1915 National League All-Star Team

P-Pete Alexander, PHI

P-Fred Toney, CIN

P-Jeff Pfeffer, BRO

P-Al Mamaux, PIT

P-Jeff Tesreau, NYG

P-Tom Hughes, BSN

P-Pat Ragan, BRO/BSN

P-Dick Rudolph, BSN

P-Bill Doak, STL

P-Jimmy Lavender, CHC

C-Frank Snyder, STL

C-Hank Gowdy, BSN

1B-Fred Luderus, PHI

1B-Vic Saier, CHC

1B-Jake Daubert, BRO

2B-Larry Doyle, NYG

3B-Heinie Groh, CIN

3B-Red Smith, BSN

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Buck Herzog, CIN

SS-Dave Bancroft, PHI

SS-Art Fletcher, NYG

CF-Sherry Magee, BSN

RF-Gavvy Cravath, PHI

RF-Bill Hinchman, PIT


alexander5P-Pete Alexander, Philadelphia Phillies, 27 Years Old, MVP

1911 1912 1913 1914

31-10, 1.22 ERA, 241 K, .169, 1 HR, 8 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1938)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)


Led in:


1915 NL Pitching Triple Crown

1915 NL Pitching Title

Wins Above Replacement-10.8 (2nd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-10.9 (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-1.22

Wins-31 (3rd Time)

Win-Loss %-.756

Walks & Hits per IP-0.842

Hits per 9 IP-6.051 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.764 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-376 1/3 (4th Time)

Strikeouts-241 (3rd Time)

Complete Games-36 (3rd Time)

Shutouts-12 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.766

Batters Faced-1,435 (3rd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-225

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.82 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-57

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.9

Putouts as P-22 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-120

5th Time All-Star-There’s a lot of talk nowadays, in 2018, about how much the game has changed, especially pitching. In today’s game, it is focused on pitch count and times through the order, so it’s very rare it seems that a starting pitcher will give a team even six innings. In 2017, the National League had a total of 27 complete games and the American League had a total of 32. Compare that to the season of Old Pete who had 36 complete games by himself. I wonder how many pitches he used to throw in a typical game?

His arm led Philadelphia to its first pennant. Pat Moran managed for the first time and led the Phillies to a 90-62 record. They had the league’s best hitting thanks to Gavvy Cravath and the league’s best pitching thanks to Alexander, who’s my pick for MVP.

In the World Series versus the Red Sox, Old Pete started game one and held Boston to one run as Philly won 3-1. Unfortunately, that would be Philadelphia’s last win, despite good pitching by Alexander. In game three, he gave up only two runs, but lost 2-1 on a walk-off single by Duffy Lewis. Boston won the Series, four games to one.

SABR says, “[In 1915], to make his domination of hitters humiliating as well as complete, he pitched four one-hitters. The first one-hitter, a 3-0 win in St. Louis on June 5, was the closest Alex ever came to a major-league no-hitter, as shortstop Artie Butler singled past Alex’s head with two down in the ninth.”


P-Fred Toney, Cincinnati Reds, 26 Years Old

17-6, 1.58 ERA, 108 K, .095, 0 HR, 1 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Home Runs per 9 IP-0.040

1st Time All-Star-Fred Alexandra Toney was born on December 11,  1888 in Nashville, TN. The six-foot-two, 195 pound righty started with Chicago from 1911-13. It wasn’t until this season he got to be a regular starter and had his best season ever. Unfortunately, Toney had his great season during a year in which Pete Alexander had one of the greatest years of all time. Still, Toney finished second in WAR (7.2) to Alexander (10.8); second in WAR for Pitchers (7.9), trailing Old Pete (10.9); second in ERA (1.58), behind Grover Cleveland (1.22); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (183), behind, well, you know (225).

SABR says, “Toney denied the reports and early in 1915 he was selected off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds. He made his Cincinnati debut on June 1 and his first five appearances came as a reliever before he earned his first start on June 17 against the Philadelphia Phillies. He was 17-6 with a 1.58 ERA, second-best behind Pete Alexander’s 1.22. Brooklyn’s star outfielder Zack Wheat attributed Toney’s success to a new approach. Where he relied mostly on his fastball with the Cubs, he was a different pitcher with the Reds.

