P-Kid Nichols, BSN
P-Kid Gleason, PHI
P-Billy Rhines, CIN
P-Amos Rusie, NYG
P-John Clarkson, BSN
P-Bill Hutchinson, CHC
P-Adonis Terry, BRO
P-Pretzels Getzein, BSN
P-Mickey Welch, NYG
P-Tom Lovett, BRO
C-Jack Clements, PHI
C-Charlie Bennett, BSN
1B-Cap Anson, CHC
1B-Dave Foutz, BRO
2B-Hub Collins, BRO
2B-Bid McPhee, CIN
3B-George Pinkney, BRO
3B-Doggie Miller, PIT
SS-Jack Glasscock, NYG
SS-Ed McKean, CLV
SS-Jimmy Cooney, CHC
SS-Ollie Beard, CIN
LF-Billy Hamilton, PHI
CF-Mike Tiernan, NYG
CF-Walt Wilmot, CHC
27-19, 2.23 ERA, 222 K, .247, 0 HR, 23 RBI
Wins Above Replacement-13.2
WAR for Pitchers-13.1
Strikeouts/Base on Balls-1.982
Fielding Independent Pitching-2.98
Adj. Pitching Runs-67
Adj. Pitching Wins-6.3
1st Time All-Star-Charles Augustus “Kid” Nichols was born on September 14, 1869 in Madison, WI and his first year in baseball was a year of chaos around the Major Leagues. Many of the greats from the National League helped form the Players League, giving 1890 three Major Leagues and meaning I’m going to have to write 75 of these. What it also meant is there are more new people than ever on the NL All-Star team, including this young rookie who is off to a Hall of Fame career. Even a cursory glance at his stats tells me the right choice was made. Also, even though he’s going to have a long and prosperous career, 1890 was his best season ever and he was also the best player on the Beaneaters.
Nichols finished first in WAR (13.2) and first in WAR for Pitchers (13.1), pitching 424 innings with a 2.23 ERA and a 170 ERA+. He’s just getting started on a streak of 10 consecutive 20-win seasons.
How much did this help Boston? Not much. The Beaneaters could definitely pitch, they’ll have three pitchers on this team, but their hitting wasn’t up to par to keep them in the pennant race. Managed by Frank Selee, they finished in fifth place with a 76-57 record. As late as August 27, Boston was one game out of first, but then went 6-19 the rest of the year to fall out of contention. Just as it was Nichols’ first year of a Hall of Fame career, the same held true for Selee. Boston has many great years ahead.
38-17, 2.63 ERA, 222 K, .210, 0 HR, 17 RBI
1st Time All-Star-William J. “Kid” Gleason was born on October 26, 1866 in Camden, NJ as the National League completely runs out of nicknames and starts calling everyone “Kid.” Well, he was only 21 when he started for Philadelphia in 1888 and he was tiny – five-foot-seven and 158 pounds. He is going to have a long career, though certainly not an All-Star career. He’d never be better than this season when he finished second in WAR (11.6) and second in WAR for Pitchers (11.9), pitching 506 innings with a 2.63 ERA and 139 ERA+. He’d never reach any of those figures again on the mound and ended up spending much of his career as a weak hitting second baseman. However, Gleason was the best player on the Phillies this year. Of course, Gleason is more famous for being the manager of the Black Sox.
Wikipedia says of Gleason: “Gleason was born in Camden, New Jersey. He acquired the nickname ‘Kid’ early in life, not only because of his short stature (growing to only 5-foot-7, 155 pounds) but also because of his energetic, youthful nature.
Dan Lindner of SABR writes, “He is remembered as the manager of the most infamous baseball team ever, but less well known as a versatile and gutsy ballplayer of the 19th century. His counseling and humor became crucial to the success of many big leaguers in the years between the World Wars. He was the Kid from the coal country who rose above his humble beginnings to become a much-loved figure in the national pastime.”
28-17, 1.95 ERA, 182 K, .188, 0 HR, 11 RBI
1890 NL Pitching Title
Earned Run Average-1.95
Walks & Hits per IP-1.121
1st Time All-Star-William Pearl “Billy” or “Bunker” Rhines was born on March 14, 1869 in Ridgway, PA, long before All in the Family ever debuted. Bunker had his best season ever and was the best player on the Reds. Rhines finished third in WAR (11.0) and third in WAR for Pitchers (11.4), pitching 401 1/3 innings with a 1.95 ERA and a 186 ERA+. Not bad for a rookie.
Rhines’ team, the Reds, played well, finishing 77-55 under the coaching of Tom Loftus. It was Loftus’ fourth of nine years managing and would be his best season. His Reds were in first place as late as July 10, but finished the season 35-32 to fall out of contention. Their pitching was excellent, they had the league’s best ERA, but their hitting lacked what it needed to bring them the crown.
