1906 National League All-Star Team

P-Vic Willis, PIT

P-Mordecai Brown, CHC

P-Tully Sparks, PHI

P-Jake Weimer, CIN

P-Jack Taylor, STL/CHI

P-Bob Ewing, CIN

P-Bill Duggleby, PHI

P-Ed Reulbach, CHC

P-Jack Pfiester, CHC

P-Vive Lindaman, BSN

C-Roger Bresnahan, NYG

C-Johnny Kling, CHC

1B-Frank Chance, CHC

2B-Claude Ritchey, PIT

2B-Miller Huggins, CIN

2B-Sammy Strang, NYG

2B-Johnny Evers, CHC

3B-Art Devlin, NYG

3B-Harry Steinfeldt, CHC

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

LF-Sherry Magee, PHI

LF-Fred Clarke, PIT

CF-Cy Seymour, CIN/NYG

RF-Harry Lumley, BRO

 

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P-Vic Willis, Pittsburgh Pirates, 30 Years Old

1899 1901 1902 1903

23-13, 1.73 ERA, 124 K, .174, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-8.2

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

5th Time All-Star-As time marches on and computers take over the world, we toss aside our love for such stats as wins and winning percentage. We don’t just look at a 23-13 record like Willis has this season and say to ourselves, “What a fantastic year!” We also don’t look at his record from 1905 which was 12-29 and say, “What a horrible year!” Fortunately, we have matured and realize wins and losses have as much to do with the team for which a pitcher toils as much as their own talent. And in between 1905 and 1906, Willis went from the pathetic Beaneaters to the outstanding Pirates, as he was traded for  Dave BrainDel Howard and Vive Lindaman.

After pitching 410 innings in 1902, it took Willis a little time to reacquire his dominance, but it’s back this season. He finished second in WAR (8.1), first in WAR for Pitchers (8.2), fourth in ERA (1.73), third in innings pitched (322), and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (153). Most importantly, he is now a prestigious member of Ron’s Hall of Fame, my personal Hall of Fame which tries to take all feelings out of the choice and put anyone in whose number of All-Star games multiplied by their career WAR is 300 or over. Welcome to Carter Lake, IA, Vic!

PSA says of Willis, “A workhorse by nature, Willis completed 388 of the 471 games he started. Vic Willis still holds the National League record for most complete games in a season with 45, and the less than auspicious record of most losses in a season (29).”

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P-Mordecai Brown, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

1903

26-6, 1.04 ERA, 144 K, .204, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

1906 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.04

Walks & Hits per IP-0.934

Shutouts-9

Adjusted ERA+-253

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.08

Adj. Pitching Runs-45

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.5

2nd Time All-Star-At the end of the 1903 season, Three Finger Brown was  traded by the St. Louis Cardinals with Jack O’Neill to the Chicago Cubs for Larry McLean and Jack Taylor. He had decent years of the Cubs in 1904 and 1905, but this year really broke through. He finished fifth in WAR (7.2), second in WAR for Pitchers (7.1), first in ERA (1.04), and first in Adjusted ERA+ (253), the highest ERA+ since Time Keefe (293) in 1880. It was the first of five straight seasons in which Brown’s ERA will be under two.

This set up a no-brainer, a pitcher with a miniscule ERA going against a team known as the Hitless Wonders in the World Series. But in a plot twist, the White Sox hammered Miner. In game one, the Cubs lost 2-1; in game four, Brown shut out the Sox, 1-0; and then was picked to pitch game six, with the Cubs down 3-2, on only one day of rest. Manager Frank Chance took a chance and lost, as Three Finger gave up seven runs in less than two innings and his team lost the game, 8-3.

In Brown’s 1903 blurb, I mentioned he had four-and-a-half fingers, not three. Bleacher Report differs, writing, “Reports later found that he actually had three fingers—not four. When he had the injury on the corn shredder, he injured another finger! Brown kept quiet about it until he was well into his adulthood.” There must be a picture of his hand somewhere on the internet, but I’m too lazy to look. [Ed. Note-Found it!]

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P-Tully Sparks, Philadelphia Phillies, 31 Years Old

1903 1905

19-16, 2.16 ERA, 114 K, .154, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Sparks continued to be the Phillies’ best pitcher, having his best season ever. He finished eighth in WAR (6.5), third in WAR for Pitchers (6.5), seventh in ERA (2.16), fourth in innings pitched (316 2/3), and eighth in Adjusted ERA (121).

As for his team, Philadelphia stayed in fourth place, though Hugh Duffy’s team’s record dipped from 83-69 to 71-82. It started out strong, going 7-3 and in first place on April 24, but faded after that. This was Duffy’s last year with the Phillies. He finished with an overall 206-251 record for them.

SABR writes of the Phillies’ pitcher, “In an entry for a Philadelphia Phillies blog, Tim Johnson wrote, ‘Tully Sparks pitched in baseball’s earliest days, a time when hitting was as poor as the players themselves.’ A good line, though one can quibble as to how early in baseball history 1895-1910 truly was, or how poor some of the hitters may have been. [Ed. Note-True dat! I’ve already written about 35 seasons!] Sparks himself pitched 12 years in the major leagues and recorded a career earned-run average of 2.82, with three exceptional years, 1905 through 1907.

