1898 National League All-Star Team

P-Kid Nichols, BSN

P-Clark Griffith, CHC

P-Doc McJames, BLN

P-Al Maul, BLN

P-Jesse Tannehill, PIT

P-Cy Young, CLV

P-Bert Cunningham, LOU

P-Ted Lewis, BSN

P-Pink Hawley, CIN

P-Brickyard Kennedy, BRO

C-Ed McFarland, PHI

C-Lou Criger, CLV

1B-Dan McGann, BLN

1B-Bill Joyce, NYG

2B-Gene DeMontreville, BLN

3B-John McGraw, BLN

3B-Jimmy Collins, BSN

3B-Bobby Wallace, CLV

3B-Lave Cross, STL

SS-Hughie Jennings, BLN

SS-Bill Dahlen, CHC

LF-Ed Delahanty, PHI

LF-Kip Selbach, WHS

CF-Billy Hamilton, BSN

RF-Elmer Flick, PHI



P-Kid Nichols, Boston Beaneaters, 28 Years Old, 4th MVP

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897

31-12, 2.13 ERA, 138 K, .241, 2 HR, 23 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted 1897)

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes


Led in:


Wins Above Replacement-13.2 (3rd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-10.8 (4th Time)

Wins-31 (3rd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-1.034 (3rd Time)

Hits per 9 IP-7.330

Games Pitched-50

Saves-4 (4th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-65 (4th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.5 (4th Time)

Def. Games as P-50

9th Time All-Star-As I write this in 2017, the dominant pitcher of our time is Clayton Kershaw. Every year, he’s on the top of the list of National League pitchers. He has been in the top 10 in WAR for Pitchers for seven straight years and now ranks fourth this year. The most innings he’s pitched in those seasons is 236 and in 2016, only threw 149 innings. I bring this up because Nichols has now made nine consecutive All-Star teams and never pitched less than the 368 innings he pitched in 1897, a total that led the league, by the way. He also has won 26 or more games all of those seasons. Kershaw has twice won 21. Nichols is going to start fading after this season, but he’s still going to make approximately four more All-Star teams. His longevity is incredible. I hope Kershaw’s arm holds up so we can say the same for him.

Boston won its second straight league title with a great 102-47 season under the guidance of Frank Selee. Its hitting wasn’t as good as Baltimore’s but with the rise of Ted Lewis, Boston’s pitching was the best in the league. The Beaneaters were four-and-a-half games out of first as of August 6, but went 44-12 the rest of the way to take the National League.

Nichols’ stats: first in WAR (11.1), first in WAR for Pitchers (10.8), second in innings pitched (388, behind only St. Louis’ Jack Taylor (397 1/3)), third in ERA (2.13, behind Chicago’s Clark Griffith (1.88) and Baltimore’s Al Maul (2.10)), and second in Adjusted ERA+ (174, behind only Griffith (192)).


P-Clark Griffith, Chicago Orphans, 28 Years Old

1894 1895 1897

24-10, 1.88 ERA, 97 K, .164, 0 HR, 15 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes as a Pioneer/Executive, no as a Player

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


Led in:


1898 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.88

Adjusted ERA+-192

4th Time All-Star-Griffith, free of Cap Anson as manager, had his best season ever, finishing second in WAR (10.5) and second in WAR for Pitchers (10.7). He pitched a reasonable 325 2/3 innings with a National League-leading ERA of 1.88 and Adjusted ERA+ of 192. It’s no mean feat to have a 1.88 ERA in a league that averaged five runs a game. Speaking of runs per game, that average is less than the runs per game scored in the season before the mound was moved back 10 feet (1892), in which the average was 5.1 runs per game. My guess is the proliferation of gloves in the game is helping lower this total. Runs per game were 5.1 in 1892 (mound 50 feet away), 6.6 in 1893 (mound 60 feet, six inches from plate), 7.4 in 1894, 6.6 in 1895, 6.0 in 1896, 5.9 in 1897, and 5.0 this season.

For the first time since 1876, Anson wasn’t part of the Chicago team and the team improved dramatically. In 1897, Griffith was the only All-Star, this year, Bill Dahlen’s part of the squad. It was Chicago’s pitching and defense which dramatically improved, helping the team to a fourth place 85-65 record under the guidance of the Orphans’ new manager, Tom Burns. As for the name change, Wikipedia says, “The media, picking up on Anson’s absence, began referring to the team as the “Orphans”, as they had lost their ‘Pop’.” That media is clever. Teams didn’t really have nicknames in these days, except what they were dubbed by the newspapers.


P-Doc McJames, Baltimore Orioles, 23 Years Old

27-15, 2.36 ERA, 178 K, .181, 0 HR, 14 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


1st Time All-Star-James McCutchen “Doc” McJames, born James Mc Cutchen James, was born on August 27, 1874 in Williamsburg County, SC. He pitched for Washington from 1895-97, before being traded to Baltimore for this one season. It was his best season ever as he finished sixth in WAR (7.5) and third in WAR for Pitchers (8.1). He pitched 374 innings with a 2.36 ERA and a 153 ERA+. McJames didn’t completely surprise the league because he did lead the league in strikeouts in 1897 with 156.