Cincinnati Reds Blog, which put the same creativity into its name as I did for mine, says the following about Rhines: “Rhines was a Pennsylvania native and alumnus of Bucknell, most famous for producing Christy Mathewson. So, Rhines is only the second-best pitcher to come out of Bucknell. Rhines pitched in a submarine style that was becoming less common in those days as overhand pitching emerged, and threw a variety of curveballs. There are reports that ‘Iron Man’ Joe McGinnity copied his pitching motion.
“Rhines was signed by the Reds and 1890 was his rookie season. He made 45 starts, pitched 401 innings, and posted a 28-17 record with a 1.95 ERA that led the league. Rhines also led the league in ERA+ and WHIP, not that anyone was tracking that at the time. Still, all that pitching seemed to cost him. He was less effective the next year, pitched little the next two seasons and not at all in 1894.”
29-34, 2.56 ERA, 341 K, .278, 0 HR, 28 RBI
Hits per 9 IP-7.152
Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.594
Bases on Balls-289
Home Runs per 9 IP-0.049
Assists as P-129
Errors Committed as P-20
1st Time All-Star-Amos Wilson “The Hoosier Thunderbolt” Rusie was born on May 30, 1871 in Mooresville, IN. He is the first person I’ve written up that wasn’t born until Major League baseball began in 1871. This guy looks like he would have been fun to watch pitch, as the results were usually a walk or a strikeout. He was the best player on the Giants, finishing fourth in WAR (9.1) and sixth in WAR for Pitchers (7.8). The Hoosier Thunderbolt (now, that’s a nickname!) pitched 548 2/3 innings with a 2.56 ERA and a 134 ERA+. He set the record for walks in a season (289) that still holds to this day, beating the record of 274 established by Mark “Fido” Baldwin the previous year.
As for the Giants, oh, how the mighty hath fallen! After winning the World Series the previous season, New York lost many of its stars and fell to a 63-68 record under Manager Jim Mutrie. Mutrie has one season left in his Major League career.
Rusie started in 1889 as a pitcher for Indianapolis. From the beginning, he was wild, walking 116 batters in only 225 innings, while only striking out 109. This saddled him with a 5.32 ERA and a 77 ERA+. It released him and he ended up as the Giants’ ace. I can live with him making the Hall of Fame, though I’ll doubt he’ll make the ONEHOF. He’s off to a stretch of time where he’ll lead the National League in walks five straight seasons, with 200 or over bases on balls in each of them.
26-18, 3.27 ERA, 138 K, .249, 2 HR, 26 RBI
7th Time All-Star-Clarkson the Great made the All-Star team for his seventh consecutive season, though his year wasn’t nearly as dominant as his previous one. He finished fifth in WAR (9.1) and fourth in WAR for Pitchers (8.8). This is actually the first even-numbered year in which Clarkson finished in the top 10 in overall WAR. He’s not done yet.
I mentioned in Clarkson’s 1888 blurb which you can click on above (it’s okay, I can wait. Are you back? OK) that it was his salary that had much to do with the creation of the Players League this season. Of course, the shocking thing is he’s not in the Players League, but stuck around in the National League.
We’ve talked a lot about Clarkson’s stats, but not much about his actual pitching. Fortunately Wikipedia does the hard work again and tells us, “Clarkson had a wide variety of curve balls and was considered to be a calculating, scientific pitcher who carefully analyzed every hitter’s weaknesses. Hall of Fame hitter Sam Thompson said of Clarkson: ‘I faced him in scores of games and I can truthfully say that never in all that time did I get a pitch that came where I expected it or in the way in which I guessed it was coming.’”
Now here’s Brian McKenna in SABR about Clarkson remaining in the NL. I should note there is quite a bit on the page and I urge you to read the whole thing. McKenna says, “On December 18, the Brotherhood met again to firm up the new league. The members expelled Clarkson and 14 others, officially blacklisting them. On January 11, 1890, the men returned to Chicago from San Francisco. The Chicago Tribune wrote, ‘The Brotherhood sentiment was strong in all excepting Clarkson, who did not move about with the others.’ Hardy Richardson took the opportunity to publicly blast the pitcher, calling him out for his double-agent activities and disloyalty to his colleagues. The two didn’t speak for many months.”
41-25, 2.70 ERA, 289 K, .203, 2 HR, 27 RBI
Def. Games as P-71
Putouts as P-44
1st Time All-Star-William Forrest “Wild Bill” Hutchinson was born on December 17, 1859 in New Haven, CT. He started by pitching two games for the Union Association Kansas City Cowboys in 1884 and then didn’t play Major League ball until 1889, where the White Stockings picked him up. Starting in 1890, two things happened – the White Stockings became the Colts and Wild Bill became the ace of Chicago’s staff. This season, he finished sixth in WAR (7.8) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (8.3), pitching 603 innings with a 2.70 ERA and a 137 ERA+. He’s got a couple of great seasons left, but Hutchinson would never have a higher Adjusted ERA+. He was the Colts’ best player.
