1902 National League All-Star Team

P-Jack Taylor, CHC

P-Noodles Hahn, CIN

P-Vic Willis, BSN

P-Togie Pittinger, BSN

P-Doc White, PHI

P-Jack Chesbro, PIT

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Mike O’Neill, STL

P-Doc Newton, BRO

P-Joe McGinnity, NYG

C-Johnny Kling, CHC

C-Hughie Hearne, BRO

1B-Fred Tenney, BSN

1B-Jake Beckley, CIN

2B-Claude Ritchey, PIT

3B-Tommy Leach, PIT

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Bill Dahlen, BRO

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

LF-Fred Clarke, PIT

LF-Jimmy Slagle, CHC

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, BRO

CF-Ginger Beaumont, PIT

RF-Sam Crawford, CIN

RF-Willie Keeler, BRO



P-Jack Taylor, Chicago Orphans, 28 Years Old

23-11, 1.29 ERA, 88 K, .233, 0 HR, 18 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


1902 NL Pitching Title

Wins Above Replacement-10.2

WAR for Pitchers-9.3

Earned Run Average-1.29

Walks & Hits per IP-0.953


Adjusted ERA+-206

Adj. Pitching Runs-47

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.5

Assists as P-106

1st Time All-Star-John William “Jack” Taylor was born on December 13, 1873 in New Straitsville, OH. The five-foot-10, 170 pound righthander easily had his best season ever this year. He had started as a 24 year old for Chicago in 1898, when he went 5-0 with a 2.20 ERA and a 166 ERA+. He’d pitched for them ever since without a season with a winning record. It all came together this year when, along with leading in all of the categories above, Taylor finished third in hits allowed per nine innings pitched (7.364), third in innings pitched (333 2/3), and third in batters faced (1,278). His 1.29 ERA was the lowest since Denny Driscoll’s 1.21 in 1882 for the American Association Pittsburgh Alleghenys and the lowest since the mounds were moved backed to 60 feet, six inches in 1893. He will be making a few more All-Star teams, but no year would come close to matching this one.

His great pitching didn’t do much to help the Orphans, as they finished in fifth place in the National League. Frank Selee, who won five pennants for the Beaneaters in the 1890s, took over the reins for Chicago and guided them to a 68-69 record. Because of Taylor, it had the best pitching in the league, but its hitting was among the worst.

How much of his great season had to do with chicanery? According to a book, What Makes an Elite Pitcher?: Young, Mathewson, Johnson, Alexander, Grove, Spahn, Seaver, Clemens, and Maddux by Warren N. Wilbert, “One game between the two [Taylor and Christy Mathewson] was tossed out altogether because the Giants had put the May 7, 1902 game under a protest that was upheld by the National League front office. The protest was registered because Giants hitters complained that the mound was too close to home plate. A measurement after the game proved them right. The mound was only 58’6” from home plate.”


P-Noodles Hahn, Cincinnati Reds, 23 years Old, MVP

1899 1900 1901

23-12, 1.77 ERA, 142 K, .185, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Errors Committed as P-9

4th Time All-Star-Whenever I write about Hahn, the first thing that comes to mind is:

C’mon, you know you’re saying it! He is in the fourth year of a six-year stretch in which he displayed some of finest pitching in the land. This season, Hahn (Hahhhhnnn!) finished second in Wins Above Replacement (9.0), second in WAR for Pitchers (8.9), second in ERA (1.77), fourth in innings pitched (321), third in complete games (35), second in Adjusted ERA+ (169), second in Adj. Pitching Runs (39), and second in Adj. Pitching Wins (4.4). In a great career, this was Noodles’ best season ever.

Did it help my beloved Reds? A little. Managed by Bid McPhee (27-37), Frank Bancroft (9-7), and Joe Kelley (34-26), Cincinnati finished in fourth place with a 77-63 record, 33-and-a-half games behind Pittsburgh, which was a juggernaut this season. Hahn led the Reds’ good pitching and the team also had great hitting, led by rightfielder Sam Crawford.

Hahn’s an example to young people out there to plan ahead. SABR writes, “Although only 23 years old that fall, Hahn also demonstrated a surprising maturity by realizing he needed a fallback profession after his baseball career ended. In summarizing his thoughts, he later wrote that when ballplayers are finished as major leaguers many drift back to the minors, then into the saloon business, and then into oblivion; and that not two-dozen NL players were in a position to give up baseball at the end of their career. Determined not to follow that path, Hahn evaluated his alternatives. He thought there were enough doctors, lawyers, and dentists, ‘but ‘hoss doctors; why, they’re lined up along the boulevards waiting to give those boys money.’ He enrolled in the Cincinnati Veterinary College.”


