1908 American League All-Star Team

P-Ed Walsh, CHW

P-Cy Young, BOS

P-Addie Joss, CLE

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Rube Vickers, PHA

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Jack Powell, SLB

P-Bill Donovan, DET

P-Bob Rhoads, CLE

P-Tom Hughes, WSH

C-Gabby Street, WSH

C-Boss Schmidt, DET

1B-George Stovall, CLE

2B-Nap Lajoie, CLE

2B-Jimmy Williams, SLB

3B-Hobe Ferris, SLB

SS-Bobby Wallace, SLB

SS-George McBride, WSH

LF-Matty McIntyre, DET

LF-George Stone, SLB

CF-Sam Crawford, DET

CF-Fielder Jones, CHW

CF-Charlie Hemphill, NYY

RF-Ty Cobb, DET

RF-Doc Gessler, BOS

 

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P-Ed Walsh, Chicago White Sox, 27 Years Old, MVP

1906 1907

40-15, 1.42 ERA, 269 K, .172, 1 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-10.5

WAR for Pitchers-10.1 (2nd Time)

Wins-40

Win-Loss %-.727

Games Pitched-66 (2nd Time)

Saves-6 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-464.0 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-269

Games Started-49 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-42 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-11 (2nd Time)

Hits Allowed-343

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-4.804

Batters Faced-1,755 (2nd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.42

Adj. Pitching Runs-45 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.5 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as P-66 (2nd Time)

Putouts as P-41

Assists as P-190 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-4.48 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-If you ever want to see a pitcher win 40 games, you’re going to have a take a time machine back to 1908, which is the last year in which it was done. Walsh had his best season ever, finishing first in WAR (10.5); first in WAR for Pitchers (10.1); third in ERA (1.42), behind Addie Joss (1.16) and Cy Young (1.26); first in innings pitched (464); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (162), trailing Joss (204) and Young (193). Along with the last season any pitcher would win 40 games, it would also be the last year anyone pitched 400 or more innings.

Walsh wanted the workload given to him, according to SABR, which stated, “In 1908 Walsh put together his masterpiece, compiling 40 wins against just 15 losses, a 1.42 ERA, including a league record-breaking 11 shutouts, and 464 innings pitched. Pushing himself to the limit, during one nine-day stretch Walsh pitched five times, including a four-hitter on October 2 that he lost to Addie Joss, who threw a perfect game. Walsh’s pitching kept the White Sox in the American League’s thrilling four-way pennant race until the last day of the season, and the club finished in third place, 1½ games behind the front-running Detroit Tigers. For the season, Walsh struck out 269 batters, a career best, and walked only 56 men, giving him the fourth lowest walk rate in the majors that year.

“Not surprisingly, at the time Walsh’s spitball was considered the most effective pitch in baseball. Walsh disguised the pitch by going to his mouth before every delivery, regardless of what he was going to throw. When he did throw the spitter, according to Alfred Spink he moistened a spot on the ball between the seams an inch square.”

young17P-Cy Young, Boston Red Sox, 41 Years Old

1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907

21-11, 1.26 ERA, 150 K, .226, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

17th Time All-Star-Since I believe this is Young’s final All-Star team, let’s compile a couple of lists. First, here’s a list of players who have made the most All-Star teams thus far (WAR is total career WAR, even if they are still active):

  1. Cy Young, 17 All-Star Teams, 168.5 WAR
  2. Cap Anson, 17, 93.8 WAR
  3. Roger Connor, 13
  4. Kid Nichols, 12, 116.5 WAR
  5. Dan Brouthers, 12, 78.3 WAR
  6. Jim O’Rourke, 12, 51.5 WAR
  7. Tim Keefe, 11, 86.7 WAR
  8. George Davis, 11, 84.3 WAR
  9. Jack Glasscock, 11, 61.5 WAR
  10. Honus Wagner, 10, 131.0 WAR
  11. Bobby Wallace, 10, 76.3 WAR
  12. Bill Dahlen, 10, 75.2 WAR
  13. Billy Hamilton, 10, 63.3 WAR
  14. Mickey Welch, 10, 63.1 WAR
  15. Bobby Mathews, 10, 55.1 WAR
  16. Harry Stovey, 9, 44.9 WAR

Here are top players by All-Star teams by position:

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Fred Dunlap, Bid McPhee, Cupid Childs, Nap Lajoie, 7

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Jack Glasscock, 11

LF-Ed Delahanty, 9

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Thompson, Elmer Flick, 7

Young’s Boston team switched from being the Americans to its modern nickname, the Red Sox. They rose from seventh to fifth under the guidance of Deacon McGuire (53-62) and Fred Lake (22-17), finishing with a 75-79 record.