“He was a right-hander, of more or less average size for an athlete of the day at 5-feet-10 and 160 pounds. He grew up in what appears to be a well-off farming family in Georgia, attended Beloit College in Wisconsin, and made a decent enough living playing professional baseball.”

When Sparks was good, he was sensational. The problem is if you take away his four best seasons, he’s mediocre at best.

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P-Jake Weimer, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

1903 1904 1905

20-14, 2.22 ERA, 141 K, .269, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

4th Time All-Star-Not too many players had the kind of start to their Major League career as Weimer did. This is his fourth consecutive All-Star team, but unfortunately he wasn’t on the Cubs anymore. After the 1905 season, he was traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Cincinnati Reds for Jimmy Sebring and Harry Steinfeldt. And what happened after he left Chicago? It won the pennant, of course. As for Weimer, he had his best season ever, finishing seventh in WAR (6.5), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.8), 10th in ERA (2.22), sixth in innings pitched (304 2/3), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (123).

Hall of Fame Manager Ned Hanlon took over for Joe Kelley as manager of the Reds and the team dropped from fifth to sixth, with a 64-87 record. The team’s hitting was poor and its pitching mediocre. Cincinnati finished 51-and-a-half games behind the Cubs. Wow, just a break here or there and….

After this season, Weimer declined, going 19-21 for the Reds over the next two seasons, then finishing his career pitching one game for the Giants in 1909. Tornado Jake finished with a 97-69 lifetime record, along with a 2.23 ERA and a career WAR of 27.0.

No-No Hitters says, “During the second game of a Friday doubleheader on August 24, 1906, Weimer no-hit the Brooklyn Superbas at the Palace of the Fans during a planned seven-inning nightcap.

“’The second game was a case of “nothing doing” for the Superbas,’ according to a report for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, ‘[Doc] Casey, by being hit in the first and [Harry] McIntire, by means of a pass in the third, being the only ones of the visitors to get a look-in on Weimer’s delivery.’”

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P-Jack Taylor, St. Louis Cardinals/Chicago Cubs, 32 Years Old

1902 1904

20-12, 1.99 ERA, 61 K, .208, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Taylor started the season with the Cardinals, going 8-9 with a 2.15 ERA before he was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Chicago Cubs for Fred BeebePete Noonan and cash on July 1. For the Cubs, Taylor went 12-3 with a 1.83 ERA but didn’t pitch in the World Series. Altogether, he finished 10th in WAR (5.8), sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.2), sixth in ERA (1.99), seventh in innings pitched (302 1/3), and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (132). He was the only player to make the All-Star team for the Cards.

St. Louis dropped from sixth to seventh, compiling a 58-92 record under the guidance of new manager, John McCloskey. They would keep him around until 1908 and never be close to being successful under him. McCloskey would manage in parts of five different seasons and never have a higher winning percentage than he did this season (.347). The Cardinals couldn’t hit and they couldn’t pitch, therefore they finished 63 games out of first.

Taylor pitched just one more season, for the Cubs in 1907, before hanging it up as a Major League pitcher. For his career, he finished 152-139 with a 2.65 ERA and a 34.3 career WAR.

SABR tells of a remarkable feat of Taylor, saying, “The Deadball Era’s Jack Taylor–not to be confused with ‘Brewery Jack’ Taylor, who died in 1900–was the greatest ‘iron man’ pitcher of the 20th century, hurling 187 consecutive complete games from June 20, 1901, to August 9, 1906.”

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P-Bob Ewing, Cincinnati Reds, 33 Years Old

1905

13-14, 2.38 ERA, 145 K, .139, 1 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Ewing made the All-Star team for the second consecutive season, continuing to be one of the Reds’ best pitchers. He finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.7), consistently giving Cincinnati good starts. He probably has another All-Star season left in his arm.

As I compile this list, it’s clear the National League has a problem. Most of its best pitchers are aging. Of the six write-ups I’ve done so far, five of them are 30-years-old or older. Of course, its best pitcher, Christy Mathewson, had an off year. (What does an off year look like for Big Six? He finished 22-12 with a 2.97 ERA. Trade him!) Still, there aren’t a lot of great young pitchers in this league.

Wikipedia writes of Ewing’s wife, “On November 5, 1905, Bob married Nelle Hunter, the daughter of a prominent Auglaize County physician. The society pages of a Cincinnati paper described as being a ‘handsome and clever society girl.’ She was an avid baseball fan in her own right.

“Beginning in the 1890s, she attended what was at the time a major league record of more than 60 straight opening day games of the Reds. She had equal measures of loyalty and superstition, however. Nelle watched several games in 1905 that her husband lost. After that, she refused to go to the park when Ewing pitched, claiming her presence would ‘hoodoo’ him, according to the newspaper accounts.

