1911 National League All-Star Team

P-Nap Rucker, BRO

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Pete Alexander, PHI

P-Babe Adams, PIT

P-Lefty Leifield, PIT

P-Rube Marquard, NYG

P-Bobby Keefe, CIN

P-Earl Moore, PHI

P-Lew Richie, CHC

P-George Suggs, CIN

C-Chief Meyers, NYG

C-Roger Bresnahan, STL

1B-Ed Konetchy, STL

1B-Fred Merkle, NYG

1B-Jake Daubert, BRO

2B-Larry Doyle, NYG

2B-Miller Huggins, STL

3B-Jim Doyle, CHC

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

SS-Buck Herzog, BSN/NYG

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, CHC

LF-Fred Clarke, PIT

CF-Johnny Bates, CIN

RF- Frank Schulte, CHC

 

rucker5P-Nap Rucker, Brooklyn Dodgers, 26 Years Old, MVP

1907 1908 1909 1910

22-18, 2.71 ERA, 190 K, .202, 1 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-8.8

War for Pitchers-8.6

5th Time All-Star-An interesting thing happened in baseball in 1911 – an MVP vote was introduced. It technically began in 1910 when Hugh Chalmers gave a car to the person with the highest batting average in baseball. After the kerfuffle that happened between Ty Cobb and Nap Lajoie (which you can read about by clicking here), Chalmers changed the format. According to the Baseball Hall of Fame page, “Then on April 4, 1911, Chalmers announced a change in the award structure. From that point on, Chalmers would give the award to the player who ‘should prove himself as the most important and useful player to his club and to the league at large in point of deportment and value of services rendered.’”

Wikipedia says, “The following season, Chalmers created the Chalmers Award. A committee of baseball writers were to convene after the season [to vote]. Since the award was not as effective at advertising as Chalmers had hoped, it was discontinued after 1914.”

So where did Nap Rucker, the best player by WAR, finish? He finished 27th. Even in these initial Most Valuable Player votes, it hurt a player to not be on a good team. He would have been my MVP.

Brooklyn, coached by Bill Dahlen, finished seventh with a 64-86 record, but it certainly wasn’t Rucker’s fault, who finished first in WAR (8.8); first in WAR for Pitchers (8.6); and fourth in innings pitched (315 2/3). I would say this was his best season ever, but next season will also be stellar as he’ll lead the league in WAR again.

mathewson10P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 30 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908 1909 1910

26-13, 1.99 ERA, 141 K, .196, 0 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1911 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.99 (4th Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.114 (3rd Time)

Hits Allowed-303 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.711 (6th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-167 (5th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.44 (7th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-42 (4th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.4 (4th Time)

Putouts as P-31

Assists as P-107 (5th Time)

Range Factor/Game as P-3.07 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as P-.986 (2nd Time)

10th Time All-Star-If baseball had its way, when people looked back at early 1900s baseball, they would not associate it with someone like Ty Cobb, an outstanding player with an ugly personality. No, it would be much better for the sport for people to think of this Christian gentleman, Mathewson. In all my research about him on the Internet, there’s nary a criticism to be found. He represented the game with dignity, unlike so many who played at this time. As the Baseball Hall of Fame says, “To a game needing a role model, Christy Mathewson was manna from heaven. As wholesome as Matty may have been, the newspapers embellished it. They said he never swore, drank, or bet (though in fact he fleeced many teammates at cards). Grantland Rice said he ‘handed the game a certain touch of class, an indefinable lift in culture, brains and personality.’ Another wrote that he ‘talks like a Harvard graduate, looks like an actor, acts like a businessman, and impresses you as an all-around gentleman.’”

Thanks to Mathewson’s pitching, New York won the pennant for the first time since 1905. In that World Series, which the Giants won, Big Six pitched three shutouts. This series wasn’t as good as he went 1-2 with a 2.00 ERA. He won the first game, allowing just one run; lost the third game, giving up three runs with one earned; and then lost the fourth game, giving up four runs in seven innings. In case you’re wondering why Mathewson pitched back-to-back games, there was a week between games three and four due to rain. Philadelphia beat New York, 4-2.

alexander

P-Pete Alexander, Philadelphia Phillies, 24 Years Old

28-13, 2.57 ERA, 227 K, .174, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-28

Hits per 9 IP-6.989

Innings Pitched-367

Complete Games-31

Shutouts-7

Batters Faced-1,440

1st Time All-Star-Grover Cleveland “Old Pete” Alexander was born on February 26, 1887 in Elba, NE. The six-foot-one, 185 pound pitcher started his Hall of Fame career with this great rookie year. He finished second in WAR (7.6), behind Brooklyn pitcher Nap Rucker (8.8); second in WAR for Pitchers (8.0), trailing Rucker (8.6); fifth in ERA (2.57); first in innings pitched (367); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (132).

His team, the Phillies, stayed in fourth with a 79-73 record. Red Dooin’s squad finished 19-and-a-half games out of first due to a lack of hitting. However, it had found their ace pitcher for many years to come.

