1911 American League All-Star Team

P-Ed Walsh, CHW

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Vean Gregg, CLE

P-Russ Ford, NYY

P-George Mullin, DET

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Smoky Joe Wood, BOS

P-Chief Bender, PHA

P-Ray Caldwell, NYY

P-Jim Scott, CHW

C-Jack Lapp, PHA

C-Ira Thomas, PHA

1B-Jim Delahanty, DET

2B-Eddie Collins, PHA

2B-Frank LaPorte, SLB

3B-Home Run Baker, PHA

3B-Larry Gardner, BOS

SS-Lee Tannehill, CHW

LF-Birdie Cree, NYY

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Tris Speaker, BOS

CF-Clyde Milan, WSH

RF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, CLE

RF-Sam Crawford, DET

RF-Danny Murphy, PHA

 

walsh6

P-Ed Walsh, Chicago White Sox, 30 Years Old

1906 1907 1908 1909 1910

27-18, 2.22 ERA, 255 K, .219, 0 HR, 9 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1910)

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-9.2 (3rd Time)

Games Pitched-56 (4th Time)

Saves-4 (4th Time)

Innings Pitched-368 2/3 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts-255 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-3.542 (3rd Time)

Batters Faced-1,449 (3rd Time)

Games Finished-19 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-44 (4th Time)

Def. Games as P-56 (4th Time)

Putouts as P-27 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-159 (4th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-4.54 (4th Time)

6th Time All-Star-At this time, most pitchers were trying to control their innings pitched, but not the great Walsh. For the third time in five seasons, he led the American League in IP and he would do so again in 1912. This year, Walsh finished second in WAR (9.2), behind only Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (10.7); first in WAR for Pitchers (9.2); sixth in ERA (2.22, his lowest finish in ERA since 1906); and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (146). He was the definition of a workhorse, at least for one more season.

Walsh’s White Sox rose from sixth to fourth this year, with Hugh Duffy guiding them to a 77-74 record. It was the typical Chicago team. With Walsh leading the way, it could certainly pitch, but once again, the team struggled to hit.

South Side Sox says, “But he also made a huge impact in how the White Sox franchise developed. His durability allowed Charles Comiskey (and his managers) to get the most out of his starters, and the White Sox were run that way for the next 15 years. But more importantly, Walsh had a say in the design of Comiskey Park, and supposedly requested the generous outfield dimensions that would make true South Side power hitters few and far between for the entire history of the stadium.” There is debate as to whether or not Walsh truly helped design the stadium, but there is no doubt Comiskey Park ended up being a pitcher’s park for its entire history.

johnson4

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 23 Years Old

1908 1909 1910

25-13, 1.90 ERA, 207 K, .234, 1 HR, 15 RBI

MVP Rank: 5

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

Complete Games-36 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-6

Wild Pitches-17 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-There are many players I would want to see if I had a time machine and Johnson is near the top of that list. How does the Good Lord create beings with rubber arms like Cy Young and The Big Train, while so many pitchers, like Ed Walsh, can last for a stretch of time, but quickly fall apart? Johnson this season finished fourth in WAR (8.9); third in WAR for Pitchers (8.6), behind Chicago’s Walsh (9.2) and Cleveland’s Vean Gregg (8.8); second in ERA (1.90), trailing Gregg (1.80); third in innings pitched (322 1/3, behind Walsh (368 2/3) and Philadelphia’s Jack Coombs (336 2/3); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (173), trailing Gregg (189).

Unfortunately, when Johnson didn’t play, other people had to pitch, and that’s when Washington struggled. It finished seventh for the second consecutive year with a 63-91 record. Jimmy McAleer was at the helm of the Senators, who finished 38-and-a-half games out of first place thanks to lackluster hitting and pitching. This was McAleer’s last year managing and he finished with a 735-889 record, which isn’t bad considering how terrible the teams were for which he toiled.

Johnson’s Hall of Fame page says, “In 1911, famed sportswriter Grantland Rice popularized the nickname ‘The Big Train’ in referring to Johnson. At a time when trains were the fastest things known to man, Ty Cobb recalled Johnson’s fastball as ‘Just speed, raw speed, blinding speed, too much speed’. ‘The Big Train’ added to his arsenal when he developed a curveball in the early 1910s and put together a string of ten straight twenty win seasons.”

gregg

P-Vean Gregg, Cleveland Naps, 26 Years Old

23-7, 1.80 ERA, 125 K, .165, 0 HR, 4 RBI

MVP Rank: 10

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Earned Run Average-1.80

Walks & Hits per IP-1.054

Hits per 9 IP-6.327

Adjusted ERA+-189

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.6

1st Time All-Star-Sylveanus Augustus “Vean” Gregg was born on April 13, 1885 in Chehalis, WA. The six-foot-one, 185 pound pitcher started out on fire and looked like he’d be a great pitcher for years to come. He wouldn’t. This season, Vean finished fifth in WAR (8.5); second in WAR for Pitchers (8.8), behind Chicago’s Ed Walsh (9.2); first in ERA (1.80); 10th in innings pitched (244 2/3); and first in Adjusted ERA+ (189). Like I said, an impressive rookie season.