“Bob and Nelle had a son Robert, who married Sylvia Metzger. They had nine children: Christine, Coleen, Charles, Carol, Chris, Charlotte, Cliff, Cindy and Connie.”

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P-Bill Duggleby, Philadelphia Phillies, 32 Years Old

1901 1905

13-19, 2.25 ERA, 83 K, .141, 2 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Duggleby made the All-Star team for the second straight season and had his best season ever, finishing seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.0). He’s now the sixth of seven National League pitchers who is 30-years-old or older. After this season, Duggleby played just one more season, splitting his time between the Phillies and the Pirates. He played eight major league seasons, with his home team being in Pennsylvania every year. Duggleby finished his Major League career with a 93-102 record, a 3.18 ERA, and a 13.4 career WAR.

SABR says, “Pitchers have contributed significantly to the grand slam story. It was a National League hurler, Bill Duggleby of the Phils, who was the only player ever to hit a bases loaded home run in his first at bat in the majors. This feat was accomplished on April 21, 1898. It was also a pitcher who was the only NL player to hit two grand slam homers in one game. This was Tony Cloninger of the Atlanta Braves on July 3, 1966.

“The list of pitchers who hit grand slams is embellished also by the names of great American League hurlers such as Walter Johnson, Babe Ruth, Lefty Grove, Wes Ferrell, Red Ruffing, and Early Wynn. Burly Early did it as a pinch hitter, and we thought those instances should be included because calling on a hurler to pinch hit with the bases loaded is quite a compliment. In Wynn’s case, he hit his slam in the fifth and then pitched the rest of the way to win the game.”

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P-Ed Reulbach, Chicago Cubs, 23 Years Old

1905

19-4, 1.65 ERA, 94 K, .157, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.826

Hits per 9 IP-5.326 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Reulbach, born on December 1, my birthday, made his second straight All-Star team in only his sophomore year. He finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.6), third in ERA (1.65), and third in Adjusted ERA+ (159). In the World Series, he started the second game, limiting the White Sox to just one hit, a Jiggs Donahue single, and won the game, 7-1. He also started the fifth game, but only lasted two innings, giving up five hits and three runs. Reulbach didn’t get the loss, but the Cubs lost, 8-6.

SABR says, “According to J.C. Kofoed of Baseball Magazine, Big Ed Reulbach was ‘one of the greatest pitchers that the National League ever produced, and one of the finest, clean-cut gentlemen who ever wore a big league uniform.’ A statuesque 6’1″, 190 lb. right-hander, Reulbach employed the technique of ‘shadowing’—– hiding the ball in his windup — as well as a high leg kick like that of Juan Marichal (according to Chief Meyers in a 1967 interview) and what was generally regarded as the finest curve ball in either league to become one baseball’s most difficult pitchers to hit. He hurled two one-hitters, six two-hitters, and 13 three-hitters, and in 1906 he yielded 5.33 hits per nine innings, still the third-lowest ratio of all time.

“Reulbach remained one of the NL’s most dominant pitchers through 1909. In 1906 he pitched 12 low-hit games (five hits or fewer), not including the one-hitter he threw against the White Sox in Game Two of that year’s World Series, and started a 17-game personal winning streak that didn’t end until June 29, 1907, when Deacon Phillippe defeated him, 2-1.”

pfiester

P-Jack Pfiester, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

20-8, 1.51 ERA, 153 K, .048, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-John Albert “Jack the Giant Killer” Pfeister was born on May 24, 1878 in Cincinnati, OH.

SABR says, “A side-wheeling left-hander with a great pick-off move to first base that kept runners close, Jack Pfiester posted a lifetime 2.02 ERA over eight seasons, the third best of all-time for pitchers with at least 1,000 innings, but he is best remembered for his seven shutouts and 15-5 career record against the hated New York Giants. ‘No longer will Chicago’s fans struggle with the pretzel curves of the great southpaw’s patronymic; no longer will it be mispronounced by seven out of every eight bugs and bugettes,’ wrote I. E. Sanborn of the Chicago Tribune after Pfiester’s 2-1 victory over the Giants on August 30, 1908. ‘Pfiester, the spelling of which has been the occasion of as many wagers as its mispronunciation, will be dropped as meaningless and inappropriate, and for the rest of time and part of eternity Mr. Pfiester of private life will be known to the public and the historians as Jack the Giant Killer.’”

The five-foot-11, 180 pound lefty started in 1903 for the Pirates, tossing six games over two seasons with a horrid 6.69 ERA. He didn’t pitch in the Majors in 1905 and then in August of that year, Pfiester was purchased by the Chicago Cubs from Omaha (Western).

This season, his best ever, the Giant Killer finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.7), second in ERA (1.51), and second in Adjusted ERA+ (174). In the World Series, Pfiester pitched two games, one as a starter, giving up seven runs in 10 1/3 innings for an 0-2 record and a 6.10 ERA.

