1924 National League All-Star Team

P-Dazzy Vance, BRO

P-Eppa Rixey, CIN

P-Jesse Barnes, BSN

P-Carl Mays, CIN

P-Bill Doak, STL/BRO

P-Johnny Cooney, BSN

P-Emil Yde, PIT

P-Virgil Barnes, NYG

P-Ray Kremer, PIT

P-Vic Aldridge, CHC

C-Gabby Hartnett, CHC

C-Bubbles Hargrave, CIN

1B-Jack Fournier, BRO

1B-High Pockets Kelly, NYG

2B-Rogers Hornsby, STL

2B-Frankie Frisch, NYG

2B-Andy High, BRO

2B-George Grantham, CHC

3B-Heinie Groh, NYG

SS-Glenn Wright, PIT

LF-Zack Wheat, BRO

LF-Kiki Cuyler, PIT

CF-Cy Williams, PHI

CF-Max Carey, PIT

RF-Ross Youngs, NYG

 

vance2

P-Dazzy Vance, Brooklyn Robins, 33 Years Old

1923

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

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

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

 

Led in:

 

1924 NL Pitching Triple Crown

1924 NL MVP

1924 NL Pitching Title

WAR for Pitchers-10.4

Earned Run Average-2.16

Wins-28

Walks & Hits per IP-1.022

Hits per 9 IP-6.947

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.648 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts-262 (3rd Time)

Complete Games-30

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.403

Adjusted ERA+-174

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.64

Adj. Pitching Runs-56

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.1

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

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

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

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

rixey7

P-Eppa Rixey, Cincinnati Reds, 33 Years Old

1912 1916 1917 1921 1922 1923

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

MVP Rank: 22

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1923)

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-4

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

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

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

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

barnesj

P-Jesse Barnes, Boston Braves, 31 Years Old

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

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-4

Losses-20 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as P-1.000 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

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

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

mays6

P-Carl Mays, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

1916 1917 1919 1920 1921

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1924)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as P-94 (4th Time)

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

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

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

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

doak4

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

1914 1915 1920

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

cooneyj

P-Johnny Cooney, Boston Braves, 23 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

yde

P-Emil Yde, Pittsburgh Pirates, 24 Years Old

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

MVP Rank: 21

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.842

Shutouts-4

Errors Committed as P-6

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

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

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

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

barnesv

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

kremer

P-Ray Kremer, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-41

Shutouts-4

Def. Games as P-41

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

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

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1923 American League All-Star Team

P-George Uhle, CLE

P-Urban Shocker, SLB

P-Howard Ehmke, BOS

P-Elam Vangilder, SLB

P-Herb Pennock, NYY

P-Eddie Rommel, PHA

P-Hooks Dauss, DET

P-Bullet Joe Bush, NYY

P-Sloppy Thurston, SLB/CHW

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

C-Muddy Ruel, WSH

C-Johnny Bassler, DET

1B-Joe Hauser, PHA

2B-Eddie Collins, CHW

2B-Aaron Ward, NYY

3B-Willie Kamm, CHW

SS-Joe Sewell, CLE

LF-Ken Williams, SLB

LF-Charlie Jamieson, CLE

LF-Joe Harris, BOS

CF-Tris Speaker, CLE

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

RF-Babe Ruth, NYY

RF-Harry Heilmann, DET

RF-Sam Rice, WSH

 

uhle2

P-George Uhle, Cleveland Indians, 24 Years Old

1922

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

MVP Rank: 8

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-26

Innings Pitched-357 2/3

Games Started-44 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-30

Hits Allowed-378

Earned Runs Allowed-150

Batters Faced-1,548

Putouts as P-18

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

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

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

shocker5

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

1919 1920 1921 1922

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

MVP Rank: 14

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-6.2

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

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

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.27

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

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

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

ehmke2

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

1920

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

MVP Rank: 11

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-20 (3rd Time)

Putouts as P-18

Range Factor/Game as P-2.77

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

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

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

vangilder

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-120

Adj. Pitching Runs-28

Adj. Pitching Wins-2.9

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

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

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

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

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

pennock

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

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

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1948)

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.760

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

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

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

rommel4

P-Eddie Rommel, Philadelphia Athletics, 25 Years Old

1920 1921 1922

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-56 (2nd Time)

Losses-19 (2nd Time)

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

Assists as P-109

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

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

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

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

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

dauss2

P-Hooks Dauss, Detroit Tigers, 33 Years Old

1915

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

bushb3

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

1916 1921

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wild Pitches-12 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

thurston

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Finished-30

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

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

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

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

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

johnson15

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 35 Years Old

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

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

MVP Rank: 20

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-130 (11th Time)

Hit By Pitch-20 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

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

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

 

ruel

C-Muddy Ruel, Washington Senators, 27 Years Old

.316, 0 HR, 54 RBI

MVP Rank: 11

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-528

Assists as C-146

Range Factor/9 Inn as C-5.49

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

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

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

bassler2

C-Johnny Bassler, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old

1922

.298, 0 HR, 49 RBI

MVP Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.2

Caught Stealing-84

Caught Stealing %-59.6

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

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

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

hauser

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

.307, 17 HR, 94 RBI

MVP Rank: 20

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

.360, 5 HR, 67 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-48

Caught Stealing-29

AB per SO-63.1

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

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

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Collins, 14

3B-Home Run Baker, 9

SS-Honus Wagner, 13

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Tris Speaker, 15

RF-Sam Crawford, 9

warda

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

.284, 10 HR, 81 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-152

Assists as 2B-493 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.980

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

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

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

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

kamm

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

.292, 6 HR, 87 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-149

Double Plays Turned as 3B-29

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

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

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

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

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

sewell2

SS-Joe Sewell, Cleveland Indians, 24 Years Old

1921

.353, 3 HR, 109 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1977)

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed-59 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as SS-59

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

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

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

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

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

williamsk3

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

1921 1922

.357, 29 HR, 91 RBI

MVP Rank: 15

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as LF-5

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

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

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

jamieson

LF-Charlie Jamieson, Cleveland Indians, 30 Years Old

.345, 2 HR, 51 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

At-Bats-644

Plate Appearances-746

Hits-222

Singles-172

Def. Games as LF-152

Putouts as LF-360

Def. Games as OF-152

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.49

Fielding % as LF-.974

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

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

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

harris

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

.335, 13 HR, 76 RBI

MVP Rank: 18

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

speaker15

CF-Tris Speaker, Cleveland Indians, 35 Years Old

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

.380, 17 HR, 130 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-59 (8th Time)

Runs Batted In-130

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

Assists as CF-26 (6th Time)

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

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

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

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

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

cobb16

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

.340, 6 HR, 88 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1915)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

 

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

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

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

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

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922

.393, 41 HR, 130 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1923)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-14.1 (3rd Time)

WAR Position Players-14.1 (4th Time)

Offensive WAR-12.2 (4th Time)

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

Slugging %-.764 (6th Time)

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

Runs Scored-151 (4th Time)

Total Bases-399 (3rd Time)

Home Runs-41 (5th Time)

Runs Batted In-130 (4th Time)

Bases on Balls-170 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts-93 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-239 (5th Time)

Runs Created-209 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-121 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-11.3 (4th Time)

Extra Base Hits-99 (5th Time)

Times on Base-379 (4th Time)

Offensive Win %-.909 (4th Time)

Power-Speed #-24.0 (2nd Time)

AB per HR-12.7 (6th Time)

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

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

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

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

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

heilmann4RF-Harry Heilmann, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old

1919 1921 1922

.403, 18 HR, 115 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1952)

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

 

Led in:

 

1923 AL Batting Title (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.403 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

rice4

RF-Sam Rice, Washington Senators, 33 Years Old

1919 1920 1921

.316, 3 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-18

Putouts as RF-307 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as RF-13 (2nd Time)

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

Double Plays Turned as OF-8

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

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

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

1923 National League All-Star Team

P-Dolf Luque, CIN

P-Jimmy Ring, PHI

P-Eppa Rixey, CIN

P-Pete Alexander, CHC

P-Dazzy Vance, BRO

P-Wilbur Cooper, PIT

P-Joe Genewich, BOS

P-Burleigh Grimes, BRO

P-Johnny Morrison, PIT

P-Jesse Haines, STL

C-Bubbles Hargrave, CIN

C-Bob O’Farrell, CHC

1B-Jack Fournier, BRO

1B-Jim Bottomley, STL

2B-Frankie Frisch, NYG

2B-Rogers Hornsby, STL

2B-Jimmy Johnston, BRO

3B-Pie Traynor, PIT

3B-Bernie Friberg, CHC

SS-Dave Bancroft, NYG

CF-Max Carey, PIT

CF-Edd Roush, CIN

CF-Jigger Statz, CHC

RF-Ross Youngs, NYG

RF-Clyde Barnhart, PIT

 

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

1920 1921

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

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1923 NL Pitching Title

Wins Above Replacement-10.8

WAR for Pitchers-10.6

Earned Run Average-1.93

Wins-27

Win-Loss %-.771

Hits per 9 IP-7.798 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-6 (2nd Time)

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.056

Adjusted ERA+-201

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.94

Adj. Pitching Runs-69

Adj. Pitching Wins-7.4

Putouts as P-17

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

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

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

ring

P-Jimmy Ring, Philadelphia Phillies, 28 Years Old

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

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-115 (2nd Time)

Earned Runs Allowed-131

Wild Pitches-14 (3rd Time)

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

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

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

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

rixey6

P-Eppa Rixey, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

1912 1916 1917 1921 1922

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

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1923)

 

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

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

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

alexander12

P-Pete Alexander, Chicago Cubs, 36 Years Old

1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1919 1920 1921 1922

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

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1920)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1938)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

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

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

Home Runs-17 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

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

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

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

vance

P-Dazzy Vance, Brooklyn Robins, 32 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.325 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-197 (2nd Time)

Hit By Pitch-11

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

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

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

cooper8

P-Wilbur Cooper, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

Led in:

 

Games Started-38 (2nd Time)

Losses-19

Hit By Pitch-11 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

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

genewich

P-Joe Genewich, Boston Braves, 26 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as P-17

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

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

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

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

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

grimes4

P-Burleigh Grimes, Brooklyn Robins, 29 Years Old

1918 1920 1921

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1964)

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

 

Led in:

 

Innings Pitched-327

Games Started-38

Complete Games-33 (2nd Time)

Hits Allowed-356

Hit By Pitch-11

Batters Faced-1,418

Assists as P-101 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as P-10

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

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

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

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

morrison3

P-Johnny Morrison, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

1921 1922

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

haines

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1970)

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

 

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

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

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

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

hargrave

C-Bubbles Hargrave, Cincinnati Reds, 30 Years Old

.333, 10 HR, 78 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-12

Double Plays Turned as C-12

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

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

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

ofarrell2

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

1922

.319, 12 HR, 84 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

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

Assists as C-118 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

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

fournier4

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

1915 1920 1921

.351, 22 HR, 102 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Created-122

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

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

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

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

bottomley

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

.371, 8 HR, 94 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1974)

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

frisch3

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

1921 1922

.348, 12 HR, 111 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-7.1

Hits-223

Total Bases-311

Singles-169

Runs Created-122

AB per SO-53.4

Fielding % as 2B-.973

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

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

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

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

hornsby8

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

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922

.384, 17 HR, 83 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1942)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

 

Led in:

 

1923 NL Batting Title (4th Time)

Offensive WAR-6.6 (7th Time)

Batting Average-.384 (4th Time)

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

Slugging %-.627 (5th Time)

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

Adjusted OPS+-187 (6th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-55 (6th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-5.2 (6th Time)

Offensive Win %-.837 (6th Time)

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

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

johnstonj2

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

1921

.325, 4 HR, 60 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists-532

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.26

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.10

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

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

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

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

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

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

traynor

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

.338, 12 HR, 101 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1948)

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-19

Def. Games as 3B-152

Putouts as 3B-189

Assists as 3B-306

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.29

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

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

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

friberg

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

.318, 12 HR, 88 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as 3B-33

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

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

SABR says, “The year with Kansas City seemed to jump-start Friberg’s career. On his return to the Cubs in 1922 (he was formally recalled in early September 1921), he hit .311 (with a .391 on-base percentage) and drove in 23 runs, while scoring 51 times. In 1923, he became primarily a third baseman, not an outfielder, and had his best year of all, batting .318 and homering 12 times – his first home runs in the major leagues. He drove in a career-best 88 runs and scored 91 times, also a personal best. Friberg finished his career with a .281 average and 38 homers, with 471 runs batted in. He scored 544 runs. In early August 1924, manager Bill Killefer appointed him field captain of the Cubs. He hadn’t quite turned 25 years of age.

“On December 8, 1958, Friberg was found dead in his car, which had crashed into a stone wall in Swampscott, Massachusetts, not far from his home. Both his wife, Ruth, and daughter, Virginia, were on duty at Lynn Hospital at the time the ambulance arrived. The certificate of death indicated that he had heart disease and gave cause of death as ‘presumably coronary thrombosis.’”

bancroft5

SS-Dave Bancroft, New York Giants, 32 Years Old

1915 1920 1921 1922

.304, 1 HR, 31 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.45 (6th Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.53 (7th Time)

5th Time All-Star-In order to make my All-Star team, you have to be the best player on your team, one of the 10 best pitchers; two best catchers; best first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, or shortstop; best three outfielders; or one of the remaining best position players to fill out the team. If you’re one of the top 10 pitchers or position players, you’re usually in, but outside of that, you’ll have to make the team as a fluke. Bancroft made the team this year as a fluke, because, despite playing only playing 107 games, he was the best shortstop in a year where the position was weak. Because he made it the All-Star team this season, he’s now going to make my Hall of Fame down the road.

Bancroft’s fielding put him on the team as he finished fifth in Defensive WAR (1.5) and led the league in range factor.

In his last World Series, he faltered badly, hitting just .083 (two-for-24) as the Giants lost to the Yankees, four games to two. Or as Wikipedia says, “Serving as team captain, Bancroft began to suffer through leg injuries in 1923. He was also hospitalized with a case of pneumonia during the season. Bancroft returned by the postseason, but batted .091 in the 1923 World Series, which the Yankees won in six games.”

Starting this season, Bancroft is going to have a hard time staying in the lineup. He would continue to battle injuries, playing over 130 games just one more season, with the Robins in 1928.

carey7

CF-Max Carey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 33 Years Old

1912 1916 1917 1918 1921 1922

.308, 6 HR, 63 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1961)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1922)

 

Led in:

 

Triples-23 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases-51 (8th Time)

Putouts as CF-450 (6th Time)

Assists as CF-28 (5th Time)

Errors Committed as CF-19 (4th Time)

Putouts as OF-450 (8th Time)

Assists as OF-28 (4th Time)

Range Factor/Game as CF-3.12 (6th Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-3.12 (6th Time)

7th Time All-Star-The Senior Circuit lived up to its name this season as 11 of the 25 players on the All-Star team, including Carey, were at least 30-years-old. For a man with Carey’s skill set of stealing and roaming centerfield, age usually affects him sooner. However, even in his 30s, Carey continued to put up valuable seasons for the Pirates. This year, he finished eighth in WAR (5.0); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.0); ninth in Offensive WAR (4.4); and stole an amazing 51 bases in 59 attempts. It wasn’t as good as 1922, when he went 51-for-53, but it still added value on the basepaths.

If you go to Baseball Think Factory, you can read a whole debate on whether or not Carey belongs in the Hall of Fame. The page I linked debates the merits of Carey and Harry Heilmann. Here’s one person’s notes: “I don’t see Heilmann and Carey as remotely comparable unless you don’t believe in peak at all. Similar career value–slight edge to Harry once you factor in war time–and Heilmann had a monster peak (4 30+ WS seasons topping at 35), while Carey never broke 30. WARP grossly overstates the value of guys like Carey because of the absurdly low defensive replacement level. Heilmann is, I believe, a ‘no-brainer’ HoM’er; he’s just not an inner-circle one. Sheffield is a very good comp. Heilmann could easily be a consensus no. 1 in a middling year. Carey is on the bubble.”

It should be noted Carey and Heilmann are both in Cooperstown and both will make my Hall of Fame.

roush6

CF-Edd Roush, Cincinnati Reds, 30 Years Old

1917 1918 1919 1920 1921

.351, 6 HR, 88 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1962)

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

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-41

6th Time All-Star-I’m fascinated by the Hall of Fame. Every year, when the new inductees are announced, I gauge for myself whether that player deserved it or not. I think Roush being in Cooperstown is borderline, because his stats were helped by the era in which he played. Oh, well, if he makes one more All-Star team, and that’s a coin flip, he’ll be in my Hall also. Roush also has a miniscule shot at making the ONEHOF, the One-Inductee-A-Year Hall of Fame.

Part of the problem for Roush was he only played 49 games in 1922 because he held out due to a salary dispute. This season, Roush finished 10th in WAR (4.5); sixth in WAR Position Players (4.5); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.7); fourth in batting (.351); ninth in on-base percentage (.406); sixth in slugging (.531); sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (148); and went a terrible 10-for-25 stealing.

SABR says, “Known as one of the feistiest players in baseball history, Edd Roush channeled that energy into a Hall of Fame career. An old-timer was quoted in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1919 saying that Roush was more like the fiery old Baltimore Orioles of the 1890’s than any other player in the National League. The observer stressed Roush’s versatility and his knack at doing the unexpected when it would help the most. John McGraw, in a similar vein, once said, ‘that Hoosier moves with the indifference of an alley cat.’ Pat Moran claimed that ‘all that fellow has to do is wash his hands, adjust his cap and he’s in shape to hit. He’s the great individualist in the game.’”

statz

CF-Jigger Statz, Chicago Cubs, 25 Years Old

.319, 10 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 68 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-154

At Bats-655

Outs Made-477

Def. Games as CF-154

Double Plays Turned as CF-7 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as OF-154

Double Plays Turned as OF-7

1st Time All-Star-Arnold John “Jigger” Statz was born on October 20, 1897 in Waukegan, IL. The five-foot-seven, 150 pound righty centerfielder started with the Giants in 1919 and then went to the Red Sox in 1920. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1921 and then had his best season ever this year, mainly due to his durability and fielding. He stole 29 bases, but was also nabbed 23 times.

Just because he didn’t have a stellar Major League career doesn’t mean he wasn’t productive. He is one of eight players to have 4,000 career combined major and minor league hits. Wikipedia says, “Statz played 18 minor league seasons, all of them for the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League. In an era when many players had lengthy minor league careers, Jigger Statz’s statistics surpassed those of his contemporaries, e.g. a grand total of 4,093 major and minor league hits, and a total number of games played which was exceeded only by Pete Rose.

“Statz managed for five years in the minor leagues. He was the Angels’ player-manager during 1940–1942, and managed the Visalia Cubs of the California League in 1948–1949.

“Jigger Statz played himself in the 1929 Paramount film, Fast Company, and in 1952 served as a technical advisor for The Winning Team, a fictionalized Warner Bros. biography of Grover Cleveland Alexander which starred Ronald Reagan.”

Jigger lived until he was 90, dying at the age of 90 on March 16, 1988, in Corona del Mar, CA.

youngs5

RF-Ross Youngs, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1919 1920 1921 1922

.336, 3 HR, 87 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1972)

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-121

Times on Base-278 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as RF-152 (4th Time)

Assists as RF-22 (4th Time)

Double Plays Turned as RF-7 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as OF-7 (3rd Time)

5th Time All-Star-With some players you have to play a game of “What if?” What kind of stats would have Youngs put up if he hadn’t died young. The Veteran’s Committee of Cooperstown was amazed enough at what he did in his short 10-year career, they voted him into the Hall of Fame in 1972. He’s not going to make my Hall of Fame, but he most likely would have if he lived longer. Youngs would probably also be in the ONEHOF, the Hall of Fame in which just one elite player is elected every year. He was that good.

This season, Youngs finished eighth in batting (.336); fourth in on-base percentage (.412); 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (126); and went a dismal 13-for-32 stealing. In the Giants’ World Series loss to the Yankees, Youngs wasn’t to blame, hitting .348 (eight-for-23) with a home run and three RBI. His home run was of the inside-the-park variety.

SABR says, “Youngs had another outstanding year in 1923, hitting .336 in 152 games as the Giants swept to their third consecutive National League pennant. He totaled 200 hits and scored 121 runs to lead the league. By now he was universally regarded as the best right fielder in the senior circuit and drew comparisons of his overall value to a right fielder in the American League named Babe Ruth. Sportswriter Robert Boyd thought that Youngs was just as great a player as Ruth, Tris Speaker, Edd Roush, or Eddie Collins, although perhaps lacking their ‘color.’”

barnhart

RF-Clyde Barnhart, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

.324, 9 HR, 72 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Clyde Lee “Pooch” Barnhart was born on December 29, 1895 in Buck Valley, PA. The five-foot-10 , 155 pound righty outfielder started with Pittsburgh in 1920 as a third baseman before moving to the outfield this season. He finished sixth in on-base percentage (.409), fourth in slugging (.563); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (152).

Wikipedia says, “Barnhart made his major league debut on September 22, 1920, with the Pirates at age 24. That year, Barnhart had a batting average of .326 in 46 at bats in 12 games. In 1921, Barnhart was promoted to a starter. That year he hit .258 in 449 at bats in 124 games. The Pirates, however, were not satisfied with his statistics, so they demoted him to the bench.

“In 1922, Barnhart hit .330 in 209 at bats in 75 games, giving him the third highest batting average on the team. With those statistics, Barnhart was again promoted. In 1923, he hit .324 in 327 at bats in 114 games. Barnhart’s success continued, especially in 1925, when he had 114 runs batted in, second on a team that went on to win the World Series that year. In 1928, Barnhart was plagued with injuries; he recorded a .296 batting average in 196 at bats in 61 games. Barnhart’s last game was on August 23 of that year.

“Barnhart is the only major league player to get hits in three games in one day. He collected hits in each game of a rare triple-header played on October 2, 1920. He did this just 10 days after making his major league debut.”

Barnhart died on January 21, 1980 in Hagerstown, MD at the age of 84.

1922 American League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-Shoeless Joe Jackson

P-Red Faber, CHW

P-Urban Shocker, SLB

P-Eddie Rommel, PHA

P-Bob Shawkey, NYY

P-Stan Coveleski, CLE

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-George Uhle, CLE

P-Herman Pillette, DET

P-Jack Quinn, BOS

P-Charlie Robertson, CHW

C-Steve O’Neill, CLE

C-Johnny Bassler, DET

1B-George Sisler, SLB

1B-Wally Pipp, NYY

2B-Marty McManus, SLB

3B-Riggs Stephenson, CLE

SS-Topper Rigney, DET

LF-Ken Williams, SLB

LF-Babe Ruth, NYY

LF-Bobby Veach, DET

CF-Tris Speaker, CLE

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Bing Miller, PHA

CF-Baby Doll Jacobson, SLB

RF-Harry Heilmann, DET

 

jackson9

ONEHOF-Shoeless Joe Jackson

1911 1912 1913 1914 1916 1917 1919 1920

.356, 54 HR, 792 RBI, 62.2 Career WAR

 

The ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame, inducted the best player ever year who isn’t already part of it. It’s based solely on performance, so even if you’ve killed baby seals, committed a hoax about getting assaulted, or, I don’t know, been part of an intricate plan with gamblers to throw the championship series of your sport, you can still get in if you have the stats. With no judgments towards Shoeless Joe Jackson as a person, he definitely has the stats. You can see the whole list here.