Cyclone finished with 511 wins. SABR says of the end of his life: “Despite his frugal habits and status as a baseball legend, Young was beset by financial problems late in life. In 1935 he traveled to Augusta, Georgia, where he joined a group of baseball veterans looking to make some money during the Great Depression by playing exhibition games. When this venture failed, Young returned to Ohio, where he found work as a clerk in a retail store in Newcomerstown and lived with a local couple, John and Ruth Benedum. He was invited to, and attended, reunions of old-timers around the country. He was still living with the Benedums when he died of a coronary occlusion on November 4, 1955, at the age of 88. He was buried in Peoli Cemetery. The next year, baseball instituted the pitching award that bears his name.”

joss4

P-Addie Joss, Cleveland Naps, 28 Years Old

1905 1906 1907

24-11, 1.16 ERA, 130 K, .155, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

1908 AL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-1.16 (2nd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-0.806 (2nd Time)

Hits per 9 IP-6.425

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.831

Adjusted ERA+-204

4th Time All-Star-Every time I write about Joss it saddens me, because I see his greatness, but also know he had a short career due to dying young. This season was his magnum opus, as he finished third in WAR (8.4), behind Ed Walsh (10.5) and Cy Young (10.0); third in WAR for Pitchers (8.1), trailing Walsh (10.1) and Young (9.6); first with a miniscule 1.16 ERA; second in innings pitched (325.0), behind Big Ed Walsh (464); and first with a dazzling 204 Adjusted OPS+.

This was the year of his perfect game, of which Wikipedia has details, saying, “On October 2, 1908, Addie Joss pitched a perfect game, the fourth in Major League Baseball history, and only the second in American League history. He threw it at League Park, in ClevelandOhio.

“The Naps faced future Hall of Fame pitcher Ed Walsh and recorded four hits; they were struck out by Walsh 15 times. The Naps’ Joe Birmingham scored the team’s only run, which came in the third inning. In the ninth inning, Joss retired the first two batters then faced pinch hitter John Anderson. Anderson hit a line drive that would have resulted in a double had it not gone foul. He then hit a ball to Naps third baseman Bill Bradley which Bradley bobbled before throwing to first baseman George Stovall. Stovall dug the ball out of the ground to preserve the Naps’ 1–0 lead.

“With the win, Joss recorded a perfect game, the second in American League history. He accomplished the feat with just 74 pitches, the lowest known pitch count ever achieved in a perfect game. Fans swarmed the field after the win, though the Naps would finish half a game out of first place to the Tigers.”

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P-Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics, 32 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907

14-16, 2.17 ERA, 135 K, .180, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

7th Time All-Star-I often, on this webpage, yearn for a time machine to go back and watch the All-Time greats. Would Plank have driven me crazy with his endless gestures on the mound? Probably, but, hey, if he bothered me too much, I have a time machine and I can just go back home. Plank didn’t have a good record this season, but he’s, as always, among the league’s best. He finished fifth in WAR (7.3) and fourth in WAR for Pitchers (7.1). Any team would desire to have a pitcher of his caliber.

The team that did was the Athletics, coached by Connie Mack, who is 45 years old at this time. His team went 68-85 and dropped from second to sixth place, but that would be a one year aberration, as Philadelphia would be one of the best teams in the American League over the next few seasons. The Athletics had the league’s worst hitting and also some pretty bad pitching, with the exception of Plank and Rube Vickers.

Plank would only have one more won-loss record below .500, according to SABR, which says, “The Athletics weren’t a factor in the wild pennant race of 1908, dropping to sixth place with a 68-85 slate, just a half-game ahead of Washington. Plank’s won-lost record slid with the team’s although not as far; he endured his first losing season with a 14-16 mark despite a fine ERA of 2.17. The game of September 20 shows the kind of year it was. Frank Smith of the White Sox threw the second no-hitter of his career, beating Plank, 1-0. The run scored in the bottom of the ninth when Plank was trying to walk Freddy Parent intentionally; Parent crossed things up by reaching out and swatting a sacrifice fly to short right field. As testimony of his consistency, Plank would finish with a losing record only one more time in his long career.”

vickers

P-Rube Vickers, Philadelphia Athletics, 30 Years Old

18-19, 2.21 ERA, 156 K, .160, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 111 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

Games Finished-17

1st Time All-Star-Harry Porter “Rube” Vickers was born on May 17, 1878 in St. Mary’s, Canada. The six-foot-two, 225 pound pitcher was big for his day. He only had one season in which he pitched more than 18 games and that was this one. He started with Cincinnati in 1902 and then was purchased by Brooklyn for the 1903 season. He didn’t play Major League ball again until 1907 for the Athletics, where Vickers would finish off his career after three years. This season, he finished eighth in WAR (6.1), fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.0), and fourth in innings pitched (317).

This Great Games says, “Eccentric Rube Waddell helped give the Browns a rare prominence after his tiresome Philadelphia teammates lobbied to get him traded. The A’s replaced one Rube with another in one-shot wonder Rube Vickers, who would lack Waddell’s irksome panache—but also his career stamina.”

It is indeed true the great Waddell was purchased by the St. Louis Browns from the Philadelphia Athletics. He made his last All-Star team in 1906, but still had good seasons in 1907 for Philadelphia, finishing 19-13 and in 1908 for St. Louis when he finished 19-14. Waddell finished with a career 193-143 record, 2.16 ERA, and lifetime 58.6 WAR. The other Rube, on the other hand, finished with a career 22-27 record, a 2.93 ERA, and a lifetime 2.7 WAR. Neither Rube made my Hall of Fame, but Waddell made Cooperstown, so that’s a good consolation prize for the nutty pitcher.

johnsonw

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 20 Years Old

14-14, 1.65 ERA, 160 K, .165, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

1st Time All-Star-Walter Perry “Barney” or “The Big Train” Johnson was born on November 6, 1887 in Humboldt, KS. The six-foot-one, 200 pound pitcher would…wait, do I really have to tell you about Walter Johnson! Probably the second greatest pitcher of all-time, he languished his whole career with the Washington Senators, whose motto was, “First in war, first in peace, last in the American League.” He would finally make a World Series in 1924 when he was 36 years old. This season, Johnson finished 10th in WAR (5.6), sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.1), fifth in ERA (1.65), and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (138). All of that in his second year as a 20-year-old.