“’He had five or six styles, all sorts of deceptive motions, and as good a change of pace as there is in the National League,’ Wheat told The Sporting News in December. ‘Side-arm, overhand and under-hand were all the same to him. Instead of that constant fast ball, he had a half dozen speeds. … Don’t let any one kid you into thinking Toney is fluking through.’”


P-Jeff Pfeffer, Brooklyn Robins, 27 Years Old


19-14, 2.10 ERA, 84 K, .255, 0 HR, 8 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


2nd Time All-Star-Pfeffer made the All-Star team for the second straight season. Pete Alexander had such a dominating season, it overshadows the other pitchers in the league, but Pfeffer had a nice season. He finished fourth in WAR (6.2); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.7); fourth in ERA (2.10); fifth in innings pitched (291 2/3); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (134), behind Alexander (225) and Fred Toney (183).

Brooklyn, managed by Wilbert Robinson, moved up from 75-79 to 80-72. It had the worst hitting in the league, but great pitching, led by Pfeffer.

SABR says, “The 1915 season would bring more of the same, as Pfeffer won 19 games with a 2.10 ERA and 6 shutouts.

“Pfeffer quickly developed a reputation as an intense competitor who would let no one get an edge. An intimidating presence at 6’2″ and a listed (although likely much greater) weight of 210 pounds, he refused to let any batter dig in at the plate. He would hit a total of 50 batters from 1915-1917, leading the league twice in that category. Big Jeff did not limit his belligerence to opposing hitters, either. Decades later, George Daubert, the team’s batboy and son of first baseman Jake Daubert, was terrorized by Pfeffer, who would chase him out of the dugout following Brooklyn losses. Team owner Charles Ebbetts would have his own contract tussles with Pfeffer, once trying to convince him that because many players were getting pay cuts, Pfeffer’s new contract for the same total as the last season was actually a raise.”


P-Al Mamaux, Pittsburgh Pirates, 21 Years Old

21-8, 2.04 ERA, 152 K, .163, 0 HR, 7 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


1st Time All-Star-Albert Leon “Al” Mamaux (pronounced ma-MOO) was born on May 30, 1894 in Pittsburgh, PA. The six-foot, 168 pound righty started with Pittsburgh in 1913. He had his best season ever this year, finishing seventh in WAR (5.7); third in WAR for Pitchers (6.1), behind Pete Alexander (10.9) and Fred Toney (7.9); third in ERA (2.04), trailing Alexander (1.22) and Toney (1.58); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (132).

Fred Clarke managed the Pittsburgh Pirates for the last time this season, finishing in fifth place with a 73-81 record. Cap would finish his managing career with a lifetime 1602-1181 record (.576 winning percentage), four pennants, and one World Series championship. Sure, it helps to have a Honus Wagner on the team, but it doesn’t take away from what Clarke did for the early 20th century Pirates.

Wikipedia says of Mamaux, “A right-handed pitcher over parts of twelve seasons (1913–1924), Mamaux played mainly with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Brooklyn Robins. He led Pittsburgh with 21 wins in 1915 and 1916. During his career, he compiled a 76–67 with a 2.90 ERA. Mamaux played on one National League pennant winner, the Robins, in 1920. He pitched four innings in the 1920 World Series for Brooklyn.

“From 1926 to 1933, Mamaux pitched for the Newark Bears of the International League. During the 1930 season, he replaced Tris Speaker as team manager, and in 1932 led the Bears to the league title. The 1932 team, which featured 15 former and future New York Yankees, had a record of 109–59 and is regarded as one of the best minor league teams in history. Mamaux also coached the Albany Senators from 1935 to 1936 and the Seton Hall Pirates baseball team from 1937 to 1942.”


P-Jeff Tesreau, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1912 1913 1914

19-16, 2.29 ERA, 176 K, .233, 1 HR, 12 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


4th Time All-Star-Tesreau continued to be the best pitcher on the Giants, though it was admittedly an off year for New York. The spitballer finished fifth in WAR (5.7); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.2); seventh in ERA (2.29); and third in innings pitched (306), behind Pete Alexander (376 1/3) and Dick Rudolph (341 1/3).

Did I say off year for the Giants? Believe it or not, John McGraw’s squad finished dead last with a 69-83 record. Their hitting lacked and even with Big Jeff, their pitching was the worst in the league.