Baltimore had three All-Stars in 1897, but none of them were pitchers. Hughie Jennings was an All-Star again, but outfielders Joe Kelley and Willie Keeler didn’t quite make it, mainly due to injuries. The Orioles this season did have maybe the best infield year of all time as all four positions made the All-Star team – Dan McGann at first, Gene DeMontreville at second, John McGraw at third, and Jennings at short. Led by this juggernaut, Ned Hanlon’s Baltimore squad finished in second place with a 101-48 record, six games behind Boston.

Here’s SABR on McJames: “Pitcher James ‘Doc’ McJames was a refined renaissance man during a rough-hewn era of our national pastime. The colorful and well-spoken Southern gentleman was considered to be one of the most intelligent men in baseball. McJames’ rapid if brief ascent into stardom and eventual decline took place during the late 19th and early 20th century…

“Baltimore manager Ned Hanlon was so impressed with Doc’s pitching that spring that he selected him to start the home opener against Washington. McJames started off the 1898 campaign in fine form, striking out nine of his former Senator teammates in an 8-3 victory in front of 6,500 fans at Union Park.”


P-Al Maul, Baltimore Orioles, 32 Years Old


20-7, 2.10 ERA, 31 K, .204, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


2nd Time All-Star-Maul moved from Washington to Baltimore in the midst of the 1897 season and, in his first full year with Baltimore, had his best season ever. He finished third in WAR (7.8) and fourth in WAR for Pitchers (7.4). Smiling Al pitched 239 2/3 innings and had a 2.10 ERA (2nd in the National League) and a 172 ERA+ (3rd in the league). After this season, he would pitch in 1899 for Brooklyn, 1900 for Philadelphia, and 1901 for New York to wrap up his career.

SABR writes, “Looking back more than a century, the high regard in which contemporaries held pitcher Al Maul is somewhat puzzling. The stats that he compiled during his 15-season major league tenure are far from eye-catching, and his record is dotted with extended periods of inactivity. Characteristically, his career highlights – a National League ERA crown in 1895 and a 20-win campaign three years later – are separated by seasons wherein he appeared in only a handful of games. Indeed, those two achievements aside, Maul’s work was, at best, mediocre. Yet whenever Al announced that his oft-ailing right arm was back in shape, employment awaited him. This lends itself to two conclusions: (1) Maul possessed pitching attributes not reflected in his stats that are now lost to time, or (2) a cheerful countenance, upbeat personality, and steady work habits endeared Maul to club owners and managers as much as it did to baseball fans. Whichever the case, the game provided a lifetime sinecure for Smiling Al Maul. After retirement from playing in 1901, he worked for the Philadelphia Athletics and Phillies for decades.”


P-Jesse Tannehill, Pittsburgh Pirates, 23 Years Old

25-13, 2.95 ERA, 93 K, .289, 1 HR, 17 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. About a 66 percent chance)


1st Time All-Star-Jesse Niles “Tanny” or “Powder” Tannehill was born on July 14, 1874 in Dayton, KY. He started with Cincinnati in 1894 and then didn’t play in the Majors until he came to Pittsburgh in 1897, where he led the league in Fielding Independent Pitching with a 3.52 mark. This season, he showed the skills that would make him a valid Hall of Fame consideration, finishing fourth in WAR (7.7) and sixth in WAR for Pitchers (6.8). He pitched 326 2/3 innings with a 2.95 ERA and a 121 ERA+. Not a bad sophomore season.

Powder was the Pirates’ only All-Star this season. Last season’s All-Star Mike Smith was traded to Cincinnati. Pittsburgh didn’t move up in the standings, finishing eighth again, but they did have a better record, going from 53-78 to 72-76. Bill Watkins took over the reins from Pasty Donovan. Watkins had once led the 1887 Detroit Wolverines to a World Championship, but it has been 10 years since he had a winning record.

SABR says of Tannehill, “He stood only 5’8″ and weighed just 150 lbs., but Jesse Tannehill was one of the most versatile players during the Deadball Era…

“A former saloon owner and a superstitious player who wouldn’t shave on days he pitched, Tannehill had outstanding control and used his slow curve to routinely strike out twice as many as he walked, though he never did either with regularity and opted to let his defense make plays behind him.

“’I think Tannehill the greatest of living pitchers for the good reason that he was never rattled in his life,’ said his former minor league manager, Jake Wells.”

young8P-Cy Young, Cleveland Spiders, 31 Years Old

1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897

25-13, 2.53 ERA, 101 K, .253, 2 HR, 13 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes


Led in:


Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.977 (7th Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-2.463 (4th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.84 (4th Time)

8th Time All-Star-Cyclone has now pitched 3353 innings through his age 31 season and his arm hasn’t fallen off, nor will fall off for many years. Young was a prime example of excellence and durability. He’s now made eight consecutive All-Star seasons, all of this for a struggling Spiders team. Well, I say struggling, but it’s nothing compared to Cleveland’s 1899 season, but, spoiler alert!, Young will not be on that team.

When you have the phenomenal Young on your team, you’re not going to ever be too bad. The Spiders finished above .500 for the seventh consecutive year as Patsy Tebeau led them to a 81-68 record.

Young finished fifth in WAR (7.6) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.9) this season, pitching a third-ranked 377 2/3 innings with a 2.53 ERA and a 137 ERA+. This was Young’s lowest ERA since 1892 (1.93), but we’re now starting to enter the deadball era in baseball and good pitching stats are going to be easier to come by.

