1895 National League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-Old Hoss Radbourn

P-Cy Young, CLV

P-Pink Hawley, PIT

P-Kid Nichols, BSN

P-Clark Griffith, CHC

P-Nig Cuppy, CLV

P-Bill Hoffer, BLN

P-Ted Breitenstein, STL

P-Amos Rusie, NYG

P-Al Maul, WHS

P-Frank Dwyer, CIN

C-Jack Clements, PHI

C-Deacon McGuire, WHS

1B-Ed Cartwright, WHS

2B-Bid McPhee, CIN

3B-John McGraw, BLN

SS-Hughie Jennings, BLN

LF-Ed Delahanty, PHI

LF-Joe Kelley, BLN

LF-Jesse Burkett, CLV

LF-Fred Clarke, LOU

CF-Billy Hamilton, PHI

CF-Mike Griffin, BRO

CF-Bill Lange, CHC

RF-Sam Thompson, PHI

RF-Willie Keeler, BLN


radbourn91895 ONEHOF Inductee-Old Hoss Radbourn

1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1889 1890

309-194, 2.68 ERA, 1830 K, 76.0 WAR


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

The following list is the prestigious ONEHOF and the Yes or No indicates whether that player is in the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. The picks thus far are:

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)

1894-John Clarkson, P (Yes)

1895-Old Hoss Radbourn, P (Yes)

ONEHOF Nominees for 1895: King Kelly, Monte Ward, Hardy Richardson, Buck Ewing, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson

Old Hoss Radbourn is most famous for his record 59 wins in 1884 or he might be most famous for flipping the bird in a group picture from the same time. Actually, neither of those is true. Nowadays, Radbourn is famous for a Twitter account in his name which analyzes modern problems in old-timey language. See it @OldHossRadbourn.


P-Cy Young, Cleveland Spiders, 28 Years Old, 2nd MVP

1891 1892 1893 1894

35-10, 3.26 ERA, 121 K, .214, 0 HR, 13 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes


Led in:


Wins Above Replacement-11.6 (2nd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-12.1 (2nd Time)

Wins-35 (2nd Time)

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

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.826 (4th Time)

Shutouts-4 (2nd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.95 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-73 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.2 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-120

5th Time All-Star-As the league adjusted to having its mound moved farther back in 1893, pitchers had to adjust to the proliferation of hitting going on in the National League. Cy Young, who pitched in the 50 foot pitcher’s mound era and in the 60 feet-six inch era, pitched great whatever the circumstances. This is his fifth straight All-Star team and the fourth consecutive year he is in the top four in WAR. It is the fifth of 15 consecutive years he’ll be in the top six in that overarching category. He’ll be in the top six in WAR 17 out of 18 years. This season, Young pitched 369 2/3 innings, the first year since 1890 he was under 400, with a 3.26 ERA and a 152 ERA+. His Adjusted ERA+ was second to Washington’s Al Maul (197). Of course, Maul pitched just 135 2/3 innings, 234 less than Cyclone.

It was a good season for Young’s Spiders. Patsy Tebeau led them to an 84-46 record, three games behind Baltimore. The two top team then played a Temple Cup Series at the end of the season which Cleveland won, 4-1. As for Young, according to Wikipedia, “[I]n 1895. Young won three games in the series and Cleveland won the Cup, four games to one. It was around this time that Young added what he called a ‘slow ball’ to his pitching repertoire to reduce stress on his arm. The pitch today is called a changeup.” That’s all he needed, another weapon.


P-Pink Hawley, Pittsburgh Pirates, 22 Years Old


31-22, 3.18 ERA, 142 K, .308, 5 HR, 42 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Games Pitched-56

Innings Pitched-444 1/3


Hit By Pitch-33 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as P-56

2nd Time All-Star-Hawley, who made the All-Star team in 1894, was traded before this season. SABR writes, “Following the 1894 season Hawley pitched for the Browns in an exhibition game against the Milwaukee Brewers of the Western League. The Browns, led by Hawley’s 14 strikeouts, won the game 14-0. Pittsburg player-manager Connie Mack witnessed the performance and told Pirate officials he just had to have Hawley. As a result of Mack’s interest a deal was worked out which sent Hawley to the Pirates for pitcher Red Ehret and $3,000. The trade seemed like quite a gamble at the time as Ehret had enjoyed six straight seasons of double-digit wins while Hawley had gone 30-58 with a 4.45 ERA in three seasons with the Browns.

“Frank ‘Lefty’ Killen, who had anchored the Pirate staff in 1893-94, missed the majority of the 1895 season with an arm injury. Hawley stepped into the breach. In 1895, the best year of his career, the 22 year-old Pink appeared in a league-high 56 games, including 50 starts for the Pirates. He wound up leading the league in innings pitched with more than 440. He also led the league with four shutouts, while his 31 wins were good for second in the league behind the 35 recorded by Cleveland’s Cy Young. No Pirate has won more games in a season since then.”