Tesreau would pitch in one more World Series, in 1917, pitching one inning and allowing no runs.

SABR says, “Prior to spring training McGraw had asked Tesreau to take the pitchers, catchers, and some out-of-condition players down South for some early work. When the manager arrived later, he asked Jeff to report on the players’ evening activities. The big pitcher refused, claiming that a man’s behavior away from the ballpark was his own business. That touched off a feud between the stubborn manager and his equally stubborn pitcher. Tesreau got off to a tough-luck start, going 4-4 but with a 2.32 ERA in his first dozen games, and suddenly left the team. He never pitched another game in Organized Baseball.

“In Tesreau’s later years his weight ballooned to nearly 300 lbs. He was only 57 when he died in Hanover, New Hampshire, on September 24, 1946, five days after suffering a stroke during a fishing trip.” Tesreau was starting to fade by 1918, but he most likely still had some good years left if not for a petty dispute.


P-Tom Hughes, Boston Braves, 31 Years Old

16-14, 2.12 ERA, 171 K, .100, 1 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 27 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)


Led in:


Games Pitched-50


Games Finished-22

Def. Games as P-50

1st Time All-Star-Thomas L. “Salida Tom” Hughes was born on January 28, 1884 in Coal Creek, CO. The six-foot-two, 175 pound righty started with the Yankees in 1906-07 and also 1909-10. He didn’t play in the Majors again until 1914 with the Braves. This year was his best year ever as he finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.1); fifth in ERA (2.12); sixth in innings pitched (280 1/3); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (127).

After winning the National League pennant in 1914, the Braves fell to second. George Stallings’ crew finished 81-71, seven games behind the Phillies. They had good hitting, led by Sherry Magee, and good pitching thanks to Hughes.

SABR says, “For his major-league career, Hughes showed a 56-39 record with a 2.56 ERA, slightly better than the major-league average during the years he pitched (2.68). A more recently developed tool suggests his effectiveness with the Braves. His WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) was 1.022, the best in Braves franchise history for those who pitched 300 innings or more. He was extremely effective at the height of an abbreviated major-league career.

“[O]n November 1, 1961, Salida Tom died, succumbing to the combined effects of pneumonia, emphysema, and tuberculosis, a disease he had contacted 11 years earlier. Burial was at Forest Lawn Memorial Park alongside Thomas Jr. At the time of Hughes’ death, he was widely described as one of a few pitchers who had thrown no-hitters in the American and National League, but this was before the retroactive canceling of his effort against the Cleveland Naps.”


P-Pat Ragan, Brooklyn Robins/Boston Braves, 31 Years Old

17-12, 2.34 ERA, 88 K, .151, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 27 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)


1st Time All-Star-Don Carlos Patrick “Pat” Ragan was born on November 15, 1883 in MO. That’s right, Baseball Reference doesn’t list the city, just the state. However, SABR says he was born in Blanchard, IA, and that in 1885, not 1883. The five-foot-10, 185 pound righty started with Cincinnati and the Cubs in 1909. He started with Brooklyn in 1911 and then early in 1915, Ragan was selected off waivers by the Boston Braves from the Brooklyn Robins. Good move, Boston! He ended up having his best season ever, finishing seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.6); ninth in ERA (2.34); and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (119).

Wikipedia says, “On October 5, 1914, Ragan struck out three batters on nine pitches in the eighth inning of a 15–2 loss to the Boston Braves. Ragan became the second National League pitcher and the third pitcher in Major League history to accomplish the nine-strike, three-strikeout half-inning.”

More from SABR: “At season’s end, the Braves finished 83-69, good for second place in the National League, seven games behind the pennant-winning Philadelphia Phillies. After coming to Boston, Ragan was the Braves’ second-best starter, going 16-12 with a 2.46 ERA in 26 starts. He appeared in 33 games overall, pitched 227 innings and tied for second on the club with three shutouts.

“In his later years, Ragan worked as a security guard for an aircraft company. He and his family moved west to California, where he died from kidney cancer on September 4, 1956, at 70. He was survived by his wife, Mae, and son, Pat Jr., and was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.”