Next year’s nominees are are Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Johnny Evers, Sherry Magee, Larry Doyle, Art Fletcher, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, Joe McGinnity, Ed Walsh, Nap Rucker, Ed Konetchy, Larry Gardner, Jake Daubert, Babe Adams, Bobby Veach, Wilbur Cooper, Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth, and George Sisler.

I’m putting Jackson in as a rightfielder since he played five more games in rightfield than he did in left. He made four All-Star teams at each position. He joins fellow rightfielders King Kelly and Sam Crawford in the Hall. There’s a surprisingly light amount of rightfielders in the Hall. At this point in baseball history, there was no doubt Crawford was the greatest rightfielder of all-time. Of course, that could change next year when a pitcher converted to rightfielder has a pretty good chance of making the ONEHOF. Oh wait, I don’t want to spoil it for you!

faber3

P-Red Faber, Chicago White Sox, 33 Years Old

1920 1921

21-17, 2.81 ERA, 148 K, .200, 0 HR, 5 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1964)

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

 

Led in:

 

1922 AL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-9.4

WAR for Pitchers-9.5 (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-2.81 (2nd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-1.185 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-352

Complete Games-31 (2nd Time)

Batters Faced-1,464

Adjusted ERA+-143 (2nd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.30

Adj. Pitching Runs-49 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.0 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-94

3rd Time All-Star-Because I’m doing these All-Star teams, my decisions towards Halls of Fame (Hall of Fames?) are based on All-Star teams. That doesn’t make me right or wrong – okay, I’m probably wrong – but this is my list so on my page all decisions are final. So that being said, despite Red Faber’s career WAR of 65, along with his 254 wins and 119 ERA+, he’s not going to make my Hall of Fame which takes the number of All-Star teams made and multiplies it by Career WAR and if the number is over 300, the player is in. He’s also not going make the ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame in which I inducted just a single ballplayer per season. He did, however, make Cooperstown and I don’t have much of a problem with that.

Chicago, managed by Kid Gleason, moved up from seventh to fifth with a 77-77 record, 17 games out of first. Its hitting was poor and its pitching decent, thanks to Faber.

Wikipedia says, “In his last few seasons, Faber returned to relief pitching, coming out of the bullpen 96 times between 1931 and 1933. Faber announced his retirement before the 1934 season. He had pitched 20 consecutive years for the White Sox. He ended his career at age 45 with a 254-213 career record, a 3.15 ERA and 1471 strikeouts. He holds the White Sox franchise record for most games pitched, and held the team records for career wins, starts, complete games and innings until they were later broken by Ted Lyons. After retiring as a player, Faber entered auto sales and real estate. He returned as a White Sox coach for three seasons.

“Faber was a longtime smoker and had suffered two heart attacks in the 1960s. He began to suffer from increasing heart and lung issues and died in Chicago in 1976.”

shocker4

P-Urban Shocker, St. Louis Browns, 31 Years Old

1919 1920 1921

24-17, 2.97 ERA, 149 K, .279, 1 HR, 6 RBI

MVP Rank: 17

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.474

Strikeouts-149

Home Runs Allowed-22 (2nd Time)

Hits Allowed-365

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-2.614

Putouts as P-33

4th Time All-Star-Shocker made his fourth straight All-Star team on his way to making Ron’s Hall of Fame. I wouldn’t have put Faber in the Hall of Fame, but he made Cooperstown. I would have put Shocker in the Hall of Fame, but he didn’t make the real one. Go figure. This season, Shocker finished fourth in WAR (7.5); third in WAR for Pitchers (7.3), behind Chicago’s Red Faber (9.5) and Philadelphia’s Eddie Rommel (7.4); fifth in ERA (2.97); second in innings pitched (348), trailing Faber (352); third in Adjusted ERA+ (140), behind Chicago’s ace (143) and teammate Rasty Wright (142); and led the league in strikeouts (149).

St. Louis, managed by Lee Fohl, finished in second in the American League with a 93-61 record, one game behind New York. As late as Sept. 6, the Browns were in first place by half-a-game, with an 81-54 record. The rest of the year they went 12-7, but fell behind the Yankees and never caught up. Led by first baseman George Sisler, St. Louis led the league in runs, while led by Shocker, it led the league in ERA.

The American League had an MVP vote this season. Wikipedia says, “In 1922 the American League created a new award to honor “the baseball player who is of the greatest all-around service to his club”.Winners, voted on by a committee of eight baseball writers chaired by James Crusinberry, received a bronze medal and a cash prize. Voters were required to select one player from each team and player-coaches and prior award winners were ineligible. Famously, these criteria resulted in Babe Ruth winning only a single MVP award before it was dropped after 1928. The National League award, without these restrictions, lasted from 1924 to 1929.”

rommel3P-Eddie Rommel, Philadelphia Athletics, 24 Years Old

1920 1921

27-13, 3.28 ERA, 54 K, .181, 0 HR, 7 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-27

Games Pitched-51

Def. Games as P-51

3rd Time All-Star-After two decent seasons, the knuckleball pitching Rommel had his best year yet, finishing fifth in WAR (7.1); second in WAR for Pitchers (7.4), behind Chicago’s Red Faber (9.5); eighth in ERA (3.28); fourth in innings pitched (294); seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (129); and first in wins (27). It’s that last category that probably allowed his to finish second in the MVP vote.

Philadelphia, managed by Connie Mack, moved up out of the cellar for the first time in seven years, finishing in seventh with a 65-89 record, 29 games behind. Despite having Rommel, the Athletics pitching was iffy, as they allowed more homers (107) than any other team.

SABR says, “Finally, in 1922 the team escaped the cellar. Their 65-89 record moved them up one spot in the standings to seventh, and they began a steady rise that in a few years made them the best team in baseball. Rommel had his best season in 1922, winning 27 games, or 41 percent of the team’s victories, and placing second in the voting for the Most Valuable Player. In an interview with Baseball Magazine, he estimated that one-third of his pitches were knuckleballs. ‘… (I)t doesn’t do to throw all one thing, no matter how good that one thing may be. You have to mix them up to keep batters guessing,’ he said.”

Do you think Athletics fans in those days had a victory parade for finally not finishing last? “We’re number seven! We’re number seven!” It must have been a relief not to be the worst team in the American League.

shawkey4

P-Bob Shawkey, New York Yankees, 31 Years Old

1916 1917 1920

20-12, 2.91 ERA, 130 K, .183, 1 HR, 14 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-Even though the Yankees won the American League pennant in 1921, Shawkey didn’t make the All-Star team, finishing 18-12, with a 4.08 ERA. He’s back this season, finishing seventh in WAR (6.9); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (7.2); third in ERA (2.91), behind Chicago’s Red Faber (2.81) and Detroit’s Herman Pillette (2.85); third in innings pitched (299 2/3), trailing Faber (352) and St. Louis’ Urban Shocker (348); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (137).

New York, managed by Miller Huggins, won the American League pennant for the second straight season, finishing in first with a 94-60 record, one game ahead of St. Louis. The Yankees were swept in the World Series, losing 4-0-1 to their fellow Polo Grounds tenants, the Giants. Shawkey started one game, pitching 10 innings and allowing three runs, all earned.

Wikipedia says, “Shawkey won 195 games in his career, and won 20 or more games in five different seasons (his high was 26). Shawkey is noted as the starting pitcher in the first game played in Yankee Stadium on April 18, 1923, and set the franchise record for 15 strikeouts in a single game, which stood until Whitey Ford broke it in the early 1960s. Bob credited his success to a super fastball and an outstanding curve ball. He later served as the baseball coach for Dartmouth College.

“In 1970, Shawkey was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in Brookville, Pennsylvania. During the 1976 opening day festivities for the renovated Yankee Stadium, Shawkey threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He died at age 90 in Syracuse, New York on New Year’s Eve 1980.”

coveleski6

P-Stan Coveleski, Cleveland Indians, 32 Years Old

1917 1918 1919 1920 1921

17-14, 3.32 ERA, 98 K, .101, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1969)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

6th Time All-Star-One of things Wins Above Replacement makes a person examine is the value of pitcher’s bat. Usually a hurler’s overall WAR isn’t affected by his hitting too much one way or another, but if you have a good enough hitting moundsman or a bad enough one, it can make a difference. With Coveleski now making his sixth All-Star team in a row, it seems kind of petty to focus on his anemic hitting, but he was one of the worst in the league at the plate. For his career, Covey slashed .159/.202/205 for an Adjusted OPS+ of nine. This season was horrific as he slashed .101/.160/.131 for an Adjusted OPS+ of -24.

From the pitching rubber, it was a different story, as Coveleski finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.3); 10th in ERA (3.32); eighth in innings pitched (276 2/3); and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (122). He’d never finish in the top 10 in WAR again, but that’s because he couldn’t hit. (Did I mention that?) However, the lanky righty does have a good shot at making the ONEHOF, the One-Inductee-A-Year Hall of Fame.

There was some additional good news for Coveleski this year. I mentioned in a previous blurb his wife, Mary Stivetts, died in 1920. According to Wikipedia, in 1922, “The following season, Coveleski married Frances Stivetts, the sister of his late wife. While he did cause the Yankees to move out of first place after winning an August 23 game against them, 4–1, it was his last game of the season. He finished the year with a 17–14 record, the first time since 1917 he did not have 20 wins, and a 3.32 ERA.”

johnson14P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 34 Years Old

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

15-16, 2.99 ERA, 105 K, .204, 1 HR, 15 RBI

MVP Rank: 17

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000 (4th Time)

14th Time All-Star-In 1920, the only year Johnson didn’t make the All-Star team since he first made the list in 1908, Johnson went 8-10 with a 3.13 ERA, his only losing season since 1909. He had another under-.500 winning percentage this year, going 15-16, but that’s a reflection of the team not The Big Train. He finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.5); sixth in ERA (2.99); sixth in innings pitched (280); sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (130); and didn’t make an error in 80 chances.

Johnson is also the second greatest player of all time at this point of his career. The full list is here.

Washington, managed by Clyde Milan in his only managerial season, finished in sixth place with a 69-85 record, 25 games out of first. The Senators had poor hitting and, even with Johnson, mediocre pitching.

Last year, Johnson had 2,835 strikeouts and took the all-time lead over Cy Young, who ended with 2,803. Ever year after this, he’d keep adding to this total. He’s up to 2.940 through 1922. Johnson would be the all-time strikeout king through 1982.

SABR has a whole article on the abnormal amount of 1-0 games in which Johnson was a participant. It states, “Johnson, in the course of his career, participated in no less than 64 1-0 games, winning 38 and losing 26 (including two in relief). He took part in twice as many minimum scoring contests as any other hurler. Not counted is his classic 12-inning 0-0 tie game with Jack Quinn of the Yankees on May 11, 1919. Quinn gave up 10 hits, including one to Johnson, and the Big Train gave up only two in 12 frames. He retired 28 men in a row (George Halas of later football fame going 0-5), but the Nats couldn’t get him any runs.”

uhle

P-George Uhle, Cleveland Indians, 23 Years Old

22-16, 4.07 ERA, 82 K, .266, 0 HR, 14 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Started-40

Shutouts-5

1st Time All-Star-George Ernest “The Bull” Uhle (pronounced YOO-lee) was born on September 18, 1898 in Cleveland, OH. The six-foot, 190 pound righty pitcher started with Cleveland in 1919 and even pitched three innings for it in its 1920 World Series victory over Brooklyn, allowing just one hit, no runs, and striking out three. This season, Uhle finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.4); fifth in innings pitched (287 1/3); and first in shutouts (five).

SABR says, “If Uhle’s pitching in 1921 eased any skepticism among the Indians brass or his teammates that he belonged in the major leagues, he erased any doubt in the next two years. In 1922 Uhle led the staff with a 22-16 record and a 4.07 ERA. He pitched 287 1/3 innings, completing 23 of his 40 starts. He threw a two-hitter against the Yankees at the Polo Grounds on August 22. While he struck out only three batters, Uhle was in complete control. In the sixth inning, after hitting a single, Uhle needed to have one of his shoes repaired. Backup catcher Les Nunamaker was sent into the game as a ‘courtesy runner’ for Uhle while his show was being repaired. (While early rules allowed the use of such a runner, the last time a courtesy runner was used was in 1949.) Nunamaker was thrown out at second base, and Uhle returned to complete a 6-2 victory.”

Uhle has some hope of making my Hall of Fame, but his 3.99 ERA (106 ERA+) isn’t going to do him any favors.

pillette

P-Herman Pillette, Detroit Tigers, 26 Years Old

19-12, 2.85 ERA, 71 K, .172, 0 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Herman Polycarp “Old Folks” Pillette (pronounced pih-LETT) was born on December 26, 1895 in St. Paul, OR. The six-foot-two, 190 pound righty pitcher started by pitching one game for Cincinnati in 1917. This season was his first in the Majors since then and he did well, finishing sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.6); second in ERA (2.85), behind Chicago pitcher Red Faber (2.81); ninth in innings pitched (274 2/3); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (136).

Wikipedia states, “In December 1921, the Detroit Tigers purchased Pillette from Portland. The Tigers paid $40,000 and players for Pillette and one other player. In his rookie season of 1922, Pillette compiled a 19–12 record, and had a 2.85 ERA — a full point below the league average ERA of 3.87 in 1922. Pillette’s performance in 1922 ranked him second in the American Leaguein ERA (2.85), sixth in winning percentage (.613), seventh in wins (19), second in shutouts (4), second in hit batsmen (15), fourth in games started (37), and ninth in innings pitched (274-2/3) and batters faced (1,183). One of Pillette’s losses in 1922 came in a perfect game pitched by Charlie Robertson on April 30, 1922. Pillette took the 2–0 loss.

“After a strong rookie season, Pillette never reached the same level of performance. In 1923, his ERA rose by a full run to 3.85 — up from 2.85 the prior year. And, instead of being among the win leaders, Pillette led the American League with 19 losses . Pillette saw limited action in 1924, starting only three games and finishing 1–1. He played in his final major league game on September 28, 1924.

“Pillette died in Sacramento, California, at age 64 in 1960. He was buried at St. Mary Catholic Cemetery in Sacramento.”

quinn4

P-Jack Quinn, Boston Red Sox, 38 Years Old

1910 1914 1915

13-16, 3.48 ERA, 67 K, .099, 1 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-Quinn was 25 when he started his career back in 1909 and was 31 when he last made the All-Star team for the Federal League in 1915. After being out of the Majors in 1916 and 1917, he was signed as a free agent with the White Sox during the 1918 season. The Yankees picked him up before the 1919 season and he pitched in their World Series loss to the Giants, losing one game in relief after allowing eight hits and four runs in three-and-two-thirds innings. Before this season, Quinn was traded by the New York Yankees with Rip CollinsRoger PeckinpaughBill Piercy and $100,000 to the Boston Red Sox for Bullet Joe BushSad Sam Jones and Everett Scott.

Quinn, now allegedly 38-years-old, finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.0).

Boston, managed by Hugh Duffy in his last year ever managing in the Big Leagues, usurped Philadelphia’s hold on last place by finishing 61-93. The Red Sox scored the fewest runs in the American League though their pitching was okay.

Quinn pitched the opening game at Fenway this season and the Boston Globe has a record of it in its archives. I love baseball writing from this era, so here’s a snippet: “The Bostons, playing behind Jack Quinn, gained a lead of two runs before the match was half way through. The Macks [ed. the Athletics] bunched hits for one counter in the fifth, then presented with their victory in the seventh.”

Check out the article at the link for more on this Quinn loss.

robertsonc

P-Charlie Robertson, Chicago White Sox, 26 Years Old

14-15, 3.64 ERA, 83 K, .184, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Charles Culbertson “Charlie” Robertson was born on January 31, 1896 in Dexter, TX. The six-foot, 175 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing pitcher started with the White Sox in 1919, pitching just one game and tossing two innings. He didn’t make it back to the Majors until this year when he had his best season ever, finishing 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.4) and 10th in innings pitched (272).

Of course, one game stands out from this year for Robertson. Wikipedia says, “On April 30, 1922, in just his fourth career start, he pitched the fifth perfect game in baseball history against the Detroit Tigers at Navin Field (later known as Tiger Stadium) in Detroit. He became the first pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game on the road. The Detroit lineup featured such Hall of Famers as Ty Cobb and Harry Heilmann, who both complained that he was doctoring the ball throughout the game. A spectacular diving catch by Johnny Mostil on a liner to left by Bobby Veachin the second inning preserved the historic feat. The Tigers submitted several game balls to American League President Ban Johnson after the game to check for irregularities, but Johnson dismissed the charge. No pitcher would equal the feat after Robertson for another 34 years, until Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series; the next regular season perfect game would not come until Jim Bunning’s perfect game in 1964.

“After the victory, he suffered arm troubles for the rest of his career. He pitched one season for the St. Louis Browns and two years with the Boston Braves and retired in 1928. He died in Fort Worth, Texas at age 88.”

oneills4

C-Steve O’Neill, Cleveland Indians, 30 Years Old

1918 1919 1920

.311, 2 HR, 65 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as C-15 (2nd Time)

Passed Balls-17

4th Time All-Star-I wrapped up O’Neill’s life in my 1920 write-up because it’s difficult to tell when catchers are going to make All-Star teams or not. After not making this list in 1921, despite slashing .322/.424/.403, he did well this year, finishing sixth in on-base percentage (.423), sixth in the MVP voting, and first in passed balls (17).

SABR says, “As a youngster, Steve could box and wrestle, and he admired athletes of any description, but baseball was the only sport he ever really cared about. As a boy he played it from snow season to snow season. Besides Mike and Jack, another brother, Jim, carved out small major-league careers. In fact, Mike and Jack, both older than Steve, became the first brother battery in major-league history. Mike pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals for four years, posting a 32–44 record with a 2.73 ERA. Jack was a catcher for five years with the Cardinals, the Chicago Cubs, and the Boston Beaneaters (later the Braves). Steve’s younger brother Jim played two years with the Washington Senators as a shortstop before injuries cut his career short. The oldest brother, Pat, might have made it five O’Neills in the majors, but he hurt his hand in a mining accident.

“Thus, save for the Delahantys, the O’Neills are the only other family with at least four brothers who played in the major leagues.”

When he got older, according to the picture on SABR and with his mashed up nose, O’Neill looked like Karl Malden.

bassler

C-Johnny Bassler, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

.323, 0 HR, 41 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-73

1st Time All-Star-John Landis “Johnny” Bassler was born on June 3, 1895 in Lancaster, PA. The five-foot-nine, 170 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing catcher started with Cleveland in 1913 and 1914 and then was out of the Majors until his rookie season of 1921, when he slashed .307/.401/.379 for Detroit. This season, Bassler finished seventh in on-base percentage (.422) and sixth in the MVP voting.

Wikipedia states, “Bassler was born in 1895 in Mechanics Grove, Pennsylvania. He was one of 13 children born to a Mennonite family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.[3] His father Jacob Bassler (born 1866) was a Pennsylvania native who worked in a paper mill in 1900 and as a motorman on a street car in 1910. His mother Fianna Bassler (born 1868) was also a Pennsylvania native.[4][5] By 1920, Bassler’s family had moved to 2434 Bundy Drive in West Los Angeles, where his father was working as a motorman for the electric railroad.

“In 1922, Basser appeared in 121 games, 113 as the Tigers’ starting catcher. He compiled a .323 batting average, and his .422 on-base percentage was seventh best in the American League. He also ranked among the league leaders with a 31.0 at bats to strikeout ratio (eighth). Defensively, he continued to rank among the league’s leading catchers with 12 double plays turned (fourth), a 4.53 range factor rating per game, 113 assists (fifth), and a .980 fielding percentage (fifth). However, he also led the league with 73 stolen bases allowed and ranked third with 11 errors. He ranked sixth in the voting for the 1922 American League Most Valuable Player award.”

Okay, was he born in Mechanics Grove or Lancaster? You can’t have it both ways, Wikipedia!

sisler7

1B-George Sisler, St. Louis Browns, 29 Years Old, 1st MVP

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921

.420, 8 HR, 105 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

Led in:

 

1922 AL MVP

1922 AL Batting Title (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-8.7 (2nd Time)

Offensive WAR-8.2 (7th Time)

Batting Average-.420 (2nd Time)

Runs Scored-134

Hits-246 (2nd Time)

Triples-18 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases-51 (3rd Time)

Singles-178 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-163

Adj. Batting Runs-62

Adj. Batting Wins-5.9

Times On Base-298

Assists as 1B-125 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-Things couldn’t have looked better for Gorgeous George Sisler. The American League implemented an MVP award this year and Sisler won it. Also, I know it’s not quite as important, but he also won an MVP from me, his first and only one. He hit .420, the highest AL batting average since Nap Lajoie, who hit .426 in the AL’s inaugural season. Sisler was 29, the best first baseman in baseball in his day and possibly ever, with his whole future ahead of him.

Then, according to SABR, “At the peak of his powers following his historic 1922 performance, Sisler missed the entire 1923 season with a severe sinus infection that impaired his optic nerve, plaguing him with chronic headaches and double vision. Though he was able to return to the field in 1924, when he also agreed to serve as manager of the Browns, Sisler was never again the same player.

“Sisler remained with the Pirates after Rickey left, but after serious abdominal surgery in 1957 he and Kathleen moved back to St. Louis. Despite the move, Sisler remained with the Pirates as a roving hitting coach, and instructed such players as Willie StargellGene Alley, and Donn Clendenon. Sisler passed away on March 26, 1973, in Richmond Heights, Missouri.”

So after seven straight great years, this is probably his last All-Star team. He’s got a shot at making the ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame, but it’s going to be difficult. As great as Sisler’s career was, he could have been the greatest first baseman of all time if not for the illness that beset him.

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1B-Wally Pipp, New York Yankees, 29 Years Old

1916

.329, 9 HR, 94 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,667 (4th Time)

Def. Games as 1B-152 (4th Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,667 (4th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.58 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 1B-11.55 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Both George Sisler and Pipp were 29 this season and most likely both have made their last All-Star team. Yet both are going to decline for much different reasons. Sisler had the eye injury that ruined his career (see his blurb) and Pipp would step aside for possibly the greatest first baseman of all time.

This season, Pipp finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.6); eighth in batting (.329); and also led the American League in many of the first baseman fielding stats. In the World Series of 1921, which the Yankees lost to the Giants, five games to three, Pipp hit only .154, with a double. In this year’s Series, which the Yankees lost to the Giants, 4-0-1, Pipp hit better, going (six-for-21), also with a double.

If you look at Wikipedia, there are numerous stories on why Pipp was benched and replaced permanently by Lou Gehrig in 1925. Those include a general purging of the lineup by manager Miller Huggins, Pipp getting beaned and unable to play, Pipp having a headache, or Pipp going to the horse races that day, June 2, 1925. To me, this part is more interesting as Wikipedia states: “Meanwhile, Pipp scouted Lou Gehrig, who was playing college baseball for Columbia University, and suggested to Miller Huggins, the Yankees’ manager, that he should sign Gehrig. Pipp personally helped develop Gehrig after he signed. Pipp had a strong 1923 season, but he injured his right ankle while stepping off of a train in Boston late in the year. The Yankees used Gehrig, whom they promoted from the minor leagues, to play the Yankees’ final four games.

“The Pipps moved to Lansing, Michigan, in 1949. After suffering a number of strokes, Pipp moved to a nursing home in Grand Rapids in September 1963.[1] He died there on January 11, 1965, of a heart attack at the age of 71.”

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2B-Marty McManus, St. Louis Browns, 22 Years Old

.312, 11 HR, 109 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 2B-32

1st Time All-Star-Martin Joseph “Marty” McManus was born on March 14, 1900 (the first player on my lists to be born in the 1900s) in Chicago, IL. The five-foot-10, 160 pound righty started his career playing one game for the Browns in 1920. He became St. Louis’ second baseman in 1921 and had his best season ever this year, finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (4.4) and sixth in Defensive WAR (1.2), despite leading the American League in errors at second base (32).

