1908 National League All-Star Team

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-George McQuillan, PHI

P-Mordecai Brown, CHC

P-Hooks Wiltse, NYG

P-Nap Rucker, BRO

P-Ed Reulbach, CHC

P-Kaiser Wilhelm, BRO

P-Bugs Raymond, STL

P-Andy Coakley, CIN/CHI

P-Vic Willis, PIT

C-Roger Bresnahan, NYG

C-Johnny Kling, CHC

1B-Frank Chance, CHC

2B-Johnny Evers, CHC

3B-Hans Lobert, CIN

3B-Tommy Leach, PIT

3B-Art Devlin, NYG

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

SS-Bill Dahlen, BSN

SS-Al Bridwell, NYG

LF-Fred Clarke, PIT

LF-Sherry Magee, PHI

CF-Red Murray, STL

RF-Mike Donlin, NYG

 

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

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1908 NL Pitching Triple Crown

1908 NL Pitching Title

WAR for Pitchers-11.1 (3rd Time)

Earned Run Average-1.43 (2nd Time)

Wins-37 (3rd Time)

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

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.968

Games Pitched-56

Saves-5

Innings Pitched-390 2/3

Strikeouts-259 (5th Time)

Games Started-44 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-34

Shutouts-11 (4th Time)

Hits Allowed-281

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

Batters Faced-1,469

Adjusted ERA+168 (2nd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.29 (4th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-42 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.2 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as P-56

Assists as P-141 (3rd Time)

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

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

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

mcquillan

P-George McQuillan, Philadelphia Phillies, 23 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

brown4

P-Mordecai Brown, Chicago Cubs, 31 Years Old

1903 1906 1907

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-6.167 (2nd Time)

Saves-5

Putouts as P-35

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

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

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

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

wiltse

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

rucker2

P-Nap Rucker, Brooklyn Superbas, 23 Years Old

1907

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-125

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

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

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

reulbach4P-Ed Reulbach, Chicago Cubs, 25 Years Old

1905 1906 1907

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

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

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

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

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

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

wilhelm

P-Kaiser Wilhelm, Brooklyn Superbas, 31 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

raymond

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Losses-25

Wild Pitches-9

Errors Committed as P-8

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

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

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

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

coakley

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

willis7

P-Vic Willis, Pittsburgh Pirates, 32 Years Old

1899 1901 1902 1903 1906 1907

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

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

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

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

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

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

1903 1904 1905 1906 1907

.283, 1 HR, 54 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-83

Putouts as C-657

Passed Balls-17 (2nd Time)

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

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

kling5

C-Johnny Kling, Chicago Cubs, 32 Years Old

1902 1903 1906 1907

.276, 4 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/Game as C-6.37

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

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

chance6

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

1903 1904 1905 1906 1907

.272, 2 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

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

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

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

evers4

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

1904 1906 1907

.300, 0 HR, 37 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

lobert

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

.293, 4 HR, 63 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

leach4

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

1902 1904 1907

.259, 5 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

devlina5

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

1904 1905 1906 1907

.253, 2 HR, 45 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-157

Def. Games as 3B-157

Putouts as 3B-203

Assists as 3B-331 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.947

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

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

wagner10SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 34 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907

.354, 10 HR, 109 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1908 NL Batting Title (6th Time)

Wins Above Replacement-11.5 (4th Time)

WAR Position Players-11.5 (8th Time)

Offensive WAR-11.5 (8th Time)

Batting Average-.354 (6th Time)

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

Slugging %-.542 (5th Time)

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

Hits-201

Total Bases-308 (5th Time)

Doubles-39 (6th Time)

Triples-19 (3rd Time)

Runs Batted In-109 (3rd Time)

Stolen Bases-53 (5th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-205 (5th Time)

Runs Created-126 (6th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-66 (5th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-7.8 (5th Time)

Extra Base Hits-68 (6th Time)

Times on Base-260 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.880 (5th Time)

Power-Speed #-16.8

Putouts as SS-354

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

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

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

tinker3SS-Joe Tinker, Chicago Cubs, 27 Years Old

1902 1906

.266, 6 HR, 68 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-4.3 (3rd Time)

Games Played-157

Assists-570

Def. Games as SS-157

Assists as SS-570 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

dahlen10

SS-Bill Dahlen, Boston Doves, 38 Years Old

1892 1896 1898 1899 1900 1902 1903 1904 1905

.239, 3 HR, 48 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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1907 American League All-Star Team

P-Ed Killian, DET

P-Cy Young, BOS

P-Ed Walsh, CHW

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Addie Joss, CLE

P-Bill Donovan, DET

P-Ed Siever, DET

P-Chief Bender, PHA

P-Jack Chesbro, NYY

P-Charlie Smith, WSH

C-Nig Clarke, CLE

C-Ossee Schrecongost, PHA

1B-Harry Davis, PHA

2B-Nap Lajoie, CLE

3B-Jimmy Collins, BOS/PHA

SS-Bobby Wallace, SLB

SS-George Davis, CHW

SS-Terry Turner, CLE

LF-George Stone, SLB

LF-Topsy Hartsel, PHA

LF-Davy Jones, DET

CF-Sam Crawford, DET

CF-Fielder Jones, CHW

RF-Ty Cobb, DET

RF-Elmer Flick, CLE

 

killian2

P-Ed Killian, Detroit Tigers, 30 Years Old

1905

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-8.1

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

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

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

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

young16P-Cy Young, Boston Americans, 40 Years Old

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

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

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

P-Cy Young, 16

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

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

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Jack Glasscock, 11

LF-Ed Delahanty, 9

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Thompson, Elmer Flick, 7

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

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

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

walsh2

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

1906

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

1907 AL Pitching Title

WAR for Pitchers-7.7

Earned Run Average-1.60

Games Played-56

Saves-4

Innings Pitched-422 1/3

Games Started-46

Complete Games-37

Wild Pitches-14

Batters Faced-1,622

Adjusted ERA+-150

Adj. Pitching Runs-36

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.1

Def. Games as P-56

Assists as P-227

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-5.59

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

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

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

plank6P-Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics, 31 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-8

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

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

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

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

joss3

P-Addie Joss, Cleveland Naps, 27 Years Old

1905 1906

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-27

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

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

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

donovan3

P-Bill Donovan, Detroit Tigers, 30 Years Old

1901 1903

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.862

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

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

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

siever3

P-Ed Siever, Detroit Tigers, 32 Years Old

1901 1902

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

bender

P-Chief Bender, Philadelphia Athletics, 23 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

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

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

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

chesbro6

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

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

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

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

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

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

smithc

P-Charlie Smith, Washington Senators, 27 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

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

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

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

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

clarken2

C-Nig Clarke, Cleveland Naps, 24 Years Old

1906

.269, 3 HR, 33 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-115

Passed Balls-25 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-120

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

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

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

schrecongost4

C-Ossee Schrecongost, Philadelphia Athletics, 32 Years Old

1899 1903 1905

.272, 0 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-640 (6th Time)

Assists as C-145

Caught Stealing as C-94

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

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

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

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

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

davish4

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

1904 1905 1906

.266, 8 HR, 87 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-35 (3rd Time)

Home Runs-8 (4th Time)

Power-Speed #-11.4 (4th Time)

AB per HR-72.8 (4th Time)

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

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

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

lajoie82B-Nap Lajoie, Cleveland Naps, 32 Years Old

1897 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1906

.301, 2 HR, 63 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-7.6 (5th Time)

Defensive WAR-3.3

Assists as 2B-461 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1897 1898 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905

.278, 0 HR, 45 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

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

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

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

wallace9

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

1898 1899 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906

.257, 0 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Assists-517 (4th Time)

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

Assists as SS-517 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as SS-54 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

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

davis11

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

1893 1894 1897 1899 1900 1901 1902 1904 1905 1906

.238, 1 HR, 52 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

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

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

turner2

SS-Terry Turner, Cleveland Naps, 26 Years Old

1906

.242, 0 HR, 46 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

stone3

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

1905 1906

.320, 4 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Times on Base-256

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

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

hartsel3

LF-Topsy Hartsel, Philadelphia Athletics, 33 Years Old

1901 1905

.280, 3 HR, 29 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

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

Bases on Balls-106 (4th Time)

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

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

jonesd

LF-Davy Jones, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

.273, 0 HR, 27 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.38

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

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

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

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

crawford5CF-Sam Crawford, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1905

.323, 4 HR, 81 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-102

Extra Base Hits-55

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

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

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

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

jonesf5

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

1901 1902 1905 1906

.261, 0 HR, 47 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

cobb

RF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 20 Years Old

.350, 5 HR, 119 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

1907 AL Batting Title

Offensive WAR-6.5

Batting Average-.350

Slugging %-.468

On-Base Plus Slugging-.848

Hits-212

Total Bases-283

Runs Batted In-119

Stolen Bases-53

Singles-165

Adjusted OPS+-167

Runs Created-106

Adj. Batting Runs-43

Adj. Batting Wins-5.0

Offensive Win %-.817

Assists as OF-30

Double Plays Turned as OF-12

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

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

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

flick8

RF-Elmer Flick, Cleveland Naps, 31 Years Old

1898 1900 1901 1903 1904 1905 1906

.302, 3 HR, 58 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Triples-18 (3rd Time)

 

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

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

1907 National League All-Star Team

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Ed Karger, STL

P-Bob Ewing, CIN

P-Orval Overall, CHC

P-Mordecai Brown, CHC

P-Carl Lundgren, CHC

P-Vic Willis, PIT

P-Tully Sparks, PHI

P-Nap Rucker, BRO

P-Ed Reulbach, CHC

C-Roger Bresnahan, NYG

C-Johnny Kling, CHC

1B-Frank Chance, CHC

1B-Fred Tenney, BSN

1B-Tim Jordan, BRO

2B-Johnny Evers, CHC

3B-Dave Brain, BSN

3B-Harry Steinfeldt, CHC

3B-Art Devlin, NYG

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

LF-Sherry Magee, PHI

LF-Fred Clarke, PIT

CF-Tommy Leach, PIT

CF-Ginger Beaumont, BSN

CF-Cy Seymour, NYG

 

mathewson6

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

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-7.6 (2nd Time)

Wins-24 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-178 (4th Time)

Shutouts-8 (3rd Time)

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

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.78 (3rd Time)

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

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

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

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

karger

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as P-29

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

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

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

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

ewingb3

P-Bob Ewing, Cincinnati Reds, 34 Years Old

1905 1906

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

overall2

P-Orval Overall, Chicago Cubs, 26 Years Old

1905

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-8

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

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

brown3P-Mordecai Brown, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1903 1906

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

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

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

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

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

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

lundgren

P-Carl Lundgren, Chicago Cubs, 27 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-5.652

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

Adj. Pitching Runs-29

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.5

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

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

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

willis6

P-Vic Willis, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

1899 1901 1902 1903 1906

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

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

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

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

sparks4

P-Tully Sparks, Philadelphia Phillies, 32 Years Old

1903 1905 1906

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

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

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

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

rucker

P-Nap Rucker, Brooklyn Superbas, 22 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

reulbach3

P-Ed Reulbach, Chicago Cubs, 24 Years Old

1905 1906

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

bresnahan5

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

1903 1904 1905 1906

.253, 4 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

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

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

kling4

C-Johnny Kling, Chicago Cubs, 31 Years Old

1902 1903 1906

.284, 1 HR, 43 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-499 (6th Time)

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

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

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

chance5

1B-Frank Chance, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1903 1904 1905 1906

.293, 1 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 1B-.992

5th Time All-Star-My favorite player for a stretch of time was the Reds’ centerfielder, Eric Davis. He could steal bases, hit for power, and field with the best of them. Sure, he struck out quite a bit, but who cared about that. He was just fun to watch. Well, Davis was fun to watch when you could watch him. He was constantly injured and it hindered his career greatly.

It’s the same with Chance. He never once played over 136 games in a season and never had 600 plate appearances. But when he was in the game, there wasn’t a better first baseman for his time. This season, despite playing in only 111 games and having 382 at bats, Chance finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.7); seventh in Defensive WAR (1.0); sixth in batting (.293); third in on-base percentage (.395), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (.408) and Philadelphia leftfielder Sherry Magee (396); and seventh in steals (35).

He must have used all of that free time to devise baseball strategies, since his Cubs again won the National League crown, finishing 107-45. It was Chicago’s pitching, led by Orval Overall, which led the team to victory. The Cubs had an amazing 144 ERA+. In the Series, the Cubs tied the first game, 3-3, and then swept the Tigers, never allowing more than one run in any contest. Four pitchers threw complete victories for the team. Chance didn’t do so well, however, hitting just .154 with a double and three steals.

tenney4

1B-Fred Tenney, Boston Doves, 35 Years Old

1899 1902 1903

.273, 0 HR, 26 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,587 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 1B-149 (4th Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,587 (2nd Time)

Assists as 1B-113 (8th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.70 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 1B-11.41 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Tenney continued playing on the anemic Doves since his last All-Star team in 1903. He wasn’t great, but he was consistent. Unlike his fellow player-manager-first baseman Frank Chance, Tenney rarely sat, but was out playing almost every game. This season, he played 150 games and slashed .273/.371/.334 for an OPS+ of 122. Not bad for a 35-year-old.

Tenney had taken over managing the Doves in 1905 and the team finished seventh. Then in 1906, Boston finished last. This year, in the last year Tenney would be at the helm, they were again seventh, with a 57-91 record. The Braves could hit pretty well, with third baseman Dave Brain leading the way, but their pitching was beyond terrible. In a league with a 2.46 ERA, Boston’s was 3.33, the only National League team with an ERA above three.

Wikipedia says, “He was named manager of the team in 1905, but did not receive additional pay; he was, however, offered a bonus if the team didn’t lose money. In 1905, Tenney tried to sign William Clarence Matthews, an African-American middle infielder from Harvard University, to a contract. Tenney later retracted his offer due to pressure from MLB players. Defensively, he led the majors in errors committed by a first baseman and finished second in most putouts for any position. Tenney led the 1906 Beaneaters to a 49–102 record. For the second straight year, the Boston team lost more than 100 games.

“After a 158–295 record as manager, on December 3, 1907, Tenney was traded to the Giants, along with Al Bridwell and Tom Needham, for Frank BowermanGeorge BrowneBill DahlenCecil Ferguson and Dan McGann; the trade was called ‘one of the biggest deals in the history of National League baseball.’”

jordan

1B-Tim Jordan, Brooklyn Superbas, 28 Years Old

.274, 4 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 1B-31 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Timothy Joseph “Tim” Jordan was born on Valentine’s Day, 1879 in New York, NY, the most romantic city in the world. (Ed-checking on this). The six-foot-one, 170 pound first baseman started by playing six games for the Senators in 1901, then two games for the Highlanders in 1903, before ending up with Brooklyn in 1906. If his defense wasn’t so bad, he could have made the All-Star team last season, when he led the National League in homers with 12. This season, Jordan finished eighth in Offensive WAR (4.0), 10th in on-base percentage (.371), and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (138).

After this season, he would play three more years for Brooklyn before retiring. He again hit 12 homers in 1908 and also led the NL in strikeouts with 74. He could have probably had more success playing in another era.

Baseball Reference has a lot of tidbits about Jordan, but this one jumped out at me: “Jordan is the only player in Dodgers franchise history to lead the league in home runs more than once (1906 and 1908).” I yelled, “That can’t be true!” This is the Dodgers, arguably the most famous club in NL history. I know they’ve always been known for their pitching, but they had Duke Snider and that ball club where four different players hit 30 or more homers. But it is true. As a matter of fact, after Jordan, a Dodger has led the league in homers only four times. You could win a lot of bets with that knowledge.

evers3

2B-Johnny Evers, Chicago Cubs, 25 Years Old

1904 1906

.250, 2 HR, 51 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

Defensive WAR-3.3 

AB per SO-29.9

Assists-500 (2nd Time)

Assists as 2B-500 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Crab made his third All-Star team and was part of his second straight National League pennant-winning team. Evers finished eighth in WAR (5.3); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.3); first in Defensive WAR (3.3); and second in steals (46), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (61). In the World Series, he was outstanding, hitting .350 (seven-for-20) with two doubles and three steals in helping Chicago sweep the Series against Detroit, 4-0-1.

Just because they’re linked together in a famous poem doesn’t mean Joe Tinker and Evers were buddies. SABR says, “The mutual antipathy between Evers and his keystone partner, Tinker, was legendary. There was little love lost between them during the Cubs’ heyday, and they didn’t speak to each other off the field for decades. Some commentators dated their animosity to a highly publicized on-field brawl in 1905, but years later Evers told a different story. ‘One day early in 1907, he threw me a hard ball; it wasn’t any farther than from here to there,’ Evers claimed, pointing to a lamp about 10 feet from where he sat. ‘It was a real hard ball, like a catcher throwing to second.’ The throw bent back one of the fingers on Evers’ right hand. ‘I yelled to him, you so-and-so. He laughed. That’s the last word we had for – well, I just don’t know how long.’ Whatever the reason for their bitterness, Evers and Tinker were an impeccable defensive tandem on the diamond. ‘Tinker and myself hated each other,’ Evers admitted, ‘but we loved the Cubs. We wouldn’t fight for each other, but we’d come close to killing people for our team. That was one of the answers to the Cubs’ success.’”

brain

3B-Dave Brain, Boston Doves, 28 Years Old

.279, 10 HR, 56 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-10

Double Plays Turned as 3B-27 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-4.12 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.95 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-David Leonard “Dave” Brain was born on January 24, 1879 in Hereford, United Kingdom. He started his Major League career playing five games for the White Sox in 1901. Then on March 1, 1903, Brain was traded by Buffalo (Eastern) to the St. Louis Cardinals for Fred Hartman. He was with St. Louis from 1903-05, before, on Independence Day, 1905, he was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Pittsburgh Pirates for George McBride. Then, at the end of that season, Brain was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates with Del Howard and Vive Lindaman to the Boston Beaneaters for Vic Willis.

In 1907, Brain had his best season ever, finishing sixth in WAR Position Players (4.9), fifth in Offensive WAR (4.6), ninth in Defensive WAR (1.0), fifth in slugging (.420), and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (134). Despite that, he didn’t remain with the Doves. On May 17, 1908, he was purchased by the Cincinnati Reds from the Boston Doves. Then midseason, Brain was traded by the Cincinnati Reds with Jake Weimer to the New York Giants for Bob Spade and $5,000 before hanging it up after that season at the age of 29. He was basically a one-season wonder.

Wikipedia says, “The English-born Brain was an unreliable fielder who showed some power with his bat and good speed on the basepaths. In 1903 for the St. Louis Cardinals he stole 21 bases and hit 15 triples, including two three-triple games to become the only player in National League history to perform the feat twice in a season. But his accomplishments were overshadowed by his 67 errors – 41 at shortstop and 22 at third base.”

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3B-Harry Steinfeldt, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

1903 1906

.266, 1 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-151 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.967

3rd Time All-Star-Steinfeldt was the forgotten man of the Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance infield, but kept putting up good numbers. This season, he won his second consecutive National League pennant, finishing eighth in WAR Position Players (4.6); and third in Defensive WAR (2.5), behind teammate and second baseman Johnny Evers (3.3) and teammate and shortstop Joe Tinker (2.8). In case you’re wondering, Frank Chance (1.0) was also in the top 10 in Defensive WAR. I could research and figure out if any other teams had all four infield positions in the top 10 in Defensive WAR, but we all know that’s not going to happen. Let’s just say it’s an impressive feat.

Let’s look at Steinfeldt’s incredible World Series. In game three, he went two-for-three with a double, a run, and an RBI, helping lead the Cubs to a 5-1 victory. In the clinching game five, Steinfeldt went three-for-four with a  triple and an RBI in a game the Cubs won 2-0. He finished the Series going eight-for-17 (.471) with a double and a triple.

Bleed Cubbie Blue says, “Baseball fans inclined to the romantic are frequently brought back to earth by the observation that the major-league game, at bottom, is mere entertainment. Many ballplayers have had professional careers in show business or broadcasting after their playing days, but Harry Steinfeldt did it the other way around.

“In his early childhood, his family moved to Fort Worth, Texas. The details seem lost to history, but he spent several years as a juvenile performer with a traveling minstrel show.”

devlina4

3B-Art Devlin, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1904 1905 1906

.277, 1 HR, 54 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-15

4th Time All-Star-Devlin continued to make All-Star teams as one of the best third basemen of his age. He finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.6), sixth in Offensive WAR (4.3), 10th in Defensive WAR (0.9), seventh in on-base percentage (.376), and fifth in steals (38). At a position which hasn’t had a lot of great players up to this time, Devlin consistently was at the top.

SABR says, “The man Frank Graham called ‘the greatest third baseman ever to wear a Giant uniform’ and Grantland Rice’s third baseman on his all-time Giants team, Art Devlin was born October 16, 1879, in Washington, D.C., one of several children of Edward Devlin, an Irish immigrant who made his living in Washington as a harness maker and locksmith.

“Devlin grew up in Washington and entered Georgetown University on September 13, 1899. An outstanding athlete, he starred on the football and baseball teams. Starting at halfback, he was switched to fullback to make the best use of his size (six feet tall, 175 pounds) and speed. The team did well the two seasons he played, and Georgetown football historian Morris A. Bealle named Devlin the all-time Georgetown fullback. He also stood out on the baseball team, usually playing first base, getting his share of hits, and stealing bases almost at will.”

Is he really the greatest Giants third baseman of all time? I don’t have enough information to make that call, but he certainly was one of the best at the hot corner for his time.

wagner9

SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 33 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906

.350, 6 HR, 101 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1907 NL Batting Title (5th Time)

Wins Above Replacement-9.0 (3rd Time)

WAR Position Players-9.0 (7th Time)

Offensive WAR-9.7 (7th Time)

Batting Average-.350 (5th Time)

On-Base %-.408 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.513 (4th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.921 (5th Time)

Total Bases-264 (4th Time)

Doubles-38 (5th Time)

Stolen Bases-61 (4th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-187 (4th Time)

Runs Created-106 (5th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-51 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-6.0 (4th Time)

Extra Base Hits-58 (5th Time)

Offensive Win %-.853 (4th Time)

9th Time All-Star-Richard Wagner, who composed The Flying Dutchman, died in 1883, so there was a stretch of time in human history where the two most famous Wagners both roamed the earth. Of course, one was a VOG-ner and one was a WAG-ner. One was an incredible composer, one composed symphonies on the diamond. You don’t hear either of them talked about much today because such is life. We tend to be interested in what’s happening now. It’s the good thing about doing this page, because I’m reminded of the greats of the past and can see the evolution of the great game from the beginning.