Or as SABR says about his season, “Young’s ERA improved dramatically in 1898, more than a full run, from 3.78 to 2.53. He was 25-13 for another fifth-place club. In 46 games, including 40 complete games in 41 starts, he walked only 41 batters. It was his last year pitching for Cleveland.”

Also from SABR, a Hall of Famer’s assessment of Young: “Another contemporary, Cap Anson, observed that when the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Young unleashed his speed, it seemed as if ‘the ball was shooting down from the hands of a giant.’”


P-Bert Cunningham, Louisville Cardinals, 32 Years Old

28-15, 3.16 ERA, 34 K, .229, 1 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 28 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)


Led in:


Putouts as P-29

1st Time All-Star-Elmer Ellsworth “Bert” Cunningham was born on November 25, 1865 in Wilmington, DE. He started for the American Association Brooklyn Grays in 1887, moved to the 1888-89 Baltimore Orioles, pitched for the Players League Philadelphia Athletics and Buffalo Bisons in 1890, then moved back to the AA in 1891, pitching for the Baltimore Orioles. After taking three years off from the Majors, Cunningham then move to the Cardinals in 1895. Coming into this season, he was 93-131 with a 4.47 ERA and an 87 ERA+. He was now 32 years old and not a great candidate for turning his career around.

Surprise! Cunningham had everything come together this season, finishing ninth in WAR (6.9) and sixth in WAR for Pitchers (6.8). He pitched 362 innings with a career-low 3.16 ERA and a 112 ERA+. His pitching helped Louisville improve from a 50-80 11th place finish in 1897 to a 70-81 ninth place finish this season. Fred Clarke again managed the team.

                Baseball Reference says, “Bert Cunningham, who pitched 12 years in the big leagues, was a veteran when Honus Wagner came up with the Louisville Colonels in 1897. In 1898, Cunningham won 28 games for the team.

“Cunningham pitched in the minors from 1892 to 1894, as well as in 1901. He also was a National League umpire for part of 1901, after having worked a few games from 1896 to 1900. In 1894 with Sioux City, he won 33 games. Source: Delaware Baseball.

“According to The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers, Cunningham, who stood 5′ 5″, used a fastball and slow curve, and was proficient at ‘shadowing the ball’ where the ball was obscured by the pitcher’s uniform.”


P-Ted Lewis, Boston Beaneaters, 25 Years Old

26-8, 2.90 ERA, 72 K, .282, 0 HR, 18 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Win-Loss %-.765

1st Time All-Star-Edward Morgan “Ted” or “Parson” Lewis was born on Christmas Day, 1872 in Machynlleth, United Kingdom. He was a skinny man, standing five-foot-10 and 158 pounds and had started with Boston in 1896. This was his best season ever as Lewis finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (6.3), while pitching 313 1/3 innings with a 2.90 ERA and a 128 ERA+. Lewis was good accompaniment to the great Kid Nichols. After this season, Lewis would pitch two more seasons for Boston in the National League and then one season for Boston in the American League. His career stats aren’t bad for pitching for six years, as Parson finished with a 94-64 lifetime record, along with a  3.53 ERA and 113 ERA+. Lewis also had his second consecutive league championship.

Baseball Reference reports some notable accomplishments: “Lewis was the second of three players in the major leagues from Wales. His family moved to Utica, NY, when he was eight.

“Although a college graduate, Lewis was reported to be extremely popular with his teammates on the Boston Beaneaters. Unlike many baseball players, Lewis did not drink or play on Sundays; he prayed and read the Bible daily, and invited his teammates to prayer meetings. In 1899, he earned his Masters from Williams.

“Lewis unsuccessfully ran for Congress as a Democrat in 1910 and 1914. At his funeral, his pallbearers included Fred Tenney.”

As for the reason for his short career, Wikipedia says, “After the 1901 season, Lewis retired from baseball to teach full-time at Columbia University. He was Instructor of Elocution at Columbia until 1904, when he returned to Williams College as a public speaking instructor and was later made an assistant professor.”


P-Pink Hawley, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

1894 1895 1896

27-11, 3.37 ERA, 69 K, .185, 1 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


4th Time All-Star-SABR says, “After three seasons with the Pirates, Hawley along with pitcher Mike Smith and $1,500 cash were shipped to the Cincinnati Reds for five players in November 1897. It was believed at the time that the trade was the result of a rivalry which had developed between Hawley and Killen. The Pirates released Killen in August 1898.

“Hawley asked for and received $2,400 a year from the Reds. Pink got off to a fantastic start in Cincinnati winning his first nine games of the 1898 season. He went on to finish 27-11. His 27 wins led the Reds and were good for third in the league. The Reds, meanwhile, finished third in the league with a 92-60 record.”

That pretty much wraps it up except to say Cincinnati was managed by Buck Ewing and Hawley pitched 331 innings with a 3.37 ERA and a 114 ERA+. Hawley finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (5.9). After this season, he’d pitch for the Reds in 1899, the Giants in 1900, and the American League Milwaukee Brewers in 1901.