Cleveland had a good season once George Stovall (74-62) took over for Deacon McGuire (6-11). Altogether it finished 80-73 and in third place, 22 games out of first. It was Stovall’s first season managing and it was McGuire’s last, as he finished with a career 210-287 record.

SABR says, “In 1911 Gregg joined a ‘disorganized’ Cleveland team that included a very old Cy Young, an aging but still productive Napoleon Lajoie, and a 23-year-old Joe Jackson, who hit an astounding .408 that year. Finishing under .500 and in the second division the year before, the Naps lost revered right-hander Addie Joss when he took ill and died on April 14. However, the team overcame that setback and improved under interim manager George Stovall, finishing the season with a winning record and in third place.

“One day shy of his 26th birthday, Gregg came out of the bullpen and made his major league debut on April 12, 1911, at St. Louis, giving up three runs in four relief innings while also hitting a double. After striking out Detroit’s Sam Crawford twice in a second relief appearance six days later, Gregg moved into the starting rotation and won his first start, 5-2, against Chicago. By mid-July he was the talk of the American League.”

ford2

P-Russ Ford, New York Highlanders, 28 Years Old

1910

22-11, 2.27 ERA, 158 K, .196, 0 HR, 8 RBI

MVP Rank: 18

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

2nd Time All-Star-Ford, the proprietor of the scuff ball, had his second consecutive great season for the Highlanders. He finished sixth in WAR (7.1); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (7.4); seventh in ERA (2.27); fourth in innings pitched (281 1/3); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (158).

Unfortunately for the Highlanders, they dropped from second to sixth under the guidance of Hal Chase (76-76). New York finished 25-and-a-half games behind Philadelphia, but they have a bright future ahead, but not for a while. Chase would never manage again and finish with an 86-80 career record.

SABR says, “The first player born in the western Canadian province of Manitoba to reach the major leagues, Russ Ford burst into the spotlight in 1910, winning 26 games for the New York Highlanders with a baffling new pitch never before seen in professional baseball. Using a piece of emery board hidden in his glove, Ford roughed up one side of the ball, causing it to break at odd angles depending on how he threw it. For two seasons, Ford used the emery ball to dominate the American League, all the while hiding the origin of his new discovery. ‘He kept his secret a long time by pretending he was pitching a spitter,’ Ty Cobb later recalled. ‘He would deliberately show his finger to the batter and then wet it with saliva.’ Though Ford’s signature pitch was banned by 1915, his invention set the precedent for a long line of scuff ball artists, including contemporaries Cy Falkenberg and Eddie Cicotte and Hall of Famers Whitey Ford and Don Sutton.”

mullin4P-George Mullin, Detroit Tigers, 30 Years Old

1903 1904 1906

18-10, 3.07 ERA, 67 K, .286, 0 HR, 5 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-From 1907-1910, Mullin didn’t make the All-Star team despite winning 20 games three times and helping the team make it to three World Series, in which he won three games. Who’s picking these teams anyway?! Oh yeah, me. Too bad, because now I have no one to whom to complain. This season, Mullin had his best season ever, finishing eighth in WAR (6.5) and seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.5).

Detroit moved up from third to second under the guiding hand of Hughie Jennings. Its 89-65 record placed it 13-and-a-half games behind Philadelphia. Thanks to Ty Cobb, the Tigers could rake, but unfortunately they had no pitching.

Wikipedia says, “Mullin also excelled as a batter. He had a career .262 batting average with a .319 on-base percentage. He had 96 extra base hits, 122 bases on balls, and 18 stolen bases. He hit three doubles in his first major league start and batted .325 in his rookie season. He was such a reliable hitter that he was used 101 times (with 21 hits) as a pinch hitter. (Paul Votano, Stand and Deliver: A History of Pinch-Hitting (McFarland 2003), p. 33) On September 18, 1906, Mullin even pinch hit for Ty Cobb. Cobb was slumping and manager Bill Armour summoned Mullin to bat for Cobb in the bottom of the 9th inning. According to the next day’s account in the Detroit Free Press, Mullin ‘hit center field with a triple.’ (Paul Votano, ‘Stand and Deliver: A History of Pinch-Hitting’ (McFarland 2003), p. 29).”

plank9

P-Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics, 35 Years Old, 1911 ONEHOF Inductee

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908 1909

23-8, 2.10 ERA, 149 K, .191, 0 HR, 10 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1904)

 

Led in:

 

Saves-4

Shutouts-6 (2nd Time)

9th Time All-Star-Huzzah to Eddie Plank! He fidgeted and irritated his way to baseball’s highest honor, the ONEHOF, the One-a-Year Hall of Fame of my creation which elects just one player a year into the Hall of Fame. Next year’s nominees are Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Vic Willis, Sam Crawford, Roger Bresnahan, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, and Joe McGinnity.

Of course, Plank’s proudest accomplishment was pitching on his first championship team. Philadelphia dominated the American League under the guidance of Connie Mack, who led the team to a first place 101-50 record, 13-and-a-half games ahead of Detroit. Eddies led the way as Collins provided the bat and Plank provided the arm. The Athletics defeated the Giants, 4-2. Plank started the second game and five-hit New York, allowing just one run. He then relieved in game four, allowing the winning run in the 10th inning. Altogether, Plank was 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA.