Honus Wagner would get lots of comparisons with Ty Cobb over the years, because they were the two best players of their respective leagues. However, Cobb is making his first All-Star team this year, while the Flying Dutchman has nine already. Wagner is already 33 years old, while Cobb is 20. Both should garner praise for putting up monster numbers in the Deadball Era. Or as Wikipedia says, “Although Cobb is frequently cited as the greatest player of the dead-ball era, some contemporaries regarded Wagner as the better all-around player, and most baseball historians consider Wagner to be the greatest shortstop ever. Cobb himself called Wagner ‘maybe the greatest star ever to take the diamond.’ Honus Wagner is also the featured player of one of the rarest and most valuable baseball cards in existence.” By WAR, Cobb leads Wagner, 151.1-131. I would have much preferred seeing Wagner play over the surly Detroit centerfielder.

magee3

LF-Sherry Magee, Philadelphia Phillies, 22 Years Old

1905 1906

.328, 4 HR, 85 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Batted In-85

3rd Time All-Star-At the age of 22, Magee made his third All-Star team, continuing to be one of the league’s best players. He finished fourth in WAR (6.9); second in WAR Position Players (6.9), behind only Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (9.0); second in Offensive WAR (6.1), again behind only Wagner (9.7); second in batting (.328), behind guess-who (.350); second in on-base percentage (.396), behind only the Flying Dutchman (.408); second in slugging (.455), behind, well, now this is getting ridiculous! (.513); second to Wagner (61) in steals (46); and second to him (187) in Adjusted OPS+ (169). If the only one you’re losing out to is the great Pittsburgh shortstop, you have nothing to cry about.

I purposely have two Hall of Fames, the ONEHOF, designed to be small and admit just one player a year, and Ron’s Hall of Fame, meant to be broader. As Joe Posnanski would say, I have small Hall and a big Hall. Still, it’s surprising to me looking at Magee’s stats in the era in which he played that he’s not in the real Hall of Fame. He’s definitely going to make Ron’s HOF and also has a shot at making the ONEHOF.

His temper certainly didn’t help his case. SABR has this from the Philadelphia Times: “’That he is one of the most hot-headed players in either big league is admitted; it couldn’t be denied, because the records, showing how often he has been suspended for scrapping with the umpires, speak for themselves.’”

clarke7

LF-Fred Clarke, Pittsburgh Pirates, 34 Years Old

1895 1897 1901 1902 1903 1906

.289, 2 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as OF-.987

7th Time All-Star-Is Cap Clarke the greatest player-manager in baseball history? He was outstanding in the field and his team consistently contended for the National League pennant. On the field this year, Clarke finished ninth in WAR (5.2), fifth in WAR Position Players (5.2), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.3), eighth in batting (.289), fifth in on-base percentage (.383), eighth in slugging (.389), sixth in steals (37), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (141).

Clarke’s team, the Pirates, moved up from third to second with a 91-63 record. No team was going to best the Cubs during this time. Pittsburgh had great hitting, led by shortstop Honus Wagner, and good pitching, led by Vic Willis, but still finished 17 games behind the Cubs.

According to a book, Fred Clarke: A Biography of the Baseball Hall of Fame Player-Manager, written by Ronald T. Waldo, the leftfielder had no intentions of playing in the field during the season. Waldo wrote, “After the [1906] season, Clarke and [Barney] Dreyfuss (the Pittsburgh owner) had a falling out when Fred refused to join the Pirates on a barnstorming tour. The Pittsburgh magnate wanted all of his players to play exhibition games until their contracts ran out on October 15. Clarke didn’t have the slightest intention of doing this. He was heading home to Kansas for the winter. Fred Clarke was still unsigned and many Pittsburgh patrons believed this little disagreement meant that he wouldn’t be back in 1907.” It looks like a good book and you can see more of it at the link. Spoiler alert! He played in 1907.

leach3

CF-Tommy Leach, Pittsburgh Pirates, 29 Years Old

1902 1904

.303, 4 HR, 43 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.69

3rd Time All-Star-It’s been three years but Leach is back on the All-Star team. Last time he made the team, he was a third baseman. In 1905, he played mainly in the outfield, then switched back to playing primarily at third in 1906. This year, he played mostly in centerfield, but next year, he’ll be back to third. In 1909, centerfield will become his main position for the rest of his career.

This season, Leach finished seventh in WAR (5.4); third in WAR Position Players (5.4), behind teammate and shortstop Honus Wagner (9.0) and Philadelphia leftfielder Sherry Magee (6.9); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.9); fourth in batting (.303); sixth in on-base percentage (.404); fourth in steals (43); and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (136).

SABR says, “Though standing just 5′ 6″ and weighing as little as 135 pounds at the start of his career, ‘Wee’ Tommie Leach was nonetheless one of the better ‘power’ hitters of the first decade of the 20th century. Over the course of a 19-year career in the National League, Leach finished in the top ten six times each in triples, home runs and total bases. Years later, at a dinner in Florida, he explained his surprising long ball proficiency: ‘Sometimes they played me right in back of the infield. Every so often, I’d manage to drive a ball between the outfielders and it would roll to the fence. I was pretty fast, and by the time they ran the ball down and got it back to the infield, I’d be home. I don’t ever recall getting a home run on a ball that hit outside of the park.’” He actually hit 14 of his 63 homers over the fence.

beaumont3

CF-Ginger Beaumont, Boston Doves, 30 Years Old

1902 1903

.322, 4 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits-187 (4th Time)

Singles-150 (4th Time)

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

3rd Time All-Star-After great years in 1902 and 1903, off years and injuries kept Beaumont from making the All-Star team three straight years. After the 1906 season, he was Traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates with Patsy Flaherty and Claude Ritchey to the Boston Beaneaters for Ed Abbaticchio. It was a good trade for Boston as Beaumont came back to have a good season this year. He finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.5); third in Offensive WAR (5.1), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (9.7) and Philadelphia leftfielder Sherry Magee (6.1); third in batting (.322), behind Wagner (.350) and Magee (.328); fourth in slugging (.424); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (149), behind Wagner (187) and Magee (169). I wonder how often a player who finished first in singles finished in the top four in slugging. I’ll get my crack research team right on that.

Wikipedia says, “Nicknamed ‘Ginger’ for his thick red hair, he used his excellent speed to great advantage; on the day before his 23rd birthday in his rookie season, he had six infield singles and became the first player to score six runs in a game. He was also the first player in major league history to lead his league in hits three consecutive years, which has been accomplished by only five others; he led the NL in hits a fourth time with the 1907 Braves.” You can’t trust Wikipedia. The team is the Doves at this time, not the Braves. They’ll become the Rustlers in 1911 and finally the Braves in 1912.

seymour6

CF-Cy Seymour, New York Giants, 34 Years Old

1899 1903 1904 1905 1906

.294, 3 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

6th Time All-Star-Well, I put Seymour in an early grave, giving his death details in 1906, not thinking he would make his fifth consecutive All-Star season this year. But I’m pretty sure this year will be his last time on this list. He finished fifth in batting (.294), seventh in slugging (.400), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (132). He never put together another season close to his outstanding 1905 campaign, but he was always among the league’s best hitters.

Seymour was part of one of the most famous plays in baseball history, as described by Wikipedia, which states, “Seymour finished fifth in the NL in batting average (.294) for the 1907 season. However, an ankle injury prematurely ended his season. His batting average declined to .267 for the 1908 season. That year, he participated in one of baseball’s most infamous plays, known as Merkle’s Boner, in which the Giants lost the pennant to the Chicago Cubs. In the replayed game between the Giants and Cubs, Giants pitcher Christy Mathewson reportedly waved Seymour to move further back in the outfield; Seymour refused, only to see the ball hit over his head, allowing the Cubs to score three runs on their way to the win. Mathewson later denied waving Seymour back, saying Seymour ‘knew the Chicago batters as well as [he] did and how to play them.’

The New York World listed Seymour as one of the best players in baseball, along with Mathewson, Ed WalshHonus WagnerNap Lajoie, and Roger BresnahanElmer Flick insisted that Seymour was the toughest pitcher he batted against, saying he ‘was practically unhittable’ and that Seymour ‘had a wonderful control of his curve ball.’”

1906 American League All-Star Team

P-Al Orth, NYY

P-Doc White, CHW

P-George Mullin, DET

P-Rube Waddell, PHA

P-Barney Pelty, SLB

P-Addie Joss, CLE

P-Ed Walsh, CHW

P-Casey Patten, WSH

P-Red Donahue, DET

P-Bob Rhoads, CLE

C-Nig Clarke, CLE

C-Harry Bemis, CLE

1B-Harry Davis, PHA

2B-Nap Lajoie, CLE

2B-Jimmy Williams, NYY

3B-Bill Bradley, CLE

SS-Terry Turner, CLE

SS-George Davis, CHW

SS-Bobby Wallace, SLB

SS-Kid Elberfeld, NYY

LF-George Stone, SLB

CF-Elmer Flick, CLE

CF-Charlie Hemphill, SLB

CF-Chick Stahl, BOS

CF-Fielder Jones, CHW

 

orth3

P-Al Orth, New York Highlanders, 33 Years Old

1901 1905

27-17, 2.34 ERA, 133 K, .274, 1 HR, 17 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-7.7

Wins-27

Innings Pitched-338 2/3

Complete Games-36

Hits Allowed-317

3rd Time All-Star-After having a long, decent career, Orth had his best season ever, finishing third in WAR (8.7), first in WAR for Pitchers (7.7), first in innings pitched (338 2/3), and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (127). Led by Orth’s arm, Clark Griffith’s Highlanders rose from sixth to second, finishing with a 90-61 record. At the end of 143 games, New York was tied for first place, but they went 5-6 the rest of the way and finished three games behind Chicago. Led by the hitting of Kid Elberfeld, the Highlanders almost won their first ever crown. They’d be waiting quite a few years for that first one, but once they achieve it, there are many, many more to come.

Baseball Reference says, “During his career, Orth was known to have excellent control, recording only 1.77 walks per nine innings (#47 on the all-time list). In addition to his 440 major league appearances as a pitcher, he was in 55 games as an outfielder, 8 as a shortstop, 6 as a second baseman, and 4 as a first baseman. He wasn’t a position player converted to pitcher in the majors; rather, he started out as a pitcher and, starting in his third season in the majors, almost always appeared in a few games as a position player as well.

“As of 2010, Orth is one of only two major league players to come out of DePauw University. He is also only one of two big leaguers with the name “Orth”; the other one, Orth Collins, was his teammate on the 1904 Highlanders.”

whited3

P-Doc White, Chicago White Sox, 27 Years Old

1902 1903

18-6, 1.52 ERA, 95 K, .185, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1906 AL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.52

Walks & Hits per IP-0.903

Adjusted ERA+-167

Adj. Pitching Runs-28

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.3

3rd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team in 1903, White had ERAs of 1.78 in 1904 and 1.76 in 1905 and still didn’t make the list. It was definitely a pitching era in baseball during this time and White pitched on the most famous of the all-pitch, no-hit teams of them all, the 1906 “Hitless Wonders” of Chicago. White finished fifth in WAR (6.7), second in WAR for Pitchers (6.2), first in ERA (1.52), and first in Adjusted ERA+ (167). In the World Series, he pitched three games, starting two of them, going 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA.

Wikipedia says, “That year, the White Sox won the pennant and their first World Series. In Game 5, White recorded the first save in Series history.

“The following season [1907], White set a career-high in wins with 27. He pitched effectively for Chicago until 1912, had an off-year in 1913, and then went to the Pacific Coast League from 1914 to 1915.

“White also gained some recognition as a composer, publishing at least four songs (such as bestseller ‘Little Puff of Smoke, Good Night’ in 1910) with his co-writer Ring Lardner, who was a sportswriter in Chicago during that period.

“White died at age 89 in Silver Spring, Maryland, just eight months after witnessing Don Drysdale surpass his record of 45 consecutive scoreless innings on June 4, 1968.”

Doc certainly was a great pitcher for a stretch of time, but the low-scoring era in which he played tends to overrate hurlers, which is why he’s not really a viable Hall of Fame candidate.

mullin3

P-George Mullin, Detroit Tigers, 25 Years Old

1903 1904

21-18, 2.78 ERA, 123 K, .225, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-108 (4th Time)

Batters Faced-1,361 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-113

3rd Time All-Star-Mullin always threw wildly and in 1905, he walked 138 batters, the most of his career. That, more than anything, kept this year from being his fourth straight All-Star team. No matter, he had his best season ever in 1906, finishing ninth in WAR (5.8), fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.1), and third in innings pitched (330).

As for Detroit, it dropped from third to sixth and probably didn’t realize it was on the brink of greatness. Bill Armour managed the team to a 71-78 record due to a lack of hitting and pitching. However, Ty Cobb would become a superstar in 1907 and the Tigers would turn things around.

SABR says, “In 1903, Mullin achieved a breakthrough performance with a 19-15 record and 2.25 ERA, though wildness caused him to lead the league in walks, with 106. He continued to lead the circuit in free passes every year through 1907, but during that time he also developed into one of the league’s most durable pitchers. He led the league in innings pitched with 347 2/3 in 1905, and in September 1906 he started and won both ends of a doubleheader against Washington.

“Mullin still holds four single-season Detroit pitching records for a right hander, all set in 1904: most games started (44); most complete games (42); most innings pitched (381 1/3), and most games lost (23). His 209 victories as a Tiger rank second in franchise history.” He’s most likely going to fall short of making my Hall of Fame, but the durable Mullin was effective for a long time on a winning team.

waddell5

P-Rube Waddell, Philadelphia Athletics, 29 Years Old

1902 1903 1904 1905

15-17, 2.21 ERA, 196 K, .163, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.469 (6th Time)

Strikeouts-196 (5th Time)

5th Time All-Star-There can’t really be characters like Waddell, can there? These are the kinds of people you see in baseball movies, like Cerrano doing voodoo in Major League. They can’t be real, can they? Yet Waddell certainly was real and definitely was bizarre. Yet, incredibly, he also was one of the best pitchers of his era. This season, Waddell finished 10th in WAR (5.6), third in WAR for Pitchers (5.7), and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (123).

Philadelphia, coached by Connie Mack, dropped from first to fourth, finishing with a 78-67 record. Harry Davis’ bat led its good hitting, However, besides Waddell, the Athletics’ pitching was average.

On every player, I list the Hall of Fames in which he’s inducted. Two of them are of my own invention. There is the ONEHOF, which admits one player a year, the best player who’s not currently in the One-a-Year Hall of Fame. Then there is Ron’s Hall of Fame in which there is a formula for getting in and if (Number of All-Star teams made X WAR) is 300 or greater, you’re in.

Waddell’s career isn’t going to be long enough to make the ONEHOF and, if he doesn’t make another All-Star team, he’s not going to make Ron’s team, either. Now, Waddell, had pretty good seasons the next two seasons, so it’s still possible, but it’s going to be close. That’s why I’m only giving him a one percent chance, because my best guess would say he’s not going to make the All-Star team again.

pelty

P-Barney Pelty, St. Louis Browns, 25 Years Old

16-11, 1.59 ERA, 92 K, .165, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-6.526

Errors Committed as P-12

1st Time All-Star-Barney “The Yiddish Curver” Pelty was born on September 10, 1880 in Farmington, MO. He started with St. Louis in 1903 and had his best season this year. Pelty finished fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.2), second in ERA (1.59), and second in Adjusted ERA+ (163). According to Wikipedia, Pelty was known as the Yiddish Curver because he was one of the first Jewish baseball players in the American League.

As for Pelty’s team, St. Louis moved up from eighth to fifth with a 76-73 record. Jimmy McAleer managed the team for his fifth straight year and would be with the Browns three more. With Pelty leading the way, the team had decent pitching, which helped it gain in the standings.

SABR says, “In his best season, 1906, Pelty finished with a 1.59 ERA, which still stands as a record for the lowest single season ERA in Browns/Orioles franchise history, and a league-best .202 opponents batting average, but still won only 16 games. A man of cautious intelligence, with handsomely broad features and prominent ears that made him seem slightly older than he was, Pelty was often used by his managers as a field coach, and after his baseball career dabbled in trade and politics. One of only a handful of Jewish ballplayers during the Deadball Era, ‘the Yiddish Curver’ made no attempt to hide his heritage, but was also not a religious person. If he faced anti-Semitism, he certainly never complained publicly or let it be known that it bothered him. He was a proud man who dealt with life the way he dealt with the hard-luck team he played for, with a quiet and dignified professionalism.”

joss2

P-Addie Joss, Cleveland Naps, 26 Years Old

1905

21-9, 1.72 ERA, 106 K, .210, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Joss made the team for the second straight season and would have been one of the all-time greats if he had a longer career. This season, he finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5), third in ERA (1.72), and third in Adjusted ERA+ (152). I give my thoughts on him making Cooperstown in last year’s blurb if you want to check it out.

SABR says, “Joss’s stellar work in the 1906 season, in which he went 21-9 with a 1.72 ERA, third best in the league, earned him another bonus. After the 1906 campaign Joss took an off-season job with the Toledo News Bee as the writer of a Sunday sports column. In his column, which Joss penned himself, Addie spoke of serious baseball issues, related humorous stories from his own experiences in the game, and also covered the Mud Hens and other local baseball teams. He would become known as an extremely talented and popular sportswriter, especially for his coverage of the World Series. Joss’s familiar voice in the column gave him greater fan support during his holdout for a salary increase before the start of the 1907 season. He finally settled for a $4,000 contract.”

As of this writing, Jack Morris and Alan Trammell have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Because my Hall of Fame is figured by how many All-Star teams a player makes, it’s impossible for me to say whether or not I would have them in my Hall. If I had to guess, I would say “no” for Morris and “yes” for Trammell. I’m actually glad Trammell was voted in by the Veteran’s Committee, because he deserved to be voted in.

walsh

P-Ed Walsh, Chicago White Sox, 25 Years Old

17-13, 1.88 ERA, 171 K, .141, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-10

1st Time All-Star-Edward Augustine “Big Ed” Walsh was born on May 14, 1881 in Plains, PA. He was big for his era at six-foot-one, 193 pounds. The Hall of Fame pitcher started with Chicago in 1904 and would pitch all but the final season of his 14 year career with the White Sox. This season, he finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.7), seventh in ERA (1.88), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+. In the World Series against the Cubs, Walsh pitched game three and shutout the National League team on two hits. According to Wikipedia, “In Game Three of that year’s World Series, which the White Sox won over the Chicago Cubs in six games, Walsh struck out a then-World Series record 12 batters. He also struck out at least one batter each inning of that game; this feat has since been duplicated only once, by Bob Gibson in the 1968 World Series opener.” He then won game five, which he pitched on one day of rest, despite allowing six runs in six innings. However, only one of them was earned, giving him a 2-0 World Series record with a 0.60 ERA.

More from Wikipedia: “Interviewed for the book The Glory of Their Times, Hall of Famer Sam Crawford referred to Walsh’s use of a pitch that was later outlawed: ‘Big Ed Walsh. Great big, strong, good-looking fellow. He threw a spitball. I think that ball disintegrated on the way to the plate, and the catcher put it back together again. I swear, when it went past the plate, it was just the spit went by’.”

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P-Casey Patten, Washington Senators, 32 Years Old

1904

19-16, 2.17 ERA, 96 K, .117, 1 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Patten had his best season ever, lowering his ERA from its usual high mark. He finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.0), 10th in ERA (2.17), and 10th in innings pitched (282 2/3). After this season, Patten would pitch for Washington for two more seasons. Then in 1908, he was traded by the Washington Senators to the Boston Red Sox for Jesse Tannehill, finishing his career that year.

Just like 1905, Washington finished in seventh place under the guidance of Jake Stahl. He’d be gone after this season. The Senators’ record was 55-95. They sure are going to appreciate eventually having Walter Johnson, because their pitching was pathetic.

From SABR: “Patten was a 19-game winner in 1906, with a 2.17 ERA, but seemed to falter a bit in late June and early July as the 1907 season wore on and by the end of July the Post was suggesting that manager Joe Cantillon give him a couple of weeks’ rest. On August 11, he was included in a large feature on Washington players who would not be back in 1908. A change in scene would pay off for him, the paper said. He was not expected to be with the team come spring training 1908. He was indeed brought back, though, and was used infrequently, finally being traded on May 31 to the Red Sox for lefthander Jesse Tannehill. Some thought that both pitchers could benefit from the deal. Neither did all that much after the trade, though reports that Tannehill was suffering from malaria were far from encouraging. At least he could hit some, remarked the Post.” 

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P-Red Donahue, Detroit Tigers, 33 Years Old

1901 1902

13-14, 2.73 ERA, 82 K, .123, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team in 1902, Donahue pitched for St. Louis one more season, in 1903, until he was traded by the St. Louis Browns to the Cleveland Naps for Gene Wright. He then stayed with the Naps through 1905 when he was traded by the Cleveland Naps to the Detroit Tigers for Happy Townsend. He had a good season with the Tigers this year, finishing eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5). However, this was his last Major League season. Then, according to Wikipedia, “Red died in Philadelphia at the age of 40, after succumbing to the effects of paralysis, and was interred at St. Joseph Cemetery in Waterbury, Connecticut.”

This story is from the Washington Times on December 16, 1906: “They tell a good story about the first game that Altizer, heralded as a youngster, played against Detroit, in which ‘Red’ Donahue pitched. ‘Red’ has a habit of talking to the batter and rattling him so that he cannot hit the auburn-haired twirler effectlively.

“This time he opened up with: ‘So you are the star young shortstop, are you? The kid that Stahl picked up in the minors? Soldier boy, too, and all that? Huh, when I was pitching for Allentown in 1889 they used to tell me about the errors you made ten years before. Why, you doddering old man. I am going to pitch you a curved ball now that was not invented when you broke into the business, and I have been using it for over ten years at that.” This monologue goes on for a while, you’ll have to read it for yourself.

rhoads

P-Bob Rhoads, Cleveland Naps, 26 Years Old

22-10, 1.80 ERA, 89 K, .161, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Barton Emory “Dusty” or “Bob” Rhoads was born on October 4, 1879 in Wooster, OH. He was huge for his day, at six-foot-one, 215 pounds. He had started with the Orphans in 1902, then was traded by the Chicago Cubs to the St. Louis Cardinals for Bob Wicker. In the middle of the 1903 season, Rhoads jumped to the American League Naps. In 1905, he had a good season, going 16-9 with a 2.83 ERA, but really putting it together this season, finishing 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.3), fifth in ERA (1.80), fifth in innings pitched (315), and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (145).

SABR says of his season, “In 1906 Rhoads posted a 22-10 record, with a sparkling 1.80 ERA. He set career-best marks in wins, winning percentage (.688), starts (34), complete games (31), innings pitched (315), shutouts (7), on-base average against (.227), and strikeouts (a modest 89, while surrendering 92 walks). At season’s end, Rhoads, Joss (21-9), and Hess (20-17) each collected the $500 bonuses promised by club president John Kilfoyl for any Naps pitcher posting a 20-victory season. Unhappily for Cleveland, the mound work of its Big Three and the reliably outstanding production of Nap Lajoie (.355 BA, with an AL-leading 214 hits and 48 doubles) were not enough to secure a pennant. A fine 89-64 season record was good only for third place, five games behind the Chicago White Sox of ‘Hitless Wonders’ renown. That offseason, Rhoads, an intelligent, enterprising man, began to expand his employment horizons, acquiring a large wheat farm in Kansas and developing soon-to-become-expert skills as a telegrapher.”

clarken

C-Nig Clarke, Cleveland Naps, 23 Years Old

.358, 1 HR, 21 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Jay Justin “Nig” Clarke was born on December 15, 1882, just 81 years before my bride, in Amherstburg, Canada. The five-foot-eight, 165 pound catcher with the embarrassing nickname of his time played for Cleveland and Detroit in 1905 and then had a great season this year, despite playing in only 57 games. He slashed .358/.404/.486 for an OPS+ of 180. Those are great numbers in any season, but in the low-scoring era of his time, it was outstanding.