Then SABR says, “Eventually Pink gave up baseball and he and Katherine settled in his hometown of Beaver Dam where Hawley ran the local bowling alley for years. There he and Katherine raised their son who, like his father before him, attended the Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam. Emerson Jr. went on to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Pink spent the remainder of his life in Beaver Dam, where he succumbed after a long illness and died September 19, 1938 at the age of 65. Katherine survived him until she passed away in 1950. They are buried together at the Oakwood Cemetery in Beaver Dam.”

kennedy3P-Brickyard Kennedy, Brooklyn Bridegrooms, 30 Years Old

1893 1897

16-22, 3.37 ERA, 73 K, .252, 0 HR, 13 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


3rd Time All-Star-Kennedy wasn’t one of the National League’s great pitchers, but he was consistent and gave Brooklyn at least one pitcher on which it could rely. This season, Brickyard pitched 339 1/3 innings with a 3.37 ERA and a 107 ERA+. My guess is he’s got a fourth All-Star team left in him.

As for his team, the Bridegrooms, they struggled. Billy Barnie (15-20), Mike Griffin (1-3), and Charlie Ebbets (38-68) coached the team to a 54-91 10th place finish. It was Barnie’s last managerial gig and he finished by managing nine years with 470-548 record. Griffin nor Ebbets would ever manage again.

SABR has a good write-up, as always, of Kennedy’s 1890s career with Brooklyn, saying, “By his second campaign, Kennedy was Brooklyn’s ace and remained the club’s strongest pitcher for six seasons. His career day came on May 30, 1893, at Brooklyn when he hurled two complete-game wins against Louisville, topping Billy Rhines, 3-0, on a two-hitter in the morning game of a Memorial Day doubleheader and adding the icing to his twin-bill win cake by beating the Colonels’ most popular pitcher, Scott Stratton, 6-2, in the afternoon contest. Even in 1899, when Kennedy lost his team kingpin status to rookie 28-game winner Jay Hughes, he bagged 22 victories, and another 20 the following year after Joe McGinnity replaced Hughes as Brooklyn’s top gun.”

That’s pretty good for a man, who SABR says, “…never ventured more than a few miles east of Wheeling before making the majors and especially not to a city the size of New York or Brooklyn. The February 24, 1900, issue of The Sporting News recounted that the rookie right-hander, after winning his major-league debut on April 26, 1892, at Brooklyn by outlasting Baltimore’s Sadie McMahon 12-10, bought a loud $50 suit with his first paycheck and then took his change in dollar bills so he could flash a big wad.”


C-Ed McFarland, Philadelphia Phillies, 24 Years Old

.282, 3 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Caught Stealing as C-107 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Edward William “Ed” McFarland was born on August 3, 1873 in Cleveland, OH. That’s the city in which he started his Major League career in 1893, playing eight games and hitting .409. He then didn’t play again until 1896 when he played for St. Louis. He moved from the Gateway City to the City of Brotherly Love in the middle of the 1897 season. He had a good season for a catcher, catching 121 games in a time when a backstop was fortunate to be over the century mark. He slashed .282/352/.375 for an OPS+ of 112, along with stealing four bases.

Philadelphia rose from 10th to sixth this season, as George Stallings (19-27) and Bill Shettsline (59-44) managed the Phillies to a 78-71 season. It was their hitting that kept them in contention as Ed Delahanty again led the team with the bat.

McFarland was a heavy drinker, but, still, according to SABR, “By the time McFarland reported in the spring of 1898, he was in fine shape and showed well enough to earn first-string standing. Writer Francis C. Richter wrote in the July 9 Sporting Life, using an archaic phrase: ‘Out-of-town critics are just beginning to realize what a really great catcher Eddie McFarland is. Wherever the Phillies play McFarland comes in for the greatest meed of praise.’ He was driving in runs and despite missing considerable time at the end of the season after having his fingernail torn off during a game in Louisville, finished the season with a career high in RBIs (71) and in runs scored (65).”


C-Lou Criger, Cleveland Spiders, 26 Years Old

.279, 1 HR, 32 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 28 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)


1st Time All-Star-Louis “Lou” Criger (rhymes with bigger) was born on February 3, 1872 in Elkhart, IN. His career slash line is .221/.295/.290 for an OPS+ 72 over 16 seasons. I bring this up because this man received Hall of Fame votes on five different occasions. As far as I can tell, it’s not for anything other than being Cy Young’s personal catcher. That’s a good gig if you can get it. Criger started with Cleveland in 1896, but played his first “fulltime” season this year, catching 82 games. He slashed .279/.377/.362 for a 115 OPS+. All four of those numbers would be career highs.

SABR sums up Criger’s career: “Feisty, slender, and packing a strong, accurate throwing arm, the smarts to call pitches for the winningest pitcher of all time, and the resiliency to last despite facing many physical ailments, catcher Lou Criger was regarded by his peers as one of the best backstops of the Deadball Era. At 5-feet-10 (some sources say six feet) and 165 pounds, Criger made an inviting target for bigger opponents, but the slender receiver took the punishment and held his ground. ‘Many players tackled Criger because he looked like a weakling,’ said Louie Heilbroner, who managed him in St. Louis before the respected receiver jumped to the American League. ‘But Criger would fight any six men on earth in those days, and if someone didn’t pull them apart, Lou would lick all six by sheer perseverance.’” His toughness would be mentioned numerous times in the article.


