Home » Uncategorized » 1893 National League All-Star Team

1893 National League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-Charlie Bennett

P-Amos Rusie, NYG

P-Kid Nichols, BSN

P-Cy Young, CLV

P-Ted Breitenstein, STL

P-Frank Killen, WHS

P-Brickyard Kennedy, BRO

P-Sadie McMahon, BLN

P-Willie McGill, CHC

P-Ice Box Chamberlain, CIN

P-Duke Esper, WHS

P-George Hemming, LOU

C-Jack Clements, PHI

C-Wilbert Robinson, BLN

1B-Jake Beckley, PIT

1B-Roger Connor, PHI

2B-Cupid Childs, CLV

3B-George Davis, NYG

3B-Denny Lyons, PIT

SS-John McGraw, BLN

SS-Jack Glasscock, STL/PIT

LF-Ed Delahanty, PHI

LF-Mike Smith, PIT

LF-Jesse Burkett, CLV

CF-Billy Hamilton, PHI

RF-Sam Thompson, PHI

 

1893 ONEHOF Inductee-Charlie Bennett

 

For the fourth time, 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)

1893-Charlie Bennett, C (No)

ONEHOF Nominees for 1894: King Kelly, Monte Ward, Old Hoss Radbourn, Hardy Richardson, Buck Ewing, John Clarkson, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson

It is surprising to me Charlie Bennett is not part of the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. He defined the role of catching in the early days of the game. His hands were gnarled and must have looked just awful, but he made an All-Star team in 1890 at the age of 35. This would be his last season and he finished it behind the plate. So many catchers of this era, because of the brutality of the position, tended to play less than half of their games at catcher and either sit the rest of the time or play an easier position. Not Bennett. In his 15 seasons, he played 954 games at catcher, only 130 at other positions. I can see him not being in the Hall if all of that catching affected his play, but he was a great hitter and good fielder for a good stretch of time.

Baseball blogger, verdun2, adds, “In 1896 the Detroit team built a new ballpark. They named it after Bennett. The team played there until a new park was built after the 1911 season. With the forming of the American League it became a Major League park and Ty Cobb played his first several seasons there. So at least, Detroit remembered Bennett.”

Rusie Amos 141-46_FL_PDP-Amos Rusie, New York Giants, 22 Years Old

1890 1891 1892

33-21, 3.23 ERA, 208 K, .269, 3 HR, 27 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-11.8

Hits per 9 IP-8.421 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts per 9 IP-3.884 (3rd Time)

Games Pitched-56

Innings Pitched-482.0

Strikeouts-208 (3rd Time)

Games Started-52

Complete Games-50

Shutouts-4 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls-218 (4th Time)

Hits Allowed-451

Batters Faced-2,111

Adj. Pitching Runs-71

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.1

Def. Games as P-56

Assists as P-114 (2nd Time)

 

4th Time All-Star-It’s probably this 1893 season in which baseball becomes most recognizable to the modern fan as the mound is moved back to 60 feet, six inches. Usually most people regard modern day baseball from this season on. There were still some differences, however. Rusie led the league with 482 innings pitched and no one is coming close to that in 2016. If you go back and read my 1892 blurb on Rusie, you’ll see he’s the one primarily responsible for the mound being moved back 10 feet due to his wildness. Whether the mound as 50 feet away from the plate or 60, Rusie still had a great season, finishing first in WAR (11.8) and third in WAR for Pitchers (11.6), behind Boston’s Kid Nichols (11.8) and Cleveland’s Cy Young (11.7). The Hoosier Thunderbolt had a 3.23 ERA, 2nd behind St. Louis’ Ted Breitenstein, and a 143 Adjusted ERA+, third behind Breitenstein (148) and Young (144).

All of those innings and all of that great pitching didn’t help the Giants in the standings. John “Monte” Ward took the reins and guided New York to a fifth place 68-64 record. It’d do much better next season.

How much did moving the mound back affect runs scored in the league? Tremendously. In 1892, the teams in the National League scored an average of 5.1 runs per game. This season, that total rocketed up to 6.6. The league ERA in 1892 was 3.28, while in 1893, it was 4.66. You’re going to notice higher ERAs and batting averages starting this year.

nicholsk4

P-Kid Nichols, Boston Beaneaters, 23 Years Old

1890 1891 1892

34-14, 3.52 ERA, 94 K, .220, 2 HR, 26 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

War for Pitchers-11.8 (2nd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-1.280

4th Time All-Star-I wonder how many of these All-Star teams Nichols is going to make. I have no doubt along with making Cooperstown and Ron’s HOFs, he’s going to make the ONEHOF. His season was outstanding as he was second in WAR (11.5), behind New York’s Amos Rusie (11.8) and first in WAR for Pitchers (11.8). Rusie had a bit of an advantage in hitting. On the mound, Nichols pitched 425 innings, second behind Rusie’s 482; with a 3.52 ERA and a 139 ERA+. Because of the mound moving back 10 feet, all ERAs are higher this season.

All of this helped lead the Beaneaters to their third consecutive National League crown. Coached by Frank Selee to an 86-43 record, Boston beat Pittsburgh by five games. It was in second place as late as July 26, but won nine consecutive games at that point and 18 of 19 and never looked back.