Clarke is most famous for a performance in the Minor Leagues. Wikipedia says, “Clarke began his professional career in 1902 with the Corsicana Oil Citys in the Texas League. On July 14, he hit eight home runs in ten at bats in a 51–3 victory over the Texarkana Casketmakers. Because Corsicana’s blue laws forbade Sunday baseball (or, according to The Sporting News, due to poor attendance in Corsicana), the game was played in Ennis, Texas, in a facility that has a right field fence estimated to be 210 feet from home plate along the foul line. While some cast doubt on Clarke’s eight home run game, the feat was later attested to by the official scorer (under oath) and by others who observed the game. In a 1940 interview with The Sporting News one of Clarke’s Corsicana teammates claimed:

“’The right field fence at Ennis wasn’t more than 40 feet [12 m] back of first base. Nig just pulled eight short flies around and over that wall. I’m not taking anything away from old Nig’s batting prowess, but that’s the way he hit eight homers that day. Didn’t have to send the ball more than 140 feet [43 m] at the most.’”

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C-Harry Bemis, Cleveland Naps, 32 Years Old

1902 1903

.276, 2 HR, 30 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Cleveland has both catcher representatives on the All-Star team this season, thanks to the always consistent Bemis. In a time where catchers very rarely caught over 100 games, Bemis played 93 games, but played 81 at backstop. In 297 at-bats, Bemis slashed .276/.311/.374 for an OPS+ of 116. He was one of the best catchers in the early days of the American League.

You sometimes hear complaints nowadays that players never stick with their teams anymore, but the truth is it rarely happened throughout baseball history. It is true because of the Reserve Clause, which allowed teams to designate a certain amount of players who had to stay on their current team, it made it harder to jump, but players still ended up on multiple teams due to trades. Bemis, however, played nine seasons and all of them for Cleveland. He’ll play four more years and it’s impossible to tell whether he’ll make any more All-Star teams or not. It always is with catchers.

Bemis’ hitting would decline over the last four years of his career. He’d dip down to hitting .250 in 1907, then down to .224, .187, and .216 over the next few years. Still, he should be remembered fondly by Cleveland fans for giving them a consistent catcher over nine seasons and remaining in the city for the remainder of his life, dying in Cleveland on May 23, 1947 at the age of 73. Altogether, Bemis finished with a .255 average, five homers, and 234 RBI, along with a 10.4 Career WAR.

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1B-Harry Davis, Philadelphia Athletics, 32 Years Old

1904 1905

.292, 12 HR, 96 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-12 (3rd Time)

Runs Batted In-96 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-61 (2nd Time)

Power-Speed #-15.8 (3rd Time)

AB per HR-45.9 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as 1B-37

Double Plays Turned as 1B-66

3rd Time All-Star-If only Davis could have started making All-Star teams a little earlier in his career, he’d have a good shot at the Hall of Fame, because he’s having a wonderful stretch of hitting during this time. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.9), fourth in Offensive WAR (5.2), eighth in on-base percentage (.355), third in slugging (.459), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (151). There weren’t many better hitters in the American League during this time. (One of them is next on this list).

SABR says, “Harry earned a reputation over the years as a thinking man’s ballplayer, a teacher and a gentleman. Playing for Connie Mack, who discouraged his players from kicking and fighting, had a lot to do with creating this image, but Harry was full of fire, too, and not afraid to say what was on his mind. Back in his early days with the Giants, O.P. Caylor wrote that Harry ‘blossomed into a kicker of class A. He can give McGraw two jumps, a hundred words, and beat him in a canter. Harry has a voice that puts [Patsy] Tebeau’s to shame, and when he isn’t denouncing the rascality of the umpire to the latter’s face, he is talking to himself about human depravity in general.’ Harry was a team leader and following the sale of Lave Cross after the 1905 season, Mack named him captain of the Athletics. He had become Philadelphia’s leader on the field and was widely recognized as Mack’s lieutenant. Off the field, he took promising players under his wing, boarding them in his own house. From future Hall of Famers like Eddie Plank and Eddie Collins to rookies like Billy Orr, many players could cite Davis as a big influence on their careers.”

lajoie7

2B-Nap Lajoie, Cleveland Naps, 31 Years Old

1897 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904

.355, 0 HR, 91 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-10.0

WAR Position Players-10.0 (4th Time)

Hits-214 (3rd Time)

Doubles-48 (4th Time)

Putouts as 2B-354 (4th Time)

Assists as 2B-415

Double Plays Turned as 2B-76 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.973 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-After missing the 1905 All-Star team due to blood poisoning, the great Lajoie is back and back strong. He had his best season ever, finishing first in WAR (10.0), first in WAR Position Players (10.0), second in Offensive WAR (7.6), third in Defensive WAR (2.6), second in batting (.355), second in on-base percentage (.392), second in slugging (.465), and second in Adjusted OPS+ (170). He would have led in all of those categories if it wasn’t for an incredible, but fluky, season by George Stone, the St. Louis Browns leftfielder.

Cleveland moved up from fifth in 1905 to third this season, finishing with an 89-64 record, five games behind the White Sox. The Naps were in first as late at July 5, but never really contended again during the season. Lajoie managed the team once again, which had great hitting thanks to you-know-who and great pitching thanks to Addie Joss, but still couldn’t win the league.

Was Lajoie a mediocre skipper? There is evidence to the affirmative. SABR says, “As manager, Lajoie was criticized for his rudimentary method of relaying signals to the outfielders. He had a way of wiggling his finger behind his back as notice to his outfield when his pitcher was going to throw a fastball, and wiggling two fingers for a curve. Enemy pitchers in the bullpen often could read Nap’s signals, and they were never a mystery to Connie Mack. One contemporary observed of Lajoie, ‘The great player–artist rather disdained the subtleties of the game and responsibility sat heavily upon him. He failed to lift up lesser players to the batting and fielding heights that he had attained so easily. He knew how to do a thing, but to impart to another how it should be done eluded him.’”

williams4

2B-Jimmy Williams, New York Highlanders, 29 Years Old

1899 1901 1903

.277, 3 HR, 77 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-139

4th Time All-Star-It has been three years since Williams last made an All-Star team and I thought he was done, but the Highlanders’ second baseman is back. He slashed .277/.342/.373 for an OPS+ of 115. He’d play one more season with New York, before finishing his career with the Browns in his last two Major League seasons. Williams is one of the rare old-time players who was alive at the same time as me. I was born in 1964 and Williams died at the age of 88 in 1965. If I would’ve known, my 47-day self could’ve called and offered condolences.

SABR tells of an incident in 1908, saying, “Friendly James T. Williams, an original AL Oriole and Highlander, seemed to wander carefree throughout his baseball career, but his Minneapolis Tribuneobituary made special note of one particular incident when his Welsh temper flared up. It claimed Jimmy was a ‘legend’ in his baseball ‘hometown’ of Pueblo, Colorado, because of his early diamond exploits and the fact that he flattened the only man ever to knock out future boxing super champ, Jack Dempsey. ‘Fireman’ Jim Flynn, himself a fabulous ring character of the era, who fought all the big name boxers into the 1920s, was also a Pueblo resident. Sometime around 1908, he became abusive to Williams during a saloon altercation and Williams gave Flynn ‘the worst beating of his entire career,’ quoted the Tribune from the Pueblo press.” It seems a lot of these 1900s players were always fighting someone somewhere.

bradleyb53B-Bill Bradley, Cleveland Naps, 28 Years Old

1902 1903 1904 1905

.275, 2 HR, 25 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-My All-Star teams feature 10 pitchers, at least one player from every team, and at least one player at all positions (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, and three outfielders). That’s why Bradley made his fifth consecutive American League list, because I needed a representative from the hot corner and he was the best of a sparse bunch. He only played 82 games, but made the most of them. Bradley finished eighth in Defensive WAR (1.1), which is outstanding considering he missed so many contests.

Since Bradley was only 28 years old, you would have thought he had many great years left, but his hitting absolutely deteriorated after this season. From 1899-1906, he never hit below .268. After this season, he’d never hit above .243 in a full season and he’d never have an OPS+ above 99 again. He’d play from 1907-10 with Cleveland and then come back in 1914 with the Brooklyn Tip-Tops in the Federal League, playing in only seven games and then finished his Major League career with the FL Kansas City Packers in 1915.

Bradley was hit by a pitch on the right wrist on July 19 and was out for the season and, according to SABR, “The loss of Bradley hurt the most. Lajoie would move himself from second to third and play George Stovall at second. Jap Barbeau was later inserted at third base and played 32 games from the middle of July to mid-September. Barbeau hit just .194 on the season and had an abysmal fielding percentage of .830 at third base. Stovall would ultimately take over at third on September 13. With Barbeau at third, the Naps went 15–17. Lajoie played 14 games at third during August and the team went 7–7. Once Stovall was put at third, the Naps went 20–8, a .714 winning percentage.”

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SS-Terry Turner, Cleveland Naps, 25 Years Old

.291, 2 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 86 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-5.4

Assists-570

Def. Games as SS-147

Assists as SS-570

Double Plays Turned as SS-61

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.83

Fielding % as SS-.960

1st Time All-Star-Terrance Lamont “Terry” or “Cotton Top” Turner was born on February 28, 1881 in Sandy Lake, PA. So here’s the thing about Wins Above Replacement, its accuracy can be questioned. Unlike homers or RBI which can be counted, WAR has to be figured and is figured by Baseball Reference and Fangraphs in two different ways, coming up with two different numbers. I just want to point that all out before letting you know no one besides Andrelton Simmons has ever had a higher single-season Defensive WAR than Turner did this season. Altogether, Cotton Top finished second in WAR (9.4), second in WAR Position Players (9.4), fifth in Offensive WAR (5.2), and first in Defensive WAR (5.4). It was easily his best season ever.

SABR says, “Fielding was his specialty, though. At shortstop, the position he played more than any other during his career, he led the league in assists, double plays, and fielding percentage in 1906. Turner’s defensive ability and versatility elicited comparisons with the greatest player at the position in baseball history, Honus Wagner. Just as Tommy Leach called Wagner the best first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop and outfielder in The Glory of their Times, in 1913 Cleveland manager Joe Birmingham called Turner ‘the most valuable infielder in the American League…as he can play third base, second base, and shortstop equally well.’ Birmingham continued, ‘It is only once in a lifetime that you find one of these players who is brilliant wherever you play him… He is too valuable a man to tie at one position when he is so good at several.’”

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SS-George Davis, Chicago White Sox, 35 Years Old

1893 1894 1897 1899 1900 1901 1902 1904 1905

.277, 0 HR, 80 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

10th Time All-Star-Are you wondering which players at this early time in baseball history have made double-digit All-Star teams? Funny you should ask, because that list consists of the following:

Cap Anson-17

Cy Young-15

Roger Connor-13

Jim O’Rourke-12

Dan Brouthers-12

Kid Nichols-12

Tim Keefe-11

Jack Glasscock-11

Bobby Mathews-10

Mickey Welch-10

Harry Stovey-10

Billy Hamilton-10

George Davis-10

It’s possible Davis is not done making All-Star teams yet. This season, he finished seventh in WAR (6.3), fifth in WAR Position Players (6.3), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.3), and second in Defensive WAR (3.0). In the World Series, he went four-for-13 (.308) with three doubles in helping the White Sox defeat the Cubs, 4-2. He starred in the fifth game, going two-for-three with two doubles and driving in three runs. Or as SABR explains, “Because of illness, Davis missed the first three games of that year’s World Series. After going 0-for-3 in Game 4, he rebounded nicely in the critical final two games of the Series, stroking three doubles and a single, and collecting six RBI over the final two games.”

His Hall of Fame page says, “A career highlight was his performance as a member of the White Sox ‘Hitless Wonders’ team of 1906. They won the American League pennant while the crosstown Cubs set an all-time mark with a record of 116-36. If they were in the same league, the Cubs would have finished 22.5 games ahead of the White Sox, and few gave them any chance in the first intra-city World Series. The upstart Sox beat the Cubs in six games, with Davis batting .308 and driving in six runs.”

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SS-Bobby Wallace, St. Louis Browns, 32 Years Old

1898 1899 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905

.257, 0 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

8th Time All-Star-It is an incredible shortstop era. The last three inductees into the ONEHOF, the One-Player-a-Year Hall of Fame have been from that position: George Davis in 1904, Bill Dahlen in 1905, and Honus Wagner in 1906. There’s a good chance Wallace will be the fourth shortstop in a row inducted in 1907. This season, he finished eighth in WAR (6.1), sixth in WAR Position Players (6.1), fourth in Offensive WAR (4.7), and fifth in Defensive WAR (2.5). He’s still got numerous All-Star teams in the future.

Here are some tidbits from Wallace’s Hall of Fame page: “’The Scot was not the most robust hitter that ever lived, but he was no pigeon at the plate,’ sportswriter Bill Corum said, in 1952. ‘Save for that, Bobby had one weakness as a shortstop – that was that he played in the same era as Honus Wagner.’

“Wallace made more plays per game than any other shortstop who played at least 600 games during the first decade of the major leagues, including players like Wagner, Joe Tinker and George Davis.

“He led the American League in assists twice in his career, and fielding percentage three times. In 1902 he set a league record for the most chances in a game with 17. He also finished in the top-10 in RBIs eight times in his career, even though he played for losing teams most of the time.” We often don’t realize the times in which we live. I wonder if people in the 1900s realized they were living in a shortstop golden age.

elberfeld4

SS-Kid Elberfeld, New York Highlanders, 31 Years Old

1901 1903 1904

.306, 2 HR, 31 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-After missing the All-Star team in 1905 due to a downgrade in hitting, Elberfeld is back this season despite playing only 99 games. The Tabasco Kid could have been one of the great shortstops of this era, along with Honus Wagner, George Davis, Bill Dahlen, and Bobby Wallace had he been able to avoid injuries and control his volatile temper. This season, Elberfeld finished 10th in Offensive WAR (3.7); ninth in batting (.306); and third in on-base percentage (.378), behind St. Louis leftfielder George Stone (.417) and Cleveland second baseman Nap Lajoie (.392). Half of the American League teams had All-Star shortstops.

SABR says of his season, “In late 1906 he also had two memorable run-ins with umpire Silk O’Loughlin. The first, on August 8, occurred when Elberfeld was denied first base by after being hit by a pitch, prompting him to menace the umpire with a bat. Then, on September 3, the two went at it again in a brawl described by the New York Times as ‘one of the most disgraceful scenes ever witnessed on a baseball field.’ The Highlanders were in a close pennant race with Chicago, and when Elberfeld was suspended for only a total of eight games by President Johnson, some viewed it as an act of favoritism toward the Highlanders.”

When you play sports and the adrenaline pumps, it can be difficult to control your emotions. I’ve lost my temper playing softball or basketball my share of times, though I tend to get mad at myself rather than others. It would be another 15 years before New York won the pennant, but it’s possible it could’ve been much sooner if Elberfeld just lightened up a bit.

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LF-George Stone, St. Louis Browns, 29 Years Old

1905

.358, 6 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1906 AL Batting Title

Offensive WAR-7.9

Batting Average-.358

On-Base %-.417

Slugging %-.501

On-Base Plus Slugging-.918

Total Bases-291 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-89

Adjusted OPS+-193

Runs Created-120 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-61

Adj. Batting Wins-6.9

Times on Base-267

Offensive Win %-.846

2nd Time All-Star-There aren’t too many players in baseball who had better starts to their careers than Stone, he of the ubiquitous crouching batting style. He had a sensational rookie All-Star year in 1905, but had his best season ever this season. Stone finished third in WAR (8.7), behind two Cleveland infielders, second baseman Nap Lajoie (10.0) and shortstop Terry Turner (9.4); third in WAR Position Players (8.7), behind the same two players; first in Offensive WAR (7.9); first in batting (.358); first in on-base percentage (.417); first in slugging (.501); sixth in steals (35); and first in Adjusted OPS+ (193).

SABR’s intro to George Stone reads thus: “From 1901 through 1928, a future member of the Baseball Hall of Fame won the American League batting title in every season but one. The exception was in 1906, when outfielder George Stone of the St. Louis Browns hit .358 and beat out four-time batting champion Napoleon Lajoie for the AL batting crown. Stone’s great 1906 season is often forgotten, likely because his team finished in the second division, but in that year, Stone led the league in batting average, hits, total bases, and slugging percentage while finishing second in triples, third in RBI, and seventh in home runs. In spite of his batting success, Stone was self-effacing and reticent, and he acquired the nickname ‘Silent George’ because of his understated disposition. According to a 1906 article, Stone ‘never talks loud and is one of the most inconspicuous men on the team outside of the fact that he is a man way above the average in physical development and has a head and face that indicate a man of business or one following a profession rather than a ball player. Stone’s taste runs to reading and his hobby is violin playing. In fact, he would rather be a great violinist with a limited income than he would a great ballplayer with a handsome salary.’”

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CF-Elmer Flick, Cleveland Naps, 30 Years Old

1898 1900 1901 1903 1904 1905

.311, 1 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-157

At Bats-624

Plate Appearances-700

Runs Scored-98

Triples-22 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases-39 (2nd Time)

 

7th Time All-Star-It’s possible sometime in the future, Flick is going to join the ONEHOF, the one-player-inducted-a-year Hall of Fame. It’s possible it could be as early as next season, but he’s probably going to have to leap over his teammate, Nap Lajoie, and my guess is that isn’t happening. Flick will almost certainly make the All-Star team next season, but after that his career will falter for reasons which you’ll have to read about next season.

This year, Flick finished sixth in WAR (6.5); fourth in WAR Position Players (6.5); third in Offensive WAR (6.2), behind St. Louis leftfielder George Stone (7.9) and teammate, second baseman Lajoie (7.6); seventh in batting (.311); fourth in on-base percentage (.372); fourth in slugging (.441); first in steals (39); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (156), behind Stone (193) and Lajoie (170).

Look at this nugget from Wikipedia: “In the 1906 season, Flick played a league-leading 157 games. He led the league with 700 plate appearances, 624 at-bats, 98 runs scored, 22 triples, and 39 stolen bases (tied with John Anderson). However, Flick was ‘said to be dissatisfied with the team’, and the Naps considered trading him to the Detroit Tigers for Matty McIntyre. Before the 1907 season, the Naps turned down a trade with the Tigers which would have exchanged Flick for the 21-year-old Ty CobbHughie Jennings, the Tigers’ manager, was tired of dealing with Cobb’s abrasive behavior. The Naps refused to part with Flick, even in exchange for Cobb. They countered with Bunk Congalton, but the Tigers declined. Flick had been holding out but he signed a few days after the proposed trade. After Cobb was nearly traded away, Jennings attempted to repair the difficult relationships between Cobb and the other Detroit players. ‘Cobb is too good a hitter to let get away, when a little diplomacy will get the boys together’, Jennings said.”

hemphill

CF-Charlie Hemphill, St. Louis Browns, 30 Years Old

.289, 4 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Charles Judson “Charlie” or “Eagle Eye” Hemphill was born on April 20, 1876 in Greenville, MI. The five-foot-nine, 160 pound centerfielder started in 1899 with the St. Louis Perfectos and the Cleveland Spiders. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1900, but then played with the Boston Americans in 1901. Before the 1902 season, he was signed as a Free Agent with the Cleveland Bronchos and then during the season, he was released by the Cleveland Bronchos. Then on June 4, 1902, Hemphill was signed as a Free Agent with the St. Louis Browns. He didn’t play Major League ball during the 1905 season, before Hemphill was purchased by the St. Louis Browns from St Paul (American Association).

Incredibly after all of the bouncing around he did, Hemphill ended up having his best season ever in 1906. He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.5), eighth in Offensive WAR (4.0), eighth in steals (33), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (130).

                SABR says of this season, “Batting in the top third of the St. Louis order, Hemphill showed significant improvement at the plate over his 1904 totals, and finished the year with a .289 batting average, 62 RBIs, 33 stolen bases, and a career-best 90 runs scored. In better shape, Hemphill also spent 114 of his 154 games patrolling center field, where he used his improved foot speed to offset his other defensive shortcomings. The following year, however, Hemphill was mediocre at best, batting .259 with 38 RBIs and 66 runs scored in 153 games. That November the Browns traded him, along with Fred Glade and Harry Niles, to the New York Highlanders for Jimmy Williams, Hobe Ferris, and Danny Hoffman.”

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CF-Chick Stahl, Boston Americans, 33 Years Old

1899 1901 1904

.286, 4 HR, 51 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as OF-155

Putouts as OF-344

Errors Committed as OF-15

Double Plays Turned as OF-9

4th Time All-Star-Stahl had a very up-and-down career, making the All-Star team one year then being mediocre the next. After one of those lackadaisical years in 1905, he’s back this year on his fourth and final list. Stahl finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.1) and ninth in Offensive WAR (3.8). He played every game for Boston.

Speaking of Boston, Stahl was its only All-Star representative, as the Americans, managed by Jimmy Collins (35-79) and Stahl (14-26) finished in last place with a 49-105 record. They had the worst hitting and pitching in the American League. Collins would never manage again despite winning two pennants and a World Series as Boston’s skipper.

On March 28, 1907, Stahl drank carbolic acid and committed suicide. The reason he did so is unclear, but I point you to a SABR research article by Dennis Auger which is incredibly extensive and urge you to read the whole thing. Here’s his conclusion: “A researcher, including myself, must be willing to incorporate new discoveries and insights into any analysis. This can result in modifying or even changing one’s conclusion. Based on the evidence, sources, and documentation available, my present view is that the primary and underlying reason for Stahl’s suicide was his lifelong battle with depression. Managerial stress, fear of declining athletic ability, the alleged sexual liaison, and the perfectionism arising from his religious belief and accompanying guilt would all be contributing factors exacerbating his depression resulting in his act of desperation.”

For you Red Sox fans, you might recognize his last name from “Tessie,” sung after Boston victories.

jonesf4

CF-Fielder Jones, Chicago White Sox, 34 Years Old

1901 1902 1905

.230, 2 HR, 34 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

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

4th Time All-Star-Jones made his second straight All-Star team as the player/manager for the “Hitless Wonders,” who ended up upsetting their crosstown rivals, the unstoppable Cubs, in the World Series. For his in-the-field season, Jones finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.1). In the Series, he played in all six games, hitting .143 (three-for-21). Despite their manager’s poor performance, the White Sox still won the crown.

They won the American League pennant under the guidance of Jones, finishing 93-58. Chicago truly was an all-pitching and defense, no-hit team. They were facing a team which won 116 games and won the National League crown by 20 games. But in a short series, anything can happen and this Series showed how unpredictable baseball can be.

In Game 1, Nick Altrock threw a four-hitter and the White Sox won, 2-1. Game 3 featured a two-hitter from Ed Walsh to give the White Sox a two-to-one lead in the series. With the Series tied at 2-2, Frank Isbell’s four hits, including a double, led the Hitless Wonders to an 8-6 victory. In the next game, George Davis, who had missed the first three games of the Series due to illness, went two-for-five with a double and a team which couldn’t score during the regular season, scored eight runs for the second straight game to win the championship. It should be noted the Cubs had a great pitching staff themselves, with a 1.75 ERA, but couldn’t do it when it counted. It was a great series for Jones and his crew.