SABR says everything I’ve just said but better: “Plank bounced back in 1911, going 23-8 with a 2.10 ERA and a co-league-leading six shutouts. His luck in the Series improved as he got his first win, a complete-game 3-1 victory over the Giants’ Rube Marquard in Game 2. With Game 5 tied 3-3 after nine innings, Mack brought in Plank to relieve Coombs. Plank could have closed out the Series with a win, but lasted only two-thirds of the tenth inning before surrendering the winning run.”

woods

P-Smoky Joe Wood, Boston Red Sox, 21 Years Old

23-17, 2.02 ERA, 231 K, .261, 2 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.542

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.13

1st Time All-Star-“Smoky Joe” Wood born Howard Ellsworth Wood was born on October 25, 1889 in Kansas City, MO. The five-foot-11, 180 pound pitcher acquired his nickname due to a blazing fastball that even Walter Johnson said was the best he saw. Smoky Joe started with Boston in 1908 and this year, finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3); third in ERA (2.02), behind Cleveland’s Vean Gregg (1.80) and Johnson (1.90); fifth in innings pitched (275 2/3); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (162), trailing only Gregg (189) and the Big Train (173).

The Patsy Donovan-led Red Sox dropped from fourth to fifth this season, finishing 78-75, 24 games out of first. Thanks to Tris Speaker, Boston could hit and they also had arguably the best pitching in the league, but they couldn’t put it all together. This was Donovan’s last year managing and he wrapped up his career with a 684-879 record.

Wood had a very strange start to his baseball career, according to Wikipedia, which says, “’Smoky Joe’ played his first amateur baseball for the local miners teams in Ouray, Colorado. Though a native of Ness CountyKansas, Wood made his playing debut with the mostly-female ‘Bloomer Girls.’ There were many such teams across the country, which barnstormed in exhibition games against teams of men. Bloomer Girl rosters featured at least one male player.

“Red Sox star Ted Williams, as a guest on the Bill Stern’s Sports Newsreel radio program in 1950, told the story that Wood was posing as a girl on a girls’ team when The Red Sox signed him. The story ended: ‘The pitcher I’m talking about was the immortal Smoky Joe Wood. A pitcher who can never be forgotten even though he did get his start posing as a girl’.”

bender4

P-Chief Bender, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

1907 1909 1910

17-5, 2.16 ERA, 114 K, .165, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1953)

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.773 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as P-1.000

4th Time All-Star-You’re not going to convince me Bender was better than his teammate, Eddie Plank, but I’m not the one who had to be persuaded – his manager, Connie Mack was – and used Bender in all the crucial Athletics’ situations. This season, Bender finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (6.0); fifth in earned run average (2.16); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (145). In the World Series, Bender started game one, losing to Christy Mathewson, despite allowing just five hits and two runs over eight innings. In game four, Bender bested Big Six, throwing a complete game seven-hitter in which he allowed just a pair of runs. He then won the deciding sixth game, again going the distance, allowing four hits and two unearned runs. Philadelphia beat the Giants in the Series, 4-2.

SABR says, “Bender was exceptionally bright. His intelligence was recognized by teammates, opponents, and umpires, such as Billy Evans, who believed Bender was one of the smartest pitchers in the game. ‘He takes advantage of every weakness,’ Evans said in his New York Times column, ‘and once a player shows him a weak spot he is marked for life by the crafty Indian.’ Bender possessed a keen ability to focus on the task at hand, attributes that won the admiration of legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice, who once called Bender one of ‘the greatest competitors I ever knew.’ Rice and Bender often played golf together, and Rice sometimes quoted Bender in his syndicated column. ‘Tension is the greatest curse in sport,’ said Bender, according to Rice. ‘I’ve never had any tension. You give the best you have—you win or lose. What’s the difference if you give all you’ve got to give?’”

caldwell

P-Ray Caldwell, New York Highlanders, 23 Years Old

14-14, 3.35 ERA, 145 K, .272, 0 HR, 17 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Raymond Benjamin “Ray” or “Rube” or “Sum” or “Slim” Crawford was born on April 26, 1888 in Corydon Township, PA. The six-foot-two 190 pound pitcher was summed up by SABR, which says, “Ray Caldwell was a pitcher of immense talent who had an enormous appetite for nightlife and a weakness for alcohol. For his obituary The Sporting News wrote, ‘his escapades were legendary’ (September 2, 1967). Over the course of two decades, from 1910 to 1933, he won nearly 300 games, 133 of them in the majors. As the ace of the New York Americans in the early ‘teens, he was at times so dominant that Washington once offered Walter Johnson for him in a trade. Ray’s flashes of brilliance were usually followed by ‘outbreaks of misbehavior,’ followed by repentance, recovery, and pitching excellence, before the cycle began anew.”

Caldwell started with New York in 1910 and then this season finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (5.1) and seventh in innings pitched (255). He has a couple better seasons to come, but as mentioned above, his love for booze ruined his chances at being one of the all-time greats.