There is an argument on Baseball Fever on how good Nichols is. One of the commenters writes, “Nichols beats everybody but Cy Young on the career level, and gives serious ground to [Old Hoss] Radbourn and [John] Clarkson on the peak measures (he does get edged by Rusie, but his career advantage is so huge it overcomes that) that you can at least argue for those two over him. That still puts him ahead of HOFers like [Vic] Willis, [Christy] Mathewson (!), [Joe] McGinnity, [Clark} Griffith (though he has other credits), [Eddie] Plank, [Rube] Waddell and [Jack] Chesbro.”

young3

P-Cy Young, Cleveland Spiders, 26 Years Old

1891 1892

34-16, 3.36 ERA, 102 K, .235, 1 HR, 27 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-2.193 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-0.990

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.87

3rd Time All-Star-In my whole baseball-loving life, my favorite players have always been hitters, from Johnny Bench to Mike Trout. I have nothing against great pitchers, I just happen to like offense. But that doesn’t mean I don’t wish I had a time machine to go back and watch the all-time greats. Cy Young is one of those. He seemed to have a quirky motion and for years-and-years was brilliant. This season, he finished third in WAR (11.1), behind only New York’s Amos Rusie (11.8) and Boston’s Kid Nichols (11.5); and second in WAR for Pitchers (11.7), behind only Nichols (11.8). He pitched 422 2/3 innings, third behind Rusie (482) and Nichols (425), with a 3.36 ERA, behind only St. Louis’ Ted Breitenstein (3.18) and Rusie (3.23), and a 144 Adjusted ERA+, behind only Breitenstein’s 148. If I put 10 of Young’s seasons up on this page without the years, you’d have a hard time picking one out from the other. Like I said, he was consistently brilliant.

As for Young’s Spiders, Patsy Tebeau led them to a 73-55 third place finish, 12-and-a-half games out of first. The problem is when Young wasn’t pitching, they were only a .500 team.

Young is in the third year of a four-year stretch in which he walked 100 or more batters. Those would be the only four seasons he would have that many. He was known for his control, having 21 straight seasons in the top eight in Bases On Balls Per 9 IP.

breitenstein

P-Ted Breitenstein, St. Louis Browns, 24 Years Old

19-24, 3.18 ERA, 102 K, .181, 1 HR, 14 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1893 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-3.18

Adjusted ERA+-148

Putouts as P-42

1st Time All-Star-Theodore J. “Ted” or “Theo” Breitenstein was born on June 1, 1869 in St. Louis, MO. It was in the Gateway City he started his Major League career with the American Association Browns in 1891. The team and Breitenstein then moved to the National League in 1892. He started a good stretch this season, finishing fourth in WAR (10.8) and fourth in WAR for Pitchers (11.3). Breitenstein pitched 382 2/3 innings with league-leading marks at ERA (3.18) and Adjusted ERA+ (148).

Breitenstein would have had a better record on a better team, but the Bill Watkins-led Browns finished 10th in the NL with a 57-75 record. Pitching definitely wasn’t the Browns’ issue, as they finished second in Runs Allowed, but they couldn’t score, finishing last in runs scored per game. This despite having ONEHOFer Jack Glasscock for part of the season.

According to Wikipedia, Theo shined from the beginning. It says, “During his first season in the Majors, he was able to pitch occasionally in relief, but on the final day of the 1891 season, October 4, Breitenstein was allowed to start and he pitched a no-hitter against the Louisville Colonels, an 8–0 victory. He faced the minimum number of batters of 27, allowed just one base on balls, which was erased by a double play or by a pickoff play. It was also the last no-hitter thrown in the American Association, as the league folded following the season.” His 51.5 lifetime WAR makes him an outside candidate for the Hall of Fame despite his 160-170 lifetime record.

killen3

P-Frank Killen, Pittsburgh Pirates, 22 Years Old

1891 1892

36-14, 3.64 ERA, 99 K, .275, 4 HR, 30 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-36

3rd Time All-Star-Lefty moved to his third team in three seasons, but one thing didn’t change – he made the All-Star team. Killen finished fifth in WAR (8.5) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (7.4), tossing 415 innings with a 3.64 ERA and a 124 ERA+. If there would have been a Cy Young Award instead of a Cy Young pitching, he would have been considered for it many seasons because of his outstanding win-loss record.

Pittsburgh, coached by Al Buckenberger, battled for the National League pennant, falling just five games short of Boston. The Pirates were in first as late as June 9, but didn’t win two consecutive games again until July 4. By that time, they’d fallen to eight-and-a-half games out. A majority of their good season came long after they were out of contention.

According to SABR, Killen’s delivery may have been illegal. It writes, “Killen’s pitching evoked strong protests from opponents. ‘Players generally denounce Frank Killen’s delivery as illegal because he will inch up on the batsman,’ reported Sporting Life. ‘He did the same thing in the pitcher’s box under the old rule.’ Games at this time were refereed by a sole umpire who had a paramount task of determining if a pitcher’s foot was on the slab as required. Killen, perhaps more than any other pitcher of his generation, was regularly charged with ‘stealing a foot of ground,’ an accusation he never escaped.” Yes, the grand old game of baseball has always been filled with cheaters. It didn’t start in the steroid era.

kennedy

P-Brickyard Kennedy, Brooklyn Grooms, 25 Years Old

25-20, 3.72 ERA, 107 K, .248, 0 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-William Park “Brickyard” Kennedy was born on October 7, 1867 in Bellaire, OH. He started in 1892 with Brooklyn, leading the league in strikeouts per 9 innings. He never showed that kind of prowess at K-ing batters once the mound moved back in 1893. He would have a decent career, but this was his best season. He finished seventh in WAR (5.9) and seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.7). Brickyard pitched 382 2/3 innings with a 3.72 ERA and a 118 ERA+. On a team with a long history of good pitching, Kennedy held his own.

