitchers dominated the earth, with players like Cy Young and Christy Mathewson and the entire late aught’s Chicago Cubs pitching staff, Willis slips under the radar. Yet there weren’t many pitchers like Big Vic. This season, he finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5) and sixth in innings pitched (292 2/3). He still has a couple good seasons left and has a shot at the ONEHOF, the Hall of Fame I created to induct the best player every year who isn’t currently part of that Hall.

SABR says, “This time, however, the Pirates rescued the Willis from the hapless Beaneaters. Pittsburgh owner Barney Dreyfuss surrendered three players in the trade for Willis: new third baseman Dave Brain, first baseman Del Howard and pitcher Vivian Lindaman. After the trade Willis sent a letter to Dreyfuss acknowledging his unhappiness on the Beaneaters and expressing his approval of the trade, and added: ‘Don’t believe those tales you hear about my being all-in. Wait until you see me in action for your team and then form your opinion of my worth to your team. I assure you that I am delighted to be a Pirate and that I will do my best to bring another pennant to the Smoky City.’ Dreyfuss reportedly restored Willis’ $4,500 salary as well.

“Willis started strongly for his new club pitching three straight shutouts early in the 1906 season. Now with a winning franchise again, Willis would win 21 to 23 games a year over his four years with the Pirates without ever losing more than 13 while consistently pitching around 300 innings a year. During his stint with the Pirates, Willis hurled the two one-hitters of his career.”

sparks4

P-Tully Sparks, Philadelphia Phillies, 32 Years Old

1903 1905 1906

22-8, 2.00 ERA, 90 K, .034, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

4th Time All-Star-For the first time in his career, Sparks crossed the magical 20 wins barrier. He finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.9), ninth in ERA (2.00), and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (121). However, his hitting, which was never good, entered the land of putrid this year. In 89 at bats, Sparks had three singles and three walks giving him the terrifying line of .034/.075/.034 for an Adjusted OPS+ of -66. Over the course of 1907 and 1908, he would have seven hits in 166 at bats and strike out 60 times, for a combined line of .042/.097/.042, which works out to an OPS+ of -56. Those could be the two worst consecutive hitting years ever. I don’t know. I’d have to research it and that’s not going to happen.

As for his team, the Phillies, they moved up from fourth to third with an 83-64 record. Bill(y) Murray took over the reins of the team so it’s got that going for it. (Caddyshack, we salute you!) He’ll manage the team for two more seasons, so I better start researching Bill Murray quotes for the next time.

After this season, Sparks would pitch for Philadelphia three more seasons, before his Major League career ended in 1910. He didn’t have a bad career at all, you can’t complain about four All-Star teams. He finished with a 121-137 record, a 2.82 ERA, and a career WAR of 20.7. His hitting ended up costing him -4.6 in Wins Above Replacement. Sparks lived to the ripe age of 62 and died in 1937 in Anniston, AL.

rucker

P-Nap Rucker, Brooklyn Superbas, 22 Years Old

15-13, 2.06 ERA, 131 K, .155, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-George Napoleon “Nap” Rucker was born on September 30, 1884 in Crabapple, GA. I admit I’ve never heard of the man, but he’s got a great chance of entering my Hall of Fame, which is based on number of All-Star teams made multiplied by Career WAR. If the number is 300 or over, you’re in. And Rucker, despite pitching on a lot of bad teams, could do it. In this, his rookie year, Rucker finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (3.7) and eighth in innings pitched (275 1/3). He’d be a workhorse for six straight years.

Patsy Donovan managed the team again and the team finished in fifth place, again. Brooklyn had a record of 63-85 due to shoddy hitting and pitching.

