1903 National League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-King Kelly

P-Joe McGinnity, NYG

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Noodles Hahn, CIN

P-Sam Leever, PIT

P-Vic Willis, BSN

P-Jake Weimer, CHC

P-Deacon Phillippe, PIT

P-Jack Sutthoff, CIN

P-Tully Sparks, PHI

P-Mordecai Brown, STL

C-Johnny Kling, CHC

C-Pat Moran, BSN

1B-Frank Chance, CHC

1B-Fred Tenney, BSN

2B-Claude Ritchey, PIT

3B-Harry Steinfeldt, CIN

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Bill Dahlen, BRO

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, BRO

LF-Mike Donlin, CIN

LF-Fred Clarke, PIT

CF-Roy Thomas, PHI

CF-Roger Bresnahan, NYG

CF-Ginger Beaumont, PIT

CF-Cy Seymour, CIN

 

kelly91903 ONEHOF Inductee-King Kelly, RF

1879 1881 1882 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888

.307, 69 HR, 950 RBI, 2-2, 4.14 ERA, 4 K, 43.3 WAR

 

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

ONEHOF Nominees for 1904: Hardy Richardson, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, George Davis, and Bill Dahlen.

You have to go back and read what I’ve already written about Kelly during his playing career to understand what a character this man was. He’s most famous for, well, cheating and cutting from first to third when the umpire wasn’t looking. However, the number of times he did this seems to be lower than his reputation would indicate. He also might be the model for Casey in Casey at the Bat.

Along with being a great player, who made the All-Star team at numerous positions, he was also a winner, winning five league championships with National League Chicago team, one for the Players League  Boston Reds, and one for the NL Boston Beaneaters, or seven altogether. He played hard, lived hard, and died young. Wikipedia says, “In November 1894, Kelly died of pneumonia in Boston. He had taken a boat there from New York to appear at the Palace Theatre with the London Gaiety Girls. At the start of the final week of his life, an advertisement in Boston read: ‘Slide, Kelly, Slide. Palace Theatre. The London Gaiety Girls, Chaperoned by King Kelly, the Famous $10,000 Base Ballist.’ During the week, his name was deleted when he was too ill to appear. ‘He caught a slight cold on the boat from New York, but thought little of it’, a writer said upon his death.”

mcginnity6

P-Joe McGinnity, New York Giants, 32 Years Old, MVP

1899 1900 1901 1902N 1902A

31-20, 2.43 ERA, 171 K, .206, 0 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-11.3

WAR for Pitchers-11.6

Wins-31 (3rd Time)

Games Pitched-55 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-434 (3rd Time)

Games Started-48 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-44 (2nd Time)

Batters Faced-1,786 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-48

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.8

Def. Games as P-55 (2nd Time)

Putouts as P-31

Errors Committed as P-16

6th Time All-Star-McGinnity had his best season ever, winning 30 games for the first time in his career, so welcome to Ron’s Hall of Fame, Iron Man! McGinnity finished first in WAR (11.3), first in WAR for Pitchers (11.6), fourth in ERA (2.43), first in innings pitched (434), and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (139). It begs the question if he would have pitched a few games less per season in his career, would have his Major League career been longer and ultimately more valuable or did his value come from his boatload of innings pitched every season? In his long career, Cy Young led innings pitched just twice, in 1902 and 1903, but he’s already 36 years old at this point and will pitch well into his 40s. McGinnity’s 434 innings pitched is the most since Pink Hawley’s 444 1/3 in 1895, but would be beat by Jack Chesbro next season, and also Ed Walsh’s 464 in 1908, which would be the last season any pitcher would pitch 400 or more innings. I guess the answer to my earlier question is, it’s hard to say, and Cy Young is an incredible freak of nature.

As for Iron Man’s team, the Giants, no one was ready to beat the Pirates yet, but New York was close. Coached by John McGraw, the team finished in second place with a 84-55 record, six-and-a-half games out of first. They were in first place after June 17 with a 35-15 record, but went 49-40 after that, certainly not good enough to beat the juggernaut Pittsburgh squad.

mathewson3P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 22 Years Old

1901 1902

30-13, 2.26 ERA, 267 K, .226, 1 HR, 20 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.560

Strikeouts-267

Wild Pitches-18 (3rd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.34

3rd Time All-Star-Well, that didn’t take long. Mathewson will be traveling to Carter Lake, Iowa, to be inducted into Ron’s Hall of Fame with his teammate, Joe McGinnity. What a pitching staff the Giants had! New York was 61-33 in games their two studs pitched and 23-22 in games decided by other pitchers. Big Six finished second in WAR (10.2), second in WAR for Pitchers (9.9), second in Earned Run Average (2.26), second in innings pitched (366 1/3), and second in Adjusted ERA+ (149). He would never lead the league in Ks per nine innings again, but this was the first of five seasons Matty would lead the National League in whiffs.

Mathewson’s Hall of Fame page says, “He was the first great pitching star of the modern era, and is still the standard by which greatness is measured.

“Christy Mathewson changed the way people perceived baseball players by his actions on and off the field. His combination of power and poise – his tenacity and temperance – remains baseball’s ideal.

“Using his famous ‘fadeaway’ pitch – what today would be called a screwball – the 6-foot-1, 185-pound right-hander baffled batters with pinpoint control. He won 20 games in his first full big league season in 1901, posted at least 30 wins a season from 1903-05 and led the National League in strikeouts five times between 1903 and 1908.