That team, the Grooms, led by Dave Foutz, finished in seventh place with a 65-63 record, 20-and-a-half games out of first.

As for his nickname, Baseball Reference says, “Brickyard Kennedy was mostly known as ‘Roaring Bill’, after his booming voice, not Brickyard. That nickname came from his off-season line of employment.”

You know how Jon Lester has that mental block that hinders him throwing the ball to first? Kennedy had his own tic, according to SABR, which says, “What is known for certain is that his 174 wins during the decade of the 1890s put him fourth, behind only Kid Nichols, Cy Young, and Amos Rusie, all of whom are in the Hall of Fame. That Kennedy never quite achieved enough to join them may be largely attributable to his greatest failing as a pitcher: an utter inability to cover first base. He simply could never master the task and kept vainly trying to persuade his managers that it wasn’t part of a pitcher’s job description.”

mcmahon4

P-Sadie McMahon, Baltimore Orioles, 25 Years Old

1890 1891 1892

23-18, 4.37 ERA, 79 K, .243, 0 HR, 22 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-18

4th Time All-Star-McMahon was only 25 years old and has made four All-Star teams and most likely has another one left. All pitching stats look a little shaky this season, now that the mound was moved back to 60 feet, six inches. It shows the importance of gauging players by the time in which they play. So many mistakes the Hall of Fame has made have been because they didn’t take a player’s era into account. So hitters in the 1930s always look good and pitchers in the 1960s always look good. By the stats anyway.

Anyway, McMahon had a good season, finishing ninth in WAR (5.6) and sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.8). He pitched 346 1/3 innings with a 4.37 ERA and a 108 ERA+. It wasn’t great, but he was Baltimore’s best player.

Ned Hanlon continued to lead the Orioles, guiding them to a 60-70 record and an eighth place finish. Next year, they’re going to have quite a turnaround. (Spoiler alert!)

Baltimore had a reputation as a vicious club. SABR writes, “The Orioles gained their fame not only because their three straight pennants made them one of the best teams of the era (some say one of the best of all time), but because of their reputation as the dirtiest team ever. Tripping, shoving, and blocking baserunners occurred frequently, and infielder John McGraw introduced the art of impeding a runner’s progress around the bases by grabbing his belt and holding on.” If you read my 1892 blurb on McMahon, you’ll see he wasn’t immune from this.

mcgill

P-Willie McGill, Chicago Colts, 19 Years Old

17-18, 4.61 ERA, 91 K, .234, 0 HR, 13 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-William Vaness “Willie” or “Kid” McGill was born on November 10, 1873, two years after the first Major League season of 1871. The young man stood five-foot-six, 170 pounds and had his best season ever. He finished 10th in WAR (5.5) and eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3), pitching 302 2/3 innings with a 4.61 ERA and a 105 ERA+. Incredibly, Kid McGill was 16 when he started in the Majors for the Players League Cleveland Infants in 1890. In 1891, he pitched for the American Association Cincinnati Kelly’s Killers and St. Louis Browns. The next season, the 18-year-old pitched for the Reds. His journey continued to Chicago this season and the next. He’d finish his career at the age of 22, pitching for the Phillies in 1895 and 1896.

Oh, how the mighty hath fallen, as the Cap Anson-led Colts dropped to ninth place with a 56-71 record. Anson would continue coaching another four seasons.

Did you know six of the top 35 pitcher walk totals of all-time came from 1893? It was going to take the pitchers a little bit of adjustment to pitch from the longer distance of 60 feet, six inches. Those six were Amos Rusie (218), with the all-time high, Tony Mullane (189), Kid Gleason (187), Willie McGill (181), George Hemming (175), and Brickyard Kennedy (168). It’s this adjustment period which has led to so many pitchers with a 4.00 ERA or higher making the All-Star team. But don’t worry, pitching fans, they’d eventually figure it out.

chamberlain3

P-Ice Box Chamberlain, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

1888 1889

16-12, 3.73 ERA, 59 K, .250, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-After Chamberlain won 32 games in 1889, it looked like he was off to a fantastic career. He was only 21 at the time. But he never did have that success again. In 1890, he pitched for both the American Association St. Louis Browns and Columbus Solons. In 1891, he moved to the Athletics, before coming to the Reds in 1892. Despite pitching “only” 241 innings this season, Ice Box was Cincinnati’s best pitcher, finishing 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.4) while having a 3.73 ERA and a 127 ERA+.

My Reds finished in sixth in 1893, with a 65-63 record. They were led by the great coach Charlie Comiskey, who couldn’t duplicate the success he had with the Browns in the 1880s.

