1906 American League All-Star Team

P-Al Orth, NYY

P-Doc White, CHW

P-George Mullin, DET

P-Rube Waddell, PHA

P-Barney Pelty, SLB

P-Addie Joss, CLE

P-Ed Walsh, CHW

P-Casey Patten, WSH

P-Red Donahue, DET

P-Bob Rhoads, CLE

C-Nig Clarke, CLE

C-Harry Bemis, CLE

1B-Harry Davis, PHA

2B-Nap Lajoie, CLE

2B-Jimmy Williams, NYY

3B-Bill Bradley, CLE

SS-Terry Turner, CLE

SS-George Davis, CHW

SS-Bobby Wallace, SLB

SS-Kid Elberfeld, NYY

LF-George Stone, SLB

CF-Elmer Flick, CLE

CF-Charlie Hemphill, SLB

CF-Chick Stahl, BOS

CF-Fielder Jones, CHW

 

orth3

P-Al Orth, New York Highlanders, 33 Years Old

1901 1905

27-17, 2.34 ERA, 133 K, .274, 1 HR, 17 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. 1 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-7.7

Wins-27

Innings Pitched-338 2/3

Complete Games-36

Hits Allowed-317

3rd Time All-Star-After having a long, decent career, Orth had his best season ever, finishing third in WAR (8.7), first in WAR for Pitchers (7.7), first in innings pitched (338 2/3), and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (127). Led by Orth’s arm, Clark Griffith’s Highlanders rose from sixth to second, finishing with a 90-61 record. At the end of 143 games, New York was tied for first place, but they went 5-6 the rest of the way and finished three games behind Chicago. Led by the hitting of Kid Elberfeld, the Highlanders almost won their first ever crown. They’d be waiting quite a few years for that first one, but once they achieve it, there are many, many more to come.

Baseball Reference says, “During his career, Orth was known to have excellent control, recording only 1.77 walks per nine innings (#47 on the all-time list). In addition to his 440 major league appearances as a pitcher, he was in 55 games as an outfielder, 8 as a shortstop, 6 as a second baseman, and 4 as a first baseman. He wasn’t a position player converted to pitcher in the majors; rather, he started out as a pitcher and, starting in his third season in the majors, almost always appeared in a few games as a position player as well.

“As of 2010, Orth is one of only two major league players to come out of DePauw University. He is also only one of two big leaguers with the name “Orth”; the other one, Orth Collins, was his teammate on the 1904 Highlanders.”

whited3

P-Doc White, Chicago White Sox, 27 Years Old

1902 1903

18-6, 1.52 ERA, 95 K, .185, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. 1 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

1906 AL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.52

Walks & Hits per IP-0.903

Adjusted ERA+-167

Adj. Pitching Runs-28

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.3

3rd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team in 1903, White had ERAs of 1.78 in 1904 and 1.76 in 1905 and still didn’t make the list. It was definitely a pitching era in baseball during this time and White pitched on the most famous of the all-pitch, no-hit teams of them all, the 1906 “Hitless Wonders” of Chicago. White finished fifth in WAR (6.7), second in WAR for Pitchers (6.2), first in ERA (1.52), and first in Adjusted ERA+ (167). In the World Series, he pitched three games, starting two of them, going 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA.

Wikipedia says, “That year, the White Sox won the pennant and their first World Series. In Game 5, White recorded the first save in Series history.

“The following season [1907], White set a career-high in wins with 27. He pitched effectively for Chicago until 1912, had an off-year in 1913, and then went to the Pacific Coast League from 1914 to 1915.

“White also gained some recognition as a composer, publishing at least four songs (such as bestseller ‘Little Puff of Smoke, Good Night’ in 1910) with his co-writer Ring Lardner, who was a sportswriter in Chicago during that period.

“White died at age 89 in Silver Spring, Maryland, just eight months after witnessing Don Drysdale surpass his record of 45 consecutive scoreless innings on June 4, 1968.”

Doc certainly was a great pitcher for a stretch of time, but the low-scoring era in which he played tends to overrate hurlers, which is why he’s not really a viable Hall of Fame candidate.

mullin3

P-George Mullin, Detroit Tigers, 25 Years Old

1903 1904

21-18, 2.78 ERA, 123 K, .225, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-108 (4th Time)

Batters Faced-1,361 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-113

3rd Time All-Star-Mullin always threw wildly and in 1905, he walked 138 batters, the most of his career. That, more than anything, kept this year from being his fourth straight All-Star team. No matter, he had his best season ever in 1906, finishing ninth in WAR (5.8), fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.1), and third in innings pitched (330).

As for Detroit, it dropped from third to sixth and probably didn’t realize it was on the brink of greatness. Bill Armour managed the team to a 71-78 record due to a lack of hitting and pitching. However, Ty Cobb would become a superstar in 1907 and the Tigers would turn things around.

SABR says, “In 1903, Mullin achieved a breakthrough performance with a 19-15 record and 2.25 ERA, though wildness caused him to lead the league in walks, with 106. He continued to lead the circuit in free passes every year through 1907, but during that time he also developed into one of the league’s most durable pitchers. He led the league in innings pitched with 347 2/3 in 1905, and in September 1906 he started and won both ends of a doubleheader against Washington.