Just as my Hall of Fame is based purely on stats, there is a website called the Hall of Stats which inducts players purely on their numeric merits. Well, almost, they did kick out three players who are banned from Major League baseball so then inducted three in their place. One of those was Rucker, of  which the site writes, “Rucker is interesting. He becomes the tenth player in the Hall of Stats who is not in the Hall of Fame, Hall of Merit, or any of the Personal Halls listed at the Hall of Consensus. He was a .500 pitcher (134–134) but had a sparkling 2.42 ERA for the Dodgers across ten seasons. He was a high-peak pitcher, with 45.9 WAR coming in his first seven seasons. He had two seasons over 8 WAR and two more over 7 WAR. I don’t endorse his election, but he’s another example of a player who was drastically overlooked because of his win/loss record.”

reulbach3

P-Ed Reulbach, Chicago Cubs, 24 Years Old

1905 1906

17-4, 1.69 ERA, 96 K, .175, 1 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Oh, the benefits of pitching for good teams. It helps the stats look glossier and can make pitchers look better than they really are. If you look at Reulbach and Nap Rucker, you would figure Reulbach was much more dominant. But Rucker’s teams weren’t as good which is why his record is 134-134, while Reulbach’s teams were great, helping him to a lifetime 182-106 record. Yet Rucker will most likely make my Hall, while Reulbach doesn’t have much of a chance.

But don’t let my negativity make you think Reulbach couldn’t pitcher, dear reader(s). He had another good season, finishing 10th in WAR for Pitchers (3.5), sixth in ERA (1.69), and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (148). In the World Series, he pitched three innings of relief in game one, allowing no hits and striking out two in what ended up a 3-3 tie. He then got the win in game three, allowing six hits and one run in a complete game the Cubs ended up winning 3-1.

I like this tidbit from Wikipedia: “In a 1976 Esquire magazine article, sportswriter Harry Stein published an ‘All Time All-Star Argument Starter’, consisting of five ethnic baseball teams. Reulbach was the right-handed pitcher on Stein’s Jewish team, though Reulbach was, in fact, Roman Catholic and is buried in Montclair, New Jersey’s Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Cemetery.” See, I’ve mentioned it on this webpage many times, research is hard! If the great Harry Stein (I don’t know who he is. That would require, um, research) couldn’t figure out minute details, how am I supposed to do so?

bresnahan5

C-Roger Bresnahan, New York Giants, 28 Years Old

1903 1904 1905 1906

.253, 4 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

5th Time All-Star-If you look at Bresnahan’s height and weight (five-foot-nine, 200 pounds), he’s the picture of the typical catcher. He’s Engelberg from The Bad News Bears, squat and immovable. He would represent that model for many years as the best catcher in baseball for his time. This season, Bresnahan finished ninth in Offensive WAR (3.7) and sixth in on-base percentage (.380). The Duke of Tralee always excelled in getting on base. Though I only give him a 33 percent chance of making my Hall of Fame, that’s not always accurate with catchers, so we’ll see.

Bresnahan is famous for his innovations in equipment behind the plate, but it wasn’t widely accepted at first, according to Wikipedia, which says, “On Opening Day in 1907, Bresnahan began to experiment with protective gear. Though Negro league catcher Chappie Johnson wore protective gear and Nig Clarke wore similar gear in MLB in 1905, most catchers did not wear any protective equipment. Bresnahan practiced in shin guards that are worn in cricket during spring training, and debuted them on April 11, 1907. Fans, used to seeing catchers play without protective equipment, threw snowballs on the field, and without police at the game, umpire Bill Klem called off the game, with the Giants forfeiting to the Philadelphia Phillies. The press also criticized the use of shin guards. However, other catchers began to adopt Bresnahan’s idea. Though Pittsburgh Pirates manager Fred Clarke protested Bresnahan’s gear to the league, the protest was denied and the equipment was approved.”

kling4

C-Johnny Kling, Chicago Cubs, 31 Years Old

1902 1903 1906

.284, 1 HR, 43 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-499 (6th Time)

Fielding % as C-.987 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Once Roger Bresnahan became a catcher, it was going to be difficult to be the best at the position, but Kling did his best. This season, he finished sixth in Defensive WAR (1.4) and ninth in slugging (.386). In the World Series, Kling again struggled at the plate, just like he did in 1906. He went four-for-19 (.211) with no extra base hits. It didn’t matter as the Cubs still swept the Tigers (4-0-1).

