1917 National League All-Star Team

P-Pete Alexander, PHI

P-Wilbur Cooper, PIT

P-Hippo Vaughn, CHC

P-Leon Cadore, BRO

P-Jeff Pfeffer, BRO

P-Ferdie Schupp, NYG

P-Chief Bender, PHI

P-Fred Toney, CIN

P-Eppa Rixey, PHI

P-Elmer Jacobs, PIT

C-Ivey Wingo, CIN

C-Bill Rariden, NYG

1B-Ed Konetchy, BSN

2B-Dots Miller, STL

3B-Heinie Groh, CIN

3B-Heinie Zimmerman, NYG

3B-Red Smith, BSN

SS-Rogers Hornsby, STL

SS-Art Fletcher, NYG

SS-Rabbit Maranville, BSN

LF-George J. Burns, NYG

CF-Max Carey, PIT

CF-Edd Roush, CIN

CF-Benny Kauff, NYG

RF-Gavvy Cravath, PHI

 

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

1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916

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

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (inducted in 1938)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

1917 NL Pitching Title (3rd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-9.9 (4th Time)

WAR for Pitchers-9.4 (4th Time)

Wins-30 (5th Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.299

Innings Pitched-388.0 (6th Time)

Strikeouts-200 (5th Time)

Games Started-44 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-34 (5th Time)

Shutouts-8 (5th Time)

Hits Allowed-336 (3rd Time)

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

Batters Faced-1,529 (5th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-4.7 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-39 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.7 (3rd Time)

Putouts as P-24 (4th Time)

Assists as P-108 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as P-2.93

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

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

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

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1916 American League All-Star Team

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Babe Ruth, BOS

P-Bob Shawkey, NYY

P-Harry Coveleski, DET

P-Carl Mays, BOS

P-Dutch Leonard, BOS

P-Bullet Joe Bush, PHA

P-Harry Harper, WSH

P-Carl Weilman, SLB

P-Reb Russell, CHW

C-Les Nunamaker, NYY

C-Ray Schalk, CHW

1B-George Sisler, SLB

1B-Wally Pipp, NYY

2B-Eddie Collins, CHW

2B-Del Pratt, SLB

3B-Larry Gardner, BOS

SS-Roger Peckinpaugh, NYY

LF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, CHW

LF-Bobby Veach, DET

LF-Burt Shotton, SLB

CF-Tris Speaker, BOS

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Amos Strunk, PHA

CF-Happy Felsch, CHW

 

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P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 28 Years Old, 1916 ONEHOF Inductee

1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915

25-20, 1.90 ERA, 228 K, .225, 1 HR, 7 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-10.7 (5th Time)

WAR for Pitchers-9.8 (5th Time)

Wins-25 (4th Time)

Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.551 (4th Time)

Innings Pitched-369 2/3 (5th Time)

Strikeouts-228 (6th Time)

Complete Games-36 (6th Time)

Hits Allowed-290 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-2.781 (5th Time)

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

Batters Faced-1,410 (5th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.82 (5th Time)

9th Time All-Star-Well, that didn’t take long. At the age of 28, Walter “Big Train” Johnson has entered the One-A-Year Hall of Fame, the Hall of my creation that allows just one player to enter per calendar year. The full list is here. Next year’s nominees are Roger Bresnahan, Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Johnny Evers, Sherry Magee, Eddie Collins, and Tris Speaker. That is not going to be an easy pick.

Walter is also one of the top 10 (technically top five) players of all-time, as of 1916. Here’s that list:

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

Washington, managed by Clark Griffith, dropped from fourth in 1915 to seventh this season with a76-77 record.  The Senators had no power, having the lowest slugging percentage in the American League, and had passable pitching.

Surprisingly, this will be the last season Johnson leads the AL in innings pitched. He’ll still pitch over 300 innings for the next two seasons, but then start declining after that. Of course, he is all of 28 at this point and still has an incredible amount of seasons left. My prediction is he’s going to wind up with 18 All-Star teams, which at this point would be the all-time record. I better start researching his life, because I’m going to be writing a lot about him apparently!

ruth

P-Babe Ruth, Boston Red Sox, 21 Years Old, 1916 AL MVP

23-12, 1.75 ERA, 170 K, .272, 3 HR, 16 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

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

 

Led in:

 

1916 AL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.75

Hits per 9 IP-6.396

Games Started-40

Shutouts-9

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

Adjusted ERA+-158

Adj. Pitching Runs-37

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.4

Putouts as P-24

1st Time All-Star-George Herman “Babe” or “The Bambino” or “The Sultan of Swat” or “Jidge” Ruth was born on February 6, 1895 in Baltimore, MD. The six-foot-two, 215 pound left-handed pitching, left-handed hitting pitcher is going to end being the greatest player of all-time. He started with Boston in 1914 and had an 18-8 record in 1915, but didn’t make the All-Star team. That’s okay, he’s got plenty of these lists in his future. I also named him the American League MVP this year, the first of many.

With Babe leading the way, Boston won the AL pennant, with Bill Carrigan coaching it to a 91-63 record. On May 19, Boston was 13-15 and seven games out of first, but went 78-48 the rest of the way to win the league by two games over the White Sox and four games over Detroit. Surprisingly, the Red Sox couldn’t hit, having the second lowest amount of homers in the league ironically. Their pitching staff, led by Ruth, had the lowest AL team ERA.

Boston then won its second consecutive World Series, defeating the Robins, four games to one. Ruth pitched 14 innings in game two to give Boston a 2-1 victory. He allowed six hits and one run.

Wikipedia says, “In 1916, there was attention focused on Ruth for his pitching, as he engaged in repeated pitching duels with the ace of the Washington Senators, Walter Johnson. The two met five times during the season, with Ruth winning four and Johnson one (Ruth had a no decision in Johnson’s victory). Two of Ruth’s victories were by the score of 1–0, one in a 13-inning game. Of the 1–0 shutout decided without extra innings, AL President Ban Johnson stated, ‘That was one of the best ball games I have ever seen.’”<

shawkey

P-Bob Shawkey, New York Yankees, 25 Years Old

24-14, 2.21 ERA, 122 K, .183, 0 HR, 4 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Saves-8

Games Finished-24

1st Time All-Star-James Robert “Bob” or “Sailor” Shawkey was born on December 4, 1890 in Sigel, PA. The five-foot-11, 168 pound righty pitcher started with Philadelphia in 1913, pitching in the World Series in 1914. He started one game, giving up three runs (two earned) in five innings and received the loss. In the middle of 1915, Shawkey was purchased by the New York Yankees from the Philadelphia Athletics for $3,000. Sailor came to life this year, finishing seventh in WAR (6.9); third in WAR for Pitchers (7.1), behind Walter Johnson (9.8) and Babe Ruth (8.8); eighth in ERA (2.21); eighth in innings pitched (276 2/3); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (132).

As for the Yankees, the Bill Donovan-managed team moved up from fifth to fourth with a 80-74 record. They had average hitting and pitching and finished with an average record.

SABR says, “Shawkey was acquired by the Yankees midway through an uninspired 1915 season. His 1916 season was outstanding: a 17-10 record in 27 starts, plus a 7-4 record and league-leading eight saves in 26 relief appearances. His 24 wins were second in the AL behind Walter Johnson, and his 2.21 ERA ranked eighth in the league. Shawkey’s work as both a starter and reliever in 1916 was unusual: The only other pitcher in major league history to start at least 24 games, and finish at least 24 games as a reliever, was Mordecai Brown in 1911. Shawkey ‘is beyond any doubt one of the best right-handers in the game,’ wrote Grantland Rice. Shawkey attributed his success in 1916 partly ‘to the fact that he drove his high-power racing car in moderation.’ He left the vehicle at home in the spring so that it would not be a distraction.”>

coveleski2

P-Harry Coveleski, Detroit Tigers, 30 Years Old

1914

21-11, 1.97 ERA, 108 K, .212, 0 HR, 7 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as P-119 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1914, Coveleski had a good, if not All-Star, 1915, finishing 22-13 with a 2.45 ERA. This season, The Giant Killer finished eighth in WAR (6.6); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.5); fourth in ERA (1.97); second in innings pitched for the third consecutive season (324 1/3), behind only Walter Johnson (369 2/3); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (145).

Hughie Jennings managed Detroit to a third place 87-67 record, four games out of first. The Tigers, led by Ty Cobb, led the league in runs scored, but their pitching lacked, as they gave up the second most runs in the American League. Detroit was actually up by a game as late as Sept. 17, but went 4-7 the rest of the year to fall out of the running.

SABR says, “In 1916 he was even better, as his 1.97 ERA ranked fourth in the league and he pitched a career-best 324 1/3 innings, finishing the season with a record of 21-11. For the three year span of 1914-1916, Coveleski had won 65 games against only 36 defeats, and tossed 940 1/3 innings. The heavy workload proved too great for his well-traveled left arm, however, and, according to newspaper reports, his wing ‘went back on him’ during 1917 spring training. Coveleski struggled through 11 starts, winding up with a record of 4-6 before he was shelved for the season. He managed only one start in 1918 before drawing his release.

“Coveleski passed away on August 4, 1950 at the age of 64. He was buried in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, in Shamokin.”

maysc

P-Carl Mays, Boston Red Sox, 24 Years Old

18-13, 2.39 ERA, 76 K, .234, 0 HR, 8 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-4.78

Range Factor/Game as P-2.95

1st Time All-Star-Carl William “Sub” Mays was born on November 12, 1891 in Liberty, KY. The five-foot-11, 195 pound righty started with Boston in 1915 and led the American League in games finished (27) and saves (7). This season, he finished 10th in WAR (5.3) and ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5). In the World Series, Mays got the save in Game One, pitching one-third of an inning and allowing one hit, but no runs. He was the pitcher in Boston’s only loss, starting Game Three and allowing four earned runs in five innings pitched. The Red Sox won the Series over the Robins, 4-1.

He’s going to easily make my Hall of Fame and I have a feeling a lot of pitchers who pitched a majority of their careers in the 1920s are going to be underrated due to the increased runs scored of the era. I also wonder if there were those who didn’t want to induct the only pitcher to (inadvertently) kill a batter with a throw.

Baseball Reference says, “Mays is remembered for an incident during his rookie season in which he was naive and ignorant enough to pick a fight with Ty Cobb. In one game, he threw high and inside to Cobb, and the latter replied by laying a bunt down the first base line, where Cobb plowed into him and spiked his leg. After that, the two hard men held a grudging respect for the other’s no-holds-barred sense of competitiveness.” That’s one brave man!

leonard2

P-Dutch Leonard, Boston Red Sox, 24 Years Old

1914

18-12, 2.36 ERA, 144 K, .200, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-After setting the ERA record with a 0.96 in 1914, Leonard didn’t make the All-Star team in 1915 despite a 15-7 record and a 2.36 ERA. He did pitch in the World Series and won his only start, allowing one run in nine innings. This year, Leonard finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.0); 10th in innings pitched (274); and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (117). He then pitched in the World Series, starting one game, and winning it with only one unearned run allowed. Is this Groundhog Day? I say that because if you look closely at his 1915 and 1916 seasons, they’re very similar.

Leonard also pitched a no-hitter this season against the Browns on August 30.

SABR says, “A hard-throwing, spectacularly talented left-hander who posted the best single-season earned run average in American League history in 1914, Dutch Leonard was also one of the Deadball Era’s most controversial figures. At nearly every stop along his journey in professional baseball, Leonard feuded with management over his salary, and at one point was even suspended from organized baseball for nearly three years for refusing to report for work. Regarded as a selfish, cowardly player by many of his contemporaries, Leonard frittered away much of his major league career, alternating periods of brilliance with long bouts of inertia. ‘As a pitcher, he was gutless,’ Hall of Fame umpire Billy Evans once declared. ‘We umpires had no respect for Leonard, for he whined on every pitch called against him.’” What kind of career could have Leonard had if he just focused on the game?

bushb

P-Bullet Joe Bush, Philadelphia Athletics, 23 Years Old

15-24, 2.57 ERA, 157 K, .140, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Losses-24

Wild Pitches-15

1st Time All-Star-Leslie Ambrose “Bullet Joe” Bush was born on November 27, 1892 in Ehime, MN. The five-foot-nine, 173 pound righty started with Philadelphia in 1912. In two World Series games pitched in 1913 and 1914, he went 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA. He stayed with Philadelphia even when they dumped their best players in 1915 and this year finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.6) and sixth in innings pitched (286 2/3). I thought Philadelphia would have only one player per All-Star team out of necessity, but even in their terrible years, they had a couple of good ones.

Oh, did I say terrible year? Connie Mack’s squad went 36-117, a mere 54-and-a-half games out of first. They were so bad that even the seventh place Senators were only one game below .500.

Wikipedia says, “Bush led the American League in losses (24) in 1916, walks allowed (109) in 1924, and wild pitches in 1916 (15), 1923 (12) and 1924 (7). While with the Athletics in 1916, when he led the league in losses, he won 15 games; the entire team won only 36 during what was then a Major League-worst 36-117 (.235 won-loss percentage) season. This was 41.7% of the team’s total wins. On August 26 of that season, Bush no-hit the Cleveland Indians 5-0 at Shibe Park; a first inning, leadoff walk to Jack Graney was the only baserunner that kept him from a perfect game.” I can imagine how difficult it was to pitch on a team that lost day after day. Can you imagine where the A’s would have been without Bullet Joe?

harperh

P-Harry Harper, Washington Senators, 21 Years Old

14-10, 2.45 ERA, 149 K, .207, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Harry Clayton Harper was born on April 24, 1895 in Hackensack, NJ, the same city as Miss Teschmacher’s mom.

From Superman, the Movie (as opposed to what?):

Miss Teschmacher: [after learning that there is a missile heading toward Hackensack] Lex, my mother lives in Hackensack.

[Luthor checks his watch and shrugs]

Back to Harper. He started with Washington as an 18-year-old in 1913. This season, he finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.9). It must be tough pitching under the shadow of Walter Johnson.

SABR says, “Harper’s professional baseball career began in 1913. He was a protégé of pitcher George Davis, who had gone with 18-year-old Harry to his home in order to secure his mother’s consent for him to join the Washington Senators.4 His first appearance was in the big leagues, for the Senators, working the last three innings in the second game of a doubleheader on June 27, 1913, against the visiting Philadelphia Athletics. He gave up one run in the 11-5 loss. ‘Harper did so well yesterday,’ wrote the Washington Post, “that Griffith was thoroughly tickled.” The paper observed that he ‘has much to learn about fielding his position’ but was impressed that he had not been intimidated by ‘such a collection of vicious hitters as the Athletics.’

“Harper went on a postseason trip of all-stars and impressed Johnny Evers, who agreed with Griffith that ‘he must be classed with the best left-handers in either league.’ He was given the nickname ‘South,’ reflecting his status as a southpaw.”

weilman3

P-Carl Weilman, St. Louis Browns, 26 Years Old

1914 1915

17-18, 2.15 ERA, 91 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Weilman once again had a  losing record and once again made the American League All-Star team. He finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.6), seventh in ERA (2.15), ninth in innings pitched (276), and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (126).

His Browns had a new manager, Fielder Jones, and improved from sixth to fifth with a 79-75 record. They were second in the league in OBP, thanks to George Sisler, and were third in the league in ERA, thanks to Zeke.

SABR speaks of his later life, stating, “[H]is 1917 season was cut short in early May by his nemesis, mycobacterium tuberculosis; the contemptible pathogen had infected one of his kidneys. The tubercular kidney was surgically removed on May 17, 1917, eight days after his wife gave birth to their only child, daughter Mary Louise.

“Weilman sat out the remainder of the 1917 season and all of the 1918 season, endeavoring to regain his strength and fitness. Many doubted that he would return to baseball. He could earn a comfortable living as a machinist and avoid the physical strain of pitching. But Weilman returned to the Browns in 1919 with a performance worthy of a Comeback Player of the Year Award.

“[Starting in 1921], Weilman scouted for the Browns, and during spring training served as a pitching coach. He became critically ill in the spring of 1924 and died in Hamilton on May 25, 1924. The cause of death was tuberculosis of the throat.

“George Sisler, now manager of the Browns, said Weilman ‘stood for something more than baseball to us. … He was ever uncomplaining regardless of what happened to him. He was a genuine real friend who was a help to all who knew him.’”

russell2

P-Reb Russell, Chicago White Sox, 27 Years Old

1913

18-11, 2.42 ERA, 112 K, .143, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-0.942

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.430

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1913, Russell faltered in 1914 and 1915, but is back this season. He finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.2), with the ability not to allow people on base.

Chicago almost won the American League title, finishing two games behind Boston. Pants Rowland guided the White Sox to a 89-65 finish. They were in first as late as August 8, but never made it back to the top after that. Thanks to Eddie Collins, the Sox scored the third most runs in the league and, thanks to Russell, had the best ERA in the AL.

Wikipedia summarizes the rest of his career, saying, “Russell helped the White Sox win the 1917 American League pennant, with a won-loss record of 15–5 and an ERA of 1.95. He was the starting pitcher of Game 5 of the 1917 World Series, but was unable to retire a batter and was replaced in the first inning by Eddie Cicotte.

“Russell developed arm trouble in 1918 and, after a poor start, he was released by Chicago. However, in the minor leagues the decent-hitting Russell converted to playing the outfield and returned to the majors in 1922, playing for Pittsburgh. That year, he batted .368 with 75 RBI in 60 games. He was released by the Pirates at the end of the 1923 season, after which he returned to the minor league American Association (the highest level of minor league play in his era). Russell remained a highly paid star in the AA through age 40, and won the league batting title (.385) when he was 38 years old.”

Russell died at the age of 84 on September 30, 1973 in Indianapolis.

nunamaker

C-Les Nunamaker, New York Yankees, 27 Years Old

.296, 0 HR, 28 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Leslie Grant “Les” Nunamaker was born on January 25, 1889 in Malcolm, NE. The six-foot-two, 190 pound catcher started with Boston in 1911. Then on May 13, 1914, the Yankees purchased him from the Red Sox. In a weak year for catchers, Nunamaker slashed .296/.380/.404 for an OPS+ of 133 and made the list.

 SABR says, “Ornery, rambunctious, and immensely talented, Leslie Nunamaker became one of baseball’s stoutest hitting and best throwing catchers during the last decade of the Deadball Era—and one of the game’s colorful personalities. Cut from the same temperamental cloth as contemporaries Ty Cobb and John McGraw, Nunamaker was prone to explosive on-field behavior that resulted in an assortment of ejections and punishments in his 12-year American League career. “Leslie Nunamaker wants to run amuck when he gets mad,” Washington Post reporter J.V. Fitz Gerald remarked in 1918 after witnessing one of the catcher’s outbursts. Nunamaker got mad often, and his irascible nature often attracted as much publicity as his tremendous physical gifts and feats on the diamond. Equipped with a magnificent right arm, he once threw out three baserunners in an inning, tying a major-league record. His bat could be equally formidable: Twice he led American League catchers in hitting and might have done so again had he not been seriously injured in an automobile accident while still in his prime.

“Leslie Nunamaker developed carcinoma of the thyroid and died from complications in Hastings on November 14, 1938, at the age of 49. He is buried in Aurora, [Nebraska].”

schalk3

C-Ray Schalk, Chicago White Sox, 23 Years Old

1914 1915

.232, 0 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-653 (4th Time)

Assists as C-166

Fielding % as C-.988 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-I’m giving Schalk a chance to make my Hall of Fame, but it’s not much. He’ll have to make it on his defense and, wouldn’t you know it, he continues to do so. This year his OPS+ was only 84 as he slashed .232/.311/.305, but he’s still here thanks to finishing fifth in Defensive WAR (1.7). The question will be how often his glove will carry him.

Wikipedia says, “In 1916, Schalk had a career-high 30 stolen bases (a record for a catcher, until John Wathan broke it in 1982) and led the league in fielding percentage, putouts assistsand range factor as the White Sox finished in second place, only two games behind the Boston Red Sox. His pitch-calling skills were evident as he guided the White Sox pitching staff to the lowest earned run average in the league.”

I like this from SABR, which states, “Another off-field adventure drew the ire of owner Charles Comiskey. Looking to use the Chicago skyline’s newly constructed Tribune Tower for a promotional stunt, a movie company came upon the idea of using Schalk to catch a ball dropped from the top of the Tower – a height of 463 feet. Smiling for the cameras, Cracker caught the third ball tossed. ‘Didn’t sting me any more than one of those high fouls Babe Ruth used to hit,’ he later said. But Comiskey caught wind of the stunt and was irate when Schalk arrived at the ballpark later that day. Comiskey chided Schalk over the consequences had his star catcher misjudged the ball. Schalk’s unadorned response – ‘But I didn’t misjudge it’ – did not placate the Old Roman.”

sisler

1B-George Sisler, St. Louis Browns, 23 Years Old

.305, 4 HR, 76 RBI, 1-2, 1.00 ERA, 12 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 1B-24

1st Time All-Star-“Gorgeous George” Harold Sisler was born on March 24, 1893 in Manchester, OH. The five-foot-11, 170 pound lefty first baseman would be one the American League’s great hitters for a while. He started with the Browns in 1915 and this season, finished 10th in Offensive WAR (4.2), eighth in batting (.305), eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (133), and was a poor 34 for 60 stealing.

SABR stated, “The highlight of his rookie season was a 2-1 win over Walter Johnson on August 29 in which he limited the Senators to six hits and struck out three, winning the game thanks to Del Pratt‘s successful execution of the hidden ball trick. For the remainder of his life, Sisler spoke of that game as his greatest thrill in baseball. ‘Sisler can be counted a baseball freak,’ the Washington Post reported the next day. ‘[Rickey] plays him in the outfield and he makes sensational catches… he plays him on first base and actually he looks like Hal Chase when Hal was king of the first sackers, and then on the hill he goes out and beats Johnson.’

Wikipedia says, “Sisler entered the major leagues as a pitcher for the Browns in 1915. He posted a career pitching record of 5–6 with a 2.35 earned run average in 24 career mound appearances. He defeated Walter Johnson twice in complete-game victories. In 1916, Sisler moved to first base, and finished the season with a batting average above .300 for the first of seven consecutive seasons. He also had 34 stolen bases that season, and stole at least 28 bases in every season through 1922.”

pipp

1B-Wally Pipp, New York Yankees, 23 Years Old

.262, 12 HR, 93 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-12

Strikeouts-82

Power-Speed #-13.7

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

Double Plays Turned as 1B-89 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Walter Clement “Wally” Pipp was born on February 17, 1893 in Chicago, IL. The six-foot-one, 180 pound lefty first baseman started with Detroit in 1913. Then on February 4, 1915, he was purchased with Hugh High by the New York Yankees from the Detroit Tigers. The fact he made an All-Star team should convince you he shouldn’t only be famous for missing a game and having Lou Gehrig take over, thus losing his position. He was a decent player in his own right.

SABR says, “Tall, lithe-limbed and broad-shouldered, the 6′ 2″, 180 lb. Wally Pipp carried himself with an unmistakable air of confidence and distinction, befitting one of the Deadball Era’s premier sluggers. Whether disembarking from a train, haggling with management over bonus money, scooping up grounders around first base, or swatting home runs, Pipp ‘was a high-class specimen of the ball player,’ New York Times reporter James R. Harrison observed. ‘On and off the field, he was a prime favorite.’ A harbinger for the style of play that would grip the game beginning in the 1920s, in 1916 the left-handed, free-swinging Pipp became the first player in American League history to lead the league in both home runs and strikeouts. In addition to his batting exploits, Pipp was one of the finest defensive first basemen of the Deadball Era; in 1915, he led all American League first basemen in putouts, assists, double plays, and fielding percentage.” He’ll make at least one more All-Star team and I’ll tell the Gehrig story then.

collinse8

2B-Eddie Collins, Chicago White Sox, 29 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915

.308, 0 HR, 52 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as 2B-75 (4th Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.976 (5th Time)

8th Time All-Star-Part of the appeal of this great game is stockier people like Babe Ruth and smaller people like Jose Altuve and Collins can all succeed. If I worked hard and had any talent, I could play baseball with my body frame, but it would be difficult for me to make it in basketball or football. Collins was small and had no power, but even in the 1920s, when homers were more prevalent, Collins still had some great seasons. He had the attitude of a winner and everywhere he went, victories followed.

This season, Collins finished fifth in WAR (7.1); third in WAR Position Players (7.1), behind Tris Speaker (8.7) and Ty Cobb (8.0); fourth in Offensive WAR (6.2); sixth in batting (.308); third in on-base percentage (.405), trailing Speaker (.470) and Cobb (.452); fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (140); and was a mediocre 40 for 61 stealing bases.

A website called Baseball Egg names Collins the second greatest second baseman of all-time. It says, “Collins rates behind Rogers Hornsby and ahead of Joe Morgan in second place on our list of the 100 greatest second basemen in baseball history. Collins was a great player at the age of 22 and a very good player at the age of 39. In between, he never had a bad season. He came into the league at almost the exact time as Ty Cobb and the two were together in the AL for 23 seasons. They were teammates for the last two years of Cobb’s career with the Athletics, but both were pretty ancient by then and served as part-time players for Connie Mack.”

pratt3

2B-Del Pratt, St. Louis Browns, 28 Years Old

1914 1915

.267, 5 HR, 103 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-158 (4th Time)

Runs Batted In-103

Assists-491

Def. Games as 2B-158 (3rd Time)

Putouts as 2B-438 (4th Time)

Assists as 2B-491

Errors Committed as 2B-33 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.88 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Pratt, the durable second baseman, made his third consecutive All-Star team for the improving Browns. He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.8) and seventh in Offensive WAR (4.4). He would have got a lot of attention in some MVP votes for the 103 RBI.

A website called Historic Baseball says, “Pratt signed with the St. Louis Browns and proved to be a versatile player on the field. In his career, he played second base, shortstop, third base and in the outfield. He earned a reputation for being a hard-nosed player on the field and someone who would argue with his coaches, managers and owners off the field. Pratt even filed a lawsuit against the owner of St. Louis Browns when he suggested that the team had let up in a game. The suit was settled out of court — in Pratt’s favor.

“In 1916, Pratt hit  .267 with five home runs and drove in 103 runs. His RBI total led the American League.

“Pratt had quite a reputation for his temper and his willingness to fight anyone who insulted him. One of the stories of that temper came from his time in St. Louis. During the IntraCity Exhibition games between the Browns and the Cardinals, Pratt is described as becoming quite angry over an insult hurled at him from the Cardinals dugout.

“An angry Pratt ran into the Cardinals’ dugout and punched out rookie Zinn Beck. After that, the entire Cardinals team decided to defend their player.

“When the fight had ended, Pratt was unharmed except for a couple of bruises. The fight did earn him a suspension that forced him to miss two games of the exhibition series.”

gardner3

3B-Larry Gardner, Boston Red Sox, 30 Years Old

1911 1912

.308, 2 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

3rd Time All-Star-As all of you know, making my All-Star team is the most prestigious honor any player can earn. That’s why Gardner’s hitting slump from 1913-15 hurt him, because if he would have made this list just one time in those three years, he’d be almost a guarantee for another great prize, making my Hall of Fame. He did make the World Series in 1915, hitting .235 (four-for-17) with a triple in helping Boston win the championship.

