1907 National League All-Star Team

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Ed Karger, STL

P-Bob Ewing, CIN

P-Orval Overall, CHC

P-Mordecai Brown, CHC

P-Carl Lundgren, CHC

P-Vic Willis, PIT

P-Tully Sparks, PHI

P-Nap Rucker, BRO

P-Ed Reulbach, CHC

C-Roger Bresnahan, NYG

C-Johnny Kling, CHC

1B-Frank Chance, CHC

1B-Fred Tenney, BSN

1B-Tim Jordan, BRO

2B-Johnny Evers, CHC

3B-Dave Brain, BSN

3B-Harry Steinfeldt, CHC

3B-Art Devlin, NYG

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

LF-Sherry Magee, PHI

LF-Fred Clarke, PIT

CF-Tommy Leach, PIT

CF-Ginger Beaumont, BSN

CF-Cy Seymour, NYG

 

mathewson6

P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905

24-12, 2.00 ERA, 178 K, .187, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-7.6 (2nd Time)

Wins-24 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-178 (4th Time)

Shutouts-8 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.359 (2nd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.78 (3rd Time)

6th Time All-Star-I almost verbally “gulped” when I saw the great Mathewson was only 26 years old. It feels like I’ve been writing about him forever. Yet the truth is he didn’t make the All-Star team last year when he went 22-12 with a 2.97 ERA or 88 ERA+. This season, Big Six is back, finishing second in WAR (7.8), to Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (9.0); first in WAR for Pitchers (7.6); eighth in ERA (2.00); third in innings pitched (315), to St. Louis hurler Stoney McGlynn and Cincinnati pitcher Bob Ewing (332 2/3); and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (123). If I gave you a list of seasons from 1901 through 1914, I doubt you’d be able to tell which is which. Mathewson was consistent and great ever year.

As for his team, the Giants, John McGraw’s squad dropped from second to fourth in the National League. The 82-71 team could certainly hit, led by third baseman Art Devlin, but, besides Mathewson, its pitching wasn’t enough to keep them in contention.

There is a book titled, Christy Mathewson, the Christian Gentleman: How One Man’s Faith and Fastball Forever Changed Baseball by Bob Gaines. It says of his 1907 season, “There was a time that Christy would have instinctively lowered his shade as the train came to a halt, barely sensing the large crowds that always gathered on the depot platforms, gawking for a glimpse of the Great Mathewson. But that was the old days; when fame was new and he was hiding within his private war against immaturity.

“One afternoon in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in August 1907, Christy straightened his collar and stepped off the train to the delight of a huge crowd, mostly kids. Once awkward and shy, the heroic ballplayer now understood his obligations; happily shaking hands, signing autographs, and thanking each for their kindness.”

karger

P-Ed Karger, St. Louis Cardinals, 24 Years Old

15-19, 2.04 ERA, 73 K, .179, 2 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as P-29

1st Time All-Star-Edwin “Ed” or “Loose” Karger was born on May 6, 1883 in San Angelo, TX. He started in 1906 with Pittsburgh before, on June 3, 1906, he was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the St. Louis Cardinals for Chappie McFarland. He then had his best season ever this year, finishing third in WAR (6.9), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (9.0) and Giants’ pitcher Christy Mathewson (7.8); second in WAR for Pitchers (6.7), trailing only Mathewson (7.6); 10th in ERA (2.04); fourth in innings pitched (314); and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (123).

Despite having one of the best pitchers in the league, the Cardinals still finished last, dropping from seventh in 1906. John McCloskey guided the team to a 52-101 record and he’ll be back again in 1908. St. Louis couldn’t hit and it couldn’t pitch and it didn’t win.

Baseball Reference says, “On August 111907, playing for the St. Louis CardinalsEd Karger pitched a perfect game through 7 innings. The game was ended due to a prior mutual agreement between the Cards and the Boston Doves. It was the second game of a doubleheader, and the rules of the time permitted the teams to decide on a seven-inning game in that circumstance. It is the only major league abridged perfect game or no-hitter that was not abridged by weather or darkness.

“He was discovered by former major leaguer Hick Carpenter, who was working as a border inspector in Nogales, AZ. Karger was pitching for a semi-pro club from Tucson, AZ in 1905. while employed as a policeman in Tucson. His baseball prowess landed him a job with the Houston Buffaloes of the South Texas League.”

ewingb3

P-Bob Ewing, Cincinnati Reds, 34 Years Old

1905 1906

17-19, 1.73 ERA, 147 K, .154, 1 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Ewing is back for the third straight year on the All-Star team. He finished fifth in WAR (6.2); third in WAR for Pitchers (6.5), behind New York’s Christy Mathewson (7.6) and St. Louis’ Ed Karger (6.7); seventh in ERA (1.73); second in innings pitched (332 2/3), behind the Cardinals’ Stoney McGlynn (352 1/3); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (150).

