1912 National League All-Star Team

P-Nap Rucker, BRO

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Pete Alexander, PHI

P-Claude Hendrix, PIT

P-Rube Marquard, NYG

P-Slim Sallee, STL

P-George Suggs, CIN

P-Jeff Tesreau, NYG

P-Art Fromme, CIN

P-Eppa Rixey, PHI

C-Chief Meyers, NYG

C-Jimmy Archer, CHC

1B-Ed Konetchy, STL

1B-Jake Daubert, BRO

2B-Johnny Evers, CHC

2B-Bill Sweeney, BSN

2B-Larry Doyle, NYG

3B-Heinie Zimmerman, CHC

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

LF-Bob Bescher, CIN

LF-Max Carey, PIT

CF-Chief Wilson, PIT

CF-Dode Paskert, PHI

RF-John Titus, PHI/BSN

 

rucker6

P-Nap Rucker, Brooklyn Dodgers, 27 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911

18-21, 2.21 ERA, 151 K, .245, 0 HR, 12 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-8.3 (2nd Time)

War for Pitchers-8.1 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-6 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-As of this writing, the Golden State Warriors won yet another basketball championship because they have two of the best players in the game, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. In basketball, there are fewer championship teams, because you can be successful with the game’s best players. Not so in baseball. You need to have a good all-around team to win. Mike Trout is the best player in baseball and has only been to the playoffs once. He’s having an incredible 2018 season and it looks like the Angels could fall short again.

Which brings us to Rucker. He was one of baseball’s best players during the time he pitched, but his career won-loss percentage is .500. That’s because he always pitched on bad teams. Am I saying he would have been a Christy Mathewson if he had pitched on the Giants? Yes, though without the longevity. This season, Rucker finished first in WAR (8.3); first in WAR for Pitchers (8.1); third in ERA (2.21), behind the New York combo of Jeff Tesreau (1.96) and Mathewson (2.12); sixth in innings pitched (297 2/3); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (151), trailing only Tesreau (173) and Mathewson (161).

Speaking of Rucker’s bad team, Brooklyn stayed in seventh with a 67-86 record under the guidance of Bill Dahlen. Its problem was when Rucker wasn’t on the mound, the team’s pitching was awful. Rucker would have garnered much more fame if he pitched in these modern times, due to his dominance in the advanced stats.

mathewson11

P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 31 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911

23-12, 2.12 ERA, 134 K, .264, 0 HR, 12 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1910)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1903)

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.987 (4th Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.941 (7th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.54 (8th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-42 (5th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.3 (5th Time)

11th Time All-Star-Mathewson’s manager, John McGraw, was part of an incredible team, the Baltimore Orioles of the late 1890s. That team had a reputation as scofflaws, breaking rules and starting fights at the drop of a cap. It’s why it’s amusing to think of the fiery McGraw managing the clean-cut Big Six. Yet I have yet to read of any disagreements between the two men in all of the seasons of which I’ve written of Mathewson.

This season, Mathewson finished second in WAR (8.0), behind Nap Rucker (8.3); second in WAR for Pitchers (7.5), trailing Rucker (8.1); second in ERA (2.12), with only teammate Jeff Tesreau having a lower one (1.96); second in innings pitched (310), behind Pete Alexander (310 1/3); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (161), trailing Tesreau (173). In his third World Series, Mathewson went 0-2, giving up 11 runs (three earned) in 28 2/3 innings. New York lost the Series, 4-3-1, to the Red Sox.

New York made the Series by winning its second consecutive National League pennant, 10 games ahead of the Pirates. Second baseman Larry Doyle helped the team’s great hitting. The Giants averaged 5.34 runs per game, .37 ahead of the Cubs, who finished second in that category. Also, with Mathewson and Tesreau, the team had the best pitching in the league. Wikipedia says, “Though Mathewson threw three complete games and maintained an ERA below 1.00, numerous errors by the Giants, including a lazy popup dropped by Fred Snodgrass in game 7, cost them the championship.”

alexander2

P-Pete Alexander, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

1911

19-17, 2.81 ERA, 195 K, .186, 2 HR, 13 RBI

MVP Rank: 22

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1938)

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.655

Innings Pitched-310 1/3 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-195

Home Runs Allowed-11

2nd Time All-Star-I wrote in Alexander’s 1911 blurb that he and Christy Mathewson will be battling for top pitcher for many years to come, but in 1911 and 1912, the top pitcher by WAR has been Nap Rucker, the underrated gem from Brooklyn. This season, Old Pete finished fifth in WAR (6.4); third in WAR for Pitchers (6.4), behind Rucker (8.1) and Mathewson (7.5); first in innings pitched (310 1/3); and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (128).

Philadelphia continued to be a middle-of-the-pack team, finishing fifth this season, dropping from fourth in 1911. It continued to struggle with hitting, though Alexander did give them one of the best pitching staffs in the league.

SABR says, “Had Grover Cleveland Alexander been a writer, the French would have called him a poete maudit, a cursed poet. Alexander had within him the greatness and the frailty that make for tragedy. Except for Ty Cobb among his contemporaries, no other player had to cope with so many personal demons. With Cobb and Christy Mathewson, Alexander is one of the most complex players of the Deadball Era.

“Life on the Nebraska plains was harsh, as the infant and child deaths in the Alexander family amply prove. The Alexander farm was self-sufficient, however, and there was always enough food. Alex-called ‘Dode’ by family and folks around Elba and St. Paul-considered himself ‘an average farm boy’ and described his youth as ‘more or less a matter of long days of work and short nights of sleep.’ He acquired a reputation as a corn shucker, a task his father credited with giving him the powerful right wrist that made his curveball so deadly.”

hendrix

P-Claude Hendrix, Pittsburgh Pirates, 23 Years Old

24-9, 2.59 ERA, 176 K, .322, 1 HR, 15 RBI

MVP Rank: 20

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.727

Assists as P-91

Range Factor/Game as P-2.51

1st Time All-Star-Claude Raymond Hendrix was born on April 13, 1889 in Olathe, KS. The six-foot, 195 pound righty started with Pittsburgh in 1911, but really broke through this year. Hendrix finished sixth in WAR (6.1); ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.7); eighth in ERA (2.59); 10th in innings pitched (288 2/3); and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (128). He also added something many pitchers didn’t – a great bat. He slashed .322/.339/.529 for and OPS+ of 135 and was used eight times as a pinch hitter.

Pittsburgh couldn’t get past the Giants and finished second in the league with a 93-58 record. Fred Clarke continued to manage the team that had great hitting thanks to Honus Wagner and great pitching thanks to Hendrix.

SABR says, “Making the jump from semipro ball directly to the majors, Claude debuted with the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 11, 1911, and soon befriended Honus Wagner, with whom he often joined on business deals. Hendrix finished the season with a 4-6 record, but his 2.73 ERA and 85 hits allowed in 118.2 innings provided a hint of the performance that was soon to come.

“In his first full season in Pittsburgh, Hendrix emerged as one of the National League’s premier pitchers in 1912, placing second in the NL in strikeouts (176) and leading the league in winning percentage with a 24-9 record to go along with a 2.59 ERA. He also was spectacular at the plate, hitting .322 with a .529 slugging percentage, which would have placed him second in the NL to Heinie Zimmerman if he had batted a sufficient number of times.”

marquard2

P-Rube Marquard, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

1911

26-11, 2.57 ERA, 175 K, .219, 0 HR, 10 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1971)

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-26

2nd Time All-Star-What a trio of pitchers the Giants had with Christy Mathewson, Jeff Tesreau, and Marquard. No wonder they won the pennant! Marquard finished eighth in WAR (5.9); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.9); seventh in ERA (2.57); eighth in innings pitched (294 2/3); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (133). In the World Series, Marquard dominated, pitching two games and winning them both while allowing just one earned run. It didn’t help New York, however, as it lost to the Red Sox, 4-3-1.

SABR says, “But 29 years before Joltin’ Joe was smacking the horsehide around American League parks, another one of the great players in Gotham set his own streak. And it was just as impressive. Rube Marquard, who was a pitcher on the 1912 New York Giants, put together a single-season winning streak that, like DiMaggio’s, still stands. Beginning with his first start of the season, at Brooklyn on April 11, Marquard won 19 games in a row. He didn’t lose until July 8. During the streak, left-handed pitcher Marquard had an earned-run average of 1.63.

“If the same streak were played under the rules that are employed today, Marquard would have won 20 in a row. On April 20, against the Brooklyn Superbas, Marquard relieved Jeff Tesreau in the ninth inning. Tesreau had given up three runs and Brooklyn had taken a 3-2 lead over the New Yorkers. Marquard recorded all three outs in the ninth, and retreated to the dugout to watch the Giants score two in the bottom of the frame to win, 4-3. In those days, the win went to the pitcher who had pitched the most innings. In today’s game, Marquard would get the win since he was the pitcher of record when the Giants took the lead.”

sallee

P-Slim Sallee, St. Louis Cardinals, 27 Years Old

16-17, 2.60 ERA, 108 K, .136, 0 HR, 0 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Saves-6

Putouts as P-17

1st Time All-Star-Harry Franklin “Slim” or “Scatter” Sallee was born on February 3, 1885 in Higginsport, OH. The six-foot-three, 180 pound lefty started with St. Louis in 1908. This season, he finished ninth in WAR (5.4); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.0); ninth in ERA (2.60); ninth in innings pitched (294); and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (131).

Roger Bresnahan coached his fourth and final season for the Cardinals as they dropped from fifth to sixth this season, with a 63-90 record. It was their pitching that lacked, as St. Louis gave up over five runs a game.

SABR says, “After Sallee got in shape and again promised to behave, Bresnahan declared that in 1911 his pitcher would be the best lefthander in the National League. As it turned out, Sallee’s 15 wins helped St. Louis to its first winning record since 1901. However, in early July, Pittsburgh’s Fred Clarke, who the prior year wouldn’t take Sallee ‘for nothing,’ was hit in the head by a Sallee pitch, for all intents and purposes ending Clarke’s Hall of Fame playing career.

“Later that month, while en route to Boston, the Cardinals were involved in a tragic train wreck, claiming the lives of 12 passengers. Sallee and his teammates received many accolades for their part in the rescue effort; however, this event left a lingering effect on the ball club. While in New York in late August, Sallee again ‘fell off the water wagon’ and was unable to pitch. He was fined and suspended for the remainder of the season, a season that had started off with promise.”

suggs3

P-George Suggs, Cincinnati Reds, 29 Years Old

1910 1911

19-16, 2.94 ERA, 104 K, .160, 1 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits Allowed-320

3rd Time All-Star-Sometimes when you look at a name, a picture comes to mind. When I see the name George Suggs, I just imagine a big man for some reason. But he wasn’t; Suggs was just five-foot-seven and 168 pounds. He was a good pitcher, though, making this list for the third straight season. The righty Suggs finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.3) and fourth in innings pitched (303).

Hank O’Day took over the managing duties from Clark Griffith and led the team to a fourth-place 75-78 finish. This was his first and last year managing Cincinnati. This team just couldn’t hit, scoring the least amount of runs in the National League. Griffith is mentioned in an article on Baseball History Daily, grousing about the lack of good-hitting pitchers.       “In 1911 Reds manager Clark Griffith told The Cincinnati Times-Star that pitchers no longer hit like they did when he played:

’Give me pitchers who can hit the ball instead of fanning out weakly, I wish there were a few more pitchers available like the top notchers of twenty years ago.  In those days a pitcher believed that he was hired to soak the ball as well as curve it, and he always did his best to get a hit.

“’(Tim) Keefe (career .187), (Mickey) Welch (.224), (Thomas “Toad”) Ramsey (.204), and (James “Pud”) Galvin  (.201) were among the old-time pitchers who could not bat, but they tried all the time, and if one of them got a hit he was as proud as a kid just breaking into the big league.’”

tesreau

P-Jeff Tesreau, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

17-7, 1.96 ERA, 119 K, .146, 0 HR, 7 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1912 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.96

Hits per 9 IP-6.556

Adjusted ERA+-173

1st Time All-Star-Charles Monroe “Jeff” Tesreau was born on March 5, 1888 in Ironton, MO. The six-foot-two, 218 pound righty had a marvelous rookie year, finishing eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.1); first in ERA (1.96); and first in Adjusted ERA+ (173). In the World Series, Tesreau pitched three games, finishing 1-2 with a 3.13 ERA as the Giants lost to the Red Sox, 4-3-1.

From Wikipedia: “After two years in the minors, Tesreau learned how to throw a spitball, which became his signature pitch. He started the second game of the 1912 season for the Giants. The New York Times wrote, ‘Tesreau has curves which bend like barrel hoops and speed like lightning. He’s just the kind of a strong man McGraw has been looking for.’ In the 1912 World Series, Tesreau went 1–2 against Boston Red Sox ace Smoky Joe Wood.

“In 1912, Tesreau was 17–7 and had a league leading ERA of 1.96. ERA officially became a statistic of Major League Baseball in 1912, and Tesreau along with the American League‘s Walter Johnson became the first players recognized for leading the major leagues in that category. On September 6 of that season, Tesreau no-hit the Philadelphia Phillies 3-0.”

As for his nickname, Jeff, SABR says, “In 1910 he pitched the whole season for Shreveport and posted a 15-14 record with 179 strikeouts against only 71 walks. The New York Giants purchased him and brought him to New York in September. Though Tesreau didn’t get into any games, he did catch the eye of sportswriter Bill McBeth, who noticed the big pitcher’s resemblance to heavyweight boxer Jim Jeffries and nicknamed him ‘Jeff.’”

fromme2

P-Art Fromme, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1909

16-18, 2.74 ERA, 120 K, .087, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-9

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1909, Fromme missed much of 1910 due to what I presume was an injury and then had an off season in 1911, in which he led the league in hit batsmen. He’s back this year, though it’s most likely his last year on this list. Fromme finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.6); and seventh in innings pitched (296). Following this season, he would pitch for both the Reds and Giants in 1913, before finishing his Major League career with New York in 1914 and 1915.

Red Reporter says, “On this day [Sept. 3] in 1883, former Red Art Fromme was born in Quincy, IL. Fromme had an Aaron Harang-type career with the Reds. He pitched well while in Cincinnati, but played on mediocre teams. In 1909, Fromme went 19-13 on a team that went 77-76. He missed most of the 1910 season, going 4-3 on a team that went 75-79. Fromme went 10-11 in 1911, and the Reds finished with a 70-83 record. In 1912, Fromme finished with a 16-18 record on a team that went 75-78. He was 1-4 with the Reds in 1913 when Cincinnati traded him on May twenty-second. The team’s record coming into that day was 9-22. Why am I looking at his won-lost records? Well, Fromme went 49-50 with the Reds, but posted a 2.74 ERA, which even in the midst of the deadball era was good for an ERA+ of 112. Fromme was a good pitcher, but you wouldn’t know that if you simply looked at his won-lost record.”

rixey

P-Eppa Rixey, Philadelphia Phillies, 21 Years Old

10-10, 2.50 ERA, 59 K, .170, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000

1st Time All-Star-Eppa “Jephtha” Rixey was born on May 3, 1891 (I believe he’s my first All-Star born in the 1890s) in Culpeper, VA. The six-foot-five, 210 pound lefty would have a fascinating Hall of Fame career as most of his good seasons would come after he reached the age of 30. He had a great rookie season this year, finishing 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.7); sixth in ERA (2.50); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (144). He is going to end up having a 21-year career which won’t end until 1933.

Wikipedia says, “During the off-season, umpire Cy Rigler worked as an assistant coach for the University. He recognized Rixey’s talent and tried to sign him to the Philadelphia Phillies. Rixey originally declined, saying he wanted to be a chemist, but Rigler insisted, even offering a substantial portion of the bonus he received for signing a player. With his family in financial trouble, Rixey accepted the deal. The National League, upon hearing of the deal, created a rule that prohibits umpires from signing players. Neither Rixey nor Rigler received any signing bonus.

“Rixey joined the Phillies for the 1912 season without playing a single game of minor league baseball. His time with the Phillies was marked by inconsistency. He went 10-10 in his first year, with a 2.50 earned run average (ERA) and 10 complete games in 23 games pitched. He had a three hit shutout against the Chicago Cubs on July 18. Rixey was on the losing end of a no-hitter by Jeff Tesreau on September 6. After the season, the Chicago Cubs, under new manager Johnny Evers, offered a ‘huge sum’ to the Phillies for Rixey, but manager Red Dooin declined the offer.”

meyers2

C-Chief Meyers, New York Giants, 31 Years Old

1911

.358, 6 HR, 60 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.441

Def. Games as C-122 (2nd Time)

Putouts as C-576 (3rd Time)

Passed Balls-12 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-His career wasn’t long enough to put him into the Hall of Fame, but Meyers certainly shined among catchers in his day. This season was his best ever as he finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.6); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.8); second in batting (.358), behind Chicago third baseman Heinie Zimmerman (.372); first in on-base percentage (.441); fourth in slugging (.477); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (147), trailing only Zimmerman (170). That’s a great season, regardless, but a flat out dazzling year for a catcher. Meyers’ awesome hitting continued in the World Series loss to the Red Sox as he went 10-for-28 (.357) with a triple.

Wikipedia says, “Meyers had his greatest success in the 1912 season, hitting .358 and finishing third in the MVP award voting. His .441 on-base percentage led the league. Meyers was also a key player in that year’s World Series versus the Boston Red Sox, which featured the infamous “Snodgrass Muff” as well as captivating performances by Mathewson and Smoky Joe Wood.

“Meyers was the primary catcher for Hall of Fame pitcher Christy Mathewson. In only two years of playing Major League Baseball, Meyers teamed up with the great Christy Mathewson, putting on a sketch entitled ‘Curves.’ The half-hour sketch included both Mathewson and Meyers explaining the art of their position. This wasn’t the only project they teamed up for, as both Mathewson and Meyers would act in another sketch which toured for several weeks.” I’m assuming this was on stage somewhere, but it isn’t mentioned. Hey Wikipedia, leave the bad writing to me!

archer

C-Jimmy Archer, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

.283, 5 HR, 61 RBI

MVP Rank: 22

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 55 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as C-149

Errors Committed as C-23

1st Time All-Star-James Patrick “Jimmy” Archer was born on May 13, 1883 in Dublin, Ireland. He started his career playing seven games for Pittsburgh in 1904, then didn’t play again in the Majors until 1907, when he toiled for Detroit. He then took another year off of the Major Leagues until 1909 when he started catching regularly for the Cubs. Archer was steady and made the All-Star team this season due to a lack of good catchers in the National League.

The Cubs finished third this season, with Frank Chance leading them to a 91-59 record in his last year of managing for the team. He would finish coach eight seasons for the Cubbies, leading them to four pennants and two World Series championships, the last title for the club until Joe Maddon in 2016. His career record for Chicago was 768-389, a .664 winning percentage.

Wikipedia says, “As a catcher, he could remain squatting and still throw out runners attempting to stealsecond base due to his unique arm strength, which became his trademark, acquired from the healing of burns that shortened his muscles after an industrial accident in which Archer fell into a vat of boiling sap at the age of 19.” So instead of turning into a supervillain when he fell into the vat, he just acquired super-strength. Those comic books really are true!

If you don’t believe he’s a superhero, Wikipedia has more, saying “After his retirement from baseball, Archer worked as a hog purchaser for the Armour meat packing company in Chicago. He received a medal from the National Safety Council in 1931 after using prone pressure resuscitation to revive two truck drivers who had been overcome by carbon monoxide in the Union Stock Yards.”

konetchy4

1B-Ed Konetchy, St. Louis Cardinals, 26 Years Old

1909 1910 1911

.314, 8 HR, 82 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-10.60 (4th Time)

4th Time All-Star-Konetchy continued to be the National League’s best first sacker, but his stats are going to start to decline a bit starting next year (not counting a year spent in the Federal League). He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (3.8); eighth in Offensive WAR (3.8); 10th in batting (.314); seventh in slugging (.455); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (133). If he could have stayed this proficient a couple more seasons, he’d have a good shot at making my Hall of Fame.

SABR says, “In February 1912 he met with Bresnahan in a St. Louis hotel bar to talk contract. The negotiation turned into a drinking contest that lasted from the time the bar opened that morning until late in the afternoon. Amidst a table of empty beer bottles, Konetchy finally agreed to terms. That year he batted .314, tying the highest average of his career, but the following year he fell off to .276.

“Being the star player on a second-division team, Konetchy was the frequent subject of trade rumors throughout the early part of his career. ‘I’m the most traded man in baseball without getting anywhere,’ he said. Philadelphia reportedly once offered Sherry Magee, Fred Luderus, and Earl Moore for him, while other teams offered up to $20,000. When interviewed in 1938, Konetchy wondered ‘what kind of tag they’d have on me in this high pressure era. One thing is certain, I was born 23 years too soon.’ During the 1913 NL annual meeting, the Cardinals’ manager Miller Huggins traded Konetchy, along with Mike Mowrey and Bob Harmon, to Pittsburgh for five players. It was said that Pittsburgh manager Fred Clarke had been so eager to acquire Konetchy that he even considered trading an aging Honus Wagner for him.”

daubert2

1B-Jake Daubert, Brooklyn Dodgers, 28 Years Old

1911

.308, 3 HR, 66 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 1B-.993

2nd Time All-Star-If not for Ed Konetchy, Daubert would be the National League’s best first baseman. He’s going to have some good seasons ahead, but this year was good enough to make this list. He was solid and steady, reminding me of a Dodger first baseman of the future — well, Daubert’s future, my past — Steve Garvey.