Despite all of this, Pittsburgh finished in seventh place with a 71-61 record, 17 games out of first. As mentioned, the Pirates were coached by Connie Mack.<


P-Kid Nichols, Boston Beaneaters, 25 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894

26-16, 3.41 ERA, 148 K, .230, 0 HR, 18 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes


Led in:


Saves-3 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-1.644 (3rd Time)

6th Time All-Star-When you look at Kid’s career so far, you are amazed at how good he is and you haven’t seen the next three years, all of which he’ll lead the National League in wins. He has now made six consecutive All-Star teams and is probably two or three years from making the ONEHOF to complete the trifecta of making all three Hall of Fames. This season, Nichols was third in WAR (9.7), behind Cy Young (11.6) and Pink Hawley (10.9), and second in WAR for Pitchers (10.1), behind only Young (12.1). He pitched 390 2/3 innings with a 3.41 ERA and a 146 ERA+. Just a typical Nichols season.

It still didn’t help the Beaneaters get close to winning the pennant. Frank Selee, in his seventh season of managing Boston, led the team to 71-60 sixth place finish.

The effects of the mound moving back 10 feet in 1893 were starting to lesson. In 1892, the year before the mound moved back, the teams in the league averaged 5.1 runs per game. The next year, after the mound moved back to 60 feet, six inches, the scoring average rocketed to 6.6 a game. Last year was insane for the batters as teams averaged 7.4 a game. It was a year featuring four .400 hitters, three from the same team. This season, that total dropped a bit to 6.6 a game, as the pitchers were catching up with the hitters. That’s why Nichols’ 4.75 ERA in 1894 looks so out of place for a man who had a lifetime 2.96 ERA.


P-Clark Griffith, Chicago Colts, 25 Years Old


26-14, 3.93 ERA, 79 K, .319, 1 HR, 27 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes (as Pioneer/Executive)

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


2nd Time All-Star-It seems to me that pitchers are going to be underrated during this hitting era, while hitters will be overrated. Griffith is going to wind up his career with a 237-146 record and a 3.31 ERA, but he’s not going to make the Hall of Fame as a player. He probably should have. This season, The Old Fox finished fourth in WAR (8.8) and sixth in WAR for Pitchers (8.1). You can see by that .319 average, he helped himself with the bat. He pitched 353 innings with a 3.93 ERA and a 130 ERA+. The innings would start to come down for Griffith and, indeed, were dropping for the whole league. The last year that featured any pitcher pitching 500 or more innings was in 1892, the year before the mounds were moved back. By 1909, no one would ever throw 400 or more innings again.

One of prime abusers of arms was Colts manager Cap Anson. His team made a comeback from their three year skid of playing under .500 ball and finished fourth with a 72-58 record. Anson was still the team’s regular first baseman at 43 years old and has two years left.

                Here’s Wikipedia on Anson’s use of his rotation: “Cap Anson was the player-manager of the Colts during Griffith’s tenure and he utilized a rotation of only three starting pitchers. Just before Griffith’s arrival on the team, pitcher Bill Hutchinson had thrown more than 600 innings in a single season for Anson, which may have contributed to a decline in Hutchinson’s career. Griffith tried a new pitch to increase his longevity. By modifying the grip of a curveball, he threw a pitch similar to the screwball that Christy Mathewson had developed. He also often scuffed balls with his spikes or rubbed them in the grass.”


P-Nig Cuppy, Cleveland Spiders, 25 Years Old

26-14, 3.54 ERA, 91 K, .286, 0 HR, 25 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


1st Time All-Star-George Joseph “Nig” Cuppy born George Koppe was born on July 3, 1869 in Logansport, IN. As you could guess, according to Wikipedia, “His nickname, ‘Nig’, is often adjudged to be a racist reference to his dark complexion. In the first half of the 20th century, before the game was integrated, ballplayers with a dark complexion were sometimes nicknamed ‘Nig’.” There is a tendency to complain about political correctness nowadays and some of it can be overblown, but I’m glad we don’t live in an era where a derogatory epithet like this can be a commonly used nickname. However, because this is a history page, I’m not going to shy away from use of his name when needed.

You can see why the Spiders finished second with two dominant pitchers like Cy Young and Cuppy. Cuppy finished fifth in WAR (8.6) and seventh in WAR for Pitchers (7.9). He pitched 353 innings with a 3.54 ERA and a 140 ERA+. He was also a good hitter, as Wikipedia points out, “On August 9, 1895, Cuppy scored five runs against the Chicago Colts in an 18–6 victory, the most runs ever scored by a pitcher in a major league baseball game.”

SABR tells us Cuppy needed a pitch clock. “Cuppy was known as a slow pitcher, not only for the number of off-speed pitches he threw, but also because of the time he took between deliveries, which many hitters found frustrating. Newspapers of the day took delight in describing Cuppy’s actions in the pitcher’s box. One reporter wrote, ‘It is really amusing to those in the stands to witness the maneuvers of this little twirler with the swarthy complexion and pearly teeth. He fondles the ball, rubs it on the back of his neck, grins at the batsman, and then stops to adjust his cap and hitch up his trousers. He does all this several more times before he delivers the ball to the batsman.’”