“From 1903-14, Mathewson never won fewer than 23 games in a season and led the NL in ERA five times.” He did have the advantage of pitching during the Deadball Era, but it doesn’t diminish his incredible career.

hahn5

P-Noodles Hahn, Cincinnati Reds, 24 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902

22-12, 2.52 ERA, 127 K, .161, 0 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-If Noodles could have added another 5.4 WAR somewhere, he’d be in my Hall of Fame. As it is, he’s one of the best there is in the “outside looking in” category. It was a typical Hahn season, as he finished fourth in WAR (7.4), third in WAR for Pitchers (7.8), seventh in ERA (2.52), eighth in innings pitched (296), and third in Adjusted ERA+ (141). Pitching in a hitter’s paradise called Palace of the Fans, he still dazzled teams with his arm.

Cincinnati stayed in fourth, but did improve its record from .500 in 1902 to 74-65 this season. It never really had a chance, finishing 16-and-a-half games out of first, despite having the second best hitting and arguably the best pitching in the league. Joe Kelley was in the second of four seasons he’d manage the Reds.

From Wikipedia: “In February 1903, Hahn was a student at Cincinnati Veterinary College. Asked how long he planned to play baseball, he replied that he would like to play a few more seasons. Hahn had given up beer and liquor over the winter and said that he felt good going into the season, but he entertained the possibility that the coming year could be his last. Hahn planned to finish school the next winter and had thoughts of completing postgraduate work and taking a trip to Germany before beginning veterinary practice. In 1904, Hahn turned down an offer to become the city veterinarian for Dallas, Texas and remained with the Cincinnati club.”

leever2

P-Sam Leever, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

1900

25-7, 2.06 ERA, 90 K, .165, 0 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 33 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

1903 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-2.06

Win-Loss %-.781 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-7

Adjusted ERA+-159

2nd Time All-Star-In baseball, some numbers look gaudier than others. One of those is Win-Loss Percentage. I know there were probably better pitchers in the National League in 1903, but that won-loss record of 25-7 just looks so good. And it’s not like it was compiled by luck, Leever had a great year – his best ever – finishing sixth in WAR (6.1), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.5), first in ERA (2.06), 10th in innings pitched (284 1/3), and first in Adjusted ERA+ (159).

He also had the privilege of pitching in the first modern day World Series, where he Clayton Kershaw-ed in his two games, going 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA. Leever would be the first of many players who had a great regular season, but a not-so-stellar postseason, at least in our modern era. (It’s funny calling 114 years ago our modern era.)

According to SABR, his substandard performance was due to an injury. It says, “Late in the 1903 season, Leever hurt his right shoulder in a trapshooting contest in Charleroi, Pennsylvania. Leever was an avid and accomplished trap shooter his entire life, but his injury dearly cost the Pirates in the 1903 World Series. Called ‘one of the best in the world today’ in The Sporting News just prior to the series, Leever started the second game but removed himself after one inning. Six days later, he was asked to pitch the sixth game, and though he was able to finish, he was beaten 6-3. The Pirates fell to the upstart Bostons, in large part because of Leever’s inability to pitch effectively. The Pirate pitching staff was further handicapped by Ed Doheny‘s late-season nervous breakdown, leaving Phillippe to start five of the eight World Series games.”

willis4P-Vic Willis, Boston Beaneaters, 27 Years Old

1899 1901 1902

12-18, 2.98 ERA, 125 K, .188, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

4th Time All-Star-After pitching 410 innings in 1902, one had to wonder if Willis would be affected by all that work on his arm. The truth is he wasn’t, what really affected him was the bad team he was on. Despite a 12-18 record, Willis still finished seventh in WAR (5.9 and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.1). He would have bad won-loss records through 1905, but once he came to a good team, the Pirates, that would turn around.

As for his team, the Beaneaters, Al Buckenberger managed the team again, but they fell from third to sixth, with a 58-80 record. Because of Willis, their pitching was decent, but they didn’t have much hitting.

Willis’ Hall of Fame page says, “From 1903 to 1905, though he collected only 42 wins for Boston, along with 72 losses, his ERA was 3.02 over the three-year span, and twice he posted a mark of under 3.00. The Beaneaters’ offense hurt the pitcher’s stats, with a combined .238 batting average in the three seasons. But Willis had still developed into the foundation of Boston’s staff when he was traded to the Pirates following that stretch.”

The American League was always after Willis, according to SABR, which states, “The American League came calling again during the 1902 season. Detroit Tiger President Sam Angus met Willis in the Victoria Hotel and offered a large cash downpayment on a two-year contract of $4,500 per season. Naturally tempted by the cash and salary, Willis initially accepted, but again later reneged after Boston reportedly matched the offer. His services remained in dispute until after the season when he was awarded to Boston as part of the peace settlement between the two leagues.”

weimer

P-Jake Weimer, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

20-8, 2.30 ERA, 128 K, .196, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-7.692

1st Time All-Star-Jacob “Tornado Jake” Weimer was born on November 29, 1873 in Ottumwa, IA, just like Walter “Radar” O’Reilly. He had a sensation rookie season, finishing ninth in WAR (5.6), sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.5), third in ERA (2.30), and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (136). He would have a short career, but he’d do well, finishing 97-69.