P-Vic Willis, Boston Beaneaters, 26 Years Old

1899 1901

27-20, 2.20 ERA, 225 K, .153, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

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


Led in:


Games Pitched-51


Innings Pitched-410


Games Started-46

Complete Games-45

Hits Allowed-372

Batters Faced-1,652

Def. Games as P-51

Putouts as P-37

3rd Time All-Star-Willis made his second consecutive All-Star team by being an ironman this season. His 410 innings pitched was the most since Frank Killen pitched 432 1/3 in 1896. It’s worth wondering if his next three seasons of under .500 pitching had to do with his arm being used to this extent this year. Along with all of the categories Willis led above, he finished third in WAR (8.1), third in WAR for Pitchers (8.4), 10th in ERA (2.20, this shows what a pitchers’ league it was this season), second in wins (27), second in home runs allowed (6), third in walks (101), second in losses (20), second in wild pitches (12), ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (128), third in Adj. Pitching Runs (29), third in Adj. Pitching Wins (3.2), and second in assists as pitcher (105). He’s well on his way to a Hall of Fame career.

As for the Beaneaters, they moved from fifth to third under the guidance of Al Buckenberger. They finished 73-64, 29 games behind the unstoppable Pirates. This was Bucky’s first year coaching Boston.

SABR says, “In 1902 Willis responded sensationally to an incredible workload: he completed a league high 45 games, the modern (since 1901) NL record; hurled 410 innings, the second highest total in modern NL history; and led the league in strikeouts with 225. On May, 29 against New York Willis struck out a league high 13 Giants; that only 450 spectators saw this game highlights how far this franchise had fallen in the new century from its recent championship days. Additionally, Willis was used in several key relief situations, and he has been retroactively credited with a league high three saves.”


P-Togie Pittinger, Boston Beaneaters, 30 Years Old

27-16, 2.52 ERA, 129 K, .136, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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

Led in:


Bases on Balls-128

1st Time All-Star-Charles Reno “Togie” Pittinger was born on January 12, 1872 in Greencastle, PA. The righthanded wild tosser started his career in 1900 and would be with Boston through 1904. This was his best season ever as he finished sixth in WAR (6.5), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (7.5), second in wins (27), second in games pitched (46), second in innings pitched (389 1/3), third in strikeouts (174), second in games started (40), second in complete games (36), third in home runs allowed (4), second in hits allowed (360), second in earned runs allowed (109), third in batters hit by pitch (16), second in batters faced (1,611), second in defensive games as a pitcher (46), second in putouts as a pitcher (20), and third in assists as a pitcher (83). Those are the kinds of numbers compiled by hurlers tossing a boatload of innings.

SABR says Pittinger’s 1903 was almost as bad as his 1902 was good, stating, “But instead of another dominating season, Pittinger had one of the worst seasons recorded by a pitcher. In 1903 he led the National League in five negative pitching categories: losses (22), earned runs allowed (136), hits allowed (396), home runs allowed (12), and walks allowed (143). He was still a workhorse, pitching 351⅔ innings. With his large salary, his season didn’t endear him to Boston management.”

Surprisingly, in the long SABR article, there’s not one mention of why he’s called Togie and, indeed, SABR calls him Charlie throughout the write-up. He apparently wasn’t a good-looking man and did acquire the nicknames of Horse Face or Dog Face.


P-Doc White, Philadelphia Phillies, 23 Years Old

16-20, 2.53 ERA, 185 K, .263, 1 HR, 15 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star teams. 50 percent chance)


Led in:


Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.441

1st Time All-Star-Guy Harris “Doc” White was born on April 9, 1879 in Washington, DC. The six-foot-one, 150 pound lefty started with Philadelphia in 1901 and would be with them through this season before moving to the White Sox for the rest of his career. His career was decent though he never got any Hall of Fame interest. This season, White had his best season ever, finishing fifth in WAR (7.0), fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.2), second in strikeouts (185), second in losses (20), third in FIP (2.42), and third in assists as a pitcher (83). He was a good athlete, being a good hitting pitcher in a time there weren’t many of those.

White wasn’t enough for the Phillies as they lost Ed Delahanty and fell from second to seventh. Manager Bill Shettsline led the team to a 56-81 record due to bad hitting and pitching.

Here’s some facts from his 1902 season, according to Baseball Reference, “In 1902, he went 16-20 for a poor Phillies team but finished second in the National League with 185 strikeouts. On July 21, he became the first pitcher since the mound was pushed back to 60′ 6″ to strike out four batters in one inning. During this time, he was completing his studies, and earned his dentistry degree in 1902, opening a practice in his hometown in the off-season. That earned him the nickname Doc, by which he is best known to this day.” We’ll read more of this man in years to come.


P-Jack Chesbro, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old


28-6, 2.17 ERA, 136 K, .179, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

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


Led in:



Win-Loss %-.824

Shutouts-8 (2nd Time)

Hit By Pitch-21

2nd Time All-Star-Chesbro made his second straight All-Star team and also won his second straight league championship. He was a great pitcher having a great stretch of seasons during this time. He’d be the first famous Yankee pitcher starting next year. As for this season, Happy Jack finished first in the categories above, eighth in WAR (5.4), and sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.5). He, of course, has an incredible season coming up in two seasons, but you’ll just have to wait like everybody else.