This season, Gardner finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.7); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.7); fifth in batting (.308); and eighth in on-base percentage (.372). He didn’t hit for a great average in the Series, batting only .176, but did hit two homers. One was in the fifth game, an inside-the-park homer that gave Boston a 3-2 lead they’d never relinquish. Or as SABR and Grantland Rice say, “In Game Four, with two men on base and Boston down 2-0, Gardner hit a fastball from Rube Marquard for an inside-the-park homer, giving the Red Sox a 3-2 lead they never relinquished. ‘That one blow, delivered deep into the barren lands of center field, broke Marquard’s heart, shattered Brooklyn’s wavering defense, and practically closed out the series,’ wrote Grantland Rice. Boston went on to win in five games, and Larry Gardner was considered the hero of the Series. As Tim Murnane put it, he had ‘a way of rising to the occasion as a trout rises to a fly in one of his favorite Vermont streams.’”

peckinpaugh

SS-Roger Peckinpaugh, New York Yankees, 25 Years Old

.255, 4 HR, 58 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 92 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as SS-145 (2nd Time)

Assists as SS-468

1st Time All-Star-Roger Thorpe Peckinpaugh was born on February 5, 1891 in Wooster, OH. The five-foot-10, 165 pound shortstop started with Cleveland in 1910. Then on May 25, 1913, he was traded by the Cleveland Naps to the New York Yankees for Jack Lelivelt and Bill Stumpf. He would have some success for the Yankees, mainly because of his glove. This season, Peckinpaugh finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.4) and third in Defensive WAR (2.0), behind Ossie Vitt (2.6) and Doc Lavan (2.1).

SABR says, “Jacob Ruppert and Cap Huston bought the New York franchise after the 1914 season and started turning the Yankees into winners. Ruppert hired Wild Bill Donovan to take the managerial reins but he kept Peck as captain. With the Federal League dangling big money in front of established stars, the Yankees signed Peck to a three-year contract at $6,000 per year for 1915 to 1917. While he continued to post pedestrian batting averages over that span–topping out at .260 with 63 runs scored in the final year of his contract–Peckinpaugh repaid the Yankees’ loyalty with his glove, leading the league in assists in 1916 and double plays the following year. To aid his fielding, Peck liked to chew Star plug tobacco, and then rub the juice into his glove. ‘[It] was licorice-flavored and it made my glove sticky,’ he later said. He also used the tobacco to darken the ball, ‘and the pitchers liked that. The batters did not, but…there was only one umpire[sic].’”

jackson5LF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, Chicago White Sox, 28 Years Old

1911 1912 1913 1914

.341, 3 HR, 78 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

 

Led in:

 

Total Bases-293 (2nd Time)

Triples-21 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-64

Double Plays Turned as LF-5

5th Time All-Star-Most likely, Shoeless Joe is never going to make it into Cooperstown and that’s okay with me. As a Reds fan, I’m asked if Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame and I’m actually good with him not being there. If you want to be in the Hall of Fame, don’t gamble on games. However, the reason I have the ONEHOF (the One-a-Year Hall of Fame in which one player is inducted yearly) and Ron’s Hall of Fame is that players will be inducted on stats only. To get in my HOF, I multiply All-Star seasons by Career WAR and if the number is 300 or over, you’re in. No judgments on personality or wrong doings. If you’re a great player, you’re in. This year, Jackson is in. He is the sixth rightfielder inducted along with Sam Crawford, Sam Thompson, Elmer Flick, Willie Keeler, and King Kelly.

After not making the All-Star team in 1915, a year in which he was traded from Cleveland to Chicago, he was back to his old self this season, finishing sixth in WAR (7.0); fourth in WAR Position Players (7.0); third in Offensive WAR (6.8), behind centerfielders Ty Cobb (8.7) and Tris Speaker (8.6); third in batting (.341), trailing Speaker (.386) and Cobb (.371); fifth in on-base percentage (.393); second in slugging (.495), behind The Grey Eagle (.502); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (166), lagging behind Speaker (186) and the Georgia Peach (179). You could form an unbeatable outfield with Speaker, Cobb, and Shoeless Joe on your team.

veach2

LF-Bobby Veach, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old

1915

.306, 3 HR, 89 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as LF-5

2nd Time All-Star-Veach was in a great stretch of seasons and made the All-Star team for the second consecutive year. He finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.0); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.4); seventh in batting (.306); 10th in on-base percentage (.367); fourth in slugging (.433); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (136). He still has greater years to come.

Wikipedia says, “On June 9, 1916, Veach scored a run to end Babe Ruth‘s scoreless innings streak at 25. Ruth then evened the score with one of the longest home runs ever at Navin Field, deep into the right field bleachers.”

If Veach doesn’t make my Hall of Fame, and right now it looks like he’s going to fall a little short, it’s going to be because of his defense. Most of these great players are good at bat and good in the field, but not this leftfielder, at least according to Baseball Reference dWAR. He also was one of those players who played in wrong era as he was already 32 by the time the Roaring Twenties and their emphasis on the long ball came. He did have back-to-back seasons of double digit homers in 1920 and 1921, but then started to decline after that.

Veach does get some Hall of Fame interest online, but most of it seems to come from his RBIs. However, when you hit behind Ty Cobb, it’s easy to have opportunities to drive in runs, so that’s a weak argument. The only way Veach will make my Hall is he has an unexpected All-Star season and that’s not impossible.

shotton4

LF-Burt Shotton, St. Louis Browns, 31 Years Old

1912 1913 1915

.283, 1 HR, 36 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

At-Bats-614

Plate Appearances-727

Bases on Balls-110 (2nd Time)

Caught Stealing-28

Def. Games as LF-156

Putouts as LF-357

Assists as LF-25

Errors Committed as LF-20 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as LF-5

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

Errors Committed as OF-20 (4th Time)

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.45

4th Time All-Star-Shotton made his fourth All-Star game in five years, but most likely it’s his last. This was his best season ever, though his base stealing continued to be miserable. He stole just 41 of 69 attempts. He did show great range in the outfield and continued to do well at drawing the base on balls.

Of his famous managing gig, Wikipedia says, “He inherited a contending Brooklyn team that had finished in a flatfooted tie for the 1946 National League pennant before losing a playoff series to the Cardinals. He also inherited what historian Jules Tygiel called Baseball’s Great Experiment — the Dodgers’ breaking of the infamous color line by bringing up Jackie Robinson from their Triple-A Montreal Royals farm club at the start of the 1947 season to end over sixty years of racial segregation in baseball. The rookie was facing withering insults from opposing players, and a petition by Dodger players protesting Robinson’s presence had only recently been quashed by Durocher.”

Though Shotton was Robinson’s main manager in 1947, he wasn’t his first. Clyde Sukeforth helmed the first two games of the season. However, it was Shotton who bore the brunt of this circus and from all I can read, kept the team calm throughout.

Wikipedia continues, “Shotton died in Lake Wales, Florida, from a heart attack at age 77 during the second All-Star break in 1962. Although his career win-loss record as a big league manager was 697–764 (.477), his mark with the Dodgers was 326–215 (.603).”

speaker8

CF-Tris Speaker, Cleveland Indians, 28 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915

.386, 2 HR, 79 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

1916 AL Batting Title

WAR Position Players-8.7 (3rd Time)

Batting Average-.386

On-Base %-.470 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.502

On-Base Plus Slugging-.972

Hits-211 (2nd Time)

Doubles-41 (3rd Time)

Singles-160

Adjusted OPS+-186

Adj. Batting Runs-64 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-7.1 (3rd Time)

Times On Base-297 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as CF-151 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as CF-10 (5th Time)

Double Plays Turned as OF-10 (5th Time)

8th Time All-Star-With his eighth All-Star team made at centerfield, The Grey Eagle tied Paul Hines for most All-Star teams at that position. Here’s the whole list:

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Nap Lajoie, 11

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Honus Wagner, 13

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Hines, Speaker, 8

RF-Sam Crawford, 9

Scott Maxwell has a website called Son of Sam Horn or SOSH that details Boston sports. He has an excellent article on why Speaker was traded to Cleveland between the 1915 and 1916 seasons and I suggest you read the whole thing. Here’s some of it:

“Despite Speaker’s reluctance, Lannin traded Speaker to Cleveland on April 9th, three days before the season began. The deal sent Boston $55,000 (roughly $1.25M today) in cash, along with players Sad Sam Jones, a relief pitcher, and Fred Thomas, a utility infielder. It was all about the money, and it set an unfortunate precedent. The deal rocked the baseball world. Red Sox players were stunned at the news, and opponents were delighted. Fans were shocked and mourned the loss of the team’s best player and two-time champion.

“Speaker continued his Hall of Fame career, finally pushing his way past Ty Cobb to win the 1916 batting title with a career-high .386 average. Despite having a remarkable .345 average over his 22-year career, it was the only batting title he ever won. To put it in context, Speaker’s 186 OPS+ that year is tied on the all-time list with Manny Ramirez’s 2000 campaign during which he batted .351 and hit 38 HR, good enough for a career-high 1.154 OPS.”

cobb10

CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 29 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915

.371, 5 HR, 68 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1915)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

 

Led in:

 

Offensive WAR-8.7 (6th Time)

Runs Scored-113 (5th Time)

Stolen Bases-68 (5th Time)

Runs Created-125 (6th Time)

Offensive Win %-.851 (9th Time)

Errors Committed as CF-17 (2nd Time)

10th Time All-Star-When a player makes this list as often as Cobb does, it can be difficult to find new things to write every year. However, that’s not a problem for the Georgia Peach, because he was such a big personality who did numerous non-baseball (and non-gentlemanly) extra-curricular activities. That’s why I like to focus on his baseball. Like how Cobb has made 10 consecutive All-Star teams and is not yet 30. How he might already at this time be the fourth greatest player of all-time, behind Cy Young, Honus Wagner, and Cap Anson. (You can see the full list here.) If I just concentrate on baseball, it’s a pretty picture.

This season, Cobb finished fourth in WAR (8.0); second in WAR Position Players (8.0), behind Cleveland centerfielder Tris Speaker (8.7); first in Offensive WAR (8.7); second in batting (.371), trailing Speaker (.386); second in on-base percentage (.452), behind The Grey Eagle (.470); third in slugging (.493), with Speaker (.502) and White Sox leftfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson (.495) ahead of him; second in Adjusted OPS+ (179), behind Speaker (186); and finished an acceptable 68 for 92 stealing.

Here’s another fascinating story about Cobb from Cut4: “Pop quiz hotshot: It’s 1916 and baseball season hasn’t started yet. What’s going to be the biggest news in sports? If you answered “Ty Cobb losing a diamond ring,” then ding, ding, ding, we have a winner.

“On March 11, 1916, the Toledo Bee reported that Cobb was ‘mourning the loss of a $600 diamond ring which he has been wearing for the past 10 years,’ with the ring likely residing somewhere along ‘the Big Four railroad tracks between Ivorydale and Lockland, near Cincinnati.’ The Tigers star had lost the jewelry while washing in a ‘new style basin’ — whatever that is.

“Two weeks later, the Pittsburgh Press reported that the ring was found by ‘Richard Harley, son of a railroad laborer,’ in the Elmwood Place neighborhood of Cincinnati. The paper made sure to note that in the time since Cobb had lost it, ‘every youngster in the neighborhood has been searching for the ring.’” Read the whole article by Michael Clair.

strunk2

CF-Amos Strunk, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

1915

.316, 3 HR, 49 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-It’s important to realize Strunk had a tremendous season and some years he would have been the best centerfielder in the league. Not this year, not with the seasons Cleveland’s Tris Speaker and Detroit’s Ty Cobb had. It was still Strunk’s best season ever as he finished ninth in WAR (5.6); fifth in WAR Position Players (5.6); fifth in Offensive WAR (5.4); fourth in batting (.316); sixth in on-base percentage (.393); seventh in slugging (.421); fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (151); and was a terrible 21-for-44 stealing.

Wikipedia has the wrap-up, saying, “Strunk reached the majors in 1908 with the Athletics, spending nine years with them before moving to the Boston Red Sox (1918–19), and played again for Philadelphia (1919–20) and in parts of four seasons with the Chicago White Sox (1920–23). Then, he returned with the Athletics in 1924, his last major league season. Five times he led American League outfielders in fielding percentage, and played in five World Series with the Athletics (191011191314) and Red Sox (1918).

“In a 17-season career, Strunk was a .284 hitter (1418-for-4999) with 15 home runs and 530 RBI in 1512 games played, including 696 runs, 213 doubles, 96 triples and 185 stolen bases.

“Following his baseball career, Strunk spent fifty years in the insurance business. He died in Llanerch, Pennsylvania, at the age of 90.

“He was the last surviving member of the 1910, 1911 and 1913 World Champion Philadelphia Athletics.” He played on some of the best and worst teams of all time.

felsch

CF-Happy Felsch, Chicago White Sox, 24 Years Old

.300, 7 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as CF-.981

Fielding % as OF-.981

1st Time All-Star-Oscar Emil “Happy” Felsch was born on August 22, 1891 in Milwaukee, WI. The five-foot-11, 175 pound centerfielder started with Chicago in 1915 and was, of course, one of the eight Black Sox banned from the game for his role in fixing the 1919 World Series. More on that down the road. For now, this season Felsch finished ninth in batting (.300); sixth in slugging (.427); and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (130).

SABR says, “The coming 1916 baseball season surely brought hope to Felsch and the White Sox. The promising club advanced to second place, overcoming a slow start to finish only two games behind the Red Sox. Charles Comiskey, the White Sox owner, was spending money to make money. Adding a pitcher of the caliber of Claude ‘Lefty’ Williams to a staff that already included stars Eddie Cicotte, Red Faber, and Reb Russell helped the White Sox break their attendance record with 679,923 fans, 140,462 more than in 1915.

“Comiskey Park loyalists enjoyed watching Felsch belt seven home runs, out of a team total of 17. He led the Deadball Era White Sox and tied for third in the American League. Suddenly the sophomore from the sandlots of Milwaukee was in the upper echelon of AL hitters as he batted an even .300 and finished sixth in the league with a slugging average of .427. Under the tutelage of coach William ‘Kid’ Gleason, the sure-handed Hap, an honorable mention member on Baseball Magazine’s AL All-America Baseball Club, topped all AL outfielders with a fielding percentage of .981.”

1916 National League All-Star Team

P-Pete Alexander, PHI

P-Jeff Pfeffer, BRO

P-Wilbur Cooper, PIT

P-Hippo Vaughn, CHC

P-Rube Marquard, BRO

P-Eppa Rixey, PHI

P-Ferdie Schupp, NYG

P-Dick Rudolph, BSN

P-Fred Toney, CIN

P-Frank Miller, PIT

C-Lew McCarty, BRO/NYG

C-Hank Gowdy, BSN

1B-Hal Chase, CIN

1B-Jake Daubert, BRO

2B-Larry Doyle, NYG/CHC

3B-Heinie Groh, CIN

3B-Rogers Hornsby, STL

SS-Art Fletcher, NYG

SS-Rabbit Maranville, BSN

LF-Zack Wheat, BRO

CF-Max Carey, PIT

CF-Cy Williams, CHC

CF-Benny Kauff, NYG

RF-Bill Hinchman, PIT

RF-Dave Robertson, NYG

 

alexander6P-Pete Alexander, Philadelphia Phillies, 29 Years Old, 2nd MVP

1911 1912 1913 1914 1915

33-12, 1.55 ERA, 167 K, .239, 0 HR, 9 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (inducted in 1938)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

1916 NL Pitching Triple Crown (2nd Time)

1916 NL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-11.9 (3rd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-10.9 (3rd Time)

Earned Run Average-1.55 (2nd Time)

Wins-33 (4th Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-0.959 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-389 (5th Time)

Strikeouts-167 (4th Time)

Games Started-45

Complete Games-38 (4th Time)

Shutouts-16 (4th Time)

Hits Allowed-323 (2nd Time)

Batters Faced-1,500 (4th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-172 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-47 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.8 (2nd Time)

Putouts as P-17 (3rd Time)

6th Time All-Star-I’m developing carpal tunnel after typing the stats in which Alexander led the league. He easily led the league in games started with 45. In second place were Boston’s Dick Rudolph and Fred Toney of the Reds with 38 each. Also, you see above I have this season listed as his second Most Valuable Player. Those are my choices. I also would have picked him in 1915.

Philadelphia dropped from first to second this season, as Pat Moran led them to a 91-62 season.

On Sept. 8, the Phillies were tied for first and then would battle the rest of the season with Brooklyn. They ended up finishing two-and-a-half games out, thanks to losing four of their last six games, all against Boston. Thanks to Old Pete, they had the second highest ERA+ in the league.

SABR has an article on Alexander’s 16 shutouts, still a record. It says, “Some interesting sidelights on the record include the fact that he participated in a record total of 20 shutouts in the season, including four losses by that method; he shut out Cincinnati five times, to equal the mark against one club; and for the second time in his career, he had shut out every opposing club at least once. No other pitcher has ever done that more than once, but Alexander turned the trick in 1913 as well as in 1916, and for good measure he would do it yet again in 1919. Perhaps most remarkable was the fact that nine of his shutouts were at home in Baker Bowl with its inviting right-field fence. To my knowledge, no record book lists ‘most shutouts by pitcher at home, season,’ but it would seem a pretty safe guess that this would be the record right here.”

pfeffer3

P-Jeff Pfeffer, Brooklyn Robins, 28 Years Old

1914 1915

25-11, 1.92 ERA, 128 K, .279, 0 HR, 12 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-17

3rd Time All-Star-Brooklyn started in the American Association as the Atlantics in 1884, then became the Grays for three years. After that, they took up the nickname of the Bridegrooms. Donning that nickname, they made the World Series in 1889 as the AA representative and in 1890 as the National League champion. The team shortened its name to the Grooms from 1891-95, then became the Bridegrooms once again from 1896-98. After changing their nickname in 1899 to the Superbas, Brooklyn won two consecutive NL pennants 1899 and 1900. That was the last one they one before this season.

Wilbert Robinson managed the Robins to the NL crown with a 94-60 record. Down by one-and-a-half games on Sept. 7, Brooklyn turned it on, going 20-9 the rest of the way and beating Philadelphia by two-and-a-half games.

The team’s best player was Pfeffer, who had his best season ever. He finished second in WAR (7.2), behind only Philadelphia’s Pete Alexander (11.9); second in WAR for Pitchers (6.4), trailing Alexander (10.9); fifth in ERA (1.92); second in innings pitched (328 2/3), behind Old Pete (389); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (141). In the World Series versus Boston in which Brooklyn lost, 4-1, Pfeffer relieved for one inning in the Game One loss, giving up a hit and an unearned run. He also pitched in relief in the Robins’ only win in Game Three, pitching two-and-two-thirds innings, giving up no hits and fanning three. In the Game Four loss, Pfeffer actually pinch hit, striking out.

He finally got a chance to start in Game Five, but struggled, pitching seven innings, giving up six hits and four runs, two of them earned. He lost the game and Brooklyn lost the Series.

cooperw

P-Wilbur Cooper, Pittsburgh Pirates, 24 Years Old

12-11, 1.87 ERA, 111 K, .215, 0 HR, 4 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Arley Wilbur Cooper was born on February 24, 1892 in Bearsville, WV. The five-foot-11, 175 pound lefty pitcher started with Pittsburgh in 1912 and became a regular starter in 1914. He pitched for the Pirates at the wrong time in their history as he would have a dazzling career but pitch in no World Series. Maybe that’s why he’s making my Hall of Fame, but is not going to make Cooperstown.

Jimmy Callahan took over the managing reins from Fred Clarke this season and Pittsburgh dropped from fifth to sixth with a 65-89 record. The team couldn’t hit, scoring the least runs in the National League and that hurt it.

Cooper finished fifth in WAR (5.9); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.8); fourth in ERA (1.87); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (142).

SABR says, “After an inexplicably dreadful 1915 campaign in which he went 5-16 with an ERA nearly higher than the NL average, Wilbur bounced back the following year to post a career-best 1.87 ERA. Pitching for a sixth-place club in a nearly deserted Forbes Field, he received only enough offense from his teammates to compile 12 wins, while the Pirates were shutout in seven of his 11 losses. Cooper confidently referred to himself as a ‘star player,’ and his top salary of $12,500 reflected his value to the club.”

Cooper received votes for the Hall of Fame nine times, but never got more than the 4.4 percent he garnered in 1955, the last year he received any votes.

vaughn2

P-Hippo Vaughn, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

1910

17-15, 2.20 ERA, 144 K, .135, 0 HR, 7 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Since making the All-Star team for the Highlanders as a rookie in 1910, Vaughn couldn’t put it together on the mound. The lefty struggled with New York in 1911 and 1912 and then was put on waivers and picked up by Washington. They sold him to a Minor League team and the Cubs traded for him in 1913. Being with Chicago seemed to give him fresh life as he won 20 games in 1914 and 1915, before starting a great stretch this season. If he had made the All-Star team just once between 1911 and 1915, I’d say Hippo was a sure thing for my Hall of Fame.

This season, Vaughn finished sixth in WAR (5.8); third in WAR for Pitchers (6.4), behind Philadelphia’s Pete Alexander (10.9) and Brooklyn’s Jeff Pfeffer (6.4); sixth in innings pitched (294); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (131).

The Cubbies moved from West Side Grounds to Weeghman (which would eventually be Wrigley) Park. They put one of their own as manager to replace Roger Bresnahan, as Joe Tinker took the reins. He led Chicago to a 67-86 fifth place finish. It was Tinker’s last coaching gig as he finished with a career 304-308 record.

SABR says, “Amid these good times, Vaughn married Edna Coburn DeBold on February 11, 1916. On a less happy note, sometime during these years he acquired the nickname “Hippo” that followed him all his life. Vaughn was a large man, about six-foot-four, with most references listing him between 215 and 230 pounds. There is some evidence that he weighed close to three hundred pounds later in his career, and his slow, side-to-side, lumbering gait didn’t help. What Vaughn thought of the nickname isn’t known.”

marquard4P-Rube Marquard, Brooklyn Robins, 29 Years Old

1911 1912 1913

13-6, 1.58 ERA, 107 K, .143, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1971)

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.96

4th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1913, Marquard had disappointing 1914 and 1915 seasons, leading to him being released by the Giants and picked up by Brooklyn at the end of the ’15 season. This season, Rube was back, finishing fifth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5); second in ERA (1.58), behind Philadelphia’s Pete Alexander (1.55); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (171), trailing Old Pete (172). If he would have pitched more than 205 innings, he would be rated even higher.

In the World Series, which Brooklyn lost to Boston, 4-1, Marquard started two games, losing both. He allowed nine runs (seven earned) in 11 innings.

Once this season was over, he’d spend another four seasons with Brooklyn, again getting a chance to pitch in the Series in 1920 in the Robins’ loss to Cleveland. He did better, pitching two games with a 3.00 ERA, but still finished 0-1. He went to Cincinnati in 1921, then finished his career with the Braves from 1922-25. Marquard finished with a career 201-177 record, 3.08 ERA, and 32.1 Career WAR.

Wikipedia says, “He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971. His selection has often been criticized by the sabermetrics community, since Marquard’s career adjusted ERA+ was only slightly better than league average. Bill James described Marquard as ‘probably the worst starting pitcher in the Hall of Fame.’

“Marquard died in Baltimore, Maryland on June 1, 1980 at the age of 93. He is interred in Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.”

rixey2

P-Eppa Rixey, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

1912

22-10, 1.85 ERA, 134 K, .155, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Rixey made his first All-Star team in 1912 with a 10-10 record and then struggled from 1913-15, going a total of 22-28. He did pitch in the World Series in 1915, relieving in one game, pitching six-and-two-thirds innings, while allowing four hits and three runs. He got the loss against the Red Sox. This year, Rixey is back on the NL All-Star team as he finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.4); third in ERA (1.85), behind teammate Pete Alexander (1.55) and Brooklyn’s Rube Marquard (1.58); eighth in innings pitched (287); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (144), behind Old Pete (172) and Marquard (171).

SABR says, “A tough competitor on the field but a gentleman and good teammate off it, Rixey was an anomaly. Whereas the average ballplayer of the era came from a farming, labor, and often immigrant background, Rixey’s background was comparatively aristocratic. The Rixeys of Culpeper were Virginia gentility, descended from the Riccias of Italy, who had come to America by way of England, Scotland, and France. Eppa Rixey Sr., a banker, married the former Willie Alice Walton. Eppa Jr. was born May 3, 1891, the fourth of six children. Eppa attended school in Culpeper until he was ten, when the family moved to Charlottesville. Completing high school in Charlottesville, he entered the University of Virginia, graduating in 1912 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.

“In 1916 the Phillies improved their won-lost record but came in second to Brooklyn. Rixey, though, had perhaps his best season ever, going 22-10 with a microscopic 1.85 ERA and a career-high 134 strikeouts.”

schupp

P-Ferdie Schupp, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

9-3, 0.90 ERA, 86 K, .098, 0 HR, 0 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 59 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Ferdinand Maurice “Ferdie” Schupp was born on January 16, 1891 in Louisville, KY. He was born 27 years before my grandma. The five-foot-10, 150 pound lefty started with the Giants in 1913 and had a great, if not prolific season, this year. He only pitched 140 1/3 innings. Thanks to that 0.90 ERA, Schupp finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5). He’ll also make the All-Star team next season and that will be the extent of his highlights.

As for John McGraw’s Giants, they rose from eighth to fourth with an 86-66 record. And they, of course, had a great team record. SABR says, “On a dreary Friday afternoon, September 29, 1916, 43-year-old John McGraw, manager of the New York Giants, stood in the third base coaching box at the Polo Grounds, swearing at catcher Lew McCarty on first base. McCarty had just smacked a single to left. Had the 150-pound McGraw been coaching first, he would probably have had his hands around the neck of his dim-witted second-string catcher. What McGraw needed was an out, not a hit, because it was the bottom of the fourth, the Giants were leading the Boston Braves 1–0, it was raining, and it was so dark McGraw could not see the Braves’ outfielders. Three more Braves’ outs would give the Giants their 26th consecutive game without a loss. It would have been a 26-game winning streak but for a 1–1 rain-shortened tie with Pittsburgh on September 18, and keep alive their slim chance to win the National League pennant.”

rudolph4

P-Dick Rudolph, Boston Braves, 28 Years Old

1913 1914 1915

19-12, 2.16 ERA, 133 K, .158, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.096

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.500

Assists as P-113

Range Factor/Game as P-2.90

4th Time All-Star-With the great Pete Alexander dominating year-after-year, it’s easy to forget how good Rudolph was during this time, as he has now made four straight All-Star teams. He finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.0); ninth in ERA (2.16); and third in innings pitched (312), behind Alexander (389) and Brooklyn’s Jeff Pfeffer (328 2/3).

Boston continued to be in the running in these days, finishing third with an 89-63 record. George Stallings continued to guide the team that was tied for first as late as September 4, before faltering and finishing four games out.

SABR says, “Over the three-year period 1914-16, Rudolph was one of baseball’s best and most durable pitchers, hurling over 300 innings each season. His performance in 1916 may have been even better than 1914; though he won seven fewer games, he lowered his ERA from 2.35 to a career-best 2.16 and led the NL with 8.9 base runners allowed per nine innings.”

By the way, Rudolph was bald and it was noted often in 1916. From a book by Paul and John Zinn, entitled The Major League Pennant Races of 1916: “Understandably, the Braves were well satisfied with the first day’s results. Magee earned praise for his three hits, while outfielder Joe Wilhoit in his major league debut made two nice catches that even the Brooklyn fans applauded. On defense, Nick Flatley said the infield played ‘with the precision of machines.’ Special praise was also given to Dick Rudolph, the ‘bald pated marvel’ who ‘slow balled and fast balled and spit balled and in general balled the Dodgers up.’ Rudolph’s lack of hair would be noted on a regular basis throughout the 1916 campaign: given his performance, he probably deserved better treatment.”

toney2

P-Fred Toney, Cincinnati Reds, 27 Years Old

1915

14-17, 2.28 ERA, 146 K, .121, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Toney would never again have a year like 1915, but he still was one of the National League’s best pitchers. This season, he finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.3) and fifth in innings pitched (300). He probably has one more All-Star team left.

His team, the Cincinnati Reds, stayed in seventh place with a 60-93 record. Buck Herzog (34-49), Ivey Wingo (1-1), and Christy Mathewson (25-43) all managed this squad that had good hitting, led by Heinie Groh, but bad pitching, giving up the second most runs in the league. Herzog would never manage again, finishing with a career 165-226 record, nor would Wingo, who coached his first and last season. Mathewson still had two seasons left with the Reds.