His first manager was Joe Cantillon, who led Washington from its typical last place position in 1907 to seventh place in 1908 with a 68-84 record. Washington actually hit pretty well, led by shortstop George McBride. It was its pitching which lacked, but once The Big Train starts motoring down the track, that will change.

Johnson grew up in my area, according to Wikipedia, which says, “Soon after he reached his fourteenth birthday, his family moved to California’s Orange County in 1902. The Johnsons settled in the town of Olinda, a small oil boomtown located just east of Brea. In his youth, the young Johnson split his time among playing baseball, working in the nearby oil fields, and going horseback riding.[6] Johnson later attended Fullerton Union High School where he struck out 27 batters during a 15-inning game against Santa Ana High School.”

powell3

P-Jack Powell, St. Louis Browns, 33 Years Old

1897 1902

16-13, 2.11 ERA, 85 K, .236, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Every five years or so, Powell makes another All-Star team. Since last making it in 1902, he pitched for St. Louis in 1903, the Highlanders in 1904-05, and then St. Louis again starting in 1905, with which he would finish up his career in 1912. He definitely deserves a sniff at my Hall of Fame, but if Rube Waddell didn’t make it, Powell doesn’t get to make it. This season, he finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.4), pitching his usual consistent year.

SABR wraps up his career nicely, stating, “Jack Powell, a stocky righthander who pitched for the St. Louis Browns in ten of his 16 major league seasons, was labeled a ‘nothing’ pitcher because neither his fastball nor his curve impressed many people. He threw the ball with an easy sidearm motion that caused many fans to say, ‘I could hit Jack Powell,’ but his delivery put little strain on his arm and helped him earn a reputation as a workhorse. Powell led the National League with 40 complete games in 1899, and pitched more than 300 innings in six of seven seasons from 1898 to 1904. He played much of his career for mediocre teams, but won nearly 250 major league games by changing speeds, hitting the corners, and trusting his defense to make plays behind him. He lost more games than he won and never played for a pennant winner, but made a valuable contribution to pitching staffs that included such Hall of Famers as Cy Young, Rube Waddell, and Jack Chesbro.”

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P-Bill Donovan, Detroit Tigers, 31 Years Old

1901 1903 1907

18-7, 2.08 ERA, 141 K, .159, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-Donovan was proof it was easier to pitch on good teams rather than bad ones. Not that he wasn’t a good pitcher, he certainly was, but it didn’t hurt being on the American League champs. Donovan finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.6) and in the World Series, he struggled, losing two games while pitching 17 innings and allowing eight earned runs for a 4.24 ERA.

Of course, without Donovan, Detroit wouldn’t have made the Series at all. Hughie Jennings led the team to a 90-63 record, beating Cleveland by half-a-game and the White Sox by one-and-a-half games. Due to the rules of the day, Detroit didn’t have to make up the one less game they played less than the Naps. On Sept. 24, the Tigers were two-and-a-half games out of first, but after that put together a 10-game winning streak to take the crown.

SABR wraps up his season, saying, “Donovan was brilliant again in 1908. He started late again, was suspended twice for umpire-baiting, but still won 18 of 25 decisions, including six by shutout, posted a 2.08 ERA, and issued just 53 walks in 242 2/3 innings. He pitched 25 complete games, though he was ejected on five occasions. He was 8-1 against the other three pennant contenders in one of baseball’s greatest races, and he shut out the White Sox on the final day of the season in a winner-take-all match to clinch the AL flag. In the World Series, he lost twice to Chicago’s Orval Overall, who allowed just one run in 18 innings, and the Tigers fell four games to one.”

rhoads2

P-Bob Rhoads, Cleveland Naps, 28 Years Old

1906

18-12, 1.77 ERA, 62 K, .222, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 24 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

2nd Time All-Star-After not making the All-Star team in 1907, Rhoads came back this season with his best season ever. He finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.2), eighth in ERA (1.77), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (134). He would pitch one more season in 1909 before giving up the game after that. He’s one of these rare 1900s players still alive at the same time as me, as he died on February 12, 1967 at the age of 87.

SABR writes, “In the midst of the 1908 pennant race, Sporting Life declared that ‘Robert S. Rhoades of Cleveland is one of the most dependable of modern pitchers. … His habits are good, his conduct exemplary, and in all ways is he a credit to his club and profession.’ Embodied in this passage are two hallmarks of our subject’s career: (1) a variant, one of many published, of the Rhoads name, and (2) the almost universally favorable treatment that Rhoads received on the sports page. The good press, however, was not undeserved. For most of his eight-season major-league career, Rhoads was a dependable pitcher and occasionally an outstanding one.