Surprisingly, a man named Ice Box complained about the weather, according to Wikipedia, which says, “Before the 1893 season, Chamberlain indicated his displeasure with the climate in Cincinnati and said that he hoped to pitch for New York or Philadelphia in the coming year. He also said that he would be happy to pitch in Buffalo if the city received a major league expansion team. Chamberlain stayed in Cincinnati for that season and the next one, earning 16–12 and 10–9 records. On May 30, 1894, Chamberlain was the pitcher when Bobby Lowe became the first major league player to hit four home runs in one game. Two of Lowe’s home runs came in the same inning. Lowe hit only 70 career home runs in an 18-year career.”

esper

P-Duke Esper, Washington Senators, 25 Years Old

12-28, 4.71 ERA, 78 K, .287, 0 HR, 24 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Losses-28

1st Time All-Star-Charles H. “Duke” Esper born Charles Esbacher was born on July 28, 1867 in Salem, NJ. He started his career in 1890 with three different teams, the American Association Philadelphia Athletics, the National League Pittsburgh Alleghenys, and the NL Philadelphia Phillies. He went back to Pittsburgh in 1892, before coming to the Senators this season. While it’s true Esper led the league in losses, he still had a decent season and was the best player on Washington. He pitched 334 1/3 innings with a 4.71 ERA and a 98 ERA+. After this season, Esper played with the Baltimore Orioles from 1894-96 and with the St. Louis Browns in 1897 and 1898.

It wasn’t a great year for Washington. Coached by Hall of Famer, Ron’s Hall of Famer, and ONEHOFer Jim O’Rourke, the Senators finished in last place with a 40-89 record. Except for a fluke game played at the age of 53 in 1904, it was the end of Orator’s career, both as a player and a manager.

Frank Killen’s SABR article mentions that southpaws like Esper were a rarity, saying, “The Pirates had ‘dreamed of Killen for two seasons,’ reported the paper, which also cautioned that all left-handers are inherently erratic, hinting at the possibility that Killen might not be as good as advertised. Southpaws were a rarity in the majors at the time. Of the 26 pitchers who won at least 16 games in 1892, Killen was the only left-hander; a year earlier lefties accounted for only 24 wins all season in the NL, 20 of them by Duke Esper.”

hemming

P-George Hemming, Louisville Colonels, 24 Years Old

18-17, 5.10 ERA, 79 K, .203, 0 HR, 19 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-George Earl (wait for it) “Old Wax Figger” (yes!) Hemming was born on December 15, 1868 (the same birthday as my beautiful bride) in Carrollton, OH. There’s very little information on Hemming to be found, including why he’s called Old Wax Figger. He started his Major League career in the Players League in 1890 with Cleveland and Brooklyn Ward’s Wonders. Hemming stayed in Brooklyn with the Grooms in 1891, then went to Cincinnati and Louisville in 1892. This season, he was the Colonels best player, though admittedly that’s not saying much. Old Wax Figger pitched 332 innings with a 5.10 ERA and an 86 ERA+. He’ll be better next season and there’s a good chance he’s back on this list.

Billy Barnie took over the team, but he probably wished he hadn’t. The Colonels finished in 11th place with a 50-75 record. It was their third consecutive season at .414 percentage or worse, and it’s not going to get much better. Surprisingly, Louisville would continue to be in the National League all the way through 1899.

I mentioned in Willie McGill’s write-up Hemming was one of six pitchers whose 1893 walk total still places them in the top 35 of all time. He walked 175 batters, while striking out only 79. As a matter of fact, there was almost double the amount of walks in the whole National League than there were strikeouts, 6,143-to-3,341. I’ve mentioned many times it was quite an adjustment for the pitchers once the mound was moved back to its modern-day iteration of 60 feet, six inches.

clements4

C-Jack Clements, Philadelphia Phillies, 28 Years Old

1890 1891 1892

.285, 17 HR, 80 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

AB per HR-22.1

4th Time All-Star-Well, I recapped the rest of Clements’ career in his 1892 blurb and then what does he do? He makes another All-Star team. Now what am I going to do? I could mention his power, as he hit double-digit homers for the first time. Altogether, he slashed .285/.360/.489 (his highest slugging percentage thus far) for an OPS+ of 123. He’s got some great seasons ahead, but will he play enough games to make the All-Star team? Already, the wear-and-tear of catching has him down to 94 games played and it won’t be that high again until 1898.

As for the Phillies, the ageless Harry Wright, who has been a manager ever since the dawn of the Major Leagues in 1871, coached them to a 72-57 fourth place finish. It was a great finish for the Hall of Famer, who finished his 23-year managerial career with six league titles and a 1,225-885 record, which works out to a .581 winning percentage.

Wright never matched his early success, when he won four of the five National Association pennants from 1872-75 or two of the first three National League pennants in 1877 and 1878. After that, his teams finished second three times and third four times, but he couldn’t get back over the hump. But if you’re a true baseball fan, his is a name which should never be forgotten as he was the first superstar manager. He managed in an era with no gloves all the way to when there were gloves. He managed in a time when pitchers pitched underhanded from 45 feet to a time where pitchers threw overhanded from 60 feet, six inches.

As it turned out, Wright didn’t last much longer, dying of a lung ailment on October 3, 1895.

robinsonw

C-Wilbert Robinson, Baltimore Orioles, 29 Years Old

.334, 3 HR, 57 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (as a manager)

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-93

Putouts as C-349

1st Time All-Star-Wilbert “Uncle Robbie” Robinson was born on June 29, 1865 in Bolton, MA. He garnered most of his fame as a manager for Brooklyn, but he was a decent enough player. Catcher was always his main position and he started with the American Association Philadelphia Athletics from 1886-90, before moving to Baltimore mid-season of 1890. His hitting, even adjusted for the league-wide offensive burst this season, improved and paired with his usual good defense, welcome to the All-Star team, Uncle Robbie! He slashed .334/.382/.435 (all three highs in his career to this point) for an Adjusted OPS+ of 116. It’s always hard to gauge whether catchers will make All-Star teams because of their limited playing time, but if I had to predict, I’d say no.