P-Dick Rudolph, Boston Braves, 27 Years Old

1913 1914

22-19, 2.37 ERA, 147 K, .198, 1 HR, 17 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Games Started-43

Hits Allowed-304


Earned Runs Allowed-90

3rd Time All-Star-After winning the World Series in 1914, Bill James faded, but Rudolph continued to pitch well. He finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (3.5) and second in innings pitched (341 1/3), behind Pete Alexander (376 1/3). The little spitter from the Big Apple is not done making All-Star teams.

Rudolph was the first Boston pitcher to start a game at the newly-constructed Braves Field. SABR says of the part, “Located just off Commonwealth Avenue in Allston, Braves Field was hailed as ‘the finest baseball park in the world.’ Construction under owner James E. Gaffney commenced just before the 1915 season, in March. And even though Gaffney built the biggest ballpark of the time, the expansive facility turned out not to be big enough to hold all who were interested in attending. With seating for between 43,000 and 45,000, by far the largest in baseball at the time, the Braves still ended up turning away 6,000 fans, even after they exceeded capacity by allowing an estimated 46,000 fans through the gates. Those who were able to get through the turnstiles were not your typical crowd, either. A host of dignitaries were there, including Boston Mayor James Michael Curley, along with 12 other Massachusetts mayors. In addition to political notables, a number of baseball men were present for the opening game. These included Charles Ebbets, president of the Brooklyn Robins; Chicago Cubs president Charles Thomas; National League President John Tener; and National League Secretary John Heydler.” Read the whole thing and don’t skip the distances to the fences!


P-Bill Doak, St. Louis Cardinals, 24 Years Old


16-18, 2.64 ERA, 124 K, .174, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. 18 percent chance)


Led in:


Range Factor/9 Inn as P-3.85 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as P-3.11 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-After leading the National League in ERA in 1914, Doak came back with another good season. This year, he finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (3.7) and seventh in innings pitched (276). He was the Cardinals’ best pitcher.

As for St. Louis, Miller Huggins managed them to a sixth place finish with a 72-81 record. The Cardinals had good hitting, led by Frank Snyder, but not-so-good pitching.

SABR says, “Spittin’ Bill Doak still ranks second in career shutouts for the St. Louis Cardinals, behind only Bob Gibson. In 1914, his first full season in the majors, Doak came out of nowhere to lead the National League in ERA as the Cardinals achieved third place, their best NL finish ever. He followed with solid but unspectacular seasons for the Redbirds for the rest of the Deadball Era, earning 87 of his 169 career wins before 1920. A slow and deliberate worker who used a huge red handkerchief to wipe his brow a few times each game, Doak relied on good control and an effective ‘slow drop’ (curveball) to go along with his signature spitball. Today Bill Doak is best known for his namesake glove, an innovative design that remained in the Rawlings line for more than three decades.

“He was modest, unassuming, and ‘so silent as to be almost an enigma,’ according to Baseball Magazine. In later years The Sporting News called Doak ‘the only strictly moral man on the Cards,’ noting that he taught a Sunday school class before going to the ballpark.”


P-Jimmy Lavender, Chicago Cubs, 31 Years Old

10-16, 2.58 ERA, 117 K, .134, 0 HR, 0 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 53 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)


1st Time All-Star-James Sanford “Jimmy” Lavender was born on March 26, 1884 in Barnesville, GA. The five-foot-11, 165 pound righty started with Chicago in 1912. This year, his best season ever, Lavender finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (3.7). It’s very rare a player can have 67 at bats and not drive in any runs, but that’s what Lavender did.

Oh, how the mighty hath fallen! For a stretch of time from 1900-1913, it was rare the Giants, Pirates, or Cubs finished anywhere out of the top three in the standings. This year, New York finished last, Pittsburgh finished fifth, and Chicago finished fourth, with a 73-80 record. Its pitching was poor. Roger Bresnahan coached his first and only year with the Cubs and would never manage again. In five seasons with the Cardinals and Cubs, Bresnahan finished 328-432 (.432).

Wikipedia says, “Author Vincent Starrett, who penned The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, created a series of short stories featuring a gentlemanly, cultured detective named ‘Jimmie Lavender’. Starrett stated that the name was perfect for his character, and received permission from the former pitcher for use of the name. A collection of these stories were featured in the 1944 book The Case Book of Jimmie Lavender.