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P-Vive Lindaman, Boston Beaneaters, 28 Years Old

12-23, 2.43 ERA, 115 K, .132, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 130 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-14

1st Time All-Star-Vivan Alexander “Vive” Lindaman was born on October 28, 1877 in Charles City, IA. He made the All-Star team in his rookie year, finishing fifth in innings pitched (307 1/3). He was Boston’s best player according to WAR.

Fred Tenney’s squad dropped from seventh to eighth with a 49-102 record. Shockingly, the manager would return in 1907. Their hitting and pitching both stunk so bad, the Beaneaters finished 66-and-a-half games out of first place.

Lindaman would pitch three more seasons with Boston, finishing his career with a 36-60 record, a 2.92 ERA, and a 2.3 career WAR. Wikipedia says, “Lindaman went 24–7 for the Eastern League‘s Jersey City Skeeters in 1905, and he made his major league debut the following season. In his first start with the Boston Beaneaters, he shut out Brooklyn 1–0. Despite throwing 32 complete games (third in the league) as a rookie, he finished 12–23; his team was shut out in eight of his losses.

“Lindaman kept in shape by walking 17 miles a day as a mail carrier.”

SABR tells of an infamous accomplishment Lindaman was part of, saying: ”In 1906 rookie right-hander Vive Lindaman’s 12-23 record for the Boston Beaneaters gained him admittance to an undesirable fraternity – the 20-game-loser club. But Lindaman was not without company, as three other hurlers on that hapless Boston team (Irv Young, 16-25; Big Jeff Pfeffer, 13-22; and Gus Dorner, 8-25) posted similarly dismal marks, giving Boston the rare distinction of having four 20-game losers on the same pitching staff.”

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C-Roger Bresnahan, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1903 1904 1905

.281, 0 HR, 43 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit by Pitch-15

Passed Balls-16

4th Time All-Star-Once Bresnahan moved to catcher as his most-played position, no one in the National League outplayed him at backstop. This season, the Duke of Tralee finished seventh at WAR Position Players (4.6), sixth in Offensive WAR (4.9), second in on-base percentage (.419), and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (140). All from a man who played only 124 of the Giants’ 154 games.

Despite not having any pitchers on the All-Star team, the Giants still finished in second after winning the pennant the last two seasons. John McGraw led New York to a 96-56 record, 20 games behind the record-setting Cubs. Art Devlin helped the Giants be the best hitting team in the league, while a balanced rotation helped the Giants do well from the mound. As late as May 24, New York was tied for first with a 23-11 record, but that was as close as they’d get for the rest of the season.

SABR says, “More influential were his efforts with shin guards. After discovering in a home-plate collision that Red Dooin of the Phillies wore papier-mâché protectors under his stockings, Bresnahan showed up on Opening Day 1907 wearing a huge pair of shin guards modeled after a cricketer’s leg pads. At first Roger’s innovation met with ridicule and protest-Pirates manager Fred Clarke insisted the guards posed a danger to sliding runners-but by 1909 a less bulky version was in general use. In another innovation that remains in use to this day, Roger added leather-bound rolls of padding to the circumference of his wire catcher’s mask around 1908 to help absorb the shock of foul tips.”

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C-Johnny Kling, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1902 1903

.312, 2 HR, 46 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-520 (5th Time)

Caught Stealing %-57.5

Fielding % as C-.982

3rd Time All-Star-Since making the All-Star team in 1903, Kling missed the list in 1904 and 1905 as his hitting deteriorated. This year, it was back as he had his best hitting season ever. Kling finished sixth in Defensive WAR (1.1), sixth in batting (.312), seventh in slugging (.420), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (136). In the World Series against the White Sox, that hitting faltered as he went three-for-17 (.176) with a double. He did walk a surprising four times, something that was never Noisy’s strong suit.

Pool continued to be an integral part of Kling’s life, according to Wikipedia, which says, “His skill at pool also served him well when it came time to negotiate his baseball salary. Before the 1906 season he announced that he would not sign a new contract unless Chicago offered him a raise in pay, and if the raise was not forthcoming he would stay home and play pool. This angered his manager, Frank Chance, who snapped that everyone else but Kling had come to terms with the club. He subsequently did decide to play, raise or not. He had another impressive season, catching 96 games and hitting over .300 for the record 116-36 pennant winners.”

Meanwhile SABR says, “His contemporaries, team mates and opponents alike, marveled at his ability to defend, handle pitchers and take part in the psychological warfare which was baseball in the early twentieth century. Johnny Evers claimed Kling could tell pitchers what their best stuff was during warm-ups.”

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1B-Frank Chance, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

1903 1904 1905

.319, 3 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-103

Stolen Bases-57 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Orson Welles, at the age of 25, directed, wrote, and starred in Citizen Kane, voted by many to be the best film ever. Frank Chance, at the age of 29, led his team, the Chicago Cubs, to the best record of all-time, 116-36, while also being their best player. He had his best season ever, finishing fourth in WAR (7.3), third in WAR Position Players (7.3), fourth in Offensive WAR (6.1), fifth in batting (.319), third in on-base % (.419), fifth in slugging (.430), first in steals (57), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (158).