P-Bill Hoffer, Baltimore Orioles, 24 Years Old

31-6, 3.21 ERA, 80 K, .214, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Win-Loss %-.838


1st Time All-Star-William Leopold “Bill” or “Chick” or “Wizard” Hoffer was born on November 8, 1870 in Cedar Rapids, IA. He was small at five-foot-nine, 155 pounds, but he had an incredible rookie year, his best season ever. Wizard finished sixth in WAR (8.4) and fourth in WAR for Pitchers (8.7) for the first place Orioles. He pitched 314 innings with a 3.21 ERA, third behind Washington’s Al Maul (2.45) and Pittsburgh’s Pink Hawley (3.18), and a 149 ERA+, third behind Maul (197) and Cy Young (152). Hoffer was a big part of the reason the Orioles allowed the least runs in the league. Wikipedia says his 31 wins are a record for a rookie, but it doesn’t say which seasons it’s counting. Al Spalding was technically a rookie in 1876 when the National League formed and he won 47 games. However, he had pitched five seasons for the National Association, the professional league which formed before the NL. George Bradley won 33 as a rookie in the National Association in 1875. Silver King won 32 as a rookie in 1887 in the American Association. There may be others, but research is hard. My point is, um, you can’t always trust Wikipedia!

That’s part of the reason why Baltimore won its second straight National League pennant. Coached by Ned Hanlon, it finished 87-43, three games ahead of Cleveland.  The Orioles languished six-and-a-half games back early in the season, but soon after a streak in which they won 19 out of 20 games in August, they were back on top to stay. They did, however, lose their second straight Temple Cup – a championship series played between the National League’s top two teams – to Cleveland.


P-Ted Breitenstein, St. Louis Browns, 26 Years Old

1893 1894

19-30, 4.37 ERA, 131 K, .190, 0 HR, 18 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Games Started-51 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-47 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls-182

Hits Allowed-468 (2nd Time)


Earned Runs Allowed-213 (2nd Time)

Batters Faced-1,936 (2nd Time)

Putouts as P-46 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as P-14

3rd Time All-Star-St. Louis had four coaches this season – Al Buckenberger (16-34), Chris Von Der Ahe (1-0), Joe Quinn (11-28), and Lou Phelan (11-30) – but they all had the same strategy, which was pitch Breitenstein till he drops. In an era where teams were using more pitchers and innings pitched were falling, Breitenstein still managed to pitch 438 2/3 innings, second only to Pittsburgh’s Pink Hawley. In those innings, he finished eighth in WAR (7.3) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (8.4). His ERA (4.37) was high and that worked out to a 110 Adjusted OPS+. Still, considering he was pitching for the 11th place Browns, it was a good season. Will Breitenstein get the three additional All-Star teams which will propel him to my Hall of Fame? Probably not, he most likely will make one more.

The great Baseball Reference says, “Although primarily a pitcher, Breitenstein typically appeared in a few games in the outfield each season, with a peak of 16 appearances in 1895. He generally wasn’t a strong hitter, except in 1899, when he hit .352 in 105 at-bats. He also umpired a couple of games as a fill-in in 1900.”

Three of the six top spots for most innings pitched by a lefthander since 1893, when the mound was moved back to its current distance of 60 feet, six inches, are held by Breitenstein, including the top two. He pitched 447 1/3 innings in 1894 and 438 2/3 innings this year. He also holds the sixth spot with 382 2/3 innings in 1893.

rusie6P-Amos Rusie, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894

23-23, 3.73 ERA, 201 K, .246, 1 HR, 19 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes


Led in:

Strikeouts per 9 IP-4.599 (5th Time)

Strikeouts-201 (5th Time)

Shutouts-4 (4th Time)

6th Time All-Star-Rusie made his sixth consecutive All-Star team, but of those six seasons, this is his worst. He finished 10th  in WAR (6.2) and eighth in WAR for Pitchers (6.9). The Hoosier Thunderbolt finished third in innings pitched (393 1/3), behind Pittsburgh’s Pink Hawley (444 1/3) and St. Louis’ Ted Breitenstein (438 2/3). He had a 3.73 ERA with a 124 ERA+. It was a good season, just not a Rusie season.        From 1883-through-1892, the Major League leader in strikeouts has 300 or more. We are now in a stretch of 10 seasons in which the highest amount of pitcher Ks will be 239. It isn’t until Rube Waddell takes over this category that the 300 strikeout seasons will return.

After making the Temple Cup the year before, the Giants fell to ninth place with a 66-65 record. George Davis (16-17), Jack Doyle (32-31), and Harvey Watkins (18-17) all took turns at the helm.

Rusie won’t make the All-Star team next season, because as Wikipedia explains, “Amos Rusie won his last strikeout crown in the 1895 campaign with 201. However, he finished with a mediocre (by Rusie’s standards) 23 wins and 23 losses. After a bitter contract dispute with Giants’ owner Andrew Freedman, Rusie responded by publicly thumbing his nose at Freedman — the 19th century variant of the middle finger. He was fined $200 (he made only $2,500 a year). Rusie refused to play until Freedman returned his money and ended up holding out for the entire 1896 season. It was a fiasco for baseball; fans boycotted and the press railed against the owners. Owners implored Rusie and Freedman to compromise; neither would budge. The holdout was finally settled just before the 1897 season, as the owners collaborated for recoupment of the garnished wages, as well as a $5,000 settlement ($143,940 in today’s dollars). This was partially out of respect for Rusie. However, the primary motivator was the threat of legal action against the reserve clause had his case gone to court.”


