1912 National League All-Star Team

P-Nap Rucker, BRO

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Pete Alexander, PHI

P-Claude Hendrix, PIT

P-Rube Marquard, NYG

P-Slim Sallee, STL

P-George Suggs, CIN

P-Jeff Tesreau, NYG

P-Art Fromme, CIN

P-Eppa Rixey, PHI

C-Chief Meyers, NYG

C-Jimmy Archer, CHC

1B-Ed Konetchy, STL

1B-Jake Daubert, BRO

2B-Johnny Evers, CHC

2B-Bill Sweeney, BSN

2B-Larry Doyle, NYG

3B-Heinie Zimmerman, CHC

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

LF-Bob Bescher, CIN

LF-Max Carey, PIT

CF-Chief Wilson, PIT

CF-Dode Paskert, PHI

RF-John Titus, PHI/BSN

 

rucker6

P-Nap Rucker, Brooklyn Dodgers, 27 Years Old

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911

18-21, 2.21 ERA, 151 K, .245, 0 HR, 12 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-8.3 (2nd Time)

War for Pitchers-8.1 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-6 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-As of this writing, the Golden State Warriors won yet another basketball championship because they have two of the best players in the game, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. In basketball, there are fewer championship teams, because you can be successful with the game’s best players. Not so in baseball. You need to have a good all-around team to win. Mike Trout is the best player in baseball and has only been to the playoffs once. He’s having an incredible 2018 season and it looks like the Angels could fall short again.

Which brings us to Rucker. He was one of baseball’s best players during the time he pitched, but his career won-loss percentage is .500. That’s because he always pitched on bad teams. Am I saying he would have been a Christy Mathewson if he had pitched on the Giants? Yes, though without the longevity. This season, Rucker finished first in WAR (8.3); first in WAR for Pitchers (8.1); third in ERA (2.21), behind the New York combo of Jeff Tesreau (1.96) and Mathewson (2.12); sixth in innings pitched (297 2/3); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (151), trailing only Tesreau (173) and Mathewson (161).

Speaking of Rucker’s bad team, Brooklyn stayed in seventh with a 67-86 record under the guidance of Bill Dahlen. Its problem was when Rucker wasn’t on the mound, the team’s pitching was awful. Rucker would have garnered much more fame if he pitched in these modern times, due to his dominance in the advanced stats.

mathewson11

P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 31 Years Old, 3rd MVP

1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911

23-12, 2.12 ERA, 134 K, .264, 0 HR, 12 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1910)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1903)

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.987 (4th Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.941 (7th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.54 (8th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-42 (5th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.3 (5th Time)

11th Time All-Star-Mathewson’s manager, John McGraw, was part of an incredible team, the Baltimore Orioles of the late 1890s. That team had a reputation as scofflaws, breaking rules and starting fights at the drop of a cap. It’s why it’s amusing to think of the fiery McGraw managing the clean-cut Big Six. Yet I have yet to read of any disagreements between the two men in all of the seasons of which I’ve written of Mathewson.

This season, Mathewson finished second in WAR (8.0), behind Nap Rucker (8.3); second in WAR for Pitchers (7.5), trailing Rucker (8.1); second in ERA (2.12), with only teammate Jeff Tesreau having a lower one (1.96); second in innings pitched (310), behind Pete Alexander (310 1/3); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (161), trailing Tesreau (173). In his third World Series, Mathewson went 0-2, giving up 11 runs (three earned) in 28 2/3 innings. New York lost the Series, 4-3-1, to the Red Sox.

New York made the Series by winning its second consecutive National League pennant, 10 games ahead of the Pirates. Second baseman Larry Doyle helped the team’s great hitting. The Giants averaged 5.34 runs per game, .37 ahead of the Cubs, who finished second in that category. Also, with Mathewson and Tesreau, the team had the best pitching in the league. Wikipedia says, “Though Mathewson threw three complete games and maintained an ERA below 1.00, numerous errors by the Giants, including a lazy popup dropped by Fred Snodgrass in game 7, cost them the championship.”

alexander2

P-Pete Alexander, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

1911

19-17, 2.81 ERA, 195 K, .186, 2 HR, 13 RBI

MVP Rank: 22

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1938)

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.655

Innings Pitched-310 1/3 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-195

Home Runs Allowed-11

2nd Time All-Star-I wrote in Alexander’s 1911 blurb that he and Christy Mathewson will be battling for top pitcher for many years to come, but in 1911 and 1912, the top pitcher by WAR has been Nap Rucker, the underrated gem from Brooklyn. This season, Old Pete finished fifth in WAR (6.4); third in WAR for Pitchers (6.4), behind Rucker (8.1) and Mathewson (7.5); first in innings pitched (310 1/3); and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (128).

Philadelphia continued to be a middle-of-the-pack team, finishing fifth this season, dropping from fourth in 1911. It continued to struggle with hitting, though Alexander did give them one of the best pitching staffs in the league.

SABR says, “Had Grover Cleveland Alexander been a writer, the French would have called him a poete maudit, a cursed poet. Alexander had within him the greatness and the frailty that make for tragedy. Except for Ty Cobb among his contemporaries, no other player had to cope with so many personal demons. With Cobb and Christy Mathewson, Alexander is one of the most complex players of the Deadball Era.