“Rhoads encored as special World Series correspondent for the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1908, chronicling the Cubs’ second consecutive postseason triumph over Detroit. The paper’s sports page also made good use of Rhoads himself as copy during offseason down time. A March 1909 profile, complete with a photo of a rakishly-dressed Robert Bruce Rhoades, informed readers that he ‘assays pompadour hair and noisy raiment, but his friends do not hold that against him. … Loaded down with a bobtailed spring overcoat, tan shoes, red socks and a fashionable cigarette, Mr. Rhoades makes a picture for the society page.’”

hughes2

P-Tom Hughes, Washington Senators, 29 Years Old

1905

18-15, 2.21 ERA, 165 K, .195, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 16 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-11

2nd Time All-Star-Hughes didn’t make this list in 1906 or 1907, but had his best season ever this year. He finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.1) though in his next four seasons for Washington, he’d be in the shadow of The Big Train. He’s also probably made his last All-Star team. SABR wraps up his life and career, stating, “Long Tom Hughes mixed a happy-go-lucky lifestyle with a Chicago-tough pitching moxie. Tall for his time at 6’1″, he stayed at about 175 pounds throughout his career. A heavy smoker and drinker, he took no particular care of his body, yet managed to stay in the major leagues until nearly age 35, and in the semi-pro ranks past age 40. Hughes loved being on the mound, at the center of the game. He had an outstanding drop curveball, a good change of pace that helped his fastball, and a rubber arm. After throwing 200 or more innings every year from 1903 to 1908, Hughes’s arm finally gave out, and he spent the 1910 season in the minors. Yet, in this age before reconstructive surgery, Hughes then succeeded in doing what few pitchers of his era could: he came back from a lame arm, and pitched three more seasons in the major leagues, winning 28 games for the Senators from 1911 to 1913. ‘Prize fighters might not be able to come back,’ Alfred Spink observed prophetically in 1910, ‘but good, old, sturdy, big-hearted athletes like the grand old man, Hughes, can.’”

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C-Gabby Street, Washington Senators, 25 Years Old

.206, 1 HR, 32 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 74 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-578

Double Plays Turned as C-14

1st Time All-Star-Charles Evard “Gabby” or “Old Sarge” Street was born on September 30, 1882 in Huntsville, AL. He started his career playing a handful of games for the 1904 Reds and then after playing a couple of games for them in 1905, he was loaned to the Boston Beaneaters by the Cincinnati Reds. Boston used him only for three games before paying back the loan on June 15. He ended playing 29 more games for Cincinnati. After that season, he was purchased by San Francisco (PCL) from the Cincinnati Reds. Street would be out of the majors until this year when he finally had a good season for Washington. Street finished ninth in Defensive WAR with a 1.2 mark. Old Sarge would do the same in 1909.

He was part of a stunt this season, as Wikipedia reports, “However, on August 21, 1908, Street achieved a measure of immortality by catching a baseball dropped from the top of the Washington Monument—a distance of 555 feet (169 m). After muffing the first twelve balls thrown by journalist Preston Gibson, he made a clean reception of number thirteen. In addition, Street was fabled as an early catcher and mentor of the American League‘s nonpareil right-handed pitcher, Walter Johnson.”

I know it is difficult to rate catchers and gauge how effective they were long term, but it’s still surprising to me Street garnered some Hall of Fame interest. He actually received Hall of Fame votes in 1937, 1938, and 1953. This is for a man who only played 504 total games and finished with a .208 batting average.

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C-Boss Schmidt, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

.265, 1 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 69 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as C-184

Errors Committed as C-37 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-134

Caught Stealing as C-129

1st Time All-Star-Charles “Boss” Schmidt was born on September 12, 1880 in London, AR. He started his career as a catcher in 1906 for Detroit and would finish it in 1911. In the 1907 World Series, Schmidt hit .167 (two-for-12) and this season was even worse, getting just one hit in 14 at-bats. Spoiler alert! Next season won’t be much better as he hit .222. Still he was an important member of these Tigers, which won three consecutive American League pennants.

Phil Williams of SABR writes, “’It’s a thankless job, this catching business,’ sighed Charley Schmidt in 1908. The stocky Tiger was not one of the era’s more dexterous backstops, but instead demonstrated an often overlooked physical bravery in helping his team to three memorable American League pennants. Yet, more so than many of his Detroit teammates, Schmidt is better remembered for the three unfortunate World Series which followed, when the best of his game abandoned him.

“After off-season ankle surgery, Schmidt reported to spring training in Augusta, Georgia. On March 16, Cobb became involved in a physical altercation with a black groundskeeper, then the groundskeeper’s wife. Schmidt objected to Cobb’s treatment of the woman, and the two engaged in a few blows, before being separated by Jennings.

“Schmidt and Cobb squared off again on March 29. The catcher was allegedly offended by comments Cobb made to a Georgia newspaper about his abilities to out-fight any of his teammates. If so, Schmidt convincingly settled the matter by pummeling Cobb, leaving the Georgian a bloody mess.”

stovall

1B-George Stovall, Cleveland Naps, 30 Years Old

.292, 2 HR, 45 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 22 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as 1B-79 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.990

1st Time All-Star-George Thomas “Firebrand” Stovall was born on November 23, 1877 in Leeds, MO. The six-foot-two, 180 pound first baseman started with Cleveland in 1904, but this was his best year ever in a league with a scarcity of good players at his position. Stovall finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.2), seventh in batting (.292) and seventh in slugging (.380). Not exactly the numbers that come to mind when you think of first basemen, but not bad for the era in which he played.