Should Daubert be a Hall of Famer? Funny, but the Nashville Sounds News asks the same question, saying, “Another former Nashville Vol player has been considered by many to be National Baseball Hall of Fame-worthy is Jake Daubert. Daubert also played just one year (1908) in Nashville; the first baseman batted .262 with six home runs in 138 games. He was part of the Vols historic Southern Association championship club that won the pennant on the final day of the season.

“George Daubert, Jake’s son, told the New York Post in a 1989 interview:

“’He lived baseball. [George Daubert was 80 years at the time.] After every game, he played the…game over six times. He was as student of the game. He would study the game. When dad was playing, he carried a little black book, and he would write in there the eccentric movements of a pitcher. If he was going to throw a fastball, he may do some little thing to tip him off. He watched those little things.

“’In those days nobody said, “Now this is the way you slide into the bag, this is the way you throw, this is the way you run, this is the way you hit.” Nobody told you anything. You went to spring training, and it was everybody for himself.’”

evers7

2B-Johnny Evers, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1904 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910

.341, 1 HR, 61 RBI

MVP Rank: 20

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1912)

 

7th Time All-Star-After playing only 46 games in 1911 (read Evers’ 1910 blurb for details), Crab is back playing regularly and back making All-Star teams. Even though he won the MVP in 1914, I’m going to say this was his best season ever. Evers finished seventh in WAR (6.0); third in WAR Position Players (6.0), behind Honus Wagner (8.0) and teammate Heinie Zimmerman (7.1); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.8); sixth in Defensive WAR (1.3); fourth in batting (.341); second in on-base percentage (.431), trailing Giants catcher Chief Meyers (.441); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (140). He also is the sixth second baseman inducted into my Hall of Fame.

This was the last year of the Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance double play combination, as the Chicago Tribune notes, saying, “The Tinker-Evers-Chance triumvirate was broken up just two years after ‘Baseball’s Sad Lexicon’ was published. Chance left the Cubs after the 1912 season to manage the New York Yankees. He died in 1924 after a long battle with pneumonia. Tinker was traded to Cincinnati in 1912, played four more years in the majors and finished his career with the Cubs in 1916. He died in 1948 of complications from diabetes. Evers, who took over as Cubs manager after Chance left, was traded to the Boston Braves in 1914, his last season as a full-time player. He died in 1947 from a cerebral hemorrhage.” The Bridwell-to-Evers-to-Saier combination of 1913 isn’t going to be nearly as noteworthy. It should also be noted Chance was already down to playing only two games this season and neither Chance nor Evers played regularly in 1911, so the last season this combo played together in any real way was in 1910.

Advertisements

1911 American League All-Star Team

P-Ed Walsh, CHW

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Vean Gregg, CLE

P-Russ Ford, NYY

P-George Mullin, DET

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Smoky Joe Wood, BOS

P-Chief Bender, PHA

P-Ray Caldwell, NYY

P-Jim Scott, CHW

C-Jack Lapp, PHA

C-Ira Thomas, PHA

1B-Jim Delahanty, DET

2B-Eddie Collins, PHA

2B-Frank LaPorte, SLB

3B-Home Run Baker, PHA

3B-Larry Gardner, BOS

SS-Lee Tannehill, CHW

LF-Birdie Cree, NYY

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Tris Speaker, BOS

CF-Clyde Milan, WSH

RF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, CLE

RF-Sam Crawford, DET

RF-Danny Murphy, PHA

 

walsh6

P-Ed Walsh, Chicago White Sox, 30 Years Old

1906 1907 1908 1909 1910

27-18, 2.22 ERA, 255 K, .219, 0 HR, 9 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1910)

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-9.2 (3rd Time)

Games Pitched-56 (4th Time)

Saves-4 (4th Time)

Innings Pitched-368 2/3 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts-255 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-3.542 (3rd Time)

Batters Faced-1,449 (3rd Time)

Games Finished-19 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-44 (4th Time)

Def. Games as P-56 (4th Time)

Putouts as P-27 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-159 (4th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-4.54 (4th Time)

6th Time All-Star-At this time, most pitchers were trying to control their innings pitched, but not the great Walsh. For the third time in five seasons, he led the American League in IP and he would do so again in 1912. This year, Walsh finished second in WAR (9.2), behind only Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (10.7); first in WAR for Pitchers (9.2); sixth in ERA (2.22, his lowest finish in ERA since 1906); and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (146). He was the definition of a workhorse, at least for one more season.

Walsh’s White Sox rose from sixth to fourth this year, with Hugh Duffy guiding them to a 77-74 record. It was the typical Chicago team. With Walsh leading the way, it could certainly pitch, but once again, the team struggled to hit.

South Side Sox says, “But he also made a huge impact in how the White Sox franchise developed. His durability allowed Charles Comiskey (and his managers) to get the most out of his starters, and the White Sox were run that way for the next 15 years. But more importantly, Walsh had a say in the design of Comiskey Park, and supposedly requested the generous outfield dimensions that would make true South Side power hitters few and far between for the entire history of the stadium.” There is debate as to whether or not Walsh truly helped design the stadium, but there is no doubt Comiskey Park ended up being a pitcher’s park for its entire history.

johnson4

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 23 Years Old

1908 1909 1910

25-13, 1.90 ERA, 207 K, .234, 1 HR, 15 RBI

MVP Rank: 5

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

Complete Games-36 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-6

Wild Pitches-17 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-There are many players I would want to see if I had a time machine and Johnson is near the top of that list. How does the Good Lord create beings with rubber arms like Cy Young and The Big Train, while so many pitchers, like Ed Walsh, can last for a stretch of time, but quickly fall apart? Johnson this season finished fourth in WAR (8.9); third in WAR for Pitchers (8.6), behind Chicago’s Walsh (9.2) and Cleveland’s Vean Gregg (8.8); second in ERA (1.90), trailing Gregg (1.80); third in innings pitched (322 1/3, behind Walsh (368 2/3) and Philadelphia’s Jack Coombs (336 2/3); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (173), trailing Gregg (189).

Unfortunately, when Johnson didn’t play, other people had to pitch, and that’s when Washington struggled. It finished seventh for the second consecutive year with a 63-91 record. Jimmy McAleer was at the helm of the Senators, who finished 38-and-a-half games out of first place thanks to lackluster hitting and pitching. This was McAleer’s last year managing and he finished with a 735-889 record, which isn’t bad considering how terrible the teams were for which he toiled.

Johnson’s Hall of Fame page says, “In 1911, famed sportswriter Grantland Rice popularized the nickname ‘The Big Train’ in referring to Johnson. At a time when trains were the fastest things known to man, Ty Cobb recalled Johnson’s fastball as ‘Just speed, raw speed, blinding speed, too much speed’. ‘The Big Train’ added to his arsenal when he developed a curveball in the early 1910s and put together a string of ten straight twenty win seasons.”

gregg

P-Vean Gregg, Cleveland Naps, 26 Years Old

23-7, 1.80 ERA, 125 K, .165, 0 HR, 4 RBI

MVP Rank: 10

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Earned Run Average-1.80

Walks & Hits per IP-1.054

Hits per 9 IP-6.327

Adjusted ERA+-189

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.6

1st Time All-Star-Sylveanus Augustus “Vean” Gregg was born on April 13, 1885 in Chehalis, WA. The six-foot-one, 185 pound pitcher started out on fire and looked like he’d be a great pitcher for years to come. He wouldn’t. This season, Vean finished fifth in WAR (8.5); second in WAR for Pitchers (8.8), behind Chicago’s Ed Walsh (9.2); first in ERA (1.80); 10th in innings pitched (244 2/3); and first in Adjusted ERA+ (189). Like I said, an impressive rookie season.

Cleveland had a good season once George Stovall (74-62) took over for Deacon McGuire (6-11). Altogether it finished 80-73 and in third place, 22 games out of first. It was Stovall’s first season managing and it was McGuire’s last, as he finished with a career 210-287 record.

SABR says, “In 1911 Gregg joined a ‘disorganized’ Cleveland team that included a very old Cy Young, an aging but still productive Napoleon Lajoie, and a 23-year-old Joe Jackson, who hit an astounding .408 that year. Finishing under .500 and in the second division the year before, the Naps lost revered right-hander Addie Joss when he took ill and died on April 14. However, the team overcame that setback and improved under interim manager George Stovall, finishing the season with a winning record and in third place.

“One day shy of his 26th birthday, Gregg came out of the bullpen and made his major league debut on April 12, 1911, at St. Louis, giving up three runs in four relief innings while also hitting a double. After striking out Detroit’s Sam Crawford twice in a second relief appearance six days later, Gregg moved into the starting rotation and won his first start, 5-2, against Chicago. By mid-July he was the talk of the American League.”

ford2

P-Russ Ford, New York Highlanders, 28 Years Old

1910

22-11, 2.27 ERA, 158 K, .196, 0 HR, 8 RBI

MVP Rank: 18

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

2nd Time All-Star-Ford, the proprietor of the scuff ball, had his second consecutive great season for the Highlanders. He finished sixth in WAR (7.1); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (7.4); seventh in ERA (2.27); fourth in innings pitched (281 1/3); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (158).

Unfortunately for the Highlanders, they dropped from second to sixth under the guidance of Hal Chase (76-76). New York finished 25-and-a-half games behind Philadelphia, but they have a bright future ahead, but not for a while. Chase would never manage again and finish with an 86-80 career record.

SABR says, “The first player born in the western Canadian province of Manitoba to reach the major leagues, Russ Ford burst into the spotlight in 1910, winning 26 games for the New York Highlanders with a baffling new pitch never before seen in professional baseball. Using a piece of emery board hidden in his glove, Ford roughed up one side of the ball, causing it to break at odd angles depending on how he threw it. For two seasons, Ford used the emery ball to dominate the American League, all the while hiding the origin of his new discovery. ‘He kept his secret a long time by pretending he was pitching a spitter,’ Ty Cobb later recalled. ‘He would deliberately show his finger to the batter and then wet it with saliva.’ Though Ford’s signature pitch was banned by 1915, his invention set the precedent for a long line of scuff ball artists, including contemporaries Cy Falkenberg and Eddie Cicotte and Hall of Famers Whitey Ford and Don Sutton.”

mullin4P-George Mullin, Detroit Tigers, 30 Years Old

1903 1904 1906

18-10, 3.07 ERA, 67 K, .286, 0 HR, 5 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-From 1907-1910, Mullin didn’t make the All-Star team despite winning 20 games three times and helping the team make it to three World Series, in which he won three games. Who’s picking these teams anyway?! Oh yeah, me. Too bad, because now I have no one to whom to complain. This season, Mullin had his best season ever, finishing eighth in WAR (6.5) and seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.5).

Detroit moved up from third to second under the guiding hand of Hughie Jennings. Its 89-65 record placed it 13-and-a-half games behind Philadelphia. Thanks to Ty Cobb, the Tigers could rake, but unfortunately they had no pitching.

Wikipedia says, “Mullin also excelled as a batter. He had a career .262 batting average with a .319 on-base percentage. He had 96 extra base hits, 122 bases on balls, and 18 stolen bases. He hit three doubles in his first major league start and batted .325 in his rookie season. He was such a reliable hitter that he was used 101 times (with 21 hits) as a pinch hitter. (Paul Votano, Stand and Deliver: A History of Pinch-Hitting (McFarland 2003), p. 33) On September 18, 1906, Mullin even pinch hit for Ty Cobb. Cobb was slumping and manager Bill Armour summoned Mullin to bat for Cobb in the bottom of the 9th inning. According to the next day’s account in the Detroit Free Press, Mullin ‘hit center field with a triple.’ (Paul Votano, ‘Stand and Deliver: A History of Pinch-Hitting’ (McFarland 2003), p. 29).”

plank9

P-Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics, 35 Years Old, 1911 ONEHOF Inductee

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908 1909

23-8, 2.10 ERA, 149 K, .191, 0 HR, 10 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1904)

 

Led in:

 

Saves-4

Shutouts-6 (2nd Time)

9th Time All-Star-Huzzah to Eddie Plank! He fidgeted and irritated his way to baseball’s highest honor, the ONEHOF, the One-a-Year Hall of Fame of my creation which elects just one player a year into the Hall of Fame. Next year’s nominees are Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Vic Willis, Sam Crawford, Roger Bresnahan, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, and Joe McGinnity.

Of course, Plank’s proudest accomplishment was pitching on his first championship team. Philadelphia dominated the American League under the guidance of Connie Mack, who led the team to a first place 101-50 record, 13-and-a-half games ahead of Detroit. Eddies led the way as Collins provided the bat and Plank provided the arm. The Athletics defeated the Giants, 4-2. Plank started the second game and five-hit New York, allowing just one run. He then relieved in game four, allowing the winning run in the 10th inning. Altogether, Plank was 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA.

SABR says everything I’ve just said but better: “Plank bounced back in 1911, going 23-8 with a 2.10 ERA and a co-league-leading six shutouts. His luck in the Series improved as he got his first win, a complete-game 3-1 victory over the Giants’ Rube Marquard in Game 2. With Game 5 tied 3-3 after nine innings, Mack brought in Plank to relieve Coombs. Plank could have closed out the Series with a win, but lasted only two-thirds of the tenth inning before surrendering the winning run.”

woods

P-Smoky Joe Wood, Boston Red Sox, 21 Years Old

23-17, 2.02 ERA, 231 K, .261, 2 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.542

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.13

1st Time All-Star-“Smoky Joe” Wood born Howard Ellsworth Wood was born on October 25, 1889 in Kansas City, MO. The five-foot-11, 180 pound pitcher acquired his nickname due to a blazing fastball that even Walter Johnson said was the best he saw. Smoky Joe started with Boston in 1908 and this year, finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3); third in ERA (2.02), behind Cleveland’s Vean Gregg (1.80) and Johnson (1.90); fifth in innings pitched (275 2/3); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (162), trailing only Gregg (189) and the Big Train (173).

The Patsy Donovan-led Red Sox dropped from fourth to fifth this season, finishing 78-75, 24 games out of first. Thanks to Tris Speaker, Boston could hit and they also had arguably the best pitching in the league, but they couldn’t put it all together. This was Donovan’s last year managing and he wrapped up his career with a 684-879 record.

Wood had a very strange start to his baseball career, according to Wikipedia, which says, “’Smoky Joe’ played his first amateur baseball for the local miners teams in Ouray, Colorado. Though a native of Ness CountyKansas, Wood made his playing debut with the mostly-female ‘Bloomer Girls.’ There were many such teams across the country, which barnstormed in exhibition games against teams of men. Bloomer Girl rosters featured at least one male player.

“Red Sox star Ted Williams, as a guest on the Bill Stern’s Sports Newsreel radio program in 1950, told the story that Wood was posing as a girl on a girls’ team when The Red Sox signed him. The story ended: ‘The pitcher I’m talking about was the immortal Smoky Joe Wood. A pitcher who can never be forgotten even though he did get his start posing as a girl’.”

bender4

P-Chief Bender, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

1907 1909 1910

17-5, 2.16 ERA, 114 K, .165, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1953)

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.773 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as P-1.000

4th Time All-Star-You’re not going to convince me Bender was better than his teammate, Eddie Plank, but I’m not the one who had to be persuaded – his manager, Connie Mack was – and used Bender in all the crucial Athletics’ situations. This season, Bender finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (6.0); fifth in earned run average (2.16); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (145). In the World Series, Bender started game one, losing to Christy Mathewson, despite allowing just five hits and two runs over eight innings. In game four, Bender bested Big Six, throwing a complete game seven-hitter in which he allowed just a pair of runs. He then won the deciding sixth game, again going the distance, allowing four hits and two unearned runs. Philadelphia beat the Giants in the Series, 4-2.

SABR says, “Bender was exceptionally bright. His intelligence was recognized by teammates, opponents, and umpires, such as Billy Evans, who believed Bender was one of the smartest pitchers in the game. ‘He takes advantage of every weakness,’ Evans said in his New York Times column, ‘and once a player shows him a weak spot he is marked for life by the crafty Indian.’ Bender possessed a keen ability to focus on the task at hand, attributes that won the admiration of legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice, who once called Bender one of ‘the greatest competitors I ever knew.’ Rice and Bender often played golf together, and Rice sometimes quoted Bender in his syndicated column. ‘Tension is the greatest curse in sport,’ said Bender, according to Rice. ‘I’ve never had any tension. You give the best you have—you win or lose. What’s the difference if you give all you’ve got to give?’”

caldwell

P-Ray Caldwell, New York Highlanders, 23 Years Old

14-14, 3.35 ERA, 145 K, .272, 0 HR, 17 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Raymond Benjamin “Ray” or “Rube” or “Sum” or “Slim” Crawford was born on April 26, 1888 in Corydon Township, PA. The six-foot-two 190 pound pitcher was summed up by SABR, which says, “Ray Caldwell was a pitcher of immense talent who had an enormous appetite for nightlife and a weakness for alcohol. For his obituary The Sporting News wrote, ‘his escapades were legendary’ (September 2, 1967). Over the course of two decades, from 1910 to 1933, he won nearly 300 games, 133 of them in the majors. As the ace of the New York Americans in the early ‘teens, he was at times so dominant that Washington once offered Walter Johnson for him in a trade. Ray’s flashes of brilliance were usually followed by ‘outbreaks of misbehavior,’ followed by repentance, recovery, and pitching excellence, before the cycle began anew.”

Caldwell started with New York in 1910 and then this season finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (5.1) and seventh in innings pitched (255). He has a couple better seasons to come, but as mentioned above, his love for booze ruined his chances at being one of the all-time greats.

Along with pitching, Caldwell could hit, having an OPS+ of over 100 in 1917 and 1918. He was frequently used as a pinch hitter, 181 different times in his career. He would be a teammate of another man who could hit and pitch in 1919, when he and Babe Ruth both played for Boston. Ruth was another one whose appetite consumed him, but he survived it much better than Slim.

scott

P-Jim Scott, Chicago White Sox, 23 Years Old

14-11, 2.39 ERA, 135 K, .155, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-James “Death Valley Jim” Scott was born on Abril 23, 1888 in Deadwood, SD. The six-foot-one, 235 pound pitcher started with the White Sox in 1909. This season, he finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (5.0); eighth in ERA (2.39); and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (136).

                From the National Pastime Museum, here are some highlights of the 1911 season:

“An oasis of offense in an era of great pitching, the 1911 season stands out as one of the most dramatic of the Deadball Era. Great players performed at their peak, and two powerhouse teams, stuck in second place at the end of July, pushed forward to claim league pennants. A classic World Series matching the two premier managers of the era capped a year in which only five of the sixteen Major League teams finished under .500.

“This was a time before runs batted in counted as an official statistic, when the Sunday newspaper listing of Major Leaguers’ stats included not home runs but sacrifice bunts and stolen bases. The bold experiment with a cork-center baseball in 1911 provided a major boost to hitters that lasted two seasons, after which pitchers’ unfettered doctoring of the ball stymied offense until the Ruthian slugging of the 1920s transformed the game.”

As a matter of fact, in the American League, after seven straight seasons of the league averaging less than four runs a game, the teams averaged 4.60 per contest, almost a full run higher than 1910 (3.64). The AL would average 4.45 runs per game in 1912 and then it wouldn’t rise again over four until 1919. In 2017, the AL averaged 4.71 runs per game.

lapp

C-Jack Lapp, Philadelphia Athletics, 26 Years Old

.353, 1 HR, 26 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-John Walker “Jack” Lapp was born on September 10, 1884 in Frazer, PA. The five-foot-eight, 160 pound catcher only played 68 games in 1911, but he could hit. He started with Philadelphia in 1908 and then in 21 games in 1909, he hit .339. In 1910, he slumped to .234 and went one-for-four in the World Series. This year, he hit .353 and went two-for-eight (.250) in the World Series. In a league sparse on good catchers (both of the All-Star catchers come from Philadelphia), Lapp reigned.

SABR says, “Philadelphia claimed another pennant in 1911. Thomas and Livingston avoided any serious injuries, and Lapp was primarily Coombs’s battery mate. After achieving a .234 BA, .310 OBP, and .286 SLG over 71 games in 1910, Lapp’s offensive production exploded to a .353 BA, .435 OBP, and .467 SLG in 68 games across 1911. Coombs was a fine hitting pitcher, and had a .319 BA in 1911. When the pair worked together, the Athletics sported arguably the most powerful offensive lineup of the Deadball Era.

“Lapp threw right, and batted left. Mack platooned his catchers according to his staff, not the opponent’s. Lapp was, however, a handy pinch-hitting option when Philadelphia faced a right-hander. He stood towards the front of the batter’s box, with his front (right) foot lifting slightly off the ground as he strode into an offering. ‘He hits viciously’ noted an observer, and Mack wished he might ‘snap his bat at the ball instead of swinging so widely.’ Lapp was considered by one observer to be ‘the fastest catcher in the American circuit’ but had occasional bouts of inattentiveness on the basepaths. He almost always batted eighth in the lineup, as did all of Mack’s catchers in this era.”

thomasi

C-Ira Thomas, Philadelphia Athletics, 30 Years Old

.273, 0 HR, 39 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Caught Stealing %-55.3

1st Time All-Star-Ira Felix Thomas was born on January 22, 1881 in Ballston Spa, NY. The six-foot-two, 200 pound catcher started with the Highlanders in 1906. Then after the 1907 season, he was purchased by the Detroit Tigers from the New York Highlanders. After the 1908 season, he was purchased by the Philadelphia Athletics from the Detroit Tigers. This season, he finished ninth in Defensive WAR (0.8), throwing out 55 percent of base stealers.