According to the Norwich Historical Society, “After graduating in 1875 he went on to Yale where he played shortstop and pitched. In 1880, his graduation year, William was chosen team captain. Following graduation, William moved to Kansas City, Missouri to work for the railroad, but he never lost his love for the game and played for Springfield (Northwestern League) and in 1884 the Kansas City Cowboys (Union Association). He apparently had offers to play pro and semi pro ball for various teams but declined due to health issues. During the 1887-88 season he reportedly played for Des Moines earning a $3800 salary, considered the highest in the league at the time. After turning in a 23-10 (win-loss) performance in 1888, William was moved up to the majors. In 1889, he began his rookie year at 29 with the National League’s Chicago White Stockings/Colts (now Chicago Cubs), as a right handed pitcher. He was the club’s first player to hold a college degree. Hutchison possessed a blazing fastball which enabled him to strike out 136 batters and led him to 16 wins 17 losses and an ERA of 3.54 his first year. The following season he went 42-25, striking out 289 with an ERA of 2.70.”
26-16, 2,94 ERA, 185 K, .278, 4 HR, 59 RBI
5th Time All-Star-I mentioned in Terry’s 1888 blurb that he might be the worst pitcher to make this many All-Star teams, but this season was his best ever and he was the best player on the pennant-winning Bridegrooms. He finished eighth in WAR (6.1), splitting his time between the mound and the outfield. From the bump, Terry pitched 370 innings with a 2.94 ERA and 119 ERA+. At the dish, he slashed .278/.356/.408 for an OPS+ of 121.
His great all-around season led Brooklyn to the National League crown. It won the 1889 American Association title and then moved to the NL, where it also won the pennant. Coached for the third and last year by Bill McGunnigle, the Bridegrooms finished 86-43, six-and-a-half games in front of the Colts. They scored the most runs in the league and were third in runs allowed, a good combination. In the World Series, Brooklyn tied the American Association Louisville Colonels, 3-3-1. Terry pitched three games, going 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA, but his hitting tanked, as he was one-for-20 from the plate.
A webpage called William “Adonis” Terry – The Forgotten Legend of 19th Century Baseball says he should be in the Hall of Fame. He’s on the borderline, but I don’t think he makes it. He never had a dominating season, though he will end up making about six All-Star teams. That website also says, “One of the most notable characteristics of Terry’s career was the fact that he was a clean living player and kept himself in great condition in a time when many players were known for their off-field (and sometimes on-field) drunken escapades including many Hall of Famers.”
23-17, 3.19 ERA, 140 K, .231, 2 HR, 25 RBI
3rd Time All-Star-These Pretzels are making me thirsty! Getzien’s very lucky to never have lived in the age of Seinfeld. I wonder what he did watch on TV? It’s been three years since he made an All-Star team. In 1889, he moved to Indianapolis after Detroit folded and this season, after the Hoosiers went defunct, Getzien was purchased by Boston, where he had his best season ever and most likely, his last All-Star team. Getzein finished 10th in WAR (5.6) and eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.0), pitching 350 innings with a 3.19 ERA and a 119 ERA+, his highest Adjusted ERA+ since his rookie year in 1884.
Wikipedia wraps up his career: “During nine major league seasons, he compiled a 145–139 record and a 3.46 earned run average (ERA) in 296 games. He totaled 292 games started and threw 277 complete games, a total that ranks 58th in major league history. Only three pitchers in major league history (Ed Morris, Mark Baldwin, and Hall of Famer Albert Spalding) threw more complete games in careers shorter than Getzein’s nine-year career.
“Getzein’s record for complete games is based in part on the customs of the 1880s. In 1915, Baseball Magazine reported that managers were not allowed to freely pull the starting pitcher from a game in the bygone era. It cited an incident involving Getzein to illustrate the old practice:
“’The Nationals got onto Getzein in the fourth inning and batted him all over the field. In the fifth inning they kept up the slugging until Getzein said he was ill, and Manager Hanlon wanted the Nationals to allow Getzein to retire, claiming that he was too sick to play. Baker, captaining the home club, said he would call a doctor and have him examine Getzein, and if the latter was really sick he would probably allow the change to be made. Dr. Bond, who happened to be present, was called on, and he examined the pitcher, while the crowd guyed Getzein terribly. The doctor announced that he did not consider Getzein sick, only discouraged at the pounding he had received, and that he would be able to finish the game.’”
17-14, 2.99 ERA, 97 K, .179, 0 HR, 10 RBI
10th Time All-Star-The great Smiling Mickey is starting to decline and will be out of the league in two years. He did make his last All-Star team this season and certainly deserves his Hall of Fame nomination. As for this year, he finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.6), pitching 292 1/3 innings with a 2.99 ERA and a 115 ERA+. It was the first season since 1882 in which Welch didn’t win 20 or more games. He will remain with the Giants for the next two seasons, but finish only 5-9 with a 4.58 ERA over the remainder of his career.