P-Al Maul, Washington Senators, 29 Years Old

10-5, 2.45 ERA, 34 K, .250, 0 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


1895 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-2.45

Adjusted ERA+-197

1st Time All-Star-Albert Joseph “Smiling Al” Maul was born on October 9, 1865 in Philadelphia, PA. He was tall and lanky at six-foot, 175 pounds and had been playing for a while now. He started one game with the Union Association Philadelphia Keystones in 1884 and then didn’t play again in the Major Leagues until 1887, when he joined the National League Philadelphia Quakers. He then moved to the Pittsburgh Alleghenys in 1888 and 1889. In 1890, he finally became a fulltime pitcher with the Players League Pittsburgh Burghers and then moved to the NL Pirates in 1891, where he again went back to limited duty. Now we come to his Washington days as he started with it in 1893 and really figured it out this season, finishing 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.9). He didn’t pitch a ton of innings, only 135 2/3, but led the league in ERA and Adjusted ERA+. Maul’s probably got one more All-Star season left.

His team, the Senators, moved from 11th to 10th in the league with a 43-85 record. Gus Schmelz coached the team for his second season.

Many of the players during this era died young, but not Maul. Baseball Reference says, “Al Maul was believed to be the last surviving player from the Union Association. In addition to his one game in the 1884 Union Association, he won 16 games in the 1890 Players League and played for years in the National League as a pitcher and outfielder, also playing a lot of first base in 1888. He led the 1895 National League in ERA and was second in 1898.” He died at the age of 92.


P-Frank Dwyer, Cincinnati Reds, 27 Years Old

1892 1894

18-15, 4.24 ERA, 46 K, .265, 1 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


3rd Time All-Star-Dwyer keeps sneaking onto All-Star teams, now being here as the best player on the Reds. He pitched 280 1/3 innings with a 4.24 ERA and a 117 ERA+. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but Dwyer was consistent and that’s why the Reds kept putting him out there day-after-day. As a Reds fan, I can’t imagine I’d be too excited to see this team if Dwyer was the best pitcher, but c’mon, it’s the 1890s, how much was there to do in Cincinnati?

And the team wasn’t terrible. Buck Ewing, a Cooperstown Hall of Famer, Ron’s Hall of Famer, and ONEHOF nominee, joined the Reds this year and coached the team to an eighth place 66-64 record. In League Park, which was a hitters ballpark, it was the Reds’ pitching, led by Dwyer, which most helped the squad.

Dwyer isn’t going to make my Hall of Fame because he needs five more All-Star seasons to do so and only have four more seasons left. Probably two of those will be of All-Star caliber. However, it does seem to me he’s the kind of pitcher someone would take up a cause for when it comes to the Hall. They’d throw out stats like he won 20 games three times and his ERA was 3.84, pretty good for his time. Dwyer just consistently pitched well and pitched often for a lot of years. That’s not enough for the Hall of Fame, of course, but teams need pitchers like Dwyer if they’re going to succeed.

clements6C-Jack Clements, Philadelphia Phillies, 30 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894

.394, 13 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


AB per HR-24.8 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-Back in Clements’ 1892 blurb, I wrote he probably made his last All-Star team. Since then, he’s made three. All-Star catchers are hard to predict because of the lack of games they play. This season, a 132-game season, only one catcher caught more than 100 games and I’ll write about him next. Clements only caught 88 games, but impressed in those, hitting .394, the highest average ever for a catcher, with a .446 on-base percentage, and a .612 slugging average, his highest ever. Clements’ Adjusted OPS+ was 171 which was, you guessed it, also his highest ever. It makes you wonder how well Clements could have done if the Phillies moved him to first instead of using him exclusively behind the plate. He might have hit 20 home runs in 1893 and 1895.

And if Philadelphia could have worked Clements’ bat into the lineup more often, it might have won the crown, as the Phillies finished in third place with a 78-53 record. This team smacked the ol’ horsehide, leading the league in runs scored, but it’s pitching was abysmal. It finished nine-and-a-half games behind Baltimore. Arthur Irwin, who won a pennant with the 1891 American Association Boston Reds, coached his second season with the Phillies. He wouldn’t manage a third.

This season was a pain, literally, for Clements. SABR says, “In 1894 Clements was off to his best start ever until a broken ankle shelved him after just 46 games. He then hit .394 the following year, still the record for the highest average by a catcher with enough appearances to be a batting title qualifier, despite suffering all season from hemorrhoids.”


C-Deacon McGuire, Washington Senators, 31 Years Old

1890 1891

.336, 10 HR, 97 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Def. Games as C-133

Putouts as C-412

Assists as C-180 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as C-40 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as C-12

Passed Balls-28

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-293 (4th Time)

Caught Stealing as C-189 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Back in 1891, when McGuire made his last All-Star team, I said it would be his final one. Wrong again! I never took into account this man’s amazing durability. In Clements’ blurb, I mentioned how brutal it was for catchers in these days before masks, good gloves, and chest protectors, yet McGuire planted himself behind the plate every game for Washington. Second place in that category was Brooklyn’s John Grim, who caught 92 games. It’s truly incredible what McGuire did. And not only was he out there every day, he also was a good player, slashing .336/.388/.478 for an OPS+ of 123.

