1893 National League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-Charlie Bennett

P-Amos Rusie, NYG

P-Kid Nichols, BSN

P-Cy Young, CLV

P-Ted Breitenstein, STL

P-Frank Killen, WHS

P-Brickyard Kennedy, BRO

P-Sadie McMahon, BLN

P-Willie McGill, CHC

P-Ice Box Chamberlain, CIN

P-Duke Esper, WHS

P-George Hemming, LOU

C-Jack Clements, PHI

C-Wilbert Robinson, BLN

1B-Jake Beckley, PIT

1B-Roger Connor, PHI

2B-Cupid Childs, CLV

3B-George Davis, NYG

3B-Denny Lyons, PIT

SS-John McGraw, BLN

SS-Jack Glasscock, STL/PIT

LF-Ed Delahanty, PHI

LF-Mike Smith, PIT

LF-Jesse Burkett, CLV

CF-Billy Hamilton, PHI

RF-Sam Thompson, PHI

 

1893 ONEHOF Inductee-Charlie Bennett

 

For the fourth time, a player was inducted into the ONEHOF without making the All-Star team that season. The ONEHOF is the one player a year Hall of Fame, in which every year since 1871, I’ve chosen the best player who isn’t already in the ONEHOF to enter the Hall. Here’s a recap of the ONEHOF inductees thus far. The yes or no following their name will be whether or not they are part of the real Hall of Fame. The position given to them will be their most played position in their whole career:

1871-George Zettlein, P (No)

1872-Al Spalding, P (Yes)

1873-Bobby Mathews, P (No)

1874-Dick McBride, P (No)

1875-Ross Barnes, 2B (No)

1876-George Wright, SS (Yes)

1877-Cal McVey, 1B (No)

1878-Deacon White, 3B (Yes)

1879-Tommy Bond, P (No)

1880-Cap Anson, 1B (Yes)

1881-Jim O’Rourke, LF (Yes)

1882-Joe Start, 1B (No)

1883-Paul Hines, CF (No)

1884-Jim McCormick, P (No)

1885-Will White, P (No)

1886-Tim Keefe, P (Yes)

1887-Pud Galvin, P (Yes)

1888-Mickey Welch, P (Yes)

1889-Dan Brouthers, 1B (Yes)

1890-Jack Glasscock, SS (No)

1891-Roger Connor, 1B (Yes)

1892-Harry Stovey, 1B (No)

1893-Charlie Bennett, C (No)

ONEHOF Nominees for 1894: King Kelly, Monte Ward, Old Hoss Radbourn, Hardy Richardson, Buck Ewing, John Clarkson, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson

It is surprising to me Charlie Bennett is not part of the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. He defined the role of catching in the early days of the game. His hands were gnarled and must have looked just awful, but he made an All-Star team in 1890 at the age of 35. This would be his last season and he finished it behind the plate. So many catchers of this era, because of the brutality of the position, tended to play less than half of their games at catcher and either sit the rest of the time or play an easier position. Not Bennett. In his 15 seasons, he played 954 games at catcher, only 130 at other positions. I can see him not being in the Hall if all of that catching affected his play, but he was a great hitter and good fielder for a good stretch of time.

Baseball blogger, verdun2, adds, “In 1896 the Detroit team built a new ballpark. They named it after Bennett. The team played there until a new park was built after the 1911 season. With the forming of the American League it became a Major League park and Ty Cobb played his first several seasons there. So at least, Detroit remembered Bennett.”

Rusie Amos 141-46_FL_PDP-Amos Rusie, New York Giants, 22 Years Old

1890 1891 1892

33-21, 3.23 ERA, 208 K, .269, 3 HR, 27 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-11.8

Hits per 9 IP-8.421 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts per 9 IP-3.884 (3rd Time)

Games Pitched-56

Innings Pitched-482.0

Strikeouts-208 (3rd Time)

Games Started-52

Complete Games-50

Shutouts-4 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls-218 (4th Time)

Hits Allowed-451

Batters Faced-2,111

Adj. Pitching Runs-71

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.1

Def. Games as P-56

Assists as P-114 (2nd Time)

 

4th Time All-Star-It’s probably this 1893 season in which baseball becomes most recognizable to the modern fan as the mound is moved back to 60 feet, six inches. Usually most people regard modern day baseball from this season on. There were still some differences, however. Rusie led the league with 482 innings pitched and no one is coming close to that in 2016. If you go back and read my 1892 blurb on Rusie, you’ll see he’s the one primarily responsible for the mound being moved back 10 feet due to his wildness. Whether the mound as 50 feet away from the plate or 60, Rusie still had a great season, finishing first in WAR (11.8) and third in WAR for Pitchers (11.6), behind Boston’s Kid Nichols (11.8) and Cleveland’s Cy Young (11.7). The Hoosier Thunderbolt had a 3.23 ERA, 2nd behind St. Louis’ Ted Breitenstein, and a 143 Adjusted ERA+, third behind Breitenstein (148) and Young (144).

All of those innings and all of that great pitching didn’t help the Giants in the standings. John “Monte” Ward took the reins and guided New York to a fifth place 68-64 record. It’d do much better next season.

How much did moving the mound back affect runs scored in the league? Tremendously. In 1892, the teams in the National League scored an average of 5.1 runs per game. This season, that total rocketed up to 6.6. The league ERA in 1892 was 3.28, while in 1893, it was 4.66. You’re going to notice higher ERAs and batting averages starting this year.

1892 National League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-Harry Stovey

P-Cy Young, CLV

P-Kid Nichols, BSN

P-Bill Hutchinson, CHC

P-Amos Rusie, NYG

P-Gus Weyhing, PHI

P-Kid Gleason, STL

P-Frank Dwyer, STL/CIN

P-Scott Stratton, LOU

P-Adonis Terry, BLN/PIT

P-Frank Killen, WHS

P-Sadie McMahon, BLN

C-Jack Clements, PHI

C-Chief Zimmer, CLV

1B-Dan Brouthers, BRO

1B-Roger Connor, PHI

1B-Jake Virtue, CLV

2B-Cupid Childs, CLV

2B-Bid McPhee, CIN

3B-Billy Nash, BSN

SS-Bill Dahlen, CHC

SS-Herman Long, BSN

LF-Billy Hamilton, PHI

CF-Bug Holliday, CIN

RF-Sam Thompson, PHI

RF-Oyster Burns, BRO

 

stovey11

1892 ONEHOF Inductee-Harry Stovey

 

For the third time, and the first time since 1883, a player was inducted into the ONEHOF without making the All-Star team that season. The ONEHOF is the one player a year Hall of Fame, in which every year since 1871, I’ve chosen the best player who isn’t already in the ONEHOF to enter the Hall. Here’s a recap of the ONEHOF inductees thus far. The yes or no following their name will be whether or not they are part of the real Hall of Fame. The position given to them will be their most played position in their whole career:

1871-George Zettlein, P (No)

1872-Al Spalding, P (Yes)

1873-Bobby Mathews, P (No)

1874-Dick McBride, P (No)

1875-Ross Barnes, 2B (No)

1876-George Wright, SS (Yes)

1877-Cal McVey, 1B (No)

1878-Deacon White, 3B (Yes)

1879-Tommy Bond, P (No)

1880-Cap Anson, 1B (Yes)

1881-Jim O’Rourke, LF (Yes)

1882-Joe Start, 1B (No)

1883-Paul Hines, CF (No)

1884-Jim McCormick, P (No)

1885-Will White, P (No)

1886-Tim Keefe, P (Yes)

1887-Pud Galvin, P (Yes)

1888-Mickey Welch, P (Yes)

1889-Dan Brouthers, 1B (Yes)

1890-Jack Glasscock, SS (No)

1891-Roger Connor, 1B (Yes)

1892-Harry Stovey, 1B (No)

ONEHOF Nominees for 1893: Charlie Bennett, King Kelly, Monte Ward, Old Hoss Radbourn, Hardy Richardson, Buck Ewing, John Clarkson

So far, out of the 22 players that are part of the ONEHOF, 10 of them also made the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. However, spending so much time in the 1800s convinces me that if the Hall of Fame is a building to tell the history of the sport of baseball, many of these ONEHOF inductees should also be real Hall of Famers. So I’ve come up with a simplistic formula to see who I would put in the Hall of Fame or not. It involves making my All-Star team and WAR. If times making the All-Star team times WAR is 300 or greater, you’re in. If it’s under that, you’re out. This will keep out compilers who are not among their league’s best players and keep out fringe All-Stars who make it on a fluke. Out of all of those above, these are the ones who wouldn’t make the my cheap and easy Hall of Fame: George Zettlein, Dick McBride, Ross Barnes, George Wright, Cal McVey, Joe Start, and Will White.

To wrap up, here are the ONEHOF players on which Cooperstown and Ron’s Hall of Fame agree: Al Spalding, Deacon White, Cap Anson, Jim O’Rourke, Tim Keefe, Pud Galvin, Mickey Welch, Dan Brouthers, Roger Connor.

Here are ONEHOF players in Cooperstown and not in Ron’s: George Wright.

Here are ONEHOF players in Ron’s HOF and not Cooperstown: Bobby Mathews, Tommy Bond, Paul Hines, Jim McCormick, Jack Glasscock, and this year’s ONEHOF inductee, Harry Stovey.

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P-Cy Young, Cleveland Spiders, 25 Years Old

1891

36-12, 1.93 ERA, 168 K, .158, 1 HR, 15 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Not Yet

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1892 NL Pitching Title

Wins Above Replacement-13.1

WAR for Pitchers-14.1

Earned Run Average-1.93

Wins-36

Win-Loss %-.750

Walks & Hits per IP-1.062

Shutouts-9

Adjusted ERA+-176

Adj. Pitching Runs-70

Adj. Pitching Wins-7.0

 

2nd Time All-Star-What did Willy Wonka say? “So much time and so little to do. Strike that. Reverse it.” A lot has happened since the 1891 season in baseball. For one thing, there is only one league left. The king took the challenges and finished on top. The National League has existed since 1876. During the next few years, it faced the Union Association in 1884, the Players League in 1890, and the American Association from 1882-1891. Yet through all of this, the National League remained the strongest league and the last Major League standing. The NL picked four of the AA teams and then decided to have a split-season, with the winner of the first half playing the winner of the second half.

Cleveland, coached by Patsy Tebeau and led by the arm of Young, prevailed in the latter half of the season, finishing 93-56 overall and 53-23 in the second half. It then lost the Championship Series (5-0-1) to the Boston Beaneaters. Young pitched three games in the series, finishing 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA. He wouldn’t be in another postseason until 1903.

For the season, well, look above, you can see what Young did. I would say it’s his best season ever and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s the last season the mound was a 50 feet. In 1893, it will be moved to 60 feet, six inches, as it is to this day. Read the Harry Stovey entry above for information on the new Ron’s Hall of Fame. I will say this, Cy Young had such dominating stats over his career, he was only required to make two All-Star teams to make my Hall of Fame. Of course, he’s going to make many more.

nicholsk3

P-Kid Nichols, Boston Beaneaters, 22 Years Old

1890 1891

35-16, 2.84 ERA, 192 K, .203, 2 HR, 21 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Not Yet

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

3rd Time All-Star-In 1892, it wouldn’t have been surprising to think Nichols would have a better career than Cy Young. At the age of 22, Nichols has had three dominant seasons because he started so young. Young didn’t start in the Major Leagues until he was 23 years old. However, the longevity of Young is going to be amazing over the years, though Nichols’ 15 years of pitching isn’t to be discounted. For the season, Kid finished second in WAR (9.2) to only Young (13.1) and second in WAR for Pitchers (9.3) to guess who (14.1). He pitched 453 innings with a 2.84 ERA and a 124 ERA+. Nichols’ 35 wins this season was his career high. His innings, as for all pitchers, will start declining when the mound is moved back to the modern-era distance in 1893.

Nichols’ team, the Beaneaters, won it all this season, giving Kid his second championship. Boston won the first half of the season, going 53-23 and 102-48 overall. Frank Selee, the manager, won his second National Pennant and isn’t done. He’s going to be around a while.

On a site called Our Game, Major League historian John Thorn has an article titled Kid Nichols, In His Own Words, in which Nichols himself recaps his career. Though it can be a little dry, I urge you read the whole thing. I’ll just print his bit about his 1892 season here: “In 1892, Boston Nationals won 102 lost 48.

“The same year Nichols pitched 51 games or 1/3rd of the games played. Winning 35 and lost 16.

“By the way. Remember these were 9 inning games as a rule. Not 1 innings as so often is quoted today.”

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P-Bill Hutchinson, Chicago Colts, 32 Years Old

1890 1891

36-36, 2.76 ERA, 314 K, .217, 1 HR, 22 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Not Yet

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-36 (3rd Time)

Games Pitched-75 (3rd Time)

Innings Pitched-622.0 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts-314

Games Started-70 (3rd Time)

Complete Games-67 (3rd Time)

Hits Allowed-571 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-1.653

Batters Faced-2,639 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as P-75 (3rd Time)

Assists as P-156

 

3rd Time All-Star-Wild Bill the Workhorse [TM] again pitched and pitched and pitched some more for the third straight year. This resulted in great results for his 1892 season, but having to move his tired arm back to 60 feet, six inches starting in 1893 was too much for him and he’s most likely made his last All-Star team. For the season, he finished third in WAR (9.0) and fourth in WAR for Pitchers (8.6), pitching 622 innings, 81 more than second place Amos Rusie, with a 2.76 ERA and a 113 ERA+.

People talk about Dusty Baker ruining Chicago arms, but he was nothing compared to Colts’ manager Cap Anson. It was starting to affect the team, too, as Chicago dropped to 70-76, seventh in the National League.

According to Wikipedia, Hutch is still one of the great all-time Chicago pitchers. It says, “During his seven seasons with the Chicago franchise (now the Chicago Cubs) he ranks 4th all-time in franchise history in wins (181), 6th in games pitched (367), 2nd in innings pitched (3021), 6th in strikeouts (1224), 3rd in games started (339), 1st in complete games (317), 10th in shutouts (21), 1st in base on balls allowed (1109), 1st in losses (158), and 1st in wild pitches (120).

“He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, attended Yale University, and later died in Kansas City, Missouri at the age of 66.” Who knows the career Hutchinson could have had if Anson would have let off the reins a bit.

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P-Amos Rusie, New York Giants, 21 Years Old

1890 1891

32-31, 2.84 ERA, 304 K, .215, 1 HR, 26 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: No (Will require two more All-Star seasons)

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-270 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as P-22 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Rusie, the Nolan Ryan of his day, had another fantastic season, but his best seasons are yet to come. His overuse would shorten his career, but his results in those 10 years (one of which was only 22 innings pitched) were incredible. No doubt he’ll make Ron’s Hall of Fame. For the season, the Hoosier Thunderbolt finished fifth in WAR (7.8) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (7.8). Rusie pitched 541 innings with a 2.84 ERA and a 113 ERA+. It’s his worst season in the five-year stretch from 1890-1894, yet any pitcher would have loved to have his 1892 year.

As for Rusie’s Giants, Pat Powers took over for longtime manager Jim Mutrie and didn’t do well. The team finished in eighth place with a 71-80 record. Powers would never manage again.

You might wonder why the mound would be moved back the next season. Wikipedia says, “Rusie’s wildness had been a catalyst for officials to change the distance from the pitching rubber to home plate from 50 feet (15 m) to the current 60 feet (18 m), 6 inches. This ruling was made effective for the 1893 season, at the peak of Amos Rusie’s pitching prowess. The distance change did not reduce Rusie’s effectiveness.”

Bleacher Report tells of trouble in the Giants-Rusie relationship: “An 1892 season brought mediocrity for Rusie. He won 31 and lost the same amount. He posted a 2.88 ERA, very decent for the time, and struck out just 19 more then he walked.

“After the season, the Giants actually released him – only to pick him back up later in the off season. But just because they got him back, it didn’t mean that the Giants had a stable relationship with Rusie.

“It was just the start of problems between Rusie and management.”

weyhing3

P-Gus Weyhing, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

1890 1891

32-21, 2.66 ERA, 202 K, .136, 0 HR, 13 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Will require six more All-Star seasons)

 

Led in:

 

Saves-3

Games Finished-10

3rd Time All-Star-Weyhing made his third All-Star team, all in different leagues. He won 25 games or more for the sixth consecutive time and 30 wins or more for the fourth straight time. Rubber-Winged Gus finished fifth in WAR (7.5) and third in WAR for Pitchers (8.7), behind only Cy Young (14.1) and Kid Nichols (9.3). Weyhing tossed 469 2/3 innings, third behind Bill Hutchinson (622) and Amos Rusie (541), for a 2.66 ERA and a 122 ERA+. What really affects Cannonball’s WAR every year is his putrid hitting, which would be a -9.8 for his career.

The mound moving back 10 feet will take its toll on Weyhing and he’s most likely made his last All-Star team. He’d stay with Philadelphia through 1895, a year in which he also played for Pittsburgh and Louisville. Weyhing pitched for Louisville in 1896 and then didn’t play in the Majors in 1897. He then finished his career pitching for Washington (1898-99), St. Louis (1900), Brooklyn (1900), the American League Cleveland Blues (1901), and Cincinnati (1901). If you looked just at his 264 career wins, you might think he should have some Hall of Fame consideration, but he never did and probably doesn’t deserve it. That doesn’t take away from how good a pitcher he was for a nice stretch from 1887-92, in which Weyhing was top 10 in WAR for Pitchers five times in those six years.

As for Weyhing’s team, the Phillies, Hall of Fame manager Harry Wright coached them to a fourth-place 87-66 record.

gleason3P-Kid Gleason, St. Louis Browns, 25 Years Old

1890 1891

20-24, 3.33 ERA, 133 K, .215, 3 HR, 25 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as P-42

3rd Time All-Star-Whenever I picture Kid Gleason, I think of John Mahoney, who played him in the movie “Eight Men Out.” It’s now I want to apologize to Ed Stein, Nig Cuppy, John Clarkson, and Tim Keefe, four pitchers who would have made this All-Star team in just about any other season. However, because the top player from every team has to make this team and the leading player on 11 of the 12 teams was a pitcher, it knocked out those four, despite extending this prestigious All-Star honor to 11 pitchers instead of 10. Sorry, guys! Oh, they’re all dead, I’m not too worried about revenge.

It’s not like Gleason’s year was terrible, as he pitched 400 innings with a 3.33 ERA and 104 ERA+. His pitching would decline sharply as the mound moved back in 1893 and he’ll start spending more time at second base.

The Browns finished in 11th place with a 56-94 record and were coached by Jack Glasscock (1-3), Cub Stricker (6-17), Jack Crooks (27-33), George Gore (6-9), and Bob Caruthers (16-32). At some point, they should have realized the manager wasn’t the problem.

After this season, Gleason would stay with Browns in 1893-94, then go on to Baltimore (1894-95), New York (1896-1900), the American League Detroit Tigers (1901-02), Philadelphia (1903-08), and the AL Chicago White Sox (1912). He’d then manage the White Sox from 1919-23.

Wikipedia says of the Kid: “Gleason has been referenced in pop culture in several books, and is a prominent supporting character in Ring Lardner‘s 1916 novel You Know Me Al. He is portrayed by actor John Mahoney in the 1988 film Eight Men Out, based on Eliot Asinof‘s book of the same name.”

dwyer

P-Frank Dwyer, St. Louis Browns/Cincinnati Reds, 24 Years Old

22-18, 2.95 ERA, 63 K, .146, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-John Francis “Frank” Dwyer was born on March 25, 1868 in Lee, MA. He started as a pitcher for Chicago (1888-89), then moved to the Players League Chicago Pirates (1890), the American Association Cincinnati’s Kelly’s Killers (1891), and the AA Milwaukee Brewers (1891). As if that wasn’t enough bouncing around, he also pitched for the two clubs this season. For some reason, the move from St. Louis to Cincinnati woke Dwyer up and he pitched phenomenally for the Reds. Altogether, he finished eighth in WAR (6.2), pitching 332 1/3 innings with a 2.95 ERA and a 113 ERA+. As for his splits, for the Browns, he pitched 64 innings with a 5.63 ERA and a 62 ERA+, while for the Reds, Dwyer pitched 268 1/3 innings with a 2.31 ERA and a 142 ERA+.

Coached by Charlie Comiskey and led by Dwyer, the Reds finished in fifth place with an 82-68 record. They did better in the first half (45-32) than in the second (37-36).  Yes, if you don’t see the irony, Comiskey managed a team which would beat the team he owned in the 1919 World Series, a Series I read somewhere was tainted.

On the page, Baseball Fever, there is an argument for Dwyer as a Hall of Famer. I think he falls considerably short, but he one of the few pitchers who was able to take the mound moving back 10 feet in 1893 and still have some success. Beady, on that page, writes, “In the context of his times, Dwyer is not a brilliant shooting star, but a capable, reliable and durable pitcher with a fairly long career. He started early and pitched regularly for about ten years. You could name some of his contemporaries who lasted to a greater age, and not only those of the caliber of Cy Young, but there aren’t that many of them. While Killen, Breitenstein, Hawley, Meekin and probably Stivetts all had bigger reputations when they were on top of their game, Killen and Hawley didn’t last as long as Dwyer, Meekin never followed up his brilliant season in 1894 and Stivetts was a part-time pitcher by the time he reached 29.”

stratton2

P-Scott Stratton, Louisville Colonels, 22 Years Old

1890

21-19, 2.92 ERA, 93 K, .256, 0 HR, 23 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.792 (3rd Time)

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.026

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.62 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Back in his 1890 blurb, I wrote of Stratton, “That’s why 18 of the 25 players on the AA All-Star team are first-timers, including the hard throwing Kentuckian, who had his best season ever, but also most likely his only All-Star appearance. Hey, if you’re going to only make one All-Star team, do it with gusto as Stratton did.” (How lazy have I become that I’m now quoting myself.) Anyway, the point is I was wrong. Stratton did make another All-Star team, pitching 351 2/3 innings with a 2.92 ERA and a 105 ERA+. THIS will be his last time making the All-Star team, I guarantee it.

Stratton’s Colonels finished in ninth place with a 63-89 record. Jack Chapman (21-33) and Fred Pfeffer (42-56) were at the helm. It was Chapman’s last season managing after 11 seasons of doing so. He finished with a career 351-502 record and one pennant for the 1890 American Association Louisville Colonels. It was also Pfeffer’s last season managing.

How big of effect did moving the mound back from 50 feet to 60 feet, six inches have on pitchers? In 1892, pitcher’s ERA was 3.28, in 1893, it rose to 4.66. Teams averaged 5.1 runs per game in 1892 and 6.6 in 1893. If you stick around, you’ll see batter’s stats really start to jump next season.

Stratton was a typical case, as he went from going 21-19 with a 2.92 ERA and a 2.62 FIP to going 12-23, with a 5.43 ERA and a 4.33 FIP.

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P-Adonis Terry, Baltimore Orioles/Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

1884 1886 1887 1888 1890

18-8, 2.57 ERA, 98 K, .154, 2 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

6th Time All-Star-When I thinking of my Hall of Fame qualifications mentioned above, I was thinking of players like Terry, who has to be the flukiest six-time All-Star there is. He’s been in the top 10 in WAR for pitchers just two times and in the top 10 in WAR once, but has made six All-Star teams. He’s probably going to make it one more time. Of course, it’s my own weird rules for this team that have allowed that, but it’s almost like Adonis knew I would start writing this page in the 21st century and catered his career around that. One more thing about finishing in the top 10 in WAR for Pitchers is that Terry finished in the top 10 three times and all three times ranked 10th. He was never a top echelon pitcher.

This season, he pitched 249 innings with a 2.57 ERA and a 129 ERA+. Those aren’t bad stats, but the reason he’s on the team this season is because he was the best player on the Pirates.

Speaking of Pittsburgh, it didn’t do too bad, finishing in sixth place with an 80-73 record. Al Buckenberger (53-41) and Tom Burns (27-32) managed the Pirates.

Here’s Wikipedia on his time in Pittsburgh: “On June 10, 1892, Brooklyn released Terry, and was quickly signed by the Baltimore Orioles on June 14. He played just one game for Baltimore, a complete games loss, and was then traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 17 in exchange for Cub Stricker. He pitched well in his 2-plus seasons for Pittsburgh, winning 18 games in 1892 and 12 more in 1893.”

killen2

P-Frank Killen, Washington Senators, 21 Years Old

1891

29-26, 3.31 ERA, 147 K, .199, 4 HR, 23 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-22

2nd Time All-Star-Lefty Killen is starting out his career very Adonis-esque as he made two All-Star teams by being the best player on his squad. It’s not like he’s a bad pitcher. Killen pitched 459 2/3 innings with a 3.31 ERA and a 98 ERA+. He’s got some awesome seasons ahead, but he’s no Hall of Famer. Next year, he’s off to his third team in three years, the Pittsburgh Pirates.

While he wasn’t a bad pitcher, Killen pitched on a bad team, as the Senators, coached by Billie Barnie (0-2), Arthur Irwin (46-60), and Danny Richardson (12-31), finished in 10th place with a 58-93 record.

SABR writes of Lefty, “Killen and 11 other AA players were assigned to Washington, which changed its name from the Statesmen to Senators to inaugurate a new chapter in its history. Almost immediately Killen began trading jabs in the press with manager Billy Barnie, claiming that Washington’s contract offer was lower than the one he had signed with Milwaukee and which was supposedly valid under the rules of the peace settlement. Killen, like all major-league players, quickly learned that the merger depressed salaries. Praised as ‘one of the most promising pitchers in the country’ and the ‘only reliable twirler on the team,’ Killen (29-26) was the lone bright spot on the 10th-place Senators (58-93), winning half of their games.

“The hard-throwing Killen was hailed as ‘a great general while officiating in the box [whose] deceptive curves have time and again proved very puzzling.’” Read the whole thing.

mcmahon3

P-Sadie McMahon, Baltimore Orioles, 24 Years Old

1890 1891

19-25, 3.24 ERA, 118 K, .141, 0 HR, 18 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-McMahon moved with the Orioles from the American Association to the National League and still pitched well, though certainly not at the level of his last two seasons. He pitched 397 innings with a 3.24 ERA and 107 ERA+. He’s probably got a couple of All-Star teams left and will be on the Orioles for a while.

Baltimore finished last in the league with a 46-101 record. George Van Haltren (1-10), John Waltz (2-6), and Ned Hanlon (43-85) managed the team. Hanlon at this point had a 160-218 record as a manager, yet he was kept around, which ended up being a good thing, because he would have a great career and lead Baltimore and eventually Brooklyn to many league titles.

McMahon didn’t finish the season, according to SABR. Talking about the unsportsmanlike play of the Orioles, SABR says, “McMahon fit right in with this crew, perhaps not in viciousness but certainly in rowdiness. He was reputed to be a heavy drinker and a carouser. Robert L. Tiemann wrote that Sadie was something of a hell-raiser, especially on the road. In 1892 he was suspended for the final month of the season for missing a game and then cussing out his manager and owner in an argument over his fine for being AWOL. He continued to pitch well, winning over 20 games each year from 1892 through 1894.” For quite a stretch, McMahon and his temper formed a lethal combo and he was one of the best pitchers in the league.

clements3

C-Jack Clements, Philadelphia Phillies, 27 Years Old

1890 1891

.264, 8 HR, 76 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-557 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-With all of the leagues now merged into the National League and the wheat separated from the chaff, Clements, a lefty, ended up as the top catcher in baseball. His hitting, as always, was good, but he also played defense this season, finishing 10th in Defensive WAR (1.3). From the plate, Clements slashed .264/.339/.415 for an OPS+ of 128. Those weren’t his usual numbers, but in the time he played, they were very good for a catcher.

I’m not sure he’s got another All-Star season left in him, but I wouldn’t bet my house on that. He could always hit for average. Wikipedia says, “During the 1890s, he established himself as one of the National League’s top hitters, finishing among the top 4 in batting average on 3 occasions. Clements also hit for power, finishing second in the NL with 17 home runs in 1893 and finishing third in the NL with 13 in 1895. Also in 1895, he finished with a .394 batting average, the highest single-season average by a catcher in major league history.

“After the 1897 season, Clements was traded to the St. Louis Browns. He played one season for the Browns, during which he became the first player (of either handedness) to catch 1,000 games in his career.

“At the time of his retirement, he held the single-season and career records for home runs by a catcher. Both of his records were broken by Gabby Hartnett in the 1920s; the single-season record fell in 1925, while the career record fell in 1928. Clements is also the only 19th-century baseball player of prominence to retire with more home runs than triples.”a name=”Zimmer”>

zimmer

C-Chief Zimmer, Cleveland Spiders, 31 Years Old

.264, 1 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star Season-Charles Louis “Chief” Zimmer was born on November 23, 1860 in Marietta, OH and made his first All-Star team at the age of 31. He started with Detroit in 1884 and moved to the American Association New York Metropolitans (1886), the AA Cleveland Blues (1887-1888), which became the Spiders in 1889. Zimmer was never much of an offensive threat, but according to dWAR, was good defensively. He finished ninth in Defensive WAR (1.3) and also had his best year at the plate, slashing .264/.327/.404 for an OPS+ of 117. His batting average, slugging average, and Adjusted OPS+ were all career highs up to this point.

Wikipedia has the details on his nickname: “Zimmer acquired the nickname ‘Chief’ during the 1886 season while playing as the captain of the Poughkeepsie team. Zimmer was not of American Indian descent and explained the genesis for the nickname as follows: ‘Since we were fleet of foot, we were called the Indians. As I was the head man of the Indians, somebody began to call me “Chief.” It stuck.’”

Even though he’s never made the All-Star team, Zimmer already had a reputation in the league. Again from Wikipedia, which says, “In 1892, when asked how he kept his hands healthy so as to be able to catch in so many games, Zimmer also claimed he received regular hand massages: ‘He replied that he made it a practice to visit a massage establishment whenever his hands gave him the slightest cause for trouble. He argues that by the systematic rubbing of the joints all swellings and soreness can be remedied instantly.’”

Brouthers Dan 185-57_Bat_PD1B-Dan Brouthers, Brooklyn Grooms, 34 Years Old

1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890 1891

.335, 5 HR, 124 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted 1889)

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1892 NL Batting Title (5th Time)

WAR Position Players-8.8 (5th Time)

Offensive WAR-7.8 (8th Time)

Batting Average-.335 (5th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.911 (8th Time)

Hits-197 (3rd Time)

Total Bases-282 (4th Time)

Runs Batted In-124 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-179 (8th Time)

Runs Created-118 (5th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-60 (8th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-6.4 (8th Time)

Offensive Win %-.805 (6th Time)

 

12th Time All-Star-Big Dan is on his fifth team in the last five years and, at the age of 34, had his best season ever. It’s possible it’s also his last All-Star team. For one thing, he only has one more fulltime season left in his career, with Baltimore in 1894. I don’t have to give you his stats, because you just spent an hour above reading all of the categories in which he led.

As for the Grooms, due to Brouthers incredible season, they were the only team in which a pitcher didn’t lead in WAR. Still with Ed Stein on the mound and Big Dan at the plate, Brooklyn did well, finishing third in the National League with a 95-59 record. John “Monte” Ward managed the squad. Surprisingly, Ward didn’t manage more, because though he didn’t win any titles, his career winning percentage as the team leader was .563. Yet he managed only seven years and was gone after 1894.