SABR says, “Alex’s performance in 1911 is arguably the greatest season by a rookie pitcher in the twentieth century-28-13 with a 2.57 ERA. Twenty-eight wins led the league and remain the twentieth-century record for rookies. One of his biggest wins came in Boston against Cy Young in September, a one-hit 1-0 shutout. His 227 strikeouts, good for second in the league, stood as the record for rookies until Herb Score gunned down 245 for the Indians in 1955. He also led the league in complete games with 31, innings pitched with 367, and shutouts with 7 (four of them consecutive). His ERA was good enough for fifth. Pitching relief occasionally between starts, he picked up three saves. All of this came as part of a 79-73 team.” He and Christy Mathewson will be battling each other for top pitcher on these All-Star teams for years to come.

adams

P-Babe Adams, Pittsburgh Pirates, 29 Years Old

22-12, 2.33 ERA, 133 K, .252, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-1.006

1st Time All-Star-Charles Benjamin “Babe” Adams was born on May 18, 1882 in Tipton, IN. The five-foot-11, 185 pound pitcher already was famous for his three wins in the 1909 World Series. He started his career with St. Louis in 1906, then was Purchased by Louisville (American Association) from the St. Louis Cardinals. On August 13, 1907, Adams was  Purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates from Denver (Western). He didn’t pitch in the Majors in 1908, then had an impressive 1909 season including those three victories in the Fall Classic.

This season, Adams finished fourth in WAR (6.7); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.3); third in ERA (2.33), behind New York pitcher Christy Mathewson (1.99) and Chicago hurler Lew Richie (2.31); seventh in innings pitched (293 1/3); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (147), trailing only Mathewson (167).

Wikipedia says of the 1909 Series, “After going 12–3 with a 1.11 earned run average (ERA) in the 1909 regular season, his first full year, Adams became the star of the 1909 World Series after being named the surprise starter of Game 1 following a tip by National League president John Heydler that Adams’ style was similar to that of an AL pitcher against whom the Detroit Tigers had had difficulty. He won three complete game victories – each of them a six-hitter. With a shutout in Game 7, Adams became the first rookie in World Series history to start and win Game 7, which has only been repeated once in baseball history by John Lackey in 2002. He was also the only member of that team who would be on the Pirates’ World Series champions in 1925.”

leifield

P-Lefty Leifield, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

16-16, 2.63 ERA, 111 K, .235, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-16

1st Time All-Star-Albert Peter “Lefty” Leifield was born on September 5, 1883 in Trenton, IL. The skinny six-foot-one, 165 pound pitcher started with Pittsburgh in 1905 and was a consistently good pitcher. In the 1909 World Series, he lost his one start, giving up five runs in four innings. This season, his best ever, he finished sixth in WAR (6.4); sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.7); eighth in ERA (2.63); third in innings pitched (318), behind Philadelphia pitcher Pete Alexander (367) and St. Louis hurler Bob Harmon (348); and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (130).

Wikipedia states, “On July 4, 1906, in the first game of a doubleheader at Exposition Park, Leifield lost a double one-hitter to Mordecai Brown and the Chicago Cubs, 1-0 (1 of only 5 double one-hitters in major league history, 4 since 1901). Leifield had a no-hitter going into the 9th inning but gave up a run on a hit and an error. Leifield’s own single was the only hit for the Pirates. He would be the only pitcher in MLB history to lose a decision despite throwing at least nine innings with one or fewer hits and no walks allowed, until Rich Hill of the Los Angeles Dodgers gave up a walk-off home run to Josh Harrison of the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 23, 2017. Coincidently, the game was held at PNC Park, which is located near where Exposition Park once stood.” Don’t think just because Leifield didn’t make any All-Star teams before this one, he couldn’t pitch. It’s just tough to be one of the top 10 pitchers in the league.

marquard

P-Rube Marquard, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

24-7, 2.50 ERA, 237 K, .163, 1 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.774

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.682

Strikeouts-237

1st Time All-Star-Richard William “Rube” Marquard was born on October 9, 1886 in Cleveland, OH. The six-foot-three, 180 pound pitcher started with the Giants in 1908, then had his best year ever this season, finishing seventh in WAR (5.9); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.2); fourth in ERA (2.50); ninth in innings pitched (277 2/3); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (133). In the World Series, he pitched three games, starting two, and finished with a 0-1 record and 1.54 ERA.

SABR says, “In 1911, McGraw and his coach Wilbert Robinson went to work on Marquard. When he joined the Giants, he used a side-arm delivery. McGraw got Marquard to change to pitching overhand. Robinson, a former catcher who was a teammate of McGraw’s on the Baltimore Orioles, worked on getting Marquard to throw first-pitch strikes. Robby also tutored Marquard on how to mix his pitches. Marquard was soon throwing to a location, and improving on his control.

“The results were immediate. Marquard posted a 24-7 record with a 2.50 ERA in 1911. He threw a pair of one-hitters three days apart, first beating St. Louis at the Polo Grounds on August 28, striking out nine, and then coming back on September 1 at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia. Marquard struck out 10 Phillies on his way to the win.

