1925 American League All-Star Team

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Herb Pennock, NYY

P-Urban Shocker, NYY

P-Slim Harriss, PHA

P-Eddie Rommel, PHA

P-Ted Blankenship, CHW

P-Stan Coveleski, WSH

P-Sam Gray, PHA

P-Howard Ehmke, BOS

P-Ted Lyons, CHW

C-Muddy Ruel, WSH

C-Ray Schalk, CHW

1B-Earl Sheely, CHW

2B-Eddie Collins, CHW

3B-Willie Kamm, CHW

SS-Joe Sewell, CLE

LF-Goose Goslin, WSH

LF-Al Wingo, DET

CF-Al Simmons, PHA

CF-Tris Speaker, CLE

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Johnny Mostil, CHW

RF-Harry Heilmann, DET

RF-Harry Rice, SLB

RF-Sam Rice, WSH

 

johnson17

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 37 Years Old

1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1921 1922 1923 1924

20-7, 3.07 ERA, 108 K, .433, 2 HR, 20 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-1.385 (9th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.68 (9th Time)

Fielding % as P-1.000 (6th Time)

17th Time All-Star-It sounds strange to be happy for a man long dead, but I’m so glad Johnson made the World Series in 1924 and 1925. He was such a talent and the game’s best pitcher for so long, it would have seemed unfair if he didn’t make it. He also made his 17th All-Star team, tied for the most as a pitcher. Here’s the full list:

P-Cy Young, Johnson, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Eddie Collins, 16

3B-Home Run Baker, 9

SS-Honus Wagner, 13

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Tris Speaker, 17

RF-Sam Crawford, 9

I also rated him as the second best player up to this point in baseball history. That full list can be found here.

The amazing thing about this All-Star season for Johnson is he wasn’t in the MVP running. He won it the year before, but this year, his pitching wasn’t up to his usual standard, but his hitting was incredible. As a pitcher, The Big Train slashed .433/.455/.577 for an OPS+ of 163.  Read that sentence again. Johnson was always a decent hitter, but this was far and above his best year at the plate.

As for Washington, the team, managed by Bucky Harris, finished first with a 96-55 record. Led by Goose Goslin, the team could hit, and led by Barney, the team could pitch. No wonder they went on to the Series, where they would lose to the Pirates, four games to three. Johnson started and completed three games, finishing 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA.

pennock3

P-Herb Pennock, New York Yankees, 31 Years Old

1923 1924

16-17, 2.96 ERA, 88 K, .202, 0 HR, 7 RBI

MVP Rank: 21

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1948)

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-6.6

Walks & Hits per IP-1.220

Innings Pitched-277

Sit. Wins Saved-4.1

3rd Time All-Star-Having Babe Ruth on the Yankees had always been a positive for the Bronx Bombers. He had changed the team into a perennial pennant winner, not to mention changing the game of baseball. But the Sultan of Swat brought challenges to the team (and the game) also. He led a hedonistic lifestyle described by teammate Joe Dugan as “Day and night, broads and booze.” It finally caught up to him this year. This Great Game says, “Doctors soon discovered that Ruth was suffering from an intestinal abscess—or, in short, an ulcer. An operation ensued, and Ruth was confined to a month of bed rest to recover.

“The Yankees badly missed Ruth while he was outWhen he finally rejoined his team, it was limping along with a 15-25 record, ahead of only the cannibalized Boston Red Sox in the American League standings. Even when Ruth returned, the Yankees were resigned to the fact that they were in the middle of a rebuilding year.” By the way, read the whole article, it’s great. New York finished in seventh place with a 69-85 record. It wouldn’t have a year this bad for many a decade.

Without the big man regularly in the lineup, Pennock had a losing record despite being arguably the American League’s best pitcher. After this season, he’s only going to have one more season in which his ERA is below three and my guess is he only has one more All-Star season left. While I think Cooperstown has made worse choices for the Hall, Pennock, despite his lifetime 241 wins, isn’t a great one.

shocker6

P-Urban Shocker, New York Yankees, 34 Years Old

1919 1920 1921 1922 1923

12-12, 3.65 ERA, 74 K, .172, 0 HR, 4 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1925)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1923, Shocker pitched a decent season for the Browns in 1924, but certainly not good enough to make this list. He made it again this year and thus has made my Hall of Fame. For new readers, my HOF admits players purely on numbers. If a man’s WAR multiplied by number of All-Star teams made is 300 or over, that player is in, otherwise, he isn’t. Shocker has a career 58.3 WAR and has now made six All-Star teams so he joins an illustrious company that made my Hall of Fame, but didn’t make the actual one.

SABR says, “Shocker’s record slipped to 16-13 in 1924, and his ERA ballooned to 4.20. His age (34) and his recent disagreements with management made him expendable. The Browns found a willing trade partner in the Yankees. Huggins coveted Shocker and jumped at the chance to snatch him up. On December 17, 1924, Shocker was sent to New York. St. Louis received pitchers “Bullet Joe” BushMilt Gaston and Joe Giard. ‘He’ll just about make our pitching staff,’ said Huggins. ‘All I want is another left-hander besides Pennock. Shocker will win at least 20 games, and I expect him to work hard and pitch winning ball with a change of atmosphere.’”

Cooperstown and I don’t disagree often, but it does happen. For instance, the real Hall of Fame inducted Herb Pennock and rejected Shocker. I did the opposite. It helped Pennock’s case he pitched on good teams so many times, while Urban was hurt by pitching on second division teams most of his career.

harriss

P-Slim Harriss, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

19-12, 3.49 ERA, 95 K, .205, 1 HR, 15 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Started-33

1st Time All-Star-William Jennings Bryan “Slim” Harriss was born on December 11, 1897 in Brownwood, TX. The six-foot-six, 180 pound righty pitcher started with Philadelphia in 1920 and in 1922, led the American League in losses. He then started to pitch better and this season had his best year ever. He finished eighth in WAR (5.7); third in WAR for Pitchers (6.0), behind New York’s Herb Pennock (6.6) and Washington’s Stan Coveleski (6.3); ninth in ERA (3.49); sixth in innings pitched (252 2/3); eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (134); and first in games started with 33. This was the lowest amount of GS to lead a league since 1918, which was a war-shortened year.

After years of languishing at the bottom of the AL standings, Connie Mack’s team was starting to show some mettle. It finished in second place, eight-and-a-half games behind Washington, with an 88-64 record. Much of the credit goes to Harriss, who helped Philadelphia finish second in ERA in the league.

Wikipedia says, “His most productive season came with the 1925 Athletics, when he recorded career-highs with 19 wins, a 3.49 ERA, and 252⅔ innings pitched.

“[In 1926], he became the last pitcher (through the end of the 2018 Major League Baseball season) to throw more than 150 innings in a season without allowing a single home run.

“In a nine-season career, Harriss posted a 95–135 record with 644 strikeouts and a 4.26 ERA in 349 appearances, including 228 starts, 89 complete games, seven shutouts, 78 games finished, 16 saves, and 1750⅓ innings of work.

“Harriss died in Temple, Texas at age 65.”

rommel6

P-Eddie Rommel, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

1920 1921 1922 1923 1924

21-10, 3.69 ERA, 67 K, .185, 1 HR, 9 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-21

Batters Faced-1,154

6th Time All-Star-What an interesting career Rommel had. This season he led the American League in wins for the second time and he also led the AL in losses two times. Most of this is because he pitched a lot of games. From 1921-through-1925, he pitched 43 or more games. Rommel spent time starting and relieving, but all of that pitching would be cut down next season, his last making my All-Star team, but putting him into my Hall.

Rommel finished 10th in WAR (5.5); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.5); third in innings pitched (261), behind New York’s Herb Pennock (277) and Chicago’s Ted Lyons (262 2/3); and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (126).

The Hall of Miller and Eric says, “The interesting thing about Rommel, at least to me, is that so much of his pitching ‘value’ came out of the bullpen. He only made 30 starts in a season four times ever, and he never topped 34. Interestingly, at least to me, is that he’s one of only a dozen hurlers from 1901-1950 to post both 150 games started and 150 games finished. Only Charlie Root and Jack Quinn beat him in both categories. It’s interesting because it’s hard to know exactly how valuable Rommel’s relief innings are since we’re missing a ton of data from his career. BBREF puts him at 50 WAR, Fangraphs at just over half that. I don’t know what to believe, but I would like to see Rommel’s relief data so we could better assess his contributions.

blankenship

P-Ted Blankenship, Chicago White Sox, 24 Years Old

17-8, 3.03 ERA, 81 K, .205, 2 HR, 15 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-8.457

Base-Out Runs Saved-36.24

Base-Out Wins Saved-3.6

1st Time All-Star-Theodore “Ted” Blankenship was born on May 10, 1901 in Bonham, TX. The six-foot-one, 170 pound righty pitcher started with the White Sox in 1922 and it wasn’t until this year, he had his best season ever. He finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.2); third in ERA (3.03), behind Washington’s Stan Coveleski (2.84) and New York’s Herb Pennock (2.96); fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (137); and first in least hits allowed per nine innings (8.457).

Bleacher Report ranks Ted and Homer Blankenship as the 23rd best brother pitching duo of all times. It states, “In the 1920s, pitcher Ted Blankenship was the Chicago White Sox version of ‘Mr. Everything.’

“Blankenship was used in just about every situation imaginable—as a spot starter, in long and middle relief, and even finished 53 games during his career, along with 53 complete games.

“Blankenship ended his career in 1930 with a 77-79 record and 4.29 ERA.

“His brother Homer wasn’t quite so successful, pitching parts of two seasons with the Pale Hose in 1922 and 1923, and making a brief appearance for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1928, adding just one win to the family total of 78.”

On June 2, 1925, Blankenship allowed a walk-off home run from none other than the Georgia Peach. SABR says, “With the score tied and fans eerily quiet, Cobb stepped to the plate in the ninth inning with one out and promptly took three balls from Chicago reliever Ted Blankenship. After looking at two strikes, Cobb moved his bat on the sixth pitch. Cobb ‘swung from his hips to his shoulders,’ exclaimed Crusenberry. ‘The ball went on a straight line to right center and cleared the screen’ for a dramatic walk-off solo shot.”

Blankenship died young, at 43, on January 14, 1945 in Atoka, OK.

coveleski7

P-Stan Coveleski, Washington Senators, 35 Years Old

1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922

20-5, 2.84 ERA, 58 K, .111, 0 HR, 7 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1969)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

Led in:

 

1925 AL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-2.84 (2nd Time)

Win-Loss %-.800

Adjusted ERA+-149 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-41 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.0 (2nd Time)

7th Time All-Star-After making the American League All-Star team in 1922, Coveleski led the AL in ERA in 1923 (2.76), but didn’t make my list. Hey, I’m fickle that way. He then had an off season in 1924. Then, according to SABR, “After a sixth-place finish in 1924, the Indians traded Coveleski, coming off a subpar year (15-16, 4.04 ERA) to the world champion Washington Senators. Despite having spent nine years of his career there, Coveleski had no regrets about leaving Cleveland behind. ‘I never did like Cleveland,’ he later explained. ‘Don’t know why. Didn’t like the town. Now the people are all right, but I just didn’t like the town.’ He even admitted that his dissatisfaction with his surroundings had come to affect his performance. ‘You know I got to a point where I wouldn’t hustle no more,’ Covey remembered. ‘See, a player get to be with a club too long. Gets lazy, you know.’”

With Washington, Coveleski finished second in WAR for Pitchers (6.3), behind New York’s Herb Pennock (6.6); first in ERA (2.84); 10th in innings pitched (241); and first in Adjusted ERA+ (149). In his second World Series, Covey struggled, going 0-2 with a 3.77 ERA as the Senators lost to the Pirates, four games to three. According to Wikipedia, “The Senators won the AL and were to face the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1925 World Series, but Coveleski suffered from sore back muscles late in the season.” It would be his last World Series, but he’s probably got another All-Star team left in his arm.

gray

P-Sam Gray, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

16-8, 3.27 ERA, 80 K, .179, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Samuel David “Sad Sam” Gray was born on October 15, 1897 in Van Alstyne, TX. The five-foot-10, 175 pound righty pitcher started with the Athletics in 1924. He finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.2), seventh in ERA (3.27), and third in Adjusted ERA+ (143), behind Washington’s Stan Coveleski (149) and the Yankees’ Herb Pennock (144). Unfortunately, he’d be gone from the A’s before they made their World Series run towards the end of this decade.

SABR says, “Gray’s 1925 season alternated between phases of extreme success, frustration, and tragedy. He began the campaign by winning a career-best eight consecutive starts…. Gray’s eighth victory proved costly, however. With the A’s in first place, Gray was hit on the right hand by a pitch from George Blaeholder of the St. Louis Browns on May 21 and broke his thumb. Upon Gray’s return four weeks later, he managed to win his ninth straight decision and also suffer his first defeat in three erratic starts before tragedy struck, threatening to derail his season. His wife, Alice (née Cobb), whom he had married the previous spring, died unexpectedly. Gray missed three weeks in July tending to funeral matters in Texas…Often pitching on short rest, Gray faded in August and September, splitting his final 12 decisions (with a high 4.61 ERA), as the A’s lost 30 of their final 54 games to finish in a distant second place. Gray’s season (16-8, 3.27 ERA in 203⅔ innings) left many wondering what would have been had he not missed seven weeks.”

ehmke4

P-Howard Ehmke, Boston Red Sox, 31 Years Old

1920 1923 1924

9-20, 3.73 ERA, 95 K, .148, 0 HR, 5 RBI

MVP Rank: 24

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Complete Games-22

Hit By Pitch-11 (4th Time)

Errors Committed as P-6

Range Factor/Game as P-2.76 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-It was only last season that Ehmke led the American League in WAR for Pitchers, but he slipped a little this year. He was still Boston’s best player, but that wasn’t saying much. He finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.5), fourth in innings pitched (260 2/3), and, for the fourth time, plunked the most batters in the AL (11).

Boston, managed by Lee Fohl, was awful, finishing in last with a 47-105 record. The Red Sox couldn’t hit, finishing last in the league in runs scored and they couldn’t pitch, as shown by the highest ERA in the AL (6.06).

From SABR: “In spring training in 1925 Ehmke was diagnosed with a ‘twisted ligament’ and was sent to a hospital in Rochester, New York, where he contacted influenza. He missed the first two weeks of the season and did not register his first victory until May 26. ‘All in all, the Sox look none too good,’ read one report, but it made an exception for Ehmke, who tossed his fourth straight complete-game victory to improve his record to 5-3 for the last-place Red Sox. And then the bottom dropped. In the hitherto worst season in Red Sox history (47-105), Ehmke won only three of his next 20 decisions before a going the distance to beat Washington in his final start of the season. One of those losses came on July 8 at Navin Field in Detroit in a game that saw the return of hostilities between Ehmke and Cobb. When Cobb slid spikes-high into first base and nailed Ehmke, who was covering the bag, a shoving match ensued and the players were calmed down by their teammates. Ehmke’s 9-20 record was misleading. He led the AL with 22 complete games in 31 starts, and his 3.73 ERA in 260? innings ranked 12th in the circuit.”

lyonst

P-Ted Lyons, Chicago White Sox, 24 Years Old

21-11, 3.26 ERA, 52 K, .186, 0 HR, 7 RBI

MVP Rank: 20

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-21

Shutouts-5

Win Probability Added-4.0

1st Time All-Star-Theodore Amar “Ted” or “Sunday Teddy” Lyons was born on December 28, 1900 in Lake Charles, LA. The five-foot-11, 200 pound switch-hitting, righty pitcher started with the White Sox in 1923. He became a regular pitcher for Chicago in 1924 and came into his own this year. He finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (5.1); sixth in ERA (3.26); second in innings pitched (262 2/3), behind the Yankees’ Herb Pennock (277); ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (127); and first in wins (21). That’s a pretty good sophomore season.

Wikipedia says, “Lyons broke into the major leagues in 1923 after playing collegiate baseball at Baylor University. He joined the White Sox on a road trip and never pitched a day in the minors. Lyons recorded his first two wins as a relief pitcher in a doubleheader on October 6, 1923, making him one of the first pitchers to perform the feat. He worked his way into the starting rotation the following year, when he posted a 12–11 record and 4.87 ERA.”

Lyons’ Hall of Fame page says, “Scouted early on by Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics, Lyons chose instead to sign with the White Sox upon his graduation.

“As a young right-handed pitcher, Lyons primarily threw fastballs. In 1925, he led the American League with 21 wins and five shutouts.”

Lyons would end up being the winningest pitcher in White Sox history and he’s got a good chance at making the ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame. He will for sure make my regular Hall of Fame.

 

ruel2

C-Muddy Ruel, Washington Senators, 29 Years Old

1923

.310, 0 HR, 54 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-491 (3rd Time)

Assists as C-103 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as C-11

Double Plays Turned as C-18 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as C-4.71 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Ruel was part of the championship Senators team of 1924, though he didn’t have a good Series, hitting just .095 (two-for-21) with a double and six walks. This season, Ruel made his second All-Star team and played in his second (and last) World Series and did better, going six-for-19 (.316) with a double. However, Washington lost the Fall Classic to the Pirates, four games to three.

Muddy finished third in Defensive WAR (1.2), behind Chicago catcher Ray Schalk (1.6) and Cleveland shortstop Joe Sewell (1.4), mainly due to leading in all of those categories above.

If you’re only going to have two hits in World Series, you might as well make them count. Here’s Wikipedia on Ruel’s 1924 Series, “The Senators would face John McGraw‘s heavily favored New York Giants in the 1924 World Series. The two teams traded wins back and forth until the series reached the seventh and deciding game. The Senators trailed the Giants 3 to 1 in the eighth inning of Game 7, when they rallied and tied the score.]Ruel hit a single, then scored the tying run during the rally, to send the game into extra innings with the score tied at three runs apeice. In the bottom of the twelfth inning with Ruel at bat, he hit a high, foul ball directly over home plate. The Giants’ catcher, Hank Gowdy, dropped his protective mask to field the ball but, failing to toss the mask aside, stumbled over it and dropped the ball, thus giving Ruel another chance to bat. On the next pitch, Ruel hit a double and, then proceeded to score the winning run when Earl McNeely hit a ground ball that took a bad hop over third baseman Freddie Lindstrom‘s head.”

schalk5

C-Ray Schalk, Chicago White Sox, 32 Years Old

1914 1915 1916 1917

.274, 0 HR, 52 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-1.6

Caught Stealing as C-61

Caught Stealing %-71.8 (3rd Time)

5th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team four consecutive seasons from 1914-17, Schalk didn’t make my list again until this year. He still caught a lot, but his hitting continued to be shaky, though his defense still shined. You can see he was the best defensive player in the American League this season according to WAR. However, at the plate, he slashed .274/.382/.332 for an OPS+ of 86. After this season, he’d start to be a back-up catcher and would be out of the Majors after the 1929 campaign.

Wikipedia says, “No catcher has approached Schalk’s record for career double plays, and none has led the league in fielding percentage eight times. He held the record for most no-hitters caught (four), until a rules change in the early 1990s disallowed one of them. Schalk’s 51.32% career caught stealing percentage ranks eighth all-time among major league catchers. He caught 144 shutouts in his career, ranking third all-time among catchers behind Yogi Berra and Carlton Fisk.

“Schalk’s career batting average of .253 is the lowest of any position player in the Hall of Fame. That he was selected by the Veterans Committee for enshrinement in 1955 is largely a tribute to his outstanding defensive skills and to the fact that he played to win the infamous 1919 World Series for the White Sox.

“A museum in Nokomis, Illinois, is dedicated to Schalk and two other Hall of Famers, Jim Bottomley and Red Ruffing. The Little League ball fields in Litchfield, Illinois, near his birthplace of Harvel, are named for him. He died of cancer on May 19, 1970, at the age of 78, and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Evergreen Park, Illinois.”

sheely

1B-Earl Sheely, Chicago White Sox, 32 Years Old

.315, 9 HR, 111 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,565 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as 1B-153 (3rd Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,565 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 1B-136 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 1B-10.85 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Earl Homer “Whitey” Sheely was born on Lincoln’s Birthday, 1893 in Bushnell, IL. The six-foot-three, 195 pound righty first baseman started with the White Sox in 1921. He was always a decent hitter, but never a great hitter. There hadn’t really been a great hitting first baseman in the American League since the decline of George Sisler, but that’s going to change next year. Starting in 1926, there will be a man on this list regularly for over a decade. I’ll give you a hint. Iron Horse. I’ve said too much!

Wikipedia says, “Sheely finished sixth in voting for the 1925 American League MVP, playing in 153 games with having 600 at-bats, 93 runs, 189 hits, 43 doubles, 3 triples, 9 home runs, 111 RBI, 3 stolen bases, 68 walks, .315 batting average, .389 on-base percentage, .442 slugging percentage, 265 total bases and 26 sacrifice hits.

“Over nine seasons, Sheely played in 1,234 games and had 4,471 at-bats, 572 runs, 1,340 hits, 244 doubles, 27 triples, 48 home runs, 747 RBI, 33 stolen bases, 563 walks, .300 batting average, .383 on-base percentage, .399 slugging percentage, 1,782 total bases and 189 sacrifice hits. Defensively, he recorded a .991 fielding percentage at first base.

“He also served as a scout for the Boston Red Sox and general manager of the Seattle Rainiers, a Pacific Coast League team.

“He died in Seattle, Washington at the age of 59.” That’s a decent career, but wait until you see next year’s luckiest man on earth…

collins16

2B-Eddie Collins, Chicago White Sox, 38 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1923 1924

.346, 3 HR, 80 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

16th Time All-Star-I don’t know where Collins will eventually end up in the all-time greatest second basemen, because I’m just doing this list one year at a time. My guess is he could finish below Rogers Hornsby and that’s it, but who knows. Under the win shares statistical rating system created by Bill James, he’s the best second sacker of all time.  Right now, I have him rated as the fifth greatest player at this time. The full list is here. He also has made more All-Star teams at second base than any other player. The leaders by position are here. Cocky also managed the White Sox and they finished in fifth with a 79-75 record.

Well, it’s time to wrap up his career and I’ll give that honor to Wikipedia, which states, “He still holds the major league record of 512 career sacrifice bunts, over 100 more than any other player. He was the first major leaguer in modern history to steal 80 bases in a season, and still shares the major league record of six steals in a game, which he accomplished twice in September 1912. He regularly batted over .320, retiring with a career average of .333. He also holds major league records for career games (2,650), assists (7,630) and total chances (14,591) at second base, and ranks second in putouts (6,526). Collins is one of only 29 players in baseball history to have appeared in major league games in four decades.

“He struggled with heart problems for several years at the end of his life. He was admitted to a hospital in Boston on March 10, 1951, and he died there of the heart condition on March 25 [at the age of 63].”

kamm2

3B-Willie Kamm, Chicago White Sox, 25 Years Old

1923

.279, 6 HR, 83 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-90

Assists as 3B-310 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.957 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-You might have noticed the last three players, all infielders, are all from the White Sox. They easily boasted the best infield in the American League. That will most likely change in 1926 when Eddie Collins starts to fade out. This season, Kamm finished eighth in Defensive WAR (0.8), the third time he’s been in the top 10 in that category. He would have even a better defensive season next year.

According to SABR, Kamm was one of the first proponents of the importance of on-base percentage. It says, “Kamm was the best defensive third baseman of the 1920s. For the seven seasons from 1923 through 1929, he led the league in fielding percentage six times and was second once. He was tops in putouts five times, and assists three times. In five seasons he made 15 or fewer errors. Kamm’s work at the plate was a bonus. He drove in more than 80 runs four times between 1923 and 1928. He led the league in walks with 90 in 1925. ‘Personally, I have always felt that a base on balls should be recognized in batting averages,’ Kamm said in 1928. ‘A player gets a certain amount of credit for the number of passes given him during a season. But these passes do not help to fatten his batting average any. They should, for a batter is passed usually either because the pitcher fears him, in which case he has won his transportation to first by his acknowledged batting ability. Or he is crafty enough and has a keen enough batting eye to wait the pitcher out, in which case he has certainly earned his base.’”

sewell3

SS-Joe Sewell, Cleveland Indians, 26 Years Old

1921 1923

.336, 1 HR, 98 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1977)

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

 

Led in:

 

AB per SO-152.0

Assists-535 (2nd Time)

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

Putouts as SS-314 (2nd Time)

Assists as SS-529 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.51 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.967

3rd Time All-Star-On July 7, 2019, five days before I wrote this, Nate Lowe, a rookie first baseman for Tampa Bay struck out four times. He now has 16 strikeouts in his first 50 Major League at-bats, which would work out to 192 over 600 at-bats or 78 more than Sewell would have over his 7,132 at-bat career. Oh, and those four whiffs for Lowe, those were as many as this Cleveland shortstop had all of the 1925 season.

Sewell finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.2); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.8); and second in Defensive WAR (1.4), behind Chicago catcher Ray Schalk (1.6).

SABR says, “His most remarkable gift, though, was in making contact with a pitched baseball. After striking out thirteen times in 1924, he whiffed only thirty-three times—in total—from 1925 to 1930 while playing every game of every season. The mighty mite with the forty-ounce bat simply refused to miss anything thrown his way, especially during one remarkable span of 115 consecutive games without a strikeout. He said the secret to making contact was simple: Keep your eye on the ball—‘and it sure isn’t much of a secret, is it?’ Sewell, like Ted Williams, insisted he could see his bat hit the ball.”

One of the joys of doing this project is being able to record the ebbs-and-flows of this great game. During this time period, strikeouts were considered anathema to batters, while in the modern day, strikeouts are seen as a necessity in having to swing a bat hard at a certain launch angle.

goslin2

LF-Goose Goslin, Washington Senators, 24 Years Old, 1st MVP

1924

.334, 18 HR, 113 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1968)

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-20

Power-Speed #-21.6

Putouts as LF-336 (2nd Time)

Assists as LF-18 (2nd Time)

Assists as OF-24

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.53

Fielding % as LF-.973

2nd Time All-Star-With Babe Ruth having an off season, the race for American League Most Valuable Player was wide open and the writers picked…Roger Peckinpaugh?? He was Washington’s shortstop and played just 126 games, slashing .294/.367/.379 for an OPS+ of 91. He didn’t even make my All-Star team. Meanwhile, my pick for MVP was this man and he didn’t even get a vote! Needless to say, I disagree with the writers’ choice, but it isn’t the first time and won’t be the last.

Goslin finished fifth in WAR (6.5); fourth in WAR Position Players (6.5); sixth in Offensive WAR (5.1); eighth in slugging (.547); ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (139); and went a very good 27-for-35 stealing. In the World Series, which Washington lost to Pittsburgh, four games to three, Goslin hit three homers for the second consecutive Fall Classic, along with hitting .308 (eight-for-26).

Wikipedia says, “Goslin contributed another strong performance to the 1925 Senators, batting .334, with 72 extra base hits and 113 RBI. His 20 triples led the American League. Once again, he batted in far more runs than any other Senators hitter – 26 more than Sam Rice. The Senators easily won their second consecutive pennant, finishing 8½ games ahead of the Philadelphia Athletics. Despite Goslin’s three home runs, six RBI and a .692 slugging percentage in the 1925 World Series, the Senators were defeated by a Pittsburgh Pirates team led by Pie TraynorKiki Cuyler and Max Carey.” It would be almost a decade before Goose reached another World Series.

wingoa

LF-Al Wingo, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

.370, 5 HR, 68 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 46 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as LF-8

1st Time All-Star-Absalom Holbrook “Al” or “Red” Wingo was born on May 6, 1898 in Norcross, GA. The five-foot-11, 180 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing leftfielder started with the Athletics in 1919 and then didn’t play Major League ball again until 1924 with Detroit. This season was his only full season and his only productive one. He finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.3); seventh in Offensive WAR (4.8); fifth in batting average (.370); fifth in on-base percentage (.456); sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (151); and went a dismal 14-for-27 stealing.

Wikipedia states, “In 1925, Wingo took over from Heinie Manush as the Tigers’ starting left fielder. He appeared in 130 games and had the best season of his career. He led that American League’s left fielders with eight double plays turned and ranked among the league leaders with a .370 batting average (fifth), .456 on-base percentage (fifth), 104 runs scored (ninth) and a 5.3 wins above replacement rating for position players (sixth). All three Detroit outfielders in 1925 ranked among the league’s batting leaders — Wingo with a .370 average, Harry Heilmann winning the batting title with a .393 average and Ty Cobb with a .378 average. This was the only time in MLB history that every member of an outfield hit .370 or better. [Ed.-Might not be true, but don’t want to take the time to research it. However, I seem to remember a Philadelphia team of the 1890s having many outfielders hitting .400] At the end of the 1925 season, Wingo finished twelfth in the American League Most Valuable Player voting.

In October 1964, Wingo was involved in an traffic accident in Allen Park, Michigan, in which his truck was struck from behind by a driver who had been drinking. Wingo was thrown from the cab of his truck and dragged under the truck until it hit a fence. He was taken to Outer Park Hospital in Lincoln Park, Michigan, where he died at age 66.”

simmons

CF-Al Simmons, Philadelphia Athletics, 23 Years Old

.387, 24 HR, 129 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1953)

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

 

Led in:

 

At-Bats-654

Hits-253

Total Bases-392

Runs Created-157

Extra Base Hits-79

Def. Games as CF-153

Errors Committed as CF-16

Def. Games as OF-153

Putouts as OF-447

Errors Committed as OF-16

1st Time All-Star-Aloysius Harry “Bucketfoot Al” Simmons was born on May 22, 1902 in Milwaukee, WI. The five-foot-11, 190 pound righty outfielder started his Hall of Fame career with Philadelphia in 1924 and would be one of the main reasons for the rise of the Athletics over the next few seasons. Because of the inflated batting stats of the 20s and 30s, it’s easy to overrate players, but Simmons truly was one of the best of his time.

Wikipedia says, “In 1925, his second season with Philadelphia, Simmons led the AL with 253 hits with a .387 batting average, 24 home runs and 129 runs batted in (RBI). He scored 122 runs, hit 43 doubles, and finished with a .599 slugging percentage. His 85 multi-hit games constitute a single-season MLB record. He earned the second-most votes for the league’s Most Valuable Player Award.

“Simmons was known by his birth last name (Szymanski) until he was playing for a local minor league team and he was tired of hearing people mispronounce it. He saw an advertisement for a company named Simmons Hardware and decided to take on the last name of Simmons.”

As for his nickname, SABR mentions, “Simmons’ powerful hitting was achieved despite his unusual batting stance. A right-handed hitter and thrower, Simmons stood at the plate with his left (front) foot pointed toward third base, ‘in the bucket’ in baseball parlance. Accordingly, he gained the nickname Bucketfoot Al, which he resented.” If anyone has a picture of that stance, send it to me.

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1925 National League All-Star Team

P-Pete Donohue, CIN

P-Dolf Luque, CIN

P-Eppa Rixey, CIN

P-Jack Scott, NYG

P-Dazzy Vance, BRO

P-Bill Sherdel, STL

P-Hal Carlson, PHI

P-Pete Alexander, CHC

P-Larry Benton, BSN

P-Jimmy Ring, PHI

C-Gabby Hartnett, CHC

C-Earl Smith, PIT

1B-Jack Fournier, BRO

1B-Jim Bottomley, STL

2B-Rogers Hornsby, STL

2B-High Pockets Kelly, NYG

3B-Frankie Frisch, NYG

3B-Pie Traynor, PIT

SS-Dave Bancroft, BSN

SS-Glenn Wright, PIT

LF-Zack Wheat, BRO

LF-Ray Blades, STL

CF-Max Carey, PIT

RF-Kiki Cuyler, PIT

RF-Curt Walker, CIN

 

donohue

P-Pete Donohue, Cincinnati Reds, 24 Years Old

21-14, 3.08 ERA, 78 K, .294, 1 HR, 12 RBI

MVP Rank: 15

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Innings Pitched-301

Games Started-38

Complete Games-27

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.090

1st Time All-Star-Peter Joseph “Pete” Donohue was born on November 5, 1900 in Athens, TX. The six-foot-two, 185 pound righty started his career with the Reds in 1921. He led the National League in winning percentage (.667) in 1922, but this season was his best ever. He finished second in WAR (6.9), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (10.2); third in WAR for Pitchers (6.1), trailing teammates Eppa Rixey (6.5) and Dolf Luque (6.3); third in ERA (3.08), behind Luque (2.63) and Rixey (2.88); first in innings pitched (301); fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (133); and, in this hitting era, gave up just three home runs in those 301 innings.

You can see Cincinnati featured three great pitchers in Donohue, Luque, and Rixey, so why didn’t they win the National League crown? They couldn’t hit. Jack Hendricks’ squad allowed the least runs in the league, but also scored less than the rest of the NL. The team finished in third with an 80-73 record, 15 games out of first.

SABR says, “What the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame dubbed the ‘most successful and durable staff in Reds history…the Big Three’ – Rixey, Luque, and Donohue – played together for the next eight seasons as well, averaging a combined 92 starts and 45 wins per season. They were all 20-game winners in 1923, and each led the league in both wins and shutouts once. Nonetheless, the Reds never finished better than second (1922, 1923, and 1926) – and this was decades before there were any league playoffs.

“Donohue died on February 23, 1988, in Fort Worth. His daughter Judy, two sisters, and several nieces and nephews survived him.”

luque4

P-Dolf Luque, Cincinnati Reds, 34 Years Old

1920 1921 1923

16-18, 2.63 ERA, 140 K, .255, 2 HR, 11 RBI

MVP Rank: 13

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1925 NL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-2.63 (2nd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-1.172

Hits per 9 IP-8.134 (3rd Time)

Shutouts-4 (3rd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-156 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-47 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.7 (2nd Time)

Base-Out Runs Saved-55.62

Win Probability Added-6.5

Sit. Wins Saved-5.0

Base-Out Wins Saved-5.8

Errors Committed as P-7 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-After having one of the best pitching seasons of all-time in 1923, Luque slumped in 1924, going 10-15 with a 3.16 ERA. He’s back this season for his last great season as you can see in the stats above. I mentioned in Pete Donohue’s blurb this Reds’ team couldn’t hit, so Luque is one of those rare pitchers who led the league in ERA and still had a losing record. Cincinnati seemed to scored just one or two runs every time Cuba’s favorite son took the mound.

SABR says, “It is one of the final ironies of Luque’s career that while he was not technically the first Latin ballplayer with the Cincinnati Reds (following [Armando] Marsans and [Rafael] Almeida in that role), he did actually hold this distinction with the Brooklyn Dodgers team which he joined in 1930. And while it was with the Reds that he had made his historic first World Series appearance, it was with the Giants a decade and a half later that he made a truly significant World Series contribution at the very twilight of his career, gaining the crucial Game Five victory in the 1933 Series with a brilliant four-inning relief stint against the then-powerful Washington Senators in the nation’s capital.”