I like this from SABR: “In an era where many players could be best described as social outcasts, Kling was different. He did not smoke, chew or drink. His grandchildren say he was very kind and loved spending time with them. His eldest daughter was mascot of the Braves during the time her Daddy was manager. Some insight into Kling’s character comes from the biography of former baseball commissioner Ford Frick. In Games, Asterisks and People, Frick describes attending an exhibition game involving the Cubs in 1907 in Kendallville, Indiana. As the Cubs were walking to the ballpark, Kling asked the young Frick if he wanted to go to the game. When Frick said yes, Kling had the future baseball tsar carry his shoes. Once at the game Frick was allowed to sit near the bench and see his Cub heroes in action and hear their bench talk between innings.” Kling’s an enigma, because he didn’t have the bad habits enjoyed by people who did both of his pastimes – baseball or shooting pool. Over the years I’ve been working on this webpage, it’s rare to run into players who have stellar reputations like Kling.

chance5

1B-Frank Chance, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1903 1904 1905 1906

.293, 1 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 1B-.992

5th Time All-Star-My favorite player for a stretch of time was the Reds’ centerfielder, Eric Davis. He could steal bases, hit for power, and field with the best of them. Sure, he struck out quite a bit, but who cared about that. He was just fun to watch. Well, Davis was fun to watch when you could watch him. He was constantly injured and it hindered his career greatly.

It’s the same with Chance. He never once played over 136 games in a season and never had 600 plate appearances. But when he was in the game, there wasn’t a better first baseman for his time. This season, despite playing in only 111 games and having 382 at bats, Chance finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.7); seventh in Defensive WAR (1.0); sixth in batting (.293); third in on-base percentage (.395), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (.408) and Philadelphia leftfielder Sherry Magee (396); and seventh in steals (35).

He must have used all of that free time to devise baseball strategies, since his Cubs again won the National League crown, finishing 107-45. It was Chicago’s pitching, led by Orval Overall, which led the team to victory. The Cubs had an amazing 144 ERA+. In the Series, the Cubs tied the first game, 3-3, and then swept the Tigers, never allowing more than one run in any contest. Four pitchers threw complete victories for the team. Chance didn’t do so well, however, hitting just .154 with a double and three steals.

tenney4

1B-Fred Tenney, Boston Doves, 35 Years Old

1899 1902 1903

.273, 0 HR, 26 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,587 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 1B-149 (4th Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,587 (2nd Time)

Assists as 1B-113 (8th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.70 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 1B-11.41 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Tenney continued playing on the anemic Doves since his last All-Star team in 1903. He wasn’t great, but he was consistent. Unlike his fellow player-manager-first baseman Frank Chance, Tenney rarely sat, but was out playing almost every game. This season, he played 150 games and slashed .273/.371/.334 for an OPS+ of 122. Not bad for a 35-year-old.

Tenney had taken over managing the Doves in 1905 and the team finished seventh. Then in 1906, Boston finished last. This year, in the last year Tenney would be at the helm, they were again seventh, with a 57-91 record. The Braves could hit pretty well, with third baseman Dave Brain leading the way, but their pitching was beyond terrible. In a league with a 2.46 ERA, Boston’s was 3.33, the only National League team with an ERA above three.

Wikipedia says, “He was named manager of the team in 1905, but did not receive additional pay; he was, however, offered a bonus if the team didn’t lose money. In 1905, Tenney tried to sign William Clarence Matthews, an African-American middle infielder from Harvard University, to a contract. Tenney later retracted his offer due to pressure from MLB players. Defensively, he led the majors in errors committed by a first baseman and finished second in most putouts for any position. Tenney led the 1906 Beaneaters to a 49–102 record. For the second straight year, the Boston team lost more than 100 games.

“After a 158–295 record as manager, on December 3, 1907, Tenney was traded to the Giants, along with Al Bridwell and Tom Needham, for Frank BowermanGeorge BrowneBill DahlenCecil Ferguson and Dan McGann; the trade was called ‘one of the biggest deals in the history of National League baseball.’”

jordan

1B-Tim Jordan, Brooklyn Superbas, 28 Years Old

.274, 4 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 1B-31 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Timothy Joseph “Tim” Jordan was born on Valentine’s Day, 1879 in New York, NY, the most romantic city in the world. (Ed-checking on this). The six-foot-one, 170 pound first baseman started by playing six games for the Senators in 1901, then two games for the Highlanders in 1903, before ending up with Brooklyn in 1906. If his defense wasn’t so bad, he could have made the All-Star team last season, when he led the National League in homers with 12. This season, Jordan finished eighth in Offensive WAR (4.0), 10th in on-base percentage (.371), and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (138).