All of us are results of our circumstances and Brouthers is no different. He was a great slugger while baseball was still in its relative infancy. He played the majority of his career before 1893, when the pitcher’s mound would be moved back and the batting statistics are going to go through the roof. He played before Babe Ruth and others made the home run popular. None of this takes away from his career, but it can’t help but stir the emotions of what could have been. Brouthers would get to see Ruth as he lived until August 2, 1932, dying at the age of 74.

connor11

1B-Roger Connor, Philadelphia Phillies, 34 Years Old

1880 1882 1883 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890 1891

.294, 12 HR, 73 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted 1891)

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-155 (3rd Time)

Doubles-37

Extra Base Hits-60 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as 1B-155 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.985 (3rd Time)

11th Time All-Star-Connor jumped teams, going to the Phillies, but it didn’t hurt his production one bit. Age might have affected it a little, but not his team. Wikipedia explains, “In the offseason before 1892, Connor signed with the Philadelphia Athletics. The team broke up shortly after Connor signed, and his contract was awarded to the Philadelphia Phillies for that year.” For the first time in eight years, he wasn’t in the top 10 in WAR, but he still finished third in WAR Position Players (6.3), behind only Dan Brouthers (8.8) and Cupid Childs (7.1) and second in Offensive WAR (6.9), behind only Brouthers (7.8). Connor slashed .294/.420/.463 for an OPS+ of 166, the latter figure ranking second behind only, you guessed it, Brouthers (179). I wonder if Connor had a Brouthers voodoo doll at home. As for the home run chase, he still trailed 1892 ONEHOF Inductee Harry Stovey, 121-99.

The big man wouldn’t be part of the Phillies in 1893 as, according to SABR, “He led National League first basemen in fielding percentage (.985) and stole 22 bases. With a Hall of Fame outfield in Ed Delahanty, Billy Hamilton, and Sam Thompson, the future looked promising in Philadelphia. But Connor refused to sign the $1,800 contract tendered for the 1893 season by the club’s cash-strapped management. Consequently, the Phillies traded him back to New York in exchange for journeymen Jack Boyle and Jack Sharrot, plus cash.” It’s amazing how much great players like Brouthers and Connor jumped around at the tail end of their careers.

virtue

1B-Jake Virtue, Cleveland Spiders, 27 Years Old

.282, 2 HR, 89 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Jacob Kitchline “Jake” or “Guesses” Virtue was born on March 2, 1865 in Philadelphia, PA. His middle name might be the closest any name of any player in baseball history comes to matching my last name of Kitchell. Guesses started with Cleveland in 1890 and had his best season ever, slashing .282/.380/.391 for an OPS+ of 129, all of those numbers being career highs for a full season for Virtue. In the championship series against Boston, he slumped, going three-for-24 with no extra base hits.

For a man with just a five-year mediocre career, Wikipedia has a pretty extensive article on Virtue. It says, “Born in Philadelphia on March 2, 1865, Virtue debuted in the major leagues with Cleveland in 1890. In The Great Encyclopedia of Nineteenth Century Major League Baseball, Virtue is described as a 5’9″ player with excellent defensive skills. However, he also ‘had a huge failing. He was so short of self-confidence (some in Cleveland were unkind enough to say courage) that an error in the first inning or a strikeout in his first at bat would ruin him for the rest of the game.’

“In early 1893, The New York Times reported that Virtue might play in Philadelphia that year to replace first baseman Roger Connor; Connor was to be traded to the New York Giants. Connor was sent to New York, but Virtue remained in Cleveland. Though the pitching distance was increased from 55 feet and 6 inches to 60 feet and 6 inches for 1893, Virtue struggled offensively and defensively. A late-season on-field collision in 1892 seemed to have rendered Virtue ‘gunshy’.”

childs3

2B-Cupid Childs, Cleveland Spiders, 24 Years Old

1890 1891

.317, 3 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.443

Runs Scored-136

Times on Base-303

3rd Time All-Star-I don’t think Childs is going to make four more All-Star teams, but…it’s going to be close. Childs is one of those amazing players from baseball’s early days of which many of you have never heard. I know I hadn’t before doing this page. Yet, during this time in which he’s playing, Childs is the game’s best second baseman. This season, he finished ninth in WAR (7.1); second in WAR Position Players (7.1), behind only Dan Brouthers (8.8); and third in Offensive WAR (6.4), behind only Brouthers (7.8) and Roger Connor (6.9), both of whom played a much easier defensive position. His .317 batting average was third in the league behind Brouthers (.335) and Billy Hamilton (.330), while his on-base percentage of .443 led the league. If that wasn’t enough, Childs also had a fantastic championship series against Boston, hitting .409 with two triples, along with walking five times.

                SABR summarizes his career as follows, “Cupid Childs was one of the best hitting major league second basemen during the late nineteenth century, not to mention a better-than-average fielder who possessed great range on the diamond. Only four other second basemen in the history of major league baseball have averaged more total chances per game than Childs. His all-around outstanding play made him an integral part of the great Cleveland Spiders teams of the 1890s.

“[F]or some reason the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee continually overlooks this talented multi-tooled player when it comes time to vote in new inductees. It seems that for now, Cupid’s arrow has missed its mark in Cooperstown.” He probably doesn’t deserve the Hall of Fame, but he certainly deserves a look.

mcphee6

2B-Bid McPhee, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

1886 1887 1889 1890 1891

.274, 4 HR, 60 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 2B-451 (6th Time)

Double Plays Turned as 2B-86 (10th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.49 (6th Time)

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.40 (6th Time)

6th Time All-Star-I will finally concede McPhee should be in the Hall of Fame, but I think it was a bold choice. He was selected by the 2000 Veteran’s Committee and it must have been his fielding which caught its attention. He slashed .279/.379/.384 for an OPS+ of 107 for his career which isn’t spectacular, but did end his career with a 16.3 Defensive WAR which is 84th of all-time. He also played most of his good seasons in the American Association, which will usually disqualify a man from making Cooperstown. Still, due to longevity and being the best at his position at the time he played, I believe they got it right with McPhee.

This was McPhee’s best season ever as he finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.2) and eighth in Offensive WAR (4.5). It’s the first and only time he finished in the top 10 in Offensive WAR and the first time he’s made the All-Star team without finishing in the top 10 in Defensive WAR. McPhee slashed .274/.373/.370 for an OPS+ of 126. It was his highest OBP up to this point.

McPhee making the Hall of Fame makes me want to look at the candidacy for Cupid Childs again. McPhee played almost 700 more games and had about 1700 more at bats. He was also a much better fielder, beating Childs in dWAR 16.2 to 4.0. However, I already posted McPhee’s career slash line above. Here’s Childs’: .306/.416/.389 for an OPS+ of 119. I believe the Hall got them both right, but if Childs would have had a little longer career, he would be in Cooperstown also.

nash5

3B-Billy Nash, Boston Beaneaters, 27 Years Old

1887 1888 1889 1890

.260, 4 HR, 95 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 3B-.898 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-I asked in Nash’s 1890 blurb whether his bat could carry him to another All-Star team in 1891 and it didn’t. However, lack of good players at third base did put him back on the team this season. He did well defensively, finishing third in Defensive WAR (2.1), to only shortstop Germany Smith and second baseman Lou Bierbauer. At the plate, Nash slashed .260/.338/.350 for an OPS+ of 100. Despite the dearth of good third basemen in the league, I’m predicting this is Nash’s last All-Star team.

But at least he went out on top as Boston won the league and won the championship series against Cleveland. In the series, Nash struggled, going four-for-24 with no extra base hits. It was Nash’s third title and he would be part of another one in 1893. After this season, he would remain with Boston until 1895 and then move to Philadelphia from 1896-98. In his long career, he only played on four teams and two of those were only for one season.

Here’s a quote from fellow baseball blogger verdun2 about the 1892 split-season with a mention of Nash: “The team in Boston, the Beaneaters–which gets my vote for the absolutely worst team nickname ever–went 52-22 and won the first half by 2.5 games over Brooklyn. The team consisted of Hall of Famers Hugh Duffy and Tommy McCarthy in the outfield, King Kelly behind the plate, with Billy Nash, Tommy Tucker, Joe Quinn, Bobby Lowe, and Herman Long holding down the rest of the positions. Hall of Fame pitcher John Clarkson started the season at Boston, but was traded to Cleveland during the season. That left Kid Nichols as the undisputed ace. Nichols had a great year going 35-26 with 187 strikouts, a 2.84 ERA, and five shutouts.” He has much more to say on the split-season, I suggest reading it all.

dahlen

SS-Bill Dahlen, Chicago Colts, 22 Years Old

.293, 5 HR, 58 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-William Frederick “Bad Bill” Dahlen was born on January 5, 1870 in Nelliston, NY and was one of the early game’s best shortstops. I can see myself complaining about his lack of induction to Cooperstown many times in the future and asking questions like, “How can Bid McPhee be in the Hall of Fame and not Dahlen?” Well, I have plenty of time for that, so let’s get on with this season.

Dahlen started in 1891 as a third baseman for the Colts, before moving to shortstop permanently this season. While later in his career it would be his defense that carried him, he did well offensively this year, finishing fifth in WAR Position Players (6.1) and fourth in Offensive WAR (5.6). He slashed .293/.349/.423 for an OPS+ of 139, along with stealing 60 bases. He still has some great seasons ahead.

One difference between McPhee and Dahlen was temperament. From Jock Bio Legends, it says, “Baseball in the 1890s could be an ugly, violent affair. The game had become a win-at-all-costs profession that sometimes seemed to put aggression, intimidation and trickery on an equal footing with fundamental batting and fielding skills. It took a special kind of player to survive in this environment. A player like Bill Dahlen. A hard-hitting shortstop with a great glove, he was among the top players in the game for almost 20 seasons. ‘Bad Bill’ didn’t stick around because he was a nice guy. He went to war—and took no prisoners—every time he stepped onto the field.”

long2

SS-Herman Long, Boston Beaneaters, 26 Years Old

1891

.280, 6 HR, 78 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed-102 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as SS-99 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Long’s off to a good start, making his second All-Star team and winning his second league title in four years of ball. He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.7) and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.7). At the dish, he slashed .280/.334/.378 for an OPS+ of 106 with 57 stolen bases. In the championship series against Cleveland, Long batted .222, going six-for 27 with no extra base hits. Still, Boston won and Long was a big part of that.

We talked about Long holding the career record for errors made in last year’s blurb, but we can’t help but beat this to death, so here’s more from Wikipedia, which says, “The seeming contradiction between a high error rate and exceptional fielding skill is attributable to the fact that Long had a greater fielding range than most shortstops. He could get to balls batted to his left and right that other fielders would not have reached; a certain percentage of these difficult plays were mishandled, resulting in Long being charged with errors on grounders and flies that lesser shortstops would not have touched (and on which they would not be charged with errors).

“Of the three other players charged with over 1,000 lifetime errors, Deacon White is in Baseball’s Hall of Fame, and Bill Dahlen is perennially considered for enshrinement by MLB’s Veteran’s Committee.” There are certainly some good shortstops in this era, with Jack Glasscock, Dahlen, and Long among them. Hughie Jennings career is just starting and no doubt he’ll be making some All-Star teams in the future.

hamilton3

LF-Billy Hamilton, Philadelphia Phillies, 26 Years Old

1890 1891

.330, 3 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Singles-152 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Sliding Bill made his third straight All-Star team and will no doubt make my Hall of Fame. I also think he has a good shot at the ONEHOF. Hamilton finished fourth in WAR Position Players (6.1) and fifth in Offensive WAR (5.4). At the plate, he hit .330 (second behind Dan Brouthers’ .335); had an on-base percentage of .423 (third behind Cupid Childs’ .443 and Brouthers’ .432); slugged .410 and stole 57 bases. His Adjusted OPS+ was 152. All of the numbers look dazzling, but if you look at his career, the season looked very similar to what he always did.

Hamilton wasn’t known for his power, never hitting more than seven homers in a season. However, Wikipedia tells us, “In 1892, Hamilton hit both a leadoff and game-ending home run in the same game. Only Vic Power (1957), Darin Erstad (2000), Reed Johnson (2003) and Ian Kinsler (2009) have accomplished the same feat.”

                Meanwhile, SABR says, “Billy was a disruptive force, particularly with his ability to frustrate opposing pitchers by fouling off their deliveries until he found one to hit or drew a walk. He was the ideal leadoff man, getting on base in more than 45 percent of his plate appearances that season, and putting himself in position to be knocked in by sluggers [Ed] Delahanty and [Sam] Thompson.

“Though the Philadelphia pitching was too weak for the team to mount a serious challenge for the pennant, the offensive fireworks drew fans. The flashy Billy Hamilton was one of the most popular players on the team. In 1892, all three outfielders batted over .300, with Billy leading the way at .330.”

holliday

CF-Bug Holliday, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

.294, 13 HR, 91 RBI, 0-0, 11.25 ERA, 0 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-13 (2nd Time)

Power-Speed #-20.0

AB per HR-46.3

1st Time All-Star-James Wear “Bug” Holliday was born on February 8, 1867 in St. Louis, MO. Just because he made his first All-Star team, don’t think he hasn’t been around awhile. He started with the American Association Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1889, leading the league with 19 home runs and then followed the team to the National League the next season, where he finished his career, playing on the Reds through 1898. This season was Bug’s best ever, as he finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.9) and ninth in Offensive WAR (4.5). He slashed .294/.356/.450 and stole 43 bases for an OPS+ of 144. This is most likely his first and last All-Star team.

Holliday’s first ever at-bat came in the World Series, according to Wikipedia, which says, “Holliday was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and became the first player in major league history to make his debut in the post-season when he was called up, at the age of 18, by the Chicago White Stockings when they needed another outfielder after Game 4 of the 1885 World Series. He played in one game, and had no hits in four at bats. The distinction has since been matched by Mark Kiger, who played in the 2006 American League Championship Series for the Oakland Athletics as a defensive replacement, and Raúl Mondesí, pinch-hitting for Luke Hochevar in Game 3 of the 2015 World Series for the Kansas City Royals.”

By leading the National League in homers this season, Holliday is one of the rare players to lead two leagues in long balls.

thompson4RF-Sam Thompson, Philadelphia Phillies, 32 Years Old

1886 1887 1891

.305, 9 HR, 104 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as OF-153 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-What an outfield Philadelphia had in 1890s. Ed Delahanty hasn’t made an All-Star team yet, but that day is no doubt coming. He teamed with Thompson and Billy Hamilton to make an all-Hall of Fame outfield. The stats are going to really stand out starting next season when the mound is moved back 10 feet to 60 feet, six inches. As it is, Thompson was still impressive, finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (4.7) and seventh in Offensive WAR (4.6). Big Sam slashed .305/.377/.432 and stole 28 bases for an OPS+ of 144.

A book entitled Big Sam Thompson: Baseball’s Greatest Clutch Hitter by Roy Kerr talks much about the 1892 Phillies’ season. It says, “On the days that Tim Keefe pitched for the Phillies in 1892, one of baseball’s rarest events took place. With Keefe in the pitcher’s box, and Roger Connor at first base, Billy Hamilton, Ed Delehanty (sic) and Sam Thompson in the outfield, and with Harry Wright directing the team on bench, six future Hall of Famers represented the Phillies at the ballpark.

“The 1892 Phillies should have been serious pennant contenders. They led the league in hitting and tied for the lead in fielding…

“Late in the season, Sporting Life blamed the team’s poor finish on the unsettling effect of multiple injuries that plagued the club down the stretch. ‘Clements was knocked out for an entire month, and after that, Cross, Reilly, Hallman, Delehanty and Hamilton were successively injured, so there has been more or less shifting for nearly two months.’”

burns4

RF-Oyster Burns, Brooklyn Grooms, 27 Years Old

1887 1888 1889

.315, 4 HR, 96 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-After not making the All-Star team for two seasons, Burns is back. He had made the World Series in 1890, where he hit .222 with two doubles and a homer. The only change since then is that his Brooklyn team is now part of the National League rather than the American Association. It’s most likely his last All-Star team, as his hitting would decline over the next few years. This season, Burns finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.7) and sixth in Offensive WAR (5.1). His fielding, at least according to dWAR, was always terrible. At the plate, though, Burns shined, slashing .315/.395/.454 and stole 33 bases for an OPS+ of 159. That Adjusted OPS+ was third behind only teammate Dan Brouthers (179) and Philadelphia’s Roger Connor (166).

Following this season, Burns would remain with Brooklyn until 1895, a year in which he’d move to the Giants to finish the year and finish his career. He was done with his Major League career by the age of 30.

Starting in 1893, as I’ve mentioned numerous times, the mound is going to be moved back from 50 feet to 60 feet, six inches, the distance at which it remains to this day. Most people seem to regard modern baseball as starting in 1900 or even 1901, the year in which the American League formed, but it would seem in 1893, when gloves were now the norm and not an aberration and the mound was at its regular distance, that we would recognize the game as the same one we see today.

1891 American Association All-Star Team

P-Jack Stivetts, STL

P-Sadie McMahon, BAL

P-Charlie Buffinton, BOS

P-George Haddock, BOS

P-Gus Weyhing, PHA

P-Phil Knell, COL

P-Frank Foreman, WAS

P-Ed Crane, CKK

P-Warren Fitzgerald, LOU

P-Frank Killen, MIL

C-Jocko Milligan, PHA

C-Deacon McGuire, WAS

1B-Dan Brouthers, BOS

1B-Perry Werden, BAL

2B-Jack Crooks, COL

3B-Denny Lyons, STL

3B-Duke Farrell, BOS

3B-Bill Joyce, BOS

SS-Paul Radford, BOS

LF-Charlie Duffee, COL

LF-George Van Haltren, BAL

CF-Curt Welch, BAL

CF-Tom Brown, BOS

CF-Dummy Hoy, STL

RF-Hugh Duffy, BOS

 

stivetts3

P-Jack Stivetts, St. Louis Browns, 23 Years Old

1889 1890

33-22, 2.86 ERA, 259 K, .305, 7 HR, 54 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-9.4

Games Pitched-64

Strikeouts-259

Bases On Balls-232

Def. Games as P-64

Errors Committed as P-15

3rd Time All-Star-In 1882, the American Association took on the big kids on the block and started a Major League. They had to contend with the Union Association starting up in 1884 and with the Players League in 1890, but they held on. They even played an exhibition World Series against the National League from 1884-90. However this season, due to many reasons, but mainly the raiding of Players League players by the National League, they would finally fold. There is a well-researched article on the last year of the AA here. One thing the 10-year run of the AA would prove, however, is that another league could succeed as a Major League and it would lead to the eventual American League in 1901. I hear that league’s doing okay.

Back to the ballplayers, where the hard-throwing Stivetts had his best season ever, leading the league in WAR (9.4) and finishing fourth in WAR for Pitchers (7.6). He continued to be a great two-way player, pitching 440 innings with a 2.86 ERA and a 137 ERA+ and slashing .305/.331/.421 for an OPS+ of 108. For the second season in a row, he crushed seven home runs.

As for the Browns, they finished second in their last year, eight-and-a-half games behind Boston. Charlie Comiskey came back for St. Louis’ last season and coached them to an 86-52 record. He’d be off to the National League in 1892, but not coaching the Browns, who also went to the NL, but the Reds. Yes, ironically Comiskey spent some time coaching the team which would eventually be the beneficiaries of his cheapness in 1919.

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P-Sadie McMahon, Baltimore Orioles, 23 Years Old

1890

35-24, 2.81 ERA, 219 K, .205, 1 HR, 15 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Wins-35 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-503.0 (2nd Time)

Games Started-58 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-53 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-5

Batters Faced-2,155 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-141 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-McMahon again won the award for ironman pitcher as he pitched 503 innings. Next year, 1892, will be the last year any pitcher pitches 500 or more innings. In 1893, the mound would move back to its current iteration of 60 feet, six inches and slowly over the years, the innings pitched will drop. As for this season, McMahon finished second in WAR (9.1) to Jack Stivetts (9.4) and second in WAR for Pitchers (9.4) to Philadelphia’s Gus Weyhing (9.5). He pitched a league-leading 503 innings with a 2.81 ERA and a 137 ERA+.

The Orioles, like the Browns, would move on to the National League in 1892. In their last American Association season, Billy Barnie coached them to a 71-64 fourth place finish, 22 games out of first. Barnie had a few years of coaching left in the NL. They switched parks in the middle of the season, according to Wikipedia, which says, “The Orioles played briefly at the old Oriole Park, in Harwood, south of the Waverly neighborhood at 29th and Barclay Streets, (just a block west from Greenmount Avenue) from 1890 to 1891. (The 1901 AL Orioles-turned-Highlanders would play at the site a decade later.) During the 1891 season, the Orioles moved a few blocks away to Union Park on Huntington Avenue (later renamed 25th Street) and Greenmount Avenue, where they would play and win their famous three straight championships for the old ‘Temple Cup’ in 1894–1895-1896.” As you can see, Baltimore has some successful years ahead.

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P-Charlie Buffinton, Boston Reds, 30 Years Old

1883 1884 1885 1888 1889

29-9, 2.55 ERA, 158 K, .188, 1 HR, 16 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.763

Walks & Hits per IP-1.163

Adj. Pitching Runs-49

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.4

6th Time All-Star-Buffinton had an off-season in the Players League while pitching for Philadelphia, but he’s back this season, having a great season. It will be his last All-Star team, but he went out in style, finishing third in WAR (7.9), behind Jack Stivetts (9.4) and Sadie McMahon (9.1), and third in WAR for Pitchers (8.1), behind Gus Weyhing (9.5) and McMahon (9.4). He pitched “only” 363 2/3 innings, but had a great 2.55 ERA (third behind Cincinnati’s Ed Crane (2.45) and teammate George Haddock (2.49)) which worked out to a 141 Adjusted ERA+, third behind Crane (164) and Haddock (145). Led by Buffinton’s arm, Boston won the last American Association crown. It was Buffinton’s second championship.

It was manager Arthur Irwin at the helm as the Reds finished 93-42, eight-and-a-half games over the Browns. The league didn’t play in the World Series this season, because there was already talk about the two leagues merging. Boston did not move over to the National League.

Buffinton concluded his career with the 1892 NL Baltimore Orioles, but his 31-year-old arm, that ended up pitching a total of 3404 innings, finally wore out and he only managed 97 innings before calling it quits for his Major League career. I think anyone that’s made six All-Star teams gets a consideration for the Hall of Fame, but I think there’s already a glut of borderline candidates, not to mention terrible candidates, in the Hall already, so I can live with Buffinton not making it, but he was a great pitcher.

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P-George Haddock, Boston Reds, 24 Years Old

34-11, 2.49 ERA, 169 K, .243, 3 HR, 23 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-5

1st Time All-Star-“Gentleman George” Silas Haddock was born on Christmas Day, 1866 in Portsmouth, NH. He didn’t start out being a savior, as he was a mediocre pitcher for the 1888-89 National League Washington Nationals and then led the Players League in losses (26) while pitching for the Buffalo Bisons. At this point of his career, Haddock was 20-47 with a 4.92 ERA and an 80 ERA+, so you wouldn’t think he has a great season ahead, but you’d be wrong. In 1891, he helped Boston to a championship by finishing fourth in WAR (7.8) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (7.2). He pitched 379 2/3 innings with a 2.49 ERA, second behind Cincinnati’s Ed Crane, and a 145 Adjusted ERA+, second to Crane’s 164. It would be Haddock’s only All-Star season, but, hey, do you have an All-Star season? I didn’t think so!

After this season, he pitched for the 1892-93 NL Brooklyn Grooms and then finished off his Major League career with the 1894 NL Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Senators. Haddock finished with a 95-87 record and a 4.07 ERA, but if you take away his 1891-92 seasons, he would end up 32-63. No worries, he’s not the only player in ML history to have aberrant good seasons.

We have the advantage of being able to look back at history and gauge overall numbers, but in his day, Haddock was well-regarded, according to Baseball Reference, which says, “’Pitcher George Haddock . . . ranks among the great pitching stars of (the) country. He is not only a great pitcher but at times a handy man with the bat. . . He received his first points in pitching from the late Jim Whitney, who was his brother-in-law, and in his young days George played with the Madison Parks, an amateur club of Boston.’ – part of a professional biography of George Haddock in Sporting Life, October 17, 1891.”

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P-Gus Weyhing, Philadelphia Athletics, 24 Years Old

1890

31-20, 3.18 ERA, 219 K, .111, 0 HR, 11 RBI

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-9.5

2nd Time All-Star-If we judge pitchers by WAR for Pitchers, Weyhing was the best pitcher in the league. He finished fifth in WAR (7.5) and first in WAR for Pitchers (9.5). Do you see that difference there? That’s because Cannonball Weyhing couldn’t hit worth beans. He slashed .111/.146/.146 for an OPS+ of -17. You read that right. He was fifth in the league in strikeouts with 65, in only 198 at bats. That’s enough negativity. Let’s focus on his pitching in which Rubber Arm Gun pitched 450 innings, third in the league behind Baltimore’s Sadie McMahon (503) and Columbus’ Phil Knell (462), with a 3.18 ERA and a  118 ERA+.

This all helped lead the Athletics to a 73-66 fifth place finish. Bill Sharsig (6-11) and George Wood (67-55) managed the team, which finished 22 games out of first. Neither would ever manage again and Philadelphia would not go on to the National League.

Between the 1891 and 1892 seasons, Weyhing was involved in a strange incident, according to Wikipedia, which reports, “Louisville, Jan. 26 — Gus Weyhing, pitcher of the Philadelphia Base Ball Club, was before the police court this morning upon an alleged charge of grand larceny. During the past two days a number of pigeons have been stolen from the coops at the National Pigeon Show, and last night, when Weyhing started out of the building with his basket, a pair of blondinettes, valued at $100, were found in his possession. He could not explain how he got the birds, and was therefore arrested.” He was apparently cleared of all charges.

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P-Phil Knell, Columbus Solons, 26 Years Old

1890

28-27, 2.92 ERA, 228 K, .158, 0 HR, 19 RBI

Led in:

Hits per 9 IP-7.071

Shutouts-5

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.078

Hit by Pitch-54 (2nd Time)

Putouts as P-40

2nd Time All-Star-It must have been scary to sit in the batter’s box against Knell. He set the all-time record for hitting batters with pitches with 54. Before this season, the record was 42 by Gus Weyhing in 1888 and after this season, no one would have more than Joe McGinnity’s 40 in 1900. It’s incredible how wild Knell was, but he was still successful. After playing for the Philadelphia Athletics in the Players League in 1890, he came to Columbus this season where he finished seventh in WAR (5.6) and sixth in WAR for Pitchers (6.6). He was second in innings pitched with 462, behind only  Baltimore’s Sadie McMahon (503); with a 2.92 ERA and a 117 ERA+. Columbus’ Recreation Park tended to heavily favor the pitcher.

As for Columbus, Gus Schmelz led the team to a sixth place 61-76 record, 33 games out of first. Schmelz would coach for four years in the National League after this, but never have a season with a winning percentage above .443.

After this season, Knell would never have another great year. He pitched for the Washington Senators and Philadelphia Phillies in the National League in 1892, Pittsburgh and Louisville in 1894, and Louisville and Cleveland in 1895. He would finish his career with a 79-90 record and a 4.05 ERA. But at least he has that HBP record and no one’s going to take that away from him. Knell lived a long life, dying at the age of 79 in Santa Monica, California.

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P-Frank Foreman, Cincinnati Reds (NL)/Washington Statesmen (AA), 28 Years Old

1889

(AA Stats Only) 18-20, 3.73 ERA, 170 K, .222, 4 HR, 19 RBI

 

2nd Time All-Star-Monkey Foreman pitched for the National League Cincinnati Reds in 1890 and that’s the team he started with this year. However, after playing one game in the outfield for the Redlegs, he came to Washington and had a pretty successful year on the mound. Foreman finished 10th in WAR (4.5) and 10th in WAR for Pitchers (3.5). He pitched 345 1/3 innings with a 3.73 ERA and a 99 ERA+. In a year of weak pitching in the American Association, that was good enough.

As for Monkey’s team, it was dreadful. Washington had four managers – Sam Trott (4-7), Pop Snyder (23-46), Dan Shannon (15-34), and Sandy Griffin (2-4). Altogether, they combined to coach the Statesmen to a last place 44-91 record. None of the four would ever manage in the Major Leagues again. However, Washington would be one of the teams to move over to the National League.

Wikipedia wraps up his well-travelled career: “He played later for the Cincinnati Reds of the National League (1890), Washington Statesmen (AA, 1891), Washington Senators (NL, 1892), Baltimore Orioles (NL, 1892), New York Giants (NL, 1893), Cincinnati Reds (NL, 1895–1896), Boston Americans (American League, 1901) and Baltimore Orioles (AL, 1901–1902).

“In an eleven-season career, he posted a 96–93 record with 586 strikeouts and a 3.97 ERA in 169 appearances, including 205 starts, 169 complete games, seven shutouts, 169 games finished, four saves, and 1721⅔ innings of work.

“Following his playing career, Foreman scouted for various teams. According baseball sources, he discovered future Hall of Famer Eddie Plank while pitching at Gettysburg College.”

crane

P-Ed Crane, Cincinnati Kelly’s Killers (AA)/Cincinnati Reds (NL), 29 Years Old

(AA Stats Only) 14-14, 2.45 ERA, 122 K, .155, 1 HR, 7 RBI

 

Led in:

 

1891 AA Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-2.45

Adjusted ERA+-164

1st Time All-Star-Edward Nicholas “Cannonball” or “Ed” Crane was born on May 27, 1862 in Boston, MA. Yes, he had the same nickname as Ed Morris and Gus Weyhing. He started his career as an outfielder for the Union Association Boston Reds. Crane then played very limited time for the National League Providence Grays and Buffalo Bisons in 1885. In 1886, he move to the NL Washington Nationals. He didn’t play in the Major Leagues in 1887 and when he came back for the NL New York Giants in 1888 and 1889, he was mainly a pitcher. Crane moved to the Players League in 1890, still with a team called the New York Giants and started out this season in his fourth league with the Cincinnati Kelly’s Killers.

This was Crane’s best season ever as he finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.5), pitching 330 1/3 innings with a league-leading 2.45 ERA and 164 ERA+. He’s the answer to the trivia question “Who was the last ERA leader for the Major League American Association?” He then went to the National League Reds later in the season, after Kelly’s Killers folded.

In the time Cincinnati lasted, they finished 43-57, 32-and-a-half games out of first. King Kelly proved to be a lot better player than he was a coach.

After this season, Crane played for the NL Giants again in 1892 and 1893 and then finished his career with the NL Brooklyn Grooms at the end of 1893. He died young, at the age of 34 on September 20, 1896 in Rochester, NY.

fitzgerald

P-Warren Fitzgerald, Louisville Colonels, 23 Years Old

14-17, 3.34 ERA, 110 K, .176, 1 HR, 10 RBI

 

1st Time All-Star-Warren Bartholomew Fitzgerald as born in April, 1868 in Pennsylvania. That sentence right there should tell you how little information there is on the little five-foot-nine, 162 pound pitcher. He finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (3.7), pitching 267 innings with a 3.34 ERA and a 106 ERA+. He only had season after this one, pitching four games for Louisville in the National League in 1892.

