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1892 National League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-Harry Stovey

P-Cy Young, CLV

P-Kid Nichols, BSN

P-Bill Hutchinson, CHC

P-Amos Rusie, NYG

P-Gus Weyhing, PHI

P-Kid Gleason, STL

P-Frank Dwyer, STL/CIN

P-Scott Stratton, LOU

P-Adonis Terry, BLN/PIT

P-Frank Killen, WHS

P-Sadie McMahon, BLN

C-Jack Clements, PHI

C-Chief Zimmer, CLV

1B-Dan Brouthers, BRO

1B-Roger Connor, PHI

1B-Jake Virtue, CLV

2B-Cupid Childs, CLV

2B-Bid McPhee, CIN

3B-Billy Nash, BSN

SS-Bill Dahlen, CHC

SS-Herman Long, BSN

LF-Billy Hamilton, PHI

CF-Bug Holliday, CIN

RF-Sam Thompson, PHI

RF-Oyster Burns, BRO

 

stovey11

1892 ONEHOF Inductee-Harry Stovey

 

For the third time, and the first time since 1883, a player was inducted into the ONEHOF without making the All-Star team that season. The ONEHOF is the one player a year Hall of Fame, in which every year since 1871, I’ve chosen the best player who isn’t already in the ONEHOF to enter the Hall. Here’s a recap of the ONEHOF inductees thus far. The yes or no following their name will be whether or not they are part of the real Hall of Fame. The position given to them will be their most played position in their whole career:

1871-George Zettlein, P (No)

1872-Al Spalding, P (Yes)

1873-Bobby Mathews, P (No)

1874-Dick McBride, P (No)

1875-Ross Barnes, 2B (No)

1876-George Wright, SS (Yes)

1877-Cal McVey, 1B (No)

1878-Deacon White, 3B (Yes)

1879-Tommy Bond, P (No)

1880-Cap Anson, 1B (Yes)

1881-Jim O’Rourke, LF (Yes)

1882-Joe Start, 1B (No)

1883-Paul Hines, CF (No)

1884-Jim McCormick, P (No)

1885-Will White, P (No)

1886-Tim Keefe, P (Yes)

1887-Pud Galvin, P (Yes)

1888-Mickey Welch, P (Yes)

1889-Dan Brouthers, 1B (Yes)

1890-Jack Glasscock, SS (No)

1891-Roger Connor, 1B (Yes)

1892-Harry Stovey, 1B (No)

ONEHOF Nominees for 1893: Charlie Bennett, King Kelly, Monte Ward, Old Hoss Radbourn, Hardy Richardson, Buck Ewing, John Clarkson

So far, out of the 22 players that are part of the ONEHOF, 10 of them also made the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. However, spending so much time in the 1800s convinces me that if the Hall of Fame is a building to tell the history of the sport of baseball, many of these ONEHOF inductees should also be real Hall of Famers. So I’ve come up with a simplistic formula to see who I would put in the Hall of Fame or not. It involves making my All-Star team and WAR. If times making the All-Star team times WAR is 300 or greater, you’re in. If it’s under that, you’re out. This will keep out compilers who are not among their league’s best players and keep out fringe All-Stars who make it on a fluke. Out of all of those above, these are the ones who wouldn’t make the my cheap and easy Hall of Fame: George Zettlein, Dick McBride, Ross Barnes, George Wright, Cal McVey, Joe Start, and Will White.

To wrap up, here are the ONEHOF players on which Cooperstown and Ron’s Hall of Fame agree: Al Spalding, Deacon White, Cap Anson, Jim O’Rourke, Tim Keefe, Pud Galvin, Mickey Welch, Dan Brouthers, Roger Connor.

Here are ONEHOF players in Cooperstown and not in Ron’s: George Wright.

Here are ONEHOF players in Ron’s HOF and not Cooperstown: Bobby Mathews, Tommy Bond, Paul Hines, Jim McCormick, Jack Glasscock, and this year’s ONEHOF inductee, Harry Stovey.

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P-Cy Young, Cleveland Spiders, 25 Years Old

1891

36-12, 1.93 ERA, 168 K, .158, 1 HR, 15 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Not Yet

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1892 NL Pitching Title

Wins Above Replacement-13.1

WAR for Pitchers-14.1

Earned Run Average-1.93

Wins-36

Win-Loss %-.750

Walks & Hits per IP-1.062

Shutouts-9

Adjusted ERA+-176

Adj. Pitching Runs-70

Adj. Pitching Wins-7.0

 

2nd Time All-Star-What did Willy Wonka say? “So much time and so little to do. Strike that. Reverse it.” A lot has happened since the 1891 season in baseball. For one thing, there is only one league left. The king took the challenges and finished on top. The National League has existed since 1876. During the next few years, it faced the Union Association in 1884, the Players League in 1890, and the American Association from 1882-1891. Yet through all of this, the National League remained the strongest league and the last Major League standing. The NL picked four of the AA teams and then decided to have a split-season, with the winner of the first half playing the winner of the second half.

Cleveland, coached by Patsy Tebeau and led by the arm of Young, prevailed in the latter half of the season, finishing 93-56 overall and 53-23 in the second half. It then lost the Championship Series (5-0-1) to the Boston Beaneaters. Young pitched three games in the series, finishing 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA. He wouldn’t be in another postseason until 1903.