Welch always proponed for player rights, but shockingly didn’t go into the Players League. According to Wikipedia, “Before the Players’ League began its season in 1890, Welch realized that he was coming to the end of his playing career. Saying that he was in baseball to earn money, Welch agreed to re-sign with the Giants on a three-year contract. Welch said that he had been willing to accept $2,000 less to play in the Players’ League, but that deal fell through when the league could only guarantee one year of salary. He met with sharp criticism from Jim O’Rourke and other Brotherhood members, but the Players’ League lasted only one season.”
Wikipedia also speaks of his Hall of Fame election, saying, “Welch was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1973. He was represented at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony by his elderly daughter, Julia Weiss.”
30-11, 2.78 ERA, 124 K, .201, 1 HR, 20 RBI
Win Loss %-.732
1st Time All-Star-Thomas Joseph “Tom” Lovett was born on December 7, 1863 in Providence, RI. He started in 1885 for the American Association Philadelphia Athletics pitching 138 2/3 innings and going 7-8. Then he was out of the Major Leagues until 1889 when he moved to Brooklyn. This first season for the Bridegrooms in the National League was Lovett’s best season ever and, most likely, his first and only All-Star team. Lovett finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.7), pitching 372 innings with a 2.78 ERA and a 126 ERA+. In the World Series, he was 2-2 with a 2.83 ERA. The year before, Lovett pitched only one game in the Series, allowing nine runs in three innings.
As for the rest of his life, Wikipedia says, “As quickly as Lovett rose to prominence, he fell. He sat out the 1892 season, and when he returned, he was largely ineffective. He played in the minor leagues until 1896, after which he retired.
According to Baseball History Daily, Lovett was baseball’s first holdout, saying “After the 1891 season Brooklyn attempted to cut his salary to $2800 (various sources say he either earned $3000 or $3500 in 1891). Lovett demanded $3500 and turned down a compromise offer of $3200.
“He said he could earn more money operating his tavern in Providence and chose to sit out the 1892 season.
.315, 7 HR, 74 RBI
Putouts as C-503 (2nd Time)
1st Time All-Star-John J. Clements was born on July 24, 1864 in Philadelphia, PA and was likely the most successful left-handed catcher ever. He had started as an outfielder with the 1884 Union Association Philadelphia Keystones, before moving to the National League, where he would remain with Philadelphia, whether it be the Quakers or the Phillies, through 1897. Once he got to the National League, catcher was always his main position.
In his previous five seasons, Clements never was much of a hitter, never being above 100 OPS+, yet here, as a 25-year-old, he started hitting well over the next few seasons. The lefty finished 10th in Offensive WAR (3.9), slashing .315/.392/.472 for an OPS+ of 148 and has better seasons ahead.
Clements also managed for the Phillies, but then again, who didn’t. Four managers led the team to a third-place finish this year. They were Harry Wright (36-31), Clements (13-6), Al Reach (4-7), and Bob Allen (25-10), who combined guided the team to a 78-53 record. Wright started the year and also came back in the end. He would coach the Phillies for four more seasons, ending his great managerial career. Clements would never manage again, nor would Reach. Allen would get one more chance in 1900 with the Reds.
According to Wikipedia, “He also served as a player-manager during part of the 1890 season when manager Harry Wright suffered temporary blindness.” The free encyclopedia also tells us that he is credited with being the first catcher to wear a chest protector.
.214, 3 HR, 40 RBI
Fielding % as C-.959 (6th Time)
9th Time All-Star-In 1889, Bennett’s first season with Boston, he missed the All-Star team for the first time since 1880. He’s back this year, despite the fact his hitting seriously deteriorated. He could still field, finishing eighth in Defensive WAR (1.6), but at the plate, Bennett slashed .214/.377/.320 for an OPS+ of 96. Almost all of his value comes from his 72 walks.
Back here in the 1800s, pitchers were dominant. Up to this point, a pitcher has been the top WAR leader every season, except for the 1884 Union Association, which was won by second baseman Fred Dunlap. It’s difficult for catchers to ever do well in overall WAR because of the lack of games they typically played. Bennett finished in the top 10 in 1881 and 1883.
In doing these lists, I want all of these players to be in the Hall of Fame. I admit it. Spending so much time writing about them has blinded me to any of their faults. However, Bennett deserves the Hall. He’s got an outside shot at entering the ONEHOF, my fake Hall of Fame in which the best player who’s not in the ONEHOF is inducted, but I think this tough catcher should be in the real thing. While Buck Ewing, King Kelly, and Deacon White are all in the Hall of Fame and deserve it, none of them played as much catcher nearly as well as long as Bennett. At this point in his career, his hitting is declining, but he’s 35-years-old and his hands look like raw ground beef at this time.