Thomas made his third World Series this season. In 1908 for Detroit, he played in two games and went two-for-four with a double. In 1910, for the Athletics, Thomas hit .250 with no extra base hits. This season, he went one-for-12 (.083) with no extra base hits again.

His addition to the All-Star team brings up an interesting point. Are catchers and shortstops more valuable offensively or defensively? Thomas got the majority of the games for the Athletics despite his lack of hitting and the great hitting by Jack Lapp. Many managers over the years seem to think it’s more important to have a good glove at those two positions than a hot bat. If you have both, like Buster Posey or Alex Rodriguez, it’s great, but most of the time, you have to pick between one or another.

Mike Scioscia, the Angels’ manager, always goes for the defensive catchers. When he had Mike Napoli and Jeff Mathis on the team, the weak-hitting Mathis got the majority of the at bats. I think Napoli’s superior bat would have made up for his defensive liabilities.

delahantyj

1B-Jim Delahanty, Detroit Tigers, 32 Years Old

.339, 3 HR, 94 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-James Christopher “Jim” Delahanty was born on June 20, 1879 in Cleveland, OH. The five-foot-10, 170 pound first baseman was one of five Delahanty brothers to play Major League ball, with the most famous being outfielder Ed. Jim started playing a handful of games for the Chicago Orphans in 1901 then moved to the Giants in 1902. He was back in the Majors in 1904, playing for the Boston Beaneaters for two seasons. In 1906, he continued his travels, playing for the Reds. Then in 1907, Delahanty jumped to the American League, playing for the Browns and Senators in 1907. In 1909, he moved from Washington to Detroit and this season had his best year ever. He was always a good hitter, but his terrible glove at his regular position of second base kept him off of these lists.

This year, Delahanty finished eighth in Offensive WAR (5.0); sixth in batting (.339); eighth in on-base percentage (.411); eighth in slugging (.463); and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (139).

Wikipedia says, “He stayed in the major leagues until the middle of the 1912 season, having encountered illness and injuries that year that limited his productivity. He finished his playing career in the Federal League. In 1,186 career games, Delahanty had 1,159 hits with 19 home runs and 151 stolen bases.

“After his baseball career, Delahanty worked for the city of Cleveland as a street paver. He died in a Cleveland hospital in 1953 after a long illness. He was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland. He was survived by a wife, Hester, and a daughter.”

collinse3

2B-Eddie Collins, Philadelphia Athletics, 24 Years Old

1909 1910

.365, 3 HR, 73 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 2B-348 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.28 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-It only took three seasons for Collins to make my Hall of Fame which multiplies All-Star teams made by Career WAR and inducts any player with a total over 300. He’s going to eventually make the ONEHOF also, the Hall of Fame which inducts just one player a season. This year, Collins finished seventh in WAR (6.6); third in WAR Position Players (6.6), behind Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (10.7) and Cleveland rightfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson (9.2); fourth in Offensive WAR (6.6); fourth in batting (.365); third in on-base percentage (.451), trailing Jackson (.468) and Cobb (.467); seventh in slugging (.481); ninth in steals (38); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (162). In the World Series, Cocky went six-for-21 (.286) with a double. It wasn’t as good as his 1910 Series, but his team still won four games to two.

SABR says, “Collins’s plainly evident self-confidence could rub people the wrong way. As educated and ostensibly sophisticated as he was, cockiness could lead to actions that in hindsight at least were not entirely smart. During the Athletics’ championship run, some of his teammates groused about Collins’s loyalties and priorities. Collins, like other baseball stars such as Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson, was often commissioned by newspapers and magazines to write articles on the inner workings of the game. Some A’s players argued that other teams were able to correct the weaknesses Collins had pointed out in his articles, thereby hurting Philadelphia’s chances at winning the pennant.” Considering how much Philadelphia won, it seems like a weak complaint.

laporte

2B-Frank LaPorte, St. Louis Browns, 31 Years Old

.314, 2 HR, 82 RBI

MVP Rank: 20

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-133

Assists as 2B-398

Errors Committed as 2B-36

Double Plays Turned as 2B-59

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-5.42

1st Time All-Star-Frank Breyfogle “Pot” LaPorte was born on February 6, 1880 in Uhrichsville, OH. He started his career with the New York Highlanders from 1905-07. After the 1907 season, he was traded as part of a 3-team trade by the New York Highlanders to the Boston Americans. The Chicago White Sox sent Jake Stahlto the New York Highlanders. The Boston Americans sent Freddy Parent to the Chicago White Sox. He didn’t stay in Boston long because in mid-season 1908, he was traded by the Boston Red Sox to the New York Highlanders for Harry Niles. LaPorte remained with them through 1910. After that season, he was traded by the New York Highlanders with Jimmy Austin to the St. Louis Browns for Roy Hartzell and cash. He had a good season this year finishing 10th in slugging (.446) and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (129).

However, if LaPorte is your best player, you’re probably not going to succeed and the Browns didn’t, finishing last with a 45-107 record. Their most famous player, Bobby Wallace, took over the coaching reins and unfortunately had to lead a team with the worst hitting and pitching in the American League.

SABR says, “The year 1911 was the first time in LaPorte’s career that he had the opportunity to play consistently at his preferred position, second base. He appeared in 136 games, 133 of them at second, and he hit .314 (almost 50 points higher than anyone else on the team) and drove in 82 runs, 20 more than any other Brown. The team itself fared poorly (45-107, in last place in the American League and 56½ games out of first place.”

baker33B-Home Run Baker, Philadelphia Athletics, 25 Years Old

1909 1910

.334, 11 HR, 115 RBI

MVP Rank: 11

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-11

Power-Speed #-17.1

AB per HR-53.8

Def. Games as 3B-148 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.942

3rd Time All-Star-I mentioned in Baker’s 1909 blurb he acquired his nickname before this season, but it was in 1911 his home runs started to bring him fame. This season, Baker finished ninth in WAR (6.4); fourth in WAR Position Players (6.4); third in Offensive WAR (6.6), behind Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (10.2) and Cleveland rightfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson (8.5); seventh in batting (.334); fifth in slugging (.508); ninth in steals (38); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (149).

Then came the World Series which made him a household name. In Game 2, Baker hit a homer to deep right off of Rube Marquard to give the Athletics a 3-1 victory. The next game, with Philadelphia behind 1-0, he hit another one to deep right off of Christy Mathewson to tie up the game, which Philadelphia would eventually win in the 11th inning. It would eventually win the series, 4-2.

This Great Game says, “In the six years previous to 1911, only two American League players, Harry Davis and Jake Stahl, had reached double figures in season home run totals—and they both barely made the grade. Welcome to the deadball era; the pitchers were in control, legally allowed to throw any kind of pitch in the book. They had the extra advantage of using the same ball in play for, sometimes, the entire game. If any hitter were fool enough to make a living smacking the lifeless, beat-up ball over the fence, the hideously long distances to the outfield walls would give them second thoughts.” Baker would change that somewhat.

gardner

3B-Larry Gardner, Boston Red Sox, 25 Years Old

.285, 4 HR, 44 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-William Lawrence “Larry” Gardner was born on May 13, 1886 in Enosburg Falls, VT. The five-foot-eight, 165 pound third baseman didn’t garner any Cooperstown Hall of Fame interest, but is going to actually have a good shot at making Ron’s Hall of Fame. He started playing for the Red Sox in 1908 and this season finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.2); and third in Defensive WAR (1.2), behind White Sox shortstop Lee Tannehill (2.6) and Washington shortstop George McBride (1.7). His defense shined throughout his career.

SABR says, “Despite the speed he showed when he first took over at second, Gardner seemed slow and unable to cover territory in 1911. Manager Patsy Donovan was searching for a third baseman to replace Harry Lord, who had been sent to Chicago the previous year in the same trade as McConnell. At midseason he shifted Gardner to third. ‘Can it be possible that Larry Gardner has been out of position all this time?’ wrote Ring Lardner. ‘He was certainly a success as a second sacker, but right now it would be hard to convince the uninformed observer that he hadn’t been playing third base for years.’ A Boston scribe wrote, ‘Third base has not been played so well in Boston since the days when Jimmie Collins was in his prime.’ After the season Washington manager Jimmy McAleer selected Gardner as the third baseman on a team of American League all-stars. They played a series of exhibitions against the Philadelphia Athletics, who were preparing for the 1911 World Series.”

tannehilll2

SS-Lee Tannehill, Chicago White Sox, 30 Years Old

1904

.254, 0 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.6 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.38

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.29

2nd Time All-Star-Tannehill last made the All-Star team in 1904 as a third baseman and didn’t switch to shortstop until 1910. Had he done so earlier, he might have made more of these lists, because at shortstop, his defense really shined. He couldn’t hit at all. This season was his only one hitting above .250 or having an on-base percentage at .300, which he had exactly. But he did lead the American League in Defensive WAR in only his second full year at shortstop.

Trying to find items on the internet about Tannehill is tough. You have his whole blurb from Wikipedia, which says, “Lee Ford Tannehill (October 26, 1880 – February 16, 1938) was a professional baseball player. He played all or part of ten seasons in Major League Baseball, from 1903 until 1912, for the Chicago White Sox, primarily as a third baseman and shortstop. He was the brother of pitcher Jesse Tannehill. He also was the first player to hit a home run in Comiskey Park.” But I can’t find anything as to why 1912 was his last season at the age of 31. All Baseball Reference has is that he was purchased by Kansas City (American Association) from Chicago on August 5, 1912. I guess teams just figured his mediocre hitting would never make up for his outstanding glove and so he garnered no interest.

His career batting line of .220/.269/.273 with an OPS+ of 70 would be terrible nowadays and it wasn’t great in his day, but it at least acceptable during the Deadball Era.

cree

LF-Birdie Cree, New York Highlanders, 28 Years Old

.348, 4 HR, 88 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as LF-.969

1st Time All-Star-William Franklin “Birdie” Cree was born on October 23, 1882 in Khedive, PA. The five-foot-six, 150 pound outfielder started with New York in 1908 and moved all over the three outfield positions throughout his career. He could always hit the ball, but really caught fire this year, finishing seventh in WAR Position Players (5.5); seventh in Offensive WAR (5.3); fifth in batting (.348); sixth in on-base percentage (.415); fourth in slugging (.513); third in steals (48), behind Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (83) and Washington centerfielder Clyde Milan (58); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (152). He’d never have another season close to this as he stayed with New York through the 1915 season.

SABR says, “A school teacher, a football player, a Penn State graduate, a professional ball player, and finally, a bank cashier, Birdie Cree spent his major league career with only one team, while witnessing the rise and fall of managers Kid ElberfeldGeorge StallingsHal ChaseHarry WolvertonFrank Chance, and Roger Peckinpaugh. Batting and throwing right handed, the speedy 5’6″ 150-pound Cree was described as a ‘robust walloper’, and one who could ‘throw as far as anyone his size.’ During his eight-year major league career, Cree established the Yankees franchise record (later broken) for most triples in a season, with 22 in 1911, and his 48 stolen bases that year remain the eighth-highest figure in franchise history.

“With an abundance of outfielders in 1911, new manager Hal Chase tried Cree at shortstop, declaring that ‘he must have Cree on the big team somewhere when the players return north.’”

cobb5

CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 24 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910

.420, 8 HR, 127 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

 

Led in:

 

1911 AL MVP

1911 AL Batting Title (5th Time)

Wins Above Replacement-10.7 (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-10.7 (3rd Time)

Offensive WAR-10.2 (4th Time)

Batting Average-.420 (4th Time)

Slugging %-.621 (5th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.088 (5th Time)

Runs Scored-147 (3rd Time)

Hits-248 (4th Time)

Total Bases-367 (4th Time)

Doubles-47 (2nd Time)

Triples-24 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-127 (4th Time)

Stolen Bases-83 (3rd Time)

Singles-169 (3rd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-196 (5th Time)

Runs Created-169 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-76 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-7.6 (4th Time)

Extra Base Hits-79 (2nd Time)

Times On Base-300 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.887 (5th Time)

Putouts as CF-382

Errors Committed as CF-17

Double Plays Turned as CF-11

Putouts as OF-376

Double Plays Turned as OF-10 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.78

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.74

5th Time All-Star-In a career full of unbelievable seasons, 1911 was probably the Georgia Peach’s best. The only thing missing was an American League title, something Cobb would never win again. Cobb’s .420 average was the first since Nap Lajoie’s .426 in 1901. However, that was the AL’s first season and it was watered down quite a bit. Shoeless Joe Jackson also hit over .400 this year, batting .408. It helped both men hitting was starting to come back in vogue in baseball, though it was nothing as it would be in the Twenties.

Wikipedia says, “Cobb was having a tremendous year in 1911, which included a 40-game hitting streak. Still, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson led him by .009 points in the batting race late in the season. Near the end of the season, Cobb’s Tigers had a long series against Jackson’s Cleveland Naps. Fellow Southerners Cobb and Jackson were personally friendly both on and off the field. Cobb used that friendship to his advantage. Cobb ignored Jackson when Jackson tried to say anything to him. When Jackson persisted, Cobb snapped angrily back at him, making him wonder what he could have done to enrage Cobb. Cobb felt that it was these mind games that caused Jackson to ‘fall off’ to a final average of .408, twelve points lower than Cobb’s .420, a twentieth-century record which stood until George Sisler tied it and Rogers Hornsby surpassed it with .424, the record since then except for Hugh Duffy’s .438 in the nineteenth century.”

speaker3CF-Tris Speaker, Boston Red Sox, 23 Years Old

1909 1910

.334, 8 HR, 70 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

3rd Time All-Star-It took only three seasons, but Speaker entered my Hall of Fame, despite 1911 being an off season. For the only time from 1909-through-1918, the Grey Eagle didn’t finish in the Top 10 in WAR. This year, he finished fifth in WAR Position Players (6.2); sixth in Offensive WAR (5.9); ninth in batting (.334); fifth in on-base percentage (.418); sixth in slugging (.502); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (157). He’s got many better years to come, including, spoiler alert!, next season.

A website named From Deep Right Field says, “Speaker immediately started to revolutionize how center field should be played. He designed defensive ‘rotation plays’ for the infield on bunt plays–with a twist not normally seen today. He started running in to cover second base! This method of defending bunt plays only works if you have a center fielder with enough speed, baseball acumen and the work ethic to practice until the system is mastered. It worked so well, with Speaker manning center field that the Red Sox became almost impossible, with runners on base, to bunt against. As a center fielder, Speaker accomplished 6 career unassisted double plays (getting the 2nd out at 2B). He played a generally shallow center field, because he knew his own pitchers’ tendencies and the capabilities of opposing hitters. And, his quickness and speed allowed him to be seemingly ‘everywhere at once’.” This is the second year in a row I’ve posted items on Speaker’s defense, but surprisingly, he never made the top 10 in Defensive WAR.

milan2

CF-Clyde Milan, Washington Senators, 24 Years Old

1910

.315, 3 HR, 35 RBI

MVP Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-154

At-Bats-616

Plate Appearances-709

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

Assists as CF-32 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as CF-17 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as OF-154

Assists as OF-33 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Despite being only 24 years old, Milan doesn’t have many great seasons left and this one was probably his best. He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (5.0); 10th in Offensive WAR (4.6); and second in steals (58), behind only fellow centerfielder, Detroit’s Ty Cobb (83). Someone once said 90 percent of life was just showing up and that was Milan, toiling in the outfield every game for three straight seasons, starting this year.

SABR says, “He was a left-handed hitter who batted .285 over the course of 16 seasons, and Clark Griffith called him Washington’s greatest centerfielder, claiming that he played the position more shallow than any man in baseball. Yet Clyde ‘Deerfoot’ Milan achieved his greatest fame as a base stealer. After Milan supplanted Ty Cobb as the American League’s stolen-base leader by pilfering 88 bases in 1912 and 75 in 1913, F. C. Lane of Baseball Magazine called him ‘Milan the Marvel, the Flying Mercury of the diamond, the man who shattered the American League record, and the greatest base runner of the decade.’ It was hyperbole, of course; Cobb re-claimed the AL record in 1915 by stealing 96 bases and went on to swipe far more bases over the decade than Milan, but Deerfoot stole a total of 481 during the Deadball Era, ranking third in the AL behind only Cobb (765) and Eddie Collins (564).” People during this time seemed to overly fascinated with centerfielders playing shallow. If you read my 1910 blurb on Tris Speaker, it mentions the same thing.

jackson

RF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, Cleveland Naps, 23 Years Old

.408, 7 HR, 83 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.468

Range Factor/Game as RF-1.72

1st Time All-Star-Joseph Walker (or Wofford or Jefferson) “Shoeless Joe” Jackson was born on July 16, 1887 in Pickens County, SC. The south is sure supplying its share of good players at this time. My first comment is this. If that picture up there is any indication, Jackson looks nothing like Ray Liotta (“Field of Dreams”) or D.B. Sweeney (“Eight Men Out”). Also, for those of you who only know baseball through the movies, Jackson was indeed a left-handed hitter, unlike Liotta’s portrayal in “Field of Dreams.”

There’s going to be a lot of time to write about the 1919 World Series, so let’s just start with a little background. Shoeless Joe started in 1908-09 for Philadelphia. Then on July 30, 1910, July 30, 1910: the Philadelphia Athletics sent Shoeless Joe Jackson to the Cleveland Naps to complete an earlier deal made on July 23, 1910. July 23, 1910: The Philadelphia Athletics sent a player to be named later and Morrie Rath to the Cleveland Naps for Bris Lord.

This season was his best ever as he finished third in WAR (9.2), behind Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (10.7) and Chicago pitcher Ed Walsh (9.2); second in WAR Position Players (9.2), trailing only Cobb (10.7); second in Offensive WAR (8.5), behind Cobb (10.2); second in batting (.408), trailing Cobb (.420); first in on-base percentage (.468); second in slugging (.590), behind Cobb (.621); sixth in steals (41); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (193), trailing Cobb (196). He, along with Cobb, were the first .400 hitters since 1901.

crawford8RF-Sam Crawford, Detroit Tigers, 31 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1905 1907 1908 1909

.378, 7 HR, 115 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1957)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1905)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as RF-146

Fielding % as RF-.975

8th Time All-Star-Wahoo Sam moved from centerfield to rightfield in 1910 as he and Ty Cobb switched positions. He had 120 RBI and 19 triples, leading the league in both categories, but didn’t make the All-Star team last season. Interestingly, after the switch was made, Detroit never again made a World Series with these two superstars. He’s back on the list this season, finishing sixth in WAR Position Players (5.7); fifth in Offensive WAR (6.4); third in batting (.378), behind Cobb (.420) and Cleveland rightfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson (.408); fourth in on-base percentage (.438); third in slugging (.526), trailing only Cobb (.621) and Jackson (.590); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (163), with only Cobb (196) and Jackson (193) ahead of him.

Detroit Athletic Co. says, “An opposing player, Fielder Jones of the White Sox, once said of Sam Crawford: ‘He stands up at the plate like a brick house and he hits all the pitchers, without playing favorites.’

“Indeed, Crawford rarely met a pitcher he didn’t like to hit against, and in his 19-year big league career – 15 spent with the Detroit Tigers – Sam hit the ball all over the park, usually a very long distance.

“In an era when home runs were about as as rare as an eclipse, Crawford was one of the preeminent power hitters in the game. He still holds the record for most career triples – the Deadball Era equivalent of a home run – a mark of 309 that will probably never be surpassed. At 15 triples per season for two decades a batter would still be nine shy of Crawford!”

murphy5

RF-Danny Murphy, Philadelphia Athletics, 34 Years Old

1904 1905 1909 1910

.300, 4 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-Names like Eddie Collins and Eddie Plank led the way for the Philadelphia dynasty, but Murphy shouldn’t be dismissed. His hitting continued to shine through this year, though this would be the last time. This season, he finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.3); 10th in batting (.329); ninth in slugging (.461); and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (141). In the World Series Philadelphia won 4-2 over the Giants, he hit .304 with three doubles. His career World Series numbers would be a .305 average with eight extra-base hits.

From Verdun2’s Blog: “By 1912 he was still good. He was also 36. In June he broke his kneecap sliding and lost the rest of the  season. In 1913 he only got into 40 games. He hit well when he played (.322/.365/.441) but he simply couldn’t play that much. The A’s went back to the World Series, winning again, but Murphy sat on the bench the entire Series. He was through in Philadelphia. In 1914 and 1915 he tried his hand with the fledgling Federal League. He hit .304 for Brooklyn in 1914, .167 in 1915, and did some scouting work. After 1915 he stopped playing in the Majors. He coached some in the Minors, got back to the A’s as a coach through the 1924 season. He coached one more year, then retired to run a hardware store and later work in a hospital. He died in 1955. In 1948 Mack named him to the All-Time A’s team as the right fielder.”