As for the newly-named Cubs, Frank Selee took them from fifth to third, with an 82-56 season. They were just nine-and-a-half in back of the Pirates. Chicago had good hitting, led by Frank Chance, and good pitching, led by Weimer.

In a book entitled Baseball’s Heartland War, 1902-1903: The Western League and American Association Vie for Turf, Players and Profits by Dennis Pajot, it says, “Another jumper from the Kansas City A.A. club to the Western was pitcher Jake Weimer, who had been the ace pitcher on Tebeau’s 1901 Western League team. On April 11 Dale Gear filed an injunction to restrain Weimer from playing with the Western League team. Gear claimed Weimer was ‘a pitcher of unusual ability’ who signed with the Kansas City club in the old Western League on August 14, 1901, for the 1902 season. Weimer’s contract had been transferred to the American Association Kansas City club, which Weimer ratified. The original American Association contract was for $850, but the Western League increased the amount to $1,500.” If you can stay awake, you can read the rest for yourself, but it’s a reminder that there were other pro leagues around at the time, even if they were not considered Major Leagues.

phillippe2

P-Deacon Phillippe, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

1900

25-9, 2.43 ERA, 123 K, .210, 0 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-1.030

Bases On Balls per 9 IP-0.902 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-4.241 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-In Sam Leever’s blurb, I mentioned his injury led to Phillippe having to start five games in the World Series. It’s undoubtedly the thing for which Phillippe is most famous. Here were the results of those five games:

GAME 1-Phillippe pitched a complete game six-hitter, allowing three runs with two of them earned. He struck out 10 Americans and bested Cy Young to lead Pittsburgh to a 7-3 victory.

GAME 3-On one day of rest, Phillippe again completed the game, allowing four hits and striking out six and helping the Pirates to a 4-2 win, putting them up two games to one.

GAME 4-Phillippe continued his great pitching when, on two days of rest, he completed his third straight game and guided Pittsburgh to a 5-4 win. He only struck out two and allowed nine hits as there were already signs his arm was tiring. The Pirates went up in the series, 3-1.

GAME 7-Phillippe had three days of rest this time, but couldn’t stop the charging Americans, who won the game, 7-3. He again completed the game, but allowed 11 hits and only struck out two.

GAME 8-In a stunning upset, Boston beat the Pirates, 3-0, to take the first Modern Day World Series. On two days of rest, Phillippe allowed eight hits and struck out two, but it wasn’t enough against Bill Dinneen, who also won three games this series.

Altogether, Phillippe went 3-2 with a 3.07 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 44 innings. He was the only Pittsburgh pitcher to have any wins.

sutthoff

P-Jack Sutthoff, Cincinnati Reds, 30 Years Old

16-9, 2.80 ERA, 76 K, .143, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 187 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-John Gerhard “Sunny Jack” Sutthoff was born on June 29, 1873 in Cincinnati, OH. He started by pitching two games for Washington in 1898, then moved to St. Louis, pitching three games in 1899. He didn’t pitch in the Majors in 1900, but did go 1-6 for the Reds in 1901. Whatever happened in his year off in 1902, it helped him come back this season and have his best year ever. Sunny Jack finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.9) and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (127). It would be one of only two seasons he’d have a positive WAR as a pitcher. After this season, he would pitch for Cincinnati and Philadelphia in 1904 and then conclude his career with Philadelphia in 1905. He would finish with a 32-40 record, a 3.54 ERA, and 198 strikeouts. Sutthoff never had a season where he didn’t walk more than he K’d, as he ended up with 291 bases on balls.

SABR says, “Coming off his strong 1903 campaign, Sutthoff received the assignment to pitch Opening Day 1904 in the Palace of the Fans. The Reds needed a change of fortunes; they had lost their previous five home openers. The local athlete delivered, defeating Chicago, 3-2. At mid-season, with a 5-6 record and his earned-run average at a career-best 2.30, Sutthoff had to have been surprised when his hometown team dealt him to the last-place Philadelphia Phillies.

“In August 1941, Sutthoff was diagnosed with throat cancer — most likely the result of his lifelong tobacco-chewing habit. Doctors termed it inoperable. Still, in his final days, Sunny Jack lived up to his nickname. ‘He never grumbled about anything,’ his son said. ‘Even when he was dying of cancer.’ Jack Sutthoff died at home on August 3, 1942.”

sparks

P-Tully Sparks, Philadelphia Phillies, 28 Years Old

11-15, 2.72 ERA, 88 K, .109, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Thomas Frank “Tully” Sparks was born on December 12, 1874 in Etna, GA. The five-foot-10, 160 pound righty started by pitching one game for Philadelphia in 1897, then pitched regularly after that, first for Pittsburgh in 1899, then for the American League Milwaukee Brewers in 1901. In 1902, Sparks pitched in both leagues, for the National League Giants and the AL Americans. This season, he did the opposite of what many were doing in jumping from the NL to the AL and jumped from the AL to the NL, ending up on the Phillies. Sparks finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.8) and ninth in ERA (2.72). He’d be one of Philadelphia’s best pitchers for a few years.