SABR says the following of Robinson, “Though he was an outstanding catcher for the Baltimore Orioles during the 1890s, Wilbert Robinson is remembered today primarily as the jovial, rotund ‘Uncle Robbie’ who managed the Brooklyn Robins to two National League pennants and a 1,399-1,398 record from 1914 to 1931. His congenial nature and happy-go-lucky attitude made him one of the most beloved characters in baseball, but on the diamond he was a never-say-die competitor who specialized in getting the most out of his pitchers. ‘It is doubtful that baseball ever produced a more colorful figure than the esteemed Wilbert Robinson,’ wrote John Kieran in the New York Times. ‘Like Falstaff, he was not only witty himself but the cause of wit in others.’”

beckley4

1B-Jake Beckley, Pittsburgh Pirates, 25 Years Old

1889 1890 1891

.303, 5 HR, 106 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 1B-95 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Well, Beckley keeps making All-Star teams, so he’s won me over to his side. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Good job, baseball writers and historians! He was the best first baseman in the league, finishing seventh in WAR Position Players (4.6) and 10th in Defensive WAR (0.9). That would be the only time he was in the top 10 in dWAR. If you’ll read Beckley’s 1891 blurb, you’ll see that the death of his wife caused him to have a bad season in 1892, but he’s back. Eagle Eye slashed .303/.386/.459 (it was his highest OBP to this time), along with 15 stolen bases, for an OPS+ of 127. That, along with stellar defense, put him on the All-Star team this season and he’s got many more ahead.

Of course, Beckley’s good play came with some shenanigans, according to SABR, which says, “
Jake Beckley wasn’t afraid to bend the rules. Despite his stocky build (he stood 5’10” and weighed 200 lbs.), he ran well enough to reach double figures in stolen bases and triples almost every year, but he also didn’t mind cutting across the infield if the umpire’s back was turned.

“Jake also loved pulling the hidden-ball trick and tried it on every new player who came into the league. Sometimes he hid the ball in his clothing or under his arm, and other times he hid it under the base sack and waited for the unsuspecting player to wander off first. One day, with Louisville’s Honus Wagner on first, Jake smuggled an extra ball onto the field and put it under his armpit, partially exposed so Wagner could see it. When the umpire’s back was turned, Wagner grabbed the ball and heaved it into the outfield. Wagner lit out for second, but the pitcher still held the game ball and threw Wagner out.”

connor121B-Roger Connor, New York Giants, 35 Years Old

1880 1882 1883 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890 1891 1892

.305, 11 HR, 105 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1891)

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-135 (4th Time)

Putouts-1,423 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as 1B-135 (4th Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,423 (3rd Time)

12th Time All-Star-After a one-year excursion in Philadelphia, the giant who gave New York its nickname was back and, for the ninth consecutive year, made the All-Star team. It’s probably his last one, but you can’t take away from Connor’s great career. This season, he finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.4), his lowest finish in this category since 1884, and 10th in in Offensive WAR (3.9), also his lowest since nine years previous. In a year in which batting numbers increased, Connor’s remained about the same as always. He slashed .305/.413/.450 and stole 24 bases for an OPS+ of 129. Most people would be happy with those numbers, but they’re mediocre when compared to the rest of the big man’s career.

At this point, Connor trailed Harry Stovey, 122-110 in home runs. He would pass him in 1895 and finish his career with 138 dingers, which would be the all-time high until Babe Ruth broke it in 1921. If Connor would have played in a different era, he would be one of the all-time home run hitters. Homers just weren’t a big part of the game when he played.

I mentioned in a previous write-up Connor tried switching to hitting right-handed for some at-bats. You would think a lifetime lefty would not be successful in this, but, according to SABR, “Despite reaching the age of 36 by midseason, the durable Connor played the entire 135-game Giants schedule. And like most National League batsmen, he was a beneficiary of 1893 rule changes that moved the pitching distance back to 60 feet 6 inches and eliminated the pitcher’s box. But numbers that once might have placed Connor in the top echelon – 105 RBIs, 11 home runs, and .863 OPS – were not particularly noteworthy given the offensive explosion of that season. Connor did, however, manage one extraordinary feat. As uncovered by biographer Roy Kerr, he hit four of his 11 1893 home runs batting right-handed.”

childs4

2B-Cupid Childs, Cleveland Spiders, 25 Years Old

1890 1891 1892

.326, 3 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-In a year in which walks are doled out so commonly, due to the mound moving back 10 feet, you would have thought it would be a great opportunity for the patient Childs, and you would be right! He finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.7) and sixth in Offensive WAR (4.7). At the plate, the cherubic Childs slashed .326/.463/.425 with 23 stolen bases for an Adjusted OPS+ of 132. His on-base percentage was his highest so far in his career, but next year, it will be even higher. In 1893, only Billy Hamilton (.490) got on base at a higher rate.