1911 National League All-Star Team

P-Nap Rucker, BRO

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Pete Alexander, PHI

P-Babe Adams, PIT

P-Lefty Leifield, PIT

P-Rube Marquard, NYG

P-Bobby Keefe, CIN

P-Earl Moore, PHI

P-Lew Richie, CHC

P-George Suggs, CIN

C-Chief Meyers, NYG

C-Roger Bresnahan, STL

1B-Ed Konetchy, STL

1B-Fred Merkle, NYG

1B-Jake Daubert, BRO

2B-Larry Doyle, NYG

2B-Miller Huggins, STL

3B-Jim Doyle, CHC

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

SS-Buck Herzog, BSN/NYG

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, CHC

LF-Fred Clarke, PIT

CF-Johnny Bates, CIN

RF- Frank Schulte, CHC

 

rucker5P-Nap Rucker, Brooklyn Dodgers, 26 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910

22-18, 2.71 ERA, 190 K, .202, 1 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-8.8

War for Pitchers-8.6

5th Time All-Star-An interesting thing happened in baseball in 1911 – an MVP vote was introduced. It technically began in 1910 when Hugh Chalmers gave a car to the person with the highest batting average in baseball. After the kerfuffle that happened between Ty Cobb and Nap Lajoie (which you can read about by clicking here), Chalmers changed the format. According to the Baseball Hall of Fame page, “Then on April 4, 1911, Chalmers announced a change in the award structure. From that point on, Chalmers would give the award to the player who ‘should prove himself as the most important and useful player to his club and to the league at large in point of deportment and value of services rendered.’”

Wikipedia says, “The following season, Chalmers created the Chalmers Award. A committee of baseball writers were to convene after the season [to vote]. Since the award was not as effective at advertising as Chalmers had hoped, it was discontinued after 1914.”

So where did Nap Rucker, the best player by WAR, finish? He finished 27th. Even in these initial Most Valuable Player votes, it hurt a player to not be on a good team. He would have been my MVP.

Brooklyn, coached by Bill Dahlen, finished seventh with a 64-86 record, but it certainly wasn’t Rucker’s fault, who finished first in WAR (8.8); first in WAR for Pitchers (8.6); and fourth in innings pitched (315 2/3). I would say this was his best season ever, but next season will also be stellar as he’ll lead the league in WAR again.

mathewson10P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 30 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908 1909 1910

26-13, 1.99 ERA, 141 K, .196, 0 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1911 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.99 (4th Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.114 (3rd Time)

Hits Allowed-303 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.711 (6th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-167 (5th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.44 (7th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-42 (4th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.4 (4th Time)

Putouts as P-31

Assists as P-107 (5th Time)

Range Factor/Game as P-3.07 (2nd Time)

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

10th Time All-Star-If baseball had its way, when people looked back at early 1900s baseball, they would not associate it with someone like Ty Cobb, an outstanding player with an ugly personality. No, it would be much better for the sport for people to think of this Christian gentleman, Mathewson. In all my research about him on the Internet, there’s nary a criticism to be found. He represented the game with dignity, unlike so many who played at this time. As the Baseball Hall of Fame says, “To a game needing a role model, Christy Mathewson was manna from heaven. As wholesome as Matty may have been, the newspapers embellished it. They said he never swore, drank, or bet (though in fact he fleeced many teammates at cards). Grantland Rice said he ‘handed the game a certain touch of class, an indefinable lift in culture, brains and personality.’ Another wrote that he ‘talks like a Harvard graduate, looks like an actor, acts like a businessman, and impresses you as an all-around gentleman.’”

Thanks to Mathewson’s pitching, New York won the pennant for the first time since 1905. In that World Series, which the Giants won, Big Six pitched three shutouts. This series wasn’t as good as he went 1-2 with a 2.00 ERA. He won the first game, allowing just one run; lost the third game, giving up three runs with one earned; and then lost the fourth game, giving up four runs in seven innings. In case you’re wondering why Mathewson pitched back-to-back games, there was a week between games three and four due to rain. Philadelphia beat New York, 4-2.

alexander

P-Pete Alexander, Philadelphia Phillies, 24 Years Old

28-13, 2.57 ERA, 227 K, .174, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-28

Hits per 9 IP-6.989

Innings Pitched-367

Complete Games-31

Shutouts-7

Batters Faced-1,440

1st Time All-Star-Grover Cleveland “Old Pete” Alexander was born on February 26, 1887 in Elba, NE. The six-foot-one, 185 pound pitcher started his Hall of Fame career with this great rookie year. He finished second in WAR (7.6), behind Brooklyn pitcher Nap Rucker (8.8); second in WAR for Pitchers (8.0), trailing Rucker (8.6); fifth in ERA (2.57); first in innings pitched (367); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (132).

His team, the Phillies, stayed in fourth with a 79-73 record. Red Dooin’s squad finished 19-and-a-half games out of first due to a lack of hitting. However, it had found their ace pitcher for many years to come.

SABR says, “Alex’s performance in 1911 is arguably the greatest season by a rookie pitcher in the twentieth century-28-13 with a 2.57 ERA. Twenty-eight wins led the league and remain the twentieth-century record for rookies. One of his biggest wins came in Boston against Cy Young in September, a one-hit 1-0 shutout. His 227 strikeouts, good for second in the league, stood as the record for rookies until Herb Score gunned down 245 for the Indians in 1955. He also led the league in complete games with 31, innings pitched with 367, and shutouts with 7 (four of them consecutive). His ERA was good enough for fifth. Pitching relief occasionally between starts, he picked up three saves. All of this came as part of a 79-73 team.” He and Christy Mathewson will be battling each other for top pitcher on these All-Star teams for years to come.

adams

P-Babe Adams, Pittsburgh Pirates, 29 Years Old

22-12, 2.33 ERA, 133 K, .252, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-1.006

1st Time All-Star-Charles Benjamin “Babe” Adams was born on May 18, 1882 in Tipton, IN. The five-foot-11, 185 pound pitcher already was famous for his three wins in the 1909 World Series. He started his career with St. Louis in 1906, then was Purchased by Louisville (American Association) from the St. Louis Cardinals. On August 13, 1907, Adams was  Purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates from Denver (Western). He didn’t pitch in the Majors in 1908, then had an impressive 1909 season including those three victories in the Fall Classic.

This season, Adams finished fourth in WAR (6.7); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.3); third in ERA (2.33), behind New York pitcher Christy Mathewson (1.99) and Chicago hurler Lew Richie (2.31); seventh in innings pitched (293 1/3); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (147), trailing only Mathewson (167).

Wikipedia says of the 1909 Series, “After going 12–3 with a 1.11 earned run average (ERA) in the 1909 regular season, his first full year, Adams became the star of the 1909 World Series after being named the surprise starter of Game 1 following a tip by National League president John Heydler that Adams’ style was similar to that of an AL pitcher against whom the Detroit Tigers had had difficulty. He won three complete game victories – each of them a six-hitter. With a shutout in Game 7, Adams became the first rookie in World Series history to start and win Game 7, which has only been repeated once in baseball history by John Lackey in 2002. He was also the only member of that team who would be on the Pirates’ World Series champions in 1925.”

leifield

P-Lefty Leifield, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

16-16, 2.63 ERA, 111 K, .235, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-16

1st Time All-Star-Albert Peter “Lefty” Leifield was born on September 5, 1883 in Trenton, IL. The skinny six-foot-one, 165 pound pitcher started with Pittsburgh in 1905 and was a consistently good pitcher. In the 1909 World Series, he lost his one start, giving up five runs in four innings. This season, his best ever, he finished sixth in WAR (6.4); sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.7); eighth in ERA (2.63); third in innings pitched (318), behind Philadelphia pitcher Pete Alexander (367) and St. Louis hurler Bob Harmon (348); and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (130).

Wikipedia states, “On July 4, 1906, in the first game of a doubleheader at Exposition Park, Leifield lost a double one-hitter to Mordecai Brown and the Chicago Cubs, 1-0 (1 of only 5 double one-hitters in major league history, 4 since 1901). Leifield had a no-hitter going into the 9th inning but gave up a run on a hit and an error. Leifield’s own single was the only hit for the Pirates. He would be the only pitcher in MLB history to lose a decision despite throwing at least nine innings with one or fewer hits and no walks allowed, until Rich Hill of the Los Angeles Dodgers gave up a walk-off home run to Josh Harrison of the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 23, 2017. Coincidently, the game was held at PNC Park, which is located near where Exposition Park once stood.” Don’t think just because Leifield didn’t make any All-Star teams before this one, he couldn’t pitch. It’s just tough to be one of the top 10 pitchers in the league.

marquard

P-Rube Marquard, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

24-7, 2.50 ERA, 237 K, .163, 1 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.774

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.682

Strikeouts-237

1st Time All-Star-Richard William “Rube” Marquard was born on October 9, 1886 in Cleveland, OH. The six-foot-three, 180 pound pitcher started with the Giants in 1908, then had his best year ever this season, finishing seventh in WAR (5.9); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.2); fourth in ERA (2.50); ninth in innings pitched (277 2/3); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (133). In the World Series, he pitched three games, starting two, and finished with a 0-1 record and 1.54 ERA.

SABR says, “In 1911, McGraw and his coach Wilbert Robinson went to work on Marquard. When he joined the Giants, he used a side-arm delivery. McGraw got Marquard to change to pitching overhand. Robinson, a former catcher who was a teammate of McGraw’s on the Baltimore Orioles, worked on getting Marquard to throw first-pitch strikes. Robby also tutored Marquard on how to mix his pitches. Marquard was soon throwing to a location, and improving on his control.

“The results were immediate. Marquard posted a 24-7 record with a 2.50 ERA in 1911. He threw a pair of one-hitters three days apart, first beating St. Louis at the Polo Grounds on August 28, striking out nine, and then coming back on September 1 at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia. Marquard struck out 10 Phillies on his way to the win.

“Marquard led the National League with 237 strikeouts in 1911. The Giants won the pennant with a record of 99-54. Christy Mathewson won 26 games, and the two pitchers combined for more than half of the Giants’ wins.”

keefeb

P-Bobby Keefe, Cincinnati Reds, 29 Years Old

12-13, 2.69 ERA, 105 K, .086, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 54 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-8

1st Time All-Star-Robert Francis “Bobby” Keefe was born on June 16, 1882 in Folsom, CA (and now I can’t stop singing Johnny Cash). The five-foot-11, 155 pound pitcher started with the New York Highlanders in 1907 and wasn’t bad, pitching 57 2/3 innings with a 2.50 ERA. However, he didn’t reach the Majors again until this season, his best ever, when he finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3). In 1912, Keefe went 1-3 with a 5.24 ERA and would be out of Major League baseball for good.

And how did my beloved Redlegs do this season? They dropped from fifth to sixth, posting a 70-83 record, 29 games out of first. Clark Griffith’s squad wasn’t terrible, just mediocre, led by its skinny pitcher from California.

Wikipedia says, “Robert Francis Keefe, known as Bobby Keefe in baseball, was born near Folsom, California in June 1882. He graduated from Santa Clara College in 1902, where he was the star baseball pitcher. He then pitched for the Sacramento Senators in 1903, the first year of the Pacific Coast League. The following year, the Solon franchise moved to Tacoma, Washington, where he had two outstanding years with the Tacoma Tigers before going to the New York Highlanders (later Yankees). After a period with the Yankees, he was released to the Montreal farm club of the Yankees. He later pitched for the Cincinnati Reds. While there, he met Margaret Carroll, who later became his wife.” He died just five days after I was born.

moore4

P-Earl Moore, Philadelphia Phillies, 33 Years Old

1901 1909 1910

15-19, 2.63 ERA, 174 K, .109, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Losses-19

4th Time All-Star-Despite leading the league in losses, Moore made his third straight National League All-Star team, but will be fading out after this. He finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.6), sixth in ERA (2.63), fifth in innings pitched (308 1/3), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (129). He’s not Hall of Fame-worthy, but for a while, he was one of the NL’s most impressive pitchers.

SABR says, “Moore’s pitching renaissance turned out to be short-lived. En route to a disappointing 15–19 record in 1911, he began to fall out of favor with Philadelphia management due to his wildness on the mound–and off it, too. Reports ran rampant that he regularly broke team rules, failed to stay in condition, and did not give his best on the mound. The Phillies tried to peddle him to various National League clubs–Chicago, Brooklyn, New York, and Pittsburgh showed interest–but to no avail. They kept him for 1912, and he was injured by a hit ball yet again, this time breaking his finger. The Phillies finally unloaded him to the Cubs in 1913, and Earl’s major league career concluded in 1914 when, at long last, he jumped to an outlaw team and league, the Buffalo Federals. He went 11–15 with a horrendous 4.30 ERA to close out his topsy-turvy ride in the big leagues at 163-154.”

I recommend you click on the SABR link to read the story of his run-in with John McGraw. I won’t spoil it for you, but involves McGraw going after Moore with a bat.

richie

P-Lew Richie, Chicago Cubs, 27 Years Old

15-11, 2.31 ERA, 78 K, .154, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Elwood Lewis “Lew” Richie was born on August 23, 1883 in Ambler, PA. The five-foot-eight, 165 pound pitcher started with the Phillies in 1906. On July 16, 1909, he was traded by the Philadelphia Phillies with Buster Brown and Dave Shean to the Boston Doves for Johnny Bates and Charlie Starr. Then on May 13, 1910, Richie was traded by the Boston Doves to the Chicago Cubs for Doc Miller. In the 1910 World Series, he pitched one inning of scoreless relief. This was his best season ever as Richie finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (5.2); second in ERA (2.31), behind New York’s Christy Mathewson (1.99); and third in  Adjusted ERA+ (143), trailing Mathewson (167) and Pittsburgh’s Babe Adams (147).

Frank Chance’s Cubs dropped to second this season, finishing seven-and-a-half games behind the Giants. This team could still hit, thanks to Frank Schulte, and still pitch, thanks to Richie, just not as good as the Giants.

You might be wondering what happened to the Chicago pitching trio of Orval Overall, Three Finger Brown, and Ed Reulbach. After years of dominating in the league, including a 1909 season in which all three had ERAs under 1.78, Overall and Reulbach slumped in 1910 and then Brown would start fading out after this year, which wasn’t bad for the limited-digit hurler. Brown went 21-11, but wasn’t good enough to make this list. For a stretch of time, no staff in baseball matched the Cubbies and their unstoppable trio of pitchers.

suggs2

P-George Suggs, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1910

15-13, 3.00 ERA, 91 K, .256, 0 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-You might never have heard of this man, but Suggs is actually in the midst of a good stretch of pitching. He made his second consecutive National League All-Star team, finishing 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.0). He was tiny, but effective, and the Reds’ best pitcher during this era.

From Baseball History Daily comes this about the lack of integration of baseball. It’s worth noting even back in the 1910s, the lack of black men in the game was being mentioned. “In 1912 The Cincinnati Times- Star‘s Sports Editor William A. Phelonquestioned why professional baseball had not become integrated:

’The prejudice against the Negro ballplayer is a strange and a deep-rooted thing in baseball circles, and all through the country, little leagues and big, from Maine to Mexico, the prejudice holds sway.  The African is barred from the places where the Indian is royally welcome and the athlete of negro blood must not presume to mingle in white baseball society.

“’Strange to say, the white ball players, even the haughty southerners like (Ty) Cobb and (George) Suggs will gladly play games against Cuban clubs, composed mostly of black men.  They will play exhibition games against Negro teams, treating the black men with the utmost cordiality and fairness, but will not tolerate Negros in their own crowds or in the white clubs of the same circuits.’”

My page here is a historical journal, so I just rate the players based on the era in which they played, but it’s incredible that from Fleet Walker in 1884 to Jackie Robinson in 1947, a whole group of men was kept from playing Major League ball due to the color of their skin.

meyers

C-Chief Meyers, New York Giants, 30 Years Old

.332, 1 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-128

Putouts as C-729 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-John Tortes “Chief” Meyers was born on July 29, 1880 in Riverside, CA. The five-foot-11, 194 pound catcher started with the Giants in 1909 and would have a decent career. This season, he finished 10th in WAR Position Players (3.7), 10th in Defensive WAR (0.9); third in batting (.332), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (.334) and Boston rightfielder Doc Miller (.333); and ninth in on-base percentage (.392). In the World Series loss to the Athletics, Meyers hit .300 (six-for-20) with two doubles. He’d have an even better Series in 1912.

Wikipedia says, “Facing elimination against the Athletics in Game 6 of the 1911 World Series, Meyers’ Giants trailed 6-1 entering the bottom of the seventh in Philadelphia. After Chief Bender opened the frame with a flyout, two singles and an error by first baseman Fred Merkle fielding a throw on a sacrifice bunt made the score 7-1. Two consecutive singles would score two further runs, then with runners at the corners, Harry Davis hit a 2-1 pitch into right-center to make it 10-1. Continuing the rally, Jack Barry hit a ground rule double into the right field crowd scoring another run and putting runners at second and third, which finally convinced John McGraw to replace his pitcher, Hooks Wiltse, having given up 7 earned runs over 2 1/3 innings. Future Hall of Famer Rube Marquard, who had gone 24-7 that year with a 2.50 ERA and a career-high 237 strikeouts, came into pitch with two runners in scoring position and his team down by ten. His third pitch was so fast and wild that it ‘dented the screen in the grand stand’. Both runners scored on the play because Meyers ‘refused to chase the ball’, instead ‘glaring at Marquard’ in obvious frustration. After a ‘heated conference’ between the battery mates near home plate, order ensued, but the next batter promptly singled off Marquard. The emotional and adrenaline-fueled Meyers then threw out the runner trying to steal second base, stopping the rally. The next batter struck out, ending the inning, although the 11-run lead would prove enough to secure a championship for Philadelphia.”

bresnahan8

C-Roger Bresnahan, St. Louis Cardinals, 32 Years Old

1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1910

.278, 3 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

8th Time All-Star-Whew! Sometimes my emotions get the best of me and I was heartbroken Bresnahan wasn’t going to make my Hall of Fame. But, lo and behold, due to his good play and a lack of good catchers in the National League, he made his eighth All-Star team, which multiplied by his Career WAR of 41.7 is over 300 and into the Hall. He honestly still has a shot at the ONEHOF, my other Hall of Fame which admits just one player per year.

Bresnahan’s team improved from seventh to fifth with a 75-74 record. It was hurt by the fact St. Louis couldn’t pitch, but they still had a record above .500.

SABR says, “In 1911 Robison died and control of the team passed to his niece, Helene Robison Britton. In one of her first interviews after claiming her inheritance, Britton told a reporter that she viewed Bresnahan as a good manager. ‘I like his system,’ she said. ‘Indeed, I adore it, even if it has not been climbing toward the first division.’ Shortly thereafter she told another reporter that ‘my great aim will be not to interfere with, but rather to further the system Mr. Bresnahan already has in effect.’ That first year under Britton’s ownership, Roger had the Cardinals in contention for most of the season before they faded to a fifth-place finish. Pleased with the club’s resurgence, Britton rewarded him with a new five-year contract worth $10,000 a year and 10 percent of the club’s profits.”

konetchy3

1B-Ed Konetchy, St. Louis Cardinals, 25 Years Old

1909 1910

.289, 6 HR, 88 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-158

Doubles-38

Putouts-1,652 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as 1B-158 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,652 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.09 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 1B-10.91 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.991 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Big Ed continued to be the National League’s best first sacker as this season he finished 10th in WAR (5.2); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.2); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.2); 10th in slugging (.433); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (132). It helps that he’s one of the game’s ironmen, playing 140 or more games for nine straight seasons.

Look at this scary story from Wikipedia, which reports, “In 1911, with the Cards only three games out of first place in early July, the team was involved in a train crash on its way from Philadelphia to Boston. 47 passengers were injured, while twelve died. None of the Cardinals were seriously injured, due to a pre-trip change in the location of their car to the rear of the train. Konetchy and Cards manager Roger Bresnahan led the rescue effort, carrying many passengers to safety, some of whom may have died. Despite posting their first winning season since 1901, the Cardinals never recovered from the incident, finishing a distant fifth; but Konetchy led the NL with 38 doubles, and his own team with six home runs and 88 RBIs. He led the Cardinals in hits in 1909, 1910, 1911, and 1912.”

So along being a good player, he was also a hero. We sometimes put baseball players on a pedestal and it’s understandable. We need to get away from the burdens of life sometimes and they help us do that. However, it’s good when we can read stories like above when players shine due to selfless deeds.

merkle

1B-Fred Merkle, New York Giants, 22 Years Old

.283, 12 HR, 84 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 1B-117

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

1st Time All-Star-Carl Frederick Rudolf “Bonehead” Merkle was born on December 20, 1888 in Watertown, WI. The six-foot-one, 190 pound first baseman was, of course, most famous for Merkle’s Boner, a play in 1908 in which he forgot to touch second base on a hit and ended up being forced out at the bag, ruining the playoff chances for the Giants. What gets lost is that he was only 19 at the time and had only played a little over 50 games in his career. Yet because of that one mistake, poor Merkle is stuck with the nickname Bonehead forever.

Bonehead, er, Merkle had his best season ever, finishing eighth in WAR Position Players (3.8) and fourth in steals (49). He might not make another All-Star team, but he’d be among the lead leaders in stolen bases for many years. Merkle didn’t have a good World Series as he hit .150 (three-for-20) with a double and six whiffs.

Wikipedia says of Merkle’s infamous play, “Giants manager John McGraw was furious at the league office, feeling his team was robbed of a victory (and a pennant), but he never blamed Merkle for his mistake.

“Bitter over the events of the controversial game, Merkle avoided baseball after his playing career ended in 1926. When he finally appeared at a Giants old-timers’ game in 1950, he received a standing ovation.