Wikipedia says, “In 1922, McManus had perhaps his best major league season. He appeared in 154 games for the Browns, 153 of them as the Browns’ starting second baseman. He compiled a .312 batting average and ranked among the American League leaders with 109 RBIs (third), 189 hits (eighth), 278 total bases (eighth), 34 doubles (eighth), and 11 triples (10th). He also ranked as one of the league’s top defensive second baseman with a 1.2 defensive WAR rating (third), 398 putouts at second base (third), 467 assists at second base (fourth), 102 double plays turned at second place (second), 32 errors at second base (first), and a 5.65 range factor rating at second base (second). The 1922 Browns team finished one game behind the pennant-winning Yankees, the closest McManus would ever come to the postseason.”

You might be wondering where Eddie Collins is. Well, he had a good enough season to be voted fifth in the MVP voting, but it was actually an off year as he slashed .324/.401/.403 for and OPS+ of 111. But don’t worry, Cocky isn’t done making these teams.

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3B-Riggs Stephenson, Cleveland Indians, 24 Years Old

.339, 2 HR, 32 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Jackson Riggs “Old Hoss” Stephenson was born on January 5, 1898 in Akron, AL. The five-foot-10, 185 pound righty utility player started with Cleveland in 1921, playing mainly at second base. This season, Stephenson played 36 games at third and 26 gamea at second, playing just 86 games altogether. Yet, he’s the American League representative at third base. There weren’t a lot of good players at the hot corner at this time, now that Sephenson’s teammate Larry Gardner was 36-year-old and fading away.

On Baseball Reference, the U.S. Military History Group sponsored Riggs’ page and said, “The greatest major league baseball player who is NOT in the Hall of Fame!” Really? My nominee for that would be Bill Dahlen, the great shortstop of the 1890s and 1900s, who should definitely be in Cooperstown, but I could also name about 50 others who should make it in before Stephenson. The USMHG was dazzled by his career batting average of .336, but that was mainly due to the era in which he played. While he could certainly hit, his fielding more often than not kept him out of the lineup.

Wikipedia says, “The following season, Stephenson made the transition towards playing third base in the middle of the season. In 34 games at third base, 25 at second base and three in the outfield, he committed 11 errors, a sharp improvement from the previous season. He continued to shine at the plate, batting .339 in 86 games, with 24 doubles and 47 runs scored.”

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SS-Topper Rigney, Detroit Tigers, 25 Years Old

.300, 2 HR, 63 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-155

Def. Games as SS-155

Errors Committed as SS-50

1st Time All-Star-Emory Elmo “Topper” or “Trim” Rigney was born on January 7, 1897 in Groveton, TX. The five-foot-nine-150 pound righty shortstop had a decent rookie year and that’s good enough to put him on this list. There was a lack of good left side of the infield ballplayers at this time in the Junior Circuit, so because Rigney played frequently and didn’t stink, welcome to the All-Star Team Topper!

Rigney served in the Armed Forces, according to Wikipedia, which says, “Rigney attended Texas A&M University, playing at the shortstop position for the Texas A&M baseball team from 1915 to 1918. He attained the rank of colonel in the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and was also captain of the Ross Volunteers. Rigney then served in the U. S. Navy in 1918 and 1919 and listed his occupation as real estate agent in the 1920 United States Census.

“In 1922 Rigney joined the Detroit Tigers at age 25. He was the team’s starting shortstop in all 155 games during the 1922 season; he replaced Donie Bush, who had been the Tigers starting shortstop from 1909 to 1921. In his rookie season, Rigney compiled a .300 batting average and a .380 on-base percentage with 17 doubles, seven triples, two home runs, 17 stolen bases, and 63 RBIs.”

SABR says, “We don’t know where the ‘Topper’ nickname came from, but he had it as early as 1920. He was also known as ‘Trim’ and ‘Midget.’ He married in 1920 to a Texan named Thelma Routh, whose father was a general merchant.”

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LF-Ken Williams, St. Louis Browns, 32 Years Old

1921

.332, 39 HR, 155 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Total Bases-367

Home Runs-39

Runs Batted In-155

Extra Base Hits-84

Caught Stealing-20

Power-Speed #-38.0

2nd Time All-Star-American League batters must have loved 1922, because Babe Ruth only played 110 games, due to reasons I’ll cover in his write-up, but it opened up the chance to lead in categories in which he usually dominated. Oh, like home runs, for instance. Williams took advantage of this and hit 39 dingers to lead the American League. From the years  1918-1931, only four other players led the AL in homers outside of Ruth. Those were Tillie Walker, who tied Ruth with 11 homers in 1918, Williams this season, Bob Meusel in 1925 (another year in which Ruth missed significant time), and Lou Gehrig in 1931 when he tied his teammate.

This was Williams’ best season ever as he finished third in WAR (7.9), behind Chicago pitcher Red Faber (9.4) and teammate, first baseman George Sisler (8.7); second in WAR Position Players (7.9), trailing Sisler (8.7); second in Offensive WAR (7.2), behind Gorgeous George (8.2); sixth in batting (.332); eighth in on-base percentage (.413); second in slugging (.627), trailing Ruth (.672); sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (164); and went a mediocre 37-for-57 stealing. He was the first 30-30 player in baseball history and this wouldn’t be matched until Willie Mays did so in 1956.

Other notes on the season include the fact 32 of his 39 homers were hit at home, as Sportsman Park was a good park for lefties. On August 7, 1922, Williams became the first AL player to hit two dingers in an inning. It had previously been done by Charley Jones in 1880, Bobby Lowe in 1894, and Jake Stenzel, also in 1894.

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LF-Babe Ruth, New York Yankees, 27 Years Old

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921

.315, 35 HR, 96 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

 

Led in:

 

Slugging %-.672 (5th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.106 (5th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-182 (4th Time)

AB per HR-11.6 (5th Time)

7th Time All-Star-Ruth did not start the 1922 season on the field. According to Call to the Pen, “After the season Ruth decided to barnstorm along with teammate and outfielder Bob Meusel. In doing so, Ruth and Meusel broke a major league rule against barnstorming by players who participated in the World Series. The first Commissioner in baseball history, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, believed that the Series should be the most important event of the baseball season. With baseball’s reputation having suffered from the Black Sox scandal of 1919 Landis did not want anything to take away from the fans faith in the game.” Ruth was suspended for six weeks.

Once he came back, he was the typical Bambino. Ruth finished ninth in WAR (6.3); fifth in WAR Position Players (6.3); sixth in Offensive WAR (5.9); fourth in on-base percentage (.434); fifth in slugging (.672); first in Adjusted OPS+ (182); and first OPS (1.106).

In the World Series, Ruth had his worst postseason ever, which helps explain why the Yankees were swept, 4-0-1. The Sultan of Swat went two-for-17 (.118) with a double. John McGraw, the Giants’ manager, told his pitchers to throw Ruth nothing but curveballs and, just like Cerrano from Major League, the big man couldn’t adjust.

Considering right before this writing, Bryce Harper just signed a contract for $330 million, this seems miniscule, but according to Wikipedia, “On March 6, 1922, Ruth signed a new contract for three years at $52,000 a year. This was the largest sum ever paid to a ballplayer up to that point, and it represented 40% of the team’s player payroll.”

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LF-Bobby Veach, Detroit Tigers, 34 Years Old

1915 1916 1917 1919 1920 1921

.327, 9 HR, 126 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-155 (2nd Time)

Plate Appearances-705

Def. Games as LF-154 (7th Time)

Putouts as LF-375 (7th Time)

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

Fielding % as LF-.982 (4th Time)

7th Time All-Star-This year, Veach made my Hall of Fame, joining fellow leftfielders Jesse Burkett, Fred Clarke, Ed Delahanty, Sherry Magee, and Jim O’Rourke. For the season, Veach finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.9); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.2); ninth in batting (.327); 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (122); and first in plate appearances (705). This was his last hurrah.

SABR says, “In the winter and spring leading up to the 1922 season, Cobb tried to trade Veach to the Yankees for shortstop Everett Scott, but the Yankees would not budge despite the early suspensions of sluggers Babe Ruth and Bob Meusel. Veach responded to his manager’s lack of confidence in him by almost mirroring his excellent 1921 season, collecting 202 hits, driving in 126 runs and recording 375 putouts. Despite his continued excellence at the plate and in the field, and perhaps as a consequence of his salary holdout before the 1923 season, Cobb continued to try to replace his 34-year-old left fielder. Veach hit .321 in 1923, but had only half his normal 600 at-bats, due partly to injuries and partly to increased playing time for talented newcomer Heinie Manush. In January of 1924, Cobb sold Veach to the last place Red Sox for an undisclosed amount of cash.

“In 1943, he was hospitalized and had a serious abdominal operation. He never was completely healthy again and died at home two years later on August 7, 1945 from what may have been lung cancer. Survived by his wife and sons, he was entombed in the White Chapel Memorial Cemetery in Southfield, Michigan.”

speaker14

CF-Tris Speaker, Cleveland Indians, 34 Years Old

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

.378, 11 HR, 71 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.474 (3rd Time)

Doubles-48 (7th Time)

Offensive Win %-.840 (2nd Time)

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

Fielding % as CF-.983 (6th Time)

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

14th Time All-Star-If you give a list of the all-time greats in this sport, does Tris Speaker immediately come to mind? Probably not, but he’s already made 14 consecutive All-Star teams and he’s not nearly done. In my opinion, he’s the fifth greatest player at this point in baseball history. The full list is here. He’s also made more All-Star teams at centerfield than anyone else. Here is the complete tally:

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Eddie Collins, 13

3B-Home Run Baker, 9

SS-Honus Wagner, 13

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Speaker, 14

RF-Sam Crawford, 9

For the season, Speaker finished sixth in WAR (6.9); third in WAR Position Players (6.9), behind St. Louis first baseman George Sisler (8.7) and leftfielder Ken Williams (7.9); fourth in Offensive WAR (7.0); third in batting (.378), trailing Sisler (.420) and Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (.401); first in on-base percentage (.474); third in slugging (.606), with only New York leftfielder Babe Ruth (.672) and Williams (.627) ahead of him; second in Adjusted OPS+ (177), trailing Ruth (182); and first in doubles (48).

Speaker also managed Cleveland as it fell from second to fourth with a 78-76 record, 16 games out of first. Thanks to its manager, the team could hit, leading the American League in doubles, but the Indians may have been the worst pitching team in the league, giving up a league-leading 107 homers. When Stan Coveleski and George Uhle received the decision, the team was 39-30, but when that dynamic duo didn’t, the team was 39-46.

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CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 35 Years Old

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

.401, 4 HR, 99 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1915)

 

15th Time All-Star-Let’s just get started because Cobb did a lot this year. First of all, he’s the third greatest ballplayer of all-time as of this point in history, behind two pitchers, Cy Young and Walter Johnson. You can see the list here. He also hit .401 at the age of 35, still the oldest player to hit above .400. For the season, Cobb finished eighth in WAR (6.7); fourth in WAR Position Players (6.7); third in Offensive WAR (7.2), behind St. Louis’ first baseman George Sisler (8.2) and leftfielder Ken Williams (7.2); second in batting, trailing Sisler (.420); third in on-base percentage (.462), behind Cleveland centerfielder Tris Speaker (.474) and Gorgeous George (.467); sixth in slugging (.565); fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (169); and went a dismal nine-for-22 stealing.

He also managed Detroit for the second straight season, helping them improve from sixth to third place with a 79-75 record, 15 games out of first. Thanks to Cobb, the Tigers could hit, leading the league in on-base percentage (.373), but their pitching was dismal.

The Detroit Athletic has a great article on yet another Cobb controversy. It turns out one of his hits on May 15, 1922 might have actually been an error. If it would have been counted as an error, Cobb would not have hit .400. According to the Athletic, “Cobb hit a ground ball to shortstop Everett Scott. According to one newspaper account, Scott ‘fumbled and kicked the ball into center field.’ Official scorer John Kieran of the New York Tribune ruled it an error. Also in attendance that day was sportswriter Fred Lieb, who put it down in his scorecard as a hit. Unaware of the discrepancy between his scoring and Kieran’s, Lieb sent his box score, giving Cobb two hits on the day, to the Associated Press. Kieran’s box score, showing Cobb as getting only one hit, was delivered to the Tribune.” You’ll want to read the whole thing.

millerb

CF-Bing Miller, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

.335, 21 HR, 90 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. 1 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-Edmund John “Bing” Miller was born on August 30, 1894 in Vinton, IA. The six-foot, 185 pound outfielder started as a leftfielder for Washington in 1921. He was then traded by the Washington Senators with Jose Acosta and $50,000 to the Philadelphia Athletics for Joe Dugan. This was his best season ever as he finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.2), ninth in Offensive WAR (4.2), fifth in batting (.335), seventh in slugging (.551), and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (136). SABR says, “It was {Miller’s brother] Eugene who first dubbed young Edmund with the moniker ‘Bing,’ the name having come from a character in a comic strip that ran in the local newspaper, the Vinton Eagle. The character’s name, ‘George Washington Bings’, was appended to Miller first as ‘Bings,’ but later simply ‘Bing.’”

Wikipedia says, “Miller batted .311 in 1,820 Major League games played with 1,934 hits over the course of his 16-year career, with 389 doubles, 96 triples and 116 home runs. He’s best known for hitting a two-out walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 5 of the 1929 World Series, in which the Athletics won their fourth world championship. Miller was the A’s starting right fielderduring their three consecutive American League championships, and batted .258 with 17 hits in 18 World Series games from 1929–31. He retired as a player six days after his 42nd birthday.

“On May 7, 1966, he was injured in an auto accident while driving home after attending Connie Mack Stadium for a game between the Phillies and Pirates. Taken to Presbyterian Hospital in Philadelphia, Bing Miller died six hours after the accident.”

jacobson3

CF-Baby Doll Jacobson, St. Louis Browns, 31 Years Old

1920 1921

.317, 9 HR, 102 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Jacobson made his third consecutive All-Star team and it certainly looks like he could make another one. He’s only got five years left in the Majors at this point, so he won’t have the longevity to make any of the Hall of Fames above. This season, Baby Doll finished a very good 19-for-25 stealing, while slashing .317/.379/.463 for an OPS+ of 115. With George Sisler, Ken Williams, and Jacobson on the team, the Browns sure could hit.

Wikipedia wraps up his season, saying, “In 1922, Jacobson helped lead the Browns to one of the best seasons in the club’s history. The 1922 Browns, with George Sisler batting .420, finished in second place in the American League, one game behind the New York Yankees, with a 93-61 record. Jacobson compiled a .317 batting average in 1922 with 102 RBIs and career highs with 16 triples and 19 stolen bases. He was among the league’s leaders in triples (2nd), RBIs (5th), and stolen bases (7th). He hit three triples in one game against the Detroit Tigers on September 9. He also had the second highest range factor (2.74) among all American League outfielders in 1922.”

According to Be A Better Hitter, the game in which Jacobson tripled thrice also “featured the continuation of two hitting streaks. Eventual American League Home Run Champion Ken Williams hit his fifth home run in five games, (he would lead the league with 39 and 155 RBIs) and Hall of Famer George Sisler hit in his 38th consecutive game (he hit in 41 that year and batted .420). Given the power of the home run, many newspapers of the time had with Ken Williams’ 37th home run taking the banner.”

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RF-Harry Heilmann, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

1919 1921

.356, 21 HR, 92 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1952)

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-At 27-years-old, you have not seen the best of Heilmann yet. He’s still got some outstanding seasons left. This year, Slug finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.4); fifth in Offensive WAR (6.0); fourth in batting (.356); fifth in on-base percentage (.432); fourth in slugging (.598); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (169).

He had a limited season this year, because, according to Wikipedia, “By late June, Heilmann was batting .387 and battling George Sisler for the American League batting championship. On August 26, 1922, Heilman’s season came to an end when he sustained a complete break of his collarbone when he crashed into Frank Brower while trying to beat out an infield hit. Heilmann had to have his collarbone rebroken and reset, and it was then discovered that Heilmann had also broken his shoulder. The injuries were so severe that Heilmann remained hospitalized until a week before the end of the season, and even after leaving the hospital, he feared he might never play again. Despite missing the last five weeks of the season, Heilmann hit a career high 21 home runs, fourth in the American League.”

SABR says, “It was an adjustment playing for Cobb the manager, who platooned his own players and Heilmann was part of the shuffle. On a couple of occasions early in his first season as manager, he even benched Heilmann, who was in the process of winning the first of his four batting championships, in favor of lefty Chick Shorten.” There’s more in this article on Cobb’s relationship with Heilmann. Check it out.

1922 National League All-Star Team

P-Wilbur Cooper, PIT

P-Johnny Morrison, PIT

P-Dutch Ruether, BRO

P-Lee Meadows, PHI

P-Jeff Pfeffer, STL

P-Pete Alexander, CHC

P-Babe Adams, PIT

P-Vic Aldridge, CHC

P-Eppa Rixey, CIN

P-Frank Miller, BSN

C-Bob O’Farrell, CHC

C-Butch Henline, PHI

1B-Ray Grimes, CHC

1B-Jake Daubert, CIN

1B-High Pockets Kelly, NYG

2B-Rogers Hornsby, STL

2B-Frankie Frisch, NYG

3B-Babe Pinelli, CIN

SS-Dave Bancroft, NYG

SS-Charlie Hollocher, CHC

LF-Zack Wheat, BRO

LF-Carson Bigbee, PIT

CF-Max Carey, PIT

RF-Curt Walker, PHI

RF-Ross Youngs, NYG

 

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P-Wilbur Cooper, Pittsburgh Pirates, 30 Years Old

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921

23-14, 3.18 ERA, 129 K, .269, 4 HR, 15 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-6.3

Complete Games-27 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-30

Adj. Pitching Wins-2.9

Fielding % as P-1.000 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-After making my Hall of Fame last season, Cooper now sets his sights on making the ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame in which just one lucky contestant makes it into that august group. He has a slight chance. Part of the fun of doing this list is being able to research some players with which I’m not all that familiar. I’m a baseball fan (obviously) but I don’t really have a grasp of the history of the game, so to write about a pitcher like Cooper, who just plugged away year-after-year for a bad team, is fascinating.

This was Coop’s best year ever as he finished second in WAR (7.3), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (10.0); first in WAR for Pitchers (6.3); fourth in ERA (3.18); second in innings pitched (294 2/3), trailing Cincinnati’s Eppa Rixey (313 1/3); fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (129); first in complete games (27); and also hit four dingers.

Pittsburgh, managed by George Gibson (32-33) and Bill McKechnie (53-36), dropped from second to third place with an 85-69 record, eight games behind the Giants. As late as Sept. 21, the Pirates were just three-and-a-half games out of first, but then lost eight of their last nine to fall out of the hunt. Gibson would eventually manage again with the Pirates, along with the Cubs. McKechnie last managed with the Federal League Newark Pepper, but this year is the start of a long Hall of Fame career in the National League. Led by Max Carey, Pittsburgh led the NL in runs scored, while Cooper helped the team lead the league in strikeouts per nine innings.

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P-Johnny Morrison, Pittsburgh Pirates, 26 Years Old

1921

17-11, 3.43 ERA, 104 K, .198, 0 HR, 9 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-5 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-For the second straight year, Morrison, or Jughandle Johnny, made the All-Star team. In 1921, Pittsburgh had four pitchers make the All-Star team, this year it was three. If they had the hitting to back up the pitching, they would have won many pennants in those days. Morrison had his best season ever, finishing fourth in WAR (5.7); second in WAR for Pitchers (6.1), behind teammate Wilbur Cooper (6.3); eighth in ERA (3.43); third in innings pitched (286 1/3), trailing Cincinnati hurler Eppa Rixey (313 1/3) and Cooper (294 2/3); eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (120); and first in shutouts (5).

Morrison started out strong, but after that, according to SABR, “And then the Pirates’ season took a dive like one of John Dewey’s roundhouse curves. Morrison lost his next eight decisions; the Bucs won just nine of their next 36 games, leading to skipper George Gibson’s replacement by Bill McKechnie. Morrison responded to the 35-year-old McKechnie, the future Hall of Famer and acclaimed horse whisperer to pitchers. Morrison heated up, tossing five consecutive complete-game victories, yielding just six earned runs in 45 frames in 18 days beginning with a four-hit shutout against Phillies. That stretch was highlighted by Jughandle’s whitewashing of the McGrawmen at the Polo Grounds on July 30. Morrison was a lifetime .164 hitter with 84 hits, but did his best Ty Cobb impression in Coogan’s Bluff, whacking four hits, and might have had had his only career homer had a spectator not interfered with a hit that, according to Balinger in the Post, bounced off the top rail in the left-field bleachers and through the fan’s hands and ricocheted back on to the field. The umpire ruled it a double despite McKechnie’s protests.”

ruether3

P-Dutch Ruether, Brooklyn Robins, 28 Years Old

1919 1920

21-12, 3.53 ERA, 89 K, .208, 2 HR, 20 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000

3rd Time All-Star-After Ruether was traded to Brooklyn in 1921, he slumped, going 10-13 with a 4.26 ERA and 92 ERA+. This season, he recovered, having his best season ever, finishing seventh in WAR (5.1); third in WAR for Pitchers (4.6), behind Pittsburgh hurlers Wilbur Cooper (6.3) and Johnny Morrison (6.1); fifth in innings pitched (267 1/3); 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (116); and didn’t make an error on the mound in 65 chances.

Brooklyn, managed by Wilbert Robinson, dropped from fifth to sixth, finishing 76-78. Its hitting was poor, as it walked less than any team in the National League, and its pitching was mediocre.

SABR says, “Ruether came back strong in 1922, with his only 20-win season. At 21-12 it was the most wins he garnered in any season in his entire major-league career. Over the next two years his performance weakened, and he fell out of favor with Brooklyn owner Charles Ebbets. However, Washington’s ‘Old Fox,’ Clark Griffith, and their ‘Boy Manager,’ Bucky Harris, must have realized that Ruether was still viable. The world champion Washington Senators purchased the lefty on December 17, 1924.

“At the end of the 1936 season, Ruether’s career as a player or manager was over. At the age of 43, he was not through with professional baseball, however. He returned to the Los Angeles area and worked as a scout for the Chicago Cubs for seven years and for the Giants for 24 years.

“Walter Henry Ruether died in Phoenix, Arizona, on May 16, 1970, at the age of 76. He was cremated, and the location of his ashes is unknown. The cause of his death was not included in his obituary in either The Sporting News or the New York Times. He was survived by his son, Walter Jr.”

meadows2

P-Lee Meadows, Philadelphia Phillies, 27 Years Old

1919

12-18, 4.03 ERA, 62 K, .314, 0 HR, 5 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-This was not a good year for pitchers in the National League or else Meadows, or any of the following, might not normally make the All-Star team. That being said, I’m designating this as Meadows best season ever as he finished ninth in WAR (4.7); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (4.2); and also hit pretty well for his position. I know that 4.03 ERA looks high, but the Adjusted ERA+ is 115, showing there were many runs being scored in the NL this year. Meadows road ERA was 3.28, while at home it was 5.12. From 1916 to 1922, the average runs scored for the teams increased from 3.65 to 5.00 this season. The banning of the spitball and the home run had changed the game of baseball.

Philadelphia, managed by Kaiser Wilhelm (I’m guessing he was German), rose from eighth to seventh, finishing 57-96. So the Phillies said auf wiedersehen Mr. Wilhelm and he’d never manage again. Though Philadelphia led the league in homers, that was due to their home park, because they actually had poor hitting. They also had middle-of-the-road pitching.