1906 National League All-Star Team

P-Vic Willis, PIT

P-Mordecai Brown, CHC

P-Tully Sparks, PHI

P-Jake Weimer, CIN

P-Jack Taylor, STL/CHI

P-Bob Ewing, CIN

P-Bill Duggleby, PHI

P-Ed Reulbach, CHC

P-Jack Pfiester, CHC

P-Vive Lindaman, BSN

C-Roger Bresnahan, NYG

C-Johnny Kling, CHC

1B-Frank Chance, CHC

2B-Claude Ritchey, PIT

2B-Miller Huggins, CIN

2B-Sammy Strang, NYG

2B-Johnny Evers, CHC

3B-Art Devlin, NYG

3B-Harry Steinfeldt, CHC

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

LF-Sherry Magee, PHI

LF-Fred Clarke, PIT

CF-Cy Seymour, CIN/NYG

RF-Harry Lumley, BRO

 

willis5

P-Vic Willis, Pittsburgh Pirates, 30 Years Old

1899 1901 1902 1903

23-13, 1.73 ERA, 124 K, .174, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-8.2

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

5th Time All-Star-As time marches on and computers take over the world, we toss aside our love for such stats as wins and winning percentage. We don’t just look at a 23-13 record like Willis has this season and say to ourselves, “What a fantastic year!” We also don’t look at his record from 1905 which was 12-29 and say, “What a horrible year!” Fortunately, we have matured and realize wins and losses have as much to do with the team for which a pitcher toils as much as their own talent. And in between 1905 and 1906, Willis went from the pathetic Beaneaters to the outstanding Pirates, as he was traded for  Dave BrainDel Howard and Vive Lindaman.

After pitching 410 innings in 1902, it took Willis a little time to reacquire his dominance, but it’s back this season. He finished second in WAR (8.1), first in WAR for Pitchers (8.2), fourth in ERA (1.73), third in innings pitched (322), and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (153). Most importantly, he is now a prestigious member of Ron’s Hall of Fame, my personal Hall of Fame which tries to take all feelings out of the choice and put anyone in whose number of All-Star games multiplied by their career WAR is 300 or over. Welcome to Carter Lake, IA, Vic!

PSA says of Willis, “A workhorse by nature, Willis completed 388 of the 471 games he started. Vic Willis still holds the National League record for most complete games in a season with 45, and the less than auspicious record of most losses in a season (29).”

brownm2

P-Mordecai Brown, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

1903

26-6, 1.04 ERA, 144 K, .204, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

1906 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.04

Walks & Hits per IP-0.934

Shutouts-9

Adjusted ERA+-253

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.08

Adj. Pitching Runs-45

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.5

2nd Time All-Star-At the end of the 1903 season, Three Finger Brown was  traded by the St. Louis Cardinals with Jack O’Neill to the Chicago Cubs for Larry McLean and Jack Taylor. He had decent years of the Cubs in 1904 and 1905, but this year really broke through. He finished fifth in WAR (7.2), second in WAR for Pitchers (7.1), first in ERA (1.04), and first in Adjusted ERA+ (253), the highest ERA+ since Time Keefe (293) in 1880. It was the first of five straight seasons in which Brown’s ERA will be under two.

This set up a no-brainer, a pitcher with a miniscule ERA going against a team known as the Hitless Wonders in the World Series. But in a plot twist, the White Sox hammered Miner. In game one, the Cubs lost 2-1; in game four, Brown shut out the Sox, 1-0; and then was picked to pitch game six, with the Cubs down 3-2, on only one day of rest. Manager Frank Chance took a chance and lost, as Three Finger gave up seven runs in less than two innings and his team lost the game, 8-3.

In Brown’s 1903 blurb, I mentioned he had four-and-a-half fingers, not three. Bleacher Report differs, writing, “Reports later found that he actually had three fingers—not four. When he had the injury on the corn shredder, he injured another finger! Brown kept quiet about it until he was well into his adulthood.” There must be a picture of his hand somewhere on the internet, but I’m too lazy to look. [Ed. Note-Found it!]

sparks3

P-Tully Sparks, Philadelphia Phillies, 31 Years Old

1903 1905

19-16, 2.16 ERA, 114 K, .154, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Sparks continued to be the Phillies’ best pitcher, having his best season ever. He finished eighth in WAR (6.5), third in WAR for Pitchers (6.5), seventh in ERA (2.16), fourth in innings pitched (316 2/3), and eighth in Adjusted ERA (121).

As for his team, Philadelphia stayed in fourth place, though Hugh Duffy’s team’s record dipped from 83-69 to 71-82. It started out strong, going 7-3 and in first place on April 24, but faded after that. This was Duffy’s last year with the Phillies. He finished with an overall 206-251 record for them.

SABR writes of the Phillies’ pitcher, “In an entry for a Philadelphia Phillies blog, Tim Johnson wrote, ‘Tully Sparks pitched in baseball’s earliest days, a time when hitting was as poor as the players themselves.’ A good line, though one can quibble as to how early in baseball history 1895-1910 truly was, or how poor some of the hitters may have been. [Ed. Note-True dat! I’ve already written about 35 seasons!] Sparks himself pitched 12 years in the major leagues and recorded a career earned-run average of 2.82, with three exceptional years, 1905 through 1907.

“He was a right-hander, of more or less average size for an athlete of the day at 5-feet-10 and 160 pounds. He grew up in what appears to be a well-off farming family in Georgia, attended Beloit College in Wisconsin, and made a decent enough living playing professional baseball.”

When Sparks was good, he was sensational. The problem is if you take away his four best seasons, he’s mediocre at best.

weimer4

P-Jake Weimer, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

1903 1904 1905

20-14, 2.22 ERA, 141 K, .269, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

4th Time All-Star-Not too many players had the kind of start to their Major League career as Weimer did. This is his fourth consecutive All-Star team, but unfortunately he wasn’t on the Cubs anymore. After the 1905 season, he was traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Cincinnati Reds for Jimmy Sebring and Harry Steinfeldt. And what happened after he left Chicago? It won the pennant, of course. As for Weimer, he had his best season ever, finishing seventh in WAR (6.5), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.8), 10th in ERA (2.22), sixth in innings pitched (304 2/3), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (123).

Hall of Fame Manager Ned Hanlon took over for Joe Kelley as manager of the Reds and the team dropped from fifth to sixth, with a 64-87 record. The team’s hitting was poor and its pitching mediocre. Cincinnati finished 51-and-a-half games behind the Cubs. Wow, just a break here or there and….

After this season, Weimer declined, going 19-21 for the Reds over the next two seasons, then finishing his career pitching one game for the Giants in 1909. Tornado Jake finished with a 97-69 lifetime record, along with a 2.23 ERA and a career WAR of 27.0.

No-No Hitters says, “During the second game of a Friday doubleheader on August 24, 1906, Weimer no-hit the Brooklyn Superbas at the Palace of the Fans during a planned seven-inning nightcap.

“’The second game was a case of “nothing doing” for the Superbas,’ according to a report for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, ‘[Doc] Casey, by being hit in the first and [Harry] McIntire, by means of a pass in the third, being the only ones of the visitors to get a look-in on Weimer’s delivery.’”

taylorj3

P-Jack Taylor, St. Louis Cardinals/Chicago Cubs, 32 Years Old

1902 1904

20-12, 1.99 ERA, 61 K, .208, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Taylor started the season with the Cardinals, going 8-9 with a 2.15 ERA before he was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Chicago Cubs for Fred BeebePete Noonan and cash on July 1. For the Cubs, Taylor went 12-3 with a 1.83 ERA but didn’t pitch in the World Series. Altogether, he finished 10th in WAR (5.8), sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.2), sixth in ERA (1.99), seventh in innings pitched (302 1/3), and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (132). He was the only player to make the All-Star team for the Cards.

St. Louis dropped from sixth to seventh, compiling a 58-92 record under the guidance of new manager, John McCloskey. They would keep him around until 1908 and never be close to being successful under him. McCloskey would manage in parts of five different seasons and never have a higher winning percentage than he did this season (.347). The Cardinals couldn’t hit and they couldn’t pitch, therefore they finished 63 games out of first.

Taylor pitched just one more season, for the Cubs in 1907, before hanging it up as a Major League pitcher. For his career, he finished 152-139 with a 2.65 ERA and a 34.3 career WAR.

SABR tells of a remarkable feat of Taylor, saying, “The Deadball Era’s Jack Taylor–not to be confused with ‘Brewery Jack’ Taylor, who died in 1900–was the greatest ‘iron man’ pitcher of the 20th century, hurling 187 consecutive complete games from June 20, 1901, to August 9, 1906.”

ewingb2

P-Bob Ewing, Cincinnati Reds, 33 Years Old

1905

13-14, 2.38 ERA, 145 K, .139, 1 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Ewing made the All-Star team for the second consecutive season, continuing to be one of the Reds’ best pitchers. He finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.7), consistently giving Cincinnati good starts. He probably has another All-Star season left in his arm.

As I compile this list, it’s clear the National League has a problem. Most of its best pitchers are aging. Of the six write-ups I’ve done so far, five of them are 30-years-old or older. Of course, its best pitcher, Christy Mathewson, had an off year. (What does an off year look like for Big Six? He finished 22-12 with a 2.97 ERA. Trade him!) Still, there aren’t a lot of great young pitchers in this league.

Wikipedia writes of Ewing’s wife, “On November 5, 1905, Bob married Nelle Hunter, the daughter of a prominent Auglaize County physician. The society pages of a Cincinnati paper described as being a ‘handsome and clever society girl.’ She was an avid baseball fan in her own right.

“Beginning in the 1890s, she attended what was at the time a major league record of more than 60 straight opening day games of the Reds. She had equal measures of loyalty and superstition, however. Nelle watched several games in 1905 that her husband lost. After that, she refused to go to the park when Ewing pitched, claiming her presence would ‘hoodoo’ him, according to the newspaper accounts.

“Bob and Nelle had a son Robert, who married Sylvia Metzger. They had nine children: Christine, Coleen, Charles, Carol, Chris, Charlotte, Cliff, Cindy and Connie.”

duggleby3

P-Bill Duggleby, Philadelphia Phillies, 32 Years Old

1901 1905

13-19, 2.25 ERA, 83 K, .141, 2 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Duggleby made the All-Star team for the second straight season and had his best season ever, finishing seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.0). He’s now the sixth of seven National League pitchers who is 30-years-old or older. After this season, Duggleby played just one more season, splitting his time between the Phillies and the Pirates. He played eight major league seasons, with his home team being in Pennsylvania every year. Duggleby finished his Major League career with a 93-102 record, a 3.18 ERA, and a 13.4 career WAR.

SABR says, “Pitchers have contributed significantly to the grand slam story. It was a National League hurler, Bill Duggleby of the Phils, who was the only player ever to hit a bases loaded home run in his first at bat in the majors. This feat was accomplished on April 21, 1898. It was also a pitcher who was the only NL player to hit two grand slam homers in one game. This was Tony Cloninger of the Atlanta Braves on July 3, 1966.

“The list of pitchers who hit grand slams is embellished also by the names of great American League hurlers such as Walter Johnson, Babe Ruth, Lefty Grove, Wes Ferrell, Red Ruffing, and Early Wynn. Burly Early did it as a pinch hitter, and we thought those instances should be included because calling on a hurler to pinch hit with the bases loaded is quite a compliment. In Wynn’s case, he hit his slam in the fifth and then pitched the rest of the way to win the game.”

reulbach2

P-Ed Reulbach, Chicago Cubs, 23 Years Old

1905

19-4, 1.65 ERA, 94 K, .157, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.826

Hits per 9 IP-5.326 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Reulbach, born on December 1, my birthday, made his second straight All-Star team in only his sophomore year. He finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.6), third in ERA (1.65), and third in Adjusted ERA+ (159). In the World Series, he started the second game, limiting the White Sox to just one hit, a Jiggs Donahue single, and won the game, 7-1. He also started the fifth game, but only lasted two innings, giving up five hits and three runs. Reulbach didn’t get the loss, but the Cubs lost, 8-6.

SABR says, “According to J.C. Kofoed of Baseball Magazine, Big Ed Reulbach was ‘one of the greatest pitchers that the National League ever produced, and one of the finest, clean-cut gentlemen who ever wore a big league uniform.’ A statuesque 6’1″, 190 lb. right-hander, Reulbach employed the technique of ‘shadowing’—– hiding the ball in his windup — as well as a high leg kick like that of Juan Marichal (according to Chief Meyers in a 1967 interview) and what was generally regarded as the finest curve ball in either league to become one baseball’s most difficult pitchers to hit. He hurled two one-hitters, six two-hitters, and 13 three-hitters, and in 1906 he yielded 5.33 hits per nine innings, still the third-lowest ratio of all time.

“Reulbach remained one of the NL’s most dominant pitchers through 1909. In 1906 he pitched 12 low-hit games (five hits or fewer), not including the one-hitter he threw against the White Sox in Game Two of that year’s World Series, and started a 17-game personal winning streak that didn’t end until June 29, 1907, when Deacon Phillippe defeated him, 2-1.”

pfiester

P-Jack Pfiester, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

20-8, 1.51 ERA, 153 K, .048, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-John Albert “Jack the Giant Killer” Pfeister was born on May 24, 1878 in Cincinnati, OH.

SABR says, “A side-wheeling left-hander with a great pick-off move to first base that kept runners close, Jack Pfiester posted a lifetime 2.02 ERA over eight seasons, the third best of all-time for pitchers with at least 1,000 innings, but he is best remembered for his seven shutouts and 15-5 career record against the hated New York Giants. ‘No longer will Chicago’s fans struggle with the pretzel curves of the great southpaw’s patronymic; no longer will it be mispronounced by seven out of every eight bugs and bugettes,’ wrote I. E. Sanborn of the Chicago Tribune after Pfiester’s 2-1 victory over the Giants on August 30, 1908. ‘Pfiester, the spelling of which has been the occasion of as many wagers as its mispronunciation, will be dropped as meaningless and inappropriate, and for the rest of time and part of eternity Mr. Pfiester of private life will be known to the public and the historians as Jack the Giant Killer.’”

The five-foot-11, 180 pound lefty started in 1903 for the Pirates, tossing six games over two seasons with a horrid 6.69 ERA. He didn’t pitch in the Majors in 1905 and then in August of that year, Pfiester was purchased by the Chicago Cubs from Omaha (Western).

This season, his best ever, the Giant Killer finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.7), second in ERA (1.51), and second in Adjusted ERA+ (174). In the World Series, Pfiester pitched two games, one as a starter, giving up seven runs in 10 1/3 innings for an 0-2 record and a 6.10 ERA.

lindaman

P-Vive Lindaman, Boston Beaneaters, 28 Years Old

12-23, 2.43 ERA, 115 K, .132, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-14

1st Time All-Star-Vivan Alexander “Vive” Lindaman was born on October 28, 1877 in Charles City, IA. He made the All-Star team in his rookie year, finishing fifth in innings pitched (307 1/3). He was Boston’s best player according to WAR.

Fred Tenney’s squad dropped from seventh to eighth with a 49-102 record. Shockingly, the manager would return in 1907. Their hitting and pitching both stunk so bad, the Beaneaters finished 66-and-a-half games out of first place.

Lindaman would pitch three more seasons with Boston, finishing his career with a 36-60 record, a 2.92 ERA, and a 2.3 career WAR. Wikipedia says, “Lindaman went 24–7 for the Eastern League‘s Jersey City Skeeters in 1905, and he made his major league debut the following season. In his first start with the Boston Beaneaters, he shut out Brooklyn 1–0. Despite throwing 32 complete games (third in the league) as a rookie, he finished 12–23; his team was shut out in eight of his losses.

“Lindaman kept in shape by walking 17 miles a day as a mail carrier.”

SABR tells of an infamous accomplishment Lindaman was part of, saying: ”In 1906 rookie right-hander Vive Lindaman’s 12-23 record for the Boston Beaneaters gained him admittance to an undesirable fraternity – the 20-game-loser club. But Lindaman was not without company, as three other hurlers on that hapless Boston team (Irv Young, 16-25; Big Jeff Pfeffer, 13-22; and Gus Dorner, 8-25) posted similarly dismal marks, giving Boston the rare distinction of having four 20-game losers on the same pitching staff.”

bresnahan4

C-Roger Bresnahan, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1903 1904 1905

.281, 0 HR, 43 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit by Pitch-15

Passed Balls-16

4th Time All-Star-Once Bresnahan moved to catcher as his most-played position, no one in the National League outplayed him at backstop. This season, the Duke of Tralee finished seventh at WAR Position Players (4.6), sixth in Offensive WAR (4.9), second in on-base percentage (.419), and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (140). All from a man who played only 124 of the Giants’ 154 games.

Despite not having any pitchers on the All-Star team, the Giants still finished in second after winning the pennant the last two seasons. John McGraw led New York to a 96-56 record, 20 games behind the record-setting Cubs. Art Devlin helped the Giants be the best hitting team in the league, while a balanced rotation helped the Giants do well from the mound. As late as May 24, New York was tied for first with a 23-11 record, but that was as close as they’d get for the rest of the season.

SABR says, “More influential were his efforts with shin guards. After discovering in a home-plate collision that Red Dooin of the Phillies wore papier-mâché protectors under his stockings, Bresnahan showed up on Opening Day 1907 wearing a huge pair of shin guards modeled after a cricketer’s leg pads. At first Roger’s innovation met with ridicule and protest-Pirates manager Fred Clarke insisted the guards posed a danger to sliding runners-but by 1909 a less bulky version was in general use. In another innovation that remains in use to this day, Roger added leather-bound rolls of padding to the circumference of his wire catcher’s mask around 1908 to help absorb the shock of foul tips.”

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C-Johnny Kling, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1902 1903

.312, 2 HR, 46 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-520 (5th Time)

Caught Stealing %-57.5

Fielding % as C-.982

3rd Time All-Star-Since making the All-Star team in 1903, Kling missed the list in 1904 and 1905 as his hitting deteriorated. This year, it was back as he had his best hitting season ever. Kling finished sixth in Defensive WAR (1.1), sixth in batting (.312), seventh in slugging (.420), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (136). In the World Series against the White Sox, that hitting faltered as he went three-for-17 (.176) with a double. He did walk a surprising four times, something that was never Noisy’s strong suit.

Pool continued to be an integral part of Kling’s life, according to Wikipedia, which says, “His skill at pool also served him well when it came time to negotiate his baseball salary. Before the 1906 season he announced that he would not sign a new contract unless Chicago offered him a raise in pay, and if the raise was not forthcoming he would stay home and play pool. This angered his manager, Frank Chance, who snapped that everyone else but Kling had come to terms with the club. He subsequently did decide to play, raise or not. He had another impressive season, catching 96 games and hitting over .300 for the record 116-36 pennant winners.”

Meanwhile SABR says, “His contemporaries, team mates and opponents alike, marveled at his ability to defend, handle pitchers and take part in the psychological warfare which was baseball in the early twentieth century. Johnny Evers claimed Kling could tell pitchers what their best stuff was during warm-ups.”

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1B-Frank Chance, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

1903 1904 1905

.319, 3 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-103

Stolen Bases-57 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Orson Welles, at the age of 25, directed, wrote, and starred in Citizen Kane, voted by many to be the best film ever. Frank Chance, at the age of 29, led his team, the Chicago Cubs, to the best record of all-time, 116-36, while also being their best player. He had his best season ever, finishing fourth in WAR (7.3), third in WAR Position Players (7.3), fourth in Offensive WAR (6.1), fifth in batting (.319), third in on-base % (.419), fifth in slugging (.430), first in steals (57), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (158).

With their outstanding record, the Cubs made their first World Series, taking over first place on May 9 and never looking back. They could hit, but it was their pitching which put them over the top. Chicago’s ERA+ was 151, while Pittsburgh’s second place total was 120. It wasn’t even close. The team’s ERA was 1.75.

Because of their great pitching and hitting, they were heavily favored to beat their crosstown rivals, the White Sox. However, the team’s strength, its pitching, fell apart, giving up eight runs in the last two games as the American League squad took the Series, 4-2. Don’t worry, the Cubs will be back.

Chance’s Hall of Fame page states, “He led the Cubs to four pennants in five years (1906-08, 1910), helping set a long-standing team record for wins in 1906 with 116, matched only by the 2001 Seattle Mariners. The Cubs lost the 1906 World Series to the White Sox, but won two back-to-back championships in 1907-08. He posted a .300 career average in the Fall Classic with 10 stolen bases and 21 hits.”

ritchey4

2B-Claude Ritchey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 32 Years Old

1902 1903 1904

.269, 1 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 2B-.966 (4th Time)

4th Time All-Star-After having an off-season in 1905, Ritchey is back on the All-Star team. Second base is a deep position in the National League, as half the teams have a second sacker on this list. Ritchey finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.5) and seventh in Defensive WAR (1.0). After this season, Little All Right was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates with Ginger Beaumont and Patsy Flaherty to the Boston Beaneaters for Ed Abbaticchio. He would finish up his career with Boston, which would change its nickname to the Doves after this season. Altogether, Ritchey finished with the a career WAR of 34.5, with a .273 average, 18 homers, and 675 RBI. He’s certainly no Nap Lajoie, but the little man held his own.

A website called Pirates Prospects says the following of Ritchey, “During his final season in Pittsburgh, Ritchey again was in the lineup everyday playing over 150 games for the third straight season. He hit .269 but drove in 62 runs, his highest total since 1901 and he also walked a career high 68 times. His glove was still strong, posting a .966 fielding percentage, tying his high while with the Pirates and for the fourth time he led the NL in that category. He had however lost a step in his game at age 32 and it was evident by his declining range in the field and his career low six stolen bases. Following the season the Pirates pulled off the three for one trade with Boston, ending Ritchey’s time in Pittsburgh. In seven seasons in the Steel City he played 977 games, hitting .277 with 420 RBI’s, 420 runs scored and a 362 to 172 BB/K ratio. Claude had been ranked the best second baseman in team history well into the 1960’s when finally passed by Bill Mazeroski for that honor.”

huggins2

2B-Miller Huggins, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1905

.292, 0 HR, 26 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (Yes as manager)

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

 

Led in:

 

Singles-141

Assists as 2B-458 (2nd Time)

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

Double Plays Turned as 2B-62

2nd Time All-Star-In Huggins’ 1905 post, I mentioned he might not be the five-foot-six listed in Baseball Reference, but actually somewhere between five-foot-one and that recorded height. His tininess explains the way Huggins contributed to the sport, through singles and walks. Those he did in abundance. This season, Huggins had his best season ever, finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (4.3), 10th in Offensive WAR (3.8), ninth in batting (.292), 10th in on-base percentage (.376), and sixth in steals (41).   

Wikipedia notes, “As a player, Huggins was adept at getting on base. He was also an excellent fielding second baseman, earning the nicknames ‘Rabbit’, ‘Little Everywhere’, and ‘Mighty Mite’ for his defensive prowess and was later considered an intelligent manager who understood the fundamentals of the game.

“[Julius] Fleischmann, part-owner of the Cincinnati Reds of the National League (NL), kept an eye on Huggins while he played for St. Paul. The Reds duly purchased his contract from the Saints before the 1904 season. He made his MLB debut on April 15, 1904, and proved very adept at getting on base. He batted .264 with the Reds that season and improved in the 1906 season, finishing with a .292 batting average and 41 stolen bases, while spending considerable time developing his upper-body strength.

