1905 National League All-Star Team

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Irv Young, BSN

P-Ed Reulbach, CHC

P-Bob Ewing, CIN

P-Tully Sparks, PHI

P-Deacon Phillippe, PIT

P-Bob Wicker, CHC

P-Jake Weimer, CHC

P-Orval Overall, CIN

P-Bill Duggleby, PHI

C-Roger Bresnahan, NYG

C-Mike Grady, STL

1B-Frank Chance, CHC

1B-Dan McGann, NYG

2B-Miller Huggins, CIN

3B-Art Devlin, NYG

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Bill Dahlen, NYG

LF-Sherry Magee, PHI

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, BRO

CF-Cy Seymour, CIN

CF-Mike Donlin, NYG

CF-Roy Thomas, PHI

CF-Homer Smoot, STL

RF-John Titus, PHI

 

mathewson5

P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 23 Years Old, MVP

1901 1902 1903 1904

31-9, 1.28 ERA, 206 K, .236, 2 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1905 NL Triple Crown

1905 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.28

Wins-31

Walks & Hits per IP-0.933

Strikeouts-206 (3rd Time)

Shutouts-8 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.219

Adjusted ERA+-230

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.03 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-57

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.5

Assists as P-116 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-If you think about it, many of baseball’s greatest players have uncouth demeanors. Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens. Yet that’s not the case with the game’s two greatest pitchers at this time – Cy Young and Mathewson. All the reports on Big Six spoke of his gentlemanly qualities and use him as a model for what a baseball player should be. This season, Mathewson finished second in WAR (10.1), second in WAR for Pitchers (9.1), first in ERA (1.28), third in innings pitched (338 2/3), and first in Adjusted ERA+ (230). I’m not picking this as his best season, but that’s only because every season Matty pitched, save a couple here and there, was a work of art.

His pitching allowed New York to win the National League pennant for the second straight season and this time, it actually decided to play in the World Series.  The Giants finished 105-48, nine games ahead of Pittsburgh. Their hitting, led by centerfielder Mike Donlin, was the best in the league, while their pitching, led by Mathewson, was right near the top. John McGraw’s squad bested the Philadelphia Athletics, 4-1, and Big Six was the reason why. He started three games and tossed three shutouts. It might be the greatest World Series performance of all time.

Philadelphia’s manager acknowledged Mathewson’s prowess, according to the Baseball Hall of Fame page, which says, “’Mathewson was the greatest pitcher who ever lived,’ Hall of Fame manager Connie Mack said. ‘He had knowledge, judgment, perfect control and form. It was wonderful to watch him pitch – when he wasn’t pitching against you.’”

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P-Irv Young, Boston Beaneaters, 27 Years Old

20-21, 2.90 ERA, 156 K, .103, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-9.2

Innings Pitched-378

Games Started-42

Complete Games-41

Batters Faced-1,475

1st Time All-Star-Irving Melrose “Young Cy” or “Cy The Second” Young was born on July 21, 1877 in Columbia Falls, ME. This is one of those seasons which makes people question the validity of WAR. According to Baseball Reference WAR, Young’s 20-21, 2.90 ERA season was better than Mathewson’s 31-9, 1.28 ERA, season. Ridiculous! Also, this season is a warning to why it’s dangerous to give nicknames early in a man’s career, because comparing this man to Cy Young is like comparing Andrew Dice Clay to Jerry Seinfeld.

I’m sorry if the above sounds negative, because Young did have a great season, finishing third in WAR (8.0), first in WAR for Pitchers (9.2), and first in innings pitched. SABR says, “All these years later, Irv’s 1905 total of 378 innings pitched and 41 complete games are still major-league records for a rookie in the 20th century. Needless to say, in this day and age of almost incessant relief pitching, they are records that will most likely last forever. And that’s a long, long time.” When he wasn’t pitching, his team, the Beaneaters, were 31-82. Altogether, Boston, coached by Fred Tenney, finished in seventh place with a 51-103 record. It’s what happens when a team can’t hit or pitch. Tenney would never manage a good team, but still stick around for four different seasons.

After this season, Young would be with Boston until 1908, before being traded to Pittsburgh mid-season. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1909 and finished off his career pitching two seasons with the White Sox in 1910 and 1911. He’d finish 63-95 for his career with a 3.11 ERA and a career 8.3 WAR.

reulbach

P-Ed Reulbach, Chicago Cubs, 22 Years Old

18-14, 1.42 ERA, 152 K, .127, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. 63 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-6.418

1st Time All-Star-Edward Marvin “Big Ed” Reulbach (pronounced ROYLE-bock) was born on December 1, 1882 in Detroit, MI, exactly 82 years before yours truly. The six-foot-one, 190 pound pitcher had a sensational rookie year, finishing fifth in WAR (7.4), third in WAR for Pitchers (8.3), second in ERA (1.42), and second in Adjusted ERA+ (209). He’s off to a good career, in which he’ll appear in four different World Series. Believe it or not, there actually was a good time to pitch for the Cubs.