“Life on the Nebraska plains was harsh, as the infant and child deaths in the Alexander family amply prove. The Alexander farm was self-sufficient, however, and there was always enough food. Alex-called ‘Dode’ by family and folks around Elba and St. Paul-considered himself ‘an average farm boy’ and described his youth as ‘more or less a matter of long days of work and short nights of sleep.’ He acquired a reputation as a corn shucker, a task his father credited with giving him the powerful right wrist that made his curveball so deadly.”

hendrix

P-Claude Hendrix, Pittsburgh Pirates, 23 Years Old

24-9, 2.59 ERA, 176 K, .322, 1 HR, 15 RBI

MVP Rank: 20

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.727

Assists as P-91

Range Factor/Game as P-2.51

1st Time All-Star-Claude Raymond Hendrix was born on April 13, 1889 in Olathe, KS. The six-foot, 195 pound righty started with Pittsburgh in 1911, but really broke through this year. Hendrix finished sixth in WAR (6.1); ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.7); eighth in ERA (2.59); 10th in innings pitched (288 2/3); and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (128). He also added something many pitchers didn’t – a great bat. He slashed .322/.339/.529 for and OPS+ of 135 and was used eight times as a pinch hitter.

Pittsburgh couldn’t get past the Giants and finished second in the league with a 93-58 record. Fred Clarke continued to manage the team that had great hitting thanks to Honus Wagner and great pitching thanks to Hendrix.

SABR says, “Making the jump from semipro ball directly to the majors, Claude debuted with the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 11, 1911, and soon befriended Honus Wagner, with whom he often joined on business deals. Hendrix finished the season with a 4-6 record, but his 2.73 ERA and 85 hits allowed in 118.2 innings provided a hint of the performance that was soon to come.

“In his first full season in Pittsburgh, Hendrix emerged as one of the National League’s premier pitchers in 1912, placing second in the NL in strikeouts (176) and leading the league in winning percentage with a 24-9 record to go along with a 2.59 ERA. He also was spectacular at the plate, hitting .322 with a .529 slugging percentage, which would have placed him second in the NL to Heinie Zimmerman if he had batted a sufficient number of times.”

marquard2

P-Rube Marquard, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

1911

26-11, 2.57 ERA, 175 K, .219, 0 HR, 10 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1971)

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-26

2nd Time All-Star-What a trio of pitchers the Giants had with Christy Mathewson, Jeff Tesreau, and Marquard. No wonder they won the pennant! Marquard finished eighth in WAR (5.9); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.9); seventh in ERA (2.57); eighth in innings pitched (294 2/3); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (133). In the World Series, Marquard dominated, pitching two games and winning them both while allowing just one earned run. It didn’t help New York, however, as it lost to the Red Sox, 4-3-1.

SABR says, “But 29 years before Joltin’ Joe was smacking the horsehide around American League parks, another one of the great players in Gotham set his own streak. And it was just as impressive. Rube Marquard, who was a pitcher on the 1912 New York Giants, put together a single-season winning streak that, like DiMaggio’s, still stands. Beginning with his first start of the season, at Brooklyn on April 11, Marquard won 19 games in a row. He didn’t lose until July 8. During the streak, left-handed pitcher Marquard had an earned-run average of 1.63.

“If the same streak were played under the rules that are employed today, Marquard would have won 20 in a row. On April 20, against the Brooklyn Superbas, Marquard relieved Jeff Tesreau in the ninth inning. Tesreau had given up three runs and Brooklyn had taken a 3-2 lead over the New Yorkers. Marquard recorded all three outs in the ninth, and retreated to the dugout to watch the Giants score two in the bottom of the frame to win, 4-3. In those days, the win went to the pitcher who had pitched the most innings. In today’s game, Marquard would get the win since he was the pitcher of record when the Giants took the lead.”

sallee

P-Slim Sallee, St. Louis Cardinals, 27 Years Old

16-17, 2.60 ERA, 108 K, .136, 0 HR, 0 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Saves-6

Putouts as P-17

1st Time All-Star-Harry Franklin “Slim” or “Scatter” Sallee was born on February 3, 1885 in Higginsport, OH. The six-foot-three, 180 pound lefty started with St. Louis in 1908. This season, he finished ninth in WAR (5.4); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.0); ninth in ERA (2.60); ninth in innings pitched (294); and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (131).

Roger Bresnahan coached his fourth and final season for the Cardinals as they dropped from fifth to sixth this season, with a 63-90 record. It was their pitching that lacked, as St. Louis gave up over five runs a game.

SABR says, “After Sallee got in shape and again promised to behave, Bresnahan declared that in 1911 his pitcher would be the best lefthander in the National League. As it turned out, Sallee’s 15 wins helped St. Louis to its first winning record since 1901. However, in early July, Pittsburgh’s Fred Clarke, who the prior year wouldn’t take Sallee ‘for nothing,’ was hit in the head by a Sallee pitch, for all intents and purposes ending Clarke’s Hall of Fame playing career.