For the season, well, look above, you can see what Young did. I would say it’s his best season ever and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s the last season the mound was a 50 feet. In 1893, it will be moved to 60 feet, six inches, as it is to this day. Read the Harry Stovey entry above for information on the new Ron’s Hall of Fame. I will say this, Cy Young had such dominating stats over his career, he was only required to make two All-Star teams to make my Hall of Fame. Of course, he’s going to make many more.

nicholsk3

P-Kid Nichols, Boston Beaneaters, 22 Years Old

1890 1891

35-16, 2.84 ERA, 192 K, .203, 2 HR, 21 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Not Yet

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

3rd Time All-Star-In 1892, it wouldn’t have been surprising to think Nichols would have a better career than Cy Young. At the age of 22, Nichols has had three dominant seasons because he started so young. Young didn’t start in the Major Leagues until he was 23 years old. However, the longevity of Young is going to be amazing over the years, though Nichols’ 15 years of pitching isn’t to be discounted. For the season, Kid finished second in WAR (9.2) to only Young (13.1) and second in WAR for Pitchers (9.3) to guess who (14.1). He pitched 453 innings with a 2.84 ERA and a 124 ERA+. Nichols’ 35 wins this season was his career high. His innings, as for all pitchers, will start declining when the mound is moved back to the modern-era distance in 1893.

Nichols’ team, the Beaneaters, won it all this season, giving Kid his second championship. Boston won the first half of the season, going 53-23 and 102-48 overall. Frank Selee, the manager, won his second National Pennant and isn’t done. He’s going to be around a while.

On a site called Our Game, Major League historian John Thorn has an article titled Kid Nichols, In His Own Words, in which Nichols himself recaps his career. Though it can be a little dry, I urge you read the whole thing. I’ll just print his bit about his 1892 season here: “In 1892, Boston Nationals won 102 lost 48.

“The same year Nichols pitched 51 games or 1/3rd of the games played. Winning 35 and lost 16.

“By the way. Remember these were 9 inning games as a rule. Not 1 innings as so often is quoted today.”

hutchinson3

P-Bill Hutchinson, Chicago Colts, 32 Years Old

1890 1891

36-36, 2.76 ERA, 314 K, .217, 1 HR, 22 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Not Yet

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-36 (3rd Time)

Games Pitched-75 (3rd Time)

Innings Pitched-622.0 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts-314

Games Started-70 (3rd Time)

Complete Games-67 (3rd Time)

Hits Allowed-571 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-1.653

Batters Faced-2,639 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as P-75 (3rd Time)

Assists as P-156

 

3rd Time All-Star-Wild Bill the Workhorse [TM] again pitched and pitched and pitched some more for the third straight year. This resulted in great results for his 1892 season, but having to move his tired arm back to 60 feet, six inches starting in 1893 was too much for him and he’s most likely made his last All-Star team. For the season, he finished third in WAR (9.0) and fourth in WAR for Pitchers (8.6), pitching 622 innings, 81 more than second place Amos Rusie, with a 2.76 ERA and a 113 ERA+.

People talk about Dusty Baker ruining Chicago arms, but he was nothing compared to Colts’ manager Cap Anson. It was starting to affect the team, too, as Chicago dropped to 70-76, seventh in the National League.

According to Wikipedia, Hutch is still one of the great all-time Chicago pitchers. It says, “During his seven seasons with the Chicago franchise (now the Chicago Cubs) he ranks 4th all-time in franchise history in wins (181), 6th in games pitched (367), 2nd in innings pitched (3021), 6th in strikeouts (1224), 3rd in games started (339), 1st in complete games (317), 10th in shutouts (21), 1st in base on balls allowed (1109), 1st in losses (158), and 1st in wild pitches (120).

“He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, attended Yale University, and later died in Kansas City, Missouri at the age of 66.” Who knows the career Hutchinson could have had if Anson would have let off the reins a bit.

rusie3

P-Amos Rusie, New York Giants, 21 Years Old

1890 1891

32-31, 2.84 ERA, 304 K, .215, 1 HR, 26 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: No (Will require two more All-Star seasons)

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-270 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as P-22 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Rusie, the Nolan Ryan of his day, had another fantastic season, but his best seasons are yet to come. His overuse would shorten his career, but his results in those 10 years (one of which was only 22 innings pitched) were incredible. No doubt he’ll make Ron’s Hall of Fame. For the season, the Hoosier Thunderbolt finished fifth in WAR (7.8) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (7.8). Rusie pitched 541 innings with a 2.84 ERA and a 113 ERA+. It’s his worst season in the five-year stretch from 1890-1894, yet any pitcher would have loved to have his 1892 year.

As for Rusie’s Giants, Pat Powers took over for longtime manager Jim Mutrie and didn’t do well. The team finished in eighth place with a 71-80 record. Powers would never manage again.

You might wonder why the mound would be moved back the next season. Wikipedia says, “Rusie’s wildness had been a catalyst for officials to change the distance from the pitching rubber to home plate from 50 feet (15 m) to the current 60 feet (18 m), 6 inches. This ruling was made effective for the 1893 season, at the peak of Amos Rusie’s pitching prowess. The distance change did not reduce Rusie’s effectiveness.”

Bleacher Report tells of trouble in the Giants-Rusie relationship: “An 1892 season brought mediocrity for Rusie. He won 31 and lost the same amount. He posted a 2.88 ERA, very decent for the time, and struck out just 19 more then he walked.

“After the season, the Giants actually released him – only to pick him back up later in the off season. But just because they got him back, it didn’t mean that the Giants had a stable relationship with Rusie.