Wikipedia calls this season his best ever, stating, “McGuire had the best season of his career in 1895 as he hit .336 with 48 extra bases hits (including 10 home runs), 97 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. His WAR rating of 4.0 was, by far, the highest of his career. Defensively, he set a new major league record by catching all 133 games. The Sporting News in October 1895 called McGuire’s 133 games the ‘record of records’:

“’Catcher Jim McGuire’s correct record of League games caught in this season is 133, 128 of which appear in the standing of the club, four were tie games and one the postponed Boston game. He is to-day in excellent condition. This is the record of records in the league, and many a year will roll by before it is equaled.’” It would be interesting to see month-by-month stats for McGuire to see if he was affected in the latter half of the season by catching every game.


1B-Ed Cartwright, Washington Senators, 35 Years Old

.331, 3 HR, 90 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 38 more All-Star seasons)


Led in:




1st Time All-Star-Edward Charles “Ed” or “Jumbo” Cartwright was born on October 6, 1859 (70 years before my mom) in Johnstown, PA. He lived up to his nickname, being five-foot-10 inches, but a hearty 220 pounds. His Major League career started with the 1891 American Association St. Louis Browns and then he didn’t play in the Majors again until 1894 with the Senators. This was easily his best season ever, but it was also a bit of good fortune on Cartwright’s part that he played in a time when Cap Anson, Dan Brouthers, and Roger Connor were on their way down. Jumbo slashed .331/.400/.494 with 50 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 130. All of this happened for him at the age of 35. He would play two more years for Washington to finish his career.

There’s an unusual trend going on in baseball at this time – the uprising of great outfielders and the dearth of good infielders. Back in the 1880s, it was the opposite as it was difficult to find three good outfielders to put on the All-Star teams, but now there are only four infielders, one at each position, on this team, while there are nine outfielders. I think it’s just coincidence, but it could also be that managers are starting to see the importance of putting their good athletes in the outfield, especially in this era of inflated runs scored. In the past, Cartwright would have never made this All-Star team, because there was too much competition as a first sacker.

mcphee72B-Bid McPhee, Cincinnati Reds, 35 Years Old

1886 1887 1889 1890 1891 1892

.299, 1 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes


Led in:


Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.27

7th Time All-Star-It’s been a while since McPhee made the All-Star team, but, due to a lack of good candidates, he’s back. He’s not bad, he’s never bad, but the only reason he’s on the team is because there needs to be a representative at second base. He slashed .299/.409/.417 for an OPS+ of 110. It’s possible he’s got one All-Star team left.

Last year, in Sam Thompson’s blurb, I mentioned he headed the list as the rightfielder that made the most All-Star teams. McPhee holds that same honor. Here is the list of the players who’ve made the most All-Star teams at every position:

P-Tim Keefe, 11

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Fred Dunlap, Bid McPhee, 7

3B-Ned Williamson, Ezra Sutton, Denny Lyons, 6

SS-Jack Glasscock, 11

LF-Charley Jones, 5

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Thompson, 7

I would definitely pick McPhee over Dunlap for second base. Maybe it’s because I’m a Reds fan.

From an article by John Erardi in The Cincinnati Enquirer, he talks about McPhee finally giving into wearing a glove in 1896: “McPhee had a sore on one of the fingers of his left hand. The sore was created in early spring practice, only this time it wasn’t hardening over with a callous like his sores usually did.

“He began experimenting with a glove.

“’McPhee, for the first time in his long career on the ballfield, is using a glove,’ read The Enquirer of Thursday, April 23. ‘He was forced to use it because (of) a little sore … The ball coming in contact with it kept it irritated and it would not heal. The use of the glove protects the sore spot and it is now pretty nearly well.’”


3B-John McGraw, Baltimore Orioles, 22 Years Old


.369, 2 HR, 48 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No (Yes as manager)

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


2nd Time All-Star-As you know, McGraw would eventually be one of the great all-time managers. He played for the great Ned Hanlon and learned much. But he was also a heck of a player, with an incredible ability to get on base. He could also wield a glove, at least early in his career, finishing eighth in Defensive WAR (1.2). At bat, McGraw slashed .369/.459/.448 and stole 61 bases (third behind Philadelphia’s Billy Hamilton and Chicago’s Bill Lange) for an OPS+ of 132. Mugsy was one of the catalysts behind another Baltimore title. It should be mentioned he played only 96 games.

McGraw was the main culprit behind the Orioles’ reputation as ruffians, according to Wikipedia, which states, “McGraw figures prominently in an Orioles-spiked-umpires recollection in Fred Lieb’s 1950 The Baseball Story, which quotes 1890s umpire John Heydler, later a National League president, as saying: ‘We hear much of the glories and durability of the old Orioles, but the truth about this team seldom has been told. They were mean, vicious, ready at any time to maim a rival player or an umpire, if it helped their cause. The things they would say to an umpire were unbelievably vile, and they broke the spirits of some fine men. I’ve seen umpires bathe their feet by the hour after McGraw and others spiked them through their shoes. The club never was a constructive force in the game. The worst of it was they got by with much of their browbeating and hooliganism. Other clubs patterned after them, and I feel the lot of the umpire never was worse than in the years when the Orioles were flying high.’”


