Home » Uncategorized » 1902 American League All-Star Team

1902 American League All-Star Team

P-Rube Waddell, PHA

P-Cy Young, BOS

P-Bill Dinneen, BOS

P-Jack Powell, SLB

P-Red Donahue, SLB

P-Bill Bernhard, PHA/CLE

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Win Mercer, DET

P-Joe McGinnity, BLA

P-Ed Siever, DET

C-Harry Bemis, CLE

C-Boileryard Clarke, WSH

1B-Charlie Hickman, BOS/CLE

2B-Nap Lajoie, PHA/CLE

3B-Bill Bradley, CLE

3B-Lave Cross, PHA

3B-Jimmy Collins, BOS

3B-Sammy Strang, CHW

SS-George Davis, CHW

SS-Bobby Wallace, SLB

LF-Ed Delahanty, WSH

LF-Jesse Burkett, SLB

CF-Fielder Jones, CHW

RF-Socks Seybold, PHA

RF-Buck Freeman, BOS

 

waddell

P-Rube Waddell, Philadelphia Athletics, 25 Years Old

24-7, 2.05 ERA, 210 K, .286, 1 HR, 18 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 80 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-10.3

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.840 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-210

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.281

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.28

1st Time All-Star-George Edward “Rube” Waddell was born on October 13, 1876 in Bradford, PA. The six-foot-one, 196 pound lefty earned his reputation through his fireball fastball. Waddell started in 1897 with Louisville, pitching two games, and then taking a year off from the Majors. He came back in 1899 with Louisville, then pitched for Pittsburgh in 1900-01. On May 2, 1901, he was purchased by Chicago from the Pirates, then jumped from the Orphans to a minor league Los Angeles team. In the middle of this season, Waddell jumped to Philadelphia, which makes you wonder what he would have done in a full season. As it was, Rube’s phenomenal arm led him to the first of many All-Star teams.

It also led his team to the first of many league championships. Connie Mack guided the Athletics to a first place 83-53 record. On July 12, Philadelphia was as far back as seven-and-a-half games before winning 10 of 11 and edging up to only one game behind. It took over first on August 15 and never looked back. Third baseman Lave Cross paced the hitters, with Waddell providing the main pitching arm.

According to SABR, “Meanwhile, Connie Mack of the Philadelphia Athletics was in trouble.  He had lost Nap Lajoie and pitchers Bill Bernhard and Chick Fraser in a court decision won by the Phillies. Eddie Plank was a year away from becoming a great pitcher, while Chief Bender was still at Carlisle. Waddell pitched for Mack in 1900 at Milwaukee, where he won 10 and lost 3 in a little over a month, after jumping from the Pirates in mid-season. So early in June, Connie sent Rube a wire, and, after taking two weeks to make up his mind, Rube headed east on June 20, much to the disgust of Manager Morley of Los Angeles.”

young12

P-Cy Young, Boston Americans, 35 Years Old

1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901

32-11, 2.15 ERA, 160 K, .230, 1 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-10.0 (6th Time)

Wins-32 (4th Time)

Games Pitched-45

Innings Pitched-384 2/3

Games Started-43

Complete Games-41 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-57 (5th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.8 (5th Time)

Def. Games as P-45

12th Time All-Star-After the 1902 season ended, Pud Galvin had 365 wins and Young totaled 351. Spoiler alert! He’s going to break that next year. He has made 12 consecutive All-Star teams, won 20 or more 11 of those and won 30 or more in five of those. There’s not much more to say, except that he has made the All-Star team as a pitcher more times than anyone. Here are the leaders by position:

P- Cy Young (12)

C-Charlie Bennett (9)

1B-Cap Anson (13)

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

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

SS-Jack Glasscock (11)

LF-Ed Delahanty (9)

CF-Paul Hines (8)

RF-Sam Thompson (7)

He still has about five All-Star seasons left, which if he accomplishes, will tie him with Anson, who had 17 total. Young also incredibly led his league in innings pitched and games started for the first time ever at the age of 35. Yet, he will be 40 years old before he finally starts declining.

And if all of that wasn’t enough, Young also helped young people, according to Wikipedia, which states, “In February 1902, before the start of the baseball season, Young served as a pitching coach at Harvard University. The sixth-grade graduate instructing Harvard students delighted Boston newspapers. The following year, Young coached at Mercer University during the spring. The team went on to win the Georgia state championship in 1903, 1904, and 1905.”

From the same article is this quote from Cyclone: “I never warmed up ten, fifteen minutes before a game like most pitchers do. I’d loosen up, three, four minutes. Five at the outside. And I never went to the bullpen. Oh, I’d relieve all right, plenty of times, but I went right from the bench to the box, and I’d take a few warm-up pitches and be ready. Then I had good control. I aimed to make the batter hit the ball, and I threw as few pitches as possible. That’s why I was able to work every other day.”

dinneen4

P-Bill Dinneen, Boston Americans, 26 Years Old

1899 1900 1901

21-21, 2.93 ERA, 136 K, .128, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Losses-21

Batters Faced-1,508

4th Time All-Star-How did Boston not win the American League pennant with two greats like Cy Young and Bill Dinneen toiling for it on the mound? The two hurlers started 87 of Boston’s 138 games. Dinneen jumped leagues, but didn’t jump cities, moving from the Beaneaters to the Americans, but staying in Boston.