With their outstanding record, the Cubs made their first World Series, taking over first place on May 9 and never looking back. They could hit, but it was their pitching which put them over the top. Chicago’s ERA+ was 151, while Pittsburgh’s second place total was 120. It wasn’t even close. The team’s ERA was 1.75.

Because of their great pitching and hitting, they were heavily favored to beat their crosstown rivals, the White Sox. However, the team’s strength, its pitching, fell apart, giving up eight runs in the last two games as the American League squad took the Series, 4-2. Don’t worry, the Cubs will be back.

Chance’s Hall of Fame page states, “He led the Cubs to four pennants in five years (1906-08, 1910), helping set a long-standing team record for wins in 1906 with 116, matched only by the 2001 Seattle Mariners. The Cubs lost the 1906 World Series to the White Sox, but won two back-to-back championships in 1907-08. He posted a .300 career average in the Fall Classic with 10 stolen bases and 21 hits.”

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2B-Claude Ritchey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 32 Years Old

1902 1903 1904

.269, 1 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 2B-.966 (4th Time)

4th Time All-Star-After having an off-season in 1905, Ritchey is back on the All-Star team. Second base is a deep position in the National League, as half the teams have a second sacker on this list. Ritchey finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.5) and seventh in Defensive WAR (1.0). After this season, Little All Right was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates with Ginger Beaumont and Patsy Flaherty to the Boston Beaneaters for Ed Abbaticchio. He would finish up his career with Boston, which would change its nickname to the Doves after this season. Altogether, Ritchey finished with the a career WAR of 34.5, with a .273 average, 18 homers, and 675 RBI. He’s certainly no Nap Lajoie, but the little man held his own.

A website called Pirates Prospects says the following of Ritchey, “During his final season in Pittsburgh, Ritchey again was in the lineup everyday playing over 150 games for the third straight season. He hit .269 but drove in 62 runs, his highest total since 1901 and he also walked a career high 68 times. His glove was still strong, posting a .966 fielding percentage, tying his high while with the Pirates and for the fourth time he led the NL in that category. He had however lost a step in his game at age 32 and it was evident by his declining range in the field and his career low six stolen bases. Following the season the Pirates pulled off the three for one trade with Boston, ending Ritchey’s time in Pittsburgh. In seven seasons in the Steel City he played 977 games, hitting .277 with 420 RBI’s, 420 runs scored and a 362 to 172 BB/K ratio. Claude had been ranked the best second baseman in team history well into the 1960’s when finally passed by Bill Mazeroski for that honor.”

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2B-Miller Huggins, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1905

.292, 0 HR, 26 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (Yes as manager)

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

 

Led in:

 

Singles-141

Assists as 2B-458 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as 2B-44 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 2B-62

2nd Time All-Star-In Huggins’ 1905 post, I mentioned he might not be the five-foot-six listed in Baseball Reference, but actually somewhere between five-foot-one and that recorded height. His tininess explains the way Huggins contributed to the sport, through singles and walks. Those he did in abundance. This season, Huggins had his best season ever, finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (4.3), 10th in Offensive WAR (3.8), ninth in batting (.292), 10th in on-base percentage (.376), and sixth in steals (41).   

Wikipedia notes, “As a player, Huggins was adept at getting on base. He was also an excellent fielding second baseman, earning the nicknames ‘Rabbit’, ‘Little Everywhere’, and ‘Mighty Mite’ for his defensive prowess and was later considered an intelligent manager who understood the fundamentals of the game.

“[Julius] Fleischmann, part-owner of the Cincinnati Reds of the National League (NL), kept an eye on Huggins while he played for St. Paul. The Reds duly purchased his contract from the Saints before the 1904 season. He made his MLB debut on April 15, 1904, and proved very adept at getting on base. He batted .264 with the Reds that season and improved in the 1906 season, finishing with a .292 batting average and 41 stolen bases, while spending considerable time developing his upper-body strength.

“In 1915, umpire and sportswriter Billy Evans, writing about the scarcity of competent second basemen in baseball, listed Huggins, Collins, Pratt, Johnny Evers, and Nap Lajoie as the best in the game. He later wrote that Huggins was ‘one of the greatest managers I have ever met’. Bill James ranked Huggins as the 37th best second baseman of all time in 2001 in his The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.”

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2B-Sammy Strang, New York Giants, 29 Years Old

1902

.319, 4 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 15 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.423

2nd Time All-Star-Oh, the career that could have been had Strang been able to stay healthy. This season, he had only 313 at-bats, but still made the All-Star team. He has his best season ever, finishing 10th in WAR Position Players (4.3), ninth in Offensive WAR (4.0), fourth in batting (.319), first in on-base percentage (.423), third in slugging (.435), and third in Adjusted OPS+ (165). It was an amazing season, more so because of the lack of playing time of Strang and also because of the light-hitting era in which he played.