Yes, Louisville was yet another team which made the jump to the NL. Jack Chapman managed it in 1891 to a 55-84 record, eighth in the league. The Colonels finished 40 games out of first place.

Did you know the Haymarket was formed in Louisville in 1891? What is the Haymarket, you ask? Wikipedia says, “The Haymarket referred to an outdoor farmer’s market in Louisville, Kentucky. The market occupied the block between Jefferson, Liberty, Floyd and Brook streets. A small section extended south down Floyd Street. It was established in 1891 on the site of the city’s earliest rail station, belonging to the Louisville and Frankfort Railroad. The site had been cleared after the station relocated to First Street in 1881.

“Local truck farmers used the spot informally in the 1880s to sell goods directly to consumers. A municipal market house on Market Street closed in 1888, the last of such houses on the street. In 1891 some of the farmers formed a stock company to purchase the former rail station space permanently. Despite the name, the Haymarket did not actually sell hay in any meaningful quantities.”

killen

P-Frank Killen, Milwaukee Brewers, 20 Years Old

7-4, 1.68 ERA, 38 K, .229, 0 HR, 5 RBI

 

1st Time All-Star-Frank Bissell “Lefty” Killen was born on November 30, 1870 in Pittsburgh, PA. He had a good rookie year with the Brewers, pitching 96 2/3 innings with a 1.68 ERA and a 258 ERA+. If he pitched more innings and could continue that pace, he would have rated a lot higher. He has some good seasons left in his career.

Milwaukee played on 36 games, going 21-15, which by percentage would have been third place in the American Association. Charlie Cushman held the reins, but would never coach again. Wikipedia has the information on the partial season: “The 1891 Milwaukee Brewers (sometimes called the Creams or the Cream Citys) were an American professional baseball team and a member of the minor league Western Association and Western League and the major league American Association. They were managed by Charlie Cushman and finished their major league stint with a record of 21-15. They played home games at Borchert Field, which was known as Athletic Field or Athletic Park in 1891.

“Seven of the eight AA clubs completed the 1891 season, but on August 17 the Cincinnati Kelly’s Killers dropped out and the Brewers were recruited to finish the season. Afterward, four clubs joined the National League, and the others were left out as the AA folded. The Brewers moved on to the newly re-formed Western League, but lasted just one more season before folding itself.” How awesome would it be if the modern day Brewers were called the Creams? I’m sure no one would mock that name!

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C-Jocko Milligan, Philadelphia Athletics, 29 Years Old

1885 1888 1889

.303, 11 HR, 106 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-35

Extra Base Hits-58

Passed Balls-40

Range Factor/Game as C-6.56

4th Time All-Star-I’ve written about Milligan three other times, but I always forget how good of player he is until he makes another All-Star team. This season, Jocko had his best season ever, finishing fifth in WAR Position Players (4.4) and fourth in Offensive WAR (4.4). He continued to be great with the bat, especially for a catcher, slashing .303/.397/.505 for an OPS+ of 155. That slugging and Adjusted OPS+ were both second in the league to Boston’s Dan Brouthers (.512 and 179 respectively).

However, wearing the tools of ignorance eventually catches up with a man and it did for Milligan. After this season, his hitting would start fading and he’d be out of Major League baseball in two years. He finished by playing for the National League Washington Senators in 1892 and then for Baltimore and New York in 1893.

SABR wraps up Milligan’s career and life: “After his retirement from baseball, Milligan invested in real estate, buying land in South Philadelphia and was a Tipstaff (a sheriff’s deputy) in the city of Philadelphia.

“Jocko Milligan died in Philadelphia of a heart attack at his home at 2741 Sears Street on August 29, 1923, and was survived by his wife Isabella, whom he had married on May 12, 1884.

“Though a big man for those days (6’1″ and 190 pounds) and made strong by his days as a blacksmith’s apprentice, he was a gentle and loving husband and father to his wife and children and a doting grandfather.” If he would have played in a different era when catchers would last longer, who knows how great Milligan could have been.

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C-Deacon McGuire, Washington Statesmen, 27 Years Old

1890

.303, 3 HR, 66 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Assists as C-130

Errors Committed as C-56

Stolen Bases Allowed-204

Caught Stealing as C-120

2nd Time All-Star-In 1890, baseball started keeping stats for stolen bases against catchers and that became McGuire’s specialty over the years. He leads all time in stolen bases allowed and would set the all-time record in 1894 by allowing 293 stolen bases. People loved to run on him, though he threw out 37 percent of those attempting to steal in his career and that’s not a bad mark. As for this season, McGuire finished ninth in Offensive WAR (3.3), slashing .303/.382/.426 for an Adjusted OPS+ of 137. That OPS+ would be his highest ever in his career.

Though McGuire has many years left, I doubt he’ll make another All-Star team, so here’s a wrap-up of his career from Wikipedia, which says, “McGuire was the most durable catcher of his era, setting major league catching records for most career games caught (1,612), putouts (6,856), assists (1,860), double plays turned (143), runners caught stealing (1,459), and stolen bases allowed (2,529). His assist, caught stealing, and stolen bases allowed totals remain current major league records. During his major league career, he also compiled a .278 batting average, .341 on-base percentage, 770 runs scored, 1,750 hits, 300 doubles, 79 triples, 45 home runs, 840 RBIs and 118 stolen bases. His best season was 1895 when he caught a major league record 133 games and compiled a .336 batting average with 10 home runs, 97 RBIs and 17 stolen bases.

“McGuire was also the manager of the Washington Senators (1898), Boston Red Sox (1907–08) and Cleveland Indians (1909–11). He compiled a 210–287 (.423) as a major league manager.”

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1B-Dan Brouthers, Boston Reds, 33 Years Old

1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890

.350, 5 HR, 109 RBI

 

Led in:

 

1891 AA Batting Title (5th Time)

WAR Position Players-5.6 (4th Time)

Offensive WAR-6.3 (7th Time)

Batting Average-.350 (4th Time)

On-Base %-.471 (5th Time)

Slugging %-.512 (7th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.983 (7th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-179 (7th Time)

Runs Created-112 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-57 (7th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-5.8 (7th Time)

Offensive Win %-.820 (5th Time)

11th Time All-Star-As much as I’ve written about Brouthers, I’m surprised Baseball Reference doesn’t automatically take me to his page when I open it. He surprisingly didn’t go back to the National League, maybe he wanted another league to dominate. Led by Brouthers’ hitting, Boston won the last American Association crown. Oh yeah, his hitting. He finished sixth in WAR (5.6), first in WAR Position Players (5.6), and first in Offensive WAR (6.3). Big Dan batted .350 to lead the league, had an OBP of .471 to lead the league, slugged .512 to lead the league, all leading to an Adjusted OPS+ of 179 which, yes, led the league. He also won his third league title.

Here’s a recap of his season from Wikipedia: “The Players’ League lasted just the one season, and the Reds merged into the American Association, carrying many of the championship team’s previous players. Again, the team won the league’s championship, finishing  8 12 games ahead of the St. Louis Browns. Brouthers led the league in batting average (.350), on-base percentage and slugging, while finishing second in triples with 19, sixth in doubles with 26, and third in RBIs with 109.

“After the American Association folded following the 1891 season, Brouthers was sent to the Brooklyn Grooms of the NL, where he played two seasons.” It’s rare a player as good as Brouthers bounces around this much, but most of the time it’s because the team he was on or the league he was in went defunct.

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1B-Perry Werden, Baltimore Orioles, 29 Years Old

1890

.290, 6 HR, 104 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,422

Def. Games as 1B-139

Putouts as 1B-1,422

2nd Time All-Star-It’s the second consecutive All-Star team for Moose Werden, who came to Baltimore after Toledo went belly-up. Werden slashed .290/.363/.424 for an OPS+ of 124. It wasn’t as good as his previous year, but he was still one of the best first basemen in the American Association’s last season. Too bad homers weren’t as numerous in Major Leagues as they were in the minors, because Werden set the home run mark in the lesser leagues. (See last year’s blurb for details.)

You have to read this story from SABR about the hard-hitting Moose: “Perry Werden: One time I hit the ball so hard that it broke in two. Half of the ball struck a ‘Hit Me for a Free Pair of Shoes’ sign on the left-field fence; the other half was retrieved by the left fielder and thrown in to the catcher. As I steamed home, the catcher tagged me with half a ball. The umpire called me out, but I successfully argued that our team deserved half a run. It was a close game and we won by the score of 2½ to 2.

“Reporter: That’s an amazing story, Perry. Did you get a free pair of shoes?       

“Werden: No, the store owner said I was entitled to only one shoe.”

More on 1891 from SABR: “In St. Louis on June 2, 1891, with his wife and father attending, Werden demonstrated the ‘rowdy’ style of play common during this era. He tried to steal second base, but the ball reached second baseman Bill Eagan before he got there, so he ‘pushed’ Eagan ‘violently and attempted to knock the ball from his hands.’ The crowd hissed this behavior, but Werden, said the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, ‘deserved worse than a hissing’ for his ‘disgraceful exhibition of temper.’ Two months later, after several more instances of dirty play, Werden received a stern warning from league president Louis C. Kramer.”

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2B-Jack Crooks, Columbus Solons, 25 Years Old

.245, 0 HR, 46 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 2B-.957

1st Time All-Star-Charles John “Jack” Crooks was born on November 9, 1865 in St. Paul, MN. In a year bereft of good second sackers, Crooks made the All-Star team as its only keystone representative. He finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.1), 10th in Offensive WAR (3.2), and seventh in Defensive WAR (1.1). He had a good all-around season, slashing                 .245/.379/.331 for an OPS+ of 109. His main talent on offense was taking pitches as he walked 103 times, the second of four straight times Crooks would wind up with 90 or more stolen bases.

Crooks started his career with the Solons and was now playing his third consecutive season with them. He’d move to the National League in 1892, playing for St. Louis for two years, then taking a year off from the Major Leagues, before moving to Washington. He played with it for two seasons, then went to Louisville in the middle of 1896. After another year off from the majors, he finished his career with St Louis in 1898. He couldn’t slug and he couldn’t hit, but he had a high on-base percentage because of his many walks.

Wikipedia says of his walking, “Crooks was well known in his era as an extremely patient hitter, often fouling off many pitches until he got one that he could hit. This approach led him to draw many walks…, in fact, he held the record for walks by rookie second basemen as well, when he walked 96 times for the Columbus Solons of the American Association in 1890. He held this record until Jim Gilliam of the Brooklyn Dodgers walked 100 times in 1953. Despite hitting just .213 in 1892, he walked a league-leading 136 times put his on-base percentage (OBP) at .400, good for fifth in National League. He also became the Major League single-season record holder in that category, a title he held until Jimmy Sheckard walked 147 times in 1911.”

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3B-Denny Lyons, St. Louis Browns, 25 Years Old

1887 1888 1889 1890

.315, 11 HR, 84 RBI

 

5th Time All-Star-When a player has made five straight All-Star teams, it’s time to start looking seriously at his career. At this point in baseball history, only Ned Williamson and Ezra Sutton, with six, have made more All-Star teams than the great Lyons. It’s also worth noting that he has done this while having problems with the bottle, according to many reports. This season, he finished fourth in WAR Position Players (4.5); and third in Offensive WAR (4.4), behind only Boston’s Dan Brouthers (6.3) and Baltimore’s George Van Haltren (4.5). He slashed .315/.445 (2nd to only Brouthers’ .471)/.455 for an OPS+ of 150. Lyons is going to start declining after this season, but he’s not done making All-Star teams.

Baseball Reference has some interesting notes on Lyons, saying, “Denny Lyons was a top player in the 19th Century, playing almost exclusively at third base until the last year of his 13-year career. While he usually didn’t lead the league in batting categories, he was often among the leaders while he played in the American Association and sometimes when he was in the National League.

“The most similar player is his contemporary (through June 2007, using the similarity scores method), Oyster Burns, who also played early in his career in the American Association and then moved to the National League. Lyons has a slightly higher Adjusted OPS+, though, and is ranked at # 82 on the all-time list, tied with King Kelly and Darryl Strawberry.” It’s no little thing to be compared to Kelly and Strawberry.

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3B-Duke Farrell, Boston Reds, 24 Years Old

.302, 12 HR, 110 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-12

Runs Batted In-110

AB per HR-39.4

Caught Stealing %-58.8

1st Time All-Star-Charles Andrew “Duke” Farrell was born on August 31, 1866 in Oakdale, MA. He started his Major League career playing part time with the 1888 National League White Stockings, then moved to the Players League Chicago Pirates in 1890. Here in 1891, he ended up with the American Association champion Reds, where he had his best season ever. Farrell finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.0) and seventh in Offensive WAR (3.5). At the plate, he slashed .302/.384/.474 for an OPS+ of 144. Farrell’s slugging of .474 was third behind teammate Dan Brouthers (.512) and Philadelphia’s Jocko Milligan (.505).

After this season, Farrell would have a long career, but it’s possible he’s made his first and last All-Star team. He would move to the NL in 1892, playing for Pittsburgh and then move on again in 1893, to Washington. Farrell wasn’t done moving yet, going to the Giants from 1894-96. Then he was on the road again, moving in mid-season of 1896 back to Washington, where he would remain until 1899. Did he finish that 1899 season with the Senators. No, no he didn’t. He moved to Brooklyn, where he would play through 1902. From 1903-05, Farrell finished his career with the American League Boston Americans. It should be noted only in 1891 and 1892 did Farrell ever play more games at third base than he did at catcher. He was mainly a catcher, which limited the amount of games he played. If he remained at third base, he might have had a monster Hall of Fame career.

joyce

3B-Bill Joyce, Boston Reds, 23 Years Old

.309, 3 HR, 51 RBI

 

1st Time All-Star-William Michael “Scrappy Bill” Joyce was born on September 22, 1867 in St. Louis, MO. He played only 65 games for the Reds, but he still made the All-Star team as one of those rare times two players who were part of a platoon both made the team. Joyce made the most of his playing time, finishing 10th in WAR Position Players (3.5) and eighth in Offensive WAR (3.4). He slashed .309/.460/.506 for an OPS+ of 175. Had he played more, he would have ranked in the top 10 in On-Base Percentage, Slugging, OPS, and Adjusted OPS+. And according to Wikipedia, “In 1891 he reached base in 64 consecutive games, a major league record not bettered until 1941.” He has a few good years left.

Joyce had started as a third baseman in the Players League for the Boston Ward’s Wonders in 1890. SABR says of him, “A son of Irish immigrants,William Michael Joyce was born September 22, 1867, in St. Louis and grew up in Carondelet, the southernmost neighborhood of the city, along the Mississippi River. The Carondelet riverfront was ‘crowded with mammoth iron and zinc furnaces.’ As a young man, Joyce worked in a rolling mill there and was dubbed ‘Scrappy.’ The nickname fit and stuck with him throughout his life.

“On May 18, 1891, he homered and tripled in a win over Louisville; his four-bagger was only the second ball ever hit over the right-field fence at the Boston ballpark. On July 2, he fractured his ankle while attempting to steal second base and was sidelined for three months.”

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SS-Paul Radford, Boston Reds, 29 Years Old

.259, 0 HR, 65 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.3

1st Time All-Star-Paul Revere “Shorty” Radford was born on October 14, 1861 in Roxbury, MA. He was mainly an outfielder for his career, though there were a few seasons he played mainly at short, including this one. He started his career with the 1883 National League Boston Beaneaters, then moved to Providence in 1884-85. In 1886, he was under league control and was purchased by the Kansas City Cowboys. The next year, he was under league control again and picked up by the New York Metropolitans of the American Association. He stayed in that league with Brooklyn in 1888, before coming back to the National League with Cleveland in 1889. Radford wasn’t done moving, travelling to the Players League Cleveland Infants in 1890, before finally ending up with Boston this season. He’d finish off his career playing for the NL Washington Senators from 1892-94.

In this season, Radford’s best ever, he was an important part of a pennant winning team, finishing ninth in WAR (4.7); third in WAR Position Players (4.6), behind only teammates Dan Brouthers and Hugh Duffy; and first in Defensive WAR (2.3). His hitting wasn’t great as he slashed .259/.393/.305 for an OPS+ of 99, but combined with his dazzling glove, Radford had a good season. This was his third time being on a league champion after playing on the NL 1883 Beaneaters and 1884 Grays.

Shorty, who stood only five-foot-six and 148 pounds, lived a long life, dying in Boston on February 21, 1945 at the age of 83.

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LF-Charlie Duffee, Columbus Solons, 25 Years Old

.301, 10 HR, 90 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Assists as OF-33 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Charles Edward “Charlie” or “Home Run” Duffee was born on January 27, 1866 in Mobile, AL. There weren’t too many players from the south at this time, perhaps there was still bitterness over the Civil War. Duffee made his way to the Major Leagues in 1889-90 with the St. Louis Browns and hit 16 home runs in 1889 to earn the nickname “Home Run.” This season, his best ever, he slashed .301/.353/.420 for an Adjusted OPS+ of 128 for the Solons.  He’d finish his career in the National League, with the 1892 Washington Senators and the 1893 Cincinnati Reds.

AL.com has an article on Duffee, which says, “Charlie Duffee had a relatively short Major League career, but he’s had an awfully long legacy in baseball. A Mobile native, Duffee became the first Alabamian to play in the big leagues in the St. Louis Browns’ opening game of the American Association season on April 17, 1889 – 125 years ago today.

“Since then, more than 300 Alabama natives have followed Duffee to the top level of the National Pastime.

“ In his first season with St. Louis, Duffee struck out 81 times, more than any other batter in the American Association in 1889. But he also hit 16 home runs, the third-highest total in the league. Duffee carried the decidedly Deadball Era nickname of ‘Home Run’ on a team loaded with nicknames…

“Perhaps it’s fitting that Alabama’s first big leaguer was a power hitter, considering who came after him from the state – noted home run hitters such as Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Mule Suttles.”

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LF-George Van Haltren, Baltimore Orioles, 25 Years Old

1889

.318, 9 HR, 83 RBI

 

2nd Time All-Star-Rip Van Haltren joined the Orioles after playing for Brooklyn in the 1890 Players League and continued his good hitting, finishing second in Offensive WAR (4.5), behind only Boston’s Dan Brouthers (6.3). He slashed .318/.398/.443 for an OPS+ of 140. It would be his highest Adjusted OPS+ for his career, though he still has 12 seasons left to play. One thing that hurt Van Haltren over the years was his glove. This season his dWAR was -1.1. Over his career, it was -11.3. Fortunately for Rip, his hitting more than made up for his putrid fielding.

After this season, Van Haltren would play the rest of his career in the National League. He played 1892 in Brooklyn, 1892-93 in Pittsburgh, and finished off in New York from 1894-03. It’s easy to be seduced by his stats, but the truth is, after the pitcher’s mound was moved back to 60 feet, six inches in 1893, hitting numbers increased across the board, which is why Van Haltren won’t be finishing in the top 10 in WAR in any categories, despite a lifetime .316 average. According to Wikipedia, “As of the end of the 2014 MLB season, Van Haltren was the only player with a minimum of 5000 career MLB at bats and a career batting average of at least .314 who was retired at least the required six years of Hall of Fame entry to not be in enshrined in the Hall of Fame.” Just like in the 1930s, where offensive numbers were abnormally high, the 1890s National League numbers need to be taken in their context.

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CF-Curt Welch, Baltimore Orioles, 29 Years Old

1886 1888 1889

.268, 3 HR, 55 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Hit by Pitch-36 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.58 (5th Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.48 (4th Time)

4th Time All-Star-After not making the All-Star team in 1890, while splitting his time between Philadelphia and Baltimore, Welch was back this season, probably his last All-Star team. He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (3.9), slashing .268/.400/.368 for an OPS+ of 119. It was his highest on-base percentage of his career. Welch would finish his Major League days in the National League for the 1892 Baltimore Orioles and Cincinnati Reds and the 1893 Louisville Colonels.

Wikipedia wraps us Welch’s career as follows, “Welch led the AA in hit by pitches in 1888, 1890, and 1891, and he ranked third in stolen bases in 1886 and 1888. He was regarded as one of the best defensive center fielders of the 19th century. In the 2010 book The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, Bill James ranked Welch as the 83rd greatest center fielder of all-time.

“Welch’s career was damaged by his drinking, and he died in 1896.”

A book, A Game of Inches: The Stories Behind the Innovations That Shaped Baseball, says of Welch, “[I]n 1891, a sportswriter observed, ‘No player in the country gets to first base by being hit with a pitched ball as often as “Curt” Welch…His position at the plate is such that it is difficult for the pitcher to work an inshoot without hitting him. He never jumps out of the way, no matter how swift the ball, and always trots to first as though he did not feel the blow. I have seen his side and arm black and blue from where he has been hit, but his bulldog pride and ignorant courage never permit him to give any sign of pain’ (Sporting Times, May 16, 1891).”

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CF-Tom Brown, Boston Reds, 30 Years Old

1885

.321, 5 HR, 72 RBI

 

Led in:

 

At Bats-589

Runs Scored-177

Hits-189

Total Bases-276

Triples-21

Strikeouts-96 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases-106

2nd Time All-Star-Brown was one of the first free swingers, striking out often for someone in his day. From 1895-to-1911, he would be the all-time leader in batter whiffs. If you look at his stats, he just seemed to do everything at full effort, due to his good speed. He’d steal a lot, get a lot of triples, and this season, set the record for runs scored with 177. Billy Hamilton would break that mark in three years. Altogether, he had a great season, finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (3.8) and sixth in Offensive WAR (4.1). Brown slashed .321/.397/.469 for an OPS+ of 146. All three of his slash numbers were career highs. It was his best season ever and most likely, his last All-Star team. He was also part of his second league champion.

You might wonder where Brown has been since 1885, the last time he made an All-Star team. He remained with the Alleghenys in 1886, then followed them to the National League in 1887. He was released by Pittsburgh and then picked up by Indianapolis that season. At the beginning of 1888, Brown was in Boston, where, over the next four seasons, he would play for that city in three different leagues. He’ll conclude his career with Louisville (1892-94), St. Louis (1895), and Washington (1895-98), all in the National League.

Brown was a good player, but could have been even better if not for his terrible fielding. Wikipedia says, “Brown established the major league record with 490 errors committed as an outfielder. He racked up 222 errors in the American Association, 238 in the National League, and 30 in the Player’s League. By contrast, the National League record is held by nineteenth-century player George Gore with 346 errors and the American League record by Ty Cobb with 271.”

hoy3CF-Dummy Hoy, St. Louis Browns, 29 Years Old

1888 1890

.292, 5 HR, 64 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Plate Appearances-688

Bases on Balls-117

Times on Base-292

Def. Games as OF-139 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Hoy has made his third All-Star team with his third different league. Wherever he played, he was a great asset to the team. This season, Hoy slashed .292/.424/.360 for an OPS+ of 118. This was the fourth of six consecutive seasons in which his on-base percentage was higher than his slugging average. This happened with singles hitters like Hoy. His OBP was third in the league, behind only Boston’s Dan Brouthers and teammate Denny Lyons.

SABR talks about Hoy communicated with his teammates despite being deaf, saying, “When Hoy joined the Washington ballclub, he posted a statement on the clubhouse wall: ‘Being totally deaf as you know and some of my teammates being unacquainted with my play, I think it is timely to bring about an understanding between myself, the left fielder, the shortstop and the second baseman and the right fielder. The main point is to avoid possible collisions with any of these four who surround me when in the field going for a fly ball. Whenever I take a fly ball I always yell I’ll take it–the same as I have been doing for many seasons, and of course the other fielders let me take it. Whenever you don’t hear me yell, it is understood I am not after the ball, and they govern themselves accordingly.’ Hoy’s yell was actually a squeak.”

There is a push to put Hoy in the Hall of Fame, mainly due to his play as a deaf player, but it shouldn’t be forgotten, handicap or not, Hoy was one of the great players of his day and, by all accounts, a wonderful human being.

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RF-Hugh Duffy, Boston Reds, 24 Years Old

1890

.336, 9 HR, 110 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Runs Batted In-110

Singles-143

Power-Speed #-16.3

2nd Time All-Star-Duffy is the eighth Reds player to make the All-Star team, which shows why they took the American Association’s last pennant. Sir Hugh is the last of the players to be written about by me in the AA and it was his only year in this league. He’d be onto the National League to finish up his career after this, except for a part-time gig for the American League Milwaukee Brewers in 1901. This season starts a run of 10 years Duffy would play in Boston. He started out sensationally, finishing eighth in WAR (4.8); second in WAR Position Players (4.8), behind only teammate Dan Brouthers (5.6); and fifth in Offensive WAR (4.2). Sir Hugh slashed .336/.408/.453 for and OPS+ of 145. That batting average, on-base percentage, and Adjusted OPS+ were all highs for him at the time, but he’d be shattering them all. As it was, he was second in batting average behind, you guessed it, Brouthers (.350).

Baseball Reference tells about the demise of the AA: “By 1890, the AA was not even the second-best major league, ranking behind the Players League and NL. When numerous AA stars began making promises to sign with NL clubs in 1892, the AA stopped its challenge and merged with its rival, officially closing its doors on December 18, 1891. Several AA rules were put into place in the new merged league, including cheaper tickets, permitting Sunday ball where allowed by local law (and if the clubs agreed to it) and the right to sell alcohol at games. The AA pioneered the practice of awarding first base to hit batters in 1884 – the NL would not follow suit till 1888. The AA also was the first league to have paid umpires.”

1891 National League All-Star Team

P-Bill Hutchinson, CHC

P-John Clarkson, BSN

P-Kid Nichols, BSN

P-Amos Rusie, NYG

P-Harry Staley, PIT/BSN

P-Cy Young, CLV

P-Kid Gleason, PHI

P-John Ewing, NYG

P-Bob Caruthers, BRO

P-Tony Mullane, CIN

C-Jack Clements, PHI

C-Doggie Miller, PIT

1B-Roger Connor, NYG

1B-Jake Beckley, PIT

1B-Cap Anson, CHC

2B-Bid McPhee, CIN

2B-Danny Richardson, NYG

2B-Cupid Childs, CLV

3B-Arlie Latham, CIN

SS-Herman Long, BSN

LF-Billy Hamilton, PHI

CF-Mike Griffin, BRO

RF-Mike Tiernan, NYG

RF-Harry Stovey, BSN

RF-Sam Thompson, PHI

 

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P-Bill Hutchinson, Chicago Colts, 31 Years Old

1890

44-19, 2.81 ERA, 261 K, .185, 2 HR, 25 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-9.9

WAR for Pitchers-10.5

Wins-44 (2nd Time)

Games Pitched-66 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-561.0 (2nd Time)

Games Started-58 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-56 (2nd Time)

Home Runs Allowed-26 (2nd Time)

Hits Allowed-508

Earned Runs Allowed-175

Wild Pitches-25

Batters Faced-2,371 (2nd Time)

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

2nd Time All-Star-With the demise of the Players League after one season, it was back to two leagues, the National League and the American Association. By next year, it will be down to one, as the American Association will fold after 10 years of existence as a Major League. Then from 1892-through-1900, the National League will be the only Major League game in town and it will look like they finally slew all comers. But starting in 1901, a new league, the American League will begin its long and still-running history.

Hutchinson played in the oldest league for an old school manager, Cap Anson, who used his pitcher in an old school manner, that is to say until his arm fell off. Wild Bill pitched 561 innings, which was 60 more than second place Amos Rusie and 100 more than third place John Clarkson. You would think a person couldn’t last too long pitching this way and you’d be right. You probably cheated and looked at Baseball Reference like I did and saw that after 1892, his innings would drop and his ERA would rise. However, from 1890-92, he was almost unstoppable, averaging 40 wins and 595 innings. This season, he finished first in WAR (9.9) and first in WAR for Pitchers (10.5). In this 561 innings, he finished with a 2.81 ERA and a 123 ERA+. I would have patented the name “Wild Bill the Workhorse” if I lived back then and made a mint! The pride of Yale University had his best season ever.

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P-John Clarkson, Boston Beaneaters, 29 Years Old

1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890

33-19, 2.79 ERA, 141 K, .225, 0 HR, 26 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Saves-3

Assists as P-114 (5th Time)

Range Factor/Game as P-2.56 (3rd Time)

8th Time All-Star-If you read some of the earlier write-ups on Clarkson, you’ll realize he bears a lot of responsibility for the creation of the Players League in 1890, but ended up staying in the National League. So he must have felt like giving a raspberry to the returning players when it proved to be the best thing to do to stay put. As for his actual pitching, Clarkson pitched 460 2/3 innings with a 2.79 ERA and a 129 ERA+. This is for a pitcher who averaged 509 innings pitched over the last seven seasons and still was one of the best in the league. He finished second in WAR (9.8) and second in WAR for Pitchers (9.6), behind only Bill Hutchinson in both categories.

Clarkson’s golden arm helped lead the Beaneaters to their fourth league title. It was also the pitcher’s fourth ever pennant. Frank Selee, the Hall of Fame manager, was in his second year for Boston and coached them to a 87-51 record, three-and-a-half games ahead of Chicago. As late as Sept. 4, Boston was seven games out after losing to the Colts, 5-3. Then they caught on fire, finishing the season with a 25-4 run, which included a 17-game winning streak.

SABR has more on the dispute between Clarkson and some of the other players: “Many of the men had issues with Clarkson and he was treated rudely and shunned by some for the rest of his career. Some observers claimed that a few of his teammates slacked off while Clarkson was on the mound, the very thing Conant, the Beaneaters director, feared previously. King Kelly for one refused to return to Boston, instead jumping to the American Association, in part because he didn’t want to play with Clarkson and Charlie Bennett.”

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P-Kid Nichols, Boston Beaneaters, 21 Years Old

1890

30-17, 2.39 ERA, 240 K, .197, 0 HR, 27 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-2.180

Saves-3

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-2.330 (2nd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-151

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.71 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-46 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.3 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-If you look at John Clarkson and Nichols’ stats, you would say to yourself, “Of course these two are Hall of Fame pitchers,” and you would be correct. However, the surprising thing to me is how long it took the two of them to go into the Hall. Clarkson was selected in 1963 by the Veteran’s Committee and Nichols didn’t get in until 1949 when he was voted in by the Old Timers Committee. How are these two not first ballot Hall of Famers and, even if the writers had to sort through 65 years of baseball history in 1936, how did they not go in sooner? Almost every single thing about the Hall of Fame perplexes me, though I will say the reason you have Veterans Committees and Old Timers Committees is to fix errors like this. The problem, of course, is those same committees vote in people like Tommy McCarthy.

As for Nichols’ 1891 season, he finished third in WAR (9.2) and third in WAR for Pitchers (9.6), behind Bill Hutchinson and Clarkson in both categories. He pitched 425 1/3 innings with a 2.39 ERA and a league-leading 151 ERA+. All of this at 21 years old.

After the 1890 season, there was a new edition to the Nichols’ household, according to SABR, which says, “Kid and Jennie Nichols wintered in Boston, and on December 8 they celebrated the birth of their only child, Alice. Nichols won 30 games for the first time in 1891, and would reach that total in six of the next seven seasons. His seven 30-win seasons remains a major-league record.”