In the old days, pitchers were rated by categories like “wins” and “losses.” You might have heard of them. Despite Dinneen’s good year – he finished seventh in WAR (5.9) and third in WAR for Pitchers (7.0) – he still led the league in losses. Yet that usually has to do with offensive support and Dinneen apparently didn’t have enough of it. He’ll most likely be back next season and his arm would come through at the right time. You’ll have to wait for that story.

Moving to the AL helped Dinneen, according to SABR, which says, “In his first three seasons with the Americans, Dinneen won 65 games, averaged more than 300 innings per season, and posted a 2.49 ERA. Dinneen was one of baseball’s best pitchers from 1900 to 1904, finishing in the top ten in his league each season in innings pitched, starts, complete games, and strikeouts, and finishing in the top five in victories in 1900 and from 1902 to 1904.”

Dinneen is also a member of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame, which remarks, “Bill Dinneen secured his place in Syracuse baseball history by becoming an outstanding pitcher then continuing his baseball life as an umpire. Dinneen was the star hurler for several organizations but peaked in the early 1900s. Dinneen won 20 games for the 1900 Boston Braves but really came into his own when he jumped to the Red Sox in 1902.”

powell2

P-Jack Powell, St. Louis Browns, 27 Years Old

1897

22-17, 3.21 ERA, 137 K, .205, 1 HR, 15 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Saves-2 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Since Red made the All-Star team in 1897 in his rookie year, he pitched one more season for Cleveland in 1898 before moving to St. Louis, where he pitched from 1899-1901. Before the 1902 season, he jumped leagues and now was the Browns’ ace. When he last made the All-Star team, he had an 80 percent chance of making my Hall of Fame. You can see it has now dropped to 25 percent, because despite good seasons in 1898 and 1899, they weren’t good enough to make the list.

The Browns, who had been the last place Milwaukee Brewers in 1901, moved all the way up to second this season. Jimmy McAleer managed the club to a 78-58 record and as late as August 13, St. Louis was in first place. This was despite having weak hitting and only mediocre pitching.

Wikipedia says of Powell’s last few years, “He made his debut with the Cleveland Spiders in 1897, and by 1898 he became one of the best pitchers on the team. His 23 wins trailed only teammate Cy Young. He was one of the star players sold to the St. Louis Browns before the 1899 season. He won 23 games again that year, which was three more than the Spiders had all year. After three successful seasons, he was lured to the new American League in 1902, where he pitched for the St. Louis Browns.”

It’s probably going to be a few years before Powell makes another All-Star team. He’s not a famous pitcher by any means, but he was consistently good for a lot of bad teams.

donahue2

P-Red Donahue, St. Louis Browns, 29 Years Old

1901

22-11, 2.76 ERA, 63 K, .093, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as P-130

2nd Time All-Star-Along with Red Powell, Red Donahue helped lead St. Louis to a second place finish this season. I mentioned in Powell’s blurb that St. Louis’ pitching was mediocre and when one of two Reds wasn’t on the mound, that was certainly true. Powell and Donahue won 44 of St. Louis’ 77 victories. Donahue actually had a higher WAR for Pitchers (6.0-5.8), but was such a horrendous hitter (slash numbers .093/.123/.119), he lost value because of it. He had a -1.3 Offensive WAR.

Richard F. Peterson wrote a book, The St. Louis Baseball Reader, which says of St. Louis this season, “Obtaining a first-division team in 1902 was quite simple, even though it baffled [John] McGraw in Baltimore. You went into the rival camp with pockets stuffed with greenbacks. In wholesale raids on the Cardinals, the Browns obtained Jesse Burkett, who batted .400 three times; Rhoderick “Bobbie” Wallace, a shortstop then considered second only to the great Hans Wagner; pitchers Jack Powell, Jack Harper, and Willie Sudhoff; and two other outfielders in addition to Burkett, Emmett Heidrick and Billy Maloney. Another ace pitcher, Frank “Red” Donahue, a 22-11 performer in 1902, was snared from the Phillies. With this aggregation of filched talent, Jimmy  McAleer ran second to the Athletics the season Connie Mack brought his first of nine pennants to Philadelphia.”

It was part of the reason the American League would end up succeeding where so many before it failed. The National League didn’t want to lose all of its superstars and would eventually have to come up with a compromise to save itself.

bernhard

P-Bill Bernhard, Philadelphia Athletics/Cleveland Bronchos, 31 Years Old

18-5, 2.15 ERA, 58 K, .191, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.783

Walks & Hits per IP-0.942

Hits per 9 IP-7.009

1st Time All-Star-William Henry “Strawberry Bill” Bernhard was born on March 16, 1871 in Clarence, NY, unfortunately too many years before the popularity of Blueberry Hill. The six-foot-one, 205 pound righty started with Philadelphia in 1899-1900 and then moved to the Athletics in 1901. This was his best season ever, though he usually had the benefit of a lot of run support and thus ended up with a career 116-81 record or a .589 winning percentage. He incredibly had winning percentages of .600 or more five times. Bernhard only pitched one game for Philadelphia in 1902 before he signed as a free agent for the Bronchos.