“Fred Merkle is commemorated in his hometown of Watertown, Wisconsin. The city’s primary high school baseball field at Washington Park is named Fred Merkle Field. Also, a black plaque honoring him was erected in the park on July 22, 2010. A second plaque in Watertown is on the grounds of the Octagon House.”

daubert

1B-Jake Daubert, Brooklyn Dodgers, 27 Years Old

.307, 5 HR, 45 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 57 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Singles-146

Double Plays Turned as 1B-91

1st Time All-Star-Jacob Ellsworth “Jake” Daubert was born on April 17, 1884 in Shamokin, PA. The five-foot-10, 160 pound first baseman will be making quite a few of these lists, but will die young, at the age of 40. Daubert started with Brooklyn in 1910 and this year started as streak of six straight .300 seasons. He finished eighth in batting (.307) and has some great seasons ahead.

While it’s not permanent, the Brooklyn squad was known as the Dodgers in 1911. Wikipedia says, “The Dodgers’ official history reports that the term ‘Trolley Dodgers’ was attached to the Brooklyn ballclub due to the complex maze of trolley cars that weaved its way through the borough of Brooklyn.

“In 1892, the city of Brooklyn (Brooklyn was an independent city until annexed by New York City in 1898) began replacing its slow-moving, horse-drawn trolley lines with the faster, more powerful electric trolley lines. Within less than three years, by the end of 1895, electric trolley accidents in Brooklyn had resulted in more than 130 deaths and maimed well over 500 people. Brooklyn’s high-profile, the significant number of widely reported accidents, and a trolley strike in early 1895, combined to create a strong association in the public’s mind between Brooklyn and trolley dodging.

“Sportswriters started using the name ‘trolley dodgers’ to refer to the Brooklyn team early in the 1895 season. The name was shortened to, on occasion, the ‘Brooklyn Dodgers’ as early as 1898.” Even at this time, nicknames for teams weren’t official.

doyle3

2B-Larry Doyle, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

1909 1910

.310, 13 HR, 77 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Offensive WAR-6.0

Triples-25

3rd Time All-Star-Doyle continued to crush the ball, having his best season ever this year, finishing ninth in WAR (5.2); third in WAR Position Players (5.2), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (6.6) and Chicago rightfielder Wildfire Schulte (5.2); first in Offensive WAR (6.0); seventh in batting (.310); seventh in on-base percentage (.397); second in slugging (.527), trailing Schulte (.534); eighth in steals (38); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (154), with only Schulte (156) and Wagner (156) ahead of him. In the World Series, he did well, hitting .304 (seven-for-23) with three doubles and a triple. However, the Giants still lost to the Athletics, 4-2.

SABR says, “After showing up on time for spring training for the first time in three years, ten pounds lighter and in the best shape of his life, the 24-year-old captain of the Giants elevated his performance to an even higher level in 1911. Doyle batted .310 and was selected as the second baseman on Baseball Magazine‘s NL All-America team, leading the league in triples (25) and finishing second in slugging percentage (.527), fourth in home runs (13), and fifth in runs (102), and seventh in on-base percentage (.397). In Game Five of that year’s World Series, Larry tagged up and scored the winning run on a fly ball in the bottom of the 10th inning, but umpire Bill Klem later stated that he never touched the plate and would’ve been called out had the Philadelphia Athletics tagged him before leaving the field.” It’s a good thing the Athletics didn’t ask to see the replay.

huggins3

2B-Miller Huggins, St. Louis Cardinals, 33 Years Old

1905 1906

.261, 1 HR, 24 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (Yes for managing)

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Huggins hasn’t made an All-Star team since 1906. He then played from 1907-09 with the Reds and then before the 1910 season, he was traded by the Cincinnati Reds with Frank Corridon and Rebel Oakes to the St. Louis Cardinals for Fred Beebe and Alan Storke. This season, Huggins finished fourth in Defensive WAR (1.3) and ninth in steals (37). The little man had no power, but walked a lot to help his team. He finished sixth in the Chalmers MVP voting.

SABR says, “With his crouched batting stance and patience at the plate, he was able to out-wait and outwit opposing pitchers. In the field, he was ‘like a flea skating around on a greasy skillet’ and earned nicknames such as ‘Rabbit,’ ‘Mighty Mite,’ and ‘Little Everywhere.’ Huggins was a switch-hitter with virtually no power; he had nine career home runs, all inside-the-park ones.

“He was so determined to gain an extra step to first base that he spent three grueling years training to work and hit left-handed. He also had a devious streak. Huggins pulled off the hidden ball trick at least eight times. He once handled a record 19 chances—helped by storing the game’s baseballs in a freezer to deaden them, he admitted to Ford Frick years later.

“In early 1910, Reds manager Clark Griffith traded Huggins to the St. Louis Cardinals, after a sore arm limited Huggins to 57 games the prior season. It was a strange move since Griffith remarked at the time, ‘No matter who I get for Miller Huggins, I’d be cheated…Hug is one of the best players of the game.’”

doylej

3B-Jim Doyle, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

.282, 5 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 93 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 3B-35

Double Plays Turned as 3B-25

1st Time All-Star-James Francis “Jim” Doyle was born on Christmas, 1881 in Detroit, MI. The five-foot-10, 168 pound third baseman has a tragic story as he played just one full year before dying. This season, Doyle finished third in Defensive WAR (1.3), behind Chicago shortstop Joe Tinker (2.5) and Philadelphia shortstop Mickey Doolin (2.1). It certainly looked like he was off to a good career.

Baseball Almanac posted his obituary from the Trenton Evening News. Here’s part of it: “SYRACUSE, N.Y., Feb 2. – Jim Doyle, the crack third baseman of the Chicago Cubs, died in St. Joseph’s Hospital at 9 o’clock last night. Four days ago Doyle was sticken with appendicitis and underwent an operation on Tuesday. His family was at his bedside when the end came. He had several sinking spells during the day and late in the afternoon his doctors said his death was only a matter of hours.

Doyle was one of the finds of the season of 1911. Practically unknown when the National League season opened, in a few months he was heralded as one of the star baseman of the game. His chance to make good for the Cubs was largely a matter of accident. Manager Chance had chosen Heinie Zimmerman to succeed Harry Steinfeldt at third base after the world’s series of 1910, and Zimmerman played third early in the campaign. He contracted a severe cold and was out of the game for several days giving Doyle a chance to cover the bag. The youngster made good from the start. When Zimmerman recovered Johnny Evers broke down and Zimmerman was used to fill the hole at second, while Doyle, was retained at third.”

wagner13SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 37 Years Old

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

.334, 9 HR, 89 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1911 NL Batting Title (8th Time)

WAR Position Players-6.6 (10th Time)

Batting Average-.334 (8th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.930 (8th Time)

Offensive Win %-.789 (7th Time)

13th Time All-Star-Is Honus Wagner the greatest shortstop of all-time? I would say, “Yes,” at this point, but I still have 107 more seasons to write up, so what do I know. He did join the list of most All-Star teams at his position this year. His manager and teammate Fred Clarke already had this honor. Here’s the full list:

P-Cy Young, 17 All-Star teams

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Nap Lajoie, 9

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Jack Glasscock, Wagner, 11

LF-Clarke, 10

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Thompson, Elmer Flick, 7

This season, Wagner finished fifth in WAR (6.6); first in WAR Position Players (6.6); second in Offensive WAR (6.0), trailing New York second baseman Larry Doyle (6.0); fifth in Defensive WAR (1.3); first in batting (.334); second in on-base percentage (.423), behind Chicago leftfielder Jimmy Sheckard (.434); third in slugging (.507), trailing Chicago rightfielder Frank Schulte (.534) and Doyle (.527); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (156), behind Schulte (156). All at the age of 37 while playing the toughest defensive position on the field. Incredible!

I didn’t mention this in 1910, but Wagner had a dark secret, according to SABR, which says, “[In 1910], Wagner struggled, hitting well below .300 while fielding lackadaisically, and only a late-season surge got him to acceptable territory. The Pirates attributed his subpar performance to an injury, then a lingering cold, or maybe just a slump, but the real cause was an open secret – his out-of-control drinking. Honus had more than his share of run-ins with umpires, receiving several ejections and suspensions, and some ugly confrontations with teammates. The situation was serious enough for Clarke to have a long talk with Wagner after the season.”

tinker6

SS-Joe Tinker, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1902 1906 1908 1909 1910

.278, 4 HR, 69 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.5 (5th Time)

Assists-486 (2nd Time)

Putouts as SS-333

Assists as SS-486 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-5.85 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.73 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.937 (4th Time)

6th Time All-Star-Tinker becomes the first of the famous double-play Cubs trio to make my Hall of Fame. Frank Chance, Chicago’s manager and first baseman, most likely isn’t going to make it, but Johnny Evers will be in there soon. My Hall of Fame, known cleverly as Ron’s Hall of Fame, chooses its members purely by numbers. A player’s Career WAR is multiplied by the number of my All-Star teams a player makes and if that number is over 300, the player is in. If it’s under 300, the player is out. Since WAR is fluid, it’s possible a player who didn’t make it could eventually make it or one who didn’t could get in, but that would require me going back over everything I’ve written thus far and that ain’t happening!

Tinker finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.4) and first in Defensive WAR (2.5). As always with him, his fielding was his crown jewel. I don’t know how seriously you take dWAR, but Tinker is going to lead the league in that category a total of six times and I don’t think that can be disregarded.

Here’s a snippet from Wikipedia that shows how times have changed, “Tinker led the NL with 486 assists in the 1911 season and led all shortstops in putouts with 333. In August 1911, Chance suspended Tinker for the remainder of the season for using profanity, though he was reinstated two days later.” If teams suspended players for filthy language nowadays, there’d be a lot of empty baseball diamonds.

herzog

SS-Buck Herzog, Boston Rustlers/New York Giants, 25 Years Old

.290, 6 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Charles Lincoln “Buck” Herzog was born on July 9, 1885 in Baltimore, MD. The five-foot-11, 160 pound second baseman started at that position with the Giants in 1908. He then moved to leftfield for New York in 1909. Before the 1910 season, Herzog was traded by the New York Giants with Bill Collins to the Boston Doves for Beals Becker. This season, he started with the now Boston Rustlers as a shortstop before being traded by the Boston Rustlers to the New York Giants for Al Bridwell and Hank Gowdy. The Giants moved him to third base and he made his first World Series. During the season, Herzog finished fourth in Offensive WAR (4.4) and fifth in steals (48). In the Series, Buck struggled at the plate, hitting .190 (four-for-21) with two doubles as the Giants lost to the Athletics, 4-2.

No matter what it was called, Boston’s National League entry continued to struggle. Fred Tenney managed the team to a 44-107 record, 54 games out of first. It couldn’t hit and it had the worst pitching in the league.

SABR says, “John McGraw signed Herzog for the New York Giants in 1908, beginning a baseball love-hate relationship exceeded perhaps only by George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin. No player better exemplified McGraw’s ferocious fighting spirit than the 5’11”, 160 lb. Herzog, yet the two generally couldn’t stand each other. Over the course of a decade the Giants traded away the aggressive infielder three times and brought him back twice, both times experiencing immediate success when he re-entered the fold. ‘I hate his guts,’ McGraw once said about Herzog, ‘but I want him on my club.’”

sheckard5

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, Chicago Cubs, 32 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1905

.276, 4 HR, 50 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.434

Runs Scored-121

Bases on Balls-147

Times on Base-299

Def. Games as LF-156

Putouts as LF_332

Assists as LF-32

Double Plays Turned as LF-11

Def. Games as OF-156

Assists as OF-32 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as OF-12 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.33

5th Time All-Star-It’s been a surprising six years since Sheckard last graced this list. He was traded to the Cubs before the 1906 season and hadn’t made the All-Star team as a Cubbie before this season. He did get to participate in four World Series, two of which Chicago won. In 1906, he went an embarrassing oh-for-21 and then hit .238 in the Series in both 1907 and 1908. In the 1910 World Series loss to the Athletics, Sheckard had his best Fall Classic, hitting .357 with seven walks and two doubles.

This season, Sheckard finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.0); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.4); first in on-base percentage (.434); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (131). His 147 walks were an all-time record and would remain so until 1920.

Bleed Cubbie Blue wraps up his career, saying, “To be sure, Jimmy Sheckard was a colorful man. He may have been inconsistent on the field, but something made him a valuable piece of the greatest Cubs teams of all time. He was a catalyst, a piece of flint, the right mixture of ability, guile, and guts. Or he was just plain lucky. You decide.

“In the years following his career, his colors began to fade. He made some poor decisions that slowly took him out of the game for good. Then in 1929, like a lot of Americans, he lost just about everything in the stock market. For years he carted around huge milk containers for farmers in the Lancaster, PA area, which was close to where he was born. And in January of 1947, he was crossing the street to go to work as a gas station attendant when he was struck by a car. He died three days later, but his base-clogging heritage would live on.”

clarke10LF-Fred Clarke, Pittsburgh Pirates, 38 Years Old

1895 1897 1901 1902 1903 1906 1907 1908 1909

.324, 5 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted 1909)

Cooperstown Yes (Inducted 1945)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted 1903)

 

10th Time All-Star-At the time he retired in 1915, Clarke was the game’s greatest leftfielder, though you certainly could argue for Big Ed Delahanty. He is the player with the most All-Star teams at that position as you can see by reading Honus Wagner’s blurb. This season, Clarke finished eighth in WAR Position Players (3.8); fourth in batting (.324); fourth in on-base percentage (.407); fourth in slugging (.492); and, you guessed it, fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (147).

As a manager, he guided the Pirates to a third-place 85-69 record, 14-and-a-half games out of first. Led by Wagner, the Pirates could hit and led by Babe Adams, they also could pitch. They just couldn’t do either of those things as well as the Giants.

As for his later life, Wikipedia says, “Fred Clarke was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945 as one of the first to be elected by the Old-Timers Committee. He was one of 24 original inductees into the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame in 1951. Clarke remained active and seemingly indestructible into his 70s. In 1947, while fishing in northern Minnesota, he and his wife were thrown into icy northern Minnesota waters by a storm, but he was back out fishing the next day. Soon after, he was nearly shot accidentally while quail hunting. He then survived a gas furnace explosion in his basement. While in Winfield he started the Winfield Country Club that is still in operation to this day. Fred Clarke died in Winfield at age 87.”

bates2

CF-Johnny Bates, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1910

.292, 1 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Between the 1910 and 1911 seasons, Bates was  Traded by the Philadelphia Phillies with Eddie GrantGeorge McQuillan and Lew Moren to the Cincinnati Reds for Fred BeebeHans LobertDode Paskert and Jack Rowan. He then had his best season ever, finishing seventh in WAR Position Players (4.2); seventh in Offensive WAR (4.2); third in on-base percentage (.415), behind Chicago leftfielder Jimmy Sheckard (.434) and Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (.423); and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (129).

After this season, Bates played with Cincinnati until 1914. After being released by the Reds, he went to the Cubs and then was released by them. He finished his career in the Federal League for the Baltimore Terrapins.

Revolvy says, “After making some trades over the off-season, the Reds entered the 1911 season with a goal of winning the National League pennant. The club began the season with a poor 3-6 record in their first nine games, before winning eight of their next ten, to improve to 11-8, however, Cincinnati was in fourth place, five games behind the first place Philadelphia Phillies. With a four-game series against the Phillies, the Reds ended up losing three of the game, including a 21-5 blowout loss, to drop further behind them in the race for the pennant.”

It must have been frustrating to be one of the teams that never won pennants from 1901-1913. Cincinnati was certainly one of those clubs as they could never put it all together. It’s like rooting for them nowadays, like I do, where you know they have virtually no chance of making the playoffs.

schulte

RF-Frank Schulte, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

.300, 21 HR, 107 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

NL MVP

Slugging %-.534

Total Bases-308

Home Runs-21 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-107

Adjusted OPS+-156

Runs Created-117

Adj. Batting Runs-40

Adj. Batting Wins-4.2

Extra Base Hits-72

Power-Speed #-22.0 (2nd Time)

AB per HR-27.5

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

1st Time All-Star-Frank M. “Wildfire” Schulte was born on September 17, 1882 in Cochecton, NY. The five-foot-11, 170 pound outfielder started with Chicago in 1904, but never had a season like this one. It is one of the flukiest of all fluky seasons in baseball history. His 21 homers were the most since Buck Freeman’s 25 in 1898 and really stood out in this non-home run era. This season, Schulte finished eighth in WAR (5.2); second in WAR Position Players (5.2), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (6.6); third in Offensive WAR (5.4), trailing Giants second baseman Larry Doyle (6.0) and Wagner (6.0); first in slugging (.534); and first in Adjusted OPS+ (156).

Schulte also made four World Series playing for the Cubs and hit .321 with six doubles and a triple. He was a big part of the Cubs winning two championships.

Should Schulte have won the MVP? Judging by the more modern stats, probably not. Brooklyn pitcher Nap Rucker led in WAR. I would have probably put him no higher than eighth. However, with the stats on which they judged players in 1911, it’s not a bad choice. The voters were probably dazzled by all of those dingers.

Bleed Cubbie Blue says, “Schulte wasn’t just a one dimensional player in 1911. He hit .300 with 30 doubles, 21 triples, and stole 22 bases. It wasn’t until 1957 that Willie Mays became the second player to achieve a quadruple 20. Four of Schulte’s homers were grand slams, which set another major league record that wasn’t broken until Ernie Banks hit five in 1955.”

1910 American League All-Star Team

P-Russ Ford, NYY

P-Ed Walsh, CHW

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Jack Coombs, PHA

P-Chief Bender, PHA

P-Ray Collins, BOS

P-Hippo Vaughn, NYY

P-Jack Quinn, NYY

P-Bill Donovan, DET

P-Cy Morgan, PHA

C-Ted Easterly, CLE

C-Bill Carrigan, BOS

1B-Jake Stahl, BOS

2B-Eddie Collins, PHA

2B-Nap Lajoie, CLE

3B-Home Run Baker, PHA

SS-Donie Bush, DET

SS-George McBride, WSH

SS-Jack Barry, PHA

SS-Bobby Wallace, SLB

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Tris Speaker, BOS

CF-Clyde Milan, WSH

CF-Rube Oldring, PHA

RF-Danny Murphy, PHA

 

ford

P-Russ Ford, New York Highlanders, 27 Years Old

26-6, 1.65 ERA, 209 K, .208, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-11.9

WAR for Pitchers-11.3

Hits per 9 IP-5.827

1st Time All-Star-Russell William “Russ” Ford was born on April 25, 1883 in Brandon, Canada. The five-foot-11, 175 pound pitcher pitched one game for New York in 1909 before becoming the ace of its staff this season. This year, Ford finished first in WAR (11.9); first in WAR for Pitchers (11.3); seventh in ERA (1.65); fourth in innings pitched (299 2/3); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (160). It was Ford’s best season ever, but he’s going to make a few more All-Star teams. As you well know, New York will have a more famous Ford pitching for them in its future.

As for the Highlanders, George Stallings (78-59) and Hal Chase (10-4) took them from fifth to second, with a 88-63 record, 14-and-a-half games out of first. No one was going to beat the Athletics this year and it’d be another decade before New York became a historical powerhouse. According to SABR, “Highlanders star Hal Chase, with an assist from Ban Johnson, convinced Farrell to fire Stallings and install Chase as manager.”

Where did Ford’s fame come from, according to Wikipedia. “Ford is best known as the creator of the ‘emery’ or ‘scuff’ ball, a pitch that was thrown with a ball that had been scuffed with a piece of emery. Ford came across the ‘scuff ball’ by accident when playing for the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association in 1908. When pitching under a grandstand due to rain, Ford accidentally threw a ball into a wooden upright, marking the surface. Ford threw another pitch with the damaged ball, and noticed how it curved more than previous pitches.”

walsh5

P-Ed Walsh, Chicago White Sox, 29 Years Old

1906 1907 1908 1909

18-20, 1.27 ERA, 258 K, .217, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1910 AL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-1.27 (2nd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-0.820 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.485

Games Pitched-45 (3rd Time)

Saves-5 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-4.230 (2nd Time)

Losses-20

Adjusted ERA+-187 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as P-45 (3rd Time)

Assists as P-154 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as P-3.89 (3rd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Because I’m too lazy to look it up, I’m wondering if this is the only season in which the pitcher which led the league in ERA also led the league in losses. Someday I’ll look it up, but there’s no time now because Big Ed Walsh has made my Hall of Fame and I have to set up his induction ceremony in Carter Lake, IA. As for this enigmatic season, Walsh finished second in WAR (11.7), behind New York pitcher Russ Ford (11.9); second in WAR for Pitchers (11.2), again trailing Ford (11.3); first in ERA (1.27); second in innings pitched (369 2/3), behind Washington’s Walter Johnson (370); and first in Adjusted ERA+ (187).

The White Sox crashed from fourth to sixth this season, as Hugh Duffy took over the reins. They went 68-85, 35-and-a-half games out of first. Chicago’s hitting was never its strong suit, but this year it had the worst OPS in the American League. Its pitching was much better, finishing second in the league in ERA.