“Marquard led the National League with 237 strikeouts in 1911. The Giants won the pennant with a record of 99-54. Christy Mathewson won 26 games, and the two pitchers combined for more than half of the Giants’ wins.”

keefeb

P-Bobby Keefe, Cincinnati Reds, 29 Years Old

12-13, 2.69 ERA, 105 K, .086, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 54 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-8

1st Time All-Star-Robert Francis “Bobby” Keefe was born on June 16, 1882 in Folsom, CA (and now I can’t stop singing Johnny Cash). The five-foot-11, 155 pound pitcher started with the New York Highlanders in 1907 and wasn’t bad, pitching 57 2/3 innings with a 2.50 ERA. However, he didn’t reach the Majors again until this season, his best ever, when he finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3). In 1912, Keefe went 1-3 with a 5.24 ERA and would be out of Major League baseball for good.

And how did my beloved Redlegs do this season? They dropped from fifth to sixth, posting a 70-83 record, 29 games out of first. Clark Griffith’s squad wasn’t terrible, just mediocre, led by its skinny pitcher from California.

Wikipedia says, “Robert Francis Keefe, known as Bobby Keefe in baseball, was born near Folsom, California in June 1882. He graduated from Santa Clara College in 1902, where he was the star baseball pitcher. He then pitched for the Sacramento Senators in 1903, the first year of the Pacific Coast League. The following year, the Solon franchise moved to Tacoma, Washington, where he had two outstanding years with the Tacoma Tigers before going to the New York Highlanders (later Yankees). After a period with the Yankees, he was released to the Montreal farm club of the Yankees. He later pitched for the Cincinnati Reds. While there, he met Margaret Carroll, who later became his wife.” He died just five days after I was born.

moore4

P-Earl Moore, Philadelphia Phillies, 33 Years Old

1901 1909 1910

15-19, 2.63 ERA, 174 K, .109, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Losses-19

4th Time All-Star-Despite leading the league in losses, Moore made his third straight National League All-Star team, but will be fading out after this. He finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.6), sixth in ERA (2.63), fifth in innings pitched (308 1/3), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (129). He’s not Hall of Fame-worthy, but for a while, he was one of the NL’s most impressive pitchers.

SABR says, “Moore’s pitching renaissance turned out to be short-lived. En route to a disappointing 15–19 record in 1911, he began to fall out of favor with Philadelphia management due to his wildness on the mound–and off it, too. Reports ran rampant that he regularly broke team rules, failed to stay in condition, and did not give his best on the mound. The Phillies tried to peddle him to various National League clubs–Chicago, Brooklyn, New York, and Pittsburgh showed interest–but to no avail. They kept him for 1912, and he was injured by a hit ball yet again, this time breaking his finger. The Phillies finally unloaded him to the Cubs in 1913, and Earl’s major league career concluded in 1914 when, at long last, he jumped to an outlaw team and league, the Buffalo Federals. He went 11–15 with a horrendous 4.30 ERA to close out his topsy-turvy ride in the big leagues at 163-154.”

I recommend you click on the SABR link to read the story of his run-in with John McGraw. I won’t spoil it for you, but involves McGraw going after Moore with a bat.

richie

P-Lew Richie, Chicago Cubs, 27 Years Old

15-11, 2.31 ERA, 78 K, .154, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Elwood Lewis “Lew” Richie was born on August 23, 1883 in Ambler, PA. The five-foot-eight, 165 pound pitcher started with the Phillies in 1906. On July 16, 1909, he was traded by the Philadelphia Phillies with Buster Brown and Dave Shean to the Boston Doves for Johnny Bates and Charlie Starr. Then on May 13, 1910, Richie was traded by the Boston Doves to the Chicago Cubs for Doc Miller. In the 1910 World Series, he pitched one inning of scoreless relief. This was his best season ever as Richie finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (5.2); second in ERA (2.31), behind New York’s Christy Mathewson (1.99); and third in  Adjusted ERA+ (143), trailing Mathewson (167) and Pittsburgh’s Babe Adams (147).

Frank Chance’s Cubs dropped to second this season, finishing seven-and-a-half games behind the Giants. This team could still hit, thanks to Frank Schulte, and still pitch, thanks to Richie, just not as good as the Giants.

You might be wondering what happened to the Chicago pitching trio of Orval Overall, Three Finger Brown, and Ed Reulbach. After years of dominating in the league, including a 1909 season in which all three had ERAs under 1.78, Overall and Reulbach slumped in 1910 and then Brown would start fading out after this year, which wasn’t bad for the limited-digit hurler. Brown went 21-11, but wasn’t good enough to make this list. For a stretch of time, no staff in baseball matched the Cubbies and their unstoppable trio of pitchers.

suggs2

P-George Suggs, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1910

15-13, 3.00 ERA, 91 K, .256, 0 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-You might never have heard of this man, but Suggs is actually in the midst of a good stretch of pitching. He made his second consecutive National League All-Star team, finishing 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.0). He was tiny, but effective, and the Reds’ best pitcher during this era.

