1913 American League All-Star Team

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Reb Russell, CHW

P-Eddie Cicotte, CHW

P-Cy Falkenberg, CLE

P-Jim Scott, CHW

P-Willie Mitchell, CLE

P-Ray Collins, BOS

P-Vean Gregg, CLE

P-Ray Caldwell, NYY

P-Hugh Bedient, BOS

C-Wally Schang, PHA

C-Ed Sweeney, NYY

1B-Stuffy McInnis, PHA

1B-Chick Gandil, WSH

2B-Eddie Collins, PHA

2B-Nap Lajoie, CLE

3B-Home Run Baker, PHA

SS-Jack Barry, PHA

SS-Buck Weaver, CHW

CF-Tris Speaker, BOS

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Burt Shotton, SLB

CF-Clyde Milan, WSH

RF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, CLE

RF-Sam Crawford, DET

 

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P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 24 Years Old

1908 1909 1910 1911 1912

36-7, 1.14 ERA, 243 K, .261, 2 HR, 14 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

1913 AL Pitching Triple Crown

1913 AL MVP

1913 AL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-16.4 (2nd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-15.0 (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-1.14 (2nd Time)

Wins-36

Win-Loss %-.837

Walks & Hits per IP-0.780 (2nd Time)

Hits per 9 IP-6.035 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.988

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.321 (3rd Time)

Innings Pitched-346 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-243 (3rd Time)

Complete Games-29 (3rd Time)

Shutouts-11 (2nd Time)

Home Runs Allowed-9

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-6.395 (2nd Time)

Batters Faced-1,271 (2nd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-259 (2nd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.90 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-71 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-8.3 (2nd Time)

Putouts as P-21

Fielding % as P-1.000

6th Time All-Star-Just wow! For once, the MVP voters and I agree, but if either of us would have picked anyone but Walter Johnson this year, we’d be nuts. Could this 1913 season of the Big Train be the most dominant pitching season of all time? It was the highest ERA+ of all time, a record that would be beat in 1914 by Dutch Leonard. However, Dutch would pitch 120 less innings than Johnson. I think in the years I’ve been doing this list, it’s the most incredible mound performance I’ve recorded.

This season helped the Senators finish second in the American League for the second year in a row, six-and-a-half games behind Philadelphia. Clark Griffith led the team to a 90-64 record, mainly due to Johnson. When the Big Train didn’t get the decision, the Senators went 54-57.

SABR says, “Walter’s peak years were 1912-13, when he went 33-12 and 36-7, winning a Chalmers automobile as American League MVP during the latter year. He was now admired all over America not only for his pitching exploits and his fierce competitiveness, but also for the modesty, humility and dignity with which he conducted himself, never arguing with umpires, berating his teammates for their errors, brushing back hitters or using ‘foreign substances’ on the baseball. At a time when many ballplayers were ruffians and drunkards, Walter was never in a brawl and didn’t patronize saloons.

“During the summer of 1913, Walter Johnson met the love of his life, Hazel Lee Roberts, the daughter of Nevada’s congressman. They renewed their acquaintance when Walter returned from Kansas in 1914 and their romance soon became the talk of Washington society. The couple was married June 24, 1914, with the Chaplain of the U.S. Senate officiating. Their marriage was blessed with six children, of whom five lived to adulthood.”

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1913 National League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-Vic Willis

P-Babe Adams, PIT

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Pete Alexander, PHI

P-Slim Sallee, STL

P-Rube Marquard, NYG

P-Jeff Tesreau, NYG

P-Tom Seaton, PHI

P-Nap Rucker, BRO

P-Larry Cheney, CHC

P-Dick Rudolph, BSN

C-Chief Meyers, NYG

C-Tommy Clarke, CIN

1B-Jake Daubert, BRO

1B-Vic Saier, CHC

2B-Jim Viox, PIT

2B-George Cutshaw, BRO

2B-Larry Doyle, NYG

3B-Heinie Zimmerman, CHC

3B-Red Smith, BRO

3B-Hans Lobert, PHI

SS-Art Fletcher, NYG

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

LF-Sherry Magee, PHI

CF-Tommy Leach, CHC

RF-Gavvy Cravath, PHI

 

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1913 ONEHOF Inductee-Vic Willis, P

1899 1901 1902 1903 1906 1907 1908 1909

249-205, 2.63 ERA, 1651 K, .166, 1 HR, 84 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1995)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1906)

 

For any new readers, every year I pick a player who I believe to be the best player not currently in the ONEHOF, the One-a-Year Hall of Fame. I also have a second Hall of Fame, which is creatively called Ron’s Hall of Fame, in which any player whose career WAR multiplied by the number of All-Star teams made is 300 or greater is in. You’ll see those in the individual player write-ups and can see both lists in the About page on this site.

ONEHOF Nominees for 1914: Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Roger Bresnahan, Joe Tinker, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, Joe McGinnity, Johnny Evers, Ed Walsh, Nap Rucker, Ty Cobb.

Willis is the first player since King Kelly in 1903 to be inducted into the ONEHOF after retiring. Most players, at least at this point in history, are being inducted while still active.

It’s shocking to me it took until 1995 for Willis to be inducted into Cooperstown. What’s even more puzzling is that the six-foot-two righthander never even got one Hall of Fame vote. He was voted in by the Veteran’s Committee. This is despite playing on two championship teams, the 1898 Boston Beaneaters and the 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates. Hey, but I delayed in putting him in the ONEHOF myself, so maybe I’m no better than all those other baseball writers. Well, he’s in now, the 43rd inductee into this august society.

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P-Babe Adams, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

1911

21-10, 2.15 ERA, 144 K, .289, 0 HR, 13 RBI

MVP Rank: 22

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-9.1

WAR for Pitchers-8.1

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.40

2nd Time All-Star-It’s incredible someone named Babe didn’t pitch most of his good seasons until he was over 30. This year, the righty had his best season ever, finishing first in WAR (9.1); first in WAR for Pitchers (8.1); second in ERA (2.15), behind New York’s Christy Mathewson (2.06); second in innings pitched (313 2/3), trailing Philadelphia’s Tom Seaton (322 1/3); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (140). He did have the advantage of pitching in Forbes Field, a pitchers’ park.

Despite the great year of Adams, Pittsburgh had its worst finish, fourth, since 1904, when it also finished fourth. Fred Clarke continued to coach the Pirates, who finished 78-71. Their problem was that age finally caught up with Honus Wagner, who didn’t make this All-Star team for the first time since 1898. They would take a while to recover.

SABR says, “Best remembered for pitching three complete-game victories as a rookie to help the Pittsburgh Pirates win the 1909 World Series, Babe Adams was one of the Deadball Era’s greatest control pitchers. His record of 1.29 walks per nine innings over the course of his 19 years in the majors, 18 with the Pirates, ranks second on the modern list behind only teammate Deacon Phillippe’s 1.25. To put Adams’ mark in perspective, the preeminent control pitcher of recent years, Greg Maddux would have had to pitch another 217 consecutive nine-inning games without a walk to lower his lifetime walks per nine innings to the same level.” This year, he ranked third in bases on balls per nine innings (1.406), behind Mathewson (0.618!) and Chicago’s Bert Humphries (1.193).

mathewson12

P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 32 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912

25-11, 2.06 ERA, 93 K, .184, 0 HR, 9 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1910)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1903)

 

Led in:

 

1913 NL Pitching Title (5th Time)

Earned Run Average-2.06 (5th Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-1.020 (4th Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.618 (5th Time)

Hits Allowed-291 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-4.429 (8th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-153 (6th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-36 (6th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.0 (6th Time)

12th Time All-Star-For a man who struck out 267 batters in 366 1/3 innings in 1903, it’s hard to believe the great Mathewson actually K’d only 93 this year. He had another great year, no doubt. Big Six finished second in WAR (7.1), behind only Pittsburgh pitcher Babe Adams (9.1); second in WAR for Pitchers (7.1), trailing Adams (8.1); first in ERA (2.06); fourth in innings pitched (306); and first in Adjusted ERA+ (153). Mathewson even helped the Giants make their third straight World Series, where he pitched two games, allowing only three runs (two earned) for a 1-1 record and 0.95 ERA. This would be his last postseason appearance as he would finish 5-5 with a 0.97 ERA. Of course, that includes his three World Series shutouts of 1905.

John McGraw again managed the Giants to another first place finish with a 101-51 record, 12-and-a-half games ahead of Philadelphia. They had good overall hitting, especially from catcher Chief Meyers and great pitching, led by Mathewson.

This is most likely Mathewson’s last appearance on this list. SABR says, “In 1914, however, the 34-year-old Mathewson started experiencing a constant pain in his left side towards the end of the season. Doctors found nothing wrong and told him he was just getting old. It affected his performance, however; his ERA increased to 3.00 in 1914 even though he still managed to win 24 games, and the following year he was just 8-14 with a 3.58 ERA. By the midpoint of the 1916 season Matty had won just three games. Knowing that his days as an effective pitcher were behind him, he decided that he wanted to manage. On July 20 McGraw came through for his friend, trading him for Cincinnati Reds player-manager Buck Herzog on condition that he replace Herzog as manager.”

alexander3

P-Pete Alexander, Philadelphia Phillies, 26 Years Old

1911 1912

22-8, 2.79 ERA, 159 K, .126, 0 HR, 4 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1938)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-9 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as P-1.000

3rd Time All-Star-In doing this page, I’ve decided to do it in order so I don’t know 1914’s All-Star team yet and I can’t tell you every player that’s going to make it into my Hall of Fame. However, I do get to gaze into the future and know a player’s entire career, so I know Pete Alexander is going to have a WAR of over 100 and thus in his third year of pitching has made my Hall of Fame, the 61st member. This season, he finished third in WAR (6.2), behind Pittsburgh’s Babe Adams (9.1) and New York’s Christy Mathewson (7.1); third in WAR for Pitchers (6.8), trailing Adams (8.1) and Mathewson (7.1); and third in innings pitched (306 1/3), behind teammate Tom Seaton (322 1/3) and Adams (313 2/3). Alexander was one of the great ones, for sure, but he did it by just plugging away and packing in the innings year after year.

Philadelphia finished second, becoming the first team to finish in the top three in the National League standings that wasn’t New York, Chicago, or Pittsburgh since 1907 when the Phillies finished third. Red Dooin improved them from fifth with an 88-63 record, 12-and-a-half behind the Giants. Gavvy Cravath helped the team be one of the best hitting teams in the league, while Alexander’s exploits on the mound helped Philly be one of the top pitching squads. Old Pete pitched in the Baker Bowl, one of the infamous hitting parks of all time, so his stats look even more impressive.

sallee2

P-Slim Sallee, St. Louis Cardinals, 28 Years Old

1912

19-15, 2.71 ERA, 106 K, .211, 2 HR, 5 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-From Sallee’s previous write-up, we know he’s a boozer who was great when sober, but struggled with alcohol throughout his career. This season, his second consecutive on this list and his best one ever, he finished fourth in WAR (6.1), fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.8), and ninth in innings pitched (276).

St. Louis, who finished last in the National League, had a new manager who would have great success…elsewhere. Miller Huggins led the team to a 51-99 record. It wasn’t his fault the team couldn’t hit or pitch and the Cardinals would stick with Miller for a while.

SABR says, “Sallee’s 1913 season was probably his finest effort in all his years in baseball. He won 19 games for a last place team that won only 51, a team that finished last or next to last in every offensive category. Sallee pitched in 50 games and had an ERA of 2.71, well below the team and league average. The 1944 book Kings of the Mound: A Pitcher’s Rating Manual, rated Sallee’s pitching in 1913 as one of the finest seasons in history. In addition, he slugged his only two career home runs that season, stole home in a game against the Giants, and he remains the last Cardinal pitcher to do so.

“Hall of Fame baseball writer Fred Lieb should have the last word: ‘As lefthanded as Rube Waddell, Slim wasn’t as colorful as the Rube, but he had many of Waddell’s foibles. However, he was a likeable, willing chap, and like Waddell he usually delivered when he was in the ball game. Until he was sold to the Giants in 1916, he was St. Louis’ best pitcher.’”

marquard3P-Rube Marquard, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1911 1912

23-10, 2.50 ERA, 151 K, .219, 0 HR, 6 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1971)

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Last season, Marquard won the first 19 decisions of the season to set an all-time record. That’s probably the reason he’s in Cooperstown. He had a good stretch of years during the early 1910s, but there’s no way he should be in the Hall. This season, Marquard finished seventh in WAR (5.6), sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3), eighth in ERA (2.50), seventh in innings pitched (288), and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (126). In the World Series which the Giants lost to the Athletics, Marquard pitched two games with one of them a start and gave up seven runs, all earned, in nine innings. After winning two games in the 1912 Series, Marquard would be in three Fall Classics afterward and never win another World Series game.

Wikipedia says, “From 1911 to 1913, Marquard won at least 23 games each season and helped the Giants win three consecutive National League pennants. In 1911, he led the league with 237 strikeouts. In 1912, he led the league with 26 wins. He also made baseball history by winning 19 decisions in a row. Marquard allegedly celebrated by buying an opal stickpin to reward himself. Upon being told by a friend that opals were a jinx, he threw the pin into a river; but apparently the curse had already done its work, as he lost his next decision.” I wonder why it’s baseball that seems to be the most superstitious of all sports. I think it has to do with the long season and bored people sitting on the bench.

tesreau2

P-Jeff Tesreau, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

1912

22-13, 2.17 ERA, 167 K, .221, 0 HR, 7 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-7.085 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.330

Games Started-38

2nd Time All-Star-During this great stretch of the Giants from 1911-13, it was helpful to have three dominant pitchers like Christy Mathewson, Rube Marquard, and Tesreau. Tesreau’s the only one not to make it to Cooperstown, but he had a great stretch during the 1910s. This season, he finished sixth in WAR (5.6); seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.3); third in ERA (2.17), behind Mathewson (2.06) and Pittsburgh’s Babe Adams (2.15); eighth in innings pitched (282); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (145), trailing Mathewson (153). In the World Series loss to the Athletics, Jeff pitched two games, starting one, and gave up seven runs (five earned) in eight-and-a-third innings. He went 0-1.

SABR says, “At 6’2″ and 225 lbs., Jeff Tesreau was big and strong, just the way John McGraw liked his pitchers. With a steady personality and solid work ethic, Tesreau quickly leaped to stardom after developing a devastating spitball, which he threw with the speed of a top fastball. Over the course of his seven-year career he compiled a 115-72 record and 2.43 ERA while holding opponents to a .223 batting average (for comparison’s sake, Walter Johnson’s career mark was .227, Christy Mathewson’s was .236, and Pete Alexander’s was .250, though each pitched considerably longer than Tesreau), leading the National League in that category in each of his first three seasons. ‘That big fellow has the best spitball in the league,’ said Johnny Evers. ‘I think he is as good with the spitter as Ed Walsh.’ Despite Tesreau’s success, a petty dispute with McGraw in 1918 caused him to quit professional baseball when he was only 29 years old.”

seaton

P-Tom Seaton, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

27-12, 2.60 ERA, 168 K, .109, 1 HR, 2 RBI

MVP Rank: 11

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-27

Innings Pitched-322 1/3

Strikeouts-168

Bases on Balls-136

Batters Faced-1,324

1st Time All-Star-Thomas Gordon “Tom” Seaton was born on August 30, 1887 in Blair, NE. The six-foot, 175 pound righty started with Philadelphia in 1912 and then had his best year ever this season, finishing eighth in WAR (5.5); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.3); 10th in ERA (2.60); first in innings pitched (322 1/3); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (127). He had a short career and showed some wildness, walking over 100 batters four straight seasons.