There have been some good players born on my birthday, but the one that’s in the Hall of Fame only played one game and went oh-for-one. No, it’s not Moonlight Graham! He never batted. It’s longtime Dodgers manager Walter Alston. Larry Walker might change that someday.

SABR has the story of how Big Ed started: “But fate had something else in store for Ed Reulbach in 1905. While pitching under the alias of ‘Sheldon’ for the Montpelier-Barre Hyphens of Vermont’s outlaw Northern League, he met and fell in love with his future bride, Mary Ellen ‘Nellie’ Whelan of Montpelier. To be closer to Nellie, Ed decided to forego his senior year at Notre Dame and enroll in medical school at the University of Vermont. In the spring he became the star of the UVM baseball team, batting cleanup and playing left field when he wasn’t pitching. Newspapers called Reulbach the ‘greatest of all college pitchers,’ and on May 12, after winning his fourth start, 1-0, against Syracuse, he received an offer from the Chicago Cubs that ‘would take the breath away from an average person,’ according to the Burlington Free Press. That night, accompanied by a large group of students, Ed caught the train to New York.”

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P-Bob Ewing, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

20-11, 2.51 ERA, 164 K, .262, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-George Lemuel “Long Bob” Ewing was born on April 24, 1873 in New Hampshire, OH. The six-foot-one, 170 pound pitcher didn’t enter the Majors until he was 29 with Cincinnati. After a total record of 30-32 from 1902-04, he broke through this year, finishing sixth in WAR (6.8), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.3), eighth in innings pitched (311 2/3), and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (131). At the time, the Reds were playing in a hitters’ park called Palace of the Fans.

Cincinnati, managed by Joe Kelley, finished 79-74, fifth in the National League. With Ewing leading the way, the Reds had some of the best pitching in the league. None of that was enough to save Kelley’s job. He was gone after the season despite leading the Reds to three straight records of over-.500 ball.

Did Ewing throw a no-hitter in 1903? It’s hard to tell because this Wikipedia article is so dreadfully written, but here’s what it says, “The season’s highlight came on August 18, 1903. The headline in the ‘Cincinnati Post’ told the story: ‘Kelley Claims Ewing Pitched a No-Hitter’ He blanked the New York Giants 7 to 0, giving up one infield hit by Jack Dunn in the eighth inning. The official scorer recorded the play as an out, but was ordered to score it as a hit. A dispatch from New York after the game stated: ‘Long Bob Ewing, fed on raw meat and clams for a week, was taken out of his cage and sent against the Giants…Old Wapak fired the leather down the alley so fast that the haze in its wake looked like the smoke in a shooting gallery.’ A seasoned and confident Bob Ewing barnstormed with the Reds after the season concluded.”

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P-Tully Sparks, Philadelphia Phillies, 30 Years Old

1903

14-11, 2.18 ERA, 98 K, .128, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 13 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-Sparks had an off-season in 1904, going 7-16, but is back this season with another good season. He finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3), sixth in ERA (2.18), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (133). Sparks pitched for a decent Phillies team that finished 83-69, fourth in the National League. Hugh Duffy’s squad had good hitting, led by rightfielder John Titus and only fair-to-middling pitching.

SABR says of his season, “His 1905 ERA was 2.18 and he was 14-11 for the fourth-place Phils. One game in particular helped his earned-run average considerably, though it ended in a loss. On August 24 at Philadelphia’s Baker Bowl against the visiting Chicago Cubs, Sparks and Ed Ruelbach were both about as stingy as could be, neither of them allowing a run for the first 12 innings. A triple and a single resulted in an earned run being charged to Sparks, but the Phillies tied it on a base hit, a sacrifice fly foul ball, and another hit. Both pitchers were still going into the 20th inning, when a single, a sacrifice, and a hit up the middle scored another one for Chicago, and Philadelphia failed to score. Sparks was 0-for-7 in the game, leaving for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the 20th.”

Sparks wasn’t terrible, by any means, but it’s puzzling to me he received a nominating vote for the Hall of Fame in 1946. Meanwhile, Ed Reulbach never received any kind of vote whatsoever for Cooperstown. There goes the Hall driving me crazy again!

phillippe3

P-Deacon Phillippe, Pittsburgh Pirates, 33 Years Old

1900 1903

20-13, 2.19 ERA, 133 K, .093, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.548 (3rd Time)

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

3rd Time All-Star-Phillippe had a tough 1904 season, pitching only 166 2/3 innings with a 3.24 ERA, but came back this year. He finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.0), seventh in ERA (2.19), and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (137). It seems like a pitcher with a lifetime 138-83 record and 2.56 ERA up to this point in his seven season career should have more than three All-Star appearances, but there you go. This might be his last one.

As for his team, the Pirates, Fred Clarke had them in the thick of the race again, but New York was just too good. Pittsburgh finished 96-57, nine games out. It was led by Honus Wagner, the great shortstop, but had only average pitching.