Speaking of Cleveland, it went 69-67 and moved up two slots to fifth place. Bill Armour coached the team, which had the best hitting in the league led by third baseman Bill  Bradley, and decent pitching led by Bernhard.

SABR says, “In 1902 Cleveland manager Bill Armour raved about his pitcher Bill Bernhard: ‘Critics may choose [Rube] Waddell or Cy Young and be welcome, but neither of these two men has anything on “Berny.”’ From 1899 to 1907, Bernhard compiled an impressive 116-81 major league record. The fury of his fastball contrasted with his calm demeanor. Berny was a knowledgeable baseball man, well liked and respected. After his major league career ended, he became a successful minor league manager.”

As for how he got to Cleveland, the article states, “After the supreme court ruling, if the trio played for any team other than the Phillies, they would be in contempt of court and could be arrested if they set foot in Pennsylvania. Fraser decided to return to the Phillies. Bernhard and Lajoie, who were the best of friends, refused to go back to the Phillies. A clever solution was found to keep Bernhard and Lajoie in the American League: Mack released them in April 1902, and they joined the AL’s Cleveland Bronchos.”

plank2

P-Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics, 26 Years Old

1901

20-15, 3.30 ERA, 107 K, .292, 0 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes (Would require two more All-Star seasons. Definitely)

 

Led in:

 

Hit by Pitch-18

2nd Time All-Star-If you have Plank and Rube Waddell as pitchers, you’re going to win an American League title or two, and that certainly happened with Philadelphia this season. Plank won 20 games for the first of nine times he’d do so in his career. This season would also be the last time he’d ever have an ERA 3.00 or over. When he was 38 years old in 1914, it will be 2.87 and that would be his highest going forward.

Look at what SABR has to say about Plank’s endless motions on the mound: “Eddie Plank fidgeted. On every pitch, Plank went through a seemingly endless ritual: Get the sign from his catcher, fix his cap just so, readjust his shirt and sleeve, hitch up his pants, ask for a new ball, rub it up, stare at a base runner if there was one, look back at his catcher, ask for a new sign and start the process all over again. As if that wasn’t enough, from the seventh inning on, he would begin to talk to himself and the ball out loud: ‘Nine to go, eight to go . . .’ and so on until he had retired the last batter. Frustrated hitters would swing at anything just to have something to do. His fielders would grow antsy. Fans, not wanting to be late for supper, would stay away when he was pitching. Writers, fearful of missing deadlines, roasted him.” He’s seems to be the Nomar Garciaparra of pitchers.

mercer2

P-Win Mercer, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old

1897

15-18, 3.04 ERA, 40 K, .180, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Since Mercer last made the All-Star team in 1897, he pitched with Washington in 1898 and 1899, then moved to New York in 1900. He then pitched for the Senators in 1901 before coming to Detroit this year, his best season ever. It was also his last season ever, because as Wikipedia says, “After the conclusion of the 1902 season, the Tigers appointed the 28-year-old Mercer to be their player-manager for 1903. However, on January 12, 1903, after a barnstorming tour through the west, Mercer checked into the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco and killed himself by inhaling illuminating gas at age 28. Mercer’s suicide won national attention, and there were conflicting reports about the reasons for the suicide. The Sporting News reported that Mercer had been gambling and apparently saw no way to make the deficit good. According to this version, his losses included not only his own money but the funds of other players, with estimates ranging from $3,000 to $8,000. Another report rejected the idea of gambling debts and blamed the suicide on a relationship with a woman. Some reports indicated that Mercer left a suicide note warning of the evils of women and gambling. There is no known substantiation for these reports.” What a terrible loss!

Detroit fell from third to seventh this season. Frank Dwyer took over for George Stallings and the team fell to a 52-83 record. Detroit had the worst hitting in the league, though Mercer helped them have decent pitching.

mcginnity5

P-Joe McGinnity, Baltimore Orioles/New York Giants, 31 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902N

(AL Stats Only) 13-10, 3.44 ERA, 39 K, .287, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

5th Time All-Star-Iron Man McGinnity began his season with the Orioles, before financial issues forced them into selling off their good players, this man being among them. This was the only season from 1900-to-1904 in which McGinnity didn’t lead the league in innings pitched. As a matter of fact, for the next two seasons, Iron Man is going to pitch over 400 innings. He and Christy Mathewson are going to form quite a duo for the next few years. How did these pitchers in the old days avoid arm injuries?