SS-Hughie Jennings, Baltimore Orioles, 26 Years Old


.386, 4 HR, 125 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

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


Led in:


WAR Position Players-7.5

Defensive WAR-2.1 (2nd Time)

Hit By Pitch-32 (2nd Time)

Sacrifice Hits-28

Putouts as SS-425 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-71

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.73 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.940 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Ee-Yah continued to shine for the Orioles, having a phenomenal season. He finished seventh in WAR (7.5); first in WAR Position Players (7.5); third in Offensive WAR (6.1), behind only Philadelphia’s Ed Delahanty (7.0) and Billy Hamilton (6.4); and first in Defensive WAR (2.1). Jennings slashed .386/.444/.512 with 53 stolen bases and an Adjusted OPS+ of 143. That’s a good season for anyone, but spectacular for a shortstop.

As for Ee-yah’s proficiency with the mitt, Wikipedia says, “Jennings was also one of the best fielding shortstops of the era. He led the National League in fielding percentage and putouts three times each. He had as many as 537 assists and 425 putouts in single seasons during his prime. His 425 putouts ties him with Donie Bush for the single season record for a shortstop. In 1895, he had a career-high range factor of 6.73–1.19 points higher than the league average (5.54) for shortstops that year. He once handled 20 chances in a game, and on another occasion had 10 assists in a game.”

Nowadays, defense is rated by watching plays and rating them and, well, all kinds of complicated things. We don’t have that for Jennings’ time, but the stats we do have for him to show him to a great glove man. People in the more recent past won Gold Gloves due to the eyeball test, but that has changed. It’d be great to have film of Jennings and the rest of the motley Baltimore crew.


LF-Ed Delahanty, Philadelphia Phillies, 27 Years Old

1893 1894

.404, 11 HR, 106 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

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


Led in:


Offensive WAR-7.0

On-Base %-.500

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.117


Adjusted OPS+-187

Adj. Batting Runs-69 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-6.2 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.844

3rd Time All-Star-It was a great time in baseball for outfielders. Only four infielders made the All-Star team, but there are going to be write-ups for nine outfielders, starting with this one for Big Ed Delahanty. Nowadays, we forlornly look back at the steroid era, upset at the damage it did to our esteemed home run records and “unfairly” lifting people like Barry Bonds on a pedestal.  We like our 61 and 714, but don’t care about 73 and 756.

Well, the 1890s shattered that same record book. Instead of the rarity of a .400 season, they appeared yearly. Delahanty hit over .400 for the second straight year, something done only by Jesse Burkett in this same era, Ty Cobb, and Rogers Hornsby. From 1894-99, there were 11 .400 seasons. In the other 125 years of baseball history, there have been only 17 others. The main change to the game during this time was moving back the pitcher’s mound by 10 feet.

Now the numbers portion of our blurb. Delahanty finished ninth in WAR (6.9); second in WAR Position Players (6.9) to Baltimore’s Hughie Jennings (7.5); and first in Offensive WAR (7.0). He hit .404, second behind Cleveland’s Jesse Burkett (.405); led the league with a .500 on-base percentage; slugged .617, behind only his teammate Sam Thompson (.654); stole 46 bases; and had a league-leading Adjusted OPS+ of 187.  Big Ed may not ever have bigger numbers, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have better seasons ahead. It’s all about the context.


LF-Joe Kelley, Baltimore Orioles, 23 Years Old


.365, 10 HR, 134 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

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


2nd Time All-Star-Baltimore was chock full of Hall of Famers, including Kelley, who has now made two All-Star teams by the age of 23. He is going to have some outstanding lifetime stats, but in this age of inflated numbers, many players did. This season, Kelley finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.9) and sixth in Offensive WAR (5.4). He slashed .365/.456/.546 with 54 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 154. All of those are outstanding numbers, but only stolen bases and slugging are even in the top five and that whopping .365 batting average isn’t even in the top 10 in the National League.

Wikipedia wraps up his season, “These Orioles teams, led by John McGraw, were known to break the rules in order to win, including tampering with their bats and the playing field. Kelley hid baseballs in the outfield, using the closest hidden ball instead of finding the ball batted into the outfield. Kelley hit ten home runs in 1895, a then-franchise record, tying him for fifth in the NL with five other players. He also tied Brodie for second with 134 RBI, finished fourth with 54 stolen bases, fifth with a .546 SLG, and sixth with a .456 OBP.” If there was a way to cheat, the Orioles would do it, but at least for the time in which they played, it seemed to work. Their story relates to the modern steroid debacle. They won because they had talent, but also because they cheated. They cheated because the rules of that time allowed it and there were no repercussions for their actions. It was the same with steroid users.


LF-Jesse Burkett, Cleveland Spiders, 26 Years Old


.405, 5 HR, 83 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

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


Led in:


1895 NL Batting Title

Batting Average-.405

Plate Appearances-644



Times on Base-307 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Burkett was the Tony Gwynn of his time, hitting for a high average, but not hitting for much power. Crab was a little guy, but a definite offensive force who will most likely make my Hall of Fame. This season, Burkett finished ninth in WAR Position Players (5.3) and seventh in Offensive WAR (5.4). His batting average of .405 led the league, while Burkett’s on-base percentage of .482 ranked third behind only Philadelphia’s Ed Delahanty (.500) and Billy Hamilton (.490). His .410 average in 1896 (spoiler alert!) would be the only time he’d hit higher than this season and he’d never have a higher OBP. He’d also never slug higher than the .541 of this season. Crab stole 34 bases with a 157 OPS+. It was a great season and not his last one.