Ned Hanlon guided the Reds to a sixth-place finish, the same place they finished in 1906. Their 66-87 record reflected a lack of hitting. Cincinnati’s pitching was decent thanks to Ewing. This would be Hanlon’s last year as a manager. He’d finish his coaching career with five National League pennants and a lifetime 1313-1164 record.

SABR says, “In his prime, Long Bob Ewing-the ‘Long’ referring to his 6’1″, 170-pound frame-was the workhorse of the Cincinnati Reds’ staff, becoming their winningest pitcher of the Deadball Era and the most significant spitball pitcher in the history of the franchise. Toiling for six managers in eight years on a succession of teams that never finished within 15 games of first place, Ewing led the Reds in complete games twice, victories and strikeouts three times each. He has the second highest career E.R.A. (1,000 or more innings) in franchise history, trailing only Noodles Hahn. Though he never led the National League in a major statistical category, Ewing did finish second in innings pitched, complete games and strikeouts in 1907.” Most likely, Ewing is done making All-Star teams. He would stay with Cincinnati through 1909, before moving to Philadelphia in 1910-11 and finish with St. Louis in 1912.

overall2

P-Orval Overall, Chicago Cubs, 26 Years Old

1905

23-7, 1.68 ERA, 141 K, .213, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-8

2nd Time All-Star-Overall pitched for two teams in 1906, a year he didn’t make the All-Star team. He started with the Reds and then mid-season, he was traded by the Cincinnati Reds with $2,000 to the Chicago Cubs for Bob Wicker. His addition to the team added to an already stacked Cubs team and he pitched for them in the 1906 World Series, coming in relief for two games and allowing two runs in 12 innings for a 1.50 ERA. This season, Overall finished sixth in WAR (6.0), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.6), fifth in ERA (1.68), and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (149). In the World Series, in which the Cubs beat Detroit, 4-0-1, Overall started the first game, allowing three runs (one earned) in nine innings. The game ended in a 3-3 tie. He then started game four three days later, allowing one run in nine innings in leading Chicago to a 6-1 victory and a 3-0 lead in the Series. Altogether he finished 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA.

SABR says, “His breakout season was 1907, when he tied with Christy Mathewson for the NL lead in shutouts (8) and finished second in wins (23), third in winning percentage (.767) and fewest hits per game (6.74), fourth in strikeouts per game (4.73) and base runners per game (9.42), and fifth in ERA (1.68). Overall’s strong performance led the Cubs back to the World Series, this time against the Detroit Tigers, and he received the start in Game One against Wild Bill Donovan.”

brown3P-Mordecai Brown, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1903 1906

20-6, 1.39 ERA, 107 K, .153, 1 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. A virtual lock)

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-0.944 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Three-Finger Brown continued to confuse National League hitters in helping the Cubs to their second straight pennant. He finished 10th in WAR (5.1); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3); third in ERA (1.39), behind teammates Jack Pfiester (1.15) and Carl Lundgren (1.17); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (179), also behind Pfiester (216) and Lundgren (213). In the World Series, he started the clinching game five against Detroit, tossing a seven-hit shutout in leading Chicago to their first Series title.

His deformed hand led to some interesting pitches. Brown’s Hall of Fame page says, “’It was a great ball, that downward curve of his,’ said Ty Cobb, owner of the game’s best career batting average, of the curveball that evolved from Brown’s misshapen fingers. ‘I can’t talk about all of baseball, but I can say this: It was the most deceiving, the most devastating pitch I ever faced.’”

SABR says, “The following year was also a good one for Three Finger Brown. In 1907 he posted a 20-6 record and an ERA of 1.39. That year the Cubs did win the World Series, beating the Detroit Tigers in five games. In that series Brown pitched in only Game Five, winning 2-0.”

Has there ever been a staff like the 1907 Chicago Cubs? They had five starting pitchers with ERAs of 1.69 or lower. The team overall had an ERA+ of 144. Well, unless you count the 1906 Chicago Cubs, which finished with an ERA+ of 151 and also had five pitchers with ERAs under 2.00.

lundgren

P-Carl Lundgren, Chicago Cubs, 27 Years Old

18-7, 1.17 ERA, 84 K, .106, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 23 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-5.652

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

Adj. Pitching Runs-29

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.5

1st Time All-Star-Carl Leonard Lundgren was born on February 16, 1880 in Marengo, IL. He started with the Cubs in 1902 and finished with them in 1909. In the stretch from 1906-08 when the Cubs made three straight World Series, Lundgren never pitched in the postseason. This season, Lundgren finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3); second in ERA (1.17), behind teammate Jack Pfiester (1.15); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (213), behind Pfiester’s 216.

Wikipedia says of him, “Lundgren played football and baseball for the University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign and played eight seasons of Major League Baseballas a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. In eight years with the Cubs, he compiled a record of 91 wins and 55 losses. His best season was 1907 when he won 18 games, pitched 207 innings without allowing a home run, threw seven shutouts, and gave up only 27 earned runs in 28 games. His 1.17 earned run average was the second lowest in the Major Leagues, and his average of 5.652 hits allowed per nine innings was the lowest in the Major Leagues.