“Later that month, while en route to Boston, the Cardinals were involved in a tragic train wreck, claiming the lives of 12 passengers. Sallee and his teammates received many accolades for their part in the rescue effort; however, this event left a lingering effect on the ball club. While in New York in late August, Sallee again ‘fell off the water wagon’ and was unable to pitch. He was fined and suspended for the remainder of the season, a season that had started off with promise.”

suggs3

P-George Suggs, Cincinnati Reds, 29 Years Old

1910 1911

19-16, 2.94 ERA, 104 K, .160, 1 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits Allowed-320

3rd Time All-Star-Sometimes when you look at a name, a picture comes to mind. When I see the name George Suggs, I just imagine a big man for some reason. But he wasn’t; Suggs was just five-foot-seven and 168 pounds. He was a good pitcher, though, making this list for the third straight season. The righty Suggs finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.3) and fourth in innings pitched (303).

Hank O’Day took over the managing duties from Clark Griffith and led the team to a fourth-place 75-78 finish. This was his first and last year managing Cincinnati. This team just couldn’t hit, scoring the least amount of runs in the National League. Griffith is mentioned in an article on Baseball History Daily, grousing about the lack of good-hitting pitchers.       “In 1911 Reds manager Clark Griffith told The Cincinnati Times-Star that pitchers no longer hit like they did when he played:

’Give me pitchers who can hit the ball instead of fanning out weakly, I wish there were a few more pitchers available like the top notchers of twenty years ago.  In those days a pitcher believed that he was hired to soak the ball as well as curve it, and he always did his best to get a hit.

“’(Tim) Keefe (career .187), (Mickey) Welch (.224), (Thomas “Toad”) Ramsey (.204), and (James “Pud”) Galvin  (.201) were among the old-time pitchers who could not bat, but they tried all the time, and if one of them got a hit he was as proud as a kid just breaking into the big league.’”

tesreau

P-Jeff Tesreau, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

17-7, 1.96 ERA, 119 K, .146, 0 HR, 7 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1912 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.96

Hits per 9 IP-6.556

Adjusted ERA+-173

1st Time All-Star-Charles Monroe “Jeff” Tesreau was born on March 5, 1888 in Ironton, MO. The six-foot-two, 218 pound righty had a marvelous rookie year, finishing eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.1); first in ERA (1.96); and first in Adjusted ERA+ (173). In the World Series, Tesreau pitched three games, finishing 1-2 with a 3.13 ERA as the Giants lost to the Red Sox, 4-3-1.

From Wikipedia: “After two years in the minors, Tesreau learned how to throw a spitball, which became his signature pitch. He started the second game of the 1912 season for the Giants. The New York Times wrote, ‘Tesreau has curves which bend like barrel hoops and speed like lightning. He’s just the kind of a strong man McGraw has been looking for.’ In the 1912 World Series, Tesreau went 1–2 against Boston Red Sox ace Smoky Joe Wood.

“In 1912, Tesreau was 17–7 and had a league leading ERA of 1.96. ERA officially became a statistic of Major League Baseball in 1912, and Tesreau along with the American League‘s Walter Johnson became the first players recognized for leading the major leagues in that category. On September 6 of that season, Tesreau no-hit the Philadelphia Phillies 3-0.”

As for his nickname, Jeff, SABR says, “In 1910 he pitched the whole season for Shreveport and posted a 15-14 record with 179 strikeouts against only 71 walks. The New York Giants purchased him and brought him to New York in September. Though Tesreau didn’t get into any games, he did catch the eye of sportswriter Bill McBeth, who noticed the big pitcher’s resemblance to heavyweight boxer Jim Jeffries and nicknamed him ‘Jeff.’”

fromme2

P-Art Fromme, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1909

16-18, 2.74 ERA, 120 K, .087, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-9

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1909, Fromme missed much of 1910 due to what I presume was an injury and then had an off season in 1911, in which he led the league in hit batsmen. He’s back this year, though it’s most likely his last year on this list. Fromme finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.6); and seventh in innings pitched (296). Following this season, he would pitch for both the Reds and Giants in 1913, before finishing his Major League career with New York in 1914 and 1915.

Red Reporter says, “On this day [Sept. 3] in 1883, former Red Art Fromme was born in Quincy, IL. Fromme had an Aaron Harang-type career with the Reds. He pitched well while in Cincinnati, but played on mediocre teams. In 1909, Fromme went 19-13 on a team that went 77-76. He missed most of the 1910 season, going 4-3 on a team that went 75-79. Fromme went 10-11 in 1911, and the Reds finished with a 70-83 record. In 1912, Fromme finished with a 16-18 record on a team that went 75-78. He was 1-4 with the Reds in 1913 when Cincinnati traded him on May twenty-second. The team’s record coming into that day was 9-22. Why am I looking at his won-lost records? Well, Fromme went 49-50 with the Reds, but posted a 2.74 ERA, which even in the midst of the deadball era was good for an ERA+ of 112. Fromme was a good pitcher, but you wouldn’t know that if you simply looked at his won-lost record.”

rixey

P-Eppa Rixey, Philadelphia Phillies, 21 Years Old

10-10, 2.50 ERA, 59 K, .170, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as P-1.000

1st Time All-Star-Eppa “Jephtha” Rixey was born on May 3, 1891 (I believe he’s my first All-Star born in the 1890s) in Culpeper, VA. The six-foot-five, 210 pound lefty would have a fascinating Hall of Fame career as most of his good seasons would come after he reached the age of 30. He had a great rookie season this year, finishing 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.7); sixth in ERA (2.50); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (144). He is going to end up having a 21-year career which won’t end until 1933.