.312, 7 HR, 107 RBI
On-Base %-.443 (4th Time)
Bases on Balls-113
Times on Base-276 (3rd Time)
Def. Games as 1B-135 (5th Time)
Assists as 1B-49 (8th Time)
Oldest-38 Years Old
16th Time All-Star-With Roger Connor and Dan Brouthers off to the Players League, Anson easily reigned as the best first sacker in the league once again. He finished fourth in WAR Position Players (5.4) and fifth in Offensive WAR (5.2). Anson slashed .312/.443/.401 at the plate as his power is starting to fade, not counting a resurgence in 1894. You can argue about many things, but you can’t argue that Cap was the greatest player of his era and one of the greatest players of all-time.
Oh, and in his second job, managing, the Colts finished second with a 83-53 record. They never were in the running for the title, starting 11-12 and failing to recover. Only a stretch where they won 19 out of 20 games played towards the end of the season brought them as close as they were.
Did Anson like the Players League? What do you think? SABR says, “By 1890, Anson was a stockholder in the Chicago ballclub, owning 13 percent of the team. A company man through and through, he bitterly criticized the Brotherhood of Professional Ball Players, whose members quit the National League en masse in early 1890 and formed the Players League. Anson, one of a handful of stars who refused to jump to the new league, hastily assembled a new group of youngsters (which the newspapers dubbed Anson’s Colts) and finished second that year. Spalding worked behind the scenes to undermine the rival circuit, while Anson led the charge in the newspapers, denouncing the jumpers as ‘traitors’ and gleefully predicting the eventual failure of the upstart league. The new circuit collapsed after one season, but Anson’s role in the defeat angered many of his former players.”
.303, 5 HR, 98 RBI, 2-1, 1.86 ERA, 4 K
Saves-2 (2nd Time)
Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.09
Range Factor/Game as 1B-10.89
3rd Time All-Star-For the first time, Scissors is making an All-Star team as a position player rather than a pitcher. Even as a pitcher, he always could hit and that hasn’t changed over the years. Also interesting, he has made three All-Star teams and in all of those seasons, his team made the World Series. This season, Foutz finished ninth in Offensive WAR (3.9) while slashing .303/.368/.432 at the plate. In the World Series against the American Association Louisville Colonels, Foutz hit .300 with two doubles and a triple, helping Brooklyn tie the series 3-3-1.
Like so many of these players, Foutz died young, at 40-years-old. Wikipedia says, “Never in good health, in January 1896, Foutz became dangerously ill with pneumonia and barely recovered. After he was released from the Bride Grooms, in October 1896, Foutz was considered for a manager in the minor leagues or as a possible umpire, but by January 1897, he was too ill to work and was under a doctor’s care. On March 5, 1897, David Luther Foutz died at his mother’s home in Waverly, a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland, of an asthma attack. He was buried in the Loudon Park Cemetery, in Baltimore City, Maryland. News papers reported his funeral was a sad and somber affair, attended by many former teammates and baseball players. Also in attendance were executives from the National League as well as his old Brooklyn and St. Louis ball clubs.” Here in America, we love to complain about health care, but our longevity has certainly improved since the 1800s.
.278, 3 HR, 69 RBI
2nd Time All-Star-Welcome to the tragedy portion of the 1890 National League All-Star team page. Let’s start with the positive, Collins helped Brooklyn reach its second straight World Series. He finished second in WAR Position Players (5.6), behind only Jack Glasscock; seventh in Offensive WAR (4.4); and ninth in Defensive WAR (1.5), his best season ever and he was only 26-years-old. From the plate, he slashed .278/.385/.386 for an OPS+ of 124 while in the World Series against the American Association Louisville Colonels, he hit .310 with a triple. It sure looked like he going to have a long and prosperous career.
The Dodgers Encyclopedia by William McNeil says of Collins, “On the brink of a brilliant baseball career, Hub Collins was struck down with typhoid fever four weeks into the 1892 season. He succumbed to the disease on May 21, 1892. He was 28 years old. During his brief seven-year career, the speedy Collins left may indications of what might have been. Playing in only 680 games, Collins scored 653 runs, an average of 0.96 runs per game. This figure is the fourth highest in baseball history, although Collins didn’t play enough games to qualify for official recognition. A lifetime .284 hitter, he stole 335 bases during his career, 195 of them with Brooklyn. His stolen base per game average is one of the highest ever recorded. He is fifth on the all-time Dodger list, in spite of the fact that he played in only 407 games in the City of Churches. In the field, his lifetime 6.1 range factor is the best of any Dodger second baseman.”
.256, 3 HR, 39 RBI
Putouts as 2B-404 (5th Time)
Assists as 2B-431 (5th Time)
Double Plays Turned as 2B-62 (9th Time)
Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.37 (5th Time)
Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.33 (5th Time)
4th Time All-Star-McPhee, the gloveless wonder, made his fourth All-Star team and probably has a few more left. It still seems strange to me that Bid is in the Hall of Fame if Jack Glasscock isn’t. I’ll complain about this more in the Glasscock write-up. This is taking nothing away from the great McPhee, who finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.1) and seventh in Defensive WAR (1.6). His hitting was never anything spectacular, but it was decent as he slashed .256/.362/.386 for an OPS+ of 116.