This was his last year with the Pirates because, according to Wikipedia, “At the end of the 1902 season, the upstart American League (AL) began to entice NL stars to join their league by offering competitive salaries. Chesbro agreed to sign with a new AL franchise, the New York Highlanders (presently known as the New York Yankees), for the 1903 season, for a $1,000 bonus ($27,681 in current dollar terms) to join the AL. The news broke when Jesse Tannehill, who also agreed to join the Highlanders, told Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss about the planned defection while under the influence of pain medication. When he refused to participate in a postseason series, Dreyfuss released Chesbro from the Pirates.”

According to Baseball Reference, Chesbro added a pitch to his repertoire this year: “He began throwing a spitball the next season (spitballs were legal until 1920) and went an astonishing 28-6 with a 2.17 ERA, leading the circuit in wins and shutouts.” It’s amazing spitballs were ever legal.


P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 21 Years Old


14-17, 2.12 ERA, 164 K, .200, 2 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

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


Led in:



Wild Pitches-17 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-If you look at Mathewson’s stats, this season looks out of place. From 1901-to-1914, it was the only time Big Train didn’t win at least 20 games and then only time during that stretch he pitched under .500. Yet he still led the league in shutouts, along with finishing seventh in WAR for Pitchers (7.1), eighth in ERA (2.12), second in strikeouts per nine innings pitched (5.185), ninth in innings pitched (284 2/3), and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (131).

Mathewson’s off season was part of the reason the Giants finished last. They had three managers – Horace Fogel (18-23), Heinie Smith (5-27), and John McGraw (25-38). New York was the worst hitting team in the league and one of the worst pitching teams. What couldn’t have been realized is that McGraw would be there for the next 31 years and have great success with this team.

I never knew Mathewson played another sport, but, according to Wikipedia, “Mathewson played professional football as early as 1898, appearing as a fullback with the Greensburg Athletic Association. While a member of the New York Giants, Mathewson played fullback for the Pittsburgh Stars of the first National Football League. However, Mathewson disappeared from the team in the middle of the team’s 1902 season. Some historians speculate that the Giants got word that their star pitcher was risking his life and baseball career for the Stars and ordered him to stop, while others feel that the Stars’ coach, Willis Richardson, got rid of Mathewson because he felt that, since the fullback’s punting skills were hardly used, he could replace him with a local player, Shirley Ellis.”


P-Mike O’Neill, St. Louis Cardinals, 24 Years Old

16-15, 2.90 ERA, 105 K, .319, 2 HR, 15 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 42 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)


1st Time All-Star-Michael Joyce “Mike” O’Neill, also known as Michael Joyce in 1901, was born on September 7, 1877 in Maam, Ireland. This will most likely be his only All-Star season as he was the Cardinals’ best player. Not all of his value came from his arm, as he had a 2.4 Pitching WAR, but also his bat, where he added 1.7 WAR worth of value. He also finished second in saves (2), seventh in innings pitched (288 1/3), and third in errors committed as a pitcher (8).

The Cardinals, managed by Pasty Donovan, dropped from fourth to sixth with 56-78 record. If O’Neill’s your best pitcher, your team probably struggles from the mound and St. Louis did, having the worst ERA+ in the league.

His hitting brought O’Neill the fame, as this story from Wikipedia says, “O’Neill was a good-hitting pitcher who occasionally played in the left field. In 1901, he ended with a 2–2 record and a 1.32 earned run average, including a shutout, and hit .400 (6-for-15). His most productive season came in 1902, when he posted an 18–12 record with two shutouts, a 2.75 ERA, and two saves. On June 3, he was rested until being summoned as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning with the bases loaded. O’Neill responded by hitting the first pinch grand slam in major league history off Togie Pittinger of the Boston Beaneaters.[2][3] It was an inside-the-park home run as O’Neill became the first National League pitcher to hit a grand slam in the 20th century.”


P-Doc Newton, Brooklyn Superbas, 24 Years Old

15-14, 2.42 ERA, 107 K, .174, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 36 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)


Led in:


Hits per 9 IP-7.082

1st Time All-Star-Eustace James “Doc” Newton was born on October 26, 1877 in Mount Carmel, IN. The six-foot, 185 pound lefty started with Cincinnati in 1900-01, before being picked up by Brooklyn as a free agent on July 16, 1901. This was his best season ever as he finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.0) and second in saves (2). He would finished his career pitching five seasons with the Highlanders (eventually the Yankees) from 1905-to-1909.

Brooklyn, still managed by Ned Hanlon, moved from third to second this season, though they were still way behind the first place Pirates. They finished 75-63 and were led by powerful hitting while having only middle-of-the-road pitching. The Superbas have four position players on the All-Star team, with the best being shortstop Bill Dahlen.

Wikipedia says, “A former Dentist, he finished with a 54–72 win-loss record, a 3.22 Earned Run Average, and 99 complete games. He had his best season in 1902 for Brooklyn, when he went 15-14 with a 2.42 ERA. From an article in the Sporting Life magazine from April 1907, he played college baseball for Morris Hall University, while others claim Morris Halo, or Morris Hale. The most likely match is Moores Hill College, a school that closed in 1915.