Wikipedia says, “During the off-season, umpire Cy Rigler worked as an assistant coach for the University. He recognized Rixey’s talent and tried to sign him to the Philadelphia Phillies. Rixey originally declined, saying he wanted to be a chemist, but Rigler insisted, even offering a substantial portion of the bonus he received for signing a player. With his family in financial trouble, Rixey accepted the deal. The National League, upon hearing of the deal, created a rule that prohibits umpires from signing players. Neither Rixey nor Rigler received any signing bonus.

“Rixey joined the Phillies for the 1912 season without playing a single game of minor league baseball. His time with the Phillies was marked by inconsistency. He went 10-10 in his first year, with a 2.50 earned run average (ERA) and 10 complete games in 23 games pitched. He had a three hit shutout against the Chicago Cubs on July 18. Rixey was on the losing end of a no-hitter by Jeff Tesreau on September 6. After the season, the Chicago Cubs, under new manager Johnny Evers, offered a ‘huge sum’ to the Phillies for Rixey, but manager Red Dooin declined the offer.”

meyers2

C-Chief Meyers, New York Giants, 31 Years Old

1911

.358, 6 HR, 60 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.441

Def. Games as C-122 (2nd Time)

Putouts as C-576 (3rd Time)

Passed Balls-12 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-His career wasn’t long enough to put him into the Hall of Fame, but Meyers certainly shined among catchers in his day. This season was his best ever as he finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.6); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.8); second in batting (.358), behind Chicago third baseman Heinie Zimmerman (.372); first in on-base percentage (.441); fourth in slugging (.477); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (147), trailing only Zimmerman (170). That’s a great season, regardless, but a flat out dazzling year for a catcher. Meyers’ awesome hitting continued in the World Series loss to the Red Sox as he went 10-for-28 (.357) with a triple.

Wikipedia says, “Meyers had his greatest success in the 1912 season, hitting .358 and finishing third in the MVP award voting. His .441 on-base percentage led the league. Meyers was also a key player in that year’s World Series versus the Boston Red Sox, which featured the infamous “Snodgrass Muff” as well as captivating performances by Mathewson and Smoky Joe Wood.

“Meyers was the primary catcher for Hall of Fame pitcher Christy Mathewson. In only two years of playing Major League Baseball, Meyers teamed up with the great Christy Mathewson, putting on a sketch entitled ‘Curves.’ The half-hour sketch included both Mathewson and Meyers explaining the art of their position. This wasn’t the only project they teamed up for, as both Mathewson and Meyers would act in another sketch which toured for several weeks.” I’m assuming this was on stage somewhere, but it isn’t mentioned. Hey Wikipedia, leave the bad writing to me!

archer

C-Jimmy Archer, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

.283, 5 HR, 61 RBI

MVP Rank: 22

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 55 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as C-149

Errors Committed as C-23

1st Time All-Star-James Patrick “Jimmy” Archer was born on May 13, 1883 in Dublin, Ireland. He started his career playing seven games for Pittsburgh in 1904, then didn’t play again in the Majors until 1907, when he toiled for Detroit. He then took another year off of the Major Leagues until 1909 when he started catching regularly for the Cubs. Archer was steady and made the All-Star team this season due to a lack of good catchers in the National League.

The Cubs finished third this season, with Frank Chance leading them to a 91-59 record in his last year of managing for the team. He would finish coach eight seasons for the Cubbies, leading them to four pennants and two World Series championships, the last title for the club until Joe Maddon in 2016. His career record for Chicago was 768-389, a .664 winning percentage.

Wikipedia says, “As a catcher, he could remain squatting and still throw out runners attempting to stealsecond base due to his unique arm strength, which became his trademark, acquired from the healing of burns that shortened his muscles after an industrial accident in which Archer fell into a vat of boiling sap at the age of 19.” So instead of turning into a supervillain when he fell into the vat, he just acquired super-strength. Those comic books really are true!

If you don’t believe he’s a superhero, Wikipedia has more, saying “After his retirement from baseball, Archer worked as a hog purchaser for the Armour meat packing company in Chicago. He received a medal from the National Safety Council in 1931 after using prone pressure resuscitation to revive two truck drivers who had been overcome by carbon monoxide in the Union Stock Yards.”

konetchy4

1B-Ed Konetchy, St. Louis Cardinals, 26 Years Old

1909 1910 1911

.314, 8 HR, 82 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-10.60 (4th Time)

4th Time All-Star-Konetchy continued to be the National League’s best first sacker, but his stats are going to start to decline a bit starting next year (not counting a year spent in the Federal League). He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (3.8); eighth in Offensive WAR (3.8); 10th in batting (.314); seventh in slugging (.455); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (133). If he could have stayed this proficient a couple more seasons, he’d have a good shot at making my Hall of Fame.

SABR says, “In February 1912 he met with Bresnahan in a St. Louis hotel bar to talk contract. The negotiation turned into a drinking contest that lasted from the time the bar opened that morning until late in the afternoon. Amidst a table of empty beer bottles, Konetchy finally agreed to terms. That year he batted .314, tying the highest average of his career, but the following year he fell off to .276.