SABR speaks of this tragedy: “The biggest game of the year for Seaton occurred in Chicago on August 7, while Seaton took the mound against the Cubs. His wife Rene was in labor and in danger of losing her life. Seaton pitched seven innings that day and lost, 5-2. He immediately returned to Philadelphia. Seaton’s child had already died, and doctors gave Rene no hope of survival. Rene did survive. She harbored a grudge against the Phillies and Dooin, whom she felt kept her husband from rushing to her side.

“According to newspaper accounts, Dooin withheld a telegram from Seaton urging the pitcher to hurry to Philadelphia to be with his wife. Dooin denied it, maintaining that he had given Seaton the telegram before the game and that Seaton had insisted that he pitch the game and leave after the contest. Mrs. Seaton did not believe Dooin. When the time came to pay back the Phillies, Rene Seaton was ready.

“When the Federal League appeared with an offer for more money, Mrs. Seaton reminded her husband about how she had been ‘wronged’ by manager Dooin and the Phillies. She insisted that he sign with the Feds.”

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P-Nap Rucker, Brooklyn Superbas, 28 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912

14-15, 2.87 ERA, 111 K, .241, 0 HR, 0 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

7th Time All-Star-After seven straight seasons of making the All-Star team, I’m putting Nap Rucker into my Hall of Fame. He’s credited for the work he did and not being punished because his teams were putrid over that stretch of time. This season will be Rucker’s last appearance on this list. He finished ninth in WAR (4.8) and ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.4). Going forward, he would pitch for Brooklyn three more seasons and actually be in the World Series in his last season of 1916, relieving in one game and pitching two scoreless innings.

Bill Dahlen managed the Superbas for his fourth and last season, as the team finished in sixth with a 65-84 record. For some reason, the team switched back to being the Superbas after being the Dodgers the previous two years. Brooklyn actually had decent pitching this season, allowing the fourth lowest amount of runs in the National League, but only middle-of-the-road hitting.

Here’s SABR on his retirement:  “To honor its best pitcher of the Deadball Era, Brooklyn held a ‘Nap Rucker Day’ at Ebbets Field on October 2, 1916. ‘I will not monkey around with baseball any more,’ the veteran southpaw said on the occasion. ‘I have had my day, and it has been a long one, in which I have made money and gained thousands of friends.’ Knowing that Rucker would retire after the season, Wilbert Robinson allowed him two innings of mop-up duty in Game Four of the 1916 World’s Series. Rucker pitched scoreless ball, striking out three Red Sox in his swansong.”

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P-Larry Cheney, Chicago Cubs, 27 Years Old

21-14, 2.57 ERA, 136 K, .192, 0 HR, 7 RBI

MVP Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-54

Saves-11

Wild Pitches-19 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as P-54

Errors Committed as P-9

1st Time All-Star-Laurence Russell “Larry” Cheney was born 80 years before my brother, on May 2, 1886, in Belleville, KS. The six-foot-one, 185 pound righty started with Chicago in 1911. He had a good season in 1912, going 26-10 with 28 complete games, before making his first All-Star team this season. Cheney finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5); ninth in ERA (2.57); fifth in innings pitched (305); and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (122). It was his best season ever. After this year, he would stay with the Cubs until 1915, when in midseason, he was traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Brooklyn Robins for Joe Schultz and $3,000. Cheney stayed with Brooklyn until 1919, pitching in the World Series in 1916, allowing two runs (one earned) in three innings. He ended up playing for three teams in 1919 – Brooklyn, Boston, and Philadelphia, all in the National League.

Johnny Evers took over managing duties on the Cubs and the team stayed in third place with a 88-65 record. Thanks to Heinie Zimmerman, Chicago was the best hitting team in the league, but its pitching, which used to be this squad’s specialty, was some of the worst in the NL. This was Evers last season coaching the Cubbies until 1921, when we would be back for a partial season.

Cheney would finish his career with a 116-100 record, a 2.70 ERA, and a 17.8 career WAR. He led the NL in wild pitches six times. Cheney died on January 6, 1969 in Daytona Beach, FL.

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P-Dick Rudolph, Boston Braves, 25 Years Old

14-13, 2.92 ERA, 109 K, .239, 0 HR, 6 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Richard “Dick” or “Baldy” Rudolph was born on the same day, just many years earlier, as my niece, on August 25, 1887 in New York, NY. The five-foot-nine, 160 pound righty started by pitching a handful of games for the Giants in 1910 and 1911. He didn’t pitch in the Majors in 1912 and then came to the Braves where he would garner his fame and fortune. This season, Baldy finished 10th in WAR (4.7) and 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.1). He has one better year ahead.

Rudolph’s team, the Braves, brought in George Stallings to manage and he immediately improved the team from eighth to fifth with a 69-82 record. As indicated by Rudolph being Boston’s only All-Star, this team had mediocre pitching and terrible hitting.

SABR says, “Rudolph became an immediate success in Boston, posting a 14-13 record and 2.92 ERA in 1913. Mitchell attributed the rookie’s solid performance to his brains and cunning. ‘He was one of the smartest pitchers who ever toed the rubber,’ said the Braves coach and future manager. ‘He wasn’t fast but had a good curve ball, which he mixed with a spitball, and he could almost read the batter’s mind. I’ve often sat on the bench with him and heard him tell whether a batter would take or hit. He made a real study of the profession.’” By the way, whenever you see me link information from SABR, I always recommend you clink the link and read the whole thing. The good people of SABR know more about baseball then I would be able to learn in a thousand years and always have great player articles.

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C-Chief Meyers, New York Giants, 32 Years Old

1911 1912

.312, 3 HR, 47 RBI

MVP Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-579 (4th Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Meyers was the National League’s best catcher for the third consecutive year and again helped lead the Giants to the pennant. He finished seventh in batting (.312), seventh in on-base percentage (.387), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (126). His hitting is going to start to decline after this year, though he’ll continue to be a good fielder. For whatever reason, Meyers played just one game in the World Series, going oh-for-four. New York lost the series to Philadelphia, 4-1.

SABR says, “From 1911 to 1913 Meyers finished in the Top 10 each year in Chalmers Award voting for the NL’s most valuable player. In 1911 he led the Giants in batting for the first of three consecutive seasons with a .332 average, third highest in the National League. ‘Meyers has become the deepest student of batting on the team,’ wrote a New York Times reporter after watching him correctly predict the type of pitches thrown by Pirates phenom Marty O’Toole. The next year Chief hit for the cycle on June 10 en route to a career-high six home runs and a .358 average, second in the NL behind only Heinie Zimmerman’s .372. His hot hitting continued in the 1912 World Series, when he started all eight games and batted .357. Meyers remained one of the Giants’ best hitters through the 1914 season, when he batted .286 in a career-high 134 games.” He still has one more World Series appearance left, but, as always with catchers, it’s tough to surmise whether Chief will make another All-Star team.

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C-Tommy Clarke, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

.264, 1 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Thomas Aloysius “Tommy” Clarke was born on May 9, 1888 in New York, NY. The five-foot-11, 175 pound catcher started with Cincinnati in 1909 and would have good seasons this year and the next. He was a decent hitter, slashing .264/.345/.355 for an OPS+ of 100 and a pretty good defender. On a team with a dearth of superstars, Clarke was one of the Cincy’s best.

From Baseball Reference: “After his playing career ended, catcher Tommy Clarke was a New York Giants coach for several seasons from 1932 to 1935 and in 1938.

From the September 10, 1910 edition of ‘The Sporting Life’:

“’Thomas A. Clarke one of the catchers of the Cincinnati National League Club, was born in Harlem, New York City, May 9, 1888. He started playing ball on Public School No.43’s team in 1901. His battery partner being Sammy Smith, who was with Clarke in Montreal and who was with him for a short time in Cincinnati last year. Clarke later caught for the Bradhurst A. C., the Avonia A. C., and the All-Nationals. He joined the Montreal Club in July, 1907, and would have been with the Royals a year earlier if his parents had not objected to his playing professional ball. Manager Clark Griffith, then with the New York Americans, recommended Clarke to the Montreal Club, the ‘Old Fox’ having had Clarke practicing on the hilltop and then discerning his worth. Clarke was bought by the Cincinnati Club Fall of 1908 for $2,500, and has been a member of the Cincinnati team since, having measured up to major league calibre.’”

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1B-Jake Daubert, Brooklyn Superbas, 29 Years Old

1911 1912

.350, 2 HR, 52 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1913 NL MVP

1913 NL Batting Title

Batting Average-.350

Singles-152 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 1B-91 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Daubert had his best season ever and was named National League MVP due to his league-leading batting average. My choice would have been Babe Adams, the pitcher from Pittsburgh. No biggie, because during this era, batting averages were king. Batting title races sometimes drew more attention than pennant races, so you can see why Chalmers handed Daubert the hardware This season, he finished fifth in WAR Position Players (4.0); ninth in Offensive WAR (3.7); first in batting (.350); third in on-base percentage (.405), behind St. Louis second baseman Miller Huggins (.432) and Philadelphia rightfielder Gavvy Cravath (.407); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (135).

SABR says, “Daubert began his major league career with a mediocre rookie season. He then began his rise to the top of National League first basemen. Daubert in his career went on to a .303 lifetime average, with 10 of his seasons ending with a .300 or better average. He won two batting titles, hitting .350 in 1913 when he was also selected as the Chalmers Award winner, an early Most Valuable Player award. Daubert helped lead a tour to play games in Cuba in November and December of 1913.

“A good hitter, the best part of Daubert’s game may have been his fielding ability. Frequently compared defensively to the legendary Hal Chase, Jake led the league three times in fielding percentage. The Deadball Era was a time when a first baseman had to be counted on first as a fielder because of the many bunts and hit and run plays.”

saier

1B-Vic Saier, Chicago Cubs, 22 Years Old

.289, 14 HR, 92 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-21

Power-Speed #-18.2

Errors Committed as 1B-26

1st Time All-Star-Victor Sylvester “Vic” Saier (prounounced SEAR) was born on May 4, 1891 in Lansing, MI. The five-foot-11, 185 pound left-handed hitter started with Chicago as a 20-year-old in 1911. He would have a very short career as he had a good stretch for a few years and then petered out. Saier finished 10th in WAR Position Players (3.7); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.2); fourth in slugging (.480); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (142).

SABR says, “As the stars of the great Cub teams of 1906-10 got older, their replacements generally didn’t perform as well–with the exception of Saier, whose seasons from 1912 to 1914 were at least in the same ballpark with many of Frank Chance’s. Vic hit .288 in 1912 and .289 in 1913, and during the latter season he led the NL with 21 triples and added 14 home runs, 92 RBIs, and 26 stolen bases. In 1914 Saier’s batting average fell to .240 but his 18 home runs placed him second in all of baseball to Gavy Cravath. Four of those homers came against the great Christy Mathewson, who said that Vic had hit some of the hardest balls ever hit against him. The Cubs had fallen apart into warring camps–they weren’t the most harmonious bunch even in the days when they were winning pennants–but in the midst of all the turmoil, the Chicago newspapers lauded Saier as ‘The Quiet Star.’ Vic had a self-effacing personality and went about his business with a minimum of fuss and bother.”

viox

2B-Jim Viox, Pittsburgh Pirates, 22 Years Old

.317, 2 HR, 65 RBI

MVP Rank: 13

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-James Henry “Jim” Viox (pronounced VEE-ox) was born on December 30, 1890 in Lockland, OH. The five-foot-seven, 150 pound second baseman started with Pittsburgh in 1912, but would have a short career. This season was his best ever as he finished eighth in WAR Position Players (3.8); second in Offensive WAR (4.8), behind Philadelphia rightfielder Gavvy Cravath (6.1); third in batting (.317), trailing Brooklyn first baseman Jake Daubert (.350) and Cravath (.341); fourth in on-base percentage (.399); 10th in slugging (.427); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (140).

The season was a fluke, Viox would never do this well again. He played three more seasons with Pittsburgh after this before his Major League career ended at the age of 25.

Wikipedia says, “Viox made his major league debut on May 9, 1912. In 33 games that season, he hit .186 while spending time in the field at third base and shortstop. The following season, in 1913, Viox became the team’s regular second baseman, replacing Alex McCarthy at that position. In his first full season, he hit .317, setting a rookie record for batting average by a second baseman that was not matched until 2007 when Dustin Pedroia also hit .317. During the season, Viox finished in the top 10 in batting average, on-base percentageslugging percentageruns scoreddoubles, and sacrifice hits.

“After his playing days were over, he managed for a time in the minor leagues. During this time, he won two Virginia League championships in 1920 and 1921 while managing Portsmouth.”

cutshaw

2B-George Cutshaw, Brooklyn Superbas, 26 Years Old

.267, 7 HR, 80 RBI

MVP Rank: 22

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 2B-402

Double Plays Turned as 2B-79

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.78

1st Time All-Star-George William “Clancy” or “Cutty” Cutshaw was born on July 29, 1886 in Wilmington, IL. The five-foot-nine, 160 pound second baseman started his career with Brooklyn in 1912. This season, Cutshaw finished sixth in Defensive WAR (1.2) and fifth in steals (39), a category in which he’d finish in the top 10 numerous times.

Be A Better Hitter says, “On August 9th [1914] the Brooklyn Robins beat the Chicago Cubs 13-0 at the old West Side Grounds in Chicago. The game was even more one-sided it than the final run tally. The Robins had 13 runs on 23 hits with one error; the Cubs managed just two hits while committing 2 errors.

“The hitting hero of the game was the team’s George Cutshaw who batted fifth in the lineup and had a perfect day at the plate, going 6 of 6. Not surprising during the dead ball era, all of this hits were singles. His perfection at the plate enabled him to be first Dodger to get six hits in a nine inning game.  For the record, only five other Dodgers have gotten a record 6 hits in a game, the last was Shawn Green in May of 2002 who achieved this feat in hitter friendly Miller Park in Milwaukee.

“While his feat was quite remarkable, however; it was not the best single day at the plate in the Brooklyn clubhouse. His manager, Wilbert Robinson went 7 for 7 for the Old Orioles on June 10, 1892.” There are a lot of newcomers to the National League All-Star list this year, but none of them would end up superstars.

doyle5

2B-Larry Doyle, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912

.280, 5 HR, 73 RBI

MVP Rank: 17

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-Last year, I rated Doyle as having a 67 percent chance of making my Hall of Fame. I also wrote, “You would have thought a man only 25 years old, who has now made four straight All-Star teams, would be a surefire Hall of Famer. Doyle’s going to be close in making my Hall of Fame, but his best years are behind him at this point.” So what changed that brought him to a 99 percent chance of making my Hall of Fame. I didn’t expect him to be an All-Star this season, yet here he is.