SABR says, “Lauded as the Phillies’ ‘whole pitching staff,’ Meadows continued to be plagued by his shoulder for much of the 1922 campaign while rumors swirled for a second season about his eventual trade by the perpetually cash-strapped club. Just 27 years old, Meadows tossed a complete-game four-hitter to defeat the Boston Braves, 7-1, on Opening Day, en route to a 12-18 record and a respectable 4.03 ERA in 237 innings. All pitchers, and not just lefties, were worn down psychologically hurling for woeful teams in the cramped Baker Bowl, with its short, 280-foot right-field wall and shallow, 300-foot right-center-field power alley; however, Meadows trudged on and earned the respect of opposing managers and players. ‘Wise in the art of pitching, a good student of human nature, fighting valiantly for a lost cause,’ read one description of Meadows’ approach to the game.”

pfeffer6

P-Jeff Pfeffer, St. Louis Cardinals, 34 Years Old

1914 1915 1916 1917 1919

19-12, 3.58 ERA, 83 K, .245, 0 HR, 12 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

6th Time All-Star-It’s easy to disregard a pitcher like Pfeffer, who’s going to fall a bit short of my Hall of Fame, but had an impressive career, especially for Brooklyn. In 1920, he pitched in relief for the Robins, pitching three innings and allowing one run. He pitched for Brooklyn from 1913-1921 before, in the middle of the 1921 season, he was traded by the Brooklyn Robins to the St. Louis Cardinals for Hal Janvrin and Ferdie Schupp. Pfeffer had one last good season this year, finishing 10th in WAR (4.5); sixth in WAR for Pitchers (4.1); and seventh in innings pitched (261 1/3).

St. Louis, managed by Branch Rickey, stayed in third, finishing with a 85-69 record, eight games behind the Giants. As late as Aug. 10, it was leading the NL by one-and-a-half games, but lost 11 of its next 13 and never came back. The Cardinals, led by Rogers Hornsby, led the National League in runs scored, but also allowed the second most runs in the NL. Their pitching hadn’t caught up with their hitting yet.

SABR says, “[H]e won 19 games in 1922 with the Cardinals, pitching in a career-high 44 games. This fine season would be his major league swan song; after slipping to an 8-9 season in 1923, he was traded to Pittsburgh in July 1924 and was out of the majors for good by the following spring.

“A quiet man who had always let his pitching do his talking, Pfeffer lived a solitary bachelor life, enjoying the outdoors as an avid hunter and fisherman. His later years were spent as a security officer at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. A few years before he passed away on August 15, 1972, Pfeffer answered a questionnaire from The Sporting News about his days in baseball. When asked about whether he would play pro ball if he had to do it all over again, Big Jeff’s answer was simple: Yes.”

alexander11

P-Pete Alexander, Chicago Cubs, 35 Years Old

1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1919 1920 1921

16-13, 3.63 ERA, 48 K, .176, 0 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1920)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1938)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000 (3rd Time)

11th Time All-Star-From year to year, I keep track of the greatest players of the game and make a list of my choice for the top 10 players of all time. This year, Alexander entered that list. Here it is in its entirety:

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

This season, Ol’ Pete finished fourth in WAR for Pitchers (4.6) and didn’t make an error in 78 chances. He was a different pitcher than in his youth, not the strikeout master he used to be. He K’d just 48 batters in 244 2/3 innings this season.

Chicago, managed by Bill Killefer, moved up from seventh to fifth, finishing 80-74, 13 games out of first. Despite having Alexander, the Cubs’ pitching was lacking.

The things I learn doing this page! That picture above is Alexander pitching in spring training on Catalina Island, off the coast of Los Angeles. I’ve been to Catalina a couple times in my life and I never knew they did spring training there in the past.

Wikipedia says, “Alexander was the subject of the 1952 biographical film The Winning Team, portrayed by Ronald Reagan. Baseball commentator Bill James called the film ‘an awful movie, a Reader’s Digest movie, reducing the events of Alexander’s life to a cliché.’ Despite James’s opinion, the film earned an estimated $1.7 million at the North American box office in 1952. Alexander has the unique distinction of being named after one U.S. president and being played on-screen by another.” I vaguely remember watching part of this film.

adams7

P-Babe Adams, Pittsburgh Pirates, 40 Years Old

1911 1913 1914 1919 1920 1921

8-11, 3.57 ERA, 39 K, .286, 1 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

Led in:

 

Bases On Balls per 9 IP-0.788 (4th Time)

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-2.600 (4th Time)

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.053

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.96 (4th Time)

Oldest National League Player-40

7th Time All-Star-My Hall of Fame is based only on numbers. I take the number of All-Star teams made and multiply it by the player’s Career WAR and if that number is over 300, that ballplayer is in. Adams made it last year, as did Wilbur Cooper, who was just inducted last year also. The unusual thing is neither of these hurlers made Cooperstown. What is it about Pirates’ pitchers that doesn’t get them into the real Hall of Fame? I wrote one of Cooper’s blurbs (I think) that some writer mentioned Pittsburgh didn’t get the publicity of some of the larger cities in baseball. Is that the reason? I have no idea.

After this season, Adams would pitch four more seasons and even pitch in the World Series in 1925. He pitched one inning and allowed two hits, but no runs, as Pittsburgh went on to win that Series over Washington.

His career is wrapped up by SABR, which states, “Adams remained with the Pirates through August 1926, finally being waived out of the league with a career record of 194-140 and a 2.76 ERA. He dabbled one more season in the minors, then returned to his farm in Mount Moriah in 1928.

“In 1958 Babe and Blanche moved to Silver Spring, Maryland, to live with a daughter. Babe died there at age 86 after a long illness. His ashes were returned for burial in Mount Moriah, where the citizens have erected a black marble monument in his honor on the town square. In 2002 the Missouri General Assembly designated a portion of U.S. 136 near Mount Moriah as the Babe Adams Highway.”

aldridge

P-Vic Aldridge, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

16-15, 3.52 ERA, 66 K, .260, 0 HR, 13 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-12

1st Time All-Star-Victor “Vic” Aldridge was born on October 25, 1893 in Crane, IN. The five-foot-nine, 175 pound righty pitcher started with Chicago in 1917 and 1918, then didn’t play Major League ball from 1919-1921, before coming back this season and having his best year ever. Aldridge finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (3.8), 10th in innings pitched (258 1/3), ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (119), and first in plunking batters (12).

Wikipedia says, “Victor Aldridge (October 25, 1893 – April 17, 1973), nicknamed the ‘Hoosier Schoolmaster’, was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Chicago CubsPittsburgh Pirates and New York Giants, and was known to be an excellent curveball pitcher. Before his playing career he was a schoolmaster, hence his nickname.

“Aldridge was a dependable second or third starter throughout most of his career. He was known for his curveball and pinpoint accuracy. Aldridge batted and threw right-handed. He began his pro career by signing a contract with Indianapolis of the American Association in 1915, but first played for Denver of the Western League and then Erie of the Central League. He played for Indianapolis in 1916 where he was scouted for the Chicago Cubs. He was sold to the Cubs on August 28, 1916.

“Aldridge spent 1917 and 1918 with the Chicago Cubs, serving in the bullpen. In 1917 Aldridge played in thirty games, winning six games and losing six, with a 3.12 earned run average and two saves. In 1918 he played only three games, pitching only twelve innings, before joining the United States Navy during the final year of World War I. After returning from the war, he played for the Los Angeles Angels, an affiliate of the Cubs, in the Pacific Coast League. Aldridge returned to the Cubs for the 1922 season. He played the next three years for Chicago, with consistent performances.”

rixey5

P-Eppa Rixey, Cincinnati Reds, 31 Years Old

1912 1916 1917 1921

25-13, 3.53 ERA, 80 K, .193, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-25

Innings Pitched-313 1/3

Games Started-38

Hits Allowed-337

Batters Faced-1,303

5th Time All-Star-For the second time in his career, Rixey won over 20 games, as he was victor in a career-high 25 games. He also pitched a league-leading 313 1/3 innings. Yet, even at 31, and even as a five-time All-Star, Rixey still hasn’t pitched his best seasons. Those are still coming up in the next few years. No doubt Rixey’s longevity helped him make the Hall of Fame (he pitched until he was 42), but I also think he deserves it regardless.

Cincinnati, managed by Pat Moran, moved up from sixth to second place, finishing 86-68, seven games behind New York. Interestingly, they were never in the race, starting out the season 36-39, before going 50-29 to complete the year. Thanks to Rixey, the Reds had good pitching, leading the National League in complete games with 90.

Wikipedia says, “Originally Rixey had trouble controlling his speed, but eventually became one of the most feared pitchers in baseball according to reporters. Rixey was considered a pitcher with an ‘peculiar motion’, who rarely walked a batter. Throughout his long career, the 210-pound Rixey charmed teammates and fans with his dry wit and big Southern drawl. His nonsensical nickname ‘Jephtha’ seemed to capture his roots and amiable personality. Some writers thought ‘Jephtha’ was a part of Rixey’s real name, but it was likely invented by a Philadelphia sportswriter. Rob Neyer called Rixey the fourth best pitcher in Reds history behind Bucky WaltersPaul Derringer and teammate Dolf Luque.”

There is a Jephtha in the Bible. He inadvertently vowed to the Lord to sacrifice his daughter and it caused him great problems.

millerf2

P-Frank Miller, Boston Braves, 36 Years Old

1916

11-13, 3.51 ERA, 65 K, .118, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Miller last made the All-Star team in 1916 and then pitched three more seasons with the Pirates. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1920 or 1921, before coming back this year and making a fluke All-Star team as the Braves’ only representative. It’s not that 1922 was a bad season, he did pitch 200 innings with a 113 Adjusted ERA+, but he wouldn’t have made this team normally. His ERA (3.51) was ninth in the league.

Boston, managed by Fred Mitchell, dropped from fourth to eighth, finishing 53-100, 39-and-a-half games back. The Braves couldn’t hit, scoring the least runs in the National League, and couldn’t pitch, finishing with a team ERA of 5.34 or a 91 Adjusted ERA+.

Here’s some history on Braves Field from Wikipedia: “Braves Field was a baseball park in the Northeastern United States, located in BostonMassachusetts. Today the site is home to Nickerson Fieldon the campus of Boston University. The stadium was home of the Boston Braves of the National League from 19151952, prior to the Braves’ move to Milwaukee in 1953. The stadium hosted the 1936 Major League Baseball All-Star Game and Braves home games during the 1948 World Series. The Boston Red Sox used Braves Field for their home games in the 1915 and 1916 World Series since the stadium had a larger seating capacity than Fenway Park. Braves Field was the site of Babe Ruth‘s final season, playing for the Braves in 1935. From 1929 to 1932, the Boston Red Sox played select regular season games periodically at Braves Field. On May 1, 1920, Braves Field hosted the longest major league baseball game in history – 26 innings, which eventually ended in a 1–1 tie.”

Its dimensions in 1922 included a leftfield that was 404 feet from home plate and 440 feet to center. Those wouldn’t change until 1928.

OFarrell

C-Bob O’Farrell, Chicago Cubs, 25 Years Old

.324, 4 HR, 60 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-125

Putouts as C-446

Assists as C-143

Double Plays Turned as C-22

Caught Stealing as C-83

Caught Stealing %-65.9

Range Factor/Game as C-4.71

1st Time All-Star-Robert Arthur “Bob” O’Farrell was born on October 19, 1896 in Waukegan, IL. The five-foot-nine, 180 pound righty catcher started with Chicago in 1915. He played two games in 1915, one game in 1916, and three games in 1917, before starting to play regularly in 1918. By 1920, he was the number one catcher on the Cubs. This year, O’Farrell finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.3); sixth in Offensive WAR (3.9); third in on-base percentage (.439), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (.459) and teammate Ray Grimes (.442); seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (127); and gunned down the most base runners in the National League.

Wikipedia says, “His first manager was former catcher, Roger Bresnahan, who helped O’Farrell develop his catching skills. After a season on the bench, O’Farrell was sent to Three-I League where he spent two years before returning to the Cubs for the 1918 season. He served as backup catcher working behind Bill Killefer as the Cubs went on to claim the 1918 National League pennant before losing to the Boston Red Sox in the 1918 World Series. O’Farrell went hitless in three at bats during the series.

“O’Farrell had a breakout season in 1922 when he hit for a .322 average along with 4 home runs, 60 runs batted in and a .439 on-base percentage. He also became one of the best defensive catchers in baseball, leading National League catchers in games caught, putoutsassists, baserunners caught stealing and in caught stealing percentage. He became skillful at framing pitches by moving his catcher’s mitt towards the strike zone after having caught a pitch, in an effort to influence the umpire to call a strike.”

henline

C-Butch Henline, Philadelphia Phillies, 27 Years Old

.316, 14 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-78

Fielding % as C-.983

1st Time All-Star-Walter John “Butch” Henline was born on December 20, 1894 in Fort Wayne, IN. The five-foot-10, 175 pound righty catcher started with the Giants in 1921 and played just one game for them before being traded by the New York Giants with Curt Walker and $30,000 to the Philadelphia Phillies for Irish Meusel. His 14 homers this season ranked eighth in the league.

Wikipedia wraps up his career, saying, “Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Henline was working in Cleveland, Ohio in 1918 when a local restaurant owner – aware of Henline’s play on semi-pro teams – encouraged him to contact former star Nap Lajoie, who lived nearby. After doing so, he was signed two weeks later by the Indianapolisclub of the American Association, but did not join the team until the following year due to military service during World War I. In his 1922 rookie year with the Phillies, he led the National League in fielding percentage with a .983 mark, and on September 15 of that year he hit three home runs. In March 1925, Henline was named team captain of the Phillies.

“Henline served as an NL umpire from 1945 to 1948, and officiated in the 1947 All-Star Game. He went on to become supervisor of umpires in the Florida International League from 1949 to 1954 before that league folded. He died of cancerat age 62 at his home in Sarasota, Florida, and his cremated remains were interred at Manasota Memorial Park in Bradenton.”

He also was a motel operator for a short time.

grimesr

1B-Ray Grimes, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

.354, 14 HR, 99 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 1B-19

1st Time All-Star-Oscar Ray “Bummer” Grimes was born on September 11, 1893 in Bergholz, OH. The five-foot-11, 168 pound righty first baseman started by playing one game for the Red Sox in 1920. He became the Cubs’ regular first sacker in 1921 and then had his best season ever this year, finishing fifth in WAR (5.6); third in WAR Position Players (5.6), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (10.0) and New York shortstop Dave Bancroft (6.0); second in Offensive WAR (5.7), trailing Hornsby (11.2); second in batting (.354), behind Rajah (.401); second in on-base percentage (.442), trailing Hornswaggle von Hornsby (.459); second in slugging (.572), behind only the great second baseman from St. Louis (.722); second in Adjusted OPS+ (159), with only, well, let me see, who could it be, oh, yeah, Rogers Hornsby with a higher one (207); and made the most errors of any first baseman in the National League (19). He also set the record for most consecutive games with one or more RBI with 17, a record that still stands.

It certainly looked like Chicago had found its superstar – it hadn’t. After this season, according to Wikipedia, “His career declined after suffering a slipped disc in 1923. as he appeared in only 115 games with the Cubs during 1923 and 1924, and played 32 games with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1926, his last major league season. In a six-season career, Grimes was a .329 hitter with 27 home runs and 263 RBI in 433 games.

“Grimes was the twin brother of second baseman Roy Grimes, who played briefly for the New York Giants in 1920, and also was the father of Oscar Grimes, an infielder who played with the Cleveland IndiansNew York Yankees, and Philadelphia Athletics between 1938 and 1946. Grimes died of a heart ailment in Minerva, Ohio, at age 59.”

daubert7

1B-Jake Daubert, Cincinnati Reds, 38 Years Old

1911 1912 1913 1915 1916 1918

.336, 12 HR, 66 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-156 (2nd Time)

Triples-22 (2nd Time)

Putouts-1,652

Def. Games as 1B-156 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,652

Double Plays Turned as 1B-127 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.994 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-In Daubert’s 1918 write-up, I wrote, “Here’s the deal with my Hall of Fame; it’s all based on numbers. I take the number of All-Star teams made and then multiply by a player’s Career WAR. If that total is over 300, the player is in. So for Daubert to make my Hall, he’d have to make eight All-Star teams. He just made his sixth this season and will certainly make in 1922 at the age of 38. There is a possibility he will make it as a Reds first baseman in 1920. That’s the key year for him. If he makes in 1920, he’s in my Hall. If not, he’s most likely out.”

Well, Daubert did not make the All-Star team in 1920 and he is not going to make my Hall of Fame. He’s still a good player, but would play only two more seasons and die young. As Wikipedia says, “Daubert left the Reds late in the 1924 season after falling ill during a road trip to New York.  Against his doctor’s advice, he returned to play in the team’s final home game of the season. On October 2, he had an appendectomy performed by Dr. Harry H. Hines, the Reds’ team doctor. Complications from the operation arose, and a blood transfusion did not improve his health. He died one week after the operation in Cincinnati, with the doctor citing ‘exhaustion, resulting in indigestion, [as] the immediate cause of death’. It was later discovered that Daubert suffered from a hereditary blood disorder called hemolytic spherocytosis, which contributed to his death.”

kellyh2

1B-High Pockets Kelly, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1921

.328, 17 HR, 107 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1973)

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 1B-103

Range Factor/Game as 1B-11.56 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-For the second year in a row, the Giants won the World Series without having an All-Star pitcher. They had a good staff, but John McGraw was managing differently than other skippers of his time, as 14 different pitchers started and only one, Art Nehf, started over 30 games. The team finished 93-61, seven games ahead of Cincinnati. They had good hitting, led by shortstop Dave Bancroft, and the best pitching in the league, led by a cast of thousands. They were down by one game as of August 11, but then went 31-17 the rest of the year to sprint to the title.

The Giants again played the Yankees in the Series and dominated, beating them 4-0, with one tie. High Pockets Kelly hit .278 (five-for-18) with no extra base hits, but the rest of the team had no problem hitting Yankees’ pitching. On the other side, the Giants limited the mighty Yankees to a .203 average. However, the American League New York representative isn’t done yet.

Kelly finished 10th in slugging (.497) and played good first base, leading the NL in assists at his position. While I think he is a horrible choice for the Hall of Fame, it doesn’t mean he wasn’t a decent player in his day.

Wikipedia says, “Kelly was known as an excellent defensive first baseman. His positioning and footwork on hits to the outfield became the standard method for teaching future first basemen to handle relays. Frisch considered Kelly the finest first baseman he had seen.

“Kelly also had a reputation as a clutch hitter. McGraw said there was no player he preferred to have bat in a big situation. Waite Hoyt considered him dangerous in clutch situations.”

hornsby7

2B-Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals, 26 Years Old, 2nd MVP

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921

.401, 42 HR, 152 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1942)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

 

Led in:

 

1922 NL Triple Crown

1922 NL Batting Title (3rd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-10.0 (3rd Time)

WAR Position Players-10.0 (6th Time)

Offensive WAR-11.2 (6th Time)

Batting Average-.401 (3rd Time)

On-Base %-.459 (3rd Time)

Slugging %-.722 (4th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.181 (4th Time)

Runs Scored-141 (2nd Time)

Hits-250 (3rd Time)

Total Bases-450 (4th Time)

Doubles-46

Home Runs-42

Runs Batted In-152 (3rd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-207 (5th Time)

Runs Created-202 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-96 (5th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-8.9 (5th Time)

Extra Base Hits-102 (3rd Time)

Times On Base-316 (3rd Time)

Offensive Win %-.864 (5th Time)

Power-Speed #-24.2

AB per HR-14.8

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

Putouts as 2B-398 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 2B-81 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.967

7th Time All-Star-Before I start writing, I just have to say, “Wow!” Look at those stats above. No wonder I named Hornsby MVP for the second time.

It had been since 1899 anyone in the National League had batted .400 or above. That was Ed Delahanty who hit .410 for the Phillies. The American League had .400 hitters in 1901, 1911, 1912, and 1920, but in the NL, not even the great Honus Wagner could reach that mark since the beginning of the 20th Century. That is, until this year when Rajah hit.401.

Wikipedia wraps up this incredible season, stating, “By the 1922 season, Hornsby was considered a big star, having led the league in batting average, hits, doubles, and runs batted in multiple times. As a result, he sought a three-year contract for $25,000 per season. After negotiating with Cardinals management, he settled for a three-year, $18,500 contract ($276,912 today), which made him the highest-paid player in league history to that point. On August 5, Hornsby set a new NL record when he hit his 28th home run of the season off of Jimmy Ring of the Philadelphia Phillies. From August 13 through September 19, he had a 33-game hitting streak. Hornsby set National League records in 1922 with 42 home runs, 250 hits and a .722 slugging percentage (still the highest ever for players with 600+ at-bats). His .401 batting average was the highest in the National League since 1897. He won the first of his two Triple Crowns that year, and he led the league in RBIs (152), on-base percentage (.459), doubles (46), and runs scored (141). His 450 total bases in 1922 remain the National League single-season record. On defense, Hornsby led all second basemen in putoutsdouble plays, and fielding percentage. His batting performance that year was, and still is, one of the finest in MLB history, and his 42 home runs are still the most ever for a .400 hitter.”

frisch2

2B-Frankie Frisch, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

1921

.327, 5 HR, 51 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team as a third baseman in 1921, Frisch now made his first list at second base. He finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.4); third in Defensive WAR (1.6), behind teammate and shortstop Dave Bancroft (2.7) and Chicago shortstop Charlie Hollocher (1.7); and went a mediocre 31-for-48 stealing.

Frisch had a great World Series. In Game 1 versus the Yankees, his was one of four straight singles in the bottom of the eighth which tied up the game at two and he then scored the third run on a sacrifice fly by Ross Youngs to give the Giants the lead and eventually the victory. In the Giants’ game three win over the Yankees – after Game Two ended in a tie, the last time a World Series game ended up knotted – the Fordham Flash went two-for-two with two RBI. In the fifth and final game, Frisch was part of the winning rally, hitting a double, which gave the Giants the title.

SABR says, “The energetic Frisch was a slashing switch-hitter who made up for his lack of home-run power with a steady barrage of clutch hits and stolen bases. Frisch was a more consistent hitter when batting lefthanded although he had more power righthanded. Hitting from the left side, he was an adroit bunter and, with his speed when he was young, he often drag-bunted for a base hit. He was especially skilled in punching outside pitches to left field.” Frisch was a throwback to the players of the Deadball Era, but still held his own, despite his lack of power.

pinelli

3B-Babe Pinelli, Cincinnati Reds, 26 Years Old

.305, 1 HR, 72 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 51 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-156

Def. Games as 3B-156

Putouts as 3B-204

Assists as 3B-350

Errors Committed as 3B-32

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.61

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.55

1st Time All-Star-Ralph Arthur “Babe” Pinelli was born on October 18, 1895 in San Francisco, CA. The five-foot-nine, 165 pound righty third baseman started with the White Sox in 1918, then didn’t play in the Majors in 1919. He then played regularly for Detroit in 1920, then didn’t play in the Major Leagues in 1921. This year, he made the All-Star team, mainly because of a lack of good third basemen in the National League. He finished eighth in Defensive WAR (1.1) and went an ugly 17-for39 stealing.