“On October 4, 1904, the New York Highlanders selected Newton the Rule 5 draft, and he pitched well, just not well enough to win games on a regular basis, his ERAs were low during his time in New York, 2.96, but his win-loss records didn’t match it, 20-25. His manager in New York, Clark Griffith, claimed that Newton’s failure to stay in condition cost the Highlanders the 1906 pennant; Newton had been suspended mid-season for dissipation.”

Teams Baltimore Orioles 1899 47-50_PD Betz leftP-Joe McGinnity, New York Giants, 31 Years Old

1899 1900 1901

8-8, 2.06 ERA, 67 K, .121, 0 HR, 3 RBI (NL Stats Only)

Hall of Fames:

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: No (Would require two more All-Star teams. Definitely)


4th Time All-Star-Iron Man is going to do something rarely done, make two All-Star teams in one season. This write-up will focus on his National League season. He started the season with Baltimore and then was released by them and signed by the Giants. He and John McGraw, New York’s skipper, are going to make a fine team for years to come. McGinnity finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (3.6), sixth in ERA (2.06), third in WHIP (1.007), second in hits allowed per nine innings (7.177), and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (136).

The AL Orioles were already falling apart and would be replaced in 1902 by New York. This led to McGinnity leaving, as Wikipedia explains, “McGinnity began the 1902 season with the Orioles. However, the franchise began to fall into significant debt. Joe Kelley, star player for the Orioles and son-in-law of part-owner John Mahon, reported that the team owed as much as $12,000 ($332,169 in current dollar terms). Unable to afford that debt, Mahon purchased shares of the team from Kelley and player-manager John McGraw, who had resigned from the team and signed with the New York Giants of the NL. With this, Mahon became the majority shareholder. On July 17, 1902, Mahon sold his interest in the Orioles to Andrew Freedman, principal owner of the Giants, and John T. Brush, principal owner of the Cincinnati Reds, also of the NL. That day, Freedman and Brush released McGinnity, McGraw, Kelley, Roger Bresnahan, Jack Cronin, Cy Seymour, and Dan McGann from their Oriole contracts.”


C-Johnny Kling, Chicago Orphans, 26 Years Old

.289, 0 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star teams. Impossible)


Led in:


Def. Games as C-113

Putouts as C-477

Assists as C-160

Double Plays Turned as C-17

Passed Balls-18

Caught Stealing as C-113

1st Time All-Star-John “Johnny” or “Noisy” Kling was born on my anniversary date of November 13, 1875 in Kansas City, MO. The five-foot-nine, 160 pound righthander started with Chicago in 1900 and would remain with them until 1911. His stats don’t jump out at you, but for a catcher, he was one of the best around for his time. This season, along with finishing first in all of the above stats, Kling finished eighth in Defensive WAR (1.0), second in stolen bases allowed as a catcher (123), and third in fielding percentage as a catcher (.974). He would do decently offensively over the years, but his defense was stellar and got him a lot of Hall of Fame interest over the years.

As for his nickname “Noisy,” Wikipedia states, “He also acquired the nickname ‘Noisy John’, because he kept up a constant chatter on the field; some baseball historians have noted this was part of his skill in waging ‘psychological warfare’ on his opponents.”

And Noisy John loved another pastime: “But while he loved baseball, Kling never lost his devotion to the game of pool. In 1902, for example, one reporter called him the best pool player of any active baseball player. He often played for purses as high as $300, a sizable amount in that era. During this time, he also ran his own billiard room in his native Kansas City. During the early 1900s, his pool-playing career was regarded positively by sports reporters—in one article, he was praised as a baseball player who was not idle during the off-season; he was said to have ‘double[d] his diamond income’ by being an accomplished pool player.”


C-Hughie Hearne, Brooklyn Superbas, 29 Years Old

.281, 0 HR, 28 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 157 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)


1st Time All-Star-Hugh Joseph “Hughie” Hearne was born on April 18, 1873 in Troy, NY. The five-foot-eight, 182 pound rightie started by playing two games for Brooklyn in 1901 and then played for three seasons. This was his best season despite playing on 66 games. There weren’t a lot of great catcher in the National League at this time or Hearne would have never made the list. Hearne slashed .281/.336/.325 for an OPS+ of 104, which isn’t bad for a catcher. He would play one more season for the Superbas and never play another Major League game.

Here’s some tidbits from Wikipedia: “Hearne made his major league debut on August 29 and spent the next two years with Brooklyn as a part-time catcher. In 1902, he played in a career-high 66 MLB games and batted .281. In 1903, while batting .281 again, he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles of the Eastern League. He played his last major league game on July 2.

“Hearne spent 1903 to 1909 with Baltimore. In 1905, he hit .302, the only season other than 1901 in which he would top the .300 mark. In 1907, he was reported to be wearing shin guards similar to those that had been worn by Roger Bresnahan before. This piece of equipment was rarely used in baseball at the time.

“After batting .250 in 1909, Hearne was sold to the Newark Indians for US$500. He played in a career-high 94 minor league games in 1910 before retiring from professional baseball.”