Along with his vaunted spitball, Walsh also added another aspect to his game which would be illegal today. SABR says, “When batters did reach base, Walsh often picked them off with the game’s most deceptive move to first base. In a motion that would probably be ruled a balk today, Walsh lifted his shoulder slightly, as if beginning his motion to throw home, before swinging around and firing the ball to first. Clyde Milan, one of the era’s best base stealers, declared the move ‘at least a half balk’ but Walsh got away with it anyway.”

johnson3

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 22 Years Old

1908 1909

25-17, 1.36 ERA, 313 K, .175, 2 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.614

Games Pitched-45

Innings Pitched-370

Strikeouts-313

Games Started-42

Complete Games-38

Hits Allowed-262

Wild Pitches-21

Batters Faced-1,367

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.38

Def. Games as P-45

3rd Time All-Star-This was the first season the real Walter Johnson showed up and he’d be a scary sight in the American League for years. He finished third in WAR (10.9), behind New York’s Russ Ford (11.9) and Chicago’s Ed Walsh (11.7); third in WAR for Pitchers (10.6), trailing the same two men, Ford (11.3) and Walsh (11.2); third in earned run average (1.36), with only Walsh (1.27) and Philadelphia’s Jack Coombs (1.30) with lower; first in innings pitched (370); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (183), behind only Walsh (187). That is a long sentence, but will be a typical one in the Johnson years.

Washington rose from eighth to seventh, with Jimmy McAleer taking over as manager. The Senators finished 66-85, 36-and-a-half games out of first. Their pitching was decent, but as a team, they lacked the big bats.

It’s interesting to look at the personalities of these all-time greats. According to Wikipedia, “Johnson had a reputation as a kindly person, and made many friends in baseball. As reported in The Glory of Their TimesSam Crawford was one of Johnson’s good friends, and sometimes in non-critical situations, Johnson would ease up so Crawford would hit well against him. This would vex Crawford’s teammate Ty Cobb, who could not understand how Crawford could hit the great Johnson so well. Johnson was also friendly with Babe Ruth, despite Ruth’s having hit some of his longest home runs off him at Griffith Stadium.” No wonder later in his life he became a politician.

coombs

P-Jack Coombs, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

31-9, 1.30 ERA, 224 K, .220, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-31

Games Pitched-45

Shutouts-13

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

Adj. Pitching Runs-45

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.3

Def. Games as P-45

Fielding % as P-.990

1st Time All-Star-John Wesley “Colby Jack” Coombs was born on November 18, 1882 in Le Grand, IA. The six-foot, 185 pound pitcher started his career with Philadelphia in 1906 and had his best season ever in 1910. He finished sixth in WAR (9.9); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (9.5); second in ERA (1.30), behind only Chicago’s Ed Walsh (1.27); third in innings pitched (353), trailing only the Big Train (370) and Ed Walsh (369 2/3); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (182), lagging behind only Walsh (187) and Johnson (183). However, as good as that regular season was, it was in the World Series, Coombs garnered his most fame, winning three games for Philadelphia as they went on to beat the Cubs, 4-1.

It had been five seasons since the Athletics won the pennant, but they put it together this year under Connie Mack, finishing 102-48, 14-and-a-half games ahead of New York. That’s what happens when you have the best OPS and the best ERA in the American League.

SABR says of this season, “For the last half of the 1910 season, Coombs was simply unhittable, all the more remarkable because of his heavy workload. He threw 12 shutouts, pitched 250 innings and won 18 of 19 starts in July, August and September. From September 5 to September 25 he racked up 53 consecutive scoreless innings to set a major league record (broken three years later by Walter Johnson). Jack then topped off his incredible year by pitching three complete game wins against the Chicago Cubs in six days as the Athletics won their first World Championship in five games.”

bender3

P-Chief Bender, Philadelphia Athletics, 26 Years Old

1907 1909

23-5, 1.58 ERA, 155 K, .269, 0 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Won-Loss %-.821

3rd Time All-Star-In 1905, Bender won the only game the Athletics won in the World Series. This season, he was back in the Fall Classic and again went 1-1. This time, however, Philadelphia went on to win the Series, 4-1. As for his season, Chief had his best season ever, finishing ninth in WAR (6.0); seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.1); fifth in ERA (1.58); and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (150).

Bender’s Hall of Fame page says, “Bender continued to improve over the next few years, peaking in 1910 with a 23-5 record and 1.58 ERA – the eighth season in a row where he lowered his ERA from the previous campaign. The A’s won the World Series in 1910, 1911 and 1913, with Bender winning five of his seven Fall Classic starts in that stretch.”

Wikipedia adds, “[In the World Series], Bender pitched a complete-game three-hitter in the opener, striking out 8 and giving up only one unearned run. He lost game 4 of the series in another complete game effort, 4-3 in 10 innings. Bender pitched all 9 2/3 innings for the Athletics, striking out 6.”

Here’s more on this great season from SABR: “Among his victories that season was a no-hitter, thrown May 12 against the Cleveland Indians. Bender was nearly perfect; he faced just 27 hitters as the lone man to reach, shortstop Terry Turner, was caught stealing after a walk. Bender won the opening game of the 1910 World Series, and the Athletics beat the Chicago Cubs in five games—Philadelphia’s first world championship.”

collinsr

P-Ray Collins, Boston Red Sox, 23 Years Old

13-11, 1.62 ERA, 109 K, .179, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Ray Williston Collins was born on February 11, 1887 in Colchester, VT. The six-foot-one, 185 pound lefty had a short career, but not too many pitchers matched his stretch from 1910-1914. He started with Boston in 1909 and this season, his best ever, he finished 10th in WAR (5.7), fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.8); sixth in ERA (1.62); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (159).

Boston dropped from third in 1909 to fourth this season as Patsy Donovan took over managing. Its 81-72 record placed the Red Sox 22-and-a-half games out of first. They could hit and pitch decently, but Philadelphia was just too stacked.

Wikipedia says, “A graduate of the University of Vermont, Collins was a good-hitting pitcher and an outstanding fielder, but the key to his success was his remarkable control… He also averaged 16 wins from 1910 to 1914, including a combined 39 wins in 1913–14, and was a member of the 1912 Red Sox world champion team.

“Collins became a regular in Boston rotation in 1910. In his first full season, he pitched a one-hitter against the Chicago White Sox and compiled a 13–11 record, making him the second-winningest pitcher on the Red Sox behind Eddie Cicotte (15–11). He was 3–6 at one point in 1911, but turned his season around, finishing at 11–12 with a 2.40 ERA.” You’ll be seeing Collins around this list for the next few seasons, before he lost his spot in the Boston rotation to one George Herman Ruth.

vaughn

P-Hippo Vaughn, New York Highlanders, 22 Years Old

13-11, 1.83 ERA, 107 K, .133, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-James Leslie “Hippo” Vaughn was born on April 9, 1888 in Weatherford, TX. The big six-foot-four, 215 pound (thus his nickname) lefty started with New York in 1908, didn’t play Major League ball in 1909, and then had a good season this year. After this, he’d have three straight seasons of disappointment before become one of the American League’s best pitchers starting in 1914. This season, Vaughn finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.2); ninth in ERA (1.83); and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (145).

SABR says, “Vaughn rejoined the Highlanders at spring training in 1910 and so impressed manager George Stallings that he gave Vaughn the opening day assignment. Lyle Spatz notes in New York Yankee Openers that at twenty-two Vaughn was, and remains, the youngest pitcher ever to start the opening game for the Yankees. He faced the Boston Red Sox and Eddie Cicotte on April 14 at Hilltop Park. After a rough start in which he gave up three runs in the first three innings and another in the fifth, Vaughn settled down, and he and Joe Wood (relieving Cicotte) pitched shutout ball until the game was called on account of darkness after 14 innings with the score tied 4-4. The game was an indication of good things to come. Overshadowed by Russ Ford’s brilliant rookie season of 26-6 with a 1.65 ERA, Vaughn went 13-11 for the season with an excellent 1.83 ERA, 18 complete games, and five shutouts.” Oh man, what would have CC Sabathia been nicknamed in this era?!

quinn

P-Jack Quinn, New York Highlanders, 26 Years Old

18-12, 2.37 ERA, 82 K, .232, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-John Picus “Jack” Quinn born Joannes Pajkos, was born on July 1, 1883 in Stefurov, Slovakia. The six-foot, 196 pound righty started with New York in 1909 and would still be pitching as a 49-year-old for Cincinnati in 1933. He’d end up pitching for 23 years in three different Major Leagues. This season, the Mighty Quinn finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (3.3). He was part of an outstanding New York staff this year.

I’m surprised Quinn’s longevity and good pitching didn’t get him more Hall of Fame interest. He’s got a good chance of making mine, but he never received more than 3.4 percent of the votes from Cooperstown. He’s the first player with a last name beginning with Q to make my list.

You have to read the SABR article by Charles F. Faber. He writes of the mystery of so much of Quinn’s life including his age, real name, and birthplace. Here’s a snippet, but please, do yourself a favor and read the whole thing: “As for his age, it was a popular topic of speculation among baseball writers as Quinn was getting along in years. Many were of the opinion that he was at least three or four years older than the age given in most record books. Quinn did nothing to end the controversy. ‘I’ll tell my age when I quit,’ he once said. ‘Nobody’s going to know before that.’ Eventually, the old spitballer did retire, but he reneged on his promise and even then he did not reveal his true age.”

donovan5

P-Bill Donovan, Detroit Tigers, 33 Years Old

1901 1903 1907 1908

17-7, 2.44 ERA, 107 K, .266, 0 HR, 19 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-After his career ended, Donovan got some Hall of Fame interest, which he should have. However, he would never have been considered for Cooperstown if he didn’t pitch on a good team like Detroit over his career. It’s not that he wasn’t a good pitcher, but his career ERA+ was 106, good but not great. This season, Donovan finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (3.7).

Detroit didn’t win the pennant after three years of doing so. Still managed by Hughie Jennings, it dropped from first to third with its 86-68 record putting them 18 games behind Philadelphia. The Tigers’ hitting, led by Ty Cobb, continued to be stellar, but their pitching was some of the worst in the league.

Wikipedia has some notes about the later years of Wild Bill, saying, “Donovan was accused of having some knowledge of the attempt to throw the 1919 World Series but was vindicated by commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis and received an apology from his accuser, William Baker, president of the Philadelphia Phillies.

“In December 1923, while traveling on the 20th Century Limited train to Chicago for Major League meetings, Donovan, the New Haven manager, died when the train wrecked in Forsyth, New York. New Haven president George Weiss had swapped berths with Donovan and escaped with a minor injury. Phillies owner William F. Baker (the man who accused him of wrongdoing in the Black Sox scandal) was also on the train, but he was unhurt.” It was a sad end for one of the game’s most colorful players.

morgan2

P-Cy Morgan, Philadelphia Athletics, 31 Years Old

1909

18-12, 1.55 ERA, 134 K, .141, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-117

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

Hit By Pitch-18

2nd Time All-Star-Because Baseball Reference is constantly adjusting WAR, sometimes players make the All-Star team that would later have to be eliminated. If this was the Bible and had to be completely accurate, I would constantly revise it to make sure the right players were on the team. But that was never the point of this page. This page was supposed to give a quick and dirty All-Star team and give a historical tour through the history of baseball. All of this to say, Morgan probably shouldn’t be on this All-Star team, but I won’t be changing that until much later, like when I’m 108 years old or so.

Not that Morgan didn’t have a good season. He finished fourth in ERA (1.55), fifth in innings pitched (290 2/3), and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (153). However, he didn’t get to pitch in the World Series.

According to SABR, “The Athletics won the 1910 World Series over Chicago, four games to one. Morgan did not pitch in the Series – in fact, no one did other than Jack Coombs and Chief Bender. With five complete games between them, Coombs was 3-0 and Bender was 1-1, though Bender’s ERA was almost a full run and a half better than Coombs’. Mack didn’t feel he needed any other pitchers, not even for an inning in relief. After the season Morgan turned to vaudeville in Martin’s Ferry, and was added to the Keith’s theater circuit for a quite satisfactory $300 per week.” Could you imagine someone with a 1.55 ERA being kept out of the World Series nowadays?

easterly2

C-Ted Easterly, Cleveland Naps, 25 Years Old

1909

.306, 0 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Easterly, one of the best hitting catchers of his day, made his second consecutive All-Star team. He finished seventh in batting (.306) while his entire slash line was .306/.344/.383 for an OPS+ of 125. Because a third league is going to join the mix in a few years, he has one better year left.

Cleveland rose from sixth to fifth under the guidance of Deacon McGuire.  The Naps had a 71-81 record and finished 32 games out of first. The problem is that, except for Nap Lajoie and Easterly, the team couldn’t hit and, as indicated by their lack of All-Star pitchers, they couldn’t pitch either.

Verdun has a whole article on this Cleveland team which you can check out. Here’s part of it: “Ted Easterly remained the backstop. He hit .261 the year before and shared time with backups Nig Clark, and Harry Bemis. Both remained in 1910, but Clark ended up hurt and Grover Land became the third catcher.  Easterly would have a good year with the bat.

“A real strength of the Cleveland team, if it had one, was its aging pitching staff. The problem was the ‘aging’ part. Cy Young was 43 at the end of the 1909 season. Addie Joss, Bob Rhodes, and Cy Falkenberg were all 30. Among the starters, only Heinie Berger was under 30 (he was 27). For 1910 they kept all but Rhodes who disappears from major league rosters forever. They tried Willie Mitchell and Specs Harkness to fill in the gaps for age and loss. Mitchell pitched three games the year before and Harkness was a rookie.”

carrigan2

C-Bill Carrigan, Boston Red Sox, 26 Years Old

1909

.249, 3 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-110

Putouts as C-495

Passed Balls-15

2nd Time All-Star-Amazingly, the American League had duplicate catcher All-Stars for 1909 and 1910. As mentioned many times, catcher was such a brutal position during this era that there were no dominant catchers, except for Roger Bresnahan. This season, Carrigan slashed .249/.307/.313 for an OPS+ of 92, but his defense and a lack of good backstops in the league put him on this list.

There’s a page called Fenway Fanatics which posts some memorable moments for Bill Carrigan. Those include:

21 April 1910 – In the eighth inning of a 10-3 win, catcher Bill Carrigan and pitcher Ed Karger hit back-to-back home runs, the only instance between 1902 and 1923 that Red Sox batters hit consecutive home runs.

6 May 1911 – The Yankees turn their first ever triple play when Red Sox catcher Bill Carrigan, facing pitcher Russ Ford in the ninth inning, lines into the game-ending triple treat as New York tops Boston, 6-3.

“30 November 1926 – Former skipper Bill Carrigan comes out of retirement at the request of Boston ownership to once again manage the Red Sox. However, after three seasons of futility, Carrigan retires for good in December 1929.

14 March 2006 – Manager Terry Francona agrees to a two-year contract extension with Boston. Francona is the first manager to lead a Red Sox team to a World Championship since Bill Carrigan in 1918, having won it all with the club in 2004.”

That last tidbit is interesting. I’m sure Red Sox Nation already knew it, but I didn’t.

stahlj2

1B-Jake Stahl, Boston Red Sox, 31 Years Old

1909

.271, 10 HR, 77 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-10

Strikeouts-128 (3rd Time)

AB per HR-53.1

Putouts-1,488

Def. Games as 1B-142

Putouts as 1B-1,488

2nd Time All-Star-In the first year of modern baseball history, 1871, Rynie Wolters struck out eight times to lead the league. Over the next couple years, in 1872 and 1873, Candy Cummings, Jim Britt, and Jack Manning struck out 14 times in a season to set the new mark. In 1875, Herman Dehlman whiffed 21 times, then Johnny Ryan K’d 23 times in 1876. After that there were new records set almost every year. In 1884, Sam Wise (not Samwise, nerds) struck out 104 times to set the all-time record, at least until 1904, when Harry Lumley whiffed 106 times. In 1906, Billy Maloney struck out 116 times, which was the record until Jake Stahl K’d 128 times this year. This record is going to stand until 1938.

As we now know, being prolific at striking out doesn’t make the player bad and Stahl had a good year, finishing sixth in slugging (.424) and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (134). His slash line was .271/.334/.424. Whiffing as often as he did wasn’t the norm during his time, but neither was hitting 10 home runs.

SABR says, “Despite his baseball success, Jake’s off-the-field banking successes were even greater and paid more. Given the financial uncertainties associated with a baseball career at the time and the fact that he had just started a family, Jake opted to retire. He served as vice president of the Washington Park National Bank on Chicago’s South Side. Attempts to lure him back to baseball in 1911 were fruitless.” Spoiler alert, he came back.

collinse2

2B-Eddie Collins, Philadelphia Athletics, 23 Years Old

1909

.324, 3 HR, 81 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.9

Stolen Bases-81

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

Putouts as 2B-402 (2nd Time)

Assists as 2B-451 (2nd Time)

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

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-5.50

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.58

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

2nd Time All-Star-Okay, so Collins had a good 1909, but that didn’t mean it would continue. Many players have a fluke year, but Cocky Collins proved the previous season was no fluke. He finished fifth in WAR (10.5); 2nd in WAR Position Players (10.5), behind Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (10.6); third in Offensive WAR (7.7), trailing fellow second baseman, Cleveland’s Nap Lajoie (10.0) and Cobb (9.7); first in Defensive WAR (2.9); fourth in batting (.324); fourth in on-base percentage (.382); ninth in slugging (.418); first in steals (81); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (150).

Collins also made his first World Series and was outstanding, hitting .429 (nine-for-21) with four doubles and four steals, helping lead the Athletics to a 4-1 series win over the Cubs.

SABR says, “In 1910 the club broke through, winning the first of four pennants in a five-year stretch by a convincing 14½ games. Eddie led the American League in steals, was third in hits and RBIs, and fourth in batting, while leading in most fielding categories. Philadelphia dusted the Cubs in five games to give Connie Mack his first World Series title. Collins was the star of the Series, batting .429 and hitting safely in each contest. His play in Game Two, when he had three hits, stole two bases, and made several outstanding defensive plays, confirmed his status as one of the American League’s top stars. A month after the championship was secured, Eddie married Mabel Doane, whose father was a close friend of Connie Mack’s; Mack himself had introduced them. Collins and Mack had a standing bet as to who would get married first, which Mack won by a week. The Collinses remained married for more than 30 years until Mabel’s death in 1943.”

lajoie11

2B-Nap Lajoie, Cleveland Naps, 35 Years Old

1897 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1906 1907 1908 1909

.384, 4 HR, 76 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Offensive WAR-10.0 (4th Time)

Batting Average-.384 (5th Time)

Games Played-159 (2nd Time)

At Bats-591

Hits-227 (4th Time)

Total Bases-304 (4th Time)

Doubles-51 (5th Time)

Singles-165 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-134 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-70 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-8.0 (4th Time)

Extra Base Hits-62 (4th Time)

Times on Base-292 (2nd Time)

AB per SO-32.8 (2nd Time)

11th Time All-Star-Though their ages were over 10 years apart, the early 1900s featured a rivalry, as you will, between Lajoie and Ty Cobb. Larry was more popular with other players than the Georgia Peach, who tended to irritate people due to his fiery nature. Here in 1910, the two had their most famous battle, for the batting championship. According to Baseball Reference, Lajoie won .384-.383, but over the years, there have been many investigations into the legitimacy of this batting race.

There are literally a billion zillion articles on this race on the internet. You heard me, literally! So in trying to pick whose article I would pilfer, um, quote, I will do what I always do. Go to Posnanski. Man, do I love the writing of Joe Posnanski and he has an article on the 1910 batting race that is pure gold. The problem is the article is over 3,000 words long. So here’s what you have to do. Promise me you will. Click on the link and go read that article. You won’t be disappointed. I’m not even going to quote it because Lajoie has made more All-Star teams than any second baseman and I have to do that list. But I’m telling you, as your friend, do yourself a favor and click on that link.

So here are the leaders in All-Star teams made at each position:

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Nap Lajoie, 9

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Jack Glasscock, 11

LF-Ed Delahanty, Fred Clarke, 9

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Thompson, Elmer Flick, 7

baker2

3B-Home Run Baker, Philadelphia Athletics, 24 Years Old

1909

.283, 2 HR, 74 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-146 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 3B-207 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 3B-35

2nd Time All-Star-Baker didn’t live up to his nickname this season, but starting next year, he’ll never have a season under six homers, which doesn’t sound like much nowadays, but was sensational in his time. This season, Baker finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.2); and fifth in Offensive WAR (4.8). He finished with a slash line of .283/329/392 for an OPS+ of 125. Hitting wise, it would actually be his worst season until 1917. In the World Series, Baker lit it up, hitting .409 (nine-for-22) with three doubles and a triple as Philadelphia beat the Cubs, 4-1.

Wikipedia says, “In a late season series against the Tigers in 1909, Ty Cobb spiked Baker while sliding into third base, lacerating Baker’s arm. Baker referred to the spiking as ‘deliberate’ on the part of Cobb, while Mack called Cobb the dirtiest player he had seen, and asked American League president Ban Johnson to investigate. A photograph taken for The Detroit Newsvindicated Cobb, by showing that Baker had to reach across the base to reach Cobb. Though Baker remained in the game after wrapping his arm, he acquired a reputation for being weak and easily intimidated. Joe S. Jackson, a sportswriter for the Detroit Free Press, referred to Baker as a ‘soft-fleshed darling.’”

It’s amazing how harsh the sportswriters of the past could be. There wasn’t the political correctness we see nowadays. Instead they called ‘em as they saw ‘em. We don’t see so much of that in sports writing today, but we do see in political writing.

bush2

SS-Donie Bush, Detroit Tigers, 22 Years Old

1909

.262, 3 HR, 34 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-78 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.940

2nd Time All-Star-In an era of great shortstops, Bush holds his own, mainly due to his fielding and ability to get on base. This season, Bush finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.6); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.7); third in Defensive WAR (2.0), behind Philadelphia second baseman Eddie Collins (2.9) and Washington shortstop George McBride (2.6); eighth in on-base percentage (.365); and third in steals (49), trailing Collins (81) and teammate, centerfielder Ty Cobb (65). However, after this season, Bush will not have an OPS+ above 100 again until 1917, the last season in which he’ll do so. While he had the patience to walk, the rest of his hitting was weak.