SABR says, “Before the 1916 season Toney demanded $6,000, almost double what he earned in 1915, or his unconditional release, but Reds president Garry Herrmann countered with $4,000 and told his hurler he’d pitch for that amount or not at all. The sides split the difference and Toney signed his contract in late February. The Reds ace enjoyed another excellent season, tossing a then-career-high 300 innings and posting a 2.28 ERA, but he went only 14-17 thanks to a paucity of run support. He insisted he’d win 25 games a year if the Reds would give him four runs per game.”

Every year in baseball there are hard-lucked pitchers who perform better than their record. This year, Toney took that crown, but next year when his run support improves, so will his win-loss mark.

millerf

P-Frank Miller, Pittsburgh Pirates, 30 Years Old

7-10, 2.29 ERA, 88 K, .137, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Frank Lee “Bullet” Miller was born on May 13, 1886 in Salem, MI. The six-foot, 188 pound righty started with the White Sox in 1913. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1914 or 1915, despite the fact there was an extra Major League during those year. This year, back in the big leagues with Pittsburgh, Miller finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (3.5), his best season ever.

Wikipedia wraps up his career, saying, “Frank Lee Miller (May 13, 1886, Allegan, Michigan – 19 February 1974, Allegan, Michigan), a.k.a. ‘Bullet’, was 27 years old when he entered the professional baseball scene on July 12, 1913, with the Chicago White Sox.

“Miller pitched only one game in the 1913 season, taking a loss. He returned to the Majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1916, where he pitched an average of 30 games a year through the 1919 season.

“He again left the scene for the 1920-21 seasons, but returned to the field again in 1922, this time wearing the uniform of the Boston Braves.

“He played his last major league game 30 July 1923.

“He died 19 February 1974, aged 87, in his hometown, Allegan, Michigan and was interred in Rowe Cemetery, Cheshire Township, Allegan County, Michigan.”

Wikipedia says this article is a stub and Miller’s career was a stub. Yet his is the typical career. Actually, maybe that’s not true, because most players play in the Majors without ever making an All-Star team and Bullet at least did that.

mccarty

C-Lew McCarty, Brooklyn Robins/New York Giants, 27 Years Old

.339, 0 HR, 22 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-George Lewis “Lew” McCarty was born on November 17, 1888 in Milton, PA. The five-foot-11, 192 pound catcher started with Brooklyn in 1913 and was their regular backstop starting in 1914. This year was his best ever as he split time between the Robins and Giants. With Brooklyn, McCarty slashed .313/.383/.367 and with New York, he hit .397 with a .456 on-base percentage and .559 slugging in 25 games for an OPS of 1.012. He was traded for Fred Merkle.

Baseball Reference says, “McCarty stayed with the Giants from 1917 to 1919 and part of 1920. He appeared in the 1917 World Series, hitting .400 in five at-bats. He became the Giants’ # 1 catcher in 1918 and kept the job the following year, both years when the Giants finished in second place in the league. Not hitting well in 1920, he became a backup and was sold in July to the St. Louis Cardinals, for whom he appeared in 5 games. He had done more and more pinch-hitting during 1919 and 1920. He closed out his major league career with one more game for the Cardinals in 1921.

“Lew continued to have a minor league career from 1921 to 1927. He put in three seasons with Kansas City (Dutch Zwilling was a teammate all three years), and parts of two with each of Baltimore and Durham. He did some managing in the minors in 1926 and 1927, guiding the Durham Bulls and Richmond Colts.

“He died young, in 1930.”

gowdy2

C-Hank Gowdy, Boston Braves, 26 Years Old

1915

.252, 1 HR, 34 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as C-19

2nd Time All-Star-There was a lack of good catchers in these days, but defensively at least, Gowdy was one of them. He finished fifth in Defensive WAR (1.3), pretty good for someone who only played 118 games. After this season, he would be with Boston from in 1917 and then from 1919-23. He’d move to the Giants from 1923-25, and then finish with Boston in 1929 and 1930. Despite his low Career WAR of 18.2, he got Hall of Fame votes an incredible 17 times.

Wikipedia says, “Gowdy saw more playing time in subsequent seasons, but when World War I broke out, he became the first major league player to sign up. He saw considerable action in France with the 166th Infantry Regiment of the Ohio National Guard, including some of the worst trench fighting in the war. When he returned in 1919, he got his old job as a catcher back, but not before going on a speaking tour of the United States, detailing his war experiences. Four years later, he was traded back to the Giants, where he played in the 1923 and 1924 World Series, but his heroics weren’t repeated, as he committed a costly error which led to the game-winning run in Game 7 against the Washington Senators. In 1925, the Giants released him. Four years later, he made a comeback with Braves, albeit with very limited playing time. He then became a coach with the Giants, Braves, and the Reds. Later he left his coaching job to serve as a captain in World War II at the age of 53. He’s believed to be the only big-league baseball player to serve in both wars.

“Gowdy died at his home in Columbus, Ohio at age 76. Gowdy Field in Columbus is named in his honor.”

chase2

1B-Hal Chase, Cincinnati Reds, 33 Years Old

1914

.339, 4 HR, 82 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1916 NL Batting Title

Batting Average-.339

Hits-184

Adjusted OPS+-155

Offensive Win %-.768

2nd Time All-Star-With the Federal League defunct, Chase jumped from the FL to Cincinnati and had his best season ever. He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.2); second in Offensive WAR (5.2), behind St. Louis third baseman Rogers Hornsby (5.6); first in batting (.339); eighth in on-base percentage (.363); second in slugging (.459), trailing Brooklyn leftfielder Zack Wheat (.461); and first in Adjusted OPS+ (155).

How corrupt was Prince Hal, a misnomer of a moniker if ever there was one? There’s all kinds of info on the net about his bribes and laying down games. I’ll just put a couple from Wikipedia, which says, “Rumors of him being the middleman between the players and the gamblers in the Black Sox Scandal have never been confirmed. A Chicago grand jury indicted him for his role in the scandal, but California refused extradition because of an incorrectly issued arrest warrant.

“In 1920, while playing for the minor Mission League, he allegedly attempted to bribe Spider Baum, a pitcher for the Salt Lake Bees of the Pacific Coast League, to lose a game to the Los Angeles Angels. It turned out to be one of the last games he played in organized baseball. In the aftermath of the Black Sox Scandal, newly appointed Commissioner of Baseball Kenesaw Mountain Landis declared no player who threw a game or promised to throw a game would ever be allowed in baseball—effectively ending any realistic chance of Chase returning to the majors.

“Chase spent the rest of his life drifting between Arizona and his native California, working numerous low-paying jobs. Later in life, he expressed considerable remorse for betting on baseball. He lived with his sister in Williams, California and died in a Colusa, California hospital at the age of 64.”

daubert5

1B-Jake Daubert, Brooklyn Robins, 32 Years Old

1911 1912 1913 1915

.316, 3 HR, 33 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 1B-.993 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Daubert and Cincinnati first baseman Hal Chase are similar in that despite being good hitters, much of the writing at the time proclaims praises due to their glove. First base has always been the least important defensive position, though in Chase and Daubert’s day, because of all the bunting, it was more difficult than it is now. To me, Daubert is much the better player overall than Chase. This season, he finished 10th in Offensive WAR (3.8); second in batting (.316), behind Chase (.339); fourth in on-base percentage (.371); and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (133). He slumped in the World Series loss to Boston, hitting only .176 (three-for-17) with a triple.

SABR says, “Throughout his career Daubert was known as a highly intelligent player. Sportswriters liked him as he could converse with them on a variety of subjects beyond the game. His intellect was indicated by his business dealings. At the end of his career it was said that he made more money outside of baseball and did not need to play the game to make a living. Daubert invested in a variety of businesses. The Sporting Life said he invested his World Series money from his Brooklyn days in real estate near his home in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Among them were a poolroom, cigar business, and a semi-pro baseball team for which he was once arrested for ballplaying on a Sunday. He also invested in ice and moving picture businesses. His biggest moneymaker was a coal washery (dredgery) in his hometown of Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania.”

doyle7

2B-Larry Doyle, New York Giants/Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1915

.278, 3 HR, 54 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

 

7th Time All-Star-For a while, it looked like Doyle wasn’t going to make my Hall of Fame, but as one of the best second basemen in the National League for a good stretch of time, here he is. As a refresher, my Hall of Fame is based solely on numbers. If a player’s Career WAR multiplied by the number of All-Star teams he makes is 300 or over, he’s in. Doyle had a career 45.0 WAR and has now made seven lists, so here he is. The other second basemen in my Hall are Cupid Childs, Eddie Collins, Johnny Evers, Nap Lajoie, Bid McPhee, and Hardy Richardson. The entire list and the link to all of the players above are here. At this time in the National League, Doyle was the best second baseman by a long shot.

So why would the Giants trade such a good player? SABR says, “In 1916 Doyle slumped once again. This time the Giants traded him to the Cubs on August 28 in a five-player deal that was essentially Doyle for Heinie Zimmerman.” Why did the Giants think he was slumping? Most likely due to the catch-all stat of the day, batting average. Doyle was only hitting .268 for the Giants when he was traded. However, his OPS+ was 119, not as high as usual, but good for a second baseman. He raked with the Cubs. In nine games, Doyle slashed .395/.410/.658, making his total slash line .278/.323/.403 for an OPS+ of 127. That .403 slugging was 10th in the league.

groh2

3B-Heinie Groh, Cincinnati Reds, 26 Years Old

1915

.269, 2 HR, 28 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-84

Double Plays Turned as 3B-32 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.40 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.41

2nd Time All-Star-In the early 1900s, the Reds didn’t have much to root for. There were usually a second division team and didn’t have a lot of regular All-Stars. Groh is changing that for the team, now making his second consecutive list, with many more to come. This year, the third baseman finished seventh in WAR (5.3); third in WAR Position Players (5.3), behind Giants’ shortstop Art Fletcher (6.3) and Brooklyn leftfielder Zack Wheat (6.0); third in Offensive WAR (5.1), trailing St. Louis third baseman Rogers Hornsby (5.6) and teammate Hal Chase (5.2); fifth in on-base percentage (.370); and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (132).

SABR says, “Heinie Groh was undoubtedly the National League’s best third baseman of the Deadball Era. Historian Greg Gajus suggests that Groh would have won at least one Most Valuable Player award (for the 1919 season) and perhaps two others (1916 and 1918), and that eight of his 12 full seasons were of All-Star quality. Furthermore, contemporaries considered him the NL’s best-fielding third baseman, so he likely would have added at least a half-dozen Gold Gloves to his trophy case.

“While his defense was important, Groh’s feats at the plate made him a star. Positioning himself at the extreme front of the batter’s box with both feet facing the pitcher, he choked up on his peculiar bottle bat and slapped at the ball. Taking advantage of his size (5’6″, 160 lbs.) to create a small strike zone and draw a lot of walks, Groh also became adept at bunting and executing the hit and run. He led the NL in walks in 1916, in hits in 1917, and in runs scored in 1918. Groh also led the league in doubles twice, and had a batting average of .298 or better each year from 1917-21.”

hornsby

3B-Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals, 20 Years Old

.313, 6 HR, 65 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1942)

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

 

Led in:

 

Offensive WAR-5.6

1st Time All-Star-Rogers “Rajah” Hornsby was born on April 27, 1896 in Winters, TX. The five-foot-11, 175 pound infielder is probably known to you as the greatest hitting second baseman of all time. However, it’s actually going to be a few years until the great Hornsby is moved to his most famous position. This season, Hornsby finished 10th in WAR (4.9); sixth in WAR Position Players (4.9); first in Offensive WAR (5.6); fourth in batting (.313); sixth in on-base percentage (.369); fourth in slugging (.444); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (151), behind Cincinnati first baseman Hal Chase (155). Not bad for a rookie!

Miller Huggins was the manager of the seventh place Cardinals, who finished 60-93. That’s what happens when a team can’t hit (scored second least runs in the NL) and can’t pitch (gave up the most).

Wikipedia says, “The Cardinals picked up Roy Corhan from the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League to play at shortstop in 1916, making Hornsby one of three candidates for the position. Hornsby’s great performance in spring training, a shoulder injury to Corhan, and poor hitting by Butler meant Hornsby was the starting shortstop on Opening Day. He had both runs batted in (RBIs) in the Cardinals’ 2–1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that day. On May 14, he hit his first major league home run against Jeff Pfeffer of Brooklyn. He rotated among infield positions before finally settling in at third base for much of the second half of the year. Late in the season, he missed 11 games with a sprained ankle. He finished 1916 with a .313 average, fourth in the NL, and he was one short of the league lead in triples with 15.”

fletcher4

SS-Art Fletcher, New York Giants, 31 Years Old

1913 1914 1915

.286, 3 HR, 66 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-6.3

Hit By Pitch-14 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-It’s possible Fletcher would have received more Hall of Fame interest if he didn’t play in the same era as Honus Wagner. Compared to him, no one’s numbers were going to look impressive. Still, this season, Fletcher finished third in WAR (6.3), behind pitchers Pete Alexander (11.9) and Jeff Pfeffer (7.2); first in WAR Position Players (6.3); seventh in Offensive WAR (4.2); second in Defensive WAR (3.2), trailing Boston shortstop Rabbit Maranville (3.2); and ninth in batting (.286). It’s his glove that’s putting him on these All-Star teams, but he could still hit a little.

SABR says, “[After 1911] Though he never batted .300 again, Fletcher frequently finished just below that mark, compiling a .277 batting average over the course of his 13-year career. He also fielded brilliantly, drawing comparisons to Wagner, Tinker, and Doolan. With Art as their shortstop, the Giants won three pennants in a row–1911, 1912, 1913–and an additional one in 1917, the year that McGraw named him team captain. Fletcher didn’t distinguish himself in the Fall Classic, batting just .191 and committing a dozen errors in his 25 World Series games. Some of his miscues were extremely costly. In Game Three of the 1911 World Series, Art’s error in the top of the 11th inning helped the Philadelphia Athletics score twice and hand Christy Mathewson his first World Series defeat, 3-2. The following year, Fletch committed three errors early in Game Two to give the Boston Red Sox a 4-2 lead. The game eventually ended in a 6-6 draw.”

maranville2

SS-Rabbit Maranville, Boston Braves, 24 Years Old

1914

.235, 4 HR, 38 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1954)

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-3.2 (2nd Time)

Outs Made-501 (2nd Time)

Assists-515 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as SS-155 (2nd Time)

Putouts as SS-386 (3rd Time)

Assists as SS-515 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-79 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.947

2nd Time All-Star-Every coach has to ask the question, how much are they willing to give up offensively to gain defensively? At some positions like first base and leftfield, the answer is usually “not much.” At shortstop, however, most managers are willing to give up some hitting to have a stellar glove. That’s the case with Maranville, whose OPS+ was only 95, but he had the best Defensive WAR (3.2) in the league. Thus, I’m naming this his best season ever as it’s the only year he finished in the top 10 in WAR, finishing eighth with 5.3. He was also fourth in WAR Position Players (5.3) and not bad on the base paths, stealing 32 out of 47 attempts.

Rabbit’s Hall of Fame page says, “’When I first heard about him, about all the stunts he pulled, I said to myself for a fellow to do all those crazy things and still keep his job, he had to be a damned good ball player,’ Yankees Joe McCarthy said of shortstop Rabbit Maranville. ‘When I got into the league, I saw that I was right. He was full of fun, but he could play ball.’

“Maranville stands out in baseball history as one of the game’s unique careers and unusual personalities. Any discussion of Maranville must include mention of the stunts he pulled but shouldn’t solely focus on the player’s colorful side. Indeed, Maranville could play ball, especially defense.”

I think Art Fletcher, who didn’t make the Hall of Fame, is a better player than Maranville, who did, but I don’t think Rabbit is a bad pick.

wheat2

LF-Zack Wheat, Brooklyn Robins, 28 Years Old

1914

.312, 9 HR, 73 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1959)

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

 

Led in:

 

Slugging-.461

Total Bases-262

Runs Created-94

Adj. Batting Runs-33

Adj. Batting Wins-3.8

Extra Base Hits-54

Putouts as LF-333

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.33 (3rd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-It’s good when the game’s great players are able to make it to the World Series, as Wheat did this year. Nowadays, it’s so difficult to get to the Fall Classic because of all the playoff rounds and all of the teams. This year, Wheat finished fourth in WAR (6.0); second in WAR Position Players (6.0), behind New York shortstop Art Fletcher (6.3); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.8); fifth in batting (.312); seventh in on-base percentage (.366); first in slugging (.461); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (150), trailing Cincinnati first baseman Hal Chase (155) and St. Louis third baseman Rogers Hornsby (151).

With a chance to shine in the Series, Wheat didn’t. He hit only .211 (four-for-19) with a triple and only one RBI as the Robins lost to the Red Sox, four games to one.

Wikipedia says, “In 1916, he topped off the string of seasons with a finish in the top ten in all the above categories, topping the league in total bases and slugging. He also had a career-high hitting streak, which reached 29 games. The Brooklyn Robins won the National League pennant that season. In the World Series, they faced the Boston Red Sox, which had the formidable pitching rotation of Ernie ShoreDutch LeonardCarl Mays, and Babe Ruth. The Red Sox won the series four games to one, holding the Robins to a .200 batting average, and Wheat to a paltry .211.”  Wow, “paltry,” eh, Wikipedia? I think you’re being a little harsh to the Robins’ best player.

carey2

CF-Max Carey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 26 Years Old

1912

.264, 7 HR, 42 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames: 

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1961)

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

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-63 (3rd Time)

Putouts as CF-370

Assists as CF-29

Double Plays Turned as CF-11

Putouts as OF-419

Assists as OF-32

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.98

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.94 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.93

2nd Time All-Star-Since making the All-Star team in 1912, Carey still played practically every day and stole a lot of bases, but his hitting continued to lack. This season, he was back, finishing ninth in WAR (5.1); fifth in WAR Position Players (5.1); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.0); and was an impressive 63-for-82 stealing bases.

Carey’s Hall of Fame page states, “Many Hall of Famers made it to the big leagues with their bats or their arms. Max Carey did it with his legs.

“Carey, nicknamed ‘Scoops’, set a National League record with 738 career stolen bases and led the NL in steals 10 times.

“’He was just as fast between the ears as he was with his feet,’ said future Hall of Fame pitcher Joe Williams. ‘That’s what made him harder to stop than a run in a silk stocking.’

“He became a switch hitter and joined the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1910. By 1913, at age 23, Carey led the NL in plate appearances (692), at bats (620), runs (99) and (61) stolen bases while hitting .277. It was the first of six seasons Carey would steal over 50 bases.

“’The secret is getting a good jump,’ said Carey. ‘I’d watch the pitcher’s motion and then be at full speed after two steps. I think stealing third can sometimes be easier than stealing second. It all depends on the pitcher.’” It’s not entirely true it was just his speed that got him into the Hall. He also played good defense and had a decent bat.

williamsc

CF-Cy Williams, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

.279, 12 HR, 66 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base Plus Slugging-.831

Home Runs-12

AB per HR-33.8

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

1st Time All-Star-Fred “Cy” Williams was born on December 21, 1887 in Wadena, IN. The six-foot-two, 180 pound left-handed hitting centerfielder started with the Cubs in 1912. He became a regular in 1915 and started to shine this season. He finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.1); ninth in Offensive WAR (3.8); third in on-base percentage (.372), behind outfielders Gavvy Cravath (.379) and Bill Hinchman (.378); third in slugging (.459), trailing Brooklyn leftfielder Zack Wheat (.461) and Cincinnati first baseman Hal Chase (.459); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (144).

SABR says, “The National League’s career home-run leader until his record of 251 was surpassed by Rogers Hornsby in 1929, Cy Williams is remembered today primarily for his slugging achievements with the Philadelphia Phillies during the 1920s, but the 6’2″, 180 lb. center fielder began to show his potential as a power hitter while with the Chicago Cubs towards the end of the Deadball Era. In a profile of Williams entitled ‘The Greatest Outfielder in the National League,’ which appeared in the September 1916 issue of Baseball Magazine, Ward Mason called an already 28-year-old Williams a ‘great all ’round talent with a wealth of sheer natural ability which is unrivaled in the older circuit,’ but went on to write that ‘in all this there isn’t so much an appreciation of what Williams has already accomplished as a vague but definite impression of what he may do when he gets good and ready.’” What will end up keeping Williams from the Hall of Fame is he did most of his power hitting in Philadelphia’s Baker Bowl, the best home run park in the National League by far.

kauff3

CF-Benny Kauff, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1914 1915

.264, 9 HR, 74 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as CF-154

Errors Committed as CF-14 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Kauff, the Federal League superstar, was humbled a bit by playing in the National League, and certainly wasn’t the dynamo he was in the FL. Still, it’s no small feat to come out of an inferior league and still make the All-Star team, so hat’s off to the man. This season, Kauff finished fifth in Offensive WAR (4.5); ninth in slugging (.408); seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (138); and was a mediocre 40 for 66 stealing bases.

SABR says, “A half-century later, [sportswriter Frank] Graham still vividly recalled Kauff’s first appearance in camp with the Giants in the spring of 1916: ‘He wore a loudly-striped silk shirt, an expensive blue suit, patent leather shoes, a fur-collared overcoat and a derby hat,’ Graham wrote. ‘He was adorned with a huge diamond stickpin, an equally huge diamond ring and a gold watch encrusted with diamonds, and he had roughly $7,500 in his pockets.’ The forgiving right-field porch of the Polo Grounds was still on Kauff’s mind. ‘I’ll hit so many balls into the grandstand that the management will have to put screens up in front to protect the fans and save the money that lost balls would cost,’ he bragged. The New York press loved his act, and soon headlines like ‘All Pitchers Will Be Easy, Kauff Admits’ graced the sports pages of the major dailies.

“Judged against the hype, Kauff was a huge disappointment in his first year in New York. Playing center field every day, Kauff didn’t set the league on fire, he didn’t destroy NL pitching, he didn’t reinvent the game; he was merely very good.”

hinchman2

RF-Bill Hinchman, Pittsburgh Pirates, 33 Years Old

1915

.315, 4 HR, 76 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-16

Range Factor/Game as RF-1.88

2nd Time All-Star-Hinchman reminds me of “The Natural.” He played some mediocre ball in the National and American Leagues in his early 20s, then took a stretch off. Then at the age of 32, he made his first All-Star team and would make another this season. Hinchman finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.2); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.5); third in batting (.315), behind first basemen Hal Chase (.339) and Jake Daubert (.316); second in on-base percentage (.378), trailing only Philadelphia outfielder Gavvy Cravath (.379); sixth in slugging (.427); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (147).

SABR says, “In 1916, Hinchman’s power numbers dropped off slightly, but his batting (.315) and on-base percentage (.378) placed him third and second respectively in the league. Max Carey also had a good season, but the rest of the squad struggled and the Pirates finished lower than in 1915. Hinchman returned to the Pirates in 1917 and took over in left field. Now past the prime years for a player, he got off to a very slow start and was still below .200 on the Fourth of July. His season came to a screeching halt on July 6 in Philadelphia.

“Hinchman rounded third and believed he could beat the return throw if he kept going. The result was a ‘grand spill at the plate (and) … Hinchman was unable to arise.’ He was carried from the field and taken to the Women’s Homeopathic Hospital, where the break in his left femur was set.

“Hinchman was under care in a nursing home on February 20, 1963, when he died. A funeral Mass was held at St. Christopher’s Church in Columbus and he was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in nearby Lockbourne, Ohio.”

robertson

RF-Dave Robertson, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

.307, 12 HR, 69 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-12

Singles-142

Power-Speed #-15.3

Putouts as RF-248

Errors Committed as RF-11

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

1st Time All-Star-Davis Aydelotte “Dave” Robertson was born on September 25, 1889 in Portsmouth, VA. The six-foot, 186 pound left-handed hitting leftfielder started with the Giants in 1912 and hit .500! Okay, it was only in two at-bats. He came back to New York in 1914 and this year was his best ever. Robertson finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.1); sixth in batting (.307); seventh in slugging (.426); and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (136).

Wikipedia says, “In 1916 and 1917, he tied for the National League lead in home runs (with Cy Williams and Gavvy Cravath, respectively) while playing for New York. The short-distanced right field fence at the Polo Grounds was a frequent target of long drives hit by Robertson and his Giants’ teammate, Benny Kauff. Their hits to right field became so much of an issue that National League officials convened following the 1916 baseball season. Baseball officials decided to amend Rule #1, which read the shortest distance from a fence or stand on fair territory to the home base should be 235 feet. The amendment to the rule changed the shortest distance from a stand or fence to 270 feet.

“Robertson played for the Giants in the 1917 World Series against the Chicago White Sox, his 11 hits leading the team in the Series in a losing cause. A member of the Giants during the 1922 season, he did not make an appearance in the 1922 World Series. The champion Giants swept all four games of that Series from their crosstown rival New York Yankees.

“Robertson died at the age of 81 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.”

1915 Federal League All-Star Team

P-Dave Davenport, SLM

P-Eddie Plank, SLM

P-Doc Crandall, SLM

P-Frank Allen, PBS

P-Fred Anderson, BUF

P-Ed Reulbach, NEW

P-Earl Moseley, NEW

P-Nick Cullop, KCP

P-Al Schulz, BUF

P-Jack Quinn, BAL

C-Art Wilson, CHI

C-Bill Rariden, NEW

C-William Fischer, CHI

1B-Ed Konetchy, PBS

2B-Baldy Louden, BUF

3B-Mike Mowrey, PBS

3B-George Perring, KCP

SS-Jimmy Esmond, NEW

LF-Claude Cooper, BTT

LF-Les Mann, CHI

LF-Ward Miller, SLM

CF-Benny Kauff, BTT

CF-Dutch Zwilling, CHI

RF-Max Flack, CHI

RF-Grover Gilmore, KCP

davenport

P-Dave Davenport, St. Louis Terriers, 25 Years Old, MVP

22-18, 2.20 ERA, 229 K, .092, 0 HR, 4 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-7.3

WAR for Pitchers-8.5

Hits per 9 IP-6.876

Games Pitched-55

Innings Pitched-392 2/3

Strikeouts-229

Games Started-46

Complete Games-30

Shutouts-10

Batters Faced-1,497

Adj. Pitching Runs-44

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.0

Def Games as P-55

1st Time All-Star-David W. “Dave” Davenport was born on February 20, 1890 in Alexandria, LA. The six-foot-sit, 220 pound righty started with Cincinnati in 1914 and then moved to the Federal League mid-season, coming over to the Terriers. He then had this outstanding season, his best season ever. From 1916-19, Davenport pitched for the St. Louis Browns, not pitching any Major League ball after that.

Despite having the top three pitchers in the Federal League, St. Louis, managed by Fielder Jones, finished in second place with an 87-67 record. They were actually tied for first with the Chicago Whales, but Chicago won by one percentage point with an 86-66 record. The Terriers had pretty good hitting, led by leftfielder Ward Miller. The team led the league in on-base percentage. It was its pitching which really carried St. Louis, as Davenport led an All-Star-filled staff.

Baseball-Reference says, “Davenport was suspended late in the 1919 season by Browns business manager Bob Quinn for failing to report to manager Jimmy Burke for a game vs. Cleveland in St. Louis. Davenport missed the Sept. 2 game – when he was scheduled to start – and then didn’t show up the morning of Sept. 3 either.

“When Davenport realized he had been suspended without pay for the rest of the season, he returned to the Browns’ clubhouse – but it was too late. Quinn told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he suspected Davenport had been drinking.

“The Browns were leaving town and held up their train. Davenport asked to speak with Quinn, who was wary that the pitcher was going to stir up some trouble. Quinn grabbed a bat for protection and eventually called a policeman to take Davenport away. Davenport claimed he choked Quinn, although Quinn denied Davenport ever laid hands on him.” Davenport died on October 16, 1954 in El Dorado, AR, at the age of 64.

plank11

P-Eddie Plank, St. Louis Terriers, 39 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908 1909 1911 1912

21-11, 2.08 ERA, 147 K, .258, 0 HR, 8 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1904)

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-0.991

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.811

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-2.722

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.034

Adjusted ERA+-153

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.00

11th Time All-Star-In terms of name recognition, Gettysburg Eddie was definitely the key pickup for the Federal League, which would fold after this season. He didn’t make the All-Star team in 1913 or 1914, but he did make the World Series both seasons – the A’s win over the Giants in 1913 and loss to the Braves in 1914. Altogether, Eddie ended up pitching in four World Series with an outstanding 1.32 ERA, but only a 2-5 record.