1B-Fred Tenney, Boston Beaneaters, 30 Years Old


.315, 2 HR, 30 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 20 percent chance)


Led in:


Sacrifice Hits-29

Def. Games as 1B-134 (2nd Time)

Assists as 1B-105 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.985

2nd Time All-Star-It’s been three years since Tenney made the All-Star team, but he’s back with his best season ever. He finished 10th in WAR (5.1), fourth in WAR Position Players (5.1), sixth in Offensive WAR (4.5), ninth in batting average (.315), second in on-base percentage (.409), third in bases on balls (73), fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (142), second in putouts (1,251), second in putouts as a first baseman (1,251), third in errors committed as a first baseman (21), second in double plays turned as a first baseman (75), and third in range factor per game as a first baseman (10.12), along with leading all of the categories mentioned above.

Wikipedia mentions like many during this time, he was a brawler, stating, “He was suspended for ten games for fighting Pittsburg Pirates manager Fred Clarke in May 1902, and finished the 1902 season with the second most sacrifice hits (29) in the majors, to go along with a .315 average.[10][18] Throughout the 1901–1902 seasons, Tenney received contract offers worth up to $7,000 ($193,172.00 in 2012) from St. Louis, Cleveland, and Detroit; Tenney, however, decided to remain in Boston, and was named captain of the club in 1903.” They must have lightened the suspension because Tenney played 134 of Boston’s 142 games.

More on that brawl from SABR: “Speculation that he would jump became rampant after he got into a brawl with Pittsburgh Pirates player-manager Fred Clarke on May 15, 1902-‘Clarke called me names, then I twisted his nose, and he kicked me in the stomach,’ Tenney claimed-prompting a fine and a 10-game suspension.”


1B-Jake Beckley, Cincinnati Reds, 34 Years Old, 1902 ONEHOF Inductee

1889 1890 1891 1893 1894 1900 1901

.330, 5 HR, 69 RBI, 0-1, 6.75 ERA, 2 K

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes


Led in:


Putouts-1,269 (5th Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,262 (5th Time)

Errors Committed as 1B-23 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 1B-84 (2nd Time)

8th Time All-Star-When I first started writing about Beckley during the 1889 season, I questioned his Hall of Fame creds and yet here he is making the One-a-Year Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame of my creation which inducts one player every year who is the best player not already in the ONEHOF. Beckley consistently hit from a hitters’ era in the 1890s to the Deadball era of the 1900s. He always flashed good leather and was always among the best at his position in the league. So welcome to ONEHOF, Eagle Eye.

The nominees for next year’s ONEHOF are King Kelly, Hardy Richardson, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, and George Davis.

Along with the categories in which he led, Eagle Eye finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.1), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.1), fifth in batting average (.330), eighth in on-base percentage (.377), fourth in slugging (.427), third in total bases (227), second in homers (5), sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (140), second in power-speed number (7.5), second in at-bats-per-home run (106.2), second in defensive games as a first baseman (129), second in assists as a first baseman (64), second in range factor per nine innings as a first baseman (10.61), second in range factor per game as a first baseman (10.28), and third in fielding percentage as a first baseman (.983).


2B-Claude Ritchey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

.277, 2 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Fielding % as 2B-.966

1st Time All-Star-Claude Cassius “Little All Right” Ritchey was born on October 5, 1873 in Emlenton, PA. The five-foot-six, 167 pound scrapper was part of a slew of position player All-Stars on the Pirates and now won his second league crown. Along with fielding, Ritchey finished ninth in Defensive WAR (1.0) and ninth in on-base percentage (.370). He’d always been a decent player but this was the first year he shined.

From a website called Baseball History Comes Alive, there is a story of Ritchey, along with many others, reaching Pittsburgh and making them into a dynasty. It says, “Awhile back I started a series on lopsided trades. Some of you may remember a couple of the more notorious ones I featured: the Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio trade that causes heart-burn to Cub fans even to this day; and the Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas fiasco from which many Reds fans are likewise are still hurting.

“Here’s what the Pirates got in this one-sided deal: Honus Wagner, possibly the greatest shortstop and all-around player ever; Hall-of Fame pitcher Rube Waddell; Hall-of-Fame outfielder and future manager Fred Clarke; future ace pitcher Deacon Phillippe who in 12 years with the Pirates went 168-92 (.646); plus star infielders Claude Richey and Tommy Leach; and steady catcher Chief Zimmer. Not a bad haul for the Pirates!

“This trade turned a good Pirates team into a powerhouse which won pennants in 1901, ‘02 and ’03, and appeared in the first World Series in 1903. The 1902 Pirates were one of the greatest teams of all-time.  They outscored the next-best team by 142 runs and led the National League in hits, doubles, triples, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging average, and tied for the league lead in stolen bases.”


3B-Tommy Leach, Pittsburgh Pirates, 24 Years Old

.278, 6 HR, 85 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Defensive WAR-1.8


Home Runs-6

Power-Speed #-9.7

AB per HR-85.7

Assists as 3B-316

1st Time All-Star-Thomas William “Tommy” Leach was born on November 4, 1877 in French Creek, NY. The five-foot-six, 150 pound righty started with Louisville in 1898-99, before being traded to Pittsburgh. He obviously had some pop, leading the league in homers and triples, and now had two league titles to his name. This was his best season ever. Along with the categories in which he led above, Leach finished seventh in WAR (6.0), second in WAR Position Players (6.0), fourth in Offensive WAR (4.6), fifth in slugging (.426), second in runs batted in (85), seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (134), second in defensive games as a third baseman (134), second in range factor per nine innings as a third baseman (3.71), second in range factor per game as a third baseman (3.63), and third in fielding percentage as a third baseman (.926). He’ll be on this list a few more times.