At this time in baseball’s history, there wasn’t a better second sacker. He was one of the first players to bring value to a team due to his patience at the plate and rarely struck out, fanning only 12 times in 1893. Wikipedia sums up this era of his career as thus: “Childs was among the top ten players in the league in walks every season between 1890 and 1900; he finished second in walks every season between 1891 and 1894. He led the league in doubles and extra base hits in 1890. In May 1900, Childs was attempting a double play against the Pittsburgh Pirates when the Pirates player-manager Fred Clarke slid into him. There was a brief confrontation on the field, and then Childs spotted Clarke at a train station after the game. Childs charged Clarke and badly beat the manager in the ensuing fistfight. The next day, fans in Pittsburgh showed up in large numbers (triple the average Monday attendance) hoping to see a continuation of the scuffle, but the game was played without incident.”

davisg

3B-George Davis, New York Giants, 22 Years Old

.355, 11 HR, 119 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Offensive WAR-5.6

Def. Games as 3B-133

Errors Committed as 3B-64

Double Plays Turned as 3B-27

1st Time All-Star-George Stacey Davis was born on August 23, 1870 in Cohoes, NY. He might have had a shot as the greatest third baseman of all time, if he stayed there, but he’s going to move to shortstop starting in 1897. He started in the outfield as a 19 year old for Cleveland, before being traded to New York for Buck Ewing by Cleveland. That the Spiders were willing to trade Davis for the 33-year-old Ewing shows what they thought of his prospects, but the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple must have ignited Davis, because his career took off this season.

Davis finished eighth in WAR (5.7), second in WAR Position Players (5.7), behind only Philadelphia’s Ed Delahanty, and first in Offensive WAR (5.6). He slashed .355/.410/.554 with 37 stolen bases and an Adjusted OPS+ of 155. His batting average, slugging average, and OPS+ were both career highs and his on-base percentage was his highest so far. It’s not his best season ever because his defense didn’t match his offense yet, but it soon would.

While it’s not shocking Davis made the Hall of Fame, it is bewildering it took all the way to 1998. It also doesn’t look like he got any votes before the Veteran’s Committee inducted him that year. My guess is he’ll be in my Hall of Fame before the 1890s end. Did you know if WAR is the measuring tool then only 52 players in all of baseball history are better than Davis?

lyons6

3B-Denny Lyons, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

1887 1888 1889 1890 1891

.306, 3 HR, 105 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 3B-214 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-At this point in his career, Lyons has made six All-Star teams, all at third base. That’s ties him for most All-Star teams on the hot corner with Ned Williamson and Ezra Sutton. He had made five straight teams until missing out in 1892, when he played for the Giants. This season, Lyons moved on to Pittsburgh and was back on the list. It’s probably his last, as alcohol and injuries caught up with him, but Lyons has nothing to be ashamed of. Well, except the drinking.

This season, he finished fourth in WAR Position Players (5.0) and eighth in Offensive WAR (4.6). He slashed .306/.430/.429 with 19 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 131. He didn’t make Cooperstown and he won’t make ONEHOF or Ron’s HOF, but in his time, there wasn’t a better third sacker.

Baseball Reference doesn’t have a lot of information on Lyons’ personal life. It does say, “Sporting Life of September 30, 1911 indicated that Lyons had fallen on hard times and that a benefit had been held for him.” However, it doesn’t give a reason why. He died in West Covington, KY at 62 years old.

Lyons never got a sniff at the Hall of Fame and I can live with that. I don’t think he deserves it, but because he played most of his good years in the American Association, he wasn’t going to get the votes.

But for a stretch of time from 1887-93, he slashed .320/.416/.459 averaging 26 stolen bases and there wasn’t a better third baseman in any of the leagues.

mcgraw

SS-John McGraw, Baltimore Orioles, 20 Years Old

.321, 5 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (As a manager)

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

 

1st Time All-Star-John Joseph “Mugsy” or “Little Napoleon” McGraw was born on April 7, 1873 in Truxton, NY and now one of the most colorful characters in the history of the game has made the list. He will eventually make the Hall of Fame as a manager, but he wasn’t a bad player. He was, however, a bad man. McGraw would be the motor behind the dirty play of the Orioles, but his play was also a reason for their success. He started with Baltimore when it was in the American Association in 1891, before he and it moved to the National League in 1892. This season, Mugsy finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.2) and third in Offensive WAR (5.1), behind New York’s George Davis (5.6) and Phillies outfielder Ed Delahanty (5.6). This means his defense was terrible, but it would improve.

At the plate, McGraw slashed .321/.454/.413 with 38 stolen bases for a 130 OPS+. All of those totals were career highs up to this point in his play. He wouldn’t hit below .300 until the 20th Century. He’d never have an OBP below .400 in a full season ever again. He was a singles hitter but he could definitely get on base.

Of the beginning of his career, Baseball Reference says, “John McGraw was a Hall of Fame manager who also had a tremendous playing career.

“He broke in with the Baltimore Orioles of the American Association (which was a major league at the time) in 1891. As an 18-year-old rookie, he hit .270, in a league where the league average was .255. During his career, he appeared in 782 games as a third baseman, 183 as a shortstop, and smaller numbers as an outfielder and second baseman. Players of the time were often small and wiry, and McGraw was no exception – he was only 5 ft. 7 in.”

glasscock11

SS-Jack Glasscock, St. Louis Cardinals/Pittsburgh Pirates, 35 Years Old

1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890

.320, 2 HR, 100 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1890)

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes

 

11th Time All-Star-Welcome back to the All-Star team, Pebbly Jack! He didn’t make in 1891 when he played for the Giants or in 1892 when he played for the Cardinals, but he’s back this season. It’s been three seasons since I could complain about him not being in the Hall of Fame (C’mon, man!). He got 2.6 percent of the vote from the Veteran’s in 1936 and never came back on the ballot. If Glasscock was alive today, he’d be 159 years old and very happy to be part of the ONEHOF and my Hall of Fame. This season, he started with the Cardinals, playing 48 games and slashing .287/.382/.354 with 20 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 96 and then was traded to the Pirates for Frank Shugart and slashed .341/.385/.451 with 16 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 124. Glasscock almost guided the Pirates to the pennant. If you crunch all of these numbers together, he finished sixth in Defensive WAR and ended up slashing .320/.384/.412 with 36 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 113.