Along with pitching, Caldwell could hit, having an OPS+ of over 100 in 1917 and 1918. He was frequently used as a pinch hitter, 181 different times in his career. He would be a teammate of another man who could hit and pitch in 1919, when he and Babe Ruth both played for Boston. Ruth was another one whose appetite consumed him, but he survived it much better than Slim.

scott

P-Jim Scott, Chicago White Sox, 23 Years Old

14-11, 2.39 ERA, 135 K, .155, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-James “Death Valley Jim” Scott was born on Abril 23, 1888 in Deadwood, SD. The six-foot-one, 235 pound pitcher started with the White Sox in 1909. This season, he finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (5.0); eighth in ERA (2.39); and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (136).

                From the National Pastime Museum, here are some highlights of the 1911 season:

“An oasis of offense in an era of great pitching, the 1911 season stands out as one of the most dramatic of the Deadball Era. Great players performed at their peak, and two powerhouse teams, stuck in second place at the end of July, pushed forward to claim league pennants. A classic World Series matching the two premier managers of the era capped a year in which only five of the sixteen Major League teams finished under .500.

“This was a time before runs batted in counted as an official statistic, when the Sunday newspaper listing of Major Leaguers’ stats included not home runs but sacrifice bunts and stolen bases. The bold experiment with a cork-center baseball in 1911 provided a major boost to hitters that lasted two seasons, after which pitchers’ unfettered doctoring of the ball stymied offense until the Ruthian slugging of the 1920s transformed the game.”

As a matter of fact, in the American League, after seven straight seasons of the league averaging less than four runs a game, the teams averaged 4.60 per contest, almost a full run higher than 1910 (3.64). The AL would average 4.45 runs per game in 1912 and then it wouldn’t rise again over four until 1919. In 2017, the AL averaged 4.71 runs per game.

lapp

C-Jack Lapp, Philadelphia Athletics, 26 Years Old

.353, 1 HR, 26 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-John Walker “Jack” Lapp was born on September 10, 1884 in Frazer, PA. The five-foot-eight, 160 pound catcher only played 68 games in 1911, but he could hit. He started with Philadelphia in 1908 and then in 21 games in 1909, he hit .339. In 1910, he slumped to .234 and went one-for-four in the World Series. This year, he hit .353 and went two-for-eight (.250) in the World Series. In a league sparse on good catchers (both of the All-Star catchers come from Philadelphia), Lapp reigned.

SABR says, “Philadelphia claimed another pennant in 1911. Thomas and Livingston avoided any serious injuries, and Lapp was primarily Coombs’s battery mate. After achieving a .234 BA, .310 OBP, and .286 SLG over 71 games in 1910, Lapp’s offensive production exploded to a .353 BA, .435 OBP, and .467 SLG in 68 games across 1911. Coombs was a fine hitting pitcher, and had a .319 BA in 1911. When the pair worked together, the Athletics sported arguably the most powerful offensive lineup of the Deadball Era.

“Lapp threw right, and batted left. Mack platooned his catchers according to his staff, not the opponent’s. Lapp was, however, a handy pinch-hitting option when Philadelphia faced a right-hander. He stood towards the front of the batter’s box, with his front (right) foot lifting slightly off the ground as he strode into an offering. ‘He hits viciously’ noted an observer, and Mack wished he might ‘snap his bat at the ball instead of swinging so widely.’ Lapp was considered by one observer to be ‘the fastest catcher in the American circuit’ but had occasional bouts of inattentiveness on the basepaths. He almost always batted eighth in the lineup, as did all of Mack’s catchers in this era.”

thomasi

C-Ira Thomas, Philadelphia Athletics, 30 Years Old

.273, 0 HR, 39 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 49 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Caught Stealing %-55.3

1st Time All-Star-Ira Felix Thomas was born on January 22, 1881 in Ballston Spa, NY. The six-foot-two, 200 pound catcher started with the Highlanders in 1906. Then after the 1907 season, he was purchased by the Detroit Tigers from the New York Highlanders. After the 1908 season, he was purchased by the Philadelphia Athletics from the Detroit Tigers. This season, he finished ninth in Defensive WAR (0.8), throwing out 55 percent of base stealers.

Thomas made his third World Series this season. In 1908 for Detroit, he played in two games and went two-for-four with a double. In 1910, for the Athletics, Thomas hit .250 with no extra base hits. This season, he went one-for-12 (.083) with no extra base hits again.

His addition to the All-Star team brings up an interesting point. Are catchers and shortstops more valuable offensively or defensively? Thomas got the majority of the games for the Athletics despite his lack of hitting and the great hitting by Jack Lapp. Many managers over the years seem to think it’s more important to have a good glove at those two positions than a hot bat. If you have both, like Buster Posey or Alex Rodriguez, it’s great, but most of the time, you have to pick between one or another.