“Control problems held him back from greater renown. The Atlanta Constitution in 1913 summarized Lundgren’s strengths and weaknesses: ‘He had everything including speed to burn green hickory and an assortment of curves that would keep a criptograph specialist figuring all night but he was wild as a March hare in a cyclone and couldn’t locate the plate with a field glass.’” That’s exactly the analogy I was going to use!

willis6

P-Vic Willis, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

1899 1901 1902 1903 1906

21-11, 2.34 ERA, 107 K, .136, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

6th Time All-Star-At a time where pitchers dominated the earth, with players like Cy Young and Christy Mathewson and the entire late aught’s Chicago Cubs pitching staff, Willis slips under the radar. Yet there weren’t many pitchers like Big Vic. This season, he finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5) and sixth in innings pitched (292 2/3). He still has a couple good seasons left and has a shot at the ONEHOF, the Hall of Fame I created to induct the best player every year who isn’t currently part of that Hall.

SABR says, “This time, however, the Pirates rescued the Willis from the hapless Beaneaters. Pittsburgh owner Barney Dreyfuss surrendered three players in the trade for Willis: new third baseman Dave Brain, first baseman Del Howard and pitcher Vivian Lindaman. After the trade Willis sent a letter to Dreyfuss acknowledging his unhappiness on the Beaneaters and expressing his approval of the trade, and added: ‘Don’t believe those tales you hear about my being all-in. Wait until you see me in action for your team and then form your opinion of my worth to your team. I assure you that I am delighted to be a Pirate and that I will do my best to bring another pennant to the Smoky City.’ Dreyfuss reportedly restored Willis’ $4,500 salary as well.

“Willis started strongly for his new club pitching three straight shutouts early in the 1906 season. Now with a winning franchise again, Willis would win 21 to 23 games a year over his four years with the Pirates without ever losing more than 13 while consistently pitching around 300 innings a year. During his stint with the Pirates, Willis hurled the two one-hitters of his career.”

sparks4

P-Tully Sparks, Philadelphia Phillies, 32 Years Old

1903 1905 1906

22-8, 2.00 ERA, 90 K, .034, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

4th Time All-Star-For the first time in his career, Sparks crossed the magical 20 wins barrier. He finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.9), ninth in ERA (2.00), and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (121). However, his hitting, which was never good, entered the land of putrid this year. In 89 at bats, Sparks had three singles and three walks giving him the terrifying line of .034/.075/.034 for an Adjusted OPS+ of -66. Over the course of 1907 and 1908, he would have seven hits in 166 at bats and strike out 60 times, for a combined line of .042/.097/.042, which works out to an OPS+ of -56. Those could be the two worst consecutive hitting years ever. I don’t know. I’d have to research it and that’s not going to happen.

As for his team, the Phillies, they moved up from fourth to third with an 83-64 record. Bill(y) Murray took over the reins of the team so it’s got that going for it. (Caddyshack, we salute you!) He’ll manage the team for two more seasons, so I better start researching Bill Murray quotes for the next time.

After this season, Sparks would pitch for Philadelphia three more seasons, before his Major League career ended in 1910. He didn’t have a bad career at all, you can’t complain about four All-Star teams. He finished with a 121-137 record, a 2.82 ERA, and a career WAR of 20.7. His hitting ended up costing him -4.6 in Wins Above Replacement. Sparks lived to the ripe age of 62 and died in 1937 in Anniston, AL.

rucker

P-Nap Rucker, Brooklyn Superbas, 22 Years Old

15-13, 2.06 ERA, 131 K, .155, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-George Napoleon “Nap” Rucker was born on September 30, 1884 in Crabapple, GA. I admit I’ve never heard of the man, but he’s got a great chance of entering my Hall of Fame, which is based on number of All-Star teams made multiplied by Career WAR. If the number is 300 or over, you’re in. And Rucker, despite pitching on a lot of bad teams, could do it. In this, his rookie year, Rucker finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (3.7) and eighth in innings pitched (275 1/3). He’d be a workhorse for six straight years.

Patsy Donovan managed the team again and the team finished in fifth place, again. Brooklyn had a record of 63-85 due to shoddy hitting and pitching.

Just as my Hall of Fame is based purely on stats, there is a website called the Hall of Stats which inducts players purely on their numeric merits. Well, almost, they did kick out three players who are banned from Major League baseball so then inducted three in their place. One of those was Rucker, of  which the site writes, “Rucker is interesting. He becomes the tenth player in the Hall of Stats who is not in the Hall of Fame, Hall of Merit, or any of the Personal Halls listed at the Hall of Consensus. He was a .500 pitcher (134–134) but had a sparkling 2.42 ERA for the Dodgers across ten seasons. He was a high-peak pitcher, with 45.9 WAR coming in his first seven seasons. He had two seasons over 8 WAR and two more over 7 WAR. I don’t endorse his election, but he’s another example of a player who was drastically overlooked because of his win/loss record.”

reulbach3

P-Ed Reulbach, Chicago Cubs, 24 Years Old

1905 1906

17-4, 1.69 ERA, 96 K, .175, 1 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Oh, the benefits of pitching for good teams. It helps the stats look glossier and can make pitchers look better than they really are. If you look at Reulbach and Nap Rucker, you would figure Reulbach was much more dominant. But Rucker’s teams weren’t as good which is why his record is 134-134, while Reulbach’s teams were great, helping him to a lifetime 182-106 record. Yet Rucker will most likely make my Hall, while Reulbach doesn’t have much of a chance.