Baseball Reference states, “He had an illness that affected his eye in 1904, but recovered for 1905. However, he began to have arm troubles. And in 1908, a line drive broke his finger. In 1909, he pitched 6 innings in the 1909 World Series which the Pirates won against Ty Cobb‘s Detroit Tigers. In 1910, at the age of 38, he went 14-2, which was the best winning percentage in the league. He also hit an inside-the-park grand slam home run, one of the last pitchers to do so.

“Incredibly, Deacon never had a losing season in his 13 years of major league baseball. In 1969, Pittsburgh Pirates fans voted Deacon Pittsburgh’s all-time right handed pitcher.” That’s incredible to me, because sports fans tend to regard people in their own era as the best and not look back some 50 years as those wise 1969 Pirates fans did.

wicker

P-Bob Wicker, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

13-6, 2.02 ERA, 86 K, .139, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Robert Kitridge “Bob” Wicker was born on May 25, 1877 in Bono, IN, and the Cubs couldn’t win with or without him. Bono? U2? We move on. Wicker started pitching one game for the Cardinals in 1901, then became a regular pitcher for them the next season. In 1903, he pitched one game again for the Cardinals, then was traded to the Cubs for Bob Rhoads. He won 20 games for Chicago in 1903, 17 in 1904, and then made the All-Star team this season. Wicker finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.7), third in ERA (2.02), and third in Adjusted ERA+ (147). He only pitched one more season, splitting between Chicago and Cincinnati in 1906. Wicker finished with a 64-52 record, a 2.73 ERA, and 10.5 WAR.

SABR wraps up his life with one pithy paragraph, saying, “During the first decade of the Deadball Era, the Chicago Cubs boasted eight different pitchers who posted 20-win seasons for the club.Perhaps the least known of them is Bob Wicker, a strapping 26-year-old right-hander who went 20-9 in 1903. Unhappily for Wicker, he was traded to Cincinnati early in the 1906 campaign, thus missing out on the four National League pennants and two World Series crowns the Cubs would win in the coming five-season span. By the time that the Cubs completed their championship run in 1910, Wicker was out of Organized Baseball, pitching mostly for semipro teams. Still, Wicker soldiered on, pitching/managing in the Class B Northwestern League in 1915, and thereafter playing in the Chicago city league until he was nearly 40. The remainder of his life was spent quietly, living and working in the Chicago area until his death in early 1955.”

weimer3

P-Jake Weimer, Chicago Cubs, 31 Years Old

1903 1904

18-12, 2.26 ERA, 107 K, .207, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Not too many pitchers had a better start to their career than Tornado Jake Weimer, who now has three All-Star appearances in three seasons. This season, he finished seventh in WAR (6.5), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.8), ninth in ERA (2.26), and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (131). The Cubs had a sensational pitching staff in the 1900s.

As I write this, the 2017 World Series started and is currently tied 2-2. I live in the Los Angeles area, but I’m rooting for the Astros over the Dodgers. I’m a Reds fan and, because of the former Cincinnati-Los Angeles rivalry, I still don’t like the Dodgers. I’m getting flak on Facebook for that.

My point in this, and admittedly this has nothing to do with Weimer, is how people come up with favorite teams. For me, when I started liking sports in the ‘70s, there was one baseball game a week on TV, the NBC Game of the Week. Because the Reds were good, they tended to show them a lot, so that was the team I knew. I lived in the Omaha area at that time and there was no real pro team around. So I started rooting for the Reds and have ever since.

Next, and I know this will sound strange from someone compiling All-Star teams for 146 years of baseball history, is how seriously people take sports. I’m rooting for the Astros to beat the Dodgers, but if they do or they don’t, it won’t change my life one bit. It’s entertainment. Are you not entertained!?

overall

P-Orval Overall, Cincinnati Reds, 24 Years Old

18-23, 2.86 ERA, 173 K, .145, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-13

1st Time All-Star-Orval Overall was born on Groundhog Day! 1881 in Farmersville, CA. The six-foot-two, 214 pounder had a great rookie year for the Reds, finishing eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.2) and seventh in innings pitched (318). He’d be traded to Chicago next season and have a short but successful career for the Cubs dynasty.

Wikipedia says, “He attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a member of Sigma Nu and captain of the football team. He was named an All-American in football.

“Overall started his professional baseball career in 1904. With the Pacific Coast League‘s Tacoma Tigers, he pitched 510.2 innings, going 32–25 with a 2.78 earned run average. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in September. In 1905, his rookie season, he was the ace of the Reds pitching staff and won 18 games.”

SABR quotes a teammate, “’Overall pitches his curve with a wide, sweeping overhand swing, releasing the ball over the side of the index finger as his hand turns downward,’ wrote Johnny Evers in Touching Second. ‘His swing and curve are duplicates of those used by Adonis Terry, Jim McCormick, and some of the great pitchers of the past, and when his jerk motion at the finish of the wide swing is sharp, the curve actually darts downward.’