I talked about Burkett’s attitude in his 1893 blurb. Look at what the Hall of Fame page says about the fiery player, “Burkett’s contract was purchased by the National League’s Cleveland Spiders before the 1891 season, and he honed his skills for most of that year in the minors in Lincoln, Neb. By 1893, he was hitting .348 as an everyday outfielder for the Spiders. In 1895 and 1896, Burkett batted .405 and .410, respectively, becoming just the second player to reach the .400 mark twice.

“Burkett was nicknamed ‘The Crab’ by his Cleveland teammates – a reflection of his disposition between the lines.

“’You’ve got to be a battler,’ Burkett said. ‘If you don’t, they’ll walk all over you.

“’Once the bell rang, I had no friends on the other team.’”


LF-Fred Clarke, Louisville Colonels, 22 Years Old

.347, 4 HR, 82 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

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


Led in:


Errors Committed as OF-49

1st Time All-Star-Fred Clifford “Cap” Clarke was born on October 3, 1872 in Winterset, IA. He was born in the same state as his nickname’s namesake, Cap Anson, who was born in Marshalltown, IA.  Clarke started with Louisville in 1894 and would remain with the team through 1899. He made the team because the Colonels needed a representative and Cap Clarke is the man. He slashed .347/.396/.425 with 40 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 117. Those would be dynamite numbers nowadays, but in his day they were merely middle of the road.

Louisville would have loved to be in the middle of the road, but they were at the end of the line, finishing 35-96 under the guidance of John McCloskey. McCloskey would never have a season above a .347 winning percentage and yet get five opportunities at managing. Puzzling.

Clarke started out hot, according to Wikipedia, which reports, “Clarke was discovered in the minor leagues by Louisville part-owner, Barney Dreyfuss, and joined the Colonels in 1894. In his first game, he collected five hits in five at bats which is still a Major League record. In his second season, he asserted himself with a batting average of .347, 191 hits and 96 runs which were all best on the team by far.”

How about this story from his biography written by Ronald T. Waldo, about a run-in with Cap Anson. Read the whole thing, but this is a snippet: “…I deliberately hit an infield out and as I got to first I landed on his shoes with my spikes and ripped the shoe open.” Ouch!


CF-Billy Hamilton, Philadelphia Phillies, 29 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894

.389, 7 HR, 74 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes


Led in:


Runs Scored-166 (3rd Time)

Bases on Balls-96 (3rd Time)

Stolen Bases-97 (5th Time)

6th Time All-Star-Hamilton is more famous as a Broadway play nowadays or maybe you think of Billy Hamilton, the inconsistent speedster for the modern Cincinnati Reds. But this Hamilton should be the Hamilton that comes to mind when that name is uttered. In a previous write-up on Sliding Billy, Bill James mentioned he didn’t have much written about him despite his gaudy numbers. Yes, he made the Hall of Fame, but it took until 1961 and the Veterans Committee voting him in. Admittedly, in the first Veterans Committee vote in 1936, there were many great players to wade through, but he still received only 2.6 percent of the votes needed. Fortunately wrongs were righted and he’s in Cooperstown nowadays.

Oh, 1895. Well, he set career highs for homers with seven. He finished third in WAR Position Players (6.2), behind only Baltimore’s Hughie Jennings (7.5) and teammate Ed Delahanty (6.2). Delahanty also beat him out in Offensive WAR, 7.0-6.4. He finished sixth in batting average (.389); second in on-base percentage (.490), behind only Delahanty (.500), first in steals (97); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (154). In other words, typical Hamilton.

As he turns 30, Hamilton’s numbers are going to start to fall. Not plummet, just fall a little. He’s going to still make All-Star teams, but others will be taking his place at the top of the charts. It’s too bad for Sliding Billy that the Phillies couldn’t put together any pitching at this time, because he and his fellow Hall-of-Fame outfielders, Delahanty and Sam Thompson might have won many crowns.


CF-Mike Griffin, Brooklyn Grooms, 30 Years Old

1891 1894

.332, 4 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Putouts as OF-357 (2nd Time)

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

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.88 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as OF-.969 (4th Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Griffin was the only Grooms player to make the All-Star team, but he’d be on this team regardless, as he had his best season ever. Griffin finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.6) and 10th in Offensive WAR (4.7). At the dish, he slashed .332/.442/.454 with 27 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 139, his highest ever. It was a tradition almost from the very beginnings of baseball to put the speedy centerfielder at the top of the lineup.

As for the Grooms, their lack of star power didn’t hinder their play. Brooklyn, coached by Dave Foutz, went 71-60 and finished fifth in the National League. They didn’t have any All-Star pitchers and only one All-Star position player, but it didn’t stop them from succeeding.

SABR tells about the end of Griffin’s career, saying, ”Griffin was often called the finest center fielder of his era. Five times he led the National League in fielding percentage for outfielders. He also led in putouts two times.

“Brooklyn was struggling in 1898, and manager Bill Barnie was released. Team captain Mike Griffin took over the reigns of the club as player-manager for four games-posting a 1-3 record-before quitting as manager and turning the reigns of the club to new team president, Charles Ebbets. Griffin continued playing for Brooklyn under Ebbets.