SABR says of this incredible arm, “Joe McGinnity was truly an ‘Iron Man’ in almost every sense. Though he said that the nickname came from his off-season work in his wife’s family business, an iron foundry in McAlester, Oklahoma, McGinnity became famous for pitching both ends of doubleheaders and led his league in innings pitched four times in the five seasons from 1900 to 1904. He was also an ‘Iron Man’ in terms of longevity: he pitched professionally until age 54, racking up 246 wins in the major leagues and another 240 in the minors, a combined total topped only by Cy Young. A stocky 5’11” right-hander, McGinnity for most of his career weighed a good deal more than the 206 lbs. that is listed in record books. He owed his durability to a style of delivery that saw him alternate between overhand, sidearm, and a wicked underhanded curve that he called ‘Old Sal.’ ‘I’ve pitched for 30 years and I believe I’ve averaged over 30 games a season, and in all my experiences I’ve never had what I could truthfully call a sore arm,’ Joe confided.”

siever2

P-Ed Siever, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

1901

8-11, 1.91 ERA, 36 K, .152, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Earned Run Average-1.91

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

Adjusted ERA+-195

2nd Time All-Star-Siever is going to have a short, but good career, but over the years, not get much run support, and end up with a 83-82 record. Even in this season in which he led the American League in ERA, he ended up with a record under .500. As Wikipedia says of this season, “In 1902, Siever led the American League with a 1.91 ERA, and his Adjusted ERA+ of 195 remains the second best in Tigers history for a pitcher with more than 150 innings pitched. However, the 1902 Tigers lacked hitting and finished in seventh place. Despite his 1.91 ERA, Siever compiled an 8-11 record in 1902. On August 11, 1902, Siever and Rube Waddell engaged in a pitching duel that held both sides scorless through 12 innings. Waddell hit a triple off Siever in the 13th inning to drive in the game’s only run. Siever suffered from arm strain after the pitching duel with Waddell and was only able to pitch in two more games that season. According to one account, ‘His arm was in bad condition owing to strain, the results of that famous battle.’”

You can look at the above story as a reason managers are so careful with their pitchers nowadays, but for every Siever who had arm problems and short careers, there were also Cy Youngs and Joe McGinnitys who didn’t have any of these issues. Also, despite the care taken with today’s pitchers, they seem to go through their own share of arm injuries.

bemis

C-Harry Bemis, Cleveland Bronchos, 28 Years Old

.312, 1 HR, 29 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-87

Assists as C-120

Passed Balls-22

Caught Stealing as C-94

1st Time All-Star-Harry Parker Bemis was born on February 1, 1874 in Farmington, NH. He was tiny for a catcher, standing at five-foot-six, 155 pounds. As you can tell by the fact he led catchers in games played with 87, it was still tough to find catchers who could play much more than half of the games. It’s a brutal position to play nowadays, but it used to be much worse. It was a good rookie year for Bemis, as he slashed .312/.366/.404 for an OPS+ of 117. All of his slash numbers ended up being career highs over the stretch of the nine years he played. He would remain with Cleveland for all of those seasons.

Known as Handsome Harry, he had a temper. Wikipedia states, “In June 1907, Bemis was run over at home plate by Ty Cobb. The Tigers’ star was trying for an inside-the-park home run and knocked Bemis down, jarring the ball loose in the process. Bemis then picked the ball up and beat Cobb over the head with it before he was restrained by the umpire; Bemis was also ejected from the game. Cobb later claimed that Bemis was one of only two intentional spiking targets in his entire career.”

At this point in baseball history, only one catcher has made the Hall of Fame and that was Deacon McGuire, who actually played more games at third base than catcher. For me, I inducted Charlie Bennett into my Hall of Fame and the ONEHOF, because he was one of the rare catchers who went out there and toiled day after day. It’s a brutal position and every year, I have new people who make the All-Star team at catcher, because it’s such a grueling job.

clarkeb2

C-Boileryard Clarke, Washington Senators, 33 Years Old

1901

.268, 6 HR, 40 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 57 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-87

Fielding % as C-.972

2nd Time All-Star-Clarke made the All-Star team for the second year in a row, again displaying a great proficiency at defense, finishing 10th in Defensive WAR (0.9), despite playing only 60 percent of his team’s games. He’s only got three years left, playing for Washington in 1903 and 1904, then playing for the Giants in his final year of 1905.

Washington remained in sixth place, with Tom Loftus leading the team to a 61-75 record. The team actually had great hitting, led by Ed Delahanty. It’s the pitching that doomed the Senators. As you can see, they had no pitchers make the All-Star team.

The thing that jumps out at me about Clarke this season is those six home runs. He only hit 20 in his career and never hit more than three in any other season. I know six doesn’t sound like a lot of home runs, but in 1902, it ranked 10th in the league. Only five players, including Clarke’s teammate Delahanty, had double-digit homers, with Philadelphia outfielder Socks Seybold leading the league with 16. It was certainly the deadball era and that’s why when Babe Ruth came along in the late 1910s and started launching home runs left and right, it was such a big deal.

Back to Boileryard’s power, he finished third in the league in AB per HR, so if would have played any position but catcher, he might have been along the league leaders in dingers. Maybe that’s why in 1903, Clarke was moved to first base.

hickman

1B-Charlie Hickman, Boston Americans/Cleveland Bronchos, 26 Years Old

.361, 11 HR, 110 RBI, 0-1, 7.88 ERA, 1 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Hits-193

Total Bases-288

Errors Committed as 1B-40

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.76

1st Time All-Star-Charles Taylor “Piano Legs” or “Cheerful Charlie” Hickman was born on May 4, 1876 in Taylortown, PA. He started with Boston from 1897-99, mainly as a pitcher, then came to the Giants from 1900-01, before he jumped to the Americans before this season. He was then purchased by the Bronchos on June 3. During the season, Piano Legs finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.1) and third in Offensive WAR (5.4), his best season ever. He finished third in batting average (.361), 10th in on-base percentage (.387), third in slugging (.539), and third in Adjusted OPS+ (158). That is a great season for the Deadball Era.