“Orval’s father, Daniel, was a well-to-do businessman who owned the Palace Hotel in addition to a citrus farm, and Orval enjoyed an upper-class upbringing. After pitching and playing first base at Visalia High School, the 19-year-old Overall enrolled at the University of California-Berkeley in the fall of 1900. He excelled in his studies of agricultural science and was elected president of the freshman class.”

duggleby2

P-Bill Duggleby, Philadelphia Phillies, 31 Years Old

1901

18-17, 2.46 ERA, 75 K, .109, 1 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs Allowed-10

2nd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team in 1901, Duggleby switched over to the American League Athletics and pitched two games for them, before jumping back to the Phillies that same 1902 season. His ERA was high for the Deadball Era, being above three for three straight seasons. This season, it dipped to 2.46 as he was one of the best pitchers in the league. Duggleby finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (3.5) and 10th in ERA (2.46). He’s probably going to be an All-Star one more time.

Wikipedia explains his two-game excursion in the AL, stating, “Duggleby was one of the ‘jumpers’ who left the Phillies in 1902 for other teams, including (in Duggleby’s case) Connie Mack‘s new American League team, the Athletics. The Phillies filed suit to prevent the ‘jumpers’ — in particular, Nap LajoieBill Bernhard, and Chick Fraser — from playing for any other team, a plea which was rejected by a lower court before being upheld by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Duggleby was the first of the ‘jumpers’ to return to the Phillies, on May 8, 1902, after playing only two games with the A’s.”

Duggleby was one of two players, the other being St. Louis’ Jack Taylor, to give up double-digit home runs in the National League. It was difficult to give up homers in those days. The leading home run hitter for the league was Cincinnati rightfielder Fred Odwell and he only had nine. I’m wondering how the modern fan would like old-time baseball with its low run totals and emphasis on strategy.

Bresnahan Roger 1461-68WT2_Bat_PDC-Roger Bresnahan, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1903 1904

.302, 0 HR, 46 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 60 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Caught Stealing %-55.5

Range Factor/Game as C-6.97

3rd Time All-Star-In 1900, Bresnahan played one game for the Orphans, catching in that contest. It was also his main position in 1901. In 1902, for Baltimore and the Giants, he split his time between the outfield, catcher, and third base. In 1903 and 1904, Bresnahan made the All-Star team as a centerfielder. This season, he finally made the move to catcher and ended up as the best in the league. He finished 10th in batting (.302) and sixth in on-base percentage (.411), good for anyone, but outstanding for a backstop. He also had an outstanding World Series, hitting .313 with two doubles and four walks. Bresnahan had two hits, including a double in the fifth and final game. His OPS (.938) was the highest on the team as the Giants pounded the Athletics, 4-1.

New York manager John McGraw said of his catcher, “Bresnahan had a memory almost as good as [Christy] Mathweson or [Joe] McGinnity. He never had to be told twice. Once we had discovered a weak spot in the opposition and had discussed a plan for attacking it I could depend absolutely on Bresnahan to carry it out. He did not forget. His whole mind was concentrated on winning that particular game and it was rarely that he overlooked anything.”

From SABR: “It was during his years with the Giants that Bresnahan made his contributions to the development of playing equipment. After a hospital stay necessitated by a beaning, he experimented in 1905 with the Reach Pneumatic Head Protector, which was essentially a leather football helmet sliced in half to protect the left side of a right-handed hitter’s head.”

grady2

C-Mike Grady, St. Louis Cardinals, 35 Years Old

1904

.286, 4 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Grady is back on the All-Star team for his second straight season as one of the best catchers in baseball. He finished fifth in the National League in slugging (.434) and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (139). Drinking affected his career and hindered his longevity, but when Grady was good, he was good.

St. Louis wasn’t good, however, and it took three managers to prove it. Kid Nichols (5-9), Jimmy Burke (34-56), and Stan Robison (19-31) guided the team to a sixth place 58-96 record. It had no All-Star pitchers and not much hitting.

Wikipedia says, “Grady is known for being part of an unfortunate piece of baseball history. As a third baseman for the Giants in 1899, Grady committed four fielding errors on a single play. He misplayed a groundball for one error, threw over the first baseman’s head for another, dropped the throw from the first baseman as he tried to gun down the runner at third, and threw over the catcher’s head into the stands as the base runner broke for home.

“Grady was vociferous and outspoken during his playing career, and never shied away from recounting the infamous tale of his most embarrassing moment. He was fond of saying that upon committing the third error of the play, he purposefully threw the ball into the stands in anger.”

SABR, of course, has to ruin everything, saying the play didn’t happen. This irritating thing known as “research” says he never made more than three errors in a game, never mind one play. Click on the link for details.

chance31B-Frank Chance, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

1903 1904

.316, 2 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.450

3rd Time All-Star-Chance made his third straight All-Star team for the Cubs, having another great year despite playing only 118 games. He finished eighth in WAR (5.6), fourth in WAR Position Players (5.6), fifth in Offensive WAR (5.1), sixth in batting (.316), first in on-base percentage (.450), seventh in slugging (.434), sixth in steals (38), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (159). Chance injured himself a lot or his career would be even more outstanding than it is.

However, the most important contribution from Chance this season was as manager. Frank Selee started out the year 37-28, before Husk took the reins. He guided the team to a 55-33 finish as the team finished 92-61, 13 games out of first. The team was led by its three All-Star pitchers. It would be the beginning of a great stretch for Chicago.