This season, Plank’s best ever, he finished second in WAR (7.0), behind teammate Dave Davenport (7.3); second in WAR for Pitchers (6.3), trailing Davenport (8.5); second in ERA (2.08), behind Newark’s Earl Moseley (1.91); and first in Adjusted ERA+ (153).

At this point, I have Plank listed as the ninth greatest player of all-time, through 1915. The full list is here.

Plank’s Hall of Fame page says, “After the Athletics lost the 1914 World Series to the Boston Braves, A’s manager Connie Mack broke up the dynasty. Plank joined the St. Louis Terriers of the newly founded Federal League. He won his 300th game Sept. 11, 1915, defeating the Newark Peppers 12-5. Plank won 21 games for the Terriers, the last of eight seasons he reached the plateau. Plank pitched two more seasons for the St. Louis Browns, picking up the final 21 victories of his career. Though he announced his retirement, the New York Yankees traded for him in 1918. Plank remained unswayed, choosing to remain at his farm in Gettysburg, Pa. He spent his retirement as a battlefield tour guide at Gettysburg National Park until he suffered a stroke and died in 1926 at the age of 50.”

crandall2

P-Doc Crandall, St. Louis Terriers, 27 Years Old

1914

21-15, 2.59 ERA, 117 K, .284, 1 HR, 19 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits Allowed-307

2nd Time All-Star-For the second straight season, Crandall made the Federal League All-Star team. However, in 1914, he made it as a second baseman, this year, he made it from the mound. Crandall had his best season ever, finishing fourth in WAR (5.1); eighth in WAR for Pitchers (3.3); second in innings pitched (312 2/3), behind only teammate Dave Davenport (392 2/3); and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (123). Surprisingly, Crandall didn’t play any games in the field in 1915, though he did pinch-hit 35 times.

SABR says, “In 1915 Crandall started in 33 of his 51 appearances, posting a 21-15 record and finishing second in the FL in innings pitched (312.2). The St. Louis Browns acquired him in the Federal League dispersion, but he was shelled in his first two appearances and the Browns cut him loose. Coming off a 20-win season, Crandall’s career appeared to be over at the age of 28.

“Crandall tried ownership in 1927-28 with Wichita of the Western League, where he also hurled a few games. He then returned to the majors for a four-year stint as the pitching coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1935 Crandall managed Des Moines, where his roster included his son, Jim, a catcher who fashioned a long minor-league career as player and manager. Doc ended his baseball career with two PCL coaching stints: Seattle in 1937 and Sacramento in 1938. In his later years he suffered a series of strokes that left him paralyzed. Doc Crandall died in Bell, California, on August 17, 1951, survived by his wife, Bertha, and his children Jim and Dorothy.”

allen

P-Frank Allen, Pittsburgh Rebels, 26 Years Old

23-13, 2.51 ERA, 127 K, .079, 0 HR, 2 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Frank Leon Allen was born on August 26, 1888 in Newbern, AL. The five-foot-nine, 175 pound lefty pitcher started with Brooklyn from 1912-14 before making the jump to Pittsburgh in the Federal League. This year was Allen’s best ever as he finished sixth in WAR (4.4); third in WAR for Pitchers (5.0), behind St. Louis’ Dave Davenport (8.5); 10th in ERA (2.51); seventh in innings pitched (283 1/3); and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (121). He was the first pitcher to throw a no-hit, no run game in the FL.

Pittsburgh finished third in FL, with Rebel Oakes guiding it to an 86-67 record, half a game out of first. The Rebels, thanks to Allen, had good pitching.

Sportsecyclopedia.com says, “After a terrible first season, the Rebels got off to a much better star in their second year, as they were in first place at the end of May, with a record of 23-16. Highlighting the early season turnaround was Frank Allen who pitched a No Hitter on April 24th, blanking the St. Louis Terriers 2-0.

“The Rebels were in the thick of the pennant race all season and spent most of September in first place. However, a 3-0 loss in the final game of the season to the Chicago Whales at Weeghman Park left them a half game back and in third place with a record of 86-67, as the Whales captured the final Federal League Championship by finishing percentage points better than the Terriers.

Allen died at the age of 44 on July 30, 1933 in Gainsville, AL.

andersonf

P-Fred Anderson, Buffalo Blues, 29 Years Old

19-13, 2.51 ERA, 142 K, .150, 0 HR, 2 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.325

1st Time All-Star-John Frederick “Fred” Anderson was born on December 11, 1885 in Calahan, NC. The six-foot-two, 180 pound right-handed pitcher started with the Red Sox in 1909. He came back to Boston in 1913, before moving to the Federal League and Buffalo in 1914. This year was his best season ever as he finished eighth in WAR (4.0), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5), and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (126).

It was a disappointing year for the Blues as three managers took the reins this season. Larry Schlafly (13-28), Walter Blair (1-1), and Harry Lord (60-49) led Buffalo to a sixth place 74-78 record. Its hitting was weak and its pitching wasn’t great either. Buffalo was the Buffeds in 1914, which might be the dumbest nickname ever. Oh, there’s goofier ones, but Buffeds just doesn’t make sense. That’s probably why they switched to the Blues in 1915.

After this season, Anderson pitched for the Giants for three years. In 1917, mainly in a relief role, he led the National League in ERA (1.44), ERA+ (177), and WHIP (0.963). He also pitched in the World Series that season, pitching two innings, but allowing four runs for an 18.00 ERA. The next season, he pitched in 18 games with a 4-2 record and a 2.67 ERA, but was out of Major League baseball after that.

SABR says, “He had retired from the practice of dentistry in 1948, but had been quite ill for two years leading up to November 8, 1957. Anderson took matters into his own hands that day; his wife had gone to the bank and he was in an upstairs bedroom. The family butler, James Nesmith, heard a gunshot at about 10:45 in the morning. The death certificate signed by Baptist Hospital recorded the cause of death as ‘suicide by shooting self in the region of the heart with a 12-gauge shotgun.’”

reulbach6

P-Ed Reulbach, Newark Pepper, 32 Years Old

1905 1906 1907 1908 1909

21-10, 2.23 ERA, 117 K, .196, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

6th Time All-Star-There aren’t too many pitchers, if any, who had a first five years like Reulbach. From 1905 through 1909, Big Ed went 97-39 with a 1.72 ERA (151 ERA+). If you just judge his career on those seasons, you had to believe he was going to be one of the all-time greats. Yet after that season, his innings went down as his ERA went up. From 1910-14, with the Cubs and Brooklyn, Reulbach went 57-50 with a 3.00 ERA (103 ERA+). That’s why he didn’t make another All-Star team, until this season, that is.

Reulbach finished ninth in WAR (3.9), sixth in WAR for Pitchers (4.0), sixth in ERA (2.23), and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (129). His team, the Pepper, finished fifth with an 80-72 record. Bill Phillips (26-27) and Bill McKechnie (54-45) managed. Phillips’ days managing were done, but McKechnie would have a successful managerial career, including two World Series championships.

SABR says, “With the Federal League’s Newark Peps, Reulbach put together one last outstanding season in 1915, going 21-10 with a 2.23 ERA. Among that year’s highlights were his Opening Day triumph over Chief Bender and his 12-inning win over former Cubs teammate Mordecai Brown. Reulbach also pitched and won the final game in Federal League history, defeating the Baltimore Terrapins, 6-0, in the second game of an October 3 doubleheader.

“Reulbach’s post-baseball years weren’t happy ones. He spent a fortune trying to save the life of his constantly ill son, who ended up dying anyway in 1931, and an article in the Chicago Tribune the following year referred to Ed at age 50 as a ‘sad and lonely man.’…Reulbach died at age 78 on July 17, 1961, in Glens Falls, New York.”

moseley

P-Earl Moseley, Newark Pepper, 27 Years Old

15-15, 1.91 ERA, 142 K, .148, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1915 FL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.91

1st Time All-Star-Earl Victor “Vic” Moseley was born on September 7, 1887 in Middleburg, OH. The five-foot-nine, 168 pound righty started with the Red Sox in 1913, moved to the Federal League in 1914 and pitched for Indianapolis. He then moved to Newark and pitched his best season ever, finishing fifth in WAR for Pitchers (4.1); first in ERA (1.91); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (151), behind St. Louis’ Eddie Plank (153).

Moseley then pitched for the Reds in 1916 to end his Major League career. Altogether, he was 49-48 with a 3.01 ERA and a 4.2 career WAR.

SABR says, “In August 1917, Moseley joined the United States Army and served with the infantry in the Vittorio-Veneto defensive sector with the American Expeditionary Force until he was honorably discharged on April 14, 1919. Four months after his discharge he married Gladys Ochloe Shriver. Before his marriage, he played in a few games with the Beaumont Oilers. In 1920, he tried baseball one last time and was 7-2 with the Akron Buckeyes, though with a 4.43 ERA. He left the game – though he played semipro baseball for the next six seasons with the Massillon (Ohio) Agathons.

“Moseley eventually owned a men’s clothing store in Alliance. At the time of the 1930 census, he and Gladys had three children: a daughter Mada and sons Richard and E. Victor.

“At a certain point he left the clothing line and worked in maintenance for Mount Union College until he turned 73. He died of cancer of the duodenum at age 75, in Alliance, on July 1, 1963.”

cullop

P-Nick Cullop, Kansas City Packers, 27 Years Old

22-11, 2.44 ERA, 111 K, .188, 0 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as P-121

1st Time All-Star-Norman Andrew “Nick” Cullop was born on September 17, 1887 in Chilhowie, VA. The five-foot-11, 172 pound lefty started with Cleveland in 1913-14, before coming over to the Federal League. In 1914, Cullop was 14-19 with the Packers and had a 2.34 ERA. This season, his best ever, he finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (3.3), eighth in ERA (2.44), and fifth in innings pitched (302 1/3).

Nick then moved to the Yankees in 1916-17 and finished his Major League career with the St. Louis Browns in 1921. Altogether, Cullop finished 57-54 with a 2.73 ERA and a 7.0 career WAR.

George Stovall managed the Packers to an 81-72 fourth place finish. Their hitting was weak and their pitching was middle of the road, so Stovall did pretty well with what he had. It didn’t matter, he’d never manage again.

SABR says, “He settled peacefully into family and farm life. Pauline had given birth to two children, Norman (1917) and Elizabeth (1919). When Elizabeth married James Greever, they took over the farm in Smyth County. The other three family members moved to Jeffersonville in Tazewell County. When the son married, he and his wife lived with the Cullops. Nick served as a security guard for many years on a large estate; patrolling the grounds on horseback. He also worked for the Pocahontas Fuel Company. After suffering from emphysema for several years he died from a cerebral embolism on April 15, 1961. His body was returned to the Sulphur Springs Cemetery in Chilhowie for burial.”

schulz

P-Al Schulz, Buffalo Blues, 26 Years Old

21-14, 3.08 ERA, 160 K, .165, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-149

1st Time All-Star-Albert Christopher “Al” Schulz was born on May 12, 1889 in Toledo, OH. The six-foot, 182 pound lefty pitcher started with the Highlanders/Yankees in 1912-14, before jumping to the Federal League. This second year with Buffalo was his best season ever as he finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (3.5) and third in innings pitched (309 2/3), behind St. Louis pitchers Dave Davenport (392 2/3) and Doc Crandall (312 2/3). He would finish his Major League career with the Reds in 1916. Altogether, Schulz finished 47-63 with a 3.32 ERA and a 3.9 Career WAR.

The book, The Federal League of Base Ball Clubs: The History of an Outlaw Major League, written by Robert Peyton Wiggins says, “After twenty-three-year-old pitcher Albert Schulz was drafted by the New York American League club in 1912, the city’s main newspaper wrote, ‘In Al Schulz, the strapping, big, left-handed pitcher from Savannah, the New York Americans landed one of the most promising minor league pitchers who played in the South last season….He proved a tireless worker in the South Atlantic League, and took part in forty-three games….Schulz had a reputation of being an “Iron Man” and he was waiting on the bench to go to the relief of any of the other pitchers on the Savannah club.’

“An epilipetic (sic), Al “Lefty” Schulz pitched 371 innings for Savannah in 1912, threw 37 complete games and compiled a won-lost record of 25 and 12.”

Schulz died young, at the age of 42, on December 13, 1931 in Gallipolis, OH.

quinn3P-Jack Quinn, Baltimore Terrapins, 31 Years Old

1910 1914

9-22, 3.45 ERA, 118 K, .264, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Losses-22

3rd Time All-Star-Every once in a while, a player makes the All-Star team due to one of my fluke requirements and that was Quinn this season. He led Terrapins in WAR and Baltimore needed a representative and here you go. Still, even without this season, he would have made my Hall of Fame, so no worries.

The Terrapins were terrible. Otto Knabe managed them to a 47-107 last place finish. It should be no surprise Baltimore had the worst hitting and pitching in this final year of the Federal League. Knabe would never manage in the Majors again.

After this season, it took three years for Quinn to get back in the Majors. SABR says, “After the Pacific Coast League suspended operations on July 14, 1918, because of the war, the National Commission announced that players in leagues which had suspended could join, during the emergency, any club willing to pay them a salary. However, the original holding club was to retain rights to their services. Charles Comiskey signed Quinn to a White Sox contract. Quinn joined the Sox on August 1 and had a 5-1 record for the Sox over the remainder of the 1918 season. Meanwhile, the Vernon club had sold the rights to Quinn’s services to the New York Yankees on July 19. After the season was over the New York Yankees lodged a claim for Quinn, and the National Commission had to decide whether the White Sox or the Yankees were entitled to his services. Meeting in December the Commission decided in favor of the Yankees, further strengthening the enmity between Comiskey and Ban Johnson, president of the American League and a member of the commission. Quinn declared he would prefer to remain with the Sox, but saw no chance of reversing the commission’s decision, so he signed with the Yankees.”

wilson2

C-Art Wilson, Chicago Whales, 29 Years Old

1914

.305, 7 HR, 31 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Wilson made the All-Star team for the second consecutive season, but it’s most likely his last one. This season, he finished ninth in WAR (3.9); fourth in WAR Position Players (3.9); third in Offensive WAR (3.9), behind Brooklyn centerfielder Benny Kauff (6.4) and Pittsburgh first baseman Ed Konetchy (3.9); 10th in batting (.305); second in on-base percentage (.442), trailing only Kauff (.446); sixth in slugging (.439); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (164), behind Kauff (180). These last two seasons for Wilson are two of the greatest ever up to this point for a catcher. Yes, he’d never duplicate them and they came in a watered-down league, but it’s still impressive.

As for Wilson’s team, the Chicago Whales, they won the second and last Federal League championship with an 86-66 record. Joe Tinker managed the team and would get the chance to manage the Cubbies in 1916.

Wikipedia says, “1915 witnessed the tightest pennant race in Major League history, as three teams (Chicago, St. Louis and Pittsburgh) fought into the last weekend of the season. On the season’s final day, Sunday, October 3, Chicago split a doubleheader with Pittsburgh, winning the darkness-shortened seven-inning nightcap, 3-0; this combined with St. Louis’ 6-2 win over Kansas City, knocked Pittsburgh back to third (albeit just a half-game behind), with Chicago and St. Louis in a virtual tie for first. But since the Whales (86-66) played two fewer games than the Terrapins (87-67), they were awarded the pennant based on their slightly better winning percentage (.566 to .565). Pittsburgh, with one game unplayed, ended up at 86-67 (.562).”

Back to Wilson, he died on June 12, 1960 in Chicago.

rariden

C-Bill Rariden, Newark Pepper, 27 Years Old

.270, 0 HR, 40 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-142

Putouts as C-709 (2nd Time)

Assists as C-238 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as C-21

Caught Stealing as C-138 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as C-6.67

1st Time All-Star-William Angle “Bedford Bill” Rariden was born on February 5, 1888 in Bedford, IN. The five-foot-10, 168 pound catcher started with the Doves/Rustlers/Braves from 1909-13, before coming over to Indianapolis of the Federal League in 1914. When the team moved to Newark this season, Rariden went with them and had his best season ever, finishing fifth in WAR Position Players (3.6); fifth in Offensive WAR (3.2); and second in Defensive WAR (1.4), behind St. Louis shortstop Ernie Johnson (1.9).

After this season, Rariden would play with the Giants from 1916-18 and the Reds from 1919-20. He played in two World Series. In the 1917 Giants series against the White Sox, Rariden hit five-for-13 (.385) with two walks and in the 1919 Reds series against the Black Sox, he hit only .211 (four-for-19).

SABR says, “The word must have gotten around that Rariden was easy to run on. In both of his Federal League seasons, he led the loop in stolen bases allowed and in baserunners thrown out. In 1915 he cut down 138 would-be base stealers, while allowing 136 successful attempts. Throwing out more than half of attempted steals is a notable accomplishment for any catcher.

“William Angle Rariden died of a heart attack at the age of 54 in Bedford, Indiana, on August 28, 1942. He was buried in the Green Hill Cemetery in Bedford, near the grave of his father and several other relatives. Bedford Bill was home to rest.” There’s also quite a bit in the article about Rariden’s two World Series appearances.

fischer

C-William Fischer, Chicago Whales, 24 Years Old

.329, 4 HR, 50 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-William Charles Fischer was born on March 2, 1891 in New York, NY. The six-foot, 174 pound, left-handed batting catcher started with Brooklyn in 1913-14, before coming to the Federal League this season and being the backup catcher for Art Wilson. Fischer had his best season ever, finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (3.1); sixth in Offensive WAR (3.0); second in batting (.329), behind Brooklyn centerfielder Benny Kauff (.342); seventh in on-base percentage (.384); fourth in slugging (.449); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (149), trailing Kauff (180) and Wilson (164). It’s been since the 1888 National League since I’ve picked three catchers for the All-Star team.

After this season, Fischer played in 1916 for the Cubs and Pirates and then finished off his Major League career for the Pirates in 1917.

Baseball Reference says, “William Fischer, who played five years in the big leagues, came into his own in the Federal League in 1915, when he was second in the league in batting average. He also did well in the National League in 1917, when his on-base percentage was tenth in the league.

“Fischer was managed in 1915 by Joe Tinker. In 1916 and 1917 he was a teammate of the elderly Honus Wagner. In August of 1917, he hit an inside-the-park home run, an unusual feat for a player who mostly played catcher.

“He was the first player in Chicago Cubs history to collect four hits in a game at Wrigley Field. He did this on April 201916 against the Cincinnati Reds.”

Fischer died on September 4, 1945 in Richmond, VA.

konetchy5

1B-Ed Konetchy, Pittsburgh Rebels, 29 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912

.314, 10 HR, 93 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Total Bases-278

Extra Base Hits-59

Fielding % as 1B-.994 (5th Time)

5th Time All-Star-The reason the Federal League folded is their plan to raid the American and National League for its best players fell short. They couldn’t get Walter Johnson or Ty Cobb, but did end up with former greats like Eddie Plank, Ed Reulbach, and Ed Konetchy. Why were players named Ed so willing to try out the new league? Who knows, but the FL did give Konetchy a chance to shine again and he took full advantage. Big Ed finished fifth in WAR (4.8); second in WAR Position Players (4.8), behind Brooklyn centerfielder Benny Kauff (6.8); second in Offensive WAR (3.9), trailing Kauff (6.4); fourth in batting (.314); second in on-base percentage (.483), behind Kauff (.509); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (147).

Wikipedia says, “Soon, he was back in the National League, and he was picking up hits in droves. In 1920 with Brooklyn, Konetchy got his only shot at postseason play during his career, although Brooklyn (93-61) lost the World Series in seven games to the 98–56 Cleveland Indians. In the Series, Konetchy picked up four hits in 23 at bats, a .174 average. However, he did have 2 RBIs in the Series, and three walks.

“In 2085 games, he batted a solid .281 with 74 home runs and 992 RBIs. He had 2150 career hits in 7649 at bats. Konetchy also picked up 255 career stolen bases. He ended with a total of 344 doubles, and after having reached doubles figures in triples ten times, retired with 182, tying him for the 11th highest total in history.

“He died in Fort Worth, Texas at the age of 61. The cause was heart disease. He was posthumously inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1961. His interment was located at Fort Worth’s cemetery Greenwood Memorial Park.”

louden

2B-Baldy Louden, Buffalo Blues, 31 Years Old

.281, 4 HR, 48 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-William P. “Baldy” Louden was born on August 27, 1883 in Pittsburgh, PA. The five-foot-11, 175 pound second baseman started with the Highlanders in 1907. His next Major League stint was with Detroit in 1912 and 1913, before coming over to Buffalo in the Federal League. This season, Louden finished ninth in on-base percentage (.372) in a league lacking in good second basemen.

Wikipedia has more details on everything I just told you, saying, “After his brief tryout with New York, Louden spent the next four years in the minor leagues with the Montreal Royals in 1908 and the Newark Indians from 1909 to 1911.

“Louden returned to the major leagues in 1912 with the Detroit Tigers. He appeared in 122 games for the 1912 Tigers, including 87 at second base and 26 at third base, and compiled a .241 batting average and .352 on-base percentage. He led the American League’s second basemen with a 5.61 range factor — 0.86 points higher than the league average for second basemen. He remained with the Tigers in 1913, appearing in 76 games with a .241 batting average and .344 on-base percentage.

“In 1914, Louden jumped to the Buffalo Buffeds of the newly formed Federal League. He appeared in 126 games in 1914 as Buffalo’s regular shortstop. He ranked among the Federal League’s leaders in 1914 with a .313 batting average (eighth), a .391 on-base percentage (tenth), and 35 stolen bases (eighth). The following year, he appeared in 141 games for Buffalo but his batting average dropped 32 points to .281.”

mowrey

3B-Mike Mowrey, Pittsburgh Rebels, 31 Years Old

.280, 1 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-151

Assists as 3B-268 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.959

1st Time All-Star-Harry Harlan “Mike” Mowrey was born on March 24, 1884 in Brown’s Mill, PA. The five-foot-10, 180 pound third baseman had a long career before making his first All-Star team this year. He started with Cincinnati from 1905-09 and then played for the Cardinals from 1910-13. After playing with the National League Pittsburgh squad in 1914, he moved over to the Rebels. Mowrey had his best season ever, finishing seventh in Offensive WAR (2.9) and second in steals (40).

Wikipedia says, “Jacob Mowrey, Harry’s father and the town’s sheriff, frequently housed tramps in his jail cell overnight. Young Harry became particularly friendly with one tramp, prompting one of his brothers to nickname him ‘Mike the Hobo.’

“Mowrey was best known for his unorthodox fielding style—instead of catching a hard smash in his glove, he would knock the ball to the ground and then pick it up to throw out the runner. Defending against the bunt was a corner infielder’s primary responsibility during the Deadball Era, and in 1910 Alfred H. Spink called Mowrey ‘the best fielder of bunts in either league.’

“In 1915 Mowrey remained in Pittsburgh with the Federal League‘s Pittsburgh Rebels, hitting .280 and leading all Federal League third basemen with a .959 fielding percentage. He also established career highs in games (151), hits (146), and stolen bases (40).”

It’s rare for a player to play 10 seasons before making his first All-Star team. Usually a player has established himself by that point of his career. However, the Federal League threw all of that out of the window.

perring

3B-George Perring, Kansas City Packers, 30 Years Old

.259, 7 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.73

1st Time All-Star-George Wilson Perring was born on August 13, 1884 in Sharon, WI. The six-foot, 190 pound third baseman started with Cleveland from 1908-1910. He didn’t play in the Majors again until the Federal League took him in, specifically Kansas City. This season, his best ever and his last in the Major Leagues, Perring finished fifth in Defensive WAR (1.3).

A book called Baseball Ratings: The All-Time Best Players at Each Position, 1876 to the Present written by Charles F. Faber, says under the title of Federal League—Third Base, “In 1914 the Federal League was led in fielding at the hot corner by a rookie, Tex Wisterzill. The young Texan led the league in all fielding categories and will forever hold the loop record for putouts, assists, and points in a season. Despite this auspicious beginning, he never was…able to repeat his success. In 1915 George Perring closed out an undistinguished career by leading the league. Neither he nor Wisterzill remained in the major leagues following the demise of the Federal League at the end of the 1915 season. Of the loop leaders, the only one to enjoy prolonged major league success was Mike Mowrey, who posted the highest fielding average with a .959 mark in [1915].” (The ellipsis and the brackets are due to typos in the original text).

Perring lived a pretty long life, dying on August 20, 1960 at the age of 76. He’s one of many players on this list who got his chance at fame at fortune thanks to this third Major League.

esmond

SS-Jimmy Esmond, Newark Pepper, 25 Years Old

.258, 4 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 115 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Assists-482

Def. Games as SS-155 (2nd Time)

Putouts as SS-353 (2nd Time)

Assists as SS-482

1st Time All-Star-James Joseph “Jimmy” Esmond was born 66 years before my brother, Ernie, on August 8, 1889 in Albany, NY. The five-foot-11, 167 pound shortstop started with Cincinnati in 1911-12, before moving to the Federal League in 1914, with Indianapolis, who won the FL championship. The team then moved to Newark, where Esmond had his best season ever, finishing third in Defensive WAR (1.4), behind St. Louis shortstop Ernie Johnson (1.9) and teammate and catcher Bill Rariden (1.4).

NJ Baseball has a great article on the first Major League game in Newark. Here are just some bits and pieces: “Newark celebrated the opening the way the Reds or Cardinals do to this day. ‘Everybody in Newark and its environs quit work when the whistle blew at 12 o’clock, put on their new Spring spangles, and got ready for the big parade. It was just like the Fourth of July or circus day.’ Fans joined in the parade with banners, walking or riding in automobiles, and brass bands and drum corps brought rhythm to the proceedings. It seems like no one in the area of Newark and Harrison missed the festivities.

“The get down to the game—it was more or less of a scrap between southpaw Bill Bailey, of the Terrapins, and Cy Falkenberg, the elongated slant server of the Peps. Cy was outpitched by a big margin, but he might have emerged with a closer decision but for some poor work by Jimmy Esmond.” Esmond died on June 26, 1948 in Troy, NY at the age of 58.

cooper

LF-Claude Cooper, Brooklyn Tip-Tops, 23 Years Old

.294, 2 HR, 63 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 299 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as LF-25

Errors Committed as LF-12

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.53

1st Time All-Star-Claude William Cooper was born on April 1, 1892 in Troup, TX. The five-foot-nine 158 pound outfielder started with the Giants in 1913, before coming to the Federal League with Brooklyn. The first thing I thought of when I saw his name was this bit from Johnny Carson and Jack Webb:

Cooper finished sixth in WAR Position Players (3.2), sixth in on-base percentage (.388), and eighth in steals (31). After this season, he would play two more seasons with the Phillies before leaving the Majors for good.

Brooklyn had the Federal League’s MVP from 1914 in Benny Kauff and he had another good season, but it didn’t help the Tip-Tops. They finished in seventh with a 70-82 record while being managed by Lee Magee (53-64) and John Ganzel (17-18). Neither man would manage again.

SABR says, “Benny Kauff, the Federal League’s brightest star, was transferred to Brooklyn during the off-season and it appeared there would be no room for Cooper in the outfield. However, Claude would get plenty of work in 1915 due to Kauff’s suspensions and the trade of Steve Evansthat June. Cooper played in 153 games for Brooklyn, swatted 26 doubles, 12 triples and 2 home runs. His batting average was fifty-three points above his 1914 mark.