“It was just the start of problems between Rusie and management.”

weyhing3

P-Gus Weyhing, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

1890 1891

32-21, 2.66 ERA, 202 K, .136, 0 HR, 13 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Will require six more All-Star seasons)

 

Led in:

 

Saves-3

Games Finished-10

3rd Time All-Star-Weyhing made his third All-Star team, all in different leagues. He won 25 games or more for the sixth consecutive time and 30 wins or more for the fourth straight time. Rubber-Winged Gus finished fifth in WAR (7.5) and third in WAR for Pitchers (8.7), behind only Cy Young (14.1) and Kid Nichols (9.3). Weyhing tossed 469 2/3 innings, third behind Bill Hutchinson (622) and Amos Rusie (541), for a 2.66 ERA and a 122 ERA+. What really affects Cannonball’s WAR every year is his putrid hitting, which would be a -9.8 for his career.

The mound moving back 10 feet will take its toll on Weyhing and he’s most likely made his last All-Star team. He’d stay with Philadelphia through 1895, a year in which he also played for Pittsburgh and Louisville. Weyhing pitched for Louisville in 1896 and then didn’t play in the Majors in 1897. He then finished his career pitching for Washington (1898-99), St. Louis (1900), Brooklyn (1900), the American League Cleveland Blues (1901), and Cincinnati (1901). If you looked just at his 264 career wins, you might think he should have some Hall of Fame consideration, but he never did and probably doesn’t deserve it. That doesn’t take away from how good a pitcher he was for a nice stretch from 1887-92, in which Weyhing was top 10 in WAR for Pitchers five times in those six years.

As for Weyhing’s team, the Phillies, Hall of Fame manager Harry Wright coached them to a fourth-place 87-66 record.

gleason3P-Kid Gleason, St. Louis Browns, 25 Years Old

1890 1891

20-24, 3.33 ERA, 133 K, .215, 3 HR, 25 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as P-42

3rd Time All-Star-Whenever I picture Kid Gleason, I think of John Mahoney, who played him in the movie “Eight Men Out.” It’s now I want to apologize to Ed Stein, Nig Cuppy, John Clarkson, and Tim Keefe, four pitchers who would have made this All-Star team in just about any other season. However, because the top player from every team has to make this team and the leading player on 11 of the 12 teams was a pitcher, it knocked out those four, despite extending this prestigious All-Star honor to 11 pitchers instead of 10. Sorry, guys! Oh, they’re all dead, I’m not too worried about revenge.

It’s not like Gleason’s year was terrible, as he pitched 400 innings with a 3.33 ERA and 104 ERA+. His pitching would decline sharply as the mound moved back in 1893 and he’ll start spending more time at second base.

The Browns finished in 11th place with a 56-94 record and were coached by Jack Glasscock (1-3), Cub Stricker (6-17), Jack Crooks (27-33), George Gore (6-9), and Bob Caruthers (16-32). At some point, they should have realized the manager wasn’t the problem.

After this season, Gleason would stay with Browns in 1893-94, then go on to Baltimore (1894-95), New York (1896-1900), the American League Detroit Tigers (1901-02), Philadelphia (1903-08), and the AL Chicago White Sox (1912). He’d then manage the White Sox from 1919-23.

Wikipedia says of the Kid: “Gleason has been referenced in pop culture in several books, and is a prominent supporting character in Ring Lardner‘s 1916 novel You Know Me Al. He is portrayed by actor John Mahoney in the 1988 film Eight Men Out, based on Eliot Asinof‘s book of the same name.”

dwyer

P-Frank Dwyer, St. Louis Browns/Cincinnati Reds, 24 Years Old

22-18, 2.95 ERA, 63 K, .146, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-John Francis “Frank” Dwyer was born on March 25, 1868 in Lee, MA. He started as a pitcher for Chicago (1888-89), then moved to the Players League Chicago Pirates (1890), the American Association Cincinnati’s Kelly’s Killers (1891), and the AA Milwaukee Brewers (1891). As if that wasn’t enough bouncing around, he also pitched for the two clubs this season. For some reason, the move from St. Louis to Cincinnati woke Dwyer up and he pitched phenomenally for the Reds. Altogether, he finished eighth in WAR (6.2), pitching 332 1/3 innings with a 2.95 ERA and a 113 ERA+. As for his splits, for the Browns, he pitched 64 innings with a 5.63 ERA and a 62 ERA+, while for the Reds, Dwyer pitched 268 1/3 innings with a 2.31 ERA and a 142 ERA+.

Coached by Charlie Comiskey and led by Dwyer, the Reds finished in fifth place with an 82-68 record. They did better in the first half (45-32) than in the second (37-36).  Yes, if you don’t see the irony, Comiskey managed a team which would beat the team he owned in the 1919 World Series, a Series I read somewhere was tainted.

On the page, Baseball Fever, there is an argument for Dwyer as a Hall of Famer. I think he falls considerably short, but he one of the few pitchers who was able to take the mound moving back 10 feet in 1893 and still have some success. Beady, on that page, writes, “In the context of his times, Dwyer is not a brilliant shooting star, but a capable, reliable and durable pitcher with a fairly long career. He started early and pitched regularly for about ten years. You could name some of his contemporaries who lasted to a greater age, and not only those of the caliber of Cy Young, but there aren’t that many of them. While Killen, Breitenstein, Hawley, Meekin and probably Stivetts all had bigger reputations when they were on top of their game, Killen and Hawley didn’t last as long as Dwyer, Meekin never followed up his brilliant season in 1894 and Stivetts was a part-time pitcher by the time he reached 29.”

stratton2

P-Scott Stratton, Louisville Colonels, 22 Years Old

1890

21-19, 2.92 ERA, 93 K, .256, 0 HR, 23 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.792 (3rd Time)

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.026

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.62 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Back in his 1890 blurb, I wrote of Stratton, “That’s why 18 of the 25 players on the AA All-Star team are first-timers, including the hard throwing Kentuckian, who had his best season ever, but also most likely his only All-Star appearance. Hey, if you’re going to only make one All-Star team, do it with gusto as Stratton did.” (How lazy have I become that I’m now quoting myself.) Anyway, the point is I was wrong. Stratton did make another All-Star team, pitching 351 2/3 innings with a 2.92 ERA and a 105 ERA+. THIS will be his last time making the All-Star team, I guarantee it.