He became an umpire after his playing career ended. Wikipedia says, “Pinelli wrote an article for The Second Fireside Book of Baseball, titled ‘Kill the Umpire? Don’t Make Me Laugh!’ in which he told about his rookie year of 1935, when he was told that he should not call a strike on Babe Ruth, who was winding up his career with the Boston Braves. Pinelli did not see it that way. When he was behind the plate and Ruth came to bat, and a close pitch went by at which Ruth did not swing, Pinelli deemed it a strike and so called it. Ruth turned to the umpire and bellowed, ‘There’s forty thousand people in this park that know that was a ball, tomato-head!’ Pinelli did not lose his cool. He replied calmly, ‘Perhaps—but mine is the only opinion that counts.’ Ruth had no answer for that.”

That’s a great story, but did Ruth really call Pinelli a tomato-head? Also, was that a huge insult in those days?

bancroft4

SS-Dave Bancroft, New York Giants, 31 Years Old

1915 1920 1921

.321, 4 HR, 60 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1971)

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.7 (3rd Time)

Games Played-156

Assists-579 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed-62 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as SS-156 (4th Time)

Putouts as SS-405 (4th Time)

Assists as SS-579 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as SS-62 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-93 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.43 (5th Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.31 (6th Time)

4th Time All-Star-If I had to describe myself, I’m somewhere in the middle between old school and new school. I like the modern stats, though I don’t always understand them, but I also like just being able to look at statistics and make my own judgments. I don’t understand WAR or any of its offshoots, like Offensive and Defensive WAR, but I would like to think I could look at the way Bancroft dominated the shortstop counting stats, as seen above, and this would extrapolate to a lead-leading Defensive WAR. Well, at least for this season, old school and new school came together and Bancroft led the National League in Defensive WAR (2.7).

Beauty also played in his third World Series, going four-for-19 (.211) with four runs scored. The Giants beat the Yankees in the Series, 4-0-1.

SABR says, “Dave ‘Beauty’ Bancroft was Honus Wagner’s successor as the National League’s premier shortstop. A brainy on-field leader with tremendous defensive range, Bancroft was especially adept at scooping up bad-hop grounders and cutting off outfield throws to hang up runners between bases. He believed that ‘the business of batting and fielding is a contention between minds,’ crediting his uncanny intuition in the field to a rigorous study of opposing batters, but he also had extremely quick hands and could move gracefully in either direction.”

Bancroft’s .321 average this year was his career high, though it is less spectacular in the big hitting era in which he played. He’s still on the borderline of making my Hall of Fame, needing one fluke season to enter.

hollocher4

SS-Charlie Hollocher, Chicago Cubs, 26 Years Old

1918 1919 1920

.340, 3 HR, 69 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Caught Stealing-29

AB per SO-118.4

Fielding % as SS-.965 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-After not making the All-Star team in 1921, Hollocher is back, having a good season despite having another terrible year stealing bases, going 19-for-48. After this season, he’s not going to play another full season, but depending on the competition in 1923 or 1924, could still possibly make another All-Star team. However, that’s a lot of ifs and buts, so I’m going to wrap up his career in this write-up.

From SABR: “In 1922 Hollocher looked like the reincarnation of Honus Wagner. Again leading the league in fielding with a .965 average, he batted .340 for the highest average by a shortstop since Wagner hit .354 for the Pirates in 1908 and the best by a shortstop in the majors that season. Reaching career highs with 37 doubles, 69 RBIs and 90 runs scored, he became only the second Cub player in history to attain the magic 200-hit figure with 201.

“Moreover, he set a National League record that still stands (500 at-bat minimum) by striking out only five times in 592 trips to the plate.”

After that he would have unexplained stomach issues over the next two seasons and was out of baseball by 1924. He said to The Sporting News, “During the following winter I rested up and felt fairly well in the spring of 1924, but my health gave way during the season and I had to go home. Now I realize I made my mistake in playing the 1923 season.”

Hollocher committed suicide by shotgun blast on August 14, 1940, dying at the age of 44. He apparently never could get rid of the abdominal pains which plagued his career. I suggest reading the whole SABR article.

wheat4

LF-Zack Wheat, Brooklyn Robins, 34 Years Old

1914 1916 1920

.335, 16 HR, 112 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1959)

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as LF-.991 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as OF-.991

4th Time All-Star-Despite hitting .320 in 1921, Wheat didn’t make the All-Star team, but he’s back this year. He’s now made four All-Star teams and they’ve all been in even-number years. This season, Wheat finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.3); sixth in Offensive WAR (3.9); eighth in slugging (.503); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (128).

SABR says, “Zack Wheat remains the Dodgers all-time franchise leader in hits, doubles, triples, RBI, and total bases. Though he threw right-handed, Wheat was a natural left-handed hitter who corkscrewed his spikes into the dirt with a wiggle that became his trademark. Unlike most Deadball Era hitters, he held his hands way down by the knob of the bat, refusing to choke up. ‘There is no chop-hitting with Wheat, but a smashing swipe which, if it connects, means work for the outfielders,’ wrote one reporter. He was an outstanding first-ball hitter, and he was also so renowned as a curveball hitter that John McGraw reportedly had a standing order prohibiting his pitchers from throwing him benders.

“But even after years of hitting .300, it was Wheat’s stylish defense that won him the most admirers. ‘What Lajoie was to infielders, Zach Wheat is to outfielders, the finest mechanical craftsman of them all,’ Baseball Magazine crowed in 1917. ‘Wheat is the easiest, most graceful of outfielders with no close rivals.’ An extremely fast runner, Zack was as close to a five-tool player as anyone of his era. His only weaknesses were his poor base-stealing ability and proneness to injury (his tiny size 5 feet frequently caused nagging ankle injuries).”

bigbee

LF-Carson Bigbee, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

.350, 5 HR, 99 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Singles-166 (2nd Time)

Putouts as LF-336

Assists as LF-27 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as LF-17

Double Plays Turned as L-7 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.47

1st Time All-Star-Carson Lee “Skeeter” Bigbee was born on March 31, 1895 in Lebanon, OR. The five-foot-nine, 157 pound lefty-hitting, righty-throwing leftfielder started with Pittsburgh in 1916. He never really had a good season until this one, where he finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.2); ninth in Offensive WAR (3.8); fourth in batting (.350); fifth in on-base percentage (.405); 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (124); and finished 24 for 39 stealing.

SABR says he was a hero of the 1925 World Series. It states, “It was pouring rain at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh in the waning twilight of October 15, 1925, when Pirates outfielder Carson Lee Bigbee stepped into the left-handed batter’s box to pinch-hit. There were two out in the bottom of the eighth inning of the seventh game of the 1925 World Series. The Washington Senators had Walter Johnson on the mound. Sawdust had just been spread on the wet, sloppy mound at the request of Johnson, who hoped to improve his footing. Pittsburgh was trailing 7-6. Emil Yde stood on second base for Pittsburgh. Bigbee, in his 10th year with Pittsburgh, had once been a starter. He had hit .350 just three years before. But health problems, including an appendicitis attack in 1925, had reduced him to a part-time role (and a .238 batting average). He was not imposing at the plate, at just 5-feet-9 and 157 pounds. After passing on two outside pitches, Bigbee drove Johnson’s third offering into left field for a double, scoring Yde with the tying run. Three batters later, when Kiki Cuyler drove a ground-rule double down the right-field line, Bigbee crossed the plate with the winning run of the series. In less than a year, his time in the big leagues would be over, but for now, Bigbee was a World Series hero.

“After the 1949 season, Bigbee returned home to Portland, where he and Grace would live out the rest of their days. Carson died in his sleep on October 17, 1964.”

carey6

CF-Max Carey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 32 Years Old

1912 1916 1917 1918 1921

.329, 10 HR, 70 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1961)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1922)

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-80 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases-51 (7th Time)

Def. Games as CF-152 (3rd Time)

Putouts as CF-447 (5th Time)

Assists as CF-21 (4th Time)

Errors Committed as CF-15 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as CF-4 (5th Time)

Putouts as OF-449 (7th Time)

Range Factor/Game as CF-3.08 (5th Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-3.04 (5th Time)

6th Time All-Star-Once Babe Ruth made home runs a bigger part of the game, steals became less important. So if you were going to be a base stealer, you better be great at it. Carey was. You can see he led the National League in steals with 51, but he amazingly only got nabbed two times, for a 96 percent rate. Incredible! For some reason, Baseball Reference doesn’t list this season as one of the top stealing seasons of all-time. It’s possible it feels there’s incomplete data to work with.

Also, Carey made my Hall of Fame this year, which takes the number of All-Star teams made and multiplies them by Career WAR. If the number is over 300, that player is in and Scoops is in. He joins fellow centerfielders Ty  Cobb, Billy Hamilton, Paul Hines, and Tris Speaker. He also has a chance at making the ONEHOF, my One-A-Year Hall of Fame which inducted one player a year.

I believe this is Carey’s best season ever due to his stealing and his on-base percentage (.408), that was fourth in the league. His Hall of Fame page states, “In 1922, Carey stole 51 bases in 53 attempts. He kept his legs in good shape in the off season and believed it took a smart man to steal bases.

“’Base-stealing is a battle of wits between the runner and the pitcher,’ said Carey.”

There isn’t much stealing in today’s game, mainly because analytics says it’s bad risk, but I miss it.

walkerc

RF-Curt Walker, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

.337, 12 HR, 89 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as RF-147

Putouts as RF-295

Double Plays Turned as RF-8

Double Plays Turned as OF-8

Fielding % as RF-.955

1st Time All-Star-William Curtis “Curt” Walker was born on July 3, 1896 in Beeville, TX. The five-foot-nine, 170 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing rightfielder started with the Yankees in 1919, batting just one time. He moved to the Giants in 1920 and 1921. Then in the midst of 1921, he was traded by the New York Giants with Butch Henline and $30,000 to the Philadelphia Phillies for Irish Meusel. This season was Walker’s best ever as he finished 10th in Offensive WAR (3.5), ninth in batting (.337), eighth in on-base percentage (.399), and ninth in slugging (.499).

                Wikipedia says of him, “Walker hit over .300 6 times. His best season was in 1922 with the Phillies, hitting .337 with 12 home runs, 89 RBI, 196 hits, and scoring 102 runs, all career highs. On July 22, 1926, he tied a major league record by hitting 2 triples in an inning as a member of the Reds against the Braves. He was also difficult to strike out, fanning only 254 times in 4,858 at-bats. His career batting average was .304. After his baseball career ended, he worked as a funeral home operator and was later appointed Justice of the Peace in Beeville, Texas, a position he held until his death in 1955.”

The Cubs and Phillies played a 26-23 game this season, the highest scoring game of all time. According to sportsblog.com, which has a whole article on the game, Walker went four-for-six with and RBI and two runs scored in the game.

youngs4

RF-Ross Youngs, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

1919 1920 1921

.331, 7 HR, 86 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1972)

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as RF-147 (3rd Time)

Assists as RF-28 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as RF-19 (3rd Time)

Assists as OF-28 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as OF-19 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-While he played, there weren’t too many rightfielders better than Youngs. He’s only 25 years old at this point and has made four All-Star teams. This wasn’t one of his better years, but Youngs still finished ninth in on-base percentage (.398) and went an okay 17-for-26 stealing. In the World Series, Youngs contributed mightily to the Giants sweep of the Yankees (well, there was a tie) by hitting .375 (six-for-16) with three walks.

SABR states, “Youngs got off to another slow start in 1922 but came alive on April 29 against the Boston Braves in Boston. That afternoon against starter Dana Fillingim and reliever Rube Marquard, he went 5 for 5 and hit for the cycle with an inside-the-park home run, a triple, two doubles and a single in leading the Giants to a 15-4 victory. It was the only cycle of Youngs’s brief career, but one of four five-hit games. That performance got the 25-year-old back on track and he finished the season with a .331 batting average and 86 runs batted in as the Giants won their second consecutive pennant by seven games over the Cincinnati Reds. He also led the league in outfield assists for the third time with 28.

“The Giants again faced the Yankees in the World Series, which reverted to the best-of-seven format. This time McGraw’s boys swept their counterparts in four close games, with a fifth game (Game 2) ending in a 3-3 tie because of darkness. Youngs hit .375 for the Series and drove in the winning run in Game 4, a 4-3 Giants win.”

1921 American League All-Star Team

P-Red Faber, CHW

P-Urban Shocker, SLB

P-Sad Sam Jones, BOS

P-Carl Mays, NYY

P-George Mogridge, WSH

P-Stan Coveleski, CLE

P-Bullet Joe Bush, BOS

P-Waite Hoyt, NYY

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Eddie Rommel, PHA

C-Wally Schang, NYY

C-Patsy Gharrity, WSH

1B-George Sisler, SLB

2B-Eddie Collins, CHW

3B-Larry Gardner, CLE

SS-Joe Sewell, CLE

LF-Babe Ruth, NYY

LF-Bobby Veach, DET

LF-Ken Williams, SLB

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Tris Speaker, CLE

CF-Sam Rice, WSH

CF-Baby Doll Jacobson, SLB

RF-Harry Heilmann, DET

RF-Bob Meusel, NYY

 

faber2

P-Red Faber, Chicago White Sox, 32 Years Old

1920

25-15, 2.48 ERA, 124 K, .148, 0 HR, 4 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1964)

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

 

Led in:

 

1921 AL Pitching Title

WAR for Pitchers-11.3

Earned Run Average-2.48

Walks & Hits per IP-1.149

Hits per 9 IP-7.975

Complete Games-32

Adjusted ERA+-170

Adj. Pitching Runs-66

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.7

2nd Time All-Star-From 1914-to-1919, Faber never pitched over 300 innings (though he did pitch 299 2/3 in 1915) and then from 1920-to-1922, he never pitched less than 319. After that, from 1923-to-1933, he never pitched above 238 and many times was below 200. In my time covering these early years of baseball, I don’t remember seeing a player whose career WAR was above 60 who garnered most of that in such a condensed stretch of years like Faber did from 1920 to 1922. That’s why he’s not making my Hall, even though I have no problem with him being in Cooperstown.

Along with leading in the above categories, Faber also finished second in innings pitched (330 2/3), behind New York’s Carl Mays (336 2/3).

Chicago, managed by Kid Gleason, crumbled once the eight Black Sox were kicked out of the sport, falling to a 62-92 seventh place finish, 36-and-a-half games out of first. Its hitting was weak and its pitching was the worst in the league.

Wikipedia says, “Faber enjoyed the greatest success of his career in the early 1920s. The live-ball era was beginning, but he was among the pitchers who made the most successful transition. The spitball was phased out after the 1920 season, with Faber one of the 17 pitchers permitted to use it for the remainder of their careers. He took advantage of Comiskey Park‘s spacious dimensions, surrendering only 91 home runs—barely one homer per month—from 1920 to 1931. He was one of only six pitchers to win 100 or more games in both the “dead ball” (through 1920) and live ball eras. Faber finished the 1920 season with 23 wins and led the league in games started.”

shocker3

P-Urban Shocker, St. Louis Browns, 30 Years Old

1919 1920

27-12, 3.55 ERA, 132 K, .260, 0 HR, 9 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-27

Home Runs Allowed-21

Batters Faced-1,401

3rd Time All-Star-Shocker made his third consecutive All-Star team and has a few more left in his arm. This season, he finished third in WAR (8.5), behind New York leftfielder Babe Ruth (12.5) and Chicago pitcher Red Faber (11.0); second in WAR for Pitchers (7.8), trailing Faber (11.3); ninth in ERA (3.55); third in innings pitched (326 2/3), behind New York’s Carl Mays (336 2/3) and Faber (330 2/3); seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (127); first in wins (27); and gave up the most homers in the American League (21), the most home runs give up in a season since Happy Jack Stivitts of the Boston Beaneaters gave up 27 in 1894, another year known for its hitting.

St. Louis, managed by Lee Fohl, the former Indians skipper, rose from fourth to third with an 81-73 record, 17-and-a-half games out of first. Despite having Shocker, the Browns’ pitching was poor.

SABR says, “Shocker provided a glimpse as to what he tried to achieve when he was pitching in order to be successful: ‘The secret of Ty Cobb’s success as a batter is the fact that he always establishes a mental hazard. He was always on the offensive and you never knew exactly what he would do. Sometimes he would choke up on the bat and punch a hit through the infield. Sometimes he would slug. Sometimes he would bunt. Sometimes he would wait them out. But you never could tell what he was going to do or how he was going to do it.’

“’To my mind, the successful pitcher does the same thing. He also establishes a mental hazard. He has the batter guessing, and to the extent that he has the batter guessing, he has him at a disadvantage for he can give the batter any kind of ball he chooses. The batter has to take what comes and if you can contrive to give him something he isn’t looking for, you have him.’”

joness

P-Sad Sam Jones, Boston Red Sox, 28 Years Old

23-16, 3.22 ERA, 98 K, .240, 2 HR, 14 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-5

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.33

1st Time All-Star-Samuel Pond “Sad Sam” Jones was born on July 26, 1892 in Woodsfield, OH. The six-foot, 170 pound righty started with Cleveland in 1914 and 1915. He was then traded by the Cleveland Indians with Fred Thomas and $55,000 to the Boston Red Sox for Tris Speaker. He pitched for Boston in the 1918 World Series, hurling a complete game loss, giving up seven hits and three runs. This season, Jones’ best ever, he finished fourth in WAR (7.3); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.7); fifth in ERA (3.22); sixth in innings pitched (298 2/3); fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (132); and first in shutouts (5).

Boston, managed by Hugh Duffy, who replaced Ed Barrow, finished fifth with a 75-79 record, 23-and-a-half games out of first. It had the worst hitting in the league, though the team’s pitching was above average.

Wikipedia has this quote from Ed Walton, at Baseball Library: “Bill McGeehan of the New York Herald-Tribune dubbed him Sad Sam because, to him, Jones looked downcast on the field. Jones told Lawrence Ritter that the reason he looked downcast was because, ‘I would always wear my cap down real low over my eyes. And the sportswriters were more used to fellows like Waite Hoyt, who’d always wear their caps way up so they wouldn’t miss any pretty girls.’”

Also, according to Wikipedia, “His most productive season came in 1921, when he posted career-highs in wins (23), strikeouts (98) and innings (298.2), and led the league in shutouts (5).”

mays5

P-Carl Mays, New York Yankees, 29 Years Old

1916 1917 1919 1920

27-9, 3.05 ERA, 70 K, .343, 2 HR, 22 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-27

Win-Loss %-.750

Games Pitched-49

Saves-7 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-336 2/3

Def. Games as P-49

5th Time All-Star-In 1903, the Baltimore Orioles disbanded in the American League and the New York Highlanders took their place. Over the next 18 years, they usually finished in the bottom half of the AL, though they did finish in second place three times. The closest New York ever got to first was in 1904 when they finished one-and-a-half games behind Boston. In 1913, the squad officially became the Yankees, well, as officially as those things happened back then.

Of course, once the team picked up Miller Huggins as a manager and Babe Ruth as an outfielder, it caught on fire and has been a winner ever since. This year, the Yankees won their first pennant, beating Cleveland by four-and-a-half games. They finished the year 9-2 to clinch the title with a 98-55 record. They then lost the World Series to the Giants, five games to three.

As for Carl Mays, he had his best season ever, finishing fifth in WAR (7.2); sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.8); third in ERA (3.05), behind Chicago’s Red Faber (2.48) and Washington’s George Mogridge (3.00); first in innings pitched (336 2/3); second in Adjusted ERA+ (138), trailing Faber (170); and first in wins (27) and saves (seven).

In the World Series, Mays did great, though it wasn’t reflected in his record. He went 1-2 with a 1.73 ERA, pitching three complete games and giving up just six runs (five earned) in those contests. He’s not done making All-Star teams and he’ll be in my Hall of Fame soon.

mogridge2

P-George Mogridge, Washington Senators, 32 Years Old

1918

18-14, 3.00 ERA, 101 K, .153, 0 HR, 4 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team with the Yankees in 1918, Mogridge’s innings went down though he still pitched well in 1919 and 1920. Then, before this season, he was traded by the New York Yankees with Duffy Lewis to the Washington Senators for Braggo Roth. He then had his best season ever, finishing ninth in WAR (6.3); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.9); second in ERA (3.00), behind Chicago’s Red Faber (2.48); seventh in innings pitched (288); third in Adjusted ERA+ (137), trailing Faber (170) and New York’s Carl Mays (138); and was the ace on a staff that included Walter Johnson.

Washington, managed by George McBride, moved up from sixth in 1920 to fourth this year, going 80-73, 18 games out of first. It was middle of the road in both hitting and pitching. It was McBride’s only year managing. According to Wikipedia, “At the end of the 1921 season, he was hit in the face with a ball during batting practice, paralyzing one side of his face. He was forced to retire from the Senators, but later joined the Detroit Tigers.”

After this season, according to his Wikipedia page, “He helped the Senators win the 1924 World Series…In 15 seasons he had a 132–131 win–loss record, 138 complete games, 20 shutouts, 20 saves, 678 strikeouts and a 3.21 ERA…He died in his hometown at the age of 73 years and 14 days old on March 4, 1962 and was buried in the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery (Rochester, New York).”

coveleski5

P-Stan Coveleski, Cleveland Indians, 31 Years Old

1917 1918 1919 1920

23-13, 3.37 ERA, 99 K, .155, 0 HR, 16 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1969)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

Led in:

 

Games Started-40

Putouts as P-23

Assists as P-108

Range Factor/Game as P-3.05

5th Time All-Star-If you gave me a list of names and asked me if they were in the Baseball Hall of Fame, I would probably get a good percentage of them right. However, if you gave me the name Stan Coveleski, I would have probably guessed “no” if I didn’t have his stats in front of me. But, boy, could Covey pitch! He made his fifth consecutive All-Star team this season and also was inducted into my Hall of Fame cleverly called “Ron’s Hall of Fame” because my name is, you know, Ron.

This season, Coveleski finished 10th in WAR (6.3); third in WAR for Pitchers (7.0), behind Chicago’s Red Faber (11.3) and St. Louis’ Urban Shocker (7.8); sixth in ERA (3.37); fourth in innings pitched (315); sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (127); and first in games started (40). All of those starts are going to eventually catch up with him, as he’ll never toss 300 innings again, but he’s still going to be effective for a few more seasons.

Wikipedia says, “After spending the offseason hunting with Smoky Joe Wood, Coveleski returned to the Indians in 1921, and throughout the season, the Indians battled the Yankees for first in the American League. On September 26, the two teams faced off, but Coveleski failed to make it past the third inning; the Yankees won 8–7 to ensure they won the pennant. Coveleski pitched 315 innings in 1921, matching his career high from the year before, and had a 23–13 record and a 3.37 ERA.”

bushb2

P-Bullet Joe Bush, Boston Red Sox, 28 Years Old

1916

16-9, 3.50 ERA, 96 K, .325, 0 HR, 17 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-When Bush last made the All-Star team in 1916, he was pitching for the horrible Athletics. He stayed with them in 1917 and then was traded by the Philadelphia Athletics with Wally Schang and Amos Strunk to the Boston Red Sox for Vean GreggMerlin KoppPinch Thomas and $60,000. In the Red Sox World Series against the Cubs in 1918, Bush pitched two games, losing one and pitching a total of nine innings with seven hits and three runs allowed for a 3.00 ERA. The problem so many years with Bush is he walked so many batters, but every once in a while he came up with a gem of a year.

This year, Bush finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.8), seventh in ERA (3.50), eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (121), and walked almost as many batters (93) as he struck out (96). The other thing about Bush is, for a pitcher, he was a heck of a hitter. You can see above he hit .325 this season and he would have better years.