Bleed Cubbie Blue says, “By 1905 Selee was seriously ill with tuberculosis, and could not travel with the team. Chance acted as player-manager on the road. Selee resigned August 1, and Chance was elected manager by player vote, a result ratified by Hart. The vote was close, Chance was admired for his play and strategy, but disliked for his combative personal style. The team won 40 of the 63 games played under Chance’s control, finishing third. After years of mediocrity, the Cubs were seen as a club on the rise, but no one foresaw that the golden age of the team’s history was about to dawn.” Selee was Wally Pipped out of a job.

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1B-Dan McGann, New York Giants, 33 Years Old

1898 1904

.299, 5 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit by Pitch-19 (5th Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.991 (5th Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Cap made his second straight All-Star team and won his second straight league title. This season, McGann finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.9), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.4), ninth in on-base percentage (.391), sixth in slugging (.434), and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (143). In the World Series, which New York won in five games over Philadelphia, he went four-for-17 (.235) with two doubles as the team’s cleanup hitter. Most of his damage came in one game when in the third game, a 9-0 win for the Giants, McGann went three-for-five with a double and four RBI.

McGann would play two more seasons with New York and finish his career with the National League Boston Doves in 1908. Then, Wikipedia says, “McGann suffered from severe clinical depression, a condition which ran throughout his family. One of McGann’s sisters committed suicide in 1890 after their mother died. On New Year’s Eve in 1907, one of McGann’s brothers died as a result of an accidental shooting. In 1909, another of McGann’s brothers committed suicide.

“On December 13, 1910, McGann committed suicide by shooting himself in the heart at a Louisville hotel. At the time of his death, he was 39 years old, and reportedly had been ‘in the best of health and humor’ when last seen. McGann was survived by two sisters, who, despite the family history of suicide, believed their brother had been murdered, as a diamond ring valued at $800 ($20,563 in current dollar terms) McGann had been seen wearing was missing.”

huggins

2B-Miller Huggins, Cincinnati Reds, 27 Years Old

.273, 1 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (Yes as manager)

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-103

Assists as 2B-525

Errors Committed as 2B-51

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.03

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.85

1st Time All-Star-Miller James “Hug” or “Mighty Mite” Huggins was born on March 27, 1878 in Cincinnati, OH. While most of his fame would come from managing Babe Ruth and the Yankees, the five-foot-six, 140 pounder was a decent player. He started as a 26-year-old rookie for the Reds in 1904 and had a good year this season, finishing 10th in Defensive WAR (1.0) and eighth in on-base percentage (.392).

Those sizes above might be false. SABR says, “’He [Huggins] was grievously handicapped by his lack of size,’ wrote John Sheridan in the Sporting News. While databases list Huggins at 5’ 6” and 140 pounds, he was actually much smaller, around 5’ 1”-5’2” and 125 pounds. When John McGraw had a chance to acquire Huggins for his Baltimore Orioles in 1901, he declined to do so. ‘That shrimp?’ he said to himself. ‘He’s too little to be of any use as a big leaguer.’

“Perhaps to compensate for his size, Huggins had a fierce and relentless determination to succeed and use his head to win. ‘Because he was so small and slight, he must overcome by clear thinking,’ wrote Frank Graham, ‘obstacles that other players could surmount by force.’

“Huggins endured the usual rookie hazing when he joined the Reds. The regulars were amused by Huggins’s crooked smile and funny batting stance. ‘Pipe the new mascot,’ howled the 6’5” Larry McLean, as he picked up the 5’6” rookie, and held up him for the other Reds to see. ‘Why, kid, you’re too little to play in the big leagues. We eat guys like you for breakfast. What’s your name, Pint-Size?’”

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3B-Art Devlin, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

1904

.246, 2 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-59

Assists as 3B-299

2nd Time All-Star-Devlin made his second straight All-Star team and won his second straight league title in his sophomore year. He finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.1), fifth in Defensive WAR (1.5), and first in steals (59). In the World Series, which the Giants won 4-1 over Philadelphia, he hit .250 with a double and three steals while hitting seventh in the lineup. He drove in his only run in the third game, singling to bring in Dan McGann and then pulled off a double steal, stealing second while Bill Dahlen stole home.

SABR states, “Devlin finished his rookie year with respectable numbers on a pennant-winning team, and slipped a bit in his sophomore year, but stole a league-leading 59 bases (tying Billy Maloney of Chicago), the only time he ever led the league in an offensive category. The Giants won the World Series, defeating the Philadelphia Athletics as Mathewson and Joe McGinnity threw four shutouts between them. The Athletics scored one of their three runs in Game 2 (and for the Series) in the eighth inning when Bresnahan dropped Devlin’s relay. Devlin hit .250 and drove in a run for the Series.”