“Mullin still holds four single-season Detroit pitching records for a right hander, all set in 1904: most games started (44); most complete games (42); most innings pitched (381 1/3), and most games lost (23). His 209 victories as a Tiger rank second in franchise history.” He’s most likely going to fall short of making my Hall of Fame, but the durable Mullin was effective for a long time on a winning team.

waddell5

P-Rube Waddell, Philadelphia Athletics, 29 Years Old

1902 1903 1904 1905

15-17, 2.21 ERA, 196 K, .163, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. 1 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.469 (6th Time)

Strikeouts-196 (5th Time)

5th Time All-Star-There can’t really be characters like Waddell, can there? These are the kinds of people you see in baseball movies, like Cerrano doing voodoo in Major League. They can’t be real, can they? Yet Waddell certainly was real and definitely was bizarre. Yet, incredibly, he also was one of the best pitchers of his era. This season, Waddell finished 10th in WAR (5.6), third in WAR for Pitchers (5.7), and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (123).

Philadelphia, coached by Connie Mack, dropped from first to fourth, finishing with a 78-67 record. Harry Davis’ bat led its good hitting, However, besides Waddell, the Athletics’ pitching was average.

On every player, I list the Hall of Fames in which he’s inducted. Two of them are of my own invention. There is the ONEHOF, which admits one player a year, the best player who’s not currently in the One-a-Year Hall of Fame. Then there is Ron’s Hall of Fame in which there is a formula for getting in and if (Number of All-Star teams made X WAR) is 300 or greater, you’re in.

Waddell’s career isn’t going to be long enough to make the ONEHOF and, if he doesn’t make another All-Star team, he’s not going to make Ron’s team, either. Now, Waddell, had pretty good seasons the next two seasons, so it’s still possible, but it’s going to be close. That’s why I’m only giving him a one percent chance, because my best guess would say he’s not going to make the All-Star team again.

pelty

P-Barney Pelty, St. Louis Browns, 25 Years Old

16-11, 1.59 ERA, 92 K, .165, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-6.526

Errors Committed as P-12

1st Time All-Star-Barney “The Yiddish Curver” Pelty was born on September 10, 1880 in Farmington, MO. He started with St. Louis in 1903 and had his best season this year. Pelty finished fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.2), second in ERA (1.59), and second in Adjusted ERA+ (163). According to Wikipedia, Pelty was known as the Yiddish Curver because he was one of the first Jewish baseball players in the American League.

As for Pelty’s team, St. Louis moved up from eighth to fifth with a 76-73 record. Jimmy McAleer managed the team for his fifth straight year and would be with the Browns three more. With Pelty leading the way, the team had decent pitching, which helped it gain in the standings.

SABR says, “In his best season, 1906, Pelty finished with a 1.59 ERA, which still stands as a record for the lowest single season ERA in Browns/Orioles franchise history, and a league-best .202 opponents batting average, but still won only 16 games. A man of cautious intelligence, with handsomely broad features and prominent ears that made him seem slightly older than he was, Pelty was often used by his managers as a field coach, and after his baseball career dabbled in trade and politics. One of only a handful of Jewish ballplayers during the Deadball Era, ‘the Yiddish Curver’ made no attempt to hide his heritage, but was also not a religious person. If he faced anti-Semitism, he certainly never complained publicly or let it be known that it bothered him. He was a proud man who dealt with life the way he dealt with the hard-luck team he played for, with a quiet and dignified professionalism.”

joss2

P-Addie Joss, Cleveland Naps, 26 Years Old

1905

21-9, 1.72 ERA, 106 K, .210, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Joss made the team for the second straight season and would have been one of the all-time greats if he had a longer career. This season, he finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5), third in ERA (1.72), and third in Adjusted ERA+ (152). I give my thoughts on him making Cooperstown in last year’s blurb if you want to check it out.

SABR says, “Joss’s stellar work in the 1906 season, in which he went 21-9 with a 1.72 ERA, third best in the league, earned him another bonus. After the 1906 campaign Joss took an off-season job with the Toledo News Bee as the writer of a Sunday sports column. In his column, which Joss penned himself, Addie spoke of serious baseball issues, related humorous stories from his own experiences in the game, and also covered the Mud Hens and other local baseball teams. He would become known as an extremely talented and popular sportswriter, especially for his coverage of the World Series. Joss’s familiar voice in the column gave him greater fan support during his holdout for a salary increase before the start of the 1907 season. He finally settled for a $4,000 contract.”