SABR says, “The nickname ‘Bullet Joe’ took hold in Missoula. The club president, Hughie Campbell, began to call him Joe Bush after a former local bronco buster. Later, the local media began to call him Joe Bullet, because of the speed of his fastball. Bush credits the nickname – Bullet Joe – to later Philadelphia teammate Eddie Collins, who applied the label after observing a letter in the clubhouse that was addressed to ‘Joe Bullet’ Bush. The nickname stuck for the rest of his baseball career.”

               

hoyt

P-Waite Hoyt, New York Yankees, 21 Years Old

19-13, 3.09 ERA, 102 K, .222, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1969)

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Waite Charles “Schoolboy” Hoyt was born on September 9, 1899 in Brooklyn, NY. He started with the Giants in 1918 and then was traded by the New York Giants with Bill Kelly (minors), Jack OgdenJose RodriguezJoe Wilhoit and cash to Rochester (International) for Earl Smith. After the 1919 season, he was sent from New Orleans (Southern Association) to the Boston Red Sox in an unknown transaction. After the 1920 season on the Red Sox, Hoyt was traded by the Boston Red Sox with Harry HarperMike McNally and Wally Schang to the New York Yankees for Del PrattMuddy RuelHank Thormahlen and Sammy Vick. Boston is famous for trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees, but the truth is during this era, they unloaded quite a bit of talent to their rivals.

This season, Hoyt finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.6), fourth in ERA (3.09), ninth in innings pitched (282 1/3), fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (136), and pitched in the first of seven World Series in which he’d appear. He went 2-1 with a 0.00 ERA against the Giants, giving up two unearned runs in his loss. SABR says, “Though the Yankees lost five games to three in the third of three best-of-nine fall classics, Hoyt was lauded by the New York Times as the ‘individual star’and by The Sporting News as the ‘most sensational of all the hurlers’ in the series. In Game Two, Hoyt tossed a sparkling two-hitter, striking out five and walking five. Hoyt ‘had at his disposal almost every variety of pitching known to the profession,’ gushed the New York Times.”

johnson13

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 33 Years Old

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

17-14, 3.51 ERA, 143 K, .270, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-4.875 (6th Time)

Strikeouts-143 (10th Time)

13th Time All-Star-When the great Johnson missed the All-Star team last season when he went only 8-10 with a 3.13 ERA, it was the first time since 1908 he missed making this list. It was sad not to write him up. Ty Cobb didn’t make the list either, I wasn’t sad about that. I was happy not to have to look up what morbid activity in which he’d been involved. Johnson is back this season, finishing ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.8); eighth in ERA (3.51); ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (117); and, for the 10th time, the Big Train led the American League in strikeouts (143).

Johnson, through 1921, is also among the top 10 players of all-time. Here’s that list in my humble opinion:

  1. Cy Young, P
  2. Johnson, P
  3. Cobb, CF
  4. Honus Wagner, SS
  5. Tris Speaker, CF
  6. Eddie Collins, 2B
  7. Cap Anson, 1B
  8. Nap Lajoie, 2B
  9. Kid Nichols, P
  10. Christy Mathewson, P

This season, Johnson became the all-time leader in strikeouts, passing Young. Cyclone finished with 2,803 Ks; Johnson after this season was up to 2,835. He’d be the all-time leader in Ks all the way to

1983 when it was broken by Steve Carlton, whose record was then broken by Nolan Ryan the very next year. During this time of great hitting, pitching strikeouts weren’t too high and Johnson would lead three times in the ‘20s with marks less than 200. The next time he led in this category was 1924 at 36 years old.

rommel2

P-Eddie Rommel, Philadelphia Athletics, 23 Years Old

1920

16-23, 3.94 ERA, 71 K, .191, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs Allowed-21

Losses-23

Errors Committed as P-7

2nd Time All-Star-In a time when good pitchers were judged on their won-loss record, it couldn’t have been easy pitching on a bad team like the Athletics. Rommel was a really good pitcher on a really bad team, it’s just not reflected in his record. This season, he finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.5); eighth in innings pitched (285 1/3); and first in giving up dingers (21).

Philadelphia, managed by Connie Mack, finished last for the seventh consecutive year. They went 53-100, 45 games out first. Good news for Athletics fans from those of us who can tell the future, they’re going to get better after this season. So is Rommel.

Mack still managed old school and had his best pitcher pitching frequently. Along with starting 32 games, he also pitched relief 14 games and ended up with three saves. By the time he’s 29, Rommel won’t have any seasons over 200 innings and one can’t help wondering if his arm was overused in his youth. Of course, he was a knuckleballer, so he could pitch more than others without the arm strain. By the way, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet in terms of games pitched by Rommel.

I’m trying to think of another sports comparison for the knuckle ball, a pitch deliberately thrown slow, which goes against the very nature of the game. It’s one of the joys of baseball that people without great athletic ability still can have value in the games through their wits and wiliness.

schang6

C-Wally Schang, New York Yankees, 31 Years Old

1913 1914 1917 1919 1920

.316, 6 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

6th Time All-Star-For being the best catcher of his time, Schang bounces around a lot and not coincidentally, the teams to which he’s traded tend to win. Before this season, he was traded by the Boston Red Sox with Harry HarperWaite Hoyt and Mike McNally to the New York Yankees for Del PrattMuddy RuelHank Thormahlen and Sammy Vick. New York must have had some kind of blackmail in those days on Boston, because they keep gobbling up their best players.

This season, Schang finished ninth in Offensive WAR (4.3) and sixth in on-base percentage (.428). In the Yankees’ World Series loss to the Giants, Schang hit .286 (six-for-21) with a double and a triple, along with five walks. It was his fourth of six World Series, because he’d also make it the next two seasons with New York. In 1922, he’d hit .188 and in 1923, he hit .318. He’d end up slashing .287/.362/.404 for his World Series career.

Wikipedia says of the remainder of his career, “In a 19-season career, Schang hit a .284 batting average with 59 home runs and 710 RBI in 1,842 games played. In 32 World Series games, he hit .287 (27-for-94) with one home run and eight RBI’s.

“Following his major league career, Schang played for several seasons with Western Association and Canadian clubs, and then turned to managing in minor leagues. In 1945, he retired to a farm he operated at Dixon, Missouri, in the Ozark Mountains.

“Schang died in St Louis at age 75.”

 

gharrity

C-Patsy Gharrity, Washington Senators, 29 Years Old

.310, 7 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Caught Stealing %-63.4

1st Time All-Star-Edward Patrick “Patsy” Gharrity was born on March 13, 1892 in Parnell, IA, 21 years before my mom’s first husband, a good family friend who died just eight years ago. Gharrity started with Washington in 1916 and 1917 as a first baseman, then only played four games in 1918. In 1919, he was moved to catcher and this season, had his best year ever, finishing ninth in Defensive WAR (0.8), while gunning out the highest percentage of runners in the American League.

He had a great game, according to SABR, which says, “The highlight came on June 23, 1919, in Boston. In a battle between two second-division teams, Gharrity went 5-for-5 with a single, two doubles, and his first two major-league home runs. His total of 13 bases set an American League record that was broken by Ty Cobb in 1925.”

After his career, SABR says, “He returned to Beloit. He worked in factories, including being a naval inspector at the Fairbanks-Morse plant during World War II. He left the factories and worked as a salesman and as a station manager for the Tidewater Oil Company. He served on the Beloit City Council for four years and was president of the Baseball Old-Timers Association. Always on the go, he even worked as an ice-cream salesman for the Wright and Wagner Dairy well into his 60s. He was elected a charter member of the Beloit Elks Club Athletic Hall of Fame.

“Gharrity collapsed on the streets of Beloit on October 10, 1966. He was pronounced dead from a heart attack. His funeral was held at St. Thomas Catholic Church and he was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Beloit. At his death there were 24 grandchildren. Margaret joined him in Calvary Cemetery in 1972.”

sisler6

1B-George Sisler, St. Louis Browns, 29 Years Old

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920

.371, 12 HR, 104 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

Led in:

 

Triples-18

Stolen Bases-35 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-With his sixth All-Star team multiplied by his lifetime WAR of 56.3, Sisler hits the magic number of 300 and is now part of my Hall of Fame, joining first basemen Cap Anson, Jake Beckley, Dan Brouthers, Roger Connor, Ed Konetchy, and Harry Stovey. This season, he finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.7); seventh in Offensive WAR (5.2); fourth in batting (.371); fifth in slugging (.560); sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (140); and went a great 35-for-46 stealing, leading the league in thefts.

SABR says, “Just four days after banging six hits against the Washington Senators, St. Louis Browns first baseman George Sisler produced a 5-for-5 game against the Detroit Tigers, hitting for the cycle for the second time in his Hall of Fame career. In front of ‘a good-sized half holiday crowd’ at Detroit’s Navin Field, the Browns and Tigers were completing a two-game series before traveling to St. Louis for a three-game set at Sportsman’s Park against Detroit. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, ‘a crowd of about 8000 attended.’ Both the Browns and Tigers had no hopes of postseason play. St. Louis came into the game at 52-54, 14 games behind the Cleveland Indians. Detroit was 51-58, 16½ games back.

With a triple, homer, and double already to his credit, “Sisler came up and again delivered, this time a single for his fifth hit. This meant that he had hit for the cycle for the second time in his career. Sisler became the first batter in the history of the American League to hit for the cycle twice.” Read the whole thing.

collins13

2B-Eddie Collins, Chicago White Sox, 34 Years Old

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

.337, 2 HR, 58 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.29 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.968 (7th Time)

13th Time All-Star-Collins is now 34 years old and he continues to be the best second baseman in the American League. As seen in Walter Johnson’s blurb, he is the sixth greatest player of all-time at this point in baseball history. He’s also the leader in All-Star teams made at his position. Here’s the whole list:

P-Cy Young, 17 All-Star teams made

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Collins, 13

3B-Home Run Baker, 9

SS-Honus Wagner, 13

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Tris Speaker, 13

RF-Sam Crawford, 9

Age will eventually catch up with Cocky Collins, but he’s still got a few of these lists left. He was now one of the few stars left on Chicago now that eight of his teammates were now banned from baseball due to their roles in throwing the 1919 World Series.

I hate to keep hashing on the Black Sox, but there’s an article from the Sacramento Union of July 29, 1921 that has a story about a court case in which “Eddie Collins. Ray Schalk. Dick Kerr, Roy Wilkinson and Manager William Gleason of the White Sox testified at a night session of court that the seven former players on trial were at Redland Field, Cincinnati, practicing from 10 to 12 o’clock on the day before the first 1919 world series game. (sic)

“Eddie Collins, Roy Wilkinson, and Dick Kerr, were sure all present and Collins said he and Weaver left the park together and went to the races that afternoon.” I just saw the movie Eight Men Out again and, if that movie is even a little accurate, the guilt of the eight is never clear.

gardner7

3B-Larry Gardner, Cleveland Indians, 35 Years Old

1911 1912 1916 1917 1918 1920

.319, 3 HR, 120 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 3B-335 (4th Time)

Errors Committed as 3B-27 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-Gardner never received one Hall of Fame vote, but, by making his 7th All-Star team, he is now going to be part of my Hall of Fame. He joins fellow third basemen Home Run Baker, Jimmy Collins, and Deacon White in Ron’s Hall of Fame, though White actually made more All-Star teams as a catcher, but played more games at the hot corner. Throughout baseball history, there aren’t a lot of great third sackers.

This season, Gardner finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.6); sixth in Defensive WAR (0.9); and led the American League in assists. He was always a good fielder.

SABR says, “Larry Gardner received numerous accolades as the years went on…Still, the ultimate honor – induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame – eluded him.

“’I remember when Harry Hooper was being considered for the honor and Dad talked with me after I raised the question about him being eligible for it,’ said Larry Jr. ‘Generally speaking, Dad was very quiet, soft-spoken, reticent about his baseball career when talking with me, but at that one time he got very talkative – very adamant – and told me, “If you boys ever get involved with the campaigning, the politics of getting me into the Hall of Fame, I’ll be upset and angry.”’

“William Lawrence Gardner died two months short of his 90th birthday on March 11, 1976, at Larry Jr.’s home in St. George, Vermont. He left his body to UVM’s Department of Anatomy, and his ashes were spread at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Burlington. Though he never was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he continued to receive honors even after his death. In 1986 the UVM baseball team wore commemorative patches on their sleeves in honor of his 100th birthday. And when a regional chapter of SABR was founded in the Green Mountains in 1993, its members elected to call it the Larry Gardner Chapter. It was another fitting tribute to a Vermont baseball legend.”

sewell

SS-Joe Sewell, Cleveland Indians, 22 Years Old

.318, 4 HR, 93 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1977)

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as SS-154

1st Time All-Star-Joseph Wheeler “Joe” Sewell was born on October 9, 1898 in Titus, AL. The five-foot-six, 155 pound lefty throwing, righty hitting third baseball started with Cleveland in 1920 and by this season, was a fulltime player. In the 1920 World Series, he hit .174 (four-for-23) and wouldn’t play in another postseason until 1932. This season, Sewell finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.9); fifth in Offensive WAR (5.3); and 10th in on-base percentage (.412); while playing every game. That durability would be one of his trademarks throughout his career. Well, that and his lack of strikeouts. He struck out only 17 times in 572 at-bats this year.

Wikipedia says, “Sewell made his major league debut mid-season in 1920 with the World Series champion Cleveland Indians shortly after shortstop Ray Chapman was killed by a pitch from the Yankees’ Carl Mays in August and became the team’s full-time shortstop the following year. An emerging star, Sewell batted .318 with 101 runs, 93 RBIs and a .412 on-base percentage in 1921.”

More on Chapman’s death from SABR, which says, “When Ray Chapman was killed by Carl Mays’ errant pitch, and after replacement shortstop Lunte pulled a muscle in his left thigh, the Indians had little choice but to purchase Sewell’s contract from the Pelicans. Joe had hit a respectable .289 in Class A and had committed only twenty-seven errors in 435 chances, but Cleveland claimed him only because they were out of alternatives. ‘I’ve often wondered what my life would have been like if a ball hadn’t gotten away from Carl Mays,’ Sewell said decades later. ‘…Because the moment that ball left Carl Mays’ hand, my life began to change.’”

ruth6LF-Babe Ruth, New York Yankees, 26 Years Old, 4th MVP

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920

.378, 59 HR, 168 RBI, 2-0, 9.00 ERA, 2 K

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fame:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (inducted in 1917)

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-12.5 (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-12.9 (3rd Time)

Offensive WAR-12.2 (3rd Time)

On-Base %-.512 (3rd Time)

Slugging %-.846 (4th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.359 (4th Time)

Runs Scored-177 (3rd Time)

Total Bases-457 (2nd Time)

Home Runs-59 (4th Time)

Runs Batted In-168 (3rd Time)

Bases on Balls-145 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-238 (3rd Time)

Runs Created-229 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-120 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-10.9 (3rd Time)

Extra Base Hits-119 (4th Time)

Times On Base-353 (3rd Time)

Offensive Win %-.905 (3rd Time)

Power-Speed #-26.4

AB per HR-9.2 (4th Time)

6th Time All-Star-After helping guide Boston to three World Series’ victories in 1915, 1916, and 1918, Ruth now made his first World Series as a Yankee. It would be the first of seven as the Yankees we now know today came into existence. While the Bambino is definitely the leader of this team, it should be noted New York had five All-Stars, not just one. The 1921 Series was the first Ruth would participate in as an outfielder instead of a pitcher. He hit .313 (five for 16) with a homer and four RBI, while stealing two bases and walking five times. The Yankees lost the Series, five games to three. Ruth missed two games due to a badly scraped elbow.

Wikipedia says of this, his fourth MVP season as determined by yours truly, “Ruth hit home runs early and often in the 1921 season, during which he broke Roger Connor‘s mark for home runs in a career, 138. Each of the almost 600 home runs Ruth hit in his career after that extended his own record. After a slow start, the Yankees were soon locked in a tight pennant race with Cleveland, winners of the 1920 World Series. On September 15, Ruth hit his 55th home run, shattering his year-old single season record. In late September, the Yankees visited Cleveland and won three out of four games, giving them the upper hand in the race, and clinched their first pennant a few days later. Ruth finished the regular season with 59 home runs, batting .378 and with a slugging percentage of .846.”

veach6

LF-Bobby Veach, Detroit Tigers, 33 Years Old

1915 1916 1917 1919 1920

.338, 16 HR, 128 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as LF-149 (6th Time)

Putouts as LF-384 (6th Time)

Putouts as OF-384

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.72 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as LF-.974 (3rd Time)

6th Time All-Star-If Veach would have been in his prime during the Twenties, who knows the numbers he would have put up, but as it is, he’s still having great seasons even in his 30s. This season, he finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.4); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.6); ninth in batting (.338); eighth in slugging (.529); seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (133); along with all of those defensive stats listed above as his glove was starting to come around.

I feel bad for Veach having Ty Cobb as a manager. Wikipedia says, “In 1921, Veach was the subject of a motivational tactic by new player-manager Cobb. Cobb believed that Veach, who came to bat with a smile and engaged in friendly conversation with umpires and opposing pitchers, was too easygoing. Tigers historian Fred Lieb described Veach as a ‘happy-go-lucky guy, not too brilliant above the ears’, who ‘was as friendly as a Newfoundland pup with opponents as well as teammates’. (Fred Lieb, ‘The Detroit Tigers’) Hoping to light a fire in Veach, Cobb persuaded Harry Heilmann, who followed Veach in the batting order, to taunt Veach from the on-deck circle. ‘I want you to make him mad. Real mad. . . . [W]hile you’re waiting, call him a yellow belly, a quitter and a dog. … Take that smile off his face’. The tactic may have worked, as Veach had career-highs in RBIs (126) and home runs (16), and his batting average jumped from .308 to .338. Cobb had promised to tell Veach about the scheme when the season was over, but never did. When Heilmann tried to explain, Veach reportedly snarled, ‘Don’t come sucking around me with that phony line’. Veach never forgave Heilmann.”

williamsk

LF-Ken Williams, St. Louis Browns, 31 Years Old

.347, 24 HR, 117 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

Assists as LF-24

 

Errors Committed as LF-26

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

Errors Committed as OF-26

1st Time All-Star-Kenneth Roy “Ken” Williams was born on June 28, 1890 in Grants Pass, OR. The six-foot, 170 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing leftfielder started with Cincinnati in 1915-16. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1917 and then in 1918, came to the Browns. Then, to Williams’ delight, came better baseballs, higher scoring, a lack of spitters, Babe Ruth, or whatever you want to credit for the increased offense, because his career took off at the age of 31. This season, he finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.4); sixth in Offensive WAR (5.2); eighth in batting (.347); fifth in on-base percentage (.429); fourth in slugging (.561); fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (145); and went a mediocre 20-for-37 stealing.

Wikipedia says, “Williams was drafted into the United States Army in April 1918, and appeared in only two games for the Browns that season. He returned to the Browns in 1919 and hit .300 with 6 home runs in 65 games. In 1920, Major League Baseball outlawed specialty pitches such as the spitball and experienced a subsequent jump in the league batting averages as well as home runs. In Williams’s first full season as a regular player in 1920, he posted a .307 batting average along with 10 home runs and 72 runs batted in. He continued to improve in 1921 with a .347 batting average with 24 home runs, 117 runs batted in and a career-high .429 on-base percentage.” Despite his age, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet, as he’ll have a monster season in 1922.

cobb14CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 34 Year Old

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

.389, 12 HR, 101 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1915)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

Led in:

Assists as CF-27

14th Time All-Star-Shockingly, Cobb didn’t make the All-Star Team in 1920 as he played in only 112 of Detroit’s 154 games. He’s back this year as a great hitter and now, Detroit’s skipper. Cobb finished seventh in WAR (6.7); third in WAR Position Players (6.7), behind New York leftfielder Babe Ruth (12.9) and teammate, rightfielder Harry Heilmann (6.8); third in Offensive WAR (6.6), trailing Ruth (12.2) and Heilmann (7.3); second in batting (.389), with only Heilmann (.394) hitting better; second in on-base percentage (.452), trailing the Bambino (.512); third in slugging percentage (.596), with only The Sultan of Swat (.846) and Heilmann (.606) ahead of him; third in Adjusted OPS+ (166), behind The Colossus of Clout (238) and Heilmann (167); and finished a meh 22-for-37 stealing.

Wikipedia says of Cobb taking over the club, “Tiger owner Frank Navin tapped Cobb to take over for Hughie Jennings as manager for the 1921 season, a deal he signed on his 34th birthday for $32,500 (equivalent to approximately $456,516 in today’s funds). The signing surprised the baseball world. Although Cobb was a legendary player, he was disliked throughout the baseball community, even by his own teammates; and he expected as much from his players since he set a standard most players couldn’t meet.”

Of Ruth, Wikipedia mentions, “As Ruth’s popularity grew, Cobb became increasingly hostile toward him. He saw the Babe not only as a threat to his style of play, but also to his style of life. While Cobb preached ascetic self-denial, Ruth gorged on hot dogs, beer and women. Perhaps what angered him the most about Ruth was that despite Babe’s total disregard for his physical condition and traditional baseball, he was still an overwhelming success and brought fans to the ballparks in record numbers to see him challenge his own slugging records.”

speaker13

CF-Tris Speaker, Cleveland Indians, 33 Years Old

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

.362, 3 HR, 75 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-52 (6th Time)

Fielding % as CF-.984 (5th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.91 (8th Time)

Fielding % as OF-.984

13th Time All-Star-I forgot to mention in Ty Cobb’s blurb he is among my 10 greatest players of all-time (up to this point in baseball history). You can see the full list at Walter Johnson’s write-up. You’ll also see Speaker’s name on that list. Then when you click on Eddie Collins’ link, you’ll see Speaker has made more All-Star teams at centerfielder than anyone else, including Ty Cobb (again up to this point).

For the season, Speaker finished eighth in WAR (6.5); fourth in WAR Position Players (6.5); fourth in Offensive WAR (5.4); fifth in batting (.362); fourth in on-base percentage (.439); seventh in slugging (.538); fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (146); and first in doubles (52). At this point, Speaker has 497 doubles, the active leader, and is still a few seasons from catching the all-time leader, Nap Lajoie, who has 657.

After guiding Cleveland to a World Series championship in 1920, Speaker’s Indians dropped to second place this year with a 94-60 record, four-and-a-half games behind the Yankees. As of Sept. 24, they were tied for first, but then lost five of the last six to fall out of the lead.

Of his managing, SABR says, “Bill James has written that Speaker instituted the “first extensive platooning” in 1920. James also noted that there was little discussion about the practice at the time. Yet one person did comment on it—with harsh criticism. In 1921, John B. Sheridan, the respected columnist of The Sporting News, wrote.

“’The specialist in baseball is no good and won’t go very far. . . . The whole effect of the system will be to make the players affected half men. . . . It is farewell, a long farewell to all that player’s chance of greatness. . . . It destroys young ball players by destroying their most precious quality— confidence in their ability to hit any pitcher, left or right, alive, dead, or waiting to be born.’” Sheridan wouldn’t recognize the game today.

rice3

CF-Sam Rice, Washington Senators, 31 Years Old

1919 1920

.330, 4 HR, 79 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as CF-15 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.83 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.82 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Rice made his third straight All-Star team and has yet to finish in the top 10 in any WAR category. That’s why he now has a very good chance to make my Hall of Fame, because he’s most likely going to make this list at least three more times. This season, Rice stole 26 of 38 attempts and also committed the most errors in the outfield.

From the book Sam Rice: A Biography of the Washington Senators Hall of Famer: “Though Rice’s 1921 season was another success at the plate, he did see a huge dropoff in one part of his game – stolen bases. After leading the American League with sixty-three steals in 1920, Rice stole just twenty-six bases the following season, fourth in the league. George Sisler actually led the American League with just thirty-five stolen bases—in 1917, Rice’s first season as a full-time outfielder, six American Leaguers had stolen at least that many.