Wikipedia says, “Leach was well known for his small stature and was nicknamed ‘Wee Tommy’. In 1902, while with the Pirates, he led the National League in home runs with a total of six. Each one was of the inside-the-park variety, which was not unusual in the ‘dead-ball era’. 49 of Tommy Leach’s 63 career home runs were inside-the-park, which is still a National League record.”

He was a neighbor of a great player, according to SABR, which states, “The Leaches were neighbors of the Delahantys, a family that produced five major leaguers. Enthusiastic about the tremendous success of Ed Delahanty, Tommie’s father encouraged Tommie by saying, ‘If Ed can do it, so can you.’”


SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

1899 1900 1901

.330, 3 HR, 91 RBI, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 K

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes


Led in:


WAR Position Players-7.3 (2nd Time)

Offensive WAR-6.2 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.463 (2nd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.857 (2nd Time)

Runs Scored-105

Doubles-30 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-91 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases-42 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-162 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-39

Adj. Batting Wins-4.4

Extra Base Hits-49 (2nd Time)

Hit By Pitch-14

4th Time All-Star-You’re reading this and, with your vast baseball knowledge, you know Wagner played over 200 more innings in the outfield than he did at shortstop and wondering how he’s ending up at that position on my All-Star team. To that I say, write your own page! In truth, I just put him there because I didn’t know what position to put him in the outfield, because he split them fairly evenly. He played more games at shortstop than he did at any one position in the outfield, so he’s my guy!

There’s no need to break down Wagner’s season, because you can see it above. He also won his second straight championship and has better seasons to come.

I love the description given by SABR of Wagner in the field: “Wagner was a sight in the field as well. His huge hands made it difficult to tell whether he was wearing a glove. The glove that seemed too small for his hand was made even smaller by cutting a hole in the palm and pulling out much of the stuffing. Doing so, he thought, gave him better feel and hand mobility, reasonable given the pancake-shaped glove he used. Quick of foot and reflex, he covered the left side of the infield, knocking down balls (making errors on balls that other shortstops wouldn’t have reached) as necessary and throwing out runners with his powerful arm. He would irritate Clarke by taking his time making the throw on close plays at first. Wagner told Clarke he’d change when he quit throwing runners out. His one weakness in the field stemmed from his oversized feet, which sometimes got in the way. At bat, on the bases, and in the field, Wagner wasn’t pretty, just effective.”


SS-Bill Dahlen, Brooklyn Superbas, 33 Years Old

1892 1896 1898 1899 1900

.264, 2 HR, 74 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes


Led in:


Def. Games as SS-138

6th Time All-Star-Before Bill James started writing his yearly Baseball Abstracts, baseball was a much simpler game to understand. It only had three stats for hitters – batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. Those are the stats I grew up with and that’s why I use them in the player synopsis at the top. It’s a reminder to me and all of my readers that when the early Hall of Fame voters cast their ballots, those were the main categories at which they looked. So here’s what they had for Bill Dahlen for his career – a .272 batting average, 84 home runs, and 1,234 runs batted in. They didn’t have much use for defensive stats except for fielding percentage, a category in which Dahlen finished first once, though in the top three eight times.

Nowadays, we look at Dahlen’s complete repertoire and realize the reason his offensive stats are so low is because of the era in which he played and his defense, as best as can be judged was outstanding. His career WAR is 75.2, which should be enough to put him in the Hall, but who thinks of players like Dahlen anymore. He played in an integrated league, with middling-to-good counting stats, and, on top of all that, he had a reputation for laziness, rowdiness, and drunkenness.

                This season, Dahlen finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.3), eighth in Offensive WAR (3.8), and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.4). He also finished in the top three in many defensive stats. This was a typical year for Bad Bill Dahlen, but he’ll have to settle for Ron’s Hall of Fame and possibly the ONEHOF down the road.


SS-Joe Tinker, Chicago Orphans, 21 Years Old

.263, 2 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

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


Led in:


Assists as SS-461

Errors Committed as SS-72

Double Plays Turned as SS-49

1st Time All-Star-Joseph Bert “Joe” Tinker was born on July 27, 1880 in Muscotah, KS and would die exactly 68 years later in Orlando, FL. Between that time, the five-foot-nine, 175 pound shortstop played a Hall of Fame career which would be lauded in prose and poem, including the famous, “Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance.” He had a great rookie year, making the All-Star team, mainly due to his glove. Tinker finished second in Defensive WAR (1.7), second in strikeouts (61), and in the top three in numerous defensive categories. He would be an acceptable hitter, but his fame came from his fielding.