Wikipedia states, “Bush was also one of the shortest players in the Major Leagues at five feet, six inches (1.7 meters) and weighed between 130 and 140 pounds. Bush once said, ‘I used to tell ’em it ain’t how big you are, it’s how good you are. But whenever another team had an uncommonly small player, I’d slip up and compare heights. Always turned out he was an inch taller than me.’

“Bush’s nickname, ‘Donie’, was reportedly bestowed on him as a result of a comment by Detroit teammate Ed Killian in 1909. Bush explained, ‘One day after I had struck out, I asked Eddie Killian what kind of ball I swung at and missed. Killian said it was a donie ball. I never learned what a donie ball was, but the Tigers started calling me Donie and the name just stuck.’”

mcbrideg2

SS-George McBride, Washington Senators, 28 Years Old

1908

.230, 1 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists-518

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

Putouts as SS-370 (2nd Time)

Assists as SS-518

Double Plays as SS-57 (3rd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-McBride’s fielding is so good, he continues to make All-Star teams despite the fact his hitting lacked. This was actually his best hitting year ever, judging by OPS+, as he slashed .230/.321/.288 for an OPS+ of 95. You heard me, his best hitting year ever. He did finish seventh in WAR Position Players (4.9); and second in Defensive WAR (2.6), behind Philadelphia second baseman Eddie Collins (2.9). His fielding will probably get him on a couple more of these lists.

SABR says, “George became enchanted with baseball at an early age and spent much of his youth engaged in schoolyard and sandlot games. In 1901, at the age of 21, he headed west to play third base for the Sioux Falls Canaries, an independent team participating in a loosely structured South Dakota baseball circuit. After completing the season there in early September, he returned to Milwaukee, where the local entry in the fledgling American League was mired in last place and missing the services of its starting shortstop, Wid Conroy, who had recently sprained an ankle. According to McBride, he was alerted by local newspapermen that there might be an opportunity for him to play for the Brewers in Conroy’s absence. He appeared at Lloyd Street Grounds prior to a game on September 12, and was invited by manager Hugh Duffy to suit up. ‘The new man’s play was on the brilliant order,’ the Chicago Tribune reported. McBride played in three games for the Brewers, handling twelve chances flawlessly in the field while collecting two hits in 12 at-bats.”

barry

SS-Jack Barry, Philadelphia Athletics, 23 Years Old

.259, 3 HR, 60 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed-63

Errors Committed as SS-63

1st Time All-Star-John Joseph “Jack” Barry was born on April 26, 1887 in Meriden, CT. The five-foot-nine, 158 pound shortstop started with Philadelphia in 1908 and became its regular shortstop in 1909. This season, Barry finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.5) and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.5). That’s right, he made the top 10 in Defensive WAR despite committing 63 errors. In the World Series, he went four-for-17 (.235) with two doubles as the Athletics went on to beat the Cubs, 4-1.

Wikipedia says, “Born in Meriden, Connecticut, Barry spent his nearly entire tenure in the big leagues on winning teams, first the Philadelphia Athletics and later the Boston Red Sox. Athletics manager Connie Mack signed Barry off the campus of the College of the Holy Cross to play shortstop on what would become his famous $100,000 infield. The unit, one of the most famous groups of teammates in baseball history, consisted of first baseman Stuffy McInnissecond basemanEddie Collins, and third baseman Frank Baker. The group was critical to the Athletics winning the American League pennant in 191019111913 and 1914, and World Championships in 1910, 1911, and 1913.”

Or as Baseball Reference states, “After attending college at Holy Cross, Barry joined Connie Mack‘s Athletics club in 1908 and by the next year, he was the team’s regular at shortstop. In 1910, the team won the World’s Series, led by their ‘$100,000 infield’ comprised of Barry, first baseman Harry Davis (replaced in later years by Stuffy McInnis), second baseman Eddie Collins, and third baseman Home Run Baker, and they repeated as champs the following year. Known as an excellent fielder, Barry had his best year at the plate in 1913, hitting .275 with 85 RBIs as the A’s won the World Series yet again.”

wallace11

SS-Bobby Wallace, St. Louis Browns, 36 Years Old

1898 1899 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908

.258, 0 HR, 37 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.09 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.08 (2nd Time)

11th Time All-Star-I wrote in Wallace’s 1908 blurb that was probably his last All-Star team. Yet, in a season in which four shortstops made this list, the 36-year-old defensive wizard is back. He finished sixth in Defensive WAR (1.5), making it the 11th time he’s been in the top 10 in that category and he still has two more of those season left.

Wallace was the only player to make the team for the Browns, who finished last in the American League, after finishing seventh in 1909. Jack O’Connor managed them to a 47-107 record, 57 games out of first. That’s what happens when a team can’t hit and can’t pitch.

Wikipedia says, “His playing time began decreasing a decade later, with his last season as a regular coming in 1912. Wallace played in just 55 games in 1913, and never played that much again for the rest of his career. In July 1917, he returned to the National League and the Cardinals, and played in just eight games that season. After batting .153 in 32 games in 1918, Wallace retired with a .268 career batting average, 1059 runs, 34 home runs, 1121 RBI and 201 stolen bases. He played his last game on September 2, 1918 at the age of 44 years and 312 days, making him the oldest shortstop to play in a regular-season game. The record was broken by Omar Vizquel on May 7, 2012.” Wallace died in Torrance, CA at the age of 87 on November 3, 1960.

cobb4CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 23 Years Old

1907 1908 1909

.383, 8 HR, 91 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1910 AL Batting Title (4th Time)

WAR Position Players-10.6 (2nd Time)

On-Base %-.456 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.551 (4th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.008 (4th Time)

Runs Scored-106 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-206 (4th Time)

Offensive Win %-.896 (4th Time)

Power-Speed #-14.2 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-After three years of making the All-Star team in rightfield, Cobb moved to centerfield this season and didn’t miss a beat. He finished fourth in WAR (10.6); first in WAR Position Players (10.6); second in Offensive WAR (9.7), behind Nap Lajoie (10.0); second in batting (.383), also behind Lajoie (.384); first in on-base percentage (.456); first in slugging (.551); second in steals (65), trailing Eddie Collins (81); and first in Adjusted OPS+ (206). For Joe Posnanski’s take on the controversial batting race between Cobb and Lajoie, go to Lajoie’s blurb and click on the Posnanski article. You won’t be disappointed.

Here’s SABR’s view on the batting title brouhaha: “By 1910 Cobb was recognized as the biggest star in the American League. However, he remained unpopular with his teammates and opposing players for his attitude and rugged style of play. This led to another major controversy–an attempt to fix the 1910 American League batting title. Cobb and Cleveland’s popular star Napoleon “Larry” Lajoie were locked in a tight race for the A.L. crown. Cobb sat out the final two games of the season in order to preserve his lead. But Browns manager Jack “Peach Pie” O’Connor, who hated Cobb, decided to make sure that Lajoie caught Cobb in a season-ending doubleheader between St. Louis and Cleveland, by ordering rookie third baseman Red Corriden to ‘play back on the edge of the [outfield] grass.’ Lajoie responded by dumping seven bunt singles down the third base line, as part of an 8-for-8 day that seemingly gave him the title.”

speaker2

CF-Tris Speaker, Boston Red Sox, 22 Years Old

1909

.340, 7 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as CF-337 (2nd Time)

Putouts as OF-337 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.54 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.51 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.55 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-In doing the vast amount of research I do for this page, it was fascinating to notice how few times Speaker led in offensive categories. Because he played in the same era as Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, he was the bridesmaid an abnormal amount of times. This season, Speaker finished eighth in WAR (7.7); fourth in War Position Players (7.7); fourth in Offensive WAR (6.8); third in batting (.340), behind Nap Lajoie (.384) and Ty Cobb (.383); third in on-base percentage (.404), trailing Cobb (.456) and Lajoie (.445); third in slugging (.468), once again behind the Georgia Peach (.551) and Larry (.514); 10th in steals (35); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (170), trailing Cobb (206) and Lajoie (198).

Wikipedia says, “In 1910 the Red Sox signed left fielder Duffy Lewis. Speaker, Lewis and Harry Hooper formed Boston’s “Million-Dollar Outfield“, one of the finest outfield trios in baseball history. Speaker was the star of the Million-Dollar Outfield. He ran fast enough that he could stand very close to second base, effectively giving the team a fifth infielder, but he still caught the balls hit to center field. In 1910 and 1911, Boston finished fourth in the American League standings.”

Wait, what? He used to stand close enough to second base to be considered a fifth infielder? That can’t be true, because he would be dominating centerfielders in assists if that was the case. He did have a lot of assists, leading outfielders three times, but not enough to think he was ever throwing out people at first on a regular basis.

milan

CF-Clyde Milan, Washington Senators, 23 Years Old

.279, 0 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as CF-141

Assists as CF-30

Errors Committed as CF-17

Double Plays Turned as CF-11 (2nd Time)

Assists as OF-30

Double Plays Turned as OF-10

1st Time All-Star-Jesse Clyde “Deerfoot” Milan was born on March 25, 1887 in Linden, TN. The five-foot-nine, 168 pound centerfielder started Washington in 1907 and would play his whole career with the Senators. Since he toiled at the same position as Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker, he’ll never be the American League’s best centerfielder, but he had a good stretch of play for a few years. This season, Milan finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.5), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.6), fifth in on-base percentage (.379), and fifth in steals (44).

SABR says, “But stardom was not immediate for Milan. After making his debut with the Senators on August 19, 1907, he played regularly in center field for the rest of the season and batted a respectable .279 in 48 games. In 1908, however, Milan batted just .239, and the following year he slumped to .200, with just 10 stolen bases in 130 games. Cantillon wanted to send him to the minors and purchase an outfielder who could hit, but the Senators were making so little money that they couldn’t afford a replacement. Fortunately for Washington, Jimmy McAleer took over as manager in 1910 and immediately recognized the young center fielder’s potential. Under McAleer’s tutelage, Milan bounced back to hit .279 with 44 steals, and in 1911 he became a full-fledged star by batting .315 with 58 steals.”

He and the other Washington Senators star, Walter Johnson, were good friends and would eventually become hunting companions and inseparable friends. They could console each other about all the losses, I guess.

oldring

CF-Rube Oldring, Philadelphia Athletics, 26 Years Old

.308, 4 HR, 57 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as CF-.985

Fielding % as OF-.978

1st Time All-Star-Reuben Henry “Rube” Oldring was born on May 30, 1884 in New York, NY. The five-foot-10, 186 pound outfielder started with the Highlanders in 1905. He was then drafted by the Philadelphia Athletics from Montgomery (Southern Association) in the 1905 rule 5 draft. He had a decent year in 1907, slashing .286/.305/390 for an OPS+ of 119, before having his best season ever this year. Oldring finished ninth in Offensive WAR (4.4), sixth in batting (.308), fifth in slugging (.430), and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (141). He didn’t play in the World Series.

SABR says, “They finally emerged as champions in 1910, well ahead of second place New York. Rube had the best year of his career that summer, finishing in the top ten in the American League in batting average (.308), slugging percentage (.430), hits (168), total bases (235), doubles (27), triples (14), and home runs (4).

“To prepare his underdog team for the World Series against the Chicago Cubs, Mack arranged a series of exhibition games against an American League all-star team. Unfortunately for Rube, he sprained his knee trying to dodge a fly ball he had lost in the sun; Oldring did not contribute to the A’s surprising five game upset of the Chicago Cubs.”

When I saw the name Rube, I assumed like most people with that nickname that he was from a rural area and got stuck with the name derogatorily, but nope, his real name was Reuben. Funny thing, Baseball Reference has his middle name as Henry, while SABR has it as Noshier.

murphy4RF-Danny Murphy, Philadelphia Athletics, 33 Years Old

1904 1905 1909

.300, 4 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as RF-151

4th Time All-Star-Murphy was an important part of Philadelphia winning the pennant and then eventually the World Series. He finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.5), eighth in batting (.300), fourth in slugging (.436), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (142). In the World Series, he went two-for-four with a double in Philadelphia’s one loss, in the fourth game. However, he was a big part of the clinching win in game five, raking two hits, including yet another double. Altogether, Murphy hit .400 with six runs scored, three doubles, a homer, and a team-leading nine RBI.

Or as SABR says, “By 1910 it was apparent that Mack had strengthened the club at two positions. ‘That master move started a new pennant era for Mack,’ the Sporting News said of the switch. Collins batted .324, stole 81 bases and drove in 81 runs. The 33-year old Murphy, dubbed ‘Old Reliable,’ played in 151 games, became the first player to hit for the cycle at Shibe Park on August 25, batted .300 and led the team with 28 doubles, 18 triples and four home runs (tied with Rube Oldring), and the Athletics captured the AL flag by 14.5 games. In the World Series he batted .400, lashing eight hits, including three doubles and the only home run of the series, and drove in nine runs as the Athletics crushed the Cubs 4-1 for Mack’s first World Series win.” Unfortunately, because he wasn’t consistent over his career, Murphy is going to fall short of making my Hall of Fame.

1910 National League All-Star Team

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Nap Rucker, BRO

P-Earl Moore, PHI

P-King Cole, CHC

P-Doc Scanlan, BRO

P-George Suggs, CIN

P-Mordecai Brown, CHC

P-Cy Barger, BRO

P-Buster Brown, BSN

P-George Bell, BRO

C-Larry McLean, CIN

C-Roger Bresnahan, STL

1B-Ed Konetchy, STL

2B-Johnny Evers, CHC

2B-Larry Doyle, NYG

3B-Bobby Byrne, PIT

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

SS-Al Bridwell, NYG

SS-Mickey Doolin, PHI

LF-Sherry Magee, PHI

CF-Solly Hofman, CHC

CF-Fred Snodgrass, NYG

CF-Dode Paskert, CIN

CF-Johnny Bates, PHI

 

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

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908 1909

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-8.8 (4th Time)

WAR for Pitchers-8.0 (5th Time)

Wins-27 (4th Time)

Complete Games-27 (2nd Time)

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

Adjusted ERA+-158 (4th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.96 (6th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-36 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.0 (3rd Time)

Assists as P-114 (4th Time)

Range Factor/Game as P-3.32

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

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

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

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

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

rucker4

P-Nap Rucker, Brooklyn Superbas, 25 Years Old

1907 1908 1909

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Innings Pitched-320 1/3

Games Started-39

Complete Games-27

Shutouts-6

Hits Allowed-293

Batters Faced-1,261

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

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

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

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

moore3

P-Earl Moore, Philadelphia Phillies, 32 Years Old

1901 1909

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-185

Shutouts-6

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

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

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

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

cole

P-King Cole, Chicago Cubs, 24 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1910 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.80

Hits Per 9 IP-6.534

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

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

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

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

scanlan

P-Doc Scanlan, Brooklyn Superbas, 29 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000

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

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

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

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

suggs

P-George Suggs, Cincinnati Reds, 27 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Base on Balls per 9 IP-1.624

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

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

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

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

brown6P-Mordecai Brown, Chicago Cubs, 33 Years Old

1903 1906 1907 1908 1909

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

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

Saves-7 (3rd Time)

Complete Games-27 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-6 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

barger

P-Cy Barger, Brooklyn Superbas, 25 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

brownb

P-Buster Brown, Boston Doves, 28 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

bell

P-George Bell, Brooklyn Superbas, 35 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Losses-27

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

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

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

mclean

C-Larry McLean, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

.298, 2 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as C-18

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

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

bresnahan7

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

1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

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

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

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

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

konetchy2

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

1909

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,499 (2nd Time)

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

Assists as 1B-98 (3rd Time)

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

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

Fielding % as 1B-.991

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

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

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

evers6

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

1904 1906 1907 1908 1909

.263, 0 HR, 28 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

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

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

doyle2

2B-Larry Doyle, New York Giants, 23 Years Old

1909

.285, 8 HR, 69 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 2B-53 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Doyle continued to be one of the best power hitters at any position this year as he finished seventh in Offensive WAR (4.3); eighth in steals (39); and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (127). He’s still young and has many good season left.

Have I mentioned how much I like the newspaper writing of this era? Look at this article from the New York Times on April 28, 1910: “PHILADELPHIA, April 28.—The trusty bat of Capt. Larry Doyle, whacking forth a whistling two-bagger which sent in two runs in the thirteenth inning, won for the Giants to-day in a seething battle with the Phillies. Again the New Yorks demonstrated that no matter how badly the storm is raging against them there is still a whirlwind finish in them, which is brought out at the crucial moment. And here is the place to slap the erratio Raymond on his broad back, for his Buglets went the route like a thoroughbred, never slipping a cog in his flinging and taming the opposition whenever they threatened disaster.”

I know what you’re saying. What? If you need a translation, Raymond is Giants’ pitcher Bugs Raymond, which also explains the Buglets comment. Apparently, he pitched well, flinging as it were, and Doyle was able to get the game-winning hit in the 13th inning. Nowadays, newspaper writing is an inverted pyramid, with all of the crucial information in the lede (the opening paragraph) and then getting less important as the story goes on, but if you notice here, there’s not even a mention of the final score in the first paragraph. As a matter of fact, if you click on the link, they don’t put the final score in the text, but let you figure it out by looking at the box score.

byrne

3B-Bobby Byrne, Pittsburgh Pirates, 25 Years Old

.296, 2 HR, 52 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits-178

Doubles-43

1st Time All-Star-Robert Matthew “Bobby” Byrne was born on New Year’s Eve, 1884 in St. Louis, MO, and would also go out from this mortal coil on that same day in 1964, 30 days after yours truly was born.

The five-foot-seven, 145 pound third baseman started with St. Louis in 1907 and then on August 19, 1909, he was  traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jap Barbeau and Alan Storke. Then this season, he had his best year ever, finishing seventh in WAR Position Players (4.0); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.3); 10th in slugging (.417); and ninth in steals (36). He was the National League’s best third baseman this season, but he’s only got a slight chance of making another All-Star team.

As for his team, the Pirates, managed by Fred Clarke, finished third with an 86-67 record, 17-and-a-half games out of first. Though they didn’t have any All-Star pitchers, they had good pitching overall, but their hitting lacked this season. Pittsburgh would never win another pennant under Clarke.

Wikipedia says, “The speedy Byrne was a defensive stalwart with excellent range. He started his major league career with the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1907 season. Acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates in late August 1909, he contributed for his new club down the stretch, including allowing Tommy Leach to stay in center field. Used mainly in the leadoff spot, Byrne made just two errors while hitting .256 with eight stolen bases.

“Byrne enjoyed his most productive season in 1910, when he posted career-numbers in batting average(.296), RBI (52), runs (101), stolen bases (36), slugging percentage (.417), and led the National League with 178 hits and in doubles with 43 (also career highs).”

wagner12

SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 36 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909

.320, 4 HR, 81 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Hits-178 (2nd Time)

Putouts as SS-337 (2nd Time)

12th Time All-Star-Because this is the great Honus Wagner, you might not notice his decline, but it’s there and it started this year. From 1900-through-1909, the Flying Dutchman never had an OPS+ under 159. Starting this year, he’ll never have one over 156 again. This year, it is 133. Still, he’s not done making All-Star teams, he’s just done being the National League’s best player. This season, Wagner finished seventh in WAR (5.2); third in WAR Position Players (5.2), behind Philadelphia leftfielder Sherry Magee (6.8) and Chicago centerfielder Solly Hofman (5.3); second in Offensive WAR (5.3), trailing only Magee (7.2); eighth in Defensive WAR (0.9); fifth in batting (.320); eighth in on-base percentage (.390); seventh in slugging (.432); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (133). See what I mean? It’s good, but not Wagner-good.

Wikipedia agrees, saying, “In 1910, Wagner’s average fell to .320, his lowest average since 1898. Nevertheless, he aged exceptionally well; the three highest OPS+ seasons by any shortstop aged 35 or older belong to Wagner, and even his age-41 season ranks 8th on the list.”

It seems most of the internet information on Wagner focuses on his baseball cards. Like this from Forbes, which states, “The two most valuable error baseball cards belong to the same set as the Wagner. The name of Sherry Magee, a fine Phillies pitcher, was misspelled, Magie. The quick correction accounts for the small population of error cards, 107, and high value, $38,500 in excellent condition. The New York Americans pitcher Joe Doyle was erroneously identified as a National Leaguer, owing to confusion with Larry Doyle, a pitcher for the N.L. New York team.  With only nine known, an example in very good condition sold for $425,000. “The card remains more challenging than the Sherry Magee, Eddie Plank or the Honus Wagner,” says PSA, the grading company.”

tinker5SS-Joe Tinker, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

1902 1906 1908 1909

.288, 3 HR, 69 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

5th Time All-Star-If you’re a basketball player at small forward, you don’t want to be compared to LeBron James, because you’re never going to look better than him. It was the same in the 1900s. If you were a shortstop in the National League, you could be good, but you’d always fall short in a comparison to the Flying Dutchman. Still, Tinker is going to make my Hall of Fame, most likely next season, and had a great career, just not an unprecedented career like Honus Wagner. There really should be levels to the Hall of Fame, because I believe Tinker belongs there, I just don’t believe he belongs in whatever Hall of Fame contains the Pittsburgh shortstop.