But don’t let my negativity make you think Reulbach couldn’t pitcher, dear reader(s). He had another good season, finishing 10th in WAR for Pitchers (3.5), sixth in ERA (1.69), and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (148). In the World Series, he pitched three innings of relief in game one, allowing no hits and striking out two in what ended up a 3-3 tie. He then got the win in game three, allowing six hits and one run in a complete game the Cubs ended up winning 3-1.

I like this tidbit from Wikipedia: “In a 1976 Esquire magazine article, sportswriter Harry Stein published an ‘All Time All-Star Argument Starter’, consisting of five ethnic baseball teams. Reulbach was the right-handed pitcher on Stein’s Jewish team, though Reulbach was, in fact, Roman Catholic and is buried in Montclair, New Jersey’s Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Cemetery.” See, I’ve mentioned it on this webpage many times, research is hard! If the great Harry Stein (I don’t know who he is. That would require, um, research) couldn’t figure out minute details, how am I supposed to do so?

bresnahan5

C-Roger Bresnahan, New York Giants, 28 Years Old

1903 1904 1905 1906

.253, 4 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

5th Time All-Star-If you look at Bresnahan’s height and weight (five-foot-nine, 200 pounds), he’s the picture of the typical catcher. He’s Engelberg from The Bad News Bears, squat and immovable. He would represent that model for many years as the best catcher in baseball for his time. This season, Bresnahan finished ninth in Offensive WAR (3.7) and sixth in on-base percentage (.380). The Duke of Tralee always excelled in getting on base. Though I only give him a 33 percent chance of making my Hall of Fame, that’s not always accurate with catchers, so we’ll see.

Bresnahan is famous for his innovations in equipment behind the plate, but it wasn’t widely accepted at first, according to Wikipedia, which says, “On Opening Day in 1907, Bresnahan began to experiment with protective gear. Though Negro league catcher Chappie Johnson wore protective gear and Nig Clarke wore similar gear in MLB in 1905, most catchers did not wear any protective equipment. Bresnahan practiced in shin guards that are worn in cricket during spring training, and debuted them on April 11, 1907. Fans, used to seeing catchers play without protective equipment, threw snowballs on the field, and without police at the game, umpire Bill Klem called off the game, with the Giants forfeiting to the Philadelphia Phillies. The press also criticized the use of shin guards. However, other catchers began to adopt Bresnahan’s idea. Though Pittsburgh Pirates manager Fred Clarke protested Bresnahan’s gear to the league, the protest was denied and the equipment was approved.”

kling4

C-Johnny Kling, Chicago Cubs, 31 Years Old

1902 1903 1906

.284, 1 HR, 43 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-499 (6th Time)

Fielding % as C-.987 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Once Roger Bresnahan became a catcher, it was going to be difficult to be the best at the position, but Kling did his best. This season, he finished sixth in Defensive WAR (1.4) and ninth in slugging (.386). In the World Series, Kling again struggled at the plate, just like he did in 1906. He went four-for-19 (.211) with no extra base hits. It didn’t matter as the Cubs still swept the Tigers (4-0-1).

I like this from SABR: “In an era where many players could be best described as social outcasts, Kling was different. He did not smoke, chew or drink. His grandchildren say he was very kind and loved spending time with them. His eldest daughter was mascot of the Braves during the time her Daddy was manager. Some insight into Kling’s character comes from the biography of former baseball commissioner Ford Frick. In Games, Asterisks and People, Frick describes attending an exhibition game involving the Cubs in 1907 in Kendallville, Indiana. As the Cubs were walking to the ballpark, Kling asked the young Frick if he wanted to go to the game. When Frick said yes, Kling had the future baseball tsar carry his shoes. Once at the game Frick was allowed to sit near the bench and see his Cub heroes in action and hear their bench talk between innings.” Kling’s an enigma, because he didn’t have the bad habits enjoyed by people who did both of his pastimes – baseball or shooting pool. Over the years I’ve been working on this webpage, it’s rare to run into players who have stellar reputations like Kling.

chance5

1B-Frank Chance, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1903 1904 1905 1906

.293, 1 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 1B-.992

5th Time All-Star-My favorite player for a stretch of time was the Reds’ centerfielder, Eric Davis. He could steal bases, hit for power, and field with the best of them. Sure, he struck out quite a bit, but who cared about that. He was just fun to watch. Well, Davis was fun to watch when you could watch him. He was constantly injured and it hindered his career greatly.