Baseball Reference says, “An early slugger, Hickman approached a triple crown in 1902, placing second in the American League in home runs (11) and RBI (110), and third in BA (.363). The same year he was the first player to lead a league in hits while playing for two teams (Boston and Cleveland) with 193. Earlier that season he Nap Lajoie and Bill Bradley became the first trio to hit consecutive home runs in this century, clubbing back-to-back-to-back round-trippers on June 30th.”

Cleveland certainly looks like they’re going to be a good team in the future. Before this season ended, the Bronchos had Bill Bernhard, Hickman, and Lajoie on the team and certainly looked like a dynasty of the future. Spoiler alert! They’re not. Oh, having Lajoie on your team never hurts, but, while they would be in the top half of the league for many seasons, they could never leapfrog to the top.

lajoie42B-Nap Lajoie, Philadelphia Athletics/Cleveland Bronchos, 27 Years Old

1897 1900 1901

.378, 7 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Batting Average-.378 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.27 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.41 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Lajoie was already one of the great ones in baseball, but he could have been greater. In 1899, he played only 77 games, in 1900, he played only 102, and this season, he ended up playing only 87 games. And, yes, he still made the All-Star team. Lajoie finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.1), fourth in Offensive WAR (4.8), first in batting average (.378), second in on-base percentage (.419), second in slugging (.565), and second in Adjusted OPS+ (176). This American League baseball is easy, Lajoie must have thought, and he’ll be thinking it for a long time.

Why did he miss so many games? Wikipedia explains, “In April 1902, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania overruled an earlier decision by the Court of Common Pleas and upheld the reserve clause in contracts between players and NL clubs. President of the Chicago National League Club Jim Hart said the state Supreme Court’s decision had dealt ‘a fatal blow to the rival league’ and NL clubs ‘have won a great victory.’ The Phillies’ Rogers obtained an injunction barring Lajoie from playing baseball for any team other than his team. However, a lawyer discovered the injunction was only enforceable in the state of Pennsylvania. The courts ruled the reserve clause was not valid for players who signed with an AL team. Mack responded by trading Lajoie and Bill Bernhard to the then-moribund Cleveland Bronchos, whose owner, Charles Somers, had provided considerable financial assistance to the A’s in the early years. Lajoie was also pursued by Charles Comiskey, owner of the Chicago White Sox.”

bradleyb

3B-Bill Bradley, Cleveland Bronchos, 24 Years Old

.340, 11 HR, 77 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-137

Putouts as 3B-188

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.86 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.74 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-William Joseph “Bill” Bradley was born on February 13, 1878 in Cleveland, OH. The six-foot, 185 pound third baseman started with Chicago in 1899 and 1900, before coming to Cleveland in 1901. This season was his best ever as he finished fourth in WAR (6.7), second in WAR Position Players (6.7), second in Offensive WAR (5.9), seventh in Defensive WAR (1.3), sixth in batting average (.340), fourth in slugging (.515), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (149). He also hit homers in four straight games during the year. Bradley had an all-around great season.

SABR says, “Bradley played in Chicago for $150 a month, sitting on the bench for two weeks before making his debut at shortstop on August 26, 1899. After eight errors in five games, the Cubs shifted him to third base, where he would remain for the rest of his career. Bradley batted .310 in 1899, and in 1900 his salary rose to $300 per month. After another solid season, in which he batted .282 with eight triples, Bradley sought another raise. To his dismay, Cubs management rejected the offer and even told him he might not make the team in 1901.

“After talking with teammate Clark Griffith, Bradley jumped to the American League’s Cleveland franchise, which offered him a $3,500 salary (later to rise to $4,500). Bradley performed well in 1901, leading the team in slugging and scoring 95 runs. In 1902 Bradley came into his own as one of the league’s top stars, homering in four straight games from May 21 to May 24, and also assembling a 29-game hitting streak. Bradley finished the season with career highs in batting average (.340) and slugging percentage (.515).”

cross33B-Lave Cross, Philadelphia Athletics, 36 Years Old

1894 1898

.342, 0 HR, 108 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

AB per SO-139.8

Def. Games as 3B-137

3rd Time All-Star-Cross has gotten in the bad habit of making the All-Star team once every four seasons. Since he last made this list in 1898, he played for Cleveland and St. Louis in 1899, St. Louis and Brooklyn in 1900, before coming to the Athletics in 1901. This season, Cross finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.4), sixth in Offensive WAR (4.1), and fifth in batting (.342), while striking out only four times in 559 at-bats. He also was part of his second league championship team.