As for the Phillies, a new manager, Chief Zimmer, couldn’t help them out of seventh place. Philadelphia finished 49-86, 39-and-a-half games out of first. Despite having Sparks on the team, it had the worst pitching in the league with a 3.96 ERA.

SABR states, “As it happens, Sparks finally found a baseball home. After all his travels from one team or another, he played with the Phillies for the remaining eight seasons of his career, 1903 through 1910. In every one of them, save the 15 innings of work in the final year, he posted earned-run averages that never reached as high as three runs a game. Including the nine earned runs he gave up in the one game he pitched in 1897, his career ERA with the Phillies was 2.48. He won the same number of games as he lost, 95-95.”

brownm

P-Mordecai Brown, St. Louis Cardinals, 26 Years Old

9-13, 2.60 ERA, 83 K, .195, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Mordecai Peter Centennial “Three Finger” or “Miner” Brown was born on October 19, 1876 in Nyesville, IN. The five-foot-10, 175 pound righty had a good rookie year on his way to a sensational career. He was known mainly as Three Finger Brown because, as his Hall of Fame page says, “Brown’s life changed when – as a five year old – he got his right index finger caught in a machine designed to separate grain from stalks and husks. The digit was sliced off, leaving only a stump. The next year, Brown damaged the hand again in a fall – breaking the remaining fingers. The bones healed, but the fingers were left at permanently odd angles.” It should be noted he actually had four-and-a-half fingers, not three.

Brown finished eighth in ERA (2.60) and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (126) as St. Louis’ best pitcher. As for the Cardinals, they dropped from sixth to eighth under the guidance of Patsy Donovan, finishing with a 43-94 record. They had the worst hitting team in the league, scoring only 3.63 runs a game and one of the worst pitching teams despite having Miner.

SABR says of his rookie season, “After that season in Omaha, Mordecai joined the St. Louis Cardinals in 1903. His major-league debut for St. Louis, against Chicago of the National League, was similar to the outing in Coxville. In both games Brown pitched five innings, and his dominance over hitters was obvious to all observers. While his rookie record was not impressive, 9-13, it should be remembered that St. Louis was the last-place team that year in the National League, 46 1/2 games back. Brown’s earned run average was the lowest on the team at 2.60, and his nine wins tied veteran Chappie McFarland for most on the team.”

kling2

C-Johnny Kling, Chicago Cubs, 27 Years Old

1902

.297, 3 HR, 68 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-132 (2nd Time)

Putouts as C-565 (2nd Time)

Caught Stealing as C-150 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-While it still was no joyride to catch, it was getting easier and some of the catchers in the leagues were able to play a large percentage of games, including Kling, who caught in an incredible 132 of 138 games. He had his best season ever, finishing fifth in Defensive WAR (1.2), and made his second consecutive All-Star team. In 1937, he received his highest percentage of Hall of Fame votes with 10 percent. We look at his stats and say, “Not bad,” but people who saw him and knew more about him were impressed.

Wikipedia has a long section on whether Kling was Jewish or not. Here’s a snippet: “Speculation about whether Kling was Jewish has persisted over the years. One source says he used the name “Kline” early in his career, a surname that is sometimes (but not always) Jewish. And although he was married to a Jewish woman in a ceremony conducted by a Reform Jewish rabbi, there are questions that have never been fully resolved. Interestingly, the major Jewish newspapers never questioned Kling’s Jewishness: writers and reporters frequently referred to him as Jewish, in articles from the 1920s through the 1970s. The Boston Jewish Advocate was among those that asserted his real name was John Kline, and said he had even played baseball under that name; one writer said he was ‘the first of the Jewish [baseball] pioneers’ (Harold U. Ribalow, “Johnny Kling Showed the Way”, Jewish Advocate, 12 April 1951, p. 22).” His Jewish widow denied it however.

moran

C-Pat Moran, Boston Beaneaters, 27 Years Old

.262, 7 HR, 54 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 44 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

AB per HR-55.6

Assists as C-214

Double Plays Turned as C-17

Passed Balls-24

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-155

Caught Stealing as C-150

1st Time All-Star-Patrick Joseph “Pat” Moran was born on February 7, 1876 in Fitchburg, MA. The five-foot-10, 180 pound catcher started with Boston in 1901 and had his best season ever this year, finishing ninth in Defensive WAR (0.7) and second in homers with seven. This league needed steroids! He would continue playing for Boston through 1905, move to the Cubs from 1906-09, when Chicago was mighty, then finish as a part-time player for Philadelphia from 1910-14. This season, he had career highs in batting average (.262), on-base percentage (.331), slugging (.406), and OPS+ (113).

Of course, Moran achieved the most fame for coaching the 1919 Cincinnati Reds to a World Series victory. As Wikipedia says, “This should have been Moran’s crowning accomplishment. But when it was charged that eight key members of the White Sox had conspired with gamblers to ‘throw’ the series — the infamous Black Sox Scandal — the Reds’ achievement was somehow tarnished. (The eight White Sox players were acquitted in a controversial 1920 trial but were nonetheless expelled from baseball.) In the wake of the scandal, Moran, his players and many baseball experts would furiously assert that Cincinnati would have won the series under any circumstances.