1B-Dan McGann, Baltimore Orioles, 26 Years Old

.301, 5 HR, 106 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more seasons. 25 percent chance)


1st Time All-Star-Dennis Lawrence “Dan” or “Cap” McGann was born on July 15, 1871 in Shelbyville, KY. He started his career as a part-time second baseman for Boston in 1896. He played in the minors in 1897, before coming to the Orioles this year to give them a powerful infield. Wikipedia says, “The Washington Senators of the NL purchased McGann, Butts Wagner, Bob McHale and Cooney Snyder from Toronto for $8,500 ($244,698 in current dollar terms) on September 22, 1897. The Senators traded McGann with Gene DeMontreville and Doc McJames to the Baltimore Orioles of the NL for Doc Amole, Jack Doyle and Heinie Reitz that December. He played one season with the Orioles, in which he batted .301 with 106 runs batted in (RBI) in 1898, good for fifth place in the NL.” This was McGann’s best season ever as he finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.2), slashing .301/.404/.393 with an OPS+ of 126. The big man also stole 33 bases. McGann’s problem over his career was putting together full seasons. He missed a multitude of games over his 12-years of baseball.

Like his teammate Hughie Jennings, McGann developed a talent for being plunked. He finished second in hit by pitches this season with 39 and would be in the top 10 in that category 10 times, leading the league six times and being seventh all-time in hitting the baseball with his body. Baltimore batters were hit by pitches 160 times. Second place in that category was St. Louis with 84. The Orioles would do anything to win.


1B-Bill Joyce, New York Giants, 30 Years Old

1891 1894 1896

.258, 10 HR, 91 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:



Power-Speed #-15.5 (2nd Time)

Assists as 1B-87

Errors Committed as 1B-47

4th Time All-Star-Joyce made the All-Star team as New York’s best player, but would never play Major League ball after this year. His season wasn’t great – he slashed .258/.386/.392 with 34 stolen bases and a 125 OPS+ — but it’s not a bad way to end a career. It’s also his first All-Star team as a first baseman, the other three were at third. And Joyce managed the team, guiding the Giants to a 68-60 record, before being replaced by Cap Anson, coaching for the very last time, who went 9-13 in his 22 games. Altogether New York finished 77-73 and in seventh place.

Here’s SABR’s description of a game in 1898 which pretty much ended his career: “The low point came in Washington on September 29. The Giants trailed the Senators, 12-1, in the seventh inning when umpire Tommy Connolly ejected Giants catcher Jack Warner for arguing a call. To protest the ejection, Joyce made a farce of the game by shifting his players to unfamiliar positions, including himself to right field.

“’ “Man after man [on the Senators] would come to the bat, hit the ball and run the bases at will, while the misfits filling the positions were [deliberately] making fools out of themselves throwing the ball around the lot.’

“The Washington Times declared, ‘Nothing more disgraceful was ever seen on a ball field, and no penalty known in baseball law would be adequate punishment for the offender, Bill Joyce. … The Giants looked upon the proceedings as a huge joke, and ‘Scrappy Bill’ from the right garden smiled with ghoulish glee.’ The umpires ‘endured the disgraceful exhibition for several minutes’ before the game was called, and the Giants ‘left the field amid the jeers of the spectators.’”


2B-Gene DeMontreville, Baltimore Orioles, 25 Years Old


.328, 0 HR, 86 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


2nd Time All-Star-DeMontreville last made the All-Star team as a shortstop in 1896 for Washington. He was now a second baseman for the Orioles after being traded by the Washington Senators with Dan McGann and Doc McJames to Baltimore for Doc Amole, Jack Doyle and Heinie Reitz after the 1897 season. He’d spend most of the rest of his career at second base. DeMontreville was part of Baltimore’s All-Star infield, as every infielder made the team this year. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.0), slashing .328/.394/.369 with 49 stolen bases and a 117 OPS+. His OBP was his career high.

SABR says, “After being traded to Baltimore, Demontreville continued to hit for average, but his power numbers dropped and he was criticized by Hanlon for persistently ‘advancing a step or two’ after fielding a ball before throwing it to first base. Baltimore still was able to unload him when the Chicago Natonals’ manager, Tom Burns, desperately wanted to get rid of ‘disorganizer’ Dahlen. Demontreville lasted only four months in Chicago when he ‘mixed with the worst set in the team,’ according to the Chicago Tribune, and showed up for a game with a head injury from being beaned by a popcorn bowl another bar patron threw at him. On August 2, 1899, he was returned to Baltimore for lightly regarded infielder George Magoon. The following day Demontreville was involved in a controversial nontrade when he and pitcher Jerry Nops were shipped to Brooklyn for sore-armed shortstop Hughie Jennings, who was nearing the end of the road as an impact player. The deal was canceled before any of the figures could report to their new clubs after the press in the other NL cities yowled that ‘Brooklyn was being strengthened by their Baltimore farm team.’”

mcgraw33B-John McGraw, Baltimore Orioles, 25 Years Old

1893 1895

.342, 0 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No (Yes as manager).