Wikipedia says, “With the elevation of the American League to major league status in 1901, many stars from the NL saw an opportunity to move away from that league’s longstanding turmoil and rowdiness. Cross jumped to the Athletics franchise in the new league and became one of the veteran leaders on Connie Mack‘s club. As team captain, he batted .328, and was among the AL leaders in batting, slugging and doubles. In 1902 he improved his average to .342 and was among the league’s top three players in hits (191), doubles (39) and RBI (108) as the Athletics won the pennant; the 108 RBI were a record for a player without any home runs. On April 23 of that year he began a streak of 447 consecutive games (all but one of them at third base), then one of the ten longest in history, which ended on May 8, 1905.” The position which seems to have the least superstars is third base and Cross is one of the best.

collins4

3B-Jimmy Collins, Boston Americans, 32 Years Old

1897 1898 1901

.322, 6 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 3B-.954

4th Time All-Star-In these early days of baseball, there were a lot of player-managers, with Collins being one of them. It would seem tough enough to be a player for a whole baseball season, never mind having to control the team also, but it didn’t seem to be much of a problem for Collins. As a player, he finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.3), fifth in Defensive WAR (1.5), ninth in batting (.322), and ninth in slugging (.459). He was one of the great all-around third basemen of his day.

As a manager, he guided the Americans to a third-place finish, dropping from second place in 1902. With Cy Young and Bill Dinneen on the mound, Boston had the best pitching in the league, helping it to a 77-60 record, six-and-a-half games out of first.

Collins’ Hall of Fame page says, “’Third base was put into baseball for (Jimmy) Collins,’ said fellow big leaguer Bill Coughlin, also a veteran of the hot corner.

“Collins was a star as baseball entered the 20th century, acclaimed by many as the ‘king of the third basemen.’ And while he was a good hitter, finishing with a .294 lifetime average, it was as a fielder he won the headlines.

“’Collins was a model for all third basemen, the king of trappers and footworkers,’ commented 1978 J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner Tim Murnane. ‘Collins was always graceful. Bill Bradley, another great third baseman, would get twice the applause on the same play Collins made easy.’”

strang

3B-Sammy Strang, Chicago White Sox/Chicago Orphans (NL), 25 Years Old

(AL Stats Only) .295, 3 HR, 46 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-67

Def. Games as 3B-137

Assists as 3B-334

Errors Committed as 3B-62

1st Time All-Star-Samuel Nicklin “Sammy” or “The Dixie Thrush” Strang, born Samuel Strang Nicklin, was born on December 16, 1876, 80 years before my sister, Rose, in Chattanooga, TN. The five-foot-eight, 160 pound third baseman started his career playing part-time at shortstop in 1896. He then didn’t play in the Majors until 1900, when he played for the Orphans, then finally became a full-time player for New York in 1901. This season, The Dixie Thrush switched teams again and for the White Sox, finished ninth in Offensive WAR (3.7), ninth in on-base percentage (.387), and fourth in stolen bases (38). Strang wasn’t released by the White Sox until after the American League season ended.

Chicago was managed by Clark Griffith, who guided the team to a 74-60 fourth place finish, down from first place the year before. It was actually a good job of managing because the White Sox finished in the bottom three in hitting and pitching.

SABR says of his season, “Hall of Famer George Davis, the Giants player-manager, jumped to the Chicago White Sox in the upstart American League for the 1902 season and persuaded White Sox owner Charlie Comiskey to sign Strang. Comiskey had his eye on Strang in 1899 when Strang played for Cedar Rapids and Comiskey owned the St. Paul Saints. Strang coached the Georgia Tech baseball team in March 1902 before joining the White Sox at spring training in April. He batted .295 in 1902 as the third baseman and leadoff hitter. He was second in the league in walks, third in runs, and fourth in stolen bases – fine numbers for a leadoff man. However, he led the league in strikeouts, and his 62 errors at third base established an AL single-season record that still stands. Comiskey laced into Strang after one of those errors cost the White Sox a late-season victory. The two men came to blows, and, according to Strang, the fight ‘ended in a draw.’ After the season ended, Strang was released. He played three games in October for the Orphans and then signed with the Brooklyn Superbas of the National League.”

davis7

SS-George Davis, Chicago White Sox, 31 Years Old

1893 1894 1897 1899 1900 1901

.299, 3 HR, 93 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as SS-72

Fielding % as SS-.951 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-Like so many other greats from the National League, Davis made the jump to the new American League, which continued to draw the superstars from the NL. It didn’t hinder the great shortstop’s play as he continued to play dominantly and looks to be headed soon for the One-a-Year Hall of Fame. This season, Davis finished eighth in WAR (5.7), third in WAR Position Players (5.7), fifth in Offensive WAR (4.6), third in Defensive WAR (2.0), and ninth in stolen bases (31). It was a great all-around season, but it was typical for the slick-fielding, underrated Davis.