“After his playing career ended, Lavender returned to Georgia and worked on his farm in Montezuma, Georgia. He died on January 12, 1960, at the age of 75, in Cartersville, Georgia, and is interred at Felton Cemetery in Montezuma.” He has a long Wikipedia page for such a drab career.


C-Frank Snyder, St. Louis Cardinals, 21 Years Old

.298, 2 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Def. Games as C-142

Putouts as C-592

Assists as C-204

Caught Stealing as C-114

1st Time All-Star-Frank Elton “Pancho” Snyder was born on May 27, 1894 in San Antonio, TX. The six-foot-two 185 pound catcher started with St. Louis in 1912. This was his best season ever as he finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.2); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.2); eighth in Defensive WAR (1.1); and eighth in batting (.298).

Wikipedia says, “Snyder began his major league career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1912 at the age of 18. He was traded to the New York Giants in the middle of the 1919 season. Snyder was a member of John McGraw‘s New York Giants teams that won four consecutive National League pennants between 1921and 1924 and played on two World Series winners in 1921 and 1922.

“Snyder also homered in the final game of the 1923 World Series, but the Yankees staged a comeback to defeat the Giants.

“During that period, Snyder posted a batting average above .300 three times, with a .320 average in 1921, a .343 average in 1922 and a .302 average in 1924. Snyder hit the first major league home run in the history of Braves Field in 1922. It was the first home run hit in the seven seasons played at the cavernous ballpark. In 1926, he was selected off waivers by the St. Louis Cardinals. He played for the Cardinals in 1927 before retiring at the end of the season at the age of 33.”

Snyder died in his hometown of San Antonio at the age of 66 on January 5, 1962.


C-Hank Gowdy, Boston Braves, 25 Years Old

.247, 2 HR, 30 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Caught Stealing %-57.1

1st Time All-Star-Henry Morgan “Hank” Gowdy was born on August 24, 1889 in Columbus, OH. The six-foot-two, 182 pound catcher started with the Giants in 1910-11. Then he was traded by the New York Giants with Al Bridwell to the Boston Rustlers for Buck Herzog. In 1914, he had an outstanding World Series in Boston’s sweep of the Athletics. Gowdy hit .545 (six-for-11) with two doubles, a triple, and a home run. This season, he slashed .247/.339/.332, which was his best full season up to this point. For reasons I can’t fathom, Gowdy received Hall of Fame votes 17 times. Wikipedia says, “Gowdy has the record for most unsuccessful Hall of Fame induction attempts, without ever have been enshrined in the Hall. While current custom limits the times a player can appear on the ballot to 15, Gowdy received votes 17 years, never being elected to the Hall of Fame (Edd Roush has the record for most Hall attempts with 19, but he was later enshrined by the Veteran’s Committee).”

SABR says, “He was key to the Boston Braves’ amazing 1914 season, starring in their famous World Series victory, but a decade later he was blamed for the loss of another legendary Series.

“In Game Three at Fenway Park, which the Braves had borrowed from the Red Sox for the Series, Boston was down by two runs when Gowdy led off the tenth inning with a blast into the center-field bleachers. It was the only home run of the Series, and it ignited a rally that tied the score.”


1B-Fred Luderus, Philadelphia Phillies, 29 Years Old

.315, 7 HR, 62 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


1st Time All-Star-Frederick William “Fred” Luderus (pronounced loo-DARE-us) was born on September 12, 1885 in Milwaukee, WI. The five-foot-11, 185 pound left-handed batter started with Chicago in 1909-10. In mid-season of 1910, Luderus was traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Philadelphia Phillies for Bill Foxen. Even though he had four consecutive seasons of 10 or more homers, he never made the All-Star team until this year. This was Luderus’ best season as he finished sixth in WAR (5.7); second in WAR Position Players (5.7), behind

teammate Gavvy Cravath (7.0); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.9); second in batting (.315), trailing Larry Doyle (.320); fifth in on-base percentage (.376); second in slugging, behind Cravath (.510); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (149), again trailing Cravath (170).

Luderus also had a great World Series in a losing cause, hitting .438 (seven-for-16) with two doubles, a homer, and six RBI. It would be his only Series appearance.