Mike Scioscia, the Angels’ manager, always goes for the defensive catchers. When he had Mike Napoli and Jeff Mathis on the team, the weak-hitting Mathis got the majority of the at bats. I think Napoli’s superior bat would have made up for his defensive liabilities.

delahantyj

1B-Jim Delahanty, Detroit Tigers, 32 Years Old

.339, 3 HR, 94 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-James Christopher “Jim” Delahanty was born on June 20, 1879 in Cleveland, OH. The five-foot-10, 170 pound first baseman was one of five Delahanty brothers to play Major League ball, with the most famous being outfielder Ed. Jim started playing a handful of games for the Chicago Orphans in 1901 then moved to the Giants in 1902. He was back in the Majors in 1904, playing for the Boston Beaneaters for two seasons. In 1906, he continued his travels, playing for the Reds. Then in 1907, Delahanty jumped to the American League, playing for the Browns and Senators in 1907. In 1909, he moved from Washington to Detroit and this season had his best year ever. He was always a good hitter, but his terrible glove at his regular position of second base kept him off of these lists.

This year, Delahanty finished eighth in Offensive WAR (5.0); sixth in batting (.339); eighth in on-base percentage (.411); eighth in slugging (.463); and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (139).

Wikipedia says, “He stayed in the major leagues until the middle of the 1912 season, having encountered illness and injuries that year that limited his productivity. He finished his playing career in the Federal League. In 1,186 career games, Delahanty had 1,159 hits with 19 home runs and 151 stolen bases.

“After his baseball career, Delahanty worked for the city of Cleveland as a street paver. He died in a Cleveland hospital in 1953 after a long illness. He was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland. He was survived by a wife, Hester, and a daughter.”

collinse3

2B-Eddie Collins, Philadelphia Athletics, 24 Years Old

1909 1910

.365, 3 HR, 73 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 2B-348 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.28 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-It only took three seasons for Collins to make my Hall of Fame which multiplies All-Star teams made by Career WAR and inducts any player with a total over 300. He’s going to eventually make the ONEHOF also, the Hall of Fame which inducts just one player a season. This year, Collins finished seventh in WAR (6.6); third in WAR Position Players (6.6), behind Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (10.7) and Cleveland rightfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson (9.2); fourth in Offensive WAR (6.6); fourth in batting (.365); third in on-base percentage (.451), trailing Jackson (.468) and Cobb (.467); seventh in slugging (.481); ninth in steals (38); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (162). In the World Series, Cocky went six-for-21 (.286) with a double. It wasn’t as good as his 1910 Series, but his team still won four games to two.

SABR says, “Collins’s plainly evident self-confidence could rub people the wrong way. As educated and ostensibly sophisticated as he was, cockiness could lead to actions that in hindsight at least were not entirely smart. During the Athletics’ championship run, some of his teammates groused about Collins’s loyalties and priorities. Collins, like other baseball stars such as Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson, was often commissioned by newspapers and magazines to write articles on the inner workings of the game. Some A’s players argued that other teams were able to correct the weaknesses Collins had pointed out in his articles, thereby hurting Philadelphia’s chances at winning the pennant.” Considering how much Philadelphia won, it seems like a weak complaint.

laporte

2B-Frank LaPorte, St. Louis Browns, 31 Years Old

.314, 2 HR, 82 RBI

MVP Rank: 20

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-133

Assists as 2B-398

Errors Committed as 2B-36

Double Plays Turned as 2B-59

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-5.42

1st Time All-Star-Frank Breyfogle “Pot” LaPorte was born on February 6, 1880 in Uhrichsville, OH. He started his career with the New York Highlanders from 1905-07. After the 1907 season, he was traded as part of a 3-team trade by the New York Highlanders to the Boston Americans. The Chicago White Sox sent Jake Stahlto the New York Highlanders. The Boston Americans sent Freddy Parent to the Chicago White Sox. He didn’t stay in Boston long because in mid-season 1908, he was traded by the Boston Red Sox to the New York Highlanders for Harry Niles. LaPorte remained with them through 1910. After that season, he was traded by the New York Highlanders with Jimmy Austin to the St. Louis Browns for Roy Hartzell and cash. He had a good season this year finishing 10th in slugging (.446) and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (129).

However, if LaPorte is your best player, you’re probably not going to succeed and the Browns didn’t, finishing last with a 45-107 record. Their most famous player, Bobby Wallace, took over the coaching reins and unfortunately had to lead a team with the worst hitting and pitching in the American League.

SABR says, “The year 1911 was the first time in LaPorte’s career that he had the opportunity to play consistently at his preferred position, second base. He appeared in 136 games, 133 of them at second, and he hit .314 (almost 50 points higher than anyone else on the team) and drove in 82 runs, 20 more than any other Brown. The team itself fared poorly (45-107, in last place in the American League and 56½ games out of first place.”

baker33B-Home Run Baker, Philadelphia Athletics, 25 Years Old

1909 1910

.334, 11 HR, 115 RBI

MVP Rank: 11

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-11

Power-Speed #-17.1

AB per HR-53.8

Def. Games as 3B-148 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.942

3rd Time All-Star-I mentioned in Baker’s 1909 blurb he acquired his nickname before this season, but it was in 1911 his home runs started to bring him fame. This season, Baker finished ninth in WAR (6.4); fourth in WAR Position Players (6.4); third in Offensive WAR (6.6), behind Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (10.2) and Cleveland rightfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson (8.5); seventh in batting (.334); fifth in slugging (.508); ninth in steals (38); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (149).