From Baseball History Daily comes this about the lack of integration of baseball. It’s worth noting even back in the 1910s, the lack of black men in the game was being mentioned. “In 1912 The Cincinnati Times- Star‘s Sports Editor William A. Phelonquestioned why professional baseball had not become integrated:

’The prejudice against the Negro ballplayer is a strange and a deep-rooted thing in baseball circles, and all through the country, little leagues and big, from Maine to Mexico, the prejudice holds sway.  The African is barred from the places where the Indian is royally welcome and the athlete of negro blood must not presume to mingle in white baseball society.

“’Strange to say, the white ball players, even the haughty southerners like (Ty) Cobb and (George) Suggs will gladly play games against Cuban clubs, composed mostly of black men.  They will play exhibition games against Negro teams, treating the black men with the utmost cordiality and fairness, but will not tolerate Negros in their own crowds or in the white clubs of the same circuits.’”

My page here is a historical journal, so I just rate the players based on the era in which they played, but it’s incredible that from Fleet Walker in 1884 to Jackie Robinson in 1947, a whole group of men was kept from playing Major League ball due to the color of their skin.

meyers

C-Chief Meyers, New York Giants, 30 Years Old

.332, 1 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-128

Putouts as C-729 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-John Tortes “Chief” Meyers was born on July 29, 1880 in Riverside, CA. The five-foot-11, 194 pound catcher started with the Giants in 1909 and would have a decent career. This season, he finished 10th in WAR Position Players (3.7), 10th in Defensive WAR (0.9); third in batting (.332), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (.334) and Boston rightfielder Doc Miller (.333); and ninth in on-base percentage (.392). In the World Series loss to the Athletics, Meyers hit .300 (six-for-20) with two doubles. He’d have an even better Series in 1912.

Wikipedia says, “Facing elimination against the Athletics in Game 6 of the 1911 World Series, Meyers’ Giants trailed 6-1 entering the bottom of the seventh in Philadelphia. After Chief Bender opened the frame with a flyout, two singles and an error by first baseman Fred Merkle fielding a throw on a sacrifice bunt made the score 7-1. Two consecutive singles would score two further runs, then with runners at the corners, Harry Davis hit a 2-1 pitch into right-center to make it 10-1. Continuing the rally, Jack Barry hit a ground rule double into the right field crowd scoring another run and putting runners at second and third, which finally convinced John McGraw to replace his pitcher, Hooks Wiltse, having given up 7 earned runs over 2 1/3 innings. Future Hall of Famer Rube Marquard, who had gone 24-7 that year with a 2.50 ERA and a career-high 237 strikeouts, came into pitch with two runners in scoring position and his team down by ten. His third pitch was so fast and wild that it ‘dented the screen in the grand stand’. Both runners scored on the play because Meyers ‘refused to chase the ball’, instead ‘glaring at Marquard’ in obvious frustration. After a ‘heated conference’ between the battery mates near home plate, order ensued, but the next batter promptly singled off Marquard. The emotional and adrenaline-fueled Meyers then threw out the runner trying to steal second base, stopping the rally. The next batter struck out, ending the inning, although the 11-run lead would prove enough to secure a championship for Philadelphia.”

bresnahan8

C-Roger Bresnahan, St. Louis Cardinals, 32 Years Old

1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1910

.278, 3 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

8th Time All-Star-Whew! Sometimes my emotions get the best of me and I was heartbroken Bresnahan wasn’t going to make my Hall of Fame. But, lo and behold, due to his good play and a lack of good catchers in the National League, he made his eighth All-Star team, which multiplied by his Career WAR of 41.7 is over 300 and into the Hall. He honestly still has a shot at the ONEHOF, my other Hall of Fame which admits just one player per year.

Bresnahan’s team improved from seventh to fifth with a 75-74 record. It was hurt by the fact St. Louis couldn’t pitch, but they still had a record above .500.

SABR says, “In 1911 Robison died and control of the team passed to his niece, Helene Robison Britton. In one of her first interviews after claiming her inheritance, Britton told a reporter that she viewed Bresnahan as a good manager. ‘I like his system,’ she said. ‘Indeed, I adore it, even if it has not been climbing toward the first division.’ Shortly thereafter she told another reporter that ‘my great aim will be not to interfere with, but rather to further the system Mr. Bresnahan already has in effect.’ That first year under Britton’s ownership, Roger had the Cardinals in contention for most of the season before they faded to a fifth-place finish. Pleased with the club’s resurgence, Britton rewarded him with a new five-year contract worth $10,000 a year and 10 percent of the club’s profits.”

konetchy3

1B-Ed Konetchy, St. Louis Cardinals, 25 Years Old

1909 1910

.289, 6 HR, 88 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-158

Doubles-38

Putouts-1,652 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as 1B-158 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,652 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.09 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 1B-10.91 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.991 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Big Ed continued to be the National League’s best first sacker as this season he finished 10th in WAR (5.2); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.2); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.2); 10th in slugging (.433); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (132). It helps that he’s one of the game’s ironmen, playing 140 or more games for nine straight seasons.