As of this writing, Jack Morris and Alan Trammell have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Because my Hall of Fame is figured by how many All-Star teams a player makes, it’s impossible for me to say whether or not I would have them in my Hall. If I had to guess, I would say “no” for Morris and “yes” for Trammell. I’m actually glad Trammell was voted in by the Veteran’s Committee, because he deserved to be voted in.

walsh

P-Ed Walsh, Chicago White Sox, 25 Years Old

17-13, 1.88 ERA, 171 K, .141, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-10

1st Time All-Star-Edward Augustine “Big Ed” Walsh was born on May 14, 1881 in Plains, PA. He was big for his era at six-foot-one, 193 pounds. The Hall of Fame pitcher started with Chicago in 1904 and would pitch all but the final season of his 14 year career with the White Sox. This season, he finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.7), seventh in ERA (1.88), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+. In the World Series against the Cubs, Walsh pitched game three and shutout the National League team on two hits. According to Wikipedia, “In Game Three of that year’s World Series, which the White Sox won over the Chicago Cubs in six games, Walsh struck out a then-World Series record 12 batters. He also struck out at least one batter each inning of that game; this feat has since been duplicated only once, by Bob Gibson in the 1968 World Series opener.” He then won game five, which he pitched on one day of rest, despite allowing six runs in six innings. However, only one of them was earned, giving him a 2-0 World Series record with a 0.60 ERA.

More from Wikipedia: “Interviewed for the book The Glory of Their Times, Hall of Famer Sam Crawford referred to Walsh’s use of a pitch that was later outlawed: ‘Big Ed Walsh. Great big, strong, good-looking fellow. He threw a spitball. I think that ball disintegrated on the way to the plate, and the catcher put it back together again. I swear, when it went past the plate, it was just the spit went by’.”

patten2

P-Casey Patten, Washington Senators, 32 Years Old

1904

19-16, 2.17 ERA, 96 K, .117, 1 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Patten had his best season ever, lowering his ERA from its usual high mark. He finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.0), 10th in ERA (2.17), and 10th in innings pitched (282 2/3). After this season, Patten would pitch for Washington for two more seasons. Then in 1908, he was traded by the Washington Senators to the Boston Red Sox for Jesse Tannehill, finishing his career that year.

Just like 1905, Washington finished in seventh place under the guidance of Jake Stahl. He’d be gone after this season. The Senators’ record was 55-95. They sure are going to appreciate eventually having Walter Johnson, because their pitching was pathetic.

From SABR: “Patten was a 19-game winner in 1906, with a 2.17 ERA, but seemed to falter a bit in late June and early July as the 1907 season wore on and by the end of July the Post was suggesting that manager Joe Cantillon give him a couple of weeks’ rest. On August 11, he was included in a large feature on Washington players who would not be back in 1908. A change in scene would pay off for him, the paper said. He was not expected to be with the team come spring training 1908. He was indeed brought back, though, and was used infrequently, finally being traded on May 31 to the Red Sox for lefthander Jesse Tannehill. Some thought that both pitchers could benefit from the deal. Neither did all that much after the trade, though reports that Tannehill was suffering from malaria were far from encouraging. At least he could hit some, remarked the Post.” 

donahue3

P-Red Donahue, Detroit Tigers, 33 Years Old

1901 1902

13-14, 2.73 ERA, 82 K, .123, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team in 1902, Donahue pitched for St. Louis one more season, in 1903, until he was traded by the St. Louis Browns to the Cleveland Naps for Gene Wright. He then stayed with the Naps through 1905 when he was traded by the Cleveland Naps to the Detroit Tigers for Happy Townsend. He had a good season with the Tigers this year, finishing eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5). However, this was his last Major League season. Then, according to Wikipedia, “Red died in Philadelphia at the age of 40, after succumbing to the effects of paralysis, and was interred at St. Joseph Cemetery in Waterbury, Connecticut.”

This story is from the Washington Times on December 16, 1906: “They tell a good story about the first game that Altizer, heralded as a youngster, played against Detroit, in which ‘Red’ Donahue pitched. ‘Red’ has a habit of talking to the batter and rattling him so that he cannot hit the auburn-haired twirler effectlively.

“This time he opened up with: ‘So you are the star young shortstop, are you? The kid that Stahl picked up in the minors? Soldier boy, too, and all that? Huh, when I was pitching for Allentown in 1889 they used to tell me about the errors you made ten years before. Why, you doddering old man. I am going to pitch you a curved ball now that was not invented when you broke into the business, and I have been using it for over ten years at that.” This monologue goes on for a while, you’ll have to read it for yourself.

rhoads

P-Bob Rhoads, Cleveland Naps, 26 Years Old

22-10, 1.80 ERA, 89 K, .161, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Barton Emory “Dusty” or “Bob” Rhoads was born on October 4, 1879 in Wooster, OH. He was huge for his day, at six-foot-one, 215 pounds. He had started with the Orphans in 1902, then was traded by the Chicago Cubs to the St. Louis Cardinals for Bob Wicker. In the middle of the 1903 season, Rhoads jumped to the American League Naps. In 1905, he had a good season, going 16-9 with a 2.83 ERA, but really putting it together this season, finishing 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.3), fifth in ERA (1.80), fifth in innings pitched (315), and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (145).