“Moran remained at the helm in Cincinnati during the early 1920s. Apart from a poor 1921 campaign, the Reds fielded contending ballclubs but did not return to the World Series. The club finished second in both 1922 and 1923. While spending the winter of 1923–24 at his Fitchburg home, Moran was taken ill. He was able to report to the Reds’ training camp in Orlando, Florida, but his condition worsened and he died there at the age of 48. The cause of death was listed as Bright’s Disease, a kidney ailment, but some baseball historians ascribe Moran’s fatal illness to alcoholism.”

chance

1B-Frank Chance, Chicago Cubs, 26 Years Old

.327, 2 HR, 81 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 67 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-67

Errors Committed as 1B-36

1st Time All-Star-Frank Leroy “Husk” or “The Peerless Leader” Chance was born on September 9, 1876 in Fresno, CA. The six-foot, 190 pound first baseman was famous for being part of the Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance double play combination for the Cubs and it’s probably that poem that got him into the Hall of Fame. He certainly wasn’t a bad player, it just took him a while to become a regular. Chance had been a part of the Cubs since 1898, but started as a part-time catcher and outfielder. This was his first year as a fulltime first baseman and Husk was outstanding, finishing eighth in WAR (5.7), third in WAR Position Players (5.7), third in Offensive WAR (5.5), third in on-base percentage (.439), first in stolen bases (67), and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (152). He was also the manager of the Cubs dynasty later in this decade.

Chance’s Hall of Fame page says, “But Chance’s most enduring legacy – despite his success on the field and in the dugout – has been as the subject of the most celebrated baseball poem ever written.

“Baseball’s Sad Lexicon uses the refrain ‘Tinkers (sic) to Evers to Chance’ as a description of the Chicago Cub’s double-play combination in the early 1900s. After mostly catching and playing outfield for his first four years in the big leagues, Chance played the majority of his games at first base beginning in 1902, leading to his place in the poem.” So now Joe Tinker has made the All-Star team in 1902 and The Peerless Leader made it this season. All that’s left is Johnny Evers.

tenney3

1B-Fred Tenney, Boston Beaneaters, 31 Years Old

1899 1902

.313, 3 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 1B-93 (4th Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Tenney might have had a shot at the Hall of Fame if his talent didn’t truly kick in until he turned 30. Still, he continued to be one on the National League’s best first sackers. This season, Tenney finished 10th in Offensive WAR (3.7), sixth in on-base percentage (.415), and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (135). He wasn’t your typical bruiser first baseman, being only 155 pounds, but he was definitely an asset to Boston.

After his career, according to SABR, “Tenney worked in Boston for the Equitable Life Insurance Society for more than three decades. When friends introduced him as ‘the best first baseman who ever lived,’ he typically replied, with a smile, ‘Thank you, but you know as well as I do that there was only one first baseman-Hal Chase.’ At least as far back as 1901, Tenney had served as a correspondent for Baseball Magazine, the Boston Sunday Post, and the New York Times, and he returned to writing in his post-baseball career, typically describing the strengths of pre-Deadball stars without suggesting that the game had declined in the years since. Local newspapers also ran his rudimentary caricatures of players and fans at spring training. Fred Tenney died at age 80 on July 3, 1952, at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, just a few miles away from the South End Grounds where he had roamed the right side of the infield for so many seasons.” He might have got a job as a color analyst had he lived in a different time.

ritchey2

2B-Claude Ritchey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 29 Years Old

1902

.287, 0 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-137 (2nd Time)

Assists as 2B-460 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.961 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Little All Right made his second consecutive All-Star team. Alright, alright, alright! He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.4) and second in Defensive WAR (2.0), his best defensive season ever. People talked about Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance, but Wagner-to-Ritchey-to-Bransfield wasn’t bad either.

Ritchey had an off World Series, going four-for-27 (.148), with a double and seven strikeouts. This was surprising seeing he only struck out 29 times all season. Pittsburgh should have had no problem winning the Series, but many of their players choked or were injured. Still, Ritchey had his third consecutive National League title.

In a book entitled The 1903 World Series: The Boston Americans, the Pittsburg Pirates, and the “First Championship of the United States” by Andy Dabilis and Nick Tsiotos, there is a story about the aftermath of the series that told of Ritchey being owed two dollars by Ed Doheny. According to Wikipedia, “Edwin Richard Doheny (November 24, 1873 – December 29, 1916) was an American baseball player. He played pitcher in the Major Leagues from 1895 to 1903, first for the New York Giants, then for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1903 he violently attacked several people, was declared insane and was committed to Danvers State Hospital in Danvers, Massachusetts. He died on December 29, 1916, in Medfield Insane Asylum.

“Ed was first suspended as a Pirate on May 18, 1903, due to an incident while at-bat against the Giants. Having already incensed fans by pelting both Joe McGinnity and Dan McGann in the back with fastballs, Doheny tossed his bat into the air as the Giants’ catcher tried to settle under his pop-up. Unaware that he’d already been ruled out on account of the infield fly rule, the jeering crowd mistook his antics as an attempt to interfere with gameplay. Doheny lost his composure and mockingly bowed to the fans. An angry mob followed him back to the clubhouse after the game, threatening him and throwing stones. Doheny was suspended for three days without pay.” Sad story.

steinfeldt

3B-Harry Steinfeldt, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

.312, 6 HR, 83 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-32

1st Time All-Star-Harry M. Steinfeldt was born on September 29, 1877 in St. Louis, MO. The five-foot-nine, 180 pound infielder started with the Reds in 1898, but didn’t really turn it on until this year. He’d have a pretty good prime, but not a long enough one to make the Hall of Fame. This season, Steinfeldt finished ninth in Offensive WAR (3.9), fifth in slugging (.481), and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (136).