SABR also has his obituary as written by sportswriter Frank Graham, “It’s hard to believe. Adolfo Luque was much too strong, too tough, too determined to die at this age of sixty-six. … He died of a heart attack. Did he? It sounds absurd. Luque’s heart failed him in the clutch? It never did before. How many close ballgames did he pitch? How many did he win … or lose? When he won, it was sometimes on his heart. When he lost, it was never because his heart missed a beat. Some enemy hitter got lucky or some idiot playing behind Luque fumbled a groundball or dropped a sinking liner or was out of position so that he did not make the catch that should have been so easy for him.”

rixey8

P-Eppa Rixey, Cincinnati Reds, 34 Years Old

1912 1916 1917 1921 1922 1923 1924

21-11, 2.88 ERA, 69 K, .214, 0 HR, 11 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1923)

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-6.5

8th Time All-Star-Many people have their favorite teams due to a couple of factors. The first is usually where they grow up, rooting for the local squad. Next is the team their family cheers on, as kids tend to have the same favorite teams of their parents. There is a third reason, however. People tend to jump on bandwagons. I live in California, but there are a lot of Patriots fans here, because they’ve been good for so many years. Those fans usually don’t last for long.

I’m a Reds fan because I started as a bandwagon fan, but just never gave up on them. They used to be a great team in the ‘70s when I was starting to watch sports, so I adopted them as my own. Now living here in Southern California, I also like the Angels, but Cincinnati is still my team, even though they are far from being great at this time.

In the time I’ve been a fan of the Redlegs, they have always been known for their hitting, but during this stretch of the ‘20s, they are the best pitching team in the National League. They have Dolf Luque and Rixey taking the mound and mowing down NL batters.

Rixey this season had his best season ever, finishing fifth in WAR (6.3); first in WAR for Pitchers (6.5); second in ERA (2.88), behind Luque (2.63); third in innings pitched (287 1/3), trailing teammates Pete Donohue (301) and Luque (291); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (142), again behind his Cuban teammate, Luque (156).

scottj

P-Jack Scott, New York Giants, 33 Years Old

14-15, 3.15 ERA, 87 K, .241, 1 HR, 6 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-John William “Jack” Scott was born on April 18, 1892 in Ridgeway, NC. The six-foot-two, 199 pound lefty hitting, righty pitcher started with Pittsburgh in 1916, then went to the Braves the next season. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1918 due to the war, but was back with Boston in 1919. After the 1921 season, he was traded by the Boston Braves to the Cincinnati Reds for Larry Kopf and Rube Marquard. Then during 1922, he was released by the Reds and picked up by the Giants. With New York, Scott pitched in two World Series. In 1922, he pitched a complete game four-hit shutout as the Giants went on to win the Series. Then in 1923, Scott pitched three innings allowing five runs (four earned) for an 0-1 record with a 12.00 ERA as New York lost that Fall Classic.

This season, Scott’s best ever, he finished sixth in WAR (5.9); sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.4); sixth in ERA (3.15); ninth in innings pitched (239 2/3); and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (129).

SABR says, “A left-handed hitter, Scott had a respectable .275 batting average in 12 seasons in the majors. He won 103 games and lost 109, with a 3.85 ERA in 1,814⅔ innings pitched. Twenty-game losses were offset by great memories for the hard-luck pitcher.

“Scott returned to his family’s tobacco and fruit farm in North Carolina, and served as Warren’s police chief for 30 years. When he died on November 30, 1959, in Duke University Hospital at the age of 67, he was undergoing emergency stomach surgery and suffered a massive hemorrhage. He is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Warrenton.”

vance3

P-Dazzy Vance, Brooklyn Robins, 34 Years Old

1923 1924

22-9, 3.53 ERA, 221 K, .143, 3 HR, 11 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

MVP Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-22 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.496 (4th Time)

Strikeouts-221 (4th Time)

Shutouts-4 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-3.349 (2nd Time)

Hit By Pitch-10 (2nd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.70 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-After his, well, dazzling 1924 season, Vance declined a bit this year, but still made this list. He finished seventh in WAR (5.8), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.0), ninth in ERA (3.53), fifth in innings pitched (265 1/3), and first in strikeouts (221) for the fourth consecutive year. He also pitched a no-hitter, his only one, on September 13.

Misc. Baseball says, “Dazzy Vance of the Brooklyn Dodgers (or Robins, as they were then called), pitched a no-hitter on September 13, 1925. The New York Times’ Richards Vidmer noted: ‘Reaching back behind him were seven more hitless innings left over from last Tuesday, when he held the same [Philadelphia] Phils to one lone hit.’ Vance nearly pitched back-to-back no-hitters, the feat Johnny Vander Meer is known for, but the Phillies’ Chicken Hawks had ‘ruined an otherwise perfect game for Vance last week’ with a second-inning hit. Vidmer added a bold prediction: ‘Almost as sure as daylight follows dawn he will some day turn in a perfect performance and take his place with those other immortals, Addie Joss, Cy Young, and Charlie Robertson, the only three in modern times who have accomplished the feat.’

“The only thing I have to add to Vidmer’s account is that the discounting of pro baseball in the 1800s as pre-modern and not quite fully valid was already in place before the 20th century was even one-fourth of the way through. The perfect games by John Ward and John Richmond in June 1880 did not even warrant a mention by Vidmer.”

sherdel

P-Bill Sherdel, St. Louis Cardinals, 28 Years Old

15-6, 3.11 ERA, 53 K, .205, 1 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.714

Fielding % as P-1.000 (3rd Time)

1st Time All-Star-William Henry “Bill” or “Wee Willie” Sherdel was born on August 15, 1896 in McSherrystown, PA. The five-foot-10, 160 pound lefty started with St. Louis in 1918 and finally made the All-Star team this year. He finished eighth in WAR (5.7), fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.4), fifth in ERA (3.11), and third in Adjusted ERA+ (139), behind to Reds’ pitchers, Dolf Luque (156) and Eppa Rixey (142).

SABR states, “Following a dismal 65-89 record in 1924, the Cardinals got off to a terrible start in 1925 (13-25), resulting in the dismissal of Rickey as manager. Under Rickey, Sherdel had been buried deep in the bullpen and saw action strictly as a reliever, primarily in mop-up situations; that changed when Rogers Hornsby took over the team. From June through the end of the season, Sherdel emerged as the staff ace. Used exclusively as a starter, Wee Willie went 15-6 and completed 17 of 21 starts (including a career-best 11 in a row). Sherdel ‘became a changed pitcher under Rogers Hornsby,’ wrote Cardinals beat reporter Paul A. Rickert. Sherdel was quick to praise his new manager: ‘I was never too sure of myself. Maybe I had a bit of an inferiority complex . . . Hornsby saw that I could pitch and he used me. That gave me my break.’ Sherdel paced the team with 15 wins and a carved out a sparking 3.11 ERA (the league average was 4.27) in 200 innings. The Sporting News praised Sherdel as a ‘pitcher of rare grit’ and the left-hander was routinely lauded for his courage in light of his small stature. His .714 winning percentage (a highly valued statistic at the time) was tops in the league. The team responded to Hornsby’s relentless drive (64-51) and finished in fourth place.”

carlson

P-Hal Carlson, Philadelphia Phillies, 33 Years Old

13-14, 4.23 ERA, 80 K, .183, 2 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-4

1st Time All-Star-Harold Gust “Hal” Carlson was born on May 17, 1892 in Rockford, IL. The six-foot, 180 pound righty pitcher started with Pittsburgh in 1917 then moved to Philadelphia in 1924. This season, Carlson finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.8). The Phillies, coached by Art Fletcher, finished in sixth place with a 68-85 record.

SABR says, “On October 24, 1924, Carlson married Eva Nelson, a local schoolteacher, whom he had met while she was attending Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Carlson’s granddaughter, Kristine Pratt, recalled that her grandmother said a friend asked her to go to a party where a ‘famous baseball player’ was going to be. ‘My grandmother refused initially, as she couldn’t care less about baseball players of any kind, famous or otherwise,’ Pratt said. ‘I wonder if that’s what interested him in her initially; the fact that she wasn’t in awe of him or one of his groupies?’ The Carlsons’ first child, daughter Betty, was born two years later.

“With a new team came new opportunity. When Carlson joined the Phillies in 1924, they were struggling. In 1924 and 1925, Philadelphia finished next to last in the National League, then dead last in 1926 and 1927. Against this backdrop, a mediocre hurler like Hal Carlson could distinguish himself, if he performed well. His first two years in Philadelphia were unspectacular, but in 1925 he led the National League with four shutouts.” Carlson has a fabulous season ahead and also, unfortunately, a tragic death at a young age.

alexander13P-Pete Alexander, Chicago Cubs, 38 Years Old

1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923

15-11, 3.39 ERA, 63 K, .241, 2 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1920)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1938)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

Bases On Balls per 9 IP-1.106 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as P-1.000 (4th Time)

13th Time All-Star-Ol’ Pete pitched only 169 1/3 innings in 1924 and didn’t make the All-Star team, but he’s back this year. He finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.4), seventh in ERA (3.39), 10th in innings pitched (236), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (128). Also, at this point in baseball history, I have Alexander rated as the ninth best player of all-time (through 1925). Here’s the full list:

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

The Cubs finished last in the National League with a 68-86 record. Three managers took their turns at running the team – Bill Killefer (33-42), Rabbit Maranville (23-30), and George Gibson (12-14). Maranville would never manage again, but Killefer and Gibson would be back as skippers in the 1930s.

Joe Posnanski writes about a bad movie about Grover Cleveland Alexander’s life, saying, “’The Winning Team’ is so spectacularly bad, there is no possible way you can watch it for more than 10 minutes without your eyes bleeding. It is sort of like a two hour Little Rascals episode. It begins with someone shouting ‘Grover Cleveland Alexander, you get down here!’ And then you see Alexander at the top of a telephone pole, calling his sweetheart on a party line. She wants to surprise him with the news that her father had offered a down payment on the farmhouse! That means they can finally get married! But rascally Ol Grover Alexander goes and plays ball instead! Gets paid a buck and a quarter! Much mayhem ensues!” Read the whole thing.

benton

P-Larry Benton, Boston Braves, 27 Years Old

14-7, 3.09 ERA, 49 K, .241, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Lawrence James “Larry” Benton was born on November 20, 1897 in St. Louis, MO. The five-foot-11, 165 pound righty pitcher started with the Braves in 1923. He was 5-9 in 1923 and then 5-7 in 1924.  For those first two years, he relieved more than he started, but that changed this year. Benton started 21 of his 31 games pitched in 1925 and next year would actually have his first season of over 200 innings. He’s going to have a decent career. This season, Benton finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.0), fourth in ERA (3.09), and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (130).

Nowadays, most starters are only starters and most relievers are only relievers. I’m not including the new strategy of openers in that statement. When baseball first started in 1871, there were very few relievers at all. As a matter of fact, there were very few pitchers as one man tended to do the bulk of all the pitching. Eventually, there came staffs of starting pitchers, but still very few relievers. At this point of baseball history in which I’m writing, there are some strictly relief pitchers, but for the most part, pitchers did double duty, starting and relieving.

I want to get back to the opener idea. I think because I’ve seen a certain type of baseball my whole life – a pitcher starts, goes as long as he can, and then goes out for a relief pitcher – I don’t like it. However, one thing about doing this page is to see all the changes that happen to a game over its vast history, so I guess I’ll get used to the opener.

 

ring2

P-Jimmy Ring, Philadelphia Phillies, 30 Years Old

1923

14-16, 4.37 ERA, 93 K, .109, 2 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-119 (4th Time)

Hits Allowed-325

Wild Pitches-14 (4th Time)

Batters Faced-1,239

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1923, Ring declined in 1924, leading the league in walks for the third straight season. He made the team again this season, barely, and again walked more batters than anyone in the league. Ring didn’t have a great year, but not a lot of National League pitchers did this season, so here he is again. He finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.1), fourth in innings pitched (270), and first in all of those categories above. He was obviously a wild pitcher. I’m surprised he had has much success as he did.

SABR says, “After five years in Philadelphia, Ring was thrilled to escape the dungeon. On December 30, 1925, he was traded to the New York Giants for pitchers Jack Bentley and Wayland Dean. One reason the Giants wanted him was that he was particularly effective against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Giants’ chief rival for National League supremacy in the early years of the Twentieth Century. ‘He had only to walk to the pitcher’s box, assume a haughty pose, and just by his mere presence make the Pirates quake in their shoes.’

“James Joseph Ring died of a heart attack at his summer home on Breezy Point, Queens, on July 6, 1965, at the age of 70. He was buried in St. John Cemetery in Middle Village, a neighborhood in central Queens, not far from the Maspeth area where he had lived in retirement.” He also was involved in a trade involving Rogers Hornsby.

hartnett2

C-Gabby Hartnett, Chicago Cubs, 24 Years Old

1924

.289, 24 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-77

Def. Games as C-110

Putouts as C-409

Assists as C-114

Errors Committed as C-23 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as C-15

Range Factor/9 Inn as C-4.99

Range Factor/Game as C-4.75

2nd Time All-Star-Some 32 years before 1925, there was a left-handed catcher for the Phillies named Jack Clements. In 1893, they had just moved the mound back from 50 feet to 60 feet, six inches and the offenses of the National League went crazy. Clements himself belted 17 homers, high for the era in which he played and the highest ever for a catcher. Until Hartnett came along, that is. His 24 dingers set a new record for backstops as he continued to display why he was arguably the NL’s best catcher until Johnny Bench came along. (Just in case you’re wondering, Clements and current Brooklyn manager Wilbert Robinson were my All-Star catchers of 1893).

Hartnett finished seventh in Defensive WAR (1.2), the first of eight times he’d be in the top 10 in that category, showing he provided a glove to go with his stick. He also slugged .555, good for sixth in the league.

Wikipedia says, “Although he led National League catchers in errors, he also led in range factor and in putouts, while his strong throwing arm helped him lead the league in assists and caught stealing percentage. Leo Durocher, who played against Hartnett and was a National League manager during Johnny Bench’s career, stated that the two catchers had similarly strong throwing arms. During the major league baseball winter meetings in December 1925, it was rumored that Hartnett might be traded to the New York Giants for catcher Frank Snyder and outfielder Irish Meusel; however, Cubs president Bill Veeck, Sr., squelched the rumors saying that Hartnett would not be traded for anybody.”

smithe2

C-Earl Smith, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

1921

.313, 8 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as C-15

Passed Balls-9 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-From 1900 through 1913, led by the incomparable Honus Wagner, the Pirates never finished below fourth place, winning the National League title four times. Then from 1914-through-1917, they finished in the second division, before snapping out of it in 1918. Pittsburgh had been slowly progressing up the standings since then and this year, led by manager Bill McKechnie, it was back on top of the Senior Circuit. The Pirates finished 95-58, eight-and-a-half games ahead of the Giants. The team could hit, scoring the most runs in the NL and, despite having no All-Star pitchers, also did well from the mound, finishing second in the league in Adjusted ERA+ (115).

In the World Series, Pittsburgh beat the Senators, four games to three, and Smith was a big part of it, according to SABR, which says, “With Smith’s help, the Pirates became the first team to a win a seven-game series after being down 3-to-1. Starting six games, Smith hit .350, including a key double in Game Seven. He would have hit an even .400 were it not for one of the most controversial catches in World Series history. Smith’s eighth-inning drive in Game Three was snared by Sam Rice before he tumbled into the temporary roped-off area in right field at Griffith Stadium. Rice eventually stood up holding the ball. Cy Rigler made the out call, provoking vehement protests by the Pirates, who were sure Rice had not held on. In a letter opened after he died, Rice insisted he had.”

fournier6

1B-Jack Fournier, Brooklyn Robins, 35 Years Old

1915 1920 1921 1923 1924

.350, 22 HR, 130 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-86

Base-Out Runs Added-77.48

Win Probability Added-6.9

Situ. Wins Added-5.7

Base-Out-Wins Added-7.2

6th Time All-Star-For four years in his prime, from 1916-to-1919, when Fournier was between the ages 26-to-29, he never made my All-Star team. His play was limited during that time and he didn’t play at all in 1919. Those four years are probably what keeps the power hitting first baseman out of the Hall of Fame. If Fournier would have started his career in the 1920s, an era where slugging homers showed its value, he’d probably be in Cooperstown. Wikipedia says of this season, “He led the National League with 86 walks in 1925, batting .350 and finishing second in the league to Rogers Hornsby in both RBIs (130) as well as on-base percentage (.446, still the third-highest total in Dodgers history).”

SABR says, “Over his career Fournier undoubtedly grew sensitive to criticism, particularly when his fielding was questioned. Perhaps this led to his volatility. As the 1925 season wound down, however, Fournier’s tolerance seems finally to have reached a limit. In September, during a series in Pittsburgh, he shared with reporters how ‘vile and obscene language by the fans at Ebbets Field’ had made him determined ‘never to play in Brooklyn again.’ ‘During recent [home] games,’ he admitted, ‘I was called the vilest kind of names,’ words that were ‘shameful’ and ‘unprintable.’ (Fournier had earlier dropped an easy throw at first base and cost Brooklyn a game.) Indeed, he continued, ‘it became so bad that I refused to allow Mrs. Fournier and my personal friends to come to the park.’ The slugger’s salary that season was $12,500, a contract he deemed ‘satisfactory,’ but ‘I would have to lower my dignity to play in Brooklyn another year,’ he lamented, ‘and I’m not going to do so. … I am not going to play (the contract) through … not for $50,000 a year.’ The next time the team played at Ebbets Field, however, Fournier came up and the fans ‘cheered and clapped and whistled,’ and Jack was ‘touched by the reception’ and ‘decided to stay.’

“Jack Fournier died in a Tacoma, Washington, nursing home on September 5, 1973.”

bottomley2

1B-Jim Bottomley, St. Louis Cardinals, 25 Years Old

1923

.367, 21 HR, 128 RBI

MVP Rank: 7

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1974)

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-153

Hits-227

Doubles-44

Putouts-1,466

Def. Games as 1B-153

Putouts as 1B-1,466

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

Double Plays Turned as 1B-133

2nd Time All-Star-I like to remind my newer readers I base my All-Star teams on WAR. The reason I do so  is it’s a quick and easy way to compile these lists and just have an overall history of the game. My Hall of Fame is also based on WAR. I take the number of All-Star teams made and multiply it by number of All-Star teams made and if the number is 300 or higher, they’re in. Otherwise, the player is out.

This brings me to Bottomley, who is not going to make my Hall of Fame despite making Cooperstown. There are a lot of bad choices in the 1920s and 1930s for the Hall due to a couple of reasons. For one, there was a committee in the 1970s filled with players of this era who voted in a lot of their buddies. Secondly, because overall hitting numbers increased, these players tend to be overrated. There are some big numbers at this time. Look at Bottomley, who hit .367 with 128 RBI. Yet according to WAR and Adjusted OPS+, he was the fourth best offensive player in the National League. Only one more time in his career would Bottomley’s Offensive WAR be higher than it was this season. He’s going to have big numbers in a time everyone has big numbers.

According to Wikipedia, he had a big game in 1924. It says,  “In a game against the Brooklyn Dodgers on September 16, 1924, Bottomley set the major league record for RBIs in a single game, with 12, breaking Wilbert Robinson‘s record of 11, set in 1892. Robinson was serving as the manager of the Dodgers at the time. This mark has since been tied by Mark Whiten in 1993.”

hornsby102B-Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals, 29 Years Old, 4th MVP

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924

.403, 39 HR, 143 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1924)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1942)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

 

Led in:

 

1925 NL Triple Crown (2nd Time)

1925 NL MVP

1925 NL Batting Title (6th Time)

Wins Above Replacement-10.2 (5th Time)

WAR Position Players-10.2 (8th Time)

Offensive WAR-10.3 (9th Time)

Batting Average-.403 (6th Time)

On-Base %-.489 (6th Time)

Slugging %-.756 (7th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.245 (7th Time)

Total Bases-381 (6th Time)

Home Runs-39 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-143 (4th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-210 (8th Time)

Runs Created-185 (6th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-88 (8th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-7.9 (8th Time)

Extra Base Hits-90 (5th Time)

Offensive Win %-.883 (8th Time)

AB per HR-12.9 (2nd Time)

10th Time All-Star-After guiding the Cardinals to a sixth-place finish in 1924, Branch Rickey started 1925 as St. Louis’ manager, but the team started 13-25 and Hornsby took over. Wikipedia wraps up this incredible season for Rajah, saying, “In 1925, Sam Breadon, the owner of the Cardinals, wished to replace Rickey as manager. Hornsby initially declined the job. After discovering that Rickey planned to sell his stock in the Cardinals if he was replaced as field manager, Hornsby agreed to take the job as long as Breadon would help him purchase the stock. Breadon agreed, and Hornsby became the Cardinals’ manager. Hornsby finished the year with his second Triple Crown, when he combined a .403 batting average with 39 home runs and 143 RBIs in 138 games. He bested teammate Jim Bottomley in the batting title race by nearly 40 points. His 1925 batting average has not been matched by any National Leaguer since. That year, he won the MVP Award, receiving 73 out of 80 possible votes. His .756 slugging percentage and 1.245 on-base plus slugging set National League records that stood until broken by Barry Bonds in 2001. The Cardinals finished in fourth place in 1925, finishing one game over .500, though the team won 64 games and lost 51 under Hornsby. During the year, his wife Jeanette had a son, Billy.”

                I’ve given him his fourth MVP, he’s now won four in the last five years. These are my own choice. In real life, this was his unbelievably his first Most Valuable Player award. Don’t you think my choices are more accurate?

kellyh4

2B-High Pockets Kelly, New York Giants, 29 Years Old

1921 1922 1924

.309, 20 HR, 99 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1973)

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

 

4th Time All-Star-When Bill James wrote about the defensive spectrum many years ago, he mentioned those playing harder positions tended to move to easier positions as they aged, but never the opposite. Yet this season, Kelly, who has made three All-Star teams as a first baseman, the easiest defensive position, moved to second base, one of the most difficult. Interestingly, while he never did too well with the glove at first, Kelly was a decent second sacker, which is part of the reason he made the All-Star team this year.

Kelly sure is a recipient of unusual votes. He was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame when he didn’t deserve it and this year, he finished third in the National League Most Valuable Player voting despite being maybe the 20th best player in the league. Maybe they were rewarding him for being able to switch positions, I’m not sure.

Wikipedia says, “Kelly, naturally a first baseman, saw regular time as a second baseman in 1925 when Frisch injured his hand, while backup Bill Terry began playing first base. With the emergence of Terry, who requested a trade so that he could receive more playing time, and Giants manager John McGraw desiring an improvement in the outfield, Kelly was traded to the Cincinnati Reds prior to the 1927 season for Edd Roush. The Reds traded Roush due to a contract dispute. With Wally Pipp at first base for the Reds, Kelly was slated to play center field. The Reds released Pipp before the 1929 season, and Kelly returned to first base.”

frisch5

3B-Frankie Frisch, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1921 1922 1923 1924

.331, 11 HR, 48 RBI

MVP Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1925)

 

5th Time All-Star-This would be the last year Frisch would play mainly at third base. Next season, he’s going to switch to second base for the rest of his career. That’s why he’s going into my Hall of Fame as a second baseman. He joins fellow second basemen Cupid Childs, Eddie Collins, Larry Doyle, Johnny Evers, Rogers Hornsby, Nap Lajoie, Bid McPhee, and Hardy Richardson.

This season, Frisch finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.0), 10th in Offensive WAR (3.5), eighth in Defensive WAR (1.1), and went a mediocre 21-for-33 stealing.

Westerly Life says, “After several seasons of triumph, the Giants began to stumble in 1925, causing Frisch to clash with McGraw, who often berated the star player after difficult losses.  Eventually, Frisch decided he had taken enough of his manager’s verbal abuse and left the Giants late in the season.  He would eventually return before the season’s end, but the damage caused between the two was irreversible.”

I’ve mentioned a lot of undeserving players made the Hall of Fame in the 1970s and much of it was due to Frisch. The Hall of Miller and Eric has a good article on this and I suggest you read the whole thing. Here’s just a snippet: “In the past in this series, we’ve looked at individual players and tried to explain how they found their way into the Hall. Today, we’re going to consider some selections of the Hall’s Veterans Committee for the fifteen years starting in 1970. When the Hall makes a mistake with individual players, it’s upsetting. However, when the Hall makes a mistake with a generation of players, it’s even worse.

“In a story that’s been told many times, Frankie Frisch, and to a lesser extent Bill Terry, ran the Vets Committee for years, and they helped to enshrine many of their less-than-deserving teammates and other contemporaries. But it wasn’t just Frisch and Terry who helped to over-represent the era. This craziness continued even after Frisch’s death in 1973.”

traynor2

3B-Pie Traynor, Pittsburgh Pirates, 26 Years Old

1923

.320, 6 HR, 106 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1948)

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 3B-226 (2nd Time)

Assists as 3B-303 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 3B-41 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.58 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.53

Fielding % as 3B-.957

2nd Time All-Star-I said in Traynor’s 1923 blurb he might not make another All-Star team and I was wrong. However, I do think he is overrated and I think it has to do with the lack of good third basemen in baseball history. This season, Traynor slashed .320/.377/.464 for an OPS+ of 108. Where he did excel was in Pittsburgh’s World Series victory over Washington. He hit .346 (nine-for-26) with two triples and a home run.

SABR has more on the Series: “After having an abscess on his hip lanced in late September, Traynor was fully healthy for the World Series matchup against defending champion Washington. In Game One, Traynor homered off Walter Johnson and made a spectacular diving grab of a Muddy Ruel smash, but the Senators won, 4-1. Down three games to one, the Bucs rallied to force a classic Game Seven. In the rain and muck of Forbes Field, the Senators touched Vic Aldridge for four runs in the first inning. But Pittsburgh chipped away; in the seventh inning, Traynor rocketed an RBI triple deep into the fog to tie the game, 6-6. He was tagged out trying to stretch it into a home run. Then with the score tied 7-7 in the bottom of the eighth, Kiki Cuyler lashed a bases-loaded two-run double off a worn-out Johnson to give the Pirates their second World Series championship. Jennings called Traynor ‘the real hero of the series.’ He batted .346 and gave a virtuoso performance in the field.”

bancroft6

SS-Dave Bancroft, Boston Braves, 34 Years Old

1915 1920 1921 1922 1923

.319, 2 HR, 49 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1971)

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.40 (7th Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.07 (8th Time)

Fielding % as SS-.945 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-After helping the Giants to three straight pennants from 1921-23, Bancroft went from the penthouse to the outhouse, being traded to the Braves. SABR explains, “During the 1923 season Bancroft’s legs began to bother him. In June he reported to the Polo Grounds with a high fever but insisted on playing. At the end of the game Bancroft collapsed in the clubhouse. He ended up being hospitalized with a severe case of pneumonia, earning even more admiration from John McGraw (‘Imagine, he played nine innings with pneumonia.’). That November, as a favor to Christy Mathewson, who was then general manager of the Boston Braves, McGraw sent Bancroft and outfielders Casey Stengel and Bill Cunningham to Boston for pitcher Joe Oeschger and outfielder Billy Southworth. McGraw wanted to give his captain the opportunity to manage, but he also had Travis Jackson waiting to take over at shortstop. At age 33 Bancroft became the NL’s youngest manager.”

Bancroft’s team finished in last in 1924, but this year improved to fifth with a 70-83 record. His problem is he only had one Dave Bancroft, who was the best player on the team. They’d start falling in the standings again after this season.

I mentioned there are a lot of bad Hall of Fame picks in this era, due to teammates of the Giants’ players being on the Veteran’s Committee in the 1970s. However, Bancroft is not one of those bad picks. He deserves the Hall as the National League’s best shortstop during this time.

wrightg2

SS-Glenn Wright, Pittsburgh Pirates, 24 Years Old

1924

.308, 18 HR, 121 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-153

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

Assists as SS-530 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-109 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Wright made the All-Star team for the second year in a row and this year made the World Series. For the year, he finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.2); second in Defensive WAR (2.3), behind Cincinnati second baseman Hughie Critz (2.5); and with a slash line of .308/.341/.480 for and OPS+ of 102. In the Series, Wright hit .185 (five-for-27) with a homer and three RBI and the Pirates went on to defeat the Senators, four games to three.

Wikipedia says, “On May 7, 1925, Wright recorded an unassisted triple play against the Cardinals, tagging out Jimmy Cooney and future Hall of Famers Jim Bottomley and Rogers Hornsby. That same year, he finished fourth in NL MVP voting behind Hornsby, Kiki Cuyler, and George Kelly. Wright was a member of the 1925 World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates, homering off Hall of Fame spitballer Stan Coveleski in Game Two. He was the last surviving member of that 1925 team.”

More on the triple play from SABR, which states, “’That was one of the easiest plays I ever made,’ Glenn Wright said. ‘I couldn’t help it.’ Wright’s fluke came on May 7, 1925, when he was playing shortstop for the Pirates. In the top of the ninth with runners on first (Rogers Hornsby) and second (Jimmy Cooney), the Cardinals’ Jim Bottomley smacked a line drive over second base. Wright snared it and stepped on the bag to double Cooney, who had started for third. He looked up to see Hornsby a few feet away, and tagged him. ‘We were in the dugout before the fans realized they had seen an unassisted triple play.’”

wheat6

LF-Zack Wheat, Brooklyn Robins, 37 Years Old

1914 1916 1920 1922 1924

.359, 14 HR, 103 RBI

MVP Rank: 15

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

 

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1959)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1924)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as LF-149 (4th Time)

Putouts as LF-319 (8th Time)

Errors Committed as LF-13 (3rd Time)

6th Time All-Star-This is the first All-Star team Wheat made in an odd-numbered year. It will also most likely be his last. He finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.0); fifth in Offensive WAR (5.2); third in batting (.359), behind two St. Louis players, second baseman Rogers Hornsby (.403) and first baseman Jim Bottomley (.367); ninth in on-base percentage (.403); eighth in slugging (.541); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (142).

Wikipedia says, “A consistent hitter throughout his 19-year career, he still holds many Dodger franchise records. Most notably, Wheat has the most hits by any player while still a member of the team in the franchise’s history, with 2,804.His brother McKinley “Mack” Wheat also played in the major leagues, and the two were teammates in Brooklyn for five seasons.

“Wheat was first voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1957, but could not be inducted because he had not been retired for the required 30 years. In 1959, the committee unanimously elected him. In 1981, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included him in their book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time. In 2006, the stretch of Route 13 that runs through Caldwell County, Missouri was named the Zach Wheat Memorial Highway. Due to his Cherokee ancestry, Wheat was featured in “Baseball’s League of Nations: A Tribute to Native Americans in Baseball”, a 2008 exhibit at the Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave, N.Y.

“Wheat died of a heart attack on March 11, 1972.”

blades

LF-Ray Blades, St. Louis Cardinals, 28 Years Old

.342, 12 HR, 57 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as LF-4

Fielding % as LF-.978

1st Time All-Star-Francis Raymond “Ray” Blades was born on August 6, 1896 in Mount Vernon, IL. The five-foot-seven, 163 pound righty leftfielder started with the Cardinals in 1922 and became their regular LF in 1923. This season, his best ever, Blades finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.5); eighth in Offensive WAR (3.8); eighth in batting (.342); fourth in on-base percentage (.423); ninth in slugging (.535); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (141).

Wikipedia says, “Hampered by a severe knee injury, he appeared in over 100 games only three times – from 1924 to 1926 – but he hung on as a spare outfielder for ten major league seasons (1922–28; 1930–32), all with the Cardinals, and batted .301 lifetime. In his finest season, 1925, he hit .342 in 462 at-bats. He appeared in three World Series(1928, 1930 and 1931). Beginning a transition to a management career, he was a playing coach for the Cardinals from 1930–32.

“Blades was known as a ferocious competitor with a terrible temper, and he carried that reputation with him as a manager in the Cardinals’ farm system. He managed at the top level of the St. Louis organization with the Rochester Red Wingsand Columbus Red Birds from 1933–38 and was named skipper of the Cardinals in 1939.

“Upon his appointment, he prohibited alcohol drinking among his players. In his first season, the Cards responded to Blades’ tough regimen, winning 92 games and improving from sixth to second place in the National League. But the Cardinals slumped in the early weeks of 1940, winning only 14 of their first 38 games and plunging back into sixth place. On June 7, Blades was fired and ultimately replaced by Billy Southworth.

“Ray Blades died in Lincoln, Illinois at the age of 82 in 1979.”

carey9

CF-Max Carey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 35 Years Old, 1925 ONEHOF Inductee

1912 1916 1917 1918 1921 1922 1923 1924

.343, 5 HR, 44 RBI

MVP Rank: 11

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1925)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1961)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1922)

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-46 (10th Time)

Assists as CF-17 (6th Time)

Errors Committed as CF-20 (6th Time)

Errors Committed as OF-20 (4th Time)

9th Time All-Star-Some of those who make the ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame of my invention, make it because they’re so dominant, there’s no other choice. Some, like Carey, just put up good years season after season and can no longer be ignored. So Scoops Carey is in. Next year’s nominees are Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Johnny Evers, Sherry Magee, Larry Doyle, Art Fletcher, Wilbur Cooper, Eppa Rixey, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, Joe McGinnity, Ed Walsh, Nap Rucker, Ed Konetchy, Larry Gardner, Jake Daubert, Babe Adams, Bobby Veach, George Sisler, Heinie Groh, and Stan Covelski.

Wikipedia says, “In 1924, Carey altered his batting stance based on Ty Cobb‘s. He had a .343 batting average in the 1925 season, and the Pirates won the National League pennant that year. In the deciding game of the 1925 World Series, Carey had four hits, including three doubles, off of Walter Johnson. Carey’s .458 batting average led all players in the series, and the Pirates defeated the American League‘s Washington Senators.

“Carey was nicknamed “Scoop” for his ability to catch fly balls in front of him. His mark of 738 stolen bases remained a National League record, until Lou Brock surpassed it in 1974.