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P-Amos Rusie, New York Giants, 20 Years Old

1890

33-20, 2.55 ERA, 337 K, .245, 0 HR, 15 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-7.033 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.062 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-337 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-6

Bases on Balls-262 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as P-14 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-You might not realize this because you haven’t had hours to study these players like I have, but the first four players listed here all pitched in the National League in 1890. The reason many of these players even got a chance to pitch is because of the creation of the Players League, but three of the four of these players are now in the Hall of Fame. That includes Rusie, the Hoosier Thunderbolt, who, in 1891, finished fourth in WAR (8.9) and fourth in WAR for Pitchers (8.6). Rusie pitched 500 1/3 innings with a 2.55 ERA and a 123 ERA+.

As for Rusie’s Giants, they recovered from their sixth place finish in 1890 and moved up to third with a 71-61 record. Coached by Jim Mutrie, now in his ninth and last year of managing, New York finished 13 games out of first. Despite a career 658-419 record, including three pennants and two World Series titles, Truthful Jim would never manage in the Major Leagues again. He was only 40 years old.

Rusie threw a no-hitter in 1891, as detailed in Wikipedia, which says, “After having been on the losing end of no-hitter by Tom Lovett of the Brooklyn Bridegrooms on June 22, Rusie returned the favor by throwing one of his own against them just over a month later on July 31. After winning both games of a doubleheader against the Bridegrooms in September, Rusie and several other star players were rested for the remainder of the season, a five-game series against the Boston Beaneaters. Rusie’s 337 strikeouts and 262 bases on balls led the league for the second consecutive year, and his six shutouts marked the first time he led the league in that category.”

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P-Harry Staley, Pittsburgh Pirates/Boston Beaneaters, 24 Years Old

1890

24-13, 2.58 ERA, 139 K, .180, 1 HR, 19 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-1.213 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Staley made the lateral move from the Pittsburgh Burghers of the Players League to the Pirates of the National League, but didn’t remain in the Steel City long. He was released by the Pirates on May 27 and picked up by the Beaneaters the same day. Altogether, Staley had his best season ever and, most likely, his last All-Star appearance. He finished fifth in WAR (7.7) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (7.9), pitching 324 innings with a 2.58 ERA and a 137 ERA+. Through his first four seasons, Staley had a 3.08 ERA and a 115 ERA+. However, over the rest of his career, he would end up with a 4.85 ERA and a 96 ERA+.

Ned Hanlon (31-47) and Bill McGunnigle (24-33) coached the Pirates to a last place finish with a 55-80 record, 30-and-a-half games out of first. After this season, Hanlon would head to the Baltimore Orioles, where his Hall of Fame managerial career would kick into high gear. McGunnigle, on the other hand, would have just one season as a manager left, with the 1896 Louisville Colonels.

Staley was a career .182 hitter, but in 1893, he did something unusual, according to Wikipedia, which says, “On June 1, 1893, Staley had nine runs batted in off his bat, a record for most RBIs in a game by a pitcher that stood for over 70 years until equalled by Atlanta Braves pitcher Tony Cloninger in 1966.” Staley would remain with Boston for three more seasons after this one, and finish his career with the 1895 St. Louis Browns. He would die young, at the age of 43, in Battle Creek, Michigan.

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P-Cy Young, Cleveland Spiders, 24 Years Old

27-22, 2.85 ERA, 147 K, .167, 1 HR, 18 RBI

 

1st Time All-Star-Denton True “Cy” or “Cyclone” Young was born on March 29, 1867 in Gilmore, OH. You might have heard of this pitcher. He was big for his time, at six-foot-two, 210 pounds, which certainly helped his durability, as 19 of his 22 seasons were pitched from the now normal 60-foot, six-inch distance. Young started with the Spiders in 1890 and was made a regular pitcher this season. He would never pitch under 300 innings until he was 39-years-old in 1906 and never pitch under 200 innings until he was 43-years-old in 1910. Just my guess, Young is going to make the ONEHOF.

I’m going to write a line I could just copy and paste for the next 20 or so years. Young finished sixth in WAR (6.6) and sixth in WAR for Pitchers (7.1). Cyclone tossed 423 2/3 innings with a 2.85 ERA and a 120 ERA+. This will be his lowest Adjusted ERA+ until 1906. I know we have a pitching award named after him, but it’s just incredible to look at his stats and not be dazzled by them.

As for the Spiders, Bob Leadley (34-34) and Patsy Tebeau (31-40) managed the team to a fifth-place 65-74 record. In games not decided by Young, Cleveland was 38-52.

Here’s Cy Young’s motion, as described in a SABR article, quoting sportswriters of Young’s day: “He ‘winds up his arm, then his body, then his legs, bows profoundly to his great outfield, straightens up again, and then lets her go.’”

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P-Kid Gleason, Philadelphia Phillies, 24 Years Old

1890

24-22, 3.51 ERA, 100 K, .248, 0 HR, 17 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Games Finished-9

2nd Time All-Star-Gleason made his second, and most likely, last All-Star team this season, finishing seventh in WAR (6.6) and eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.8). Kid tossed  418 innings with a 3.51 ERA and a 95 ERA+. He was actually helped by his bat this season, slashing .248/.318/.290 for an OPS+ of 77. Not great, but certainly not bad for a pitcher. Gleason’s problem is he wouldn’t be a pitcher after 1894 and still have that that same weak bat as a second baseman for the rest of his career.

Hall of Fame manager Harry Wright continued to coach the Phillies, leading them to a fourth-place 68-69 record. He’s been managing since 1871, the year of which I started writing this webpage and he’s got a couple of seasons left.

After this season, Gleason would move to St. Louis from 1892-94, to Baltimore in 1894 and 1895, to New York from 1896-1900, to the American League Detroit Tigers in 1901 and 1902, back to the National League Phillies from 1903-07, and finish with one game for AL White Sox in 1912. It was with his second season with Baltimore he became a regular second baseman. As mentioned in last year’s blurb, Gleason managed the 1919 Black Sox and continued coaching them for the following four seasons.

Wikipedia says, “Gleason died of a heart ailment in 1933, at the age of 66, in Philadelphia; his funeral was well attended, a testament to his popularity. He is buried in Philadelphia’s Northwood Cemetery.”

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P-John Ewing, New York Giants, 28 Years Old

21-8, 2.27 ERA, 138 K, .204, 0 HR, 8 RBI

 

Led in:

 

1891 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-2.27

Win-Loss %-.724

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.067

1st Time All-Star-“Long John” Ewing was born on June 1, 1863 in Cincinnati, OH and certainly was long at six-foot-one and skinny at 168 pounds. The brother of Hall of Fame catcher Buck Ewing, he had an unusual career, starting by playing one game for the American Association St. Louis Browns in 1883 and then one game each for the 1884 Union Association Cincinnati Outlaw Reds and Washington Nationals. Ewing didn’t make the Major Leagues again until 1888, when he started pitching with the AA Louisville Colonels, then moved to the 1890 Players League New York Giants, before finally moving to the National League this season with New York. You read that right, he played six seasons in four different leagues.

This season, he finally made his mark, finishing 10th in WAR (5.7) and seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.9). Ewing pitched 269 1/3 innings with a league-leading 2.27 ERA and a 139 ERA+. Long John was off and running.

Except he wasn’t. He was done after this season and would be dead within another four years. According to Baseball Reference, “The Sporting Life of October 31, 1891 reported that Ewing was refusing to sign for another season unless he was paid more money. However, that winter he was apparently struck with a serious illness: the Lewiston Evening Journal of February 27, 1892 intimated that John nearly died but that he was recovering, and the hope was he would be able to pitch by June. The Toronto Daily Mail of January 9, 1893 reported that John had hoped to come back to the Giants the previous spring, but that his brother Buck feared John’s health would not allow him to do so.”

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P-Bob Caruthers, Brooklyn Grooms, 27 Years Old

1885 1886 1887 1888 1889

18-14, 3.12 ERA, 69 K, .281, 2 HR, 23 RBI

 

6th Time All-Star-Parisian Bob didn’t make the All-Star team in 1890, which is a little shocking considering he was in the National League in a diluted year because of the three Major Leagues. In 1890, for the Grooms, Caruthers went 23-11 with a 3.09 ERA. Maybe he should have been there. Oh well, too late to change it now. Back to 1891, where Caruthers pitched 297 innings with a 3.12 ERA and a 104 ERA+. He also did his usual damage with the bat, slashing .281/.372/.380 for an OPS+ of 122. This is most certainly his last All-Star team, but he’s the predecessor of one George Herman Ruth.

Caruthers’ team, the Grooms, had a shaky year, finishing in sixth place with a 61-76 record, 25-and-a-half games out. They were coached by the great John “Monte” Ward, who was the manager of the Players League Brooklyn Ward’s Wonders in 1890. Hey, if you don’t have a professional team named after you, don’t mock! Only Monte Ward and Paul Brown are part of this club. Well, there may be others, but that would take research and who has time for that.

As with many of these players, Caruthers’ life did not end well. SABR says, “Less than a year after the Waterloo incident another newspaper reported: ‘Pale and emaciated, Robert Caruthers, once an idol of the baseball world—a star pitcher—was sentenced to twenty days in the workhouse, the result of drink.’ Caruthers never served his 20-day sentence, for he did not have that many days left in his life. On August 5, 1911, only two weeks after his arrest, he died at St. Francis Hospital in Peoria, the city where he and Mamie were living with her parents.”

mullane6

P-Tony Mullane, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

1882 1883 1884 1886 1887

23-26, 3.23 ERA, 124 K, .148, 0 HR, 10 RBI

 

6th Time All-Star-Where has Count Mullane been the last few seasons? Doing what he always does, pitching great for the Reds. However, due to many great pitchers and lack of innings, Mullane didn’t make the All-Star team from 1888-90. He’s back this season and also most likely next season, which will give him a total of seven All-Star teams. I think he’s a Hall of Fame candidate, but if I’m a small Hall person, he doesn’t make it. For years, I thought he’d make the ONEHOF, my Hall of Fame which allows just one player to enter per year, but that’s not going to happen now either. It’s hard to believe his chances at both Halls were hurt by a non-All Star stretch in which he went 49-35 with a 2.72 ERA and a 127 ERA+. But for his day, much more was expected of pitchers.

In 1891, the Apollo of the Box finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.9), tossing 426 1/3 innings, his most since 1886, with a 3.23 ERA and a 103 ERA+, his lowest Adjusted ERA+ since 1886. Despite his pitching, the Reds finished in seventh place with a 56-81 record. Tom Loftus coached the team for the second straight year, but couldn’t keep the success from 1890 when the Reds went 77-55. Loftus wouldn’t coach again until 1900.

Here’s Mullane’s Hall of Fame candidacy from Baseball Reference: “Mullane is 2nd all-time in wins among pitchers not enshrined in the Hall of Fame who are eligible. Only Bobby Mathews is ahead of him. He might have won 300 if not for a suspension he served that kept him out all of 1885. Mullane is the all-time leader in wins by an Irish pitcher; only Blyleven won more among non-Americans. Canadian Ferguson Jenkins won as many.”

clements2

C-Jack Clements, Philadelphia Phillies, 26 Years Old

1890

.310, 4 HR, 75 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as C-10

2nd Time All-Star-Don Malcolm of Big Bad Baseball sponsored Clements’ Baseball Reference page and commented: “The most successful left-handed catcher in baseball history who begs the question: where are the other ones??” That is a good question, but I doubt there will ever be another one, because once a coach sees a left-handed player, he’s not going to train him up to be a backstop. Wouldn’t baseball be more exciting with a lefty catcher? It certainly was with Clements who finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.3) and seventh in Offensive WAR (4.0). He slashed .310/.380/.426 for an OPS+ of 134. His hitting was starting to decline, but would improve again in 1895 and 1896. He’s still one of the best hitters at his position.

The Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers writes of Clements that, “Only long term, career LEFT-HANDED throwing catcher ever in the majors. Clements was a squat, powerful man who hit home runs when they were a rarity. He caught 105 games in 1892, and was the last lefthanded catcher to play regularly. Righthanded batters learned to duck when a runner broke for second; Clements simply fired away. “

You might be wondering who played catcher regularly in the most seasons for the Phillies in their long history. The answer is this man. They’ve had others play more games, because catcher was such a brutal position to play in the 1800s, but no one was the team’s regular backstop more seasons than Clements, who did it 10 years.

miller2

C-Doggie Miller, Pittsburgh Pirates, 26 Years Old

1890

.285, 4 HR, 57 RBI

 

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team as a third baseman in 1890, Doggie made it as a catcher this season. He finished ninth in Offensive WAR (3.7), slashing .285/.357/.363 for an OPS+ of 114. He’d never hit this well again, but he helped wherever he played and he played everywhere on the field. In his career, he played mostly catcher, but would end up playing at least 22 games at every position, including all three outfield spots. He was the ultimate utility player.

Following this season, Miller would continue with the Pirates through 1893 and then play in St. Louis for two seasons, before finishing his career in Louisville in 1896. He’s going to have another good season in 1894, but I don’t know if he’ll make the All-Star team. Apparently you can go to this page and debate the Hall of Fame merits of players and it throws Doggie into the debate. Um, no way.  Anyway, they say the following about 1894, which I may be repeating that season: “1894 was Doggie at his best.  Usually good for about a .260 batting average, he upped his mark to .339 that season.  Never much of a slugger or on-base guru, Doggie was in ’94 when he posted a stellar .414 on-base percentage and had a .453 slugging average–it was the only time his on-base percentage and slugging average reached the .400 mark” This page only has one comment in which the commenter says, “Doggie was a fine catcher during the 1800s but since his numbers are plenty weaker than HOF catchers from that period, King Kelly and Buck Ewing, and other passed over receivers like Deacon White and Deacon McGuire, I don’t see Miller ever making the HOF.” Good argument. Mine is more succinct. No way.

connor101B-Roger Connor, New York Giants, 33 Years Old, 1891 ONEHOF Inductee

1880 1882 1883 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890

.290, 7 HR, 94 RBI

 

10th Year All-Star-Well, it’s about time! Yes, Roger Connor, the original Giant, finally made the One-a-Year Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame I created in which only one player a year enters the hall. It’s much harder to make than the Cooperstown Hall of Fame and thus much more prestigious. Next season, the nominees are 1B Harry Stovey and C Charlie Bennett.

This season, Connor finished ninth in WAR (5.7), the last of eight times he would finish in the top 10 in that category. He also finished second in WAR Position Players (5.7), behind only Philadelphia’s Billy Hamilton and third in Offensive WAR (5.0), behind only Hamilton and Connor’s teammate MikeTiernan. He slashed .290/.399/.449 for an OPS+ of 153. It seems like an off season, but his Adjusted OPS+ wasn’t really off that much from his regular numbers. At this point in his career, Connor is behind Harry Stovey in home runs, 117-87.

SABR on Connor’s 1891 season:  “Like most of his Players League Giant teammates, Connor returned to the National League Giants for the 1891 season. But the situation was much changed from the recent championship years. Tension abounded on the field between the Players League returnees and the National League loyalists; in the dugout, where a disabled Buck Ewing effectively supplanted Jim Mutrie as Giants manager, and in the front office, where a near-bankrupt John B. Day was forced to cede operational control of the franchise to E.B. Talcott and his Players League partners. Before the 1891 season was out, longtime Connor teammate Tim Keefe had been released while Mickey Welch and Jim O’Rourke, a fellow Connecticut Irishman and close friend, were near the end of the line. At age 34, moreover, Roger himself was now past his prime. He batted only .290 for the 1891 season with power numbers that, while still decent, were not up to the Connor norm.”>

beckley3

1B-Jake Beckley, Pittsburgh Pirates, 23 Years Old

1889 1890

.292, 4 HR, 73 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 1B-87

3rd Time All-Star-Eagle Eye Beckley made his third All-Star team in a row as he returned to the National League after his year excursion in the Players League. He finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.1), slashing .292/.353/.419 for an OPS+ of 129. This would be Beckley’s highest Adjusted OPS+ until 1899 with the Reds. Since he’s already made three All-Star teams at the age of 23, I’m interested to see how many he’ll make.

Wikipedia says Beckley had a hard year in his personal life, as “Beckley married Molly Murphy of Hannibal in 1891. She died of tuberculosis a few months after their wedding. He later remarried.” Thus SABR continues, “He slumped badly after her death, with his batting average plummeting to a career-low .236 in 1892. Jake didn’t marry again until his baseball career was over.” More on Beckley from SABR: “Beckley was a handsome man, though one of his eyes was slightly crossed, and kept his impressive mustache long after all but a handful of players had relinquished theirs; at the time of his retirement he was one of only three men in the majors who still sported facial hair. He also displayed several other idiosyncrasies. Beckley yelled ‘Chickazoola!’ to rattle opposing pitchers when he was on a batting tear, and he perfected the unusual (and now-illegal) practice of bunting with the handle of his bat. As the pitch approached the plate, Jake flipped the bat around in his hands and tapped the ball with the handle.”

anson171B-Cap Anson, Chicago Colts, 39 Years Old

1872 1873 1874 1876 1877 1878 1880 1881 1882 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890

.291, 8 HR, 120 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Runs Batted In-120 (8th Time)

Double Plays Turned as 1B-86 (4th Time)

17th Time All-Star-It is possible Anson has finally made his last All-Star team. This is his 17th and eighth in a row. No player dominated this era like the boisterous Anson and no person is more controversial than him as we judge from our modern times. I try to make this page about on-the-field exploits and, based on those, Anson is one of the greatest players of all time. And no, I’m not talking for his time.  I’m saying in the whole of baseball history, there haven’t been too many better players than Anson. We can only judge people in the era in which they played and Anson has been a great player for over 20 years and he’s still got seven years left to play.

In 1891, Anson finished 10th in WAR Position Players (3.9) and 10th in Offensive WAR (3.7). He slashed .291/.378/.409 for an OPS+ of 125. He’d continue hitting for average and getting on base over the next few years, but I’m doubting he makes another All-Star team. He did manage the team to an 82-53 second place finish, three-and-a-half games out of first. Anson had the team in first as late as Sept. 28, but Chicago lost four of its last five games to lose the title.

As for his later life, SABR says, “Anson’s later life was filled with disappointment. The National League offered to provide a pension for the ex-ballplayer, but Anson stoutly refused all offers of assistance. He declared bankruptcy in 1910, and by 1913 he had lost his home and moved in with a daughter and son-in-law. Virginia Anson died in 1915 after a long illness, and the widowed ex-ballplayer resumed his stage career in a skit written by his friend Ring Lardner titled ‘First Aid for Father.’ The skit starred Anson and his daughters Adele and Dorothy, and the Anson clan crisscrossed the nation, sharing bills with jugglers and animal acts in small town and big city alike. Vaudeville allowed Anson to support himself, but barely, and he retired, penniless, from the stage in 1921. He died on April 14, 1922, three days shy of his 70th birthday, and was buried in Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago. The National League paid his funeral expenses. Seventeen years later, on May 2, 1939, Anson and his former friend and mentor Al Spalding were named to the Baseball Hall of Fame by a special committee.”

mcphee5

2B-Bid McPhee, Cincinnati Reds, 31 Years Old

1886 1887 1889 1890

.256, 6 HR, 38 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 2B-492 (6th Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.954 (7th Time)

5th Time All-Star-Every year McPhee looks at a baseball glove, laughs at those who wear them, and then bare-handedly has spectacular All-Star seasons. The Reds second baseman finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.5) and fourth in Defensive WAR (1.8), his highest dWAR of his career. Bid slashed .256/.345/.370 for an OPS+ of 109, which is not great, but certainly serviceable for someone who could field like he did.

Did you know for all of the great players the Reds have had for their history, McPhee ranks sixth of all-time in WAR (52)? He is behind only Pete Rose (77), Johnny Bench (74), Barry Larkin (70), Frank Robinson (63), and Joe Morgan (57). Of course, if Robinson and Morgan had played more years with the Reds, they’d be even higher on the list. It helped McPhee to play so good for so long. If Joey Votto has a good 2017 season, he could pass McPhee.

I like what SABR has to say about McPhee’s personality. It says, “On the field and off McPhee was a gentleman. He was never fined or ejected from a game, and he was always sober and in playing condition. An 1897 ankle injury, the only serious one of his career, kept McPhee out of action for three months. Cincinnati fans and sportswriters staged a special benefit that raised $3,500 for him.” In an era filled with ruffians – Cap Anson was famous for his arguments with umpires- it’s good to read about a man who just went out and played ball.

richardsond2

2B-Danny Richardson, New York Giants, 28 Years Old

1889

.269, 4 HR, 51 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.67

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.60

2nd Time All-Star-There weren’t great hitting second basemen in the league this season, but there were some slick fielders, Richardson being one of them. He finished third in Defensive WAR (2.0), behind Chicago shortstop Jimmy Cooney (2.5) and Cincinnati shortstop Germany Smith (2.3). Neither of them made the All-Star team because neither Cooney (.245/.318/.290) or Smith (.201/.258/.260) added anything with the bat. Richardson did, slashing .269/.313/.347 for an OPS+ of 97. It was just enough to get him onto the All-Star team for the second time.

The year 1891 was interesting in the United States. Do you know who the president was during this time? It was Benjamin Harrison, a Republican from New York. Also during this year, the Wrigley Company was founded in Chicago. That would certainly have repercussions in baseball down the line. In Richardson’s home city of New York, the Music Hall had its grand opening. It would later be Carnegie Hall. What’s fascinating to me is that Tchaikovsky was the guest conductor at the first performance. It reminds me how long this sport of baseball has been around.

Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick, died on Sept. 28 of that year. I read Moby Dick for the first time a couple of years ago (as of this writing) and well, I just thought I’d like it more. I thought it would be more like Jaws, but it ended up being more a treatise on the whale industry. Hey, Melville, why don’t you get to the action already!

childs2

2B-Cupid Childs, Cleveland Spiders, 23 Years Old

1890

.281, 2 HR, 83 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-141

Def. Games as 2B-141

Errors Committed as 2B-82

2nd Time All-Star-With the American Association Syracuse Stars folding, Childs came over to the National League and continued his fine play. He finished sixth in Offensive WAR (4.3) and slashed .281/.395/.374 for an OPS+ of 122. He had his worst ever defensive season, according to dWAR, but he’s going to be around these teams for a little while. And Cupid is going to be around Cleveland for a while, playing with them through the 1898 season. Childs would be one of the first players who garnered much value from bases on balls, as he had 97 walks this year and would have over 100 the next three seasons.

Childs was part of a huge controversy in 1891. According to SABR, he had been signed by the AA Baltimore Orioles, but the league withdrew from Baseball’s National Agreement and would operate as an independent major league. It then began a fight over whether Childs’ contract was voided or not. Jimmy Keenan of SABR writes, “The trial gained national attention and on April 22, 1891, the judge finally reached his decision. Phelps ruled in favor of Childs and the injunction filed by the Orioles was dissolved. Childs’ Oriole contract had stated that he was due all of the rights accorded to professional baseball players designated by the National Agreement. Because the National Agreement no longer bound the Orioles, the team could not offer Childs the conditions that they had originally agreed upon, thus voiding the contract. This was the main point of Judge Phelps’ summation in explaining his verdict.”

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3B-Arlie Latham, Cincinnati Reds, 31 Years Old

1884 1886 1887 1888

.265, 2 HR, 31 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 3B-370 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as 3B-75 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 3B-24 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-4.19 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 3B-4.05 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Latham, the Clown Prince of Baseball, made the All-Star team again this season after missing out the last two seasons. In 1890, he moved to the Players League Chicago Pirates and then moved midseason to the National League Reds. He did well his first full season with Cincinnati, but has probably made his last All-Star team. The Freshest Man on Earth had his best season ever, finishing third in WAR Position Players (5.6), behind Philadelphia outfielder Billy Hamilton (6.6) and New York first baseman Roger Connor (5.7); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.7); and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.4). At the plate, Latham slashed .272/.372/.386 (it was his highest OBP thus far) for an OPS+ of 122. After this season, he’d never be above a 92 Adjusted OPS+ as his hitting fell off.

Here’s a wrap up of Latham’s baseball career from SABR: “Arlie got into many brawls. At the end of one season he had 20 fights scheduled, five with teammates. The brawling seemed somewhat out of character, for Arlie had a tremendous sense of humor and seemed more of jokester than a fighter.

“Pranks and brawls aside, Latham was a legitimate ballplayer. He played 1629 games in the majors, banged out 1836 hits with 27 homers, and scored 1481 runs. His lifetime batting average was only .269, but he was a great base stealer with at lease 742 (stolen base data is still missing for four seasons). Arlie also holds an unenviable record for the most errors lifetime for a third baseman, 822-more than 200 more than any other player.”

long

SS-Herman Long, Boston Beaneaters, 25 Years Old

.282, 9 HR, 75 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as SS-345 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-60

1st Time All-Star-Herman C. “Germany” or “Flying Dutchman” Long was born on April 13, 1866 in Chicago, IL. He’s going to have a long, decent career, whose play would be known for his defense more than his bat. From the beginning, Long played fulltime, starting with the American Association Kansas City Cowboys in 1889. He was then purchased by the Beaneaters before the 1890 season and Long would be with them through 1902. In 1891, Germany had his best season ever, finishing fifth in WAR Position Players (4.7), and fourth in Offensive WAR (4.7). Long slashed .282/.377/.407 for an OPS+ of 120 (it would be his highest Adjusted OPS+ ever). He also had his first ever league title.

According to Baseball Reference, “’His fielding at all times is remarkable. He covers an immense amount of ground, is wonderfully quick in handling all kinds of balls, and is a fast and accurate thrower. He also hits freely, and is quite a base runner.’ – Sporting Life, October 7, 1893.” Long would make more errors at shortstop than anyone in baseball history, but all of those career error records are held in this era, where the gloves were smaller, if the fielders ever bothered wearing them at all.

The Atlanta Braves have had a team, whether it be in Boston, Milwaukee, or the ATL for all of Major League baseball history. It’s the only team who had a representative in the short-lived National Association from 1871-75. On this team with its lengthy history, Long ranks 18th in career WAR at 35.

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LF-Billy Hamilton, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

1890

.340, 2 HR, 60 RBI

 

Led in:

 

1891 NL Batting Title

WAR Position Players-6.6

Offensive WAR-6.2

Batting Average-.340

On-Base %-.453

Runs Scored-141

Hits-179

Bases on Balls-102

Stolen Bases-111 (3rd Time)

Singles-147 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Run-46

Adj. Batting Wins-4.7

Times on Base-288

Offensive Win %-.766

2nd Time All-Star-Hamilton made his second straight All-Star team by doing Sliding Billy things, getting on base and stealing bases. He finished eighth in WAR (6.6), first in WAR Position Players (6.6), and first in Offensive WAR (6.2). He slashed .340/.453/.421 for an OPS+ of 155, leading in batting average and on-base percentage and finishing second in Adjusted OPS+. He has an amazing amount of good baseball left in him, especially in regards to getting on base. He is fourth all time in OBP.

Bill James is quoted in SABR as saying of Hamilton, “’Hamilton was completely invisible in the literature of the sport up to 1960,’ wrote James, ‘and was not elected to the Hall of Fame until 1961. He left no legend behind him, no stories, no anecdotes … Hamilton was eventually elected to the Hall of Fame purely on the overwhelming quality of his numbers. Even now, in books about nineteenth-century baseball, he is often not mentioned at all, and is never presented as a fully-formed character.’” It is incredible to look at Hamilton’s numbers and wonder why we don’t hear much about him. Of course, how much do we really hear about any of these 1800s players. I watched a video on YouTube that picked the greatest players of all-time on every modern team and Ernie Banks was picked on the Cubs. It’s not a bad choice, but there’s no way he was better than the great Cap Anson. The worst choice was Nolan Ryan for the Texas Rangers. He’s not even in the top 20 in WAR for the Rangers.

griffin

CF-Mike Griffin, Brooklyn Grooms, 26 Years Old

.267, 3 HR, 65 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-36

Putouts as OF-353

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.88

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.87

Fielding % as OF-.960

1st Time All-Star-Michael Joseph “Mike” Griffin was born on March 20, 1865 in Utica, NY. He started as a fulltime player from the very beginning, first playing for Baltimore in the American Association from 1887-89 and then moving to the Players League in 1890 and playing for Philadelphia. This season was his first for Brooklyn and he made the best of it, slashing .267/.340/.388 for an OPS+ of 114. Though he led in a lot of fielding categories, dWAR didn’t rate Griffin to high, giving him a 0.1 mark.

Griffin wasn’t big, at five-foot-seven inches and 160 pounds. He always had speed, stealing 94 bases in his rookie season of 1887 and over 30 for eight consecutive seasons. He could score runs, too, scoring 142 in his first season and over 100 for 10 of his first 11 years. He’s going to make a couple more All-Star teams.

He could always get on base, but Griffin was never a great slugger. Even with his league-leading 36 doubles this season, he still only had a slugging average of .388. It would never be over the .485 he had in 1894. There wasn’t a lot of hitting this season in the National League. The slash line for the NL was .252/.325/.342. If you read throughout this list, you’re not going to be dazzled by the stats you read.  It’s still better than the 1888 NL which had a slash line of .239/.285/.325. All of this hitting is going to get better in a couple years when the pitching mound is finally moved back to 60 feet, six inches.

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RF-Mike Tiernan, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

1888 1889 1890

.306, 16 HR, 73 RBI

 

Led in:

 

On-Base Plus Slugging-.882 (2nd Time)

Home Runs-16 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-163 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-103 (2nd Time)

AB per HR-33.9

4th Time All-Star-Silent Mike, the power-hitting rightfielder for the Giants made his fourth consecutive All-Star team and continued to be on of ancient baseball’s great stars. He had his best season ever, finishing fourth in WAR Position Players (5.1) and second in Offensive WAR (5.6), behind only Philadelphia outfielder Billy Hamilton (6.2). At the plate, Tiernan slashed .306/.388/.494 for a league leading Adjusted OPS+ of 163, his second consecutive time leading the NL in this category. His .494 slugging was second in the league Boston outfielder Harry Stovey (.498).

SABR on his great season: “The merger of the New York teams did not bode well for Mike Tiernan. Ewing, Keefe, Connor, O’Rourke, and other Brotherhood prodigals would be returning to the fold, mindful of Tiernan’s desertion of their cause. The situation at the Polo Grounds III (nee Brotherhood Park) would be an uneasy one, at best, with tension between teammates on the re-combined squad always just below the surface. Fortunately for Mike, most of the returnees were now on the downside of their careers and would not remain in New York long. And in 1891, he would have his third consecutive outstanding season, again leading the league in home runs (16) and OPS (.882), while placing in the NL top five in hits (166), batting average (.306), slugging (.494), total bases (268), and on-base percentage (.388). Mike also scored 111 runs and stole 53 bases. Good things in 1891 were not confined to the playing field, either. That year, Tiernan married Mary (maiden name unknown), the 18-year-old daughter of Irish immigrants. They settled into an apartment in lower Harlem where, in time, the arrivals of William (born 1892), Joseph (1893), and Mabel (1898) completed the Tiernan family.”

stovey10RF-Harry Stovey, Boston Beaneaters, 34 Years Old

1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890

.299, 12 HR, 84 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Slugging %-.498 (3rd Time)

Total Bases-271 (3rd Time)

Triples-20 (4th Time)

Home Runs-16 (5th Time)

Strikeouts-69

Extra Base Hits-67 (5th Time)

Power-Speed #-25.0 (3rd Time)

10th Time All-Star-Stovey came back to the National League after a nine-year absence. It’s not like he wasn’t doing anything during those years as he’s now made his 10th consecutive (and last?) All-Star team. Stovey finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.5) and eighth in Offensive WAR (4.0) while slashing .279/.373/.498 for an Adjusted OPS+ of 144. His slugging led the league. Stovey, at this point in his career, has 117 home runs and is the all-time leader at end of 1891. He was also part of his third pennant-winning team.