Doyle finished sixth in steals (38) this season and also slashed .280/.364/.388 for an OPS+ of 113. His Defensive WAR was a 0.0. Yet, because of a lack of talent in the National League, Laughing Larry made this list this year and now has a great shot at making my Hall.

In the World Series, which the Giants lost to the Athletics, 4-1, Doyle struggled, hitting .150 (three-for-20) with no extra base hits. Wikipedia says, “In 1913 the Giants won their third straight pennant; although he batted only .280, he stole 30 bases for the fifth year in a row and was eighth in the NL with 73 runs batted in. That year, he became the first player to hit a home run out of the Polo Grounds. He had an even more dismal 1913 World Series, hitting only .150 against the Athletics as the Giants lost in five games, though he did drive in the first run of the Series.”

zimmerman2

3B-Heinie Zimmerman, Chicago Cubs, 26 Years Old

1912

.313, 9 HR, 95 RBI

MVP Rank: 19

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 3B-36 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-After a Triple Crown season in 1912, Zimmerman came back to earth, but still was the best third baseman in the National League. He finished second in WAR Position Players (4.6), behind Philadelphia rightfielder Gavvy Cravath (5.7); third in Offensive WAR (4.7), trailing Cravath (6.1) and Pittsburgh second baseman Jim Viox (4.8); sixth in batting (.313); eighth in on-base percentage (.379); third in slugging (.490), with just Cravath (.568) and Cincinnati and Philadelphia outfielder Beals Becker (.502) ahead of him; and second in Adjusted OPS+ (147), behind, yep, Cravath (173). It wasn’t as good as his 1912 season, but Zimmerman still was one of the best players in the NL.

SABR says, “He enjoyed another fine offensive season in 1913, batting .313 and driving in 95 runs, but his swelled head led to confrontations with management and acrimonious contract negotiations became an annual event. More than once Zimmerman ‘retired’ from the game, only to un-retire once spring training rolled around. What money he did receive, he spent quickly — and often unwisely. ‘Zim never knew how much money he had because he made the team’s secretary his banker and “touched” the secretary for five and ten-spots until his salary was gone, then economized until the roll was replenished,’ wrote one observer, who noted Zimmerman’s fetish for lavish neckties.” This lack of money discipline ended up destroying his marriage after four years as Zimmerman didn’t send money back home for his wife and daughter. We sometimes forget the important things in life, don’t we?

smithr

3B-Red Smith, Brooklyn Superbas, 23 Years Old

.296, 6 HR, 76 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-40

Def. Games as 3B-151

Assists as 3B-295

1st Time All-Star-James Carlisle “Red” Smith was born on April 6, 1890 in Greenville, SC. The five-foot-11, 165 pound third baseman started with Brooklyn in 1911. He became the Dodgers’ fulltime third sacker in 1912 and even when the team switched back to the Superbas moniker, he kept the position. This year, Smith finished fourth in WAR Position Players (4.3); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.2); and seventh in slugging (.441). He’d have a good stretch during the late 1910s but would be out of the game before he turned 30.

SABR says, “However, events interceded to change his mind. Smith nearly won the Southern Association batting championship in 1911. He and Del Pratt of Montgomery both hit .316, but when the statistic was carried out to four decimal places, Pratt edged the redhead by a margin of .0006. Red’s hitting attracted the attention of Brooklyn scout Larry Sutton, and the Dodgers, or Superbas, as they were sometimes called (the nickname Robins came later), purchased his contract. Smith made his major-league debut on September 5, 1911. In 28 games he hit .261 and won the favor of Brooklyn fans and manager Bill Dahlen. As planned, he married his Rosalie. However, for the next 18 years his career was in baseball, not engineering. From 1911 to August 1914, he played third base for Brooklyn. In 1912 he was the club’s regular third baseman and hit .286. He had perhaps his best year in 1913, when he led the league in doubles and finished in the top ten in hits, total bases, extra-base hits, sacrifice hits, runs batted in, slugging average, and on-base percentage plus slugging average (OPS). Although sportswriter Tom Meany described the right-handed third sacker as a ‘squatty slugger,’ he was listed as 5-feet-11 and 165 pounds.”

lobert2

3B-Hans Lobert, Philadelphia Phillies, 31 Years Old

1908

.300, 7 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 3B-181 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.974

2nd Time All-Star-Because I’m writing about players in which I know their whole careers, I have to remember to put myself in the mindset of the people who were actually watching these players play. For instance, the Cincinnati fans of 1908 would have been thrilled with the play of Lobert, but then disappointed just a year later as he started to slump. Then after the 1910 season, Lobert was traded by the Cincinnati Reds with Fred BeebeDode Paskert and Jack Rowan to the Philadelphia Phillies for Johnny BatesEddie GrantGeorge McQuillan and Lew Moren. It wasn’t until this year, five years after his first one, that Lobert again made this list.

He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (3.9); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.4); third in steals (41), behind Pittsburgh leftfielder Max Carey (61) and Boston first baseman Hap Myers (57); and eighth in caught stealing (21).

SABR says, “Probably his best year, both off and on the field, was 1913. Hans married Philadelphia resident Rachael Campbell that year and defeated Jim Thorpe in a 100-yard dash at the Polo Grounds. He also played in all but one of the Phillies’ 151 games, batting an even .300, leading all NL third basemen in fielding percentage (.974), and ranking third in the NL in runs (98) and stolen bases (41) and fourth in hits (172) and total bases (243).

“That 1913 season proved to be the apex of Hans Lobert’s playing career.” Beating Thorpe in a 100-yard dash is no small feat!

fletcher

SS-Art Fletcher, New York Giants, 28 Years Old

.297, 4 HR, 71 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-1.9

Hit by Pitch-15

1st Time All-Star-Arthur “Art” Fletcher was born on January 5, 1885 in Collinsville, IL. The five-foot-10, 170 pound shortstop started with the Giants in 1909 and this year, for the first time since 1901, someone other than Honus Wagner is the top shortstop in the National League. It’s also the first time since 1899 the Flying Dutchman didn’t make the list. He’ll be back.

As for Fletcher, he finished third in WAR Position Players (4.5), behind Philadelphia rightfielder Gavvy Cravath (5.7) and Chicago third baseman Heinie Zimmerman (4.6); 10th in Offensive WAR (3.6); and first in Defensive WAR (1.9). He had his best World Series ever. After hitting under .200 in 1911 and 1912, this season, Fletcher hit .278 (five-for-18). However, it’s not his hitting, but his defensive prowess that is most likely going to put him into my Hall of Fame.

SABR says, “Art Fletcher was the leader of one of the Deadball Era’s finest infields–Merkle at first, Doyle at second, Fletcher at short, and Herzog at third. ‘If there be one among the gamesters of baseball who is gamer than the rest, that man be Fletcher,’ wrote sportswriter Frank Graham. In the early teens the New York Giants were hated all over the circuit, but no Giant other than John McGraw drew as much ire as the feisty shortstop. ‘There was fighting everywhere they went,’ wrote Graham, ‘and Fletcher always was in the thick of it. He fought enemy players, umpires, and fans. He was fined and suspended frequently.’ Fletcher’s feistiness made him as popular at the Polo Grounds as he was unpopular on the road. Beginning in 1913, a lady with a large hat invariably sat in the front row of the centerfield bleachers. When the Giants took the field at the start of each game, she would shout, ‘Come on, Artie!’ Fletch would wave his glove at her, all the fans would applaud, and then the visiting leadoff hitter would step to the plate.”

tinker8SS-Joe Tinker, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

1902 1906 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912

.317, 1 HR, 57 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

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

8th Time All-Star-After 11 seasons with Cubs, Tinker moved on. If you read his 1912 blurb, you’ll read the Reds were interested in him as a player-manager that season, but it wasn’t until this year, he actually did it. SABR says, “After the season, however, Cubs owner Charles Murphy appointed Evers to replace Frank Chance as player-manager. Tinker wasn’t keen on playing under the command of a man with whom he wasn’t on speaking terms, and on December 15, 1912, the Cubs traded their shortstop of 11 years to the Cincinnati Reds in an eight-player deal. The 32-year-old Tinker became Cincinnati’s player-manager in 1913, but the Reds got off to a poor start when the Ohio River flooded Redland Field early that season. On a personal level, however, Joe continued to excel. ‘I believe I am playing the best game of my career right now,’ he told Lane. Though the Reds fared poorly as a team, finishing with a 64-89 record, Tinker played in 110 games and established career highs in batting average (.317), slugging percentage (.445), and fielding percentage (.968).

“Tinker was a players’ manager. ‘Because a man is placed in charge of a club does not make it necessary for him to be a taskmaster or a tyrant,’ he told Lane. ‘In my opinion he ought to be as lenient with his club as circumstances allow, and the less he interferes with the personal liberties of the men the better.’ When owner Garry Herrmann informed him that the Reds intended to send a spy on road trips in 1914 to report on the activities of the players, Joe balked and refused to sign a contract.”

magee6

LF-Sherry Magee, Philadelphia Phillies, 28 Years Old

1905 1906 1907 1908 1910

.306, 11 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

6th Time All-Star-In 1911 and 1912, Magee had decent seasons, but because he missed a few games in each campaign, he didn’t make the All-Star team those years. He’s back this season and he not only made the All-Star team, but my Hall of Fame. You can see the whole list here. This season, a weak one for outfielders in the National League, Magee finished 10th in WAR Position Players (3.7); seventh in Offensive WAR (3.9); eighth in batting (.306); fifth in slugging (.479); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (138). Magee also has a shot at the ONEHOF, my other Hall of Fame which inducts just one player a year.

                SABR says, “Overcoming his injuries to bat .306 in both 1912 and 1913, Sherry combined with Gavvy Cravath to give the Phillies what Ward called ‘the greatest “team” of extra-base specialists in existence.’ But despite all he had accomplished in his decade with the Phillies, Magee remained unpopular with the infamous fans of the City of Brotherly Love. ‘For five years, prior to 1914, the local fans have roasted Sherwood Magee,’ wrote a Philadelphia reporter. ‘They cheered his long swats as all fans do, but still they shouted for his release.’ Ward agreed, attributing Magee’s lack of popularity to the generally-held belief that he was ‘a man who played for his own personal record and not for the good of the team.’” As a Reds’ fan, I have that same complaint about Pete Rose. I always thought he cared more about his own glory than the good of the team.

leach5

CF-Tommy Leach, Chicago Cubs, 35 Years Old

1902 1904 1907 1908

.287, 6 HR, 32 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-99 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as CF-.990 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as OF-.990

5th Time All-Star-It’s been five years since Leach made an All-Star team and he was playing third base then. He then moved back to the outfield in 1909 and that would be his main position for the rest of his career. Oh, and he also was a Pittsburgh Pirate in 1908, but in May of 1912, Leach was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates with Lefty Leifield to the Chicago Cubs for King Cole and Solly Hofman. That trade was worth it, at least for this one season. Leach finished fifth in WAR Position Players (4.0); eighth in Offensive WAR (3.8); fifth in on-base percentage (.391); and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (132).

As for the rest of his life, SABR says, “Tommie was often rumored to be a managerial candidate. He was contacted by the Reds to manage in 1908, but the Pirates demanded compensation and terms could not be reached. When Clarke resigned after the 1915 season, Leach was rumored to be in line for the Pirate job, but it went to Jimmy Callahan. He was a player-manager for Rochester in the International League in 1916, and managed for several years for various teams in the Florida State League in the 1920s. From 1935 to 1941, he was a scout for the Boston Braves.

“Tommie suffered tremendous personal loss during his baseball career. He lost his first wife to pneumonia in 1908 and a second to illness in 1911. His third wife, Sara Darling, survived him. He had a son by his first marriage and a daughter by his third.

“In 1914, Tommie bought citrus property in Haines City, Florida, and lived the rest of his non-baseball life there. He was a popular figure in the area for many years, and was active in local baseball activities. He died in Haines City in 1969 just shy of his 92nd birthday, the last surviving player from the 1903 World Series.”

cravath

RF-Gavvy Cravath, Philadelphia Phillies, 32 Years Old

.341, 19 HR, 128 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-5.7

Offensive WAR-6.1

Slugging %-.568

On-Base Plus Slugging-.974

Hits-179

Total Bases-298

Home Runs-19

Runs Batted In-128

Adjusted OPS+-173

Runs Created-117

Adj. Batting Runs-49

Adj. Batting Wins-5.3

Extra Base Hits-67

Times On Base-237

Offensive Win %-.819

AB per HR-27.6 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Clifford Carlton “Cactus” or “Gavvy” Cravath (prounounced cruh-VATH) was born on March 23, 1881 in Poway, CA. The five-foot-10, 186 pound leftfielder started with the Boston Red Sox in 1908. He then played the outfield for the White Sox and Senators in 1909. He wouldn’t then play in the Majors until 1912 when he started with the Phillies. Then, here in 1913, Cravath just went nuts! There’s no need to recap his season, because you can see it above. Cactus became the first true home run hitter until Babe Ruth came along a few years later.

SABR says, “It was during his semi-pro days that he gained the nickname ‘Gavvy.’ There are many stories about its origin, but it’s apparently a contraction for the Spanish word gaviota, which means ‘seagull.’ During a Sunday game in the early 1900s, Cravath reportedly hit a ball so hard that it killed a seagull in flight. Mexican fans shouted ‘Gaviota.’ The English-speaking fans thought it was a cheer and the name stuck. It’s pronounced to rhyme with ‘savvy,’ so sportswriters of the period added the extra ‘v,’ but Cravath himself spelled it G-A-V-Y. The Southern Californian also had another nickname, ‘Cactus’ (because of his western background and prickly personality), but he apparently didn’t care for it and never included it in his signature.

“Cravath’s greatest year in the majors arguably was 1913. Though that year’s Chalmers Award went to Brooklyn’s Jake Daubert, most historians agree that Cravath, who led the majors with 19 home runs, 128 runs batted in, and a .568 slugging average, was the NL’s true most valuable player.”