There was still a lot of fighting going on between the two leagues. SABR mentions, “John McGraw took over as Giants manager midway through the 1902 season. After the campaign, McGraw, looking to fill the club’s gaping hole at shortstop, acquired Davis’s signature on a two-year contract to play for New York. The move threatened to destroy the new peace treaty which had been forged between the two leagues that winter. White Sox owner Charles Comiskey threatened legal action. Davis went to Ward who argued, rather disingenuously, considering that he had helped Davis jump his New York contract the previous year, that the reserve clause in Davis’s 1901 Giants contract constituted a legal hold on the ballplayer’s services for the 1902 season, thus overruling any claim the White Sox had on his services. Ward declared Davis was entitled to rejoin the Giants per the new contract. Comiskey counter-attacked by first securing an injunction from an Illinois court, which prevented Davis from playing baseball for any team other than the White Sox in that state. In July, Comiskey obtained another injunction, this one from the U.S. Court of Appeals, which prohibited Davis from playing for any team anywhere other than the White Sox. The National League owners, weary of the dispute, instructed Giants owner John Brush to give up his rights to Davis. In all, the shortstop played only four games for New York that year, and none for Chicago.” So Davis is going to lose a whole season while in his prime.

wallace4SS-Bobby Wallace, St. Louis Browns, 28 Years Old

1898 1899 1901

.285, 1 HR, 63 RBI, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.7 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Before the season, Wallace became yet another player who switched leagues, jumping from the Cardinals to the Browns. He would now be out of the shadow of Honus Wagner and be able to garner fame on his own merits. This season, Wallace finished fourth in WAR Position Players (5.1) and first in Defensive WAR for the second consecutive year (2.7). By all accounts, he was a tremendous glove man and that led to his biggest accomplishment of 1902, making my Hall of Fame. Welcome to Carter Lake, Iowa’s prestigious group, Bobby!

SABR has a couple items on Wallace’s year: “On June 10, 1902, Wallace accepted 17 chances in a game against Boston, a mark which has stood as the American League record for more than 100 years.

“Even in the Deadball Era, however, baseball was a business as well as a game, and the National League’s salary cap of $2,400 limited what Senior Circuit teams could pay star players like Bobby. The new American League, however, had no such constraints and gave Bobby the chance to earn substantially more. He seized that opportunity by jumping to the cross-town St. Louis Browns of the Junior Circuit in 1902. His contract totaled $32,500 over five years, with $6,500 paid at signing, making Wallace for a time the highest paid player in baseball. Remarkably for contracts of that era, it also contained a clause providing that Wallace could not be traded without his consent. In another unusual move, the Browns also took out a life insurance policy on Wallace in case he met an untimely death before the contract’s expiration.”

delahanty9LF-Ed Delahanty, Washington Senators, 34 Years Old

1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1901

.376, 10 HR, 93 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1902 AL Batting Title (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-6.7 (2nd Time)

Offensive WAR-6.6 (3rd Time)

On-Base %-.453 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.590 (5th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.043 (5th Time)

Doubles-43 (5th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-186 (4th Time)

Runs Created-125 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-58 (6th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-5.8 (6th Time)

Offensive Win %-.855 (4th Time)

9th Time All-Star-In 1902, Big Ed Delahanty had his best year ever. You can see the stats above. He is also at this point in baseball history the greatest leftfielder ever. You can see the list in Cy Young’s write-up. He dominated his new home, the American League. He was an amazing ballplayer, one of the all-time great hitters, which makes his death in 1903 so tragic.

SABR has much on the incident which took the life of Big Ed. Here are some snippets: “Del accompanied the Senators to their next stop in Detroit, where his mother and two brothers were summoned to help straighten him out. He continued to drink heavily, however, and again abandoned the team on July 2. By this time he knew he would be unable to jump to the Giants, as a court order issued the previous day prohibited Davis from playing for New York. Delahanty nonetheless boarded a train to New York that afternoon but, perhaps tellingly, left his belongings in his Detroit hotel room. Del misbehaved on the train, smoking when he was not supposed to, drinking to excess, and accidentally breaking the glass in front of the emergency tool cabinet. Finally, he fell asleep. When the train made a scheduled stop in Bridgeburg, (now Fort Erie), Ontario, Del became disoriented and tried to enter an already occupied berth. The commotion seemed to confuse him more, and he had to be subdued by three men. The conductor, John Cole, had understandably had enough of him for the evening and ordered Del off the train.

“The train crossed the International Railway Bridge over the Niagara River into Buffalo.
In the darkness Big Ed walked out onto the 3,600 foot long bridge and was standing still at its edge, staring down into the water, when he was accosted by night watchman Sam Kingston, on the lookout for smugglers. A scuffle ensued, with Kingston dragging Delahanty back to the middle of the wide bridge, but Kingston then fell down and Delahanty got away. Moments later, according to Kingston — who claimed it was too dark to see what happened — Del either jumped or drunkenly stumbled off the edge of the bridge, falling 25 feet into the 40-foot-deep Niagara River.”  He was dead at the age of 35.

burkett7LF-Jesse Burkett, St. Louis Browns, 33 Years Old

1893 1895 1896 1899 1900 1901

.306, 5 HR, 52 RBI, 0-1, 9.00 ERA, 2 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Times on Base-245

Errors Committed as OF-26

7th Time All-Star-After his phenomenal 1901 season in the National League, the American League snatched up Crab and he continued to play well. He finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.0), seventh in on-base percentage (.390), and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (125). With Ed Delahanty’s death in 1903, Burkett had a chance to be the best leftfielder in the league, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. Chances are, Crab has made his last All-Star team, but he finished with a great career.