                “Carey died on May 30, 1976 at age 86 in Miami, Florida. He was buried in Woodlawn Park Cemetery and Mausoleum (now Caballero Rivero Woodlawn North Park Cemetery and Mausoleum). He was survived by his wife, Aurelia, and a son, Max Jr.”

cuyler2

RF-Kiki Cuyler, Pittsburgh Pirates, 26 Years Old

1924

.357, 18 HR, 102 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1968)

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 90 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-153

Plate Appearances-701

Runs Scored-144

Triples-26

Times On Base-291

Hit By Pitch-13

Power-Speed #-25.0

Def. Games as RF-130

Putouts as RF-307

Errors Committed as RF-13

Def. Games as OF-153

2nd Time All-Star-Cuyler proved to be a big reason Pittsburgh was back in the World Series for the first time in 16 years. He had his best season ever, finishing fourth in WAR (6.7); second in WAR Position Players (6.7), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (10.2); second in Offensive WAR (6.3), trailing Hornsby (10.3); fourth in batting (.357); fifth in on-base percentage (.423); second in slugging (.598), behind Rajah (.756); third in Adjusted OPS+ (152), trailing the great Rogers Hornsby (210) and Brooklyn first baseman Jack Fournier (160); and went a very good 41-for-54 stealing.

Along with hitting for the cycle during the season, Cuyler also, according to SABR, “[S]et a post-1900 NL record with 144 runs scored, led the majors with 26 triples among his 220 hits, clouted a career-best 18 home runs, and finished fourth in batting average (.357). His 369 total bases still rank as the most in Pirates history (as of 2014). Cuyler finished second in the NL MVP race to the Cardinals’ Rogers Hornsby.

“After Pittsburgh lost Game One to Walter Johnson at home, Cuyler belted a game-winning two-run homer off starter Stan Coveleski in the eighth inning of Game Two to give the Pirates a 3-2 victory. Losses in Games Three and Four left them down three games to one, but the Pirates battled back to force a Game Seven, which the Associated Press at the time described as ‘perhaps the most thrilling seen in World Series history.’ In a ‘rain-soaked, furious dramatic struggle’ at Forbes Field, Cuyler came to bat with the bases loaded against Walter Johnson in the bottom of the eighth inning with the game tied, 7-7. He hit what appeared to be a home run down the right-field foul line; however, the ball dropped in the outfield, buried itself in a tarpaulin, and was ruled a ground-rule two-run double. It gave the Pirates a 9-7 lead, and the championship.”

walkerc2

RF-Curt Walker, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1922

.318, 6 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led In:

 

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

Fielding % as OF-.983

2nd Time All-Star-When I wrote up Walker in 1922, I obviously assumed he wouldn’t be back on this list, but here he is. He made the All-Star team the first time as a member of the Phillies and it certainly looked like he was off to a good career. Then in 1924, he was traded by the Philadelphia Phillies to the Cincinnati Reds for George Harper. This season, Walker finished with a slash line of .318/.387/.460 for an OPS+ of 117. He would have a few decent seasons for his new team.

There’s an interesting article at The Pecan Park Eagle about Walker. You’ll have to read the whole thing, but here’s a snippet: “If they asked me, I could write a book. But they didn’t ask. So, we will settle for a small column on the rich subject of Curt Walker as a timeline into the even taller topic of how culturally bound up the game of baseball was to so many of us when it came down to having a good father figure available when it came down to having a working father figure present in our lives — in some form, or forms — during our critical early time as innocent, but loving-needful boys and girls.

“The presence of baseball gave Curt Walker and my dad the basis for a relationship that would last a lifetime. From the late 1920s summer times of Dad and his buddies going down to the Western Union or the Beeville Bee-Picayune offices to get the late afternoon scores for the Cincinnati Reds because that was Curt Walker’s team — to all the cups of coffee they shared later as grown men regular customers of the American Cafe — baseball was healing cultural water that brought new strength to areas of life that could hurt so bad.”

1924 American League All-Star Team

P-Howard Ehmke, BOS

P-Herb Pennock, NYY

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Joe Shaute, CLE

P-Sherry Smith, CLE

P-Ernie Wingard, SLB

P-Stan Baumgartner, PHA

P-Jack Quinn, BOS

P-Alex Ferguson, BOS

P-Eddie Rommel, PHA

C-Johnny Bassler, DET

C-Glenn Myatt, CLE

1B-Joe Judge, WSH

2B-Eddie Collins, CHW

3B-Gene Robertson, SLB

SS-Topper Rigney, DET

LF-Goose Goslin, WSH

LF-Ken Williams, SLB

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Tris Speaker, CLE

CF-Baby Doll Jacobson, SLB

RF-Babe Ruth, NYY

RF-Harry Heilmann, DET

RF-Harry Hooper, CHW

RF-Sam Rice, WSH

 

ehmke3P-Howard Ehmke, Boston Red Sox, 30 Years Old

1920 1923

19-17, 3.46 ERA, 119 K, .222, 0 HR, 14 RBI

MVP Rank: 15

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-8.2

Innings Pitched-315

Losses-17

Batters Faced-1,349

3rd Time All-Star-Ehmke was in a good stretch of his career where he’ll be making four straight All-Star teams. This season, he finished second in WAR (8.1), behind New York rightfielder Babe Ruth (11.7); first in WAR for Pitchers (8.2); ninth in ERA (3.46); first in innings pitched (315); 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (126); and first in losses (17). It was his best season ever, but like I said, he’s not done having good years.

Lee Fohl took over the managing reins from Frank Chance and Boston jumped up from eighth all the way to seventh. Before coming to Boston, Fohl had managed five seasons for Cleveland and three for the Browns, having winning seasons six of his eight years. He’s not going to have the same success in Boston.

SABR says, “The 30-year-old hurler might have enjoyed his best season in 1924 [Ed.-Hey, that’s what I said!] for the lackluster, seventh-place Red Sox despite tying for the AL lead with 17 losses. He won 19 games, led the league with 315 innings pitched, finished second in complete games (26), starts (36), and strikeouts (119), and cracked the top 10 in ERA (3.46) for the only time in his career. ‘Ehmke has the greatest assortment of stuff (of) any pitcher I ever caught,’ said Boston’s Steve O’Neill. ‘Plus a baffling delivery make him the toughest bird in the game to solve. I never heard an American League player say that he liked to hit against Ehmke.’ Ehmke tossed a career-high four shutouts and twice won 11-inning complete games. The gangly hurler, a .208 career hitter, also helped himself by scoring 14 times and driving in the same number of runs, both career bests.”

pennock2

P-Herb Pennock, New York Yankees, 30 Years Old

1923

19-6, 3.13 ERA, 93 K, .158, 2 HR, 10 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1948)

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

 

Led in:

 

Adj. Pitching Runs-45

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.5

Fielding % as P-1.000

2nd Time All-Star-So much of this great game of baseball has to do with circumstances. Howard Ehmke and Herb Pennock had similar stats in their careers, but Ehmke never made the Hall of Fame while Pennock did. Why? Because Pennock had the advantage of pitching on great teams with tons of firepower, while Ehmke pitched on lower division teams much of his career. That shouldn’t take away from Pennock as this year he had his best season ever, finishing third in WAR (7.6), behind teammate, rightfielder Babe Ruth (11.7) and Ehmke (8.1); second in WAR for Pitchers (7.9), trailing Ehmke (8.2); third in ERA (2.83), behind two Washington pitchers, Walter Johnson (2.72) and Tom Zachary (2.75); third in innings pitched (286 1/3), trailing Ehmke again (315) and Chicago hurler Sloppy Thurston (291); third in Adjusted ERA+ (148), behind Johnson (149) and Philly’s Stan Baumgartner (148); and didn’t make any errors on the mound in 71 chances.

New York, managed by Miller Huggins, finished out of first place for the first time since 1920. The Bronx Bombers went 89-63, two games behind Washington. They were tied for first place with eight games left, but went only 4-4 in those contests, allowing the Senators to move ahead.

Much of the Yankee’s decline at the end of the season was due to Pennock. According to SABR, “In four starts after Labor Day Pennock managed only a 5.88 earned run average. A win in either his September 14 or September 20 road starts would have put New York back into first place. They were losses.”

johnson16P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 36 Years Old

1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1921 1922 1923

23-7, 2.72 ERA, 158 K, .283, 1 HR, 14 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

1924 AL Pitching Triple Crown (3rd Time)

1924 AL MVP (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-2.72 (5th Time)

Wins-23 (6th Time)

Win-Loss %-.767 (2nd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-1.116 (6th Time)

Hits per 9 IP-7.552 (4th Time)

Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.121 (7th Time)

Strikeouts-158 (12th Time)

Games Started-38 (4th Time)

Shutouts-6 (7th Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-2.052 (8th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-149 (6th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.31 (8th Time)

Fielding % as P-1.000 (5th Time)

16th Time All-Star-When The Big Train stood on the Griffith Stadium pitcher’s mound on October 4, 1924, what was going through his mind? Did he think to himself, “I never thought I’d be here.” After 16 All-Star teams (though he wouldn’t know that), and a decade-and-a-half of dominant pitching, Johnson finally made the big show. If you look at the stats above, you can see he was (of course) a huge part of that happening. At 36-years-old, Barney had the kind of season the young bucks typically have, before their arms fade out. This wasn’t the year of a man of Johnson’s age, but there’s only one Walter Johnson.

In his first World Series game, he lost. Fairy tales are so weird sometimes. He allowed four runs, but two of them were in the 12th inning, because of course he was still in the game. He struck out 12 and walked six, along with allowing 14 hits. I wonder what his pitch count was that afternoon. In Game 7, after pitching eight innings two days before, the fairy tale did come true as Johnson led Washington to its first World Series championship, pitching four scoreless innings and was standing at first base when Earl McNeely rippled a double to leftfield to bring in Muddy Ruel with the winning run. Johnson received the win, because of course he did.

Here are the top 10 players of all time, as of 1924, according to, well, me:

  1. Cy Young, P
  2. Johnson, P
  3. Ty Cobb, CF
  4. Tris Speaker, CF
  5. Honus Wagner, SS
  6. Eddie Collins, 2B
  7. Babe Ruth, RF
  8. Cap Anson, 1B
  9. Pete Alexander, P
  10. Nap Lajoie, 2B


shaute

P-Joe Shaute, Cleveland Indians, 24 Years Old

20-17, 3.75 ERA, 68 K, .318, 1 HR, 11 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Losses-17

1st Time All-Star-Joseph Benjamin “Joe” or “Lefty” Shaute (pronounced SHAY-oot) was born on August 1, 1899 in Peckville, PA. The six-foot, 190 pound pitcher started with Cleveland in 1922, became a regular pitcher in 1923, and had his best season ever this year. Shaute finished fifth in WAR (6.6); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.6); fourth in innings pitched (283); and first in losses (17).

Wikipedia says, “He made his major league debut in September 1922, and threw his first pitch to legendary swatter Babe Ruth. Baseball historian William C. Kashatus noted that when Shaute came to the pitching mound, ‘the Indians were clinging to a one-run lead in the bottom of the eighth with two outs and bases loaded with Yankees.’ Shaute gained notoriety when he struck out Ruth on four pitches to end the inning. In the following inning, he faced another powerful hitter, Bob Meusel, who ‘swung so hard on Shaute’s first offering that he whirled completely around and fell to the ground’. The pitcher next struck out Yankee catcher Freddie Hoffman. Kashatus observed that Shaute ‘continued to dominate Ruth for the next three years’.

“The situation changed in 1927, however, when Ruth hit 60 home runs, setting a major league record that stood for more than seven [Ed.-that should be three] decades. Ruth hit three of those home runs—numbers 30, 40, and 52—off of Shaute. Nevertheless, during his 13-season career, Shaute struck out Ruth on more than 30 occasions.”

Shaute died at the age of 70 on February 21, 1970 in Scranton, PA. Scranton, eh? Maybe the name is Schrute, not Shaute.

smiths

P-Sherry Smith, Cleveland Indians, 33 Years Old

12-14, 3.02 ERA, 34 K, .202, 1 HR, 5 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.526

Errors Committed as P-7

1st Time All-Star-Sherrod Malone “Sherry” Smith was born on February 18, 1891 in Monticello, GA. The six-foot-one, 170 pound lefty pitching, righty batting hurler started with Pittsburgh in 1911-12. The next time he played in the Majors was in 1915 for Brooklyn and, except for the war year of 1918, he would be with them through 1922. In the 1916 World Series against the Red Sox, Smith pitched 13 1/3 innings in a game, allowing just two runs, but garnering the loss. The winning pitcher was Babe Ruth. In the 1920 Series against Cleveland, he started two games, going 1-1 in 17 innings allowing two runs, one of which was earned, for a 0.53 ERA. Altogether, Smith was 1-2 in the postseason, with an 0.89 ERA.

Towards the end of the 1922 season, the Indians selected Smith off waivers.

This season was Smith’s best ever, as he finished ninth in WAR (5.6); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.8); fifth in ERA (3.02); eighth in innings pitched (247 2/3); fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (142); and had the best control in the league, allowing just 42 walks.

Smith had a long, decent career, finishing 114-118, with a 3.32 ERA (108 ERA+). He actually received a Hall of Fame vote in 1948. Smith wasn’t a mow ‘em down kind of guy, striking out just 428 batters in 2052 2/3 innings, but he a couple good seasons and was good when in counted in the World Series. He died on September 12, 1949 at the age of 58 in Reidsville, GA.

wingard

P-Ernie Wingard, St. Louis Browns, 23 Years Old

13-12, 3.51 ERA, 23 K, .234, 3 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 47 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Ernest James “Ernie” or “Jim” Wingard was born on October 17, 1900 in Prattville, AL and would die 76 years later in the same town. He attended the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!) and started with the Browns this season, his best ever. He finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers(5.1); 10th in ERA (3.51); and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (129).

The great first baseman, George Sisler, took over the managerial reins for the Browns this year and they moved up from fifth to fourth, though their record stayed exactly the same, 74-78.  St. Louis had decent pitching, but mediocre hitting. Unfortunately for Sisler, his .305/.340/.421 slash line was below average in the day and age in which he played.

According to milb.com, Wingard played ball with Shoeless Joe Jackson before entering the Majors. The website says, “’Apparently a lot of people didn’t want to play those barnstorming teams because Jackson’s group was beating the daylights out of them,’ [Ernie’s nephew] Doug Wingard said. ‘John Bell [author of A Shoeless Summer] and Mike Nola [curator of the Shoeless Joe Jackson virtual Hall of Fame] verified a lot of the information about the relationship between my uncle and Jackson.

“’I guess Jackson acted as some sort of mentor to my uncle. He traveled with him at the beginning of the ’24 season and helped him get acclimated to the big leagues. My uncle was taking a pretty big risk being associated with Joe Jackson because he had already been blackballed. I don’t know how my uncle pulled it off, but he was still able to play in the Majors.’”

baumgartner

P-Stan Baumgartner, Philadelphia Athletics, 29 Years Old

13-6, 2.88 ERA, 45 K, .217, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 48 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Stanwood Fulton “Stan” Baumgartner was born on December 14, 1894 in Houston, TX. The six-foot, 175 pound lefty pitcher started with the Phillies in 1914 and pitched with them until 1922. It wasn’t all consecutive as he didn’t pitch in the Majors from 1917-1920. Before this season, Baumgartner was traded by New Haven (Eastern) to the Philadelphia Athletics for Ren KellyFrank Loftus and $4,000. It ended up being a good pickup for the Athletics as he had his best season ever, finishing eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.2); fourth in ERA (2.88); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (148), behind Washington pitcher Walter Johnson (149).

Connie Mack led the A’s from sixth to fifth with a 71-81 record. Their pitching wasn’t good, but their hitting was worse as they scored the fewest runs in the American League.

Wikipedia says, “In 1924, he came back to Philadelphia as a member of the Athletics, and ended up having the best season of his career. In 1924, he pitched in 36 games and started 16, hurled 12 complete games, and posted an ERA of 2.88, which was fourth best in the American League. The following season, he appeared in a career-high 37 games and compiled an ERA of 3.57.

“After his playing retirement, Baumgartner became a journalist, first covering the police beat before settling in as a sportswriter, covering all sports and specializing in baseball. He wrote for The Sporting News and The Philadelphia Inquirer until, suffering from late-stage colorectal cancer, he retired during the 1955 season. He died in Philadelphia at the age of 60 on October 4, during the 1955 World Series.”

quinn5

P-Jack Quinn, Boston Red Sox, 40 Years Old

1910 1914 1915 1922

12-13, 3.27 ERA, 64 K, .179, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-Quinn is one of my favorite players of which to write, because he has such an interesting career. Here, at the age of 40, he’s making yet another All-Star team by finishing seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.2), eighth in ERA (3.27), sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (134), and still managed at his advanced age to pitch 228 2/3 innings. They should have tested the old man for steroids.

SABR says, “Quinn pitched well in Boston but could never win more than 13 games per season for the woeful Red Sox teams that owner Harry Frazee had stripped of stars. The spitballer continued to exhibit excellent control, ranking among the top five in the American League in fewest walks per nine innings during his entire stay in the Hub of the Universe. Used both as a starter and in relief, he was second in saves in 1923 and third in 1924.”

Also, the article states, “[W]e do not know for certain when or where he was born, the national origin of his forebears, or even his birth name. We know him as Jack Quinn, and the reference books agree that he was born John Quinn Picus, which very likely was not the case. They also agree that he first saw the light of day in the anthracite coal mining region of Pennsylvania, but they differ on the town or the year of his birth. Among four editions of the Baseball Encyclopedia, no two of them gave the same birth date and birthplace. Jack Quinn’s personal life was a mystery and he liked it that way.”

fergusona

P-Alex Ferguson, Boston Red Sox, 27 Years Old

14-17, 3.79 ERA, 78 K, .140, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 157 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Losses-17

1st Time All-Star-James Alexander “Alex” Ferguson was born on February 16, 1897 in Montclair, NJ. The six-foot, 180 pound pitcher started with the Yankees in 1918. He didn’t play again in the Majors until 1921. After that season, Ferguson was selected off waivers by the Red Sox and this season he had his best year ever, finishing sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3) and first in losses (17). Surprisingly, all three pitchers who tied for the American League lead in losses all made the All-Star team – Ferguson, Joe Shaute, and Howard Ehmke.

Wikipedia says of the rest of his career, “In 1925 he divided his playing time with Boston, New York and Washington, ending with a 5–1 mark and a 3.25 ERA in seven games for the Senators AL champion team. During the World Series, he pitched well against the Pittsburgh Pirates, going 1–1 with a 3.21 ERA in two starts.

“In 1926 Ferguson set a major league record for the highest ERA during a regular season by a pitcher who started a postseason game the same year. Ferguson collected a combined 6.18 ERA while pitching with the Red Sox, Yankees and Senators. The mark was broken in 2006 by Óliver Pérez of the New York Mets, who posted a 6.55 ERA during the regular season before starting Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.”

Ferguson died in Sepulveda, CA at the age of 79 on April 26, 1976. He finished 61-85 with a lifetime 4.89 ERA and 397 Ks.

rommel5

P-Eddie Rommel, Philadelphia Athletics, 26 Years Old

1920 1921 1922 1923

18-15, 3.95 ERA, 72 K, .158, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as P-97 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-3.79 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as P-2.72

5th Time All-Star-Since Rommel made the All-Star team this season, he’s going to make my Hall of Fame. He really had an impressive seven-year stretch starting with his rookie year. This season, Rommel finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.7), fifth in innings pitched (278), and first in assists from the mound (97).

This is amazing to me, but if judged by WAR, Rommel is the eighth greatest Athletics’ player of all-time. He is also their third greatest pitcher, behind Eddie Plank (77.4 WAR) and Lefty Grove (64.9). He ranks ahead of famous A’s pitchers like Catfish Hunter and Vida Blue. It’s important to remember Rommel pitched on a bad team for many years and also pitched in a time when runs were being scored in droves so pitchers were underrated at that time.

The Hall of Miller and Eric says of Rommel, “I love that Rommel led the AL in wins twice while pitching a total of 42 games in relief. There have been 25 pitchers in history with 15 wins, 15 games finished, and 5 WAR in a season. Ed Walsh, Lefty Grove, and Eddie Rommel are the only three such players who managed to do so three times. Somewhat ignominiously, the guy with 70% of the value of the decade leader is the only one of the 25 to lead the league in losses.” There is quite a debate about whether Rommel should be in the Hall of Fame or not, but I have no problem with him being there considering he was one of his league’s best for such a long stretch of time.

bassler3

C-Johnny Bassler, Detroit Tigers, 29 Years Old

1922 1923

.346, 1 HR, 68 RBI

MVP Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-At this time in the American League, Bassler was one of the best catchers around. This season, he finished 10th in Offensive WAR (4.0); fifth in batting (.346); and second in on-base percentage (.441), behind New York rightfielder Babe Ruth (.513). Those are outstanding numbers for a backstop.

Wikipedia says, “Bassler had a career batting average of .304 and an on-base percentage of .416 in his nine major league seasons. His on-base percentage ranks as the second highest in major league history for a catcher. His .346 batting average in 1924 was the highest by a catcher to that point in American League history and the highest by any major league catcher since 1912. He finished in the top seven in the voting for the American League Most Valuable Player award three straight years: sixth in 1922, seventh in 1923, and fifth in 1924. Baseball historian, Bill James, ranked Bassler 47th all-time among major league catchers in his book, The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.

“Bassler later credited his improved batting in 1924 to his teammate Bobby Veach. Bassler recalled:

“’I was a dead left-field hitter and all a good pitcher had to do was shoot me a fast high ball, inside, and I’d pop up. I found Veach used a little fuller swing than I against this delivery, always keeping his wrist behind the point of contact with the ball. About the middle of 1924, after experimenting, I landed upon the combination of a big-handled bat of light Cuban wood and a full swing patterned after Veach. Then suddenly they began to line into right and center for me.’”

myatt

C-Glenn Myatt, Cleveland Indians, 26 Years Old

.342, 8 HR, 73 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Glenn Calvin Myatt was born on July 9, 1897 in Argenta, AR. The five-foot-11, 165 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing catcher started with the Athletics in 1920-21 as a backup rightfielder and backstop. He came to Cleveland in 1923 and had a good season this year, finishing ninth in batting (.342), fifth in slugging (.518), and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (134).

SABR says, “Glenn Myatt spent 16 years in the majors, 13 with the Cleveland Indians. The Indians released him in 1935 when he was 37 years old. Thinking he still had some game left in him, Myatt sent out telegrams to other teams looking for a job. Bill Terry of the New York Giants signed him. His first action came on May 31 when he entered an 8-0 Giants blowout of the Braves in the seventh inning. He came to bat in the eighth with two runners on and launched a drive to deepest center field for a triple. He remembered it as ‘the most gratifying hit of my life.’

“Myatt went directly to the semipro scene in Houston. He played with the American Iron and Machine Works Team for a couple of seasons. After that he confined his playing to occasional old-timers’ games in Houston.

“His father-in-law had passed away, so the sheet metal business was gone. Myatt found work in the cotton industry. Later he became a clerk in a steamship warehouse. He and Luella continued to live in her family’s home. Glenn passed away on August 9, 1969, after a long illness. He was buried in Forest Park Cemetery in Houston. His wife joined him there in 1995.”

judge

1B-Joe Judge, Washington Senators, 30 Years Old

.324, 3 HR, 79 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Joseph Ignatius “Joe” Judge was born on May 25, 1894 in Brooklyn, NY. The five-foot-eight, 155 pound lefty first baseman started with Washington in 1915 and had been regularly in the lineup since. He was always good, never great, and made the All-Star team this year due to a lack of worthy competition. Judge slashed .324/.393/.450 for an OPS+ of 119. It wasn’t great, he had better seasons, but there were no first basemen better in the American League this year.

In Washington’s seven-game World Series victory over the Giants, Judge was outstanding, hitting .385 (10-for-26) with a double and five walks. The next year, the Senators lost to the Pirates in seven games and the first baseman struggled, hitting .174 (four-for-23) with a double and a homer.

Wikipedia says, “He set American League records for career games (2,056), putouts (19,021), assists (1,284), total chances (20,444), double plays (1,476) and fielding percentage(.993) at first base, and led the AL in fielding average five times, then a record. He also batted over .300 nine times, and hit .385 in the 1924 World Series as the Senators won their only championship. At the end of his career he ranked tenth in AL history in hits (2,328) and doubles(431), seventh in games played (2,129), eighth in triples (158) and at bats (7,786), and ninth in walks (958).

“Judge died at 68 after suffering a heart attack while shoveling snow outside his home in the Chevy Chase neighborhood of Washington, D.C., and was buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Silver Spring, Maryland.”

collins15

2B-Eddie Collins, Chicago White Sox, 37 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1923

.349, 6 HR, 86 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-42 (4th Time)

Caught Stealing-17 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.977 (9th Time)

15th Time All-Star-Baseball hasn’t had a player-manager since Pete Rose of the Reds from 1984-86 and fortunately nothing sketchy happened during his tenure. Oh. Well, that might explain the lack of player-managers nowadays. There usually was one in baseball most years up until the early 1960s. Then Frank Robinson, Joe Torre, and Don Kessinger all did dual roles in the mid-70s and besides Rose, that was it. In 1924, three all-time greats were now coaching and playing in the American League — Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb, and now Collins. Four if you count George Sisler.

Cocky took over towards the end of the season, after Johnny Evers (51-72) and Ed Walsh (1-2) tried their hand at it. Collins went 14-13 and will be managing for a couple more years.

If you look at Walter Johnson’s write-up, you’ll see I have Collins ranked as the sixth best player of all-time, through 1924. He also has made more All-Star teams at his position than any second baseman. Here’s the full list:

P-Cy Young, 17 All-Star Teams made

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Collins, 15

3B-Home Run Baker, 9

SS-Honus Wagner, 13

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Speaker, 16

RF-Sam Crawford, 9

After throwing the World Series in 1919, the White Sox finished second in 1920, when most of the Black Sox still played on the team, but then started dropping after that. This is the first year in which Chicago finished in the cellar of the AL. It took 40 years after their shameful 1919 Series to win another pennant.

robertsong

3B-Gene Robertson, St. Louis Browns, 24 Years Old

.319, 4 HR, 52 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Eugene Edward “Gene” Robertson was born on Christmas Day, 1899 in St. Louis, MO. The five-foot-seven, 152 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing third baseman started with the Browns in 1919. He came back to the Majors in 1922 and 1924 and 1925 were the only two seasons he played over 100 games. This season, Robertson slashed .319/.373/.421 for an OPS+ of 100, the only time his OPS+ was in triple digits. He did make the World Series with the Yankees in 1928, playing three games and hitting .125 (one-for-eight).

Pinstripe Birthdays says, “This St.Louis native evidently had a tough time leaving home. He went to college at St. Louis University and then after a couple of seasons in the minors, signed with his hometown Browns. It soon looked as if Robertson was on his way to big league stardom when he won the starting third base position for St. Louis in 1924 and averaged .319. The following season, the 5’7″, 152 pound left-handed hitter surprised all of baseball by belting 14 round-trippers and driving in a career high 76 runs.

“He made his Yankee debut the following year, sharing third base pretty much evenly with ‘Jumpin’ Joe Dugan and averaging .291 during his first season in pinstripes. That fall, he saw the only World Series action of his career, appearing in three games against the Cardinals, driving in two runs and winning his first and only ring.

“Robertson got off to a horrible start for the Braves in 1930 and was hitting just .186 when he was sent to the Pacific Coast League. He passed away in 1981 at the age of 81.”

rigney2

SS-Topper Rigney, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

1922

.289, 4 HR, 94 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as SS-.967

2nd Time All-Star-After Rigney made the All-Star team in 1922, he had a decent 1923 season, slashing .315/.389/.419 for an OPS+ of 114, but missed over 20 games and fell short of making this list. This season, Rigney had his best season ever, finishing seventh in WAR Position Players (4.7); seventh in Offensive WAR (4.6); fifth in Defensive WAR (1.0); and first in fielding as a shortstop (.967).

Wikipedia states, “Rigney’s strong performance in 1923 was in spite of a hip ailment that plagued him through much of the season. Doctors were unable to determine the cause of the problem, and when the problem returned early in 1924, Detroit manager Ty Cobb sent Rigney to the Mayo Brothers’ Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The doctors there were similarly unable to diagnose Rigney’s condition until, after a few days, they examined his teeth. The doctors discovered that Rigney had a number of infected molars that had spread poison throughout his system with the poison ‘making its headquarters in that bum hip.’ After the extraction of the infected teeth, Rigney’s hip problem was cured.

“With the hip problem behind him, Rigney had a solid season in 1924. He had a career high 94 RBIS and drew 102 walks (second only to Babe Ruth in the American League), giving him a .410 on-base percentage. His .410 on-base percentage in 1924 is the highest by a shortstop in Detroit Tigers history. He also led the American League’s shortstops in 1924 with a .967 fielding percentage.”

goslin

LF-Goose Goslin, Washington Senators, 23 Years Old

.344, 12 HR, 129 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1968)

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Batted In-129

Def. Games as LF-154

Putouts as LF-365

Errors Committed as LF-17 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as OF-16

1st Time All-Star-Leon Allen “Goose” Goslin was born on October 16, 1900 in Salem, NJ. The five-foot-11, 185 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing leftfielder started with Washington as a 20-year-old in 1921. He led the American League in triples in 1923 with 18 and then, here in 1924, he was a big reason the Senators were World Champions. He finished seventh in WAR (6.4); third in WAR Position Players (6.4), behind New York rightfielder Babe Ruth (11.7) and Detroit rightfielder Harry Heilmann (6.4); fourth in Offensive WAR (5.3); seventh in batting (.344); eighth in on-base percentage (.421); sixth in slugging (.516); third in Adjusted OPS+ (143), trailing Ruth (220) and Heilmann (149); and went a mediocre 15-for-29 stealing.

Wikipedia says, “Goslin’s difficulty in judging fly balls contributed to his nickname ‘Goose.’ Opposing players said Goslin resembled a bird flapping its wings when he ran after a ball with his arms waving. While not a great fielder, Goslin did have a good throwing arm, leading the American League in assists by an outfielder in 1924 and 1925.

“With a 36-year-old Walter Johnson contributing 23 wins and the young Goslin knocking in 129 runs (50 more RBI than any other player on the team), the Senators finished two games ahead of the Yankees and defeated the New York Giants in the 1924 World Series. Goslin hit .344 with three home runs, seven RBI and a .656 slugging percentage in that World Series. Goslin also set a World Series record in 1924 with six consecutive hits, spread across three games (3-5). That record was tied in 1976 by Thurman Munson and later broken in 1990 by Billy Hatcher, who had seven consecutive hits in that World Series.”

williamsk4

LF-Ken Williams, St. Louis Browns, 34 Years Old

1921 1922 1923

.324, 18 HR, 84 RBI

MVP Rank: 22

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Power-Speed #-18.9 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-For the most part I pick a year for every player where I predict it will be their last All-Star team and that write-up usually includes notes from the remainder of their life and a date and place of death. I already gave that write-up to Williams in 1923, because I didn’t think he’d make another one of these lists. In other words, I’m a false prophet and now have to come up with another 250 words for the Browns’ slugger. Fortunately, this explanation took about 90 of those.

Williams finished seventh in on-base percentage (.425); third in slugging (.533), behind New York rightfielder Babe Ruth (.739) and Detroit RF Harry Heilmann (.533); fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (140); and went an okay 20-for-31 stealing.

While Williams was one of the great sluggers once Ruth opened up the game to home runs, most of it had to do with his home part. He hit 142 of his 196 homers in his home parks and altogether for his career, he slashed .338/.414/.601 at home and .301/.374/.459 on the road. For comparisons sake, Ruth belted 347 homers at home and 367 homers on the road. Ruth’s home splits were .346/.483/.698 and his road splits were .338/.466/.682.

Speaking of Williams and Ruth, Wikipedia says, “In November 1924, it was rumored that the Yankees were trying to trade for Williams, which would have teamed him with Ruth to make one of the most powerful home run combinations in baseball. However, St. Louis manager George Sisler‘s insistence on the Yankees trading Waite Hoyt for Williams was too high a price for Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert.”

cobb17

CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 37 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1921 1922 1923

.338, 4 HR, 79 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1915)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

 

Led in:

 

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

Double Plays Turned as CF-6 (4th Time)

Def. Games as OF-155 (3rd Time)

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

Fielding % as CF-.986 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as OF-.986

17th Time All-Star-When you play the game out of emotion like the great Cobb, one expects this would eventually fade out. Yet no one played with more fire than the Georgia Peach and even at the age of 37, in his 20th season, he still played hard and also managed the Tigers. Cobb finished 10th in WAR (5.4); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.4); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.9); ninth in on-base percentage (.418); and stole 23 bases in 37 tries. He is also the third greatest player of all-time at this point. You can see the whole list at Walter Johnson’s blurb.

Cobb the manager guided Detroit to a third place finish with a 86-68 record, just six games out of first. As late as August 10, the Tigers were tied for first with a 61-47 record.  They went just 25-21 after that and finished behind the Senators and the Yankees.

Misc. Baseball has an article written about Cobb in 1924. Here’s a bit of it: “The question of his retirement came up. Cobb will be 38 in December. His personal fortune is estimated at between $5 million and $7 million, the result of shrewd dealings in the commodities market and investments in Coca-Cola and automobile manufacturers. He has won about every honor there is to win in baseball.

“’I can see the finish, and it’s not far off,’ he said. ‘Frankly, my eyes are not what they used to be. I’ve had to remodel my stance to see better. But where I’ve reached the end of my rope is my nervous system. I get tired and stale. I no longer have the energy to do the things I used to do. The old energy is gone.’”

speaker16

CF-Tris Speaker, Cleveland Indians, 36 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923

.344, 9 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as CF-20 (7th Time)

Errors Committed as CF-14 (2nd Time)

16th Time All-Star-I don’t know how often the scribes of Ty Cobb and Speaker’s day linked the two together, but it’s impossible to do this page without doing so. They make the All-Star team almost every year and play the same position, so I usually write about the two superstars back-to-back. This season, Speaker made this list for the 16th consecutive year and is only behind Cobb, Cap Anson, and Cy Young, who all made this 17 times. He has made more All-Star teams at centerfield than anyone else. You can see the full list at Eddie Collins’ blurb. I have him rated as the fourth greatest player of all time at this point in history. That list is at Walter Johnson’s write-up.

With Speaker at the reins, Cleveland fell from third to sixth with a 67-86 record. The problem is the Indians didn’t get much production outside of their skipper.