Look at this scary story from Wikipedia, which reports, “In 1911, with the Cards only three games out of first place in early July, the team was involved in a train crash on its way from Philadelphia to Boston. 47 passengers were injured, while twelve died. None of the Cardinals were seriously injured, due to a pre-trip change in the location of their car to the rear of the train. Konetchy and Cards manager Roger Bresnahan led the rescue effort, carrying many passengers to safety, some of whom may have died. Despite posting their first winning season since 1901, the Cardinals never recovered from the incident, finishing a distant fifth; but Konetchy led the NL with 38 doubles, and his own team with six home runs and 88 RBIs. He led the Cardinals in hits in 1909, 1910, 1911, and 1912.”

So along being a good player, he was also a hero. We sometimes put baseball players on a pedestal and it’s understandable. We need to get away from the burdens of life sometimes and they help us do that. However, it’s good when we can read stories like above when players shine due to selfless deeds.

merkle

1B-Fred Merkle, New York Giants, 22 Years Old

.283, 12 HR, 84 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 1B-117

Errors Committed as 1B-22 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Carl Frederick Rudolf “Bonehead” Merkle was born on December 20, 1888 in Watertown, WI. The six-foot-one, 190 pound first baseman was, of course, most famous for Merkle’s Boner, a play in 1908 in which he forgot to touch second base on a hit and ended up being forced out at the bag, ruining the playoff chances for the Giants. What gets lost is that he was only 19 at the time and had only played a little over 50 games in his career. Yet because of that one mistake, poor Merkle is stuck with the nickname Bonehead forever.

Bonehead, er, Merkle had his best season ever, finishing eighth in WAR Position Players (3.8) and fourth in steals (49). He might not make another All-Star team, but he’d be among the lead leaders in stolen bases for many years. Merkle didn’t have a good World Series as he hit .150 (three-for-20) with a double and six whiffs.

Wikipedia says of Merkle’s infamous play, “Giants manager John McGraw was furious at the league office, feeling his team was robbed of a victory (and a pennant), but he never blamed Merkle for his mistake.

“Bitter over the events of the controversial game, Merkle avoided baseball after his playing career ended in 1926. When he finally appeared at a Giants old-timers’ game in 1950, he received a standing ovation.

“Fred Merkle is commemorated in his hometown of Watertown, Wisconsin. The city’s primary high school baseball field at Washington Park is named Fred Merkle Field. Also, a black plaque honoring him was erected in the park on July 22, 2010. A second plaque in Watertown is on the grounds of the Octagon House.”

daubert

1B-Jake Daubert, Brooklyn Dodgers, 27 Years Old

.307, 5 HR, 45 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Singles-146

Double Plays Turned as 1B-91

1st Time All-Star-Jacob Ellsworth “Jake” Daubert was born on April 17, 1884 in Shamokin, PA. The five-foot-10, 160 pound first baseman will be making quite a few of these lists, but will die young, at the age of 40. Daubert started with Brooklyn in 1910 and this year started as streak of six straight .300 seasons. He finished eighth in batting (.307) and has some great seasons ahead.

While it’s not permanent, the Brooklyn squad was known as the Dodgers in 1911. Wikipedia says, “The Dodgers’ official history reports that the term ‘Trolley Dodgers’ was attached to the Brooklyn ballclub due to the complex maze of trolley cars that weaved its way through the borough of Brooklyn.

“In 1892, the city of Brooklyn (Brooklyn was an independent city until annexed by New York City in 1898) began replacing its slow-moving, horse-drawn trolley lines with the faster, more powerful electric trolley lines. Within less than three years, by the end of 1895, electric trolley accidents in Brooklyn had resulted in more than 130 deaths and maimed well over 500 people. Brooklyn’s high-profile, the significant number of widely reported accidents, and a trolley strike in early 1895, combined to create a strong association in the public’s mind between Brooklyn and trolley dodging.

“Sportswriters started using the name ‘trolley dodgers’ to refer to the Brooklyn team early in the 1895 season. The name was shortened to, on occasion, the ‘Brooklyn Dodgers’ as early as 1898.” Even at this time, nicknames for teams weren’t official.

doyle3

2B-Larry Doyle, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

1909 1910

.310, 13 HR, 77 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. 75 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Offensive WAR-6.0

Triples-25

3rd Time All-Star-Doyle continued to crush the ball, having his best season ever this year, finishing ninth in WAR (5.2); third in WAR Position Players (5.2), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (6.6) and Chicago rightfielder Wildfire Schulte (5.2); first in Offensive WAR (6.0); seventh in batting (.310); seventh in on-base percentage (.397); second in slugging (.527), trailing Schulte (.534); eighth in steals (38); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (154), with only Schulte (156) and Wagner (156) ahead of him. In the World Series, he did well, hitting .304 (seven-for-23) with three doubles and a triple. However, the Giants still lost to the Athletics, 4-2.