Then came the World Series which made him a household name. In Game 2, Baker hit a homer to deep right off of Rube Marquard to give the Athletics a 3-1 victory. The next game, with Philadelphia behind 1-0, he hit another one to deep right off of Christy Mathewson to tie up the game, which Philadelphia would eventually win in the 11th inning. It would eventually win the series, 4-2.

This Great Game says, “In the six years previous to 1911, only two American League players, Harry Davis and Jake Stahl, had reached double figures in season home run totals—and they both barely made the grade. Welcome to the deadball era; the pitchers were in control, legally allowed to throw any kind of pitch in the book. They had the extra advantage of using the same ball in play for, sometimes, the entire game. If any hitter were fool enough to make a living smacking the lifeless, beat-up ball over the fence, the hideously long distances to the outfield walls would give them second thoughts.” Baker would change that somewhat.

gardner

3B-Larry Gardner, Boston Red Sox, 25 Years Old

.285, 4 HR, 44 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-William Lawrence “Larry” Gardner was born on May 13, 1886 in Enosburg Falls, VT. The five-foot-eight, 165 pound third baseman didn’t garner any Cooperstown Hall of Fame interest, but is going to actually have a good shot at making Ron’s Hall of Fame. He started playing for the Red Sox in 1908 and this season finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.2); and third in Defensive WAR (1.2), behind White Sox shortstop Lee Tannehill (2.6) and Washington shortstop George McBride (1.7). His defense shined throughout his career.

SABR says, “Despite the speed he showed when he first took over at second, Gardner seemed slow and unable to cover territory in 1911. Manager Patsy Donovan was searching for a third baseman to replace Harry Lord, who had been sent to Chicago the previous year in the same trade as McConnell. At midseason he shifted Gardner to third. ‘Can it be possible that Larry Gardner has been out of position all this time?’ wrote Ring Lardner. ‘He was certainly a success as a second sacker, but right now it would be hard to convince the uninformed observer that he hadn’t been playing third base for years.’ A Boston scribe wrote, ‘Third base has not been played so well in Boston since the days when Jimmie Collins was in his prime.’ After the season Washington manager Jimmy McAleer selected Gardner as the third baseman on a team of American League all-stars. They played a series of exhibitions against the Philadelphia Athletics, who were preparing for the 1911 World Series.”

tannehilll2

SS-Lee Tannehill, Chicago White Sox, 30 Years Old

1904

.254, 0 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.6 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.38

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.29

2nd Time All-Star-Tannehill last made the All-Star team in 1904 as a third baseman and didn’t switch to shortstop until 1910. Had he done so earlier, he might have made more of these lists, because at shortstop, his defense really shined. He couldn’t hit at all. This season was his only one hitting above .250 or having an on-base percentage at .300, which he had exactly. But he did lead the American League in Defensive WAR in only his second full year at shortstop.

Trying to find items on the internet about Tannehill is tough. You have his whole blurb from Wikipedia, which says, “Lee Ford Tannehill (October 26, 1880 – February 16, 1938) was a professional baseball player. He played all or part of ten seasons in Major League Baseball, from 1903 until 1912, for the Chicago White Sox, primarily as a third baseman and shortstop. He was the brother of pitcher Jesse Tannehill. He also was the first player to hit a home run in Comiskey Park.” But I can’t find anything as to why 1912 was his last season at the age of 31. All Baseball Reference has is that he was purchased by Kansas City (American Association) from Chicago on August 5, 1912. I guess teams just figured his mediocre hitting would never make up for his outstanding glove and so he garnered no interest.

His career batting line of .220/.269/.273 with an OPS+ of 70 would be terrible nowadays and it wasn’t great in his day, but it at least acceptable during the Deadball Era.

cree

LF-Birdie Cree, New York Highlanders, 28 Years Old

.348, 4 HR, 88 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 19 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as LF-.969

1st Time All-Star-William Franklin “Birdie” Cree was born on October 23, 1882 in Khedive, PA. The five-foot-six, 150 pound outfielder started with New York in 1908 and moved all over the three outfield positions throughout his career. He could always hit the ball, but really caught fire this year, finishing seventh in WAR Position Players (5.5); seventh in Offensive WAR (5.3); fifth in batting (.348); sixth in on-base percentage (.415); fourth in slugging (.513); third in steals (48), behind Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (83) and Washington centerfielder Clyde Milan (58); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (152). He’d never have another season close to this as he stayed with New York through the 1915 season.

SABR says, “A school teacher, a football player, a Penn State graduate, a professional ball player, and finally, a bank cashier, Birdie Cree spent his major league career with only one team, while witnessing the rise and fall of managers Kid ElberfeldGeorge StallingsHal ChaseHarry WolvertonFrank Chance, and Roger Peckinpaugh. Batting and throwing right handed, the speedy 5’6″ 150-pound Cree was described as a ‘robust walloper’, and one who could ‘throw as far as anyone his size.’ During his eight-year major league career, Cree established the Yankees franchise record (later broken) for most triples in a season, with 22 in 1911, and his 48 stolen bases that year remain the eighth-highest figure in franchise history.