“Cooper remained in the Oakland area the remainder of his life except for his final six months when he moved to Plainview, Texas, to be close to relatives that resided there. Claude Cooper died at age eighty-one on January 21, 1974, while a patient in Plainview Hospital. Cooper’s obituary only named his surviving family members as his three brothers, although family sources indicate he had two surviving children from a previous marriage. Claude is buried in Plainview Cemetery.”

mann

LF-Les Mann, Chicago Whales, 22 Years Old

.306, 4 HR, 58 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-19

1st Time All-Star-Leslie “Les” or “Major” Mann was born on November 18, 1892 in Lincoln, NE. The five-foot-nine, 172 pound outfielder started his long and nondescript career with the Braves in 1913 and 1914 and then came to the Whales this season, having his best year ever. Mann finished seventh in WAR Position Players (3.2), eighth in batting (.306), seventh in slugging (.438), and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (138).

After the Federal League folded, Mann went to the Cubs (1916-19), back to the Braves (1919-20), the Cardinals (1921-23), the Reds (1923), again back to the Braves (1924-27), and finished with the Giants (1927-28). He would have a career .282 average, with 44 homers, and a lifetime 13.7 WAR.

SABR says, “Mann met Joe Tinker in Chicago. Tinker managed the local Federal League franchise, the Whales. The ChiFeds offered Mann an ‘iron clad’ two-year deal, likely at $4,000 per season, as well as a $1,000 signing bonus. Les jumped to the upstart league, signing his contract on February 19, 1915, and had a great year. He hit .306 in 135 games and led the league in triples with 19 (interestingly, he only had 12 doubles). He had career highs in many offensive categories while helping to lead the Whales to the Federal League pennant.

“In the early 1960s Mann worked as a sports specialist for the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation department. On January 14, 1962, Mann, reportedly still in excellent physical condition, suffered a fatal heart attack while driving. He was survived by his wife, Jessie, and their son, Leslie, Jr. After a funeral service at Todd Memorial Chapel in Pomona, California, he was cremated.”

millerw

LF-Ward Miller, St. Louis Terriers, 30 Years Old

.306, 1 HR, 63 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as LF-155

Putouts as LF-299

Errors Committed as LF-12 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Ward Taylor “Windy” or “Grump” Miller was born on July 5, 1884 in Mount Carroll, IL. The five-foot-11, 177 pound lefty hitting outfielder started with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in 1909 and then just for the Reds in 1910. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1911 and then toiled for the Cubs in 1912 and 1913. Miller moved to the Federal League in 1914 and played both seasons for the Terriers. This was his best season ever as Miller finished 10th in WAR Position Players (3.0); ninth in batting average (.306); third in on-base percentage (.400), behind Brooklyn centerfielder Benny Kauff (.446) and Chicago catcher Art Wilson (.442); and sixth in steals (33).

The book, The Federal League of Base Ball Clubs: The History of an Outlaw Major League, 1914-1915 by Robert Peyton Wiggins tells of a particular game between the Terriers and the Whales. Here’s part of the description: “[St. Louis pitcher Eddie] Plank had not allowed a base on balls when the Whales’ light-hitting first baseman, William Jackson, drew a pass in the top of the fourteenth. Eddie bitterly complained that a ball was called on what he thought was the third strike. Les Mann singled to put two runners on base and the next batter was the opposing pitcher. Hendrix lifted a fly ball to left field for what should have been the third out. However, left fielder Ward Miller lost the ball in the sun and it fell in safely as both base runners scampered across home plate. Moments later, Miller made a great running catch on Zeider’s fly, but the damage had been done.”

Miller would finish up his Major League career playing with the Browns in 1916 and 1917. He lived to the age of 74, dying on September 4, 1958 in Dixon, IL.

kauff2

CF-Benny Kauff, Brooklyn Tip-Tops, 25 Years Old

1914

.342, 12 HR, 83 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1915 FL Batting Title (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-6.8 (2nd Time)

Offensive WAR-6.4 (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.342 (2nd Time)

On-Base %-.446 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.509

On-Base Plus Slugging-.955 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases-55 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-180

Runs Created-108 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-56 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-6.1 (2nd Time)

Times on Base-256 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.838 (2nd Time)

Power-Speed #-19.7

Assists as CF-32

Errors Committed as CF-15

Double Plays Turned as CF-6

Assists as OF-32

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.57

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.64

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.57

2nd Time All-Star-If the Federal League only existed to give Kauff a chance to shine, it was well worth it. Kauff is one of the rare FL players who will most likely make an All-Star team in the real Major Leagues as he’ll have a good year for the Giants in 1917. He’d never dominate a league like he did this short-lived FL in his two seasons, however. Kauff could have had a better season, but played only 136 of the 154 games.

SABR says, “After the 1914 season, the Federal League’s Indianapolis franchise shifted to Newark, but Kauff found himself transferred to the Brooklyn Tip Tops as repayment of the outgoing Indianapolis owner’s old debts. Kauff thought he should have been a free agent, so he negotiated a three-year contract with the Giants in April 1915. At the press conference announcing his signing, Kauff declared that he would ‘bunt a home run into that right field stand every day.’ But when the Giants attempted to take the field against the Boston Braves with Kauff in center field later that afternoon, the Braves refused to play, arguing that Kauff was ineligible because he had signed with an outlaw league. NL President John Tener agreed and voided the contract.

“Exiled to Brooklyn, Kauff again played brilliantly, leading the Federal League with a .342 batting average, .446 on-base percentage, and .509 slugging percentage, all while swiping a league-best 55 bases. That performance did nothing to dissuade the Giants from their quest to land the star. When the Federal League folded following the 1915 season, Kauff applied for and received reinstatement into organized baseball, then inked another contract with the Giants. It was, Kauff confided to a reporter, ‘the ambition of my life.’”

zwilling2

CF-Dutch Zwilling, Chicago Whales, 26 Years Old

1914

.286, 13 HR, 94 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Batted In-94

Putouts as CF-356 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as CF-6

Putouts as OF-356 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-If there wasn’t a man named Benny Kauff in the Federal League, there might have been more mention of this man. Zwilling had another good season, finishing seventh in WAR (4.1); third in WAR Position Players (4.1), behind Brooklyn centerfielder Benny Kauff (6.8) and Pittsburgh first baseman Ed Konetchy (4.8); fourth in Offensive WAR (3.6); fifth in slugging (.442); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (142).

Verdun2 writes about the last year of the Federal League. Here’s part of it: “The 1915 season was the final of two for the Federal League. By the beginning of the season it was already in trouble. In 1914 the team in Indianapolis won the pennant. Their reward? They were moved to Newark for the 1915 season. It’s never a good sign when your league champion ends up moving, especially if it’s a move forced by lack of attendance (as was the case here).

“The league leader in hitting was Kauff. He absolutely dominated the Feds winning the batting title, slugging and on base titles (and obviously led the league in OPS), stolen bases, and WAR (BBREF version) at 6.8. The home run title went to Buffalo’s Hal Chase (yes, that Hal Chase) with 17, while the Whales’ Dutch Zwilling won the RBI crown. Babe Borton led the Feds in runs scored and Steve Evans led the league in doubles.”

At only 26 years of age, you might think Zwilling could still put together a fine Major League career. Well, you’d be wrong. Zwilling moved to the Cubs in 1916, played 35 games, hit .113, and his Major League career was over. He died on March 27, 1978 at the age of 89 in La Crescenta, CA.

flack

RF-Max Flack, Chicago Whales, 25 Years Old

.314, 3 HR, 45 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Max John Flack was born on February 5, 1890 in Belleville, IL. The five-foot-seven, 148 pound lefty rightfielder gives the champion Whales All-Stars at all three outfielder positions. Flack had his best year ever, finishing eighth in WAR Position Players (3.1), 10th in Offensive WAR (2.8), fifth in batting (.314), fourth in steals (37), and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (136).

After this season, Flack had a long career, playing with the Cubs from 1916-1922 and the Cardinals from 1922-25. He’ll probably never make another All-Star team, but he did play in the 1918 World Series for the Cubs, hitting .263 (five-for-19) with four walks.

Wikipedia says, “Flack was labeled the “goat” of the 1918 World Series. In the third inning of Game 6, at Fenway Park, playing for the Cubs, his throwing error resulted in two Boston Red Sox runs, which provided the Bosox with the margin of victory, and a Series win, the last the Red Sox would achieve until 2004. Flack’s possible involvement in throwing that World Series has recently come to light. Although nothing conclusive was said, Chicago White Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte, who threw the 1919 World Series, has referenced the 1918 Cubs as having inspired the ‘Black Sox.’ Of all the players on that team whose performance was murky, it was Flack, who had multiple strange errors and was picked off twice in one game, who had the most suspicious performance. He remains the only player to get picked off twice in one game in a World Series.”

Flack died on July 31, 1975 at the age of 85 in Belleville, IL.

gilmore

RF-Grover Gilmore, Kansas City Packers, 26 Years Old

.285, 1 HR, 47 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as RF-.979 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Ernest Grover Gilmore was born on November 1, 1888 in Chicago, IL. The five-foot-nine, 170 pound lefty rightfielder played only two seasons in the Majors, both in the Federal League. He’s a good representative as the last write-up for this short-lived league. This season, Gilmore’s best ever, he slashed .285/.347/.418 for an OPS+ of 127. Gilmore died young, at the age of 31 on November 25, 1919 in Sioux City, IA. I’m not sure how.

Wikipedia says of the FL’s end, “After the 1915 season the owners of the American and National Leagues bought out half of the owners (Pittsburgh, Newark, Buffalo, and Brooklyn) of the Federal League teams. Two Federal League owners were allowed to buy struggling franchises in the established leagues: Phil Ball, owner of the St. Louis Terriers, was allowed to buy the St. Louis Browns of the AL, and Charles Weeghman, owner of the Chicago Whales, bought the Chicago Cubs. Both owners merged their teams into the established ones. The Kansas City franchise had been declared bankrupt and taken over by the league office after the close of the regular season, and the Baltimore owners rejected the offer made to them. They had sought to buy and move an existing franchise to their city, but were rebuffed, and sued unsuccessfully.

“The other ‘silent monument’ to the Federal League is a famous legal decision. In 1922, the Supreme Court ruled in Federal Baseball Club v. National League (brought by the Terrapins, one of the teams which had not been bought out), that Major League Baseball and its constituent leagues were primarily entertainment, not conventional interstate commerce, and thus were exempt from the Sherman Antitrust Act. Though significantly weakened in the 1970s, this exemption remains intact over 80 years later; however it has been eroded by subsequent court rulings and legislation regarding issues specific to Major League Baseball.”

1915 American League All-Star Team

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Guy Morton, CLE

P-Carl Weilman, SLB

P-Ray Caldwell, NYY

P-Jim Scott, CHW

P-Hooks Dauss, DET

P-Smoky Joe Wood, BOS

P-Bert Gallia, WSH

P-Ernie Shore, BOS

P-Doc Ayers, WSH

C-Ray Schalk, CHW

C-Jack Lapp, PHA

1B-Jack Fournier, CHW

2B-Eddie Collins, CHW

2B-Del Pratt, SLB

3B-Ossie Vitt, DET

SS-Ray Chapman, CLE

SS-Donie Bush, DET

SS-Buck Weaver, CHW

LF-Bobby Veach, DET

LF-Burt Shotton, SLB

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Tris Speaker, BOS

CF-Amos Strunk, PHA

RF-Sam Crawford, DET

 

johnson8

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 27 Years Old, 4th MVP

1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914

27-13, 1.55 ERA, 203 K, .231, 2 HR, 17 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-12.4 (4th Time)

WAR for Pitchers-11.5 (4th Time)

Wins-27 (3rd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-0.933 (3rd Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.497 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-336 2/3 (4th Time)

Strikeouts-203 (5th Time)

Games Started-39 (3rd Time)

Complete Games-35 (5th Time)

Shutouts-7 (4th Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.625 (4th Time)

Batters Faced-1,280 (4th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-191 (3rd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.91 (4th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-51 (4th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.8 (4th Time)

Putouts as P-22 (3rd Time)

8th Time All-Star-At the time I’m writing this, during the 2018 season, there’s a significant change happening in Major League baseball. Complete games have been going down for a long time, of course, but, mainly because of sabermetrics, starting pitchers are going less innings than ever before. Some of it is due to pitch count, but a lot of it has to do with stats that prove starting pitchers start to fade after a couple of times through the lineup.

All this to say, “What would Walter Johnson think if he saw today’s style of baseball?” The Big Train pitched his sixth straight year of over 300 innings and you can see the results above. He would have been my pick for MVP. It’s not like I’m not old enough to have not seen this. I’ve been able to watch pitchers like Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver who pitched incredible amounts of pitches but stayed in the game. It’s amazing how quickly the game has changed.

One thing that didn’t change is Washington not winning the league title. Managed by the Clark Griffith, the Senators dropped from third to fourth with an 85-68 record or 58-55 when Johnson didn’t figure in the decisions. SABR gives the total results for the 1910s. It says, “Washington’s improved performance during the second decade of the twentieth century was due mostly to Walter Johnson’s pitching. This can be illustrated by a breakdown of its won-lost record into games where Walter was awarded the decision and games won or lost by other pitchers:

Johnson: 265-143, .650
Others: 490-594, .452
Total: 755-737, .507”

The team couldn’t hit, having the lowest OPS+ in the American League, but led by Johnson had the best ERA+ in the American League.

morton

P-Guy Morton, Cleveland Indians, 22 Years Old

16-15, 2.14 ERA, 134 K, .146, 0 HR, 2 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Guy “Alabama Blossom” Morton was born on June 1, 1893 in Vernon, AL. The six-foot-one-175 pound righty started his career with a 1-13 season for Cleveland in 1914. But the team didn’t give up on him and it allowed him to have his best season ever. Morton finished fifth in WAR (6.4); second in WAR for Pitchers (7.0), behind only Walter Johnson (11.5); eighth in ERA (2.14); and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (142).

Cleveland officially became the Indians this season, but it didn’t help the team. Joe Birmingham managed the first 28 games when the team went 12-16 and then his managing career was over. Birmingham finished with a 170-191 lifetime record. Lee Fohl took over and didn’t do any better. By that, of course, I meant he did worse. Under his guidance, the Indians went 45-79. Altogether, Cleveland finished in seventh place with a 57-95 record.

SABR says, “Morton led the 1915 Indians in wins, ERA, complete games, shutouts, innings pitched, WHIP, and strikeouts-to-walks ratio. His six shutouts were one behind Jim Scott of Chicago and Walter Johnson for the league lead. In both WHIP and K/BB ratio, he placed third in the league. While the Cleveland franchise suffered in 1914-15, they made moves that would strengthen them for the future. Jim Bagby and Stan Coveleski were discovered in the minors and would join the team in 1916. Pitcher Sam Jones was swapped in a package to Boston for Tris Speaker. Morton was in position to be an integral part of the Tribe’s rebuilding.”

weilman2

P-Carl Weilman, St. Louis Browns, 25 Years Old

1914

18-19, 2.34 ERA, 125 K, .230, 0 HR, 6 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Zeke Weilman, the tall hurler from Hamilton, OH, had his second straight good year with the Browns. He finished seventh in WAR (5.8); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.5); and seventh in innings pitched (295 2/3). Weilman is underrated because of the team on which he pitches, but he was one of the best in the American League for his time.

And the team on which he pitched was bad again. Branch Rickey managed the team again as it dropped from fifth to  sixth with a 63-91 record. The Browns couldn’t pitch, having the second lowest ERA+ in the AL. Rickey was done managing the Browns, but would be coaching the other St. Louis team in a few seasons.

SABR says, “Tris Speaker of the world champion 1915 Boston Red Sox declared Carl Weilman of the St. Louis Browns to be one of the six best pitchers he ever faced. ‘If you ask the Detroit Tigers,’ said sportswriter L.C. Davis, ‘the six best pitchers in the American League are Carl Weilman.’ The Tigers were the best offensive team in major-league baseball in 1915, yet they finished in second place in the American League, 2½ games behind the Red Sox. Weilman, a towering southpaw, won eight of nine decisions from the Tigers that year. Detroit’s incomparable Ty Cobb said Weilman was the toughest pitcher he ever faced. Sadly, health problems derailed Weilman’s promising career and ultimately caused his death at the age of 34.” How strange that eight of his 18 wins came against one team.

caldwell4P-Ray Caldwell, New York Yankees, 27 Years Old

1911 1913 1914

19-16, 2.89 ERA, 130 K, .243, 4 HR, 20 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-.988 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-What kind of career would Caldwell have had if alcohol didn’t hinder it? This season, he finished eighth in WAR (5.7) and fourth in innings pitched (305). In 144 at-bats, he also bashed four homers, which was good for his day.

Bill Donovan took over managing the Yankees and the team rose from sixth to fifth with a 69-83 record. Their hitting was lacking as the team had the lowest batting average in the league and their pitching was also bad, as New York had the third lowest ERA+ in the American League.

SABR says, “Washington team president and manager Calvin Griffith offered Walter Johnson to the new owners of the Yankees for Ray Caldwell during the time that both pitchers were flirting with the Federal League. American League president Ban Johnson advised the New York owners not to accept the deal because Ray was so talented and had so much potential. Ray’s 17-9, despite missing two months of the season, and his 1.94 ERA compared favorably with Johnson’s 28-18 and 1.72.

“…That same year [1961] Ray spoke out in favor of legalizing the spitter. The movement, which ultimately failed, included American League president Joe Cronin and commissioner Ford Frick in its ranks. In the 1960s, Ray was a greeter at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas. He died of cancer in Salamanca, New York on August 19, 1967 and was buried in Randolph. Estelle, who died in the early 1990s, is buried at his side. Ray’s son by his first marriage, James, also passed away in the 1990s.” You’ll want to read the whole SABR article.

scott3P-Jim Scott, Chicago White Sox, 27 Years Old

1911 1913

24-11, 2.03 ERA, 120 K, .126, 0 HR, 6 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-7

3rd Time All-Star-Scott can never put two good seasons together, making the All-Star team only every other year. He had his best year ever, finishing ninth in WAR (5.7); third in WAR for Pitchers (6.2), behind Walter Johnson (11.5) and Guy Morton (7.0); fourth in ERA (2.03); sixth in innings pitched (296 1/3); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (147).

Chicago had an outstanding year as Pants Rowland took over managing the team. The White Sox finished 93-61 thanks to surprisingly good hitting led by the newly acquired Eddie Collins and not-so-surprisingly good pitching, led by Scott. As late as July 30, Chi-town was tied for first place with a 58-34 record before faltering, going 35-27 the rest of the way. Scott would pitch two more seasons for the White Sox, being part of the World Champions in 1917, though he didn’t get to play in the Series.

Then, Wikipedia says, “In 1918 Scott served in the military during World War I. He also held technical roles in the film industry for many years, beginning with movie work in the baseball offseasons. Scott was an umpire for several years after his playing days. He umpired in the Southern Association in 1928 and 1929, in the NL in 1930 and 1931, and in the Southern Association again the following year. After the 1932 season, Scott quit umpiring and pursued full-time work on motion picture sets until 1953.

“He died in Jacumba, California at the age of 68.” Scott finished with a 107-114 record and a 2.30 ERA.

dauss

P-Hooks Dauss, Detroit Tigers, 25 Years Old

24-13, 2.50 ERA, 132 K, .146, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as P-137

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-4.30

Range Factor/Game as P-3.22

1st Time All-Star-George August “Hooks” Dauss was born on September 22, 1889 in Indianapolis, IN. The five-foot-10, 168 pound righty pitcher started with Detroit in 1912. This was his best season ever as he finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.4) and third in innings pitched (309 2/3), trailing Walter Johnson (336 2/3) and teammate Harry Coveleski (312 2/3).

Hughie Jennings’ team finished second in the American League with a 100-54 record, two-and-a-half behind Boston. On August 20, Detroit led by half-a-game, but the Red Sox were hot the rest of the season and the Tigers couldn’t catch them despite their good offense which led the American League in scoring. Credit, of course, goes to Ty Cobb.

Wikipedia says, “In 1915, Hooks had the best season of his career, as the Tigers compiled a 100-54 record, narrowly losing the American League pennant to the Boston Red Sox. Dauss appeared in 46 games (309​23 innings) for the 1915 Tigers, compiling a 24–13 record with a 2.50 ERA. For the second consecutive season, Dauss was among the American League’s leaders in multiple categories with 24 wins (2nd), 309​23 innings pitched (3rd), 27 complete games (3rd), and 132 strikeouts (8th). Dauss also developed into one of the best fielding pitchers in the game during the 1915 season. He led the league’s pitchers with 137 assists and a range factor of 4.30 per nine innings pitched.

“In a display of dedication to baseball, Dauss was married to Miss Ollie Speake in the morning of May 29, 1915, asked the clerk to delay making an entry in his books, and insisted that the Justice place newspapers over the windows in his office during the ceremony. Dauss then pitched for the Tigers that afternoon, explaining his zest for privacy on the ground that he thought he would be nervous if the crowd knew he had just been married.”

woods3

P-Smoky Joe Wood, Boston Red Sox, 25 Years Old

1911 1912

15-5, 1.49 ERA, 63 K, .259, 1 HR, 7 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1915 AL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.49

Win-Loss %-.750 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-It’s unusual for a pitcher who pitched only 157 1/3 innings to make my All-Star team, but Wood made those innings count. He finished 10th in WAR (5.6); ninth in WAR for Pitchers (5.1); first in ERA (1.49); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (188), trailing Walter Johnson (191).

Wood’s team won the American League pennant thanks to 101-50 record. Managed by Bill Carrigan, Boston won the AL by two-and-a-half over Detroit. They had good hitting, thanks to Tris Speaker, and good pitching, thanks to Wood. The Red Sox beat the Phillies, four games to one.

However, Wood was not in the World Series. SABR says, “Wood went on to close out 1914 at a respectable 9-3, and in 1915 he led the AL with a career best 1.49 ERA, in just 157.1 innings of work. To onlookers it was obvious that something was wrong with the erstwhile phenom. ‘Joe Wood has not been right since he was operated on for appendicitis,’ wrote the Washington Post. ‘At times…he has shown flashes of his former smoke, but it is uncertain what he can do…’ Those fears were confirmed in early October when Joe was seen clinging to his shoulder in pain in his final start of the summer, a 3-1 loss to Walter Johnson. He did not factor into Boston’s 4 games to 1 World Series victory over Philadelphia two weeks later.

“…[O]n March 25, 1985, Smoky Joe Wood died at the age of 95 while residing at a convalescent home in New Haven. He was buried in the Wood family ancestral grounds, in Shohola, Pennsylvania.” There’s no time to recap his move to the outfield from 1918-22.

gallia

P-Bert Gallia, Washington Senators, 23 Years Old

17-11, 2.29 ERA, 130 K, .165, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Mervin Allys “Bert” Gallia was born on October 14, 1891 in Beeville, TX. The six-foot, 165 pound righty started with Washington in 1912. He pitched 31 games in 1913, but didn’t really turn it  on until this year. Then in 1915, his best season ever, he finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.2), 10th in ERA (2.29), ninth in innings pitched (259 2/3), and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (130).

The San Antonia Express-News says, “More than 100 years have passed since the Detroit Tigers elected to break up their spring-training grind in San Antonio with an exhibition game against the St. Louis College Rattlers.

“Pitching for the Alamo City-based school that day, Melvin Gallia wasn’t messing around with any practice-game mentality.

“He was playing for keeps.

“According to one published account, Gallia struck out Tigers great Ty Cobb in the spring of 1910, perhaps the first signature triumph for a school that would one day be known as St. Mary’s University.”

It’s true. Even though Gallia would end up pitching for nine years in the Majors and compiling a 66-69 record with a career 3.14 ERA, he is most famous for striking out Ty Cobb in an exhibition game while he was in college.

Gallia would have another good season in 1916, going 17-13 with a 2.76 ERA and then fade out after that. He would pitch for the Browns from 1918-20 and then with the Phillies the last part of 1920. He died on March 19, 1976 in Devine, TX.

shore

P-Ernie Shore, Boston Red Sox, 24 Years Old

19-8, 1.64 ERA, 102 K, .101, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Ernest Grady “Ernie” Shore was born on March 24, 1891 in East Bend, NC. The six-foot-four, 220 pound righty pitcher started with the Giants in 1912, pitching one inning. He then came to the Red Sox in 1914 and then this season had his best ever, finishing sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.4); third in ERA (1.64), behind Smoky Joe Wood (1.49) and Walter Johnson (1.55); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (170), trailing Johnson (191) and Wood (188).

In the World Series, Shore started Game 1, pitching eight innings and allowing three runs in a 3-1 loss to the Phillies. It was the only game the Red Sox would lose. Shore won Game 4, allowing seven hits and one run in a 2-1 victory. Also, Babe Ruth’s first World Series appearance was due to pinch hitting for Shore in the first game.

Shore is most famous for being part of a combined no-hitter in 1917 after Babe Ruth was ejected after walking the first batter. Cut4 says, “Once Ruth had been lifted, Ernie Shore came on in relief. No slouch himself, the 6’4″ Shore (at that time, only 30 Major League pitchers had ever been that tall or taller in Major League history) entered the game with a 1.97 ERA in 12 starts (compared to Ruth’s 2.35 in 16). After Morgan was caught stealing at second base, the hurler retired the next 26 batters, despite striking out only two. That’s probably thanks to the ‘nifty’ defensive play of Shore, the Globe saying he ‘was ready for any of those cantankerous bunts that the opponents might try to lay down.’”

Shore died at the age of 89 on September 24, 1980 in Winston-Salem, NC.

ayers

P-Doc Ayers, Washington Senators, 24 Years Old

14-9, 2.21 ERA, 96 K, .190, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Yancey Wyatt “Doc” Ayers was born on May 21, 1891 in Snake Creek, VA. The six-foot-one, 185 pound righty pitcher started with Washington in 1913. This season, his best ever, Ayers finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.1); ninth in ERA (2.21); and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (134).

SABR says, “Among the 17 spitball pitchers exempted when the pitch was banned, Doc Ayers was unique. He was the only one who hurled with an underhand motion. Several newspaper accounts from his playing days refer to him as pitching underhand, which was exceedingly rare among spitball pitchers. An article in the Washington Post stated that ‘Ayers is one of the most peculiar pitchers in the business. His greatest asset is an underhand ball which he shoves up from his shoe tops, about the same style as Carl Mays of the Boston Red Sox. He hasn’t a great curve ball, but has a fast one that is mighty hard to get hold of.’

“In 1915 Ayers lived up to the promise that had been seen in him. During a spring exhibition game against the Brooklyn Robins he struck out eight consecutive batters. This was his best year in the majors. He won 14 games against 9 losses, had an excellent earned run average of 2.21, ranked fourth in the American League in fewest base runners allowed per nine innings, and compiled the fifth lowest batting average by opponents.”

In Ernie Shore’s blurb, I mention his combined no-hitter. That game was against Ayers and the Senators.

schalk2

C-Ray Schalk, Chicago White Sox, 22 Years Old

1914

.266, 1 HR, 54 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-134 (3rd Time)

Putouts as C-655 (3rd Time)

Caught Stealing %-53.3

Fielding % as C-.984

2nd Time All-Star-It wasn’t a common thing for catchers to play in 100 or more games in Schalk’s day, but he did it 12 times. He was in there strictly for his glove as, except for 1914 and 1915, he never had an OPS+ of 100 or above. Mike Scioscia would love this guy! Schalk finished ninth in Defensive WAR (1.4).

Wikipedia says, “He continued to improve in 1915, batting .266 with a .366 on-base percentage, and leading American League catchers in fielding percentagecaught stealing percentage and putouts as the White Sox rose to third place.