SABR says, “After showing up on time for spring training for the first time in three years, ten pounds lighter and in the best shape of his life, the 24-year-old captain of the Giants elevated his performance to an even higher level in 1911. Doyle batted .310 and was selected as the second baseman on Baseball Magazine‘s NL All-America team, leading the league in triples (25) and finishing second in slugging percentage (.527), fourth in home runs (13), and fifth in runs (102), and seventh in on-base percentage (.397). In Game Five of that year’s World Series, Larry tagged up and scored the winning run on a fly ball in the bottom of the 10th inning, but umpire Bill Klem later stated that he never touched the plate and would’ve been called out had the Philadelphia Athletics tagged him before leaving the field.” It’s a good thing the Athletics didn’t ask to see the replay.

huggins3

2B-Miller Huggins, St. Louis Cardinals, 33 Years Old

1905 1906

.261, 1 HR, 24 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (Yes for managing)

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Huggins hasn’t made an All-Star team since 1906. He then played from 1907-09 with the Reds and then before the 1910 season, he was traded by the Cincinnati Reds with Frank Corridon and Rebel Oakes to the St. Louis Cardinals for Fred Beebe and Alan Storke. This season, Huggins finished fourth in Defensive WAR (1.3) and ninth in steals (37). The little man had no power, but walked a lot to help his team. He finished sixth in the Chalmers MVP voting.

SABR says, “With his crouched batting stance and patience at the plate, he was able to out-wait and outwit opposing pitchers. In the field, he was ‘like a flea skating around on a greasy skillet’ and earned nicknames such as ‘Rabbit,’ ‘Mighty Mite,’ and ‘Little Everywhere.’ Huggins was a switch-hitter with virtually no power; he had nine career home runs, all inside-the-park ones.

“He was so determined to gain an extra step to first base that he spent three grueling years training to work and hit left-handed. He also had a devious streak. Huggins pulled off the hidden ball trick at least eight times. He once handled a record 19 chances—helped by storing the game’s baseballs in a freezer to deaden them, he admitted to Ford Frick years later.

“In early 1910, Reds manager Clark Griffith traded Huggins to the St. Louis Cardinals, after a sore arm limited Huggins to 57 games the prior season. It was a strange move since Griffith remarked at the time, ‘No matter who I get for Miller Huggins, I’d be cheated…Hug is one of the best players of the game.’”

doylej

3B-Jim Doyle, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

.282, 5 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 93 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 3B-35

Double Plays Turned as 3B-25

1st Time All-Star-James Francis “Jim” Doyle was born on Christmas, 1881 in Detroit, MI. The five-foot-10, 168 pound third baseman has a tragic story as he played just one full year before dying. This season, Doyle finished third in Defensive WAR (1.3), behind Chicago shortstop Joe Tinker (2.5) and Philadelphia shortstop Mickey Doolin (2.1). It certainly looked like he was off to a good career.

Baseball Almanac posted his obituary from the Trenton Evening News. Here’s part of it: “SYRACUSE, N.Y., Feb 2. – Jim Doyle, the crack third baseman of the Chicago Cubs, died in St. Joseph’s Hospital at 9 o’clock last night. Four days ago Doyle was sticken with appendicitis and underwent an operation on Tuesday. His family was at his bedside when the end came. He had several sinking spells during the day and late in the afternoon his doctors said his death was only a matter of hours.

Doyle was one of the finds of the season of 1911. Practically unknown when the National League season opened, in a few months he was heralded as one of the star baseman of the game. His chance to make good for the Cubs was largely a matter of accident. Manager Chance had chosen Heinie Zimmerman to succeed Harry Steinfeldt at third base after the world’s series of 1910, and Zimmerman played third early in the campaign. He contracted a severe cold and was out of the game for several days giving Doyle a chance to cover the bag. The youngster made good from the start. When Zimmerman recovered Johnny Evers broke down and Zimmerman was used to fill the hole at second, while Doyle, was retained at third.”

wagner13SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 37 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910

.334, 9 HR, 89 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1911 NL Batting Title (8th Time)

WAR Position Players-6.6 (10th Time)

Batting Average-.334 (8th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.930 (8th Time)

Offensive Win %-.789 (7th Time)

13th Time All-Star-Is Honus Wagner the greatest shortstop of all-time? I would say, “Yes,” at this point, but I still have 107 more seasons to write up, so what do I know. He did join the list of most All-Star teams at his position this year. His manager and teammate Fred Clarke already had this honor. Here’s the full list:

P-Cy Young, 17 All-Star teams

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Nap Lajoie, 9

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Jack Glasscock, Wagner, 11

LF-Clarke, 10

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Thompson, Elmer Flick, 7

This season, Wagner finished fifth in WAR (6.6); first in WAR Position Players (6.6); second in Offensive WAR (6.0), trailing New York second baseman Larry Doyle (6.0); fifth in Defensive WAR (1.3); first in batting (.334); second in on-base percentage (.423), behind Chicago leftfielder Jimmy Sheckard (.434); third in slugging (.507), trailing Chicago rightfielder Frank Schulte (.534) and Doyle (.527); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (156), behind Schulte (156). All at the age of 37 while playing the toughest defensive position on the field. Incredible!