And from the National Pastime Museum: “Christy Mathewson was not Irish—but the same could not be said about the team that surrounded him. The Giants’ best hitter, Donlin, was Irish, So was their second-best pitcher, McGinnity. Catcher Roger Bresnahan, the ‘Duke of Tralee,’ was Irish; Dan McGann, holding down the first-base bag, was Irish; Art Devlin at third was Irish; 15-game winner Hooks Wiltse was Irish—and likely to have been Irish are shortstop Bill Dahlan and utility man Boileryard Clarke. Of a certainty, with emphasis, Manager John McGraw was Irish. If the 1905 series is taken as a test case, Jerrold Casway is obviously right in terming the age as Emerald as far as the Giants of New York City go.”

wagner7

SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904

.363, 6 HR, 101 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-10.2

WAR Position Players-10.2 (5th Time)

Offensive WAR-8.7 (5th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.14 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.00 (2nd Time)

7th Time All-Star-Since the beginning of Major League baseball in 1871, the dominant players in the league, the ones that added the most value, had always been on the mound. The only position player to ever lead a league in WAR over these 35 years was Fred Dunlap, a second baseman in the 1884 Union Association, but that was a fluke because the league, which only existed for one season, was so watered down. This season, the great Wagner accomplished the same thing in a legitimate league and it would be the first of four straight seasons he’d do so.

This season, Wagner finished first in WAR (10.2), first in WAR Position Players (10.2), first in Offensive WAR (8.7), third in Defensive WAR (2.7), second in batting (.363), third in on-base percentage (.427), second in slugging (.505), third in steals (57), and second in Adjusted OPS+ (175). As a reminder, all of this was done in a league with a total slash line of .255/.315/.332. Half of the teams didn’t hit over .250.

Wikipedia says, “In September 1905, Wagner signed a contract to produce the first bat with a player’s signature, the Louisville Slugger, becoming the first sportsperson to endorse a commercial product; the Honus Wagner was to become a best-seller for years. One month later, with one point separating him from Reds center fielder Cy Seymour for the batting title, Wagner fell short in a head-to-head matchup on the final day of the season, with Seymour collecting four hits to Wagner’s two, as contemporary press reports stated that the fans were far more interested in the Seymour-Wagner battle than in the outcome of the games.”

dahlen9SS-Bill Dahlen, New York Giants, 35 Years Old, 1905 ONEHOF Inductee

1892 1896 1898 1899 1900 1902 1903 1904

.242, 7 HR, 81 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes

 

9th Time All-Star-Dahlen’s not in the Hall of Fame, though he should be, but he’s now in the ONEHOF, the Hall of Fame of my invention in which one player every year enters. The nominees for the ONEHOF for 1906 are Hardy Richardson, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, Joe McGinnity, Jimmy Collins, Bobby Wallace, and Honus Wagner.

Dahlen finished ninth in WAR (5.5), fifth in WAR Position Players (5.5), second in Defensive WAR (3.1), and seventh in stolen bases (37). He didn’t have much success in the World Series versus the Philadelphia Athletics, a series the Giants won 4-1. Bad Bill went hitless in 15 at-bats, though he walked three times and stole three bases. However, Wikipedia mentions, “Although he was hitless in the five-game Series, he contributed with flawless defense and by drawing three walks and stealing three bases. He was often considered one of the quietest players in the game, keeping to himself most of the time.” Wait, Bad Bill was quiet? That’s the first I’ve heard of that. Most of what I’ve read has Dahlen as a rabble-rouser. Or as SABR says, “Ferocious shortstop Bill Dahlen was ejected 65 times by umpires as a player and manager. This and other behavior earned him the nickname ‘Bad Bill.’ Yet his rowdy character tended to overshadow his contributions—a reliable hitter; excellent, aggressive baserunner; and one of the finest fielders of his era (the 1890s and early 1900s).” I wonder if Dahlen’s family went to Wikipedia and slipped that statement in there. It does seem tremendously out of place.

magee

LF-Sherry Magee, Philadelphia Phillies, 20 Years Old

.299, 5 HR, 98 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-155

Def. Games as OF-155

1st Time All-Star-Sherwood Robert “Sherry” Magee was born on August 6, 1884 in Clarendon, PA and is one of the most underrated players of all-time. He started out playing 95 games for the Phillies in 1904 and showed enough to become yet another of the great Philadelphia outfielders. This season, Magee finished eighth in WAR Position Players (5.0), eighth in Offensive WAR (4.2), 10th in slugging (.420), and fifth in steals (48). He’s got some much better seasons ahead.

SABR says, “The son of an oilfield worker, Sherwood Robert Magee was born on August 6, 1884, in Clarendon, Pennsylvania. ‘The Irish traits of quick wittedness, a hot temper and an aggressive love of fighting are his by birthright,’ wrote John J. Ward in Baseball Magazine. Regarding Magee’s personality, one Philadelphia reporter called him ‘as gentle and good-natured as an old woman.’ Ward, however, described him as ‘a man for whom it is easy to conceive a great liking or a passionate hatred.’ Though he stood only 5’11” and weighed 179 lbs., he was physically imposing-‘husky’ and ‘burly’ were adjectives commonly used to describe him. In addition to his baseball skills, Sherry was a crackerjack bowler and a standout football and basketball player.