Let’s Go Tribe says of his childhood, “Tris was definitely a wild child. He and his pals would throw rocks at the passing trains and he was carrying a pistol by age 12. His father, who passed away when Tris was just 10 years old, taught him the cowboy ways very early, including hunting, fishing and riding. He liked to ride bareback and did so also at a very early age. His uncles most likely introduced him to “ball” at this time as well, as that was what was played in the Civil War camps. He was a natural at the game and was known around town for his prowess. But his wild side also blossomed as he continued to emulate rodeo cowboys.”

jacobson4

CF-Baby Doll Jacobson, St. Louis Browns, 33 Years Old

1920 1921 1922

.318, 19 HR, 97 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as CF-488 (3rd Time)

Putouts as OF-488

Range Factor/Game as CF-3.26

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-3.31

Range Factor/Game as OF-3.26

4th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team three consecutive years, Jacobsen didn’t make it in 1923, a year in which his OPS+ dipped below 100. He was back this year, finishing 10th in WAR Position Players (4.4), 10th in Defensive WAR (0.7), fourth in slugging (.528), and first in range factor as a centerfielder (3.26). Jacobson could certainly cover some ground.

SABR says, “From 1923 through 1925, Jacobson hit .309, .318, and .341, still producing runs (he scored 103 runs both in 1924 and 1925). His 19 homers in 1924 were the most he ever hit; he was third in the American League behind Babe Ruth and Joe Hauser. One of his homers that season was part of hitting for the cycle on April 17. That same year he set a major-league fielding record, with 488 putouts, which he held until Dom DiMaggio broke the record with 503 putouts in 1948. Jacobson reportedly held 13 fielding records at one time or another. The secret wasn’t his speed. It was average at best compared with other outfielders of the day. ‘Play the batters and you have the secret,’ he explained. There was, however, also a stretch with the Red Sox in 1927 when he played in seven consecutive games without recording either a putout or assist.

“Jacobson lived a good long life, with three children, William, Carita, and Julian, and another son coming later.

“Jacobson married a second time in April 1948 (to Ida Rankin), and lived almost another 30 years until his death on January 16, 1977, in Orion, Illinois, at the age of 86.”

ruth9

RF-Babe Ruth, New York Yankees, 29 Years Old, 6th MVP

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923

.378, 46 HR, 124 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1923)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

 

Led in:

 

1924 AL Batting Title

Wins Above Replacement-11.7 (4th Time)

WAR Position Players-11.7 (5th Time)

Offensive WAR-10.8 (5th Time)

Batting Average-.378

On-Base %-.513 (5th Time)

Slugging %-.739 (7th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.252 (7th Time)

Runs Scored-143 (5th Time)

Total Bases-391 (4th Time)

Home Runs-46 (6th Time)

Bases on Balls-142 (4th Time)

Strikeouts-81 (3rd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-220 (6th Time)

Runs Created-194 (5th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-104 (5th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-9.6 (5th Time)

Extra Base Hits-92 (6th Time)

Times On Base-346 (5th Time)

Offensive Win %-.885 (5th Time)

AB per HR-11.5 (7th Time)

Range Factor/Game as RF-2.47

9th Time All-Star-I never know where to start with Ruth, because he does so many things well. For the only time in his career, he led the league in batting (.378). Along with that, he also struck out more than any other American League batter. It’s very rare those two categories are led by one player. I also gave him his sixth MVP. You might wonder why he didn’t receive any real MVP votes this year and it’s because of a rule at that time a player couldn’t win more than one MVP. Ruth had won in 1923. Also, I have him as the seventh greatest player of all-time at this point in baseball history. The full list can be found here.

SABR has the story of his collision with a wall in Washington’s Griffith Stadium. You can see the picture above. It’s a good article, please read the whole thing. Here’s a snippet: “Babe Ruth feared the worst when he played right field in Washington’s Griffith Stadium. The unsightly concrete barrier that separated the playing field from the seats and spectators seemed especially menacing and dangerous. ‘Babe says he’s been afraid that he was going to bump into that wall in the Washington Park ever since he began playing right field.’ His fear became reality in early July of 1924, when his New York Yankees played the Senators in Game 1 of a doubleheader at the D.C. ballpark.”

There are also a lot of articles about his go-all-out lifestyle and you can find those all over the net. How do you live like that and still have seasons like this one?

heilmann5

RF-Harry Heilmann, Detroit Tigers, 29 Years Old

1919 1921 1922 1923

.346, 10 HR, 114 RBI

MVP Rank: 9

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1952)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1924)

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-45

Def. Games as RF-147

Putouts as RF-263

Assists as RF-31

Assists as OF-31

5th Time All-Star-It might have been better for Heilmann to play a position other than rightfield and have to be compared to Babe Ruth, the game’s best player. It’s because of Ruth, mainly, that Heilmann led in only one offensive category, doubles with 45. He was still a great hitter and also played well in the field, gunning down 31 runners. Most importantly, he made my Hall of Fame, which inducts players by a simple formula of All-Star teams made multiplied by Career WAR. If the number is over 300, that player is in. He joins fellow rightfielders Sam Crawford, Elmer Flick, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Willie Keeler, King Kelly, Ruth, and Sam Thompson. The complete list is here.

Wikipedia says, “In 1924, Heilmann’s batting average dropped by 56 points to .346, which ranked sixth in the American League. Despite the ‘slump’ in batting average, Heilmann led the league with 45 doubles and ranked second behind Babe Ruth with a .533 slugging percentage, a 6.4 wins above replacement rating among position players, and 130 runs created. He also ranked among the league leaders with 304 total bases (third), 71 extra base hits (third), 16 triples (third), 107 runs scored (fourth), 278 times on base (fourth), a .428 on-base percentage (fifth), and 114 RBIs (fifth). He appeared in 145 games as the Tigers’ starting right fielder in 1924 and had his best defensive season, leading the league with 31 outfield assists; he never had more than 18 in any other season. He also led the league’s right fielders with 263 putouts. Heilmann finished ninth in the voting for the 1924 American League Most Valuable Player award.”

hooper3

RF-Harry Hooper, Chicago White Sox, 36 Years Old

1918 1920

.328, 10 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1971)

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as RF-8 (6th Time)

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

Fielding % as RF-.986 (7th Time)

3rd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1920, Hooper hadn’t made it since. After his last All-Star season, he was traded by the Boston Red Sox to the Chicago White Sox for Shano Collins and Nemo Leibold. He played well for the White Sox, he just didn’t play All-Star well. This season, Hooper finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.7), 10th in on-base percentage (.413), eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (133), and went an unimpressive 16-for-29 stealing.

Wikipedia says, “Hooper was a career .281 hitter with 75 home runs, 817 RBI, 1429 runs, 2466 hits, 389 doubles, 160 triples, and 375 stolen bases in 2309 games. He holds the Red Sox franchise records for most triples (130) and stolen bases (300), as well as Fenway Park records for triples (63) and stolen bases(107). Hooper is only one of two players (Heinie Wagner being the other) to be a part of four Red Sox World Series championships. He hit better than .300 five times in his career and compiled a .293 batting average (27-92) in four World Series appearances.

“Hooper died at the age of 87 in Santa Cruz, California. He had been healthy enough to attend that summer’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies and he had gone duck hunting less than a month before he died. Hooper had surgery for a circulatory issue three weeks before his death, but he seemed to have recovered well from that procedure. Harry Hooper Jr said that Hooper had died of old age. He said that Hooper was the oldest living member of the Hall of Fame before his death.”

rice5

RF-Sam Rice, Washington Senators, 34 Years Old

1919 1920 1921 1923

.334, 1 HR, 76 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

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

 

Led in:

 

At Bats-646 (2nd Time)

Hits-216

5th Time All-Star-There were a lot of good outfielders in the American League at this time, especially in rightfield, where four of the teams had representatives on this team. Rice just has to make one more of these teams to make my Hall of Fame and my guess is he’s going to make it next year. This season, Rice finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.4) and went 24-for-37 stealing.

As for the World Series, which Washington won over the Giants, SABR says, “Rice slumped at the plate during the series, batting only .207, but contributed to the Nationals’ cause with strong play in the field, particularly in Game 6, when he made 3 spectacular running catches in support of the 2-1 Washington victory that forced the series to its ultimate 7th game. According to Bucky Harris, ‘Twice Sam Rice made plays which saved the game. He turned in his first brilliant feat in the opening inning … Meusel hit one that seemed ticketed for the temporary bleachers. Back and back, Rice ran. He reached out his gloved hand while going at top speed along the low rail and picked the ball out of the stands. This cut off a home run and two tallies… Rice saved another run in the third inning. He took Lindstrom’s drive to right while on the dead run. Frisch doubled after this and but for the catch would have scored the young Giant third baseman. He made another wonderful running catch of Nehf’s short fly in the fifth. I doubt if there ever will be a greater series of plays by an outfielder in a single game.’”

1924 National League All-Star Team

P-Dazzy Vance, BRO

P-Eppa Rixey, CIN

P-Jesse Barnes, BSN

P-Carl Mays, CIN

P-Bill Doak, STL/BRO

P-Johnny Cooney, BSN

P-Emil Yde, PIT

P-Virgil Barnes, NYG

P-Ray Kremer, PIT

P-Vic Aldridge, CHC

C-Gabby Hartnett, CHC

C-Bubbles Hargrave, CIN

1B-Jack Fournier, BRO

1B-High Pockets Kelly, NYG

2B-Rogers Hornsby, STL

2B-Frankie Frisch, NYG

2B-Andy High, BRO

2B-George Grantham, CHC

3B-Heinie Groh, NYG

SS-Glenn Wright, PIT

LF-Zack Wheat, BRO

LF-Kiki Cuyler, PIT

CF-Cy Williams, PHI

CF-Max Carey, PIT

RF-Ross Youngs, NYG

 

vance2

P-Dazzy Vance, Brooklyn Robins, 33 Years Old

1923

28-6, 2.16 ERA, 262 K, .151, 2 HR, 11 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

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

 

Led in:

 

1924 NL Pitching Triple Crown

1924 NL MVP

1924 NL Pitching Title

WAR for Pitchers-10.4

Earned Run Average-2.16

Wins-28

Walks & Hits per IP-1.022

Hits per 9 IP-6.947

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.648 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts-262 (3rd Time)

Complete Games-30

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.403

Adjusted ERA+-174

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.64

Adj. Pitching Runs-56

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.1

2nd Time All-Star-It’s incredible how good the Vance was considering his rookie season was in 1922 at the age of 31. Now at the age of 33, he struck out 262 batters, the most since Walter Johnson whiffed 303 foes in 1912. He won the National League MVP award, which is certainly understandable since he won the pitching Triple Crown by leading the league in wins, ERA, and Ks. I gave it to Rogers Hornsby, but I’m not crying about Vance being chosen.

Brooklyn, managed by Wilbert Robinson, moved up from sixth to second place, finishing with a 92-62 record, one-and-a-half games behind the crosstown Giants. On August 9, the Robins were 13 games back with a 56-50 record and then went on a tear, going 25-4 and were only half-a-game behind John McGraw’s squad on September 6. As of September 22, they were tied, but went 2-2 in their last four games and just missed the pennant.

According to Wikipedia, “He set the then-National League record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game when he fanned 15 Chicago Cubs in a game on August 23, 1924.

“On September 24, 1924, Vance struck out three batters on nine pitches in the second inning of a 6–5 win over the Chicago Cubs. Vance became the fifth National League pitcher and the seventh pitcher in MLB history to accomplish the nine-strike/three-strikeout half-inning. He finished the season with 262 strikeouts, more than any two National League pitchers combined (Burleigh Grimes with 135 and Dolf Luque with 86 were second and third respectively). That season, Vance had one out of every 13 strikeouts in the entire National League.”

rixey7

P-Eppa Rixey, Cincinnati Reds, 33 Years Old

1912 1916 1917 1921 1922 1923

15-14, 2.76 ERA, 57 K, .214, 1 HR, 7 RBI

MVP Rank: 22

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1923)

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-4

7th Time All-Star-The two best pitchers in the National League (arguably) were both 33 years old. The difference between Dazzy Vance and Rixey was Dazzy didn’t even pitch his rookie year until he was 31, while Rixey had a good early career, a mediocre middle section, and now is in an outstanding stretch of pitching now that he’s in his 30s. My prediction is he will one day make the ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame in which just one player is inducted annually.

This season, Rixey finished ninth in WAR (5.2); third in WAR for Pitchers (5.0), behind Vance (10.4) and Boston’s Jesse Barnes (5.3); third in ERA (2.76), trailing Vance (2.16) and the Giants’ Hugh McQuillan (2.69); seventh in innings pitched (238 1/3); third in Adjusted ERA+ (136), again behind Vance (174) and McQuillan (137); and first in shutouts with four.

Jack Hendricks took over managing the Reds this season and led them to a fourth place finish with an 83-70 record, 10 games behind the Giants. Their former skipper, Pat Moran, died in spring training of Bright’s disease, a kidney ailment. He was always a heavy drinker.

SABR says, “Rixey settled down and on October 29, 1924, married Dorothy Meyers in St. Thomas Church in Terrace Park, a suburb of Cincinnati. They had two children, Eppa III and Ann. The Rixeys lived in the Cincinnati area, where Eppa worked during the winter in the insurance agency his father-in-law, Charles Meyers, had founded in 1888. Grandson Eppa Rixey IV was the chief operating officer of the Eppa Rixey Insurance Agency, whose motto was ‘Hall of Fame Performance for Your Insurance Needs’ until 2003, when the company was acquired by Mark E. Berry and merged into the Berry Insurance Group.”

barnesj

P-Jesse Barnes, Boston Braves, 31 Years Old

15-20, 3.23 ERA, 49 K, .222, 0 HR, 9 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-4

Losses-20 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as P-1.000 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Jesse Lawrence “Nubby” Barnes was born on August 26, 1892 in Perkins, OK. The six-foot, 170 pound lefty-hitting, righty pitcher actually was a good pitcher for a long time, just not an All-Star pitcher. He started with Boston in 1915, the year after the Braves won the World Series. After the 1917 season, the first year he led the National League in losses, he was traded by the Boston Braves with Larry Doyle to the New York Giants for Buck Herzog. Barnes won two championships with the Giants in 1921 and 1922, winning two games in 1921, allowing three runs in 16-and-a-third innings. In mid-1923, he was traded by the New York Giants with Earl Smith to the Boston Braves for Hank Gowdy and Mule Watson.

This season was Barnes’ best as he finished eighth in WAR (5.2); second in WAR for Pitchers (5.3), behind Brooklyn’s Dazzy Vance (10.4); fourth in innings pitched (267 2/3); and first in shutouts with four.

Dave Bancroft took over the reins of the Braves, but didn’t do any better than the previous year as Boston finished last with a 53-100 record, 40 games out of first.

SABR says, “Barnes’ work in 1924 wasn’t completely obscured by his team’s claim on the cellar. Burt Whitman, sportswriter for the Boston Herald and The Sporting News, regarded the veteran as still being ‘one of the very best pitchers in either league.’

“Slowed in his later years by heart disease and an arthritic hip, the end for Barnes came on September 9, 1961, in the Guadalupe County Hospital in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. He had been stricken in a motel room by a final heart attack, this one massive enough to claim his life.”

mays6

P-Carl Mays, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

1916 1917 1919 1920 1921

20-9, 3.15 ERA, 63 K, .289, 1 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1924)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as P-94 (4th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-4.26 (5th Time)

6th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1921 with the Yankees, he didn’t make it in either 1922 or 1923. He pitched an eight-inning loss in the 1922 World Series and didn’t pitch in 1923 Series. After that season, in which Mays went 5-2 with a 6.20 ERA, he was purchased by the Reds from the Yankees and was back to his old self this season. He finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (3.2); ninth in ERA (3.15); and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (119), along with being a good hitter and fielder.

Sub also entered my Hall of Fame this year, despite not making Cooperstown. The full list is here. He was a great pitcher and it’s possible the only reason he’s not in Cooperstown is because he killed Ray Chapman with a pitch in 1920. He only received Hall of Fame votes once, garnering 2.3 percent of them in 1958.

As for why he’s called Sub, SABR says, “Throwing with a submarine motion so pronounced that he sometimes scraped his knuckles on the ground while delivering the ball, Mays looked ‘like a cross between an octopus and a bowler,’ Baseball Magazine observed in 1918. ‘He shoots the ball in at the batter at such unexpected angles that his delivery is hard to find, generally, until along about 5 o’clock, when the hitters get accustomed to it — and when the game is about over.’” Mays wasn’t liked in his time, which might also explain why he’s not in the real Hall of Fame.

doak4

P-Bill Doak, St. Louis Cardinals/Brooklyn Robins, 33 Years Old

1914 1915 1920

13-6, 3.10 ERA, 39 K, .180, 1 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1920, Doak led the National League in ERA in 1921 with a 2.59 mark, but his innings pitched per year were starting to drop. He had a miserable 5.54 ERA in 1922 as his innings dipped below 200 and would never be that high again. This season, he was 2-1 for the Cardinals with a 3.27 ERA when he was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Brooklyn Robins for Leo Dickerman. Altogether this season, Doak was fourth in WAR for Pitchers (3.7); eighth in ERA (3.10); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (122).

The Cardinals, managed by Branch Rickey, dropped from fifth to sixth with a 65-89 record, 28-and-a-half games behind the Giants. They could score runs, thanks to Rogers Hornsby, but could stop them from scoring.

SABR says, “On September 6, 1924, he pitched his second two-hit shutout in four days, giving the Robins their 15th straight win and putting them in first place, if only for a few hours. Bill later claimed that it was his greatest thrill as a ballplayer. After spending 1925 and 1926 out of baseball, selling real estate during the Florida land boom, Doak came out of retirement and went 11-8 for the 1927 Robins. He ended his playing career back with the Cardinals in 1929.

“The Bill Doak model glove, which had a profound impact on fielding, was a best seller for years, earning Bill as much as $25,000 in royalties in a year. It was still in the Rawlings line when Bill died in Bradenton on November 26, 1954.”

cooneyj

P-Johnny Cooney, Boston Braves, 23 Years Old

8-9, 3.18 ERA, 67 K, .254, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-John Walter “Johnny” Coomey was born on March 18, 1901 in Cranston, RI. The five-foot-10, 165 pound righty hitting, lefty throwing pitcher and outfielder had an interesting career which I’m going to try to wrap up in 250 or so words. He started as a pitcher for the Braves in 1921, but starting in 1923, he started getting some opportunities out in the field because of his decent bat. This season was his best ever as he finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (3.6), finishing with a 3.18 ERA or 119 ERA+.

After 1930, Cooney went to the field permanently and would have a solid career through 1944, when he then retired at the age of 43.

Wikipedia says, “According to Hank Greenberg‘s biographer, before Greenberg’s very first spring training exhibition game in 1930 when his Detroit Tigers were set to play the Braves, Cooney felt sympathy towards the 19-year-old then known as Henry, took him aside before the game and promised, ‘Kid, I’m going to give you one you can hit.’ He did, and Greenberg did, as the future Hall of Fame slugger launched an impressive homer over the fence.

“In his second stint in the Majors, after 1935, Cooney concentrated on playing outfield and first base. His two homers were hit in consecutive games in September 1939, when he again played for Boston and was already 38 years old. His best averages as a regular came with the Bees, .318 in 1940 and .319 in 1941. He was listed as a playing coach for Boston’s National Leaguers from 1940–42.

“Cooney died in Sarasota, Florida at age 85.”

Fun fact-Cooney’s father, Jimmy, made my All-Star team for the National League in 1890.

yde

P-Emil Yde, Pittsburgh Pirates, 24 Years Old

16-3, 2.83 ERA, 53 K, .239, 1 HR, 9 RBI

MVP Rank: 21

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.842

Shutouts-4

Errors Committed as P-6

1st Time All-Star-Emil Ogden Yde (pronounced EE-dee) was born on January 28, 1900 in Great Lakes, IL. The five-foot-11, 165 pound switch-hitting, lefty throwing pitcher started out with this great rookie year. He finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (3.3), fifth in ERA (2.83), fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (136), to go with his great 16-3 record. It looked like Pittsburgh would have a great pitcher for many years. They wouldn’t.

Pittsburgh, managed by Bill McKechnie, stayed in third place with a 90-63 record, three games behind the Giants. As late as September 6, the Pirates were just one game out of first, but went 12-11 the rest of the way and couldn’t catch New York.

SABR says, “Sportswriter Charles J. Doyle of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described southpaw Emil Yde as a ‘cyclonic sensation’ when he debuted for the Pirates in 1924. In his second start, Yde tossed a shutout, the first of eight consecutive winning decisions to commence his big-league career, en route to a 16-3 slate. He went 17-9 the next season, including a National League-best nine-game winning streak, as the Bucs captured the NL pennant and then overcame a three-games-to-one deficit to beat the Washington Senators in the World Series. Yde’s meteoric rise was followed by an equally precipitous and mysterious plummet despite excellent health. He won only 16 more games in three seasons and was out of the majors by the age of 29.

“Emil Yde died at the age of 68 on December 4, 1968, at the Leesburg Convalescent Center after a battle with prostate cancer, and was subsequently cremated.”

barnesv

P-Virgil Barnes, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

16-10, 3.06 ERA, 59 K, .182, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Virgil Jennings “Zeke” Barnes was born on March 5, 1897 in Ontario, KS. The six-foot, 165 pound righty started his career pitching one game for the Giants in both 1919 and 1920. He came back to the Majors in 1922 as a relief pitcher, but this year was given the chance to start and had his best season ever. He is the brother of Jesse Barnes, who also made this list. Virgil finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (3.4); seventh in ERA (3.06); 10th in innings pitched (229 1/3); and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (120).

John McGraw and Hughie Jennings managed the Giants in 1924. According to Bleacher Report, “[Jenning’s] friend John McGraw saw a need for him. He coached third base for the Giants in 1924 and 1925 and since McGraw didn’t have the best health during those years, sometimes managed.” According to Baseball Reference, McGraw was 61-48 and Jennings was 32-12. New York lost the World Series to the Washington Senators, four games-to-three.

Barnes lost Game 7 of the Series as SABR reports, “The eighth started well enough with a foul pop out to the catcher, but then Barnes’ control faltered, and he pitched himself into a jam. He gave up a double, then a single, then a walk. With the bases loaded, the second out of the inning was recorded with a fly ball to left field, thankfully too short for the Nats to score a run. Next up was Bucky Harris. When Barnes saw the ball leaving Harris’ bat, his instinctive reaction must have been one of relief, for it looked to be a common, everyday grounder to the third baseman—an easy out to end a tough inning. Instead of obeying expectations, though, the ball took a wildly unexpected bounce off a pebble, stone, or clump of dirt, and sailed over rookie Freddie Lindstrom’s head into left field. It was scored a hit, and it tied the game at 3-3. Sportswriter Frederick Lieb called it ‘the luckiest break which ever came…to what looked to be a beaten world’s series team.’”

kremer

P-Ray Kremer, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

18-10, 3.19 ERA, 64 K, .151, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-41

Shutouts-4

Def. Games as P-41

1st Time All-Star-Remy Peter “Ray”or “Not Cosmo” Kremer (pronounced KRAY-mer) was born on March 23, 1893 in Oakland, CA. The six-foot-one, 190 pound righty started this season and Pittsburgh must have thought it’d hit the jackpot with both Emil Yde and Kremer having sensational rookie years. Kremer finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (3.4); fifth in innings pitched (259 1/3); ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (120); and first in shutouts with four.

SABR says, “In a seamless transition to the big leagues, Kremer began his career by pitching five consecutive complete games. Joining a Pirates staff led by Wilbur Cooper, he debuted on April 18 at Redland Field in Cincinnati, where he gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth to lose, 3-2. He followed the loss with four consecutive wins, including two shutouts. The latter was one of his two career two-hitters, a dominating 2-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Forbes Field that took just 1:20 to play. With 30 starts among his league-high 41 appearances, Kremer was durable, capable of starting on short rest and being called on for intermittent relief outings. He had winning streaks of six and five games, but won only once after August 23, and struggled in September when the Pirates overcame an 11½-game deficit to come within one game of the pennant-winning Giants. Along with teammate and fellow rookie Emil Yde (16-3), Kremer was praised as a ‘life-saver’ by The Sporting News. He finished with 18 wins and 259 innings pitched (both fifth best in the league), and tied for the league lead with four shutouts for the third-place Pirates. As of 2013 the 18 wins were still a Pirates record for rookies.”

aldridge2

P-Vic Aldridge, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1922

15-12, 3.50 ERA, 74 K, .176, 0 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1922, Aldridge had another good year in 1923, going 16-9 with a 3.48 ERA. This year, he finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (2.9) and sixth in innings pitched (244 1/3). After the season, he was traded by the Chicago Cubs with George Grantham and Al Niehaus to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Wilbur CooperCharlie Grimm and Rabbit Maranville. He then was part of two World Series for the Pirates. In 1925, Aldridge went 2-0 with a 4.42 ERA while in 1927 he was 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA. Before the 1928 season, he was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the New York Giants for Burleigh Grimes and pitched one season in the Polo Grounds before retiring.

As for the Cubs, they dropped from fourth to fifth with an 81-72 record. Bill Killifer managed Chicago for the fourth year.

Wikipedia wraps up his life, stating, “After his playing career ended, Aldridge attended law school at the Voorhees School of Law and served in the Indiana State Senate from 1937 to 1948. He was first elected on November 4, 1936, as a Democrat. He served as a schoolmaster full-time before his baseball career, hence his nickname ‘The Hoosier Schoolmaster’

“Aldridge died in Terre Haute at age 79, and is buried in the New Trinity Springs Cemetery of Trinity Springs, Indiana. He was inducted into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame on January 19, 2007, as its 131st member; his granddaughter, Mary Turner, and grandson, Vic Aldridge III, accepted the award on his behalf.”

hartnett

C-Gabby Hartnett, Chicago Cubs, 23 Years Old

.299, 16 HR, 67 RBI

MVP Rank: 15

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as C-18

Passed Balls-12

1st Time All-Star-Charles Leo “Gabby” or “Old Tomato Face” Hartnett was born on December 20, 1900 in Woonsocket, RI. The six-foot-one, 195 pound righty catcher started in 1922 for the Cubs, but this season was the first people realized he was something special. It’s not easy to be an offensive force when your main position is catcher, but Hartnett wielded a mighty stick. This season, Hartnett finished 10th in Offensive WAR (3.7); seventh in slugging (.523); eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (138); and first in errors as a backstop (18) and passed balls (12).

From Wikipedia: “Hartnett joined the Cubs in 1922, serving as a backup catcher to Bob O’Farrell. He was given his ironic nickname of ‘Gabby’ as a rookie due to his shy, reticent nature. On July 22, O’Farrell suffered a fractured skull during a game against the Boston Braves and Hartnett took over as the Cubs starting catcher, posting a .299 batting average along with 16 home runs and 67 runs batted in. After the retirement of catcher Bill Killefer, Hartnett became the favorite catcher of Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander and caught Alexander’s 300th career win on September 20, 1924.]Hartnett played well enough during O’Farrell’s absence that the Cubs decided to keep him as their starting catcher, trading O’Farrell to the St. Louis Cardinals in May 1925.”

I haven’t been able to write up too many great catchers up to this point in baseball history, but that’s changing with Hartnett. He’s certainly making my Hall of Fame and has a great chance at making the ONEHOF, the one player inducted a year Hall of Fame.

hargrave2

C-Bubbles Hargrave, Cincinnati Reds, 31 Years Old

1923

.301, 3 HR, 33 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Hargrave made the All-Star team for the second consecutive year, though his season wasn’t as good as his previous one. Still, for a catcher, it was good year as he slashed .301/.370/.455 for an OPS+ of 121. He and Gabby Hartnett would be among the National League’s best catchers for a few years, though Hartnett’s career was much better.

SABR says, “Over the next several seasons Cincinnati improved, often in contention but never good enough to take the pennant. Hargrave was a major part of the upturn. Beginning in 1922, Hargrave batted over .300 six consecutive seasons. A look back at his career from today’s 2017 vantage point must consider the prism of time. Hargrave’s batting and slugging marks for catchers during this era ranked near the top. His hitting ability did not lend itself to home runs, but rather line drives that produced doubles and triples. Regardless of measuring in average, slugging, or on-base percentage—metrics used nowadays to measure a player’s worth—Hargrave’s career numbers were on a par with later Cincinnati catcher (and Hall of Famer) Ernie Lombardi.

“While renowned for his offensive skills, Hargrave had defensive capabilities that were less well defined. From a perspective of nearly 80 years from the end of his career, the rating of his defensive skills based on then-existing data is, at best, a murky endeavor. Although no less an authority than Bill James rates Hargrave as ‘just a fair defensive catcher,’ contemporary accounts reflected a better-than-satisfactory assessment of his abilities. He had a powerful throwing arm and he was savvy in his handling of pitchers. No less a personage than John McGraw described him in 1926 as ‘the greatest catcher in the game.’”

fournier5

1B-Jack Fournier, Brooklyn Robins, 34 Years Old

1915 1920 1921 1923

.334, 27 HR, 116 RBI

MVP Rank: 9

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-154

Home Runs-27

AB per HR-20.9 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 1B-153

Assists as 1B-99

5th Time All-Star-Back in Fournier’s day, the sportswriters and observers of the game didn’t have anything like Baseball Reference’s Defensive WAR or any of the other modern day defensive metrics yet labeled the Brooklyn first baseman as a liability in the field. Yet, according to dWAR, those old-timers were exactly right as the iron-gloved Fournier was always in the negative column and ended up with a career -9.7 mark. Fortunately he could hit and this year, he had his best season ever.

Fournier finished fifth in WAR (6.3); fourth in WAR Position Players (6.3); second in Offensive WAR (6.6), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (11.5); seventh in batting (.334); third in on-base percentage (.428), trailing Hornsby (.507) and New York rightfielder Ross Youngs (.441); fifth in slugging (.536); third in Adjusted OPS+ (160), behind Rajah (222) and teammate Zack Wheat (163); and, for the only time in his career, first in homers (27).

Fournier wasn’t a choirboy off the field. SABR says, “While Fournier gained renown during those years as a slugger at the plate, he also displayed an alarming propensity to slug with his fists. Several times he found trouble with authority. In January 1924, found guilty of assaulting a stranger who claimed Fournier hit him on the jaw while the man waited to retrieve a coat from a checkout counter, Jack was fined $25 in Criminal Court in St. Louis. Several years later, in March 1927, Jack, who by then was in his final season, with the Boston Braves, was accused in Sarasota, Florida, of striking a deputy sheriff who was attempting to serve him with papers related to a civil suit. In that case, Braves’ manager Dave Bancroft posted $1,000 bond and guaranteed Jack’s appearance before the court.”

kellyh31B-High Pockets Kelly, New York Giants, 28 Years Old

1921 1922

.324, 21 HR, 136 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1973)

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Batted In-136 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Kelly didn’t make the All-Star team in 1923 but the Giants did make the World Series and lost to the Yankees. In that Series, High Pockets hit .182 (four-for-22) with just one RBI. This season, Kelly’s best ever, he finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.8); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.7); sixth in slugging (.531); seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (141); and first in RBI (136). In the 1924 Series, Kelly did much better than the previous year, going nine-for-31 (.290) with a double and a homer. However, the Giants still lost to the Senators, four games to three.

Kelly’s Hall of Fame page says, “Kelly returned to the World Series against the Yankees again in 1923 and then against the Washington Senators in 1924, but the Giants fell in six games to the Yankees and in seven to the Senators. Kelly’s 1924 season was arguably his most productive one, as he drove in 136 runs to capture his second RBI crown and finish sixth in MVP voting. With a three-homer game against the Reds in June, Kelly became the first player to hit three home runs in a game multiple times.

“’To Frankie Frisch, he was one of the finest first baseman who ever lived,’ the AP wrote upon his induction to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee in 1973. ‘To Waite Hoyt, he was a dangerous man in the clutch. And to the people who vote for such things, he is a perfect choice for the Baseball Hall of Fame.’”

He died on October 13, 1984 in Burlingame, CA.

hornsby9

2B-Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals, 28 Years Old, 1924 ONEHOF Inductee, 3rd Time MVP

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923

.424, 25 HR, 94 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1924)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1942)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

Led in:

 

1924 NL Batting Title (5th Time)

Wins Above Replacement-12.1 (4th Time)

WAR Position Players-12.1 (7th Time)

Offensive WAR-11.5 (8th Time)

Batting Average-.424 (5th Time)

On-Base %-.507 (5th Time)

Slugging %-.696 (6th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.203 (6th Time)

Runs Scored-121 (3rd Time)

Hits-227 (4th Time)

Total Bases-373 (5th Time)

Doubles-43 (4th Time)

Bases on Balls-89

Adjusted OPS+-222 (7th Time)

Runs Created-183 (5th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-98 (7th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-9.4 (7th Time)

Extra Base Hits-82 (4th Time)

Times on Base-318 (4th Time)

Offensive Win %-.895 (7th Time)

9th Time All-Star-What a great year for Rajah to be inducted to the ONEHOF, the One-Inductee-a-Year Hall of Fame of my making. Next year’s nominees are Hardy RichardsonJimmy CollinsElmer FlickJohnny EversSherry MageeLarry DoyleArt FletcherWilbur Cooper, Max Carey, Charley JonesFred DunlapGeorge GoreNed WilliamsonBid McPheeSam ThompsonJack ClementsAmos RusieCupid ChildsClark GriffithJesse BurkettJoe McGinnityEd WalshNap RuckerEd KonetchyLarry GardnerJake DaubertBabe AdamsBobby VeachGeorge Sisler, Heinie Groh, and Eppa Rixey.

Back to Hornsby’s incredible year, in which I honored him with his third Most Valuable Player award, it is often referred to as the highest modern batting average (.424). That is true, if you define modern-times from 1902 on. However, once the pitching mound was moved back to 60 feet, six inches, Hugh Duffy hit .440 in 1894 and, in an obviously watered-down initial American League season of 1901, Nap Lajoie hit .426.

So how did Hornsby not win the MVP? Wikipedia says, “That year, the NL reintroduced its Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. Although Hornsby was expected to win the award, it went to Dazzy Vance instead. Cincinnati voter Jack Ryder left Hornsby’s name off his ballot altogether because he believed Hornsby was an MVP on the stat sheet, but was not a team player. In 1962, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America presented Hornsby with an award retroactively recognizing him as the 1924 MVP.” Even in 1924, people were having the argument about valuable versus “best player.” In my mind, they’re the same.

frisch4

2B-Frankie Frisch, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1921 1922 1923

.328, 7 HR, 69 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-121

Putouts as 2B-391

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.79

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.49

4th Time All-Star-It’s no coincidence that since Frisch started making All-Star teams, the Giants have won pennants. The Fordham Flash knew how to win and he did with his outstanding play on the field. This season, Frisch finished third in WAR (7.1), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (12.1) and Brooklyn pitcher Dazzy Vance (10.2); second in WAR Position Players (7.5), trailing Hornsby (12.1); fifth in Offensive WAR (5.5); third in Defensive WAR (2.6), behind two Pittsburgh players, shortstop Glenn Wright (4.0) and second baseman Rabbit Maranville (2.9); eighth in batting (.328); 10th in on-base percentage (.387); and went 22-for-31 stealing.