“Juiced ball or not, the game was definitely changing.

“Base-stealing had been losing popularity even before the live-ball era made it a graver risk for a manager to risk outs on the bases. In 1911, the New York Giants had stolen 347 bases as a team. By 1920, the Giants total was down to 131. The drastic drop was similarly realized by almost every team in both major leagues. Only the Pittsburgh Pirates ran more than they did at the beginning of the previous decade, an anomaly caused by the facts that the team was one of baseball’s slowest in 1911 and the team had added Max Carey in the time since.”

jacobson2

CF-Baby Doll Jacobson, St. Louis Browns, 30 Years Old

1920

.352, 5 HR, 90 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as CF-142

Putouts as CF-386

2nd Time All-Star-Jacobson could have had a much better career if he would have started playing well sooner, but he’s already 30 and he’s just made two All-Star teams. He’s probably going to make just one more. This season, Jacobson finished sixth in batting (.352), while making more catches in centerfielder than anyone.

Wikipedia says, “In 1921, Jacobson continued his torrid hitting. For the third consecutive year, he finished among the American League leaders with a .352 average. He was among the league leaders in batting average (6th) and with 211 hits (4th), 38 doubles (7th), and 14 triples (7th). He also led the league’s center fielders with 386 putouts and had the second highest fielding percentage (.982) among all of the league’s outfielders.”

SABR says of his beginnings, “Cable is even in the early 21st century an unincorporated community in western Illinois about 20 to 25 miles south of Davenport, Iowa. Bill Jacobson attended what he described as a ‘country school’ there for eight years, and then moved and went to high school in Geneseo for 3¾ years. Perhaps the demands of farming prevented him from fully completing high school. It may also have been the opportunity to begin his first year in professional baseball, a few months before he turned 19. The first team to hire him was the Rock Island Islanders of the Class B Three-I League. In 1909 he appeared in 43 games, batting .185 with six extra-base hits but no home runs. His first work was as both an outfielder and a catcher, the latter position one where hitting for average was not as important.”

heilmann2

RF-Harry Heilmann, Detroit Tigers, 26 Years Old

1919

.394, 19 HR, 139 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1952)

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

 

Led in:

 

1921 AL Batting Title

Batting Average-.394

Hits-237

2nd Time All-Star-When Heilmann last made the All-Star team in 1919, he was a first baseman. He’s now been moved to the outfield permanently and he’s going to have quite a career. After having an off season in 1920, he came back this year, finishing sixth in WAR (6.8); second in WAR Position Players (6.8), behind New York leftfielder Babe Ruth (12.9); second in Offensive WAR (7.3), trailing only Ruth (12.2); first in batting (.394); third in on-base percentage (.444), behind The Babe (.512) and Detroit centerfielder and teammate Ty Cobb (.452); second in slugging (.606), trailing the Bambino (.846); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (167), only behind the Sultan of Swat (238).

Wikipedia says, “Heilmann’s batting average in 1921 was 85 points higher than his 1920 average and 101 points higher than his career average prior to 1921. Some attributed Heilmann’s dramatic improvement to the tutelage of Ty Cobb, who took over as the Tigers’ manager in 1921. Others attributed Heilmann’s improvement to the “live-ball era” that started in 1920 and forced outfielders to spread out and play deeper, allowing more of Heilmann’s line drives to fall into the wider gaps. However, Frank G. Menke attributed his improvement to having learned the game, noting that the ‘lively ball’ failed to account for the fact that those who outhit Heilmann from 1914 to 1920 were no longer outhitting him.

“On July 8, 1921, Heilmann hit a home run off “Bullet Joe” Bush that traveled over the center field fence in Detroit and “actually made the patrons gasp in astonishment.” Heilmann’s home run was widely reported to have traveled 610 feet, eclipsing Babe Ruth‘s longest home run of 465 feet.” Yeah, no way it went 610 feet.

meusel

RF-Bob Meusel, New York Yankees, 24 Years Old

.318, 24 HR, 138 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-88

Errors Committed as RF-18

Double Plays Turned as RF-9

Assists as OF-28

Double Plays Turned as OF-9

1st Time All-Star-Robert William “Long Bob” or “Languid” or “Silent Bob” Meusel was born on July 19, 1896 in San Jose, CA. The six-foot-three, 190 pound righty outfielder started with the Yankees in 1920, mainly at third base. This season was his best ever as he finished sixth in slugging (.559); eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (128); first in strikeouts (88); and stole a great 17-of-23 bases. In the World Series, which the Yankees lost to the Giants, he hit .200 (six-for-30) with two doubles. He would participate in five more World Series over his career.

Wikipedia wraps up this season, saying, “In the 1921 season, Meusel started in 149 out of 154 games, primarily playing right field. He batted .318, finishing second in the league in home runs with 24 and third in the league with 136 runs batted in. He hit for the cycle in a win against the Washington Senators on May 7. In the second game of a September 5 doubleheader, he tied a major league record for outfielders (previously accomplished by nine others) by recording four assists. He broke a club record and tied Jack Tobin of the St. Louis Browns for the league lead in outfield assists with 28; he was considered to be one of the league’s best all-around players. Meusel’s brother, Irish, was acquired by the New York Giants from the Philadelphia Phillies mid-season, and helped lead the Giants to the pennant. The two brothers played against each other in the 1921 World Series, where the Giants faced their tenants (the Yankees played their home games in the Polo Grounds, the ball park owned by the Giants). Bob Meusel stole home in Game 3 of the Series. He doubled in Babe Ruth for the winning run in Game 5 for a one-game lead, but the Yankees lost the next three games and the Series (the last best-of-nine in World Series history). His batting average in those eight games was a mere .200.

“Meusel lived in California following his playing career, residing first in Redondo Beach, California and then in Downey, California. He died in Bellflower, California in 1977, and was buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.”

               

1921 National League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-Roger Bresnahan

P-Burleigh Grimes, BRO

P-Pete Alexander, CHC

P-Wilbur Cooper, PIT

P-Joe Oeschger, BOS

P-Dolf Luque, CIN

P-Whitey Glazner, PIT

P-Eppa Rixey, CIN

P-Clarence Mitchell, BRO

P-Babe Adams, PIT

P-Johnny Morrison, PIT

C-Earl Smith, NYG

C-Frank Snyder, NYG

1B-Jack Fournier, STL

1B-High Pockets Kelly, NYG

2B-Rogers Hornsby, STL

3B-Frankie Frisch, NYG

3B-Jimmy Johnston, BRO

SS-Dave Bancroft, NYG

SS-Rabbit Maranville, PIT

LF-Austin McHenry, STL

LF-Walton Cruise, BSN

CF-Max Carey, PIT

CF-Edd Roush, CIN

CF-Cy Williams, PHI

RF-Ross Youngs, NYG

 

1921 ONEHOF Inductee

bresnahan10

C-Roger Bresnahan

.279, 26 HR, 530 RBI, 41.7 Career WAR

1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1910 1911 1914

 

In Bresnahan’s 1914 blurb, I wrote how Bill James objected to the catcher being in the Hall of Fame. Well, too bad, Bill, because now he’s made all three, my Hall of Fame in 1911, the ONEHOF here in 1921, and Cooperstown in 1945. I totally agree with this pick because the only reason his stats aren’t as shiny as others is because he moved from the outfield to catcher and as a catcher, he was the best there was for his time. A reminder, the ONEHOF is the One-a-Year Hall of Fame where just only player is admitted a year. The full list can be seen here.

In 1922, the nominees for the ONEHOF are Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Johnny Evers, Sherry Magee, Larry Doyle, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Art Fletcher, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, Joe McGinnity, Ed Walsh, Nap Rucker, Ed Konetchy, and Larry Gardner. There is a big bunch up of good players right now which made this the right time to induct Bresnahan.

According to SABR, “At age 65 Bresnahan suffered a heart attack and died at his Toledo home on December 4, 1944. He never achieved one of his greatest ambitions-to give Toledo an American Association pennant-but the city mourned the passing of a man whose heart always lay in his hometown. Survived by his wife, Gertrude, and sister, Margaret Henige, Bresnahan was laid to rest in Toledo’s Calvary Cemetery. The following year he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.”

grimes3

P-Burleigh Grimes, Brooklyn Robins, 27 Years Old

1918 1920

22-13, 2.83 ERA, 136 K, .237, 1 HR, 11 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1964)

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-7.8

Wins-22

Strikeouts per 9 IP-4.048

Strikeouts-136

Complete Games-30

Adj. Pitching Runs-34

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.6

Range Factor/Game as P-2.86

3rd Time All-Star-After helping guide the Robins to a World Series in 1920, Grimes continued to pitch well as possibly the National League’s best pitcher. He had his best season ever, finishing second in WAR (8.0), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (10.8); first in WAR for Pitchers (7.8); fifth in ERA (2.83); third in innings pitched (302 1/3), trailing Pittsburgh’s Wilbur Cooper (327) and Cincinnati’s Dolf Luque (304); third in Adjusted ERA+ (139), behind Pittsburgh’s Babe Adams (145) and St. Louis’ Bill Doak (140); and was the NL’s strikeout king (136).

Brooklyn, managed by Wilbert Robinson, dropped from first to fifth with a 77-75 record, 16-and-a-half games behind the Giants. Its problem was poor hitting as they had the league’s lowest OPS+ (84). Thanks to Grimes, the Robins had good pitching, finishing second in ERA+ (107). Robinson would be with Brooklyn through 1931, but never win another pennant.

Wikipedia says, “According to Baseball Digest, the Phillies were able to hit him because they knew when he was throwing the spitter. The Dodgers were mystified about this; first they thought the relative newcomer of a catcher, Hank DeBerry, was unwittingly giving away his signals to the pitcher, so they substituted veteran Zack Taylor, to no avail. They suggested that a spy with binoculars was concealed in the scoreboard in old Baker Bowl in Philadelphia, reading the signals from a distance, but the Phils hit Grimes just as well in Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. A batboy solved the mystery by pointing out that Burleigh’s cap was too tight. It sounded silly, but he was right. The tighter cap would wiggle when Grimes flexed his facial muscles to prepare the spitter. He got a cap a half-size larger and the Phillies were on their own after that.”

alexander10

P-Pete Alexander, Chicago Cubs, 34 Years Old

1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1919 1920

15-13, 3.39 ERA, 77 K, .305, 1 HR, 14 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1920)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1938)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

Led in:

 

Shutouts-3 (7th Time)

10th Time All-Star-In the ‘70s, there was a comedian named Foster Brooks who would play a lovable drunk and was very funny. However, the drunkenness of Ol’ Pete wasn’t humorous at all at his affected him and those around him all the time. Miraculously, it didn’t seem to affect his pitching as he continued to be one of the National League’s best. He finished fifth in WAR (5.4); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (4.7); 10th in innings pitched (252); 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (113), and led the league with three shutouts. It was a much different league from when Alexander led the league with 16 shutouts in 1916.

Chicago, managed by Johnny Evers (41-55) and Bill Killefer (23-34), finished in seventh place with a 64-89 record, 30 games behind the Giants. Despite having Alexander on the team, its pitching staff had the second worst ERA and the worst ERA+ in the NL.

SABR says, “From 1921 on, Alexander was a different pitcher, depending on finesse and pinpoint control, never striking out a hundred batters again, walking very few, having ERAs over three for the first time in his career, but still winning more than he lost. Alcohol was taking over his life, as he drank to relive the past, forget the present, and forestall the future.”

What isn’t noted is how much the game was changing. From 1914-20, the NL averaged less than four runs a game. Starting in 1921, the league would average over four runs a game until 1942. So even though Alexander had ERAs over three, he still was one of the game’s best pitchers.

cooper6

P-Wilbur Cooper, Pittsburgh Pirates, 29 Years Old

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920

22-14, 3.25 ERA, 134 K, .254, 0 HR, 9 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

Led in:

 

Wins-22

Innings Pitched-327

Games Started-38

Hits Allowed-341

Earned Runs-118 (2nd Time)

Batters Faced-1,377

6th Time All-Star-After his sixth straight season of great pitching, finishing in the top 10 in WAR every year, Cooper enters my Hall of Fame, the 28th pitcher inducted. The full list is here. As always, he was a workhorse and Pittsburgh’s best pitcher. Cooper finished seventh in WAR (5.0); sixth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5); eighth in ERA (3.25); first in innings pitched (327); eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (118); and led the National League in wins. This was a typical season for him. Cooper would win 17 or more games eight straight years. I have no problem putting him in my Hall.

Pittsburgh, managed by George Gibson, finished second in the NL with a 90-63 record, four games behind the Giants. As late as Aug. 23, the Pirates were up by seven-and-a-half, but went 14-22 the rest of the season and fell short. The team struggled hitting, though thanks to Coop, it had the best pitching in the league, leading the NL in ERA (3.17).

In an article from Bleacher Report entitled “The Best Pitchers Not in the Hall of Fame,” it ranks Cooper 13th (of those not inducted) and says, “Cooper may be the best pitcher in Pirates history.  He was perhaps the best lefty in NL history to that date, however, not winning quite as many games as Eppa Rixey.  He was as good as Rixey and Stan Coveleski, both in the HOF, and better than Marquard, Grimes, Pennock, and Hoyt—all from the same period.

“The best reason I can come up with for Cooper being overlooked for the HOF is that he pitched in Pittsburgh, out of the spotlight of the sportswriters of the day.”

oeschger2

P-Joe Oeschger, Boston Braves, 29 Years Old

1920

20-14, 3.52 ERA, 68 K, .255, 0 HR, 11 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-3

Bases on Balls-97

Hit By Pitch-15

2nd Time All-Star-You might remember Oeschger as the pitcher who pitched 26 innings in a game in 1920 and ended up pitching 299 innings overall. He would pitch 299 innings this season also, but start falling apart starting in 1922. This year, Oeschger had his best season ever, finishing ninth in WAR (4.9); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (4.6); fifth in innings pitched (299); and first in shutouts (3). Shutouts were down at this time, not because pitchers weren’t completing games, as is the case nowadays, but because runs were being scored in droves.

Boston, managed by Fred Mitchell, finished fourth with a 79-74 record, 15 games behind the Giants. It was Mitchell’s first year managing Boston after four years of coaching the Cubs. The Braves had good hitting, led by leftfielder Walton Cruise, but despite the year Oeschger had, their pitching was weak.

Wikipedia says, “On September 8, 1921, Oeschger struck out three batters on nine pitches in the fourth inning of an 8–6 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Oeschger became the fourth National League pitcher and the fifth pitcher in Major League history to throw an immaculate inning. He had his only 20-win season that year, which finished third in the National League. He also had a lack of control, leading the league in walks with 97, and hit by pitches with 10.

“Oeschger later retired to San Francisco, where he taught physical education for the San Francisco Board of Education for 27 years. He was invited to throw out the first pitch of game one of the 1983 World Series that pitted the Philadelphia Phillies against the Baltimore Orioles. He died in Rohnert Park, California at age 94.”

luque2

P-Dolf Luque, Cincinnati Reds, 30 Years Old

1920

17-19, 3.38 ERA, 102 K, .270, 0 HR, 8 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-3

2nd Time All-Star-Long before the Reds picked up the Cuban Missile, Aroldis Chapman, they had the first famous Cuban pitcher, Luque. This season, he finished eighth in WAR (4.9); seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.3); second in innings pitched (304), behind Pittsburgh’s Wilbur Cooper (327); and tied for first with three shutouts. As the scoring era came to the sport, shutouts weren’t as common and a total of seven pitchers tied for most shutouts with three.

After winning the World Series just two years before, the Reds, managed by Pat Moran, dropped to sixth with a 70-83 record, 24 games out of first.

Wikipedia says, “As a blue-eyed, fair-skinned, white Cuban, he was one of several white Cubans to make it in Major League Baseball at a time when non-whites were excluded. Between 1911 and 1929 alone, seventeen Cuban-born Caucasian players played in the Major Leagues. Many of them, including Luque, also played Negro League baseball with integrated teams from Cuba. Luque played for Cuban Stars in 1912 and the Long Branch Cubans in 1913 before signing with organized baseball (Riley, 498).

“Luque was known to have a temper. While with the Brooklyn Dodgers, a heckler in the stands hollered ‘Lucky Luque! Lucky Luque!’ repeatedly. Luque went over to the dugout and told manager Wilbert Robinson, ‘I tell you, Robbie, if this guy don’t shut up, I’m gonna shut him up.’ ‘Aw, come on, Dolf’, said the manager. ‘He paid his way in–let him boo.’ Just then the heckler spotted the rotund Robinson and yelled, ‘Hey, fat belly!’ Robinson said, ‘OK, Dolf–go ahead and clobber the jerk.’ Luque obliged his manager’s request.”

glazner

P-Whitey Glazner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

14-5, 2.77 ERA, 88 K, .132, 0 HR, 1 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.737

Hits per 9 IP-8.231

1st Time All-Star-Charles Franklin “Whitey” Glazner was born on September 17, 1893 in Sycamore, AL. The five-foot-nine, 165 pound righty started by pitching two games for Pittsburgh in 1920. This season was his best ever as Glazner finished 10th in WAR (4.6); second in WAR for Pitchers (5.1), behind Brooklyn’s Burleigh Grimes (7.8); third in ERA (2.77), trailing St. Louis’ Bill Doak (2.59) and teammate Babe Adams (2.64); fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (138); and first in winning percentage (.737). He also won his first five decisions as a starter, which wasn’t matched by any Pittsburgh pitcher until Zach Duke did it in 2005. I’m sure after a year like this, the Pirates must have thought their pitching future was bright indeed, what with Wilbur Cooper, Adams, and now Glazner all on fire. Well, it was, but Glazner’s wasn’t.

After this season, Whitey fell apart, as he pitched just three more seasons for Pittsburgh and the Phillies, as he ERA rocketed over four for the remainder of his career.

You might be wondering why Glazner is second in WAR for Pitchers and only 10th in overall WAR. It’s because among a whole league of weak-hitting pitchers, Whitey was one of the worst. He hit just .132 (10-for-76) with a double and two triples. Compared to the National League, which was now scoring runs in droves, it made his bad hitting stand out even more.

Glazner would live a long life, dying on June 6, 1989 at the age of 96 in Orlando, FL.

rixey4

P-Eppa Rixey, Cincinnati Reds, 30 Years Old

1912 1916 1917

19-18, 2.78 ERA, 76 K, .129, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.030

Assists as P-97

4th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team two consecutive years in 1916 and 1917, Rixey didn’t play in the Majors in 1918 due to serving in the military. He then had two off seasons in 1919 and 1920 and then was traded by the Philadelphia Phillies to the Cincinnati Reds for Greasy Neale and Jimmy Ring. It ended up being a good trade for the Reds.

This season, Rixey finished third in WAR for Pitchers (4.8), behind Brooklyn’s Burleigh Grimes (7.8) and Pittsburgh’s Whitey Glazner (5.1); fourth in ERA (2.78); fourth in innings pitched (301); sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (128); and, in a year homers were flying, gave up only one.

Rixey’s Hall of Fame page tells us he was a sore loser. Well, that’s not the words its uses. The page quotes Clyde Sukeforth, who said, “He was a fierce competitor and a hard loser. When he pitched, you didn’t have to ask who won the game, all you had to do was look at the clubhouse later. If he’d lost, the place would look like a tornado had gone through it. Chairs would be broken up, tables knocked over, equipment thrown around.”

                SABR says, “Rixey and Cincinnati were meant for each other, and he would pitch there for 13 seasons, finishing up in 1933 at the age of 42. He blossomed into an outstanding pitcher, winning a hundred games in his first five seasons and winning consistently for eight years.” On a franchise known for its hitting not its pitching, Rixey was one of the best Reds pitchers of all time.

mitchellc

P-Clarence Mitchell, Brooklyn Robins, 30 Years Old

11-9, 2.89 ERA, 39 K, .264, 0 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-3

1st Time All-Star-Clarence Elmer Mitchell was born on February 22, 1891 in Franklin, NE. The five-foot-11, 190 pound lefty had an interesting career before he made his first All-Star team. He started by pitching five games with Detroit in 1911 at the age of 20 and then didn’t pitch in the Majors again until 1916. Mitchell pitched two seasons with Cincinnati and then was put on waivers and picked up by Brooklyn. In 1918 for the Robins, he pitched only one game, but did play in rightfield five games. He was always a decent hitting pitcher. Mitchell pitched in one game of the 1920 World Series against the Indians, allowing one unearned run in four-and-two-thirds innings and going one-for-three.

This season, Mitchell finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (3.7); sixth in ERA (2.89); fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (136); and tied for first in shutouts with three.

SABR says, “A major-league pitcher for 18 years, Clarence Mitchell is best remembered not for a pitch he threw from the mound, but for one he hit while standing in the batter’s box. It was Sunday, October 10, 1920, the fifth game of the World Series between Cleveland and Brooklyn. So there were two men on base and nobody out when Clarence Mitchell, who had entered the game in relief of Grimes, stepped up to the plate. He hit a line shot up the middle, just to the second baseman’s right, a rising liner that looked like a sure base hit. But second baseman Bill Wambsganss was off with the crack of the bat, running toward second and making a tremendously high leap to spear the ball. One out. Wamby’s motion carried him toward second, and he tagged the bag to double up Kilduff who was still running toward third. Two out. Then Wamby noticed Miller, who had come down from first base, was standing a few feet away, so he tagged him for the third out.”

adams6

P-Babe Adams, Pittsburgh Pirates, 39 Years Old

1911 1913 1914 1919 1920

14-5, 2.64 ERA, 55 K, .254, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.737

Walks & Hits per IP-1.081 (5th Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.013 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.056 (3rd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-145

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.08 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as P-1.000 (5th Time)

6th Time All-Star-On the day before I wrote this blurb, Mariano Rivera was elected into the Hall of Fame and not only elected, but voted in unanimously. I am not looking forward to writing about the modern day because relief pitchers aren’t going to make too many All-Star teams. Now Rivera is a great pitcher, but he pitched a total of 1,283 2/3 innings over his 19 years. Babe Adams fell five innings short of 3,000. Which of these pitchers is going to add more value over his career? According to WAR, it’s Rivera with 56.2. Adams total WAR is 51.9. The reason Adams made my Hall of Fame this year and Rivera probably won’t (spoiler alert!) is Adams is among the top 10 pitchers in the league numerous times, while Rivera, because of his lack of innings, will only do that a couple of times. Oh, well, I have years and years before I have to wade into that mess, so let’s move on.

Pittsburgh has a long history, yet their two best pitchers, according to bWAR are Wilbur Cooper (52.4 for the Pirates) and Babe Adams (52.3 for the Pirates). It just hasn’t had a lot of great pitchers.

Adams is 39 years old this year and still has five seasons left. He also has, most likely, one All-Star team left. He’s not going to pitch all that well after next year, but he still has one World Series appearance left in 1925 at the age of 43.

morrison

P-Johnny Morrison, Pittsburgh Pirates, 25 Years Old

9-7, 2.88 ERA, 52 K, .119, 0 HR, 0 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-3

1st Time All-Star-John Dewey “Jughandle Johnny” Morrison was born on October 22, 1895 in Pellville, KY. The five-foot-11, 188 pound righty started with Pittsburgh in 1920 and here in 1921 is the fourth Pirate pitcher to make this All-Star team. He finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (3.8) and tied for first with three shutouts.

With four pitchers making this prestigious list, I would think Pittsburgh would dominate in the pitching categories in the National League and it did, leading the league in ERA+, FIP, and WHIP. Too bad it didn’t have the hitting to back up all of those good arms.