“Over the next several years Sherry Magee rarely missed a game, establishing himself as one of baseball’s young stars. In 1905, his first full season, he was the biggest factor in Philadelphia’s gain of 31 victories over 1904, scoring an even 100 runs, stealing 48 bases, and batting .299 with 24 doubles, 17 triples, and five homers.”

sheckard4

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, Brooklyn Superbas, 26 Years Old

1901 1902 1903

.292, 3 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-After a disappointing 1904 season, Sheckard is back, making the team as Brooklyn’s only representative. He finished seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (140). It would have probably been a better season if he didn’t miss over 20 games.

As for his team, the Superbas, they, um, stunk. “Led” by Ned Hanlon, the team finished last with a 48-104 record. After seven years of coaching Brooklyn and leading it to two National League pennants, Hanlon was gone after this season.

SABR states, “Sheckard bounced back with a .332 average in 1903, when he also led the league with nine home runs and tied Chicago’s Frank Chance for the stolen-base crown with 67, but the following season his hitting plummeted again, this time to a dismal .239. Even though Jimmy batted a respectable .292 in 1905, reports circulated that he wasn’t playing up to his potential or, worse yet, that he might even be washed up. Despite Sheckard’s popularity with the fans, on December 30, 1905, Brooklyn traded him to the Chicago Cubs for outfielders Jack McCarthy and Billy Maloney, third-baseman Doc Casey, pitcher Buttons Briggs, and $2,000. Initially Jimmy balked at the deal–the press speculated that he would have preferred a move to McGraw’s Giants–but eventually he had a change of heart and reported to the Cubs.”

Every year, teams have to finish first and some have to finish last, but if this list has taught me anything, there are talented players strewn throughout the league. Sheckard was a good player and yet still got traded. This is how bad teams stay bad.

seymour4

CF-Cy Seymour, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

1899 1903 1904

.377, 8 HR, 121 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1905 NL Batting Title

Batting Average-.377

Slugging %-.559

On-Base Plus Slugging-.988

Hits-219

Total Bases-325

Doubles-40

Triples-21

Runs Batted In-121

Adjusted OPS+-182

Runs Created-139

Adj. Batting Runs-60

Adj. Batting Wins-6.5

Extra Base Hits-69

Offensive Win %-.871

Double Plays Turned as OF-12

4th Time All-Star-During the past couple of years, Seymour was an excellent hitter, but this season, he was otherworldly, easily having his best year ever. He finished fourth in WAR (8.0), second in WAR Position Players (8.0), second in Offensive WAR (7.6), first in batting (.377), second in on-base percentage (.429), first in slugging (.559), and first in Adjusted OPS+ (182). Plus Seymour led in all those categories above. He fell just one home run short from winning the Triple Crown.

SABR on this incredible season: “In 1905 no batter, not even the great Honus Wagner, could match Cy’s batting accomplishments. Throughout much of the season Wagner lagged a few points behind Wagner. Both players met in a season ending doubleheader. A newspaper account that would be slightly reminiscent to today’s readers of the head to head battle between Sosa and McGwire nearly a century later reported ‘ . . . 10,000 were more interested in the batting achievements of Wagner and Seymour than the games…cheer upon cheers greeted the mighty batsmen upon each appearance at the plate and mighty cheering greeted the sound of bat upon ball as mighty Cy drove out hit after hit. The boss slugger got 4 for 7 while Wagner could only get 2 for 7…’ allowing Cy to win the crown by 13 points. He was first not only in batting average` but also in hits, doubles, triples, total bases, RBI, slugging average, production, batter runs, and runs created. He was also a close second in home runs, runs produced and on-base percentage. His 1905 batting achievements served as a benchmark for his era; his .377 average was the best in the National League from 1901-1919; his slugging average of .559 was the best until Gavvy Cravath’s .568 in 1913; his 121 RBI were tops until Sherry Magee drove in 123 in 1910; and his 40 doubles was the most ever hit by any National League outfielder until Pat Duncan collected 44 in 1922.”

donlin3CF-Mike Donlin, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1901 1903

.356, 7 HR, 80 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-124

Singles-162

3rd Time All-Star-Unrealized potential is one of the saddest things in life, especially when the lack of reaching that potential is self-inflicted. Turkey Mike Donlin could hit with the best of them in the Deadball Era, but missed many games to injuries and his drinking. In 1904, he played 60 games for Cincinnati, before being traded to the Giants. This season, he finished seventh in WAR (6.5), third in WAR Position Players (6.5), third in Offensive WAR (6.8), third in batting (.356), fifth in on-base percentage (.413), third in slugging (.495), eighth in steals (33), and third in Adjusted OPS+ (167). It was Donlin’s best season ever.

It helped lead the Giants to the World Series where Donlin hit .263 (five-for-19) with a double. It wasn’t great, but with the arm of Christy Mathewson leading the way with three shutouts, it was more than enough.