After this season, he would play three more years for Brooklyn before retiring. He again hit 12 homers in 1908 and also led the NL in strikeouts with 74. He could have probably had more success playing in another era.

Baseball Reference has a lot of tidbits about Jordan, but this one jumped out at me: “Jordan is the only player in Dodgers franchise history to lead the league in home runs more than once (1906 and 1908).” I yelled, “That can’t be true!” This is the Dodgers, arguably the most famous club in NL history. I know they’ve always been known for their pitching, but they had Duke Snider and that ball club where four different players hit 30 or more homers. But it is true. As a matter of fact, after Jordan, a Dodger has led the league in homers only four times. You could win a lot of bets with that knowledge.

evers3

2B-Johnny Evers, Chicago Cubs, 25 Years Old

1904 1906

.250, 2 HR, 51 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

Defensive WAR-3.3 

AB per SO-29.9

Assists-500 (2nd Time)

Assists as 2B-500 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Crab made his third All-Star team and was part of his second straight National League pennant-winning team. Evers finished eighth in WAR (5.3); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.3); first in Defensive WAR (3.3); and second in steals (46), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (61). In the World Series, he was outstanding, hitting .350 (seven-for-20) with two doubles and three steals in helping Chicago sweep the Series against Detroit, 4-0-1.

Just because they’re linked together in a famous poem doesn’t mean Joe Tinker and Evers were buddies. SABR says, “The mutual antipathy between Evers and his keystone partner, Tinker, was legendary. There was little love lost between them during the Cubs’ heyday, and they didn’t speak to each other off the field for decades. Some commentators dated their animosity to a highly publicized on-field brawl in 1905, but years later Evers told a different story. ‘One day early in 1907, he threw me a hard ball; it wasn’t any farther than from here to there,’ Evers claimed, pointing to a lamp about 10 feet from where he sat. ‘It was a real hard ball, like a catcher throwing to second.’ The throw bent back one of the fingers on Evers’ right hand. ‘I yelled to him, you so-and-so. He laughed. That’s the last word we had for – well, I just don’t know how long.’ Whatever the reason for their bitterness, Evers and Tinker were an impeccable defensive tandem on the diamond. ‘Tinker and myself hated each other,’ Evers admitted, ‘but we loved the Cubs. We wouldn’t fight for each other, but we’d come close to killing people for our team. That was one of the answers to the Cubs’ success.’”

brain

3B-Dave Brain, Boston Doves, 28 Years Old

.279, 10 HR, 56 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-10

Double Plays Turned as 3B-27 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-4.12 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.95 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-David Leonard “Dave” Brain was born on January 24, 1879 in Hereford, United Kingdom. He started his Major League career playing five games for the White Sox in 1901. Then on March 1, 1903, Brain was traded by Buffalo (Eastern) to the St. Louis Cardinals for Fred Hartman. He was with St. Louis from 1903-05, before, on Independence Day, 1905, he was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Pittsburgh Pirates for George McBride. Then, at the end of that season, Brain was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates with Del Howard and Vive Lindaman to the Boston Beaneaters for Vic Willis.

In 1907, Brain had his best season ever, finishing sixth in WAR Position Players (4.9), fifth in Offensive WAR (4.6), ninth in Defensive WAR (1.0), fifth in slugging (.420), and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (134). Despite that, he didn’t remain with the Doves. On May 17, 1908, he was purchased by the Cincinnati Reds from the Boston Doves. Then midseason, Brain was traded by the Cincinnati Reds with Jake Weimer to the New York Giants for Bob Spade and $5,000 before hanging it up after that season at the age of 29. He was basically a one-season wonder.