After this season, he would remain with Pittsburgh for one year and then finish his career in 1895 with Louisville and Washington. Others may disagree, but he was the greatest shortstop of his era and it wasn’t even close.

Wikipedia says after his Major League career ended, “Glasscock returned to Wheeling and played on a minor league team run by Ed Barrow, winning the first pennant of his career; he remained in the minor leagues as a first baseman until 1901, winning an 1896 batting title with a .431 average. After his baseball career ended, he returned to carpentry. He died in Wheeling from a stroke at age 89.”

delahanty

LF-Ed Delahanty, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

.368, 19 HR, 146 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

War Position Players-6.9

Slugging %-.583 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-347

Home Runs-19

Runs Batted In-146

Runs Created-144

Adj. Batting Runs-51

Adj. Batting Wins-4.8

Extra Base Hits-72

Power-Speed #-25.1

1st Time All-Star-Edward James “Big Ed” Delahanty was born on October 30, 1867 in Cleveland, OH. Because of his power, I always imagined him bigger and he was tall for his day at six-foot-one, but he weighed in at only 170 pounds. The lanky one would go on to have a great career and a tragic end, but there’s plenty of time for that story. Delahanty started as a 20-year-old for Philadelphia in 1888 and 1889, and then went to the Players League, playing for the Infants. After that one-year experiment failed, he was back on the Phillies for most of the rest of his career.

Big Ed was a decent hitter up to this point, but really started lighting it up in 1892 and finally made the All-Star team this year, finishing sixth in WAR (6.9), first in WAR Position Players (6.9), and second in Offensive WAR (5.6), behind only New York’s George Davis (5.6). At the plate, he hit .368, his highest batting average so far; had his highest OBP so far at .423; and slugged .583, yes, his highest so far. No one benefited from the mounds moving back 10 feet more than Delahanty. By the way, that .368 average was third behind two teammates, Billy Hamilton (.380) and Sam Thompson (.370).

According to Wikipedia, Delahanty’s biographer, Jerrold Casway, wrote of him, “Baseball for Irish kids was a shortcut to the American dream and to self-indulgent glory and fortune. By the mid-1880s these young Irish men dominated the sport and popularized a style of play that was termed heady, daring, and spontaneous…. [Delahanty] personified the flamboyant, exciting spectator-favorite, the Casey-at-the-bat, Irish slugger. The handsome masculine athlete who is expected to live as large as he played.”

smithm3

LF-Mike Smith, Pittsburgh Pirates, 25 Years Old

1887 1888

.346, 7 HR, 103 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-After taking a five-year sabbatical from this list, Smith is back on the All-Star team, this time as a leftfielder instead of a pitcher as before. This was actually the first season Smith did no pitching whatsoever. Smith was a decent hitter back in his American Association days with Cincinnati, but he became a pretty good batsman in the National League. He finished third in WAR Position Players (5.3), behind Big Ed Delahanty of the Phillies (6.9) and George Davis of the Giants (5.7). Smith also finished fourth in Offensive WAR (4.9), slashing .346/.435/.525 with 26 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 158. All of those numbers were career highs thus far and his Adjusted OPS+ would be his highest ever. Speaking of that OPS+, it ranked behind only Philadelphia’s Billy Hamilton (167) and Delahanty (164).

Smith didn’t play in Majors in 1890 and 1891, instead playing with the Kansas City Blues of the Western Association. He most likely was in the outfield for them in 1891 and it was there Major League teams understood how good of a hitter he could be. Smith was the poor man’s Babe Ruth, pitching well enough to make two All-Star teams and then being a good enough outfielder to make a few teams also.     You might be saying, “Well, everybody was hitting in those days” and you’re  right, but the fact he was fourth in Offensive WAR and third in OPS+ shows that he was still among the elite batters of his day.

burkett

LF-Jesse Burkett, Cleveland Spiders, 24 Years Old

.348, 6 HR, 82 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Times on Base-283

Errors Committed as OF-46

1st Time All-Star-Jesse Cail “Crab” Burkett was born on December 4, 1868 in Wheeling, WV and will have an outstanding well-deserved Hall of Fame career. The five-foot-eight, 155 pounder started with the Giants in 1890, hitting .309, but since he failed as a pitcher, he was allowed to be purchased by the Spiders in 1891, where he will remain for a while. In this, his first All-Star season, he finished seventh in Offensive WAR (4.6), while slashing .348/.459/.491 with 39 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 147. As I’ve written so many times this season, all of those numbers were career highs so far. That .459 OBP was third being only Philadelphia’s Billy Hamilton (.490) and Crab’s teammate Cupid Childs (.463).

As for his nickname, I would have guessed it was because of Burkett’s small stature and the way he scooted around the field. I would have been wrong. Baseball Reference says, “His surly disposition also made him unpopular with his teammates, earning him the nickname ‘The Crab’, but he was not that way off the field, earning a reputation for working well with young players and with children in the off-season and leading to his continuous involvement in the game after his retirement as a player.”