SABR says, “Today Harry Steinfeldt is the answer to a oft-heard trivia question: Who was the third baseman in the Cubs’ famous Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance infield? In his time, however, the .267 lifetime hitter was considered one of the greatest third basemen in the game. ‘Harry Steinfeldt, the Cubs third baseman whose glorious fielding kept the dashing Ty Cobb off the base paths in a couple of world’s series, and whose lusty wallops sent many a fellow-Cub scampering across home plate in the last few years, is another who was dubbed unfit by an erring leader in ill-fated Cincinnati,’ wrote Alfred H. Spink in 1910. ‘Harry left the haunts of the Reds, jumped in and completed Frank Chance’s sterling infield, and still holds his court there, a veritable terror to seekers of base hits and stolen cushions.’”

At this point in baseball history, third base is the position most bereft of stars. Ned Williamson might be the best thus far and even he’s not in any of the three Hall of Fames. Steinfeldt was good for a little while, but not for a long enough stretch to be an All-Time great.

wagner5

SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 29 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902

.355, 5 HR, 101 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1903 NL Batting Title (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-7.6 (3rd Time)

Offensive WAR-6.6 (3rd Time)

Batting Average-.355 (2nd Time)

Triples-19 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-108 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-54 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-51

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.18

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.31

5th Time All-Star-When a player is as good as Wagner was, you can usually tell. Nowadays, you watch someone like Mike Trout or Bryce Harper and there’s something different about them from other players. They will put up the stats, yes, but they will also pass the eyeball test. It’s hard to explain, but they just look like athletes.

Yet from all accounts, that wasn’t Wagner. He was more like a Pete Rose, who didn’t look athletic, but played the game hard. He was known as the Flying Dutchman because of that great competitiveness and hustle he had.

This season, Wagner finished third in WAR (7.3), first in WAR Position Players (7.6), first in Offensive WAR (6.6), third in Defensive WAR (1.7, he was starting to get shortstop down), first in batting (.355), eighth in on-base percentage (.414), second in slugging (.518), third in stolen bases (46), and third in Adjusted OPS+ (160). He was the major part of Pittsburgh’s third straight championship and went to his first World Series.

In that series, the depleted-in-pitching Pirates needed Wagner to be at his best and, shockingly, he wasn’t. He went six-for-27 (.222) with a double and three stolen bases. Of course, if you’re facing studs like Cy Young and Bill Dinneen every game, it’s going to be tough to hit. Still, it was the one blemish on an outstanding season for Wagner. However, he’ll eventually be back to the Series and prove himself. And it’s not like he has anything of which to be ashamed.

dahlen7

SS-Bill Dahlen, Brooklyn Superbas, 33 Years Old

1892 1896 1898 1899 1900 1902

.262, 1 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.5

Assists-477 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as SS-138 (3rd Time)

Assists as SS-477 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.948

7th Time All-Star-If there was anyone upset Honus Wagner moved to shortstop, it would have been Dahlen. Shortstop should be a position of banjo hitters, players who are on the field for their gloves not their bats, and, at this point in his career, that certainly describes Bad Bill. Yet every year, Dahlen goes head to head at his position with a man who’s the best hitter in the game and is also starting to be an outstanding fielder on his own. It’s just not fair.

This season, Dahlen finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.0), first in Defensive WAR (2.5), and eighth in stolen bases (34).

As for Brooklyn, it wasn’t loaded with superstars, but still managed a decent 70-66 record, though it did drop from second to fifth this year. Ned Hanlon, a manager who had five pennants to his name, guided the team for the fifth straight season. As indicated by the fact the Superbas had no pitching All-Stars, that was the team’s weakness.

In a Sporting News article about Dahlen’s Hall of Fame candidacy, it says, “If a candidate played well enough, though, character generally isn’t a deciding factor. By numerous accounts, Dahlen played brilliantly. After Dahlen’s trade from Brooklyn to the Giants in December 1903, manager Ned Hanlon told the New York Times, ‘I’ve parted with Dahlen, and somehow I feel that I have just parted with half of my team.’ The following season, with the Giants in the thick of the National League pennant race, McGraw declared Dahlen the game’s best shortstop.” I urge you to read the whole thing.

sheckard3

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, Brooklyn Superbas, 24 Years Old

1901 1902

.332, 9 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-9

Stolen Bases-67 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-42

Adj. Batting Wins-4.4

Power-Speed #-15.9 (2nd Time)

Assists as OF-36

3rd Time All-Star-It was definitely a different era in baseball during this time, when nine home runs could lead the league in that category. Sheckard had his best season ever, finishing fifth in WAR (7.0), second in WAR Position Players (7.0), second in Offensive WAR (6.0), seventh in batting (.332), fourth in on-base percentage (.423), seventh in slugging (.476), first in steals (67), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (158). The 175 pounder had power and speed and was one of the best leftfielders of his day.

Dodgers Insider says, “Later, in 1903 with Brooklyn, Sheckard led the NL in both homers (nine) and steals (67), a feat matched since by only Ty Cobb and Chuck Klein, while reaching base at a .423 clip.