Wikipedia says, “When he purchased Tinker’s contract, Cubs manager Frank Selee was seeking a replacement at shortstop for Barry McCormick, who had joined the St. Louis Browns of the rival American League. Tinker won the job during spring training. As a rookie in 1902, Tinker batted .261, but also led NL shortstops with 72 errors. Johnny Evers, also a rookie, played second base for the Cubs. With Frank Chance, the team’s first baseman, the trio first played together on September 13, 1902, and collaborated on their first double play on September 15.”

Here’s the famous stanza, written from the point of view of a Giants fan while watching his hopes erased by a double play:

Baseball’s Sad Lexicon

These are the saddest of possible words:

“Tinker to Evers to Chance.”

Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,

Tinker and Evers and Chance.

Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,

Making a Giant hit into a double  –

Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:

“Tinker to Evers to Chance.”

clarke4LF-Fred Clarke, Pittsburgh Pirates, 29 Years Old

1895 1897 1901

.316, 2 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

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


Led in:


Hit by Pitch-14

4th Time All-Star-In the early 1900s, Pittsburgh dominated the National League, as they won their second of third consecutive league crowns this season. The leader of this talented group was a 20-something named Fred Clarke, who managed an excellent game, not to mention having the benefit of a talented crew. Pittsburgh won this season by 27-and-a-half games over Brooklyn and it was never close. The team finished with a 103-36 record, a .741 percentage.

Clarke certainly helped himself with his play in the field, finishing fifth in WAR Position Players (5.0), fifth in Offensive WAR (4.6), sixth in batting average (.316), fourth in on-base percentage (.401), third in slugging (.449), second in on-base plus slugging (.850), second in runs scored (103), second in doubles (27), eighth in stolen bases (29), second in Adjusted OPS+ (159), second in Adjusted Batting Runs (35), second in Adjusted Batting Wins (3.9), and second in extra base hits (43). In most of these categories, he was behind teammate Honus Wagner.

There is an intriguing article at the National Pastime Museum, about the Pirates’ 103rd win. It set a record at the time for wins in a season, but the team they were playing, my beloved Reds, made a mockery of the game, starting Jake Beckley, their first baseman, at pitcher, along with many other shenanigans. Here’s just a little of what they did: “The Pittsburgh Press summed up the affair by claiming it was the ‘first time in years . . . one of the teams deliberately faked,’ compared it to ‘American League methods,’ and that the Reds acted ‘more like monkeys than men.’ When Kelley stepped to the plate in the first inning he was smoking a cigarette, which drew a threat from O’Day that if the ‘pipe’ wasn’t extinguished, the Reds manager would be tossed from the game. Kelley, Donlin, and Seymour also smoked in the field, but none were ejected from the contest.” Read the whole thing.


LF-Jimmy Slagle, Chicago Orphans, 28 Years Old

.315, 0 HR, 28 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Range Factor/Game as OF-2.43 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-James Franklin “Jimmy” or “Rabbit” or “Shorty” Slagle was born on July 11, 1873 in Worthville, PA. The five-foot-seven, 144 pound lefthanded batter started in 1899 with the Washington Senators. He then played for Philadelphia in 1900-01, before finishing off 1901 with the Beaneaters, who released him towards the end of the season. Picked up by the Orphans before this year, Slagle had his best season ever, finishing seventh in WAR Position Players (4.4), seventh in batting average (.315), seventh in on-base percentage (.386), second in steals (41), and  eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (133). He would finish his career with Chicago, playing through 1908, which I understand to be a famous year in Cubs history.

You might know there weren’t official nicknames for clubs in the early days of baseball and, according to Chicago Cubs Online, 1902 was the first time Cubs was used for the Chicago National League entry. It says, “On March 27, 1902, the Chicago Daily News used the name ‘Cubs’ for the first time in print. The nickname was coined when Frank Selee (1902-1905) became the new manager of the Chicago National League Ball Club, Inc. The nickname ‘Cubs’ was derived from the new manager rebuilding the team with young, unproven players to replace the veterans that had jumped leagues to play in the American League for higher pay.

“Due to new owner Jim Hart signing so many young players the club had taken on the name ‘Chicago Spuds,’ a name given by the Chicago Tribune that did not appeal to the fans and when Frank Selee started to build what would be the nucleus of a championship team, many felt a more appropriate nickname was needed.”


LF-Jimmy Sheckard, Baltimore Orioles (AL)/Brooklyn Superbas (NL), 23 Years Old


.265, 4 HR, 37 RBI (NL Only)

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 40 percent chance)


Led in:


Putouts as OF-284

2nd Time All-Star-Sheckard started this season in the American League, toiling with the Baltimore Orioles. However, after playing four games for them, he jumped back to the Superbas on April 27. Though he only hit four home runs, he ranked fourth in the league. He also finished third in Power-Speed # (6.8) and second in range factor per game as an outfielder (2.41). Now that’s he back with Brooklyn, he’ll remain with them through 1905.