1912 American League All-Star Team

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Ed Walsh, CHW

P-Smoky Joe Wood, BOS

P-Vean Gregg, CLE

P-Jack Warhop, NYY

P-Ray Collins, BOS

P-Russ Ford, NYY

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Buck O’Brien, BOS

P-Bob Groom, WSH

C-Jack Lapp, PHA

C-Oscar Stanage, DET

1B-Stuffy McInnis, PHA

2B-Eddie Collins, PHA

2B-Nap Lajoie, CLE

3B-Home Run Baker, PHA

3B-Larry Gardner, BOS

3B-Eddie Foster, WSH

SS-Donie Bush, DET

CF-Tris Speaker, BOS

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Clyde Milan, WSH

CF-Burt Shotton, SLB

RF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, CLE

RF-Sam Crawford, DET

 

johnson5

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 24 Years Old

1908 1909 1910 1911

33-12, 1.39 ERA, 303 K, .264, 2 HR, 20 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

1912 AL Pitching Title

Wins Above Replacement-14.8

WAR for Pitchers-13.7

Earned Run Average-1.39

Walks & Hits per IP-0.908

Hits per 9 IP-6.317

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.390 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-303 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.987

Adjusted ERA+-243

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.03 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-76

Adj. Pitching Wins-8.4

5th Time All-Star-There came a time in my life as I got older that I had to get out of slo-pitch softball. It got to the point where the only position I could play was pitcher and I started to get scared of the ball being hit up the middle. I was thinking of that as I imagined facing Walter Johnson at the plate. I think I could do it in my youth, but I couldn’t do it now. I’d bail out of the batter’s box the second he went into his windup. Well, that’s what the American League batters of his time had to face all the time.

Johnson’s great pitching finally led to a good season for his team. The Senators, now managed by Clark Griffith, who left the Reds, finished second with a 91-61 record. It was still 14 games out of first, but at least the nation’s capital had something to watch even when the Big Train wasn’t on the mound. Washington had the best pitching in the league, leading the American League with a team 2.69 ERA.

SABR says, “In the ‘strange but true’ category, the modern records (since 1900) for consecutive wins by a pitcher in a single season were established in that one year; Marquard’s major league 19 and the 16 with which Johnson and Wood recorded American League highs.   The A.L. record has since been tied by Lefty Grove of Philadelphia in 1931 and Schoolboy Rowe of Detroit in 1934.   The most remarkable display of avoiding a pitching defeat, however, belongs to Carl Hubbell of the New York Giants.   King Carl, the ‘Meal Ticket’, ended 1936 with a run of 16 straight wins and then started the 1937 season with 8 more to make it 24 games without tasting defeat.” Read the whole thing for a description of an epic Johnson-Smoky Joe Wood battle.

walsh7

P-Ed Walsh, Chicago White Sox, 31 Years Old

1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911

27-17, 2.15 ERA, 254 K, .243, 0 HR, 12 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1910)

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-62 (5th Time)

Saves-10 (5th Time)

Innings Pitched-393 (4th Time)

Games Started-41 (3rd Time)

Hits-332 (2nd Time)

Batters Faced-1,532 (4th Time)

Games Finished-20 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as P-62 (5th Time)

Assists as P-140 (5th Time)

Errors Committed as P-15

7th Time All-Star-As longtime readers know (I like to pretend I have readers, humor me), I have two Halls of Fame. First there is the One-a-Year Hall of Fame, or the ONEHOF, which inducts the one best player a year that isn’t already in that Hall of Fame. Then there is the creatively named Ron’s Hall of Fame, which inducts players based on the formula-(No. of All-Star Teams x Career WAR). If that number is over 300, they’re in. If not, they’re out. It’s my way of doing a small Hall  of Fame, which inducts the best of the best, and a larger one, which inducts some of the fringe candidates who might have missed being inducted into Cooperstown.

Which leaves me with an Ed Walsh conundrum. During the seven years he made the All-Star team, Walsh was 168-112, with a 1.71 ERA and an incredible 2526 1/3 innings pitched. However, for his career, he wound up with a 195-126 record. Outside of those seven seasons, he didn’t do much. So he definitely deserves Cooperstown and Ron’s, but he’s not going to make the ONEHOF. Hey, all you Ed Walsh groupies, don’t write me mean letters! (I like to pretend people still write letters.)

Walsh’s White Sox, now managed by Jimmy Callahan, stayed in fourth place with a 76-78 record. As usual, the squad was no hit/all pitch.

After this season, Walsh would peter out fast, never pitching above 97 2/3 innings again. All of those years of pitching incredible amounts of innings and games finally got to him and he’d be out of the league by 1917.

woods2

P-Smoky Joe Wood, Boston Red Sox, 22 Years Old

1911

34-5, 1.91 ERA, 258 K, .290, 1 HR, 13 RBI

MVP Rank: 5

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-34

Win-Loss %-.872

Complete Games-35

Shutouts-10

Putouts as P-41

2nd Time All-Star-Wood had easily his best season ever and was largely responsible for Boston winning the American League pennant. He finished third in WAR (11.5), behind Washington’s Walter Johnson (14.8) and Chicago’s Ed Walsh (12.2); third in WAR for Pitchers (10.2), trailing Johnson (13.7) and Walsh (11.5); second in ERA (1.91), with only the Big Train (1.39) ahead of him; third in innings pitched (344), again behind Walsh (393) and Johnson (369); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (177), way behind Johnson (243).

Playing in its new park and managed by its new manager, Jake Stahl, Boston finished 105-47 to win the AL crown. In Game 1, Wood allowed three runs in a complete game victory. In Game 4, Wood pitched another complete game, allowing one run and putting the Red Sox ahead 2-1-1. Wood fell apart in Game 7, allowing six runs in one inning as New York tied up the Series 3-3-1. As for the deciding Game 8, Wikipedia says, “Equally compelling in drama, Wood’s Red Sox faced John McGraw‘s New York Giants in the historic 1912 World Series. After slugging it out in seven close games, the teams met for the deciding game eight at Fenway with future Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson starting for the Giants. After Boston tied the score 1–1 in the bottom of the seventh, Wood came in to pitch. He matched Mathewson in the eighth and ninth, and the game went into extra innings. In the top of the tenth, Fred Merkle got to Wood knocking in a run with a single. But in the bottom of the tenth, Clyde Engle, pinch-hitting for Wood, hit an easy fly ball to Fred Snodgrass in center field, and Snodgrass dropped the ball. Given new life, the ‘Snodgrass Muff’ cost the Giants as Speaker and Larry Gardner each knocked in a run to overcome the 1-run deficit. Wood and the Red Sox won the game 3–2 and the series 4–3–1. For Wood, the game was his third win in the series against one loss. He also struck out 11 batters in one game, becoming the first pitcher to record double-digit strikeouts in a World Series game.”

gregg2

P-Vean Gregg, Cleveland Naps, 27 Years Old

1911

20-13, 2.59 ERA, 184 K, .175, 0 HR, 13 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Gregg couldn’t match his rookie season of 1911, but it was an impressive year nonetheless. He finished ninth in WAR (7.1); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (7.4); seventh in ERA (2.59); eighth in innings pitched (271 1/3); and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (133). He probably has one more All-Star season left.

Cleveland had two new managers this year, Harry Davis and Joe Birmingham. Davis, in his oly year of coaching, went 54-71 and was released. Birmingham, however, did an impressive job, going 21-7, and he’d stick with the Naps for a little while. Altogether, the Naps went 75-78, finishing in fifth place.

SABR says, “After much off-season dickering, Gregg finally agreed to a 1912 contract calling for $3,500, plus a $1,500 bonus should he win 25 games. With sporadic arm soreness and visits to the noted chiropractor Bonesetter Reese, Gregg managed to win 20 games. While Cleveland retrograded to a sub-.500 fifth-place team in 1912, Gregg continued to impress, even with a sore arm. Naps manager Harry Davis, who tired of a bickering, faction-torn team and resigned a month before the end of season, claimed, ‘That fellow Gregg is an exact duplicate of Waddell when the Rube was at his best.’”

When I think of someone like Gregg, with so much potential, but little durability, my mind can’t help but go to Cy Young, who retired after the 1911 season, but only after finishing 511-316, pitching 7,356 innings and completing 749 of his 815 games started. Why did his arm last while Gregg’s didn’t? By the way, in order for 2017 innings leading pitcher Chris Sale to pitch 7,356 innings he’d have to pitch 214 1/3 innings, which was what he had that season, over 35 years.

warhop2

P-Jack Warhop, New York Highlanders, 27 Years Old

1909

10-19, 2.86 ERA, 110 K, .207, 0 HR, 6 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Warhop didn’t make the All-Star teams in 1910 or 1911 as both seasons his ERA was 3.00 or above. This season, most likely his last time on this list and his best year ever, he finished 10th in WAR (7.0); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.8); and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (127).

As for the Highlanders, Harry Wolverton took over the managerial reins and the team plummeted to last place with a 50-102 record. It would be his only managing job.

Wikipedia says, “Warhop’s penchant for tough luck was best exemplified in the 1912 season, when he finished with a 10–19 record—the second highest number of losses in the AL—despite compiling a 2.86 ERA and 6.7 Wins Above Replacement (WAR). Both his ERA and WAR were tenth best in the AL, though he also finished second in hit batsmen (16) and fifth in errors as a pitcher (7). In a July 5 road game against the Washington Senators, he entered the game in the second inning and lost 6–5 in a walk-off, despite dueling Walter Johnson up to the 16th inning. Then, in a game on August 22, he held the Chicago White Sox to just two hits and no runs in the first five innings. While pitching with a 3–0 lead, Warhop surrendered one run in the sixth inning, before getting shelled in the seventh, giving up four runs and the lead. After another four runs were given up in the ninth inning, the Highlanders lost the game 9–4. Towards the end of the season, Warhop was again on the losing side of a bad luck game, when he lost a 3–0 pitchers’ duel against the St. Louis Browns, having held them scoreless for the first five innings.”

collinsr2

P-Ray Collins, Boston Red Sox, 25 Years Old

1910

13-8, 2.53 ERA, 82 K, .169, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Collins went 11-12 in 1911 and didn’t make this list, but he’s back this season, finishing sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.7); fifth in ERA (2.53); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (134). In the World Series, he started Game 2 against Christy Mathewson and allowed five runs, three earned, in seven-and-a-third innings. The game ended up being a 6-6 tie. In Game 6, Collins relieved Buck O’Brien in the second inning and pitched seven scoreless innings in what ended up a 5-2 loss.

This is as good of time as any to talk about a new ballpark that is still around this day. Wikipedia says, “The Red Sox moved to Fenway Park from the old Huntington Avenue Grounds. In 1911, owner John I. Taylor purchased the land bordered by Brookline Avenue, Jersey Street, Van Ness Street and Lansdowne Street and developed it into a larger baseball stadium.

“Taylor claimed the name Fenway Park came from its location in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston, which was partially created late in the nineteenth century by filling in marshland or “fens“,[14] to create the Back Bay Fens urban park. However, given that Taylor’s family also owned the Fenway Realty Company, the promotional value of the naming at the time has been cited as well. Like many classic ballparks, Fenway Park was constructed on an asymmetrical block, with consequent asymmetry in its field dimensions. The General Contractor was the Charles Logue Building Company.

“The first game was played April 20, 1912, with mayor John F. Fitzgerald throwing out the first pitch and Boston defeating the New York Yankees, 7-6 in 11 innings. Newspaper coverage of the opening was overshadowed by continuing coverage of the Titanic sinking a few days earlier.”

ford3

P-Russ Ford, New York Highlanders, 29 Years Old

1910 1911

13-21, 3.55 ERA, 112 K, .286, 1 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs Allowed-11

Losses-21

Earned Runs Allowed-115

3rd Time All-Star-As Ford’s scuff ball got less effective, his pitching dominance started to fade. However, he still was good enough to finish ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.7); and fifth in innings pitched (291 2/3). He also had his best hitting year also, slashing .286/.322/.384 for an OPS+ of 97.

SABR says of his scuff ball, “In a 1935 interview with The Sporting News, Ford explained that he first discovered the secret behind the emery pitch in 1908, when he was still with Atlanta. On a rainy spring morning Ford was warming up under the stands with catcher Ed Sweeney when he became wild. One pitch struck a wooden upright; another sailed sideways about five feet. When Sweeney returned the ball, Ford examined it and saw that it was rough where it had hit the upright. He wondered if the roughened surface was responsible for the ball’s odd movement, so he gripped the sphere on the side opposite its roughened surface and when he pitched it, the ball shot through the air with a sailing dip. ‘It never occurred to me that I had uncovered what was to become one of the most baffling pitches that a Cobb, Lajoie, Speaker or Delahanty [sic] would be called upon to bat against in the big leagues,’ Ford told The Sporting News.

“But opposing batters had a much easier time handling Ford’s deliveries in 1912, as the pitcher lost a league-high 21 games, though his 3.55 ERA was still slightly better than the league average.”

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P-Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics, 36 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908 1909 1911

26-6, 2.22 ERA, 110 K, .267, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1904)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000

10th Time All-Star-It is amazing to see Gettysburg Eddie’s consistency. He wasn’t the flashiest pitcher, like a Walter Johnson, or the most lauded, like a Christy Mathewson, but you could hand him the ball every three or four games and know you were going to get a well-pitched game and probably a win. He did have 326 of those by the time his career ended, but I can’t get into that, because Plank’s not done making All-Star teams yet.

Philadelphia’s two-season streak of American League pennants came to an end when they couldn’t overcome the dominant Red Sox this year. Connie Mack led the team to a third-place 90-62 record. The A’s relied on great hitting, led by Eddie Collins, but their pitching was mediocre this year.

Of this season, SABR says, “Plank enjoyed another terrific year in 1912, posting a 26-6 record with a fine 2.22 ERA. However, the Athletics fell to 90-62, one game behind second-place Washington and 15 behind the powerful Red Sox. Indeed, the 1912 season is emblematic of a tendency to underestimate Plank’s greatness. His 26-6 record jumps out at us today, but it was only the fourth highest win total in the American League, behind Joe Wood’s 34-5,Walter Johnson’s 33-12 (and league-best 1.39 ERA), and Ed Walsh’s 27-17. In addition, Wood and Johnson each strung together league-record winning streaks of sixteen games, and Marquard won a major-league record nineteen straight games in the National League. Accordingly, Plank’s solid performance was lost in the shuffle of one of baseball’s great pitching seasons.”

obrienb

P-Buck O’Brien, Boston Red Sox, 30 Years Old

20-13, 2.58 ERA, 115 K, .138, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Thomas Joseph “Buck” O’Brien was born on May 9, 1882 in Brockton, MA. He started with Boston in 1911 and his six games were so dazzling, he earned himself a regular spot in the rotation in 1912. He went 5-1 with a 0.38 ERA in 47 2/3 innings pitched. This season, easily his best ever, O’Brien finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.4); sixth in ERA (2.58); seventh in innings pitched (275 2/3); and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (131).

Buck’s World Series was tough, as he lost both games he started, giving up seven runs, five earned, in a total of nine innings pitched. Still, Boston won, so O’Brien was able to claim one championship for his career.

It was a career that ended the next season as his fluke season turned out to be just that, a fluke. At 31 years of age, in 1913, he pitched for both the Red Sox and the White Sox, finishing 4-11 and O’Brien’s Major League career was done.