Stratton’s Colonels finished in ninth place with a 63-89 record. Jack Chapman (21-33) and Fred Pfeffer (42-56) were at the helm. It was Chapman’s last season managing after 11 seasons of doing so. He finished with a career 351-502 record and one pennant for the 1890 American Association Louisville Colonels. It was also Pfeffer’s last season managing.

How big of effect did moving the mound back from 50 feet to 60 feet, six inches have on pitchers? In 1892, pitcher’s ERA was 3.28, in 1893, it rose to 4.66. Teams averaged 5.1 runs per game in 1892 and 6.6 in 1893. If you stick around, you’ll see batter’s stats really start to jump next season.

Stratton was a typical case, as he went from going 21-19 with a 2.92 ERA and a 2.62 FIP to going 12-23, with a 5.43 ERA and a 4.33 FIP.

terry6

P-Adonis Terry, Baltimore Orioles/Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

1884 1886 1887 1888 1890

18-8, 2.57 ERA, 98 K, .154, 2 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

6th Time All-Star-When I thinking of my Hall of Fame qualifications mentioned above, I was thinking of players like Terry, who has to be the flukiest six-time All-Star there is. He’s been in the top 10 in WAR for pitchers just two times and in the top 10 in WAR once, but has made six All-Star teams. He’s probably going to make it one more time. Of course, it’s my own weird rules for this team that have allowed that, but it’s almost like Adonis knew I would start writing this page in the 21st century and catered his career around that. One more thing about finishing in the top 10 in WAR for Pitchers is that Terry finished in the top 10 three times and all three times ranked 10th. He was never a top echelon pitcher.

This season, he pitched 249 innings with a 2.57 ERA and a 129 ERA+. Those aren’t bad stats, but the reason he’s on the team this season is because he was the best player on the Pirates.

Speaking of Pittsburgh, it didn’t do too bad, finishing in sixth place with an 80-73 record. Al Buckenberger (53-41) and Tom Burns (27-32) managed the Pirates.

Here’s Wikipedia on his time in Pittsburgh: “On June 10, 1892, Brooklyn released Terry, and was quickly signed by the Baltimore Orioles on June 14. He played just one game for Baltimore, a complete games loss, and was then traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 17 in exchange for Cub Stricker. He pitched well in his 2-plus seasons for Pittsburgh, winning 18 games in 1892 and 12 more in 1893.”

killen2

P-Frank Killen, Washington Senators, 21 Years Old

1891

29-26, 3.31 ERA, 147 K, .199, 4 HR, 23 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-22

2nd Time All-Star-Lefty Killen is starting out his career very Adonis-esque as he made two All-Star teams by being the best player on his squad. It’s not like he’s a bad pitcher. Killen pitched 459 2/3 innings with a 3.31 ERA and a 98 ERA+. He’s got some awesome seasons ahead, but he’s no Hall of Famer. Next year, he’s off to his third team in three years, the Pittsburgh Pirates.

While he wasn’t a bad pitcher, Killen pitched on a bad team, as the Senators, coached by Billie Barnie (0-2), Arthur Irwin (46-60), and Danny Richardson (12-31), finished in 10th place with a 58-93 record.

SABR writes of Lefty, “Killen and 11 other AA players were assigned to Washington, which changed its name from the Statesmen to Senators to inaugurate a new chapter in its history. Almost immediately Killen began trading jabs in the press with manager Billy Barnie, claiming that Washington’s contract offer was lower than the one he had signed with Milwaukee and which was supposedly valid under the rules of the peace settlement. Killen, like all major-league players, quickly learned that the merger depressed salaries. Praised as ‘one of the most promising pitchers in the country’ and the ‘only reliable twirler on the team,’ Killen (29-26) was the lone bright spot on the 10th-place Senators (58-93), winning half of their games.

“The hard-throwing Killen was hailed as ‘a great general while officiating in the box [whose] deceptive curves have time and again proved very puzzling.’” Read the whole thing.

mcmahon3

P-Sadie McMahon, Baltimore Orioles, 24 Years Old

1890 1891

19-25, 3.24 ERA, 118 K, .141, 0 HR, 18 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-McMahon moved with the Orioles from the American Association to the National League and still pitched well, though certainly not at the level of his last two seasons. He pitched 397 innings with a 3.24 ERA and 107 ERA+. He’s probably got a couple of All-Star teams left and will be on the Orioles for a while.

Baltimore finished last in the league with a 46-101 record. George Van Haltren (1-10), John Waltz (2-6), and Ned Hanlon (43-85) managed the team. Hanlon at this point had a 160-218 record as a manager, yet he was kept around, which ended up being a good thing, because he would have a great career and lead Baltimore and eventually Brooklyn to many league titles.