SABR says, “Morrison reported to the Pirates in the spring of 1921, but soon contracted a serious case of influenza and missed the first seven weeks of the season. He finally returned on June 4 and made two relief appearances before the club sent him back to Birmingham on 48-hour recall notice. Summoned two weeks later, he joined the team in St. Louis and made ‘the Cardinals look like rummies’ by tossing six scoreless innings of three-hit relief in the second game of a twin bill on June 23. Three straight complete-game victories followed in a span of 10 days. Capped off by a 13-inning distance-going affair against the Redbirds in Pittsburgh on July 6, Morrison scattered 13 hits and two runs (one earned) and improved the surprising Pirates’ record to 50-25, four games in front of the eventual pennant-winning New York Giants. Morrison ‘looks the part of a star,’ cooed sportswriter Charles J. Doyle of the Pittsburgh Gazette Times. ‘Few pitchers who have graced Fogarty Knoll this year have come away with such a glowing victory.’ [Fogarty Knoll was the moniker of the pitching mound at Forbes Field].”

smithe

C-Earl Smith, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

.336, 10 HR, 51 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Earl Sutton “Oil” Smith was born on Valentine’s Day, 1897 in Sheriden, AR. The five-foot-10, 180 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing catcher started with New York in 1919 and this year hit the cover off the ball, slashing at .336/.409/.537 with 10 homers in just 229 at bats. In the World Series, Smith didn’t fare so well, going oh-for-seven with one walk.

Oh, I’m sorry, did I mention the great John McGraw led the Giants back to the Fall Classic. His team finished 94-59, four games ahead of the Pirates. As late as Aug. 23, New York was seven-and-a-half games out of first, but then went 24-9 the rest of the year to take the title. In the first ever Subway Series, the Giants defeated the Yankees, five games to three. Irish Meusel hit .345 with a homer and seven RBI to lead the team to victory.

After this season, Smith would again play in the Series in 1922 for the Giants, 1925 and 1927 for Pittsburgh, and in 1928 for St. Louis. While always a decent hitter, Oil never hit as well as he did this year.

SABR says, “’He probably was involved in as many fights as any player in the game and was regarded as one of the most colorful players in the golden era of sports,’ the Associated Press wrote of Smith when he died in 1963. Columnist Westbrook Pegler gave Smith the nickname ‘Oil,’ based on the way Brooklyn fans pronounced Earl Smith’s first name.”

snyderf2

C-Frank Snyder, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1915

.320, 8 HR, 45 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Caught Stealing %-65.6

2nd Time All-Star-It’s always tough to tell when catchers are going to make the All-Star team and I gave Snyder a career write-up in 1915, so I’m done. Good night, everyone! Just kidding, of course there’s plenty more to say about Snyder. First of all, both of the Giants’ main catchers made the All-Star team. The last time two catchers from the same team made this list is when Art Wilson and William Fischer made it for the 1915 Federal League Chicago Whales.

Snyder also made his first World Series this year and was one of the stars of the Giants’ 5-3 victory over the Yankees. He hit .364 (eight-for-22) with a double and a homer. With the Giants down two games to zero, Snyder started Game 3 and ripped four singles, driving in one run. Then in Game 6, with the Giants down three games to two and the Yankees leading 3-2 in the second inning, Snyder hit the Giants second homer of the inning to leftfield to tie the game up. In the fourth inning, the Yankees led 5-3 when Snyder singled and eventually came home on a Dave Bancroft single that again knotted the contest. The Giants eventually won, 8-5. He was the hero of Game 7 when he hit a double to the leftfield gap to score Johnny Rawlings and give the Giants a 2-1 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Snyder would be part of the next three World Series, but never have another as good as this one.

fournier3

1B-Jack Fournier, St. Louis Cardinals, 31 Years Old

1915 1920

.343, 16 HR, 86 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-8 (3rd Time)

Caught Stealing-22

Power-Speed #-17.8

3rd Time All-Star-With the live ball era in full effect, Fournier took advantage, slugging 16 homers. Altogether this season, he finished fifth in WAR Position Players (4.3); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.9); fifth in batting (.343); fourth in on-base percentage (.409); fifth in slugging (.505); and went a miserable 20-for-42 stealing, leading the league in getting nabbed on the bases.

St. Louis, managed by Branch Rickey, finished third in the National League with an 87-66 record, 10 games behind the Giants. This team could hit, thanks to Rogers Hornsby, but its middling pitching doomed the squad.

Writers of his day disparaged Fournier’s fielding. SABR says, “In his day, Jack’s difficulties with a glove were well chronicled. Perhaps no single story, however, more accurately conveyed the dichotomy of his skills than one that appeared in the Los Angeles Times on April 12, 1916. While assessing the coming season, sportswriter Harry A. Williams wrote of the Chicago White Sox, Fournier’s team at the time, that ‘with Fournier at first, Collins at second and Jackson in the outfield, the Sox start the season with more hitting than ever before.’ That was more often than not the kind of offensive synopsis a team could expect when Fournier was in the lineup. But later in the article, Williams presented the other side of the coin, when he cautioned that ‘[t]he only weak defensive point in the infield is at first base,’ where ‘Fournier will again try his hand at playing that position. For every run that he lets in,’ suggested Williams, ‘he will drive in another, making it a so-so proposition.’”

kellyh

1B-High Pockets Kelly, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

.308, 23 HR, 122 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1973)

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-23

AB per HR-25.5

Putouts-1,552 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,552 (2nd Time)

Assists as 1B-115 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 1B-132 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-George Lange “High Pockets” Kelly was born on September 10, 1895 in San Francisco, CA. The six-foot-four, 190 pound righty first baseman started with the Giants in 1915-17, then went to Pittsburgh for a little bit in 1917, before coming back to New York the same year. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1918, came back to the Giants in 1919 and was helped immensely by the live ball era. This year, Kelly finished ninth in WAR Position Players (3.8); third in slugging (.528), behind St. Louis players, second baseman Rogers Hornsby (.639) and leftfielder Austin McHenry (.531); seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (130); and led the National League in homers (23).

In the World Series against the Yankees, Kelly hit .233 (seven-for-30) with a double and four RBI. The Giants won the Series, 5-3.

Wikipedia says, “Kelly was a two-time World Series champion (1921 and 1922). He led the National League in home runs once (1921) and runs batted in twice (1920and 1924), and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973. However, his selection is regarded as controversial, as many believe he was undeserving of the recognition and was only elected by the Veterans Committee because it consisted of his former teammates.

“Baseball historian Bill James, while ranking Kelly as the 65th greatest first baseman of all time, also cites Kelly as ‘the worst player in the Hall of Fame.’” There are a lot of Kelly’s teammates in the Hall and some are deserving, but many are not.

hornsby6

2B-Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals, 25 Years Old, 1st Time MVP

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920

.297, 21 HR, 126 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1942)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

 

Led in:

 

1921 NL Batting Title (2nd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-10.8 (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-10.8 (5th Time)

Offensive WAR-9.9 (5th Time)

Batting Average-.397 (2nd Time)

On-Base %-.458 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.639 (3rd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.097 (3rd Time)

Games Played-154

Runs Scored-131

Hits-235 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-378 (3rd Time)

Doubles-44 (2nd Time)

Triples-18 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-126 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-191 (4th Time)

Runs Created-167 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-78 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-7.5 (4th Time)

Extra Base Hits-83 (2nd Time)

Times on Bases-302 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.845 (4th Time)

6th Time All-Star-This era in time was known as the Roaring ‘20s. In 1920, Prohibition had been declared in the country and the Industrial Revolution was going full-bore. It was the era of flappers and speak-easys. Baseball was going through its own revolution, as the spitball and other quirky pitches were outlawed and a man named Babe Ruth brought power hitting into the game. The sport was moving away from singles and sacrifices and the stats of this time were incredible. Just look at Hornsby’s stats above, in this MVP season (as picked by me), he was just two homers away from leading the National League in every extra base category. He now has one MVP and has made six All-Star teams and he just turned 25.

Wikipedia says, “The beginning of the live-ball era led to a spike in hitting productivity throughout the majors, which helped Hornsby to hit with increased power during the 1921 season. He hit .397 in 1921, and his 21 home runs were second in the league, more than twice his total in any previous season. He also led the league in on-base percentage (.458), slugging percentage (.639), runs scored (131), RBIs (126), doubles (44), and triples (18). The Cardinals held a special day in Hornsby’s honor on September 30 before a home game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and they presented Hornsby with multiple awards before the game, including a baseball autographed by President of the United States Warren G. Harding. The Cardinals beat the Pirates 12–4 that day as Hornsby hit a home run and had two doubles.”

frisch

3B-Frankie Frisch, New York Giants, 23 Years Old

.341, 8 HR, 100 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

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

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-49

1st Time All-Star-Frank Francis “The Fordham Flash” Frisch was born on September 9, 1897 in Bronx, NY. The switch-hitting, right-handed throwing third baseman started with the Giants in 1919 as a second baseman and would move to third base in 1920. He would bounce back and forth between the two positions for his whole career but play more at second than third. This season, Frisch finished fourth in WAR (6.9); third in WAR Position Players (6.9), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (10.8) and teammate, shortstop Dave Bancroft (7.4); second in Offensive WAR (5.8), trailing Hornsby (9.9); fourth in Defensive WAR (1.6); seventh in batting (.341); ninth in slugging (.485); ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (128); and first in steals (49) while getting pegged only 13 times.

In his first World Series game, against the Yankees, Frisch went four-for-four with a triple. In Game 3, the Fordham Flash went two-for-two with three walks and three runs scored. He also had two singles in Game 5. Altogether, Frisch hit .300 (nine-for 30) with five runs scored, four walks, and three steals with no caught stealings.

SABR says, “His breakthrough season came in 1921, when he had 211 hits, hit .341, and stole a league-leading 49 bases while splitting the year between second and third  He became a Giants stalwart as McGraw’s club won the first of four consecutive pennants. As Bob Broeg described his play: ‘Frisch was tremendous, a whirling dervish of the diamond, knocking down hot smashes with his chest, diving for others that seemed out of reach, ranging far and wide for pop flies, pawing at the dirt to get a long lead and then stealing bases.’ Frisch gave a solid performance as the Giants beat the Yankees in the 1921 World Series.”

johnstonj

3B-Jimmy Johnston, Brooklyn Robins, 31 Years Old

.325, 5 HR, 56 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 3B-312

Errors Committed as 3B-33

Double Plays Turned as 3B-34

1st Time All-Star-James Harle “Jimmy” Johnston was born on December 10, 1889 in Cleveland, TN. The righty third baseman started with the White Sox in 1911, then didn’t play in the Majors until 1914 for the Cubs. Then he didn’t play in the Majors in 1915 and then came to Brooklyn in 1916. In the World Series of 1916, he played three games, going three-for-10 with a triple. In the World Series of 1920, he played four games and hit .214 (three-for-14).  He led the National League in Games Played with 155 in 1920. This season, Johnston finished seventh in Offensive WAR (4.2); 10th in batting (.325); went 28-for-44 stealing; and led the National League in assists at third base.

Wikipedia says, “During his major league career, Johnston played 448 games at third base, 354 in the outfield, 243 at second, 178 at shortstop, and 49 at first base. He had a .294 lifetime batting average, hitting in the .270 to .280 range near the end of the dead-ball era and going over .300 once the live-ball erastarted. He stole 169 bases in his major league career, mostly from 1916 to 1923. He had little power, except in 1921 when he had 41 doubles and 14 triples. All of his managers became Hall of FamersHugh Duffy with the White Sox, Hank O’Day with the Cubs, Wilbert Robinson with Brooklyn, Dave Bancroft with the Braves, and John McGraw with the Giants.”

That last bit is incredible. He certainly had some good managers in his career.

bancroft3

SS-Dave Bancroft, New York Giants, 30 Years Old

1915 1920

.318, 6 HR, 67 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1971)

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-3.2

Assists-546 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as SS-153 (3rd Time)

Putouts as SS-396 (3rd Time)

Assists as SS-546 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-105 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.16 (5th Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Beauty Bancroft made his second consecutive All-Star team as the live-ball era is going to help out the previously weak hitter. He had his best season ever, finishing third in WAR (7.4), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (10.8) and Brooklyn pitcher Burleigh Grimes (8.0); second in WAR Position Players (7.4), trailing Hornsby (10.8); third in Offensive WAR (5.2), behind Rajah (9.9) and Frankie Frisch (5.8); first in Defensive WAR (3.2); and ninth in on-base percentage (.389).

In the World Series, Bancroft hit .152 (five-for-33) with a double as the Giants went on to beat the Yankees, five games to three.

SABR says, “When Bancroft took the field in his first game as a Giant, catcher Frank Snyder called him to a conference on the mound and offered to explain the team’s signs. ‘Why, have they changed?’ asked Bancroft. ‘If not, I know them already.’ On June 28, 1920, less than three weeks after his acquisition, the new Giants collected six hits in six at-bats. Bancroft became one of only two National Leaguers to score 100 runs that season, and although the Giants failed to capture the 1920 flag, they won the next three pennants with ‘Beauty’ as their captain. No shortstop turned 100 double plays in a season before Bancroft set the mark in 1921, and the following year he set the major-league record for most chances handled in a season by a shortstop (1046). Sportswriter Frank Graham called him ‘the greatest shortstop the Giants ever had and one of the greatest that ever lived.’”

maranville5SS-Rabbit Maranville, Pittsburgh Pirates, 29 Years Old

1914 1916 1917 1919

.294, 1 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1954)

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as SS-153 (3rd Time)

5th Time All-Star-After playing nine seasons with Boston, Maranville was on the move. He was traded by the Boston Braves to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Walter BarbareFred NicholsonBilly Southworth and $15,000. It was a good pickup for Pittsburgh as Maranville finished second in Defensive WAR (2.6), behind New York shortstop Dave Bancroft (3.2), went a decent 25-for-37 stealing, and played more games at short than anyone else.

The Deadball Era says, “Walter ‘Rabbit’ Maranville was a 5’5″ baseball clown with a goblin face full of laugh lines.  One of the most animated players in history his humor was antic and visible to the fans.  Nick-named ‘Rabbit’ because of his large ears and fast running style, he left a geact [sic] of wild nights and zany stunts.

“He was a photographers dream!  He would pull the bill of his cap over one ear – baseball’s oldest comic gesture – and jump into the arms of his biggest teammate.  He would an umpire a pair of glasses, mock slow pitchers and ponderous batters in pantomime.  He was an after-hours main-stay who loved to have a good time.  After a few drinks to help get up his nerve, he would pull stunts like walking hotel ledges, swallow goldfish, and toss firecrackers.  Even when he wasn’t out partying, he would enjoy himself by pulling stunts!

“Once when he was in New York, he arranged for pitcher Jack Scott to chase him through Times Square shouting ‘Stop Thief!’ Another time his teammates heard wild noises coming from within his locked hotel room; screams, gunfire, breaking glass…..the Rabbit moaning ‘Eddie, your killing me!’  It sounded like a murder in progress!  When the door was finally broken down, the Rabbit and two accomplices paraded right by his shocked teammates as if nothing happened, with the Rabbit greeting them with a ‘Hiya fellas!’”

mchenry

LF-Austin McHenry, St. Louis Cardinals, 25 Years Old

.350, 17 HR, 102 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as LF-365

Errors Committed as LF-13

Def. Games as OF-152

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.58

1st Time All-Star-Austin Bush “Mac” McHenry was born on September 22, 1895 in Wrightsville, OH. The five-foot-11, 152 pound leftfielder had a short career and a tragic end. This was his best season as he finished sixth in WAR (5.0); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.0); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.5); third in batting (.350), behind teammate, second baseman Rogers Hornsby (.397) and Cincinnati centerfielder Edd Roush (.352); eighth in on-base percentage (.393); second in slugging (.531), trailing Hornsby (.639); third in Adjusted OPS+ (145), behind Rajah (191) and Boston leftfielder Walton Cruise (152); and went a dismal 10-for-30 stealing.

With such an outstanding season, one can only say, “What could have been.” However, Wikipedia says, “By June 1922, McHenry’s play had declined noticeably, and he complained of visual problems. He began to have difficulty judging and catching fly balls in the outfield, and his batting statistics also suffered. Cardinals general manager Branch Rickey was concerned enough to send McHenry home to Ohio to rest and to consult with McHenry’s father, who was a physician. About a month later, McHenry returned to the team briefly, but he was still in poor condition. Sent home again, McHenry sought medical care in Cincinnati, where doctors detected a brain tumor.

“McHenry underwent brain surgery, but his tumor could not be entirely removed.

“On November 22, 1922, newspaper reports indicated that McHenry had been released from the hospital. His physicians had determined that there was no hope for McHenry’s survival, and they thought he should spent his last days at home with family members. He died at his home in Ohio a few days later.” He was 27.

cruise

LF-Walton Cruise, Boston Braves, 31 Years Old

.346, 8 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Walton Edwin Cruise was born on May 6, 1890 in Childersburg, AL. The six-foot, 175 pound lefty hitting, righty outfielder started with the Cardinals in 1914, then he didn’t play in the Majors in 1915. He was back with St. Louis in 1916, then in 1919, he was purchased by the Braves. This was his best season ever as he finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.0); fourth in batting (.346); second in on-base percentage (.429), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (.458); sixth in slugging (.503); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (152), trailing Hornsby (191). All of this was in 108 games and 344 at bats.

A book called The Boston Braves, 1871-1953 written by Harold Kaese, says, “This was the season the ball was hopped up for Babe Ruth. The Braves finished with a .290 batting average, as Cruise hit .346, Boeckel .313, and Southworth .308. Powell hit twelve homers to lead the team, but the most notable homer was the one Walton Cruise hit into the jury box at Braves Field, August 16. It was only the second homer hit into that bleacher since the park was built in 1915. Cruise had also hit the first one while playing for the Cardinals two years earlier. No one had yet driven a ball over the left-field fence at Braves Field, but on August 25, Austin McHenry of the Cardinals became the first batter to hit the fence on the fly. The lively ball was making a bandbox of Gaffney’s Acres.”

carey5

CF-Max Carey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

1912 1916 1917 1918

.309, 7 HR, 56 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted In 1961)

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as CF-431 (4th Time)

Errors Committed as CF=20 (2nd Time)

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

Putouts as OF-431 (6th Time)

Errors Committed as OF-20 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as OF-6 (5th Time)

Range Factor/Game as CF-3.21 (4th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-3.17 (5th Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-3.21 (4th Time)

5th Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team in 1918, Carey played only 66 games in 1919 and then had an off hitting year in 1920. This year, he’s back, finishing seventh in WAR Position Players (4.2); 10th in Offensive WAR (3.7); seventh in on-base percentage (.395); and stole 37 bases in 49 attempts. He’s still got some good years left.

SABR says, “Concerned over the possibility of her son sustaining a sliding injury, Carey’s mother sewed him a sliding pad that he soon patented. (It was still in use many years after his career ended.) According to a letter from his wife in his Hall of Fame file, Max Carey was the first player to use flip-down sunglasses in the outfield, supposedly adding this to his repertoire several years before Harry Hooper was known to do so.”

It is amazing how quickly the game of baseball changed. In 1919, National League teams averaged 3.65 runs, 0.19 homers, and 1.04 steals per game; in 1920, they averaged 3.97 runs, 0.21 homers; and 0.79 steals; and then in 1921, they averaged 4.59 runs; 0.38 homers; and 0.65 steals. The game in which Carey played became more about the big clout and less about bunts and steals. Yet Carey over the next few years would continue to steal large numbers of bases and do it very efficiently. When you’re a good player like Carey, it doesn’t matter what era in which you play, you’ll add value to your team. Wait until you see his stolen bases from next year!

CF-Edd Roush, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1917 1918 1919 1920

.352, 4 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1962)

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

 

Led in:

 

AB per SO-52.3 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as CF-.980 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-At only 28 years old, Roush has made five consecutive All-Star team. From 1917-to-1927, he would never hit under .300 and only one was under .321. He was much helped by the new live ball era, but that also might be what keeps him from my Hall, as everybody is hitting during this time. This year, Roush finished ninth in Offensive WAR (3.8); second in batting (.352), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (.397); sixth in on-base percentage (.403); seventh in slugging (.502); fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (143); and went a mediocre 19-for-36 stealing. He played in only 112 games.

SABR says, “During the 1920-1921 off-seaons Edd was injured when his brother Fred accidentally plunked Edd with birdshot, one hit each to the lip, cheek and thumb. That December Baseball Magazine stated that Roush was the greatest outfielder in the National League: ‘in ground covering, he has no superiors and few approximate equals, while he was a fine a base runner as ever and hit for the grand average of .352.’

“And indeed Roush had an intense dislike for pitchers throwing at him. As he often related he would take it out on the infielders, spiking them when given the opportunity. Soon the infielders would convince the pitchers not to throw at Roush. Many years after retiring Roush met up with an opponent and asked if the player remembered him. The player replied, ‘sure I do’ and pulled up his pants leg and showed him a spike scar.”

williamsc3

CF-Cy Williams, Philadelphia Phillies, 33 Years Old

1916 1920

.320, 18 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as CF-29

Assists as OF-29

3rd Time All-Star-If there was any one player who benefited from the run crazy Twenties, it was Cy Williams. Before his career is over, he’ll have two seasons of 30 or more homers and one of over 40. This season, he “only” hit 18. Williams was the Phillies’ best player, finishing eighth in slugging (.488) and gunning out 29 runners from his centerfield position.

It must have been tough to live in Philadelphia in these days, as its two teams both stank. The Athletics had been horrible for years, but their National League city mates were just as bad. The Phillies finished in last with a 51-103 record, 43-and-a-half games out of first.  Bill Donovan (25-62) and Kaiser Wilhelm (26-41) both managed the team. It was Donovan’s last year managing. As you might expect, this team couldn’t hit and they couldn’t pitch.

About those 29 assists, it seemed to be a fluke. According to SABR, “’Williams was about the best fly catcher in the league and a fairly good batsman, but he had a fatal weakness: He possessed a poor throwing arm,’ wrote the Chicago correspondent to The Sporting News after the trade. ‘A great throwing outfield is one of the pet hobbies of Mitchell and it was a source of regret on his part that he couldn’t boast such a combination last season.’”

Sometimes those who lead the league in assists do so not because of a good arm, but because runners are willing to take a chance at extra bases.

youngs3RF-Ross Youngs, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

1919 1920

.327, 3 HR, 102 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1972)

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-New York had quite a team this year, as this is their sixth All-Star player, not one of them a pitcher. Youngs made his third consecutive All-Star team, finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (3.8); ninth in batting (.327); third in on-base percentage (.411), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (.458) and Boston leftfielder Walton Cruise (.429); eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (128); and finished a meh 21-for-38 stealing.

In the World Series, with the Giants down two games to none, Youngs had a great third contest, going two-for-three, with a double, a triple, and four RBI. Altogether, he hit .280 (seven-for-25) with two steals and seven walks as the Giants went on to win the Series, five games-to-three.

Baseball Almanac says, “’He was the greatest outfielder I ever saw,’ said McGraw last Spring when Youngs became so ill that it was apparent his baseball days were over. ‘He was the greatest fighter I ever saw on a baseball field. The game was never over with Young until the last man was out. He could do everything a baseball player should do and do it better than most players. As an outfielder, he had no superiors. And he was the easiest man I ever knew to handle. In all his years with the Giants he never caused on minute’s trouble for myself or the club. And a gamer player than Youngs never played ball.’”

He’s still got a few more All-Star teams left, so there will be more on his early death later.