Frisch also had another outstanding World Series, hitting .333 (10-for-30) with four doubles and a triple, but it didn’t help the Giants defeat Washington as his team lost four games-to-three.

Be A Better Hitter says that on September 10, 1924, “[T]he indomitable Fordham Flash knocked out a career high 6 hits in a Giants victory over the Braves, by the healthy score of 22-1. Frisch’s line that day was 6 for 7 with 3 runs scored, 4 RBI.

“The switch hitting, hard-nosed competitor Frisch faced lefty part-time Center fielder and Pitcher Johnny Cooney, righties Tim McNamara, and Joe Muich. McNamara’s career lasted five years, as he won 14 lost 29 and had a healthy ERA of 4.78. Muich’s big league career lasted just three games all in month of September, 1924. It just was not a fair fight. In the 4th inning against McNamara he hit his home run left handed. His additional five singles were from both sides of the plate in facing Cooney and Muich.”

high

2B-Andy High, Brooklyn Robins, 26 Years Old

.328, 6 HR, 61 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Andrew Aird “Handy Andy” or “Knee” High was born on November 21, 1897 in Ava, IL. The five-foot-six, 155 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing infielder started with Brooklyn in 1922 as a third baseman and then moved to second this season and had his best year ever. He finished 10th in WAR (4.9); seventh in WAR Position Players (4.9); sixth in Offensive WAR (5.0); ninth in batting (.328); and seventh in on-base percentage (.390). After this season, he ended up playing three World Series with the Cardinals, hitting .294 (10-for-34) with two doubles. High was part of St. Louis’ championship team in 1931.

SABR says, “After retirement from baseball, Handy Andy enjoyed visits with family, attending reunions with former teammates in and around St. Louis, and being interviewed by sportswriters. According to grand-daughter Kimberly High, he also spent time “tinkering with things electrical,” utilizing the skills he had learned in the navy and as a licensed electrician.  Also an active gardener, he specialized in the cultivation of roses and tomatoes. And the birds flying around the property weren’t to be denied; Andy faithfully kept their feeders filled.

“In 1980 Andy suffered a stroke, and went to live at his son’s home in Toledo. The little man with the big heart, who came up even larger in the game he loved, passed away in 1981 at age 83. The date of death was February 22, also the birthday of George Washington, the father of the country Andrew Aird High proudly served in two world wars. He was laid to rest at Evergreen Cemetery in Ava, Illinois, his birthplace, alongside his wife, Mildred, who died in 1974.”

grantham

2B-George Grantham, Chicago Cubs, 24 Years Old

.316, 12 HR, 60 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. 6 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-63

Power-Speed #-15.3

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

1st Time All-Star-George Fairley “Boots” Grantham was born on May 20, 1900 in Galena, KS. The five-foot-10, 170 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing second baseman started with Chicago in 1922 and became fulltime in 1923. He had his best season this year, finishing 10th in WAR Position Players (4.1), eighth in on-base percentage (.390), and went a mediocre 21-for-42 stealing. Grantham also led the National League in whiffs for a second straight season.

It’s incredible there was time when the strikeout leader in a league K’d just 63 times. The first time anyone struck out 100 times was Sam Wise (Sean Astin?) who whiffed 104 times in 1884. Harry Lumley broke that record in 1904 with 106. Then from 1904-14, at least one player reached the century mark in Ks eight of those 11 seasons. From 1915-through-1931, no one struck out 100 times, not even the free-swinging Babe Ruth.

Fast forward to the 2010s and from 2015-through-2018, at least one player has struck out 200 times. From 2008-to-2018, there was only one season – 2014 – in which no player reached the two century mark. Every baseball era has its style of play and nowadays in baseball, it’s more important to swing for the fences and players don’t worry if the final result is a walk to the bench.

Still, Grantham’s 63 strikeouts for a National League leader were low even for his time. Dode Paskert and Ross Youngs led the NL with 49 Ks in 1918, but that was a shortened season. The last time before that anyone led the league with less than 63 whiffs was Ducky Holmes in 1899 with 58.

groh7

3B-Heinie Groh, New York Giants, 34 Years Old

1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920

.281, 2 HR, 46 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1924)

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-11 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 3B-145

Fielding % as 3B-.983

7th Time All-Star-When Groh last made the All-Star team back in 1920, I wrote he’d have to fluke onto an All-Star team in order to make my Hall of Fame. Well he did and he did. He did fluke onto this team due to a lack of good players at the hot corner and he did make my Hall of Fame due to making his seventh All-Star team which when multiplied by his Career WAR of 48.2 puts him over 300 and into my very prestigious Hall of Fame. He joins fellow third basemen Home Run Baker, Jimmy Collins, Larry Gardner, and Deacon White. Groh never got a lot of interest from Cooperstown.

Since Groh last made the All-Star team, he has played in three World Series, though in the 1924 Series, he had just one at-bat in which he singled. He had a great 1922 Series for the Giants, hitting .474 with a triple, but a tough one for New York in 1923, hitting just .182.

Wikipedia states, “Groh appeared in a limited role for the Giants in each of the next two years, and ended his career with the Pirates in 1927. His final major league appearance was as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of Game 3 of the 1927 World Series against the Yankees, in which the Pirates were swept; he popped up to pitcher Herb Pennock. Groh retired with a .292 batting average, 1774 hits, 918 runs, 566 RBI, 26 home runs, 308 doubles, 696 walks and 180 stolen bases in 1676 games. His career fielding average was later topped by Kamm, and remained an NL record until Ken Reitz surpassed it in 1979; Traynor broke his record for career double plays in 1933. Groh’s 1299 games at third base trailed only Harry Steinfeldt (1386) and Milt Stock(1349) in NL history.

“Groh was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1963, and died at age 78 in Cincinnati; he is interred in Spring Grove Cemetery there.”

wrightg

SS-Glenn Wright, Pittsburgh Pirates, 23 Years Old

.287, 7 HR, 111 RBI

MVP Rank: 11

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-4.0

At Bats-616

Assists-601

Def. Games as SS-153

Assists as SS-601

Double Plays Turned as SS-102

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.95

1st Time All-Star-Forest Glenn “Buckshot” Wright was born on February 6, 1901 in Archie, MO. The five-foot-11, 170 pound righty shortstop had a sensational rookie year, mainly with the glove, leading the National League in Defensive WAR (4.0). He would always be good at defense, finishing in the top 10 in Defensive WAR seven times, but his bat was just okay. That being said, just like this, his rookie season, Wright would always be good at driving in runs. For this season, he finished seventh in WAR (5.7); sixth in WAR Position Players (5.7); and third in RBI (111).

SABR says, “After a season in Class D ball, Wright joined Kansas City, at the highest minor league level, in 1922. He batted .299 with 10 home runs, and his defense was even more impressive. His powerful arm earned him the nickname ‘Buckshot,’ but it was not entirely complimentary. ‘I could throw hard but no one could tell where,’ he said. The next year he hit 15 homers and batted .313 as the Blues won the American Association pennant and defeated the International League powerhouse Baltimore Orioles in the Little World Series.

“Wright was an instant star. After a month he moved into the number-three spot in the batting order, and by midseason he was hitting cleanup. He led the team with 111 RBIs and put up a batting line of .287/.318/.425. Playing every inning of every game, he set a major league record with 601 assists, a mark that lasted more than half a century. (Ozzie Smith broke the record in 1980, playing five more games than Wright.) A poll of players chose Wright as the all-star shortstop for both leagues.”

wheat5

LF-Zack Wheat, Brooklyn Robins, 36 Years Old

1914 1916 1920 1922

.375, 14 HR, 97 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1959)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1924)

 

Led in:

 

Singles-149

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

Putouts as LF-289 (7th Time)

Double Plays Turned as LF-4 (3rd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Wheat hit .375 in 1923, but only played in 98 games so he didn’t make the All-Star team, but he’s back. Notice above he’s only made All-Star teams in even-numbered years. But not only did he make the All-Star team this season, but also made my Hall of Fame, joining fellow leftfielders Jesse Burkett, Fred Clarke, Ed Delahanty, Sherry Magee, Jim O’Rourke, and Bobby Veach. He’s not going to make the ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame, but his long career definitely deserves applause.

This year, Wheat had his best season ever, finishing fourth in WAR (6.7); third in WAR Position Players (6.7), behind two second basemen, St. Louis’ Rogers Hornsby (12.1) and New York’s Frankie Frisch (7.5); third in Offensive WAR (6.4), trailing Hornsby (11.5) and teammate, first baseman Jack Fournier (6.6); second in batting (.375), behind Rajah (.424); fourth in on-base percentage (.428); third in slugging (.549), behind you-know-who (.696) and Philadelphia centerfielder Cy Williams (.552); second in Adjusted OPS+ (163), trailing the unbelievable R-Horn (now I’m just making up nicknames) (222); and first in singles (149).

From the Baseball Hall of Fame page: “But the memories of his 19-years in left field that had since faded were about to come flooding back. With one phone call from J.G. Taylor Spink on Feb. 1, 1959, Wheat went from being remembered as a beloved Dodgers great to being immortalized in Cooperstown as one of best baseball players of all time. In the 20th anniversary year of the Hall of Fame’s first induction ceremony, Zack Wheat would get his due.”

cuyler

LF-Kiki Cuyler, Pittsburgh Pirates, 25 Years Old

.354, 9 HR, 85 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown : Yes (Inducted in 1968)

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as LF-12

Errors Committed as OF-16

1st Time All-Star-Hazen Shirley “Kiki” Cuyler (pronounced KAI-kai KAI-lur) was born on August 30, 1898 in Harrisville, MI. The five-foot-10, 180 pound righty outfielder started with Pittsburgh in 1921, but didn’t have enough at-bats to qualify as a rookie until this season. Kiki was good from the beginning, finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (4.7); ninth in Offensive WAR (4.4); fourth in batting (.354); sixth in on-base percentage (.402); fourth in slugging (.539); fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (148); and went an impressive 32-for-43 stealing.

Wikipedia says, “Cuyler started his professional baseball career with the Bay City Wolves in 1920. He appeared briefly in the major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates over the next three seasons, but still spent the majority of each season in the minor leagues. He hit .340 in 1923 for the Nashville Vols of the Southern Association. He was promoted to the Pirates for his first full major league season in 1924.

“Two explanations have been given for the origin of Cuyler’s nickname, ‘Kiki’. In the first version, he had been known as ‘Cuy’ for a long time. When a fly ball was hit to the Nashville outfield and it was judged to be Cuyler’s play, the shortstop would call out ‘Cuy’ and this call would be echoed by the second baseman. The echoed name caught on with Nashville’s fans. In the second explanation, ‘Kiki Cuyler’ came from the player’s stuttering problem and the way it sounded when Cuyler said his own last name.” I hope it’s the first, it’s kinder.

williamsc4CF-Cy Williams, Philadelphia Phillies, 36 Years Old

1916 1920 1921

.328, 24 HR, 93 RBI

MVP Rank: 22

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-I am a tough critic. Williams hit a career-high 26 homers in 1922 and didn’t make my All-Star team. In 1923, he belted 41 homers, one shy of the National League record established by Rogers Hornsby the year before, and he still didn’t make my All-Star team. There are a variety of reasons for this, but the main one is Williams’ home park was the bandbox Baker Bowl. In 1922, 17 of his 26 homers were at home while in 1923, 26 of his 41 dingers were at the Baker Bowl.

As for his team, Art Fletcher managed Philadelphia to a seventh place finish with a 55-96 record, 37 games out of first. When adjusted for their home park, the Phillies couldn’t hit and their pitching staff gave up the most runs in the NL.

SABR says, “National League managers recognized that the best defense was to play him extremely deep and around toward right field—the first ‘Williams shift,’ more than 20 years before Lou Boudreau developed a similar plan to defense Ted Williams.

“Retiring from the majors after the 1930 season, Williams spent one year in the Eastern League as the player-manager for Richmond, Virginia, then returned to his several-hundred acre dairy farm in Wisconsin where he worked as an architect and started a construction business… In his free time Cy liked to hunt and fish, often engaging in those pursuits with his fellow left-handed slugger Ted Williams…Cy Williams died at age 86 on April 23, 1974, in Eagle River, Wisconsin.”

carey8CF-Max Carey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 34 Years Old

1912 1916 1917 1918 1921 1922 1923

.297, 8 HR, 55 RBI

MVP Rank: 18

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1961)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1922)

 

Led in:

 

Plate Appearances-683 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases-49 (9th Time)

Def. Games as CF-149 (4th Time)

Putouts as CF-428 (7th Time)

Errors Committed as CF-16 (5th Time)

Def. Games as OF-149 (3rd Time)

Putouts as OF-428 (9th Time)

Errors Committed as OF-16 (3rd Time)

8th Time All-Star-For a player relying on speed like Carey, his value should’ve started to drop as he aged. But the 34-year-old Scoops kept running and kept making All-Star teams. He’s got a shot at the ONEHOF, the Hall of Fame of my making that inducts one player a year. He’s certainly going to make one more All-Star team. This year, Carey finished 49 for 62 stealing, again showing a proficiency at swiping bags many in his era didn’t have.

Carey would end up playing for the Pirates for 17 years, so you might ask where he ranks among the all-time Pittsburgh greats. If based on bWAR, he’s the eighth greatest Pirate ever. He’s behind the incomparable shortstop Honus Wagner, the rifle-armed rightfielder Roberto Clemente, Paul Waner, Arky Vaughan, Willie Stargell, Babe Adams, and Wilbur Cooper. In ninth place is the great Barry Bonds. So of the eight greats, only two are modern-day players.

Among base stealers for the Pirates, he’s number one with 688, 49 more than Wagner. Omar Moreno (412), Patsy Donovan (312), and Tommy Leach (271) complete the top five.

Carey is also the Pirates all-time leader in sacrifices (257).

It’s quite a career for a man who was a decent hitter, but certainly not great. His career OPS+ is only 108, which is better than average, but only just so. My guess is he is certainly going to make the ONEHOF and he could make it as early as next season. I think Carey is one of the underrated greats.

youngs6

RF-Ross Youngs, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1919 1920 1921 1922 1923

.356, 10 HR, 74 RBI

MVP Rank: 5

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1972)

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as RF-236 (2nd Time)

Assists as RF-17 (5th Time)

Errors Committed as RF-12 (4th Time)

6th Time All-Star-This season is likely Ross Youngs’ last All-Star team and it shouldn’t be disregarded how great of stretch he had from 1919-24. He wasn’t Babe Ruth, to which some compared him, but he was a great player who made the Hall of Fame. What kind of stats would have Youngs put up if…

From SABR: “Youngs, who turned 28 in April, continued to feel below par during spring training and for much of the 1925 season, struggling to a .264 average, the first time in his career he had hit below .300. His decline surely had something to do with the Giants sliding to second place, 8 ½ games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates, thus ending their consecutive National League pennant run at four.

“Youngs returned to San Antonio in October [1926] and in December was admitted to the Physicians and Surgeons Hospital there with what was termed the flu. He remained there until April when he improved enough to go home. He even expressed optimism about being able to rejoin the Giants. But he was unable to leave San Antonio and returned to the hospital in early October before passing away on October 22 from Bright’s Disease, or nephritis, a then-fatal kidney ailment.

“John McGraw biographer Charles Alexander interviewed Dr. Jesse H. DeLee of San Antonio, who had thoroughly investigated Youngs’s medical history. According to Dr. DeLee, a streptococcal throat condition (strep throat) migrated into his kidneys and resulted in a severe urinary tract infection. Before the advent of antibiotics, there was no effective treatment.” What a tragic story.

1923 American League All-Star Team

P-George Uhle, CLE

P-Urban Shocker, SLB

P-Howard Ehmke, BOS

P-Elam Vangilder, SLB

P-Herb Pennock, NYY

P-Eddie Rommel, PHA

P-Hooks Dauss, DET

P-Bullet Joe Bush, NYY

P-Sloppy Thurston, SLB/CHW

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

C-Muddy Ruel, WSH

C-Johnny Bassler, DET

1B-Joe Hauser, PHA

2B-Eddie Collins, CHW

2B-Aaron Ward, NYY

3B-Willie Kamm, CHW

SS-Joe Sewell, CLE

LF-Ken Williams, SLB

LF-Charlie Jamieson, CLE

LF-Joe Harris, BOS

CF-Tris Speaker, CLE

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

RF-Babe Ruth, NYY

RF-Harry Heilmann, DET

RF-Sam Rice, WSH

 

uhle2

P-George Uhle, Cleveland Indians, 24 Years Old

1922

26-16, 3.77 ERA, 109 K, .361, 0 HR, 22 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-26

Innings Pitched-357 2/3

Games Started-44 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-30

Hits Allowed-378

Earned Runs Allowed-150

Batters Faced-1,548

Putouts as P-18

2nd Time All-Star-Sometimes the important thing to do as a player is show up and Uhle showed up every fourth day and gave the Indians a good performance most of the time. However, the reason he has the highest WAR of any pitcher is because of his hitting. He slashed .361/.391/.472. It was easily the best hitting year of his career. Altogether, Uhle finished fourth in WAR (7.8); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.9); and first in innings pitched (357 2/3).

SABR says, “In 1923, Uhle put together a career year. He pitched 357 2/3 innings and posted a league-leading 26 wins to go with 16 losses. He led the league in complete games, going the distance in 29 of 44 starting assignments. For the first time, he topped 100 strikeouts in a season, fanning 109, but also walked 102.

“Uhle was especially tough on the Yankees. In seven starts, he posted a 6-1 record with a 2.75 ERA. In 16 starts from July 10 to September 3, Uhle posted a 13-2 record. Even more astounding than his achievements on the mound was his work at the plate. Uhle set a record for hits by a pitcher with 52, and hit .361 for the year. He hit 10 doubles and had a career-high 22 RBIs. His slugging percentage was .472.   On June 1 in Detroit, Uhle went 4-for-4 with three doubles and four RBIs in a 17-4 rout of the Tigers.” He was also one of the most effective pitchers against Babe Ruth.

shocker5

P-Urban Shocker, St. Louis Browns, 32 Years Old

1919 1920 1921 1922

20-12, 3.41 ERA, 109 K, .200, 0 HR, 6 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-6.2

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.590 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-2.225 (2nd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.27

5th Time All-Star-During this stretch of time where the Yankees dominated the American League, there were a lot of great performances happening which unfortunately did not lead to pennants. Shocker, the hard throwing righty for the Browns now made his fifth straight All-Star team and will eventually make my Hall of Fame. He finished seventh in WAR (6.5); first in WAR for Pitchers (6.2); ninth in ERA (3.41); sixth in innings pitched (277 1/3); eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (123); and had the best control in the league, allowing just 1.590 walks per nine innings.

St. Louis, managed by Lee Fohl (52-49) and Jimmy Austin (22-29), dropped from second to fifth, mainly due to the absence of George Sisler, who missed the whole season due to severe sinus infection. This was third and last time Austin took over as an interim manager for the Browns, as he also did so in 1913 and 1918. He finished with a career managerial record of 31-44.

SABR says, “Over the next two seasons, the Browns slipped back to the middle of the pack in the American League. Fohl was replaced in 1923 by longtime Browns infielder Jimmy Austin. Shocker won 20 games in 1923 and it may have been more. But the veteran pitcher took a stand against the club rule prohibiting wives from accompanying the team on road trips. Shocker refused to join the Browns on a trip to Philadelphia without his wife, Irene. When Shocker was threatened with fines and suspension, he held his ground. He was suspended for the remainder of the 1923 season, pitching his last game on September, 7 at Chicago. Shocker brought his case to Commissioner Landis, making a plea that he be declared a ‘free agent’. However a settlement was finally reached between Shocker and the Browns.”

ehmke2

P-Howard Ehmke, Boston Red Sox, 29 Years Old

1920

20-17, 3.78 ERA, 121 K, .223, 0 HR, 7 RBI

MVP Rank: 11

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-20 (3rd Time)

Putouts as P-18

Range Factor/Game as P-2.77

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team as a fluke in 1920, Ehmke couldn’t get back while pitching for the Tigers. He started a string of leading the American League in hits batsmen and so he was traded by the Detroit Tigers with Danny ClarkBabe HermanCarl Holling and $25,000 to the Boston Red Sox for Rip Collins and Del Pratt. He came back this year, finishing ninth in WAR (6.0); second in WAR for Pitchers (6.1), behind St. Louis pitcher Urban Shocker (6.2); second in innings pitched (316 2/3), behind Cleveland’s George Uhle (357 2/3); and, for the third straight season, first in hit batsmen (20).

Boston, managed by Frank Chance, finished in last for the second straight year with a 61-91 record, 37 games out of first. The Red Sox couldn’t hit, finishing last in the AL in runs scored and they couldn’t pitch, having the highest ERA in the league. This would be the last year Chance ever managed. He finished with four pennants, two championships, and a lifetime 946-648 record.

Wikipedia says, “Ehmke flourished in Boston, winning 20 games in 1923. On September 7 of that year, he no-hit his future team, the Philadelphia Athletics, 4-0, at Shibe Park; not until Mel Parnell in 1956 would another Red Sox pitch a no-hitter. In that game, Slim Harriss hit a ball to the wall for a double, but was called out for missing first base, preserving the no-hitter. He followed the performance up with a one-hitter against the Yankees four days later, with the only hit in that game a ground ball that bounced off the third baseman’s chest. He still holds the American League record for fewest hits allowed (one) in two consecutive games (Johnny Vander Meer‘s consecutive no-hitters in 1938 is the Major League record).”

vangilder

P-Elam Vangilder, St. Louis Browns, 27 Years Old

16-17, 3.06 ERA, 74 K, .218, 1 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-120

Adj. Pitching Runs-28

Adj. Pitching Wins-2.9

1st Time All-Star-Elam Russell Vangilder was born on April 23, 1896 in Cape Girardeau, MO. The six-foot-one, 192 pound righty pitcher started with the Browns in 1919 and in 1922, won 19 games. This season was his best ever as he finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.8); fourth in ERA (3.06); fifth in innings pitched (282 1/3); and second in Adjusted ERA (137), behind Cleveland’s Stan Coveleski (144). He would pitch six more seasons and finish with a 99-102 record and a 4.28 career ERA.

There was a famous game on June 15, 1923 between the Browns and Yankees. It wasn’t a great game as the Daily News tells us: “Let us not libel the great national pastime by recording yesterday’s meeting of the Yanks and the Browns, their third of a series, as a baseball game. A side splitting comedy of hits and errors would be getting nearer the point. It was all of that. The Yanks furnished the hits and the runs, ten of each; the Mound City crew the errors; five all told, and none of the runs. Fohl’s men threatened to score several times but nothing came of it. As indicated, the score was 10-0.

“One Elam Van Gilder, a right-hander, was out there with nothing more than a prayer and the good wishes of Lee Fohl, but he didn’t get any further than the second round. He was no match for Herbie Pennock, the red-flanneled southpaw. After Elam went, “Dixie” Davis came in and managed to get the thing over.

“With the verdict sealed and delivered, Huggins gave young Lou Gehrig, the Columbian collegian, a chance to break in as a big leaguer in the ninth. He took Wally Pipp‘s place at first and made the last putout of the game.”

That’s right Vangilder pitched in Lou Gehrig’s first game. He died at the age of 81 on April 30, 1977 in Cape Girardeau.

pennock

P-Herb Pennock, New York Yankees, 29 Years Old

19-6, 3.13 ERA, 93 K, .193, 0 HR, 8 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1948)

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.760

1st Time All-Star-Herbert Jefferis “Herb” or “The Squire/Knight of Kennett Square” Pennock was born on February 10, 1894 in Kennett Square, PA. The six-foot, 160 pound lefty pitching, switch-hittter started with Philadelphia in 1912. He pitched in the World Series for the Athletics in 1914, pitching three scoreless innings. Philadelphia released him in 1915 and he was picked up by the Red Sox. Before this season, he was Traded by the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees for Norm McMillanGeorge MurrayCamp Skinner and $50,000. He finished 10th in WAR (6.0); third in WAR for Pitchers (5.9), behind St. Louis’ Urban Shocker (6.2) and Boston’s Howard Ehmke (6.1); sixth in ERA (3.13); fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (126); and first in win-loss percentage (.760).

The Yankees started as the Highlanders in 1903 and didn’t win their first pennant until 1921, after the acquisition of Babe Ruth. They lost the World Series in 1921 and 1922, but won their first of 26 (as of this writing) this year. Miller Huggins led the team to a 98-54 record, 16 games ahead of second place Detroit. The Bronx Bombers could hit, leading the American League in homers (105) and they could pitch, leading the league in ERA (3.62). In the World Series versus the Giants, they won 4-2. Pennock pitched in three games, starting two, and was 2-0 with a 3.63 ERA.

Pennock is probably not going to make my Hall of Fame since much of his success comes from run support for him.

rommel4

P-Eddie Rommel, Philadelphia Athletics, 25 Years Old

1920 1921 1922

18-19, 3.27 ERA, 76 K, .238, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-56 (2nd Time)

Losses-19 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as P-56 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-109

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-3.81 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Rommel made his fourth straight All-Star team and is a good candidate for my Hall of Fame. It’s probably going to come down to whether he makes my team next year. If he does, he’s in. If he doesn’t, it’s iffy. This year, Rommel finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.4); eighth in ERA (3.27); fourth in innings pitched (297 2/3); sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (126); and, managed by the old school Connie Mack, first in games pitched (56).

Philadelphia moved up from seventh to sixth this season with a 69-83 record, 29 games out of first. The Athletics struggled hitting, leading the American League in strikeouts.

SABR says, “In his best years, the decade of 1921-1930, Rommel won 156 games, only ten games less than the leader for the decade, Hall of Famer Waite Hoyt. His .598 won-lost percentage was fourth best (Grove led at .669). His 3.57 earned-run average was eighth best, and his ERA+ (a measure of a pitcher’s earned-run average compared to the league ERA) was fourth, at 121 (100 is average). He was seventh in the league in WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched), and led the league’s pitchers in WAR (wins above replacement) at 35.2 for the decade. Rommel also helped himself as a fielder, leading the league in fielding percentage three times and in assists twice.”

Even though Rommel threw the knuckleball, his arm was starting to build up straing from all the innings he’s been compiling. However, he’s still got some good seasons left.

dauss2

P-Hooks Dauss, Detroit Tigers, 33 Years Old

1915

21-13, 3.62 ERA, 105 K, .231, 0 HR, 13 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1915, Dauss had some good seasons, just not All-Star team good. He won 19 games in 1916 and 21 games in 1919, but couldn’t quite make the list. This season, Dauss finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.7) and third in innings pitched (316), behind Cleveland’s George Uhle (357 2/3) and Boston’s Howard Ehmke (316 2/3). That’s a lot of innings for a 33-year-old arm.

Wikipedia says, “On September 10, 1925, in the first game of a doubleheader, Dauss and the Tigers beat the Cleveland Indians, 6-1; this gave Dauss his 210th win in a Detroit uniform, surpassing George Mullin‘s 209. Dauss has held the Tigers record for pitcher wins ever since: 93 years as of 2018. He is likely to retain this record for some time to come, unless Justin Verlander (who was traded to the Houston Astros in 2017) returns to Detroit. (Verlander has 183 wins as a Tiger, 40 shy of Dauss.)

“From 1945 until the time of his death, Dauss lived in Fenton, Missouri. He died after a long illness in 1963 at Firmin Desloge Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri at age 73.”

Isn’t it amazing that this curveball pitcher has won more games than anyone in Detroit’s long history? Would have you guessed that if I gave you 10 chances? Hal Newhouser is probably their best pitcher of all-time, but Dauss wasn’t bad. He’s has the 19th highest WAR for any Tigers player. His manager has the highest career Detroit WAR, of course.

bushb3

P-Bullet Joe Bush, New York Yankees, 30 Years Old

1916 1921

19-15, 3.43 ERA, 125 K, .274, 2 HR, 21 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wild Pitches-12 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Bush has now made three All-Star teams on three different teams. He made it for the Athletics in 1916, then for the Red Sox in 1921. After 1921, he was traded by the Boston Red Sox with Sad Sam Jones and Everett Scott to the New York Yankees for Rip CollinsRoger PeckinpaughBill PiercyJack Quinn and $100,000. He surprisingly didn’t make the All-Star team in 1922 despite going 26-7. What was I thinking?

This season, Bush finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.8), seventh in innings pitched (275 2/3), and first in wild pitches (12). In the 1922 World Series, Bush went 0-2 with a 4.80 ERA, but this season, in a Series won by the Bronx Bombers, Bush finished 1-1 with a 1.08 ERA. That’s pretty good. So was his hitting in the World Series, as he went three-for-seven (.429) with a double. He had a great bat for a hurler.

Here’s the SABR description of his Series: “Game One of the 1923 World Series was the first Series game to be played in Yankee Stadium and the first to be broadcast nationally. Bullet Joe pitched well in relief that day, but his World Series jinx continued; he lost to the McGraw nine, 5-4, when Casey Stengel hit an inside-the-park home run off him in the ninth. He came back in a crucial fifth contest with the teams locked at two wins apiece, however, pitching a masterful game and shutting down the Giants, 8-1. The Atlanta Constitution reported, ‘”Bullet Joe” Bush Baffles Sluggers of the McGraw Clan With Slow Fork Ball.’ The Yankees wrapped up the series by winning the next and final game, 6-4.”

thurston

P-Sloppy Thurston, St. Louis Browns/Chicago White Sox, 24 Years Old

7-8, 3.13 ERA, 55 K, .316, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Finished-30

1st Time All-Star-Hollis John “Sloppy” Thurston was born on June 2, 1899 in Fremont, NE. The five-foot-11, 165 pound righty had a good rookie year, starting with the Browns and giving up four runs, three earned, in four innings before he was purchased from St. Louis by the White Sox. With the Sox, he finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.2); sixth in ERA (3.13); fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (127); and first in games finished. Not too many relievers make my list, but Sloppy did.

Chicago, managed by Kid Gleason, dropped from fifth to seventh with a 69-85 record. It was Kid’s last season managing. He finished with a career record of 392-364 and an American League pennant. He’s most famous, of course, for being played in Eight Men Out by Frasier’s dad.

Wikipedia says, “On August 22, 1923, Thurston struck out three batters on nine pitches in the 12th inning of a 3–2 loss to the Philadelphia Athletics. He became the second American League pitcher and the sixth pitcher in major league history to accomplish the “immaculate inning“. He is also the first pitcher to achieve the feat in extra innings.

“In 1924, while pitching for the Chicago White Sox, Thurston led the American League with 28 Complete Games, posting a 20-14 record in 36 starts, while also leading the league in Hits Allowed (330), Earned Runs Allowed (123), and Home Runs Allowed (17) in 291 innings pitched.

“Thurston died on September 14, 1973, in Los Angeles. He is interred at Holy Cross Cemetery & Mausoleum in Culver City, California.”

johnson15

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 35 Years Old

1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1921 1922

17-12, 3.48 ERA, 130 K, .194, 0 HR, 13 RBI

MVP Rank: 20

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-130 (11th Time)

Hit By Pitch-20 (2nd Time)

15th Time All-Star-Today’s baseball teaches us pitchers’ arms only have a certain amount of pitchers in them, so we have pitch counts. Yet even pitch counts weren’t enough, we’ve also learned batters “figure out” hurlers after two times through the order, so that cuts down on innings pitched also. I’m glad no one showed these studies to The Big Train, because his arm seemed to have almost unlimited pitches in it. This season, at 35 years old, he led the American League in strikeouts with 130 and pitched 261 innings.

Johnson is also the second greatest player of all-time at this point in baseball history. See the whole list here.

Washington, managed by Donie Bush, moved up from sixth to fourth under his guidance in his first season. It finished 75-78, 23-and-a-half games out of first. Despite having Johnson, the Senators weren’t a good pitching team, giving up the most walks in the AL. This was Bush’s first year managing and his only year with DC.

CBS Sports says, “It was July 22, 1923, when Washington Senators hurler Walter Johnson struck out Stan Coveleski of the Indians for his 3,000th career strikeout.

“The Big Train was the first player in MLB history to record 3,000 strikeouts and when considering the era, his reaching the feat becomes even more impressive. Johnson led the league in strikeouts 12 out of 15 seasons in one stretch and was the only player in history with at least 3,000 strikeouts for 51 years — as Bob Gibson was next to reach the plateau in 1974.”

 

ruel

C-Muddy Ruel, Washington Senators, 27 Years Old

.316, 0 HR, 54 RBI

MVP Rank: 11

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-528

Assists as C-146

Range Factor/9 Inn as C-5.49

1st Time All-Star-Herold Dominic “Muddy” Ruel was born on February 20, 1896 in St. Louis, MO. The five-foot-nine-150 pound righty catcher started with the Browns in 1915 and went hitless in 14 at bats. He then played in the Majors again in 1917 with the Yankees before coming to Boston in 1921. Before this season, he was traded by the Boston Red Sox with Allen Russell to the Washington Senators for Ed GoebelVal Picinich and Howie Shanks. He garnered fame with his glove, finishing fourth in Defensive WAR (1.7).

SABR says, “The origin of the nickname ‘Muddy’ has more than one explanation. One story is that the young Herold came into his house covered in mud after playing outside. At which point, his father looked at him and said, ‘Well, there’s Muddy.’ Another version attributes the moniker to Ruel having mud splattered on his face from catching a thrown ball that was made of mud. Yet, another version indicates that the name originated with Ruel’s use of a ‘dirty’ tongue in an attempt to psyche out opposing hitters. It is most likely that one of the first two stories is closest to the accurate origin of the nickname. Other stories suggested that Ruel never used language that was any courser than ‘rogue’ or ‘dag-gum it.’

“Connie Mack, the elder statesman of the Philadelphia Athletics and himself a former big-league catcher, paid high praise to Ruel’s ability behind the plate in 1923. Mack said, ‘Ruel is the best catcher in either major league this year. . . . He has handled his pitchers in fine style and has been a terror at the bat. . . . he is tireless, the type of catcher that makes every player on his club perk up. Ruel . . . is easily the best catcher of the year in every department of play.’”

bassler2

C-Johnny Bassler, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old

1922

.298, 0 HR, 49 RBI

MVP Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.2

Caught Stealing-84

Caught Stealing %-59.6

2nd Time All-Star-Bassler was a workhorse when compared to the other catchers of his day. He played 135 games, which is a ton for his position. He made his second consecutive All-Star team by finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (4.8); first in Defensive WAR (2.2); eighth in on-base percentage (.414); and first in gunning down runners (84). He ranked seventh in the voting for the 1923 American League Most Valuable Player award. Between the 1923 and 1924 seasons, Harry Bullion of the Detroit Free Press wrote that Bassler, like Cobb, was a student of the game.