It was for his defense that garnered the fame for John Alexander McPhee as you can see from the categories above in which he led the league. He played barehanded for most of his career, making his numbers even more dazzling. He wouldn’t put on a glove until the 1896 season.
McPhee wasn’t well liked by the fans when he first started. In an interview in 1890, according to SABR, he said, “’What broke me up worse than anything else was a little episode that occurred after the game. I boarded a Clark streetcar as soon as I changed my clothes, and leaned against the rail of the rear platform, which was crowded with baseball enthusiasts going home. In my citizen’s attire none of the cranks knew me. They had evidently lost some money on the game and, as I had contributed more than anyone else to the Waterloo, I was the special target for their abuse. “That stiff they played on second base today made me sick,” said one of the crowd. “What’s his name? McPhee? Yes, that’s it. Maybe he didn’t work the Cincinnati Club about wanting to keep books! He ought to have staved in Akron. He might be a good bookkeeper, but he is a rotten ballplayer!”’”
.309, 7 HR, 83 RBI
2nd Time All-Star-Pinkney is one of three Brooklyn infielders to make the All-Star team, Dave Foutz and Hub Collins being the others. Only shortstop lacked representation for the Bridegrooms. Pinkney had his best season ever, finishing third in WAR Position Players (5.5), behind only Jack Glasscock and Hub Collins; and fourth in Offensive WAR (5.3). He slashed .309/.411/.431 with an OPS+ of 144 at the plate. All four of those categories were his career highs. In the World Series against the American Association Louisville Colonels, he bashed .357 with two triples, but didn’t play fulltime, only garnering 14 at-bats. Because these Series were more exhibitions than true competitions, Baseball Reference doesn’t list the number of games played, but my guess is that he played in only three of the seven contests.
After this season, Pinkney would play three more seasons, one more with Brooklyn in 1891, one with St. Louis in 1892, and one with Louisville in 1893. Now 31, he’d never reach the peak he did this season, but finished with a decent career.
Wikipedia wraps up his life: “In 10 seasons Pinkney played in 1,163 games and had 4,610 at-bats, 874 runs, 1,212 hits, 170 doubles, 56 triples, 21 home runs, 539 RBI, 526 walks, .263 batting average, .345 on-base percentage, .338 slugging percentage and 1,557 total bases…He remained the only player to play in more than 500 consecutive games until Fred Luderus played in 533 games.
.273, 4 HR, 66 RBI
Errors Committed -48
1st Time All-Star-George Frederick “Doggie” or “Foghorn” or “Calliope” Miller was born on August 15, 1864 in Brooklyn, NY. He started as a 19-year-old for Pittsburgh in the American Association in 1884 and only now made his first All-Star team. He was the Alleghenys’ top player, which is the only reason he made the squad, though he did finish eighth in Offensive WAR (4.0). Foghorn slashed .273/.357/.350 at the plate for an OPS+ of 116, his highest Adjusted OPS+ ever.
Pittsburgh is a team with a long history. You might think of it being the team of Honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente, We Are Family, and Barry Bonds. What you won’t think about is the 1890 Alleghenys, who really stunk it up, finishing 23-113 under the hand of Guy Hecker, who, to no one’s shock, would never manage again. As bad as their hitting was, and it was awful, their pitching and defense was worse. Pittsburgh gave up 8.9 runs a game, 2.8 runs a game higher than their next closest team.
A site called Pirates Prospects says of Calliope, “When most of the Alleghenys left to go to the Player’s League in 1890, Miller stayed and endured a 23-113 season, the worst in franchise history. He was the best hitter on a horrible team, leading the team with a .273 average, 66 RBI’s, 68 walks and 85 runs scored. He mostly played third base that year to keep his bat in the lineup daily, but when the PL folded after one season, Doggie went back to catching more often.”
.336, 1 HR, 66 RBI
1890 NL Batting Title
WAR Position Players-7.1 (2nd Time)
Hits-172 (2nd Time)
AB per SO-64.0 (3rd Time)
10th Time All-Star-Well, Pebbly Jack, you take what you can get and so I proudly welcome Jack Glasscock to the One-a-year Hall of Fame. Next year’s nominees are Charlie Bennett, Roger Connor, Harry Stovey, King Kelly, Monte Ward, Old Hoss Radbourn, Hardy Richardson, and Buck Ewing.
For this season, Glasscock again shined, finishing seventh in WAR (7.1), first in WAR Position Players (7.1), first in Offensive WAR (5.9), and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.9). This is the fifth time in his career he’s finished in the top 10 in all four of those categories. It’s difficult to be a great offensive and defensive player, but Pebbly Jack did it all the time.