“In 1915, umpire and sportswriter Billy Evans, writing about the scarcity of competent second basemen in baseball, listed Huggins, Collins, Pratt, Johnny Evers, and Nap Lajoie as the best in the game. He later wrote that Huggins was ‘one of the greatest managers I have ever met’. Bill James ranked Huggins as the 37th best second baseman of all time in 2001 in his The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.”

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2B-Sammy Strang, New York Giants, 29 Years Old

1902

.319, 4 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.423

2nd Time All-Star-Oh, the career that could have been had Strang been able to stay healthy. This season, he had only 313 at-bats, but still made the All-Star team. He has his best season ever, finishing 10th in WAR Position Players (4.3), ninth in Offensive WAR (4.0), fourth in batting (.319), first in on-base percentage (.423), third in slugging (.435), and third in Adjusted OPS+ (165). It was an amazing season, more so because of the lack of playing time of Strang and also because of the light-hitting era in which he played.

This season was Strang’s last hurrah, as he played utility with the Giants in 1907, but his numbers dropped significantly and then finished playing 28 games for New York in 1908.

SABR relates an amusing story from this season, “On August 6, 1906, Umpire Jim Johnstone ejected McGraw from a home game against the visiting Cubs. The next day the irate McGraw instructed stadium personnel to deny Johnstone entry to the stadium. The impish Strang stepped onto the field and declared himself the substitute umpire. The Cubs refused to take the field, so Strang announced ‘in a melodramatic manner’ that the game was forfeited to the Giants. Outside the stadium, Johnstone declared the game forfeited to the Cubs. NL President Harry Pulliam, of course, sided with Johnstone. In a letter to Pulliam, Strang implausibly argued that he had acted within baseball rules. Pulliam responded by scolding Strang for his impertinence. ‘I am at a loss to understand how you, being a member of the New York club, should address such a communication to me,’ wrote Pulliam.”

evers2

2B-Johnny Evers, Chicago Cubs, 24 Years Old

1904

.255, 1 HR, 51 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-153

Putouts as 2B-344 (2nd Time)

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

2nd Time All-Star-Of the four NL All-Star second basemen, Evers is the most famous of the quartet. He’s the only one of them to make the Hall of Fame as a player. (Miller Huggins made it as a manager). Evers is also young as this point, having made two of these lists at the age of 24. It’s why he has a pretty good chance of making my Hall of Fame.

This season, Evers finished fourth in Defensive WAR (1.8) and fifth in steals (49). In the World Series loss to the White Sox, the second baseman struggled, going three-for-20 (.150) with a double. He’d recover and end up being one of the great World Series hitters of all time.

SABR says, “An excellent bunter, accomplished base stealer, and pesky left-handed hitter who usually had the National League’s best walk-to-strikeout ratio after his first few seasons in the big leagues, Johnny Evers was considered one of the Deadball Era’s smartest and best all-around players. He was just as well known for his fiery disposition. The star second baseman’s nickname, ‘The Human Crab,’ was originally bestowed on him due to his unorthodox manner of sidling over to ground balls before gobbling them up, but most baseball men considered it better suited to his temperament than his fielding. A 5’9″, 125-pound pepper-pot with a protruding jaw that came to be a symbol of the man – for he was always ‘jawing’ about something – Evers developed a reputation as a troublemaker by squabbling regularly with teammates, opponents, and especially umpires. ‘They claim he is a crab, and perhaps they are right,’ Cleveland Indians manager Joe Birmingham once observed. ‘But I would like to have 25 such crabs playing for me. If I did, I would have no doubts over the pennant. They would win hands down.’”

devlina3

3B-Art Devlin, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1904 1905

.299, 2 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 3B-355 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Devlin made his third straight All-Star team and would have a decent career going forward, but he’d never have a season like his 1906 campaign again. He finished third in WAR (8.0), second in WAR Position Players (8.0), third in Offensive WAR (6.3), second in Defensive WAR (2.4), eighth in batting (.299), fifth in on-base percentage (.396), third in steals (54), and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (143). If the six-foot Devlin could have added power to his game, he would have been one of the best of all time. As it is, he didn’t make Cooperstown and most likely won’t make my Hall of Fame.

SABR says of his year, “Devlin had his best season in 1906, on and off the field. He hit a career-high .299, drove in 65 runs, drew a personal-best 74 walks, and stole 54 bases. His efforts were in vain as many Giants fell to injuries and illness-and the Cubs won 116 games, leaving everybody in their wake.

“Besides fielding everything that came his way, Devlin snagged a bride-Ilma Wilk, whom he had met during his Georgetown days and who was the daughter of Frederick L. Wilk, vice-president of the Union Trust Company of Chicago. They were married Thanksgiving Day (November 29). One paper, avoiding gushiness, announced: ‘RICH BRIDE FOR PLAYER.’ The secondary lines specified: ‘Devlin, of New York Giants, to Wed Wealthy Chicago Girl.’”  Remember in the old days when we had newspapers? Nowadays he would’ve been trolled mercilessly on Twitter. Things haven’t changed.

steinfeldt2

3B-Harry Steinfeldt, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

1903

.327, 3 HR, 83 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits-176

Runs Batted In-83

Def. Games as 3B-150

Fielding % as 3B-.954

2nd Time All-Star-How did Chicago have such a record-breaking season? How did the Cubbies win 116 games? They don’t have a bunch of great players, but they did have a bunch of good players having great years. Such was the case with Steinfeldt, who had his best season ever. Before the season, he was Traded by the Cincinnati Reds with Jimmy Sebring to the Chicago Cubs for Jake Weimer. During the year, Steinfeldt finished sixth in WAR (7.0), fourth in WAR Position Players (7.0), second in Offensive WAR (6.4), third in Defensive WAR (2.5), second in batting (.327), sixth in on-base percentage (.395), fourth in slugging (.430), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (151). Weimer had an All-Star season, but I’m not sure it was worth Steinfeldt. He slumped, like so many other teammates, in the World Series, going five-for-20 with a double.

SABR wraps up the season, saying, “The trade proved to be the turning point in Steinfeldt’s career. Earlier that off-season the Cubs had sent their regular third baseman, Doc Casey, to Brooklyn in the blockbuster trade for Jimmy Sheckard. ‘The addition of these two stars [Steinfeldt and Sheckard] made the Cubs the greatest baseball machine in the country,’ wrote one reporter. Putting up the best numbers of his career, Steinfeldt batted .327, second in the National League, and led the NL with 176 hits and 83 RBIs. He also led NL third basemen with a .954 fielding percentage, a statistic in which he led the league in three of his five seasons in Chicago, earning a reputation as the greatest fielding third sacker in the game.”

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SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 32 Years Old, 1906 ONEHOF Inductee

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905

.339, 2 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1906 NL Batting Title (4th Time)

Wins Above Replacement-9.3 (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-9.3 (6th Time)

Offensive WAR-8.2 (6th Time)

Batting Average-.339 (4th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.875 (4th Time)

Runs Scored-103 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-237 (3rd Time)

Doubles-38 (4th Time)

Runs Created-96 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-45 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-5.1 (3rd Time)

Times on Base-243

Offensive Win %-.824 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-57 (2nd Time)

8th Time All-Star-As if Wagner hasn’t already accomplished enough in his career, this year he makes the One-a-Year Hall of Fame, in which only one player is inducted per year into the Hall. He is the third consecutive shortstop to be inducted.I’m surprised it took him this long, what was I thinking? The nominees for the ONEHOF for next season are Hardy Richardson, Bobby Wallace, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, Joe McGinnity, Jimmy Collins, Nap Lajoie, and Elmer Flick.

I like reading articles of Wagner’s form on the field. This is from SABR, which says, “Honus was deceptive on the bases, too. He didn’t look fast, but he stole over 700 bases and legged out almost 900 doubles and triples. His speed got him the nickname ‘The Flying Dutchman.’ In baseball, as in the worlds of myth and legend, titles and nicknames are earned. (The direct albeit coincidental allusion to the myth and Richard Wagner’s opera of the same name didn’t hurt, either.) Wagner’s form as seen in early film was distinctive as he tore around the bases with his arms whirling like a berserk freestyle swimmer. Honus thought the arm motion gave him speed, and he got results.”

Unlike basketball, having the greatest player in the game doesn’t ensure a title. Ask Mike Trout. The Cubs won the pennant because they had a great balance of pitching and hitting and would continue to win the National League for many years. But that doesn’t take away from what the great Wagner did.

tinker2

SS-Joe Tinker, Chicago Cubs, 25 Years Old

1902

.233, 1 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-3.6 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.944

2nd Time All-Star-It should be no surprise in the year the Cubs set a Major League record with 116 wins Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance, the famous trio from Baseball’s Sad Lexicon, all made the All-Star team. Tinker finished first in Defensive WAR (3.6) as it was his defense that put him here. His hitting would eventually come around, but his glove was outstanding enough to carry him. He didn’t hit well in the World Series, going three-for-18 (.167) with no extra base hits and one RBI.

SABR says, “’It is impossible to speak of the great deeds which made the Cubs of 1906 the most formidable team in the history of the game without due mention of their peerless shortstop, Joe Tinker,’ wrote F. C. Lane in Baseball Magazine. ‘The shadow of Hans Wagner has long obscured the deeds of the short-field men, and the great Dutchman will go down in history as the most incomparable shortstop who ever played the game. But it is hardly fair to make comparisons where Wagner is concerned. Admit that he is in a class by himself, a most obvious statement, and then state what is equally obvious, that the head of the shortstop department outside the Flying Dutchman clearly belongs to the Chicago star.’

“His fielding improved dramatically over the next several years, however, and in 1906 he led all NL shortstops with a .944 fielding percentage. Joe went on to lead the league in that category five times, and he also led the NL in range factor four times and double plays twice.”

magee2

LF-Sherry Magee, Philadelphia Phillies, 21 Years Old

1905

.282, 6 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Extra Base Hits-50

2nd Time All-Star-Magee, the outfielder you either loved or hated, made his second consecutive All-Star team. He finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.6), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.6), ninth in slugging (.407), and second in stolen bases (55). He’d be one of the National League’s great power hitters for many years to come. Magee’s yet another player who would’ve thrived playing in a home run era.

SABR says, “Today we would call Sherry Magee a five-tool player: he could hit, run, field, throw, and hit with power. For more than a decade he was the Philadelphia Phillies’ clean-up hitter and greatest offensive star, setting the all-time team record in stolen bases (387) and ranking among the top ten in almost every other category. Magee’s defense was nearly the equal of his offense; sensational catches with his back to home plate were his trademark, and Pirates scout Frank Haller commented that his every throw was ‘on a line and right on target.’

“The next year he was just as good, hitting .282 with 36 doubles, eight triples, and six homers and finishing second in the NL in stolen bases with 55, a modern Phillies record that stood until Juan Samuel swiped 72 in 1984.

“But as he reached stardom, Sherry also developed a reputation as a troublemaker. ‘On the ball field Magee is so fussy most of the time that people who do not know him naturally form the opinion from his actions that he is a born grouch,’ wrote the Philadelphia Times after the 1908 season.”

clarke6

LF-Fred Clarke, Pittsburgh Pirates, 33 Years Old

1895 1897 1901 1902 1903

.309, 1 HR, 39 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Triples-13

6th Time All-Star-It has been three years since Cap Clarke made the All-Star team due to injuries and a less than Clarke-like 1905 season. He’s back, however, continuing to be one of the game’s great player-managers. This season, Clarke finished seventh in batting (.309), eighth in slugging (.309), and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (140). As a manager, his team fell from second in 1905 to third this year with a 93-60 season, 23-and-a-half games behind the juggernaut Cubs. They had the league’s best pitcher, Vic Willis, and the league’s best hitter, Honus Wagner, but it wasn’t enough to win the league.

At Baseball History Daily, Wagner has much to say about his teammates and manager. It reads, “Wagner was also quick to credit his teammates: ‘I think the big reason for Pittsburgh’s success has been first that we’ve played together a long time and know each other and second, and greater, that every man is there to win for the team, no matter what he may do himself.  Last year (George) Gibson caught the greatest ball of any catcher living, and he enabled all the rest of us to play team ball all the time because he was in the team work every minute.  Besides (Fred) Clarke is the greatest manager in the business and a great leader.  No one knows how good Clarke is until he has played with him.’” The question is how good of manager would have Clarke been without Wagner on the team. That might be true, but how good of player would have Wagner been without Clarke as his skipper.

seymour5

CF-Cy Seymour, Cincinnati Reds/New York Giants, 33 Years Old

1899 1903 1904 1905

.286, 8 HR, 80 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-After his incredible 1905 season, it was inevitable the 33-year-old outfielder would settle down to his norm, and he did. Still, I wouldn’t have predicted an All-Star pick for this season, but Seymour continued to be the best of the non-Ruthian pitchers switching to hitters players. He started with Cincinnati, where he’d been since 1902, and wasn’t playing well, leading to him being purchased by the New York Giants from the Cincinnati Reds for $12,000. Once he got to New York, his hitting came back. For the Reds, he slashed .257/.317/.332 for an OPS+ of 99 and for the Giants he slashed .320/.365/.431 for an OPS+ of 146. Altogether, Seymour finished ninth in batting (.286).

Wikipedia says, “The Giants purchased Seymour from the Reds on July 12, 1906 for $10,000 ($266,556 in current dollar terms), the largest monetary transaction in baseball to date. Seymour attempted to hold out from the Giants in order to obtain a portion of this transfer fee, claiming that Herrmann had promised him this money if the sale was completed. McGraw convinced Seymour not to hold out, which could have set a precedent for players obtaining money in player transactions. He batted .286 in 1906 for the Reds and Giants, finishing eighth in the NL.

“Seymour was declared physically unfit for service in World War I. However, he worked in wartime jobs in the Speedway shipyards and Bush terminal. While working in the shipyards, he contracted tuberculosis, and died at his home on September 20, 1919. He was interred in Albany Rural Cemetery.”

lumley

RF-Harry Lumley, Brooklyn Superbas, 25 Years Old

.324, 9 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Slugging %-.477

Adjusted OPS+-179

Power-Speed #-14.3 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Harry Garfield “Judge” Lumley was born on September 29, 1880 in Forest City, PA. The five-foot-10 183 pound rightfielder had an interesting but short career, playing all seven of his seasons with Brooklyn from 1904-10. He could hit from the get-go, leading the National League in triples and homers in 1904 and this season, Lumley’s best ever, he finished ninth in WAR (6.2), fifth in WAR Position Players (6.2), fifth in Offensive WAR (5.9), third in batting (.324), eighth in on-base percentage (.386), first in slugging (.477), eighth in steals (35), and first in Adjusted OPS+ (179).

Patsy Donovan took over coaching the Superbas this season and helped them improve from eighth to fifth with a 66-86 record. Their hitting was decent enough, but they had absolutely no pitching. That’s surprising for a team with a reputation for great pitching, but that’s much later in its history.

                SABR says, “Injuries combined with a “tendency to embonpoint,” as one reporter described Lumley’s proclivity for gaining weight, caused the hard-hitting outfielder’s career to go steadily downhill after 1906. In 1907 he broke an ankle while sliding, ending his season after playing only 127 games. His nine home runs to that point were enough to rank second again in the N.L., and his .425 slugging percentage was the circuit’s third-best, but his batting average plummeted 57 points to .267.

“Lumley participated in an old-timers’ day at Ebbets Field in 1936 but failing health forced him to give up his restaurant the following year. A widower who never had any children, Harry Lumley died in Binghamton on May 22, 1938.”

1905 American League All-Star Team

P-Rube Waddell, PHA

P-Ed Killian, DET

P-Cy Young, BOS

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Harry Howell, SLB

P-Jesse Tannehill, BOS

P-Addie Joss, CLE

P-Al Orth, NYY

P-Jack Chesbro, NYY

P-Tom Hughes, WSH

C-Ed McFarland, CHW

C-Ossee Schrecongost, PHA

1B-Harry Davis, PHA

1B-Jiggs Donahue, CHW

2B-Danny Murphy, PHA

3B-Bill Bradley, CLE

3B-Jimmy Collins, BOS

SS-George Davis, CHW

SS-Bobby Wallace, SLB

LF-George Stone, SLB

LF-Topsy Hartsel, PHA

CF-Fielder Jones, CHW

RF-Sam Crawford, DET

RF-Elmer Flick, CLE

RF-Socks Seybold, PHA

 

waddell4

P-Rube Waddell, Philadelphia Athletics, 28 Years Old

1902 1903 1904

27-10, 1.48 ERA, 287 K, .172, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

1905 AL Triple Crown

1905 AL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-9.2 (2nd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-9.2 (3rd Time)

Earned Run Average-1.48 (2nd Time)

Wins-27

Win-Loss %-.730

Hits per 9 IP-6.326 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.859 (5th Time)

Games Pitched-46

Strikeouts-287 (4th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-179 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-39

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.6

Def. Games as P-46

Errors Committed as P-15

4th Time All-Star-It was another great year for George Edward Waddell, as he continued to mow down American League batters. He finished first in WAR (9.2), first in WAR for Pitchers (9.2), first in Earned Run Average (1.48), fourth in innings pitched (328 2/3), and first in Adjusted ERA+ (179).

This season led the Athletics to the league crown and the World Series. Connie Mack guided Philadelphia to a 92-56 record, beating out the White Sox by two games. Led by Harry Davis, it had the best hitting in the league and also great pitching, led by you-know-who. It was the Athletics’ and Waddell’s second American League title.

SABR’s Steven A. King wrote an article on Waddell missing most of the last month of the season and the World Series. Controversy brews about whether he injured his shoulder or was bribed to sit out. The official story from the article is, “A story has been told about a bit of horseplay when Waddell tried to destroy the straw hat worn by Philadelphia Athletics teammate Andy Coakley at the train station in Providence, Rhode Island, on September 8, 1905, resulting in Rube injuring his shoulder, causing him to miss most of the last month of the regular season, and the whole World Series versus the New York Giants.

“Whether Waddell was actually injured as he claimed, or was bribed to fake an injury, has remained at the core of the controversy. Biographies of Waddell and Connie Mack, his manager, have described it, and it has even been the subject of a mock trial staged at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008. A majority of those who voted on the verdict in this trial acquitted Waddell of the charge of bribery and faking the injury and most writers on the subject have generally taken a similarly sympathetic view.” It’s a long, long article, but take some time and read the whole thing.

killian

P-Ed Killian, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old

23-14, 2.27 ERA, 110 K, .271, 0 HR, 19 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-8

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

1st Time All-Star-Edwin Henry “Twilight Ed” Killian was born on November 12, 1876 in Racine, WI. The five-foot-11, 170 pound pitcher started with Cleveland in 1903. Before the next season, he was traded by the Cleveland Naps with Jesse Stovall to the Detroit Tigers for Billy Lush. He could have easily made the All-Star team in 1904, despite a 15-20 record. This season, Killian finished second in WAR (7.9), third in WAR for Pitchers (6.8), eighth in innings pitched (313 1/3), and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (120).

Detroit finished in third place with a 79-74 record. Bill Armour’s team finished 15-and-a-half games out, but the most important thing to happen for the Tigers was the rookie season of an 18-year-old outfielder named Ty Cobb who would be the best player on the team for many years to come.

Bleacher Report says, “His dad, Andrew, was a wheelwright. His mom, Etta, was a German immigrant. As a kid, Ed was very strong and athletic. He found himself on semi-pro teams early in life. In 1902, at 26, he signed his first professional contract with Rockford of the Three-I League. By the end of the year, he was on the Cleveland Naps and was 3-4 with a 2.48 ERA in eight starts.

“Killian had a typical build for major leaguers during his time, despite being considerably bigger than kids when he was one.” Who knows if Twilight Ed wouldn’t have had a better career if hadn’t started pitching professionally so late in life.

young15P-Cy Young, Boston Americans, 38 Years Old

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

18-19, 1.82 ERA, 210 K, .150, 2 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-0.867 (6th Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.842 (13th Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-7.000 (10th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.69 (6th Time)

15th Time All-Star-Back in 1890, Cy Young and Kid Nichols started their Major League careers. Cyclone was 23 years old and pitched just 17 games for Cleveland, while the Kid started at 20-years-old, won 27 games and made his first All-Star team. Both of them would continue mowing down hitters through the ‘90s and, if you had to guess, Nichols would end up with the better career.

However, what no one could know at the time is that Young’s arm was made of a different substance that most human limbs. It kept going and going and Young kept winning and winning. This season, he finished third in WAR (7.6), second in WAR for Pitchers (7.6), third in ERA (1.82), sixth in innings pitched (320 2/3), and second in Adjusted ERA+ (147).

Young, of course, has more All-Star teams than any other pitcher. His 15 is followed by Nichols’ 12.  Here’s the complete list of most All-Star teams made by position:

P- Cy Young (15)

C-Charlie Bennett (9)

1B-Cap Anson (13)

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

3B-Jimmy Collins (7)

SS-Jack Glasscock (11)

LF-Ed Delahanty (9)

CF-Paul Hines (8)

RF-Sam Thompson (7)

At this point in his career, Young has 423 wins, 68 more than Pud Galvin, who was in second place at the time. He still has two 20-win seasons left and 88 more wins left in his 38-year-old arm. This is his 15th consecutive season with 300 or more innings. In modern baseball, there hasn’t been a pitcher who tossed that amount since Steve Carlton in 1980 or 37 years at the time of this writing.

plank5

P-Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics, 29 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904

24-12, 2.26 ERA, 210 K, .230, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Games Started-41 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-35

Hit by Pitch-24 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Is it possible a pitcher with a 326-194 lifetime record was underrated? It was Plank’s fate to pitch in an era of outstanding hurlers. Yet the five-foot-11 lefty held his own and will continue to make All-Star teams for many years. What more could you ask for if you’re Connie Mack but to have a pitcher you could put out every three or four days who would give you great results? It had to be more refreshing than having to deal with the half-crazed Rube Waddell all the time.

This season, Plank finished fourth in WAR (7.3), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.6), second in Innings pitched (346 2/3), and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (117). Also, he pitched in his first World Series, but unfortunately met the juggernaut that was Christy Mathewson and went 0-2 despite his 1.59 ERA.

Wikipedia gives more info on the World Series, saying, “In 1905, Plank made his first trip to the World Series. He faced Christy Mathewson in the first game and Joe McGinnity in the fourth game. Though Plank gave up only three runs in 17 innings during the series, the Athletics lost to the New York Giants in five games and did not score an earned run in the entire series.” SABR states, “Plank’s 1905 performance, in which his teammates scored zero runs for him, foreshadowed his fate in World Series play, as he would often pitch just brilliantly enough to lose in heartbreaking fashion.” He would eventually win a championship, so don’t weep for him too much.

howell3

P-Harry Howell, St. Louis Browns, 28 Years Old

1901 1904

15-22, 1.98 ERA, 198 K, .193, 1 HR, 10 RBI

Hsll of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Complete Games-35

Assists as P-178

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-5.54

3rd Time All-Star-Howell continued to show great skill for a bad team and also perfectly display the limitations of the won-loss record. This season, Howell finished sixth in WAR (6.6), fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.2), sixth in ERA (1.98), fifth in innings pitched (323), and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (129).

As for the Browns, Jimmy McAleer coached them to their worst season thus far, a last place 54-99 record. They had the second worst hitting in the league as gauged by OPS+ and the third worst ERA+. What do they say about teams that can’t hit or pitch? Oh yeah, they stink.