Unfortunately, so many of the write-ups of Donlin’s life focus on his extra-curricular activities as in this note from The National Pastime Museum, which says, “Like many players of the time, Donlin craved the nightlife, and his booming voice drew attention in bars across the country. He was convivial up to a point but didn’t hold his liquor well and could turn nasty and even violent. In fact, he was sleeping off a bender in a jail in Santa Cruz, California, when the first summons to the Major Leagues arrived. That wasn’t the last time he experienced simultaneous highs and lows.” Only manager John McGraw could handle him.

thomas4CF-Roy Thomas, Philadelphia Phillies, 31 Years Old

1899 1903 1904

.317, 0 HR, 31 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Times on Base-275 (6th Time)

Putouts as OF-373 (3rd Time)

Assists as OF-27

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.72 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Thomas continued to show patience at the plate and continued to make All-Star teams. This season, he finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.4), sixth in Offensive WAR (4.6), fifth in batting (.317), fourth in on-base percentage (.417), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (135). However, Thomas now was 31 and his career would decline going forward. He played with Philadelphia until 1908, when he was traded to Pittsburgh, moved to the National League Boston Doves in 1909, and then finished off his career in Philadelphia in 1910-11. He’d never hit above .263 after 1905, though he continued to show a good batting eye.

Wikipedia states, “According to baseball analyst Bill James, Thomas is the only major league regular to have scored three times as many runs as he drove in. In 1470 games played, Thomas compiled 1011 runs scored and 299 runs batted in, as he posted a .290 batting average with a .412 on-base average and 244 stolen bases.

“Thomas was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1908 midseason. He also played for the Boston Doves in 1909, returning to the Phillies for the 1910–11 seasons. At his retirement, he held career fielding records for center fielders in putouts (NL) and fielding average (MLB). Thomas left a playing record that has endured. He ranks 20th all-time in walk percentage (.164), 29th all-time in on-base percentage (.412) and 84th all-time in walks (1,042).

“Thomas became a coach with the University of Pennsylvania baseball team in 1909, and continued playing in the majors while coaching for three seasons. From 1909 to 1919, he compiled a record of 106–43–3 for a .632 winning percentage, comparable to the best college coaches of all time.”

smoot

CF-Homer Smoot, St. Louis Cardinals, 27 Years Old

.311, 4 HR, 58 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 27 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Homer Vernon “Doc” Smoot was born on March 23, 1878 in Galestown, MD. The five-foot-10, 180 pound centerfielder started with the Cardinals in 1902 and was pretty much a singles hitter from the beginning. This season, he added a smidge of power and ended up on the All-Star team, having his best season ever. He finished 10th in Offensive WAR (3.9), seventh in batting (.311), eighth in slugging (.433), and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (138). Some players start adding that power around 27 years old like Smoot and light up their career, but this was the pinnacle for Doc.

Smoot played just one more season, playing 86 games for the Cardinals and 60 games for my Reds and would retire after having a five-year career.

Wikipedia says, “1906 saw Smoot’s career take a rapid turn for the worse. He started the season with the Cardinals, hitting only .248 with them. That prompted a midseason trade with the Reds, who sent Shad Barry in return for Smoot. Although his average rose while with the Reds-he hit .259 with them-that could not save his season or his career. After hitting only .252 combined that season, his major league career was over. He played his final major league game on October 7. After the 1906 season, his contract was sold to the Toledo Mud Hens of the American Association.

“Multiple explanations have been posed to explain the quick decline in production and from Smoot, and the quick end to his career. One claim is his eyesight became poor, although his obituary says his eyesight remained ‘undimmed’. His obituary says he was slowed by muscular rheumatism. Luck may have also played a factor, and Smoot was just unlucky and didn’t get the chance to play in the majors again.”

titus

RF-John Titus, Philadelphia Phillies, 29 Years Old

.308, 2 HR, 89 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-“Silent John” Franklin or “Tight Pants” Titus was born on February 21, 1876 in St. Clair, PA. The five-foot-nine, 156 pound rightfielder started with Philadelphia in 1903, but this season had his best season ever. Titus finished 10th in WAR (5.5), sixth in WAR Position Players (5.5), fourth in Offensive WAR (5.1), eighth in batting (.308), seventh in on-base percentage (.397), fourth in slugging (.436), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (152).

SABR says, “’Silent John’ Titus was a strong-armed outfielder who recorded more than 20 assists for seven straight seasons, but he was better known for his quiet demeanor, his mustache, his selectivity at the plate, and the ubiquitous toothpick in his mouth. ‘Titus had one of the best batting eyes I ever saw,’ said Pete Alexander, who played with Titus on the Phillies during the early part of his career. ‘He would take his position at the plate with the easiest and most confident air in the world. If the ball was an inch outside of the plate, he would watch it go by and never bat an eye lash. If it was an inch inside, he wouldn’t move. He would just draw in his stomach and let the ball pass. But if you put the ball over the plate, he would whale the cover off. It used to exasperate me merely to watch him. Many a time I have said to myself, If I were pitching, Old Man, I’d knock that toothpick out of your mouth and maybe then you’d move over.’”

5 thoughts on “1905 National League All-Star Team

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