At the plate this season, Glasscock slashed .336/.395/.439 for an OPS+ of 147. It was his second highest Adjusted OPS+ ever, though his hitting would fall off after this season. He would continue to shine in the field for a while, however.
The problem with weaker candidates making the Hall of Fame is it lessens the chance for the real candidates to make it. When you put in weak candidates like Candy Cummings, you then have a committee which thinks the 1800s if overrepresented already and has no need of Glasscock. I don’t know how much you value WAR, but his overall war is 61.5, which is over numerous people already in the Hall of Fame.
Some of it’s just bad luck. For instance, he finally went to a good team this season, last season’s National League champs, but they dropped due to losing so many players to the Players League, and fell to sixth.
.296, 7 HR, 61 RBI
Errors Committed as SS-75 (2nd Time)
3rd Time All-Star-McKean is Cleveland’s only representative on the All-Star team and its best player. He finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.3) and second, to another shortstop, Jack Glasscock, in Offensive WAR (5.8). Shortstops sure could hit in 1890. McKean slashed .296/.401/.417 for an OPS+ of 144. Despite all of the above, there’s a good chance this is his last All-Star team.
As for the Cleveland Spiders, they were just happy Pittsburgh was in the National League, otherwise it would have been them in last. Gus Schmelz (21-55) and Bob Leadley (23-33) guided them to a 44-88 seventh place finish.
Since I’m assuming McKean’s days on the All-Star are done, here’s Wikipedia’s wrap up of his career: “Prior to the 1899 season, the Spiders transferred most of their best players to the St. Louis Perfectos, including McKean. This was legal at the time, as both teams were owned by the same ownership group led by the Robison brothers. However, he did not perform up to expectations and was let go in July. The following season, the Spiders folded, and such shenanigans were outlawed.
“After not playing professionally for two years, McKean returned to play in the minor leagues in 1902 as player-manager of the Rochester Bronchos. After several more years in the minors, he retired following the 1908 season. All told, McKean racked up a grand total of 2,083 hits and 1124 RBI during his major league career. He also recorded 4 seasons with over 110 RBI and owned a superb lifetime batting average of .302. For his time, he also hit a lot of home runs; 66 in 13 seasons was considered great at that time. He died at age 55 in Cleveland, Ohio.”
.272, 4 HR, 52 RBI
Def. Games as SS-135
Fielding % as SS-.936
1st Time All-Star-James Joseph “Jimmy” Cooney was born on July 9, 1865 in Cranston, RI. If he was born in our time, he could host his own late night talk show. As it was, he came at a good time, because so many people went to the Players League, many new people started to shine in the National League. Ned Williamson was one of those who departed to the PL, so Cooney got his chance and made the most of it. He finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.3) and first in Defensive WAR (2.6), all in his rookie year. In his short three-year career, he dazzled with the glove.
Cooney had a namesake son also play in the pros and in his son’s SABR article, it says this about the father: “His obituary in the Pawtucket Times said he was ‘one of the most graceful infielders in the history of the game, and was especially skilful in the timing and handling of grounders. He was an accurate and reliable thrower. He enjoyed the distinction of being one of the first players to demonstrate the possibilities of the sacrifice hit.’
“He had played shortstop in the National League for Chicago and for Washington in 1890 through 1892, his best season being his first one, hitting .272 with four homers and 52 RBIs for the Chicago Colts (later Cubs). His career major-league average was .242. From 1892 through 1899 he played for Providence, and in 1900 for Bristol in the Connecticut State League.”
.268, 3 HR, 72 RBI
2nd Time All-Star-Beard made the All-Star team for the second consecutive season, both with the Reds, but in different leagues. His fielding continued to be his strength as he finished second in Defensive WAR (2.2), while also finishing 10th in WAR Position Players (4.4). He had his best year ever at the plate, slashing .268/.331/.382 for an OPS+ of 106. In 1891, he would become a third baseman for the American Association Louisville Colonels, his last season.
In my many seconds of research, I don’t know why Beard’s career came to a quick end. Maybe it’s because his hitting continued to falter and, in 1891, with Louisville, his fielding also fell off. He really had two of the most dazzling fielding seasons in a row, according to Baseball Reference’s Defensive WAR, or bdWAR. I can’t find anything about whether an injury beset him in his last season.
It seems strange Louisville would move the great fielding Beard to third base. True, the Colonels had future Hall of Famer Hughie Jennings at shortstop, but Jennings’ fielding wasn’t his strong suit at this time. It reminds me of the Angels actually moving Mike Trout to leftfield for a season so they could fit, gulp, Peter Bourjos into the lineup!? It’s a hint to why the Angels continue to struggle.
The best managers gauge the skills of their players accurately and put the right people in the right place. Of course, all of this is just guesswork since I can’t find details on the latter end of Beard’s career, but it’s still strange.