SABR details the end of his career, stating, “Nearing the age of 33, Burkett decided in October 1901 to jump to the newly-arrived St. Louis Browns of the rival American League in 1902. While the change netted Burkett a heftier salary, it also hurt his batting, as his average slumped to .306, the last time he would bat better than .300 in the major leagues. Despite his lowered average, Burkett remained an effective hitter. In 1903, he batted .293 and ranked fourth in the league with 52 walks. When his average dipped further in 1904, the resourceful Burkett responded by placing second in the league with 78 free passes, and his .363 on base percentage was fifth best in the circuit. Along with his reputation as a great hitter, it was a performance good enough to allow the Browns to trade Burkett to the Boston Americans at the end of the season for George Stone, who would briefly emerge in 1906 as one of the game’s best hitters. Burkett, on the other hand, was nearly finished. Playing in 148 games for Boston in 1905, Jesse batted just .257. Combined with his ability to get on base, it was still an above-average offensive performance, but for Burkett it marked the end of his major league career.”

jonesf2

CF-Fielder Jones, Chicago White Sox, 30 Years Old

1901

.321, 0 HR, 54 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 80 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Singles-150

Double Plays Turned as OF-11 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.58

2nd Time All-Star-Jones permanently made the move from rightfield to centerfield this season and still succeeded. I actually didn’t anticipate this season would be an All-Star season which increased his chance of making my Hall of Fame from 66 to 80 percent. It’s still not a sure thing, but it’s not bad, especially since he didn’t make his first All-Star team until he was 29. This season, Jones finished 10th in batting average (.321), sixth in on-base percentage (.390), and eighth in stolen bases (33). He did all of this in South Side Park, a pitchers’ delight. His problem wasn’t being able to hit for power, stroking just 21 extra base hits.

                According to SABR, it wasn’t easy to hit in baseball during this time. It says, “Baseball, however, was changing the rules to favor the pitchers. Batting averages were dropping from the high-scoring 1890s. The changes were decreasing the numbers of runners who reached base, increasing the value of a single run. The average team in 1896 scored six runs per game. In 1902 the AL averaged less than five runs a game and the NL dropped to an average just over four. With less offense, managers needed to adapt. Playing for one run at a time required different skills and strategy. The ability to bunt was becoming more valuable. Teams couldn’t afford to waste base runners.”

                That’s why you’re not seeing the high batting averages of old and definitely not seeing the big sluggers like Dan Brouthers and Roger Connor. There were a lot of good pitchers in both leagues.

seybold

RF-Socks Seybold, Philadelphia Athletics, 31 Years Old

.316, 16 HR, 97 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-16

AB per HR-32.6

1st Time All-Star-Ralph Orlando “Socks” Seybold was born on November 23, 1870 in Washingtonville, OH. The origin of the five-foot-11, 175 pound outfielder’s nickname is a mystery, but his best season ever isn’t. It was this one right here, which helped lead the Athletics to the league crown. Seybold finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.3), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.0), fifth in slugging (.506), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (139). He still has some good years coming, but most likely only one of them is All-Star worthy.

SABR says of his 1902 season, “Despite the loss of Lajoie, the Athletics won the 1902 pennant by five games, with Seybold keying an offensive attack that led the league in runs scored. For the second year in a row, Ralph hit over .300, finishing with a .316 batting average. His 97 RBI were the second highest on the team and his 16 home runs set the American League record that stood until Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919.”

For some reason, SABR and Baseball Reference have quite a discrepancy on Seybold’s weight. Baseball Reference has the 175 I listed above while SABR puts him at 200 pounds. That’s why SABR says, “’Socks was so big the fans never credited him with all the good points that he showed to me in his daily work,’ Mack said.” Of course, the problem with recording weight is that it fluctuates from year-to-year. When I was in high school I was barely 120 pounds and now I’m….much heavier than that.

freeman2

RF-Buck Freeman, Boston Americans, 30 Years Old

1901

.309, 11 HR, 121 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

Runs Batted In-121

Extra Base Hits-68

Def. Games as OF-138 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Freeman moved from first base to the outfield and would remain there the rest of his career, except for 1905 when we went back to first. The truth is he was a monster hitter, but a terrible fielder and Boston was looking for somewhere to put him. He was a born home run hitter in a non-home run era and a designated hitter, playing some 70 years too early. This season, Freeman finished sixth in slugging (.502) and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (132).

In Hall of Fame Debate, it says, “Buck didn’t jump very far.  He left the Beaneaters and joined the Red Sox.  He put that one off -year under Selee behind him and established himself as the American League’s first star power hitter.  In the AL’s first year of existence, Buck clubbed a dozen homeruns (2nd in the league) and drove home 114 runs.  The next three years Buck would see his name atop several important offensive statistical columns.  In 1902, he led the league with 121 RBI and finished as the runner-up in long balls again.  He boasted an uncommon offensive line, for the Deadball Era, with a .309 BA/.352 OBP/.502 SA with 38 doubles and 19 triples.  He was even more productive the following year.”

I think Freeman is going to make one more All-Star team. His problem is that he could hit for power and he could hit for average, but didn’t walk much and couldn’t field worth anything. He’ll be a big part of the first World Series winning team in 1903.

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One thought on “1902 American League All-Star Team

  1. Pingback: 1903 National League All-Star Team | Year-by-Year All Star Teams

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