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


Led in:


Runs Scored-143

Bases on Balls-112

Times on Base-307

3rd Time All-Star-There are some adjectives that fit people so well, they almost become part of their name. That’s why you always see the Baltimore third baseman referred to as the fiery McGraw. He was small and tough and this wouldn’t change when he eventually became a manager. Mugsy could also play baseball. This season, McGraw finished eighth in WAR (7.1), second in WAR Position Players (7.1), second in Offensive WAR (6.7), third in batting average (.342), second in on-base percentage (.475), second in Adjusted Batting Runs (45), and second in Adjusted Batting Wins (4.6), not to mention the categories above in which he placed first. Baltimore didn’t lack for a spark plug in the fiery McGraw.

Off the field, according to the book “John McGraw” written by Charles C. Alexander, McGraw had a different reputation. Alexander writes, “In 1898, though, McGraw was still just a ballplayer, albeit a very good one – and a fairly well-off young man as well. He was well enough off to concern himself closely with the well-being of Billy Earle, a former catcher in the Association and the National League, whom McGraw had first got to know in New Orleans in 1891, at the time of Al Lawson’s aborted second Cuban expedition. Since then Earle, succumbing to morphine addiction, had become a derelict wandering the streets of Washington. McGraw had heard about Earle’s plight, brought him to Baltimore, had him admitted to City Hospital, and paid the costs of his six-week treatment.” Apparently, McGraw helped many others also.


3B-Jimmy Collins, Boston Beaneaters, 28 Years Old


.328, 15 HR, 111 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

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


Led in:


Total Bases-286

Home Runs-15

Runs Created-106

AB per HR-39.8

Def. Games as 3B-152 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 3B-243 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Collins helped lead the Beaneaters to their second straight title with his second straight impressive season. He finished ninth in WAR (6.9), third in WAR Position Players (6.9), fourth in Offensive WAR (5.6), and fourth in Defensive WAR (1.9). Collins also slashed .328/.377/.479 with 12 stolen bases and a 139 OPS+. That slugging mark placed second in the National League. Collins’ 15 homers was an aberration as he would never hit more than seven in any other season. He was a great all-around player who would end up being one of the American League’s first superstars.

For the Boston third sacker, it was all about the Benjamins. As SABR adroitly points out, “Collins was a businessman in a baseball uniform. In an interview with the Buffalo Evening News just a few weeks before his death, he gave writer Cy Kritzer an encyclopedic recall of his salary levels as a ballplayer, practically gloating about once earning $18,000 in one year, but yet, as Kritzer related, ‘he couldn’t recall once during the interview the size of his batting average in any one season.’ It wasn’t just about acquiring money, though. Collins used his baseball income to develop a real-estate business by building multifamily rental housing, which provided his income after his playing days…

“Collins quietly negotiated a contract with [Boston owner Arthur] Soden to be paid the $2,400 salary maximum for the 1898 season. After three years as a National League ballplayer, the 28-year-old Collins had reached the pinnacle of his profession. However, because the National League owners lengthened the baseball season by 22 games to play 154 games in 1898, Collins felt duped by Soden, since Collins actually received just a minimal pay increase on a per-game basis.”


3B-Bobby Wallace, Cleveland Spiders, 24 Years Old

.270, 3 HR, 99 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

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


1st Time All-Star-Roderick John “Bobby” Wallace was born on November 4, 1873 in Pittsburgh, PA. He started as a pitcher for Cleveland in 1894-95, before moving to the outfield in 1896  and then to third base in 1897. Next season, Wallace will play shortstop as his Hall of Fame career kicks into high gear. This season, he finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.7) and seventh in Defensive WAR (1.4). While the five-foot-eight, 170 pound third baseman would have decent offensive production, it would be his glove work which would eventually put him in the Hall. Wallace did manage to slash .270/.344/.371 with seven stolen bases and a 108 OPS+ this season. Like I said, decent, but he’s on this team because of his fielding.

Wallace’s Hall of Fame page tells us, “Bobby Wallace made his major league debut in 1894, taking the mound for the Cleveland Spiders. In a few short years, he evolved into one of the best shortstops the game has ever seen.

“He pitched for a starting rotation that included Cy Young and in his first full season he won 12 of his 26 decisions. Though his pitching wasn’t overwhelmingly impressive to the team’s management, the level of athleticism he displayed was enough for them to start giving him chances at other positions.

“The versatile player’s best season came in 1897 when he batted .335 with 173 hits in 130 games while playing third base full time. He drove in a team-leading 112 runs, scored 99 runs, and hit 33 triples and 21 doubles.”


3B-Lave Cross, St. Louis Browns, 32 Years Old


.317, 3 HR, 79 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Assists as 3B-351 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.945 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Cross was hurt by playing in the era of Jimmy Collins and John McGraw at third base and because he played for a weak St. Louis team. He held his own, especially with the glove, finishing eighth in Defensive WAR (1.3) at the hot corner. He was the Browns’ best player and only All-Star. At the plate, Cross slashed .317/.348/.405 with 14 stolen bases and a 114 OPS+. Even though he’s 32, Cross still has some decent years ahead.

And even though it doesn’t look like it, the Browns, someday to be the Cardinals, have decent years ahead also. Just don’t judge them by this year in which one-time manager Tim Hurst led St. Louis to a last-place 39-111 record. They had two main problems – they couldn’t score and they couldn’t stop the other team from scoring. Besides that, they were fine.