Wikipedia says of the World Series, “O’Brien started Game 3 of the 1912 World Series against the New York Giants, but lost. Boston eventually took a 3–1 series lead, with ace pitcher Smokey Joe Wood slated to start Game 6. However, club owner Jimmy McAleer wanted the series to go back to Boston so he could get the gate receipts; he ordered manager Jake Stahl to start O’Brien instead of Wood. Buck, not knowing that he was going to pitch, was hungover the day of the game. He gave up three earned runs in the first inning, and Boston lost.”

groom

P-Bob Groom, Washington Senators, 27 Years Old

24-13, 2.62 ERA, 179 K, .117, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Robert “Bob” Groom was born on September 12, 1884 in Belleville, IL. The six-foot-two, 175 pound righty started with Washington in 1909 and lost a league-leading 26 games, giving up the most walks in the American League with 105. Still, his ERA was 2.87 and his ERA+ was 86 and the rookie stayed in the league. It must have been tough to pitch on the same team as Walter Johnson, but Groom held his own. This season was his best ever as he finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.7), eighth in ERA (2.62), fourth in innings pitched (316), and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (129).

SABR says, “With Clark Griffith at the helm in 1912, the Nationals improved dramatically, winning 91, losing 61, and finishing in second place. Pitching a career-high 316 innings, Groom won 24 games and Johnson won 33, combining for over 60 percent of Washington’s victories. A major highlight of the 1912 season was the Nationals’ 17-consecutive-game winning streak. Bob started and won four of the games in that streak, his most impressive win being the last, on June 18. Only after that game was over did the Nationals’ fans learn the grit it had taken for Bob Groom to win that game. Before the game, he discovered a painful abscess on his back between his shoulders. The Nationals’ team physician recommended a debilitating operation, but Bob refused, and instead had the doctor insert a drainage tube. With the tube in his back, he put on his uniform and pitched a complete game, giving the Nationals a 5-4 victory over Philadelphia.”

lapp2

C-Jack Lapp, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

1911

.292, 1 HR, 35 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-One of Philadelphia’s most underrated players during its five-year stretch in which it won four pennants, Lapp made his second American League All-Star team. He didn’t match his incredible .353 average and .902 OPS of 1911, but he still did great for a catcher, slashing .292/.337/.399/.735 for an OPS+ of 113. In an era in which catchers couldn’t hit, Lapp was the exception.

SABR says, “Lapp didn’t bark at umpires. He never complained about his standing in Philadelphia’s catching order, nor became embroiled in team politics. He was a light drinker, an avid golfer, and enjoyed off-season hunting vacations with his teammates. His most defining characteristic was his premature baldness. ‘Johnny Lapp, who owns the closest haircut in the American,’ a correspondent quipped in August 1912, ‘is catching great ball for the champs; in fact, he is now the Athletic Club’s most dependable catcher.’

“But by that point in the 1912 season, perhaps in a championship hangover, Philadelphia had fallen out of the race, and would eventually finish in third place. Thomas battled health issues. Mack had sold Livingston, and brought back Ben Egan, who couldn’t hit major-league pitching. Lapp’s playing time thus increased to 91 games, in which he achieved a .292 BA, .337 OBP, and .399 SLG. He threw out 47% of would-be base stealers, and committed a career-high 20 errors.”

It is almost impossible to look at the stats of a catcher and judge whether or not he’ll make another All-Star team. If I had to guess, Lapp probably has one left in him.

stanage

C-Oscar Stanage, Detroit Tigers, 29 Years Old

.261, 0 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-120 (2nd Time)

Assists as C-168 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as C-14

Passed Balls-17

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-172 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Oscar Harland Stanage was born on March 17, 1883 in Tulare, CA. The five-foot-11 190 pound righty had something many backstops of his day didn’t, endurance. For eight straight seasons, he caught 80 or more games, which was rare during this time. Stanage started his career with one at-bat for the Reds in 1906 and then didn’t play in the Majors again until 1909 when he landed with Detroit. This season, he slashed .261/.326/.305/.631 for an OPS+ of 83. It wasn’t great, but combined with his fielding landed him on this list.

Wikipedia says, “A native of Tulare, California, he began his baseball career with the Stockton Millers. He was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1906 and promptly traded to the Reds for whom he had only one plate appearance before returning to the minor leagues. In August 1908, Stanage was purchased by the Tigers and remained with them from 1909 to 1920. He appeared in 1,096 major league games, 1,074 as a catcher, and compiled a .236 batting average and .284 on-base percentage. In 1911, he set an American League record with 212 assists as a catcher, a record that still stands. He led the American League in assists by a catcher three times (1911, 1912, and 1914) and threw out 830 base runners in the 1910s, more than any other American League catcher. He ranks among the all-time career leaders at catcher with 1,381 assists (14th), 931 runners caught stealing (14th), and 1,297 stolen bases allowed (10th).”

mcinnis

1B-Stuffy McInnis, Philadelphia Athletics, 21 Years Old

.327, 3 HR, 101 RBI

MVP Rank: 21

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,533

Def. Games as 1B-153

Putouts as 1B-1,533

Assists as 1B-100

Errors Committed as 1B-27

Double Plays Turned as 1B-88

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-10.84

Range Factor/Game as 1B-10.67

1st Time All-Star-John Phalen “Stuffy” or “Jack” McInnis was born on September 19, 1890 in Gloucester, MA. The five-foot-nine, 162 pound righty was small for a first baseman, but would have a long, decent career and be a big part of the Athletics’ dynasty. He started with Philadelphia in 1909, then moved from shortstop to first base in 1911 and would be a regular in the lineup for many years. This season, McInnis finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.7); seventh in Offensive WAR (5.1); seventh in batting (.327); eighth in on-base percentage (.384); ninth in slugging (.433); and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (137).

                SABR says, “The Athletics won the 1911 American League pennant, limping into the World Series with the aged Davis replacing Stuffy at first base. It was the second year in a row that McInnis’ team played in the World Series without Stuffy taking a meaningful part in the outcome. However, with the Athletics up 13-2 with two outs in the ninth inning, and a 3-2 series lead, Mack put Stuffy into the game defensively at first base, so that Stuffy could say he’d played in a World Series. A’s pitcher Chief Bender promptly induced Giants catcher Artie Wilson to ground weakly to Frank Baker at third base. The Series ended as Stuffy touched the ball for the first time, nabbing Baker’s throw for the final putout. For Stuffy, it was the first of five World Series with three different teams.” It was this season of 1912 McInnis took over regularly for Harry Davis, a four-time qualifier on this list.

collinse42B-Eddie Collins, Philadelphia Athletics, 25 Years Old

1909 1910 1911

.348, 0 HR, 64 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-137

Putouts as 2B-387 (4th Time)

Errors Committed as 2B-38

Double Plays Turned as 2B-63 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-At what point do you realize a player is a genuine superstar and not just a fluke? Whatever that time may be, Collins has reached it, making his fourth straight All-Star team as the American League’s best second baseman. This season, Collins finished eighth in WAR (8.8); fifth in WAR Position Players (8.8); fifth in Offensive WAR (8.1); fifth in batting (.348); fourth in on-base percentage (.450); eighth in slugging (.435); second in steals (63), trailing Washington centerfielder Clyde Milan (88); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (158). It was an outstanding season anyone would kill to have, yet it was actually an off season for Collins. His eighth place finish in WAR was his lowest in the eight-year stretch from 1909-1916.

SABR mentions some of the superstitions of Cocky: “The bright, confident, and successful Collins was given to a litany of less than ‘rational’ practices and observances. At the plate he kept his gum on his hat button until two strikes, then would remove it and commence chewing. He loathed black cats, and would walk or drive out of his way to avoid crossing paths with one. If he saw a load of barrels, he believed he’d make one or two hits that day. Finding a hairpin meant a single, two hairpins a double. Scraps of paper littering the dugout steps drove him crazy. He would refrain from changing game socks during a winning streak, and as player-manager for the White Sox is said to have fired a clubhouse man for acting in violation of this practice. He believed it lucky to have someone spit on his hat before a game. Each winter Collins soaked his bats in oil, dried them out, and rubbed them down with a bone. This practice became the stuff of lore, as it has even been said that he buried his bats in cow dung piles to ‘keep ’em alive.’ On the more practical side, he would wear heavier shoes as spring approached so that his feet would feel lighter when the season opened.”

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2B-Nap Lajoie, Cleveland Naps, 37 Years Old

1897 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910

.368, 0 HR, 90 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1901)

 

Led in:

 

AB per SO-40.7 (3rd Time)

12th Time All-Star-Twilight is coming on the great career of Nap Lajoie. My guess is he has only one more All-Star team left after this season. He was among the first great stars of the American League, along with Cy Young, and even now, at the age of 37, could still rip the ball. Lajoie has also made more All-Star teams than anyone at his position. Click here for the whole list. If I was doing a greatest of all time list in 1912, Lajoie would probably rank fifth behind Cy Young, Honus Wagner, Cap Anson, and Kid Nichols. By next year, his 13th All-Star team will put him ahead of Nichols.

Lajoie didn’t make the All-Star team in 1911, because he only played 90 games. According to the Baseball Think Factory, he ruptured a leg muscle. Poli missed his share of games over his career or it could have been even greater.

Of course, the saddest part of his career was his lack of championships. No Lajoie team ever won the pennant, so he never made the World Series. Some people use players’ postseasons to judge players and that can be useful. However, baseball isn’t like basketball where one player can turn a team around. One player can’t do it all or Mike Trout would have a room full of World Series trophies.

This season, Lajoie finished 10th in WAR Position Players (5.3); seventh in Offensive WAR (5.1); fourth in batting (.368); fifth in on-base percentage (.414); sixth in slugging (.462); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (146).

baker4

3B-Home Run Baker, Philadelphia Athletics, 26 Years Old

1909 1910 1911

.347, 10 HR, 130 RBI

MVP Rank: 7

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames;

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-10 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-130

AB Per HR-57.7 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 3B-25 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.67

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.61

4th Time All-Star-Baker is in a great stretch of his career, making the All-Star team for his fourth straight season. He finished sixth in WAR (9.3); third in WAR Position Players (9.3), behind Boston centerfielder Tris Speaker (10.1) and Cleveland rightfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson (9.5); fourth in Offensive WAR (8.3); fifth in Defensive WAR (1.5); sixth in batting (.347); sixth in on-base percentage (.404); fourth in slugging (.541); seventh in steals (40); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (174).

SABR says, “Despite his newfound fame, Baker remained a rugged individualist, retiring to his Maryland farm every offseason where he kept in shape by chopping wood and hunting for quail. Sportswriters who managed to track him down for a hot stove feature soon learned that the quickest way to get Frank to open up was to go hunting with him. ‘Frank is the best shot in Talbot County, and he’s wild about duck shooting,’ one friend explained. ‘Whenever you look at him he’s either just shot fifteen or twenty ducks or is just going to, and he’ll call you blessed if you save him the trouble of bringing up the subject. After that he’ll discuss anything under the sun with you.’

“From 1912 to 1914, Baker continued to lead the league in home runs every season, and also collected his first RBI title in 1912, with a career high 130, and a second in 1913, when he drove in 117 runs. Continuing to rank among the league leaders in assists and putouts, Baker was also widely regarded as one of the game’s best fielding third basemen.”

gardner2

3B-Larry Gardner, Boston Red Sox, 26 Years Old

1911

.315, 3 HR, 86 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-It wasn’t easy to be an All-Star third baseman in these days, yet Boston in the American League’s short history has already had two good ones, Jimmy Collins and this man. Gardner finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.8); ninth in Offensive WAR (5.0); sixth in Defensive WAR (1.3); ninth in batting (.315); ninth in on-base percentage (.383); seventh in slugging (.449); and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (134). It was his best season ever.

In the World Series, Gardner knocked in the only run in Boston’s 2-1 loss to the Giants in Game 3 at Fenway Park. He was one of the heroes of the Game 4 victory for the Red Sox as he went two-for-three with a triple and scored two of Boston’s three runs. In Game 7, Boston lost 11-4, but Gardner launched a two-run homer. But in Game 8, he proved the difference, hitting a sacrifice fly off of Christy Mathewson that scored Steve Yerkes and won the Series for Boston.

SABR describes the winning hit, saying, “Realizing that Mathewson was working him to hit a low ball, Larry allowed two balls to go by before he swung and missed at the third pitch. A walk meant forcing in the winning run, so Matty couldn’t afford to be cute. His next pitch was over the inside corner, well above the knee. Larry swung and a shout went up as the ball headed for deep right field. ‘I was disappointed at first because I thought the ball was going out,’ Larry remembered, ‘but then when I saw Yerkes tag up, then score to end it, I realized it meant $4,024.68, just about double my earnings for the year.’”

foster

3B-Eddie Foster, Washington Senators, 25 Years Old

.285, 2 HR, 70 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

At Bats-618

Def. Games as 3B-154

Assists as 3B-348

1st Time All-Star-Edward Cunningham “Eddie” or “Kid” Foster was born on February 13, 1887 in Chicago, IL. The five-foot-six, 145 pound third baseman started as a shortstop for the Highlanders in 1910. He didn’t play Major League ball in 1911 and this season had his best year ever for the Senators. Foster finished eighth in WAR Position Players (5.4); and second in Defensive WAR (2.0), behind teammate and shortstop George McBride (2.7). He’d continue to play good defense throughout his 13-year career.

SABR says, “Foster didn’t get into any games for Washington in 1911, but made the club in 1912, played in every one of the 154 games, and hit for an impressive .285. He had, however, been converted into a third baseman, where Washington had more of a need. In the first few weeks of the new season, he made his mark – particularly against the New Yorkers. ‘With his batting and fielding, no one person has helped to keep the Highlanders in last place more than third baseman Eddie Foster, of the Washingtons. And the Highlanders had him once, too.’ Indeed, the Highlanders could have pulled him back from Rochester but had elected to sell his contract to Clark Griffith’s Washington club.

“Foster drove in 70 runs, which remained his career best. His three-run inside-the-park home run on April 27 off New York’s Ray Caldwell came in the bottom of the sixth, neither team having scored, and was ‘a resounding Rooseveltian rap,’ in the words of Sporting Life editor Paul W. Eaton. In his 13 years in the majors, Foster hit six home runs.”

bush3

SS-Donie Bush, Detroit Tigers, 24 Years Old

1909 1910

.231, 2 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-117 (4th Time)

Assists-547 (3rd Time)

Assists as SS-547 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.20

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.00

3rd Time All-Star-Bush’s chance of making my Hall of Fame dropped from 99 percent to 80 percent and that’s because after 1910, the diminutive shortstop lost most of his ability to hit. The reason he’s still going to make All-Star teams is because he could still draw walks and he flashed good leather in the field. This season, Bush finished fourth in Defensive WAR (1.8) and eighth in steals (37). He was the best of a weak pool of American League shortstops this year.

Here’s Wikipedia’s description of his fielding prowess: “Bush was one of the best defensive shortstops of the dead-ball era. He collected more putoutsassists, and total chances than any other shortstop of the era, and his 1914 total of 425 putouts is still the Major League record for shortstops. His 1914 total of 969 chances is also still the American League record. He also led the American League in assists by a shortstop on five occasions: 1909 (567), 1911 (556), 1912 (547), 1914 (544), and 1915 (504). Bush also holds the Major League record (shared with Bid McPhee) for most career triple plays with nine. Bush’s triple plays came on May 4, 1910, April 24, 1911, May 20, 1911, September 9, 1911, April 6, 1912, August 23, 1917, August 14, 1919, May 18, 1921, and September 14, 1921.