Wikipedia says, “The English-born Brain was an unreliable fielder who showed some power with his bat and good speed on the basepaths. In 1903 for the St. Louis Cardinals he stole 21 bases and hit 15 triples, including two three-triple games to become the only player in National League history to perform the feat twice in a season. But his accomplishments were overshadowed by his 67 errors – 41 at shortstop and 22 at third base.”

steinfeldt3

3B-Harry Steinfeldt, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

1903 1906

.266, 1 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-151 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.967

3rd Time All-Star-Steinfeldt was the forgotten man of the Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance infield, but kept putting up good numbers. This season, he won his second consecutive National League pennant, finishing eighth in WAR Position Players (4.6); and third in Defensive WAR (2.5), behind teammate and second baseman Johnny Evers (3.3) and teammate and shortstop Joe Tinker (2.8). In case you’re wondering, Frank Chance (1.0) was also in the top 10 in Defensive WAR. I could research and figure out if any other teams had all four infield positions in the top 10 in Defensive WAR, but we all know that’s not going to happen. Let’s just say it’s an impressive feat.

Let’s look at Steinfeldt’s incredible World Series. In game three, he went two-for-three with a double, a run, and an RBI, helping lead the Cubs to a 5-1 victory. In the clinching game five, Steinfeldt went three-for-four with a  triple and an RBI in a game the Cubs won 2-0. He finished the Series going eight-for-17 (.471) with a double and a triple.

Bleed Cubbie Blue says, “Baseball fans inclined to the romantic are frequently brought back to earth by the observation that the major-league game, at bottom, is mere entertainment. Many ballplayers have had professional careers in show business or broadcasting after their playing days, but Harry Steinfeldt did it the other way around.

“In his early childhood, his family moved to Fort Worth, Texas. The details seem lost to history, but he spent several years as a juvenile performer with a traveling minstrel show.”

devlina4

3B-Art Devlin, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1904 1905 1906

.277, 1 HR, 54 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-15

4th Time All-Star-Devlin continued to make All-Star teams as one of the best third basemen of his age. He finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.6), sixth in Offensive WAR (4.3), 10th in Defensive WAR (0.9), seventh in on-base percentage (.376), and fifth in steals (38). At a position which hasn’t had a lot of great players up to this time, Devlin consistently was at the top.

SABR says, “The man Frank Graham called ‘the greatest third baseman ever to wear a Giant uniform’ and Grantland Rice’s third baseman on his all-time Giants team, Art Devlin was born October 16, 1879, in Washington, D.C., one of several children of Edward Devlin, an Irish immigrant who made his living in Washington as a harness maker and locksmith.

“Devlin grew up in Washington and entered Georgetown University on September 13, 1899. An outstanding athlete, he starred on the football and baseball teams. Starting at halfback, he was switched to fullback to make the best use of his size (six feet tall, 175 pounds) and speed. The team did well the two seasons he played, and Georgetown football historian Morris A. Bealle named Devlin the all-time Georgetown fullback. He also stood out on the baseball team, usually playing first base, getting his share of hits, and stealing bases almost at will.”

Is he really the greatest Giants third baseman of all time? I don’t have enough information to make that call, but he certainly was one of the best at the hot corner for his time.

wagner9

SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 33 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906

.350, 6 HR, 101 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1907 NL Batting Title (5th Time)

Wins Above Replacement-9.0 (3rd Time)

WAR Position Players-9.0 (7th Time)

Offensive WAR-9.7 (7th Time)

Batting Average-.350 (5th Time)

On-Base %-.408 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.513 (4th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.921 (5th Time)

Total Bases-264 (4th Time)

Doubles-38 (5th Time)

Stolen Bases-61 (4th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-187 (4th Time)

Runs Created-106 (5th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-51 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-6.0 (4th Time)

Extra Base Hits-58 (5th Time)

Offensive Win %-.853 (4th Time)

9th Time All-Star-Richard Wagner, who composed The Flying Dutchman, died in 1883, so there was a stretch of time in human history where the two most famous Wagners both roamed the earth. Of course, one was a VOG-ner and one was a WAG-ner. One was an incredible composer, one composed symphonies on the diamond. You don’t hear either of them talked about much today because such is life. We tend to be interested in what’s happening now. It’s the good thing about doing this page, because I’m reminded of the greats of the past and can see the evolution of the great game from the beginning.