“Sheckard had a massive decline to a .630 OPS in 1904, before rallying to a solid season in 1905. But that winter, Brooklyn traded Sheckard to the Cubs in exchange for Buttons Briggs, Doc Casey, Billy Maloney, Jack McCarthy and $2,000. None of the four players made particularly meaningful contributions.”

From SABR: “In 1962 sportswriter Joe Reichler named Jimmy Sheckard as the left fielder on the All-Time Chicago Cubs team. Sheckard was a left-handed slugger who batted in the middle of the order during his early years with Brooklyn, then became a leadoff man and master at getting on base in his later years with the Cubs. In various seasons he led the National League in triples, home runs, slugging, runs, on-base percentage, walks, and stolen bases. Sheckard also was an outstanding defensive outfielder–both SABR and STATS, Inc., selected him to their retroactive Gold Glove teams for the first decade of the Deadball Era–and the right-handed thrower’s career assist total is one of the highest in history for an outfielder.”

donlin2

LF-Mike Donlin, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

1901

.351, 7 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Offensive Win %-.804

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team with the American League Baltimore Orioles in 1901, Donlin was traded to Cincinnati the next season, but only played 34 games. This year, he played 126 games and was back on the list. Turkey Mike finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.5), sixth in Offensive WAR (4.4), third in batting (.351), fifth in on-base percentage (.420), third in slugging (.516), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (155).

As for why he played so few games in 1902, Wikipedia states, “’Turkey Mike’, nicknamed because of his gait while walking, hit .340 with Baltimore, which was good for second in the league. But in March of 1902, he was sentenced to six months in prison for his actions during a drinking binge and was promptly released by the Orioles. After serving his time, Donlin was picked up by the Cincinnati Reds and hit .287 for them in the last month of the season. In 1903, he finished third in the league in hitting at .351 and placed in the top five in the National League in virtually every offensive category.” According to SABR, his drunken binge including urinating in public and accosting two chorus girls.

More from SABR: “A flamboyant playboy and partygoer who dressed impeccably and always had a quip and a handshake for everyone he met, Mike Donlin was ‘one of the most picturesque, most written-about, most likeable athletes that ever cut his mark on the big circuit.’ Donlin also could hit as well as anyone in baseball during the Deadball Era. Though he rarely walked, the powerfully built 5′ 9″ left-hander was a masterful curveball hitter with power to all fields.”

clarke5LF-Fred Clarke, Pittsburgh Pirates, 30 Years Old

1895 1897 1901 1902

.351, 5 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Slugging %-.532

On-Base Plus Slugging-.946

Doubles-32

Adjusted OPS+-164 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Clarke received so much acclaim as a manager it can be hard to forget what a good player he is. This year, he entered Ron’s Hall of Fame with his fifth All-Star team. But he also managed Pittsburgh to its third consecutive National League title. As a hitter, Clarke finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.3), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.3), second in batting (.351), seventh in on-base percentage (.401), first in slugging (.532), and first in Adjusted OPS+ (164). It helped Clarke to have Honus Wagner on his team, certainly, but he also helped himself.

The Pirates won the league title with a 91-49 record and went to the first World Series. How did baseball’s championship get started? Wikipedia says, “The leagues finally called a truce in the winter of 1902–03 and formed the National Commission to preside over organized baseball. The following season, the Boston Americans and Pittsburg Pirates had secured their respective championship pennants by September. That August, Dreyfuss challenged the American League to an eleven-game championship series. Encouraged by Johnson and National League President Harry Pulliam, Americans owner Henry J. Killilea met with Dreyfuss in Pittsburg in September and instead agreed to a best-of-nine championship, with the first three games played in Boston, the next four in Allegheny City, and the remaining two (if necessary) in Boston.”

Pittsburgh should have easily won, but, as Wikipedia tells us, it was full of injuries: “Although the Pirates had dominated their league for the previous three years, they went into the series riddled with injuries and plagued by bizarre misfortunes. Otto Krueger, the team’s only utility player, was beaned on September 19 and never fully played in the series. 16-game winner Ed Doheny left the team three days later, exhibiting signs of paranoia; he was committed to an insane asylum the following month. Leever had been battling an injury to his pitching arm (which he made worse by entering a trapshooting competition). Worst of all, Wagner, who had a sore thumb throughout the season, injured his right leg in September and was never 100 percent for the post-season. “ Pittsburgh lost, 5-3.

thomas2

CF-Roy Thomas, Philadelphia Phillies, 29 Years Old

1899

.327, 1 HR, 27 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 33 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

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

Bases on Balls-107 (4th Time)

Times on Base-266 (4th Time)

Putouts as OF-318

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.59

2nd Time All-Star-If you go back and read Thomas’ 1899 blurb, you’ll realize this whole Deadball Era and lack of scoring is all this man’s fault. Because he was so good at fouling pitches off, both leagues finally adopted the foul-strike rule where the fouls counted as strikes for the first two. It wasn’t stopping Thomas from being successful as he had his best season ever, finishing 10th in WAR (5.5), fourth in WAR Position Players (5.5), fourth in Offensive WAR (4.2), eighth in batting (.327), first in on-base percentage (.453), and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (141).