SABR says of his season, “In 1906 Rhoads posted a 22-10 record, with a sparkling 1.80 ERA. He set career-best marks in wins, winning percentage (.688), starts (34), complete games (31), innings pitched (315), shutouts (7), on-base average against (.227), and strikeouts (a modest 89, while surrendering 92 walks). At season’s end, Rhoads, Joss (21-9), and Hess (20-17) each collected the $500 bonuses promised by club president John Kilfoyl for any Naps pitcher posting a 20-victory season. Unhappily for Cleveland, the mound work of its Big Three and the reliably outstanding production of Nap Lajoie (.355 BA, with an AL-leading 214 hits and 48 doubles) were not enough to secure a pennant. A fine 89-64 season record was good only for third place, five games behind the Chicago White Sox of ‘Hitless Wonders’ renown. That offseason, Rhoads, an intelligent, enterprising man, began to expand his employment horizons, acquiring a large wheat farm in Kansas and developing soon-to-become-expert skills as a telegrapher.”

clarken

C-Nig Clarke, Cleveland Naps, 23 Years Old

.358, 1 HR, 21 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Jay Justin “Nig” Clarke was born on December 15, 1882, just 81 years before my bride, in Amherstburg, Canada. The five-foot-eight, 165 pound catcher with the embarrassing nickname of his time played for Cleveland and Detroit in 1905 and then had a great season this year, despite playing in only 57 games. He slashed .358/.404/.486 for an OPS+ of 180. Those are great numbers in any season, but in the low-scoring era of his time, it was outstanding.

Clarke is most famous for a performance in the Minor Leagues. Wikipedia says, “Clarke began his professional career in 1902 with the Corsicana Oil Citys in the Texas League. On July 14, he hit eight home runs in ten at bats in a 51–3 victory over the Texarkana Casketmakers. Because Corsicana’s blue laws forbade Sunday baseball (or, according to The Sporting News, due to poor attendance in Corsicana), the game was played in Ennis, Texas, in a facility that has a right field fence estimated to be 210 feet from home plate along the foul line. While some cast doubt on Clarke’s eight home run game, the feat was later attested to by the official scorer (under oath) and by others who observed the game. In a 1940 interview with The Sporting News one of Clarke’s Corsicana teammates claimed:

“’The right field fence at Ennis wasn’t more than 40 feet [12 m] back of first base. Nig just pulled eight short flies around and over that wall. I’m not taking anything away from old Nig’s batting prowess, but that’s the way he hit eight homers that day. Didn’t have to send the ball more than 140 feet [43 m] at the most.’”

bemis3

C-Harry Bemis, Cleveland Naps, 32 Years Old

1902 1903

.276, 2 HR, 30 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 26 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

3rd Time All-Star-Cleveland has both catcher representatives on the All-Star team this season, thanks to the always consistent Bemis. In a time where catchers very rarely caught over 100 games, Bemis played 93 games, but played 81 at backstop. In 297 at-bats, Bemis slashed .276/.311/.374 for an OPS+ of 116. He was one of the best catchers in the early days of the American League.

You sometimes hear complaints nowadays that players never stick with their teams anymore, but the truth is it rarely happened throughout baseball history. It is true because of the Reserve Clause, which allowed teams to designate a certain amount of players who had to stay on their current team, it made it harder to jump, but players still ended up on multiple teams due to trades. Bemis, however, played nine seasons and all of them for Cleveland. He’ll play four more years and it’s impossible to tell whether he’ll make any more All-Star teams or not. It always is with catchers.

Bemis’ hitting would decline over the last four years of his career. He’d dip down to hitting .250 in 1907, then down to .224, .187, and .216 over the next few years. Still, he should be remembered fondly by Cleveland fans for giving them a consistent catcher over nine seasons and remaining in the city for the remainder of his life, dying in Cleveland on May 23, 1947 at the age of 73. Altogether, Bemis finished with a .255 average, five homers, and 234 RBI, along with a 10.4 Career WAR.

davish3

1B-Harry Davis, Philadelphia Athletics, 32 Years Old

1904 1905

.292, 12 HR, 96 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 1 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-12 (3rd Time)

Runs Batted In-96 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-61 (2nd Time)

Power-Speed #-15.8 (3rd Time)

AB per HR-45.9 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as 1B-37

Double Plays Turned as 1B-66

3rd Time All-Star-If only Davis could have started making All-Star teams a little earlier in his career, he’d have a good shot at the Hall of Fame, because he’s having a wonderful stretch of hitting during this time. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.9), fourth in Offensive WAR (5.2), eighth in on-base percentage (.355), third in slugging (.459), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (151). There weren’t many better hitters in the American League during this time. (One of them is next on this list).