Wikipedia has a wrap up of his career since his last All-Star team in 1895: “Playing exclusively at third in 1895, he led the NL in assists and fielding average for the first time. He also became a solid hitter, batting a career-high .386 with 125 RBI and 123 runs in 1894; on April 24 of that year, he hit for the cycle. During this period, major league rules did not restrict the size of infielders’ gloves, and he continued to use his catcher’s mitt in the field; on August 5, 1897 he set a still-standing record at second base with 15 assists in a 12-inning game.”

Jennings Hugh 1500.68WT_FL_PDSS-Hughie Jennings, Baltimore Orioles, 29 Years Old

1894 1895 1896 1897

.328, 1 HR, 87 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. Probably not)


Led in:


WAR Position Players-7.5 (4th Time)

Offensive WAR-6.9 (2nd Time)

Hit By Pitch-46 (5th Time)

5th Time All-Star-It’s hard to believe a player as good as Jennings isn’t going to make my Hall of Fame, but that seems to be the case. For four straight years, Ee-yah has been the best position player in the National League, and for five straight years, he has made the All-Star team. However, those are five of the six years in his career he played 117 games or above. After this year, when Jennings turns 30, he’s going to play 10 seasons, only one of which he’ll play over 100 games and only three of which he’ll play over 50. Cooperstown obviously thought his great stretch of five years was enough to put him in the Hall and Jennings lucked out in having those five seasons during one of baseball’s greatest hitting eras. For me, he needed just a bit more longevity.

This season, Jennings finished seventh in WAR (7.5), first in WAR Position Players (7.5), first in Offensive WAR (6.9), and 10th in Defensive WAR (1.3). He slashed .328/.454/.421 with 28 stolen bases and a 149 OPS+. His on-base percentage was third in the league.

After this year, Jennings would play for Brooklyn and Baltimore in 1899, Brooklyn in 1900, Philadelphia in 1901-02, and then play six or less games for Detroit in 1907, 1909-10, 1912, and 1918.

Jennings managed the American League Detroit Tigers from 1907-20 and according to Wikipedia, “During his years as Detroit’s manager, Jennings became famous for his antics, mostly in the third base coaching box, which variously included shouts of ‘Ee-Yah’, and other whoops, whistles, horns, gyrations, jigs, and grass-plucking. The ‘Ee-Yah’ whoop became his trademark and was accompanied with waves of both arms over his head and a sharp raising of his right knee. In 1907, he was suspended for taunting opponents with a tin whistle. The ‘Ee-Yah’ shouts continued and became such a trademark that Jennings became known as Hughie ‘Ee-Yah’ Jennings, and Detroit fans would shout ‘Ee-Yah’ when Jennings appeared on the field.”

Dahlen William 1895-68WTb_HS_PDSS-Bill Dahlen, Chicago Orphans, 28 Years Old

1892 1896

.290, 1 HR, 79 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Double Plays Turned as SS-77

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.46 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Bad Bill is back on the All-Star team after not making it in 1897, when injuries allowed him to play only 75 games. This season, Dahlen finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.7), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.8), and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.9). He had great range at shortstop, but also continued producing with the stick, slashing .290/.385/.393 with 27 stolen bases and a 123 OPS+. He’d never have this high of Adjusted OPS+ for the rest of his career, but his decent hitting and great fielding would carry him. Dahlen could be entering Ron’s Hall at any time.

The Sporting News has an article debating why Dahlen is not in the Hall. It doesn’t seem to be his stats as much as his attitude. Here are some snippits from TSN: “[Baseball writer Bill] James wrote in his 2001 historical abstract that Dahlen drank excessively, to the point it threatened his career and he sobered. Out of baseball, Dahlen resumed drinking, with former manager John McGraw saving him from destitution with a night watchman job at his former ballpark, the Polo Grounds.

“The Chicago Inter Ocean of January 4, 1901 reported Dahlen’s wife suing for divorce, alleging he choked her in February 1897 and struck her that December. The suit also claimed Dahlen had threatened his wife’s life and used ‘vile, abusive, and opprobrious language’ toward her.

“Dahlen spent his first eight seasons in Chicago and might have become captain in 1898 because the team president thought ‘that, with added responsibility and honors upon his shoulders the erratic shortstop may be induced to work harder (and more often, mayhap).’” Fat, drunk, and stupid is now way to go through life, son.


LF-Ed Delahanty, Philadelphia Phillies, 30 Years Old

1893 1894 1895 1896 1897

.334, 4 HR, 92 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes


Led in:


Stolen Bases-58

Adj. Batting Runs-45 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-4.6 (4th Time)

6th Time All-Star-It’s astonishing to look at the stats of Big Ed Delahanty year after year. It’s even more fun to read the write-ups about the power he brought to the field. Had he played in a more homer-prevalent era, Delahanty would have been among the league leaders in dingers. At this point in baseball history, Big Ed has made the most All-Star teams at his position. Here are the rankings:

P-Tim Keefe (11 All-Star teams made)

C-Charlie Bennett (9)

1B-Cap Anson (13)

2B-Fred Dunlap, Bid McPhee, Cupid Childs (7)

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

SS-Jack Glasscock (11)

LF-Ed Delahanty (6)

CF-Paul Hines (8)

RF-Sam Thompson (7)

Delahanty finished fourth in WAR Position Players (6.1); third in Offensive WAR (5.9), behind Baltimore’s Hughie Jennings (6.9) and John McGraw (6.7); sixth in batting average (.334); fifth in on-base percentage (.426); fourth in slugging (.454); first in stolen bases (58); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (156), behind former teammate, Boston’s Billy Hamilton (161). Just a typical season for Big Ed.