McMahon didn’t finish the season, according to SABR. Talking about the unsportsmanlike play of the Orioles, SABR says, “McMahon fit right in with this crew, perhaps not in viciousness but certainly in rowdiness. He was reputed to be a heavy drinker and a carouser. Robert L. Tiemann wrote that Sadie was something of a hell-raiser, especially on the road. In 1892 he was suspended for the final month of the season for missing a game and then cussing out his manager and owner in an argument over his fine for being AWOL. He continued to pitch well, winning over 20 games each year from 1892 through 1894.” For quite a stretch, McMahon and his temper formed a lethal combo and he was one of the best pitchers in the league.

clements3

C-Jack Clements, Philadelphia Phillies, 27 Years Old

1890 1891

.264, 8 HR, 76 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-557 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-With all of the leagues now merged into the National League and the wheat separated from the chaff, Clements, a lefty, ended up as the top catcher in baseball. His hitting, as always, was good, but he also played defense this season, finishing 10th in Defensive WAR (1.3). From the plate, Clements slashed .264/.339/.415 for an OPS+ of 128. Those weren’t his usual numbers, but in the time he played, they were very good for a catcher.

I’m not sure he’s got another All-Star season left in him, but I wouldn’t bet my house on that. He could always hit for average. Wikipedia says, “During the 1890s, he established himself as one of the National League’s top hitters, finishing among the top 4 in batting average on 3 occasions. Clements also hit for power, finishing second in the NL with 17 home runs in 1893 and finishing third in the NL with 13 in 1895. Also in 1895, he finished with a .394 batting average, the highest single-season average by a catcher in major league history.

“After the 1897 season, Clements was traded to the St. Louis Browns. He played one season for the Browns, during which he became the first player (of either handedness) to catch 1,000 games in his career.

“At the time of his retirement, he held the single-season and career records for home runs by a catcher. Both of his records were broken by Gabby Hartnett in the 1920s; the single-season record fell in 1925, while the career record fell in 1928. Clements is also the only 19th-century baseball player of prominence to retire with more home runs than triples.”a name=”Zimmer”>

zimmer

C-Chief Zimmer, Cleveland Spiders, 31 Years Old

.264, 1 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star Season-Charles Louis “Chief” Zimmer was born on November 23, 1860 in Marietta, OH and made his first All-Star team at the age of 31. He started with Detroit in 1884 and moved to the American Association New York Metropolitans (1886), the AA Cleveland Blues (1887-1888), which became the Spiders in 1889. Zimmer was never much of an offensive threat, but according to dWAR, was good defensively. He finished ninth in Defensive WAR (1.3) and also had his best year at the plate, slashing .264/.327/.404 for an OPS+ of 117. His batting average, slugging average, and Adjusted OPS+ were all career highs up to this point.

Wikipedia has the details on his nickname: “Zimmer acquired the nickname ‘Chief’ during the 1886 season while playing as the captain of the Poughkeepsie team. Zimmer was not of American Indian descent and explained the genesis for the nickname as follows: ‘Since we were fleet of foot, we were called the Indians. As I was the head man of the Indians, somebody began to call me “Chief.” It stuck.’”

Even though he’s never made the All-Star team, Zimmer already had a reputation in the league. Again from Wikipedia, which says, “In 1892, when asked how he kept his hands healthy so as to be able to catch in so many games, Zimmer also claimed he received regular hand massages: ‘He replied that he made it a practice to visit a massage establishment whenever his hands gave him the slightest cause for trouble. He argues that by the systematic rubbing of the joints all swellings and soreness can be remedied instantly.’”

Brouthers Dan 185-57_Bat_PD1B-Dan Brouthers, Brooklyn Grooms, 34 Years Old

1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890 1891

.335, 5 HR, 124 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted 1889)

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1892 NL Batting Title (5th Time)

WAR Position Players-8.8 (5th Time)

Offensive WAR-7.8 (8th Time)

Batting Average-.335 (5th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.911 (8th Time)

Hits-197 (3rd Time)

Total Bases-282 (4th Time)

Runs Batted In-124 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-179 (8th Time)

Runs Created-118 (5th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-60 (8th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-6.4 (8th Time)

Offensive Win %-.805 (6th Time)

 

12th Time All-Star-Big Dan is on his fifth team in the last five years and, at the age of 34, had his best season ever. It’s possible it’s also his last All-Star team. For one thing, he only has one more fulltime season left in his career, with Baltimore in 1894. I don’t have to give you his stats, because you just spent an hour above reading all of the categories in which he led.

As for the Grooms, due to Brouthers incredible season, they were the only team in which a pitcher didn’t lead in WAR. Still with Ed Stein on the mound and Big Dan at the plate, Brooklyn did well, finishing third in the National League with a 95-59 record. John “Monte” Ward managed the squad. Surprisingly, Ward didn’t manage more, because though he didn’t win any titles, his career winning percentage as the team leader was .563. Yet he managed only seven years and was gone after 1894.

All of us are results of our circumstances and Brouthers is no different. He was a great slugger while baseball was still in its relative infancy. He played the majority of his career before 1893, when the pitcher’s mound would be moved back and the batting statistics are going to go through the roof. He played before Babe Ruth and others made the home run popular. None of this takes away from his career, but it can’t help but stir the emotions of what could have been. Brouthers would get to see Ruth as he lived until August 2, 1932, dying at the age of 74.

connor11

1B-Roger Connor, Philadelphia Phillies, 34 Years Old

1880 1882 1883 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890 1891

.294, 12 HR, 73 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted 1891)

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-155 (3rd Time)

Doubles-37

Extra Base Hits-60 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as 1B-155 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.985 (3rd Time)

11th Time All-Star-Connor jumped teams, going to the Phillies, but it didn’t hurt his production one bit. Age might have affected it a little, but not his team. Wikipedia explains, “In the offseason before 1892, Connor signed with the Philadelphia Athletics. The team broke up shortly after Connor signed, and his contract was awarded to the Philadelphia Phillies for that year.” For the first time in eight years, he wasn’t in the top 10 in WAR, but he still finished third in WAR Position Players (6.3), behind only Dan Brouthers (8.8) and Cupid Childs (7.1) and second in Offensive WAR (6.9), behind only Brouthers (7.8). Connor slashed .294/.420/.463 for an OPS+ of 166, the latter figure ranking second behind only, you guessed it, Brouthers (179). I wonder if Connor had a Brouthers voodoo doll at home. As for the home run chase, he still trailed 1892 ONEHOF Inductee Harry Stovey, 121-99.