SABR says, “Harry earned a reputation over the years as a thinking man’s ballplayer, a teacher and a gentleman. Playing for Connie Mack, who discouraged his players from kicking and fighting, had a lot to do with creating this image, but Harry was full of fire, too, and not afraid to say what was on his mind. Back in his early days with the Giants, O.P. Caylor wrote that Harry ‘blossomed into a kicker of class A. He can give McGraw two jumps, a hundred words, and beat him in a canter. Harry has a voice that puts [Patsy] Tebeau’s to shame, and when he isn’t denouncing the rascality of the umpire to the latter’s face, he is talking to himself about human depravity in general.’ Harry was a team leader and following the sale of Lave Cross after the 1905 season, Mack named him captain of the Athletics. He had become Philadelphia’s leader on the field and was widely recognized as Mack’s lieutenant. Off the field, he took promising players under his wing, boarding them in his own house. From future Hall of Famers like Eddie Plank and Eddie Collins to rookies like Billy Orr, many players could cite Davis as a big influence on their careers.”

lajoie7

2B-Nap Lajoie, Cleveland Naps, 31 Years Old, MVP

1897 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904

.355, 0 HR, 91 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-10.0

WAR Position Players-10.0 (4th Time)

Hits-214 (3rd Time)

Doubles-48 (4th Time)

Putouts as 2B-354 (4th Time)

Assists as 2B-415

Double Plays Turned as 2B-76 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.973 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-After missing the 1905 All-Star team due to blood poisoning, the great Lajoie is back and back strong. He had his best season ever, finishing first in WAR (10.0), first in WAR Position Players (10.0), second in Offensive WAR (7.6), third in Defensive WAR (2.6), second in batting (.355), second in on-base percentage (.392), second in slugging (.465), and second in Adjusted OPS+ (170). He would have led in all of those categories if it wasn’t for an incredible, but fluky, season by George Stone, the St. Louis Browns leftfielder.

Cleveland moved up from fifth in 1905 to third this season, finishing with an 89-64 record, five games behind the White Sox. The Naps were in first as late at July 5, but never really contended again during the season. Lajoie managed the team once again, which had great hitting thanks to you-know-who and great pitching thanks to Addie Joss, but still couldn’t win the league.

Was Lajoie a mediocre skipper? There is evidence to the affirmative. SABR says, “As manager, Lajoie was criticized for his rudimentary method of relaying signals to the outfielders. He had a way of wiggling his finger behind his back as notice to his outfield when his pitcher was going to throw a fastball, and wiggling two fingers for a curve. Enemy pitchers in the bullpen often could read Nap’s signals, and they were never a mystery to Connie Mack. One contemporary observed of Lajoie, ‘The great player–artist rather disdained the subtleties of the game and responsibility sat heavily upon him. He failed to lift up lesser players to the batting and fielding heights that he had attained so easily. He knew how to do a thing, but to impart to another how it should be done eluded him.’”

williams4

2B-Jimmy Williams, New York Highlanders, 29 Years Old

1899 1901 1903

.277, 3 HR, 77 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-139

4th Time All-Star-It has been three years since Williams last made an All-Star team and I thought he was done, but the Highlanders’ second baseman is back. He slashed .277/.342/.373 for an OPS+ of 115. He’d play one more season with New York, before finishing his career with the Browns in his last two Major League seasons. Williams is one of the rare old-time players who was alive at the same time as me. I was born in 1964 and Williams died at the age of 88 in 1965. If I would’ve known, my 47-day self could’ve called and offered condolences.

SABR tells of an incident in 1908, saying, “Friendly James T. Williams, an original AL Oriole and Highlander, seemed to wander carefree throughout his baseball career, but his Minneapolis Tribuneobituary made special note of one particular incident when his Welsh temper flared up. It claimed Jimmy was a ‘legend’ in his baseball ‘hometown’ of Pueblo, Colorado, because of his early diamond exploits and the fact that he flattened the only man ever to knock out future boxing super champ, Jack Dempsey. ‘Fireman’ Jim Flynn, himself a fabulous ring character of the era, who fought all the big name boxers into the 1920s, was also a Pueblo resident. Sometime around 1908, he became abusive to Williams during a saloon altercation and Williams gave Flynn ‘the worst beating of his entire career,’ quoted the Tribune from the Pueblo press.” It seems a lot of these 1900s players were always fighting someone somewhere.

bradleyb53B-Bill Bradley, Cleveland Naps, 28 Years Old

1902 1903 1904 1905

.275, 2 HR, 25 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. 1 percent chance)

 

5th Time All-Star-My All-Star teams feature 10 pitchers, at least one player from every team, and at least one player at all positions (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, and three outfielders). That’s why Bradley made his fifth consecutive American League list, because I needed a representative from the hot corner and he was the best of a sparse bunch. He only played 82 games, but made the most of them. Bradley finished eighth in Defensive WAR (1.1), which is outstanding considering he missed so many contests.

Since Bradley was only 28 years old, you would have thought he had many great years left, but his hitting absolutely deteriorated after this season. From 1899-1906, he never hit below .268. After this season, he’d never hit above .243 in a full season and he’d never have an OPS+ above 99 again. He’d play from 1907-10 with Cleveland and then come back in 1914 with the Brooklyn Tip-Tops in the Federal League, playing in only seven games and then finished his Major League career with the FL Kansas City Packers in 1915.