It’s the same with Chance. He never once played over 136 games in a season and never had 600 plate appearances. But when he was in the game, there wasn’t a better first baseman for his time. This season, despite playing in only 111 games and having 382 at bats, Chance finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.7); seventh in Defensive WAR (1.0); sixth in batting (.293); third in on-base percentage (.395), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (.408) and Philadelphia leftfielder Sherry Magee (396); and seventh in steals (35).

He must have used all of that free time to devise baseball strategies, since his Cubs again won the National League crown, finishing 107-45. It was Chicago’s pitching, led by Orval Overall, which led the team to victory. The Cubs had an amazing 144 ERA+. In the Series, the Cubs tied the first game, 3-3, and then swept the Tigers, never allowing more than one run in any contest. Four pitchers threw complete victories for the team. Chance didn’t do so well, however, hitting just .154 with a double and three steals.

tenney4

1B-Fred Tenney, Boston Doves, 35 Years Old

1899 1902 1903

.273, 0 HR, 26 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,587 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 1B-149 (4th Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,587 (2nd Time)

Assists as 1B-113 (8th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.70 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 1B-11.41 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Tenney continued playing on the anemic Doves since his last All-Star team in 1903. He wasn’t great, but he was consistent. Unlike his fellow player-manager-first baseman Frank Chance, Tenney rarely sat, but was out playing almost every game. This season, he played 150 games and slashed .273/.371/.334 for an OPS+ of 122. Not bad for a 35-year-old.

Tenney had taken over managing the Doves in 1905 and the team finished seventh. Then in 1906, Boston finished last. This year, in the last year Tenney would be at the helm, they were again seventh, with a 57-91 record. The Braves could hit pretty well, with third baseman Dave Brain leading the way, but their pitching was beyond terrible. In a league with a 2.46 ERA, Boston’s was 3.33, the only National League team with an ERA above three.

Wikipedia says, “He was named manager of the team in 1905, but did not receive additional pay; he was, however, offered a bonus if the team didn’t lose money. In 1905, Tenney tried to sign William Clarence Matthews, an African-American middle infielder from Harvard University, to a contract. Tenney later retracted his offer due to pressure from MLB players. Defensively, he led the majors in errors committed by a first baseman and finished second in most putouts for any position. Tenney led the 1906 Beaneaters to a 49–102 record. For the second straight year, the Boston team lost more than 100 games.

“After a 158–295 record as manager, on December 3, 1907, Tenney was traded to the Giants, along with Al Bridwell and Tom Needham, for Frank BowermanGeorge BrowneBill DahlenCecil Ferguson and Dan McGann; the trade was called ‘one of the biggest deals in the history of National League baseball.’”

jordan

1B-Tim Jordan, Brooklyn Superbas, 28 Years Old

.274, 4 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 1B-31 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Timothy Joseph “Tim” Jordan was born on Valentine’s Day, 1879 in New York, NY, the most romantic city in the world. (Ed-checking on this). The six-foot-one, 170 pound first baseman started by playing six games for the Senators in 1901, then two games for the Highlanders in 1903, before ending up with Brooklyn in 1906. If his defense wasn’t so bad, he could have made the All-Star team last season, when he led the National League in homers with 12. This season, Jordan finished eighth in Offensive WAR (4.0), 10th in on-base percentage (.371), and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (138).

After this season, he would play three more years for Brooklyn before retiring. He again hit 12 homers in 1908 and also led the NL in strikeouts with 74. He could have probably had more success playing in another era.

Baseball Reference has a lot of tidbits about Jordan, but this one jumped out at me: “Jordan is the only player in Dodgers franchise history to lead the league in home runs more than once (1906 and 1908).” I yelled, “That can’t be true!” This is the Dodgers, arguably the most famous club in NL history. I know they’ve always been known for their pitching, but they had Duke Snider and that ball club where four different players hit 30 or more homers. But it is true. As a matter of fact, after Jordan, a Dodger has led the league in homers only four times. You could win a lot of bets with that knowledge.

evers3

2B-Johnny Evers, Chicago Cubs, 25 Years Old

1904 1906

.250, 2 HR, 51 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-3.3 

AB per SO-29.9

Assists-500 (2nd Time)

Assists as 2B-500 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Crab made his third All-Star team and was part of his second straight National League pennant-winning team. Evers finished eighth in WAR (5.3); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.3); first in Defensive WAR (3.3); and second in steals (46), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (61). In the World Series, he was outstanding, hitting .350 (seven-for-20) with two doubles and three steals in helping Chicago sweep the Series against Detroit, 4-0-1.