After this season, Stovey would split time with Boston and Baltimore in 1892 and then play part time for Baltimore and Brooklyn in 1893, before retiring. He’s got as good of shot as anybody to make the ONEHOF in 1892.

SABR wraps up the life of the great Stovey, saying, “After his time in the majors, Stovey played briefly in the Pennsylvania State League for Allentown under manager Mike ‘King’ Kelly before becoming player-manager for New Bedford of the New England League. In 1895, he joined the New Bedford police force, becoming captain in 1915. He retired in 1923.

“Stovey died at his daughter’s house on September 20, 1937, in New Bedford, Massachusetts, at the age of 80 and is buried in the town’s Oak Grove Cemetery. The man who could do it all has been overlooked by the National Baseball Hall of Fame despite calls for his election from many who are familiar with the history of our national pastime. Perhaps one day, he will get his due and be honored by the game’s ultimate shrine.”

Thompson Sam 141-46_FL_PDRF-Sam Thompson, Philadelphia Phillies, 31 Years Old

1886 1887

.313, 4 HR, 102 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Assists as OF-32

3rd Time All-Star-Baseball players tend to generally peak between the ages of 27 and 31. Thompson surprisingly didn’t make any All-Star teams during those middle years. Since playing in 1887 for Detroit, he played an injury-plagued season for the Wolverines in 1888, and then came to Philadelphia in 1889. It must have been tough to make the National All-Star teams in 1889 and 1890, because he led league in homers with 20 in 1889 and in doubles with 41 in 1890. As a matter of fact, Thompson was the first 20/20 player in home runs and steals in 1889. He didn’t lead in any offensive categories this season, but still slashed .294/.363/.410 for an Adjusted OPS+ of 125. Thompson started too late in his career to make the ONEHOF, but I guess he’ll take Cooperstown as a worthy consolation prize.

SABR tells of Big Sam’s time in the City of Brotherly Love: “Beginning in 1889, Thompson began his tenure with the Philadelphia Quakers, who now were also known as the Phillies. Philadelphia’s stadium suited Sam and in his first year hit 20 home runs. Thompson was the first left-handed player to hit that many home runs in a season. By this time Sam’s contract had reached $1,850 and with the Brotherhood of Professional Ball Players forming their own league, Thompson was planning on playing in the new Players League. However, after checking the contracts, he decided to remain with the Phillies. Sam continued playing for the Phillies until the 1898 season and his contract never exceeded $2,400, the league’s maximum in those days.”

1890 Players League All-Star Team

P-Silver King, CHI

P-Mark Baldwin, CHI

P-Old Hoss Radbourn, BOS

P-Gus Weyhing, BWW

P-Ben Sanders, PHQ

P-Harry Staley, PBB

P-Tim Keefe, NYI

P-Ad Gumbert, BOS

P-Phil Knell, PHQ

P-John Sowders, BWW

C-Buck Ewing, NYI

C-Fred Carroll, PBB

1B-Roger Connor, NYI

1B-Jake Beckley, PBB

1B-Henry Larkin, CLE

1B-Dan Brouthers, BOS

2B-Lou Bierbauer, BWW

3B-Billy Nash, BOS

SS-Monte Ward, BWW

LF-Pete Browning, CLE

LF-Hardy Richardson, BOS

CF-Dummy Hoy, BUF

RF-Hugh Duffy, CHI

RF-Harry Stovey, BOS

RF-Jim O’Rourke, NYI

 

king4

P-Silver King, Chicago Pirates, 22 Years Old

1887 1888 1889

30-22, 2.69 ERA, 185 K, .168, 1 HR, 16 RBI

 

Led in:

 

1890 PL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-13.0 (2nd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-13.8 (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-2.69 (2nd Time)

Hits per 9 IP-8.200

Games Started-56 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-4 (2nd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-162 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-82 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.9 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-139

 

4th Time All-Star-Because we live in a time where utility players and relief pitchers earn millions of dollars, we forget how long the fight for money for the players went on in baseball. From almost the very beginning of baseball history, players had to play under the reserve clause, which limited player mobility and also player earnings. So to battle that, they formed the Players League in 1890, of which Wikipedia says, “The Players’ National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs, popularly known as the Players’ League (sometimes rendered as Players League), was a short-lived but star-studded professional American baseball league of the 19th century. It emerged from the Brotherhood of Professional Base-Ball Players, the sport’s first players’ union.

“The PL was well-attended, at least in some cities, but was underfunded, and its owners lacked the confidence to continue beyond the one season.

“Although the league was started by the players themselves, essentially as an elaborate job-action to improve their lot, the venture proved to be a setback for them in the longer term. The infamous reserve clause remained intact, and would remain thus for the next 85 years or so. The already-shaky AA had been further weakened by the presence of the PL. The Lou Bierbauer incident caused a schism between the NL and the AA, and the AA failed a year later, reducing the total number of major league teams (and players) significantly, giving the remaining owners much greater leverage against the players.”

King finished 1st in WAR (13.0) and 1st in WAR for Pitchers (13.8), pitching 461 innings with a 2.69 ERA and a 162 ERA+. Chicago, coached by Charlie Comiskey, finished in fourth place with a 75-62 record, 10 games out of first.

baldwinm2

P-Mark Baldwin, Chicago Pirates, 26 Years Old

1887

33-24, 3.35 ERA, 206 K, .212, 1 HR, 25 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Wins-33

Games Played-58 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-492.0 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-206 (2nd Time)

Games Started-56 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-53

Bases on Balls-249

Hits Allowed-494

Batters Faced-2,242 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as P-58 (2nd Time)

Putouts as P-26 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-139

2nd Time All-Star-Fido was always one of the most out-of-control pitchers in the league, having set the all-time mark for wild pitches with 83 in 1889. He also would have allowed the most walks in a season ever with 274 in 1889, but Amos Rusie of the National League New York Giants walked 289 and set the all-time record which still holds to this day. Don’t let that lack of control make you think Baldwin couldn’t pitch. He could. This season, he finished second in WAR (8.0) and second in WAR for Pitchers (8.5), finishing behind only Silver King in both categories. He pitched a league-leading 492 innings and finished with a 3.35 ERA and a 130 ERA+.

Did having the two best pitchers allow Chicago to have the best pitching in the Players League? As a matter of fact, yes. The team allowed the least runs and had the best ERA in the PL. However, the Pirates scored the second least runs and that’s what kept them from doing better.

Baldwin did not seem to like Cap Anson, who released him before the 1889 season. Here’s a quote from Wikipedia, “’A year ago when Spalding released him, [Baldwin] declared that the ambition of his life was to play in opposition to Anson’s team. He then thought only of a rival national league team and did not dream of a local rival for public patronage. Now that he is with the Chicago Players’ team he says his ambition is gratified beyond his most fanciful hope, and he proposes to do all in his power to make his services to the new team valuable.’

A writer for The Chicago Tribune on Baldwin’s career after the White Stockings.”

radbourn8

P-Old Hoss Radbourn, Boston Reds, 35 Years Old

1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1889

27-12, 3.31 ERA, 80 K, .253, 0 HR, 16 RBI

 

8th Time All-Star-It’s amazing how many great players the Players League snatched up. The great Old Hoss came to the league and did Old Hossy stuff. He finished third in WAR (8.0), behind Silver King and Mark Baldwin, and third in WAR for Pitchers (8.2), behind the same two men. Radbourn pitched 343 innings with a 3.31 ERA and 127 ERA+. It certainly didn’t look like he’d lost his stuff, but next season would be less productive and also be his last.

As for the Reds, they were the PL’s only champions. Coached by King Kelly, Boston finished 81-48, six-and-a-half games ahead of Brooklyn. It scored the second most runs in the league and allowed the second least. It helps to have six All-Stars on the team.

Radbourn is yet another 1800s player to die young, at the age of 42. Here’s the end of his life, according to Wikipedia, and as with everything in his life, it’s colorful: “After retiring, Radbourn opened up a successful billiard parlor and saloon in Bloomington, Illinois. Dating back to his playing days, he had always had a reputation for being a bit vain.

“Radbourn was seriously injured in a hunting accident soon after retirement, in which he lost an eye, spending most of his remaining years shut up in a back room of the saloon he owned, apparently too ashamed to be seen after the injury.

“Radbourn died in Bloomington in 1897 and was interred in Evergreen Cemetery. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. In 1941 a plaque was placed on the back of his elaborate headstone, detailing his distinguished career in baseball.”

weyhing

P-Gus Weyhing, Brooklyn Ward’s Wonders, 23 Years Old

30-16, 3.60 ERA, 177 K, .164, 1 HR, 15 RBI

 

1st Time All-Star-August “Gus” or “Cannonball” or “Rubber Arm Gun” or “Rubber-Winged Gus” Weyhing was born on September 29, 1866 in Louisville, KY or just a little bit before I started this sentence. How many nicknames does a person need? Weyhing is actually a victim of my fluky rules for the All-Star team, mainly the one which says “Every team must have a representative.” He could have already made the American Association All-Star team in 1887 and 1889, but was blocked by lesser representatives from teams which needed a player on the squad. Sorry, Gus or sorry, Cannonball or sorry, Rubber Arm Gun or sorry Rubber-Winged Gus.

Weyhing finished fourth in WAR (7.0) and fourth in WAR for pitchers (8.0) pitching 390 innings with a 3.60 ERA and a 123 ERA+. It was his third consecutive year of having an Adjusted ERA+ of 120 or more and his fourth consecutive season of 20 wins. I don’t know how to categorize it, but he might have the best previous career of a first-time All-Star representative ever.

Rubber Arm Gun’s previous years were spent with the American Association Philadelphia Athletics, from 1887-89. Ed Seward was the dominant pitcher in those years and he made the All-Star team in 1887 and 1888.

Here’s Wikipedia’s sum up of his pre-All-Star career: “Weyhing was a solid pitcher, though he never led the league in any specific categories. He did have a few career highlights, however. In one memorable week in the 1888 season, Weyhing pitched three consecutive complete game victories against Brooklyn to eliminate that team from the pennant race. In addition, Weyhing came close to throwing a perfect game when he hurled a no-hitter on July 31, 1888, against the Kansas City Cowboys. He walked one batter and another reached base via an error. He set the record for most hit baseman [with] 278.”

sanders3

P-Ben Sanders, Philadelphia Athletics, 25 Years Old

1888 1889

19-18, 3.76 ERA, 107 K, .312, 0 HR, 30 RBI

 

3rd Time All-Star-“Big Ben [TM]” made his third consecutive All-Star team, and most likely his last, finishing sixth in WAR (5.7) and seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.7). His hitting, as always, added a lot of value to his season. On the mound, he pitched 346 2/3 innings with a 3.76 ERA and a 115 ERA+ while at the dish, he slashed .312/.347/.407 for an OPS+ of 98. Not great, but certainly fantastic for a pitcher.

As for the Athletics…Before I go there, how many Philadelphia baseball teams were called the Athletics? There was the 1871-75 National Association team, 1876 National League team, the 1882-90 American Association team, the 1890-91 Players League/AA team, and later, the 1901-50 American League team. These Athletics named themselves the Athletics despite the AA already having a team called the Athletics. I’m glad the city had more creativity when coming up with the Declaration of Independence.

Ok, as for these Athletics, Jim Fogarty (7-9) and Charlie Buffinton (61-54) led the team to fifth place 68-63 record, 14 games out of first. They never were in the running, but they had a solid year.

Sanders would finish his career with the Athletics when they moved to the AA in 1891 and then pitched his final year at the age of 27 with the NL Louisville Colonels. Wikipedia says, “He finished his career with the Louisville Colonels of the National League, playing his final game on October 14, 1892. He had a record of 12-19, but on August 22, 1892, he pitched a no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles, a 6–2 victory, the first no-hitter in the National League which the losing team in a no-hitter scored at least one run.”

staley

P-Harry Staley, Pittsburgh Burghers, 23 Years Old

21-25, 3.23 ERA, 145 K, .207, 1 HR, 25 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-1.202

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.718

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-1.960

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.99 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Henry Eli “Harry” Staley was born on November 3, 1866 in Jacksonville, IL. He started his career with the National League Pittsburgh Alleghenys in 1888 and 1889, before moving over to the Players League this season. He finished eighth in WAR (5.3) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.2), pitching 387 2/3 innings with a 3.23 ERA (second in the league to Silver King) and a 122 ERA+. He most likely has one more All-Star team left in his arm.

Hall of Fame Manager Ned Hanlon guided the Burghers (awesome!) to a 60-68 sixth place finish, 20-and-a-half games out of first, in their only season of existence.

There were 32 shutouts in the Players League in 1890, with three coming from Staley. In the book “The Shutout in Major League Baseball: A History” by Warren N. Wilbert, he writes, “Two of the three blankings occurred on October 3, one at Pittsburgh, where the Burghers, behind Harry Staley, beat the Old Hoss, Charley Radbourn, 4-0. Staley that day had to be at his best to beat Radbourn, who, in his last great season, led his Boston team to the Players’ League pennant with a 27-12 mark. The win was Staley’s 21st for the seventh-place Pittsburghs.”

It’s interesting people are writing whole books on shutouts in Major League history. Next thing you know, people will have websites with their own All-Star teams and Hall of Fames for all of baseball history. Can you imagine how time-consuming something like that would be?

Keefe Tim 302_64_FL_PDP-Tim Keefe, New York Giants, 33 Years Old

1880 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889

17-11, 3.38 ERA, 89 K, .109, 2 HR, 11 RBI

 

11th Time All-Star-Keefe was now pitching for his third New York team in three different leagues, but still kept being effective. He’s made his 11th straight All-Star team with his fourth different squad, finishing ninth in WAR (4.4) and sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.0). Smiling Tim pitched “only” 229 innings with a 3.38 ERA and 134 ERA+ (second to Silver King). Keefe’s done all a pitcher can do, made double-digit All-Star teams, been inducted into the ONEHOF and the Cooperstown Hall of Fame, but he’s not done yet, even at the age of 33.

Yet his most noble, if not fruitless, deed was co-organizing the Players League. Wikipedia says, “Keefe was very well-paid for his career, yet he was a leading member of the Brotherhood of Professional Base Ball Players, an early players’ union that fought for the welfare of players. He assisted his brother-in-law Monte Ward to form the Players’ League for the 1890 season. As a co-organizer of the Players’ League, he recognized that he might be financially vulnerable if the league failed to make money. Keefe transferred ownership of his real estate assets to his mother so that they would remain safe from any legal rulings.

“Shortly before the Players’ League was founded, Keefe had started a sporting goods business in New York with former W. H. Becannon, a former employee of baseball owner and sporting goods entrepreneur Albert Spalding. Keefe and Becannon manufactured the Keefe ball, the official baseball of the league. Spalding and the other NL owners fought against the new league, employing legal and financial maneuvers (such as slashing NL ticket prices) that made competition difficult. The Players’ League folded after one season.”

gumbert

P-Ad Gumbert, Boston Reds, 22 Years Old

23-12, 3.96 ERA, 81 K, .241, 3 HR, 20 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs Allowed-18

1st Time All-Star-Addison Courtney “Ad” Gumbert was born on October 10, 1867 in Pittsburgh, PA. He started his Major League career with the National League Chicago White Stockings in 1888 and 1889. He was always an effective pitcher, but a lack of talent in the Players League helped him make the All-Star team this season. Gumbert finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (3.2), pitching 277 1/3 innings with a 3.96 ERA and a 106 ERA+. He also slashed .241/.333/.366 for an OPS+ of 84, which wasn’t good, but was great for a pitcher and once of his worst seasons hitting during this stretch of his career. All of this helped lead the Reds to the only Players League title.

Wikipedia gives the beginning of his life: “Addison Gumbert was born on October 10, 1867, or 1868, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Robert and Henrietta Gumbert. At the 1880 United States Census, Robert worked as a dispatcher, while Henrietta was unemployed, with her occupation listed as a “keephouse”. The family lived on Frankstown Avenue in the 21st Ward of Pittsburgh.”

After this season, Gumbert would go back to the NL Chicago Colts in 1891 and 1892, move on to the NL Pittsburgh Pirates in 1893 and 1894, then go to the NL Brooklyn Grooms in 1895 and 1896, and then finish with the NL Philadelphia Phillies, going there in the middle of 1896. He finished his career with a winning record, going 123-102, though Gumbert’s career ERA+ finished under 100 (95). He died in Pittsburgh on April 23, 1925 at the age of 57.

knell

P-Phil Knell, Philadelphia Athletics, 25 Years Old

22-11, 3.83 ERA, 113 ERA+, .220, 1 HR, 18 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-28

1st Time All-Star-Philip Louis “Phil” Knell was born on March 12, 1865 in Mill Valley, CA. He pitched three games for the National League Pittsburgh Alleghenys in 1888, before pitching for Philadelphia this year. He finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (3.7), tossing 286 2/3 innings with a 3.83 ERA and 113 ERA+. Next year would be even better for him.

It’s always interesting to me that people born in California played in the Major Leagues in the 1800s. I live in California and I know the state didn’t have any Major League teams until 1958, so it just seems strange that in this time of low tech and brutal travel, people would make it from one coast to the other. Or be scouted by teams way out west. But it happened and Knell was one of the best. He still has another All-Star team coming most likely.

If you’re wondering about Mill Valley, Knell’s birthplace, and who wouldn’t be, here’s Wikipedia on the modern-day city: “In July 2005, CNN/Money and Money magazine ranked Mill Valley tenth on its list of the 100 Best Places to Live in the United States. In 2007, MSN and Forbes magazine ranked Mill Valley seventy-third on its ‘Most expensive zip codes in America’ list.”

                John Lennon and Yoko Ono summered in a Mill Valley home on Lovell Ave. near the library in the early 1970s, having left some of his own graffiti on the wall of the residence ‘The Maya the Merrier’.” Imagine that.

sowders

P-John Sowders, Brooklyn Ward’s Wonders, 23 Years Old

19-16, 3.82 ERA, 91 K, .189, 1 HR, 20 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.087

1st Time All-Star-John Sowders was born on December 10, 1866 in Louisville, KY. He pitched three innings for the National League Indianapolis Hoosiers in 1887, was a hurler for the American Association 1889 Kansas City Cowboys, then pitched his last ever Major League season here in the Players League in 1890. Sowders finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (3.5), pitching 309 innings with a 3.82 ERA and a117 ERA+. Sowders was tall and lean at six-foot, 150 pounds. His brothers, Bill and Len, also pitched in the Major Leagues.

Little Bill Sowders pitched three seasons in the Major Leagues from 1888-90 for the NL Boston and Pittburgh squads. Like his brother, John, he, too, was tall and skinny at six-foot, 155 pounds. And like John, he, too, led a league, the NL, in Home Runs per 9 IP, allowing only 0.085 per nine innings in 1888. Len only played one season, for the AA Baltimore team, but didn’t pitch like his brothers. He was a centerfielder who slashed .263/.364/.329 for an OPS+ of 121 and if you’re wondering why he only played one season, he was dead by the age of 27 in 1888, dying of typhoid malaria. According to the Baseball Bloggess, “Typhoid was rampant in the 19th century and there was a spike in cases in 1888 due, it was thought, to an especially rainy summer and fall in the northern states.  According to one New York report at the time, one in four cases was fatal. Typhoid’s progression can be slow and painful, with a fever often dragging out for weeks, slowly getting higher and higher, before intestinal bleeding or sepsis causes death.”

ewing8C-Buck Ewing, New York Giants, 30 Years Old

1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1888 1889

.338, 8 HR, 72 RBI, 0-1, 4.00, 2 K

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as C-.949

8th Time All-Star-Ewing is yet another one of the greats who abandoned the National League ship to jump abound the Players League train. He had another great season, but it’s possibly his last All-Star team. Ewing finished seventh in WAR Position Players (3.5), 10th in Offensive WAR (3.1), and fifth in Defensive WAR (0.8), all very good for someone who played in the brutal catcher position for so many years and who only played 83 of the team’s 132 games. He slashed .338/.406/.545 for an OPS+ of 144, the on-base percentage and slugging average were his highest ever. This would be the last season Ewing would be primarily behind the plate as he’d play mainly rightfield and first base for the rest of his career.

Buck managed a team for the first time ever and did well, leading the Giants to a third place finish with a 74-57 mark, eight games behind first place Boston. He would manage the Reds from 1895-99 and do very well, though he never won a league title.

After this season, Ewing would head back to the NL, playing two more seasons with New York, then play two with Cleveland, and finish off his career playing three with Cincinnati.

As for Ewing’s return to the National League in 1891, SABR says, “Buck was reappointed to his old captain’s role but no longer commanded his former respect when he refused to play, limiting himself to just 14 games after admitting that even though his shoulder no longer hurt, it lacked the strength to make throws, a fault he attributed to a spring training mishap.” Read the whole SABR article, it has a lot to say about this injury.

carroll4

C-Fred Carroll, Pittsburgh Burghers, 25 Years Old

1884 1886 1889

.298, 2 HR, 71 RBI

 

4th Time All-Star-Carroll now made the All-Star team for the fourth time in his third league, finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (3.2) and ninth in Offensive WAR (3.2). He slashed .298/.418/.394 for an OPS+ of 125 before moving to the outfield as a 26-year-old in 1891 for the National League Pittsburgh squad. It was his last major league season. With his hitting, Carroll definitely had a shot at the Hall of Fame if he could’ve prolonged his career. It was tough to have lengthy careers as catchers in the 1800s.

A few days before I’m writing this, another young man with great potential died. Yordano Ventura died in an accident in the Dominican Republic at the age of 25. This follows the death of Miami’s Jose Fernandez at the age of 24 a few months ago, as of this writing. The point is there have many good players in baseball whose careers were cut short for one reason or the other. Sometimes it’s a sudden death like the two mentioned above or Charlie Ferguson, the Philadelphia phenom who died at the age of 25 after winning 99 games over his four-year career.

I wonder how well Carroll could have done for his lifetime if he had been moved to first base or the outfield, instead of playing catcher. His lifetime slash numbers are .284/.370/.408 for an OPS+ of 136, which are great numbers. This is what makes baseball so interesting, it’s got a lot of numbers and has been going for so long, there’s never any lack of discussions to have about the sport.

connor9

1B-Roger Connor, New York Giants, 33 Years Old

1880 1882 1883 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889

.349, 14 HR, 103 RBI

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-6.0 (3rd Time)

Defensive WAR-1.6

Slugging %-.548 (2nd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.998

Home Runs-14

Runs Created-119 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.788

AB per HR-34.6

Putouts-1,335 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,335 (2nd Time)

Assists as 1B-80 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 1B-79 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.67

Range Factor/Game as 1B-11.50

Fielding % as 1B-.985 (2nd Time)

9th Time All-Star-Connor led the Players League in home runs and it was the first and last time he ever led any league in long balls. Why do I sound surprised? Because until Babe Ruth came along, Connor was the all-time home run king. At this point in his career, he was behind Harry Stovey 101-80 in career homers. As for the season, the 33-year-old continued in his greatness, finishing fifth in WAR (6.0), first in WAR Position Players (6.0), fourth in Offensive WAR (4.4), and first in Defensive WAR (1.6). Can a first baseman really be the best fielder in the league? I don’t believe so, but that doesn’t take away from Connor being a dazzling glove man for his day. At the plate, he slashed .349/.450/.548 (his highest OBP ever) for an OPS+ of 156. Because of his big numbers, no one would have thought Connor was starting to falter, but it was his lowest Adjusted OPS+ since 1884 and it would continue to generally fall over the next few seasons.

By the way, a confession. I picked Connor to be 1890’s ONEHOF Inductee in my 1889 write-up, but it ended up being Jack Glasscock. I have to stop predicting things, I’m a bad prophet.

Here’s a tidbit on Connor’s 1890 season from Wikipedia: “Connor experimented with some changes to his batting style that year. He hit more balls to the opposite field and he sometimes batted right-handed, though he did not have much success from the right side.”

beckley2

1B-Jake Beckley, Pittsburgh Burghers, 22 Years Old

1889

.324, 9 HR, 120 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Triples-22

Extra Base Hits-69

2nd Time All-Star-I brought up this theme last season for Buckley and I don’t want to beat it to death, but here’s the thing. Those triples and extra base hits you see above are two of three times Beckley ever led in any offensive categories and he played for 20 seasons. My question is does Buckley really belong in the Hall of Fame? Don’t get me wrong, he’s not as bad of choice as Tommy McCarthy and he had some good seasons, but it’s close. His lifetime WAR is 61.1 and I will not argue with anyone with a Wins Above Replacement over 60 being a definite Hall of Fame-worthy player, but it’s a close call. I don’t know why the Hall of Fame gets me so riled up!

For the Burghers, Beckley had his best season ever, finishing fourth in WAR Position Players (3.9) and fifth in Offensive WAR (3.9). He slashed .324/.381/.535 (his highest SLG ever) for an OPS+ of 152 (his highest full season Adjusted OPS+ ever). All of this in a new diluted league. Oh, I’m just getting myself upset again, let’s continue.

I can’t be too upset at Beckley, because I like this quote from his Hall of Fame page, “’He was a big, happy, healthy, good-natured, small-town boy who had his full share of good luck in the game and left behind him a big army of pals among players, fans, and writers and who was never guilty of doing a dirty act, never tried to cut down a player or used obscene language against an umpire.’-Daguerreotypes, 1941”

larkinh4

1B-Henry Larkin, Cleveland Infants, 30 Years Old

1885 1886 1889

.330, 5 HR, 112 RBI

 

4th Time All-Star-This is the write-up I’ve been waiting for because Cleveland’s nickname in the Players League was Infants. There has to be a great story behind this, but I’ll get to it in a minute. First, let’s look at Larkin, who finished fifth in WAR Position Player (3.8) and second in Offensive WAR (4.6), behind only teammate Pete Browning. He slashed .330/.419/.482 (his highest batting average ever) for an OPS+ of 148. He’s going to fall off after this season and has probably made his last All-Star team. I’ve been wrong before, many times.

As for the Infants (tee-hee), Larkin (34-45) and Patsy Tebeau (21-30) coached them to a seventh place 55-75 season, 26-and-a-half games out of first place. Larkin would never manage again, but Tebeau would actually be very successful for the National League Cleveland Spiders. Oh, and about the  name, I couldn’t find anything about it. (So much for a great story). So if either of my two readers knows how Cleveland came to be called the Infants, send me a note.

After this season, Larkin went back to the American Association Philadelphia Athletics in 1891 and had his only double-digit home run season (10). Then he finished off his career with the National League Washington Senators in 1892 and 1893. His hitting never faltered as in his 10 seasons, Larkin never had an OPS+ under 123. While he’s not Hall of Fame worthy and definitely not ONEHOF worthy, he proved to be one of the best hitters in early baseball history in all three leagues in which he played.

brouthers10

1B-Dan Brouthers, Boston Reds, 32 Years Old

1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889

.330, 1 HR, 97 RBI

 

Led in:

 

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

Times on Base-269 (5th Time)

Errors Committed as 1B-49 (2nd Time)

10th Time All-Star-In a new league with watered-down competition, the great Brouthers had his worst hitting year since he became a full-time player. As it is, according to WAR, he’s only the fourth best first baseman in the league, but don’t worry, he’ll be back and I don’t believe he’s even had his best season yet. I sometimes wonder how long Mike Trout can keep up his dominance and looking at Big Dan’s career gives me a lot of hope.

This season, Brouthers finished sixth in WAR Position Players (3.7) and third in Offensive WAR (4.4), behind Infants Pete Browning and Henry Larkin. He slashed .330/.466/.454 for an OPS+ of 143. He did lose some power this season, hitting only one home run, which is probably why his Adjusted OPS+ dipped. He also was part of his second league-winning team.

Here’s a clip from “Big Dan Brouthers: Baseball’s First Great Slugger” written by Roy Kerr: “One of the most intriguing discoveries about ‘Big Dan’ is the more than four dozen nicknames invented by the press to express wonder at his size, strength and hitting prowess – a quantity and variety exceeded by no other player in baseball history…Viewed collectively, these condensed verbal portraits provide a unique glimpse of ‘the Champion Batsman of the World,’ ‘the Mighty Irish King,’ ‘the Fence-Smasher of the 80s’ and the ‘the Grand Old Man of the Game,’ who was one of the most talented and respected players of his era.” I really have to pick up this book. Good job, Roy Kerr!

bierbauer

2B-Lou Bierbauer, Brooklyn Ward’s Wonders, 24 Years Old

.306, 7 HR, 99 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Assists-468

Def. Games as 2B-133

Assists as 2B-468 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 2B-77

1st Time All-Star-Louis W. “Lou” Bierbauer as born on September 28, 1865 in Erie, PA. His value was primarily defensive as he flashed a good glove throughout his career. For the four seasons previous to this one, he played for the American Association Philadelphia Athletics, but couldn’t make the All-Star team despite finishing eighth in Defensive WAR (1.0) in 1888. He finally made it this year, having a great fielding year with a fourth place 1.1 dWAR, while doing decently at the plate. It helped there was a dearth of good second basemen in the Players League. Bierbauer slashed .306/.350/.431 for an OPS+ of 103. He’d never have an Adjusted OPS+ above 100 in his final eight seasons.

Bierbauer is responsible for the Pirates nickname in Pittsburgh, according to Wikipedia, which says, “Alfred Spink, the founder of the Sporting News, wrote about the incident in his 1910 book ‘The National Game’. According to Spink, the Alleghenys’ manager, Ned Hanlon, traveled to Presque Isle in the dead of winter to sign him, crossing the ice on the harbor during a snow storm. He finally reached Bierbauer’s home and got him to sign a contract with Allegheny.

“The Athletics, upon learning of this deal, objected to Bierbauer’s signing and stated that he should return to the A’s, since that was the team that employed him before his defection to the failed Players’ League. An official for the American Association also objected to Bierbauer signing with the Alleghenys and called the act ‘piratical.’ However the Alleghenys contended that since ‘the [American Association] did not reserve Bierbauer, he was a free agent’. An arbitrator agreed, and soon players and fans alike were calling the team the ‘Pittsburg Pirates.’”

nash4

3B-Billy Nash, Boston Reds, 25 Years Old

1887 1888 1889

.266, 5 HR, 90 RBI, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0 K

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 3B-307

Double Plays Turned as 3B-37

4th Time All-Star-Nash made his fourth consecutive All-Star team and was easily the best third baseman of his time. Only Ned Williamson and Ezra Sutton have made more All-Star teams at his position. Nash slashed .266/.383/.379 (his highest OBP thus far) for an OPS+ of 101. If there was an outstanding third sacker at this time, Nash wouldn’t have made the team, but there wasn’t and he did.