SABR says, “The spitter became both a source of Howell’s success and also a contributing factor in his failures. An enthusiastic proponent of the spitball, Howell, according to one report, ‘simply loves to throw the “spitter” and tries his hardest to retire every batter on strikes. When pitching, Howell always has a mouth full of slippery elm and he simply covers the ball with saliva. When Howell is pitching, the infielders always complain about handling the ball.’ The infielders’ difficulty may have contributed to his uneven record, as Howell typically gave up more unearned runs than the average Browns pitcher. In 1905, for example, when Howell went 15-22 despite a 1.98 ERA, he surrendered 38 unearned runs, 35 percent of his total runs allowed. The league average that year was 29 percent, a figure in line with the rest of the St. Louis pitching staff.” I hope St. Louis didn’t have any germophobic infielders.

tannehill4P-Jesse Tannehill, Boston Americans, 30 Years Old

1898 1899 1904

22-9, 2.48 ERA, 113 K, .226, 1 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-Tannehill had another good year, but this is probably his last All-Star team. This season, Powder finished seventh in WAR (6.4) and eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.5). At this point in his career, Tannehill is 175-94 and looks like he should easily wind up with 200 wins. Spoiler alert, he didn’t. He started declining in 1906, but remained with Boston until 1908, when he was moved midseason to the Senators. He pitched for Washington in 1909 and then didn’t pitch in the majors in 1910. He finished his career pitching one game for the Reds in 1911, giving up seven runs in four-and-a-third innings. Tannehill ended up finishing three wins short of 200.

Wikipedia says, “After retiring as a player, Tannehill managed the Portsmouth Truckers of the Virginia League in 1914. He then served as an umpire in the Ohio State LeagueInternational League, and Western League, before returning to the Majors as a coach for the Philadelphia Philliesin 1920, a stint that lasted one season. In 1923 he managed the Topeka Kaws in the Southwestern League.

“In his later years, Tannehill worked in a Cincinnati machine shop and was a frequent visitor to Crosley Field, the home of the Cincinnati Reds from 1912 to 1970. He died of a stroke at Speers Hospital in Dayton, Campbell County, Kentucky on September 22, 1956.” Tannehill did get a smidgen of Hall of Fame consideration which is fair because when he was good, he was really good. He could have easily made another All-Star team, which would give him five, which puts a player right on that line of being in or out of Cooperstown.

joss

P-Addie Joss, Cleveland Naps, 25 Years Old

20-12, 2.01 ERA, 132 K, .134, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Adrian “Addie” Joss was born on April 12, 1880 in Woodland, WI. He was tall for his day at six-foot three and weighed in at 185 pounds. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee in 1978 and I’m okay with it. He could have easily made the All-Star team in 1903 when he went 18-13 with a 2.19 ERA or in 1904 when he went 14-10 with a league-leading 1.59 ERA. That would give him three All-Star teams at this point in his career and he would easily make the seven required for him to make my Hall of Fame. However, those things didn’t happen and his career was short, nine seasons, so it’s a toss-up.

Joss actually started for Cleveland in 1902 and would remain with it his whole career, through 1910. This season, he finished eighth in WAR (5.9), seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.8), seventh in ERA (2.01), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (130). He’s got better seasons to come.

Wikipedia says, “Joss’s repertoire included a fastball, a ‘slow ball’ (today known as a changeup), and an ‘extremely effective’ curve. Baseball historians Rob Neyer and Bill James ranked Joss’ fastball third (1900–1904) and sixth (1905–1909) in the major leagues. George Moriarty explained that Joss had only one curveball because ‘he believed that with a few well mastered deliveries he could acquire great control and success with less strain on his arm.’  In an era filled with spitball pitchers, Joss achieved his success without ever altering the baseball. Joss threw with a corkscrew windup motion, described as ‘an exaggerated pinwheel motion.’ Shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh described his windup: ‘He would turn his back toward the batter as he wound up, hiding the ball all the while, and then whip around and fire it in.’”

orth2

P-Al Orth, New York Highlanders, 32 Years Old

1901

18-16, 2.86 ERA, 121 K, .183, 1 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team for the Phillies in 1901, Orth jumped to the Senators in 1902 and pitched for them until 1904, when he was traded mid-season to the Highlanders. He and Jack Chesbro made a lethal combo this season as Orth finished 10th in WAR (5.9), sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.9), and 10th in innings pitched (305 1/3).

Led by Clark Griffith, the Highlanders finished in sixth place in the American League with a 71-78 record, dropping from second in 1904. They finished third to last in OPS+ and third in ERA+, getting good pitching from Orth and Chesbro. However, they didn’t 41 wins out of Chesbro this season and it showed.

Orth was a two-way player. According to Wikipedia, “Orth was also known for his hitting skills, finishing seventh all-time among pitchers in hits, with .389. Orth would frequently hit above .300. The left-handed hitter was used as a pinch hitter 78 times and even played the field on a few occasions, including fifty-five games as an outfielder and eight at shortstop during his time with the Washington Senators.”

From SABR: “Shortly after his arrival with the Highlanders, Orth turned his season around, helping to keep New York in the pennant race until the last day of the season with an 11-6 record and league-average 2.68 ERA. Orth’s turnaround was probably due in part to teammate Jack Chesbro, who rode the spitball to a 41-win season that year. Orth himself said he first used the spitball at the end of the 1904 season and considered the pitch ‘more effective than a curve’ with a ‘quicker break.’ Orth threw it ‘regularly’ in the 1905 season, as he posted an 18-16 record with a 2.86 ERA for the sixth place Highlanders.”

chesbro5

P-Jack Chesbro, New York Highlanders, 31 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904

19-15, 2.20 ERA, 156 K, .188, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

5th Time All-Star-It’s worth asking the question of whether it was worth it to future of the Highlanders to pitch Chesbro 454 innings in 1904, despite his incredible results. He’s probably got one more All-Star team after this season and then would fade quickly. How many pitches does a Major League’s pitcher have in it anyway? Just don’t include Cy Young in that equation, because he’s a freak. Happy Jack has now made five All-Star teams in a row, but Young is up to 15 in a row and isn’t done yet. Cyclone should have his own Hall of Fame.

Led by his spitball, Chesbro finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3), 10th in ERA (2.20), and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (133). His problem was he pitched 150 fewer innings than in 1904.

Wikipedia mentions, “Before the 1905 season, Chesbro announced that he had created a pitch he called the ‘jump ball’. He struggled in the 1905 season, registering a 19-15 record. During the 1905 season, Chesbro was involved in the first squeeze play in baseball. At third base, Chesbro mistakenly thought he had received a steal sign from manager Clark Griffith, while Willie Keeler bunted for a hit. As Chesbro scored, Griffith made a note of the play and taught it in spring training the following season.”

It’s not clear how successful Chesbro would be nowadays, with the outlawing of the spitball and new balls being put in play every few pitches. But for his era, Chesbro was one of the best — for a little while.

hughest

P-Tom Hughes, Washington Senators, 26 Years Old

17-20, 2.35 ERA, 149 K, .212, 1 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Thomas James “Long Tom” Hughes was born on November 29, 1878 in Chicago, IL. Apparently being six-foot-one and 175 pounds garnered the moniker of “Long” in those days. He started with Chicago in the National League in 1900-01, before moving to the American League in 1902 where he pitched for both Baltimore and Boston. In 1903, he had an outstanding 20-7 record for the Americans in helping them win the first World Series. In the Series, he started one game, lasting only two innings and giving up three runs, two of them earned. The year 1904 found him pitching for both New York and finally Washington, where he will remain for the rest of his career. This season, he made the All-Star team as Washington’s best player, pitching 291 1/3 innings with a 2.35 ERA.

The Senators, coached by Jake Stahl, did move up from eighth to seventh this year with a 68=83 record. They were last in OPS+ and ERA+, but still finished 11 games ahead of the last place Browns.

SABR says, “In 1905, Hughes enjoyed one of his best seasons in Washington, finishing the year with a 2.35 ERA in 291 1/3 innings, though his 17 wins were offset by 20 losses. He pitched six shutouts, five over the same team, the Cleveland Naps. ‘His one ambition this season has been to be the master of that team of heavy-hitters at Cleveland,’ the Washington Post reported. ‘And now that he has succeeded…the baseball world is talking about his achievement. Hughes is regarded by ball players as one of the most skilled pitchers in either big league. They claim he has no superior when he wants to exercise all his pitching talents. But Tom doesn’t always feel that way.’ At season’s end, one Washington paper collected money for a fan testimonial for ‘Long Tom.’ In appreciation for his efforts, the fans presented Hughes with a diamond scarf pin in the shape of a fleur-de-lis.”

mcfarland4

C-Ed McFarland, Chicago White Sox, 31 Years Old

1898 1899 1900

.280, 0 HR, 31 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-In McFarland’s 1900 blurb, I wrote, “Catcher is the hardest position in which to predict future All-Star teams. My guess would be McFarland is done making them, but who knows.” It is almost impossible to predict the future for backstops, but in a weak year at the position, McFarland, five years after last making an All-Star team, is back. He slashed .280/.345/.364 for an OPS+ of 129 in 80 games, which isn’t bad at all for a catcher. Okay, NOW he’s done making All-Star teams.

McFarland will, however, be a part of the White Sox 1906 pennant-winning team and actually get one at bat in the World Series. He grounded out to third. Hey, have you played in the World Series? Then don’t judge!

Of his later life, SABR says, “After baseball McFarland became, according to a nephew, a landlord. He apparently didn’t keep up with former teammates or others in baseball; National League President Ford Frick at one point issued an appeal to the public to locate a couple of dozen major leaguers – including McFarland – with whom the league had lost touch. In 1942, in the year he turned 69, McFarland married Zelda Palmer.

“McFarland had to have had a strong constitution, since he lived to the age of 86. In November 1959 he suffered a fall that broke his pelvis, and after undergoing treatment at Cleveland’s Huron Road Hospital, McFarland died on November 28.” That’s an incredibly long life for someone who struggled with drinking throughout his Major League career.

schrecongost3

C-Ossee Schrecongost, Philadelphia Athletics, 30 Years Old

1899 1903

.271, 0 HR, 45 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-114

Putouts as C-790 (4th Time)

Double Plays Turned as C-11

Range Factor/9 Inn as C-8.19 (4th Time)

Range Factor/Game as C-7.94 (4th Time)

Fielding % as C-.984

3rd Time All-Star-Schrecongost may have had his best season ever this year, finishing sixth in Defensive WAR (1.3). He’s most famous for being Rube Waddell’s catcher, but he was a fine player on his own. In the World Series, Shrek (yes!) went two for nine with a double. His .222 average in the Series was below only Topsy Hartsel’s .235. The team, as a whole, hit only .155 against the tough Giants’ staff. How many players can say they doubled off the amazing Christy Mathewson in a World Series. Shrek can!

Of his 1905 year, SABR states, “Osee’s 1905 season got off to a halting start. He missed most of spring training, with his father dying and then, not long after he returned to camp, his sister, Annie, died and he had to go back home once more.

“Things turned around in 1905. Schreck hit .271, drove in 45 runs, improved his fielding percentage to .984 in 123 games, and helped roommate Waddell post a 27-10 record with an ERA of 1.48 (leading the league in wins and ERA), and helping boost the Athletics from 1904’s fifth place to the pennant. He set a record, catching 29 innings in one day, on July 4, 1905, in Boston. This year was his worst one, though, for working bases on balls. He came to the plate 429 times and walked just three times.” You should read the whole SABR article for a comprehensive look at the relationship between Waddell and Schrecongost. It’s very amusing!

davish2

1B-Harry Davis, Philadelphia Athletics, 31 Years Old

1904

.285, 8 HR, 83 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-93

Doubles-47 (2nd Time)

Home Runs-8 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-83

Extra Base Hits-61

Power-Speed #-13.1 (2nd Time)

AB per HR-75.9 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 1B-150

2nd Time All-Star-Oh, if Davis could have been born in a time when homers really mattered, he’d be all over the Hall of Fame. He led the American League in homers for the second straight season while also finishing ninth in WAR (5.9), second in WAR Position Players (5.9), fifth in Offensive WAR (4.8), eighth in batting (.285), fourth in slugging (.422), fifth in steals (36), and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (137). Davis also helped the Athletics make the World Series where he went four-for-20 with a double in a losing cause.

SABR says, “Long before Babe Ruth revolutionized the game with the home run, during a period when hitting a baseball was likened by some to swatting a cabbage, Harry Davis was one of the country’s most feared sluggers. Known today primarily for leading the American League in home runs four consecutive seasons, the right-handed Davis was as apt to win games with his brains as he was with his bat. Hand picked by Connie Mack, he was the heart and soul of the early Philadelphia Athletics teams who dominated the newly formed A.L., winning six titles and three World Series. Davis really had two separate major league careers: one before 1900 and the other after; one as an itinerant player without a steady team or position, the other as the cornerstone of a dynasty. He was credited with being ‘at least 25 per cent of the brains of the Philadelphia American League baseball club.’ Over a career that spanned more than thirty years as a player, coach, manager and scout, Harry Davis was one of the most respected and admired figures in baseball.”

donahuej

1B-Jiggs Donahue, Chicago White Sox, 25 Years Old

.287, 1 HR, 76 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,645

Putouts as 1B-1,645

Assists as 1B-114

Double Plays Turned as 1B-77

Fielding % as 1B-.988

1st Time All-Star-John Augustus “Jiggs” Donahue was born on July 13, 1879 in Springfield, OH. The six-foot-one, 178 pound first baseman received his nickname as a youngster, according to SABR, which says, “As a young teen John worked at a cigar store in the downtown arcade. Never one to stay indoors, when the store wasn’t busy he stepped outside and did dance steps. Customers started calling him Jiggers, after the Chigoe flea, or jigger. The nickname was later shortened to Jiggs.”

Donahue started in 1900 playing three games for Pittsburgh and then played two games for the Pirates in 1901, before jumping to the American League and becoming a full-time catcher for Milwaukee, which then became the Browns in 1902. After a year off, he came to Chicago in 1904, now being moved to first base, a position at which he was a natural. This season, Jiggs finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.0), seventh in batting (.287), ninth in on-base percentage (.346), and eighth in steals (32). It was his best season ever.

Wikipedia says, “Donahue had his greatest success from 1904 to 1908, after switching to first base for the Chicago White Sox. Donahue’s defensive skills were a key to the White Sox’ 1906 World Series championship team, and he led American League first basemen in fielding percentage, assists, and putouts for 3 consecutive seasons, from 1905 to 1907. In 1907, Donahue had 1,846 putouts, which is still the major league record for putouts by a first baseman. He also holds the major league single season record for most chances accepted per game with 12.65 in 1907.”

murphy2

2B-Danny Murphy, Philadelphia Athletics, 28 Years Old

1904

.277, 6 HR, 71 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 2B-151

2nd Time All-Star-With an injury besetting Nap Lajoie, Murphy became the top second baseman in the American League, at least for one season. He finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.3), eighth in Offensive WAR (4.4), 10th in slugging (.389), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (128). In the World Series, Murph struggled, as did most of the Athletics, going three-for-16 with a double, as the A’s lost to the Giants, 4-1. Or as SABR recaps it, “Philadelphia made its first World Series appearance in 1905 as Murphy smacked 42 extra base hits and tied for third in the AL with six home runs. The smart little second sacker batted .277 during the season, but collected just three hits in 16 at-bats as the Mackmen were blanked three times by Danny’s old Giants teammate, Christy Mathewson.” In the Series, Murphy also committed four errors.

The fact that Murphy’s .389 slugging percentage ended up in the top 10 in the American League shows how low run production was during this Deadball Era of baseball. Teams in the Junior Circuit averaged just 3.68 runs per game and almost 30 percent of those were unearned. It was a time of banjo hitting, sacrifice bunting, and shutdown pitching. The AL started in 1901 averaging 5.35 runs per game, but it continued to drop. By 1908 and 1909, runs scored per game will be at their lowest ever, 3.44. At least until 1968. I’ve always liked the Earl Weaver three-run homer strategy and that’s what it looks like nowadays in 2017, but I do have nostalgia for bunting, hit-and-running, and steals.

bradleyb4

3B-Bill Bradley, Cleveland Naps, 27 Years Old

1902 1903 1904

.268, 0 HR, 51 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 3B-190 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 3B-17 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.945 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-When considering the low-scoring era in which he toiled, there weren’t too many stretches matching Bradley’s play in the early 1900s. This season, he finished eighth in WAR Position Players (5.0) and third in Defensive WAR (1.7), His hitting, which was sensational the past few years, started to decline in 1905 and would never get back to where it was. It was the beginning of the end for the great third baseman.

Bradley also took over the managerial reins for Nap Lajoie late in the year. After Lajoie coached the team to a 56-57 record, the third baseman managed Cleveland to a 20-21 record the rest of the season. The Naps dropped from fourth to fifth place with a 76-78 record.

SABR says, “But things began to unravel for Bradley during the 1905 season, when he was diagnosed with ‘autotoxicity’, a stomach ailment. Weakened by the illness, Bradley’s batting average plummeted to .268, and for the first time in his career he failed to hit a single home run.

“Even his personal life had taken a turn toward the macabre. In November, 1905, a 36-year-old book agent, Christian Schlather, entered the Bradley home, fondled Bradley’s 14-year-old sister, Alice, and threatened to kill her if she would not elope with him. When she met the man later, Bill jumped out and thoroughly thrashed Schlather, who was later convicted of intoxication, carrying concealed weapons, and assault and battery. The would-be kidnapper and rapist was almost lynched by a hostile crowd of Bradley supporters before police arrived.”

collins7

3B-Jimmy Collins, Boston Americans, 35 Years Old

1897 1898 1901 1902 1903 1904

.276, 4 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

7th Time All-Star-I sometimes wonder if we appreciate when we’re watching the all-time greats. Of course, I’m sure the Boston fans had great appreciation for the career of Cy Young, but did they realize they were watching one of the great third basemen of all time. This has a good chance of being his last All-Star team, but Collins shined for a long time at a tough position and most of this while also managing the team. Look at Cy Young’s blurb to see the list of leaders by position in All-Star teams made.

Collins finished ninth in Offensive WAR (4.0) and ninth in Defensive WAR (1.1). As a manager, his team dropped from first to fourth as the Americans finished with a 78-74 record.

After this season, Collins would remain with Boston until 1907 when he was traded to Philadelphia. He would finish as a player for the Athletics in 1908. Despite a lifetime 455-376 as a manager for Boston from 1901-06, he’d never manage again. As a hitter, he’d finish his career with a lifetime 53.2 WAR, a .294 average, 65 homers and 983 runs batted in. His stats would seem more impressive had he played in almost any other era of baseball.

Wikipedia states, “When Collins was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1945, he was the first to be chosen primarily as a third baseman. In 1981, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included him in their book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time. Collins became a charter member of the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.

“Jimmy Collins married Sarah Murphy in 1907, and the couple had two daughters. After his retirement from baseball, they moved back to Buffalo, where Collins worked for the Buffalo Parks Department. Collins died of pneumonia on March 6, 1943 at the age of 73.”

davis9SS-George Davis, Chicago White Sox, 34 Years Old

1893 1894 1897 1899 1900 1901 1902 1904

.278, 1 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-7.2

Defensive WAR-2.8 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-56 (4th Time)

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

9th Time All-Star-Back in the 1800s, Jack Glasscock dominated at the shortstop position. He had the misfortune of not playing on any winning teams and didn’t get the recognition due. He’s still not in the Hall of Fame. Having the difficult task of comparing different eras, I’d give Glasscock the nod over Davis, but Davis is a great one to be sure. He’s not Honus Wagner, but who is? It’s like saying the great pitchers are not Cy Young. Well, of course they aren’t, because no one is. There’s a reason the best pitcher wins the Cy Young Award and not the Jack Chesbro Award.

This season, Davis had his best season ever, finishing fifth in WAR (7.2), first in WAR Position Players (7.2), second in Offensive WAR (5.5), first in Defensive WAR (2.8), 10th in batting (.278), sixth in on-base percentage (.353), and ninth in steals (31). Just an outstanding overall season, all at the age of 34.

SABR’s overall synopsis of Davis’ career says, “Known as ‘Gorgeous George’ for his graceful play and blond locks, George Davis established himself as one of the game’s most well-rounded players during his 20 seasons in the major leagues. At the plate, the switch-hitting Davis was a model of consistency, batting better than .300 every year from 1893 to 1901. In the field, the shortstop was steady and reliable, leading his league in fielding percentage four times. On the basepaths, the 5’9″, 180-pounder was a constant threat, swiping 619 bases in his career, the third most ever by a player whose primary position was shortstop, behind Honus Wagner and Bert Campaneris. John McGraw described Davis as ‘an exceptionally quick thinker,’ a reputation which led to Davis spending time as the manager of the New York Giants. Yet despite his many achievements, Davis vanished from sight after his career ended and died in obscurity.”

wallace7

SS-Bobby Wallace, St. Louis Browns, 31 Years Old

1898 1899 1901 1902 1903 1904

.271, 1 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

Led in:

 

Games Played-156

Def. Games as SS-156

7th Time All-Star-Did the baseball fans of this era realize they were watching four of the greatest shortstops of all time? They got to watch the powerful Honus Wagner, who couldn’t field as well as the next three, but was the best of them all. Then there was George Davis, whose hitting prowess was dimmed by playing in the Deadball Era, but still great with the bat and the glove. Bill Dahlen, the only of these four who isn’t in Cooperstown, though he is in my Hall of Fame, was steady at the position year after year. Finally, there’s Wallace, playing every game for terrible teams for basically his entire career. He was the wizard with the glove at a time that was rare in baseball.

This season, Wallace finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.2), third in Offensive WAR (5.1), and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.3). He’s got a good shot at making the ONEHOF in the next couple years.

SABR says, “During his prime years with the Browns, Bobby was a fearsome hitter; though his batting average never surpassed .285 during his 15-year stay with the club, Wallace at various times ranked among AL leaders in hits, walks, total bases, doubles, triples, and slugging percentage. He was also almost annually among the RBI leaders, ranking in the top ten during eight out of 12 seasons from 1897-1908.” There have definitely been many shortstops over the history of baseball who fit the no-hit, all-glove stereotype, but Wallace isn’t one of them. He could do both equally well.

stone

LF-George Stone, St. Louis Browns, 28 Years Old

.296, 7 HR, 52 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

At Bats-632

Plate Appearances-691

Hits-187

Total Bases-259

Runs Created-89

Def. Games as OF-154

1st Time All-Star-George Robert Stone was born on September 3, 1876 in Lost Nation, IA. (That’s an awesome name for a town.) Stone started with the Boston Americans in 1903, playing two games and having only two at bats. He struck out both times. He didn’t play in 1904, but became the starting leftfielder with the Browns this season and Stone lit it up from the very beginning. He finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.8), fifth in Offensive WAR (4.8), sixth in batting (.296), eighth in on-base percentage (.347), fifth in slugging (.410), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (144).

SABR says of his stance, “Stone’s batting style was the subject of considerable fanfare. ‘When [Stone] first joined the Browns he was let go by Boston because Jimmy Collins did not like his style and considered him a doubtful batter owing to it,’ The Sporting News remarked in 1906. ‘Stone crouched down over the plate, with his bat tight against his shoulder, took two steps and soaked the ball for all he was worth…His explanation of the advantages of the crouch is that it gets the eyes in a better position to follow the ball, as they are almost on a direct line with any delivery that comes over the plate. Secondly, the crouch sets the muscles so that a quick chop can be taken at the ball instead of the longer swing employed by most players. As a matter of fact, Stone can and does hit the ball with terrific force, when it looks as though he is going to let it pass without attempting to hit it, so close is the leather to him before he starts his stroke.’”