Wikipedia says, “During the 1923 season, Bassler was part of one of the great trick plays in baseball history. When Babe Ruth came to bat, player-manager Ty Cobb whistled a signal to Bassler and pitcher Hooks Dauss from center field, directing them to give Ruth an intentional walk. When Dauss threw a strike past Ruth, Cobb ran to the infield, yelling at Dauss and Bassler for disobeying his order. When Dauss then threw a second strike past Ruth, Cobb raced in again, stomped around and pulled both Dauss and Bassler from the game. After warming up, the relief pitcher fired a third strike past an unsuspecting Ruth. Cobb reportedly doubled up in laughter, calling it a ‘once in a lifetime setup play.’”

After the first two strikes, wouldn’t Ruth have been suspicious? Also, wouldn’t have those visits by Cobb have counted as mound visits and shouldn’t have Dauss been taken out of the game?

hauser

1B-Joe Hauser, Philadelphia Athletics, 24 Years Old

.307, 17 HR, 94 RBI

MVP Rank: 20

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Joseph John “Joe” or “Unser Choe” Hauser was born on January 12, 1899 in Milwaukee, WI. The five-foot-10, 175 pound lefty first baseman started with the Athletics in 1922 and had a good season, slashing .323/.378/.481 for an OPS+ of 120. This season was his best ever as he slashed .307/.398/.475 for an OPS+ of 128, but the only reason he made the All-Star team was an injury to George Sisler.

Wikipedia says, “After being discovered playing semi-pro ball in Waupun, Wisconsin, Hauser was signed to begin with Providence of the Eastern League in 1918, and found himself back in his hometown two years later, with the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association. There he acquired the nickname ‘Unser Choe’. As he told it, the predominantly German-immigrant fans would support him. If he was having a bad day at the plate and some fans were booing, others would admonish them with, ‘Das ist unser Choe!’ — German and German-English for ‘That is our Joe!’

“Hauser’s major league career was undistinguished, but he made a name for himself in the minor leagues, where he became the first player ever to hit 60 or more home runs twice in a professional career: 63 in 1930, and 69 in 1933.

“Hauser’s 69 was eventually matched by Bob Crues in 1948 and surpassed by the 72 of Joe Bauman in 1954. He remained the only player to hit 60 or more twice until Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa accomplished the feat in 1998 and 1999.”

Hauser lived a long life and just missed seeing McGwire and Sosa have their home run battle in 1998. He died on July 11, 1997 at the age of 98.

collins142B-Eddie Collins, Chicago White Sox, 36 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921

.360, 5 HR, 67 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-48

Caught Stealing-29

AB per SO-63.1

14th Time All-Star-Collins was fifth in the American League MVP voting in 1922, but it was the first year he didn’t make my All-Star team since 1908 after making 13 consecutive lists. Well, he’s back, and this season, finished eighth in WAR (6.3). This would be the last time he finishes in the top 10 in bWAR. He also finished sixth in WAR Position Players (6.3); sixth in Offensive WAR (6.6); fourth in batting (.360); fifth in on-base percentage (.455); seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (142); along with finishing first in steals (48) and caught stealings (29). That wasn’t a good percentage, but, if I can go into Old Fogey mode for a minute, I miss that teams and players took chances without having to check the computer to see if they try a play or not. I love baseball and I love stats, but I don’t think we’ll realize everything we miss because of sabermetrics. We’ll miss starting pitchers pitching six or more innings and, now thanks to openers, we’ll also miss starting pitchers. We’ll miss the stolen base. Sure Collins got caught 29 times, but he would have been fun to watch.

On to new business. Collins is the sixth best player of all-time at this point in baseball history. See the whole list here. He also has the most All-Star teams made at his position. Here’s the full list:

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Collins, 14

3B-Home Run Baker, 9

SS-Honus Wagner, 13

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Tris Speaker, 15

RF-Sam Crawford, 9

warda

2B-Aaron Ward, New York Yankees, 26 Years Old

.284, 10 HR, 81 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-152

Assists as 2B-493 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.980

1st Time All-Star-Aaron Lee Ward was born on August 28, 1896 in Booneville, AR. The five-foot-10, 160 pound righty second baseman started with the Yankees in 1917, but didn’t become fulltime until 1920, when as a third baseman he led the American League in whiffs with 84. He was in the top 10 in Defensive WAR starting that year, but this season put together enough offense to make the All-Star team. Ward finished second in Defensive WAR (2.1), behind Detroit catcher Johnny Bassler (2.2) and slashed .284/.351/.422 for an OPS+ of 101, his highest ever.

He followed this up with a great World Series. SABR says, “On Opening Day 1923, Ward became the first Yankee to get a hit in the new Yankee Stadium. He led major-league second basemen in fielding percentage in 1923, and nearly set a record for second basemen: his .97996 percentage was barely shy of George Cutshaw’s .98003 rate in 1919. Yankees shortstop Everett Scott said, ‘Ward has made more spectacular plays this year than any player in the league, and they went unnoticed owing to the grace with which he executed them.’

“After winning the pennant for the third year in a row, the Yankees at last defeated the Giants in the World Series. Ward batted .417 in the Series and led the team with 10 hits, and he handled all 38 of his fielding chances without error. ‘He is a real ball player, one of the best in either league,’ said manager Huggins.

“In the mid-1930s Ward worked for the Danciger Oil and Gas Refinery in the Texas panhandle and played for the Danciger Roadrunners. In 1946 he managed the New Iberia (Louisiana) Cardinals in the Class D Evangeline League, and in the 1950s he and his son Gene ran a tire retreading business in New Orleans. Ward died on January 30, 1961, in New Orleans, at the age of 64.”

kamm

3B-Willie Kamm, Chicago White Sox, 23 Years Old

.292, 6 HR, 87 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-149

Double Plays Turned as 3B-29

1st Time All-Star-William Edward “Willie” Kamm was born on Groundhog Day, 1900 in San Francisco. The five-foot-10, 170 pound righty third baseman had a great rookie year, finishing fifth in Defensive WAR (1.6) and stealing 18 of 31 bases. Over his career, he would be known for his defense than offense, though he did have some punch.

Wikipedia says, “Born in San Francisco, California, Kamm was the first player in major league baseball history to be contracted from the minor leagues for $100,000. He made his major league debut at the age of 23 with the Chicago White Sox in 1923, hitting 39 doubles with 89 runs batted in.”

SABR adds, “He was not as flashy as his predecessor, Buck Weaver. But he was as refined and polished as a third baseman as one could find. He had quick and sure hands and outstanding range, and threw perfect strikes across the diamond. Hall of Fame pitcher Charles ‘Chief’ Bender said he was the best third sacker he ever saw. Bill James rated him among the best defensive third baseman in history.

“Willie Kamm burst onto the Chicago South Side in 1923, and was a fan favorite at Comiskey Park for almost a decade. His defensive ability became legendary. Kamm would boast that his hands and his sleight of hand were so quick that he pulled the hidden-ball trick successfully twice a season.”

He’s definitely going to make at least one more of these lists and his defense might put him on a few more.

sewell2

SS-Joe Sewell, Cleveland Indians, 24 Years Old

1921

.353, 3 HR, 109 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1977)

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed-59 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as SS-59

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1921, Sewell had a decent year in 1922, but not good enough to make the list. He came back this year, however, with his best season ever. He finished sixth in WAR (7.5); fifth in WAR Position Players (7.5); fourth in Offensive WAR (8.0); sixth in batting (.353); fourth in on-base percentage (.456); eighth in slugging (.479); fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (146); and first in booting the ball with 59 errors. His offense would decrease while his defense would increase.

From Sewell’s Hall of Fame page, which says, “Over nearly 145 years of professional baseball, no player was tougher to strike out than Hall of Fame shortstop Joe Sewell.

“In 7,132 career at-bats, Sewell heard the umpire say ‘Strike three’ just 114 times. That’s one strikeout for every 63 at-bats, or once every 17 games, or in just .014 percent of his total times at the plate.

“So it was more than a noteworthy occurrence when on May 13, 1923, Joe Sewell struck out twice in one game for the first time in his career. In truth, it was more like an historical aberration.

“So with those impressive hurlers in mind, ‘Who was the first pitcher to strike out Joe Sewell twice in a game?’ might make for one of the better trivia questions in baseball history. That’s because the answer is rookie Cy ‘Wally’ Warmoth, who was making just his sixth career start when the Washington Senators traveled to Cleveland’s Dunn Field to face Sewell’s Indians.”

williamsk3

LF-Ken Williams, St. Louis Browns, 33 Years Old

1921 1922

.357, 29 HR, 91 RBI

MVP Rank: 15

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as LF-5

3rd Time All-Star-Williams was born just a few years too soon, because he was in his thirties when the home run era started. That’s why this will probably be his last All-Star team and it kept him from Cooperstown and will keep him from my Hall of Fame. This season, Williams finished fifth in WAR (7.6); fourth in WAR Position Players (7.6); fifth in Offensive WAR (7.2); fifth in batting (.357); sixth in on-base percentage (.439); third in slugging (.623), behind two rightfielders, New York’s Babe Ruth (.764) and Detroit’s Harry Heilmann (.632); fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (171); and went an average 18-for-35 stealing.

Wikipedia states, “In August 1923, the Washington Senators came into possession of one of Williams’ bats and discovered that it had been bored out and plugged with a lighter wood. The bat was turned over to National League umpire George Hildebrand for investigation and the Senators protested all the victories by the Browns in which Williams had used the bat. Williams explained that he had ordered the bat specially made, but when he received it, he found it to be too heavy, so he plugged it with a lighter wood. He was cited in the 1924 Reach Guide for using a corked bat, although major league baseball hadn’t ruled plugged bats illegal at the time. He finished the 1923 season with a career-high .357 batting average along with 29 home runs and 91 runs batted in and ended the season 15th in Most Valuable Player Award balloting.

Williams died on January 22, 1959 at the age of 68 in Grants Pass, OR.

jamieson

LF-Charlie Jamieson, Cleveland Indians, 30 Years Old

.345, 2 HR, 51 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

At-Bats-644

Plate Appearances-746

Hits-222

Singles-172

Def. Games as LF-152

Putouts as LF-360

Def. Games as OF-152

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.49

Fielding % as LF-.974

1st Time All-Star-Charles Devine “Charlie” or “Cuckoo” Jamieson was born on February 7, 1893 in Paterson, NJ. The five-foot-eight, 165 pound lefty leftfielder started with Washington in 1915-17. Then in July, 1917, the Athletics selected him off waivers. After the 1918 season, he was traded by the Philadelphia Athletics with Larry Gardner and Elmer Myers to the Cleveland Indians for Braggo Roth and cash. In the 1920 World Series for Cleveland, Cuckoo hit .333 (five-for-15) with a double as Cleveland went on to beat Brooklyn. This season was his best ever as he finished eighth in WAR Position Players (5.1); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.8); seventh in batting (.345); seventh in on-base percentage (.422); and went a disappointing 18-for-32 stealing. He also led the league in hits (222) and singles (172).

SABR says, “In January 1923, the Indians traded Joe Evans, thus ending the platoon in left field. Jamieson batted against seven southpaws during spring training in New Orleans, including future Hall of Famers Rube Marquard and Eppa Rixey. The Plain Dealer noted that ‘Jamieson’s good eye, his speed in getting away from the plate, and his faculty of pulling the ball should enable him to bat with fair success against portsiders…with Evans gone, a steam derrick could not move Charlie out of the field.’

“Charlie Jamieson passed away from heart problems (a cause of death that ran among his brothers) on October 27, 1969. That July, he had been named the Indians’ all-time left fielder as part of a poll conducted by the Cleveland Press and the team.”

harris

LF-Joe Harris, Boston Red Sox, 32 Years Old

.335, 13 HR, 76 RBI

MVP Rank: 18

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Joseph “Joe” or “Moon” Harris was born on May 20, 1891 in Coulter, PA. The five-foot-nine, 170 pound righty leftfielder and first baseman started with the Yankees in 1914. He then didn’t play in the Majors until 1917 when he toiled for the Indians. He didn’t play in 1918, but came back to the Indians in 1919. After that, he again missed time in the Majors until coming to Boston in 1922. This year was his best ever as he finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.7); ninth in Offensive WAR (4.6); ninth in batting (.335); fifth in slugging (.520); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (142).

Harris had an outstanding 1925 World Series, even though his Senators lost to Pittsburgh. He hit .440 (11-for-25) with three homers and six RBI.

Wikipedia says of his missing 1918, “In 1918, he was drafted into the United States Army. He served during World War I and was in a truck accident while serving. He suffered 2 broken legs, 3 broken ribs, and a fractured skull, thus creating the ‘lump’ under his eye. He did need plastic surgery to help fix his facial injury. In 1919, he was discharged due to injury from the army and returned to the Cleveland Indians for part of the season. At season’s end, he played for an industrial team, which offered him money and a business. Harris played with the team for the 1920 and 1921 seasons. By violating the reserve clause in his 1919 contract, Harris automatically was placed on organized baseball’s ineligible list.

“Harris died at age 68 in Plum, Pennsylvania.”

speaker15

CF-Tris Speaker, Cleveland Indians, 35 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922

.380, 17 HR, 130 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-59 (8th Time)

Runs Batted In-130

Def. Games as CF-150 (5th Time)

Assists as CF-26 (6th Time)

Double Plays Turned as CF-7 (8th Time)

15th Time All-Star-It’s become pretty easy to write up The Grey Eagle because I can fill my word quota with just his lifetime accomplishments. We start with this being his 15th consecutive All-Star team, tying a mark set by Cy Young from 1891-through-1905. He’ll break that next year. His 15 times on this list puts him only below Young (17), Cap Anson (17), Ty Cobb (16), and tied with Honus Wagner and Walter Johnson. He has made the most All-Star teams at centerfield. You can read the whole list at Eddie Collins’ blurb. In my opinion, he is the fourth greatest player of all-time at this stage of baseball history, below Young, Johnson, and Cobb. The full list is here. His career-high 59 doubles now gave him a total of 604, just 53 behind Nap Lajoie at this point.

This season, Speaker finished third in WAR (9.0), behind two rightfielders, New York’s Babe Ruth (14.1) and Detroit’s Harry Heilmann (9.3); third in WAR Position Players (9.0), trailing the same two; second in Offensive WAR (9.1), trailing the Bambino (12.2); third in batting (.380), with only Heilmann (.403) and The Babe (.393) ahead of him; third in on-base percentage (.469), trailing The Sultan of Swat (.545) and Heilmann (.481); fourth in slugging (.610); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (182), behind Ruth (239) and Heilmann (194).

As the manager of Cleveland, Speaker led the Indians to a third place 82-71 record, 17 games behind the Yankees.

See what I mean, that’s just his accomplishments. I didn’t even have to leave Baseball Reference.

cobb16

CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 36 Years Old 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1921 1922

.340, 6 HR, 88 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1915)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

 

16th Time All-Star-Much like Tris Speaker’s blurb, much of what’s written about Cobb as this point of his career is just a rehashing of accomplishments. His 16 All-Star teams is third behind Cy Young (17) and Cap Anson (also 17) and I have him rated as the third greatest player of all-time as this point in baseball history. The full list is here. For this season, Cobb finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.5); seventh in Offensive WAR (4.9); eighth in batting (.340); ninth in on-base percentage (.413); and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (134). Most players would kill for a year like that, but it was actually a mediocre year for the Georgia Peach.

As a manager, Cobb guided Detroit to a second place finish with an 83-71 record, 16 games behind the Yankees. The Tigers could hit, batting .300 as a team, but its pitching was dismal.

SABR says of his managing, “Despite Cobb’s continued excellence, the Tigers generally finished far out of first place after 1909. Detroit fans and management wanted Cobb to succeed his long-time friend and boss, Hughey Jennings. Finally, in 1921 Cobb accepted, and became the player-manager of the Tigers. The team improved under Cobb, but other than in 1924 the Tigers were not a real factor in the pennant race under his leadership. However, he did have a great deal to do with the development of Tigers hitters, especially future Hall of Famer Harry Heilmann.” Cobb would have been a better manager if he had a young Ty Cobb on his team.

ruth8RF-Babe Ruth, New York Yankees, 28 Years Old, 1923 ONEHOF Inductee, 5th MVP

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922

.393, 41 HR, 130 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1923)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-14.1 (3rd Time)

WAR Position Players-14.1 (4th Time)

Offensive WAR-12.2 (4th Time)

On-Base %-.545 (4th Time)

Slugging %-.764 (6th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.309 (6th Time)

Runs Scored-151 (4th Time)

Total Bases-399 (3rd Time)

Home Runs-41 (5th Time)

Runs Batted In-130 (4th Time)

Bases on Balls-170 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts-93 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-239 (5th Time)

Runs Created-209 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-121 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-11.3 (4th Time)

Extra Base Hits-99 (5th Time)

Times on Base-379 (4th Time)

Offensive Win %-.909 (4th Time)

Power-Speed #-24.0 (2nd Time)

AB per HR-12.7 (6th Time)

8th Time All-Star-At the age of 28, Ruth had an incredible season – again. However, this one is unique because it puts him into the ONEHOF-the One-A-Year Hall of Fame of my making which inducts one player per year. Next year’s nominees are are Hardy RichardsonJimmy CollinsElmer FlickJohnny EversSherry MageeLarry DoyleArt FletcherWilbur Cooper, Rogers Hornsby, Charley JonesFred DunlapGeorge GoreNed WilliamsonBid McPheeSam ThompsonJack ClementsAmos RusieCupid ChildsClark GriffithJesse BurkettJoe McGinnityEd WalshNap RuckerEd KonetchyLarry GardnerJake DaubertBabe AdamsBobby VeachGeorge Sisler and Max Carey. The full list of inductees is here.

Also, I don’t know how much stock you put in WAR, but this was his highest WAR of his career with 14.1. It’s the highest since Walter Johnson in 1913 with 16.4. The record in Tim Keefe’s 1883 season when his Wins Above Replacement was 20.2.

Ruth also won his 5th MVP by my count and his first, and only, American League MVP. I also have him rated as the eighth best player of all-time, as of 1923, at 28 years old. The full list is here.

He also led the Yankees back to the World Series and the Bronx Bombers won their first of many, beating the Giants, four-games-to-two. Ruth was walked eight times by John McGraw’s crew, but it didn’t stop him for hitting .368 and crushing three home runs, all solo shots.

Finally, it was the only year he finished in the top 10 in Defensive WAR, finishing 10th at 1.2.

heilmann4RF-Harry Heilmann, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old

1919 1921 1922

.403, 18 HR, 115 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1952)

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

 

Led in:

 

1923 AL Batting Title (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.403 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-This would have been a season talked about over the years if it wasn’t for Babe Ruth’s incredible year. Heilmann finished second in WAR (9.3), behind Ruth (14.1); second in WAR Position Players (9.3), trailing Ruth (14.1); third in Offensive WAR (8.9), behind the Bambino (12.2) and Tris Speaker (9.1); first in batting (.403); second in on-base percentage (.481), trailing the Sultan of Swat (.545); second in slugging (.632), behind Jidge (.764); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (194), trailing only the big man from the Bronx (239).

Wikipedia says, “In January 1923, while preparing for spring training and recuperating from his collar and shoulder injuries, Heilmann took up handball and quickly developed a reputation as one of the best players in the country. Heilmann’s efforts at handball also helped him shed excess weight, reporting in spring training at 200 pounds, 30 pounds less than he had reported in 1922.

“Heilmann in 1923 denied Ruth a Major League Baseball Triple Crown for the second time; Ruth led the league in home runs and RBIs in both 1921 and 1923, but was edged out in batting average in both years by Heilmann. In 1926, another Tiger, Heinie Manush, won the batting title to deny Ruth the triple crown a third time. Heilmann worked as a life insurance agent during the off-season in the 1920s. On October 16, 1923, after Ruth had received his World Series winner’s share‚ Heilmann‚ who was friends with Ruth despite having beaten him for the batting title‚ sold Ruth a $50‚000 life insurance policy.”

rice4

RF-Sam Rice, Washington Senators, 33 Years Old

1919 1920 1921

.316, 3 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-18

Putouts as RF-307 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as RF-13 (2nd Time)

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

Double Plays Turned as OF-8

4th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team three consecutive seasons, Rice slumped in 1922 and when you slump at the age of 32, it’s not impossible to think you’re never going to be the same. However, Rice is back on the team this year as his hitting recovered. He slashed .316/.381/.450 and led the AL in triples with 18 and went a good 20-for-28 stealing.

Sports Illustrated says, “Two years before Babe Ruth convinced the Red Sox he was more valuable as a lefthanded-hitting outfielder than as a pitcher, Rice did much the same thing. He became the Senators’ full-time rightfielder and leadoff man in 1917, batting .302 with 35 stolen bases. Even though Rice had already served in the Navy, World War I caused him to spend most of 1918 in the Army. He resumed his baseball career in 1919, and from then until 1932, he hit below .310 only twice. He earned the nickname Man o’ War, not only because of his service stints but also because of his thoroughbredlike speed. In 1920 he led the American League in stolen bases, with 63. Sam wasn’t one to brag, but he always maintained that he actually had 71 stolen bases that year.

“Rice was an accomplished duckpin bowler as well as a crackerjack golfer. ‘We would go out to a field,’ recalls Christine, ‘and he would have me stand in one spot, then pace off the distance he hit his five-iron. I would stand there and watch as he hit balls around me in a perfect semicircle. When he was done I would put them in a basket.’ When he was 74 and a newly inducted Hall of Famer, Sam was still able to shoot his age.”

1923 National League All-Star Team

P-Dolf Luque, CIN

P-Jimmy Ring, PHI

P-Eppa Rixey, CIN

P-Pete Alexander, CHC

P-Dazzy Vance, BRO

P-Wilbur Cooper, PIT

P-Joe Genewich, BOS

P-Burleigh Grimes, BRO

P-Johnny Morrison, PIT

P-Jesse Haines, STL

C-Bubbles Hargrave, CIN

C-Bob O’Farrell, CHC

1B-Jack Fournier, BRO

1B-Jim Bottomley, STL

2B-Frankie Frisch, NYG

2B-Rogers Hornsby, STL

2B-Jimmy Johnston, BRO

3B-Pie Traynor, PIT

3B-Bernie Friberg, CHC

SS-Dave Bancroft, NYG

CF-Max Carey, PIT

CF-Edd Roush, CIN

CF-Jigger Statz, CHC

RF-Ross Youngs, NYG

RF-Clyde Barnhart, PIT

 

luque3P-Dolf Luque, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old, 1st MVP

1920 1921

27-8, 1.93 ERA, 151 K, .202, 1 HR, 9 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1923 NL Pitching Title

Wins Above Replacement-10.8

WAR for Pitchers-10.6

Earned Run Average-1.93

Wins-27

Win-Loss %-.771

Hits per 9 IP-7.798 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-6 (2nd Time)

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.056

Adjusted ERA+-201

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.94

Adj. Pitching Runs-69

Adj. Pitching Wins-7.4

Putouts as P-17

3rd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1920 and 1921, Luque had an off season in 1922, going 13-23 with a 3.31 ERA, which was still a decent 120 ERA+. However, nothing he did in his past made it seem like he had a season like 1923 in him. It was incredible. Luque had the lowest ERA+ (201) in the National League since Pete Alexander in 1915 (225). His 1.93 ERA was 0.87 lower than his teammate Eppa Rixey, who’s earned run average was 2.80. That’s why he’s my choice for MVP, the first Red I’ve chosen since pitcher Noodles Hahn in 1902.

                Cincinnati, managed by Pat Moran, finished in second place for the second consecutive year with a 91-63 record. It finished four-and-a-half games behind the Giants. It was his last season, because SABR tells us, “Moran had always been a heavy drinker, and over the winter of 1923-24 his drinking worsened, and he began skipping some meals as well. By the time he arrived in Orlando for spring training he was already quite ill. His condition quickly deteriorated, and on March 7 at the age of 48 he passed away, the cause of death given as Bright’s disease, a kidney ailment.”

Back to Luque, SABR rates this incredible season, saying, “In the terms of John Thorn and Pete Palmer’s Total Pitcher Index (which rates a pitcher’s effective performance against that of the entire league), Luque’s 1923 campaign ranks fourth best in the two decades separating the century’s two great wars (1920-1940). Only Bucky Walters in 1939, Lefty Grove in 1931, and Carl Hubbell in 1933 outstripped Luque by the yardstick of the Thorn-Palmer statistical measure.”

ring

P-Jimmy Ring, Philadelphia Phillies, 28 Years Old

18-16, 3.87 ERA, 112 K, .106, 1 HR, 8 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-115 (2nd Time)

Earned Runs Allowed-131

Wild Pitches-14 (3rd Time)

1st Time All-Star-James Joseph “Jimmy” Ring was born on February 15, 1895 in Brooklyn, NY. The six-foot-one, 170 pound righty pitcher started with Cincinnati in 1917 and even pitched in the infamous 1919 Series. He finished 1-1 with a 0.64 ERA, shutting out the White Sox in Game 4. It probably helps when most of your opposition isn’t trying. After the 1920 season, Ring was traded by the Cincinnati Reds with Greasy Neale to the Philadelphia Phillies for Eppa Rixey. This was Ring’s best season ever, finishing fourth in WAR (6.4); second in WAR for Pitchers (7.7), behind Cincinnati’s Dolf Luque (10.6); fifth in innings pitched (304 1/3); and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (119).

Ring did all of this on a terrible team. His Phillies, managed by newcomer Art Fletcher, dropped from seventh in 1922 to last place this season, finishing with a 50-104 record, 45-and-a-half games out of first.

Phillies Nation says, “Ring would be Steve Carlton in 1972 before Steve Carlton in 1972 happened: in 1923, despite his team posting a .325 winning percentage, Ring won 18 games, earning 6.0 fWAR for the season, fifth in baseball, with the eighth most innings pitched. Despite a 3.87 ERA, he was borderline dominant with the 19th highest K/9 IP in baseball. In his first stint with the Phillies, Ring was frequently above-average in terms of ERA, with the NL league average fluctuating between 3.78 and 4.26 and well above-average in K/9 IP.”

What’s funny to me is he finished second in Pitching WAR, but the three categories in which he led the league (see above) were all negative.

rixey6

P-Eppa Rixey, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

1912 1916 1917 1921 1922

20-15, 2.80 ERA, 97 K, .159, 0 HR, 7 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1923)

 

6th Time All-Star-There couldn’t have been two more different pitchers on the Redlegs of 1923. Their superstar was Dolf Luque, the first famous Cuban pitcher, and their other great pitcher was Rixey, from an aristocratic family. Yet together they formed a potent duo this season, finished 47-23 between them. While Luque won my prestigious MVP, Rixey’s sixth All-Star team puts him in my Hall of Fame, which takes the number of All-Star teams made, multiplies those by Career WAR, and if the number is over 300, that player is in. Welcome to this august group, Eppa.

My fellow blogger, V, just had an article in which he said the text of the plaque told you what was important to the Hall of Fame voters of that time. Rixey’s plaque says, “Set record for most victories by left-handed pitcher. Led league in victories with 25 in 1922. Gave only 1082 base on balls in 4494 innings.” Of course, this plaque wasn’t written in his era, because he wasn’t inducted until almost 30 years after he hung up his spikes. Still, even in the 1960s, wins were important. Nowadays, not so much.

Also, do not count Rixey out for making the ONEHOF, my other Hall of Fame which inducts just one player a year. Rixey’s got a good chance at making nine All-Star teams and at this point, everyone making nine or more of these lists has made it into the One-A-Year Hall of Fame. This season was the beginning of a phenomenal three year stretch of pitching, especially considering Rixey’s age.

alexander12

P-Pete Alexander, Chicago Cubs, 36 Years Old

1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1919 1920 1921 1922

22-12, 3.19 ERA, 72 K, .216, 1 HR, 10 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1920)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1938)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-1.108 (3rd Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.885 (2nd Time)

Home Runs-17 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-2.400 (3rd Time)

12th Time All-Star-The human will is an incredible thing. Working at a church, I’ve talked with many people struggling with various demons (figurative not literal) and watching them battle day after day. I’ve known drug addicts who constantly find themselves in one program or another who do well for a time, but fall again. None of these people are even capable of pitching in the Major Leagues and certainly not of being one of the best pitchers of his era. Yet that was Ol’ Pete, 36-years-old and drunk a good percentage of the time, yet still one of baseball’s greatest hurlers.

Chicago, managed by Bill Killefer, rose from fifth to fourth with an 83-71 record, 12-and-a-half games out of first.

Since the start of baseball history in 1871 to this present year of 1923, there have been a lot of great baseball players and many of the all-time greats were playing during this time. Here’s my list of the top 10 players through 1923:

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

SABR says, “No longer a great pitcher, he was still a very good one, capable of picking up 22 wins in 1923 and setting a major-league record by starting the season pitching 52 consecutive innings before issuing a walk.” Like I said, the human will is incredible and Alexander continued to will himself to greatness.

vance

P-Dazzy Vance, Brooklyn Robins, 32 Years Old

18-15, 3.50 ERA, 197 K, .084, 1 HR, 1 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.325 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-197 (2nd Time)

Hit By Pitch-11

1st Time All-Star-Charles Arthur “Dazzy” Vance was born on March 4, 1891 in Orient, IA. The six-foot-two, 200 pound righty started with Pittsburgh and the Yankees in 1915. He didn’t pitch again until he was with the Bronx Bombers again in 1918. He then started with Brooklyn in 1922 and, at the age of 31, started to hone his game, leading the National League in Ks. He’s going to be one of those rare birds who achieves greatness after the age of 30. This season, Vance finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (4.6); eighth in innings pitched; and was now in the second of seven straight seasons he’d lead the NL in strikeouts.

Brooklyn, managed by Wilbert Robinson, stayed in sixth with a 76-78 record, 19-and-a-half games out of first. Its hitting was weak as the team had the second lowest slugging percentage in the league, but its pitching was pretty good, as it finished second in the NL in ERA.

SABR says, “Who was Dazzy Vance? His true name was Charles Arthur, but he earned the nom de guerre ‘Dazzy’ because of the ‘dazzling’ blazing fastball he was demonstrating early in his minor league career. Until breaking in with Brooklyn as a 31-year old rookie in 1922, however, Vance’s career had been stalled almost entirely in the minor leagues because of chronic arm problems that contributed to an unacceptable lack of control, causing both the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees to give up on him in the middle-1910s. Bill James relates the story that Vance was cured of his sore arm when he was pitching in New Orleans in 1920 by a doctor who operated on his arm following an injury sustained in a hand of poker, after which he became the impressive pitcher who is today in the Hall of Fame.”

cooper8

P-Wilbur Cooper, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922

17-19, 3.57 ERA, 77 K, .262, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

Led in:

 

Games Started-38 (2nd Time)

Losses-19

Hit By Pitch-11 (2nd Time)

8th Time All-Star-There have been some great Pirates teams over the years, but it’s hard to name great Pittsburgh pitchers. Well, we can start with this man and his longtime teammate Babe Adams. Adams has the highest WAR for a Pirates pitcher with 52.6 followed by Cooper with 52.4. Neither is in the actual Hall of Fame, though both made mine.

Pittsburgh, managed by Bill McKechnie, stayed in third with an 87-67 record, eight-and-a-half games behind the Giants. It was never in the hunt for the pennant, but was consistent throughout the season.

SABR wraps up his life, saying, “Married with three daughters, Wilbur Cooper spent his later years supporting youth baseball and working in real estate in the Pittsburgh area before moving to Southern California in 1947. In his lifetime he was named as the left-handed pitcher on the Pittsburgh Press All-Time Pirates Team in 1934, elected to the City of Pittsburgh Sports Hall of Fame in 1959, and recognized as a Sports Great in 1963 by the West Virginia Centennial Commission. In 1969 Cooper was voted the greatest pitcher in Pirates history in a Pittsburgh poll conducted to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of professional baseball.

“Despite a lifetime record of 216-178 and a 2.89 ERA, Cooper drew little support for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving no more than 11 votes from the baseball writers during his period of eligibility. He remains one of only two pitchers with more than 3,000 innings and an ERA under 3.00 who are not enshrined at Cooperstown. In one of his last letters he wrote: ‘I would die a happy man if they voted me into the Hall of Fame. But, if they don’t, I will understand.’ Cooper died in Encino, California, on August 7, 1973, after suffering a heart attack.”

genewich

P-Joe Genewich, Boston Braves, 26 Years Old

13-14, 3.72 ERA, 54 K, .247, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 35 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as P-17

1st Time All-Star-Joseph Edward “Joe” Genewich was born on January 15, 1897 in Elmira, NY. The six-foot, 174 pound righty pitcher started with Boston in 1922 and would remain with it until 1928. Then he went to the Giants to finish his career from 1928-30. This season, Genewich finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (3.8) and is Boston’s best player by WAR. He’s the only Braves player to make this list.

Still, despite having just one representative on this All-Star team, Boston moved up from eighth to seventh with a 54-100 record. It would be Fred Mitchell’s last year of managing as, over seven seasons, he would end up with a 494-543 career record and one NL pennant with the Cubs in 1918.

Genewich was part of Elmira history, according to the Star-Gazette, which says, “[O]n Thursday, Oct. 18, 1928, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig made a stop in Elmira as part of their post World Series barnstorming tour. The Yanks had swept the Cardinals. Ruth batted 625 with three homers and Gehrig drove in as many runs as the Cardinals did in the whole series. The Elmira Advertiser headline read, ‘Bambino Thrills Great Crowd….’

“Schools were closed early so the students could see the Babe and Lou in action. The Yankee teammates would be managing and playing on opposing teams. The game would pit the Patch I.A.C. (Bustin‘ Babes) against the Eclipse Machine Co. (Larrupin‘ Lous). Local players Mel Kerr, Al Todd and Leo Casey among others would fill out the teams. Smokey Joe Genewich, Elmira’s ‘contribution to the major leagues’ returned for the visit.”