Speaking of Williamson and Sutton, I’ve been working on keeping an updated all-time All-Star team and through 1990, these are the players on it:

P-Tim Keefe

C-Charlie Bennett

1B-Cap Anson

2B-Fred Dunlap

3B-Ned Williamson, Ezra Sutton

SS-Jack Glasscock

LF-Charley Jones

CF-Paul Hines

RF-King Kelly

As of now, only Keefe, Anson, Glasscock, and Hines have made the ONEHOF, which shows how tough it is to make the Hall of Fame if you can only pick one player a year. I’ll keep updating it as new players are added.

Nash was known for his defense and did make the Defensive WAR top 10 three times, but those three seasons were the only ones of his 15 seasons in which he did so. He wound up having a Baseball Reference dWAR of 7.4 over those years, which is good, but a little lower than I would have anticipated for someone who is one of the best third basemen of his era. In 1891, he’s going have a 0.0 Defensive WAR and will have to make his fifth All-Star team with his bat. Fortunately for him, he had a good 1891 at the plate, but we’ll have to see whether he makes the cut or not.

ward8

SS-Monte Ward, Brooklyn Ward’s Wonders, 30 Years Old

1878 1879 1880 1881 1882 1883 1887

.335, 4 HR, 60 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Singles-157

Putouts as SS-303 (4th Time)

Assists as SS-450

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-5.93

8th Time All-Star-When Ward first started out in baseball and was a dominating pitcher, he made the All-Star teams six consecutive years and looked to be one of the greatest pitchers of all-time. However, after becoming a shortstop, Ward only made the All-Star team once, in 1887, before this season. Since then, he continued being at short for the Giants, before moving to the Players League this year. He finished eighth in Offensive WAR (3.3), one of two seasons he did so. That’s quite a feat considering he never was much of hitter. In 1890, Ward slashed .335/.393/.426 (his highest OBP and SLG ever) for an OPS+ of 113.

Along with that, Ward managed Brooklyn to a second-place 76-56 record. He’d coach in the New York area for five more seasons. The Ward’s Wonders, named after their manager, had the fifth highest run differential in the league, yet still managed to finish second, so some of that credit has to go to Monte.

There would be no Players League without Ward, according to Wikipedia, which says, “Ward realized that negotiations with the owners were going nowhere and threatened to create a Players’ League. The owners thought of it as nothing more than an idle threat but had failed to realize Ward’s connections in the business community, and he began to launch the new league. This new Players’ League included a profit sharing system for the players and had no reserve clause or classification plan.

“The season began in 1890 with over half of the National League’s players from the previous year in its ranks.”

browning6LF-Pete Browning, Cleveland Infants, 29 Years Old

1882 1883 1884 1885 1887

.373, 5 HR, 93 RBI

 

Led in:

 

1890 PL Batting Title (3rd Time)

Offensive WAR-4.9 (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.373 (3rd Time)

Doubles-40

Adjusted OPS+-169 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-53 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-4.9 (3rd Time)

6th Time All-Star-I don’t know why the Hall of Fame is so fascinating to me, but I can fret for hours over the people who did and didn’t make it. Now it’s borderline over whether or not I would put Browning in the Hall of Fame, but if he’s kept out because he played a majority of his games in the American Association, that’s bunk. This season, surrounded by stars from the National League, he still dominated the Players League with his bat. Like I said, it’s a tough choice, his career WAR is only 40.4, but he was dominating for his day.

Browning left Louisville, where he spent his whole career for the Players League and the Infants. He finished seventh in WAR (5.3); second in WAR Position Players (5.3), to the Giants’ Roger Connor; and first in Offensive WAR (4.9). He’d never be this great again, playing for the National League the rest of his career. He played for Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in 1891, Louisville and Cincinnati in 1892, Louisville in 1893, and St. Louis and Brooklyn in 1894. He finished his career with a .341 average and a 163 OPS+.

As for his death, Wikipedia says, “He died in Louisville on September 10 of that year at age 44. The specific cause of death was listed as asthenia (a weakening of the body), a cover-all medical term used by doctors of that time. However, he no doubt suffered from a wide variety of serious physical complaints. In addition to the mastoiditis, he was afflicted with cancer, advanced cirrhosis of the liver, alcohol-related brain damage, and according to some sources, paresis. Some sources erroneously report that he died in an insane asylum; he was in Lakeland Asylum a short time before he died. He is buried in historic Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville.” It was a sad life for the great hitter.

richardson8

LF-Hardy Richardson, Boston Reds, 35 Years Old

1879 1881 1883 1885 1886 1887 1889

.326, 13 HR, 146 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Runs Batted In-146

8th Time All-Star-Boston sure was able to pile up the All-Stars, which is why it won the league title. Richardson finished 10th in WAR Position Player (3.1), slashing .326/.384/.494 for an OPS+ of 130. Old  True Blue was back in the outfield after playing most of the last few seasons at second base. In 1891, Richardson would stay with the American Association Boston Reds, but his hitting would decline and 1892 would be his last year in the Majors, playing part time for the National League Washington Senators and the 1892 New York Giants.

Wikipedia says of Richardson’s loyalty to the PL: “Richardson was a strong supporter of the Brotherhood of Professional Base-Ball Players, the union that represented the players and organized the Players’ League in response to unfair treatment by team owners. In January 1890, he spoke out against players like teammate John Clarkson who had joined the Brotherhood but remained with their old clubs. Richardson said he would remain loyal to the Players’ League even if it could only pay him $10 a week and added: ‘I held up my hand and swore that I would stick to the brotherhood… I respect my word and regard my oath as sacred. You have no idea how hot it makes me to think of the way some of these players have acted.’”

And on his later years: “By 1930, Richardson was retired and living with his wife in Utica as boarders at the home of cement salesman, Robert C. Weaver. Richardson died in January 1931 at age 75 in Utica, New York. He was buried at the Forest Hill Cemetery in that city.”

hoy2

CF-Dummy Hoy, Buffalo Bisons, 28 Years Old

1888

.298, 1 HR, 53 RBI

 

2nd Time All-Star-Hoy is the only Bisons’ player to make the All-Star team which is why he made the team. He played one game at second base this season, the only time in his 1,797 games he ever played anywhere but the outfield. He didn’t do bad, taking three chances in four innings without an error, rare for that era. (I’m picturing Vin Scully saying that last sentence with “error” and “era” sounding almost exactly alike.) Hoy slashed .298/.418/.371  for an OPS+ of 119. Hoy was always great at taking pitches.

Your guess would be with one All-Star, Buffalo would be terrible and your guess would be right on the nose! The Bisons were the league’s worst team as Jack Rowe (27-72) and Jay Faatz (9-24) led them to a 36-96 record, 46-and-a-half games out of first. On a team with two managers who were one-and-done in their coaching career, there was a catcher who would end up managing more years than anyone in baseball history, one Cornelius Alexander McGillicuddy, better known as Connie Mack. I’m going to be writing about him quite a bit.

Here’s a little about the last two seasons from Wikipedia: “Hoy’s speed was a great advantage in the outfield, and he was able to play shallow as a result. On June 19, 1889, he set a Major League record (which has since been tied twice) by throwing out three runners at home plate in one game, with catcher Connie Mack recording the outs.” Hoy still has a long career left, with sporadic appearances on this list.
duffy

RF-Hugh Duffy, Chicago Pirates, 23 Years Old

.320, 7 HR, 82 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-137 (2nd Time)

At Bats-596 (2nd Time)

Plate Appearances-657

Runs Scored-161

Hits-191

Def. Games as OF-137

1st Time All-Star-“Sir Hugh” Duffy was born on November 26, 1866 in Cranston, RI. His Hall of Fame career started with the 1888 and 1889 National League Chicago White Stockings, where his .312 batting average in 1889 showed he had better years to come. This was one of them, as he finished 10th in WAR (4.2); third in WAR Position Players (4.2), behind only Roger Connor and Pete Browning; and sixth in Defensive WAR (0.8), the only year he’d make the top 10 in that category.

Duffy’s Hall of Fame page says of him, “Hugh Duffy was one of the top batsmen of the 1890s recording more hits, home runs and runs batted in during the decade than any other player in the game. He teamed with fellow Hall of Famer Tommy McCarthy to form the ‘Heavenly Twins’ outfield tandem for the Boston Beaneaters that captured two league pennants and a pre-modern World Series Championship in 1892 and 1893.” This brings up the question, did Hugh Duffy deserve to make it to the Hall of Fame? Well, I would say if we had modern stats in his day, probably not, as his batting average provided almost all of his value and he was a terrible fielder according to dWAR. But since we didn’t have those stats and he had a lifetime .326 average, with a .440 average in 1894, over 17 years of ball, I can live with him being in there. Much more so than the other half of the Heavenly Twins.

stovey9

RF-Harry Stovey, Boston Reds, 33 Years Old

1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889

.299, 12 HR, 84 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-97 (2nd Time)

Power-Speed #-21.4 (2nd Time)

9th Time All-Star-Stovey made his ninth consecutive All-Star team in helping lead the Reds to the Players League pennant. He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (3.3), slashing .299/.406/.472 for an OPS+ of 131. It’s strange a player moves from first base to the outfield, but Stovey would be roaming the field for the majority of the rest of his career. He still wasn’t a very good outfielder, according to dWAR.

Stovey will possibly make the ONEHOF, but will he ever make the real Hall of Fame? It will depend on whether they accept the American Association as a legitimate Major League.  According to SABR, “The man who could do it all has been overlooked by the National Baseball Hall of Fame despite calls for his election from many who are familiar with the history of our national pastime. Perhaps one day, he will get his due and be honored by the game’s ultimate shrine.” One day.

Wikipedia tells of a feat of Stovey this season: “In 1890, the Players’ League, a rival league to the National League and the American Association, began, and it attracted many of the game’s star players, including Stovey who ‘jumped’ to the Boston Reds. He had a good season, batting .299, hit 11 triples, and 12 home runs. On September 3, 1890, Stovey became the first player to hit 100 homers for a career, off of Jersey Bakely in a game against Cleveland, a significant milestone in a day when home runs were relatively rare.”

orourke12

RF-Jim O’Rourke, New York Giants, 39 Years Old

1873 1874 1875 1876 1877 1879 1880 1881ONEHOF 1884 1885 1886 1887

.360, 9 HR, 115 RBI

 

12th Time All-Star-Arguably the second greatest player in the early days of baseball, behind only the stellar Cap Anson, O’Rourke continues to make All-Star teams, now at the age of two score minus one. He slashed .360/.410/.515 (his highest OBP and SLG ever) for an OPS+ of 137. Will he make teams even into his 40s? I would have said no, but Orator Jim continues to surprise me.

                Since the last time O’Rourke made the All-Star team in 1887, he continued to play in New York and would do so until his last full season of 1893 in Washington. There are arguments for who should and shouldn’t make the Hall of Fame, but Orator Jim’s case is crystal clear which is why he’s made the Hall of Fame and the ONEHOF. He was selected to Cooperstown by the Old Timers Committee in 1945. I’m shocked he didn’t make it sooner.

SABR says of O’Rourke: “Playing for the Ewing-led Big Giants, Jim O’Rourke registered exceptional numbers during the 1890 season. In addition to a .360 batting average, the 40-year-old posted career-best figures in hits (172), doubles (37), home runs (9), RBIs (115), slugging (.515), and on-base percentage (.410), all achieved while playing in only 111 games. O’Rourke’s performance, however, was not duplicated by his team (third place). Nor did the Players League prosper as a whole. In fact, the season had been a catastrophe for the new circuit’s financial backers. That fall they were outmaneuvered in peace settlement negotiations by A.G.Spalding, the hard-nosed de-facto leader of the National League, and bluffed into dissolving the Players League.”

1890 American Association All-Star Team

P-Scott Stratton, LOU

P-Sadie McMahon, PHA/BAL

P-Egyptian Healy, TOL

P-Jack Stivetts, STL

P-Red Ehret, LOU

P-Bob Barr, ROC

P-Fred Smith, TOL

P-Toad Ramsey, STL

P-Billy Hart, STL

C-Jack O’Connor, COL

C-Deacon McGuire, ROC

1B-Perry Werden, TOL

1B-Harry Taylor, LOU

1B-Mox McQuery, SYR

2B-Cupid Childs, SYR

3B-Denny Lyons, PHA

3B-Jimmy Knowles, ROC

3B-Charlie Reilly, COL

SS-Phil Tomney, LOU

LF-Spud Johnson, COL

CF-Jim McTamany, COL

RF-Chicken Wolf, LOU

RF-Ed Swartwood, TOL

RF-Tommy McCarthy, STL

RF-Ed Daily, BRG/LOU

 stratton

P-Scott Stratton, Louisville Colonels, 20 Years Old

34-14, 2.36 ERA, 207 K, .323, 0 HR, 24 RBI

 

Led in:

 

1890 AA Pitching Title

Wins Above Replacement-11.4

Earned Run Average-2.36

Win-Loss %-.708

Walks & Hits per IP-1.065

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.274

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-3.393

Adjusted ERA+-164

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.56

Adj. Pitching Runs-67

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.3

Fielding % as P-.977

 

1st Time All-Star-Chilton Scott Stratton was born on October 2, 1869 in Campbellsburg, KY. As much as the creation of the Players League gutted the National League, it did much worse to the American Association. That’s why 18 of the 25 players on the AA All-Star team are first-timers, including the hard throwing Kentuckian, who had his best season ever, but also most likely his only All-Star appearance. Hey, if you’re going to only make one All-Star team, do it with gusto as Stratton did.

Stratton led the league in WAR (11.4) and was second in WAR for Pitchers (9.7), behind only Sadie McMahon (10.0). On the mound, he pitched a career-high 431 innings with a league-leading 2.36 ERA and a league-leading ERA+ of 164. At the plate, Stratton slashed .323/.385/.392 for an OPS+ of 129, not bad for a pitcher.

On top of all this, he led the Colonels to the pennant and a World Series appearance against the National League Brooklyn Bridegrooms. The series ended up in a 3-3-1 tie and Stratton started three games, going 1-1 with a 2.37 ERA. Louisville was coached by Jack Chapman to an 88-44 record, his only pennant in 11 years of coaching.

Wikipedia says of this season, “Stratton’s greatest season was his third, in 1890. As a 20-year-old, he pitched 431 innings for Louisville, going 34–14 and setting a major league record for starting 25 consecutive games that his team won.” He would die in Louisville, Kentucky of a heart attack in 1939.

mcmahon

P-Sadie McMahon, Philadelphia Athletics/Baltimore Orioles, 22 Years Old

36-21, 3.27 ERA, 291 K, .206, 2 HR, 20 RBI

Led in:

WAR for Pitchers-10.0

Wins-36

Games Pitched-60

Innings Pitched-509.0

Strikeouts-291

Games Started-57

Complete Games-55

Hits Allowed-498

Earned Runs Allowed-185

Hit By Pitch-26

Batters Faced-2,197

Def. Games as P-60

Putouts as P-31

Assists as P-139

Range Factor/Game as P-2.83

1st Time All-Star-John Joseph “Sadie” McMahon was born on September 19, 1867 in Wilmington, DE. He started in 1889 with Philadelphia and stayed with them this season, until being traded to Baltimore later in the year. He had his best season ever and was the best player on both teams. Sadie finished second in WAR (10.0) behind Scott Stratton (11.4) and first in WAR for Pitchers (10.0). He was an ironman with a league-leading 509 innings pitched in which he had a 3.27 ERA and a 120 ERA+. He will be around these All-Star teams for a while.

Baltimore took over for the Brooklyn Gladiators, which didn’t finish out the season. The Orioles finished 15-19 under the leadership of manager Billy Barnie. You might be saying, hey, you’ve been talking about Baltimore in the American Association for years and you’d be right. Very good, you! According to Wikipedia, “After several years of mediocrity, the team dropped out of the league in 1889, but re-joined in 1890 to replace the last-place Brooklyn Gladiators club which had dropped out during the season. After the Association folded, the Orioles joined the National League in 1892.”

McMahon hasn’t made his last All-Star team as he had quite a few years of good pitching. As to why the Athletics would get rid of such a good pitcher, SABR says, “In 1890 he was by far the A’s best pitcher and had won 20 games by the Fourth of July, but the Philadelphia club was running into financial problems and sold McMahon along with catcher Wilbert Robinson and outfielder Curt Welch to the Baltimore Orioles in September. His combined record with the two teams was 36 wins and 21 losses. He led the American Association in wins, games pitched, innings, and strikeouts. Both McMahon and Robinson were rather plump, leading to their being dubbed the Dumpling Battery.”

healy

P-Egyptian Healy, Toledo Maumees, 23 Years Old

22-21, 2.89 ERA, 225 K, .218, 1 HR, 10 RBI

 

1st Time All-Star-“Long John or Egyptian” J. Healy was born on October 27, 1866 in, of course, Cairo, IL. He started as an 18-year-old for the 1885 National League St. Louis Maroons, then moved to Indianapolis for 1887 and 1888. In 1889, he pitched for Washington and Chicago, before finally having best season ever this year. The six-foot-two, 158 pound Long John finished third in WAR (8.2) behind Scott Stratton and Sadie McMahon and third in WAR for Pitchers (7.3), behind the same two gentlemen, though reversed. He pitched 389 innings with a 2.89 ERA and a 138 ERA+. He’s probably made his first and last All-Star teams.

Toledo existed for just this one season and did relatively well, finishing fourth with a 68-64 record, while being coached by Charlie Morton, who would never coach in the Major Leagues again.

Like so many players of this era, Healy wasn’t long for this earth, dying at the age of 32. The Washington Post’s obituary from the Deadball Era says, “St. Louis, March 17.—John Healy who ten years ago was known as a great baseball player, died to-day in this city of consumption. In 1887 he was one of the American players who made the trip around the world and played in Europe, Asia, and Australia. He quit the diamond two years ago and became a policeman, but was obliged to give up his position last year on account of ill-health.” Healy finished his career with a 78-136 record and a 3.84 ERA.

stivetts2

P-Jack Stivetts, St. Louis Browns, 22 Years Old

1889

27-21, 3.52 ERA, 289 K, .288, 7 HR, 43 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs Allowed-14

Games Finished-8

2nd Time All-Star-Happy Jack Stivetts continued to throw bullets for the Browns, though with an increase in innings from 191 2/3 in his rookie season to 419 1/3 this year, his ERA did rise. Still, no one is going to complain about a 3.52 ERA and a 124 ERA+, all while finishing fourth in WAR (7.8) and fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.0). Along with that, Stivetts could hit, slashing .288/.337/.500 while finishing third in the league in home runs with seven despite playing only 67 games. He finished behind only Count Campau (nine) and Ed Cartwright (eight).

Wikipedia has a lot to say about Stivetts’ 1890 season, so I’ll pilfer a bit of it, which says, “On June 10, against Fred Smith and the Toledo Maumees, he hit two home runs in one game, the first of three times in his career he accomplished the feat. The first was a two-run home run in the fifth inning, and the second came with his team down by three runs in the bottom half of ninth inning and the bases loaded. It was the first, and only, grand slam of his career, and the second ‘ultimate grand slam’ in history. In a game versus the Brooklyn Gladiators on July 6, manager Chris von der Ahe removed the Browns’ starting pitcher Ramsey in the third inning and replaced him with Stivetts. Though the crowd momentarily interrupted the game in protest, the move proved successful. Stivetts hit a home run in the fifth inning to give the Browns a 3 runs to 1 advantage, leading the team to an eventual 7–2 victory. The home run was his sixth of the season, and he added another on August 9 for number seven: his final season total. His seven home runs in a season by a pitcher was neither broken nor tied until 1931, when Wes Ferrell hit nine for the Cleveland Indians.”

ehret2

P-Red Ehret, Louisville Colonels, 21 Years Old

1889

25-14, 2.53 ERA, 174 K, .212, 0 HR, 10 RBI

 

2nd Time All-Star-Louisville had an amazing turnaround, from finishing 66 games out in 1889 to winning the American Association title this season and Ehret had much to do with it. Yes, he made the All-Star team last season on a fluke, but this season was all talent, as he had his best season ever. Ehret finished eighth in WAR (5.1) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.4) while pitching 359 innings with a 2.53 ERA and 153 ERA+. He also dazzled in the World Series against the National League Brooklyn Bridegrooms, pitching three games and going 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA, helping the team tie the series, 3-3-1.

Louisville as helped by the formation of the Players League, according to SABR, which says, “In 1889, the Louisville Colonels of the American Association finished in last place, compiling an unenviable record of 27 wins and 111 losses. The following season, Louisville pulled off one of the most amazing turnarounds in the history of our national pastime, clinching the American Association pennant on October 6, 1890 with a 2–0 victory over Columbus.

“That turnaround was assisted by a seismic shift in the baseball landscape during the winter of 1889–90 that included the formation of a third major league…

“The Association’s instability ran even deeper. Two entire teams—including the champions from Brooklyn—switched over to the National League…

“To make matters worse, on March 27, 1890 a cyclone tore through Louisville, killing over 100 people…

“In the aftermath of the disaster, pitcher Red Ehret remarked to a reporter, ‘We want to strike the other fellows [in the league] as hard as the cyclone struck the town.’”

barr

P-Bob Barr, Rochester Broncos, 33 Years Old

28-24, 3.25 ERA, 209 K, .179, 2 HR, 15 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-219

Losses-24

1st Time All-Star-Robert McClelland “Bob” Barr was born in December, 1856 in Washington, DC, the year James Buchanan was elected as President of the United States. Just some bonus material to keep you focused. Barr started his career in 1883 with the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, before pitching for both Washington and Indianapolis in 1884. He didn’t pitch in the Majors in 1885, but came back in 1886 for the National League Washington Nationals. At this point in his career, Barr had pitched three seasons and compiled a 21-70 record. He was 29 years old and most likely done as a Major League player.

Then came 1890 and the formation of the Players League and teams in three leagues desperately scrambling for players and, despite his past failures, Barr had a job and did very well, having his best season ever, while finishing 10th in WAR (4.8) and sixth in WAR for Pitchers (4.8), despite walking more people, 219, than he struck out, 209. Barr pitched 493 1/3 innings with a 3.25 ERA and a 111 ERA+.

It also helped he was playing for a newly-formed team, the Rochester Broncos, who finished at .500, 63-63. They were coached by Pat Powers, who would get one more chance to manage later, for the 1892 New York Giants. Rochester finished fifth in the league.

It’s worth noting Barr did well when pitching in the minor leagues, where Rochester spent all but one of its seasons. Scott Pitoniak of the Rochester Business Journal writes, “With a 97-58 record, Barr ranks as the winningest pitcher in the nearly 130 years Rochester has been fielding professional baseball teams. According to BaseballReference.com, he won a franchise record 35 games in 1888 and 30 the following season. But his most intriguing season—and one of the most historically significant seasons in Rochester’s extraordinarily rich baseball history—occurred in 1890, when Barr went 28-24 for our town’s major-league club. That’s right, for one spring and summer, Rochester fielded a big-league team. As famed manager Casey Stengel was fond of saying, ‘You can look it up.’” It’s a good article, read the whole thing.

smithf

P-Fred Smith, Toledo Maumees, 25 Years Old

19-13, 3.27 ERA, 116 K, .167, 0 HR, 10 RBI

 

1st Time All-Star-Fred Christopher Smith was born in May, 1865 in Baltimore, MD, just a month after Abraham Lincoln was just down the road in Washington, D.C. Sometimes I have to debate whether ballplayers had their best season ever, but not with Smith. This was his only Major League season, thanks to the Players League. He did well, finishing seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.7), pitching 286 innings with a 3.27 ERA and a 122 ERA+.

From Wikipedia, here’s a short history of the Maumees: “The Toledo Maumees were a baseball team originally formed in 1888. The team was based in Toledo, Ohio, and formed part of the Tri-State League for one season. Their home games were played at Speranza Park in Toledo.

“In 1889, the Maumees moved to the International Association, where they were also known as the Toledo Black Pirates. Managed by former player Charlie Morton, the team finished in fourth place with a 54-51 record. Toledo first baseman Perry Werden won the batting title with a .394 average while leading the league in hits (167).

“In 1890 the team joined the American Association. Again with Morton at the helm, the Maumees won 68 games, lost 64, and finished fourth in the nine-team league. Their top hitters were right fielder Ed Swartwood, who batted .327 with a slugging percentage of .444, and first sacker Werden, who had a .295 batting average and slugged .456. Egyptian Healy (22-21, 2.89) and Fred Smith (19-13, 3.27) led the pitching staff.

“At the end of the season, the team folded.”

63.350.215.172.1388

P-Toad Ramsey, St. Louis Browns, 25 Years Old

1886 1887

23-17, 3.69 ERA, 257 K, .228, 0 HR, 11 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.634 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as P-16 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Ramsey is back on the All-Star team after being gone for two seasons. Again, the formation of the Players League gets the credit. He pitched for Louisville in 1888 and 1889. It was in that latter season, he was 1-16 for the Colonels with a 5.59 ERA. He was then traded to St. Louis for Nat Hudson, who refused to report to Louisville. He did better for the Browns in 1889, finishing 3-1 with a 3.95 ERA. Apparently, Ramsey did good enough to get this last final shot for St. Louis and ended up finishing eighth in WAR (4.2), pitching 348 2/3 innings with a 3.69 ERA and a 118 ERA+.

It’s hard to believe a pitcher who had this decent season and was only 25 years old would never pitch in the Major Leagues again, but it’s true. He did pitch in the minors until 1895, but never a lot of innings and never effectively. He was done with baseball by the age of 30.

Still, it wasn’t a career to complain about. His 1886 and 1887 seasons are some of the best of all-time from the mound and he still has the second-most single-season strikeouts of all-time with 499 in 1886. Ramsey would have been a great movie character, with an awesome nickname and a dazzling pitch. Doesn’t Toad Ramsey sound like a name that would be in one of those cheesy baseball movies, where a kid takes over the team by either managing it or pitching because of a fluke injury or waving his arms to summon angels?

hart

P-Billy Hart, St. Louis Browns, 24 Years Old

12-8, 3.67 ERA, 95 K, .192, 1 HR, 8 RBI

 

1st Time All-Star-Robert Lee “Billy” Hart was born on May 16, 1866 in Palmyra, MO. He is the third St. Louis pitcher to make the All-Star team, though the team’s pitching still didn’t match that of Louisville and Columbus. Hart was again one of those players happy about the creation of the Players League, because it gave him the opportunity to be a Major League pitcher, which he was, and to prove himself, which he did, therefore thriving and having a long baseball career, um, which he didn’t. This was his only Major League season but he made the best of it, finishing 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.0), pitching 201 1/3 innings with a 3.67 ERA and a 119 ERA+. Once the leagues are condensed from three to two in 1891, he would be squeezed out, but I’m not sure why another team didn’t give him opportunity.

                In reading an article on one-season players at Baseball: Past and Present, I came across this: “3. Harry Moore, 1884: Bill James notes in his Historical Abstract that Moore led the Union Association in games played with 111 while finishing third in batting average at .336 and third in hits at 155. James also notes that Moore, like a quarter of other UA regulars, never played a game in another major league. It’s part of the reason UA greats like Jack Glasscock still aren’t recognized by Cooperstown. The quality of competition just isn’t considered to have been as strong as the other two major leagues in existence at its time, the National League and American Association.” No offense, but is this article saying Jack Glasscock has to prove himself because of his half season in the Union Association? Because I think he has.

oconnor

C-Jack O’Connor, Columbus Solons, 24 Years Old

.324, 2 HR, 66 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-106

Putouts as C-539

Double Plays Turned as C-13

Passed Balls-58

Fielding % as C-.962

1st Time All-Star-John Joseph “Jack” or “Rowdy Jack” or “Peach Pie” O’Connor was born on June 2, 1866 in St. Louis, MO. He started in limited time as an outfielder for Cincinnati in 1887 and 1888, before moving to Columbus in 1889, where he became a fulltime catcher. It took him one more year (and the creation of another league which sucked the talent out of his league) before he was the best catcher in the league. Peach Pie finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.0), eighth in Offensive WAR (3.5), and seventh in Defensive WAR (1.1). He slashed .324/.377/.411 for an OPS+ of 137. He is going to have a long career, mainly as a catcher, but it’s debatable whether he makes another All-Star team as, according to WAR, his defense and his bat would falter. Since it was hard to find catchers in those days, Rowdy Jack continued to play year-after-year, all the way through 1910.

Columbus had a great sophomore year, finishing second in the American Association. Al Buckenberger (39-41), Gus Schmelz (38-13), and Pat Sullivan (2-1) guided the team to a 79-55 record, 10 games out of first place. The Salons were never in the running, but, as can be seen, caught on fire under the hand of Schmelz. Next year, Schmelz would coach for the whole season for Columbus, but not be as successful.

What is O’Connor most famous for? Hating Ty Cobb, according to Wikipedia, which says, “O’Connor was the player-manager of the Browns in 1910, finishing a dismal 47–107. He is best known for trying to help Nap Lajoie win the batting title and the associated 1910 Chalmers Award over Ty Cobb in the last two games of the season, a doubleheader at Sportsman’s Park. Cobb was leading Lajoie .385 to .376 in the batting race going into that last day. O’Connor ordered rookie third baseman Red Corriden to station himself in shallow left field. Lajoie bunted five straight times down the third base line and made it to first easily.”

mcguire

C-Deacon McGuire, Rochester Broncos, 26 Years Old

.299, 4 HR, 53 RBI, 0-0, 6.75 ERA, 1 K

 

1st Time All-Star-James Thomas “Deacon” McGuire was born on November 18, 1863 in Youngstown, OH. He would have the longest career in baseball history (26 years), according to years played, until it was beaten by Nolan Ryan, who played 27. Tommy John tied McGuire. Between the two catchers on the All-Star team, they played 48 years in the majors, which might be some kind of record if I had a way to define it. Anyway, I’m being distracted by petty things when I should be saying McGuire finished 10th in Defensive WAR (0.9) and slashed .299/.356/408 for an OPS+ of 130. He might have another All-Star team left, depending on the competition from other catchers.

McGuire started in 1884 for Toledo, before moving to the National League Detroit Wolverines in 1885. Next year, 1886, he was on the move again, playing three seasons for the NL Philadelphia Quakers. In the middle of 1888, he moved back to Detroit and then, in the same season, he was off to Cleveland of the American Association. He then played for Rochester this season in its only year of existence. Starting in 1891, he would play with the AA Washington Statesmen, follow them to the NL, and remain with them for another nine years. His was his longest stretch with any team.