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LF-Topsy Hartsel, Philadelphia Athletics, 31 Years Old

1901

.275, 0 HR, 28 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.409

Bases on Balls-121 (2nd Time)

Times on Base-270

2nd Time All-Star-Hartsel made the National League All-Star team in 1901 for the Orphans, then jumped to the American League Athletics after the season. He played well from 1902-04, just not good enough to make the All-Star team, despite leading the AL in steals and walks in 1902. This season, Hartsel finished seventh in Offensive WAR (4.7), first in on-base percentage (.409), fourth in steals (37), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (138). In the World Series, Topsy topped Philadelphia in batting average, hitting .235 (four-for-17) with one double and two steals.

SABR says, “Standing just 5’5″ and a stocky 169 pounds, Topsy Hartsel used his small size to become the most effective leadoff batter of the Deadball Era. During his 10 seasons with the Athletics, Hartsel led the American League in walks five times, on base percentage twice, and runs scored once. His 121 free passes in 1905 remained the American League record until Babe Ruth shattered it in 1920. Batting at the top of Connie Mack’s order and playing a solid left field, he set the table for some of the era’s best teams as his Philadelphia Athletics won four pennants during his ten year tenure with the club. The Sporting News said on reporting his death in 1944, ‘Though never an outstanding batsman, Hartsel, who was only five feet five inches tall, was one of the game’s greatest leadoff men. He was a lefthanded hitter, very fast, with an uncanny eye at the bat. And once he got on base he was a difficult man to stop.’”

jonesf3CF-Fielder Jones, Chicago White Sox, 33 Years Old

1901 1902

.245, 2 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Though I say Jones has a 75 percent chance of making my Hall of Fame, the truth is he’s not going to. It would have helped if he made the All-Star team in either 1903 or 1904. As a matter of fact, if he would have made either of those teams, he’d most definitely be in my Hall of Fame. That was Fielder’s problem. He had five full-time seasons before he made his first All-Star team at the age of 29 and then had a couple more seasons in his prime that weren’t among the league’s very best.

This season, Jones finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.9) and  eighth in Defensive WAR (1.2). (Hey, he really is living up to this name!) He also managed the White Sox, who moved up from third to second. Chicago played to a 92-60 record as George Davis helped it finish third in OPS+ and first in ERA+ (124), despite not having any All-Star pitchers. Next year, fielding and pitching will lead the team to a World Series title and give them the nickname, “Hitless Wonders.”

SABR states the same thing, saying, “The White Sox moved up to second place in 1905, just two games behind Philadelphia. The pitching staff was the best in the AL and the team was second in runs scored. The Sox weren’t eliminated from the race until they dropped two of three to the Athletics late in September. According to STATS, Jones’ squad won 10 more games than expected.”

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RF-Sam Crawford, Detroit Tigers, 25 Years Old

1901 1902 1903

.297, 6 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as OF-.988

4th Time All-Star-After an off-season in 1904, Crawford is back on the All-Star team and also made my Hall of Fame. Congratulations, Wahoo Sam! This season, he finished third in WAR Position Players (5.3), third in Offensive WAR (5.1), fourth in batting (.297), fourth in on-base percentage (.357), third in slugging (.430), and third in Adjusted OPS+ (148).

Ty Cobb joined the Tigers this season and he and Crawford would be teammates for 13 seasons. Wikipedia has much to say about the relationship of these two superstars, stating, “Sam Crawford and Ty Cobb were teammates for parts of 13 seasons. They played beside each other in right and center field, and Crawford followed Cobb in the batting order year after year. Despite the physical closeness, the two had a complicated relationship.

“Initially, they had a student-teacher relationship. Crawford was an established star when Cobb arrived, and Cobb eagerly sought his advice. In interviews with Al Stump, Cobb told of studying Crawford’s base-stealing technique and of how Crawford would teach him about pursuing fly balls and throwing out base runners. Cobb told Stump he would always remember Crawford’s kindness.

“The student-teacher relationship gradually changed to one of jealous rivals. Cobb was unpopular with his teammates, and as he became the biggest star in baseball, Crawford was unhappy with the preferential treatment given Cobb. Cobb was allowed to report late for spring training and given private quarters on the road – privileges not offered to Crawford. The competition between the two was intense.”

flick6

RF-Elmer Flick, Cleveland Naps, 29 Years Old

1898 1900 1901 1903 1904

.308, 4 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1905 AL Batting Title

Offensive WAR-5.5

Batting Average-.308

Slugging %-.462

On-Base Plus Slugging-.845

Triples-18

Adjusted OPS+-166

Adj. Batting Runs-38 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-4.5 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.789

 

6th Time All-Star-In an era with Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb, it’s easy to forget about the contributions of Elmer Harrison Flick. Yet there weren’t too many better than this short rightfielder, as he constantly showed his prowess in the American League. This season, his .308 average led the league, which was the lowest figure to lead the AL until Carl Yastrzemski’s .301 in 1968. He also finished fourth in WAR Position Players (5.3), first in Offensive WAR (5.5), second in on-base percentage (.383), first in slugging (.462), seventh in steals (35), and first in Adjusted OPS+ (166). That .462 slugging is the lowest to ever lead the Junior Circuit.

Flick’s family will also make the journey to Carter Lake, IA, for his Ron’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony. He made his sixth All-Star team multiplied by his 53.2 career WAR putting him over 300, which is all it takes to make my Hall of Fame. It’s much tougher to make the ONEHOF, which only inducts the one player a year who is the best that is not currently in the One-a-Year Hall of Fame and Flick might make that one, too.

SABR says,Best known as the player who Cleveland would not trade for the young Ty Cobb or as the man who won the American League batting title with the lowest average prior to 1968, Elmer Flick was more than just an answer to a trivia question.  An underrated Hall of Famer whose on-the-field accomplishments are nearly forgotten today, Flick was a hard-hitting, fleet-footed outfielder who had his major league career curtailed by a mysterious gastrointestinal ailment.”

seybold2

RF-Socks Seybold, Philadelphia Athletics, 34 Years Old

1902

.274, 6 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-I’m not sure anyone who played their rookie year at the age of 30 or older ever had a better career than Seybold. This season, he finished seventh in slugging (.402) and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (133). Then, like so many of the Athletics, his bat went silent in the World Series. Seybold was two-for-16 with no extra base hits in the Fall Classic as Philadelphia lost to the Giants, 4-1.

After this season, Seybold would play three more years with the Athletics before retiring after the 1908 season. Altogether, in nine seasons, Seybold had a 24.4 career WAR with a 294 average, 51 homers, and 556 RBI. It doesn’t look great, but he didn’t play fulltime in the Major Leagues until he was 30-years-old.

Wikipedia says of his later life, “At the end of July 1919, Babe Ruth equaled Seybold’s American League record of 16 home runs in a season; Ruth went on to hit 29 homers in 1919.

“Seybold was married but had no children. His wife, Wilhelmina ‘Minnie’ Heitz, died in 1917. In his later years, Seybold was employed as a steward of a social club (Fraternal Order of Eagles) in Jeannette, Pennsylvania. In 1921, Seybold was driving a car when it overturned at a sharp curve on the Lincoln Highway east of Jeanette; he was killed instantly. He left an estate valued at $20,000. Seybold was buried next to his wife at Brush Creek Cemetery in Irwin.” Seybold had a short career and short life, but packed a lot into it.

1905 National League All-Star Team

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Irv Young, BSN

P-Ed Reulbach, CHC

P-Bob Ewing, CIN

P-Tully Sparks, PHI

P-Deacon Phillippe, PIT

P-Bob Wicker, CHC

P-Jake Weimer, CHC

P-Orval Overall, CIN

P-Bill Duggleby, PHI

C-Roger Bresnahan, NYG

C-Mike Grady, STL

1B-Frank Chance, CHC

1B-Dan McGann, NYG

2B-Miller Huggins, CIN

3B-Art Devlin, NYG

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Bill Dahlen, NYG

LF-Sherry Magee, PHI

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, BRO

CF-Cy Seymour, CIN

CF-Mike Donlin, NYG

CF-Roy Thomas, PHI

CF-Homer Smoot, STL

RF-John Titus, PHI

 

mathewson5

P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 23 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904

31-9, 1.28 ERA, 206 K, .236, 2 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1905 NL Triple Crown

1905 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.28

Wins-31

Walks & Hits per IP-0.933

Strikeouts-206 (3rd Time)

Shutouts-8 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.219

Adjusted ERA+-230

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.03 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-57

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.5

Assists as P-116 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-If you think about it, many of baseball’s greatest players have uncouth demeanors. Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens. Yet that’s not the case with the game’s two greatest pitchers at this time – Cy Young and Mathewson. All the reports on Big Six spoke of his gentlemanly qualities and use him as a model for what a baseball player should be. This season, Mathewson finished second in WAR (10.1), second in WAR for Pitchers (9.1), first in ERA (1.28), third in innings pitched (338 2/3), and first in Adjusted ERA+ (230). I’m not picking this as his best season, but that’s only because every season Matty pitched, save a couple here and there, was a work of art.

His pitching allowed New York to win the National League pennant for the second straight season and this time, it actually decided to play in the World Series.  The Giants finished 105-48, nine games ahead of Pittsburgh. Their hitting, led by centerfielder Mike Donlin, was the best in the league, while their pitching, led by Mathewson, was right near the top. John McGraw’s squad bested the Philadelphia Athletics, 4-1, and Big Six was the reason why. He started three games and tossed three shutouts. It might be the greatest World Series performance of all time.

Philadelphia’s manager acknowledged Mathewson’s prowess, according to the Baseball Hall of Fame page, which says, “’Mathewson was the greatest pitcher who ever lived,’ Hall of Fame manager Connie Mack said. ‘He had knowledge, judgment, perfect control and form. It was wonderful to watch him pitch – when he wasn’t pitching against you.’”

youngi

P-Irv Young, Boston Beaneaters, 27 Years Old

20-21, 2.90 ERA, 156 K, .103, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-9.2

Innings Pitched-378

Games Started-42

Complete Games-41

Batters Faced-1,475

1st Time All-Star-Irving Melrose “Young Cy” or “Cy The Second” Young was born on July 21, 1877 in Columbia Falls, ME. This is one of those seasons which makes people question the validity of WAR. According to Baseball Reference WAR, Young’s 20-21, 2.90 ERA season was better than Mathewson’s 31-9, 1.28 ERA, season. Ridiculous! Also, this season is a warning to why it’s dangerous to give nicknames early in a man’s career, because comparing this man to Cy Young is like comparing Andrew Dice Clay to Jerry Seinfeld.

I’m sorry if the above sounds negative, because Young did have a great season, finishing third in WAR (8.0), first in WAR for Pitchers (9.2), and first in innings pitched. SABR says, “All these years later, Irv’s 1905 total of 378 innings pitched and 41 complete games are still major-league records for a rookie in the 20th century. Needless to say, in this day and age of almost incessant relief pitching, they are records that will most likely last forever. And that’s a long, long time.” When he wasn’t pitching, his team, the Beaneaters, were 31-82. Altogether, Boston, coached by Fred Tenney, finished in seventh place with a 51-103 record. It’s what happens when a team can’t hit or pitch. Tenney would never manage a good team, but still stick around for four different seasons.

After this season, Young would be with Boston until 1908, before being traded to Pittsburgh mid-season. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1909 and finished off his career pitching two seasons with the White Sox in 1910 and 1911. He’d finish 63-95 for his career with a 3.11 ERA and a career 8.3 WAR.

reulbach

P-Ed Reulbach, Chicago Cubs, 22 Years Old

18-14, 1.42 ERA, 152 K, .127, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. 63 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-6.418

1st Time All-Star-Edward Marvin “Big Ed” Reulbach (pronounced ROYLE-bock) was born on December 1, 1882 in Detroit, MI, exactly 82 years before yours truly. The six-foot-one, 190 pound pitcher had a sensational rookie year, finishing fifth in WAR (7.4), third in WAR for Pitchers (8.3), second in ERA (1.42), and second in Adjusted ERA+ (209). He’s off to a good career, in which he’ll appear in four different World Series. Believe it or not, there actually was a good time to pitch for the Cubs.

There have been some good players born on my birthday, but the one that’s in the Hall of Fame only played one game and went oh-for-one. No, it’s not Moonlight Graham! He never batted. It’s longtime Dodgers manager Walter Alston. Larry Walker might change that someday.

SABR has the story of how Big Ed started: “But fate had something else in store for Ed Reulbach in 1905. While pitching under the alias of ‘Sheldon’ for the Montpelier-Barre Hyphens of Vermont’s outlaw Northern League, he met and fell in love with his future bride, Mary Ellen ‘Nellie’ Whelan of Montpelier. To be closer to Nellie, Ed decided to forego his senior year at Notre Dame and enroll in medical school at the University of Vermont. In the spring he became the star of the UVM baseball team, batting cleanup and playing left field when he wasn’t pitching. Newspapers called Reulbach the ‘greatest of all college pitchers,’ and on May 12, after winning his fourth start, 1-0, against Syracuse, he received an offer from the Chicago Cubs that ‘would take the breath away from an average person,’ according to the Burlington Free Press. That night, accompanied by a large group of students, Ed caught the train to New York.”

ewingb

P-Bob Ewing, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

20-11, 2.51 ERA, 164 K, .262, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-George Lemuel “Long Bob” Ewing was born on April 24, 1873 in New Hampshire, OH. The six-foot-one, 170 pound pitcher didn’t enter the Majors until he was 29 with Cincinnati. After a total record of 30-32 from 1902-04, he broke through this year, finishing sixth in WAR (6.8), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.3), eighth in innings pitched (311 2/3), and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (131). At the time, the Reds were playing in a hitters’ park called Palace of the Fans.

Cincinnati, managed by Joe Kelley, finished 79-74, fifth in the National League. With Ewing leading the way, the Reds had some of the best pitching in the league. None of that was enough to save Kelley’s job. He was gone after the season despite leading the Reds to three straight records of over-.500 ball.

Did Ewing throw a no-hitter in 1903? It’s hard to tell because this Wikipedia article is so dreadfully written, but here’s what it says, “The season’s highlight came on August 18, 1903. The headline in the ‘Cincinnati Post’ told the story: ‘Kelley Claims Ewing Pitched a No-Hitter’ He blanked the New York Giants 7 to 0, giving up one infield hit by Jack Dunn in the eighth inning. The official scorer recorded the play as an out, but was ordered to score it as a hit. A dispatch from New York after the game stated: ‘Long Bob Ewing, fed on raw meat and clams for a week, was taken out of his cage and sent against the Giants…Old Wapak fired the leather down the alley so fast that the haze in its wake looked like the smoke in a shooting gallery.’ A seasoned and confident Bob Ewing barnstormed with the Reds after the season concluded.”

sparks2

P-Tully Sparks, Philadelphia Phillies, 30 Years Old

1903

14-11, 2.18 ERA, 98 K, .128, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Sparks had an off-season in 1904, going 7-16, but is back this season with another good season. He finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3), sixth in ERA (2.18), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (133). Sparks pitched for a decent Phillies team that finished 83-69, fourth in the National League. Hugh Duffy’s squad had good hitting, led by rightfielder John Titus and only fair-to-middling pitching.

SABR says of his season, “His 1905 ERA was 2.18 and he was 14-11 for the fourth-place Phils. One game in particular helped his earned-run average considerably, though it ended in a loss. On August 24 at Philadelphia’s Baker Bowl against the visiting Chicago Cubs, Sparks and Ed Ruelbach were both about as stingy as could be, neither of them allowing a run for the first 12 innings. A triple and a single resulted in an earned run being charged to Sparks, but the Phillies tied it on a base hit, a sacrifice fly foul ball, and another hit. Both pitchers were still going into the 20th inning, when a single, a sacrifice, and a hit up the middle scored another one for Chicago, and Philadelphia failed to score. Sparks was 0-for-7 in the game, leaving for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the 20th.”

Sparks wasn’t terrible, by any means, but it’s puzzling to me he received a nominating vote for the Hall of Fame in 1946. Meanwhile, Ed Reulbach never received any kind of vote whatsoever for Cooperstown. There goes the Hall driving me crazy again!

phillippe3

P-Deacon Phillippe, Pittsburgh Pirates, 33 Years Old

1900 1903

20-13, 2.19 ERA, 133 K, .093, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.548 (3rd Time)

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

3rd Time All-Star-Phillippe had a tough 1904 season, pitching only 166 2/3 innings with a 3.24 ERA, but came back this year. He finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.0), seventh in ERA (2.19), and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (137). It seems like a pitcher with a lifetime 138-83 record and 2.56 ERA up to this point in his seven season career should have more than three All-Star appearances, but there you go. This might be his last one.

As for his team, the Pirates, Fred Clarke had them in the thick of the race again, but New York was just too good. Pittsburgh finished 96-57, nine games out. It was led by Honus Wagner, the great shortstop, but had only average pitching.

Baseball Reference states, “He had an illness that affected his eye in 1904, but recovered for 1905. However, he began to have arm troubles. And in 1908, a line drive broke his finger. In 1909, he pitched 6 innings in the 1909 World Series which the Pirates won against Ty Cobb‘s Detroit Tigers. In 1910, at the age of 38, he went 14-2, which was the best winning percentage in the league. He also hit an inside-the-park grand slam home run, one of the last pitchers to do so.

“Incredibly, Deacon never had a losing season in his 13 years of major league baseball. In 1969, Pittsburgh Pirates fans voted Deacon Pittsburgh’s all-time right handed pitcher.” That’s incredible to me, because sports fans tend to regard people in their own era as the best and not look back some 50 years as those wise 1969 Pirates fans did.

wicker

P-Bob Wicker, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

13-6, 2.02 ERA, 86 K, .139, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Robert Kitridge “Bob” Wicker was born on May 25, 1877 in Bono, IN, and the Cubs couldn’t win with or without him. Bono? U2? We move on. Wicker started pitching one game for the Cardinals in 1901, then became a regular pitcher for them the next season. In 1903, he pitched one game again for the Cardinals, then was traded to the Cubs for Bob Rhoads. He won 20 games for Chicago in 1903, 17 in 1904, and then made the All-Star team this season. Wicker finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.7), third in ERA (2.02), and third in Adjusted ERA+ (147). He only pitched one more season, splitting between Chicago and Cincinnati in 1906. Wicker finished with a 64-52 record, a 2.73 ERA, and 10.5 WAR.

SABR wraps up his life with one pithy paragraph, saying, “During the first decade of the Deadball Era, the Chicago Cubs boasted eight different pitchers who posted 20-win seasons for the club.Perhaps the least known of them is Bob Wicker, a strapping 26-year-old right-hander who went 20-9 in 1903. Unhappily for Wicker, he was traded to Cincinnati early in the 1906 campaign, thus missing out on the four National League pennants and two World Series crowns the Cubs would win in the coming five-season span. By the time that the Cubs completed their championship run in 1910, Wicker was out of Organized Baseball, pitching mostly for semipro teams. Still, Wicker soldiered on, pitching/managing in the Class B Northwestern League in 1915, and thereafter playing in the Chicago city league until he was nearly 40. The remainder of his life was spent quietly, living and working in the Chicago area until his death in early 1955.”

weimer3

P-Jake Weimer, Chicago Cubs, 31 Years Old

1903 1904

18-12, 2.26 ERA, 107 K, .207, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Not too many pitchers had a better start to their career than Tornado Jake Weimer, who now has three All-Star appearances in three seasons. This season, he finished seventh in WAR (6.5), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.8), ninth in ERA (2.26), and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (131). The Cubs had a sensational pitching staff in the 1900s.

As I write this, the 2017 World Series started and is currently tied 2-2. I live in the Los Angeles area, but I’m rooting for the Astros over the Dodgers. I’m a Reds fan and, because of the former Cincinnati-Los Angeles rivalry, I still don’t like the Dodgers. I’m getting flak on Facebook for that.

My point in this, and admittedly this has nothing to do with Weimer, is how people come up with favorite teams. For me, when I started liking sports in the ‘70s, there was one baseball game a week on TV, the NBC Game of the Week. Because the Reds were good, they tended to show them a lot, so that was the team I knew. I lived in the Omaha area at that time and there was no real pro team around. So I started rooting for the Reds and have ever since.

Next, and I know this will sound strange from someone compiling All-Star teams for 146 years of baseball history, is how seriously people take sports. I’m rooting for the Astros to beat the Dodgers, but if they do or they don’t, it won’t change my life one bit. It’s entertainment. Are you not entertained!?

overall

P-Orval Overall, Cincinnati Reds, 24 Years Old

18-23, 2.86 ERA, 173 K, .145, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-13

1st Time All-Star-Orval Overall was born on Groundhog Day! 1881 in Farmersville, CA. The six-foot-two, 214 pounder had a great rookie year for the Reds, finishing eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.2) and seventh in innings pitched (318). He’d be traded to Chicago next season and have a short but successful career for the Cubs dynasty.

Wikipedia says, “He attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a member of Sigma Nu and captain of the football team. He was named an All-American in football.

“Overall started his professional baseball career in 1904. With the Pacific Coast League‘s Tacoma Tigers, he pitched 510.2 innings, going 32–25 with a 2.78 earned run average. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in September. In 1905, his rookie season, he was the ace of the Reds pitching staff and won 18 games.”

SABR quotes a teammate, “’Overall pitches his curve with a wide, sweeping overhand swing, releasing the ball over the side of the index finger as his hand turns downward,’ wrote Johnny Evers in Touching Second. ‘His swing and curve are duplicates of those used by Adonis Terry, Jim McCormick, and some of the great pitchers of the past, and when his jerk motion at the finish of the wide swing is sharp, the curve actually darts downward.’

“Orval’s father, Daniel, was a well-to-do businessman who owned the Palace Hotel in addition to a citrus farm, and Orval enjoyed an upper-class upbringing. After pitching and playing first base at Visalia High School, the 19-year-old Overall enrolled at the University of California-Berkeley in the fall of 1900. He excelled in his studies of agricultural science and was elected president of the freshman class.”

duggleby2

P-Bill Duggleby, Philadelphia Phillies, 31 Years Old

1901

18-17, 2.46 ERA, 75 K, .109, 1 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs Allowed-10

2nd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team in 1901, Duggleby switched over to the American League Athletics and pitched two games for them, before jumping back to the Phillies that same 1902 season. His ERA was high for the Deadball Era, being above three for three straight seasons. This season, it dipped to 2.46 as he was one of the best pitchers in the league. Duggleby finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (3.5) and 10th in ERA (2.46). He’s probably going to be an All-Star one more time.

Wikipedia explains his two-game excursion in the AL, stating, “Duggleby was one of the ‘jumpers’ who left the Phillies in 1902 for other teams, including (in Duggleby’s case) Connie Mack‘s new American League team, the Athletics. The Phillies filed suit to prevent the ‘jumpers’ — in particular, Nap LajoieBill Bernhard, and Chick Fraser — from playing for any other team, a plea which was rejected by a lower court before being upheld by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Duggleby was the first of the ‘jumpers’ to return to the Phillies, on May 8, 1902, after playing only two games with the A’s.”