Just because they’re linked together in a famous poem doesn’t mean Joe Tinker and Evers were buddies. SABR says, “The mutual antipathy between Evers and his keystone partner, Tinker, was legendary. There was little love lost between them during the Cubs’ heyday, and they didn’t speak to each other off the field for decades. Some commentators dated their animosity to a highly publicized on-field brawl in 1905, but years later Evers told a different story. ‘One day early in 1907, he threw me a hard ball; it wasn’t any farther than from here to there,’ Evers claimed, pointing to a lamp about 10 feet from where he sat. ‘It was a real hard ball, like a catcher throwing to second.’ The throw bent back one of the fingers on Evers’ right hand. ‘I yelled to him, you so-and-so. He laughed. That’s the last word we had for – well, I just don’t know how long.’ Whatever the reason for their bitterness, Evers and Tinker were an impeccable defensive tandem on the diamond. ‘Tinker and myself hated each other,’ Evers admitted, ‘but we loved the Cubs. We wouldn’t fight for each other, but we’d come close to killing people for our team. That was one of the answers to the Cubs’ success.’”

brain

3B-Dave Brain, Boston Doves, 28 Years Old

.279, 10 HR, 56 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-10

Double Plays Turned as 3B-27 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-4.12 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.95 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-David Leonard “Dave” Brain was born on January 24, 1879 in Hereford, United Kingdom. He started his Major League career playing five games for the White Sox in 1901. Then on March 1, 1903, Brain was traded by Buffalo (Eastern) to the St. Louis Cardinals for Fred Hartman. He was with St. Louis from 1903-05, before, on Independence Day, 1905, he was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Pittsburgh Pirates for George McBride. Then, at the end of that season, Brain was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates with Del Howard and Vive Lindaman to the Boston Beaneaters for Vic Willis.

In 1907, Brain had his best season ever, finishing sixth in WAR Position Players (4.9), fifth in Offensive WAR (4.6), ninth in Defensive WAR (1.0), fifth in slugging (.420), and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (134). Despite that, he didn’t remain with the Doves. On May 17, 1908, he was purchased by the Cincinnati Reds from the Boston Doves. Then midseason, Brain was traded by the Cincinnati Reds with Jake Weimer to the New York Giants for Bob Spade and $5,000 before hanging it up after that season at the age of 29. He was basically a one-season wonder.

Wikipedia says, “The English-born Brain was an unreliable fielder who showed some power with his bat and good speed on the basepaths. In 1903 for the St. Louis Cardinals he stole 21 bases and hit 15 triples, including two three-triple games to become the only player in National League history to perform the feat twice in a season. But his accomplishments were overshadowed by his 67 errors – 41 at shortstop and 22 at third base.”

steinfeldt3

3B-Harry Steinfeldt, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

1903 1906

.266, 1 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star teams. 29 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-151 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.967

3rd Time All-Star-Steinfeldt was the forgotten man of the Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance infield, but kept putting up good numbers. This season, he won his second consecutive National League pennant, finishing eighth in WAR Position Players (4.6); and third in Defensive WAR (2.5), behind teammate and second baseman Johnny Evers (3.3) and teammate and shortstop Joe Tinker (2.8). In case you’re wondering, Frank Chance (1.0) was also in the top 10 in Defensive WAR. I could research and figure out if any other teams had all four infield positions in the top 10 in Defensive WAR, but we all know that’s not going to happen. Let’s just say it’s an impressive feat.

Let’s look at Steinfeldt’s incredible World Series. In game three, he went two-for-three with a double, a run, and an RBI, helping lead the Cubs to a 5-1 victory. In the clinching game five, Steinfeldt went three-for-four with a  triple and an RBI in a game the Cubs won 2-0. He finished the Series going eight-for-17 (.471) with a double and a triple.

Bleed Cubbie Blue says, “Baseball fans inclined to the romantic are frequently brought back to earth by the observation that the major-league game, at bottom, is mere entertainment. Many ballplayers have had professional careers in show business or broadcasting after their playing days, but Harry Steinfeldt did it the other way around.

“In his early childhood, his family moved to Fort Worth, Texas. The details seem lost to history, but he spent several years as a juvenile performer with a traveling minstrel show.”

devlina4

3B-Art Devlin, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1904 1905 1906

.277, 1 HR, 54 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 40 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-15

4th Time All-Star-Devlin continued to make All-Star teams as one of the best third basemen of his age. He finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.6), sixth in Offensive WAR (4.3), 10th in Defensive WAR (0.9), seventh in on-base percentage (.376), and fifth in steals (38). At a position which hasn’t had a lot of great players up to this time, Devlin consistently was at the top.

SABR says, “The man Frank Graham called ‘the greatest third baseman ever to wear a Giant uniform’ and Grantland Rice’s third baseman on his all-time Giants team, Art Devlin was born October 16, 1879, in Washington, D.C., one of several children of Edward Devlin, an Irish immigrant who made his living in Washington as a harness maker and locksmith.

“Devlin grew up in Washington and entered Georgetown University on September 13, 1899. An outstanding athlete, he starred on the football and baseball teams. Starting at halfback, he was switched to fullback to make the best use of his size (six feet tall, 175 pounds) and speed. The team did well the two seasons he played, and Georgetown football historian Morris A. Bealle named Devlin the all-time Georgetown fullback. He also stood out on the baseball team, usually playing first base, getting his share of hits, and stealing bases almost at will.”