Honus Wagner would get lots of comparisons with Ty Cobb over the years, because they were the two best players of their respective leagues. However, Cobb is making his first All-Star team this year, while the Flying Dutchman has nine already. Wagner is already 33 years old, while Cobb is 20. Both should garner praise for putting up monster numbers in the Deadball Era. Or as Wikipedia says, “Although Cobb is frequently cited as the greatest player of the dead-ball era, some contemporaries regarded Wagner as the better all-around player, and most baseball historians consider Wagner to be the greatest shortstop ever. Cobb himself called Wagner ‘maybe the greatest star ever to take the diamond.’ Honus Wagner is also the featured player of one of the rarest and most valuable baseball cards in existence.” By WAR, Cobb leads Wagner, 151.1-131. I would have much preferred seeing Wagner play over the surly Detroit centerfielder.

magee3

LF-Sherry Magee, Philadelphia Phillies, 22 Years Old

1905 1906

.328, 4 HR, 85 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Batted In-85

3rd Time All-Star-At the age of 22, Magee made his third All-Star team, continuing to be one of the league’s best players. He finished fourth in WAR (6.9); second in WAR Position Players (6.9), behind only Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (9.0); second in Offensive WAR (6.1), again behind only Wagner (9.7); second in batting (.328), behind guess-who (.350); second in on-base percentage (.396), behind only the Flying Dutchman (.408); second in slugging (.455), behind, well, now this is getting ridiculous! (.513); second to Wagner (61) in steals (46); and second to him (187) in Adjusted OPS+ (169). If the only one you’re losing out to is the great Pittsburgh shortstop, you have nothing to cry about.

I purposely have two Hall of Fames, the ONEHOF, designed to be small and admit just one player a year, and Ron’s Hall of Fame, meant to be broader. As Joe Posnanski would say, I have small Hall and a big Hall. Still, it’s surprising to me looking at Magee’s stats in the era in which he played that he’s not in the real Hall of Fame. He’s definitely going to make Ron’s HOF and also has a shot at making the ONEHOF.

His temper certainly didn’t help his case. SABR has this from the Philadelphia Times: “’That he is one of the most hot-headed players in either big league is admitted; it couldn’t be denied, because the records, showing how often he has been suspended for scrapping with the umpires, speak for themselves.’”

clarke7

LF-Fred Clarke, Pittsburgh Pirates, 34 Years Old

1895 1897 1901 1902 1903 1906

.289, 2 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as OF-.987

7th Time All-Star-Is Cap Clarke the greatest player-manager in baseball history? He was outstanding in the field and his team consistently contended for the National League pennant. On the field this year, Clarke finished ninth in WAR (5.2), fifth in WAR Position Players (5.2), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.3), eighth in batting (.289), fifth in on-base percentage (.383), eighth in slugging (.389), sixth in steals (37), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (141).

Clarke’s team, the Pirates, moved up from third to second with a 91-63 record. No team was going to best the Cubs during this time. Pittsburgh had great hitting, led by shortstop Honus Wagner, and good pitching, led by Vic Willis, but still finished 17 games behind the Cubs.

According to a book, Fred Clarke: A Biography of the Baseball Hall of Fame Player-Manager, written by Ronald T. Waldo, the leftfielder had no intentions of playing in the field during the season. Waldo wrote, “After the [1906] season, Clarke and [Barney] Dreyfuss (the Pittsburgh owner) had a falling out when Fred refused to join the Pirates on a barnstorming tour. The Pittsburgh magnate wanted all of his players to play exhibition games until their contracts ran out on October 15. Clarke didn’t have the slightest intention of doing this. He was heading home to Kansas for the winter. Fred Clarke was still unsigned and many Pittsburgh patrons believed this little disagreement meant that he wouldn’t be back in 1907.” It looks like a good book and you can see more of it at the link. Spoiler alert! He played in 1907.

leach3

CF-Tommy Leach, Pittsburgh Pirates, 29 Years Old

1902 1904

.303, 4 HR, 43 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.69

3rd Time All-Star-It’s been three years but Leach is back on the All-Star team. Last time he made the team, he was a third baseman. In 1905, he played mainly in the outfield, then switched back to playing primarily at third in 1906. This year, he played mostly in centerfield, but next year, he’ll be back to third. In 1909, centerfield will become his main position for the rest of his career.