The big man wouldn’t be part of the Phillies in 1893 as, according to SABR, “He led National League first basemen in fielding percentage (.985) and stole 22 bases. With a Hall of Fame outfield in Ed Delahanty, Billy Hamilton, and Sam Thompson, the future looked promising in Philadelphia. But Connor refused to sign the $1,800 contract tendered for the 1893 season by the club’s cash-strapped management. Consequently, the Phillies traded him back to New York in exchange for journeymen Jack Boyle and Jack Sharrot, plus cash.” It’s amazing how much great players like Brouthers and Connor jumped around at the tail end of their careers.

virtue

1B-Jake Virtue, Cleveland Spiders, 27 Years Old

.282, 2 HR, 89 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Jacob Kitchline “Jake” or “Guesses” Virtue was born on March 2, 1865 in Philadelphia, PA. His middle name might be the closest any name of any player in baseball history comes to matching my last name of Kitchell. Guesses started with Cleveland in 1890 and had his best season ever, slashing .282/.380/.391 for an OPS+ of 129, all of those numbers being career highs for a full season for Virtue. In the championship series against Boston, he slumped, going three-for-24 with no extra base hits.

For a man with just a five-year mediocre career, Wikipedia has a pretty extensive article on Virtue. It says, “Born in Philadelphia on March 2, 1865, Virtue debuted in the major leagues with Cleveland in 1890. In The Great Encyclopedia of Nineteenth Century Major League Baseball, Virtue is described as a 5’9″ player with excellent defensive skills. However, he also ‘had a huge failing. He was so short of self-confidence (some in Cleveland were unkind enough to say courage) that an error in the first inning or a strikeout in his first at bat would ruin him for the rest of the game.’

“In early 1893, The New York Times reported that Virtue might play in Philadelphia that year to replace first baseman Roger Connor; Connor was to be traded to the New York Giants. Connor was sent to New York, but Virtue remained in Cleveland. Though the pitching distance was increased from 55 feet and 6 inches to 60 feet and 6 inches for 1893, Virtue struggled offensively and defensively. A late-season on-field collision in 1892 seemed to have rendered Virtue ‘gunshy’.”

childs3

2B-Cupid Childs, Cleveland Spiders, 24 Years Old

1890 1891

.317, 3 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.443

Runs Scored-136

Times on Base-303

3rd Time All-Star-I don’t think Childs is going to make four more All-Star teams, but…it’s going to be close. Childs is one of those amazing players from baseball’s early days of which many of you have never heard. I know I hadn’t before doing this page. Yet, during this time in which he’s playing, Childs is the game’s best second baseman. This season, he finished ninth in WAR (7.1); second in WAR Position Players (7.1), behind only Dan Brouthers (8.8); and third in Offensive WAR (6.4), behind only Brouthers (7.8) and Roger Connor (6.9), both of whom played a much easier defensive position. His .317 batting average was third in the league behind Brouthers (.335) and Billy Hamilton (.330), while his on-base percentage of .443 led the league. If that wasn’t enough, Childs also had a fantastic championship series against Boston, hitting .409 with two triples, along with walking five times.

                SABR summarizes his career as follows, “Cupid Childs was one of the best hitting major league second basemen during the late nineteenth century, not to mention a better-than-average fielder who possessed great range on the diamond. Only four other second basemen in the history of major league baseball have averaged more total chances per game than Childs. His all-around outstanding play made him an integral part of the great Cleveland Spiders teams of the 1890s.

“[F]or some reason the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee continually overlooks this talented multi-tooled player when it comes time to vote in new inductees. It seems that for now, Cupid’s arrow has missed its mark in Cooperstown.” He probably doesn’t deserve the Hall of Fame, but he certainly deserves a look.

mcphee6

2B-Bid McPhee, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

1886 1887 1889 1890 1891

.274, 4 HR, 60 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 2B-451 (6th Time)

Double Plays Turned as 2B-86 (10th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.49 (6th Time)

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.40 (6th Time)

6th Time All-Star-I will finally concede McPhee should be in the Hall of Fame, but I think it was a bold choice. He was selected by the 2000 Veteran’s Committee and it must have been his fielding which caught its attention. He slashed .279/.379/.384 for an OPS+ of 107 for his career which isn’t spectacular, but did end his career with a 16.3 Defensive WAR which is 84th of all-time. He also played most of his good seasons in the American Association, which will usually disqualify a man from making Cooperstown. Still, due to longevity and being the best at his position at the time he played, I believe they got it right with McPhee.

This was McPhee’s best season ever as he finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.2) and eighth in Offensive WAR (4.5). It’s the first and only time he finished in the top 10 in Offensive WAR and the first time he’s made the All-Star team without finishing in the top 10 in Defensive WAR. McPhee slashed .274/.373/.370 for an OPS+ of 126. It was his highest OBP up to this point.