Bradley was hit by a pitch on the right wrist on July 19 and was out for the season and, according to SABR, “The loss of Bradley hurt the most. Lajoie would move himself from second to third and play George Stovall at second. Jap Barbeau was later inserted at third base and played 32 games from the middle of July to mid-September. Barbeau hit just .194 on the season and had an abysmal fielding percentage of .830 at third base. Stovall would ultimately take over at third on September 13. With Barbeau at third, the Naps went 15–17. Lajoie played 14 games at third during August and the team went 7–7. Once Stovall was put at third, the Naps went 20–8, a .714 winning percentage.”

turner

SS-Terry Turner, Cleveland Naps, 25 Years Old

.291, 2 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 86 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-5.4

Assists-570

Def. Games as SS-147

Assists as SS-570

Double Plays Turned as SS-61

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.83

Fielding % as SS-.960

1st Time All-Star-Terrance Lamont “Terry” or “Cotton Top” Turner was born on February 28, 1881 in Sandy Lake, PA. So here’s the thing about Wins Above Replacement, its accuracy can be questioned. Unlike homers or RBI which can be counted, WAR has to be figured and is figured by Baseball Reference and Fangraphs in two different ways, coming up with two different numbers. I just want to point that all out before letting you know no one besides Andrelton Simmons has ever had a higher single-season Defensive WAR than Turner did this season. Altogether, Cotton Top finished second in WAR (9.4), second in WAR Position Players (9.4), fifth in Offensive WAR (5.2), and first in Defensive WAR (5.4). It was easily his best season ever.

SABR says, “Fielding was his specialty, though. At shortstop, the position he played more than any other during his career, he led the league in assists, double plays, and fielding percentage in 1906. Turner’s defensive ability and versatility elicited comparisons with the greatest player at the position in baseball history, Honus Wagner. Just as Tommy Leach called Wagner the best first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop and outfielder in The Glory of their Times, in 1913 Cleveland manager Joe Birmingham called Turner ‘the most valuable infielder in the American League…as he can play third base, second base, and shortstop equally well.’ Birmingham continued, ‘It is only once in a lifetime that you find one of these players who is brilliant wherever you play him… He is too valuable a man to tie at one position when he is so good at several.’”

davis10

SS-George Davis, Chicago White Sox, 35 Years Old

1893 1894 1897 1899 1900 1901 1902 1904 1905

.277, 0 HR, 80 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

10th Time All-Star-Are you wondering which players at this early time in baseball history have made double-digit All-Star teams? Funny you should ask, because that list consists of the following:

Cap Anson-17

Cy Young-15

Roger Connor-13

Jim O’Rourke-12

Dan Brouthers-12

Kid Nichols-12

Tim Keefe-11

Jack Glasscock-11

Bobby Mathews-10

Mickey Welch-10

Harry Stovey-10

Billy Hamilton-10

George Davis-10

It’s possible Davis is not done making All-Star teams yet. This season, he finished seventh in WAR (6.3), fifth in WAR Position Players (6.3), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.3), and second in Defensive WAR (3.0). In the World Series, he went four-for-13 (.308) with three doubles in helping the White Sox defeat the Cubs, 4-2. He starred in the fifth game, going two-for-three with two doubles and driving in three runs. Or as SABR explains, “Because of illness, Davis missed the first three games of that year’s World Series. After going 0-for-3 in Game 4, he rebounded nicely in the critical final two games of the Series, stroking three doubles and a single, and collecting six RBI over the final two games.”

His Hall of Fame page says, “A career highlight was his performance as a member of the White Sox ‘Hitless Wonders’ team of 1906. They won the American League pennant while the crosstown Cubs set an all-time mark with a record of 116-36. If they were in the same league, the Cubs would have finished 22.5 games ahead of the White Sox, and few gave them any chance in the first intra-city World Series. The upstart Sox beat the Cubs in six games, with Davis batting .308 and driving in six runs.”

wallace8

SS-Bobby Wallace, St. Louis Browns, 32 Years Old

1898 1899 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905

.257, 0 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

8th Time All-Star-It is an incredible shortstop era. The last three inductees into the ONEHOF, the One-Player-a-Year Hall of Fame have been from that position: George Davis in 1904, Bill Dahlen in 1905, and Honus Wagner in 1906. There’s a good chance Wallace will be the fourth shortstop in a row inducted in 1907. This season, he finished eighth in WAR (6.1), sixth in WAR Position Players (6.1), fourth in Offensive WAR (4.7), and fifth in Defensive WAR (2.5). He’s still got numerous All-Star teams in the future.

Here are some tidbits from Wallace’s Hall of Fame page: “’The Scot was not the most robust hitter that ever lived, but he was no pigeon at the plate,’ sportswriter Bill Corum said, in 1952. ‘Save for that, Bobby had one weakness as a shortstop – that was that he played in the same era as Honus Wagner.’

“Wallace made more plays per game than any other shortstop who played at least 600 games during the first decade of the major leagues, including players like Wagner, Joe Tinker and George Davis.