The year 1902 was the first year Philadelphia didn’t have at least one All-Star outfielder since 1889. That’s mostly because of Sliding Billy Hamilton and Big Ed Delahanty, who died during this season. Thomas will keep this streak going for at least a couple of years.

There is a long article at Baseball History Daily about Thomas’ Christian faith and him not playing Sundays. Please read the whole thing, but here’s a snippet: “’Manager Zimmer had some trouble getting Roy Thomas to play in the Sunday game, he claiming that he had not contracted to play on Sunday, and that he had no desire to break the Sabbath.  In the end, however, Zimmer prevailed and Thomas went into the game.’

“The Philadelphia Times said Zimmer talked to the team’s new owner, James Potter, who was reported to have said:

“’So he won’t play today, eh?  Well, then place him on the bench today, tomorrow and for the remainder of the season, without pay.’”

bresnahan

CF-Roger Bresnahan, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

.350, 4 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 43 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-Roger Philip “The Duke of Tralee” Bresnahan was born on June 11, 1879 in Toledo, OH. The five-foot-nine, 200 pound Hall of Famer started playing six games for Washington as an 18-year-old in 1897 then didn’t play in the Major Leagues until 1900 where we played two games for Chicago. After that he jumped to the American League, where he played for Baltimore in 1901. In 1902, he started with the Orioles then was released mid-season and picked up by the Giants. Bresnahan would gain most of his fame as one of baseball’s first true superstar catchers, but he was a centerfielder this season.

The Duke of Tralee finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.6), fifth in Offensive WAR (4.8), fourth in batting (.350), second in on-base percentage (.443), fourth in slugging (.493), eighth in stolen bases (34), and second in Adjusted OPS+ (162). He probably would have done better if he hadn’t missed over 20 games.

SABR says of him, “A versatile athlete who played all nine positions at the major-league level, Roger Bresnahan is generally regarded today as the Deadball Era’s most famous catcher, as well known for his innovations in protective equipment as for his unusual skill package that made him one of the first catchers ever used continuously at the top of the batting order. Catchers almost always batted eighth in the Deadball Era, but Bresnahan was adept at reaching base (he had a .419 on-base percentage in 1906) and possessed surprising speed despite his 5’9″, 200-pound frame.”

beaumont2

CF-Ginger Beaumont, Pittsburgh Pirates, 26 Years Old

1902

.341, 7 HR, 68 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-141

At Bats-613

Plate Appearances-674

Runs Scored-137

Hits-209 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-272

Singles-166 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as OF-141

2nd Time All-Star-Beaumont was a huge part of Pittsburgh’s three straight titles from 1901 to 1903. He had speed and power and this year, finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.0), Offensive WAR (4.2), sixth in batting (.341), and 10th in slugging (.444). It wasn’t as good as 1902, but it was still an impressive season.

In the World Series, Beaumont, like so many Pirates, had trouble against the good pitching of the Boston Americans. He went nine-for-34 (.265), with a triple, which was way below his regular season production. He was also the first batter in modern World Series history. As SABR says, “Of course the highlight of that season came on October 1 in front of 16,242 screaming fans at Boston’s Huntington Avenue Park. Stepping in to face the great Cy Young, Beaumont lofted a fly ball to center field that was caught by Boston’s Chick Stahl, thus becoming the first batter in the history of the modern World Series. For the eight-game Series Ginger batted .265 and led the Pirates with six runs scored.”

A site called Baseball: Past and Present says of Beaumont, “On most days between April and September, I talk about Clarence H. “Ginger” Beaumont. Among my duties as a Pittsburgh Pirates PNC Park tour guide is to show guests the home team batting cage.

“On the wall is the list of all the Pirates who have won batting championships—-eleven different players for a total of 25 crowns.” This article, like most on Beaumont, goes on to mention his red hair and being the first batter in the World Series.

seymour2

CF-Cy Seymour, Cincinnati Reds, 30 Years Old

1899

.342, 7 HR, 72 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 33 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as OF-318

Errors Committed as OF-36

2nd Time All-Star-When Seymour last made the All-Star team in 1899, he was a pitcher for the New York Giants. He also did this in 1900, before moving to Baltimore in 1901, where he permanently moved to the outfield. In 1902, he played half of the season for the Orioles and then went to the Reds when Baltimore started dumping players. This season, he had his first All-Star team as an outfielder, finishing fifth in batting average (.342), sixth in slugging (.478), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (134). There certainly were a lot of good centerfielders in the National League at this time.

SABR has much on his switch from pitcher to outfielder. Here’s just a bit: “Pitching for mediocre and dispirited New York Giants teams, Seymour had established himself as a premier pitcher in an age of hitting prowess. That his pitching career effectively came to an end in 1900 had more to do with an apparent arm injury than his wildness. Indeed, Cincinnati pitcher Ted Breitenstein warned Seymour not to continue using the indrop ball (screwball) because it would leave his arm ‘as dead as one of those mummies in the Art Museum.’ Perhaps he injured his arm in spring training, but a few days before the regular 1900 campaign began he found himself playing centerfield for the ‘Second Team’ in an intra-squad contest. Just two days prior to the season opener the New York Times indicated that: ‘Manager Ewing will give particular attention to Seymour’ to determine if he would be the opening game pitcher since the reluctant Amos Rusie had failed to report.”

7 thoughts on “1903 National League All-Star Team

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