McPhee making the Hall of Fame makes me want to look at the candidacy for Cupid Childs again. McPhee played almost 700 more games and had about 1700 more at bats. He was also a much better fielder, beating Childs in dWAR 16.2 to 4.0. However, I already posted McPhee’s career slash line above. Here’s Childs’: .306/.416/.389 for an OPS+ of 119. I believe the Hall got them both right, but if Childs would have had a little longer career, he would be in Cooperstown also.

nash5

3B-Billy Nash, Boston Beaneaters, 27 Years Old

1887 1888 1889 1890

.260, 4 HR, 95 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 3B-.898 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-I asked in Nash’s 1890 blurb whether his bat could carry him to another All-Star team in 1891 and it didn’t. However, lack of good players at third base did put him back on the team this season. He did well defensively, finishing third in Defensive WAR (2.1), to only shortstop Germany Smith and second baseman Lou Bierbauer. At the plate, Nash slashed .260/.338/.350 for an OPS+ of 100. Despite the dearth of good third basemen in the league, I’m predicting this is Nash’s last All-Star team.

But at least he went out on top as Boston won the league and won the championship series against Cleveland. In the series, Nash struggled, going four-for-24 with no extra base hits. It was Nash’s third title and he would be part of another one in 1893. After this season, he would remain with Boston until 1895 and then move to Philadelphia from 1896-98. In his long career, he only played on four teams and two of those were only for one season.

Here’s a quote from fellow baseball blogger verdun2 about the 1892 split-season with a mention of Nash: “The team in Boston, the Beaneaters–which gets my vote for the absolutely worst team nickname ever–went 52-22 and won the first half by 2.5 games over Brooklyn. The team consisted of Hall of Famers Hugh Duffy and Tommy McCarthy in the outfield, King Kelly behind the plate, with Billy Nash, Tommy Tucker, Joe Quinn, Bobby Lowe, and Herman Long holding down the rest of the positions. Hall of Fame pitcher John Clarkson started the season at Boston, but was traded to Cleveland during the season. That left Kid Nichols as the undisputed ace. Nichols had a great year going 35-26 with 187 strikouts, a 2.84 ERA, and five shutouts.” He has much more to say on the split-season, I suggest reading it all.

dahlen

SS-Bill Dahlen, Chicago Colts, 22 Years Old

.293, 5 HR, 58 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-William Frederick “Bad Bill” Dahlen was born on January 5, 1870 in Nelliston, NY and was one of the early game’s best shortstops. I can see myself complaining about his lack of induction to Cooperstown many times in the future and asking questions like, “How can Bid McPhee be in the Hall of Fame and not Dahlen?” Well, I have plenty of time for that, so let’s get on with this season.

Dahlen started in 1891 as a third baseman for the Colts, before moving to shortstop permanently this season. While later in his career it would be his defense that carried him, he did well offensively this year, finishing fifth in WAR Position Players (6.1) and fourth in Offensive WAR (5.6). He slashed .293/.349/.423 for an OPS+ of 139, along with stealing 60 bases. He still has some great seasons ahead.

One difference between McPhee and Dahlen was temperament. From Jock Bio Legends, it says, “Baseball in the 1890s could be an ugly, violent affair. The game had become a win-at-all-costs profession that sometimes seemed to put aggression, intimidation and trickery on an equal footing with fundamental batting and fielding skills. It took a special kind of player to survive in this environment. A player like Bill Dahlen. A hard-hitting shortstop with a great glove, he was among the top players in the game for almost 20 seasons. ‘Bad Bill’ didn’t stick around because he was a nice guy. He went to war—and took no prisoners—every time he stepped onto the field.”

long2

SS-Herman Long, Boston Beaneaters, 26 Years Old

1891

.280, 6 HR, 78 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed-102 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as SS-99 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Long’s off to a good start, making his second All-Star team and winning his second league title in four years of ball. He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.7) and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.7). At the dish, he slashed .280/.334/.378 for an OPS+ of 106 with 57 stolen bases. In the championship series against Cleveland, Long batted .222, going six-for 27 with no extra base hits. Still, Boston won and Long was a big part of that.

We talked about Long holding the career record for errors made in last year’s blurb, but we can’t help but beat this to death, so here’s more from Wikipedia, which says, “The seeming contradiction between a high error rate and exceptional fielding skill is attributable to the fact that Long had a greater fielding range than most shortstops. He could get to balls batted to his left and right that other fielders would not have reached; a certain percentage of these difficult plays were mishandled, resulting in Long being charged with errors on grounders and flies that lesser shortstops would not have touched (and on which they would not be charged with errors).

“Of the three other players charged with over 1,000 lifetime errors, Deacon White is in Baseball’s Hall of Fame, and Bill Dahlen is perennially considered for enshrinement by MLB’s Veteran’s Committee.” There are certainly some good shortstops in this era, with Jack Glasscock, Dahlen, and Long among them. Hughie Jennings career is just starting and no doubt he’ll be making some All-Star teams in the future.

hamilton3

LF-Billy Hamilton, Philadelphia Phillies, 26 Years Old

1890 1891

.330, 3 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Singles-152 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Sliding Bill made his third straight All-Star team and will no doubt make my Hall of Fame. I also think he has a good shot at the ONEHOF. Hamilton finished fourth in WAR Position Players (6.1) and fifth in Offensive WAR (5.4). At the plate, he hit .330 (second behind Dan Brouthers’ .335); had an on-base percentage of .423 (third behind Cupid Childs’ .443 and Brouthers’ .432); slugged .410 and stole 57 bases. His Adjusted OPS+ was 152. All of the numbers look dazzling, but if you look at his career, the season looked very similar to what he always did.

Hamilton wasn’t known for his power, never hitting more than seven homers in a season. However, Wikipedia tells us, “In 1892, Hamilton hit both a leadoff and game-ending home run in the same game. Only Vic Power (1957), Darin Erstad (2000), Reed Johnson (2003) and Ian Kinsler (2009) have accomplished the same feat.”