“Schalk helped revolutionize the way the catcher’s position was played. He is credited with being the first catcher to back up infield throws to first base and outfield throws to third base. He claimed to be the only major league catcher to have made a putout at every base, and once made three assists in one inning. He also became known for his handling of the White Sox pitching staff and his pitch-calling skills. His reputation as a defensive standout is enhanced due to the era in which he played: in the deadball era, catchers played a much greater defensive role than subsequently, given the large number of bunts and stolen base attempts, as well as the difficulty of handling the spitball pitchers who dominated pitching staffs. He had to catch every type of pitch imaginable, including shine balls, spitballs, knuckleballs and emory balls from pitchers such as, Ed WalshEddie CicotteDickie KerrUrban Faber and Ted Lyons.”

lapp3

C-Jack Lapp, Philadelphia Athletics, 30 Years Old

1911 1912

.272, 2 HR, 31 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as C-23

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-152

3rd Time All-Star-Lapp is one of only two Athletics to make the All-Star team. How could that happen? How did Philadelphia go from first to last? Wikipedia explains, “The Federal League had been formed to begin play in 1914. As the A.L. had done 13 years before, the new league raided existing A.L. and N.L. teams for players. Athletics owner Connie Mack refused to match the offers of the F.L. teams, preferring to let the “prima donnas” go and rebuild with younger (and less expensive) players. The result was a swift and near-total collapse, a ‘first-to-worst’ situation. The Athletics went from a 99–53 (.651) record and a pennant in 1914 to a record of 43–109 (.283) and 8th (last) place in 1915. At the time, it was the third-worst winning percentage in American League history. The infield of Whitey WittCharlie Pick and Nap Lajoie was derisively known as the ‘$10 Infield’”

Lapp was one of the few players kept on the team and, after two years of slumping, he was back to hitting well, slashing .272/.340/.375 for an OPS+ of 118.

The Athletics catchers stopped playing Major League ball in 1916 and died young a few years later. SABR says, “On February 6, 1920, Jack Lapp died of pneumonia after battling influenza for several weeks. It was commonly reported that the throat injury he sustained in 1913 led to health issues from which he never quite recovered. He was buried in Philadelphia’s Mount Peace Cemetery. His wife Mamie survived him. The couple had no children.”

fournier

1B-Jack Fournier, Chicago White Sox, 25 Years Old

.322, 5 HR, 77 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 64 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Slugging %-.491

Hit By Pitch-15

1st Time All-Star-John Frank “Jack” Fournier (pronounced for-NEAR) was born on September 28, 1889 in Au Sable, MI. The six-foot, 195 pound lefty hitting first baseman started with Chicago in 1912 and became fulltime in 1914. This year, he finished sixth in WAR (5.9); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.9); fourth in Offensive WAR (5.6); third in batting (.322), behind Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (.369) and teammate and second baseman Eddie Collins (.332); third in on-base percentage (.429), trailing Cobb (.486) and Collins (.460); first in slugging (.491); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (172), behind Cobb (185).

SABR says, “During a fifteen-year major-league career that spanned the Deadball and Lively Ball Eras, Jack Fournier was one of the premier power hitters in baseball. His batting accomplishments were impressive: While compiling a lifetime .313 batting average, he led the National League in home runs once; led the American League in slugging percentage once; hit three home runs in one game and went 6-for-6 in another; and for three consecutive years amassed over 300 total bases and slugged better than .500. And yet, while Fournier in his prime was often mentioned as a hitter in the same breath with such contemporaries as Ruth and Hornsby, he was equally renowned for a much more dubious distinction: He was one of the worst fielders in the game.

“…The next season, he improved upon those numbers, batting .322 and slugging a league-leading .491. To opposing pitchers, Fournier had become by this time one of the most feared batters in the American League. Even the great Walter Johnson was victimized by Jack’s outbursts of power.”

collinse7

2B-Eddie Collins, Chicago White Sox, 27 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914

.332, 4 HR, 77 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-119

Assists as 2B-487 (4th Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.974 (4th Time)

7th Time All-Star-In this time of the Reserve Clause, which allowed teams to designate a certain amount of players to stay on the team, it was rare players of Collins’ caliber ever left their squads due to a lack of options. However, thanks to the invasion of the Federal League, Cocky did have options and Connie Mack decided to let him go from Philadelphia to the White Sox instead. You can read more about this in Collins’ 1914 blurb.

This season, Collins finished third in WAR (9.4), behind Washington pitcher Walter Johnson (12.4) and Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (9.5); second in WAR Position Players (9.4), trailing Cobb (9.5); second in Offensive WAR (8.0), outdistanced only by the Georgia Peach (9.9); 10th in Defensive WAR (1.4); second in batting (.332), way behind Cobb (.369); second in on-base percentage (.460), trailing Detroit’s centerfielder (.486); sixth in slugging (.436); third in Adjusted OPS+ (165), behind Cobb (185) and teammate, first baseman Jack Fournier (172), and went a mediocre 46 for 76 stealing.

SABR says, “The White Sox had spent the first half of the 1910s languishing between fourth place and sixth place. Collins’s tenure in Chicago lasted 12 years. For all 12 seasons, he was a genuine star. For the last two-plus years, he was player-manager. During Collins’s first year in Chicago, the great Cleveland outfielder Joe Jackson joined the club via trade with 45 games remaining in the campaign. Though by skill they were peers, there was little evidence of friendship or social interaction between the two stars. The educated and savvy Collins may have intimidated his illiterate teammate.”

prattd2

2B-Del Pratt, St. Louis Browns, 27 Years Old

1914

.291, 3 HR, 78 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 70 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-159 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as 2B-158 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 2B-417 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 2B-82

2nd Time All-Star-If you went to watch the St. Louis Browns back in the day, you could count on two things – the Browns losing and Del Pratt being in the lineup. At a time where the brutality of the game made it tough for even the best players to play every game, Pratt was an exception. This season, along with leading the American League in games played, he finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.7); and went a mediocre 32-for55 stealing.

SABR says, “Del Pratt was arguably the second-best second baseman of the second decade of the 20th century. And his argumentative nature led The New York Times’ John Kieran to call him ‘the greatest clubhouse lawyer baseball ever knew.’

“The 1912 Browns’ spring training was at Del’s old stomping grounds, in Montgomery. He then embarked on a remarkable performance of consistency and durability in his first five years in the bigs:

  • Averaged 156 games a year, leading the league in games four of the five years
  • Averaged 31 steals a year
  • Hit between .283 and .302 four of the five years
  • Got between 159 and 175 hits a year
  • Hit 26-35 doubles and 10-15 triples a year
  • Averaged 80 runs batted in and almost 70 runs a year, during the low-offense Deadball Era
  • Played in 360 consecutive games from late 1914 until early 1917”

Pratt’s no Eddie Collins to be certain, but his decent offense and steady defense made him a valuable asset for the lowly Browns. And in 1916, they’re not going to be so lowly. Spoiler alert!

vitt

3B-Ossie Vitt, Detroit Tigers, 25 Years Old

.250, 1 HR, 48 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Sacrifice Hits-42

Def. Games as 3B-151

Putouts as 3B-191

Assists as 3B-324

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.48

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.41

Fielding % as 3B-.964

1st Time All-Star-Oscar Joseph “Ossie” Vitt was born on January 4, 1890 in San Francisco, CA. A Bay City bomber he wasn’t, as he only hit four homers in over 3,500 at bats. He started with Detroit in 1912, mainly in leftfield. He then played second base in 1913 and 1914, before finding his comfort zone at third starting this season. This year, Vitt finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.5) and fourth in Defensive WAR (1.7). This was the only season his OPS+ was at 100 or above and it was at exactly 100.

Wikipedia says, “While not a good hitter for average, Vitt was a good contact hitter and one of the best bunters of the era—a valuable talent on a Detroit squad that included Ty CobbSam Crawford, and Bobby Veach. His career total of 259 sacrifice hits (in a relatively short career) ranks 32nd best in major league history.

“Vitt was also one of the toughest players to strike out in MLB history. For his career, he struck out an average of once every 26.6 at bats, 35th best in MLB history. In 1918, his at bat per strikeout ratio was 44.5, 2nd best in the AL.

“On August 10, 1915, Vitt was hit in the head by a Walter Johnson fastball. After being knocked unconscious for five minutes‚ Vitt left the game with a concussion. Ty Cobb‚ observing Johnson’s fear of hitting a batter‚ crowded the plate on Johnson from that point forward. Cobb hit .435 against Johnson after the Vitt incident.”

chapman

SS-Ray Chapman, Cleveland Indians, 24 Years Old

.270, 3 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as SS-378

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-5.56

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.50

1st Time All-Star-Raymond Johnson “Ray” Chapman was born on January 15, 1891 in Beaver Dam, KY. The five-foot-10, 170 pound shortstop is most famous as the only Major Leaguer to die due to an injury received in a game. There’s time for that later. He started with Cleveland in 1912 and this season, Chapman finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.3); fifth in Offensive WAR (5.2); and was a good base stealer, swiping 36 in 51 attempts.

SABR says, “As good as Chapman was on the field, he was even more beloved for his infectious cheerfulness and enthusiasm off it. One of the most popular players in Cleveland Indians history, Chapman was a gifted storyteller who played the piano and once won an amateur singing contest. The good-humored shortstop also had a wide circle of admirers outside the game–his show business friends included Al Jolson, William S. Hart and Will Rogers. One newspaper described Chapman as a man who ‘was as much at home in the ballroom as on the ball diamond.’ His tragic death in 1920 sparked one of the largest spontaneous outpourings of grief in Cleveland history.

“Despite his physical problems, Chapman’s prowess was widely recognized. In 1915 the Chicago White Sox tried to obtain him from Cleveland, but, after being rebuffed, had to settle for acquiring outfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson instead.” This same article says Chapman would have ended up in the Hall of Fame if not for his death, but he hadn’t been in the top 10 in WAR Position Players since 1917 and he was going to be entering his 30s. I don’t think he would have made it, but we’ll never know.

bush5

SS-Donie Bush, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

1909 1910 1912 1914

.228, 1 HR, 44 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Plate Appearances-703 (4th Time)

Assists-504 (5th Time)

Assists as SS-504 (5th Time)

5th Time All-Star-Walking is a valuable skill in baseball and in his time, no one did it better than the diminutive Bush. He walked 118 times this season, surprisingly not leading the league. That honor went to Eddie Collins, who drew 119 bases on balls. However, walking isn’t everything. (Don’t argue with me, Moneyballers!) Despite all of his walks, Bush only had an OPS+ over 100 one time from 1911-22 and that was in 1917. The reason he keeps making All-Star teams is his glove.

This season, Bush finished sixth in Defensive WAR (1.6) and went a terrible 35 for 62 stealing bases. I keep mentioning about the bad base stealing of this season. Altogether in the American League there was an average of 180 bases stolen per team with 131 caught stealings. That makes for a 58 percent success rate which isn’t good.

Wikipedia says, “In appreciation of Bush’s efforts during the 1915 season, Detroit fans raised funds to allow Bush to purchase a new Paige automobile. The Detroit Free Press wrote:

“There never was a player who deserved a testimonial more than Donie deserves this one. The little infielder has been the mainstay of the Tigers’ defense all season and has saved game after game by his sensational stunts. . . . Off the field he has never permitted his spirits to flag, declaring right up to the last minute that the Tigers were going to win the pennant. . . . Apart from baseball, Bush is a mighty fine fellow, good-natured, lively, generous, and the sort of man anyone would like to have for a friend.”

weaverb2

SS-Buck Weaver, Chicago White Sox, 24 Years Old

1913

.268, 3 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Sacrifice Hits-42

2nd Time All-Star-Weaver always made these All-Star teams due to his glove, which always makes it difficult to tell which seasons he’ll be here. This year, Weaver finished sixth in Defensive WAR (1.7) and was a run-of-the-mill 24 for 44 stealing. He was an expert sacrificer as this was one of two seasons in which he’d lead the league in that category.

SABR says, “Best known as the third baseman banned from Organized Baseball for his knowledge of the 1919 World Series fix in which he did not participate, Buck Weaver spent most of his nine-year major-league career as a shortstop, only converting full time to the third sack in 1917. Initially a right-handed batter, Weaver learned to switch-hit after a poor rookie season, and from there he made his mark as one of the American League’s most resourceful players, twice leading the circuit in sacrifices, and using his excellent range to reach balls that escaped most of his peers.

“In a 1915 poll of White Sox fans, Weaver was voted the most popular member of the team, but the next two seasons would be rough ones for him. After spending most of the spring of 1915 recovering from surgery to remove his adenoids and tonsils, Weaver batted .268 and scored 83 runs.”

It’s a shame that write-ups for members of the Chicago 8 have to so often touch upon them throwing the 1919 World Series. Yet just like Cap Anson’s blurbs so often would point to his racism, there are some things that just stand out in players’ lives.

veach

LF-Bobby Veach, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

.313, 3 HR, 112 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-40

Runs Batted In-112

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

Putouts as LF-297

Assists as LF-19

Double Plays Turned as LF-4

Fielding % as LF-.975

1st Time All-Star-Robert Hayes “Bobby” Veach was born on June 29, 1888 in St. Charles, KY. The five-foot-11, 160 pound left-hitting leftfielder started with Detroit in 1912 and kept improving until he made the All-Star team this year. He finished fifth in WAR Position Players (4.9), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.6), sixth in batting (.313), sixth in on-base percentage (.390), seventh in slugging (.434), and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (141). He also was a miserable 16 for 35 stealing bases.

Wikipedia says, “In 1915, Veach has a breakout season, becoming one of the most dominant batters in the American League. His batting average increased by 38 points to .313, and he led the American League with 40 doubles (nine more than any other player) and 112 RBIs (tied with teammate Sam Crawford). He was also among the league leaders with 53 extra base hits (2nd), 178 hits (3rd), 247 total bases (3rd), .313 batting average (6th), .390 on-base percentage (6th), .434 slugging percentage (7th), and 68 bases on balls (10th).

“The Tigers’ 1915 outfield, with Veach in left, Cobb in center, and Crawford in right has been ranked by baseball historian Bill James as the greatest outfield of all time. During the 1915 season, Baseball Magazine published a five-page feature story on Veach, concluding that ‘with his advent the Detroit outfield is one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, ever assembled on a diamond.’ Though the league average batting average in 1915 was .248, Cobb hit .369 with 99 RBIs, Crawford hit .299 and drove in 112 runs, and Veach hit .313 with 112 RBIs. The three Detroit outfielders ranked #1, #2, and #3 in total bases and RBIs. The 1915 Tigers won 100 games, but finished in second place, one game behind the Boston Red Sox.”

shotton3

LF-Burt Shotton, St. Louis Browns, 30 Years Old

1912 1913

.283, 1 HR, 30 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as LF-19

Errors Committed as OF-23 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Shotton’s hitting declined in 1914, keeping him off of the American League All-Star team that season, but he’s back this year. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.6), sixth in Offensive WAR (4.6), fifth in on-base percentage (.409), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (134). Shotton stole 43 bases, but got caught 32 times. In 1915, apparently, everyone tried to steal second whether they were good at it or not.

Wikipedia says, “Although he stole over 40 bases in four consecutive seasons (1913–16), he was also caught stealing over 26 times in each of those seasons. In an American League dominated by speedsters such as Ty Cobb and Clyde Milan, Shotton was never among the top five base stealers in the league, and he had a high rate of being caught stealing, but he pilfered 294 bases during his MLB career. His real talent, however, may be shown in his on-base percentage, in which he finished in the top ten in the league four times in his career. He twice (in 1913 and 1916) led AL batters in walks, and finished in the top ten six seasons.”

Too bad there weren’t any smart-brained people in these days to tell the runners the futility of trying to steal so often. Of course, the 2018 version of baseball has been changed dramatically, and not necessarily for the better, by the focus on sabermetrics. There isn’t a lot of stealing because players now know the numbers and the risks, but there are a lot of strikeouts and talk about launch angles.

cobb9

CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old, 1915 ONEHOF Inductee

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914

.369, 3 HR, 99 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1915)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

 

Led in:

 

1915 AL Batting Title (9th Time)

WAR Position Players-9.5 (4th Time)

Offensive WAR-9.9 (5th Time)

Batting Average-.369 (8th Time)

On-Base %-.486 (5th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.973 (8th Time)

Runs Scored-144 (4th Time)

Hits-208 (6th Time)

Total Bases-274 (5th Time)

Stolen Bases-96 (4th Time)

Singles-161 (5th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-185 (9th Time)

Runs Created-138 (5th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-70 (5th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-7.8 (5th Time)

Times On Base-336 (3rd Time)

Offensive Win %-.859 (8th Time)

Caught Stealing-38 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as CF-156

Double Plays Turned as CF-8 (2nd Time)

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

9th Time All-Star-Well, everyone knew he would make the ONEHOF (the One-A-Year Hall of Fame) eventually and Cobb made it this year, when he turned 28. Next year’s nominees for the award are Roger Bresnahan, Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Johnny Evers, Sherry Magee, and Walter Johnson. If you look at Honus Wagner’s 1915 blurb, you’ll see I have Cobb as the sixth greatest player of all-time at this point of his career.

It’s amazing the kind of year Cobb could put together if he played a whole season and wasn’t missing time because of his own bad attitude. However, the question has to be asked if the Georgia Peach was as bad as rumored. Look at this video:

This is not the first time I’ve seen this theory that most of Cobb’s reputation comes from one bitter man. There’s no doubt he had a temper and played hard, but was he a virulent racist and murderer? That’s to be debated.

One thing that’s true, trouble followed him around. Here’s an article from SABR about a raucous game between the two pennant contenders, the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers. Here’s a little of it: “Neither team scored in the sixth or seventh inning. Cobb led off the eighth, and the first pitch from Mays was directed toward his head. Cobb evaded the missile, righted himself and stepped back into the batter’s box. The second pitch was another beanball that narrowly missed Cobb’s head. Angered by the headhunting, Cobb threw his bat at Mays, but missed his target. The partisan fans howled at Cobb, while he cussed at Mays.” Read the whole thing.

Rookie Tris SpeakerCF-Tris Speaker, Boston Red Sox, 27 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914

.322, 0 HR, 69 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

AB per SO-39.1

Putouts as CF-378 (5th Time)

Double Plays Turned as CF-8 (4th Time)

Putouts as OF-378 (5th Time)

Double Plays Turned as OF-8 (4th Time)

Fielding % as CF-.976 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.66 (6th Time)

7th Time All-Star-Two of the best players in the game for a long time, Ty Cobb and Speaker, both played the same position and incredibly were only 28 and 27 years old respectively. Both were temperamental, though Cobb seemed to be worse. However, if you check out Speaker’s blurb from last year, you’ll see he also found himself in the middle of trouble quite a bit.

This year, the Grey Eagle finished fourth in WAR (7.1); third in WAR Position Players (7.1), behind Cobb (9.5) and Chicago second baseman Eddie Collins (9.4); third in Offensive WAR (6.0), trailing Cobb (9.9) and Collins (8.0); fourth in batting (.322); fourth in on-base percentage (.416); 10th in slugging (.411); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (151). He stole only 29 of 54 attempts on the base paths.

In the World Series against the Phillies, Speaker hit a triple and scored a run in Game 3, helping Boston to a 2-1 victory. The Red Sox went on to win the Series, 4-1. Tris ended up hitting .294 (five-for-17) with a triple and four walks and now had two World Championships.

Was Speaker a member of the Ku Klux Klan? SABR says, “Although the Klan kept its membership rolls secret, Speaker’s alleged membership would not be surprising given that the Klan experienced a nationwide revival beginning in 1915, gaining much popularity with its anti-Catholic rhetoric. In addition, the Klan’s national leader from 1922 to 1939, Imperial Wizard Hiram W. Evans, lived near Speaker in Hubbard.” Just because you’re a baseball hero doesn’t make you a heroic person.

strunk

CF-Amos Strunk, Philadelphia Athletics, 26 Years Old

.297, 1 HR, 45 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Amos Aaron “Lightning” Strunk was born on January 22, 1889 in Philadelphia, PA. The five-foot-11, 175 pound lefty centerfielder started with Philadelphia in 1908, but didn’t get much playing time until 1912. This season, Strunk finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.1), 10th in Offensive WAR (4.0), ninth in batting (.297), 10th in on-base percentage (.371), ninth in slugging (.427), and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (143). Contradicting his nickname, he was caught stealing more times (19) than bases he successfully stole (17).

SABR says, “Strunk was also a key man in Mack’s famed double squeeze play. With Strunk on second and a runner on third, Mack would have the batter bunt. The speedy Strunk would break from second base with the pitch and would follow the runner from third home, allowing the Athletics to score two runs on a single squeeze bunt. In addition to the 1910 championship team, Strunk was a major contributor to Connie Mack’s World Series teams in 1911, 1913, and 1914, though injuries kept him from appearing in more than 122 games in any of the three seasons.

“During his career, Strunk was considered one of baseball’s great storytellers. It was said that he had a ‘De Wolfe [sic] Hopper way of telling stories,’ in reference to the legendary Broadway actor and orator. Baseball Magazine commented: ‘Some time when you’re not busy get Amos to tell you stories on old John McCluskey. He’ll make you laugh so hard you’ll lose your wrist watch.’” If you’re trying to look him up, it’s DeWolf Harper.

crawford12

RF-Sam Crawford, Detroit Tigers, 35 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1905 1907 1908 1909 1911 1912 1913 1914

.299, 4 HR, 112 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1912)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1957)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1905)

 

Led in:

 

Triples-19 (6th Time)

Runs Batted In-112 (3rd Time)

Extra Base Hits-54 (4th Time)

Def. Games as RF-156 (3rd Time)

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

Fielding % as RF-.974  (4th Time)

12th Time All-Star-I remember reading Bill James write years ago that if you’re looking for amazing career numbers for one team, the Tigers had higher ones than even the Yankees. That’s why Sam Crawford, as good as his career was with Detroit, ranks only seventh in Career WAR (63.5) on the team. He’s behind Ty Cobb (144.7), Al Kaline (92.8), Charlie Gehringer (80.7), Lou Whitaker (75.1), Alan Trammell (70.7), and Harry Heilmann (67.7). He has also made more All-Star teams at rightfield than any previous player. The full list is here.

This season, Crawford finished eighth in Offensive WAR (4.5); eighth in batting (.299); and eighth in slugging (.431). He would start fading out and play no more Major League ball after 1917, retiring as the still all-time leader in triples with 309.

Wikipedia says, “Crawford spent much of his later years working in his garden and reading. During the [baseball writer Lawrence] Ritter interviews, he quoted from the works of philosopher George Santayana and abolitionist Robert Ingersoll, and discussed the works of one of his favorite writers, Honoré de Balzac. As for how he hoped to be remembered, he said: ‘When I kick off they’ll say, “Well, good old Sam, he wasn’t such a bad guy after all. Everything considered, he was pretty fair and square. We’ll miss him.”’

“Crawford suffered a stroke on May 26, 1968, and died two weeks later at Hollywood Community Hospital in Los Angeles at age 88. He was interred in the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood. In 1999, he ranked Number 84 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.”

1915 National League All-Star Team

P-Pete Alexander, PHI

P-Fred Toney, CIN

P-Jeff Pfeffer, BRO

P-Al Mamaux, PIT

P-Jeff Tesreau, NYG

P-Tom Hughes, BSN

P-Pat Ragan, BRO/BSN

P-Dick Rudolph, BSN

P-Bill Doak, STL

P-Jimmy Lavender, CHC

C-Frank Snyder, STL

C-Hank Gowdy, BSN

1B-Fred Luderus, PHI

1B-Vic Saier, CHC

1B-Jake Daubert, BRO

2B-Larry Doyle, NYG

3B-Heinie Groh, CIN

3B-Red Smith, BSN

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Buck Herzog, CIN

SS-Dave Bancroft, PHI

SS-Art Fletcher, NYG

CF-Sherry Magee, BSN

RF-Gavvy Cravath, PHI

RF-Bill Hinchman, PIT

 

alexander5P-Pete Alexander, Philadelphia Phillies, 27 Years Old, MVP

1911 1912 1913 1914

31-10, 1.22 ERA, 241 K, .169, 1 HR, 8 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1938)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

1915 NL Pitching Triple Crown

1915 NL Pitching Title

Wins Above Replacement-10.8 (2nd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-10.9 (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-1.22

Wins-31 (3rd Time)

Win-Loss %-.756

Walks & Hits per IP-0.842

Hits per 9 IP-6.051 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.764 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-376 1/3 (4th Time)

Strikeouts-241 (3rd Time)

Complete Games-36 (3rd Time)

Shutouts-12 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.766

Batters Faced-1,435 (3rd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-225

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.82 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-57

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.9

Putouts as P-22 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-120

5th Time All-Star-There’s a lot of talk nowadays, in 2018, about how much the game has changed, especially pitching. In today’s game, it is focused on pitch count and times through the order, so it’s very rare it seems that a starting pitcher will give a team even six innings. In 2017, the National League had a total of 27 complete games and the American League had a total of 32. Compare that to the season of Old Pete who had 36 complete games by himself. I wonder how many pitches he used to throw in a typical game?

His arm led Philadelphia to its first pennant. Pat Moran managed for the first time and led the Phillies to a 90-62 record. They had the league’s best hitting thanks to Gavvy Cravath and the league’s best pitching thanks to Alexander, who’s my pick for MVP.

In the World Series versus the Red Sox, Old Pete started game one and held Boston to one run as Philly won 3-1. Unfortunately, that would be Philadelphia’s last win, despite good pitching by Alexander. In game three, he gave up only two runs, but lost 2-1 on a walk-off single by Duffy Lewis. Boston won the Series, four games to one.

SABR says, “[In 1915], to make his domination of hitters humiliating as well as complete, he pitched four one-hitters. The first one-hitter, a 3-0 win in St. Louis on June 5, was the closest Alex ever came to a major-league no-hitter, as shortstop Artie Butler singled past Alex’s head with two down in the ninth.”

toney

P-Fred Toney, Cincinnati Reds, 26 Years Old

17-6, 1.58 ERA, 108 K, .095, 0 HR, 1 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.040

1st Time All-Star-Fred Alexandra Toney was born on December 11,  1888 in Nashville, TN. The six-foot-two, 195 pound righty started with Chicago from 1911-13. It wasn’t until this season he got to be a regular starter and had his best season ever. Unfortunately, Toney had his great season during a year in which Pete Alexander had one of the greatest years of all time. Still, Toney finished second in WAR (7.2) to Alexander (10.8); second in WAR for Pitchers (7.9), trailing Old Pete (10.9); second in ERA (1.58), behind Grover Cleveland (1.22); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (183), behind, well, you know (225).

SABR says, “Toney denied the reports and early in 1915 he was selected off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds. He made his Cincinnati debut on June 1 and his first five appearances came as a reliever before he earned his first start on June 17 against the Philadelphia Phillies. He was 17-6 with a 1.58 ERA, second-best behind Pete Alexander’s 1.22. Brooklyn’s star outfielder Zack Wheat attributed Toney’s success to a new approach. Where he relied mostly on his fastball with the Cubs, he was a different pitcher with the Reds.

“’He had five or six styles, all sorts of deceptive motions, and as good a change of pace as there is in the National League,’ Wheat told The Sporting News in December. ‘Side-arm, overhand and under-hand were all the same to him. Instead of that constant fast ball, he had a half dozen speeds. … Don’t let any one kid you into thinking Toney is fluking through.’”

pfefferj2

P-Jeff Pfeffer, Brooklyn Robins, 27 Years Old

1914

19-14, 2.10 ERA, 84 K, .255, 0 HR, 8 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Pfeffer made the All-Star team for the second straight season. Pete Alexander had such a dominating season, it overshadows the other pitchers in the league, but Pfeffer had a nice season. He finished fourth in WAR (6.2); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.7); fourth in ERA (2.10); fifth in innings pitched (291 2/3); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (134), behind Alexander (225) and Fred Toney (183).

Brooklyn, managed by Wilbert Robinson, moved up from 75-79 to 80-72. It had the worst hitting in the league, but great pitching, led by Pfeffer.

SABR says, “The 1915 season would bring more of the same, as Pfeffer won 19 games with a 2.10 ERA and 6 shutouts.