Firebrand would remain with Cleveland through 1911. After that, he was traded by the Cleveland Naps to the St. Louis Browns for Lefty George. Before the 1914 season, he jumped to the Federal League and played two seasons with the Kansas City Packers.

Stovall played alongside Nap Lajoie for years, but wasn’t thrilled with how he coached the team. SABR says, “Stovall played beside Nap Lajoie, the eponymous manager of the team. In later years, Stovall praised Lajoie’s hitting, but added “He wasn’t what I would call a good manager. ‘Bout all he’d ever say was “let’s go out and get them so-and-so’s today.” He knew he could do his share but it didn’t help the younger fellows much.’ Stovall also criticized Nap’s lack of on-field managing savvy, including not having any signs worth mentioning.

“Despite his protests, spitting on an umpire, and hurling a chair at his manager, George Stovall was not called Firebrand until he became the feared incarnation of the upstart Federal League. The firebrand was ‘the red symbol of insurrection and anarchy,’ and the papers of late 1913 and early 1914 were full of rumors of Stovall scouring the country for baseball talent that could be taken from the two established leagues.”

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2B-Nap Lajoie, Cleveland Naps, 33 Years Old, 1908 ONEHOF Inductee

1897 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1906 1907

.289, 2 HR, 74 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-7.9 (6th Time)

Games Played-157

AB Per SO-29.1

Def. Games as 2B-156 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 2B-450 (5th Time)

Assists as 2B-538 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 2B-78 (5th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.32 (7th Time)

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.33 (6th Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.964 (5th Time)

9th Time All-Star-When I created the One-A-Year Hall of Fame, it was the Hall of Fame which would only induct the greatest players, the ones whose names would be instantly recognizable. In other words, the ONEHOF was created to honor players like Napoleon Lajoie and, what do you know!, he’s the 1908 inductee. Next year’s nominees are Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Fred Clarke, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, Joe McGinnity, Christy Mathewson, Eddie Plank, and Vic Willis.

Lajoie also this year tied for most All-Star teams at second base. For the complete list, check out the Cy Young blurb.

This season was also the closest a Nap Lajoie-managed team came to winning the pennant, as the Naps finished half-a-game behind Detroit. When you have Larry on your team, you’ll always be able to hit and Cleveland certainly could, but it was actually its pitching which carried Lajoie’s squad, led by Addie Joss.

In 1908, Lajoie finished fourth in WAR (7.9); first in WAR Position Players (7.9); third in Offensive WAR (5.2), behind Detroit sluggers Ty Cobb (6.4) and Sam Crawford (6.1); third in Defensive WAR (2.6), trailing St. Louis shortstop Bobby Wallace (3.3) and Washington shortstop George McBride (2.6); eighth in batting (.289); 10th in on-base percentage (.352); ninth in slugging (.375); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (137). It wasn’t a typical Lajoie season offensively, but as always, Nap’s glove added value to his game.

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2B-Jimmy Williams, St. Louis Browns, 31 Years Old

1899 1901 1903 1906

.236, 4 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-When you’re Scottie Pippen to Michael Jordan or even Bill Dahlen to Honus Wagner, you can be forgotten. Who was the best second baseman in the early days of the American League? Easy, you say, Nap Lajoie. Ding, ding, ding! Yes, you are correct. Who was the second best at the position? Unless you follow the game voraciously, you probably wouldn’t come up with Jimmy Williams.

Yet here he is, making his fifth All-Star team and I thought he was done making them five years ago.

Since the last time he made the list in 1906, Williams played one more year for New York in 1907 and then was traded by the New York Highlanders with Hobe Ferris and Danny Hoffman to the St. Louis Browns for Fred GladeCharlie Hemphilland Harry Niles. He would finish his career in 1909, playing one last year for the Browns.

Against his old mates, SABR reports, “When the Browns reached New York for their first 1908 visit in late May, the revamped Yankees were clutching first place. The former captain was warmly greeted with gifts and dollars. Adrenalin flowing, he then proceeded to destroy his old friends. In a three-game sweep Williams hit for a collective ‘cycle’ (7 for 12) beating reliever Doc Newton, Chesbro and Al Orth. St. Louis continued to play great into early September before finally oozing to fourth. Yet the Browns reversed their 1907 record to 83-69. It remained the franchise-best until 1922.” They wouldn’t win a pennant until 1944.

ferris

3B-Hobe Ferris, St. Louis Browns, 33 Years Old

.270, 2 HR, 74 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-148

Putouts as 3B-222

Double Plays Turned as 3B-27

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.64

Fielding % as 3B-.952

1st Time All-Star-Albert Samuel “Hobe” Ferris was born on December 7, 1874 in Trowbridge, United Kingdom. He started with Boston in the inaugural American League year and was a second baseman from 1901-1907. He never was a good hitter, though he always had a decent glove. After the 1907 season, Ferris was Purchased by the New York Highlanders from the Boston Americans. Then he was Traded by the New York Highlanders with Danny Hoffman and Jimmy Williams to the St. Louis Browns for Fred GladeCharlie Hemphill and Harry Niles. The Browns moved him to third base where he had his best hitting season ever. Ferris finished eighth in Defensive WAR (1.4), while slashing .270/.291/.353 for an OPS+ of 109. Those were his highest batting average and on-base percentage in his career.