Baseball Reference says, “Bill James has pointed out that Sheckard was a very talented player who at different times in his career did many impressive things. However, he could not consistently put those talents together for a whole career. Early in his career he led the league in stolen bases (in 1899 and 1903), once he was in the top 5 in batting average (in 1901), once he led the league in triples (in 1901), once he led the league in home runs (in 1903), whereas in the middle of his career he twice led the league in sacrifice hits (1906 and 1909), and late in his career he led the league in walks twice (1911 and 1912), and in runs scored (in 1911).”

Sheckard doesn’t have much of a chance of making my Hall of Fame, but he certainly garnered some Cooperstown interest in his day. He received votes three times – in 1938, 1945, and 1946. He would probably be regarded higher nowadays thanks to his walking ability and high on-base percentage. He also would have been a bigger home run hitter in any other era.


CF-Ginger Beaumont, Pittsburgh Pirates, 25 Years Old

.357, 0 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. 22 percent chance)


Led in:


1902 NL Batting Title

Batting Average-.357



Double Plays Turned as OF-8

1st Time All-Star-Clarence Howeth “Ginger” Beaumont was born on July 23, 1876 in Rochester, WI. He started with Pittsburgh in 1899 and would be a vital cog in Pittsburgh’s league championship stretch from 1901-through-1903. This season was his best season ever as, along with the categories in which he led above, Beaumont finished ninth in WAR (5.1), third in WAR Position Players (5.1), second in Offensive WAR (4.9), third in on-base percentage (.404), sixth in slugging (.418), third in runs scored (100), fourth in stolen bases (33), fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (151), third in runs created (90), second in times on base (236), third in Offensive Win percentage (.767), and second in fielding percentage as an outfielder (.975).

SABR says of the red-headed centerfielder, “When contemporary observers spoke of Beaumont, they tended to focus on his surprising speed (he was once clocked from home to first in 4.4 seconds)–surprising because his typical playing weight was 190 lbs. on a 5’8″ frame. ‘He was an excellent base runner, being very fast on his feet, but nobody who saw him for the first time ambling along on his way to the batter’s box would admit this,’ wrote sportswriter John Gruber. ‘A lazier or more indifferent-appearing player, emphasized by a burly body, could not be conceived. But when he hit the ball he was off like a streak, which astonished the uninitiated and made him one of the wonders of the century.’” I never knew the nickname “Ginger” for redheads started so far back.<


RF-Sam Crawford, Cincinnati Reds, 22 Years Old


.333, 3 HR, 78 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

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


Led in:


Total Bases-256


Runs Created-99

Offensive Win %-.786

2nd Time All-Star-Wahoo Sam could’ve been the greatest Red of all time if he had stayed with Cincinnati, but after this season, he’s going to Detroit and for many years, he’s going to combine with the great Ty Cobb as the greatest duo of their time. I would have very much liked watching the speedy, powerful Crawford play. This season, along with the categories above in which he led, he finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.9), second in Offensive WAR (4.7), second in batting (.333), sixth in on-base percentage (.386), second in slugging (.461), third in OPS (.848), second in games (140), third in hits (185), third in RBI (78), third in OPS+ (153), third in Adjusted Batting Runs (33), third in Adjusted Batting Wins (3.7), second in extra base hits (43), third in times on base (233), second in defensive games as an outfielder (140), and second in assists as an outfielder (24). What’s incredible about Crawford is that this wasn’t an atypical season, but very much fits in with his career. Cobb said, “With the rabbit ball they’re playing with today, he’d have been one of the greatest home run hitters of all time.”

From Coffeyville Whirlwind quotes Crawford, who says, “’My idea of batting is a thing that should be done unconsciously,’ he once explained. ‘If you get to studying it too much, to see just what fraction of a second you must swing to meet a curved ball, the chances are you will miss it altogether.’”


RF-Willie Keeler, Brooklyn Superbas, 30 Years Old

1895 1897 1899 1900

.333, 0 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes

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


Led in:


AB per SO-43.0 (6th Time)

Fielding % as OF-.978 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Even in an era in which ballplayers weren’t the behemoths of today, Keeler was still a small man at five-foot-four. I imagine watching him back then would have been like watching Jose Altuve nowadays and that’s a joy. (Well, it would be a joy if I wasn’t an Angels fan and he wasn’t killing them every time he faced them.) After this season, like so many others, he’s going to defect leagues, which will eventually lead to the World Series. Wee Willie probably has one more All-Star season left, which will put him in Ron’s Hall of Fame.

I feel over the stretch of baseball history, singles hitters were overrated. But if you hit as many singles as Keeler, you certainly have worth in the sport. Oh, and Keeler in 1902 struck out 13 times, which was his career high, a total he’d match in 1905. Only six times in his career did he even strikeout in double digits. We have players nowadays who strikeout more times in a week than Keeler typically did in a season.

Wikipedia says, “In 1901 when Ban Johnson formed the American League, one of the first acts was to raid the National League and offer their stars big contracts. In 1901, Keeler received offers from six of the eight new American League clubs, including an offer from Chicago for two years at $4,300 a season ($123,788 in current dollar terms). Keeler remained in Brooklyn and did not actually jump to the new league until 1903, when he signed with the New York Highlanders (later renamed the Yankees in 1913).”

17 thoughts on “1902 National League All-Star Team

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