I didn’t mention this in 1910, but Wagner had a dark secret, according to SABR, which says, “[In 1910], Wagner struggled, hitting well below .300 while fielding lackadaisically, and only a late-season surge got him to acceptable territory. The Pirates attributed his subpar performance to an injury, then a lingering cold, or maybe just a slump, but the real cause was an open secret – his out-of-control drinking. Honus had more than his share of run-ins with umpires, receiving several ejections and suspensions, and some ugly confrontations with teammates. The situation was serious enough for Clarke to have a long talk with Wagner after the season.”

tinker6

SS-Joe Tinker, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1902 1906 1908 1909 1910

.278, 4 HR, 69 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.5 (5th Time)

Assists-486 (2nd Time)

Putouts as SS-333

Assists as SS-486 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-5.85 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.73 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.937 (4th Time)

6th Time All-Star-Tinker becomes the first of the famous double-play Cubs trio to make my Hall of Fame. Frank Chance, Chicago’s manager and first baseman, most likely isn’t going to make it, but Johnny Evers will be in there soon. My Hall of Fame, known cleverly as Ron’s Hall of Fame, chooses its members purely by numbers. A player’s Career WAR is multiplied by the number of my All-Star teams a player makes and if that number is over 300, the player is in. If it’s under 300, the player is out. Since WAR is fluid, it’s possible a player who didn’t make it could eventually make it or one who didn’t could get in, but that would require me going back over everything I’ve written thus far and that ain’t happening!

Tinker finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.4) and first in Defensive WAR (2.5). As always with him, his fielding was his crown jewel. I don’t know how seriously you take dWAR, but Tinker is going to lead the league in that category a total of six times and I don’t think that can be disregarded.

Here’s a snippet from Wikipedia that shows how times have changed, “Tinker led the NL with 486 assists in the 1911 season and led all shortstops in putouts with 333. In August 1911, Chance suspended Tinker for the remainder of the season for using profanity, though he was reinstated two days later.” If teams suspended players for filthy language nowadays, there’d be a lot of empty baseball diamonds.

herzog

SS-Buck Herzog, Boston Rustlers/New York Giants, 25 Years Old

.290, 6 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Charles Lincoln “Buck” Herzog was born on July 9, 1885 in Baltimore, MD. The five-foot-11, 160 pound second baseman started at that position with the Giants in 1908. He then moved to leftfield for New York in 1909. Before the 1910 season, Herzog was traded by the New York Giants with Bill Collins to the Boston Doves for Beals Becker. This season, he started with the now Boston Rustlers as a shortstop before being traded by the Boston Rustlers to the New York Giants for Al Bridwell and Hank Gowdy. The Giants moved him to third base and he made his first World Series. During the season, Herzog finished fourth in Offensive WAR (4.4) and fifth in steals (48). In the Series, Buck struggled at the plate, hitting .190 (four-for-21) with two doubles as the Giants lost to the Athletics, 4-2.

No matter what it was called, Boston’s National League entry continued to struggle. Fred Tenney managed the team to a 44-107 record, 54 games out of first. It couldn’t hit and it had the worst pitching in the league.

SABR says, “John McGraw signed Herzog for the New York Giants in 1908, beginning a baseball love-hate relationship exceeded perhaps only by George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin. No player better exemplified McGraw’s ferocious fighting spirit than the 5’11”, 160 lb. Herzog, yet the two generally couldn’t stand each other. Over the course of a decade the Giants traded away the aggressive infielder three times and brought him back twice, both times experiencing immediate success when he re-entered the fold. ‘I hate his guts,’ McGraw once said about Herzog, ‘but I want him on my club.’”

sheckard5

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, Chicago Cubs, 32 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1905

.276, 4 HR, 50 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.434

Runs Scored-121

Bases on Balls-147

Times on Base-299

Def. Games as LF-156

Putouts as LF_332

Assists as LF-32

Double Plays Turned as LF-11

Def. Games as OF-156

Assists as OF-32 (2nd Time)

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

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.33

5th Time All-Star-It’s been a surprising six years since Sheckard last graced this list. He was traded to the Cubs before the 1906 season and hadn’t made the All-Star team as a Cubbie before this season. He did get to participate in four World Series, two of which Chicago won. In 1906, he went an embarrassing oh-for-21 and then hit .238 in the Series in both 1907 and 1908. In the 1910 World Series loss to the Athletics, Sheckard had his best Fall Classic, hitting .357 with seven walks and two doubles.

This season, Sheckard finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.0); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.4); first in on-base percentage (.434); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (131). His 147 walks were an all-time record and would remain so until 1920.

Bleed Cubbie Blue wraps up his career, saying, “To be sure, Jimmy Sheckard was a colorful man. He may have been inconsistent on the field, but something made him a valuable piece of the greatest Cubs teams of all time. He was a catalyst, a piece of flint, the right mixture of ability, guile, and guts. Or he was just plain lucky. You decide.