“In 1912, Bush led the major leagues with 117 bases on balls. The Sporting Life noted: ‘Bush is one of the hardest men in the game to pitch to. He is so small that a pitcher has to have absolute control to get the ball over for him, and it makes him a most valuable lead-off man for a team, because there is hardly a day that he does not reach the bases one or more times.’”

Full-length of Tristan Speaker as Boston Red Sox

CF-Tris Speaker, Boston Red Sox, 24 Years Old

1909 1910 1911

.383, 10 HR, 90 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

1912 AL MVP

WAR Position Players-10.1

Offensive WAR-9.2

On-Base %-.464

Doubles-53

Home Runs-10

Runs Created-149

Adj. Batting Runs-73

Adj. Batting Wins-7.6

Extra Base Hits-75

Times on Base-310

Power-Speed #-16.8

Assists as CF-35 (2nd Time)

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

Assists as OF-35 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as OF-9 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.62 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as CF-.957 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.73 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.66 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Speaker might always be behind Ty Cobb and Shoeless Joe Jackson in some of the hitting stats, but that doesn’t take away from his own abilities. This season, Speaker was named the American League MVP (I would have picked Walter Johnson) finishing fourth in WAR (10.1); first in WAR Position Players (10.1); first in Offensive WAR (9.2); third in batting (.383), behind Cobb (.409) and Jackson (.395); first in on-base percentage (.464); third in slugging (.567), trailing Cobb (.584) and Jackson (.579); fourth in steals (52); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (189), once again behind Cobb (200) and Jackson (191).

But, hey, Cobb and Jackson, did you make the World Series? Because Speaker did. He was one of the heroes of the clinching Game 8 over the Giants, hitting a single in the 10th inning to tie up the game, 2-2, before Larry Gardner hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the winning run. Altogether, The Grey Eagle  hit .300 (nine-for-30) with a double and two triples.

SABR says, “But when executing a hook slide on the bases, tracking a fly ball at the crack of an opponent’s bat, or slashing one of his patented extra-base hits, Speaker made everything he did look easy. ‘You can write him down as one of the two models of ball-playing grace,’ Grantland Rice wrote of the Grey Eagle. ‘The other was Napoleon Lajoie. Neither ever wasted a motion or gave you any sign of extra effort. … They had the same elements that made a Bobby Jones or the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame — the smoothness of a summer wind.’”

cobb6CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 25 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911

.409, 7 HR, 83 RBI

MVP Rank: 7

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

 

Led in:

 

1912 AL Batting Title (6th Time)

Batting Average-.409 (5th Time)

Slugging %-.584 (6th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.040 (6th Time)

Hits-226 (5th Time)

Singles-166 (4th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-200 (6th Time)

Offensive Win %-.857 (6th Time)

Caught Stealing-34

6th Time All-Star-It wouldn’t be until 1920 that caught stealings would be officially counted. However, they were counted sporadically before then. So I’m shocked how many times Cobb got thrown out trying to steal. I’d always heard he was a good base stealer, stealing 897 times in his career, but in the seasons in which CS are counted, he added very little value to his game through stealing.

Oh well, and the Mona Lisa is wearing an off-the-rack dress, I shouldn’t be so picky. Cobb still had an outstanding year, finishing seventh in WAR (9.2); fourth in WAR Position Players (9.2); second in Offensive WAR (8.9), trailing Boston centerfielder Tris Speaker (9.2); first in batting (.409); third in on-base percentage (.456), behind Speaker and Cleveland rightfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson (.458); first in slugging (.584); third in steals (61), trailing Washington centerfielder Clyde Milan (88) and Philadelphia second baseman Eddie Collins (63); first in caught stealings (34); and first in Adjusted OPS+ (200).

Cobb’s most famous, or should I say, infamous, accomplishment in 1912 was beating up a man in the stands in a game in New York. The New York Times has an article detailing it. Read it all. Here’s a bit of it: “The Tigers’ Sam Crawford asked Cobb what he intended to do. And with that, Cobb suddenly vaulted into the stands toward Lucker, seated about 12 rows up in the grandstand. Knocking Lucker down, Cobb began kicking and stamping him.

“’Cobb,’ someone cried, ‘that man has no hands!’

“’I don’t care if he has no feet!’ he yelled, continuing the attack with his cleats.” Would he have been kicked out of baseball if this happened nowadays?

milan3

CF-Clyde Milan, Washington Senators, 25 Years Old

1910 1911

.306, 1 HR, 79 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-88

Def. Games as CF-154 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as CF-25 (3rd Time)

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

Errors Committed as OF-25

3rd Time All-Star-Different eras of baseball have valued the stolen base more than others. This Deadball Era, with its lack of runs and lack of power certainly had more than its share of steals. And since there weren’t statistical nudges around telling players there was only value in thefts if you stole only 70 percent or above, steals were tried frequently without the concern there is nowadays for success. In 1912, there was a total of 1,822 stolen bases, an average of 228 a team, and 1,340 caught stealings, or 168 a team. That’s a 58 percent success rate. Milan, who led the American League in steals with 88 got caught stealing 31 times or a 74 percent rate.

As for the rest of his season, Deerfoot finished ninth in WAR Position Players (5.4); 10th in Offensive WAR (4.5); and third in caught stealing (31), behind Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (34) and Chicago third baseman Harry Lord (33). Lord was thrown out more times than he succeeded (30).

SABR says, “Milan’s peak was from 1911 to 1913 when he played in every game but one, batted over .300 each season, and averaged almost 74 stolen bases per season. In 1912 he finished fourth in the Chalmers Award voting, and his American League record-breaking total of 88 steals would have been 91 if Washington’s game against St. Louis on August 9th hadn’t been rained out in the third inning. unning into Milan on a train that summer, Billy Evans, who had umpired Milan’s first game back in 1907, remarked on his wonderful improvement in every department of the game, base running in particular.”

shotton

CF-Burt Shotton, St. Louis Browns, 27 Years Old

.290, 2 HR, 40 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as CF-374

Errors Committed as CF-25

Def. Games as OF-154

Putouts as OF-381

Errors Committed as OF-25

1st Time All-Star-Burton Edwin “Burt” or “Barney” Shotton was born on October 18, 1884 in Brownhelm, OH. The five-foot-11, 175 pound lefty started with the Browns in 1909, but didn’t play in the Majors in 1910. He was back as St. Louis’ regular centerfielder in 1911. This season, Shotton is the Browns’ lone representative on this list. He finished seventh in on-base percentage (.390); 10th in steals (35); and seventh in caught stealing (26). He has a couple more All-Star seasons left.

His team moved up from last to seventh this season with a 53-101 record. St. Louis was coached by Bobby Wallace (12-27) and George Stovall (41-74). It had the league’s worst hitting, as it was the only team to average less than four runs a game, and also some of the league’s worst pitching. Being a St. Louis Browns fan would have been almost as bad as being a Cleveland Browns fan nowadays.

SABR says, “Shotton began his professional career in 1908, batting .244 in twenty-two games for Erie in the Ohio-Pennsylvania League. He reached the majors the following season, when he made it into seventeen games with the St. Louis Browns. In his first major-league at-bat, on September 13 in Detroit, Shotton singled off George Mullin. He had his first major league home run, an inside-the-parker, on June 22, 1912 at Comiskey Park off Joe Benz.” Of course, most of his game comes as a manager and for being Jackie Robinson’s first Major League skipper. Apparently, Leo Durocher was out with a suspension for the season.

jackson2

RF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, Cleveland Naps, 24 Years Old

1911

.395, 3 HR, 90 RBI

MVP Rank: 9

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits-226

Total Bases-331

Triples-26

Assists as RF-24

Errors Committed as RF-13

Range Factor/Game as RF-1.97 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-What a talent this man was! At 24-years-old, he was already one of the American League’s superstars. What kind of stats could Shoeless Joe have compiled if his career wasn’t so short? Oh well, such is life, let’s just focus on the positive. This year, Jackson finished fifth in WAR (9.5); second in WAR Position Players (9.5), behind Boston centerfielder Tris Speaker (10.1); third in Offensive WAR (8.8), trailing Speaker (9.2) and Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (8.9); second in batting (.395), only behind Cobb (.409); second in on-base percentage (.458), trailing Speaker (.464); second in slugging (.579), lagging only behind the Georgia Peach (.584); 10th in steals (35); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (191), behind Cobb (200). The Junior Circuit certainly had its share of great outfielders at this time.

How did he acquire his nickname? According to Wikipedia, “According to Jackson, he got his nickname during a mill game played in Greenville, South Carolina. Jackson had blisterson his foot from a new pair of cleats, which hurt so much that he took his shoes off before he was at bat. As play continued, a heckling fan noticed Jackson running to third base in his socks, and shouted ‘You shoeless son of a gun, you!’ and the resulting nickname ‘Shoeless Joe’ stuck with him throughout the remainder of his life.”

If indeed Jackson helped throw the 1919 World Series, I don’t think he belongs in the Hall of Fame, but remember this Hall of Fame included Ty Cobb, who, as mentioned in his write-up, pummeled a man in the stands. That’s why my Hall of Fame is based purely on stats, because I don’t want to be the morality judge.

crawford9

RF-Sam Crawford, Detroit Tigers, 32 Years Old, 1912 ONEHOF Inductee

1901 1902 1903 1905 1907 1908 1909 1911

.325, 4 HR, 109 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1912)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1957)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1905)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as RF-.983 (2nd Time)

9th Time All-Star-My dear readers, you probably have been scouring the 1912 NL All-Star list and this list wondering if you missed this year’s ONEHOF Inductee. Nope, it just happened to be the last player of which I’m writing for the 1912 season, Wahoo Sam Crawford. Next year’s nominees are Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Vic Willis, Roger Bresnahan, Cal McVey, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, Joe McGinnity, Johnny Evers, Joe Tinker, and Ed Walsh.

Crawford this season finished sixth in Offensive WAR (5.5); eighth in batting (.325); fifth in slugging (.470); sixth in steals (42); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (143). Many of you know Yahoo Sam is the leading triple hitter of all time. At this point, Crawford has 228 triples, 16 behind Jake Beckley. When will he catch him? You’ll have to keep reading!

Detroit had a new park this year, according to SABR, which says, “The first game to be played at Navin Field was scheduled for Thursday, April 18, 1912, with the Detroit Tigers hosting the Cleveland Naps. To commemorate this special Opening Day of the season, many activities were scheduled, all to take place on the 18th. A parade featuring both teams was to work its way from the middle of downtown Detroit to the new ballpark at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull Avenues. After the game the Tigers and Naps were to attend a banquet in their honor at the elegant Hotel Pontchartrain, sponsored by the Detroit Board of Commerce. However, once again, the best plans did not occur as planned. It rained hard on April 18 and the game was postponed.”

1912 National League All-Star Team

P-Nap Rucker, BRO

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Pete Alexander, PHI

P-Claude Hendrix, PIT

P-Rube Marquard, NYG

P-Slim Sallee, STL

P-George Suggs, CIN

P-Jeff Tesreau, NYG

P-Art Fromme, CIN

P-Eppa Rixey, PHI

C-Chief Meyers, NYG

C-Jimmy Archer, CHC

1B-Ed Konetchy, STL

1B-Jake Daubert, BRO

2B-Johnny Evers, CHC

2B-Bill Sweeney, BSN

2B-Larry Doyle, NYG

3B-Heinie Zimmerman, CHC

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

LF-Bob Bescher, CIN

LF-Max Carey, PIT

CF-Chief Wilson, PIT

CF-Dode Paskert, PHI

RF-John Titus, PHI/BSN

 

rucker6

P-Nap Rucker, Brooklyn Dodgers, 27 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911

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

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-8.3 (2nd Time)

War for Pitchers-8.1 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-6 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

mathewson11

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

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911

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

MVP Rank: 12

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1910)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1903)

 

Led in:

 

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

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

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.54 (8th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-42 (5th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.3 (5th Time)

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

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

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

alexander2

P-Pete Alexander, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

1911

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

MVP Rank: 22

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1938)

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.655

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

Strikeouts-195

Home Runs Allowed-11

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

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

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

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

hendrix

P-Claude Hendrix, Pittsburgh Pirates, 23 Years Old

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

MVP Rank: 20

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.727

Assists as P-91

Range Factor/Game as P-2.51

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

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

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

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

marquard2

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

1911

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

MVP Rank: 8

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1971)

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-26

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

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

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

sallee

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

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

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Saves-6

Putouts as P-17

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

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

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

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

suggs3

P-George Suggs, Cincinnati Reds, 29 Years Old

1910 1911

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits Allowed-320

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

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

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

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

tesreau

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

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

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1912 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.96

Hits per 9 IP-6.556

Adjusted ERA+-173

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

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

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

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

fromme2

P-Art Fromme, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1909

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-9

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

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

rixey

P-Eppa Rixey, Philadelphia Phillies, 21 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000

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

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

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

meyers2

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

1911

.358, 6 HR, 60 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.441

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

Putouts as C-576 (3rd Time)

Passed Balls-12 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

archer

C-Jimmy Archer, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

.283, 5 HR, 61 RBI

MVP Rank: 22

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as C-149

Errors Committed as C-23

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

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

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

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

konetchy4

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

1909 1910 1911

.314, 8 HR, 82 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

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

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

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

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

daubert2

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

1911

.308, 3 HR, 66 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 1B-.993

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

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

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

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

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

evers7

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

1904 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910

.341, 1 HR, 61 RBI

MVP Rank: 20

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1912)

 

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

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

sweeneybi

2B-Bill Sweeney, Boston Braves, 26 Years Old

.344, 1 HR, 99 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-153

Plate Appearances-697

Singles-159

Times on Base-277

Def. Games as 2B-153

Putouts as 2B-459 (2nd Time)

Assists as 2B-475

Errors Committed as 2B-40 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 2B-76

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.19 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.10 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-William John “Bill” Sweeney was born on March 6, 1886 in Covington, KY. The five-foot-11, 175 pound infielder started as a shortstop for the Cubs in 1907, before being traded by the Chicago Cubs with Newt Randall to the Boston Doves for Del Howard. Boston moved him from short to third base and then back to short in 1910. In 1911, Sweeney found a home at second base and would have his best season ever this year. He finished 10th in WAR (5.3); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.3); third in Offensive WAR (5.2), behind Chicago’s Heinie Zimmerman (7.2) and Pittsburgh’s Honus Wagner (6.1); third in batting (.344), trailing Zimmerman (.372) and New York’s Chief Meyers (.358); sixth in on-base percentage (.416); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (135).

Did all of that hitting help Boston, now going under the nickname “Braves?” Nope. Even with new manager Johnny Kling, it finished last with a 52-101 record. Besides Sweeney, the Braves had no hitters and they had the worst pitching in the league. It would be Kling’s first and last year managing.