“He led the American League in assists twice in his career, and fielding percentage three times. In 1902 he set a league record for the most chances in a game with 17. He also finished in the top-10 in RBIs eight times in his career, even though he played for losing teams most of the time.” We often don’t realize the times in which we live. I wonder if people in the 1900s realized they were living in a shortstop golden age.

elberfeld4

SS-Kid Elberfeld, New York Highlanders, 31 Years Old

1901 1903 1904

.306, 2 HR, 31 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 17 percent chance)

 

4th Time All-Star-After missing the All-Star team in 1905 due to a downgrade in hitting, Elberfeld is back this season despite playing only 99 games. The Tabasco Kid could have been one of the great shortstops of this era, along with Honus Wagner, George Davis, Bill Dahlen, and Bobby Wallace had he been able to avoid injuries and control his volatile temper. This season, Elberfeld finished 10th in Offensive WAR (3.7); ninth in batting (.306); and third in on-base percentage (.378), behind St. Louis leftfielder George Stone (.417) and Cleveland second baseman Nap Lajoie (.392). Half of the American League teams had All-Star shortstops.

SABR says of his season, “In late 1906 he also had two memorable run-ins with umpire Silk O’Loughlin. The first, on August 8, occurred when Elberfeld was denied first base by after being hit by a pitch, prompting him to menace the umpire with a bat. Then, on September 3, the two went at it again in a brawl described by the New York Times as ‘one of the most disgraceful scenes ever witnessed on a baseball field.’ The Highlanders were in a close pennant race with Chicago, and when Elberfeld was suspended for only a total of eight games by President Johnson, some viewed it as an act of favoritism toward the Highlanders.”

When you play sports and the adrenaline pumps, it can be difficult to control your emotions. I’ve lost my temper playing softball or basketball my share of times, though I tend to get mad at myself rather than others. It would be another 15 years before New York won the pennant, but it’s possible it could’ve been much sooner if Elberfeld just lightened up a bit.

stone2

LF-George Stone, St. Louis Browns, 29 Years Old

1905

.358, 6 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1906 AL Batting Title

Offensive WAR-7.9

Batting Average-.358

On-Base %-.417

Slugging %-.501

On-Base Plus Slugging-.918

Total Bases-291 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-89

Adjusted OPS+-193

Runs Created-120 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-61

Adj. Batting Wins-6.9

Times on Base-267

Offensive Win %-.846

2nd Time All-Star-There aren’t too many players in baseball who had better starts to their careers than Stone, he of the ubiquitous crouching batting style. He had a sensational rookie All-Star year in 1905, but had his best season ever this season. Stone finished third in WAR (8.7), behind two Cleveland infielders, second baseman Nap Lajoie (10.0) and shortstop Terry Turner (9.4); third in WAR Position Players (8.7), behind the same two players; first in Offensive WAR (7.9); first in batting (.358); first in on-base percentage (.417); first in slugging (.501); sixth in steals (35); and first in Adjusted OPS+ (193).

SABR’s intro to George Stone reads thus: “From 1901 through 1928, a future member of the Baseball Hall of Fame won the American League batting title in every season but one. The exception was in 1906, when outfielder George Stone of the St. Louis Browns hit .358 and beat out four-time batting champion Napoleon Lajoie for the AL batting crown. Stone’s great 1906 season is often forgotten, likely because his team finished in the second division, but in that year, Stone led the league in batting average, hits, total bases, and slugging percentage while finishing second in triples, third in RBI, and seventh in home runs. In spite of his batting success, Stone was self-effacing and reticent, and he acquired the nickname ‘Silent George’ because of his understated disposition. According to a 1906 article, Stone ‘never talks loud and is one of the most inconspicuous men on the team outside of the fact that he is a man way above the average in physical development and has a head and face that indicate a man of business or one following a profession rather than a ball player. Stone’s taste runs to reading and his hobby is violin playing. In fact, he would rather be a great violinist with a limited income than he would a great ballplayer with a handsome salary.’”

flick7

CF-Elmer Flick, Cleveland Naps, 30 Years Old

1898 1900 1901 1903 1904 1905

.311, 1 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-157

At Bats-624

Plate Appearances-700

Runs Scored-98

Triples-22 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases-39 (2nd Time)

 

7th Time All-Star-It’s possible sometime in the future, Flick is going to join the ONEHOF, the one-player-inducted-a-year Hall of Fame. It’s possible it could be as early as next season, but he’s probably going to have to leap over his teammate, Nap Lajoie, and my guess is that isn’t happening. Flick will almost certainly make the All-Star team next season, but after that his career will falter for reasons which you’ll have to read about next season.

This year, Flick finished sixth in WAR (6.5); fourth in WAR Position Players (6.5); third in Offensive WAR (6.2), behind St. Louis leftfielder George Stone (7.9) and teammate, second baseman Lajoie (7.6); seventh in batting (.311); fourth in on-base percentage (.372); fourth in slugging (.441); first in steals (39); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (156), behind Stone (193) and Lajoie (170).