As for his nickname, Wikipedia says, “However, the origin of the ‘Deacon’ nickname appears to date back to 1896. In February of that year, The Sporting Life, a national baseball newspaper, reported a dispatch from Michigan that McGuire ‘has experienced religion at a revival meeting and is thinking of giving up base ball and devote his time to preaching, perhaps.’ The Sporting Life closed with this observation: ‘ If Mac felt bent on doing missionary work his duty is to remain right where he is. But he will be back next April doing just as brilliant work behind the bat as last year.’”

werden

1B-Perry Werden, Toledo Maumees, 28 Years Old

.295, 6 HR, 72 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Triples-20

Errors Committed as 1B-35

1st Time All-Star-Percival Wheritt “Perry” or “Moose” Werden was born on July 21, 1861 in St. Louis, MO. He never played fulltime before this season, playing a total of 21 games for the Union Association St. Louis Maroons in 1884 and the National League Washington Nationals in 1888. Now a fulltime first baseman, Moose was the best at that position in the league, finishing seventh in WAR (5.1); third in WAR Position Players (5.1), behind only Cupid Childs (6.3) and Chicken Wolf (5.2); and fifth in Offensive WAR (4.4). Werden garnered his best hitting season ever, slashing .295/.404/.456 for an OPS+ of 149. It’s possible he still has another All-Star team left, but this was his best season ever.

According to SABR, Werden’s most famous season took place in the minor leagues. Joel Rippel writes, “The home run was his 44th of the season, breaking his record of 43 set the previous season. On September 19, Werden went 5-for-6 and hit his 45th home run of the season in a 20–10 victory over Grand Rapids. His 45 home runs would stand as the record in Organized Baseball until Babe Ruth hit 54 for the New York Yankees in 1920.

“In 24 seasons in professional baseball, he had 2,897 hits, 195 home runs and 500 recorded stolen bases (as then defined) (four times he stole more than 50). But the exclamation point on Perry Werden’s long and productive baseball career was his record-setting 1895 season in which he set a long-standing home run mark and hit in 40 consecutive games.”

taylorh

1B-Harry Taylor, Louisville Colonels, 24 Years Old

.306, 0 HR, 53 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Singles-155

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.37

Range Factor/Game as 1B-11.46

1st Time All-Star-Harry Leonard Taylor was born on April 4, 1866 in Halsey Valley, NY. He had this sensational rookie season and then will probably never make another All-Star team. This season, he finished sixth in Defensive WAR (1.2), impressive for a first baseman. At the plate, Taylor slashed .306/.383/.344 for an OPS+ of 114. In the World Series against the National League Brooklyn Bridegrooms, he had similar stats, batting .300 with a double.

SABR says of Taylor, in an article written by Charlie Bevis, “In the early 1890s Harry Taylor played four seasons of major-league baseball to earn money to pay for the law-school education that he pursued during the offseason. While his exploits as a first baseman on the baseball diamond are now unmemorable, Taylor made a more lasting but unsung contribution to baseball history through his legal services that helped to elevate the American League to major-league status in 1901. As the lawyer for the Players Protective Association, an early ballplayers union, Taylor issued the crucial legal opinion to his ballplayer constituents that it was his belief that the reserve clause in the National League’s standard player contract had ‘no legal value.’ Taylor’s legal analysis set the stage for Napoleon Lajoie, Jimmy Collins, and dozens of other ballplayers to jump from the National League and establish the American League as a serious competitor to the then-monopoly National League. Taylor went to serve as a judge in New York state for nearly four decades.” He started playing in a year another league, the Players League, tried to do the same thing, but would help establish a league that is still going to this day.

mcquery

1B-Mox McQuery, Syracuse Stars, 29 Years Old

.308, 2 HR, 55 RBI

 

1st Time All-Star-William Thomas “Mox” McQuery was born on June 28, 1861 in Garrard County, KY. He started his career with the Union Association Cincinnati Outlaw Reds in 1884, went to the National League Detroit Wolverines in 1885 and the Kansas City Cowboys in 1886 before taking three seasons off from the Major Leagues. He came back this year and, thanks to the dilution of talent due to the Players League, made his first and last All-Star team. Mox finished 10th in Offensive WAR (3.1), slashing .308/.383/.384 for an OPS+ of 135.

This was Syracuse’s only year of existence and they weren’t too successful. George Frazier (51-65) and Wally Fessenden (4-7) coached the team to a seventh-place 55-72 record. Neither ever coached before and would never coach again. The Stars’ hitting wasn’t too bad, but their pitching was some of the worst in the league. It’s probably why they don’t a pitcher on the All-Star team. This despite pitching in pitchers’ parks.

McQuery died young as a hero, according to Wikipedia, which says, “McQuery was a patrol officer for the Covington Police Department when he was killed in the line of duty. He had stopped a horse-drawn streetcar that contained two men wanted for murder. The criminals opened fire, striking him in the chest, and he later died as result of his injuries. ‘Big Mox’ was buried at Linden Grove Cemetery in Covington, Kentucky.” I’ve actually been to Covington, staying in a hotel there while taking a trip to watch my beloved Reds. The city resides right across the river from Cincinnati.

childs

2B-Cupid Childs, Syracuse Stars, 22 Years Old

.345, 2 HR, 89 RBI

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-6.3

Offensive WAR-6.4

Doubles-33

Adj. Batting Runs-51

Adj. Batting Wins-5.3

Extra Base Hits-49

1st Time All-Star-Clarence Lemuel “Cupid” Childs was born on August 8, 1867 in Calvert County, MD and said this baseball stuff is easy, having his best season ever in his rookie year. Childs also had the highest WAR on Syracuse. He will be making more of these All-Star teams and is yet another great player of which I’ve never heard. This season, Cupid finished fifth in WAR (6.3), first in WAR Position Players (6.3), and first in Offensive WAR (6.4). See, easy game. At the plate, Childs slashed .345/.434/.481 for an OPS+ of 180. His slugging average and OPS+ ended up being career highs.

Of Childs, SABR says, “While growing up in Baltimore, Cupid learned to play baseball on the local sandlots. Clarence eventually grew to 5’8″ and weighed a solid 185 pounds. In later years, his playing weight was listed at 192 pounds. It’s safe to assume that his resemblance to the fictional matchmaker was the reason for his cherubic nickname. He is also referred to in various newspaper accounts as ‘Fats,’ ‘Fatty,’ ‘Paca,’ and even ‘The Dumpling.’”

From the same article, this is about Childs trying out for Kalamazoo in 1888, “When he reported to the Kalamazoo club he came in on a ‘side-door Pullman’ and presented himself to the management of the ‘Celery Eaters’ and asked for a trial. The manager thought he was joking after looking at his short length and broad girth, telling him he would make a better fat man in a side show than a ball player. Showing them he was anxious for a trial he was told to go to the grounds and practice with the rest of the team. A search was made for a uniform that would fit him, but none could be found, the only thing of that nature large enough for him being a pair of divided skirts, which he put on, cutting them off at the knees. His appearance with this costume on can be imagined and was so ludicrous that it threatened to break up the practice. However, as soon as he got out on the diamond and began to practice they began to open eyes and wonder. Such stops and throws were made as they never saw before and with such ease and grace that all were at once convinced he was a wonder.”

lyons4

3B-Denny Lyons, Philadelphia Athletics, 24 Years Old

1887 1888 1889

.354, 7 HR, 73 RBI

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.461

Slugging %-.531

On-Base Plus Slugging-.992

Adjusted OPS+-193

Offensive Win %-.842

Fielding % as 3B-.909

4th Time All-Star-Lyons made his fourth straight All-Star team with the Athletics and would have had his best season ever except he missed a stretch of the 1890 season. Still, despite playing only 88 of the team’s 132 games, he finished fifth in WAR Position Players (4.7) and second in Offensive WAR (4.7). Lyons slashed .354/.461/.531 for an OPS+ of 193. It would have been interesting to see what this man, still in his prime, could have done in a full season. He was released, according to Wikipedia, which says, “During the season, the team struggled financially and wound up selling or releasing most of their players. They were able to finish the season with a pickup team and were subsequently expelled from the league following the season. They were replaced by a new Philadelphia Athletics team that had played in the Players’ League the previous season.” The St. Louis Browns purchased him towards the end of the season, but he never played for them until 1891.

Philadelphia fell from its third place finish in 1889 to an eighth place finish this season. Bill Sharsig coached the team to a 54-78 record.

As good of player as Lyons was, it’s puzzling why there’s not more information about him on the web. Sure, I could do research using, you know, books, but then I’d have to get up from this chair, put on shoes and drive to a library and that sounds like a bit of a hassle. If anyone reading this knows why Lyons missed so much of the 1890 season, let me know. (I like to pretend I have readers.)

knowles

3B-Jimmy Knowles, Rochester Broncos, 33 Years Old

.281, 5 HR, 84 RBI

 

1st Time All-Star-James “Jimmy” or “Darby” Knowles was born on September 5, 1856 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and had been around baseball for quite a while before making this, his first All-Star team. He played first base for Pittsburgh and Brooklyn in 1884, moved to the National League Washington Nationals in 1886, went back to the American Association and played for New York in 1887, before ending up with Rochester this season. He had his best season ever, finishing seventh in WAR Position Players (4.2), ninth in Offensive WAR (3.2) and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.4). Darby slashed .281/.359/.369 for an OPS+ of 120. After this season, he had just one more year, for the National League New York Giants in 1892.

Knowles had an unusual season, probably due to the dilution of talent because of the Players League. This was the only season he ever hit about .250, had an on-base percentage over .262, had a slugging average over .319, or had an OPS+ over 86. All of this at the age of 33.

While this is the only season Rochester, New York, ever had a Major League team, the Red Wings, formerly the Hustlers, Colts, and Tribe, have been part of the Minor League International League since 1912. According to Wikipedia, “Founded in 1899, it is the oldest continuously operating sports franchise in North America below the major league level.” They’ve been affiliated with the Twins since 2002 after being linked with the Baltimore Orioles for 42 years.

reillyc

3B-Charlie Reilly, Columbus Solons, 23 Years Old

.266, 4 HR, 77 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.7

Def. Games as 3B-137

Putouts as 3B-206

Assists as 3B-354

Errors Committed as 3B-67

Double Plays Turned as 3B-26

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-4.25

Range Factor/Game as #B-4.09

1st Time All-Star-Charles Nelson Reilly (j/k)…Charles Thomas “Princeton Charlie” Reilly was born on February 15, 1867 in (surprise!) Princeton, NJ. He started with the Solons, playing six games for them in 1889, before becoming a full-time third baseman this season. If we go by things like stats, Princeton Charlie played a dazzling hot corner. He had his best season ever, finishing eighth in WAR Position Players (4.1) and first in Defensive WAR (2.7). After this season, he moved to the National League Pittsburgh Pirates in 1891 and then to the NL Philadelphia Phillies in 1892, staying with them through 1895. He finished his career with the NL Washington Senators in 1897.

Reilly played only six games for Columbus in 1889, but he certainly stood out, going 11-for-23 (.478) with one double and three home runs. Incredibly, he’d never hit more than four home runs in any full season after that one. Wikipedia says of 1889, “Reilly was the first of two players to have four hits that included at least one home run (he hit two) in their first major league game. J.P. Arencibia is the only player in the baseball’s modern era to equal this feat. Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies also hit two home runs in his first ever Major League game (and a third home run in his second game).” In those six games, he had a 0.6 Offensive WAR, something he’d only beat once, in 1890, in any full season. If judged just by that season, you would have thought he’d be the best player of all time, but it’s the danger of making judgments with too little data.

tomney

SS-Phil Tomney, Louisville Colonels, 27 Years Old

.277, 1 HR, 58 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-5.48

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.43

1st Time All-Star-Philip H. “Phil” or “Buster” Tomney was born on June 17, 1863 in Reading, PA. He started with the Colonels in 1888 and finished with them, along with his whole Major League career, this season. He played stellar defense, finishing second in Defensive WAR (2.1), behind only Charlie Reilly. At the plate, he slashed .277/.357/.376 for an OPS+ of 116 and is the only shortstop on the All-Star team. In the World Series against the National League Brooklyn Bridegrooms, Tomney played in limited action, going one-for-five with three walks. Like so many players of this era, Tomney died young. According to Wikipedia, “Tomney died in his hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania in 1892 at the age of 28 due to a lung infection brought on by Pulmonary Phithisis (tuberculosis), and is interred at Aulenbach’s Cemetery in Mount Penn, Pennsylvania.”

WAR is a great shortcut statistic to give a general overview of the game’s best players, but it’s impossible to know how accurate it was this far back in baseball history. For instance, Tomney’s range factor per 9 innings was 6.19 in 1889 and 5.48 this season, yet his Defensive War was 0.1 in 1889 and 2.1 this year. Of course, it could have to do with the 114 errors he made in 1889, second in the league to Kansas City shortstop Herman Long, who had 122. That was tied by third baseman Billy Shindle of the Players League Philadelphia Athletics this season and is still the all-time record. Tomney’s 114 errors in 1889 are the fourth most of all time.

johnson

LF-Spud Johnson, Columbus Solons, 33 Years Old

.346, 1 HR, 113 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Runs Batted In-113

Def. Games as OF-135

1st Time All-Star-James Ralph “Spud” Johnson was born in December, 1856 in Canada. When in December? We don’t know. Where in Canada? We don’t know. When did he die? We don’t know that either. What do we know? We know he started with Columbus in 1889 and finished with the National League Cleveland Spiders in 1891 and had his best season ever this year. He finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.1) and sixth in Offensive WAR (4.3), while slashing .346/.409/.461. I don’t know how it would be phrased but 113 RBI with only one home run has to be close to some kind of record. He is also the first Johnson to make an All-Star team.

Here’s Wikipedia’s report on Spud: “Johnson was signed by the Solons on January 15, 1889, when after the 1888 season the Kansas City team of the Western Association folded and was sold to the Kansas City team of the American Association. A dispute quickly surfaced between the two teams about Johnson and his rights. On March 19, Columbus settled the dispute by paying Kansas City $500.[2] His best season came in 1890 when he led the Association in runs batted in with 113, while finishing in the top five in most offensive categories including his .346 batting average, 18 triples, and 186 hits.

“Nothing much is known of his whereabouts after he left organized baseball.” If he lived nowadays, every detail of his life would be reported on social media. Of course, since we don’t know when he died, he could be alive at 160 years old!

mctamany

CF-Jim McTamany, Columbus Solons, 26 Years Old

.258, 1 HR, 48 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-140

Bases on Balls-112

Double Plays Turned as OF-8

1st Time All-Star-James Edward “Jim” McTamany was born 87 years after the birth of the United States in Philadelphia, PA. He played his rookie year with Brooklyn in 1885, then moved to Kansas City in 1888 and Columbus in 1889. He had his best season ever this year, slashing .258/.405/.352 for an OPS+ of 128. He’d never had much power but was always good at drawing bases on balls. Wikipedia says, “As a hitter, McTamany drew a lot of walks, finishing in the top three of the American Association each year from 1888 to 1891. He led the league with 140 runs scored in 1890.

“McTamany was also a good defensive outfielder. He played mostly center field and was among the league leaders in putouts and assists for several seasons.” He’d then play for Columbus and Philadelphia in 1891 and his career would be finished.

Louisville won the title by beating the Solons, 2-0 A book called “Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games That Shaped the 19th Century” says of the game, “The pennant was finally clinched when Louisville left fielder Charlie Hamburg tracked down a long fly ball off the bat of Jack Doyle for the final out. [Hank] Gastright pitched a good game in the tough 2-0 loss, allowing five hits and tossing shut-out ball for the last eight innings.” McTamany went one-for-four in the game, getting his hit in the third inning, but the rally fizzled out and Columbus never got close again. His single was one of six Solon hits in the game.

wolf2

RF-Chicken Wolf, Louisville Colonels, 28 Years Old

1882

.363, 4 HR, 98 RBI

 

Led in:

 

1890 AA Batting Title

Batting Average-.363

Hits-197

Total Bases-260

2nd Time All-Star-Wolf made his second All-Star team and his first in eight years. He played on Louisville from 1882-91, before playing three games with the National League St. Louis Browns in 1892. Chicken had his best season ever, finishing sixth in WAR (5.2); second in WAR Position Players (5.2), behind only Cupid Childs; and third in Offensive WAR (4.7), behind only Childs and Denny Lyons. He slashed .363/.421/.479 for an OPS+ of 166. He’s yet another player who’s grateful for the creation of the Players League. In the World Series in which Louisville tied the National League Brooklyn Bridegrooms, Wolf did great, going nine-for-25 (.360), with three doubles and a triple, also driving in eight runs.

SABR says of Wolf, “The 1890 season was a tumultuous one for professional baseball. It was the year of the Players War, with three major leagues operating and rosters completely changed from 1889. This turned out to be a blessing for Louisville. Although Browning and Hecker were gone, the play of a few rookies and career years by some veterans lofted the club to its only major league pennant. No player had a bigger season than Jimmy Wolf.”

Wikipedia says, “Wolf died in 1903 at the age of 41, from the effects of brain trauma he suffered a few years before in a fire-fighting accident, and is interred at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville. This cemetery is where other Louisville ballplayers have been buried as well, including childhood friend and teammate Pete Browning.”

swartwood5

RF-Ed Swartwood, Toledo Maumees, 31 Years Old

1882 1883 1884 1886

.327, 3 HR, 64 RBI, 0-0, 3.00 ERA, 1 K

 

5th Time All-Star-Swartwood didn’t make the All-Star team in 1887 and then didn’t play in the Major Leagues in 1888 and 1889. However, with the formation of the Players League in 1890, Swartwood was back in the Majors. For Toronto, he finished eighth in WAR (5.1), fourth in WAR Position Players (5.0), and seventh in Offensive WAR (4.3). At the plate, Swartwood slashed .327/.444/.444 for an OPS+ of 157. He had his best ever defensive year, with a Defensive WAR of 0.0. Oh, I know that doesn’t look good, but for Swartwood, one of the worst fielders of all time, it’s incredible.

                According to SABR, Swartwood still had his power: “The right-field wall at Toledo’s ballpark, Speranza Park, was 20 feet high and a considerable distance from home plate. On May 3 off Jack Easton, according to Sporting Life, ‘Swartwood was the first player to knock a fair ball over Toledo’s right field fence.’ For the feat he won a new suit, a hat, and haircuts through the summer.”

And on his life after baseball: “As early as 1904, Swartwood was assisting during legal executions. He became known as a local executioner or hangman. Over the years, he assisted during many locally and even traveled to neighboring counties to assist in others.

“On May 15, 1924, Edward Swartwood died ‘after a long illness’ at the age of 65. He was buried at the Union Dale Cemetery in Pittsburgh.” He’s not going to make the ONEHOF, but for a little while there wasn’t a better hitter in baseball than Swartwood.

mccarthy

RF-Tommy McCarthy, St. Louis Browns, 26 Years Old

.350, 6 HR, 69 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Plate Appearances-625 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases-83

Runs Created-108

Times on Base-269

1st Time All-Star-Thomas Francis Michael “Tommy” McCarthy was born on July 24, 1863 in Boston, MA and my guess is he’s of Irish descent. He started in 1884 with the Union Association Boston Reds, moved on to the National League Boston Beaneaters in 1885, found himself with the NL Philadelphia Quakers in 1886 and 1887, before coming to the Browns in 1888. I am shocked to see he’s a member of the Hall of Fame and it is baffling as to why. This year will most likely be his only All-Star team and, oh, never mind, the Hall of Fame is so frustrating, instead of pure and perfect like the ONEHOF.

Along with playing, McCarthy managed the team for 27 games, guiding them to a 15-12 record. The Browns were also coached by John Kerins (9-8), Chief Roseman (7-8), Count Campau (27-14), and Joe Gerhardt (20-16) and they ended up with a 78-58 record and third place finish.

This was McCarthy’s best season ever as he finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.6) and fourth in Offensive WAR (4.5). He slashed .350/.430/.467 for an OPS+ of 148. Certainly it was a good season, but if this is your best season, what are you doing in the Hall of Fame? Frustrating.

So, um, why?!! According to The Hall of Miller and Eric, “The more insidious among us might guess something else. There were only six members on the powerful Old-Timers Committee. They included Connie Mack, Yankee President Ed Barrow, Hall founder Stephen C. Clark, and three others. Let me introduce those three. First, there’s Boston baseball writer, Mel Webb. Second, we have and a man who previously owned the Boston Red Sox and at the time had ownership interest in the Boston Braves, Bob Quinn. And finally, there’s one-time writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and road secretary for the St. Louis Browns, Sid Mercer. Almost all of McCarthy’s career was for the Boston Beaneaters and St. Louis Browns. Interesting.” Read the whole thing.

dailye2

RF-Ed Daily, Brooklyn Gladiators/New York Giants (NL)/Louisville Colonels

1885

(AA Stats Only) .241, 1 HR, 48 RBI, 16-17, 3.45 ERA, 113 K

 

2nd Time All-Star-Daily last made the All-Star team in 1885. Since then he moved to the National League Washington Nationals in 1887 and then Columbus in 1889. This season, he played for three teams including four games in the National League. In the American Association, Daily finished 9th in WAR for Pitchers, pitching 328 2/3 innings with a 3.45 ERA and a 114 ERA+. He also pitched in the World Series, going 0-2 with a 2.65 ERA against the NL Brooklyn Bridegrooms, who Louisville tied in the Series. His hitting against Brooklyn, as always, was terrible, as Daily went three-for-22, with a double and a triple.

The Gladiators, which is an awesome nickname, by the way, never finished the season, going 26-73 under Manager Jim Kennedy. Or as Wikipedia says, “The 1890 Brooklyn Gladiators baseball team finished with a 26–73 record, last place in the American Association during their only season in existence. The team failed to finish the season, folding after their game against the Syracuse Stars on August 25. They were replaced by the resurrected Baltimore Orioles franchise, which had left the league at the end of the 1889 season.”

Another Wikipedia article adds, “Of the 23 men who played for the Gladiators, only three—Daily, second baseman Joe Gerhardt, and third baseman Jumbo Davis—played professionally beyond the 1890 season. None played past July 1891.” Hey, not to too my own horn, but all three of the players who played past 1890 have made the All-Star team at some point.

1890 National League All-Star Team

P-Kid Nichols, BSN

P-Kid Gleason, PHI

P-Billy Rhines, CIN

P-Amos Rusie, NYG

P-John Clarkson, BSN

P-Bill Hutchinson, CHC

P-Adonis Terry, BRO

P-Pretzels Getzein, BSN

P-Mickey Welch, NYG

P-Tom Lovett, BRO

C-Jack Clements, PHI

C-Charlie Bennett, BSN

1B-Cap Anson, CHC

1B-Dave Foutz, BRO

2B-Hub Collins, BRO

2B-Bid McPhee, CIN

3B-George Pinkney, BRO

3B-Doggie Miller, PIT

SS-Jack Glasscock, NYG

SS-Ed McKean, CLV

SS-Jimmy Cooney, CHC

SS-Ollie Beard, CIN

LF-Billy Hamilton, PHI

CF-Mike Tiernan, NYG

CF-Walt Wilmot, CHC

 

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P-Kid Nichols, Boston Beaneaters, 20 Years Old

27-19, 2.23 ERA, 222 K, .247, 0 HR, 23 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-13.2

WAR for Pitchers-13.1

Shutouts-7

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-1.982

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.98

Adj. Pitching Runs-67

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.3

1st Time All-Star-Charles Augustus “Kid” Nichols was born on September 14, 1869 in Madison, WI and his first year in baseball was a year of chaos around the Major Leagues. Many of the greats from the National League helped form the Players League, giving 1890 three Major Leagues and meaning I’m going to have to write 75 of these. What it also meant is there are more new people than ever on the NL All-Star team, including this young rookie who is off to a Hall of Fame career. Even a cursory glance at his stats tells me the right choice was made. Also, even though he’s going to have a long and prosperous career, 1890 was his best season ever and he was also the best player on the Beaneaters.

Nichols finished first in WAR (13.2) and first in WAR for Pitchers (13.1), pitching 424 innings with a 2.23 ERA and a 170 ERA+. He’s just getting started on a streak of 10 consecutive 20-win seasons.

How much did this help Boston? Not much. The Beaneaters could definitely pitch, they’ll have three pitchers on this team, but their hitting wasn’t up to par to keep them in the pennant race. Managed by Frank Selee, they finished in fifth place with a 76-57 record. As late as August 27, Boston was one game out of first, but then went 6-19 the rest of the year to fall out of contention. Just as it was Nichols’ first year of a Hall of Fame career, the same held true for Selee. Boston has many great years ahead.

gleasonk

P-Kid Gleason, Philadelphia Phillies, 23 Years Old

38-17, 2.63 ERA, 222 K, .210, 0 HR, 17 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Saves-2

1st Time All-Star-William J. “Kid” Gleason was born on October 26, 1866 in Camden, NJ as the National League completely runs out of nicknames and starts calling everyone “Kid.” Well, he was only 21 when he started for Philadelphia in 1888 and he was tiny – five-foot-seven and 158 pounds. He is going to have a long career, though certainly not an All-Star career. He’d never be better than this season when he finished second in WAR (11.6) and second in WAR for Pitchers (11.9), pitching 506 innings with a 2.63 ERA and 139 ERA+. He’d never reach any of those figures again on the mound and ended up spending much of his career as a weak hitting second baseman. However, Gleason was the best player on the Phillies this year. Of course, Gleason is more famous for being the manager of the Black Sox.

Wikipedia says of Gleason: “Gleason was born in Camden, New Jersey. He acquired the nickname ‘Kid’ early in life, not only because of his short stature (growing to only 5-foot-7, 155 pounds) but also because of his energetic, youthful nature.

Dan Lindner of SABR writes, “He is remembered as the manager of the most infamous baseball team ever, but less well known as a versatile and gutsy ballplayer of the 19th century. His counseling and humor became crucial to the success of many big leaguers in the years between the World Wars. He was the Kid from the coal country who rose above his humble beginnings to become a much-loved figure in the national pastime.”

rhines

P-Billy Rhines, Cincinnati Reds, 21 Years Old

28-17, 1.95 ERA, 182 K, .188, 0 HR, 11 RBI

 

Led in:

 

1890 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.95

Walks & Hits per IP-1.121

Adjusted ERA+-186

1st Time All-Star-William Pearl “Billy” or “Bunker” Rhines was born on March 14, 1869 in Ridgway, PA, long before All in the Family ever debuted. Bunker had his best season ever and was the best player on the Reds. Rhines finished third in WAR (11.0) and third in WAR for Pitchers (11.4), pitching 401 1/3 innings with a 1.95 ERA and a 186 ERA+.  Not bad for a rookie.

Rhines’ team, the Reds, played well, finishing 77-55 under the coaching of Tom Loftus. It was Loftus’ fourth of nine years managing and would be his best season. His Reds were in first place as late as July 10, but finished the season 35-32 to fall out of contention. Their pitching was excellent, they had the league’s best ERA, but their hitting lacked what it needed to bring them the crown.

Cincinnati Reds Blog, which put the same creativity into its name as I did for mine, says the following about Rhines: “Rhines was a Pennsylvania native and alumnus of Bucknell, most famous for producing Christy Mathewson.  So, Rhines is only the second-best pitcher to come out of Bucknell.  Rhines pitched in a submarine style that was becoming less common in those days as overhand pitching emerged, and threw a variety of curveballs.  There are reports that ‘Iron Man’ Joe McGinnity copied his pitching motion.

“Rhines was signed by the Reds and 1890 was his rookie season.  He made 45 starts, pitched 401 innings, and posted a 28-17 record with a 1.95 ERA that led the league.  Rhines also led the league in ERA+ and WHIP, not that anyone was tracking that at the time.  Still, all that pitching seemed to cost him.  He was less effective the next year, pitched little the next two seasons and not at all in 1894.”

rusie

P-Amos Rusie, New York Giants, 19 Years Old

29-34, 2.56 ERA, 341 K, .278, 0 HR, 28 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-7.152

Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.594

Strikeouts-341

Bases on Balls-289

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.049

Losses-34

Wild Pitches-36

Assists as P-129

Errors Committed as P-20

1st Time All-Star-Amos Wilson “The Hoosier Thunderbolt” Rusie was born on May 30, 1871 in Mooresville, IN. He is the first person I’ve written up that wasn’t born until Major League baseball began in 1871. This guy looks like he would have been fun to watch pitch, as the results were usually a walk or a strikeout. He was the best player on the Giants, finishing fourth in WAR (9.1) and sixth in WAR for Pitchers (7.8). The Hoosier Thunderbolt (now, that’s a nickname!) pitched 548 2/3 innings with a 2.56 ERA and a 134 ERA+. He set the record for walks in a season (289) that still holds to this day, beating the record of 274 established by Mark “Fido” Baldwin the previous year.

As for the Giants, oh, how the mighty hath fallen! After winning the World Series the previous season, New York lost many of its stars and fell to a 63-68 record under Manager Jim Mutrie.  Mutrie has one season left in his Major League career.

Rusie started in 1889 as a pitcher for Indianapolis. From the beginning, he was wild, walking 116 batters in only 225 innings, while only striking out 109. This saddled him with a 5.32 ERA and a 77 ERA+. It released him and he ended up as the Giants’ ace. I can live with him making the Hall of Fame, though I’ll doubt he’ll make the ONEHOF. He’s off to a stretch of time where he’ll lead the National League in walks five straight seasons, with 200 or over bases on balls in each of them.

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P-John Clarkson, Boston Beaneaters, 28 Years Old

1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889

26-18, 3.27 ERA, 138 K, .249, 2 HR, 26 RBI

 

7th Time All-Star-Clarkson the Great made the All-Star team for his seventh consecutive season, though his year wasn’t nearly as dominant as his previous one. He finished fifth in WAR (9.1) and fourth in WAR for Pitchers (8.8). This is actually the first even-numbered year in which Clarkson finished in the top 10 in overall WAR.  He’s not done yet.

I mentioned in Clarkson’s 1888 blurb which you can click on above (it’s okay, I can wait. Are you back? OK) that it was his salary that had much to do with the creation of the Players League this season. Of course, the shocking thing is he’s not in the Players League, but stuck around in the National League.

We’ve talked a lot about Clarkson’s stats, but not much about his actual pitching. Fortunately Wikipedia does the hard work again and tells us, “Clarkson had a wide variety of curve balls and was considered to be a calculating, scientific pitcher who carefully analyzed every hitter’s weaknesses. Hall of Fame hitter Sam Thompson said of Clarkson: ‘I faced him in scores of games and I can truthfully say that never in all that time did I get a pitch that came where I expected it or in the way in which I guessed it was coming.’”

Now here’s Brian McKenna in SABR about Clarkson remaining in the NL. I should note there is quite a bit on the page and I urge you to read the whole thing. McKenna says, “On December 18, the Brotherhood met again to firm up the new league. The members expelled Clarkson and 14 others, officially blacklisting them. On January 11, 1890, the men returned to Chicago from San Francisco. The Chicago Tribune wrote, ‘The Brotherhood sentiment was strong in all excepting Clarkson, who did not move about with the others.’ Hardy Richardson took the opportunity to publicly blast the pitcher, calling him out for his double-agent activities and disloyalty to his colleagues. The two didn’t speak for many months.”

hutchinson

P-Bill Hutchinson, Chicago Colts, 30 Years Old

41-25, 2.70 ERA, 289 K, .203, 2 HR, 27 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Wins-41

Games Pitched-71

Saves-2

Innings Pitched-603

Games Started-66

Complete Games-65

Home Runs-20

Batters Faced-2,506

Def. Games as P-71

Putouts as P-44

1st Time All-Star-William Forrest “Wild Bill” Hutchinson was born on December 17, 1859 in New Haven, CT. He started by pitching two games for the Union Association Kansas City Cowboys in 1884 and then didn’t play Major League ball until 1889, where the White Stockings picked him up. Starting in 1890, two things happened – the White Stockings became the Colts and Wild Bill became the ace of Chicago’s staff. This season, he finished sixth in WAR (7.8) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (8.3), pitching 603 innings with a 2.70 ERA and a 137 ERA+. He’s got a couple of great seasons left, but Hutchinson would never have a higher Adjusted ERA+. He was the Colts’ best player.