“Pfeffer quickly developed a reputation as an intense competitor who would let no one get an edge. An intimidating presence at 6’2″ and a listed (although likely much greater) weight of 210 pounds, he refused to let any batter dig in at the plate. He would hit a total of 50 batters from 1915-1917, leading the league twice in that category. Big Jeff did not limit his belligerence to opposing hitters, either. Decades later, George Daubert, the team’s batboy and son of first baseman Jake Daubert, was terrorized by Pfeffer, who would chase him out of the dugout following Brooklyn losses. Team owner Charles Ebbetts would have his own contract tussles with Pfeffer, once trying to convince him that because many players were getting pay cuts, Pfeffer’s new contract for the same total as the last season was actually a raise.”

mamaux

P-Al Mamaux, Pittsburgh Pirates, 21 Years Old

21-8, 2.04 ERA, 152 K, .163, 0 HR, 7 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Albert Leon “Al” Mamaux (pronounced ma-MOO) was born on May 30, 1894 in Pittsburgh, PA. The six-foot, 168 pound righty started with Pittsburgh in 1913. He had his best season ever this year, finishing seventh in WAR (5.7); third in WAR for Pitchers (6.1), behind Pete Alexander (10.9) and Fred Toney (7.9); third in ERA (2.04), trailing Alexander (1.22) and Toney (1.58); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (132).

Fred Clarke managed the Pittsburgh Pirates for the last time this season, finishing in fifth place with a 73-81 record. Cap would finish his managing career with a lifetime 1602-1181 record (.576 winning percentage), four pennants, and one World Series championship. Sure, it helps to have a Honus Wagner on the team, but it doesn’t take away from what Clarke did for the early 20th century Pirates.

Wikipedia says of Mamaux, “A right-handed pitcher over parts of twelve seasons (1913–1924), Mamaux played mainly with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Brooklyn Robins. He led Pittsburgh with 21 wins in 1915 and 1916. During his career, he compiled a 76–67 with a 2.90 ERA. Mamaux played on one National League pennant winner, the Robins, in 1920. He pitched four innings in the 1920 World Series for Brooklyn.

“From 1926 to 1933, Mamaux pitched for the Newark Bears of the International League. During the 1930 season, he replaced Tris Speaker as team manager, and in 1932 led the Bears to the league title. The 1932 team, which featured 15 former and future New York Yankees, had a record of 109–59 and is regarded as one of the best minor league teams in history. Mamaux also coached the Albany Senators from 1935 to 1936 and the Seton Hall Pirates baseball team from 1937 to 1942.”

tesreau4

P-Jeff Tesreau, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1912 1913 1914

19-16, 2.29 ERA, 176 K, .233, 1 HR, 12 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-Tesreau continued to be the best pitcher on the Giants, though it was admittedly an off year for New York. The spitballer finished fifth in WAR (5.7); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.2); seventh in ERA (2.29); and third in innings pitched (306), behind Pete Alexander (376 1/3) and Dick Rudolph (341 1/3).

Did I say off year for the Giants? Believe it or not, John McGraw’s squad finished dead last with a 69-83 record. Their hitting lacked and even with Big Jeff, their pitching was the worst in the league.

Tesreau would pitch in one more World Series, in 1917, pitching one inning and allowing no runs.

SABR says, “Prior to spring training McGraw had asked Tesreau to take the pitchers, catchers, and some out-of-condition players down South for some early work. When the manager arrived later, he asked Jeff to report on the players’ evening activities. The big pitcher refused, claiming that a man’s behavior away from the ballpark was his own business. That touched off a feud between the stubborn manager and his equally stubborn pitcher. Tesreau got off to a tough-luck start, going 4-4 but with a 2.32 ERA in his first dozen games, and suddenly left the team. He never pitched another game in Organized Baseball.

“In Tesreau’s later years his weight ballooned to nearly 300 lbs. He was only 57 when he died in Hanover, New Hampshire, on September 24, 1946, five days after suffering a stroke during a fishing trip.” Tesreau was starting to fade by 1918, but he most likely still had some good years left if not for a petty dispute.

hughestoml

P-Tom Hughes, Boston Braves, 31 Years Old

16-14, 2.12 ERA, 171 K, .100, 1 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-50

Saves-9

Games Finished-22

Def. Games as P-50

1st Time All-Star-Thomas L. “Salida Tom” Hughes was born on January 28, 1884 in Coal Creek, CO. The six-foot-two, 175 pound righty started with the Yankees in 1906-07 and also 1909-10. He didn’t play in the Majors again until 1914 with the Braves. This year was his best year ever as he finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.1); fifth in ERA (2.12); sixth in innings pitched (280 1/3); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (127).

After winning the National League pennant in 1914, the Braves fell to second. George Stallings’ crew finished 81-71, seven games behind the Phillies. They had good hitting, led by Sherry Magee, and good pitching thanks to Hughes.

SABR says, “For his major-league career, Hughes showed a 56-39 record with a 2.56 ERA, slightly better than the major-league average during the years he pitched (2.68). A more recently developed tool suggests his effectiveness with the Braves. His WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) was 1.022, the best in Braves franchise history for those who pitched 300 innings or more. He was extremely effective at the height of an abbreviated major-league career.

“[O]n November 1, 1961, Salida Tom died, succumbing to the combined effects of pneumonia, emphysema, and tuberculosis, a disease he had contacted 11 years earlier. Burial was at Forest Lawn Memorial Park alongside Thomas Jr. At the time of Hughes’ death, he was widely described as one of a few pitchers who had thrown no-hitters in the American and National League, but this was before the retroactive canceling of his effort against the Cleveland Naps.”

ragan

P-Pat Ragan, Brooklyn Robins/Boston Braves, 31 Years Old

17-12, 2.34 ERA, 88 K, .151, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Don Carlos Patrick “Pat” Ragan was born on November 15, 1883 in MO. That’s right, Baseball Reference doesn’t list the city, just the state. However, SABR says he was born in Blanchard, IA, and that in 1885, not 1883. The five-foot-10, 185 pound righty started with Cincinnati and the Cubs in 1909. He started with Brooklyn in 1911 and then early in 1915, Ragan was selected off waivers by the Boston Braves from the Brooklyn Robins. Good move, Boston! He ended up having his best season ever, finishing seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.6); ninth in ERA (2.34); and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (119).

Wikipedia says, “On October 5, 1914, Ragan struck out three batters on nine pitches in the eighth inning of a 15–2 loss to the Boston Braves. Ragan became the second National League pitcher and the third pitcher in Major League history to accomplish the nine-strike, three-strikeout half-inning.”

More from SABR: “At season’s end, the Braves finished 83-69, good for second place in the National League, seven games behind the pennant-winning Philadelphia Phillies. After coming to Boston, Ragan was the Braves’ second-best starter, going 16-12 with a 2.46 ERA in 26 starts. He appeared in 33 games overall, pitched 227 innings and tied for second on the club with three shutouts.

“In his later years, Ragan worked as a security guard for an aircraft company. He and his family moved west to California, where he died from kidney cancer on September 4, 1956, at 70. He was survived by his wife, Mae, and son, Pat Jr., and was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.”

rudolph3

P-Dick Rudolph, Boston Braves, 27 Years Old

1913 1914

22-19, 2.37 ERA, 147 K, .198, 1 HR, 17 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Started-43

Hits Allowed-304

Losses-19

Earned Runs Allowed-90

3rd Time All-Star-After winning the World Series in 1914, Bill James faded, but Rudolph continued to pitch well. He finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (3.5) and second in innings pitched (341 1/3), behind Pete Alexander (376 1/3). The little spitter from the Big Apple is not done making All-Star teams.

Rudolph was the first Boston pitcher to start a game at the newly-constructed Braves Field. SABR says of the part, “Located just off Commonwealth Avenue in Allston, Braves Field was hailed as ‘the finest baseball park in the world.’ Construction under owner James E. Gaffney commenced just before the 1915 season, in March. And even though Gaffney built the biggest ballpark of the time, the expansive facility turned out not to be big enough to hold all who were interested in attending. With seating for between 43,000 and 45,000, by far the largest in baseball at the time, the Braves still ended up turning away 6,000 fans, even after they exceeded capacity by allowing an estimated 46,000 fans through the gates. Those who were able to get through the turnstiles were not your typical crowd, either. A host of dignitaries were there, including Boston Mayor James Michael Curley, along with 12 other Massachusetts mayors. In addition to political notables, a number of baseball men were present for the opening game. These included Charles Ebbets, president of the Brooklyn Robins; Chicago Cubs president Charles Thomas; National League President John Tener; and National League Secretary John Heydler.” Read the whole thing and don’t skip the distances to the fences!

doak2

P-Bill Doak, St. Louis Cardinals, 24 Years Old

1914

16-18, 2.64 ERA, 124 K, .174, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. 18 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-3.85 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as P-3.11 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-After leading the National League in ERA in 1914, Doak came back with another good season. This year, he finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (3.7) and seventh in innings pitched (276). He was the Cardinals’ best pitcher.

As for St. Louis, Miller Huggins managed them to a sixth place finish with a 72-81 record. The Cardinals had good hitting, led by Frank Snyder, but not-so-good pitching.

SABR says, “Spittin’ Bill Doak still ranks second in career shutouts for the St. Louis Cardinals, behind only Bob Gibson. In 1914, his first full season in the majors, Doak came out of nowhere to lead the National League in ERA as the Cardinals achieved third place, their best NL finish ever. He followed with solid but unspectacular seasons for the Redbirds for the rest of the Deadball Era, earning 87 of his 169 career wins before 1920. A slow and deliberate worker who used a huge red handkerchief to wipe his brow a few times each game, Doak relied on good control and an effective ‘slow drop’ (curveball) to go along with his signature spitball. Today Bill Doak is best known for his namesake glove, an innovative design that remained in the Rawlings line for more than three decades.

“He was modest, unassuming, and ‘so silent as to be almost an enigma,’ according to Baseball Magazine. In later years The Sporting News called Doak ‘the only strictly moral man on the Cards,’ noting that he taught a Sunday school class before going to the ballpark.”

lavender

P-Jimmy Lavender, Chicago Cubs, 31 Years Old

10-16, 2.58 ERA, 117 K, .134, 0 HR, 0 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 53 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-James Sanford “Jimmy” Lavender was born on March 26, 1884 in Barnesville, GA. The five-foot-11, 165 pound righty started with Chicago in 1912. This year, his best season ever, Lavender finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (3.7). It’s very rare a player can have 67 at bats and not drive in any runs, but that’s what Lavender did.

Oh, how the mighty hath fallen! For a stretch of time from 1900-1913, it was rare the Giants, Pirates, or Cubs finished anywhere out of the top three in the standings. This year, New York finished last, Pittsburgh finished fifth, and Chicago finished fourth, with a 73-80 record. Its pitching was poor. Roger Bresnahan coached his first and only year with the Cubs and would never manage again. In five seasons with the Cardinals and Cubs, Bresnahan finished 328-432 (.432).

Wikipedia says, “Author Vincent Starrett, who penned The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, created a series of short stories featuring a gentlemanly, cultured detective named ‘Jimmie Lavender’. Starrett stated that the name was perfect for his character, and received permission from the former pitcher for use of the name. A collection of these stories were featured in the 1944 book The Case Book of Jimmie Lavender.

“After his playing career ended, Lavender returned to Georgia and worked on his farm in Montezuma, Georgia. He died on January 12, 1960, at the age of 75, in Cartersville, Georgia, and is interred at Felton Cemetery in Montezuma.” He has a long Wikipedia page for such a drab career.

snyderf

C-Frank Snyder, St. Louis Cardinals, 21 Years Old

.298, 2 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-142

Putouts as C-592

Assists as C-204

Caught Stealing as C-114

1st Time All-Star-Frank Elton “Pancho” Snyder was born on May 27, 1894 in San Antonio, TX. The six-foot-two 185 pound catcher started with St. Louis in 1912. This was his best season ever as he finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.2); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.2); eighth in Defensive WAR (1.1); and eighth in batting (.298).

Wikipedia says, “Snyder began his major league career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1912 at the age of 18. He was traded to the New York Giants in the middle of the 1919 season. Snyder was a member of John McGraw‘s New York Giants teams that won four consecutive National League pennants between 1921and 1924 and played on two World Series winners in 1921 and 1922.

“Snyder also homered in the final game of the 1923 World Series, but the Yankees staged a comeback to defeat the Giants.

“During that period, Snyder posted a batting average above .300 three times, with a .320 average in 1921, a .343 average in 1922 and a .302 average in 1924. Snyder hit the first major league home run in the history of Braves Field in 1922. It was the first home run hit in the seven seasons played at the cavernous ballpark. In 1926, he was selected off waivers by the St. Louis Cardinals. He played for the Cardinals in 1927 before retiring at the end of the season at the age of 33.”

Snyder died in his hometown of San Antonio at the age of 66 on January 5, 1962.

gowdy

C-Hank Gowdy, Boston Braves, 25 Years Old

.247, 2 HR, 30 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Caught Stealing %-57.1

1st Time All-Star-Henry Morgan “Hank” Gowdy was born on August 24, 1889 in Columbus, OH. The six-foot-two, 182 pound catcher started with the Giants in 1910-11. Then he was traded by the New York Giants with Al Bridwell to the Boston Rustlers for Buck Herzog. In 1914, he had an outstanding World Series in Boston’s sweep of the Athletics. Gowdy hit .545 (six-for-11) with two doubles, a triple, and a home run. This season, he slashed .247/.339/.332, which was his best full season up to this point. For reasons I can’t fathom, Gowdy received Hall of Fame votes 17 times. Wikipedia says, “Gowdy has the record for most unsuccessful Hall of Fame induction attempts, without ever have been enshrined in the Hall. While current custom limits the times a player can appear on the ballot to 15, Gowdy received votes 17 years, never being elected to the Hall of Fame (Edd Roush has the record for most Hall attempts with 19, but he was later enshrined by the Veteran’s Committee).”

SABR says, “He was key to the Boston Braves’ amazing 1914 season, starring in their famous World Series victory, but a decade later he was blamed for the loss of another legendary Series.

“In Game Three at Fenway Park, which the Braves had borrowed from the Red Sox for the Series, Boston was down by two runs when Gowdy led off the tenth inning with a blast into the center-field bleachers. It was the only home run of the Series, and it ignited a rally that tied the score.”

luderus

1B-Fred Luderus, Philadelphia Phillies, 29 Years Old

.315, 7 HR, 62 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Frederick William “Fred” Luderus (pronounced loo-DARE-us) was born on September 12, 1885 in Milwaukee, WI. The five-foot-11, 185 pound left-handed batter started with Chicago in 1909-10. In mid-season of 1910, Luderus was traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Philadelphia Phillies for Bill Foxen. Even though he had four consecutive seasons of 10 or more homers, he never made the All-Star team until this year. This was Luderus’ best season as he finished sixth in WAR (5.7); second in WAR Position Players (5.7), behind

teammate Gavvy Cravath (7.0); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.9); second in batting (.315), trailing Larry Doyle (.320); fifth in on-base percentage (.376); second in slugging, behind Cravath (.510); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (149), again trailing Cravath (170).

Luderus also had a great World Series in a losing cause, hitting .438 (seven-for-16) with two doubles, a homer, and six RBI. It would be his only Series appearance.

SABR says, “Ludy’s most enjoyable season undoubtedly was 1915, when new manager Pat Moran appointed him captain and the Quakers captured their first National League pennant. Though he hit only seven home runs, down from 12 the previous season, Luderus set career-highs in batting average (.315) and doubles (36), finishing second in the NL behind the Giants’ Larry Doyle in both categories. In that year’s World Series, Fred was a shining star in defeat, batting .438 (the Phillies collectively batted .182) with the Phillies’ lone home run and six of his club’s nine RBIs.”

“Fred Luderus suffered a fatal heart attack at his home in Three Lakes on the evening of January 5, 1961. Survived by his wife, Emmy, and three daughters, he was buried in Milwaukee’s Pinelawn Cemetery.”

saier3

1B-Vic Saier, Chicago Cubs, 24 Years Old

1913 1914

.264, 11 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Power-Speed #-16.0 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as 1B-21 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-It’s difficult to be a prophet. I predicted in Saier’s 1914 blurb he wouldn’t make another All-Star team yet here he is. He finished fifth in Offensive WAR (4.6), fourth in slugging (.445), went a very good 29-for-38 in stealing; and finished fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (140).

SABR says, “In a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 14, 1917, Saier broke his leg in a collision at home plate when he tried to score from second on a single. His season was over after just six games. Vic might not have been ready to come back even in 1918, but we’ll never know for sure because he elected to work at a defense plant to help the war effort instead of playing baseball. The Cubs sold Saier’s rights to the Pittsburgh Pirates, with whom Vic attempted a comeback in 1919. His manager was Hugo Bezdek, a former Penn State football coach who didn’t know much about baseball and didn’t claim to. According to Casey Stengel, who also played for the 1919 Pirates, Bezdek would turn to Saier and ask, ‘How did Frank Chance handle that play?’ Though he provided veteran leadership, Saier hit only .223 in 58 games and was released before the season was over. Many years later his daughter said that he left the Pirates of his own accord ‘because he was disillusioned. He always thought of himself as a Cub.’

“Saier went back to Lansing where he lived the rest of his life, returning to Chicago only to marry his wife, Felicitas. He managed the City Club for many years and moved back into the house on South Pine Street in which he grew up. Vic Saier died in East Lansing at age 76 on May 14, 1967.”

daubert4

1B-Jake Daubert, Brooklyn Robins, 31 Years Old

1911 1912 1913

.301, 2 HR, 47 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 1B-102

4th Time All-Star-Despite winning the National League batting crown in 1914, Daubert didn’t make the All-Star team. I went back and crunched the numbers. Nope, still not putting him on. This season, Daubert finished fifth in batting (.301); and sixth in on–base percentage (.369).

Wikipedia says, “Daubert was recognized throughout his career for his performances on the field. He won the 1913 and 1914 National League batting titles, as well as the 1913 Chalmers Award. Between 1911 and 1919, The Baseball Magazinenamed him to their All-American team seven times. Baseball historian William C. Kashatus observed that Daubert was ‘a steady .300 hitter for 10 years of the Deadball Era’, who ‘never fielded below the .989 mark’ during the same period.

“In 1911 and 1912, Daubert placed ninth and eighth in the Chalmers Award voting. The following year, he won the award. On August 15, 1914, Daubert tied Cy Seymour‘s MLB record with four sacrifice bunts in one game.”

SABR says, “Daubert’s abilities offensively and defensively led him to be selected the all star first baseman in Baseball Magazine in 1911 and 1913-1919. Baseball Magazine in 1913 said, ‘Jake Daubert is easily one of the greatest infielders baseball has ever seen. Flashing and sensational like Chase, he is, unlike Chase, never erratic, never prone to sudden error, never sulky or indifferent in his play.’ The magazine author admitted that Chase was the most sensational first baseman who ever lived, but in his prime doubts he was more valuable than Daubert. He concluded that Daubert is ‘universally popular, he is the most valuable first sacker playing the game.’”

doyle6

2B-Larry Doyle, New York Giants, 28 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913

.320, 4 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1915 NL Batting Title

Batting Average-.320

Hits-189 (2nd Time)

Doubles-40

Singles-135

Double Plays Turned as 2B-66 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-Like many of the Giants, it must have been a shock to Doyle to play on a last-place team. It wasn’t his fault, he put together a good season. When you think of this era and the good second basemen, no doubt Nap Lajoie comes to mind and he should. He’s phenomenal. But in a lower category, as the National League’s best second sacker is Larry Doyle. I’m thinking he’s for sure got one more All-Star team left, so he’ll make my Hall sometime in 1919 or possibly before depending on the talent at second base in the upcoming years.

This year, Doyle finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.5); second in Offensive WAR (5.6), behind Gavvy Cravath (6.4); first in batting (.320); eighth in on-base percentage (.358); fifth in slugging (.442); fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (145); and was a miserable 22-for-40 stealing.

Wikipedia says, “ In 1914 he slipped to a .260 average, but was fourth in the league in runs. On July 17, he hit a home run in the top of the 21st inning to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3–1.

“He enjoyed renewed success in 1915, however, winning the batting crown with a .320 average; it was the first title won by an NL second baseman since Barnes in 1876. He also led the league in hits (189) for the second time, and in doubles with 40 – a Giants franchise record until George Kelly hit 42 in 1921. Doyle was also second in the NL in runs (86) and fifth in slugging (.442).“

groh

3B-Heinie Groh, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

.290, 3 HR, 50 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-160

Double Plays Turned as 3B-34

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.39

1st Time All-Star-Henry Knight “Heinie” Groh was born on September 18, 1889 in Rochester, NY. The five-foot-eight, 158 pound third baseman started with the Giants in 1912. After playing four games with New York in 1913, Groh was  traded by the New York Giants with Red AmesJosh Devore and $20,000 to the Cincinnati Reds for Art Fromme. Over the next few years, he’s going to be one of the game’s best third basemen. This year, Groh finished eighth in WAR (5.6); third in WAR Position Players (5.6), behind Philadelphia’s Gavvy Cravath (7.0) and Fred Luderus (5.7); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.6); and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.7). He would continue to display a good balance of offense and defense over his career.

Wikipedia says “He improved to .288 in 1914 and led the league in times hit by pitch, but also led the league in errors at second base, and manager Buck Herzog – who had played both second and third base himself – shifted Groh to third base permanently in 1915.

“The move was spectacularly successful, as Groh not only hit .290 with 32 doubles and 170 hits, but set a new league record with 34 double plays, breaking Lave Cross‘ 1899 mark of 32; he also finished within a fraction of a point of Bobby Byrne for the lead in fielding average at .969. On July 5, he hit for the cycle against the Chicago Cubs, becoming the only player to do so between 1913 and 1917; no Red would do so again until 1940.”

smithr3

3B-Red Smith, Boston Braves, 25 Years Old

1913 1914

.264, 2 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

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

Putouts as 3B-170 (2nd Time)

Assists as 3B-292 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as 3B-26

3rd Time All-Star-Red continued to be one of the National League’s best third basemen and would be for a few more years. This season, Smith finished ninth in Offensive WAR (4.2) while slashing .264/.345/.352 for an OPS+ of 113. It should be remembered the Braves started playing in cavernous Braves Field this year, so it’s tough for hitters on Boston to have impressive stats.

SABR says, “A mediocre fielder at third base, Red Smith was a good enough hitter to hold down third base for the Brooklyn Dodgers, until he clashed with his new manager, Wilbert Robinson. Robbie regarded Smith as a troublemaker, and Smith was summarily shipped to the Boston Braves – in time to make an important contribution as the Braves won the National League pennant, and then spend five more years with the team.

“Red was a good, solid hitter throughout his major-league career. He recovered fully from his broken ankle and played five more years for the Braves. In 1915 he slugged the first grand slam hit at the new Braves Field.”

Another Red Smith, the sportswriter, once said, “Writing is easy. You just open up a vein and bleed.” He’s right, it is very easy for me because the good folks at SABR and Wikipedia do a majority of the work. If this was the old days and I had to go into library tombs swatting away cobwebs while opening dusty tomes to find out information about these old players, this would be a grueling chore indeed.

wagner15SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 41 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912

.274, 6 HR, 78 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1906)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1901)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as SS-.948 (4th Time)

15th Time All-Star-After not making the All-Star team the last two seasons, it would have been understandable to think Wagner’s glory days were done. After all, he came into the 1915 season at the age of 41, he’s had a good career, maybe the best of all time, so ride off into the sunset, Flying Dutchman, and enjoy your retirement. Yet here he is. And he didn’t just make it on a fluke. He finished ninth in WAR (5.6); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.6); third in Offensive WAR (5.2), behind Gavvy Cravath (6.4) and Larry Doyle (5.6); sixth in Defensive WAR (1.6); eighth in slugging (.422); and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (127).

He also has made more All-Star teams at shortstop than anyone. Here’s the full list at all the positions:

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Nap Lajoie, 11

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Honus Wagner, 13

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Crawford, 9

He’s also, in my opinion, the second greatest player of all-time as of 1915. That list:

  1. Cy Young
  2. Honus Wagner
  3. Cap Anson
  4. Nap Lajoie
  5. Kid Nichols
  6. Ty Cobb
  7. Christy Mathewson
  8. Roger Connor
  9. Eddie Plank
  10. Tim Keefe

Wikipedia says, “Wagner lived the remainder of his life in Pittsburgh, where he was well known as a friendly figure around town. He died on December 6, 1955 at the age of 81, and he is buried at Jefferson Memorial Cemetery in the South Hills area of Pittsburgh.”

herzog3

SS-Buck Herzog, Cincinnati Reds, 29 Years Old

1911 1914

.264, 1 HR, 42 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-3.2

Def. Games as SS-153

Putouts as SS-391

Double Plays Turned as SS-90

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.26

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.91

3rd Time All-Star-It was his defense which carried Herzog to his third All-Star team this season. He finished 10th in WAR (5.2); fifth in WAR Position Players (5.2); first in Defensive WAR (3.2); first in many defensive categories as seen above; and stole a decent 35 out of 51 attempts on the base paths.

For the second straight season, Herzog also managed the Reds, as the rose from eighth to seventh with a 71-83 record. Their hitting was weak as they scored the least amount of runs in the National League.

SABR says, ”In Cincinnati Herzog was named manager and played shortstop; his Reds finished last, but the Giants suffered without him. In 1915 Buck brought his team in seventh, ahead of only McGraw’s. Herzog’s tenure as Cincinnati manager was rocky. He battled with the front office, followed the McGraw tradition of terrorizing umpires and earning suspensions, and became frustrated by the failure of his players to match his overachieving style.”

And more from SABR on the John McGraw-Herzog rocky relationship: “Something Herzog once said about McGraw could serve as his own epitaph: ‘The old man and I had our arguments, I guess because we both liked to win so well. But, when he got into a pinch and needed someone to put fire into his team, I am glad to remember he always was calling back Buck Herzog.’” Read his previous blurbs for more on the two battlers. The problem with Herzog is he was too much like McGraw.

bancroft

SS-Dave Bancroft, Philadelphia Phillies, 24 Years Old

.254, 7 HR, 30 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1971)

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

 

Led in:

 

Caught Stealing-27

Def. Games as SS-153

1st Time All-Star-David James “Dave” or “Beauty” Bancroft was born on April 20, 1891 in Sioux City, IA. The five-foot-nine, 160 pound switch-hitter had a good rookie year, finishing 10th in WAR Position Players (4.2) and fourth in Defensive WAR (2.2), but was a terrible 15-for-42 stealing. He also made his first of four World Series, hitting .294 (five-for-17) with two walks as Philadelphia lost to the Red Sox, four games to one.

As you can see above, he’s got a 99 percent chance at making my Hall of Fame. Bancroft would have to have one fluke All-Star season, but if he does, he’s in Ron’s Hall of Fame. He’s already part of Cooperstown.

Wikipedia says, “Before the 1915 season, the Philadelphia Phillies purchased Bancroft from Portland for $5,000 ($120,954 in current dollar terms). Portland’s manager was quoted as saying he did not expect Bancroft would last with the Phillies. In his rookie season, Bancroft finished second in the National League (NL) to teammate Gavvy Cravath in walks (77), third in runs scored (85), and tied Fred Luderus for sixth in home runs (7). For his ability to hit with power from both sides of the plate, The Pittsburgh Press declared he was developing into ‘a second Honus Wagner’. The Phillies won their first NL pennant in 1915, but lost the 1915 World Series to the Boston Red Sox. Bancroft’s offense contributed to the Phillies’ victory in Game 1, as he had an infield hit leading to the Phillies’ winning run. Though the Phillies batted .182 as a team in the series, Bancroft batted .294.”

fletcher3

SS-Art Fletcher, New York Giants, 30 Years Old

1913 1914

.254, 3 HR, 74 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists-544

Assists as SS-544

3rd Time All-Star-There’s a saying nowadays about the free-swinging Dominican players that you don’t walk off the island, meaning they got to the Majors by their hitting not their walking. The same could be said of Fletcher, though the island in his saying is Manhattan, and he wasn’t trying to get off of it. He only had six walks in 602 plate appearances, which made this a mediocre offensive season for him. No matter, he’s still on the All-Star team because of his glove. Fletch finished second in Defensive WAR (3.2), behind only Buck Herzog (3.2).