“Being the star player on a second-division team, Konetchy was the frequent subject of trade rumors throughout the early part of his career. ‘I’m the most traded man in baseball without getting anywhere,’ he said. Philadelphia reportedly once offered Sherry Magee, Fred Luderus, and Earl Moore for him, while other teams offered up to $20,000. When interviewed in 1938, Konetchy wondered ‘what kind of tag they’d have on me in this high pressure era. One thing is certain, I was born 23 years too soon.’ During the 1913 NL annual meeting, the Cardinals’ manager Miller Huggins traded Konetchy, along with Mike Mowrey and Bob Harmon, to Pittsburgh for five players. It was said that Pittsburgh manager Fred Clarke had been so eager to acquire Konetchy that he even considered trading an aging Honus Wagner for him.”

daubert2

1B-Jake Daubert, Brooklyn Dodgers, 28 Years Old

1911

.308, 3 HR, 66 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 66 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 1B-.993

2nd Time All-Star-If not for Ed Konetchy, Daubert would be the National League’s best first baseman. He’s going to have some good seasons ahead, but this year was good enough to make this list. He was solid and steady, reminding me of a Dodger first baseman of the future — well, Daubert’s future, my past — Steve Garvey.

Should Daubert be a Hall of Famer? Funny, but the Nashville Sounds News asks the same question, saying, “Another former Nashville Vol player has been considered by many to be National Baseball Hall of Fame-worthy is Jake Daubert. Daubert also played just one year (1908) in Nashville; the first baseman batted .262 with six home runs in 138 games. He was part of the Vols historic Southern Association championship club that won the pennant on the final day of the season.

“George Daubert, Jake’s son, told the New York Post in a 1989 interview:

“’He lived baseball. [George Daubert was 80 years at the time.] After every game, he played the…game over six times. He was as student of the game. He would study the game. When dad was playing, he carried a little black book, and he would write in there the eccentric movements of a pitcher. If he was going to throw a fastball, he may do some little thing to tip him off. He watched those little things.

“’In those days nobody said, “Now this is the way you slide into the bag, this is the way you throw, this is the way you run, this is the way you hit.” Nobody told you anything. You went to spring training, and it was everybody for himself.’”

evers7

2B-Johnny Evers, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1904 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910

.341, 1 HR, 61 RBI

MVP Rank: 20

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1912)

 

7th Time All-Star-After playing only 46 games in 1911 (read Evers’ 1910 blurb for details), Crab is back playing regularly and back making All-Star teams. Even though he won the MVP in 1914, I’m going to say this was his best season ever. Evers finished seventh in WAR (6.0); third in WAR Position Players (6.0), behind Honus Wagner (8.0) and teammate Heinie Zimmerman (7.1); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.8); sixth in Defensive WAR (1.3); fourth in batting (.341); second in on-base percentage (.431), trailing Giants catcher Chief Meyers (.441); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (140). He also is the sixth second baseman inducted into my Hall of Fame.

This was the last year of the Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance double play combination, as the Chicago Tribune notes, saying, “The Tinker-Evers-Chance triumvirate was broken up just two years after ‘Baseball’s Sad Lexicon’ was published. Chance left the Cubs after the 1912 season to manage the New York Yankees. He died in 1924 after a long battle with pneumonia. Tinker was traded to Cincinnati in 1912, played four more years in the majors and finished his career with the Cubs in 1916. He died in 1948 of complications from diabetes. Evers, who took over as Cubs manager after Chance left, was traded to the Boston Braves in 1914, his last season as a full-time player. He died in 1947 from a cerebral hemorrhage.” The Bridwell-to-Evers-to-Saier combination of 1913 isn’t going to be nearly as noteworthy. It should also be noted Chance was already down to playing only two games this season and neither Chance nor Evers played regularly in 1911, so the last season this combo played together in any real way was in 1910.

sweeneybi

2B-Bill Sweeney, Boston Braves, 26 Years Old

.344, 1 HR, 99 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 21 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-153

Plate Appearances-697

Singles-159

Times on Base-277

Def. Games as 2B-153

Putouts as 2B-459 (2nd Time)

Assists as 2B-475

Errors Committed as 2B-40 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 2B-76

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.19 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.10 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-William John “Bill” Sweeney was born on March 6, 1886 in Covington, KY. The five-foot-11, 175 pound infielder started as a shortstop for the Cubs in 1907, before being traded by the Chicago Cubs with Newt Randall to the Boston Doves for Del Howard. Boston moved him from short to third base and then back to short in 1910. In 1911, Sweeney found a home at second base and would have his best season ever this year. He finished 10th in WAR (5.3); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.3); third in Offensive WAR (5.2), behind Chicago’s Heinie Zimmerman (7.2) and Pittsburgh’s Honus Wagner (6.1); third in batting (.344), trailing Zimmerman (.372) and New York’s Chief Meyers (.358); sixth in on-base percentage (.416); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (135).

Did all of that hitting help Boston, now going under the nickname “Braves?” Nope. Even with new manager Johnny Kling, it finished last with a 52-101 record. Besides Sweeney, the Braves had no hitters and they had the worst pitching in the league. It would be Kling’s first and last year managing.