Here are some highlights of his career from Wikipedia: “He was a member of the Boston side that won the inaugural 1903 World Series. Despite being a gifted defensive player, Ferris committed an error in the top of the first inning of the opening game of the series, fumbling a ball hit by Pittsburgh’s Kitty Bransfield, and in doing so committed the first error in World Series history. He knocked in all of Boston’s runs in the final game, which they won 3-0.

“His first season with the Browns was the most productive of his entire career: he set new highs in OBP, batting average, and RBI and hit in 26 straight games. However, this relatively successful season with the bat proved to be something of a blip — in 1909 his numbers plummeted as he recorded the worst season of his career. Following this poor season Ferris’s contract was not renewed by the Browns.”

wallace10

SS-Bobby Wallace, St. Louis Browns, 34 Years Old

1898 1899 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907

.253, 1 HR, 60 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-3.3 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.951 (2nd Time)

10th Time All-Star-After a decade of dazzling at the game’s toughest defensive position, it’s possible Bobby Wallace has made his last All-Star team. It’s tough to say, because though his hitting is going to decline, he’ll still be a decent fielder for the next few years. This season, Wallace finished sixth in WAR (6.3); second in WAR Position Players (6.3), behind Nap Lajoie (7.9); seventh in Offensive WAR (4.1); and first in Defensive WAR (3.3). In this weak-hitting year for the American League, a .253/.327/.324 slash line will put you in the top 10 in Offensive WAR.

In 1908 and 1909, the American League teams averaged just 3.44 runs per game, the lowest total outside of 1968, in which the league averaged 3.41 runs per game. So even though the figures look low on some of the individual players who made the All-Star team this year, they are playing in the deadest year of the Deadball Era. Though 1911 and 1912 were aberrations by averaging over four runs per game, it wasn’t until 1919 when the league would start averaging over that mark for a long stretch.

Knowing these facts makes it easier to look at a season like this one from Wallace and understand why WAR would rate him so highly. If you just look at straight statistics and don’t weigh them against the competition of the time, it looks like a weak year. Also, since Wallace played so many years during this weak-hitting era, he actually is better than his stats show. I know what you’re asking. Well, what about Honus Wagner, smart guy? Yeah, well, he’s just a freak of nature.

mcbride

SS-George McBride, Washington Senators, 27 Years Old

.232, 0 HR, 34 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as SS-155

Double Plays Turned as SS-58

1st Time All-Star-George Florian McBride was born on November 20, 1880 in Milwaukee, WI. The five-foot-11, 170 pound shortstop was one of the greatest defensive shortstops of all time, but did absolutely zero with the bat. Mark Belanger, meet your predecessor. This season, McBride finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.5); and second in Defensive WAR (2.6), behind Bobby Wallace (3.3). There are questions about the accuracy of dWAR, but in eight of nine seasons, McBride would finish in the top three in that category, including four straight seasons in which he led the league.

SABR says everything I just said, but more eloquently, stating, “Like his contemporary in the National League, Mickey Doolan, George McBride was the prototypical ‘good-field, no-hit’ shortstop during the Deadball Era. Widely viewed as the best defensive shortstop in his league, McBride struggled mightily at the bat. A relatively large shortstop, standing 5’11’ and weighing 170 pounds, McBride was described in the press as an ‘aggressive, alert, and quick-witted’ fielder. He led the AL in fielding percentage five times, including four times consecutively from 1912 to 1915, and was near the lead in most other years. Meanwhile, he achieved only a .218 lifetime batting average, never exceeding .235 for a single season. He was an iron man during his days as the regular shortstop for the Washington Senators, and was recognized as one of the headiest players of his day.

“Beginning in 1908, McBride played 13 seasons with the Nats, holding down the regular shortstop position for the first nine of those years. He was considered an iron man for his time. From 1908 to 1914, he played at least 150 games a season, including every Senators game during the 1908, 1909, and 1911 seasons.”

mcintyre

LF-Matty McIntyre, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old

.295, 0 HR, 28 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Plate Appearances-678

Runs Scored-105

Singles-131

Times on Base-258

Def. Games as LF-151

Putouts as LF-330

Assists as LF-17

Double Plays Turned as LF-4

Def. Games as OF-151

Putouts as OF-329

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.30

Fielding % as LF-.977

Fielding % as OF-.977

1st Time All-Star-Matthew Martin “Matty” McIntyre was born on June 12, 1880 in Stonington, CT. The five-foot-11, 175 pounder started as an outfielder for the Athletics in 1901 and then didn’t play again in the Majors until 1904 when he joined Detroit. This was his best season ever as he finished ninth in WAR (5.9); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.9); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.8); fifth in batting (.295); second in on-base percentage (.392), behind Boston rightfielder Doc Gessler (.394); fifth in slugging (.383); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (149). In the World Series loss to the Cubs, McIntyre hit .222 with a double and three walks.