Duggleby was one of two players, the other being St. Louis’ Jack Taylor, to give up double-digit home runs in the National League. It was difficult to give up homers in those days. The leading home run hitter for the league was Cincinnati rightfielder Fred Odwell and he only had nine. I’m wondering how the modern fan would like old-time baseball with its low run totals and emphasis on strategy.

Bresnahan Roger 1461-68WT2_Bat_PDC-Roger Bresnahan, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1903 1904

.302, 0 HR, 46 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Caught Stealing %-55.5

Range Factor/Game as C-6.97

3rd Time All-Star-In 1900, Bresnahan played one game for the Orphans, catching in that contest. It was also his main position in 1901. In 1902, for Baltimore and the Giants, he split his time between the outfield, catcher, and third base. In 1903 and 1904, Bresnahan made the All-Star team as a centerfielder. This season, he finally made the move to catcher and ended up as the best in the league. He finished 10th in batting (.302) and sixth in on-base percentage (.411), good for anyone, but outstanding for a backstop. He also had an outstanding World Series, hitting .313 with two doubles and four walks. Bresnahan had two hits, including a double in the fifth and final game. His OPS (.938) was the highest on the team as the Giants pounded the Athletics, 4-1.

New York manager John McGraw said of his catcher, “Bresnahan had a memory almost as good as [Christy] Mathweson or [Joe] McGinnity. He never had to be told twice. Once we had discovered a weak spot in the opposition and had discussed a plan for attacking it I could depend absolutely on Bresnahan to carry it out. He did not forget. His whole mind was concentrated on winning that particular game and it was rarely that he overlooked anything.”

From SABR: “It was during his years with the Giants that Bresnahan made his contributions to the development of playing equipment. After a hospital stay necessitated by a beaning, he experimented in 1905 with the Reach Pneumatic Head Protector, which was essentially a leather football helmet sliced in half to protect the left side of a right-handed hitter’s head.”

grady2

C-Mike Grady, St. Louis Cardinals, 35 Years Old

1904

.286, 4 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Grady is back on the All-Star team for his second straight season as one of the best catchers in baseball. He finished fifth in the National League in slugging (.434) and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (139). Drinking affected his career and hindered his longevity, but when Grady was good, he was good.

St. Louis wasn’t good, however, and it took three managers to prove it. Kid Nichols (5-9), Jimmy Burke (34-56), and Stan Robison (19-31) guided the team to a sixth place 58-96 record. It had no All-Star pitchers and not much hitting.

Wikipedia says, “Grady is known for being part of an unfortunate piece of baseball history. As a third baseman for the Giants in 1899, Grady committed four fielding errors on a single play. He misplayed a groundball for one error, threw over the first baseman’s head for another, dropped the throw from the first baseman as he tried to gun down the runner at third, and threw over the catcher’s head into the stands as the base runner broke for home.

“Grady was vociferous and outspoken during his playing career, and never shied away from recounting the infamous tale of his most embarrassing moment. He was fond of saying that upon committing the third error of the play, he purposefully threw the ball into the stands in anger.”

SABR, of course, has to ruin everything, saying the play didn’t happen. This irritating thing known as “research” says he never made more than three errors in a game, never mind one play. Click on the link for details.

chance31B-Frank Chance, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

1903 1904

.316, 2 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.450

3rd Time All-Star-Chance made his third straight All-Star team for the Cubs, having another great year despite playing only 118 games. He finished eighth in WAR (5.6), fourth in WAR Position Players (5.6), fifth in Offensive WAR (5.1), sixth in batting (.316), first in on-base percentage (.450), seventh in slugging (.434), sixth in steals (38), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (159). Chance injured himself a lot or his career would be even more outstanding than it is.

However, the most important contribution from Chance this season was as manager. Frank Selee started out the year 37-28, before Husk took the reins. He guided the team to a 55-33 finish as the team finished 92-61, 13 games out of first. The team was led by its three All-Star pitchers. It would be the beginning of a great stretch for Chicago.

Bleed Cubbie Blue says, “By 1905 Selee was seriously ill with tuberculosis, and could not travel with the team. Chance acted as player-manager on the road. Selee resigned August 1, and Chance was elected manager by player vote, a result ratified by Hart. The vote was close, Chance was admired for his play and strategy, but disliked for his combative personal style. The team won 40 of the 63 games played under Chance’s control, finishing third. After years of mediocrity, the Cubs were seen as a club on the rise, but no one foresaw that the golden age of the team’s history was about to dawn.” Selee was Wally Pipped out of a job.

mcgann3

1B-Dan McGann, New York Giants, 33 Years Old

1898 1904

.299, 5 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit by Pitch-19 (5th Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.991 (5th Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Cap made his second straight All-Star team and won his second straight league title. This season, McGann finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.9), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.4), ninth in on-base percentage (.391), sixth in slugging (.434), and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (143). In the World Series, which New York won in five games over Philadelphia, he went four-for-17 (.235) with two doubles as the team’s cleanup hitter. Most of his damage came in one game when in the third game, a 9-0 win for the Giants, McGann went three-for-five with a double and four RBI.

McGann would play two more seasons with New York and finish his career with the National League Boston Doves in 1908. Then, Wikipedia says, “McGann suffered from severe clinical depression, a condition which ran throughout his family. One of McGann’s sisters committed suicide in 1890 after their mother died. On New Year’s Eve in 1907, one of McGann’s brothers died as a result of an accidental shooting. In 1909, another of McGann’s brothers committed suicide.

“On December 13, 1910, McGann committed suicide by shooting himself in the heart at a Louisville hotel. At the time of his death, he was 39 years old, and reportedly had been ‘in the best of health and humor’ when last seen. McGann was survived by two sisters, who, despite the family history of suicide, believed their brother had been murdered, as a diamond ring valued at $800 ($20,563 in current dollar terms) McGann had been seen wearing was missing.”

huggins

2B-Miller Huggins, Cincinnati Reds, 27 Years Old

.273, 1 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (Yes as manager)

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-103

Assists as 2B-525

Errors Committed as 2B-51

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.03

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.85

1st Time All-Star-Miller James “Hug” or “Mighty Mite” Huggins was born on March 27, 1878 in Cincinnati, OH. While most of his fame would come from managing Babe Ruth and the Yankees, the five-foot-six, 140 pounder was a decent player. He started as a 26-year-old rookie for the Reds in 1904 and had a good year this season, finishing 10th in Defensive WAR (1.0) and eighth in on-base percentage (.392).

Those sizes above might be false. SABR says, “’He [Huggins] was grievously handicapped by his lack of size,’ wrote John Sheridan in the Sporting News. While databases list Huggins at 5’ 6” and 140 pounds, he was actually much smaller, around 5’ 1”-5’2” and 125 pounds. When John McGraw had a chance to acquire Huggins for his Baltimore Orioles in 1901, he declined to do so. ‘That shrimp?’ he said to himself. ‘He’s too little to be of any use as a big leaguer.’

“Perhaps to compensate for his size, Huggins had a fierce and relentless determination to succeed and use his head to win. ‘Because he was so small and slight, he must overcome by clear thinking,’ wrote Frank Graham, ‘obstacles that other players could surmount by force.’

“Huggins endured the usual rookie hazing when he joined the Reds. The regulars were amused by Huggins’s crooked smile and funny batting stance. ‘Pipe the new mascot,’ howled the 6’5” Larry McLean, as he picked up the 5’6” rookie, and held up him for the other Reds to see. ‘Why, kid, you’re too little to play in the big leagues. We eat guys like you for breakfast. What’s your name, Pint-Size?’”

devlina2

3B-Art Devlin, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

1904

.246, 2 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-59

Assists as 3B-299

2nd Time All-Star-Devlin made his second straight All-Star team and won his second straight league title in his sophomore year. He finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.1), fifth in Defensive WAR (1.5), and first in steals (59). In the World Series, which the Giants won 4-1 over Philadelphia, he hit .250 with a double and three steals while hitting seventh in the lineup. He drove in his only run in the third game, singling to bring in Dan McGann and then pulled off a double steal, stealing second while Bill Dahlen stole home.

SABR states, “Devlin finished his rookie year with respectable numbers on a pennant-winning team, and slipped a bit in his sophomore year, but stole a league-leading 59 bases (tying Billy Maloney of Chicago), the only time he ever led the league in an offensive category. The Giants won the World Series, defeating the Philadelphia Athletics as Mathewson and Joe McGinnity threw four shutouts between them. The Athletics scored one of their three runs in Game 2 (and for the Series) in the eighth inning when Bresnahan dropped Devlin’s relay. Devlin hit .250 and drove in a run for the Series.”

And from the National Pastime Museum: “Christy Mathewson was not Irish—but the same could not be said about the team that surrounded him. The Giants’ best hitter, Donlin, was Irish, So was their second-best pitcher, McGinnity. Catcher Roger Bresnahan, the ‘Duke of Tralee,’ was Irish; Dan McGann, holding down the first-base bag, was Irish; Art Devlin at third was Irish; 15-game winner Hooks Wiltse was Irish—and likely to have been Irish are shortstop Bill Dahlan and utility man Boileryard Clarke. Of a certainty, with emphasis, Manager John McGraw was Irish. If the 1905 series is taken as a test case, Jerrold Casway is obviously right in terming the age as Emerald as far as the Giants of New York City go.”

wagner7

SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904

.363, 6 HR, 101 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-10.2

WAR Position Players-10.2 (5th Time)

Offensive WAR-8.7 (5th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.14 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.00 (2nd Time)

7th Time All-Star-Since the beginning of Major League baseball in 1871, the dominant players in the league, the ones that added the most value, had always been on the mound. The only position player to ever lead a league in WAR over these 35 years was Fred Dunlap, a second baseman in the 1884 Union Association, but that was a fluke because the league, which only existed for one season, was so watered down. This season, the great Wagner accomplished the same thing in a legitimate league and it would be the first of four straight seasons he’d do so.

This season, Wagner finished first in WAR (10.2), first in WAR Position Players (10.2), first in Offensive WAR (8.7), third in Defensive WAR (2.7), second in batting (.363), third in on-base percentage (.427), second in slugging (.505), third in steals (57), and second in Adjusted OPS+ (175). As a reminder, all of this was done in a league with a total slash line of .255/.315/.332. Half of the teams didn’t hit over .250.

Wikipedia says, “In September 1905, Wagner signed a contract to produce the first bat with a player’s signature, the Louisville Slugger, becoming the first sportsperson to endorse a commercial product; the Honus Wagner was to become a best-seller for years. One month later, with one point separating him from Reds center fielder Cy Seymour for the batting title, Wagner fell short in a head-to-head matchup on the final day of the season, with Seymour collecting four hits to Wagner’s two, as contemporary press reports stated that the fans were far more interested in the Seymour-Wagner battle than in the outcome of the games.”

dahlen9SS-Bill Dahlen, New York Giants, 35 Years Old, 1905 ONEHOF Inductee

1892 1896 1898 1899 1900 1902 1903 1904

.242, 7 HR, 81 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes

 

9th Time All-Star-Dahlen’s not in the Hall of Fame, though he should be, but he’s now in the ONEHOF, the Hall of Fame of my invention in which one player every year enters. The nominees for the ONEHOF for 1906 are Hardy Richardson, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, Joe McGinnity, Jimmy Collins, Bobby Wallace, and Honus Wagner.

Dahlen finished ninth in WAR (5.5), fifth in WAR Position Players (5.5), second in Defensive WAR (3.1), and seventh in stolen bases (37). He didn’t have much success in the World Series versus the Philadelphia Athletics, a series the Giants won 4-1. Bad Bill went hitless in 15 at-bats, though he walked three times and stole three bases. However, Wikipedia mentions, “Although he was hitless in the five-game Series, he contributed with flawless defense and by drawing three walks and stealing three bases. He was often considered one of the quietest players in the game, keeping to himself most of the time.” Wait, Bad Bill was quiet? That’s the first I’ve heard of that. Most of what I’ve read has Dahlen as a rabble-rouser. Or as SABR says, “Ferocious shortstop Bill Dahlen was ejected 65 times by umpires as a player and manager. This and other behavior earned him the nickname ‘Bad Bill.’ Yet his rowdy character tended to overshadow his contributions—a reliable hitter; excellent, aggressive baserunner; and one of the finest fielders of his era (the 1890s and early 1900s).” I wonder if Dahlen’s family went to Wikipedia and slipped that statement in there. It does seem tremendously out of place.

magee

LF-Sherry Magee, Philadelphia Phillies, 20 Years Old

.299, 5 HR, 98 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-155

Def. Games as OF-155

1st Time All-Star-Sherwood Robert “Sherry” Magee was born on August 6, 1884 in Clarendon, PA and is one of the most underrated players of all-time. He started out playing 95 games for the Phillies in 1904 and showed enough to become yet another of the great Philadelphia outfielders. This season, Magee finished eighth in WAR Position Players (5.0), eighth in Offensive WAR (4.2), 10th in slugging (.420), and fifth in steals (48). He’s got some much better seasons ahead.

SABR says, “The son of an oilfield worker, Sherwood Robert Magee was born on August 6, 1884, in Clarendon, Pennsylvania. ‘The Irish traits of quick wittedness, a hot temper and an aggressive love of fighting are his by birthright,’ wrote John J. Ward in Baseball Magazine. Regarding Magee’s personality, one Philadelphia reporter called him ‘as gentle and good-natured as an old woman.’ Ward, however, described him as ‘a man for whom it is easy to conceive a great liking or a passionate hatred.’ Though he stood only 5’11” and weighed 179 lbs., he was physically imposing-‘husky’ and ‘burly’ were adjectives commonly used to describe him. In addition to his baseball skills, Sherry was a crackerjack bowler and a standout football and basketball player.

“Over the next several years Sherry Magee rarely missed a game, establishing himself as one of baseball’s young stars. In 1905, his first full season, he was the biggest factor in Philadelphia’s gain of 31 victories over 1904, scoring an even 100 runs, stealing 48 bases, and batting .299 with 24 doubles, 17 triples, and five homers.”

sheckard4

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, Brooklyn Superbas, 26 Years Old

1901 1902 1903

.292, 3 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-After a disappointing 1904 season, Sheckard is back, making the team as Brooklyn’s only representative. He finished seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (140). It would have probably been a better season if he didn’t miss over 20 games.

As for his team, the Superbas, they, um, stunk. “Led” by Ned Hanlon, the team finished last with a 48-104 record. After seven years of coaching Brooklyn and leading it to two National League pennants, Hanlon was gone after this season.

SABR states, “Sheckard bounced back with a .332 average in 1903, when he also led the league with nine home runs and tied Chicago’s Frank Chance for the stolen-base crown with 67, but the following season his hitting plummeted again, this time to a dismal .239. Even though Jimmy batted a respectable .292 in 1905, reports circulated that he wasn’t playing up to his potential or, worse yet, that he might even be washed up. Despite Sheckard’s popularity with the fans, on December 30, 1905, Brooklyn traded him to the Chicago Cubs for outfielders Jack McCarthy and Billy Maloney, third-baseman Doc Casey, pitcher Buttons Briggs, and $2,000. Initially Jimmy balked at the deal–the press speculated that he would have preferred a move to McGraw’s Giants–but eventually he had a change of heart and reported to the Cubs.”

Every year, teams have to finish first and some have to finish last, but if this list has taught me anything, there are talented players strewn throughout the league. Sheckard was a good player and yet still got traded. This is how bad teams stay bad.

seymour4

CF-Cy Seymour, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

1899 1903 1904

.377, 8 HR, 121 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1905 NL Batting Title

Batting Average-.377

Slugging %-.559

On-Base Plus Slugging-.988

Hits-219

Total Bases-325

Doubles-40

Triples-21

Runs Batted In-121

Adjusted OPS+-182

Runs Created-139

Adj. Batting Runs-60

Adj. Batting Wins-6.5

Extra Base Hits-69

Offensive Win %-.871

Double Plays Turned as OF-12

4th Time All-Star-During the past couple of years, Seymour was an excellent hitter, but this season, he was otherworldly, easily having his best year ever. He finished fourth in WAR (8.0), second in WAR Position Players (8.0), second in Offensive WAR (7.6), first in batting (.377), second in on-base percentage (.429), first in slugging (.559), and first in Adjusted OPS+ (182). Plus Seymour led in all those categories above. He fell just one home run short from winning the Triple Crown.

SABR on this incredible season: “In 1905 no batter, not even the great Honus Wagner, could match Cy’s batting accomplishments. Throughout much of the season Wagner lagged a few points behind Wagner. Both players met in a season ending doubleheader. A newspaper account that would be slightly reminiscent to today’s readers of the head to head battle between Sosa and McGwire nearly a century later reported ‘ . . . 10,000 were more interested in the batting achievements of Wagner and Seymour than the games…cheer upon cheers greeted the mighty batsmen upon each appearance at the plate and mighty cheering greeted the sound of bat upon ball as mighty Cy drove out hit after hit. The boss slugger got 4 for 7 while Wagner could only get 2 for 7…’ allowing Cy to win the crown by 13 points. He was first not only in batting average` but also in hits, doubles, triples, total bases, RBI, slugging average, production, batter runs, and runs created. He was also a close second in home runs, runs produced and on-base percentage. His 1905 batting achievements served as a benchmark for his era; his .377 average was the best in the National League from 1901-1919; his slugging average of .559 was the best until Gavvy Cravath’s .568 in 1913; his 121 RBI were tops until Sherry Magee drove in 123 in 1910; and his 40 doubles was the most ever hit by any National League outfielder until Pat Duncan collected 44 in 1922.”

donlin3CF-Mike Donlin, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1901 1903

.356, 7 HR, 80 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-124

Singles-162

3rd Time All-Star-Unrealized potential is one of the saddest things in life, especially when the lack of reaching that potential is self-inflicted. Turkey Mike Donlin could hit with the best of them in the Deadball Era, but missed many games to injuries and his drinking. In 1904, he played 60 games for Cincinnati, before being traded to the Giants. This season, he finished seventh in WAR (6.5), third in WAR Position Players (6.5), third in Offensive WAR (6.8), third in batting (.356), fifth in on-base percentage (.413), third in slugging (.495), eighth in steals (33), and third in Adjusted OPS+ (167). It was Donlin’s best season ever.

It helped lead the Giants to the World Series where Donlin hit .263 (five-for-19) with a double. It wasn’t great, but with the arm of Christy Mathewson leading the way with three shutouts, it was more than enough.

Unfortunately, so many of the write-ups of Donlin’s life focus on his extra-curricular activities as in this note from The National Pastime Museum, which says, “Like many players of the time, Donlin craved the nightlife, and his booming voice drew attention in bars across the country. He was convivial up to a point but didn’t hold his liquor well and could turn nasty and even violent. In fact, he was sleeping off a bender in a jail in Santa Cruz, California, when the first summons to the Major Leagues arrived. That wasn’t the last time he experienced simultaneous highs and lows.” Only manager John McGraw could handle him.

thomas4CF-Roy Thomas, Philadelphia Phillies, 31 Years Old

1899 1903 1904

.317, 0 HR, 31 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Times on Base-275 (6th Time)

Putouts as OF-373 (3rd Time)

Assists as OF-27

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.72 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Thomas continued to show patience at the plate and continued to make All-Star teams. This season, he finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.4), sixth in Offensive WAR (4.6), fifth in batting (.317), fourth in on-base percentage (.417), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (135). However, Thomas now was 31 and his career would decline going forward. He played with Philadelphia until 1908, when he was traded to Pittsburgh, moved to the National League Boston Doves in 1909, and then finished off his career in Philadelphia in 1910-11. He’d never hit above .263 after 1905, though he continued to show a good batting eye.

Wikipedia states, “According to baseball analyst Bill James, Thomas is the only major league regular to have scored three times as many runs as he drove in. In 1470 games played, Thomas compiled 1011 runs scored and 299 runs batted in, as he posted a .290 batting average with a .412 on-base average and 244 stolen bases.

“Thomas was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1908 midseason. He also played for the Boston Doves in 1909, returning to the Phillies for the 1910–11 seasons. At his retirement, he held career fielding records for center fielders in putouts (NL) and fielding average (MLB). Thomas left a playing record that has endured. He ranks 20th all-time in walk percentage (.164), 29th all-time in on-base percentage (.412) and 84th all-time in walks (1,042).

“Thomas became a coach with the University of Pennsylvania baseball team in 1909, and continued playing in the majors while coaching for three seasons. From 1909 to 1919, he compiled a record of 106–43–3 for a .632 winning percentage, comparable to the best college coaches of all time.”

smoot

CF-Homer Smoot, St. Louis Cardinals, 27 Years Old

.311, 4 HR, 58 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Homer Vernon “Doc” Smoot was born on March 23, 1878 in Galestown, MD. The five-foot-10, 180 pound centerfielder started with the Cardinals in 1902 and was pretty much a singles hitter from the beginning. This season, he added a smidge of power and ended up on the All-Star team, having his best season ever. He finished 10th in Offensive WAR (3.9), seventh in batting (.311), eighth in slugging (.433), and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (138). Some players start adding that power around 27 years old like Smoot and light up their career, but this was the pinnacle for Doc.

Smoot played just one more season, playing 86 games for the Cardinals and 60 games for my Reds and would retire after having a five-year career.

Wikipedia says, “1906 saw Smoot’s career take a rapid turn for the worse. He started the season with the Cardinals, hitting only .248 with them. That prompted a midseason trade with the Reds, who sent Shad Barry in return for Smoot. Although his average rose while with the Reds-he hit .259 with them-that could not save his season or his career. After hitting only .252 combined that season, his major league career was over. He played his final major league game on October 7. After the 1906 season, his contract was sold to the Toledo Mud Hens of the American Association.

“Multiple explanations have been posed to explain the quick decline in production and from Smoot, and the quick end to his career. One claim is his eyesight became poor, although his obituary says his eyesight remained ‘undimmed’. His obituary says he was slowed by muscular rheumatism. Luck may have also played a factor, and Smoot was just unlucky and didn’t get the chance to play in the majors again.”

titus

RF-John Titus, Philadelphia Phillies, 29 Years Old

.308, 2 HR, 89 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-“Silent John” Franklin or “Tight Pants” Titus was born on February 21, 1876 in St. Clair, PA. The five-foot-nine, 156 pound rightfielder started with Philadelphia in 1903, but this season had his best season ever. Titus finished 10th in WAR (5.5), sixth in WAR Position Players (5.5), fourth in Offensive WAR (5.1), eighth in batting (.308), seventh in on-base percentage (.397), fourth in slugging (.436), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (152).

SABR says, “’Silent John’ Titus was a strong-armed outfielder who recorded more than 20 assists for seven straight seasons, but he was better known for his quiet demeanor, his mustache, his selectivity at the plate, and the ubiquitous toothpick in his mouth. ‘Titus had one of the best batting eyes I ever saw,’ said Pete Alexander, who played with Titus on the Phillies during the early part of his career. ‘He would take his position at the plate with the easiest and most confident air in the world. If the ball was an inch outside of the plate, he would watch it go by and never bat an eye lash. If it was an inch inside, he wouldn’t move. He would just draw in his stomach and let the ball pass. But if you put the ball over the plate, he would whale the cover off. It used to exasperate me merely to watch him. Many a time I have said to myself, If I were pitching, Old Man, I’d knock that toothpick out of your mouth and maybe then you’d move over.’”