“With an abundance of outfielders in 1911, new manager Hal Chase tried Cree at shortstop, declaring that ‘he must have Cree on the big team somewhere when the players return north.’”

cobb5

CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 24 Years Old, 2nd MVP

1907 1908 1909 1910

.420, 8 HR, 127 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

 

Led in:

 

1911 AL MVP

1911 AL Batting Title (5th Time)

Wins Above Replacement-10.7 (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-10.7 (3rd Time)

Offensive WAR-10.2 (4th Time)

Batting Average-.420 (4th Time)

Slugging %-.621 (5th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.088 (5th Time)

Runs Scored-147 (3rd Time)

Hits-248 (4th Time)

Total Bases-367 (4th Time)

Doubles-47 (2nd Time)

Triples-24 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-127 (4th Time)

Stolen Bases-83 (3rd Time)

Singles-169 (3rd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-196 (5th Time)

Runs Created-169 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-76 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-7.6 (4th Time)

Extra Base Hits-79 (2nd Time)

Times On Base-300 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.887 (5th Time)

Putouts as CF-382

Errors Committed as CF-17

Double Plays Turned as CF-11

Putouts as OF-376

Double Plays Turned as OF-10 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.78

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.74

5th Time All-Star-In a career full of unbelievable seasons, 1911 was probably the Georgia Peach’s best. The only thing missing was an American League title, something Cobb would never win again. Cobb’s .420 average was the first since Nap Lajoie’s .426 in 1901. However, that was the AL’s first season and it was watered down quite a bit. Shoeless Joe Jackson also hit over .400 this year, batting .408. It helped both men hitting was starting to come back in vogue in baseball, though it was nothing as it would be in the Twenties.

Wikipedia says, “Cobb was having a tremendous year in 1911, which included a 40-game hitting streak. Still, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson led him by .009 points in the batting race late in the season. Near the end of the season, Cobb’s Tigers had a long series against Jackson’s Cleveland Naps. Fellow Southerners Cobb and Jackson were personally friendly both on and off the field. Cobb used that friendship to his advantage. Cobb ignored Jackson when Jackson tried to say anything to him. When Jackson persisted, Cobb snapped angrily back at him, making him wonder what he could have done to enrage Cobb. Cobb felt that it was these mind games that caused Jackson to ‘fall off’ to a final average of .408, twelve points lower than Cobb’s .420, a twentieth-century record which stood until George Sisler tied it and Rogers Hornsby surpassed it with .424, the record since then except for Hugh Duffy’s .438 in the nineteenth century.”

speaker3CF-Tris Speaker, Boston Red Sox, 23 Years Old

1909 1910

.334, 8 HR, 70 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

3rd Time All-Star-It took only three seasons, but Speaker entered my Hall of Fame, despite 1911 being an off season. For the only time from 1909-through-1918, the Grey Eagle didn’t finish in the Top 10 in WAR. This year, he finished fifth in WAR Position Players (6.2); sixth in Offensive WAR (5.9); ninth in batting (.334); fifth in on-base percentage (.418); sixth in slugging (.502); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (157). He’s got many better years to come, including, spoiler alert!, next season.

A website named From Deep Right Field says, “Speaker immediately started to revolutionize how center field should be played. He designed defensive ‘rotation plays’ for the infield on bunt plays–with a twist not normally seen today. He started running in to cover second base! This method of defending bunt plays only works if you have a center fielder with enough speed, baseball acumen and the work ethic to practice until the system is mastered. It worked so well, with Speaker manning center field that the Red Sox became almost impossible, with runners on base, to bunt against. As a center fielder, Speaker accomplished 6 career unassisted double plays (getting the 2nd out at 2B). He played a generally shallow center field, because he knew his own pitchers’ tendencies and the capabilities of opposing hitters. And, his quickness and speed allowed him to be seemingly ‘everywhere at once’.” This is the second year in a row I’ve posted items on Speaker’s defense, but surprisingly, he never made the top 10 in Defensive WAR.

milan2

CF-Clyde Milan, Washington Senators, 24 Years Old

1910

.315, 3 HR, 35 RBI

MVP Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-154

At-Bats-616

Plate Appearances-709

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

Assists as CF-32 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as CF-17 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as OF-154

Assists as OF-33 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Despite being only 24 years old, Milan doesn’t have many great seasons left and this one was probably his best. He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (5.0); 10th in Offensive WAR (4.6); and second in steals (58), behind only fellow centerfielder, Detroit’s Ty Cobb (83). Someone once said 90 percent of life was just showing up and that was Milan, toiling in the outfield every game for three straight seasons, starting this year.