“In the years following his career, his colors began to fade. He made some poor decisions that slowly took him out of the game for good. Then in 1929, like a lot of Americans, he lost just about everything in the stock market. For years he carted around huge milk containers for farmers in the Lancaster, PA area, which was close to where he was born. And in January of 1947, he was crossing the street to go to work as a gas station attendant when he was struck by a car. He died three days later, but his base-clogging heritage would live on.”

clarke10LF-Fred Clarke, Pittsburgh Pirates, 38 Years Old

1895 1897 1901 1902 1903 1906 1907 1908 1909

.324, 5 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted 1909)

Cooperstown Yes (Inducted 1945)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted 1903)

 

10th Time All-Star-At the time he retired in 1915, Clarke was the game’s greatest leftfielder, though you certainly could argue for Big Ed Delahanty. He is the player with the most All-Star teams at that position as you can see by reading Honus Wagner’s blurb. This season, Clarke finished eighth in WAR Position Players (3.8); fourth in batting (.324); fourth in on-base percentage (.407); fourth in slugging (.492); and, you guessed it, fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (147).

As a manager, he guided the Pirates to a third-place 85-69 record, 14-and-a-half games out of first. Led by Wagner, the Pirates could hit and led by Babe Adams, they also could pitch. They just couldn’t do either of those things as well as the Giants.

As for his later life, Wikipedia says, “Fred Clarke was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945 as one of the first to be elected by the Old-Timers Committee. He was one of 24 original inductees into the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame in 1951. Clarke remained active and seemingly indestructible into his 70s. In 1947, while fishing in northern Minnesota, he and his wife were thrown into icy northern Minnesota waters by a storm, but he was back out fishing the next day. Soon after, he was nearly shot accidentally while quail hunting. He then survived a gas furnace explosion in his basement. While in Winfield he started the Winfield Country Club that is still in operation to this day. Fred Clarke died in Winfield at age 87.”

bates2

CF-Johnny Bates, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1910

.292, 1 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Between the 1910 and 1911 seasons, Bates was  Traded by the Philadelphia Phillies with Eddie GrantGeorge McQuillan and Lew Moren to the Cincinnati Reds for Fred BeebeHans LobertDode Paskert and Jack Rowan. He then had his best season ever, finishing seventh in WAR Position Players (4.2); seventh in Offensive WAR (4.2); third in on-base percentage (.415), behind Chicago leftfielder Jimmy Sheckard (.434) and Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (.423); and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (129).

After this season, Bates played with Cincinnati until 1914. After being released by the Reds, he went to the Cubs and then was released by them. He finished his career in the Federal League for the Baltimore Terrapins.

Revolvy says, “After making some trades over the off-season, the Reds entered the 1911 season with a goal of winning the National League pennant. The club began the season with a poor 3-6 record in their first nine games, before winning eight of their next ten, to improve to 11-8, however, Cincinnati was in fourth place, five games behind the first place Philadelphia Phillies. With a four-game series against the Phillies, the Reds ended up losing three of the game, including a 21-5 blowout loss, to drop further behind them in the race for the pennant.”

It must have been frustrating to be one of the teams that never won pennants from 1901-1913. Cincinnati was certainly one of those clubs as they could never put it all together. It’s like rooting for them nowadays, like I do, where you know they have virtually no chance of making the playoffs.

schulte

RF-Frank Schulte, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

.300, 21 HR, 107 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

NL MVP

Slugging %-.534

Total Bases-308

Home Runs-21 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-107

Adjusted OPS+-156

Runs Created-117

Adj. Batting Runs-40

Adj. Batting Wins-4.2

Extra Base Hits-72

Power-Speed #-22.0 (2nd Time)

AB per HR-27.5

Def. Games as RF-154 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Frank M. “Wildfire” Schulte was born on September 17, 1882 in Cochecton, NY. The five-foot-11, 170 pound outfielder started with Chicago in 1904, but never had a season like this one. It is one of the flukiest of all fluky seasons in baseball history. His 21 homers were the most since Buck Freeman’s 25 in 1898 and really stood out in this non-home run era. This season, Schulte finished eighth in WAR (5.2); second in WAR Position Players (5.2), behind Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (6.6); third in Offensive WAR (5.4), trailing Giants second baseman Larry Doyle (6.0) and Wagner (6.0); first in slugging (.534); and first in Adjusted OPS+ (156).

Schulte also made four World Series playing for the Cubs and hit .321 with six doubles and a triple. He was a big part of the Cubs winning two championships.

Should Schulte have won the MVP? Judging by the more modern stats, probably not. Brooklyn pitcher Nap Rucker led in WAR. I would have probably put him no higher than eighth. However, with the stats on which they judged players in 1911, it’s not a bad choice. The voters were probably dazzled by all of those dingers.

Bleed Cubbie Blue says, “Schulte wasn’t just a one dimensional player in 1911. He hit .300 with 30 doubles, 21 triples, and stole 22 bases. It wasn’t until 1957 that Willie Mays became the second player to achieve a quadruple 20. Four of Schulte’s homers were grand slams, which set another major league record that wasn’t broken until Ernie Banks hit five in 1955.”

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