I like this story from SABR on how he ended up on the Giants. It says, “That very spring, the New York Giants played a series of exhibition games against Dallas. Fletcher refused to act awed by the major leaguers (including their pugnacious manager, John McGraw), and sassed them back as roughly as they sassed him. He slid into them, spikes high, and when their pitchers threw at him he continued to crowd the plate and socked the ball even harder. Fletcher’s fearless attitude and play so impressed McGraw that he bought an option on his contract for $1,500. Years later Art admitted, ‘I was a pretty fresh busher.’ McGraw reportedly said of him, ‘That’s my kind of ball player.’ After batting .273 with 35 stolen bases in 147 games as the Dallas shortstop, the 24-year-old Fletcher joined the Giants as part of an influx of rookies in the spring of 1909, serving as utility infielder during his first two years with the club. He was so self-conscious about his jutting chin that he had a collar sewn on his uniform that he wore turned up.”

magee8CF-Sherry Magee, Boston Braves, 30 Years Old

1905 1906 1907 1908 1910 1913 1914

.280, 2 HR, 87 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/Games as CF-2.72

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.70

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.68

8th Time All-Star-Some people just can’t catch the breaks. The Boston Braves won the National League pennant and the World Series in 1914. Between 1914 and 1915, Magee was traded by the Philadelphia Phillies to the Boston Braves for players to be named later and cash. The Boston Braves sent Oscar Dugey (February 10, 1915) and Possum Whitted (February 14, 1915) to the Philadelphia Phillies to complete the trade. After 11 years on the Phillies, Magee was finally on a different team and, of course, Philadelphia won the National League crown.

Magee played more games at centerfield than in leftfield for the only time ever in his career and he still produced. He finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.8) and 10th in Offensive WAR (3.8). Part of the problem is Magee moved from the hitter friendly Baker Bowl to the much pitcher friendlier (for its time) Fenway Park and Braves Field.

Also, according to SABR, “Reporting to spring training in Macon, Georgia, Magee was in a Braves uniform no more than 15 minutes when he stepped in a hole while shagging a flyball. He fell and injured his shoulder. Weeks later, when it failed to improve, he finally saw a doctor and learned that his collarbone was broken. Magee was only 30 years old but never again was the same player. He had batted over .300 three years in succession and had hit 15 homers in 1914, but in 1915 he batted just .280 with only two homers. Sherry was worse the following year, batting a meager .241.”

cravath3

RF-Gavvy Cravath, Philadelphia Phillies, 34 Years Old

1913 1914

.285, 24 HR, 115 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-7.0 (2nd Time)

Offensive WAR-6.4 (2nd Time)

On-Base %-.393

Slugging %-.510 (2nd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.902 (3rd Time)

Runs Scored-89

Total Bases-266 (2nd Time)

Home  Runs-24 (3rd Time)

Runs Batted In-115 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls-86

Adjusted OPS+-170 (3rd Time)

Runs Created-101 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-47 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-5.4 (3rd Time)

Extra Bases Hits-62 (2nd Time)

Times On Base-241 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.799 (2nd Time)

AB per HR-21.8 (4th Time)

Assists as RF-28 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as RF-15

Assists as OF-28 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Baker Bowl in Philadelphia had a 341-foot leftfield, a 408-foot centerfield, a 300-foot right center field, and a 280-foot rightfield. No wonder, even during this Deadball Era, balls flew out of this stadium. It’s a big reason Cravath won his third straight home run title. Still, he had a great season, his best ever. He faltered in the World Series loss to the Red Sox, hitting .125 (two-for-16), though both hits were for extra bases – a double and a triple.

Wikipedia says, “1915 saw his best season as he hit 24 home runs ( only 5 home runs away from tiny Baker Bowl ), leading the Phillies to their first pennant; he had a 3-run home run in the pennant-clinching game on September 29. He also led the league in runs (89), RBI (115, leading the NL by 28), total bases (266), walks (86), on-base percentage (.393), and slugging (.510, leading the NL by 53 points), and led the NL in assists for the third time. His 24 home runs were the most in the major leagues since Buck Freeman hit 25 for the 1899 Washington Senators; he also broke Sam Thompson‘s Phillies franchise record of 20, set in 1889. He later broke Thompson’s career franchise record; Cravath’s single-season club mark was surpassed by Cy Williams in 1922, and his career record was broken by Williams in 1924. In the low-scoring 1915 World Series against the Red Sox he hit only .125 (2-16), though he drove in the winning run on a ground out in Game 1, the only Phillies victory.”

hinchman

RF-Bill Hinchman, Pittsburgh Pirates, 32 Years Old

.307, 5 HR, 77 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as RF-248

Double Plays Turned as RF-4

Double Plays Turned as OF-5

Fielding % as RF-.971

1st Time All-Star-William White “Bill” Hinchman was born on April 4, 1883 in Philadelphia, PA. The five-foot-11, 190 pound outfielder started with Cincinnati in 1905-06, then moved to Cleveland from 1907-09. He didn’t play in the Majors again until this year when he came to the Pirates. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.6); seventh in Offensive WAR (4.6); fourth in batting (.307); seventh in on-base percentage (.368); sixth in slugging (.438); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (146), behind Gavvy Cravath (170) and Fred Luderus (149). It was his best season ever.

Where was Hinchman from 1910-14? SABR says, “Hinchman would spend the next five seasons playing for the [Columbus] Senators and perfecting his slugging style at the plate. Most importantly, he learned patience and waited for his pitch. Columbus finished third for three years under the leadership of Bill Friel. Hinchman was named manager in 1913 and led the team to two fourth-place finishes. Hinchman’s average rose from .258 in 1910 to .366 in 1914. He was second in the league in slugging in 1910, but then led the regulars each year after as his percentage went from .365 to .569. In 1914 his .366 led all full-time batters in Double-A and Class A ball. He also scored a career-high 139 times.

Fred Clarke, manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, had seen his team limp to a seventh-place finish in 1914. Max Carey was his leading bat in the outfield with a lowly .243 average. An outfield talent upgrade was a must. The team had youthful Zip Collins on the roster, but needed more offense. The Pirates took a chance on the 32-year old-Hinchman. They had no idea what a bargain he would be.”

1914 Federal League All-Star Team

P-Cy Falkenberg, IND

P-Claude Hendrix, CHI

P-Jack Quinn, BAL

P-Russ Ford, BUF

P-George Suggs, BAL

P-Ed Lafitte, BTT

P-Gene Krapp, BUF

P-Doc Watson, CHI/SLM

P-Tom Seaton, BTT

P-George Kaiserling, IND

C-Art Wilson, CHI

C-Ted Easterly, KCP

1B-Hal Chase, BUF

2B-Duke Kenworthy, KCP

2B-Doc Crandall, SLM

3B-Ed Lennox, PBS

3B-Bill McKechnie, IND

SS-Joe Tinker, CHI

CF-Dutch Zwilling, CHI

CF-Charlie Hanford, BUF

CF-Al Shaw, BTT

RF-Benny Kauff, IND

RF-Steve Evans, BTT

RF-Al Wickland, CHI

RF-Tex McDonald, BUF/PBS

 

falkenberg2

P-Cy Falkenberg, Indianapolis Hoosiers, 34 Years Old

1913

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

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-8.4

WAR for Pitchers-8.6

Games Pitched-49

Innings Pitched-377 1/3

Strikeouts-236

Games Started-43

Shutouts-9

Batters Faced-1,502

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.11

Def. Games as P-49

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

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

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

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

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

hendrix2

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

1912

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

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1914 FL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.69

Wins-29

Hits per 9 IP-6.514

Games Pitched-49

Complete Games-34

Adj. Pitching Runs-53

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.9

Def. Games as P-49

Assists as P-137 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

quinn2

P-Jack Quinn, Baltimore Terrapins, 30 Years Old

1910

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

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits Allowed-335

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.079

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

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

ford4

P-Russ Ford, Buffalo Buffeds, 31 Years Old

1910 1911 1912

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

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.778

Walks & Hits per IP-0.934

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.492

Saves-6

Home Runs Allowed-11 (3rd Tme)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.000

Adjusted ERA+180

Fielding % as P-.988

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

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

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

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

suggs4

P-George Suggs, Baltimore Terrapins, 31 Years Old

1910 1911 1912

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

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

lafitte

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-127

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

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

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

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

krapp

P-Gene Krapp, Buffalo Buffeds, 27 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

watson

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

seaton2

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

1913

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

kaiserling

P-George Kaiserling, Indianapolis Hoosiers, 21 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-17

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

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

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

wilsona

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

.291, 10 HR, 64 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-132

Errors Committed as C-24

Double Plays Turned as C-19

Caught Stealing %-56.7

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

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

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

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

easterly3

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

1909 1910

.335, 1 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as C-24

Passed Balls-17

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

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

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

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

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

chase

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

kenworthy

2B-Duke Kenworthy, Kansas City Packers, 27 Years Old

.317, 15 HR, 91 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Extra Base Hits-69

Hit By Pitch-11

Power-Speed #-21.3

AB per HR-36.3

Putouts as 2B-437

Errors Committed as 2B-43

Double Plays Turned as 2B-79

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.01

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.82

1st Time All-Star-William Jennings “Iron Duke” Kenworthy was born on Independence Day, 1886 in Cambridge, OH. He started by playing 12 games in the outfield for Washington in 1912. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1913 and then came over to the Federal League where he had his best season ever. Iron Duke finished ninth in WAR (4.9); fourth in WAR Position Players (4.9); second in Offensive WAR (5.4), behind Benny Kauff (6.6); sixth in batting (.317); third in slugging (.525), trailing Steve Evans (.556) and Kauff (.534); fifth in steals (37); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (159).

He then played for Kansas City again in 1915, before finishing his Major League career with the St. Louis Browns in 1917. Most of the write-ups for the Federal League are similar. Player had mediocre career, came to Federal League, had great season, tried making it in the American or National League again, failed, was done.

On June 24, 2017, Matt Olson, Jaycob Brugman, and Franklin Barreto hit homers for the A’s and for all of them, it was their first career dinger. That had only been done one time before when on April 26, 1914, Kenworthy, Art Kruger, and John Potts all hit their first career homers. Kenworthy would go on to hit 14 more homers this season, finishing behind only Dutch Zwilling in long balls (16-15).

Iron Duke lived until September 21, 1950, where he died in Eureka, CA. He was Kansas City’s best player in 1914, but his success only proves the weakness of the league, not his overall value.

crandall

2B-Doc Crandall, St. Louis Terriers, 26 Years Old

.309, 2 HR, 41 RBI, 13-9, 3.54 ERA, 84 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-James Otis “Doc” Crandall was born on October 8, 1887 in Wadena, IN. The five-foot-10, 180 pound second baseman and righty pitcher started as a pitcher for the New York Giants in 1908. He was mainly a reliever, leading the National League in games finished five straight seasons. He was always a pitcher who could hit, which could be why the Terriers used him mainly at second base. Still, he pitched 27 games for St. Louis making him the Babe Ruth of the Federal League in the same year Babe Ruth started Major League Baseball. Crandall finished second in on-base percentage (.429), behind Benny Kauff (.447) and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (140).

Wikipedia says, “With his .285 lifetime hitting average, he was often used as a pinch hitter and in 1910 he led with a .342 batting average. When the Giants sent him to the Cardinals in 1913 public outcry in New York was so big that the Giants bought him back after only two games. However, he ended up in St. Louis again a year later in the Federal league where he played more at second base than as pitcher. In 1915 he led the Federal League winning six times as relief pitcher out of his total 21 wins in that league. After sitting out the 1917 season, he made an abbreviated comeback in 1918 with the Braves.” The online encyclopedia says he was the first player to be consistently used as a relief pitcher, which is how he got his nickname.

lennox

3B-Ed Lennox, Pittsburgh Rebels, 30 Years Old

.312, 11 HR, 84 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-James Edgar “Ed” or “Eggie” Lennox was born on November 3, 1883 in Camden, NJ. The five-foot-10, 174 pound third baseman started with the Athletics in 1906, then played in the Majors with Brooklyn in 1909-10; the Cubs in 1912; and then moved to the Rebels. He, all together now, had his best season ever, finishing sixth in WAR Position Players (4.1); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.8); fourth in on-base percentage (.414); fourth in slugging (.493); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (159), behind Steve Evans (177) and Benny Kauff (165). He then played 55 games for the Rebels in 1915 and then was out of Major League baseball.

Pittsburgh finished seventh in the Federal League with a 64-86 record. Doc Gessler (3-8) and Rebel Oakes (61-78) managed the team. It was Gessler’s first and last year coaching, while Oakes would be back in 1915. The team couldn’t hit and had the worst pitching in the league.

Wikipedia says, “While playing for the Rebels in 1914, Lennox hit for the cycle on May 6, becoming the only Federal League player to do so. He also hit pinch-hit home runs in consecutive games on June 10 and 11, a feat that was not accomplished again until Victor Martinez of the Detroit Tigers did so against the Miami Marlins on April 4 and 5, 2016.” It’s interesting how many long-standing marks the players of the FL set in only two years of existence. Lennox died at the age of 55 in Camden.

mckechnie

3B-Bill McKechnie, Indianapolis Hoosiers, 27 Years  Old

.304, 2 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (Yes as manager, inducted in 1962)

Ron’s: No (Would require 90 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Sacrifice Hits-36

Def. Games as 3B-149

Assists as 3B-327

Double Plays Turned as 3B-28

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.57

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.50

1st Time All-Star-William Boyd “Bill” or “Deacon” McKechnie was born on August 7, 1886 in Wilkinsburg, PA. The five-foot-10, 160 pound switch-hitter started with Pittsburgh in 1907. He continued to play for the Pirates from 1910-12 and then played for the Braves and the Yankees in 1913. He had his best season ever once he crossed over to the Federal League. This season, McKechnie finished fifth in Defensive WAR (1.4) and second in steals (47), behind Benny Kauff (75). After this year, he would play for the Newark Pepper in 1915, the Giants and Reds in 1916, Cincinnati in 1917, and Pittsburgh in 1918 and 1920. As a player he never made much of a contribution, but McKechnie ended up being a Hall of Fame manager.

I like this story from Wikipedia, which says, “According to one baseball reference work, McKechnie had a poor sense of direction, which did not improve when, as the Reds’ manager, he began traveling by plane. He arrived in an airport when the Reds were to play the Pirates at Forbes Field. He hailed a taxi and asked the driver to take him to the Schenley Hotel. ‘I never heard of it’, said the driver. McKechnie gave him the names of the nearby streets. ‘Never heard of them either’, the cabbie said. ‘How long have you been driving a cab here? the manager asked. ‘Twenty-five years and then some’, said the driver, ‘But so help me I never heard of the Schenley Hotel! You must be in the wrong town! Where do you think you are?’ ‘Pittsburgh’, McKechnie said. ‘Pittsburgh, hell!’ retorted the driver. ‘You’re really lost. This is Detroit!’”

tinker9SS-Joe Tinker, Chicago Chi-Feds, 33 Years Old, 1914 ONEHOF Inductee

1902 1906 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913

.256, 2 HR, 46 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1914)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.9 (6th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-5.73 (5th Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.43 (4th Time)

9th Time All-Star-There’s no doubt the most famous player snatched from the Major Leagues by the Federal League was this slick fielding shortstop. Tinker came over to the Chi-Feds as a player/manager for 1914. Most importantly, Tinker has entered the ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame in which just one player per year is inducted. Next year’s nominees are Roger Bresnahan, Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Johnny Evers, and Ty Cobb

Tinker finished ninth in WAR Position Players (3.5) and first in Defensive WAR (2.9). As you can tell, he didn’t contribute much offensively, but added great value to his team with the glove.

As a manager, Tinker led Chicago to a second place finish with an 87-67 record. It finished one-and-a-half games behind Indianapolis. Chicago had the best hitting in the league thanks to centerfielder Dutch Zwilling and the best pitching also, thanks to Claude Hendrix. It still wasn’t enough to beat the Hoosiers.

Wikipedia says, “Tinker decided to jump to the Federal League rather than sign with Brooklyn, signing a three-year contract worth $36,000. He was considered the first ‘star’ player to jump to the Federal League, though he signed with the Federal League the same day as Mordecai Brown.

“Joining the Chicago Whales in the Federal League, Tinker served as player-manager. In his role, he signed other major league players to the Federal League, though he could not lure American League pitchers Walter Johnson from the Washington Senators or Smoky Joe Wood from the Boston Red Sox. The Whales drew more fans than the Cubs in those two seasons.”

zwilling

CF-Dutch Zwilling, Chicago Chi-Feds, 25 Years Old

.313, 16 HR, 95 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 35 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-16

Def. Games as CF-154

Putouts as CF-340

Putouts as OF-340

1st Time All-Star-Edward Harrison “Dutch” Zwilling was born on November 2, 1888 in St. Louis, MO. The five-foot-six, 160 pound lefty was small but mighty. He started with the White Sox in 1910, before coming over to the Chi-Feds this season. Dutch had his best season ever, finishing seventh in WAR (5.1); second in WAR Position Players (5.1), behind Benny Kauff (7.8); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.0); ninth in batting (.313); fifth in slugging (.485); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (147).

I mentioned earlier Wrigley Field, then known as Weeghman Park, opened in 1914 as the home field for the Chi-Feds. The Chicago Sun Times says, “A lot was different about attending Wrigley Field back then beyond just the name of the venue and the team playing in it. There was no marquee, ivy, scoreboard or upper deck (none of that would be added for at least a decade). Fans were allowed to smoke anywhere they pleased. World War I had not begun and women couldn’t vote. It was a much different world.

“And then there were the names. Oh, those glorious old timey names.

“Rollie Zeider. Dutch Zwilling. Claude Hendrix. Chet Chadbourne. Duke Kenworthy. Chief Johnson.

“Not only were fans out there rooting for a team called the Chi-Feds, which is just Chicago and Federal slammed together. Their team had guys named Dutch and Rollie taking on players named Chet, Duke and Chief. It’s beautiful.”

One of the fun things about doing this project is learning obscure trivia like Wrigley Field wasn’t built for the Cubs, but for a team in a league that would fold after two seasons.

hanford

CF-Charlie Hanford, Buffalo Buffeds, 32 Years Old

.291, 12 HR, 90 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as CF-24

Double Plays Turned as CF-5

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.34

Fielding % as CF-.975

1st Time All-Star-Charles Joseph “Charlie” Hanford was born on June 3, 1882 in Tunstall, United Kingdom. The five-foot-six, 145 pound centerfielder only played in the Federal League for his Major League career. This season, he finished 10th in WAR Position Players (3.0) and fifth in steals (37). He wouldn’t play much in 1915 and would be done.

Just because Hanford had a short Major League career, we shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking he wasn’t playing ball. According to Wikipedia, he started in the minors in 1895, which would have made him only 13 years old. I don’t know how true that is.

Why did the FL fail? SABR says, “Battered by the unrelenting hostility of The Sporting News, the Federals continued to struggle in their effort to sign true marquee talents despite the skills of Joe Tinker, Fielder Jones, and others as salesmen, the deep pockets of Federal League ownership, and that ownership’s willingness to spend money. The Federals were also plagued by a recurring habit of sending mixed, if not blatantly contradictory, messages to the press. As Daniel Levitt noted, ‘several leading executives did not know when it was best to keep their mouths shut.’ Amongst the Federal League executives afflicted in this manner was league president James Gilmore. In November 1914, Gilmore proclaimed that the Federals ‘would no longer go after the higher-priced stars of Organized Baseball’ and would instead adopt an approach of upgrading the overall level of talent playing for their teams. Notwithstanding this pronouncement, after peace talks with the magnates of Organized Baseball faltered, the Federals renewed their efforts to sign new talent.”

shawa

CF-Al Shaw, Brooklyn Tip-Tops, 33 Years Old

.324, 5 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 53 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Albert Simpson “Al” Shaw was born on March 1, 1881 in Toledo, IL. The five-foot-eight, 165 pound centerfielder started with the Cardinals from 1907-09. Until this season, he didn’t play Major League ball again. This year, Shaw had (repeat after me) his best season ever, finishing ninth in Offensive WAR (2.8), fourth in batting (.324), seventh in on-base percentage (.395), sixth in slugging (.473), and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (148).

Wikipedia says, “The Brooklyn Tip-Tops were a team in the short-lived Federal League of professional baseball from 1914 to 1915. The team was named by owner Robert Ward, who owned the Tip Top Bakery. They were sometimes informally called the Brooklyn Feds or BrookFeds due to being the Brooklyn team of the Federal League. The Tip Tops played in old Washington Park, which the Brooklyn Dodgers had abandoned after the 1912 season to move to Ebbets Field.

“Had the Federal League (FL) lasted just one more season, night baseball might have been introduced two decades earlier. The Tip Tops had announced plans for the 1916 season to play some games at night.”

I should make a list of some of the strangest team nicknames in baseball history. The Tip-Tops would certainly be near the, uh, top of that list. In the Federal League in 1915, there will be a new team, the Newark Pepper. I like that one. I always thought the Cleveland Naps was strange. They were named after Nap Lajoie, who was named after Napoleon. The Cleveland Napoleons?

kauff

RF-Benny Kauff, Indianapolis Hoosiers, 24 Years Old, MVP

.370, 8 HR, 95 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1914 FL Batting Title

WAR Position Players-7.8

Offensive WAR-6.6

Batting Average-.370

On-Base %-.447

On-Base Plus Slugging-.981

Plate Appearances-669

Runs Scored-120

Hits-211

Total Bases-305

Doubles-44

Stolen Bases-75

Singles-146

Runs Created-134

Adj. Batting Runs-58

Adj. Batting Wins-6.0

Times On Base-291

Offensive Win %-.836

1st Time All-Star-Benjamin Michael “Benny” Kauff (prounounced kowf) was born on January 5, 1890 in Pomeroy, OH. The five-foot-eight, 157 pound centerfielder was the star of the Federal League in its two years of existence. He started with the Highlanders in 1912, playing five games. Then he had this season. Even after leaving the FL, he would still hit well for the Giants, though never at this level.    I go back and forth between picking Kauff or Cy Falkenberg, his pitcher teammate, for MVP, but I will pick the everyday player, Kauff.

                SABR says, “As Kauff lifted the Hoosiers to the pennant, the press notices started piling up. ‘Kauff is the premier slugger, premier fielder, premier base stealer and best all-round player in the league,’ Sporting Life gushed. ‘He is being called a second Ty Cobb, yet there are many followers of the Federal clubs who say that within next season Kauff will play rings around the Georgia Peach.’ According to sportswriter Frank Graham, Kauff loved the publicity ‘and cheerfully agreed that he was at least Ty’s equal, if not his superior, for he was not bound by false modesty.’

“Off the field, Kauff possessed a wardrobe, replete with diamond rings and fancy diamond tiepins, to match his ego. ‘Having seen him in civilian array, we are undecided whether Benny Kauff is a better show on or off,’ Damon Runyan remarked. ‘In his working apparel he is a companion piece to Tyrus Raymond Cobb and Tris Speaker, while in his street make-up he is a sort of Diamond Jim Brady reduced to a baseball salary size.’ Yet Kauff wasn’t a snob. To his teammates he was renowned for his ability to chew tobacco, smoke a cigar, and drink a glass of beer all at the same time, ‘without interruption to any of the three pursuits.’”

evanss

RF-Steve Evans, Brooklyn Tip-Tops, 29 Years Old

.348, 12 HR, 96 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Slugging %-.556

Triples-15

Adjusted OPS+-177

1st Time All-Star-Louis Richard “Steve” Evans was born on February 17, 1885 in Cleveland, OH. The five-foot-10, 175 pound lefty started by playing two games with the Giants in 1908. He went one-for-two. The next season, Evans went to the Cardinals from 1909-13. He never hit too great, though he got hit a lot, leading the National League in hit by pitches three times. This season, his best ever, Evans finished 10th in WAR (4.9); fifth in WAR Position Players (4.9); third in Offensive WAR (5.3), behind Benny Kauff (6.6) and Duke Kenworthy (5.4); second in batting (.348), trailing Kauff (.370); third in on-base percentage (.416), with only Kauff (.447) and Doc Crandall (.429) getting on more; first in slugging (.556); and first in Adjusted OPS+ (177).

SABR says, “Evans remained a prankster during his Federal League years. On a postseason hunting trip with Elmer Knetzer and Jack Lewis of the Pittsburgh Stogies, the ballplayers found themselves early one morning at an all-night restaurant in Prairie Du Chein, Wisconsin. When the waitress asked him why they were out so early, Evans told her that they were there to rob the town bank, and that she must not tell anyone. Visibly frightened, the girl promised not to tell. After the players left the restaurant and made their way back to their hotel, the bell in the town hall began ringing and an armed posse, along with the sheriff and his deputies, raided the players’ hotel room. Only after a lengthy explanation did the sheriff realize that the waitress was another in a long line of victims of Steve’s pranks.”

wickland

RF-Al Wickland, Chicago Chi-Feds, 26 Years Old

.276, 6 HR, 68 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 39 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-81

Def. Games as RF-132

Putouts as RF-207

Def. Games as OF-157

Range Factor/Game as RF-1.72

1st Time All-Star-Albert “Al” Wickland was born on January 27, 1888 in Chicago, IL. The five-foot-seven, 155 pound lefty started with Cincinnati in 1913 before moving to the Federal League where he had his best season ever. Wickland finished eighth in WAR Position Players (3.5). He also hit the first sacrifice fly in FL history on May 15, 1914.

Reds Reporter says, “On [January 28] in 1914, the Reds lost outfielder Al Wickland when he jumped to the Chicago Chi-Feds of the Federal League. He led the Federal League with 81 walks in 1914. Wickland was a very good player though he appeared in fewer than 500 major league games (including Federal League contests). He did not have an extensive career in the minors either so I am a bit curious as to why he played such little baseball. His small stature (5′ 7″, 155 pounds) could have scared off some teams, I suppose.”

According to an article by Dan McLaughlin in the National Review, the Chi-Feds had one of the best defenses of all-time. He writes, “3. 1914 Chi-Feds: 87-67, second place in the Federal League. Best defenders: Joe Tinker, Jack Farrell, Al Wickland. Manager: Joe Tinker. The Federal League, the USFL or ABA of its day, was a breakaway third ‘major league’ that ran for two years (1914-15), so this team is probably ranked so high only because it faced such uneven competition. But it’s the third Joe Tinker team on the list, and he was the manager as well as the shortstop, so you could say the man knew his glovework.”

mcdonald

RF-Tex McDonald, Pittsburgh Rebels/Buffalo Buffeds, 23 Years Old

.307, 6 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 73 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Charles C. “Tex” McDonald was born on January 31, 1891 in Farmersville, TX. The five-foot-10, 160 pound left-handed hitter started with Cincinnati in 1912. He then had a pretty good 1913 season for the Reds and Braves. This season was his best ever as he finished eighth in slugging (.461) and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (132).

Wikipedia says, “The Atlanta Constitution (Dick Jemison, 02/11/1916) ran the following story: Years ago when McDonald or Crabtree was playing in the Texas tall grass, he is said to have carried the handle Crabtree. ‘Tex’, it seems, occasionally, as all ball players will do, dropped a fly ball or something of that sort, and it always hurt him when he did. Accordingly, ‘Tex’ would get a little huffy and sulk around. The result was instantaneous. Fandom decided that ‘Tex’ wasn’t really only Crabtree – they agreed he was a crab. When the fans started calling him ‘Crab’, ‘Tex’ resented it, and, though his contract was good for the remainder of the year, some claim he hopped it, landed in the Western League, where he adopted the name McDonald. He has worn it ever since.” Baseball Reference doesn’t have anything listed about him having the last name, Crabtree, so believe the Wikipedia story at your own risk.

So I come to end of the first Federal League season. Writing up All-Star teams for itinerant leagues isn’t as much fun as writing about the long-standing National and American Leagues, but there sure are a lot of interesting stories in this short-lived league and more to come next season.