According to the Norwich Historical Society, “After graduating in 1875 he went on to Yale where he played shortstop and pitched. In 1880, his graduation year, William was chosen team captain. Following graduation, William moved to Kansas City, Missouri to work for the railroad, but he never lost his love for the game and played for Springfield (Northwestern League) and in 1884 the Kansas City Cowboys (Union Association). He apparently had offers to play pro and semi pro ball for various teams but declined due to health issues. During the 1887-88 season he reportedly played for Des Moines earning a $3800 salary, considered the highest in the league at the time. After turning in a 23-10 (win-loss) performance in 1888, William was moved up to the majors. In 1889, he began his rookie year at 29 with the National League’s Chicago White Stockings/Colts (now Chicago Cubs), as a right handed pitcher. He was the club’s first player to hold a college degree. Hutchison possessed a blazing fastball which enabled him to strike out 136 batters and led him to 16 wins 17 losses and an ERA of 3.54 his first year. The following season he went 42-25, striking out 289 with an ERA of 2.70.”

terry5

P-Adonis Terry, Brooklyn Bridegrooms, 25 Years Old

1884 1886 1887 1888

26-16, 2,94 ERA, 185 K, .278, 4 HR, 59 RBI

 

5th Time All-Star-I mentioned in Terry’s 1888 blurb that he might be the worst pitcher to make this many All-Star teams, but this season was his best ever and he was the best player on the pennant-winning Bridegrooms. He finished eighth in WAR (6.1), splitting his time between the mound and the outfield. From the bump, Terry pitched 370 innings with a 2.94 ERA and 119 ERA+. At the dish, he slashed .278/.356/.408 for an OPS+ of 121.

His great all-around season led Brooklyn to the National League crown. It won the 1889 American Association title and then moved to the NL, where it also won the pennant. Coached for the third and last year by Bill McGunnigle, the Bridegrooms finished 86-43, six-and-a-half games in front of the Colts. They scored the most runs in the league and were third in runs allowed, a good combination. In the World Series, Brooklyn tied the American Association Louisville Colonels, 3-3-1. Terry pitched three games, going 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA, but his hitting tanked, as he was one-for-20 from the plate.

A webpage called William “Adonis” Terry – The Forgotten Legend of 19th Century Baseball says he should be in the Hall of Fame. He’s on the borderline, but I don’t think he makes it. He never had a dominating season, though he will end up making about six All-Star teams. That website also says, “One of the most notable characteristics of Terry’s career was the fact that he was a clean living player and kept himself in great condition in a time when many players were known for their off-field (and sometimes on-field) drunken escapades including many Hall of Famers.”

getzien3

P-Pretzels Getzien, Boston Beaneaters, 26 Years Old

1884 1887

23-17, 3.19 ERA, 140 K, .231, 2 HR, 25 RBI

 

3rd Time All-Star-These Pretzels are making me thirsty! Getzien’s very lucky to never have lived in the age of Seinfeld. I wonder what he did watch on TV? It’s been three years since he made an All-Star team. In 1889, he moved to Indianapolis after Detroit folded and this season, after the Hoosiers went defunct, Getzien was purchased by Boston, where he had his best season ever and most likely, his last All-Star team. Getzein finished 10th in WAR (5.6) and eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.0), pitching 350 innings with a 3.19 ERA and a 119 ERA+, his highest Adjusted ERA+ since his rookie year in 1884.

 Wikipedia wraps up his career: “During nine major league seasons, he compiled a 145–139 record and a 3.46 earned run average (ERA) in 296 games. He totaled 292 games started and threw 277 complete games, a total that ranks 58th in major league history. Only three pitchers in major league history (Ed Morris, Mark Baldwin, and Hall of Famer Albert Spalding) threw more complete games in careers shorter than Getzein’s nine-year career.

“Getzein’s record for complete games is based in part on the customs of the 1880s. In 1915, Baseball Magazine reported that managers were not allowed to freely pull the starting pitcher from a game in the bygone era. It cited an incident involving Getzein to illustrate the old practice:

“’The Nationals got onto Getzein in the fourth inning and batted him all over the field. In the fifth inning they kept up the slugging until Getzein said he was ill, and Manager Hanlon wanted the Nationals to allow Getzein to retire, claiming that he was too sick to play. Baker, captaining the home club, said he would call a doctor and have him examine Getzein, and if the latter was really sick he would probably allow the change to be made. Dr. Bond, who happened to be present, was called on, and he examined the pitcher, while the crowd guyed Getzein terribly. The doctor announced that he did not consider Getzein sick, only discouraged at the pounding he had received, and that he would be able to finish the game.’”

welch10

P-Mickey Welch, New York Giants, 30 Years Old

1880 1881 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889

17-14, 2.99 ERA, 97 K, .179, 0 HR, 10 RBI

 

10th Time All-Star-The great Smiling Mickey is starting to decline and will be out of the league in two years. He did make his last All-Star team this season and certainly deserves his Hall of Fame nomination. As for this year, he finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.6), pitching 292 1/3 innings with a 2.99 ERA and a 115 ERA+. It was the first season since 1882 in which Welch didn’t win 20 or more games. He will remain with the Giants for the next two seasons, but finish only 5-9 with a 4.58 ERA over the remainder of his career.

Welch always proponed for player rights, but shockingly didn’t go into the Players League. According to Wikipedia, “Before the Players’ League began its season in 1890, Welch realized that he was coming to the end of his playing career. Saying that he was in baseball to earn money, Welch agreed to re-sign with the Giants on a three-year contract. Welch said that he had been willing to accept $2,000 less to play in the Players’ League, but that deal fell through when the league could only guarantee one year of salary. He met with sharp criticism from Jim O’Rourke and other Brotherhood members, but the Players’ League lasted only one season.”

Wikipedia also speaks of his Hall of Fame election, saying, “Welch was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1973. He was represented at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony by his elderly daughter, Julia Weiss.”

lovett

P-Tom Lovett, Brooklyn Bridegrooms, 26 Years Old

30-11, 2.78 ERA, 124 K, .201, 1 HR, 20 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Win Loss %-.732

1st Time All-Star-Thomas Joseph “Tom” Lovett was born on December 7, 1863 in Providence, RI. He started in 1885 for the American Association Philadelphia Athletics pitching 138 2/3 innings and going 7-8. Then he was out of the Major Leagues until 1889 when he moved to Brooklyn. This first season for the Bridegrooms in the National League was Lovett’s best season ever and, most likely, his first and only All-Star team. Lovett finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.7), pitching 372 innings with a 2.78 ERA and a 126 ERA+. In the World Series, he was 2-2 with a 2.83 ERA. The year before, Lovett pitched only one game in the Series, allowing nine runs in three innings.

As for the rest of his life, Wikipedia says, “As quickly as Lovett rose to prominence, he fell. He sat out the 1892 season, and when he returned, he was largely ineffective. He played in the minor leagues until 1896, after which he retired.

“Lovett died at the age of 64 in his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island and is interred at St. Ann Cemetery in Cranston, Rhode Island.”

According to Baseball History Daily, Lovett was baseball’s first holdout, saying “After the 1891 season Brooklyn attempted to cut his salary to $2800 (various sources say he either earned $3000 or $3500 in 1891).  Lovett demanded $3500 and turned down a compromise offer of $3200.

“He said he could earn more money operating his tavern in Providence and chose to sit out the 1892 season.

“The Sporting Life called it, ‘A vain and foolish kick against salary reduction.’”

clements

C-Jack Clements, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

.315, 7 HR, 74 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-503 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-John J. Clements was born on July 24, 1864 in Philadelphia, PA and was likely the most successful left-handed catcher ever. He had started as an outfielder with the 1884 Union Association Philadelphia Keystones, before moving to the National League, where he would remain with Philadelphia, whether it be the Quakers or the Phillies, through 1897. Once he got to the National League, catcher was always his main position.

In his previous five seasons, Clements never was much of a hitter, never being above 100 OPS+, yet here, as a 25-year-old, he started hitting well over the next few seasons. The lefty finished 10th in Offensive WAR (3.9), slashing .315/.392/.472 for an OPS+ of 148 and has better seasons ahead.

Clements also managed for the Phillies, but then again, who didn’t. Four managers led the team to a third-place finish this year. They were Harry Wright (36-31), Clements (13-6), Al Reach (4-7), and Bob Allen (25-10), who combined guided the team to a 78-53 record. Wright started the year and also came back in the end. He would coach the Phillies for four more seasons, ending his great managerial career. Clements would never manage again, nor would Reach. Allen would get one more chance in 1900 with the Reds.

According to Wikipedia, “He also served as a player-manager during part of the 1890 season when manager Harry Wright suffered temporary blindness.” The free encyclopedia also tells us that he is credited with being the first catcher to wear a chest protector.

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C-Charlie Bennett, Boston Beaneaters, 35 Years Old

1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888

.214, 3 HR, 40 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as C-.959 (6th Time)

9th Time All-Star-In 1889, Bennett’s first season with Boston, he missed the All-Star team for the first time since 1880. He’s back this year, despite the fact his hitting seriously deteriorated. He could still field, finishing eighth in Defensive WAR (1.6), but at the plate, Bennett slashed .214/.377/.320 for an OPS+ of 96. Almost all of his value comes from his 72 walks.

Back here in the 1800s, pitchers were dominant. Up to this point, a pitcher has been the top WAR leader every season, except for the 1884 Union Association, which was won by second baseman Fred Dunlap. It’s difficult for catchers to ever do well in overall WAR because of the lack of games they typically played. Bennett finished in the top 10 in 1881 and 1883.

In doing these lists, I want all of these players to be in the Hall of Fame. I admit it. Spending so much time writing about them has blinded me to any of their faults. However, Bennett deserves the Hall. He’s got an outside shot at entering the ONEHOF, my fake Hall of Fame in which the best player who’s not in the ONEHOF is inducted, but I think this tough catcher should be in the real thing. While Buck Ewing, King Kelly, and Deacon White are all in the Hall of Fame and deserve it, none of them played as much catcher nearly as well as long as Bennett. At this point in his career, his hitting is declining, but he’s 35-years-old and his hands look like raw ground beef at this time.

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1B-Cap Anson, Chicago Colts, 38 Years Old

1872 1873 1874 1876 1877 1878 1880 1881 1882 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889

.312, 7 HR, 107 RBI

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.443 (4th Time)

Games Played-139

Bases on Balls-113

Times on Base-276 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as 1B-135 (5th Time)

Assists as 1B-49 (8th Time)

Oldest-38 Years Old

16th Time All-Star-With Roger Connor and Dan Brouthers off to the Players League, Anson easily reigned as the best first sacker in the league once again. He finished fourth in WAR Position Players (5.4) and fifth in Offensive WAR (5.2). Anson slashed .312/.443/.401 at the plate as his power is starting to fade, not counting a resurgence in 1894. You can argue about many things, but you can’t argue that Cap was the greatest player of his era and one of the greatest players of all-time.

Oh, and in his second job, managing, the Colts finished second with a 83-53 record. They never were in the running for the title, starting 11-12 and failing to recover. Only a stretch where they won 19 out of 20 games played towards the end of the season brought them as close as they were.

Did Anson like the Players League? What do you think? SABR says, “By 1890, Anson was a stockholder in the Chicago ballclub, owning 13 percent of the team. A company man through and through, he bitterly criticized the Brotherhood of Professional Ball Players, whose members quit the National League en masse in early 1890 and formed the Players League. Anson, one of a handful of stars who refused to jump to the new league, hastily assembled a new group of youngsters (which the newspapers dubbed Anson’s Colts) and finished second that year. Spalding worked behind the scenes to undermine the rival circuit, while Anson led the charge in the newspapers, denouncing the jumpers as ‘traitors’ and gleefully predicting the eventual failure of the upstart league. The new circuit collapsed after one season, but Anson’s role in the defeat angered many of his former players.”

63.350.215.172.1509

1B-Dave Foutz, Brooklyn Bridegrooms, 33 Years Old

1885 1886

.303, 5 HR, 98 RBI, 2-1, 1.86 ERA, 4 K

 

Led in:

 

Saves-2 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.09

Range Factor/Game as 1B-10.89

3rd Time All-Star-For the first time, Scissors is making an All-Star team as a position player rather than a pitcher. Even as a pitcher, he always could hit and that hasn’t changed over the years. Also interesting, he has made three All-Star teams and in all of those seasons, his team made the World Series. This season, Foutz finished ninth in Offensive WAR (3.9) while slashing .303/.368/.432 at the plate. In the World Series against the American Association Louisville Colonels, Foutz hit .300 with two doubles and a triple, helping Brooklyn tie the series 3-3-1.

Like so many of these players, Foutz died young, at 40-years-old. Wikipedia says, “Never in good health, in January 1896, Foutz became dangerously ill with pneumonia and barely recovered. After he was released from the Bride Grooms, in October 1896, Foutz was considered for a manager in the minor leagues or as a possible umpire, but by January 1897, he was too ill to work and was under a doctor’s care. On March 5, 1897, David Luther Foutz died at his mother’s home in Waverly, a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland, of an asthma attack. He was buried in the Loudon Park Cemetery, in Baltimore City, Maryland. News papers reported his funeral was a sad and somber affair, attended by many former teammates and baseball players. Also in attendance were executives from the National League as well as his old Brooklyn and St. Louis ball clubs.” Here in America, we love to complain about health care, but our longevity has certainly improved since the 1800s.

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2B-Hub Collins, Brooklyn Bridegrooms, 26 Years Old

1888

.278, 3 HR, 69 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-148

2nd Time All-Star-Welcome to the tragedy portion of the 1890 National League All-Star team page. Let’s start with the positive, Collins helped Brooklyn reach its second straight World Series. He finished second in WAR Position Players (5.6), behind only Jack Glasscock; seventh in Offensive WAR (4.4); and ninth in Defensive WAR (1.5), his best season ever and he was only 26-years-old. From the plate, he slashed .278/.385/.386 for an OPS+ of 124 while in the World Series against the American Association Louisville Colonels, he hit .310 with a triple. It sure looked like he going to have a long and prosperous career.

The Dodgers Encyclopedia by William McNeil says of Collins, “On the brink of a brilliant baseball career, Hub Collins was struck down with typhoid fever four weeks into the 1892 season. He succumbed to the disease on May 21, 1892. He was 28 years old. During his brief seven-year career, the speedy Collins left may indications of what might have been. Playing in only 680 games, Collins scored 653 runs, an average of 0.96 runs per game. This figure is the fourth highest in baseball history, although Collins didn’t play enough games to qualify for official recognition. A lifetime .284 hitter, he stole 335 bases during his career, 195 of them with Brooklyn. His stolen base per game average is one of the highest ever recorded. He is fifth on the all-time Dodger list, in spite of the fact that he played in only 407 games in the City of Churches. In the field, his lifetime 6.1 range factor is the best of any Dodger second baseman.”

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2B-Bid McPhee, Cincinnati Reds, 30 Years Old

1886 1887 1889

.256, 3 HR, 39 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 2B-404 (5th Time)

Assists as 2B-431 (5th Time)

Double Plays Turned as 2B-62 (9th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.37 (5th Time)

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.33 (5th Time)

4th Time All-Star-McPhee, the gloveless wonder, made his fourth All-Star team and probably has a few more left. It still seems strange to me that Bid is in the Hall of Fame if Jack Glasscock isn’t. I’ll complain about this more in the Glasscock write-up. This is taking nothing away from the great McPhee, who finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.1) and seventh in Defensive WAR (1.6). His hitting was never anything spectacular, but it was decent as he slashed .256/.362/.386 for an OPS+ of 116.

It was for his defense that garnered the fame for John Alexander McPhee as you can see from the categories above in which he led the league. He played barehanded for most of his career, making his numbers even more dazzling. He wouldn’t put on a glove until the 1896 season.

McPhee wasn’t well liked by the fans when he first started. In an interview in 1890, according to SABR, he said, “’What broke me up worse than anything else was a little episode that occurred after the game. I boarded a Clark streetcar as soon as I changed my clothes, and leaned against the rail of the rear platform, which was crowded with baseball enthusiasts going home. In my citizen’s attire none of the cranks knew me. They had evidently lost some money on the game and, as I had contributed more than anyone else to the Waterloo, I was the special target for their abuse. “That stiff they played on second base today made me sick,” said one of the crowd. “What’s his name? McPhee? Yes, that’s it. Maybe he didn’t work the Cincinnati Club about wanting to keep books! He ought to have staved in Akron. He might be a good bookkeeper, but he is a rotten ballplayer!”’”

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3B-George Pinkney, Brooklyn Bridegrooms, 31 Years Old

1888

.309, 7 HR, 83 RBI

 

2nd Time All-Star-Pinkney is one of three Brooklyn infielders to make the All-Star team, Dave Foutz and Hub Collins being the others. Only shortstop lacked representation for the Bridegrooms. Pinkney had his best season ever, finishing third in WAR Position Players (5.5), behind only Jack Glasscock and Hub Collins; and fourth in Offensive WAR (5.3). He slashed .309/.411/.431 with an OPS+ of 144 at the plate. All four of those categories were his career highs. In the World Series against the American Association Louisville Colonels, he bashed .357 with two triples, but didn’t play fulltime, only garnering 14 at-bats. Because these Series were more exhibitions than true competitions, Baseball Reference doesn’t list the number of games played, but my guess is that he played in only three of the seven contests.

After this season, Pinkney would play three more seasons, one more with Brooklyn in 1891, one with St. Louis in 1892, and one with Louisville in 1893. Now 31, he’d never reach the peak he did this season, but finished with a decent career.

Wikipedia wraps up his life: “In 10 seasons Pinkney played in 1,163 games and had 4,610 at-bats, 874 runs, 1,212 hits, 170 doubles, 56 triples, 21 home runs, 539 RBI, 526 walks, .263 batting average, .345 on-base percentage, .338 slugging percentage and 1,557 total bases…He remained the only player to play in more than 500 consecutive games until Fred Luderus played in 533 games.

“He died in Peoria, Illinois at the age of 67 and was interred at Springdale Cemetery.”

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3B-Doggie Miller, Pittsburgh Alleghenys, 25 Years Old

.273, 4 HR, 66 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed -48

1st Time All-Star-George Frederick “Doggie” or “Foghorn” or “Calliope” Miller was born on August 15, 1864 in Brooklyn, NY. He started as a 19-year-old for Pittsburgh in the American Association in 1884 and only now made his first All-Star team. He was the Alleghenys’ top player, which is the only reason he made the squad, though he did finish eighth in Offensive WAR (4.0). Foghorn slashed .273/.357/.350 at the plate for an OPS+ of 116, his highest Adjusted OPS+ ever.

Pittsburgh is a team with a long history. You might think of it being the team of Honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente, We Are Family, and Barry Bonds. What you won’t think about is the 1890 Alleghenys, who really stunk it up, finishing 23-113 under the hand of Guy Hecker, who, to no one’s shock, would never manage again. As bad as their hitting was, and it was awful, their pitching and defense was worse. Pittsburgh gave up 8.9 runs a game, 2.8 runs a game higher than their next closest team.

                A site called Pirates Prospects says of Calliope, “When most of the Alleghenys left to go to the Player’s League in 1890, Miller stayed and endured a 23-113 season, the worst in franchise history. He was the best hitter on a horrible team, leading the team with a .273 average, 66 RBI’s, 68 walks and 85 runs scored. He mostly played third base that year to keep his bat in the lineup daily, but when the PL folded after one season, Doggie went back to catching more often.”

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SS-Jack Glasscock, New York Giants, 32 Years Old, 1890 ONEHOF Inductee

1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889

.336, 1 HR, 66 RBI

 

Led in:

 

1890 NL Batting Title

WAR Position Players-7.1 (2nd Time)

Offensive WAR-5.9

Batting Average-.336

Hits-172 (2nd Time)

AB per SO-64.0 (3rd Time)

10th Time All-Star-Well, Pebbly Jack, you take what you can get and so I proudly welcome Jack Glasscock to the One-a-year Hall of Fame. Next year’s nominees are Charlie Bennett, Roger Connor, Harry Stovey, King Kelly, Monte Ward, Old Hoss Radbourn, Hardy Richardson, and Buck Ewing.

For this season, Glasscock again shined, finishing seventh in WAR (7.1), first in WAR Position Players (7.1), first in Offensive WAR (5.9), and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.9). This is the fifth time in his career he’s finished in the top 10 in all four of those categories. It’s difficult to be a great offensive and defensive player, but Pebbly Jack did it all the time.

At the plate this season, Glasscock slashed .336/.395/.439 for an OPS+ of 147. It was his second highest Adjusted OPS+ ever, though his hitting would fall off after this season. He would continue to shine in the field for a while, however.

The problem with weaker candidates making the Hall of Fame is it lessens the chance for the real candidates to make it. When you put in weak candidates like Candy Cummings, you then have a committee which thinks the 1800s if overrepresented already and has no need of Glasscock. I don’t know how much you value WAR, but his overall war is 61.5, which is over numerous people already in the Hall of Fame.

Some of it’s just bad luck. For instance, he finally went to a good team this season, last season’s National League champs, but they dropped due to losing so many players to the Players League, and fell to sixth.

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SS-Ed McKean, Cleveland Spiders, 26 Years Old

1888 1889

.296, 7 HR, 61 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as SS-75 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-McKean is Cleveland’s only representative on the All-Star team and its best player. He finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.3) and second, to another shortstop, Jack Glasscock, in Offensive WAR (5.8). Shortstops sure could hit in 1890. McKean slashed .296/.401/.417 for an OPS+ of 144. Despite all of the above, there’s a good chance this is his last All-Star team.

As for the Cleveland Spiders, they were just happy Pittsburgh was in the National League, otherwise it would have been them in last. Gus Schmelz (21-55) and Bob Leadley (23-33) guided them to a 44-88 seventh place finish.

Since I’m assuming McKean’s days on the All-Star are done, here’s Wikipedia’s wrap up of his career: “Prior to the 1899 season, the Spiders transferred most of their best players to the St. Louis Perfectos, including McKean. This was legal at the time, as both teams were owned by the same ownership group led by the Robison brothers. However, he did not perform up to expectations and was let go in July. The following season, the Spiders folded, and such shenanigans were outlawed.

“After not playing professionally for two years, McKean returned to play in the minor leagues in 1902 as player-manager of the Rochester Bronchos. After several more years in the minors, he retired following the 1908 season. All told, McKean racked up a grand total of 2,083 hits and 1124 RBI during his major league career. He also recorded 4 seasons with over 110 RBI and owned a superb lifetime batting average of .302. For his time, he also hit a lot of home runs; 66 in 13 seasons was considered great at that time. He died at age 55 in Cleveland, Ohio.”

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SS-Jimmy Cooney, Chicago Colts, 24 Years Old

.272, 4 HR, 52 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.6

Plate Appearances-653

Def. Games as SS-135

Fielding % as SS-.936

1st Time All-Star-James Joseph “Jimmy” Cooney was born on July 9, 1865 in Cranston, RI. If he was born in our time, he could host his own late night talk show. As it was, he came at a good time, because so many people went to the Players League, many new people started to shine in the National League. Ned Williamson was one of those who departed to the PL, so Cooney got his chance and made the most of it. He finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.3) and first in Defensive WAR (2.6), all in his rookie year. In his short three-year career, he dazzled with the glove.

Cooney had a namesake son also play in the pros and in his son’s SABR article, it says this about the father:  “His obituary in the Pawtucket Times said he was ‘one of the most graceful infielders in the history of the game, and was especially skilful in the timing and handling of grounders. He was an accurate and reliable thrower. He enjoyed the distinction of being one of the first players to demonstrate the possibilities of the sacrifice hit.’

“He had played shortstop in the National League for Chicago and for Washington in 1890 through 1892, his best season being his first one, hitting .272 with four homers and 52 RBIs for the Chicago Colts (later Cubs). His career major-league average was .242. From 1892 through 1899 he played for Providence, and in 1900 for Bristol in the Connecticut State League.”

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SS-Ollie Beard, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1889

.268, 3 HR, 72 RBI

 

2nd Time All-Star-Beard made the All-Star team for the second consecutive season, both with the Reds, but in different leagues. His fielding continued to be his strength as he finished second in Defensive WAR (2.2), while also finishing 10th in WAR Position Players (4.4). He had his best year ever at the plate, slashing .268/.331/.382 for an OPS+ of 106. In 1891, he would become a third baseman for the American Association Louisville Colonels, his last season.

In my many seconds of research, I don’t know why Beard’s career came to a quick end. Maybe it’s because his hitting continued to falter and, in 1891, with Louisville, his fielding also fell off. He really had two of the most dazzling fielding seasons in a row, according to Baseball Reference’s Defensive WAR, or bdWAR. I can’t find anything about whether an injury beset him in his last season.

It seems strange Louisville would move the great fielding Beard to third base. True, the Colonels had future Hall of Famer Hughie Jennings at shortstop, but Jennings’ fielding wasn’t his strong suit at this time. It reminds me of the Angels actually moving Mike Trout to leftfield for a season so they could fit, gulp, Peter Bourjos into the lineup!? It’s a hint to why the Angels continue to struggle.

The best managers gauge the skills of their players accurately and put the right people in the right place. Of course, all of this is just guesswork since I can’t find details on the latter end of Beard’s career, but it’s still strange.

hamilton

LF-Billy Hamilton, Philadelphia Phillies, 24 Years Old

.325, 2 HR, 49 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-102 (2nd Time)

Singles-137

Errors Committed as OF-34

1st Time All-Star-William Robert “Sliding Billy” Hamilton was born on February 15, 1866 in Newark, NJ, and like all Billy Hamiltons, he was fast! His speed raced him into the Hall of Fame and in a quick glance at his career, he deserves it. He started in 1888 with the American Association Kansas City Cowboys stealing 19 bases in 35 games. The next season, he stole over 100 bases, 111 to be exact, for the first of four times he’d do so in his career, including this season.

But Sliding Bill didn’t just have speed, he could rake! He finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.4) and sixth in Offensive WAR (4.6). At the dish, Hamilton slashed .325/.430/.399 for an OPS+ of 139. He would end up, spoiler alert!, with a slash line of .344/.455/.432 for an OPS+ of 141. What I’m saying is we’re going to be seeing the speedster on this list a lot.

Wikipedia speaks of Hamilton’s early life: “Hamilton was born on February 16, 1866 in Newark, New Jersey. His parents, Samuel and Mary Hamilton, had immigrated to New Jersey from Ireland. Biographer Roy Kerr writes that evidence suggests that Hamilton was descended from the Ulster Scots people. (As an adult, Hamilton was known to proudly proclaim his Scottish ancestry.) When Hamilton was a small child, his family moved to Clinton, Massachusetts. He worked in a Clinton cotton mill as a young teenager.” This Billy Hamilton is a lesson to the modern Billy Hamilton that speed isn’t enough, you need to get on base.

tiernan3

CF-Mike Tiernan, New York Giants, 23 Years Old

1888 1889

.304, 13 HR, 59 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Slugging %-.495

On-Base Plus Slugging-.880

Total Bases-274

Home Runs-13

Adjusted OPS+-160

Runs Created-104

Adj. Batting Runs-40

Adj. Batting Wins-4.2

Extra Base Hits-59

Offensive Win %-.747

3rd Time All-Star-Silent Mike continued to be one of the best outfielders in the National League, making the All-Star team for the third consecutive year. Tiernan finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.6) and third in Offensive WAR (5.3). It was his best offensive season thus far, but his defense, never great, was horrendous this season (-1.3 Defensive WAR). At the plate, he slashed .304/.385/.495 for an OPS+ of 160. In the era he played, his stats were outstanding.

SABR has the following on Tiernan’s 1890 season: “The 1890 season would be a fractious one, with three separate major league circuits – National League, American Association, and Players League – in direct competition. And no fewer than five clubs called greater New York home, two in Manhattan and three across the East River in Brooklyn. But nothing locally compared to the cutthroat rivalry between the NL Real Giants and the PL Big Giants, whom schedule-makers had deliberately placed at home on the same dates. Unfortunately for all concerned, the arrangement backfired, with neither team drawing well. Typical was the attendance at competing home games played on May 12, 1890. Only 1,707 fans attended a PL Boston-New York game at Brotherhood Park, while across the alley only 687 lonesome souls paid their way into the New Polo Grounds to see the NL Boston-New York match – the occasion of the most celebrated home run of Mike Tiernan’s career. As word of a scoreless pitching duel between Kid Nichols and Amos Rusie made its way across the stadium divide, PL fans began migrating to the right field grandstand of Brotherhood Park to spy on the proceedings next door. In the tenth inning, partisans of both New York nines were thrilled when the game was decided 1-0 by a mammoth Tiernan homer – a line shot that cleared the confines of the New Polo Grounds, crossed the alley, and struck the outer wall of Brotherhood Park.”

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CF-Walt Wilmot, Chicago Colts, 26 Years Old

1889

.278, 13 HR, 99 RBI

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-139

Home Runs-13

Power-Speed #-22.2

Def. Games as OF-139

Putouts as OF-320

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.55

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.49

2nd Time All-Star-Once again, I was a false prophet, as I predicted in 1889 that Wilmot’s All-Star appearances were done, but the original power-speed maven proved me wrong. This season, he slashed .278/.353/.419 for an OPS+  of 120. He also had his best defensive season ever as 1890 was the only year in which he finished with a positive Baseball Reference dWAR (0.4).

Washington, Wilmot’s former team, folded, so the Colts were able to purchase him, as Chicago always seemed able to do. He must have liked going from a last place team to a second place squad. Chicago was also closer to his birthplace of Plover, Wisconsin.

Since he’s back on the All-Star team, here’s more on his career from Wikipedia: “He also set a career best with 76 stolen bases while driving in 99 runs in 1890. On the August 22, 1891, he became the first player in major league history to be walked 6 times in 1 game.

“Wilmot’s most productive season came in 1894, when he posted career-highs in batting average (.330), runs scored (134), hits (197), RBI (130), doubles (45) and extra-base hits (62) in 133 games.

“Overall in his ten-season career, Wilmot was a .276 hitter with 58 home runs and 594 RBI in 962 games, including 727 runs, 152 doubles, 92 triples, 381 stolen bases and a .337 on-base percentage.”

At the time of this writing, Joe Posnanski has been running a series on the Hall of Fame nominees for 2017. It’s been phenomenal as all of his stuff is, but it’s been interesting as he’s been exploring into WAR and how they rate defense, specifically Baseball Reference. His question is how much does defense really affect a player? Wilmot was helped this year by just mediocre defense, would it really add 0.4 of a game above a replacement player?