Is he really the greatest Giants third baseman of all time? I don’t have enough information to make that call, but he certainly was one of the best at the hot corner for his time.

wagner9

SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 33 Years Old, 2nd MVP

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906

.350, 6 HR, 101 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1907 NL Batting Title (5th Time)

Wins Above Replacement-9.0 (3rd Time)

WAR Position Players-9.0 (7th Time)

Offensive WAR-9.7 (7th Time)

Batting Average-.350 (5th Time)

On-Base %-.408 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.513 (4th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.921 (5th Time)

Total Bases-264 (4th Time)

Doubles-38 (5th Time)

Stolen Bases-61 (4th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-187 (4th Time)

Runs Created-106 (5th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-51 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-6.0 (4th Time)

Extra Base Hits-58 (5th Time)

Offensive Win %-.853 (4th Time)

9th Time All-Star-Richard Wagner, who composed The Flying Dutchman, died in 1883, so there was a stretch of time in human history where the two most famous Wagners both roamed the earth. Of course, one was a VOG-ner and one was a WAG-ner. One was an incredible composer, one composed symphonies on the diamond. You don’t hear either of them talked about much today because such is life. We tend to be interested in what’s happening now. It’s the good thing about doing this page, because I’m reminded of the greats of the past and can see the evolution of the great game from the beginning.

Honus Wagner would get lots of comparisons with Ty Cobb over the years, because they were the two best players of their respective leagues. However, Cobb is making his first All-Star team this year, while the Flying Dutchman has nine already. Wagner is already 33 years old, while Cobb is 20. Both should garner praise for putting up monster numbers in the Deadball Era. Or as Wikipedia says, “Although Cobb is frequently cited as the greatest player of the dead-ball era, some contemporaries regarded Wagner as the better all-around player, and most baseball historians consider Wagner to be the greatest shortstop ever. Cobb himself called Wagner ‘maybe the greatest star ever to take the diamond.’ Honus Wagner is also the featured player of one of the rarest and most valuable baseball cards in existence.” By WAR, Cobb leads Wagner, 151.1-131. I would have much preferred seeing Wagner play over the surly Detroit centerfielder.

magee3

LF-Sherry Magee, Philadelphia Phillies, 22 Years Old

1905 1906

.328, 4 HR, 85 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. A sure thing)

 

Led in:

 

Runs Batted In-85

3rd Time All-Star-At the age of 22, Magee made his third All-Star team, continuing to be one of the league’s best players. He finished fourth in WAR (6.9); second in WAR Position Players (6.9), behind only Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (9.0); second in Offensive WAR (6.1), again behind only Wagner (9.7); second in batting (.328), behind guess-who (.350); second in on-base percentage (.396), behind only the Flying Dutchman (.408); second in slugging (.455), behind, well, now this is getting ridiculous! (.513); second to Wagner (61) in steals (46); and second to him (187) in Adjusted OPS+ (169). If the only one you’re losing out to is the great Pittsburgh shortstop, you have nothing to cry about.

I purposely have two Hall of Fames, the ONEHOF, designed to be small and admit just one player a year, and Ron’s Hall of Fame, meant to be broader. As Joe Posnanski would say, I have small Hall and a big Hall. Still, it’s surprising to me looking at Magee’s stats in the era in which he played that he’s not in the real Hall of Fame. He’s definitely going to make Ron’s HOF and also has a shot at making the ONEHOF.

His temper certainly didn’t help his case. SABR has this from the Philadelphia Times: “’That he is one of the most hot-headed players in either big league is admitted; it couldn’t be denied, because the records, showing how often he has been suspended for scrapping with the umpires, speak for themselves.’”

clarke7

LF-Fred Clarke, Pittsburgh Pirates, 34 Years Old

1895 1897 1901 1902 1903 1906

.289, 2 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as OF-.987

7th Time All-Star-Is Cap Clarke the greatest player-manager in baseball history? He was outstanding in the field and his team consistently contended for the National League pennant. On the field this year, Clarke finished ninth in WAR (5.2), fifth in WAR Position Players (5.2), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.3), eighth in batting (.289), fifth in on-base percentage (.383), eighth in slugging (.389), sixth in steals (37), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (141).

Clarke’s team, the Pirates, moved up from third to second with a 91-63 record. No team was going to best the Cubs during this time. Pittsburgh had great hitting, led by shortstop Honus Wagner, and good pitching, led by Vic Willis, but still finished 17 games behind the Cubs.