.325, 2 HR, 49 RBI
Stolen Bases-102 (2nd Time)
Errors Committed as OF-34
1st Time All-Star-William Robert “Sliding Billy” Hamilton was born on February 15, 1866 in Newark, NJ, and like all Billy Hamiltons, he was fast! His speed raced him into the Hall of Fame and in a quick glance at his career, he deserves it. He started in 1888 with the American Association Kansas City Cowboys stealing 19 bases in 35 games. The next season, he stole over 100 bases, 111 to be exact, for the first of four times he’d do so in his career, including this season.
But Sliding Bill didn’t just have speed, he could rake! He finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.4) and sixth in Offensive WAR (4.6). At the dish, Hamilton slashed .325/.430/.399 for an OPS+ of 139. He would end up, spoiler alert!, with a slash line of .344/.455/.432 for an OPS+ of 141. What I’m saying is we’re going to be seeing the speedster on this list a lot.
Wikipedia speaks of Hamilton’s early life: “Hamilton was born on February 16, 1866 in Newark, New Jersey. His parents, Samuel and Mary Hamilton, had immigrated to New Jersey from Ireland. Biographer Roy Kerr writes that evidence suggests that Hamilton was descended from the Ulster Scots people. (As an adult, Hamilton was known to proudly proclaim his Scottish ancestry.) When Hamilton was a small child, his family moved to Clinton, Massachusetts. He worked in a Clinton cotton mill as a young teenager.” This Billy Hamilton is a lesson to the modern Billy Hamilton that speed isn’t enough, you need to get on base.
.304, 13 HR, 59 RBI
On-Base Plus Slugging-.880
Adj. Batting Runs-40
Adj. Batting Wins-4.2
Extra Base Hits-59
Offensive Win %-.747
3rd Time All-Star-Silent Mike continued to be one of the best outfielders in the National League, making the All-Star team for the third consecutive year. Tiernan finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.6) and third in Offensive WAR (5.3). It was his best offensive season thus far, but his defense, never great, was horrendous this season (-1.3 Defensive WAR). At the plate, he slashed .304/.385/.495 for an OPS+ of 160. In the era he played, his stats were outstanding.
SABR has the following on Tiernan’s 1890 season: “The 1890 season would be a fractious one, with three separate major league circuits – National League, American Association, and Players League – in direct competition. And no fewer than five clubs called greater New York home, two in Manhattan and three across the East River in Brooklyn. But nothing locally compared to the cutthroat rivalry between the NL Real Giants and the PL Big Giants, whom schedule-makers had deliberately placed at home on the same dates. Unfortunately for all concerned, the arrangement backfired, with neither team drawing well. Typical was the attendance at competing home games played on May 12, 1890. Only 1,707 fans attended a PL Boston-New York game at Brotherhood Park, while across the alley only 687 lonesome souls paid their way into the New Polo Grounds to see the NL Boston-New York match – the occasion of the most celebrated home run of Mike Tiernan’s career. As word of a scoreless pitching duel between Kid Nichols and Amos Rusie made its way across the stadium divide, PL fans began migrating to the right field grandstand of Brotherhood Park to spy on the proceedings next door. In the tenth inning, partisans of both New York nines were thrilled when the game was decided 1-0 by a mammoth Tiernan homer – a line shot that cleared the confines of the New Polo Grounds, crossed the alley, and struck the outer wall of Brotherhood Park.”
.278, 13 HR, 99 RBI
Def. Games as OF-139
Putouts as OF-320
Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.55
Range Factor/Game as OF-2.49
2nd Time All-Star-Once again, I was a false prophet, as I predicted in 1889 that Wilmot’s All-Star appearances were done, but the original power-speed maven proved me wrong. This season, he slashed .278/.353/.419 for an OPS+ of 120. He also had his best defensive season ever as 1890 was the only year in which he finished with a positive Baseball Reference dWAR (0.4).
Washington, Wilmot’s former team, folded, so the Colts were able to purchase him, as Chicago always seemed able to do. He must have liked going from a last place team to a second place squad. Chicago was also closer to his birthplace of Plover, Wisconsin.
Since he’s back on the All-Star team, here’s more on his career from Wikipedia: “He also set a career best with 76 stolen bases while driving in 99 runs in 1890. On the August 22, 1891, he became the first player in major league history to be walked 6 times in 1 game.
“Overall in his ten-season career, Wilmot was a .276 hitter with 58 home runs and 594 RBI in 962 games, including 727 runs, 152 doubles, 92 triples, 381 stolen bases and a .337 on-base percentage.”
At the time of this writing, Joe Posnanski has been running a series on the Hall of Fame nominees for 2017. It’s been phenomenal as all of his stuff is, but it’s been interesting as he’s been exploring into WAR and how they rate defense, specifically Baseball Reference. His question is how much does defense really affect a player? Wilmot was helped this year by just mediocre defense, would it really add 0.4 of a game above a replacement player?