SABR says, “At his accustomed position, left field, Delahanty ranked among the league’s best. He became known for his strong arm, which he used to collect 238 career assists, and his hustling style of play, which helped him to reach balls lesser outfielders allowed to drop in for base hits. That same aggressiveness carried over to the basepaths, as Delahanty swiped 455 bases in his career, including a league best 58 in 1898.” Big Ed was the original five-tool player.


LF-Kip Selbach, Washington Senators, 26 Years Old


.303, 3 HR, 60 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Range Factor/Game as OF-2.63

2nd Time All-Star-Selbach was Washington’s only All-Star representative this year. I mean it’s not like Washington had a whole house of representatives! I’m here all week. Kip slashed .303/383/.417 with 25 stolen bases and an Adjusted OPS+ of 129. The rotund leftfielder had great range in the outfield as seen by his league-leading total of 2.63 chances per game.

As for the Senators, they thanked the good Lord for the St. Louis Browns, which was the only team to fall behind them. Tom Brown (12-26), Jack Doyle (8-9), Deacon McGuire (29-47), and Arthur Irwin (10-19) guided the team to an 11th place 51-101 record. McGuire would coach in the 1900s and never finish above .500 and Irwin would manage Washington in 1899 to another terrible year.

SABR says, “Manager Buck Ewing of the Cincinnati Reds was after Selbach, and persistent, at one point offering Washington five players for him. Selbach’s performance dropped off some in 1898, when he played under a parade of four different managers, but he still hit .303. In the offseason, Selbach took up work as steward at the Philos Club, a gymnastic club in Columbus.

“On Christmas Day, Cincinnati owner John T. Brush announced the purchase of Selbach’s contract from Washington, for a reported $5,000 – a very large sum at the time. Kip wasn’t all that happy playing in Cincinnati in 1899 and around the end of July was already saying he’d like to be back in Washington in 1900.”

hamilton9CF-Billy Hamilton, Boston Beaneaters, 32 Years Old, 1898 ONEHOF Inductee

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897

.369, 3 HR, 50 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes


Led in:


On-Base %-.480 (5th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.933 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-161 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.814 (3rd Time)

9th Time All-Star-At 32 years old and after making nine straight All-Star teams, Sliding Billy Hamilton is now inducted into the One-a-Year Hall of Fame and well deserves it. His career numbers are a .344 batting average, 40 home runs, 742 runs batted it, and a 63.3 WAR. Welcome to the ONEHOF, Billy. Next year’s nominees are King Kelly, Hardy Richardson, Buck Ewing, Cy Young, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, and Cupid Childs.

Hamilton led Boston to its second straight National League title. He finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.6); fifth in Offensive WAR (5.2); second in batting average (.369), behind only Baltimore’s Willie Keeler (.385); first in on-base percentage (.480); fifth in slugging (.453); second in stolen bases (54), behind only former teammate Ed Delahanty (58); and first in Adjusted OPS+ (161). All of this despite playing only 110 of Boston’s 154 games. And he’s not done making All-Star teams yet.

You might be wondering why Keeler, who hit .385 with 216 hits to lead the league in both categories, isn’t on this team. Well, first of all, there’s a lot of good outfielders in the National League. Also, incredibly, just 10 of those 216 hits by Keeler were for extra bases. Those 206 singles were the all-time record until that mark was broken by Ichiro Suzuki in 2004 with 225. However, at least Ichiro had 37 extra base hits to go with those singles. High batting averages don’t always tell the whole story.


RF-Elmer Flick, Philadelphia Phillies, 22 Years Old

.302, 8 HR, 81 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. See you in the Hall)


1st Time All-Star-Elmer Harrison Flick was born on January 11, 1876 in Bedford, OH. He made the All-Star team in his rookie year and will eventually make my Hall of Fame, probably around 1905, and made Cooperstown in 1963 by a Veteran’s Committee vote. This season, Flick finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.9); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.7); fourth in on-base percentage (.430); sixth in slugging (.448); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (156), behind Boston’s Billy Hamilton (161) and teammate Ed Delahanty (156). The Phillies never lacked for outfielders.

Flick wasn’t a big man, standing five-foot-nine, 168 pounds, but he hit with some pop over his career. Wikipedia says, “George Stallings, the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League (NL), noticed Flick while he played for Dayton. Stallings signed Flick to the Phillies to serve as a reserve outfielder for the team in the 1898 season. Starting outfielder Sam Thompson injured his back after six games, forcing Stallings to play Flick. In his debut game, Flick went 2-for-3 with two singles against Fred Klobedanz. Thompson returned to the team briefly, but reinjured his back and announced his retirement in May, allowing Flick to play regularly. Flick proved himself a capable big leaguer, batting .302 with eight home runs, 13 triples and 81 runs batted in (RBIs).” Yes, you may have noticed Flick took over for the great Sam Thompson, who played 14 games, slashed .349/.388/.571 and then had to retire with that bad back. He was 38 years old already, so he probably didn’t have too much time left, but who knows what Thompson’s numbers could have been if he didn’t miss almost all of 1897 and 1898.

16 thoughts on “1898 National League All-Star Team

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