According to a book, Fred Clarke: A Biography of the Baseball Hall of Fame Player-Manager, written by Ronald T. Waldo, the leftfielder had no intentions of playing in the field during the season. Waldo wrote, “After the [1906] season, Clarke and [Barney] Dreyfuss (the Pittsburgh owner) had a falling out when Fred refused to join the Pirates on a barnstorming tour. The Pittsburgh magnate wanted all of his players to play exhibition games until their contracts ran out on October 15. Clarke didn’t have the slightest intention of doing this. He was heading home to Kansas for the winter. Fred Clarke was still unsigned and many Pittsburgh patrons believed this little disagreement meant that he wouldn’t be back in 1907.” It looks like a good book and you can see more of it at the link. Spoiler alert! He played in 1907.

leach3

CF-Tommy Leach, Pittsburgh Pirates, 29 Years Old

1902 1904

.303, 4 HR, 43 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.69

3rd Time All-Star-It’s been three years but Leach is back on the All-Star team. Last time he made the team, he was a third baseman. In 1905, he played mainly in the outfield, then switched back to playing primarily at third in 1906. This year, he played mostly in centerfield, but next year, he’ll be back to third. In 1909, centerfield will become his main position for the rest of his career.

This season, Leach finished seventh in WAR (5.4); third in WAR Position Players (5.4), behind teammate and shortstop Honus Wagner (9.0) and Philadelphia leftfielder Sherry Magee (6.9); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.9); fourth in batting (.303); sixth in on-base percentage (.404); fourth in steals (43); and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (136).

SABR says, “Though standing just 5′ 6″ and weighing as little as 135 pounds at the start of his career, ‘Wee’ Tommie Leach was nonetheless one of the better ‘power’ hitters of the first decade of the 20th century. Over the course of a 19-year career in the National League, Leach finished in the top ten six times each in triples, home runs and total bases. Years later, at a dinner in Florida, he explained his surprising long ball proficiency: ‘Sometimes they played me right in back of the infield. Every so often, I’d manage to drive a ball between the outfielders and it would roll to the fence. I was pretty fast, and by the time they ran the ball down and got it back to the infield, I’d be home. I don’t ever recall getting a home run on a ball that hit outside of the park.’” He actually hit 14 of his 63 homers over the fence.

beaumont3

CF-Ginger Beaumont, Boston Doves, 30 Years Old

1902 1903

.322, 4 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits-187 (4th Time)

Singles-150 (4th Time)

Double Plays Turned as OF-12 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-After great years in 1902 and 1903, off years and injuries kept Beaumont from making the All-Star team three straight years. After the 1906 season, he was Traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates with Patsy Flaherty and Claude Ritchey to the Boston Beaneaters for Ed Abbaticchio. It was a good trade for Boston as Beaumont came back to have a good season this year. He finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.5); third in Offensive WAR (5.1), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (9.7) and Philadelphia leftfielder Sherry Magee (6.1); third in batting (.322), behind Wagner (.350) and Magee (.328); fourth in slugging (.424); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (149), behind Wagner (187) and Magee (169). I wonder how often a player who finished first in singles finished in the top four in slugging. I’ll get my crack research team right on that.

Wikipedia says, “Nicknamed ‘Ginger’ for his thick red hair, he used his excellent speed to great advantage; on the day before his 23rd birthday in his rookie season, he had six infield singles and became the first player to score six runs in a game. He was also the first player in major league history to lead his league in hits three consecutive years, which has been accomplished by only five others; he led the NL in hits a fourth time with the 1907 Braves.” You can’t trust Wikipedia. The team is the Doves at this time, not the Braves. They’ll become the Rustlers in 1911 and finally the Braves in 1912.

seymour6

CF-Cy Seymour, New York Giants, 34 Years Old

1899 1903 1904 1905 1906

.294, 3 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

6th Time All-Star-Well, I put Seymour in an early grave, giving his death details in 1906, not thinking he would make his fifth consecutive All-Star season this year. But I’m pretty sure this year will be his last time on this list. He finished fifth in batting (.294), seventh in slugging (.400), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (132). He never put together another season close to his outstanding 1905 campaign, but he was always among the league’s best hitters.

Seymour was part of one of the most famous plays in baseball history, as described by Wikipedia, which states, “Seymour finished fifth in the NL in batting average (.294) for the 1907 season. However, an ankle injury prematurely ended his season. His batting average declined to .267 for the 1908 season. That year, he participated in one of baseball’s most infamous plays, known as Merkle’s Boner, in which the Giants lost the pennant to the Chicago Cubs. In the replayed game between the Giants and Cubs, Giants pitcher Christy Mathewson reportedly waved Seymour to move further back in the outfield; Seymour refused, only to see the ball hit over his head, allowing the Cubs to score three runs on their way to the win. Mathewson later denied waving Seymour back, saying Seymour ‘knew the Chicago batters as well as [he] did and how to play them.’

The New York World listed Seymour as one of the best players in baseball, along with Mathewson, Ed WalshHonus WagnerNap Lajoie, and Roger BresnahanElmer Flick insisted that Seymour was the toughest pitcher he batted against, saying he ‘was practically unhittable’ and that Seymour ‘had a wonderful control of his curve ball.’”

4 thoughts on “1907 National League All-Star Team

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