I mentioned he failed as a pitcher, but before entering the Majors, Burkett did well, again according to BR, which states, “Growing up in Wheeling, WV, a baseball hotbed at the time, he had begun his professional career with Scranton of the Central League in 1888, winning 14 games. He then had a tremendous season for Worcester of the Atlantic Association in 1889, going 30-6. He married a local woman that year, and settled down in Worcester, MA for the remainder of his life.”

Hamilton Billy 141-46_FL_PDCF-Billy Hamilton, Philadelphia Phillies, 27 Years Old

1890 1891 1892

.380, 5 HR, 44 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Batting Average-.380 (2nd Time)

On-Base %-.490 (2nd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.014

Adjusted OPS+-167

Offensive Win %-.804 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Has there ever been a better outfield than Ed Delahanty, Hamilton, and Sam Thompson? Even now you’re thinking about that question and making lists, aren’t you? Well, I suppose it’s possible, but this trio places somewhere near the top. And leading the way was the great Sliding Billy. You’re going to be overwhelmed by the stats to follow, so relax, take a deep breath, and now…..read! He finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.0) and ninth in Offensive WAR (4.5). He slashed .380/.490/.524 with 43 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 167. All of those numbers were career highs thus far and he’d never slug higher or have an Adjusted OPS+ that was higher for the rest of his playing days. As you can see above, his batting average, on-base percentage and OPS+ all led the league.

You might have noticed Hamilton is now playing in centerfield. According to SABR, “In 1893, after the pitching distance increased ten feet to the current 60’ 6” standard, their batting averages soared. Billy’s outfield defense improved as well, and in 1893 Harry Wright, in his final season as manager, moved Billy to center field, and sent Ed Delahanty to left. Billy remained in center for the remainder of his major league career.”

Oh, I forgot to mention Hamilton played only 82 of the team’s 132 games this season. This is why he wasn’t in the top 10 in steals for the only time in a 10-year stretch. SABR again has the details: “If anyone still needed confirmation of Billy’s value to the team, they received it in 1893. Billy was on his way to another outstanding season in early August, and the Phillies stood in second place after three double-digit drubbings of the Senators. Hamilton had complained of not feeling well, and his health grew worse as he tried to play despite fever and fatigue. On August 10, a doctor diagnosed Hamilton with a case of typhoid fever and ordered him out of the lineup. Billy played no more that season, and the Phillies fell out of the race, going 19-26 the rest of the way, and settling into fourth place.”

thompson5

RF-Sam Thompson, Philadelphia Phillies, 33 Years Old

1886 1887 1891 1892

.370, 11 HR, 126 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

At-Bats-600 (2nd Time)

Plate Appearances-656

Hits-222

Doubles-37

5th Time All-Star-Big Sam Thompson’s consistency over the last few years bring in him into the conversation as the greatest rightfielder of the game so far or GOATSF. (I’m the king of incomprehensible acronyms or INCACRs.) Thompson was the veteran in the outfield, alongside two others, who along with Big Sam, would make the Hall of Fame. If Philadelphia had any pitching in these days, who knows how far it could have gone. As for 1893, Thompson finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.2) and fifth in Offensive WAR (4.8). He slashed .370/.424/.530 with 18 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 151. The on-base percentage was his highest up to this point in his career, but all of these numbers are going to be shattered in 1894. As it is, his batting average (.370) was second behind teammate Billy Hamilton (.380) and his slugging (.530) was third behind only teammate Ed Delahanty (.583) and New York’s George Davis (.554).

Baseball Reference writes of Thompson, “’On a frequency (per at-bat) basis, Sam Thompson led all nineteenth-century hitters in home runs. . . After 1893, when the pitching distance was increased . . . (Thompson} capitalized on the new pitching distance more than any other batter . . .” – from the book The King of Swat

“He also holds the obscure single-season record for the most RBI driving in a teammate (i.e. excluding self). Playing for Detroit in 1887, he drove in 156 teammates. (He hit just 10 home runs, for a total of 166 RBI.) Further, he holds second place in this category, as he drove in 147 teammates for Philadelphia in 1895. (Third place belongs to Hank Greenberg: 143 for the modern Detroit team in 1937.)”

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10 thoughts on “1893 National League All-Star Team

  1. In 1896 the Detroit team built a new ballpark. They named it after Bennett. The team played there until a new park was built after the 1911 season. With the forming of the American League it became a Major League park and Ty Cobb played his first several seasons there. So at least, Detroit remembered Bennett.
    Nice addition to your Hall.
    v

    • Thanks for that info! From all I can gather, people like Buck Ewing and Deacon White were much more well-regarded at catcher than Bennett, who seems to have fallen through the cracks. It’s good to know he was famous in Detroit, at least. I’m adding your comment to my blurb. Hope that’s okay.

  2. Pingback: 1894 National League All-Star Team | Year-by-Year All Star Teams

  3. Pingback: 1895 National League All-Star Team | Year-by-Year All Star Teams

  4. Pingback: 1896 National League All-Star Team | Year-by-Year All Star Teams

  5. Pingback: 1897 National League All-Star Team | Year-by-Year All Star Teams

  6. Pingback: 1898 National League All-Star Team | Year-by-Year All Star Teams

  7. Pingback: 1899 National League All-Star Team | Year-by-Year All Star Teams

  8. Pingback: 1900 National League All-Star Team | Year-by-Year All Star Teams

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