Genewich died on December 21, 1985 in Lockport, NY at the age of 88.

grimes4

P-Burleigh Grimes, Brooklyn Robins, 29 Years Old

1918 1920 1921

21-18, 3.58 ERA, 119 K, .238, 0 HR, 15 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1964)

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

 

Led in:

 

Innings Pitched-327

Games Started-38

Complete Games-33 (2nd Time)

Hits Allowed-356

Hit By Pitch-11

Batters Faced-1,418

Assists as P-101 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as P-10

Range Factor/Game as P-3.00 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team three out of four years, Grimes had an off season in 1922, going 17-14, but with a horrid 4.76 ERA. This season, Grimes was back, finishing 10th in WAR for Pitchers (3.7); and first in innings pitched and many other of the workhorse categories.

There are conflicting opinions of his temperament. Wikipedia says, “At the time of his retirement, he was the last player that was legally allowed to throw a spitball, as he was one of 17 spitballers permitted to throw the pitch after it was otherwise outlawed in 1920. He had acquired a lasting field reputation for his temperament. He is listed in the Baseball Hall of Shame series for having thrown a ball at the batter in the on-deck circle. His friends and supporters note that he was consistently a kind man when off the diamond. Others claim he showed a greedy attitude to many people who ‘got on his bad side.’ He would speak mainly only to his best friend Ivy Olson in the dugout, and would pitch only to a man named Mathias Schroeder before games. Schroeder’s identity was not well known among many Dodger players, as many say he was just ‘a nice guy from the neighborhood.’”

Nowadays, we have starting pitcher who feel they’ve done their job if they pitched five innings. The game has changed dramatically over the last few years, but even more so when compared to time in which Grimes toiled. Yet the game even changed for Grimes, who led the league with 327 innings pitched. Just eight years before this, Dave Davenport pitched 392 2/3 innings.

morrison3

P-Johnny Morrison, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

1921 1922

25-13, 3.49 ERA, 114 K, .183, 0 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Jughandle Johnny made his third straight All-Star team, but it’s also most likely his last. Pittsburgh sure had some pitching in these days. Morrison finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5); sixth in innings pitched (301 2/3); and won a career-high 25 games.

SABR says, “Johnny Morrison had one of the deadliest, most knee-locking curveballs baseball had ever experienced. ‘You simply couldn’t see it,’ raved contemporary Pat Duncan. ‘The ball came in like a fast ball and it dropped so fast that it fell completely out of your vision unless you were looking for such a hook.’ That pitch became known as the Jughandle and catapulted ‘Jughandle Johnny’ to a successful five-year run with the Pittsburgh Pirates, including a 25-win season in 1923 and a World Series championship two years later. But Jughandle also had another meaning for Morrison, whose 10-year major-league career was fraught with as much tension and conflict as triumph and personal glory.

                “By 1924, it had taken on another meaning, too: Morrison’s love of the jug’s handle. It was the time of Prohibition, but alcohol consumption was an open secret. Morrison’s behavior over the rest of his career became more erratic as he clashed with managers and teammates over his alcohol abuse, which sportswriters at the time covered up as another case of the flu or grippe.

“Morrison suffered from a number of illnesses later in life, including diabetes, and also lost both of his legs, presumably to the disease. On March 20, 1966, he died at the VA Hospital in Louisville at the age of 70. His death certificate listed uremia (kidney failure) as the cause. He was buried at Rosehill cemetery in Owensboro.”

haines

P-Jesse Haines, St. Louis Cardinals, 29 Years Old

20-13, 3.11 ERA, 73 K, .202, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1970)

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Jesse Joseph “Pop” Haines was born on July 22, 1893 in Clayton, OH. The six-foot, 190 pound righty pitcher started with Cincinnati, pitching one game in 1918. In 1920, he started pitching for the Cardinals, leading the National League with 47 games pitched. He pitched decently in 1921 and 1922, but it’s only this year, Haines made his first All-Star team on the way to a Hall of Fame career. I don’t think he’s going to make my Hall of Fame and I’m not exactly sure why he’s in Cooperstown.

St. Louis, managed by Branch Rickey, dropped from third to fifth with a 79-74 record. The Cards had decent hitting and middle of the road pitching.

SABR says, “Though Haines is remembered as a knuckleball pitcher, he began his career as a fastball-curveball pitcher.

“’I soon found out I would have to have something [besides a fastball and curve], if I wanted to stick around long,’ said Haines, who followed up his promising rookie year by going 18-12 in 1921 and 11-9 in 1922 with an ERA slightly above league average each season. With his fastball losing effectiveness and his hits per nine innings steadily rising, Haines began working on a knuckle ball. He credited Philadelphia A’s pitcher, Eddie Rommel, the first big leaguer to use the knuckleball extensively, for teaching him the pitch. Unlike Rommel, who gripped the pitch with tips of his index and middle fingers, Haines gripped the ball with the first knuckles on his index and middle fingers with the ball resting against the inside of his ring finger. The result was a hard knuckler that came straight down and did not flutter like Rommel’s. ‘[My knuckler] acted like a spitball,’ said Haines. ‘I had very good control of it and threw it from different positions.’ Even though Haines developed calluses on his knuckles because of the friction the ball caused, his knuckles had a tendency to bleed.”

hargrave

C-Bubbles Hargrave, Cincinnati Reds, 30 Years Old

.333, 10 HR, 78 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-12

Double Plays Turned as C-12

1st Time All-Star-Eugene Franklin “Bubbles” Hargrave was born on July 15, 1892 in New Haven, IN. The five-foot-10, 174 pound catcher started with Chicago from 1913-15 and then didn’t play Major League ball again until he joined the Reds in 1921. This season, he finished ninth in WAR (4.7); fifth in WAR Position Players (4.7); seventh in Offensive WAR (4.5); ninth in batting (.333); third in on-base percentage (.419), behind two St. Louis players, second baseman Rogers Hornsby (.459) and first baseman Jim Bottomley (.425); seventh in slugging (.521); fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (149); and first in hit by pitches (12).

SABR says, “All references to the newly-acquired Hargrave referred to him as ‘Bubbles.’ How he actually acquired that nickname has been lost over time. One version shared by Hargrave was that a teammate bestowed it on him because he was effervescently offering suggestions and guidance. Still another version concerned his tendency to stutter, especially when pronouncing the letter ‘b’ which somehow caused him to be referred to as Bubbles. His stuttering manifested itself in another form at least once on the ball field.

“Apparently when he became excited his jaw tightened. Arguing with umpire Ted McGrew late in his career, he couldn’t get any words out. McGrew told Hargrave, ‘Never mind, Bubbles. I’ll help you out. I’ll say what you want to say. McGrew, you’re the lousiest umpire in the world. You never was any good. You’re blind and dumb. You ought to be in some other business.’ Hargrave, jaw now relaxed could only say, ‘You win.’”

ofarrell2

C-Bob O’Farrell, Chicago Cubs, 26 Years Old

1922

.319, 12 HR, 84 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-124 (2nd Time)

Assists as C-118 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-O’Farrell made the All-Star team for the second consecutive time as he continued to hit well for a backstop. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.5); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.4); seventh in on-base percentage (.409); eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (131); and first in catcher assists (118).

SABR says, “O’Farrell’s parents encouraged their son to participate in sports at an early age. The elder O’Farrell also brought up his youngest son to be a White Sox fan. He was a member of the baseball team at Waukegan High School, and joined a Waukegan semipro team. Nobody wanted to be the catcher, so O’Farrell took the job because it was the sure way to stay on the field. He caught a break when the Waukegan team was hosting an exhibition game against the Chicago Cubs in 1915. O’Farrell caught the eye of Roger Bresnahan, the Cubs player-manager. Bresnahan was in the last year of a Hall of Fame career, and he knew talent behind the plate when he saw it. O’Farrell joined the Cubs that year, making his major league debut on September 5.

“In 1922, O’Farrell led the league in games started (119), putouts (446), assists (143), and double plays (22). He threw out 83 of 126 (66%) would-be base stealers. He also batted a career-high .324. In 1923, O’Farrell set career highs in home runs (12) and RBIs (84) while batting .319.”

O’Farrell is going to win an MVP award in 1926, but I’m not even sure he’ll make the All-Star team that year. We’ll see.

fournier4

1B-Jack Fournier, Brooklyn Robins, 33 Years Old

1915 1920 1921

.351, 22 HR, 102 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Created-122

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

4th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team two consecutive years in 1920 and 1921, Fournier had an off-season in 1922 as his power numbers declined. He was then traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Brooklyn Robins for Hi Myers and Ray Schmandt. It was a good trade for Brooklyn because Fournier was back this year, hitting over 20 homers for the first of three straight seasons. He finished fifth in WAR (5.6); third in WAR Position Players (5.6), behind two second basemen, New York’s Frankie Frisch (7.1) and St. Louis’ Rogers Hornsby (6.7); second in Offensive WAR (6.8), trailing Hornsby (6.6); third in batting (.351), behind Rajah (.384) and St. Louis first baseman Jim Bottomley (.371); fifth in on-base percentage (.411); second in slugging (.588), trailing only the incredible Hornsby (.627); second in Adjusted OPS+ (163), again trailing Hornsby (187); and tied for first in runs created (122), with Frisch.

Wikipedia says, “After three productive years in St. Louis, Fournier was dealt to Brooklyn on February 15, 1923. Fournier said he would quit the game rather than leave St. Louis, but he eventually ended his holdout and reported to the Dodgers. Fournier had found his spot, among an offensive unit that included Zack WheatMilt Stock, and Zack Taylor. He turned in a six-for-six performance on June 29 of that year, hit .351, though committing a league-high 21 errors.”

St. Louis lost a good first baseman, but they were making room for one that would eventually make the Hall of Fame, Bottomley.

bottomley

1B-Jim Bottomley, St. Louis Cardinals, 23 Years Old

.371, 8 HR, 94 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1974)

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

 

1st Time All-Star-James Leroy “Sunny Jim” Bottomley was born on April 23, 1900 in Oglesby, IL. The six-foot, 180 pound lefty first baseman started with St. Louis in 1922 and was their starting first baseman by this year after the team traded Jack Fournier. He finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.1); fourth in Offensive WAR (5.2); second in batting (.371), behind teammate and second sacker Rogers Hornsby (.384); second in on-base percentage (.425), trailing Hornsby (.459); fifth in slugging (.535); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (155), trailing Rajah (187) and the man who was traded away, Fournier (163).

SABR says, “At some point during his minor league time, the press had dubbed Bottomley ‘Sunny Jim,’ in part because of his irrepressible good nature and cheerful disposition. He was widely considered a nice man. He was perhaps a bit quirky, given his fascination with astrology, but he also had a sense of fun, wearing a constant smile that earned him his sobriquet.

“His arrival in St. Louis was memorable in more ways than one. In 1928, Murray Tynan of the New York Times related a story told by Branch Rickey about Jim’s arrival in the majors:

“He came out to the park, said Rickey, in a taxi because he didn’t dare attempt to find his way around St. Louis. He was astonished…when the driver charged him more than $4.00 fare. He had on the biggest pair of shoes I ever saw. They must have been size twenty…I did notice one thing, though. The boy could scoop up grounders with remarkable grace….”

According to dWAR, he is one of the worst fielders of all time. This season, his Defensive WAR was minus-1.7.

frisch3

2B-Frankie Frisch, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

1921 1922

.348, 12 HR, 111 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-7.1

Hits-223

Total Bases-311

Singles-169

Runs Created-122

AB per SO-53.4

Fielding % as 2B-.973

3rd Time All-Star-It’s not easy to beat Rogers Hornsby as the best player at second base, but Frisch did that this year. He did it because he had an awesome season and because Hornsby missed a few games. Frisch finished second in WAR (7.1), behind Reds pitcher Dolf Luque (10.8); first in WAR Position Players (7.1); third in Offensive WAR (5.7), trailing Hornsby  (6.6) and Brooklyn first baseman Jack Fournier (5.8); second in Defensive WAR (1.9), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Rabbit Maranville (2.3); fifth in batting (.348); 10th in slugging (.485); ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (131); and went a decent 29-for-41 stealing.

New York, managed by John McGraw, won the National League pennant for the third consecutive season, finishing 95-58, four-and-a-half games ahead of Cincinnati. However, unlike the first two of those, they lost the World Series to the Yankees, four games to two.

It wasn’t Frisch’s fault. He had a great Series, finishing 10-for-25 (.400) with a triple.

SABR says, “The extremely competitive Frisch became a favorite of McGraw, who saw in him a kindred soul, and Frisch was appointed team captain early in his playing career. There were no problems between the two while the Giants won pennants in the early ’20s, despite the very rough McGraw, who traditionally was especially hard on the Giants’ captains. But as the Giants’ performance deteriorated and McGraw became more irritable and frustrated, he singled out his captain and verbally abused him in the clubhouse after difficult losses with words meant not so much for him as for other members of the team. Frisch bridled at the abuse but took it for the sake of the team.”

hornsby8

2B-Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals, 27 Years Old

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922

.384, 17 HR, 83 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1942)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

 

Led in:

 

1923 NL Batting Title (4th Time)

Offensive WAR-6.6 (7th Time)

Batting Average-.384 (4th Time)

On-Base %-.459 (4th Time)

Slugging %-.627 (5th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.086 (5th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-187 (6th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-55 (6th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-5.2 (6th Time)

Offensive Win %-.837 (6th Time)

8th Time All-Star-When I wrote this, Mike Trout had just signed a 12-year, $428 million extension, which makes you ask what the great Hornsby would have earned in this day and age. People talk about Trout playing seven seasons and playing in just three playoff games. Well, as of this year, Hornsby has yet to make the postseason. Of course, it was more difficult in his day, because only one of eight teams made the World Series.

Wikipedia explains why he missed so many games, stating, “On May 8, 1923, Hornsby suffered an injury to his left knee in a game against the Phillies when he turned to make a throw. He returned 10 days later, but the injury lingered, and he was removed from a game against the Pirates on May 26 to be examined by Robert Hyland, the Cardinals’ physician. Hyland had Hornsby’s knee placed in a cast for two weeks, after which he returned to the Cardinals. During a game in August, Hornsby was on third base late in the game and threw up his hands in disgust in response to a sign flashed by Rickey; he had given the current batter the take sign, and Hornsby felt the batter should have hit the ball. After the game, he and Rickey fought in the clubhouse, but teammates quickly broke it up. Hornsby missed several games late in the year with injuries that the Cardinals (and Hyland) did not believe to be serious; as a result he was fined $500 ($7,353 today) and suspended for the last five games of the year. However, Hornsby still won his fourth consecutive NL batting title with a batting average of .384. He also repeated as the leader in on-base percentage (.459) and slugging percentage (.627).”

johnstonj2

2B-Jimmy Johnston, Brooklyn Robins, 33 Years Old

1921

.325, 4 HR, 60 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists-532

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.26

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.10

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team as a third baseman in 1921, Johnston started playing more at second in 1922. This year, his best ever, he finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.2); 10th in Offensive WAR (4.0); 10th in Defensive WAR (0.9); and went a meh 16-for-29 stealing.

After this season, Johnston moved to shortstop in 1924 and received some MVP votes despite playing in only 86 games. He was back at third in 1925 and then split 1926 between Brooklyn and the Giants.

He was the definition of a utility player. He played 1379 games altogether, playing 448 at third, 244 at second, 179 at short, 165 in rightfield, 130 in centerfield, 77 in leftfield, 49 at first base, and 103 as a pinch-hitter. However, this year was his only good year fielding, according to dWAR, as Johnston had a 0.9 mark. For his career, his fielding WAR was -1.9.

I’m trying to figure out why he received MVP votes in 1924. He only played 86 games, 63 of them at short. His hitting wasn’t good as Johnston slashed .298/.356/.365 for an OPS+ of 96. His Defensive WAR was 0.1. Maybe the voters were fascinated by the fact he played four positions.

This is as good of time as any to mention how old the people are who are making the All-Star team. Johnston is 33, for instance. I believe the offensive explosion allowed players to stay in the league longer.

Johnston died at the age of 77 on February 14, 1977 in Chattanooga, TN.

traynor

3B-Pie Traynor, Pittsburgh Pirates, 24 Years Old

.338, 12 HR, 101 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1948)

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-19

Def. Games as 3B-152

Putouts as 3B-189

Assists as 3B-306

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.29

1st Time All-Star-Harold Joseph “Pie” Traynor was born on November11, 1898 in Framingham, MA. The six-foot, 170 pound third baseman started with Pittsburgh in 1920 and had his best season ever this year. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.5); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.8); seventh in batting (.338); ninth in slugging (.489); and went a decent 28-for-41 stealing.

Wikipedia says, “After spending time as a scout for the Pirates, Traynor eventually took a job as a sports director for a Pittsburgh radio station in 1944. His radio broadcasts became popular with Pittsburgh sports fans and he remained at the job for 21 years. Traynor retired from broadcasting in 1965. In 1948, Traynor was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, being the first third baseman to be chosen by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. In 1969, as part of the observance of the centennial of professional baseball, Traynor was named the third baseman on MLB’s all-time team. In 1971, he threw out the first pitch of Game 3 of the 1971 World Series at Three Rivers Stadium. He died in 1972 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, not long after the Pirates moved into Three Rivers Stadium and retired his uniform number 20. Traynor was buried in Homewood Cemetery in Pittsburgh.”

There is a possibility Traynor is not going to make another All-Star team. He was a good player, but he’s a product of the time he played and even though he hit .320 for his career, his Career OPS+ is 107 and his defense isn’t great as rated by modern standards.

friberg

3B-Bernie Friberg, Chicago Cubs, 23 Years Old

.318, 12 HR, 88 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as 3B-33

1st Time All-Star-Bernard Albert “Bernie” Friberg was born on August 18, 1899 in Manchester, NH. The five-foot-11, 178 pound righty third baseman started with the Cubs in 1919 and then didn’t play in the Majors in 1921. He slashed .318/.372/.473 for an OPS+ of 122, easily his best hitting season. He was terrible on the basepaths, however, getting gunned down 19 times in 32 attempts.

After this season, he continued to play for the Cubs in 1924 and 1925 and then was selected off waivers by the Phillies in 1925. He played for the Phillies through 1932 and then finished his career with the Red Sox in 1933.

SABR says, “The year with Kansas City seemed to jump-start Friberg’s career. On his return to the Cubs in 1922 (he was formally recalled in early September 1921), he hit .311 (with a .391 on-base percentage) and drove in 23 runs, while scoring 51 times. In 1923, he became primarily a third baseman, not an outfielder, and had his best year of all, batting .318 and homering 12 times – his first home runs in the major leagues. He drove in a career-best 88 runs and scored 91 times, also a personal best. Friberg finished his career with a .281 average and 38 homers, with 471 runs batted in. He scored 544 runs. In early August 1924, manager Bill Killefer appointed him field captain of the Cubs. He hadn’t quite turned 25 years of age.

“On December 8, 1958, Friberg was found dead in his car, which had crashed into a stone wall in Swampscott, Massachusetts, not far from his home. Both his wife, Ruth, and daughter, Virginia, were on duty at Lynn Hospital at the time the ambulance arrived. The certificate of death indicated that he had heart disease and gave cause of death as ‘presumably coronary thrombosis.’”

bancroft5

SS-Dave Bancroft, New York Giants, 32 Years Old

1915 1920 1921 1922

.304, 1 HR, 31 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.45 (6th Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.53 (7th Time)

5th Time All-Star-In order to make my All-Star team, you have to be the best player on your team, one of the 10 best pitchers; two best catchers; best first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, or shortstop; best three outfielders; or one of the remaining best position players to fill out the team. If you’re one of the top 10 pitchers or position players, you’re usually in, but outside of that, you’ll have to make the team as a fluke. Bancroft made the team this year as a fluke, because, despite playing only playing 107 games, he was the best shortstop in a year where the position was weak. Because he made it the All-Star team this season, he’s now going to make my Hall of Fame down the road.

Bancroft’s fielding put him on the team as he finished fifth in Defensive WAR (1.5) and led the league in range factor.

In his last World Series, he faltered badly, hitting just .083 (two-for-24) as the Giants lost to the Yankees, four games to two. Or as Wikipedia says, “Serving as team captain, Bancroft began to suffer through leg injuries in 1923. He was also hospitalized with a case of pneumonia during the season. Bancroft returned by the postseason, but batted .091 in the 1923 World Series, which the Yankees won in six games.”

Starting this season, Bancroft is going to have a hard time staying in the lineup. He would continue to battle injuries, playing over 130 games just one more season, with the Robins in 1928.

carey7

CF-Max Carey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 33 Years Old

1912 1916 1917 1918 1921 1922

.308, 6 HR, 63 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1961)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1922)

 

Led in:

 

Triples-23 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases-51 (8th Time)

Putouts as CF-450 (6th Time)

Assists as CF-28 (5th Time)

Errors Committed as CF-19 (4th Time)

Putouts as OF-450 (8th Time)

Assists as OF-28 (4th Time)

Range Factor/Game as CF-3.12 (6th Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-3.12 (6th Time)

7th Time All-Star-The Senior Circuit lived up to its name this season as 11 of the 25 players on the All-Star team, including Carey, were at least 30-years-old. For a man with Carey’s skill set of stealing and roaming centerfield, age usually affects him sooner. However, even in his 30s, Carey continued to put up valuable seasons for the Pirates. This year, he finished eighth in WAR (5.0); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.0); ninth in Offensive WAR (4.4); and stole an amazing 51 bases in 59 attempts. It wasn’t as good as 1922, when he went 51-for-53, but it still added value on the basepaths.

If you go to Baseball Think Factory, you can read a whole debate on whether or not Carey belongs in the Hall of Fame. The page I linked debates the merits of Carey and Harry Heilmann. Here’s one person’s notes: “I don’t see Heilmann and Carey as remotely comparable unless you don’t believe in peak at all. Similar career value–slight edge to Harry once you factor in war time–and Heilmann had a monster peak (4 30+ WS seasons topping at 35), while Carey never broke 30. WARP grossly overstates the value of guys like Carey because of the absurdly low defensive replacement level. Heilmann is, I believe, a ‘no-brainer’ HoM’er; he’s just not an inner-circle one. Sheffield is a very good comp. Heilmann could easily be a consensus no. 1 in a middling year. Carey is on the bubble.”

It should be noted Carey and Heilmann are both in Cooperstown and both will make my Hall of Fame.

roush6

CF-Edd Roush, Cincinnati Reds, 30 Years Old

1917 1918 1919 1920 1921

.351, 6 HR, 88 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1962)

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

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-41

6th Time All-Star-I’m fascinated by the Hall of Fame. Every year, when the new inductees are announced, I gauge for myself whether that player deserved it or not. I think Roush being in Cooperstown is borderline, because his stats were helped by the era in which he played. Oh, well, if he makes one more All-Star team, and that’s a coin flip, he’ll be in my Hall also. Roush also has a miniscule shot at making the ONEHOF, the One-Inductee-A-Year Hall of Fame.

Part of the problem for Roush was he only played 49 games in 1922 because he held out due to a salary dispute. This season, Roush finished 10th in WAR (4.5); sixth in WAR Position Players (4.5); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.7); fourth in batting (.351); ninth in on-base percentage (.406); sixth in slugging (.531); sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (148); and went a terrible 10-for-25 stealing.

SABR says, “Known as one of the feistiest players in baseball history, Edd Roush channeled that energy into a Hall of Fame career. An old-timer was quoted in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1919 saying that Roush was more like the fiery old Baltimore Orioles of the 1890’s than any other player in the National League. The observer stressed Roush’s versatility and his knack at doing the unexpected when it would help the most. John McGraw, in a similar vein, once said, ‘that Hoosier moves with the indifference of an alley cat.’ Pat Moran claimed that ‘all that fellow has to do is wash his hands, adjust his cap and he’s in shape to hit. He’s the great individualist in the game.’”

statz

CF-Jigger Statz, Chicago Cubs, 25 Years Old

.319, 10 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 68 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-154

At Bats-655

Outs Made-477

Def. Games as CF-154

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

Def. Games as OF-154

Double Plays Turned as OF-7

1st Time All-Star-Arnold John “Jigger” Statz was born on October 20, 1897 in Waukegan, IL. The five-foot-seven, 150 pound righty centerfielder started with the Giants in 1919 and then went to the Red Sox in 1920. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1921 and then had his best season ever this year, mainly due to his durability and fielding. He stole 29 bases, but was also nabbed 23 times.

Just because he didn’t have a stellar Major League career doesn’t mean he wasn’t productive. He is one of eight players to have 4,000 career combined major and minor league hits. Wikipedia says, “Statz played 18 minor league seasons, all of them for the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League. In an era when many players had lengthy minor league careers, Jigger Statz’s statistics surpassed those of his contemporaries, e.g. a grand total of 4,093 major and minor league hits, and a total number of games played which was exceeded only by Pete Rose.

“Statz managed for five years in the minor leagues. He was the Angels’ player-manager during 1940–1942, and managed the Visalia Cubs of the California League in 1948–1949.

“Jigger Statz played himself in the 1929 Paramount film, Fast Company, and in 1952 served as a technical advisor for The Winning Team, a fictionalized Warner Bros. biography of Grover Cleveland Alexander which starred Ronald Reagan.”

Jigger lived until he was 90, dying at the age of 90 on March 16, 1988, in Corona del Mar, CA.

youngs5

RF-Ross Youngs, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1919 1920 1921 1922

.336, 3 HR, 87 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1972)

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-121

Times on Base-278 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as RF-152 (4th Time)

Assists as RF-22 (4th Time)

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

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

5th Time All-Star-With some players you have to play a game of “What if?” What kind of stats would have Youngs put up if he hadn’t died young. The Veteran’s Committee of Cooperstown was amazed enough at what he did in his short 10-year career, they voted him into the Hall of Fame in 1972. He’s not going to make my Hall of Fame, but he most likely would have if he lived longer. Youngs would probably also be in the ONEHOF, the Hall of Fame in which just one elite player is elected every year. He was that good.

This season, Youngs finished eighth in batting (.336); fourth in on-base percentage (.412); 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (126); and went a dismal 13-for-32 stealing. In the Giants’ World Series loss to the Yankees, Youngs wasn’t to blame, hitting .348 (eight-for-23) with a home run and three RBI. His home run was of the inside-the-park variety.

SABR says, “Youngs had another outstanding year in 1923, hitting .336 in 152 games as the Giants swept to their third consecutive National League pennant. He totaled 200 hits and scored 121 runs to lead the league. By now he was universally regarded as the best right fielder in the senior circuit and drew comparisons of his overall value to a right fielder in the American League named Babe Ruth. Sportswriter Robert Boyd thought that Youngs was just as great a player as Ruth, Tris Speaker, Edd Roush, or Eddie Collins, although perhaps lacking their ‘color.’”

barnhart

RF-Clyde Barnhart, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

.324, 9 HR, 72 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Clyde Lee “Pooch” Barnhart was born on December 29, 1895 in Buck Valley, PA. The five-foot-10 , 155 pound righty outfielder started with Pittsburgh in 1920 as a third baseman before moving to the outfield this season. He finished sixth in on-base percentage (.409), fourth in slugging (.563); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (152).

Wikipedia says, “Barnhart made his major league debut on September 22, 1920, with the Pirates at age 24. That year, Barnhart had a batting average of .326 in 46 at bats in 12 games. In 1921, Barnhart was promoted to a starter. That year he hit .258 in 449 at bats in 124 games. The Pirates, however, were not satisfied with his statistics, so they demoted him to the bench.

“In 1922, Barnhart hit .330 in 209 at bats in 75 games, giving him the third highest batting average on the team. With those statistics, Barnhart was again promoted. In 1923, he hit .324 in 327 at bats in 114 games. Barnhart’s success continued, especially in 1925, when he had 114 runs batted in, second on a team that went on to win the World Series that year. In 1928, Barnhart was plagued with injuries; he recorded a .296 batting average in 196 at bats in 61 games. Barnhart’s last game was on August 23 of that year.

“Barnhart is the only major league player to get hits in three games in one day. He collected hits in each game of a rare triple-header played on October 2, 1920. He did this just 10 days after making his major league debut.”

Barnhart died on January 21, 1980 in Hagerstown, MD at the age of 84.

1922 American League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-Shoeless Joe Jackson

P-Red Faber, CHW

P-Urban Shocker, SLB

P-Eddie Rommel, PHA

P-Bob Shawkey, NYY

P-Stan Coveleski, CLE

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-George Uhle, CLE

P-Herman Pillette, DET

P-Jack Quinn, BOS

P-Charlie Robertson, CHW

C-Steve O’Neill, CLE

C-Johnny Bassler, DET

1B-George Sisler, SLB

1B-Wally Pipp, NYY

2B-Marty McManus, SLB

3B-Riggs Stephenson, CLE

SS-Topper Rigney, DET

LF-Ken Williams, SLB

LF-Babe Ruth, NYY

LF-Bobby Veach, DET

CF-Tris Speaker, CLE

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Bing Miller, PHA

CF-Baby Doll Jacobson, SLB

RF-Harry Heilmann, DET

 

jackson9

ONEHOF-Shoeless Joe Jackson

1911 1912 1913 1914 1916 1917 1919 1920

.356, 54 HR, 792 RBI, 62.2 Career WAR

 

The ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame, inducted the best player ever year who isn’t already part of it. It’s based solely on performance, so even if you’ve killed baby seals, committed a hoax about getting assaulted, or, I don’t know, been part of an intricate plan with gamblers to throw the championship series of your sport, you can still get in if you have the stats. With no judgments towards Shoeless Joe Jackson as a person, he definitely has the stats. You can see the whole list here.

Next year’s nominees are are Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Johnny Evers, Sherry Magee, Larry Doyle, Art Fletcher, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, Joe McGinnity, Ed Walsh, Nap Rucker, Ed Konetchy, Larry Gardner, Jake Daubert, Babe Adams, Bobby Veach, Wilbur Cooper, Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth, and George Sisler.

I’m putting Jackson in as a rightfielder since he played five more games in rightfield than he did in left. He made four All-Star teams at each position. He joins fellow rightfielders King Kelly and Sam Crawford in the Hall. There’s a surprisingly light amount of rightfielders in the Hall. At this point in baseball history, there was no doubt Crawford was the greatest rightfielder of all-time. Of course, that could change next year when a pitcher converted to rightfielder has a pretty good chance of making the ONEHOF. Oh wait, I don’t want to spoil it for you!

faber3

P-Red Faber, Chicago White Sox, 33 Years Old

1920 1921

21-17, 2.81 ERA, 148 K, .200, 0 HR, 5 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1964)

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

 

Led in:

 

1922 AL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-9.4

WAR for Pitchers-9.5 (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-2.81 (2nd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-1.185 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-352

Complete Games-31 (2nd Time)

Batters Faced-1,464

Adjusted ERA+-143 (2nd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.30

Adj. Pitching Runs-49 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.0 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-94

3rd Time All-Star-Because I’m doing these All-Star teams, my decisions towards Halls of Fame (Hall of Fames?) are based on All-Star teams. That doesn’t make me right or wrong – okay, I’m probably wrong – but this is my list so on my page all decisions are final. So that being said, despite Red Faber’s career WAR of 65, along with his 254 wins and 119 ERA+, he’s not going to make my Hall of Fame which takes the number of All-Star teams made and multiplies it by Career WAR and if the number is over 300, the player is in. He’s also not going make the ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame in which I inducted just a single ballplayer per season. He did, however, make Cooperstown and I don’t have much of a problem with that.

Chicago, managed by Kid Gleason, moved up from seventh to fifth with a 77-77 record, 17 games out of first. Its hitting was poor and its pitching decent, thanks to Faber.

Wikipedia says, “In his last few seasons, Faber returned to relief pitching, coming out of the bullpen 96 times between 1931 and 1933. Faber announced his retirement before the 1934 season. He had pitched 20 consecutive years for the White Sox. He ended his career at age 45 with a 254-213 career record, a 3.15 ERA and 1471 strikeouts. He holds the White Sox franchise record for most games pitched, and held the team records for career wins, starts, complete games and innings until they were later broken by Ted Lyons. After retiring as a player, Faber entered auto sales and real estate. He returned as a White Sox coach for three seasons.

“Faber was a longtime smoker and had suffered two heart attacks in the 1960s. He began to suffer from increasing heart and lung issues and died in Chicago in 1976.”

shocker4

P-Urban Shocker, St. Louis Browns, 31 Years Old

1919 1920 1921

24-17, 2.97 ERA, 149 K, .279, 1 HR, 6 RBI

MVP Rank: 17

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.474

Strikeouts-149

Home Runs Allowed-22 (2nd Time)

Hits Allowed-365

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-2.614

Putouts as P-33

4th Time All-Star-Shocker made his fourth straight All-Star team on his way to making Ron’s Hall of Fame. I wouldn’t have put Faber in the Hall of Fame, but he made Cooperstown. I would have put Shocker in the Hall of Fame, but he didn’t make the real one. Go figure. This season, Shocker finished fourth in WAR (7.5); third in WAR for Pitchers (7.3), behind Chicago’s Red Faber (9.5) and Philadelphia’s Eddie Rommel (7.4); fifth in ERA (2.97); second in innings pitched (348), trailing Faber (352); third in Adjusted ERA+ (140), behind Chicago’s ace (143) and teammate Rasty Wright (142); and led the league in strikeouts (149).

St. Louis, managed by Lee Fohl, finished in second in the American League with a 93-61 record, one game behind New York. As late as Sept. 6, the Browns were in first place by half-a-game, with an 81-54 record. The rest of the year they went 12-7, but fell behind the Yankees and never caught up. Led by first baseman George Sisler, St. Louis led the league in runs, while led by Shocker, it led the league in ERA.

The American League had an MVP vote this season. Wikipedia says, “In 1922 the American League created a new award to honor “the baseball player who is of the greatest all-around service to his club”.Winners, voted on by a committee of eight baseball writers chaired by James Crusinberry, received a bronze medal and a cash prize. Voters were required to select one player from each team and player-coaches and prior award winners were ineligible. Famously, these criteria resulted in Babe Ruth winning only a single MVP award before it was dropped after 1928. The National League award, without these restrictions, lasted from 1924 to 1929.”

rommel3P-Eddie Rommel, Philadelphia Athletics, 24 Years Old

1920 1921

27-13, 3.28 ERA, 54 K, .181, 0 HR, 7 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-27

Games Pitched-51

Def. Games as P-51

3rd Time All-Star-After two decent seasons, the knuckleball pitching Rommel had his best year yet, finishing fifth in WAR (7.1); second in WAR for Pitchers (7.4), behind Chicago’s Red Faber (9.5); eighth in ERA (3.28); fourth in innings pitched (294); seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (129); and first in wins (27). It’s that last category that probably allowed his to finish second in the MVP vote.