Look at this nugget from Wikipedia: “In the 1906 season, Flick played a league-leading 157 games. He led the league with 700 plate appearances, 624 at-bats, 98 runs scored, 22 triples, and 39 stolen bases (tied with John Anderson). However, Flick was ‘said to be dissatisfied with the team’, and the Naps considered trading him to the Detroit Tigers for Matty McIntyre. Before the 1907 season, the Naps turned down a trade with the Tigers which would have exchanged Flick for the 21-year-old Ty CobbHughie Jennings, the Tigers’ manager, was tired of dealing with Cobb’s abrasive behavior. The Naps refused to part with Flick, even in exchange for Cobb. They countered with Bunk Congalton, but the Tigers declined. Flick had been holding out but he signed a few days after the proposed trade. After Cobb was nearly traded away, Jennings attempted to repair the difficult relationships between Cobb and the other Detroit players. ‘Cobb is too good a hitter to let get away, when a little diplomacy will get the boys together’, Jennings said.”

hemphill

CF-Charlie Hemphill, St. Louis Browns, 30 Years Old

.289, 4 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 18 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Charles Judson “Charlie” or “Eagle Eye” Hemphill was born on April 20, 1876 in Greenville, MI. The five-foot-nine, 160 pound centerfielder started in 1899 with the St. Louis Perfectos and the Cleveland Spiders. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1900, but then played with the Boston Americans in 1901. Before the 1902 season, he was signed as a Free Agent with the Cleveland Bronchos and then during the season, he was released by the Cleveland Bronchos. Then on June 4, 1902, Hemphill was signed as a Free Agent with the St. Louis Browns. He didn’t play Major League ball during the 1905 season, before Hemphill was purchased by the St. Louis Browns from St Paul (American Association).

Incredibly after all of the bouncing around he did, Hemphill ended up having his best season ever in 1906. He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.5), eighth in Offensive WAR (4.0), eighth in steals (33), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (130).

                SABR says of this season, “Batting in the top third of the St. Louis order, Hemphill showed significant improvement at the plate over his 1904 totals, and finished the year with a .289 batting average, 62 RBIs, 33 stolen bases, and a career-best 90 runs scored. In better shape, Hemphill also spent 114 of his 154 games patrolling center field, where he used his improved foot speed to offset his other defensive shortcomings. The following year, however, Hemphill was mediocre at best, batting .259 with 38 RBIs and 66 runs scored in 153 games. That November the Browns traded him, along with Fred Glade and Harry Niles, to the New York Highlanders for Jimmy Williams, Hobe Ferris, and Danny Hoffman.”

stahl4

CF-Chick Stahl, Boston Americans, 33 Years Old

1899 1901 1904

.286, 4 HR, 51 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as OF-155

Putouts as OF-344

Errors Committed as OF-15

Double Plays Turned as OF-9

4th Time All-Star-Stahl had a very up-and-down career, making the All-Star team one year then being mediocre the next. After one of those lackadaisical years in 1905, he’s back this year on his fourth and final list. Stahl finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.1) and ninth in Offensive WAR (3.8). He played every game for Boston.

Speaking of Boston, Stahl was its only All-Star representative, as the Americans, managed by Jimmy Collins (35-79) and Stahl (14-26) finished in last place with a 49-105 record. They had the worst hitting and pitching in the American League. Collins would never manage again despite winning two pennants and a World Series as Boston’s skipper.

On March 28, 1907, Stahl drank carbolic acid and committed suicide. The reason he did so is unclear, but I point you to a SABR research article by Dennis Auger which is incredibly extensive and urge you to read the whole thing. Here’s his conclusion: “A researcher, including myself, must be willing to incorporate new discoveries and insights into any analysis. This can result in modifying or even changing one’s conclusion. Based on the evidence, sources, and documentation available, my present view is that the primary and underlying reason for Stahl’s suicide was his lifelong battle with depression. Managerial stress, fear of declining athletic ability, the alleged sexual liaison, and the perfectionism arising from his religious belief and accompanying guilt would all be contributing factors exacerbating his depression resulting in his act of desperation.”

For you Red Sox fans, you might recognize his last name from “Tessie,” sung after Boston victories.

jonesf4

CF-Fielder Jones, Chicago White Sox, 34 Years Old

1901 1902 1905

.230, 2 HR, 34 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as OF-.988 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Jones made his second straight All-Star team as the player/manager for the “Hitless Wonders,” who ended up upsetting their crosstown rivals, the unstoppable Cubs, in the World Series. For his in-the-field season, Jones finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.1). In the Series, he played in all six games, hitting .143 (three-for-21). Despite their manager’s poor performance, the White Sox still won the crown.

They won the American League pennant under the guidance of Jones, finishing 93-58. Chicago truly was an all-pitching and defense, no-hit team. They were facing a team which won 116 games and won the National League crown by 20 games. But in a short series, anything can happen and this Series showed how unpredictable baseball can be.

In Game 1, Nick Altrock threw a four-hitter and the White Sox won, 2-1. Game 3 featured a two-hitter from Ed Walsh to give the White Sox a two-to-one lead in the series. With the Series tied at 2-2, Frank Isbell’s four hits, including a double, led the Hitless Wonders to an 8-6 victory. In the next game, George Davis, who had missed the first three games of the Series due to illness, went two-for-five with a double and a team which couldn’t score during the regular season, scored eight runs for the second straight game to win the championship. It should be noted the Cubs had a great pitching staff themselves, with a 1.75 ERA, but couldn’t do it when it counted. It was a great series for Jones and his crew.

6 thoughts on “1906 American League All-Star Team

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