SABR says, “…Sweeney put together a season that surpassed even his splendid 1911 campaign. He batted leadoff for the first twenty-five games of the 1912 season but then was moved to the number three position in the lineup. (Sporting Life, May 15, 1912) He never missed a beat and swatted a prodigious .344 for the year while driving in a hundred runs. The total is astonishing considering Sweeney’s time in the leadoff spot and that he ranked among the league leaders in sacrifice bunts with 33.”

doyle4

2B-Larry Doyle, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

1909 1910 1911

.330, 10 HR, 91 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

 ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1912 NL MVP

AB Per SO-27.9

4th Time All-Star-You would have thought a man only 25 years old, who has now made four straight All-Star teams, would be a surefire Hall of Famer. Doyle’s going to be close in making my Hall of Fame, but his best years are behind him at this point. He did win the MVP in the National League this season and it was a good year, but he wouldn’t have been my choice. I would have probably taken Christy Mathewson. That doesn’t mean Laughing Larry had a bad year. He finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.0); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.6); fifth in batting (.330); ninth in on-base percentage (.393); fifth in slugging (.471); seventh in steals (36); and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (132). In the World Series which the Giants lost to the Red Sox, 4-3-1, he hit just .242 with a home run.

From SABR: “At the height of his stardom Doyle earned an annual salary of $8,000, only $3,000 less than his road roommate Mathewson. He invested in Florida real estate, and he and Matty studied the stock market intensely. In 1912 Doyle again reached double figures in home runs and posted career highs in batting average (.330) and RBIs (90), winning the Chalmers Award as the NL’s most valuable player. The prize, of course, was a Chalmers automobile. ‘I didn’t even know how to put gasoline into it,’ Larry recalled. The following season he might have wished he’d remained ignorant; a week before the end of the season he lost control of the car and crashed it into a tree, bruising his arm and shoulder. Doyle missed the end of the regular season but recovered sufficiently to play in the World Series, though he managed only three hits and committed three errors in the five games (the Giants losing for the third straight year). Defense undoubtedly was the former third baseman’s biggest weakness. Doyle shaded closer to second base than other second basemen, preventing him from covering as much ground on the first-base side, and he also reportedly had trouble coming in to field slow grounders.”

zimmerman

3B-Heinie Zimmerman, Chicago Cubs, 25 Years Old

.372, 14 HR, 104 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1912 NL Triple Crown

1912 NL Batting Title

Offensive WAR-7.2

Batting Average-.372

Slugging %-.571

On-Base Plus Slugging-.989

Hits-207

Total Bases-318

Doubles-41

Home Runs-14

Runs Batted In-104

Adjusted OPS+-170

Runs Created-131

Adj. Batting Runs-51

Adj. Batting Wins-5.2

Extra Base Hits-69

Offensive Win%-.813

Power-Speed #-17.4

Errors Committed as 3B-35

1st Time All-Star-Henry “Heinie” Zimmerman was born on February 9, 1887 in New York, NY. He started with the Cubs in 1907 and played various infield positions throughout the years. He had only one at bat in the 1907 World Series, striking out. In 1910, he hit .235 (four-for-17) with a double. After playing a lot of second base in 1911 in place of Johnny Evers, he moved to third base this year and had one of those out of the blue seasons that happen periodically. If the Triple Crown would have had more worth in 1912, there’s no doubt Zimmerman would have won the MVP. As it was, I don’t really have to recap his season, do I? Look at that list above.

SABR says, “A versatile fielder who could play second, third, or short, Heinie Zimmerman rose to prominence with the Chicago Cubs during the early teens as a lovable eccentric whose aggressive batting style won the loyalty of fans and the respect of opposing pitchers. But despite winning the National League’s Triple Crown in 1912, the lifetime .295 hitter never fulfilled his immense potential, instead becoming one of the Deadball Era’s best examples of wasted talent. ‘Zimmerman’s disposition has not always been fortunate and his all round record hasn’t been quite what it should have been,’ wrote F.C. Lane in 1917. ‘But there is no possible doubt that he is one of the greatest natural ball players who ever wore a uniform.’ By the end of the decade, the man who had once come within an eyelash of the Triple Crown found himself driven from the game in disgrace.”

There is an article at the link detailing why Zimmerman’s Triple Crown was legit and if you like reading loan contracts or tax codes, you should check it out.

wagner14

SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 38 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911

.324, 7 HR, 101 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1906)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1901)

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-8.0 (11th Time)

Defensive WAR-3.0

Double Plays Turned as SS-74 (4th Time)

Fielding % as SS-.962

14th Time All-Star-Wagner’s 12th stint on the All-Star team at shortstop moves him past Jack Glasscock for the most times making this list at that position. Here’s the whole list:

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Nap Lajoie, 10

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Honus Wagner, 12

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Thompson, Elmer Flick, 7

As for his season, ho-hum. Wagner finished second in WAR (8.0), behind Brooklyn pitcher Nap Rucker (8.3); first in WAR Position Players (8.0); second in Offensive WAR (6.1), trailing Chicago third baseman Heinie Zimmerman (7.2); first in Defensive WAR (3.0); sixth in batting (.324); eighth in on-base percentage (.395); third in slugging (.496), lagging behind Zimmerman (.571) and teammate Chief Wilson (.513); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (143), with only Zimmerman (170) and New York catcher Chief Meyers (147) ahead of him. This season allows me to go on one of my rants asking why Wagner’s Offensive WAR (6.1) plus his Defensive WAR (3.0) doesn’t give him an overall war of 9.1 instead of 8.0.