This season was Strang’s last hurrah, as he played utility with the Giants in 1907, but his numbers dropped significantly and then finished playing 28 games for New York in 1908.

SABR relates an amusing story from this season, “On August 6, 1906, Umpire Jim Johnstone ejected McGraw from a home game against the visiting Cubs. The next day the irate McGraw instructed stadium personnel to deny Johnstone entry to the stadium. The impish Strang stepped onto the field and declared himself the substitute umpire. The Cubs refused to take the field, so Strang announced ‘in a melodramatic manner’ that the game was forfeited to the Giants. Outside the stadium, Johnstone declared the game forfeited to the Cubs. NL President Harry Pulliam, of course, sided with Johnstone. In a letter to Pulliam, Strang implausibly argued that he had acted within baseball rules. Pulliam responded by scolding Strang for his impertinence. ‘I am at a loss to understand how you, being a member of the New York club, should address such a communication to me,’ wrote Pulliam.”

evers2

2B-Johnny Evers, Chicago Cubs, 24 Years Old

1904

.255, 1 HR, 51 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-153

Putouts as 2B-344 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as 2B-44 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Of the four NL All-Star second basemen, Evers is the most famous of the quartet. He’s the only one of them to make the Hall of Fame as a player. (Miller Huggins made it as a manager). Evers is also young as this point, having made two of these lists at the age of 24. It’s why he has a pretty good chance of making my Hall of Fame.

This season, Evers finished fourth in Defensive WAR (1.8) and fifth in steals (49). In the World Series loss to the White Sox, the second baseman struggled, going three-for-20 (.150) with a double. He’d recover and end up being one of the great World Series hitters of all time.

SABR says, “An excellent bunter, accomplished base stealer, and pesky left-handed hitter who usually had the National League’s best walk-to-strikeout ratio after his first few seasons in the big leagues, Johnny Evers was considered one of the Deadball Era’s smartest and best all-around players. He was just as well known for his fiery disposition. The star second baseman’s nickname, ‘The Human Crab,’ was originally bestowed on him due to his unorthodox manner of sidling over to ground balls before gobbling them up, but most baseball men considered it better suited to his temperament than his fielding. A 5’9″, 125-pound pepper-pot with a protruding jaw that came to be a symbol of the man – for he was always ‘jawing’ about something – Evers developed a reputation as a troublemaker by squabbling regularly with teammates, opponents, and especially umpires. ‘They claim he is a crab, and perhaps they are right,’ Cleveland Indians manager Joe Birmingham once observed. ‘But I would like to have 25 such crabs playing for me. If I did, I would have no doubts over the pennant. They would win hands down.’”

devlina3

3B-Art Devlin, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1904 1905

.299, 2 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 3B-355 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Devlin made his third straight All-Star team and would have a decent career going forward, but he’d never have a season like his 1906 campaign again. He finished third in WAR (8.0), second in WAR Position Players (8.0), third in Offensive WAR (6.3), second in Defensive WAR (2.4), eighth in batting (.299), fifth in on-base percentage (.396), third in steals (54), and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (143). If the six-foot Devlin could have added power to his game, he would have been one of the best of all time. As it is, he didn’t make Cooperstown and most likely won’t make my Hall of Fame.

SABR says of his year, “Devlin had his best season in 1906, on and off the field. He hit a career-high .299, drove in 65 runs, drew a personal-best 74 walks, and stole 54 bases. His efforts were in vain as many Giants fell to injuries and illness-and the Cubs won 116 games, leaving everybody in their wake.

“Besides fielding everything that came his way, Devlin snagged a bride-Ilma Wilk, whom he had met during his Georgetown days and who was the daughter of Frederick L. Wilk, vice-president of the Union Trust Company of Chicago. They were married Thanksgiving Day (November 29). One paper, avoiding gushiness, announced: ‘RICH BRIDE FOR PLAYER.’ The secondary lines specified: ‘Devlin, of New York Giants, to Wed Wealthy Chicago Girl.’”  Remember in the old days when we had newspapers? Nowadays he would’ve been trolled mercilessly on Twitter. Things haven’t changed.

steinfeldt2

3B-Harry Steinfeldt, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

1903

.327, 3 HR, 83 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits-176

Runs Batted In-83

Def. Games as 3B-150

Fielding % as 3B-.954

2nd Time All-Star-How did Chicago have such a record-breaking season? How did the Cubbies win 116 games? They don’t have a bunch of great players, but they did have a bunch of good players having great years. Such was the case with Steinfeldt, who had his best season ever. Before the season, he was Traded by the Cincinnati Reds with Jimmy Sebring to the Chicago Cubs for Jake Weimer. During the year, Steinfeldt finished sixth in WAR (7.0), fourth in WAR Position Players (7.0), second in Offensive WAR (6.4), third in Defensive WAR (2.5), second in batting (.327), sixth in on-base percentage (.395), fourth in slugging (.430), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (151). Weimer had an All-Star season, but I’m not sure it was worth Steinfeldt. He slumped, like so many other teammates, in the World Series, going five-for-20 with a double.