This season, Leach finished seventh in WAR (5.4); third in WAR Position Players (5.4), behind teammate and shortstop Honus Wagner (9.0) and Philadelphia leftfielder Sherry Magee (6.9); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.9); fourth in batting (.303); sixth in on-base percentage (.404); fourth in steals (43); and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (136).

SABR says, “Though standing just 5′ 6″ and weighing as little as 135 pounds at the start of his career, ‘Wee’ Tommie Leach was nonetheless one of the better ‘power’ hitters of the first decade of the 20th century. Over the course of a 19-year career in the National League, Leach finished in the top ten six times each in triples, home runs and total bases. Years later, at a dinner in Florida, he explained his surprising long ball proficiency: ‘Sometimes they played me right in back of the infield. Every so often, I’d manage to drive a ball between the outfielders and it would roll to the fence. I was pretty fast, and by the time they ran the ball down and got it back to the infield, I’d be home. I don’t ever recall getting a home run on a ball that hit outside of the park.’” He actually hit 14 of his 63 homers over the fence.

beaumont3

CF-Ginger Beaumont, Boston Doves, 30 Years Old

1902 1903

.322, 4 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits-187 (4th Time)

Singles-150 (4th Time)

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

3rd Time All-Star-After great years in 1902 and 1903, off years and injuries kept Beaumont from making the All-Star team three straight years. After the 1906 season, he was Traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates with Patsy Flaherty and Claude Ritchey to the Boston Beaneaters for Ed Abbaticchio. It was a good trade for Boston as Beaumont came back to have a good season this year. He finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.5); third in Offensive WAR (5.1), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (9.7) and Philadelphia leftfielder Sherry Magee (6.1); third in batting (.322), behind Wagner (.350) and Magee (.328); fourth in slugging (.424); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (149), behind Wagner (187) and Magee (169). I wonder how often a player who finished first in singles finished in the top four in slugging. I’ll get my crack research team right on that.

Wikipedia says, “Nicknamed ‘Ginger’ for his thick red hair, he used his excellent speed to great advantage; on the day before his 23rd birthday in his rookie season, he had six infield singles and became the first player to score six runs in a game. He was also the first player in major league history to lead his league in hits three consecutive years, which has been accomplished by only five others; he led the NL in hits a fourth time with the 1907 Braves.” You can’t trust Wikipedia. The team is the Doves at this time, not the Braves. They’ll become the Rustlers in 1911 and finally the Braves in 1912.

seymour6

CF-Cy Seymour, New York Giants, 34 Years Old

1899 1903 1904 1905 1906

.294, 3 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

6th Time All-Star-Well, I put Seymour in an early grave, giving his death details in 1906, not thinking he would make his fifth consecutive All-Star season this year. But I’m pretty sure this year will be his last time on this list. He finished fifth in batting (.294), seventh in slugging (.400), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (132). He never put together another season close to his outstanding 1905 campaign, but he was always among the league’s best hitters.

Seymour was part of one of the most famous plays in baseball history, as described by Wikipedia, which states, “Seymour finished fifth in the NL in batting average (.294) for the 1907 season. However, an ankle injury prematurely ended his season. His batting average declined to .267 for the 1908 season. That year, he participated in one of baseball’s most infamous plays, known as Merkle’s Boner, in which the Giants lost the pennant to the Chicago Cubs. In the replayed game between the Giants and Cubs, Giants pitcher Christy Mathewson reportedly waved Seymour to move further back in the outfield; Seymour refused, only to see the ball hit over his head, allowing the Cubs to score three runs on their way to the win. Mathewson later denied waving Seymour back, saying Seymour ‘knew the Chicago batters as well as [he] did and how to play them.’

The New York World listed Seymour as one of the best players in baseball, along with Mathewson, Ed WalshHonus WagnerNap Lajoie, and Roger BresnahanElmer Flick insisted that Seymour was the toughest pitcher he batted against, saying he ‘was practically unhittable’ and that Seymour ‘had a wonderful control of his curve ball.’”