SABR says, “Honus Wagner was no angel or saint. Some opponents thought him a fine fellow off the diamond but overly rough on it. Most umpires thought he ‘kicked’ too much. He affected to dislike formal affairs, but he really hated the next morning. Yet he also embodied the American dream as the son of immigrants who rose from humble roots to greatness. Frailties aside, he was one of baseball’s first heroes, a basically gentle, hard-working man, a loyal friend and teammate who treated young players kindly, dealt with adversity, inspired millions, and was devoted to Bessie, the ‘boys,’ and Leslie. Bill James in The Historical Baseball Abstract put it best: ‘[T]here is no one who has ever played this game that I would be more anxious to have on a baseball team.’”

tinker7

SS-Joe Tinker, Chicago Cubs, 31 Years Old

1902 1906 1908 1909 1910 1911

.282, 0 HR, 77 RBI

MVP Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1946)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as SS-354 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-5.97 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.80 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-Tinker is what we envision when we hear the word “shortstop.” He stood at five-foot-nine, 175 pounds, while Honus Wagner, the best in the world at the position, weighed in at 200. It wasn’t until Cal Ripken came along that teams started inserting bigger men into the position. That’s why people, pre-Ripken, tended to think of people with the size of Ozzie Smith as shortstops.

This season, Tinker made his fifth straight All-Star team, finishing second in Defensive WAR (2.4), behind Wagner (3.0). As usual for Tinker, it was his fielding that put him on this list.

The Cubs almost lost Tinker this season, as Wikipedia says, “Garry Herrmann, the owner of the Reds, identified Tinker as an ideal candidate to become his player-manager for the 1912 season. According to Tinker, shareholders of the Reds approached Tinker about his interest in the job, and he then met with Charles W. Murphy, the Cubs’ owner, and Chance, then serving as the Cubs’ manager. They forbade him from taking the role with Cincinnati, which left Tinker unhappy. Herrmann began to listen to entreaties from his players, who wanted to retain Clark Griffith as manager, but decided to hire Hank O’Day. In the 1912 season, Tinker had a .282 batting average, and scored 80 runs and recorded 75 RBIs, both career records. He again led the league in putouts by a shortstop, with 354. Tinker finished in fourth place in the Chalmers Award voting following the season, behind Larry DoyleHonus Wagner, and Chief Meyers.”

bescher

LF-Bob Bescher, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

.281, 4 HR, 38 RBI

MVP Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-120

Stolen Bases-67 (4th Time)

Errors Committed as LF-14 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Robert Henry “Bob” Bescher was born on February 25, 1884 in London, OH. The speedy switch-hitter started his career with the Reds in 1908 and this was his fourth consecutive year of leading the National League in steals. It was also his best season ever as he finished ninth in WAR Position Players (3.7); 10th in Offensive WAR (3.4); and first in steals (67). He would stay with Cincinnati through 1913, move to the Giants in 1914, play for the Cardinals from 1915-17, and then finish off his career with Cleveland in 1918.

Wikipedia says, “The switch-hitting Bescher played 5 seasons with Cincy, and established himself as a dangerous player on the basepaths with the Reds. He led the NL in stolen bases for four consecutive years from 1909 to 1912, and his 81 stolen bases in 1911 set a league record which was not broken for over 50 years.

“Outside of stolen bases, he was the NL leader in runs in 1912, and was the NL leader in walks in 1913. Also in 1912, he hit a career-best .282 and finished 5th in voting for the Chalmers Award, a forerunner to the modern MVP award.

“He played for the New York Giants in 1914, after being traded there in exchange for Buck Herzog, and hit .270 in his lone year in the Big Apple. Three seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals followed, which ended after he was traded to the minor league Milwaukee Brewers, the trade coming at a time before minor league teams were affiliated with Major League clubs.”

carey

LF-Max Carey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 22 Years Old

.302, 5 HR, 68 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1961)

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

 

Led in:

 

Sacrifice Hits-37

Def. Games as LF-148

Putouts as LF-358

Double Plays Turned as LF-11

Putouts as OF-369

Double Plays Turned as OF-10

Range Factor/Game as LF_2.54

Fielding % as LF-.969

1st Time All-Star-Max George “Scoops” Carey was born on January 11, 1890 in Terre Haute, IN. The five-foot-11, 170 pound switch-hitter started his Hall of Fame career with Pittsburgh in 1910. He’s going to be one of the game’s most prolific base stealers over the next decade or so. This season, Carey finished second in steals (45), trailing only Cincinnati leftfielder Bob Bescher (67). However, Scoops would go on to lead the National League in that category 10 of the next 13 years.

Wikipedia says, “Carey’s parents wanted their son to become a Lutheran minister. He attended Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, studying in the pre-ministerial program. He also played baseball, and was a member of the swimming and track-and-field teams. After graduating in 1909, he went to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.

“The President of the Central League recommended Carey to the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball‘s (MLB) National League at the end of the 1910 season. The Pirates bought Carey and McCarthy from South Bend on August 15, and Carey made his MLB debut with the Pirates, appearing in two games as a replacement for Fred Clarke.