                Meanwhile, SABR says, “Billy was a disruptive force, particularly with his ability to frustrate opposing pitchers by fouling off their deliveries until he found one to hit or drew a walk. He was the ideal leadoff man, getting on base in more than 45 percent of his plate appearances that season, and putting himself in position to be knocked in by sluggers [Ed] Delahanty and [Sam] Thompson.

“Though the Philadelphia pitching was too weak for the team to mount a serious challenge for the pennant, the offensive fireworks drew fans. The flashy Billy Hamilton was one of the most popular players on the team. In 1892, all three outfielders batted over .300, with Billy leading the way at .330.”

holliday

CF-Bug Holliday, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

.294, 13 HR, 91 RBI, 0-0, 11.25 ERA, 0 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-13 (2nd Time)

Power-Speed #-20.0

AB per HR-46.3

1st Time All-Star-James Wear “Bug” Holliday was born on February 8, 1867 in St. Louis, MO. Just because he made his first All-Star team, don’t think he hasn’t been around awhile. He started with the American Association Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1889, leading the league with 19 home runs and then followed the team to the National League the next season, where he finished his career, playing on the Reds through 1898. This season was Bug’s best ever, as he finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.9) and ninth in Offensive WAR (4.5). He slashed .294/.356/.450 and stole 43 bases for an OPS+ of 144. This is most likely his first and last All-Star team.

Holliday’s first ever at-bat came in the World Series, according to Wikipedia, which says, “Holliday was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and became the first player in major league history to make his debut in the post-season when he was called up, at the age of 18, by the Chicago White Stockings when they needed another outfielder after Game 4 of the 1885 World Series. He played in one game, and had no hits in four at bats. The distinction has since been matched by Mark Kiger, who played in the 2006 American League Championship Series for the Oakland Athletics as a defensive replacement, and Raúl Mondesí, pinch-hitting for Luke Hochevar in Game 3 of the 2015 World Series for the Kansas City Royals.”

By leading the National League in homers this season, Holliday is one of the rare players to lead two leagues in long balls.

thompson4RF-Sam Thompson, Philadelphia Phillies, 32 Years Old

1886 1887 1891

.305, 9 HR, 104 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

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

4th Time All-Star-What an outfield Philadelphia had in 1890s. Ed Delahanty hasn’t made an All-Star team yet, but that day is no doubt coming. He teamed with Thompson and Billy Hamilton to make an all-Hall of Fame outfield. The stats are going to really stand out starting next season when the mound is moved back 10 feet to 60 feet, six inches. As it is, Thompson was still impressive, finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (4.7) and seventh in Offensive WAR (4.6). Big Sam slashed .305/.377/.432 and stole 28 bases for an OPS+ of 144.

A book entitled Big Sam Thompson: Baseball’s Greatest Clutch Hitter by Roy Kerr talks much about the 1892 Phillies’ season. It says, “On the days that Tim Keefe pitched for the Phillies in 1892, one of baseball’s rarest events took place. With Keefe in the pitcher’s box, and Roger Connor at first base, Billy Hamilton, Ed Delehanty (sic) and Sam Thompson in the outfield, and with Harry Wright directing the team on bench, six future Hall of Famers represented the Phillies at the ballpark.

“The 1892 Phillies should have been serious pennant contenders. They led the league in hitting and tied for the lead in fielding…

“Late in the season, Sporting Life blamed the team’s poor finish on the unsettling effect of multiple injuries that plagued the club down the stretch. ‘Clements was knocked out for an entire month, and after that, Cross, Reilly, Hallman, Delehanty and Hamilton were successively injured, so there has been more or less shifting for nearly two months.’”

burns4

RF-Oyster Burns, Brooklyn Grooms, 27 Years Old

1887 1888 1889

.315, 4 HR, 96 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-After not making the All-Star team for two seasons, Burns is back. He had made the World Series in 1890, where he hit .222 with two doubles and a homer. The only change since then is that his Brooklyn team is now part of the National League rather than the American Association. It’s most likely his last All-Star team, as his hitting would decline over the next few years. This season, Burns finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.7) and sixth in Offensive WAR (5.1). His fielding, at least according to dWAR, was always terrible. At the plate, though, Burns shined, slashing .315/.395/.454 and stole 33 bases for an OPS+ of 159. That Adjusted OPS+ was third behind only teammate Dan Brouthers (179) and Philadelphia’s Roger Connor (166).

Following this season, Burns would remain with Brooklyn until 1895, a year in which he’d move to the Giants to finish the year and finish his career. He was done with his Major League career by the age of 30.

Starting in 1893, as I’ve mentioned numerous times, the mound is going to be moved back from 50 feet to 60 feet, six inches, the distance at which it remains to this day. Most people seem to regard modern baseball as starting in 1900 or even 1901, the year in which the American League formed, but it would seem in 1893, when gloves were now the norm and not an aberration and the mound was at its regular distance, that we would recognize the game as the same one we see today.

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18 thoughts on “1892 National League All-Star Team

  1. Kid Nichols gets my vote as the most overlooked pitcher. Maybe it’s because he pitched so long ago or maybe because Young is a contemporary, but it seems to be true.
    Nice list, as usual.
    Love your Hall of Fame idea.
    v

    • Thanks, as always, for your input. I started this project because I was frustrated with the Hall of Fame and its inconsistency. Now that I’m having to parse through individual players, I realize how tough it is to figure out who should be there and who shouldn’t. But Tommy McCarthy, c’mon, man!

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