SABR says, “He was a left-handed hitter who batted .285 over the course of 16 seasons, and Clark Griffith called him Washington’s greatest centerfielder, claiming that he played the position more shallow than any man in baseball. Yet Clyde ‘Deerfoot’ Milan achieved his greatest fame as a base stealer. After Milan supplanted Ty Cobb as the American League’s stolen-base leader by pilfering 88 bases in 1912 and 75 in 1913, F. C. Lane of Baseball Magazine called him ‘Milan the Marvel, the Flying Mercury of the diamond, the man who shattered the American League record, and the greatest base runner of the decade.’ It was hyperbole, of course; Cobb re-claimed the AL record in 1915 by stealing 96 bases and went on to swipe far more bases over the decade than Milan, but Deerfoot stole a total of 481 during the Deadball Era, ranking third in the AL behind only Cobb (765) and Eddie Collins (564).” People during this time seemed to overly fascinated with centerfielders playing shallow. If you read my 1910 blurb on Tris Speaker, it mentions the same thing.

jackson

RF-Shoeless Joe Jackson, Cleveland Naps, 23 Years Old

.408, 7 HR, 83 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.468

Range Factor/Game as RF-1.72

1st Time All-Star-Joseph Walker (or Wofford or Jefferson) “Shoeless Joe” Jackson was born on July 16, 1887 in Pickens County, SC. The south is sure supplying its share of good players at this time. My first comment is this. If that picture up there is any indication, Jackson looks nothing like Ray Liotta (“Field of Dreams”) or D.B. Sweeney (“Eight Men Out”). Also, for those of you who only know baseball through the movies, Jackson was indeed a left-handed hitter, unlike Liotta’s portrayal in “Field of Dreams.”

There’s going to be a lot of time to write about the 1919 World Series, so let’s just start with a little background. Shoeless Joe started in 1908-09 for Philadelphia. Then on July 30, 1910, July 30, 1910: the Philadelphia Athletics sent Shoeless Joe Jackson to the Cleveland Naps to complete an earlier deal made on July 23, 1910. July 23, 1910: The Philadelphia Athletics sent a player to be named later and Morrie Rath to the Cleveland Naps for Bris Lord.

This season was his best ever as he finished third in WAR (9.2), behind Detroit centerfielder Ty Cobb (10.7) and Chicago pitcher Ed Walsh (9.2); second in WAR Position Players (9.2), trailing only Cobb (10.7); second in Offensive WAR (8.5), behind Cobb (10.2); second in batting (.408), trailing Cobb (.420); first in on-base percentage (.468); second in slugging (.590), behind Cobb (.621); sixth in steals (41); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (193), trailing Cobb (196). He, along with Cobb, were the first .400 hitters since 1901.

crawford8RF-Sam Crawford, Detroit Tigers, 31 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1905 1907 1908 1909

.378, 7 HR, 115 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1957)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1905)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as RF-146

Fielding % as RF-.975

8th Time All-Star-Wahoo Sam moved from centerfield to rightfield in 1910 as he and Ty Cobb switched positions. He had 120 RBI and 19 triples, leading the league in both categories, but didn’t make the All-Star team last season. Interestingly, after the switch was made, Detroit never again made a World Series with these two superstars. He’s back on the list this season, finishing sixth in WAR Position Players (5.7); fifth in Offensive WAR (6.4); third in batting (.378), behind Cobb (.420) and Cleveland rightfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson (.408); fourth in on-base percentage (.438); third in slugging (.526), trailing only Cobb (.621) and Jackson (.590); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (163), with only Cobb (196) and Jackson (193) ahead of him.

Detroit Athletic Co. says, “An opposing player, Fielder Jones of the White Sox, once said of Sam Crawford: ‘He stands up at the plate like a brick house and he hits all the pitchers, without playing favorites.’

“Indeed, Crawford rarely met a pitcher he didn’t like to hit against, and in his 19-year big league career – 15 spent with the Detroit Tigers – Sam hit the ball all over the park, usually a very long distance.

“In an era when home runs were about as as rare as an eclipse, Crawford was one of the preeminent power hitters in the game. He still holds the record for most career triples – the Deadball Era equivalent of a home run – a mark of 309 that will probably never be surpassed. At 15 triples per season for two decades a batter would still be nine shy of Crawford!”

murphy5

RF-Danny Murphy, Philadelphia Athletics, 34 Years Old

1904 1905 1909 1910

.300, 4 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-Names like Eddie Collins and Eddie Plank led the way for the Philadelphia dynasty, but Murphy shouldn’t be dismissed. His hitting continued to shine through this year, though this would be the last time. This season, he finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.3); 10th in batting (.329); ninth in slugging (.461); and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (141). In the World Series Philadelphia won 4-2 over the Giants, he hit .304 with three doubles. His career World Series numbers would be a .305 average with eight extra-base hits.

From Verdun2’s Blog: “By 1912 he was still good. He was also 36. In June he broke his kneecap sliding and lost the rest of the  season. In 1913 he only got into 40 games. He hit well when he played (.322/.365/.441) but he simply couldn’t play that much. The A’s went back to the World Series, winning again, but Murphy sat on the bench the entire Series. He was through in Philadelphia. In 1914 and 1915 he tried his hand with the fledgling Federal League. He hit .304 for Brooklyn in 1914, .167 in 1915, and did some scouting work. After 1915 he stopped playing in the Majors. He coached some in the Minors, got back to the A’s as a coach through the 1924 season. He coached one more year, then retired to run a hardware store and later work in a hospital. He died in 1955. In 1948 Mack named him to the All-Time A’s team as the right fielder.”

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