SABR says, “…Sweeney put together a season that surpassed even his splendid 1911 campaign. He batted leadoff for the first twenty-five games of the 1912 season but then was moved to the number three position in the lineup. (Sporting Life, May 15, 1912) He never missed a beat and swatted a prodigious .344 for the year while driving in a hundred runs. The total is astonishing considering Sweeney’s time in the leadoff spot and that he ranked among the league leaders in sacrifice bunts with 33.”

doyle4

2B-Larry Doyle, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

1909 1910 1911

.330, 10 HR, 91 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

 ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1912 NL MVP

AB Per SO-27.9

4th Time All-Star-You would have thought a man only 25 years old, who has now made four straight All-Star teams, would be a surefire Hall of Famer. Doyle’s going to be close in making my Hall of Fame, but his best years are behind him at this point. He did win the MVP in the National League this season and it was a good year, but he wouldn’t have been my choice. I would have probably taken Christy Mathewson. That doesn’t mean Laughing Larry had a bad year. He finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.0); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.6); fifth in batting (.330); ninth in on-base percentage (.393); fifth in slugging (.471); seventh in steals (36); and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (132). In the World Series which the Giants lost to the Red Sox, 4-3-1, he hit just .242 with a home run.

From SABR: “At the height of his stardom Doyle earned an annual salary of $8,000, only $3,000 less than his road roommate Mathewson. He invested in Florida real estate, and he and Matty studied the stock market intensely. In 1912 Doyle again reached double figures in home runs and posted career highs in batting average (.330) and RBIs (90), winning the Chalmers Award as the NL’s most valuable player. The prize, of course, was a Chalmers automobile. ‘I didn’t even know how to put gasoline into it,’ Larry recalled. The following season he might have wished he’d remained ignorant; a week before the end of the season he lost control of the car and crashed it into a tree, bruising his arm and shoulder. Doyle missed the end of the regular season but recovered sufficiently to play in the World Series, though he managed only three hits and committed three errors in the five games (the Giants losing for the third straight year). Defense undoubtedly was the former third baseman’s biggest weakness. Doyle shaded closer to second base than other second basemen, preventing him from covering as much ground on the first-base side, and he also reportedly had trouble coming in to field slow grounders.”

zimmerman

3B-Heinie Zimmerman, Chicago Cubs, 25 Years Old

.372, 14 HR, 104 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1912 NL Triple Crown

1912 NL Batting Title

Offensive WAR-7.2

Batting Average-.372

Slugging %-.571

On-Base Plus Slugging-.989

Hits-207

Total Bases-318

Doubles-41

Home Runs-14

Runs Batted In-104

Adjusted OPS+-170

Runs Created-131

Adj. Batting Runs-51

Adj. Batting Wins-5.2

Extra Base Hits-69

Offensive Win%-.813

Power-Speed #-17.4

Errors Committed as 3B-35

1st Time All-Star-Henry “Heinie” Zimmerman was born on February 9, 1887 in New York, NY. He started with the Cubs in 1907 and played various infield positions throughout the years. He had only one at bat in the 1907 World Series, striking out. In 1910, he hit .235 (four-for-17) with a double. After playing a lot of second base in 1911 in place of Johnny Evers, he moved to third base this year and had one of those out of the blue seasons that happen periodically. If the Triple Crown would have had more worth in 1912, there’s no doubt Zimmerman would have won the MVP. As it was, I don’t really have to recap his season, do I? Look at that list above.

SABR says, “A versatile fielder who could play second, third, or short, Heinie Zimmerman rose to prominence with the Chicago Cubs during the early teens as a lovable eccentric whose aggressive batting style won the loyalty of fans and the respect of opposing pitchers. But despite winning the National League’s Triple Crown in 1912, the lifetime .295 hitter never fulfilled his immense potential, instead becoming one of the Deadball Era’s best examples of wasted talent. ‘Zimmerman’s disposition has not always been fortunate and his all round record hasn’t been quite what it should have been,’ wrote F.C. Lane in 1917. ‘But there is no possible doubt that he is one of the greatest natural ball players who ever wore a uniform.’ By the end of the decade, the man who had once come within an eyelash of the Triple Crown found himself driven from the game in disgrace.”

There is an article at the link detailing why Zimmerman’s Triple Crown was legit and if you like reading loan contracts or tax codes, you should check it out.

wagner14

SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 38 Years Old

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

.324, 7 HR, 101 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1906)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1901)

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-8.0 (11th Time)

Defensive WAR-3.0

Double Plays Turned as SS-74 (4th Time)

Fielding % as SS-.962

14th Time All-Star-Wagner’s 12th stint on the All-Star team at shortstop moves him past Jack Glasscock for the most times making this list at that position. Here’s the whole list:

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Nap Lajoie, 10

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Honus Wagner, 12

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Thompson, Elmer Flick, 7

As for his season, ho-hum. Wagner finished second in WAR (8.0), behind Brooklyn pitcher Nap Rucker (8.3); first in WAR Position Players (8.0); second in Offensive WAR (6.1), trailing Chicago third baseman Heinie Zimmerman (7.2); first in Defensive WAR (3.0); sixth in batting (.324); eighth in on-base percentage (.395); third in slugging (.496), lagging behind Zimmerman (.571) and teammate Chief Wilson (.513); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (143), with only Zimmerman (170) and New York catcher Chief Meyers (147) ahead of him. This season allows me to go on one of my rants asking why Wagner’s Offensive WAR (6.1) plus his Defensive WAR (3.0) doesn’t give him an overall war of 9.1 instead of 8.0.

SABR says, “Honus Wagner was no angel or saint. Some opponents thought him a fine fellow off the diamond but overly rough on it. Most umpires thought he ‘kicked’ too much. He affected to dislike formal affairs, but he really hated the next morning. Yet he also embodied the American dream as the son of immigrants who rose from humble roots to greatness. Frailties aside, he was one of baseball’s first heroes, a basically gentle, hard-working man, a loyal friend and teammate who treated young players kindly, dealt with adversity, inspired millions, and was devoted to Bessie, the ‘boys,’ and Leslie. Bill James in The Historical Baseball Abstract put it best: ‘[T]here is no one who has ever played this game that I would be more anxious to have on a baseball team.’”

tinker7

SS-Joe Tinker, Chicago Cubs, 31 Years Old

1902 1906 1908 1909 1910 1911

.282, 0 HR, 77 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as SS-354 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-5.97 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.80 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-Tinker is what we envision when we hear the word “shortstop.” He stood at five-foot-nine, 175 pounds, while Honus Wagner, the best in the world at the position, weighed in at 200. It wasn’t until Cal Ripken came along that teams started inserting bigger men into the position. That’s why people, pre-Ripken, tended to think of people with the size of Ozzie Smith as shortstops.

This season, Tinker made his fifth straight All-Star team, finishing second in Defensive WAR (2.4), behind Wagner (3.0). As usual for Tinker, it was his fielding that put him on this list.

The Cubs almost lost Tinker this season, as Wikipedia says, “Garry Herrmann, the owner of the Reds, identified Tinker as an ideal candidate to become his player-manager for the 1912 season. According to Tinker, shareholders of the Reds approached Tinker about his interest in the job, and he then met with Charles W. Murphy, the Cubs’ owner, and Chance, then serving as the Cubs’ manager. They forbade him from taking the role with Cincinnati, which left Tinker unhappy. Herrmann began to listen to entreaties from his players, who wanted to retain Clark Griffith as manager, but decided to hire Hank O’Day. In the 1912 season, Tinker had a .282 batting average, and scored 80 runs and recorded 75 RBIs, both career records. He again led the league in putouts by a shortstop, with 354. Tinker finished in fourth place in the Chalmers Award voting following the season, behind Larry DoyleHonus Wagner, and Chief Meyers.”

bescher

LF-Bob Bescher, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

.281, 4 HR, 38 RBI

MVP Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-120

Stolen Bases-67 (4th Time)

Errors Committed as LF-14 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Robert Henry “Bob” Bescher was born on February 25, 1884 in London, OH. The speedy switch-hitter started his career with the Reds in 1908 and this was his fourth consecutive year of leading the National League in steals. It was also his best season ever as he finished ninth in WAR Position Players (3.7); 10th in Offensive WAR (3.4); and first in steals (67). He would stay with Cincinnati through 1913, move to the Giants in 1914, play for the Cardinals from 1915-17, and then finish off his career with Cleveland in 1918.

Wikipedia says, “The switch-hitting Bescher played 5 seasons with Cincy, and established himself as a dangerous player on the basepaths with the Reds. He led the NL in stolen bases for four consecutive years from 1909 to 1912, and his 81 stolen bases in 1911 set a league record which was not broken for over 50 years.

“Outside of stolen bases, he was the NL leader in runs in 1912, and was the NL leader in walks in 1913. Also in 1912, he hit a career-best .282 and finished 5th in voting for the Chalmers Award, a forerunner to the modern MVP award.

“He played for the New York Giants in 1914, after being traded there in exchange for Buck Herzog, and hit .270 in his lone year in the Big Apple. Three seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals followed, which ended after he was traded to the minor league Milwaukee Brewers, the trade coming at a time before minor league teams were affiliated with Major League clubs.”

carey

LF-Max Carey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 22 Years Old

.302, 5 HR, 68 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1961)

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

 

Led in:

 

Sacrifice Hits-37

Def. Games as LF-148

Putouts as LF-358

Double Plays Turned as LF-11

Putouts as OF-369

Double Plays Turned as OF-10

Range Factor/Game as LF_2.54

Fielding % as LF-.969

1st Time All-Star-Max George “Scoops” Carey was born on January 11, 1890 in Terre Haute, IN. The five-foot-11, 170 pound switch-hitter started his Hall of Fame career with Pittsburgh in 1910. He’s going to be one of the game’s most prolific base stealers over the next decade or so. This season, Carey finished second in steals (45), trailing only Cincinnati leftfielder Bob Bescher (67). However, Scoops would go on to lead the National League in that category 10 of the next 13 years.

Wikipedia says, “Carey’s parents wanted their son to become a Lutheran minister. He attended Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, studying in the pre-ministerial program. He also played baseball, and was a member of the swimming and track-and-field teams. After graduating in 1909, he went to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.

“The President of the Central League recommended Carey to the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball‘s (MLB) National League at the end of the 1910 season. The Pirates bought Carey and McCarthy from South Bend on August 15, and Carey made his MLB debut with the Pirates, appearing in two games as a replacement for Fred Clarke.

“In 1912, Carey played in 122 games as the Pirates’ center fielder, replacing Tommy Leach. He had a .258 batting average on the season. The next year, he succeeded Clarke as the Pirates’ left fielder on a permanent basis.”    Yes it’s true, Clarke, the game’s greatest leftfielder and perhaps its best player-manager of all-time stopped playing regularly in 1911, making only occasional appearances with the Pirates from 1913-15.

wilsonc

CF-Chief Wilson, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

.300, 11 HR, 94 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-36

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

1st Time All-Star-John Owen “Chief” Wilson was born on August 21, 1883 in Austin, TX. The six-foot-two, 185 pound lefty started with Pittsburgh in 1908 and this year was his best ever and, of course, most famous ever as he set the all-time mark for triples with 36. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.0); second in slugging (.513), behind only Chicago third baseman Heinie Zimmerman (.571); and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (132).

Now you might ask yourself who held the triples record before Wilson. Well, in 1886, Dave Orr hit 31 for the American Association New York Metropolitans and then in 1894, Heinie Reitz also hit 31 three-baggers for the Baltimore Orioles. The surprising thing about Orr is he weighed 250 pounds!

No one would ever have over 30 triples again. The closest any player got was Sam Crawford with 26 in 1914.

Wikipedia says, “In 1912, Wilson recorded the same batting average as the year before and came second in the league in slugging (.513) and games played (152), third in home runs (11), fourth in RBI (95) and seventh in hits (175). Furthermore, he set the single-season record for triples, hitting 36 in total that year. However, his record received almost no press coverage whatsoever. Baseball sportswriter Ernest Lanigan suggested that this was because a record book erroneously attributed Nap Lajoie with having 44 triples in 1903, when he hit only 11 that year. As a result, several newspapers—most notably the Pittsburgh Press—were under the belief that Lajoie held the record.”

paskert2

CF-Dode Paskert, Philadelphia Phillies, 30 Years Old

1910

.315, 2 HR, 43 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as CF-.967 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-After not making the All-Star team in 1911, Paskert is back this season with the Phillies, after first making this list with the Reds in 1910. He finished ninth in WAR Position Players (3.7); ninth in Offensive WAR (3.6); ninth in batting (.315); fourth in on-base percentage (.420); and seventh in steals (36).

SABR says, “Fleet-footed Dode Paskert was one of the finest defensive center fielders of the Deadball Era. ‘It is no exaggeration to say that Paskert is one of the greatest judges of a fly ball in the game today,’ wrote Baseball Magazine‘s J. C. Kofoed in 1915. ‘Those who have seem him circle, hawk-like, turn his back and speed outward, and then make a daring leap, with the spoiling of a three-bagger at the end of it, know how true that statement is.’ As for his offense, Paskert was an extremely patient hitter who worked pitchers deep into the count, often ranking among the National League leaders in both walks and strikeouts. A pronounced pull hitter, he choked up on the bat and found his hits by punching the ball into left field. Though used most often in the leadoff position, Paskert frequently hit for extra bases; from 1912 to 1918 he ranked among the NL’s top ten in doubles four times and home runs once.

“Paskert brought more to the Phillies than his fielding. In 1912 he enjoyed the best offensive season of his career, posting career highs in batting average (.315), on-base percentage (.420), and slugging percentage (.413).”

titus2

RF-John Titus, Philadelphia Phillies/Boston Braves, 36 Years Old

1905

.309, 5 HR, 73 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Titus last made the All-Star team in 1905 and after a long break, he’s back on the list. He finished seventh in Offensive WAR (4.0); seventh in on-base percentage (.416); 10th in slugging (.446); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (134). Despite that, 1913 would be his last season, as he would finish up playing for the Braves.

SABR says, “Philadelphia led the NL in late May 1911 when Titus broke his leg sliding into home plate in a game against the Cardinals. By the time he returned to the lineup, the Phillies had sunk to third and the once-fleet outfielder had lost a lot of his speed–after stealing more than 20 bases in each of the previous three seasons, he totaled only 17 in the next three years combined. On June 21, 1912, the Phillies traded Titus to the Boston Braves. He finished the season strong, batting 325 in 96 games for Boston, and began 1913 as the Braves’ starting right fielder. But when manager George Stallings sorted out his team’s many outfielders, he relegated Titus to the bench. The Braves ended up selling him to Kansas City of the American Association after he suffered another broken leg in July.
At the beginning of the 1914 season Titus was 38 years old, though the papers now said he was 31. In late April he suffered a fractured skull and remained unconscious for several hours after being beaned by Bill Burns, a former teammate who was later linked to the 1919 World Series scandal. Titus remained out of the lineup for two months. The following summer he was hitting only .263 when Kansas City released him on July 22. He decided to retire.”