Philadelphia, managed by Connie Mack, moved up out of the cellar for the first time in seven years, finishing in seventh with a 65-89 record, 29 games behind. Despite having Rommel, the Athletics pitching was iffy, as they allowed more homers (107) than any other team.

SABR says, “Finally, in 1922 the team escaped the cellar. Their 65-89 record moved them up one spot in the standings to seventh, and they began a steady rise that in a few years made them the best team in baseball. Rommel had his best season in 1922, winning 27 games, or 41 percent of the team’s victories, and placing second in the voting for the Most Valuable Player. In an interview with Baseball Magazine, he estimated that one-third of his pitches were knuckleballs. ‘… (I)t doesn’t do to throw all one thing, no matter how good that one thing may be. You have to mix them up to keep batters guessing,’ he said.”

Do you think Athletics fans in those days had a victory parade for finally not finishing last? “We’re number seven! We’re number seven!” It must have been a relief not to be the worst team in the American League.

shawkey4

P-Bob Shawkey, New York Yankees, 31 Years Old

1916 1917 1920

20-12, 2.91 ERA, 130 K, .183, 1 HR, 14 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-Even though the Yankees won the American League pennant in 1921, Shawkey didn’t make the All-Star team, finishing 18-12, with a 4.08 ERA. He’s back this season, finishing seventh in WAR (6.9); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (7.2); third in ERA (2.91), behind Chicago’s Red Faber (2.81) and Detroit’s Herman Pillette (2.85); third in innings pitched (299 2/3), trailing Faber (352) and St. Louis’ Urban Shocker (348); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (137).

New York, managed by Miller Huggins, won the American League pennant for the second straight season, finishing in first with a 94-60 record, one game ahead of St. Louis. The Yankees were swept in the World Series, losing 4-0-1 to their fellow Polo Grounds tenants, the Giants. Shawkey started one game, pitching 10 innings and allowing three runs, all earned.

Wikipedia says, “Shawkey won 195 games in his career, and won 20 or more games in five different seasons (his high was 26). Shawkey is noted as the starting pitcher in the first game played in Yankee Stadium on April 18, 1923, and set the franchise record for 15 strikeouts in a single game, which stood until Whitey Ford broke it in the early 1960s. Bob credited his success to a super fastball and an outstanding curve ball. He later served as the baseball coach for Dartmouth College.

“In 1970, Shawkey was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in Brookville, Pennsylvania. During the 1976 opening day festivities for the renovated Yankee Stadium, Shawkey threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He died at age 90 in Syracuse, New York on New Year’s Eve 1980.”

coveleski6

P-Stan Coveleski, Cleveland Indians, 32 Years Old

1917 1918 1919 1920 1921

17-14, 3.32 ERA, 98 K, .101, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1969)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

6th Time All-Star-One of things Wins Above Replacement makes a person examine is the value of pitcher’s bat. Usually a hurler’s overall WAR isn’t affected by his hitting too much one way or another, but if you have a good enough hitting moundsman or a bad enough one, it can make a difference. With Coveleski now making his sixth All-Star team in a row, it seems kind of petty to focus on his anemic hitting, but he was one of the worst in the league at the plate. For his career, Covey slashed .159/.202/205 for an Adjusted OPS+ of nine. This season was horrific as he slashed .101/.160/.131 for an Adjusted OPS+ of -24.

From the pitching rubber, it was a different story, as Coveleski finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.3); 10th in ERA (3.32); eighth in innings pitched (276 2/3); and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (122). He’d never finish in the top 10 in WAR again, but that’s because he couldn’t hit. (Did I mention that?) However, the lanky righty does have a good shot at making the ONEHOF, the One-Inductee-A-Year Hall of Fame.

There was some additional good news for Coveleski this year. I mentioned in a previous blurb his wife, Mary Stivetts, died in 1920. According to Wikipedia, in 1922, “The following season, Coveleski married Frances Stivetts, the sister of his late wife. While he did cause the Yankees to move out of first place after winning an August 23 game against them, 4–1, it was his last game of the season. He finished the year with a 17–14 record, the first time since 1917 he did not have 20 wins, and a 3.32 ERA.”

johnson14P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 34 Years Old

1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1921

15-16, 2.99 ERA, 105 K, .204, 1 HR, 15 RBI

MVP Rank: 17

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000 (4th Time)

14th Time All-Star-In 1920, the only year Johnson didn’t make the All-Star team since he first made the list in 1908, Johnson went 8-10 with a 3.13 ERA, his only losing season since 1909. He had another under-.500 winning percentage this year, going 15-16, but that’s a reflection of the team not The Big Train. He finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.5); sixth in ERA (2.99); sixth in innings pitched (280); sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (130); and didn’t make an error in 80 chances.

Johnson is also the second greatest player of all time at this point of his career. The full list is here.

Washington, managed by Clyde Milan in his only managerial season, finished in sixth place with a 69-85 record, 25 games out of first. The Senators had poor hitting and, even with Johnson, mediocre pitching.

Last year, Johnson had 2,835 strikeouts and took the all-time lead over Cy Young, who ended with 2,803. Ever year after this, he’d keep adding to this total. He’s up to 2.940 through 1922. Johnson would be the all-time strikeout king through 1982.

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

uhle

P-George Uhle, Cleveland Indians, 23 Years Old

22-16, 4.07 ERA, 82 K, .266, 0 HR, 14 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Started-40

Shutouts-5

1st Time All-Star-George Ernest “The Bull” Uhle (pronounced YOO-lee) was born on September 18, 1898 in Cleveland, OH. The six-foot, 190 pound righty pitcher started with Cleveland in 1919 and even pitched three innings for it in its 1920 World Series victory over Brooklyn, allowing just one hit, no runs, and striking out three. This season, Uhle finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.4); fifth in innings pitched (287 1/3); and first in shutouts (five).

SABR says, “If Uhle’s pitching in 1921 eased any skepticism among the Indians brass or his teammates that he belonged in the major leagues, he erased any doubt in the next two years. In 1922 Uhle led the staff with a 22-16 record and a 4.07 ERA. He pitched 287 1/3 innings, completing 23 of his 40 starts. He threw a two-hitter against the Yankees at the Polo Grounds on August 22. While he struck out only three batters, Uhle was in complete control. In the sixth inning, after hitting a single, Uhle needed to have one of his shoes repaired. Backup catcher Les Nunamaker was sent into the game as a ‘courtesy runner’ for Uhle while his show was being repaired. (While early rules allowed the use of such a runner, the last time a courtesy runner was used was in 1949.) Nunamaker was thrown out at second base, and Uhle returned to complete a 6-2 victory.”

Uhle has some hope of making my Hall of Fame, but his 3.99 ERA (106 ERA+) isn’t going to do him any favors.

pillette

P-Herman Pillette, Detroit Tigers, 26 Years Old

19-12, 2.85 ERA, 71 K, .172, 0 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 46 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Herman Polycarp “Old Folks” Pillette (pronounced pih-LETT) was born on December 26, 1895 in St. Paul, OR. The six-foot-two, 190 pound righty pitcher started by pitching one game for Cincinnati in 1917. This season was his first in the Majors since then and he did well, finishing sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.6); second in ERA (2.85), behind Chicago pitcher Red Faber (2.81); ninth in innings pitched (274 2/3); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (136).

Wikipedia states, “In December 1921, the Detroit Tigers purchased Pillette from Portland. The Tigers paid $40,000 and players for Pillette and one other player. In his rookie season of 1922, Pillette compiled a 19–12 record, and had a 2.85 ERA — a full point below the league average ERA of 3.87 in 1922. Pillette’s performance in 1922 ranked him second in the American Leaguein ERA (2.85), sixth in winning percentage (.613), seventh in wins (19), second in shutouts (4), second in hit batsmen (15), fourth in games started (37), and ninth in innings pitched (274-2/3) and batters faced (1,183). One of Pillette’s losses in 1922 came in a perfect game pitched by Charlie Robertson on April 30, 1922. Pillette took the 2–0 loss.

“After a strong rookie season, Pillette never reached the same level of performance. In 1923, his ERA rose by a full run to 3.85 — up from 2.85 the prior year. And, instead of being among the win leaders, Pillette led the American League with 19 losses . Pillette saw limited action in 1924, starting only three games and finishing 1–1. He played in his final major league game on September 28, 1924.

“Pillette died in Sacramento, California, at age 64 in 1960. He was buried at St. Mary Catholic Cemetery in Sacramento.”

quinn4

P-Jack Quinn, Boston Red Sox, 38 Years Old

1910 1914 1915

13-16, 3.48 ERA, 67 K, .099, 1 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-Quinn was 25 when he started his career back in 1909 and was 31 when he last made the All-Star team for the Federal League in 1915. After being out of the Majors in 1916 and 1917, he was signed as a free agent with the White Sox during the 1918 season. The Yankees picked him up before the 1919 season and he pitched in their World Series loss to the Giants, losing one game in relief after allowing eight hits and four runs in three-and-two-thirds innings. Before this season, Quinn was traded by the New York Yankees with Rip CollinsRoger PeckinpaughBill Piercy and $100,000 to the Boston Red Sox for Bullet Joe BushSad Sam Jones and Everett Scott.

Quinn, now allegedly 38-years-old, finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.0).

Boston, managed by Hugh Duffy in his last year ever managing in the Big Leagues, usurped Philadelphia’s hold on last place by finishing 61-93. The Red Sox scored the fewest runs in the American League though their pitching was okay.

Quinn pitched the opening game at Fenway this season and the Boston Globe has a record of it in its archives. I love baseball writing from this era, so here’s a snippet: “The Bostons, playing behind Jack Quinn, gained a lead of two runs before the match was half way through. The Macks [ed. the Athletics] bunched hits for one counter in the fifth, then presented with their victory in the seventh.”

Check out the article at the link for more on this Quinn loss.

robertsonc

P-Charlie Robertson, Chicago White Sox, 26 Years Old

14-15, 3.64 ERA, 83 K, .184, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Charles Culbertson “Charlie” Robertson was born on January 31, 1896 in Dexter, TX. The six-foot, 175 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing pitcher started with the White Sox in 1919, pitching just one game and tossing two innings. He didn’t make it back to the Majors until this year when he had his best season ever, finishing 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.4) and 10th in innings pitched (272).

Of course, one game stands out from this year for Robertson. Wikipedia says, “On April 30, 1922, in just his fourth career start, he pitched the fifth perfect game in baseball history against the Detroit Tigers at Navin Field (later known as Tiger Stadium) in Detroit. He became the first pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game on the road. The Detroit lineup featured such Hall of Famers as Ty Cobb and Harry Heilmann, who both complained that he was doctoring the ball throughout the game. A spectacular diving catch by Johnny Mostil on a liner to left by Bobby Veachin the second inning preserved the historic feat. The Tigers submitted several game balls to American League President Ban Johnson after the game to check for irregularities, but Johnson dismissed the charge. No pitcher would equal the feat after Robertson for another 34 years, until Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series; the next regular season perfect game would not come until Jim Bunning’s perfect game in 1964.

“After the victory, he suffered arm troubles for the rest of his career. He pitched one season for the St. Louis Browns and two years with the Boston Braves and retired in 1928. He died in Fort Worth, Texas at age 88.”

oneills4

C-Steve O’Neill, Cleveland Indians, 30 Years Old

1918 1919 1920

.311, 2 HR, 65 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as C-15 (2nd Time)

Passed Balls-17

4th Time All-Star-I wrapped up O’Neill’s life in my 1920 write-up because it’s difficult to tell when catchers are going to make All-Star teams or not. After not making this list in 1921, despite slashing .322/.424/.403, he did well this year, finishing sixth in on-base percentage (.423), sixth in the MVP voting, and first in passed balls (17).

SABR says, “As a youngster, Steve could box and wrestle, and he admired athletes of any description, but baseball was the only sport he ever really cared about. As a boy he played it from snow season to snow season. Besides Mike and Jack, another brother, Jim, carved out small major-league careers. In fact, Mike and Jack, both older than Steve, became the first brother battery in major-league history. Mike pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals for four years, posting a 32–44 record with a 2.73 ERA. Jack was a catcher for five years with the Cardinals, the Chicago Cubs, and the Boston Beaneaters (later the Braves). Steve’s younger brother Jim played two years with the Washington Senators as a shortstop before injuries cut his career short. The oldest brother, Pat, might have made it five O’Neills in the majors, but he hurt his hand in a mining accident.

“Thus, save for the Delahantys, the O’Neills are the only other family with at least four brothers who played in the major leagues.”

When he got older, according to the picture on SABR and with his mashed up nose, O’Neill looked like Karl Malden.

bassler

C-Johnny Bassler, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

.323, 0 HR, 41 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-73

1st Time All-Star-John Landis “Johnny” Bassler was born on June 3, 1895 in Lancaster, PA. The five-foot-nine, 170 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing catcher started with Cleveland in 1913 and 1914 and then was out of the Majors until his rookie season of 1921, when he slashed .307/.401/.379 for Detroit. This season, Bassler finished seventh in on-base percentage (.422) and sixth in the MVP voting.

Wikipedia states, “Bassler was born in 1895 in Mechanics Grove, Pennsylvania. He was one of 13 children born to a Mennonite family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.[3] His father Jacob Bassler (born 1866) was a Pennsylvania native who worked in a paper mill in 1900 and as a motorman on a street car in 1910. His mother Fianna Bassler (born 1868) was also a Pennsylvania native.[4][5] By 1920, Bassler’s family had moved to 2434 Bundy Drive in West Los Angeles, where his father was working as a motorman for the electric railroad.

“In 1922, Basser appeared in 121 games, 113 as the Tigers’ starting catcher. He compiled a .323 batting average, and his .422 on-base percentage was seventh best in the American League. He also ranked among the league leaders with a 31.0 at bats to strikeout ratio (eighth). Defensively, he continued to rank among the league’s leading catchers with 12 double plays turned (fourth), a 4.53 range factor rating per game, 113 assists (fifth), and a .980 fielding percentage (fifth). However, he also led the league with 73 stolen bases allowed and ranked third with 11 errors. He ranked sixth in the voting for the 1922 American League Most Valuable Player award.”

Okay, was he born in Mechanics Grove or Lancaster? You can’t have it both ways, Wikipedia!

sisler7

1B-George Sisler, St. Louis Browns, 29 Years Old, 1st MVP

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921

.420, 8 HR, 105 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

Led in:

 

1922 AL MVP

1922 AL Batting Title (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-8.7 (2nd Time)

Offensive WAR-8.2 (7th Time)

Batting Average-.420 (2nd Time)

Runs Scored-134

Hits-246 (2nd Time)

Triples-18 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases-51 (3rd Time)

Singles-178 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-163

Adj. Batting Runs-62

Adj. Batting Wins-5.9

Times On Base-298

Assists as 1B-125 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-Things couldn’t have looked better for Gorgeous George Sisler. The American League implemented an MVP award this year and Sisler won it. Also, I know it’s not quite as important, but he also won an MVP from me, his first and only one. He hit .420, the highest AL batting average since Nap Lajoie, who hit .426 in the AL’s inaugural season. Sisler was 29, the best first baseman in baseball in his day and possibly ever, with his whole future ahead of him.

Then, according to SABR, “At the peak of his powers following his historic 1922 performance, Sisler missed the entire 1923 season with a severe sinus infection that impaired his optic nerve, plaguing him with chronic headaches and double vision. Though he was able to return to the field in 1924, when he also agreed to serve as manager of the Browns, Sisler was never again the same player.

“Sisler remained with the Pirates after Rickey left, but after serious abdominal surgery in 1957 he and Kathleen moved back to St. Louis. Despite the move, Sisler remained with the Pirates as a roving hitting coach, and instructed such players as Willie StargellGene Alley, and Donn Clendenon. Sisler passed away on March 26, 1973, in Richmond Heights, Missouri.”

So after seven straight great years, this is probably his last All-Star team. He’s got a shot at making the ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame, but it’s going to be difficult. As great as Sisler’s career was, he could have been the greatest first baseman of all time if not for the illness that beset him.

pipp2

1B-Wally Pipp, New York Yankees, 29 Years Old

1916

.329, 9 HR, 94 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,667 (4th Time)

Def. Games as 1B-152 (4th Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,667 (4th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.58 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 1B-11.55 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Both George Sisler and Pipp were 29 this season and most likely both have made their last All-Star team. Yet both are going to decline for much different reasons. Sisler had the eye injury that ruined his career (see his blurb) and Pipp would step aside for possibly the greatest first baseman of all time.

This season, Pipp finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.6); eighth in batting (.329); and also led the American League in many of the first baseman fielding stats. In the World Series of 1921, which the Yankees lost to the Giants, five games to three, Pipp hit only .154, with a double. In this year’s Series, which the Yankees lost to the Giants, 4-0-1, Pipp hit better, going (six-for-21), also with a double.

If you look at Wikipedia, there are numerous stories on why Pipp was benched and replaced permanently by Lou Gehrig in 1925. Those include a general purging of the lineup by manager Miller Huggins, Pipp getting beaned and unable to play, Pipp having a headache, or Pipp going to the horse races that day, June 2, 1925. To me, this part is more interesting as Wikipedia states: “Meanwhile, Pipp scouted Lou Gehrig, who was playing college baseball for Columbia University, and suggested to Miller Huggins, the Yankees’ manager, that he should sign Gehrig. Pipp personally helped develop Gehrig after he signed. Pipp had a strong 1923 season, but he injured his right ankle while stepping off of a train in Boston late in the year. The Yankees used Gehrig, whom they promoted from the minor leagues, to play the Yankees’ final four games.

“The Pipps moved to Lansing, Michigan, in 1949. After suffering a number of strokes, Pipp moved to a nursing home in Grand Rapids in September 1963.[1] He died there on January 11, 1965, of a heart attack at the age of 71.”

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2B-Marty McManus, St. Louis Browns, 22 Years Old

.312, 11 HR, 109 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 2B-32

1st Time All-Star-Martin Joseph “Marty” McManus was born on March 14, 1900 (the first player on my lists to be born in the 1900s) in Chicago, IL. The five-foot-10, 160 pound righty started his career playing one game for the Browns in 1920. He became St. Louis’ second baseman in 1921 and had his best season ever this year, finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (4.4) and sixth in Defensive WAR (1.2), despite leading the American League in errors at second base (32).

Wikipedia says, “In 1922, McManus had perhaps his best major league season. He appeared in 154 games for the Browns, 153 of them as the Browns’ starting second baseman. He compiled a .312 batting average and ranked among the American League leaders with 109 RBIs (third), 189 hits (eighth), 278 total bases (eighth), 34 doubles (eighth), and 11 triples (10th). He also ranked as one of the league’s top defensive second baseman with a 1.2 defensive WAR rating (third), 398 putouts at second base (third), 467 assists at second base (fourth), 102 double plays turned at second place (second), 32 errors at second base (first), and a 5.65 range factor rating at second base (second). The 1922 Browns team finished one game behind the pennant-winning Yankees, the closest McManus would ever come to the postseason.”

You might be wondering where Eddie Collins is. Well, he had a good enough season to be voted fifth in the MVP voting, but it was actually an off year as he slashed .324/.401/.403 for and OPS+ of 111. But don’t worry, Cocky isn’t done making these teams.

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3B-Riggs Stephenson, Cleveland Indians, 24 Years Old

.339, 2 HR, 32 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Jackson Riggs “Old Hoss” Stephenson was born on January 5, 1898 in Akron, AL. The five-foot-10, 185 pound righty utility player started with Cleveland in 1921, playing mainly at second base. This season, Stephenson played 36 games at third and 26 gamea at second, playing just 86 games altogether. Yet, he’s the American League representative at third base. There weren’t a lot of good players at the hot corner at this time, now that Sephenson’s teammate Larry Gardner was 36-year-old and fading away.

On Baseball Reference, the U.S. Military History Group sponsored Riggs’ page and said, “The greatest major league baseball player who is NOT in the Hall of Fame!” Really? My nominee for that would be Bill Dahlen, the great shortstop of the 1890s and 1900s, who should definitely be in Cooperstown, but I could also name about 50 others who should make it in before Stephenson. The USMHG was dazzled by his career batting average of .336, but that was mainly due to the era in which he played. While he could certainly hit, his fielding more often than not kept him out of the lineup.

Wikipedia says, “The following season, Stephenson made the transition towards playing third base in the middle of the season. In 34 games at third base, 25 at second base and three in the outfield, he committed 11 errors, a sharp improvement from the previous season. He continued to shine at the plate, batting .339 in 86 games, with 24 doubles and 47 runs scored.”

rigney

SS-Topper Rigney, Detroit Tigers, 25 Years Old

.300, 2 HR, 63 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-155

Def. Games as SS-155

Errors Committed as SS-50

1st Time All-Star-Emory Elmo “Topper” or “Trim” Rigney was born on January 7, 1897 in Groveton, TX. The five-foot-nine-150 pound righty shortstop had a decent rookie year and that’s good enough to put him on this list. There was a lack of good left side of the infield ballplayers at this time in the Junior Circuit, so because Rigney played frequently and didn’t stink, welcome to the All-Star Team Topper!

Rigney served in the Armed Forces, according to Wikipedia, which says, “Rigney attended Texas A&M University, playing at the shortstop position for the Texas A&M baseball team from 1915 to 1918. He attained the rank of colonel in the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and was also captain of the Ross Volunteers. Rigney then served in the U. S. Navy in 1918 and 1919 and listed his occupation as real estate agent in the 1920 United States Census.

“In 1922 Rigney joined the Detroit Tigers at age 25. He was the team’s starting shortstop in all 155 games during the 1922 season; he replaced Donie Bush, who had been the Tigers starting shortstop from 1909 to 1921. In his rookie season, Rigney compiled a .300 batting average and a .380 on-base percentage with 17 doubles, seven triples, two home runs, 17 stolen bases, and 63 RBIs.”

SABR says, “We don’t know where the ‘Topper’ nickname came from, but he had it as early as 1920. He was also known as ‘Trim’ and ‘Midget.’ He married in 1920 to a Texan named Thelma Routh, whose father was a general merchant.”

williamsk2

LF-Ken Williams, St. Louis Browns, 32 Years Old

1921

.332, 39 HR, 155 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Total Bases-367

Home Runs-39

Runs Batted In-155

Extra Base Hits-84

Caught Stealing-20

Power-Speed #-38.0

2nd Time All-Star-American League batters must have loved 1922, because Babe Ruth only played 110 games, due to reasons I’ll cover in his write-up, but it opened up the chance to lead in categories in which he usually dominated. Oh, like home runs, for instance. Williams took advantage of this and hit 39 dingers to lead the American League. From the years  1918-1931, only four other players led the AL in homers outside of Ruth. Those were Tillie Walker, who tied Ruth with 11 homers in 1918, Williams this season, Bob Meusel in 1925 (another year in which Ruth missed significant time), and Lou Gehrig in 1931 when he tied his teammate.

This was Williams’ best season ever as he finished third in WAR (7.9), behind Chicago pitcher Red Faber (9.4) and teammate, first baseman George Sisler (8.7); second in WAR Position Players (7.9), trailing Sisler (8.7); second in Offensive WAR (7.2), behind Gorgeous George (8.2); sixth in batting (.332); eighth in on-base percentage (.413); second in slugging (.627), trailing Ruth (.672); sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (164); and went a mediocre 37-for-57 stealing. He was the first 30-30 player in baseball history and this wouldn’t be matched until Willie Mays did so in 1956.

Other notes on the season include the fact 32 of his 39 homers were hit at home, as Sportsman Park was a good park for lefties. On August 7, 1922, Williams became the first AL player to hit two dingers in an inning. It had previously been done by Charley Jones in 1880, Bobby Lowe in 1894, and Jake Stenzel, also in 1894.

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LF-Babe Ruth, New York Yankees, 27 Years Old

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921

.315, 35 HR, 96 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

 

Led in:

 

Slugging %-.672 (5th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.106 (5th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-182 (4th Time)

AB per HR-11.6 (5th Time)

7th Time All-Star-Ruth did not start the 1922 season on the field. According to Call to the Pen, “After the season Ruth decided to barnstorm along with teammate and outfielder Bob Meusel. In doing so, Ruth and Meusel broke a major league rule against barnstorming by players who participated in the World Series. The first Commissioner in baseball history, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, believed that the Series should be the most important event of the baseball season. With baseball’s reputation having suffered from the Black Sox scandal of 1919 Landis did not want anything to take away from the fans faith in the game.” Ruth was suspended for six weeks.

Once he came back, he was the typical Bambino. Ruth finished ninth in WAR (6.3); fifth in WAR Position Players (6.3); sixth in Offensive WAR (5.9); fourth in on-base percentage (.434); fifth in slugging (.672); first in Adjusted OPS+ (182); and first OPS (1.106).

In the World Series, Ruth had his worst postseason ever, which helps explain why the Yankees were swept, 4-0-1. The Sultan of Swat went two-for-17 (.118) with a double. John McGraw, the Giants’ manager, told his pitchers to throw Ruth nothing but curveballs and, just like Cerrano from Major League, the big man couldn’t adjust.

Considering right before this writing, Bryce Harper just signed a contract for $330 million, this seems miniscule, but according to Wikipedia, “On March 6, 1922, Ruth signed a new contract for three years at $52,000 a year. This was the largest sum ever paid to a ballplayer up to that point, and it represented 40% of the team’s player payroll.”

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LF-Bobby Veach, Detroit Tigers, 34 Years Old

1915 1916 1917 1919 1920 1921

.327, 9 HR, 126 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-155 (2nd Time)

Plate Appearances-705

Def. Games as LF-154 (7th Time)

Putouts as LF-375 (7th Time)

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

Fielding % as LF-.982 (4th Time)

7th Time All-Star-This year, Veach made my Hall of Fame, joining fellow leftfielders Jesse Burkett, Fred Clarke, Ed Delahanty, Sherry Magee, and Jim O’Rourke. For the season, Veach finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.9); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.2); ninth in batting (.327); 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (122); and first in plate appearances (705). This was his last hurrah.

SABR says, “In the winter and spring leading up to the 1922 season, Cobb tried to trade Veach to the Yankees for shortstop Everett Scott, but the Yankees would not budge despite the early suspensions of sluggers Babe Ruth and Bob Meusel. Veach responded to his manager’s lack of confidence in him by almost mirroring his excellent 1921 season, collecting 202 hits, driving in 126 runs and recording 375 putouts. Despite his continued excellence at the plate and in the field, and perhaps as a consequence of his salary holdout before the 1923 season, Cobb continued to try to replace his 34-year-old left fielder. Veach hit .321 in 1923, but had only half his normal 600 at-bats, due partly to injuries and partly to increased playing time for talented newcomer Heinie Manush. In January of 1924, Cobb sold Veach to the last place Red Sox for an undisclosed amount of cash.

“In 1943, he was hospitalized and had a serious abdominal operation. He never was completely healthy again and died at home two years later on August 7, 1945 from what may have been lung cancer. Survived by his wife and sons, he was entombed in the White Chapel Memorial Cemetery in Southfield, Michigan.”

speaker14

CF-Tris Speaker, Cleveland Indians, 34 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921

.378, 11 HR, 71 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.474 (3rd Time)

Doubles-48 (7th Time)

Offensive Win %-.840 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as CF-7 (7th Time)

Fielding % as CF-.983 (6th Time)

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

14th Time All-Star-If you give a list of the all-time greats in this sport, does Tris Speaker immediately come to mind? Probably not, but he’s already made 14 consecutive All-Star teams and he’s not nearly done. In my opinion, he’s the fifth greatest player at this point in baseball history. The full list is here. He’s also made more All-Star teams at centerfield than anyone else. Here is the complete tally:

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Eddie Collins, 13

3B-Home Run Baker, 9

SS-Honus Wagner, 13

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Speaker, 14

RF-Sam Crawford, 9

For the season, Speaker finished sixth in WAR (6.9); third in WAR Position Players (6.9), behind St. Louis first baseman George Sisler (8.7) and leftfielder Ken Williams (7.9); fourth in Offensive WAR (7.0); third in batting (.378), trailing Sisler (.420) and Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (.401); first in on-base percentage (.474); third in slugging (.606), with only New York leftfielder Babe Ruth (.672) and Williams (.627) ahead of him; second in Adjusted OPS+ (177), trailing Ruth (182); and first in doubles (48).

Speaker also managed Cleveland as it fell from second to fourth with a 78-76 record, 16 games out of first. Thanks to its manager, the team could hit, leading the American League in doubles, but the Indians may have been the worst pitching team in the league, giving up a league-leading 107 homers. When Stan Coveleski and George Uhle received the decision, the team was 39-30, but when that dynamic duo didn’t, the team was 39-46.

cobb15

CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 35 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1921

.401, 4 HR, 99 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1915)

 

15th Time All-Star-Let’s just get started because Cobb did a lot this year. First of all, he’s the third greatest ballplayer of all-time as of this point in history, behind two pitchers, Cy Young and Walter Johnson. You can see the list here. He also hit .401 at the age of 35, still the oldest player to hit above .400. For the season, Cobb finished eighth in WAR (6.7); fourth in WAR Position Players (6.7); third in Offensive WAR (7.2), behind St. Louis’ first baseman George Sisler (8.2) and leftfielder Ken Williams (7.2); second in batting, trailing Sisler (.420); third in on-base percentage (.462), behind Cleveland centerfielder Tris Speaker (.474) and Gorgeous George (.467); sixth in slugging (.565); fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (169); and went a dismal nine-for-22 stealing.

He also managed Detroit for the second straight season, helping them improve from sixth to third place with a 79-75 record, 15 games out of first. Thanks to Cobb, the Tigers could hit, leading the league in on-base percentage (.373), but their pitching was dismal.

The Detroit Athletic has a great article on yet another Cobb controversy. It turns out one of his hits on May 15, 1922 might have actually been an error. If it would have been counted as an error, Cobb would not have hit .400. According to the Athletic, “Cobb hit a ground ball to shortstop Everett Scott. According to one newspaper account, Scott ‘fumbled and kicked the ball into center field.’ Official scorer John Kieran of the New York Tribune ruled it an error. Also in attendance that day was sportswriter Fred Lieb, who put it down in his scorecard as a hit. Unaware of the discrepancy between his scoring and Kieran’s, Lieb sent his box score, giving Cobb two hits on the day, to the Associated Press. Kieran’s box score, showing Cobb as getting only one hit, was delivered to the Tribune.” You’ll want to read the whole thing.

millerb

CF-Bing Miller, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

.335, 21 HR, 90 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. 1 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-Edmund John “Bing” Miller was born on August 30, 1894 in Vinton, IA. The six-foot, 185 pound outfielder started as a leftfielder for Washington in 1921. He was then traded by the Washington Senators with Jose Acosta and $50,000 to the Philadelphia Athletics for Joe Dugan. This was his best season ever as he finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.2), ninth in Offensive WAR (4.2), fifth in batting (.335), seventh in slugging (.551), and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (136). SABR says, “It was {Miller’s brother] Eugene who first dubbed young Edmund with the moniker ‘Bing,’ the name having come from a character in a comic strip that ran in the local newspaper, the Vinton Eagle. The character’s name, ‘George Washington Bings’, was appended to Miller first as ‘Bings,’ but later simply ‘Bing.’”

Wikipedia says, “Miller batted .311 in 1,820 Major League games played with 1,934 hits over the course of his 16-year career, with 389 doubles, 96 triples and 116 home runs. He’s best known for hitting a two-out walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 5 of the 1929 World Series, in which the Athletics won their fourth world championship. Miller was the A’s starting right fielderduring their three consecutive American League championships, and batted .258 with 17 hits in 18 World Series games from 1929–31. He retired as a player six days after his 42nd birthday.

“On May 7, 1966, he was injured in an auto accident while driving home after attending Connie Mack Stadium for a game between the Phillies and Pirates. Taken to Presbyterian Hospital in Philadelphia, Bing Miller died six hours after the accident.”

jacobson3

CF-Baby Doll Jacobson, St. Louis Browns, 31 Years Old

1920 1921

.317, 9 HR, 102 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Jacobson made his third consecutive All-Star team and it certainly looks like he could make another one. He’s only got five years left in the Majors at this point, so he won’t have the longevity to make any of the Hall of Fames above. This season, Baby Doll finished a very good 19-for-25 stealing, while slashing .317/.379/.463 for an OPS+ of 115. With George Sisler, Ken Williams, and Jacobson on the team, the Browns sure could hit.

Wikipedia wraps up his season, saying, “In 1922, Jacobson helped lead the Browns to one of the best seasons in the club’s history. The 1922 Browns, with George Sisler batting .420, finished in second place in the American League, one game behind the New York Yankees, with a 93-61 record. Jacobson compiled a .317 batting average in 1922 with 102 RBIs and career highs with 16 triples and 19 stolen bases. He was among the league’s leaders in triples (2nd), RBIs (5th), and stolen bases (7th). He hit three triples in one game against the Detroit Tigers on September 9. He also had the second highest range factor (2.74) among all American League outfielders in 1922.”

According to Be A Better Hitter, the game in which Jacobson tripled thrice also “featured the continuation of two hitting streaks. Eventual American League Home Run Champion Ken Williams hit his fifth home run in five games, (he would lead the league with 39 and 155 RBIs) and Hall of Famer George Sisler hit in his 38th consecutive game (he hit in 41 that year and batted .420). Given the power of the home run, many newspapers of the time had with Ken Williams’ 37th home run taking the banner.”

heilmann3

RF-Harry Heilmann, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

1919 1921

.356, 21 HR, 92 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1952)

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-At 27-years-old, you have not seen the best of Heilmann yet. He’s still got some outstanding seasons left. This year, Slug finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.4); fifth in Offensive WAR (6.0); fourth in batting (.356); fifth in on-base percentage (.432); fourth in slugging (.598); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (169).

He had a limited season this year, because, according to Wikipedia, “By late June, Heilmann was batting .387 and battling George Sisler for the American League batting championship. On August 26, 1922, Heilman’s season came to an end when he sustained a complete break of his collarbone when he crashed into Frank Brower while trying to beat out an infield hit. Heilmann had to have his collarbone rebroken and reset, and it was then discovered that Heilmann had also broken his shoulder. The injuries were so severe that Heilmann remained hospitalized until a week before the end of the season, and even after leaving the hospital, he feared he might never play again. Despite missing the last five weeks of the season, Heilmann hit a career high 21 home runs, fourth in the American League.”

SABR says, “It was an adjustment playing for Cobb the manager, who platooned his own players and Heilmann was part of the shuffle. On a couple of occasions early in his first season as manager, he even benched Heilmann, who was in the process of winning the first of his four batting championships, in favor of lefty Chick Shorten.” There’s more in this article on Cobb’s relationship with Heilmann. Check it out.