Wikipedia tells of his battles with a Tiger legend, saying, “Despite his impressive performance on the field, McIntyre may be best remembered as the leader of the ‘anti-Cobb’ clique on the Tigers during Cobb’s early years. McIntyre joined the Tigers in 1904 and was a 26-year-old starter when 18-year-old Cobb joined the team in 1905. Early in Cobb’s rookie season, Cobb went after a flyball that was clearly in McIntyre’s left field territory. By cutting in front, Cobb caused McIntyre to drop the ball, infuriating McIntyre. McIntyre was a Connecticut Yankee who had little in common with the taciturn kid from Georgia. McIntyre and his cohorts led a prolonged hazing campaign, locking Cobb out of an empty washroom, flicking food at Cobb, and nailing his shoes to the clubhouse floor. Cobb’s legendary temper only added fuel to the fire, and the McIntyre-Cobb feud continued until McIntyre was sold to the White Sox after the 1910 season. (Cobb’s feud with McIntyre is documented in Al Stump’s 1994 book, ‘Cobb: The Life and Times of the Meanest Man Who Ever Played Baseball.’)”

stone4

LF-George Stone, St. Louis Browns, 31 Years Old

1905 1906 1907

.281, 5 HR, 31 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Singles-131

Errors Committed as LF-16

Double Plays Turned as LF-4

4th Time All-Star-In last year’s blurb about Stone, an article I quoted said that Stone had a tough year. Well, it certainly wasn’t his 1906 season, but in a league in which scoring was at a minimum, it wasn’t bad. Stone finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.1), 10th in batting (.281), and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (132). I think most players would settle for a “tough” year like that. After this season, Stone would play two more seasons with the Browns before his Major League career was done. He only played six full seasons, but, in the Deadball Era, finished with a .301 career average.

SABR wraps us his career, stating, “Stone’s statistics fell off in both 1907 and 1908, though he was still an outstanding hitter. One account indicates that he contracted malaria in 1908, and Stone’s production plummeted in 1909 when he suffered an injury to his ankle. That injury cost Stone his speed, which had enabled him to beat out many infield hits. He also had problems with his arm, and ‘any time a ball was hit into his territory the opposing base runners advanced almost at will. The worry over all these things caused Stone’s batting to suffer and as a result the sensation of the American League of 1906 was a near joke in 1910.’ Stone never hit higher than .300 after 1907, and his average fell to .256 in 1910, his last season in the major leagues. Stone returned to the Milwaukee Brewers in 1911, batting .282, but injuries led him to retire from professional baseball just 12 games into the 1912 campaign. He wrote to manager Duffy ‘that he has retired from the game for good and will spend all of his future time attending to his business in Nebraska.’”

crawford6

CF-Sam Crawford, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1905 1907

.311, 7 HR, 80 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

At-Bats-591

Home Runs-7 (2nd Time)

Power-Speed #-9.5

Fielding % as CF-.970

6th Time All-Star-Every Simon needs a Garfunkel and every Hall needs an Oates and Ty Cobb had his Sam Crawford. It is no sad thing to play second fiddle to one of the greatest players of all-time and a man as good as Wahoo Sam certainly held his own. This season, he finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.1); second in Offensive WAR (6.1), behind Cobb (6.4); second in batting (.311), trailing the Georgia Peach (.324); eighth in on-base percentage (.355); second in slugging (.457), being muscled out only by his famous teammate (.475); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (160), falling short of, oh, you know, (170), and Boston rightfielder Doc Gessler (162). After having a bad World Series in 1907, he had another disappointing Fall Classic, hitting .238 with a double.

The problem with a personality as big as Cobb is eventually everything goes back to him, as evidenced by SABR, which says, “Despite, or perhaps because of, his disagreements with Cobb, Crawford remained one of the game’s most respected figures, admired for his honesty, intelligence, and endurance. ‘[Crawford] is a man of most exemplary habits, remarkable disposition, and is an example that it would be well for any man in any profession to follow,’ Detroit owner Frank Navin wrote in 1915. ‘He has always been a gentleman on and off the field. I have never had any occasion to worry in the least about his condition.’” Could have there been two different personalities than the two Detroit outfielders?

jonesf6

CF-Fielder Jones, Chicago White Sox, 36 Years Old

1901 1902 1905 1906 1907

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as CF-149

Putouts as CF-286

6th Time All-Star-There were some great player-managers at this time. Along with Jones were Fred Clarke and Frank Chance in the National League. Nap Lajoie was also a player-manager, but his managerial skills were questionable as he was never able to lead his Naps to a first place finish. This season, Jones finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.8); 10th in Offensive WAR (3.7); and seventh in on-base percentage (.366).

As for his team, the White Sox, they continued to do much with little, finishing third in the American League with an 88-64 record, just one-and-a-half games from the crown. They were still the Hitless Wonders, being the second worst hitting team in the league, and even their pitching was only middle-of-the-road. You have to give some credit to Jones’ managing.

The SABR article on Jones is very detailed and I urge you to read it all, if you have a spare hour or so. Anyway, here’s a snippet: “George Stovall said of Jones, ‘He ranks right with McGraw and Connie Mack. He had an inspiring personality and his teams played flashing, dashing, smart baseball.’ An article in the St. Louis Republic in 1908 said, ‘Few men, in fact not any, save himself and, perhaps, McGraw, are given the art of winning championship with dub players as Fielder Jones is. Other managers must have champions to win championships for them.’ The New York Times, in Jones’ obituary, had him ranked with McGraw and Mack as ‘one of the three greatest baseball managers.’”

hemphill2

CF-Charlie Hemphill, New York Highlanders, 32 Years Old

1906

.297, 0 HR, 44 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as CF-19

Errors Committed as OF-20

2nd Time All-Star-After having a mediocre 1907 season, Hemphill, now on the Highlanders, had another good season and is the only All-Star for New York. He finished sixth in Offensive WAR (4.5); fourth in batting (.297); third in on-base percentage (.374), behind Boston rightfielder Doc Gessler (.394) and Detroit leftfielder Matty McIntyre (.392); second in steals (42), trailing Chicago leftfielder Patsy Dougherty (47); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (137).