SABR wraps up the season, saying, “The trade proved to be the turning point in Steinfeldt’s career. Earlier that off-season the Cubs had sent their regular third baseman, Doc Casey, to Brooklyn in the blockbuster trade for Jimmy Sheckard. ‘The addition of these two stars [Steinfeldt and Sheckard] made the Cubs the greatest baseball machine in the country,’ wrote one reporter. Putting up the best numbers of his career, Steinfeldt batted .327, second in the National League, and led the NL with 176 hits and 83 RBIs. He also led NL third basemen with a .954 fielding percentage, a statistic in which he led the league in three of his five seasons in Chicago, earning a reputation as the greatest fielding third sacker in the game.”

wagner8

SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 32 Years Old, 1906 ONEHOF Inductee, MVP

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905

.339, 2 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1906 NL Batting Title (4th Time)

Wins Above Replacement-9.3 (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-9.3 (6th Time)

Offensive WAR-8.2 (6th Time)

Batting Average-.339 (4th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.875 (4th Time)

Runs Scored-103 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-237 (3rd Time)

Doubles-38 (4th Time)

Runs Created-96 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-45 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-5.1 (3rd Time)

Times on Base-243

Offensive Win %-.824 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-57 (2nd Time)

8th Time All-Star-As if Wagner hasn’t already accomplished enough in his career, this year he makes the One-a-Year Hall of Fame, in which only one player is inducted per year into the Hall. He is the third consecutive shortstop to be inducted.I’m surprised it took him this long, what was I thinking? The nominees for the ONEHOF for next season are Hardy Richardson, Bobby Wallace, 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, Nap Lajoie, and Elmer Flick.

I like reading articles of Wagner’s form on the field. This is from SABR, which says, “Honus was deceptive on the bases, too. He didn’t look fast, but he stole over 700 bases and legged out almost 900 doubles and triples. His speed got him the nickname ‘The Flying Dutchman.’ In baseball, as in the worlds of myth and legend, titles and nicknames are earned. (The direct albeit coincidental allusion to the myth and Richard Wagner’s opera of the same name didn’t hurt, either.) Wagner’s form as seen in early film was distinctive as he tore around the bases with his arms whirling like a berserk freestyle swimmer. Honus thought the arm motion gave him speed, and he got results.”

Unlike basketball, having the greatest player in the game doesn’t ensure a title. Ask Mike Trout. The Cubs won the pennant because they had a great balance of pitching and hitting and would continue to win the National League for many years. But that doesn’t take away from what the great Wagner did.

tinker2

SS-Joe Tinker, Chicago Cubs, 25 Years Old

1902

.233, 1 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-3.6 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.944

2nd Time All-Star-It should be no surprise in the year the Cubs set a Major League record with 116 wins Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance, the famous trio from Baseball’s Sad Lexicon, all made the All-Star team. Tinker finished first in Defensive WAR (3.6) as it was his defense that put him here. His hitting would eventually come around, but his glove was outstanding enough to carry him. He didn’t hit well in the World Series, going three-for-18 (.167) with no extra base hits and one RBI.

SABR says, “’It is impossible to speak of the great deeds which made the Cubs of 1906 the most formidable team in the history of the game without due mention of their peerless shortstop, Joe Tinker,’ wrote F. C. Lane in Baseball Magazine. ‘The shadow of Hans Wagner has long obscured the deeds of the short-field men, and the great Dutchman will go down in history as the most incomparable shortstop who ever played the game. But it is hardly fair to make comparisons where Wagner is concerned. Admit that he is in a class by himself, a most obvious statement, and then state what is equally obvious, that the head of the shortstop department outside the Flying Dutchman clearly belongs to the Chicago star.’

“His fielding improved dramatically over the next several years, however, and in 1906 he led all NL shortstops with a .944 fielding percentage. Joe went on to lead the league in that category five times, and he also led the NL in range factor four times and double plays twice.”

magee2

LF-Sherry Magee, Philadelphia Phillies, 21 Years Old

1905

.282, 6 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Extra Base Hits-50

2nd Time All-Star-Magee, the outfielder you either loved or hated, made his second consecutive All-Star team. He finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.6), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.6), ninth in slugging (.407), and second in stolen bases (55). He’d be one of the National League’s great power hitters for many years to come. Magee’s yet another player who would’ve thrived playing in a home run era.

SABR says, “Today we would call Sherry Magee a five-tool player: he could hit, run, field, throw, and hit with power. For more than a decade he was the Philadelphia Phillies’ clean-up hitter and greatest offensive star, setting the all-time team record in stolen bases (387) and ranking among the top ten in almost every other category. Magee’s defense was nearly the equal of his offense; sensational catches with his back to home plate were his trademark, and Pirates scout Frank Haller commented that his every throw was ‘on a line and right on target.’

“The next year he was just as good, hitting .282 with 36 doubles, eight triples, and six homers and finishing second in the NL in stolen bases with 55, a modern Phillies record that stood until Juan Samuel swiped 72 in 1984.