“In 1912, Carey played in 122 games as the Pirates’ center fielder, replacing Tommy Leach. He had a .258 batting average on the season. The next year, he succeeded Clarke as the Pirates’ left fielder on a permanent basis.”    Yes it’s true, Clarke, the game’s greatest leftfielder and perhaps its best player-manager of all-time stopped playing regularly in 1911, making only occasional appearances with the Pirates from 1913-15.

wilsonc

CF-Chief Wilson, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

.300, 11 HR, 94 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-36

Def. Games as OF-152 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-John Owen “Chief” Wilson was born on August 21, 1883 in Austin, TX. The six-foot-two, 185 pound lefty started with Pittsburgh in 1908 and this year was his best ever and, of course, most famous ever as he set the all-time mark for triples with 36. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.0); second in slugging (.513), behind only Chicago third baseman Heinie Zimmerman (.571); and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (132).

Now you might ask yourself who held the triples record before Wilson. Well, in 1886, Dave Orr hit 31 for the American Association New York Metropolitans and then in 1894, Heinie Reitz also hit 31 three-baggers for the Baltimore Orioles. The surprising thing about Orr is he weighed 250 pounds!

No one would ever have over 30 triples again. The closest any player got was Sam Crawford with 26 in 1914.

Wikipedia says, “In 1912, Wilson recorded the same batting average as the year before and came second in the league in slugging (.513) and games played (152), third in home runs (11), fourth in RBI (95) and seventh in hits (175). Furthermore, he set the single-season record for triples, hitting 36 in total that year. However, his record received almost no press coverage whatsoever. Baseball sportswriter Ernest Lanigan suggested that this was because a record book erroneously attributed Nap Lajoie with having 44 triples in 1903, when he hit only 11 that year. As a result, several newspapers—most notably the Pittsburgh Press—were under the belief that Lajoie held the record.”

paskert2

CF-Dode Paskert, Philadelphia Phillies, 30 Years Old

1910

.315, 2 HR, 43 RBI

MVP Rank: 14

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as CF-.967 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-After not making the All-Star team in 1911, Paskert is back this season with the Phillies, after first making this list with the Reds in 1910. He finished ninth in WAR Position Players (3.7); ninth in Offensive WAR (3.6); ninth in batting (.315); fourth in on-base percentage (.420); and seventh in steals (36).

SABR says, “Fleet-footed Dode Paskert was one of the finest defensive center fielders of the Deadball Era. ‘It is no exaggeration to say that Paskert is one of the greatest judges of a fly ball in the game today,’ wrote Baseball Magazine‘s J. C. Kofoed in 1915. ‘Those who have seem him circle, hawk-like, turn his back and speed outward, and then make a daring leap, with the spoiling of a three-bagger at the end of it, know how true that statement is.’ As for his offense, Paskert was an extremely patient hitter who worked pitchers deep into the count, often ranking among the National League leaders in both walks and strikeouts. A pronounced pull hitter, he choked up on the bat and found his hits by punching the ball into left field. Though used most often in the leadoff position, Paskert frequently hit for extra bases; from 1912 to 1918 he ranked among the NL’s top ten in doubles four times and home runs once.

“Paskert brought more to the Phillies than his fielding. In 1912 he enjoyed the best offensive season of his career, posting career highs in batting average (.315), on-base percentage (.420), and slugging percentage (.413).”

titus2

RF-John Titus, Philadelphia Phillies/Boston Braves, 36 Years Old

1905

.309, 5 HR, 73 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Titus last made the All-Star team in 1905 and after a long break, he’s back on the list. He finished seventh in Offensive WAR (4.0); seventh in on-base percentage (.416); 10th in slugging (.446); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (134). Despite that, 1913 would be his last season, as he would finish up playing for the Braves.

SABR says, “Philadelphia led the NL in late May 1911 when Titus broke his leg sliding into home plate in a game against the Cardinals. By the time he returned to the lineup, the Phillies had sunk to third and the once-fleet outfielder had lost a lot of his speed–after stealing more than 20 bases in each of the previous three seasons, he totaled only 17 in the next three years combined. On June 21, 1912, the Phillies traded Titus to the Boston Braves. He finished the season strong, batting 325 in 96 games for Boston, and began 1913 as the Braves’ starting right fielder. But when manager George Stallings sorted out his team’s many outfielders, he relegated Titus to the bench. The Braves ended up selling him to Kansas City of the American Association after he suffered another broken leg in July.
At the beginning of the 1914 season Titus was 38 years old, though the papers now said he was 31. In late April he suffered a fractured skull and remained unconscious for several hours after being beaned by Bill Burns, a former teammate who was later linked to the 1919 World Series scandal. Titus remained out of the lineup for two months. The following summer he was hitting only .263 when Kansas City released him on July 22. He decided to retire.”

2 thoughts on “1912 National League All-Star Team

  1. Rucker has always been one of those pitchers I’ve never known quite what to think about. On the one hand he’s the epitome of mediocre with a .500 record, but he’s so much better with his other stats. I haven’t done enough research to determine how much he elevated his team when he was on the mound, but he looks like someone I’d keep if I was his manager.
    v

    • One of the joys of doing this page is finding out about pitchers like Rucker, who I’d never heard of before starting this project. As always, V, thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s