This season, Tinker finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.0); and second in Defensive WAR (2.0), behind Phillies shortstop Mickey Doolin (2.8). As always for the Cubs shortstop, it was his glove which carried him. In the World Series, Tinker shined in a losing cause, hitting .333 (six-for-18) with two doubles. It still wasn’t enough to beat Philadelphia and the Cubs lost, 4-1.

Tinker’s Hall of Fame page talks about the famous Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance poem, saying, “While the legend grew from the poem, in reality research has shown that the most double plays the trio ever turned in one season was 58, and not all were started by Tinker. But like all good legends, it’s more about the impact on the public than the daily box score.” The page also notes on June 28, 1910, Tinker stole home twice in the same game.

bridwell3

SS-Al Bridwell, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1908 1909

.276, 0 HR, 48 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-How do all of the same clubs in the National League keep snatching up all of the good players? Bridwell now made his third consecutive All-Star team, finishing fourth in Defensive WAR (1.3). His offense, which was decent in 1908 and 1909, was okay this year, but continued to decline after this season. Bridwell’s slashline was .276/.374/.335 for an OPS+ of 106.

SABR says, quoting sportswriter Sam Crane, “There was never a more graceful player than Bridwell.” The article also mentioned, “Al Bridwell was a natural in the field, one of finest defensive shortstops of the Deadball Era. Hitting did not come naturally to him, but as a member of the New York Giants, he became a solid hitter under the tutelage of manager John McGraw. In his prime, Bridwell was ‘regarded as being right in the Hans Wagner-Joe Tinker class of shortstops.’” That is, of course, crazy. Both of those players are in Cooperstown and deserve to be, but Bridwell had a good, but not great, three-year stretch.

There’s more from SABR, which says, “On June 13, 1910, Bridwell went 3-for-4 facing Mordecai Brown and scored both runs in the Giants’ 6-2 loss to the Cubs, and he fielded 11 chances without error. Sportswriter E.H. Simmons remarked:

“’His playing on short today is unexcelled, if, indeed, it is equalled by any man in either of the two big leagues. He is the most graceful player the writer has ever seen. He is also the best natured and most gentlemanly.’”

doolin

SS-Mickey Doolin, Philadelphia Phillies, 30 Years Old

.263, 2 HR, 57 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.8

Assists-500 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as SS-148 (3rd Time)

Assists as SS-500 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-71 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.948

1st Time All-Star-Michael Joseph “Mickey” or “Doc” Doolin, born Michael Joseph Doolittle, whose adopted surname was sometimes spelled Doolan, was born on May 7, 1880 in Ashland, PA. He attended Bucknell and Villanova Universities and didn’t start playing in the Majors until he was 25, when he started playing regularly for the Phillies. He was always a sensational fielder and this year added just a smidge of hitting to have his best season ever. Doolin finished 10th in WAR Position Players (3.8), first in Defensive WAR (2.8), and slashed .263/.315/.354 for an Adjusted OPS+ of 94.

SABR says, “Becoming Philadelphia’s everyday shortstop in 1905, Doolan responded by hitting .254, 24 points above his eventual major-league career average. Despite his weak bat, the three men who managed the Phillies over the next nine seasons penciled his name into the lineup nearly every day, and in 1909 he was even named team captain, a position he held through 1913. Doolan’s best year at the plate in the majors was 1910, when he logged personal highs for at-bats (536), hits (141), doubles (31), batting average (.263), and on-base percentage (.315). Yet those modest marks represented rarefied air for Doolan, who was one of the truly bad hitters of an offense-starved era, incapable of hitting for average or power. Doolan’s 1911 campaign, in which he batted .238 with a .313 slugging percentage, was more typical of his output. By 1913 his batting average had plummeted to .218 with a woeful .270 slugging percentage.” There’s a slight chance he’ll make another All-Star team.

magee5LF-Sherry Magee, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

1905 1906 1907 1908

.331, 6 HR, 123 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1910 NL Batting Title

WAR Position Players-6.8

Offensive WAR-7.2

Batting Average-.331

On-Base %-.445

Slugging %-.507

On-Base Plus Slugging-.952

Runs Scored-110

Total Bases-263

Runs Batted In-123 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-175

Runs Created-114

Adj. Batting Runs-55

Adj. Batting Wins-6.0

Extra Base Hits-62 (2nd Time)

Times on Base-278

Offensive Win %-.817

5th Time All-Star-When I used to play sports in my childhood, I developed quite a bad temper. I was the ultimate picture of a “sore loser.” That would have been bearable if I was a good enough athlete to not lose as much as I did. I got better, but I never shook all of it, even when I was playing slo-pitch softball. I didn’t get mad at others, but I did get mad at myself when I failed.

Sherry Magee did not make the Hall of Fame and it’s baffling. Most experts believe it was because of his temper. Despite that, he was one of the best outfielders of his time who produced mind-blowing stats. Look at all the categories in which he led the league above in this, his best season ever. He’d never have a season like 1910 again, but he was always one of the National League’s best hitters. Well, Magee will just have to make do with being in Ron’s Hall of Fame, though it might take him another three years before being inducted.

SABR says, “In 1909 Magee slumped to .270 (still 26 points above the league average) and played with ‘marked indifference,’ prompting rumors that he would be traded to the New York Giants for holdout slugger Mike Donlin. The Phils refused the deal because of the age difference between the two players (Donlin was six years older), and their patience was rewarded when Magee put together his finest season in 1910. Playing in all 154 games, he broke Wagner’s tenure on the batting throne by hitting .331, and also led the NL with career highs in runs (110), RBIs (123), and on-base percentage (.445). He walloped 39 doubles, 17 triples, and six homers to give him a league-leading .507 slugging percentage, and his 49 stolen bases ranked fourth in the NL.”

hofman2

CF-Solly Hofman, Chicago Cubs, 27 Years Old

1909

.325, 3 HR, 86 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as CF-.973

2nd Time All-Star-On a team as good as the Cubs, Hofman could be forgotten while the famous infield garnered all of the game. However, Circus Solly contributed his part, having his best season ever, finishing sixth in WAR (5.3); second in WAR Position Players (5.3), behind Philadelphia leftfielder Sherry Magee (6.8); third in Offensive WAR (4.9), trailing Magee and Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (5.3); third in batting (.325), behind Magee (.331) and Pittsburgh leftfielder Vin Campbell (.326); fourth in on-base percentage (.406); second in slugging (.461), trailing only Magee (.507); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (154), behind Magee’s 175. In the World Series loss to Philadelphia, Hofman hit .267 with four walks.

SABR says, “In 1908 and 1909, Hofman was named to Collier’s Magazine‘s All-American teams, picked by Billy Sunday and Cap Anson, but his best season was 1910 when he hit .325 with 86 RBI and 29 stolen bases. On Cubs teams built around stealing bases, sacrificing outs for runs, and advancing runners, Hofman had a reputation as a speedy base runner and one of the game’s best sign stealers. Besides his role in the infamous Merkle play, Circus Solly owns the dubious record of playing eight innings at first base without making a single putout in a June 24, 1910, game against the Pirates.” How do you do that? Every hit must have been a fly ball or a strikeout. Looking it up, the Cubs only struck out five Pittsburgh batters while the outfielders had eight putouts. Strange.

snodgrass

CF-Fred Snodgrass, New York Giants, 22 Years Old

.321, 2 HR, 44 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Frederick Charles “Fred” or “Snow” Snodgrass was born on October 19, 1887 in Ventura, CA. The five-foot-11, 175 pound centerfielder started his career with the Giants in 1908, but really took off this year. It’s funny, his name seems familiar to me, but this was his only All-Star season, I would guess. He finished fifth in WAR Position Players (4.6); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.3); fourth in batting (.321); second in on-base percentage (.440), behind only Sherry Magee (.445); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (153), trailing Magee (175) and Cubs’ centerfielder Solly Hofman (154).

After this season, he would play five more seasons with New York until he was released by the Giants midseason and then picked up by the Braves. He finished his Major League career with Boston the next season. He’d end up hitting .275 with 11 homers and 353 RBI and a 15.9 career WAR.

Wikipedia says, “From 1911 to 1913, he played in three consecutive World Series, but the Giants lost all three. In the second, the 1912 Series, Snodgrass committed one of the most famous errors in baseball history. In the 10th inning of the deciding game, Snodgrass, who was among the National League‘s best outfielders, dropped a routine fly ball that put the tying run on second base. He proceeded to make a spectacular game-saving catch on the next play, but the Sox went on to score two runs in the inning to win the series.

“His error in the 1912 World Series, however, remained with him to the end. When he died on April 5, 1974, his obituary in the New York Times was headlined ‘Fred Snodgrass, 86, Dead; Ball Player Muffed 1912 Fly.’”

paskert

CF-Dode Paskert, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

.300, 2 HR, 46 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as CF-24

Errors Committed as CF-17

Putouts as OF-355

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.80

1st Time All-Star-George Henry “Dode” or “Honey Boy” Paskert was born on August 28, 1881 in Cleveland, OH. The five-foot-11, 165 pound centerfielder started with Cincinnati in 1907 and this season was his best ever. Paskert finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.3); ninth in Offensive WAR (3.7); ninth in on-base percentage (.389); and third in steals (51), behind Reds’ leftfielder Bob Bescher (70) and Giants’ rightfielder Red Murray (52).

SABR says, “A second nickname, ‘Honey Boy,’ was more complimentary. So named because he was ‘such a sweet ballplayer,’ the 5’11”, 165 lb. center fielder impressed observers from the start with his speed and superior range, though his offensive skills took longer to mature. After posting on-base percentages of .298 and .327 in 1908 and 1909, respectively, Paskert enjoyed a breakout season in 1910, when he paced all NL outfielders in putouts and finished third in the league with 51 stolen bases. Most impressively, he batted .300 and led the Reds with a .389 on-base percentage. But despite that performance, Cincinnati failed to finish in the first division for the third time in four years, a disappointment that convinced manager Clark Griffith to overhaul his roster. The following February, the Reds shipped Paskert to the Phillies, along with teammates Fred Beebe, Jack Rowan, and Hans Lobert, in exchange for Johnny Bates, Eddie Grant, George McQuillan, and Lew Moren. Cincinnati soon regretted the trade, as Paskert proved to be by far the most valuable of the eight players in the deal.”

bates

CF-Johnny Bates, Philadelphia Phillies, 27 Years Old

.305, 3 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as CF-7

Double Plays Turned as OF-8

1st Time All-Star-John William “Johnny” Bates was born on August 21, 1882 in Steubenville, OH. He started with Boston in 1906 and then got traded by the Boston Doves with Charlie Starr to the Philadelphia Phillies for Buster BrownLew Richie and Dave Shean on July 16, 1909. Bates finished this season ninth in WAR Position Players (4.0); seventh in batting (.305); 10th in on-base percentage (.385); ninth in slugging (.420); and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (133).

                Baseball History Daily reports, “In 1911, Victor Munoz, the sports editor for the Cuban newspaper El Mundo spent part of 1911 traveling with the Cincinnati Reds and chronicling the experiences of Armando Marsans and Rafael Almeida during their rookie season with the Reds.

“After several months in the states Munoz shared his observations about baseball in America:…

“Munoz concluded that if America was the world’s melting pot, baseball ‘was the flame which brings the human metal to that state which makes the American citizen possible…’

“Munoz also said he was ‘deeply impressed’ by what a cosmopolitan team the Reds were:

’I found (Hank) Severeid, a Norwegian, (Mike) Balenti, an Indian; Mitchell and other Irishmen,  (Bob) Bescher and other Germans; (Clark) Griffith, of Welsh-Irish descent;  (Johnny) Bates of English parentage; (Harry) Gaspar, whose father was a Frenchman, and my Cuban companions members of the team.’” Of course, the sad part about the whole American melting pot situation is that many of its own citizens, the blacks, weren’t allowed to play baseball in the Majors during this time.

1909 American League All-Star Team

P-Frank Smith, CHW

P-Ed Walsh, CHW

P-Cy Morgan, BOS/PHI

P-Chief Bender, PHA

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Harry Krause, PHA

P-Addie Joss, CLE

P-Jack Warhop, NYY

P-Barney Pelty, SLB

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

C-Bill Carrigan, BOS

C-Ted Easterly, CLE

1B-Jake Stahl, BOS

2B-Eddie Collins, PHA

2B-Nap Lajoie, CLE

3B-Home Run Baker, PHA

3B-Harry Lord, BOS

3B-George Moriarty, DET

SS-Donie Bush, DET

SS-Freddy Parent, CHW

LF-Clyde Engle, NYY

CF-Tris Speaker, BOS

CF-Sam Crawford, DET

RF-Ty Cobb, DET

RF-Danny Murphy, PHA

 

smithfr

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-7.0

Games Pitched-51

Innings Pitched-365.0

Strikeouts-177

Games Started-40

Complete Games-37

Hits-278

Batters Faced-1,376

Def. Games as P-51

Putouts as P-26

Assists as P-154

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

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

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

walsh4

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

1906 1907 1908

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-0.938

Shutouts-8 (3rd Time)

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

Adj. Pitching Runs-25 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.1 (3rd Time)

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

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

Fielding % as P-.991

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

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

morgan

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-6.259

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

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

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

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

bender2

P-Chief Bender, Philadelphia Athletics, 25 Years Old

1907

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.578

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.58

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

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

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

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

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

plank8

P-Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics, 33 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

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

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

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

krause

P-Harry Krause, Philadelphia Athletics, 20 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1909 AL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.39

Adjusted ERA+-174

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

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

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

joss5

P-Addie Joss, Cleveland Naps, 29 Years Old

1905 1906 1907 1908

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

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

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

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

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

warhop

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-26

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

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

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

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

pelty2

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

1906

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

johnson2

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 21 Years Old

1908

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

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

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

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

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

carrigan

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

.296, 1 HR, 36 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

easterly

C-Ted Easterly, Cleveland Naps, 24 Years Old

.261, 1 HR, 27 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

stahlj

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

.294, 6 HR, 60 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-94 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

collinse

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

.347, 3 HR, 56 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-152

Putouts as 2B-373

Assists as 2B-406

Double Plays Turned as 2B-55

Fielding % as 2B-.967

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

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

lajoie10

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

1897 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1906 1907 1908

.324, 1 HR, 47 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

bakerh

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

.305, 4 HR, 85 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-19

Def. Games as 3B-146

Putouts as 3B-209

Assists as 3B-277

Errors Committed as 3B-42

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

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

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

lord

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

.315, 0 HR, 31 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

moriarty

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

.273, 1 HR, 39 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 3B-.939

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

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

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

bush

SS-Donie Bush, Detroit Tigers, 21 Years Old

.273, 0 HR, 33 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-157

Plate Appearances-678

Bases on Balls-88

Sacrifice Hits-52

Assists-567

Errors Committed-71

Def. Games as SS-157

Assists as SS-567

Errors Committed as SS-71

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

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

parent4

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

1901 1903 1904

.261, 0 HR, 30 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

engle

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

.278, 3 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as LF-271

Assists as LF-17

Double Plays Turned as LF-6

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.40

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

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

speaker

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

.309, 7 HR, 77 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as CF-142

Putouts as CF-319

Assists as CF-35

Double Plays Turned as CF-11

Putouts as OF-319

Assists as OF-35

Double Plays Turned as OF-12

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.49

Fielding % as CF-.973

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.59

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.49

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

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

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

crawford7

CF-Sam Crawford, Detroit Tigers, 29 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1905 1907 1908

.314, 6 HR, 97 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-35

Extra Base Hits-55 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

cobb3RF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 22 Years Old

1907 1908

.377, 9 HR, 107 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1909 AL Triple Crown

1909 AL Batting Title (3rd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-9.9

WAR Position Players-9.9

Offensive WAR-9.6 (3rd Time)

Batting Average-.377 (3rd Time)

On-Base %-.431

Slugging %-.517 (3rd Time)

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

Runs Scored-116

Hits-216 (3rd Time)

Total Bases-296 (3rd Time)

Home Runs-9

Runs Batted In-107 (3rd Time)

Stolen Bases-76 (2nd Time)

Singles-164 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-193 (3rd Time)

Runs Created-126 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-62 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-7.2 (3rd Time)

Times On Base-270

Offensive Win %-.874 (3rd Time)

Power-Speed #-16.1

AB Per HR-63.7

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

Putouts as RF-220 (2nd Time)

Assists as RF-21 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as RF-13 (2nd Time)

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

Def. Games as OF-156

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

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

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

murphy3

RF-Danny Murphy, Philadelphia Athletics, 32 Years Old

1904 1905

.281, 5 HR, 69 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as RF-5

Fielding % as RF-.977

Fielding % as OF-.977

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

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

1909 National League All-Star Team

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Mordecai Brown, CHC

P-Orval Overall, CHC

P-Nap Rucker, BRO

P-Art Fromme, CIN

P-Howie Camnitz, PIT

P-Ed Reulbach, CHC

P-Earl Moore, PHI

P-Vic Willis, PIT

P-Cliff Curtis, BSN

C-George Gibson, PIT

C-Ed Phelps, STL

1B-Ed Konetchy, STL

1B-Dick Hoblitzell, CIN

2B-Dots Miller, PIT

2B-Johnny Evers, CHC

2B-Larry Doyle, NYG

3B-Art Devlin, NYG

3B-Harry Steinfeldt, CHC

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Al Bridwell, NYG

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

LF-Fred Clarke, PIT

CF-Solly Hofman, CHC

RF-Mike Mitchell, CIN

 

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

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1909 NL Pitching Title (3rd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-10.2 (2nd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-9.2 (4th Time)

Earned Run Average-1.14 (3rd Time)

Win-Loss %-.806

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

Hits per 9 IP-6.276

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

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

Adjusted ERA+-224 (3rd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.62 (5th Time)

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

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

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

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

brown5

P-Mordecai Brown, Chicago Cubs, 32 Years Old

1903 1906 1907 1908

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-27

Games Pitched-50

Saves-7 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-342 2/3

Complete Games-32

Adj. Pitching Runs-45 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.3 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as P-50

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

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

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

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

overall3

P-Orval Overall, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

1905 1907

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.474 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-205

Shutouts-9 (2nd Time)

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

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

rucker3

P-Nap Rucker, Brooklyn Superbas, 24 Years Old

1907 1908

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

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

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

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

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

fromme

P-Art Fromme, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

camnitz

P-Howie Camnitz, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.806

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

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

reulbach5

P-Ed Reulbach, Chicago Cubs, 26 Years Old

1905 1906 1907 1908

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

moore2

P-Earl Moore, Philadelphia Phillies, 31 Years Old

1901

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-108 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

willis8P-Vic Willis, Pittsburgh Pirates, 33 Years Old

1899 1901 1902 1903 1906 1907 1908

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Games Started-35

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

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

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

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

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

curtis

P-Cliff Curtis, Boston Doves, 27 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

gibson

C-George Gibson, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

.265, 2 HR, 52 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Led in:

 

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

Caught Stealing as C-138

Caught Stealing %-52.9

Fielding % as C-.983

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

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

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

phelps

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

.248, 0 HR, 22 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

konetchy

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

.286, 4 HR, 80 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,584

Def. Games as 1B-152

Putouts as 1B-1,584

Assists as 1B-97 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

hoblitzell

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

.308, 4 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 1B-28

Double Plays Turned as 1B-80

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

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

millerd

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

.279, 3 HR, 87 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-150

Assists as 2B-426

Fielding % as 2B-.953

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

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

evers5

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

1904 1906 1907 1908

.263, 1 HR, 24 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

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

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

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

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

doyle

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

.302, 6 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits-172

Putouts as 2B-292

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

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

devlin6

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

1904 1905 1906 1907 1908

.265, 0 HR, 56 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as 3B-21

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

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

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

steinfeldt4

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

1903 1906 1907

.252, 2 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

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

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

wagner11

SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 35 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908

.339, 5 HR, 100 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1909 NL Batting Title (7th Time)

WAR Position Players-9.2 (9th Time)

Offensive WAR-8.2 (9th Time)

Batting Average-.339 (7th Time)

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

Slugging %-.489 (6th Time)

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

Total Bases-242 (6th Time)

Doubles-39 (7th Time)

Runs Batted In-100 (4th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-177 (6th Time)

Runs Created-101 (7th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-48 (6th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-5.5 (6th Time)

Extra Base Hits-54 (7th Time)

Offensive Win %-.830 (6th Time)

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

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

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

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

bridwell2

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

1908

.294, 0 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

AB per SO-31.7

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

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

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

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

tinker4

SS-Joe Tinker, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

1902 1906 1908

.256, 4 HR, 57 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-3.0 (4th Time)

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

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

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

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

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

clarke9

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

1895 1897 1901 1902 1903 1906 1907 1908

.287, 3 HR, 68 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-80

Times on Base-244

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

Putouts as LF-361 (2nd Time)

Putouts as OF-362

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

Fielding % as LF-.987

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.51

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

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

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

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Nap Lajoie, 8

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Jack Glasscock, 11

LF-Ed Delahanty, Clarke, 9

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Thompson, Elmer Flick, 7

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

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

hofman

CF-Solly Hofman, Chicago Cubs, 26 Years Old

.285, 2 HR, 58 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as CF-143

Errors Committed as CF-13

Double Plays Turned as CF-4

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

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

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

mitchellm

RF-Mike Mitchell, Cincinnati Reds, 29 Years Old

.310, 4 HR, 86 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-17

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

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

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