“But as he reached stardom, Sherry also developed a reputation as a troublemaker. ‘On the ball field Magee is so fussy most of the time that people who do not know him naturally form the opinion from his actions that he is a born grouch,’ wrote the Philadelphia Times after the 1908 season.”

clarke6

LF-Fred Clarke, Pittsburgh Pirates, 33 Years Old

1895 1897 1901 1902 1903

.309, 1 HR, 39 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Triples-13

6th Time All-Star-It has been three years since Cap Clarke made the All-Star team due to injuries and a less than Clarke-like 1905 season. He’s back, however, continuing to be one of the game’s great player-managers. This season, Clarke finished seventh in batting (.309), eighth in slugging (.309), and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (140). As a manager, his team fell from second in 1905 to third this year with a 93-60 season, 23-and-a-half games behind the juggernaut Cubs. They had the league’s best pitcher, Vic Willis, and the league’s best hitter, Honus Wagner, but it wasn’t enough to win the league.

At Baseball History Daily, Wagner has much to say about his teammates and manager. It reads, “Wagner was also quick to credit his teammates: ‘I think the big reason for Pittsburgh’s success has been first that we’ve played together a long time and know each other and second, and greater, that every man is there to win for the team, no matter what he may do himself.  Last year (George) Gibson caught the greatest ball of any catcher living, and he enabled all the rest of us to play team ball all the time because he was in the team work every minute.  Besides (Fred) Clarke is the greatest manager in the business and a great leader.  No one knows how good Clarke is until he has played with him.’” The question is how good of manager would have Clarke been without Wagner on the team. That might be true, but how good of player would have Wagner been without Clarke as his skipper.

seymour5

CF-Cy Seymour, Cincinnati Reds/New York Giants, 33 Years Old

1899 1903 1904 1905

.286, 8 HR, 80 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-After his incredible 1905 season, it was inevitable the 33-year-old outfielder would settle down to his norm, and he did. Still, I wouldn’t have predicted an All-Star pick for this season, but Seymour continued to be the best of the non-Ruthian pitchers switching to hitters players. He started with Cincinnati, where he’d been since 1902, and wasn’t playing well, leading to him being purchased by the New York Giants from the Cincinnati Reds for $12,000. Once he got to New York, his hitting came back. For the Reds, he slashed .257/.317/.332 for an OPS+ of 99 and for the Giants he slashed .320/.365/.431 for an OPS+ of 146. Altogether, Seymour finished ninth in batting (.286).

Wikipedia says, “The Giants purchased Seymour from the Reds on July 12, 1906 for $10,000 ($266,556 in current dollar terms), the largest monetary transaction in baseball to date. Seymour attempted to hold out from the Giants in order to obtain a portion of this transfer fee, claiming that Herrmann had promised him this money if the sale was completed. McGraw convinced Seymour not to hold out, which could have set a precedent for players obtaining money in player transactions. He batted .286 in 1906 for the Reds and Giants, finishing eighth in the NL.

“Seymour was declared physically unfit for service in World War I. However, he worked in wartime jobs in the Speedway shipyards and Bush terminal. While working in the shipyards, he contracted tuberculosis, and died at his home on September 20, 1919. He was interred in Albany Rural Cemetery.”

lumley

RF-Harry Lumley, Brooklyn Superbas, 25 Years Old

.324, 9 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Slugging %-.477

Adjusted OPS+-179

Power-Speed #-14.3 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Harry Garfield “Judge” Lumley was born on September 29, 1880 in Forest City, PA. The five-foot-10 183 pound rightfielder had an interesting but short career, playing all seven of his seasons with Brooklyn from 1904-10. He could hit from the get-go, leading the National League in triples and homers in 1904 and this season, Lumley’s best ever, he finished ninth in WAR (6.2), fifth in WAR Position Players (6.2), fifth in Offensive WAR (5.9), third in batting (.324), eighth in on-base percentage (.386), first in slugging (.477), eighth in steals (35), and first in Adjusted OPS+ (179).

Patsy Donovan took over coaching the Superbas this season and helped them improve from eighth to fifth with a 66-86 record. Their hitting was decent enough, but they had absolutely no pitching. That’s surprising for a team with a reputation for great pitching, but that’s much later in its history.

                SABR says, “Injuries combined with a “tendency to embonpoint,” as one reporter described Lumley’s proclivity for gaining weight, caused the hard-hitting outfielder’s career to go steadily downhill after 1906. In 1907 he broke an ankle while sliding, ending his season after playing only 127 games. His nine home runs to that point were enough to rank second again in the N.L., and his .425 slugging percentage was the circuit’s third-best, but his batting average plummeted 57 points to .267.

“Lumley participated in an old-timers’ day at Ebbets Field in 1936 but failing health forced him to give up his restaurant the following year. A widower who never had any children, Harry Lumley died in Binghamton on May 22, 1938.”

5 thoughts on “1906 National League All-Star Team

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