New York struggled this season, finishing last in the American League. Clark Griffith (24-32) and Kid Elberfeld (27-71) managed the team to only one of four last place finishes this esteemed franchise would have in its 105-year (as of this date) history. While its hitting definitely wasn’t up to par, its pitching absolutely stank. The AL league ERA was 2.39, while the Highlanders was at 3.16. They were the only team with an ERA above three.

SABR says, “At his best, Charlie Hemphill was a strong-armed, fleet-footed outfielder and solid hitter who drew walks. In 1910, The Sporting News’s Alfred Spink described him as ‘a cracking good batsman and when right is a hard man to beat.’ At his worst, however, Hemphill was a poor fielder known to misjudge balls in the air, and an inattentive baserunner. Hemphill’s career was also marred by several bouts with dissipation. After his major-league career was over, drinking cost him his managerial post with the Atlanta Crackers and his chance for a long career in the minor leagues. Hemphill is in the ‘All Deadball Era’ outfield for both the Browns and Yankees, reflecting a weakness of both teams.”

cobb2

RF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 21 Years Old

1907

.324, 4 HR, 108 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1908 AL Batting Title (2nd Time)

Offensive WAR-6.4 (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.324 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.475 (2nd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.842 (2nd Time)

Hits-188 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-276 (2nd Time)

Doubles-36

Triples-20

Runs Batted In-108 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-170 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-100 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-43 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-5.1 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-60

Offensive Win %-.815 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as RF-150

Putouts as RF-214

Assists as RF-23

Errors Committed as RF-14

Double Plays Turned as RF-6

Assists as OF-23 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Cobb led Detroit to its second straight league title with his second straight dazzling season. There’s no need to waste my valuable space writing about his accomplishments when you can see them so clearly above. In the World Series, which Detroit lost to Chicago, 4-0-1, Cobb did much better than in 1907, hitting .368 with a double and two steals. Unfortunately, in his long career, the Georgia Peach only has one World Series appearance left. Oh, I forgot something. His career is so outstanding that he’s already made my Hall of Fame in just his second All-Star season.

Wikipedia has a story about Cobb assaulting a black groundskeeper in 1907, but some people believe Detroit catcher Boss Schmidt made it up. It’s too long to print here, but you can see it for yourself at the link. The free internet encyclopedia also says, “In September 1907, Cobb began a relationship with The Coca-Cola Company that lasted the remainder of his life. By the time he died, he held over 20,000 shares of stock and owned bottling plants in Santa Maria, CaliforniaTwin Falls, Idaho, and Bend, Oregon. He was also a celebrity spokesman for the product. In the offseason between 1907 and 1908, Cobb negotiated with Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina, offering to coach baseball there ‘for $250 a month, provided that he did not sign with Detroit that season’. This did not come to pass, however.

“The following season, the Tigers finished ahead of the Chicago White Sox for the pennant. Cobb again won the batting title with a .324 average, but Detroit suffered another loss in the World Series. In August 1908, Cobb married Charlotte (‘Charlie’) Marion Lombard, the daughter of prominent Augustan Roswell Lombard. In the offseason, the couple lived on her father’s Augusta estate, The Oaks, until they moved into their own house on Williams Street in November 1913.”

gessler

RF-Doc Gessler, Boston Red Sox, 27 Years Old

.308, 3 HR, 63 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.394

Fielding % as RF-.950

1st Time All-Star-Henry Homer “Doc” or “Brownie” Gessler was born on December 23, 1880 in Greensburg, PA. The five-foot-10, 180 pound rightfielder started with Detroit and Brooklyn in 1903, continued to play with the Superbas through 1906; got traded to the Cubs that season and then took 1907 off. This was his best season ever as he finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.6); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.6); third in batting (.308), behind Detroit outfielders Ty Cobb (.324) and Sam Crawford (.311); first in on-base percentage (.394); third in slugging (.423), trailing only Cobb (.475) and Crawford (.457); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (162), lagging behind only the Georgia Peach (170).

SABR says, “John I. Taylor chose to rename his team in December 1907, and the Boston Red Sox were born. Taylor had also planned a major shakeup of the team, looking ahead to 1908, so there were a number of moves such as acquiring Gessler. Once the season began, Gessler accomplished something that can never be taken away: He became the first man wearing a Red Sox uniform to hit a home run in a regular-season game, on April 23 in Washington, with two outs in the top of the fourth inning. Doc Gessler drove a liner to deep left-center and rounded the bases before the ball could be relayed home. It was one of 14 homers hit by the team that first year as the Red Sox. Gessler’s three home runs led the Red Sox in 1908. Yes, three. He also led the American League in on-base percentage, with a .394 mark, built on a .308 average, 51 bases on balls, and getting hit 11 times. No one else on the Red Sox hit any higher than .279 as the team finished in fifth place.”

2 thoughts on “1908 American League All-Star Team

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