1911 American League All-Star Team

P-Ed Walsh, CHW

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Vean Gregg, CLE

P-Russ Ford, NYY

P-George Mullin, DET

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Smoky Joe Wood, BOS

P-Chief Bender, PHA

P-Ray Caldwell, NYY

P-Jim Scott, CHW

C-Jack Lapp, PHA

C-Ira Thomas, PHA

1B-Jim Delahanty, DET

2B-Eddie Collins, PHA

2B-Frank LaPorte, SLB

3B-Home Run Baker, PHA

3B-Larry Gardner, BOS

SS-Lee Tannehill, CHW

LF-Birdie Cree, NYY

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Tris Speaker, BOS

CF-Clyde Milan, WSH

RF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, CLE

RF-Sam Crawford, DET

RF-Danny Murphy, PHA

 

walsh6

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

1906 1907 1908 1909 1910

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

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1910)

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-9.2 (3rd Time)

Games Pitched-56 (4th Time)

Saves-4 (4th Time)

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

Strikeouts-255 (2nd Time)

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

Batters Faced-1,449 (3rd Time)

Games Finished-19 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-44 (4th Time)

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

Putouts as P-27 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-159 (4th Time)

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

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

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

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

johnson4

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 23 Years Old

1908 1909 1910

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

MVP Rank: 5

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

Complete Games-36 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-6

Wild Pitches-17 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

gregg

P-Vean Gregg, Cleveland Naps, 26 Years Old

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

MVP Rank: 10

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Earned Run Average-1.80

Walks & Hits per IP-1.054

Hits per 9 IP-6.327

Adjusted ERA+-189

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.6

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

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

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

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

ford2

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

1910

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

MVP Rank: 18

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

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

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

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

mullin4P-George Mullin, Detroit Tigers, 30 Years Old

1903 1904 1906

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

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

plank9

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

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908 1909

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

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1904)

 

Led in:

 

Saves-4

Shutouts-6 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

woods

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.542

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.13

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

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

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

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

bender4

P-Chief Bender, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

1907 1909 1910

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1953)

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

 

Led in:

 

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

Fielding % as P-1.000

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

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

caldwell

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

scott

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

lapp

C-Jack Lapp, Philadelphia Athletics, 26 Years Old

.353, 1 HR, 26 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

thomasi

C-Ira Thomas, Philadelphia Athletics, 30 Years Old

.273, 0 HR, 39 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Caught Stealing %-55.3

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

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

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

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

delahantyj

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

.339, 3 HR, 94 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

collinse3

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

1909 1910

.365, 3 HR, 73 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 2B-348 (3rd Time)

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

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

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

laporte

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

.314, 2 HR, 82 RBI

MVP Rank: 20

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-133

Assists as 2B-398

Errors Committed as 2B-36

Double Plays Turned as 2B-59

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-5.42

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

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

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

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

1909 1910

.334, 11 HR, 115 RBI

MVP Rank: 11

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-11

Power-Speed #-17.1

AB per HR-53.8

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

Fielding % as 3B-.942

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

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

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

gardner

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

.285, 4 HR, 44 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

tannehilll2

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

1904

.254, 0 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.6 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.38

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.29

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

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

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

cree

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

.348, 4 HR, 88 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as LF-.969

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

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

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

cobb5

CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 24 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910

.420, 8 HR, 127 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

 

Led in:

 

1911 AL MVP

1911 AL Batting Title (5th Time)

Wins Above Replacement-10.7 (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-10.7 (3rd Time)

Offensive WAR-10.2 (4th Time)

Batting Average-.420 (4th Time)

Slugging %-.621 (5th Time)

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

Runs Scored-147 (3rd Time)

Hits-248 (4th Time)

Total Bases-367 (4th Time)

Doubles-47 (2nd Time)

Triples-24 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-127 (4th Time)

Stolen Bases-83 (3rd Time)

Singles-169 (3rd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-196 (5th Time)

Runs Created-169 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-76 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-7.6 (4th Time)

Extra Base Hits-79 (2nd Time)

Times On Base-300 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.887 (5th Time)

Putouts as CF-382

Errors Committed as CF-17

Double Plays Turned as CF-11

Putouts as OF-376

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

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.78

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.74

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

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

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

1909 1910

.334, 8 HR, 70 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

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

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

milan2

CF-Clyde Milan, Washington Senators, 24 Years Old

1910

.315, 3 HR, 35 RBI

MVP Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-154

At-Bats-616

Plate Appearances-709

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

Assists as CF-32 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as CF-17 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as OF-154

Assists as OF-33 (2nd Time)

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

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

jackson

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

.408, 7 HR, 83 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.468

Range Factor/Game as RF-1.72

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

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

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

crawford8RF-Sam Crawford, Detroit Tigers, 31 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1905 1907 1908 1909

.378, 7 HR, 115 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1957)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1905)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as RF-146

Fielding % as RF-.975

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

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

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

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

murphy5

RF-Danny Murphy, Philadelphia Athletics, 34 Years Old

1904 1905 1909 1910

.300, 4 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

1911 National League All-Star Team

P-Nap Rucker, BRO

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Pete Alexander, PHI

P-Babe Adams, PIT

P-Lefty Leifield, PIT

P-Rube Marquard, NYG

P-Bobby Keefe, CIN

P-Earl Moore, PHI

P-Lew Richie, CHC

P-George Suggs, CIN

C-Chief Meyers, NYG

C-Roger Bresnahan, STL

1B-Ed Konetchy, STL

1B-Fred Merkle, NYG

1B-Jake Daubert, BRO

2B-Larry Doyle, NYG

2B-Miller Huggins, STL

3B-Jim Doyle, CHC

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

SS-Buck Herzog, BSN/NYG

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, CHC

LF-Fred Clarke, PIT

CF-Johnny Bates, CIN

RF- Frank Schulte, CHC

 

rucker5P-Nap Rucker, Brooklyn Dodgers, 26 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-8.8

War for Pitchers-8.6

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

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

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

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

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

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908 1909 1910

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1911 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.99 (4th Time)

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

Hits Allowed-303 (2nd Time)

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

Adjusted ERA+-167 (5th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.44 (7th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-42 (4th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.4 (4th Time)

Putouts as P-31

Assists as P-107 (5th Time)

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

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

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

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

alexander

P-Pete Alexander, Philadelphia Phillies, 24 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-28

Hits per 9 IP-6.989

Innings Pitched-367

Complete Games-31

Shutouts-7

Batters Faced-1,440

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

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

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

adams

P-Babe Adams, Pittsburgh Pirates, 29 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-1.006

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

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

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

leifield

P-Lefty Leifield, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-16

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

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

marquard

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.774

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.682

Strikeouts-237

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

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

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

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

keefeb

P-Bobby Keefe, Cincinnati Reds, 29 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-8

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

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

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

moore4

P-Earl Moore, Philadelphia Phillies, 33 Years Old

1901 1909 1910

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Losses-19

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

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

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

richie

P-Lew Richie, Chicago Cubs, 27 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

suggs2

P-George Suggs, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1910

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

meyers

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

.332, 1 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-128

Putouts as C-729 (2nd Time)

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

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

bresnahan8

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

1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1910

.278, 3 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

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

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

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

konetchy3

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

1909 1910

.289, 6 HR, 88 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-158

Doubles-38

Putouts-1,652 (3rd Time)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

merkle

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

.283, 12 HR, 84 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 1B-117

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

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

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

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

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

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

daubert

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

.307, 5 HR, 45 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Singles-146

Double Plays Turned as 1B-91

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

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

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

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

doyle3

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

1909 1910

.310, 13 HR, 77 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Offensive WAR-6.0

Triples-25

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

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

huggins3

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

1905 1906

.261, 1 HR, 24 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (Yes for managing)

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

 

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

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

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

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

doylej

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

.282, 5 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 3B-35

Double Plays Turned as 3B-25

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

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

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

wagner13SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 37 Years Old

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

.334, 9 HR, 89 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1911 NL Batting Title (8th Time)

WAR Position Players-6.6 (10th Time)

Batting Average-.334 (8th Time)

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

Offensive Win %-.789 (7th Time)

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

P-Cy Young, 17 All-Star teams

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Nap Lajoie, 9

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Jack Glasscock, Wagner, 11

LF-Clarke, 10

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Thompson, Elmer Flick, 7

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

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

tinker6

SS-Joe Tinker, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1902 1906 1908 1909 1910

.278, 4 HR, 69 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.5 (5th Time)

Assists-486 (2nd Time)

Putouts as SS-333

Assists as SS-486 (3rd Time)

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

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

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

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

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

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

herzog

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

.290, 6 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

sheckard5

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, Chicago Cubs, 32 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1905

.276, 4 HR, 50 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.434

Runs Scored-121

Bases on Balls-147

Times on Base-299

Def. Games as LF-156

Putouts as LF_332

Assists as LF-32

Double Plays Turned as LF-11

Def. Games as OF-156

Assists as OF-32 (2nd Time)

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

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.33

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

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

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

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

clarke10LF-Fred Clarke, Pittsburgh Pirates, 38 Years Old

1895 1897 1901 1902 1903 1906 1907 1908 1909

.324, 5 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted 1909)

Cooperstown Yes (Inducted 1945)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted 1903)

 

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

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

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

bates2

CF-Johnny Bates, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1910

.292, 1 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

schulte

RF-Frank Schulte, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

.300, 21 HR, 107 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

NL MVP

Slugging %-.534

Total Bases-308

Home Runs-21 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-107

Adjusted OPS+-156

Runs Created-117

Adj. Batting Runs-40

Adj. Batting Wins-4.2

Extra Base Hits-72

Power-Speed #-22.0 (2nd Time)

AB per HR-27.5

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

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

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

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

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

1910 American League All-Star Team

P-Russ Ford, NYY

P-Ed Walsh, CHW

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Jack Coombs, PHA

P-Chief Bender, PHA

P-Ray Collins, BOS

P-Hippo Vaughn, NYY

P-Jack Quinn, NYY

P-Bill Donovan, DET

P-Cy Morgan, PHA

C-Ted Easterly, CLE

C-Bill Carrigan, BOS

1B-Jake Stahl, BOS

2B-Eddie Collins, PHA

2B-Nap Lajoie, CLE

3B-Home Run Baker, PHA

SS-Donie Bush, DET

SS-George McBride, WSH

SS-Jack Barry, PHA

SS-Bobby Wallace, SLB

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Tris Speaker, BOS

CF-Clyde Milan, WSH

CF-Rube Oldring, PHA

RF-Danny Murphy, PHA

 

ford

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-11.9

WAR for Pitchers-11.3

Hits per 9 IP-5.827

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

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

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

walsh5

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

1906 1907 1908 1909

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1910 AL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-1.27 (2nd Time)

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

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.485

Games Pitched-45 (3rd Time)

Saves-5 (3rd Time)

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

Losses-20

Adjusted ERA+-187 (2nd Time)

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

Assists as P-154 (3rd Time)

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

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

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

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

johnson3

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 22 Years Old

1908 1909

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.614

Games Pitched-45

Innings Pitched-370

Strikeouts-313

Games Started-42

Complete Games-38

Hits Allowed-262

Wild Pitches-21

Batters Faced-1,367

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.38

Def. Games as P-45

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

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

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

coombs

P-Jack Coombs, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-31

Games Pitched-45

Shutouts-13

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

Adj. Pitching Runs-45

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.3

Def. Games as P-45

Fielding % as P-.990

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

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

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

bender3

P-Chief Bender, Philadelphia Athletics, 26 Years Old

1907 1909

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Won-Loss %-.821

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

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

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

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

collinsr

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

vaughn

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

quinn

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

donovan5

P-Bill Donovan, Detroit Tigers, 33 Years Old

1901 1903 1907 1908

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

morgan2

P-Cy Morgan, Philadelphia Athletics, 31 Years Old

1909

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-117

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

Hit By Pitch-18

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

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

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

easterly2

C-Ted Easterly, Cleveland Naps, 25 Years Old

1909

.306, 0 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

carrigan2

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

1909

.249, 3 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-110

Putouts as C-495

Passed Balls-15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

stahlj2

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

1909

.271, 10 HR, 77 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-10

Strikeouts-128 (3rd Time)

AB per HR-53.1

Putouts-1,488

Def. Games as 1B-142

Putouts as 1B-1,488

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

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

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

collinse2

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

1909

.324, 3 HR, 81 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.9

Stolen Bases-81

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

Putouts as 2B-402 (2nd Time)

Assists as 2B-451 (2nd Time)

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

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-5.50

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.58

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

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

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

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

lajoie11

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

1897 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1906 1907 1908 1909

.384, 4 HR, 76 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Offensive WAR-10.0 (4th Time)

Batting Average-.384 (5th Time)

Games Played-159 (2nd Time)

At Bats-591

Hits-227 (4th Time)

Total Bases-304 (4th Time)

Doubles-51 (5th Time)

Singles-165 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-134 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-70 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-8.0 (4th Time)

Extra Base Hits-62 (4th Time)

Times on Base-292 (2nd Time)

AB per SO-32.8 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Nap Lajoie, 9

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Jack Glasscock, 11

LF-Ed Delahanty, Fred Clarke, 9

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Thompson, Elmer Flick, 7

baker2

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

1909

.283, 2 HR, 74 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

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

Putouts as 3B-207 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 3B-35

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

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

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

bush2

SS-Donie Bush, Detroit Tigers, 22 Years Old

1909

.262, 3 HR, 34 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-78 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.940

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

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

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

mcbrideg2

SS-George McBride, Washington Senators, 28 Years Old

1908

.230, 1 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists-518

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

Putouts as SS-370 (2nd Time)

Assists as SS-518

Double Plays as SS-57 (3rd Time)

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

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

barry

SS-Jack Barry, Philadelphia Athletics, 23 Years Old

.259, 3 HR, 60 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed-63

Errors Committed as SS-63

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

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

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

wallace11

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

1898 1899 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908

.258, 0 HR, 37 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

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

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

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

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

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

cobb4CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 23 Years Old

1907 1908 1909

.383, 8 HR, 91 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1910 AL Batting Title (4th Time)

WAR Position Players-10.6 (2nd Time)

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

Slugging %-.551 (4th Time)

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

Runs Scored-106 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-206 (4th Time)

Offensive Win %-.896 (4th Time)

Power-Speed #-14.2 (2nd Time)

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

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

speaker2

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

1909

.340, 7 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as CF-337 (2nd Time)

Putouts as OF-337 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

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

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

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

milan

CF-Clyde Milan, Washington Senators, 23 Years Old

.279, 0 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as CF-141

Assists as CF-30

Errors Committed as CF-17

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

Assists as OF-30

Double Plays Turned as OF-10

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

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

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

oldring

CF-Rube Oldring, Philadelphia Athletics, 26 Years Old

.308, 4 HR, 57 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as CF-.985

Fielding % as OF-.978

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

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

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

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

murphy4RF-Danny Murphy, Philadelphia Athletics, 33 Years Old

1904 1905 1909

.300, 4 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as RF-151

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

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