“After the season ended, Griffin signed a contract with Brooklyn to be player-manager for the 1899 season with a salary of $3,500. Little did he know, he would never set foot on a major league diamond again.” Read the whole SABR story about the salary dispute that ended the centerfielder’s career.


CF-Bill Lange, Chicago Colts, 24 years old

.389, 10 HR, 98 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Never


1st Time All-Star-William Alexander “Bill” or “Little Eva” Lange was born on June 6, 1871 in San Francisco, CA and this is his best year ever. It’s really his only standout year. Why do I bring this up? Because in the 1936 Veteran’s voting, Little Eva had a higher percentage of votes than Sliding Billy Hamilton. This was a man who played only seven seasons, all with Chicago, and more people voted for him in the Veterans Committee than Hamilton! You could write a whole book of the quirkiness of the Hall of Fame, but let’s talk about Lange’s season. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.3) and eighth in Offensive WAR (5.2). He slashed .389/.456/.575 with 67 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 157. Good season, but I’m still baffled by the Hall of Fame votes.

Why did Lange play only seven seasons? Love, according to Wikipedia, which states, “Lange was noted for having a combination of great speed and power, especially for his size. His 6-foot-1-inch (1.85 m), 190-pound (86 kg) frame was considered large for his era. He is best known for retiring from baseball during the prime of his career to get married, as his future father-in-law forbade his daughter to marry a baseball player. Despite the short-lived marriage, he refused all offers to return as a player.

“He became a successful businessman after his retirement from baseball. In addition to his success in real estate and insurance, he became a leading figure in Major League Baseball’s efforts to generate interest in the game worldwide. He was enlisted by the leading baseball figures of the day to assist in establishing leagues in several European countries, that could eventually compete against American teams, while also scouting for undiscovered talent.”


RF-Sam Thompson, Philadelphia Phillies, 35 Years Old

1886 1887 1891 1892 1893 1894

.392, 18 HR, 165 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes


Led in:


Slugging-.654 (3rd Time)

Total Bases-352 (2nd Time)

Home Runs-18 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-165 (3rd Time)

Runs Created-150 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-84

Power-Speed #-21.6

7th Time All-Star-Big Sam kept bashing. His seventh All-Star team puts him in my Hall of Fame, but it ended up closer than I thought. I’m dazzled by his counting stats, but for the era in which he played, his numbers aren’t all that unusual. Thompson had a final kick after he turned 30 to propel him into Ron’s Hall of Fame, a time that was incredible even for the era in which he played. He also has made the All-Star team more than any rightfielder up to this time. You can read the full list in the Bid McPhee write-up.

This season was same ole, same ole for the big man. He finished fourth in WAR Position Players (6.0) and fourth in Offensive WAR (5.8). He batted .392, with a .430 on-base percentage, and slugged a National League-leading .654. He also stole 27 bases and finished with a 177 OPS+, second behind teammate Ed Delahanty (187).

Thompson would play just one more full season after this one and his hitting would fall off dramatically. He then played part-time for the 1897-98 Phillies and the 1906 American League Detroit Tigers, the latter at the age of 46. He would end up with a final slash line of .331/.384/.505 for an Adjusted OPS+ of 147. His final bWAR was 44.3.

Wikipedia has a snippet of a story which wraps up his career, “In a 1913 story on Thompson, Detroit sports writer Maclean Kennedy noted that Thompson’s drives “were the direct cause of more hats being smashed, more backs that were thumped til they were black and blue by some wild-eyed fan sitting in the seat behind, more outbursts of frenzied shrieks and howls of glee, than those of any other player who ever wore a Detroit uniform”, barring only the two great stars of the day, Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford.”


RF-Willie Keeler, Baltimore Orioles, 23 Years Old

.377, 4 HR, 78 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

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


1st Time All-Star-William Henry “Wee Willie” Keeler was born on March 3, 1872 in Brooklyn, NY. As if the champion Orioles didn’t have enough good players, they also had this future diminutive Hall of Famer. Keeler stood just five-foot-four and weighed in at 140 pounds, but put a lot of baseball talent in that little body. He started as a part-time third baseman for the Giants in 1892-93, before playing one season as a backup for Brooklyn in 1893. He joined Baltimore in 1894, just in time for its reign of terror.

This season, Keeler finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.3), slashing .377/.429/.494 with 47 stolen bases for an Adjusted OPS+ of 134. His batting average, on-base percentage, and OPS+ were all career highs up to this point, but Wee Willie’s got some dazzling years ahead.

                Wikipedia says of Keeler, “Keeler’s advice to hitters was ‘Keep your eye clear, and hit ’em where they ain’t’—‘they’ being the opposing fielders…

“Keeler had the ability to bunt most balls pitched to him, enabling him to avoid striking out; his skill at prolonging at bats by fouling pitches off with this method was the impetus for the rule change that made a foul bunt with two strikes a strike out…

“In forming the powerful original Baltimore Orioles of the late 19th century, manager Ned Hanlon was given an ownership stake in the team and a free rein to form his team. In one of the most one-sided trades in baseball history, Hanlon obtained Dan Brouthers and Keeler from Brooklyn in exchange for Billy Shindle and George Treadway. Keeler and six of his teammates from the Orioles eventually were inducted into the Hall of Fame.”


20 thoughts on “1895 National League All-Star Team

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