SABR says, “Ludy’s most enjoyable season undoubtedly was 1915, when new manager Pat Moran appointed him captain and the Quakers captured their first National League pennant. Though he hit only seven home runs, down from 12 the previous season, Luderus set career-highs in batting average (.315) and doubles (36), finishing second in the NL behind the Giants’ Larry Doyle in both categories. In that year’s World Series, Fred was a shining star in defeat, batting .438 (the Phillies collectively batted .182) with the Phillies’ lone home run and six of his club’s nine RBIs.”

“Fred Luderus suffered a fatal heart attack at his home in Three Lakes on the evening of January 5, 1961. Survived by his wife, Emmy, and three daughters, he was buried in Milwaukee’s Pinelawn Cemetery.”


1B-Vic Saier, Chicago Cubs, 24 Years Old

1913 1914

.264, 11 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Power-Speed #-16.0 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as 1B-21 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-It’s difficult to be a prophet. I predicted in Saier’s 1914 blurb he wouldn’t make another All-Star team yet here he is. He finished fifth in Offensive WAR (4.6), fourth in slugging (.445), went a very good 29-for-38 in stealing; and finished fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (140).

SABR says, “In a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 14, 1917, Saier broke his leg in a collision at home plate when he tried to score from second on a single. His season was over after just six games. Vic might not have been ready to come back even in 1918, but we’ll never know for sure because he elected to work at a defense plant to help the war effort instead of playing baseball. The Cubs sold Saier’s rights to the Pittsburgh Pirates, with whom Vic attempted a comeback in 1919. His manager was Hugo Bezdek, a former Penn State football coach who didn’t know much about baseball and didn’t claim to. According to Casey Stengel, who also played for the 1919 Pirates, Bezdek would turn to Saier and ask, ‘How did Frank Chance handle that play?’ Though he provided veteran leadership, Saier hit only .223 in 58 games and was released before the season was over. Many years later his daughter said that he left the Pirates of his own accord ‘because he was disillusioned. He always thought of himself as a Cub.’

“Saier went back to Lansing where he lived the rest of his life, returning to Chicago only to marry his wife, Felicitas. He managed the City Club for many years and moved back into the house on South Pine Street in which he grew up. Vic Saier died in East Lansing at age 76 on May 14, 1967.”


1B-Jake Daubert, Brooklyn Robins, 31 Years Old

1911 1912 1913

.301, 2 HR, 47 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Assists as 1B-102

4th Time All-Star-Despite winning the National League batting crown in 1914, Daubert didn’t make the All-Star team. I went back and crunched the numbers. Nope, still not putting him on. This season, Daubert finished fifth in batting (.301); and sixth in on–base percentage (.369).

Wikipedia says, “Daubert was recognized throughout his career for his performances on the field. He won the 1913 and 1914 National League batting titles, as well as the 1913 Chalmers Award. Between 1911 and 1919, The Baseball Magazinenamed him to their All-American team seven times. Baseball historian William C. Kashatus observed that Daubert was ‘a steady .300 hitter for 10 years of the Deadball Era’, who ‘never fielded below the .989 mark’ during the same period.

“In 1911 and 1912, Daubert placed ninth and eighth in the Chalmers Award voting. The following year, he won the award. On August 15, 1914, Daubert tied Cy Seymour‘s MLB record with four sacrifice bunts in one game.”

SABR says, “Daubert’s abilities offensively and defensively led him to be selected the all star first baseman in Baseball Magazine in 1911 and 1913-1919. Baseball Magazine in 1913 said, ‘Jake Daubert is easily one of the greatest infielders baseball has ever seen. Flashing and sensational like Chase, he is, unlike Chase, never erratic, never prone to sudden error, never sulky or indifferent in his play.’ The magazine author admitted that Chase was the most sensational first baseman who ever lived, but in his prime doubts he was more valuable than Daubert. He concluded that Daubert is ‘universally popular, he is the most valuable first sacker playing the game.’”


2B-Larry Doyle, New York Giants, 28 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913

.320, 4 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


1915 NL Batting Title

Batting Average-.320

Hits-189 (2nd Time)



Double Plays Turned as 2B-66 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-Like many of the Giants, it must have been a shock to Doyle to play on a last-place team. It wasn’t his fault, he put together a good season. When you think of this era and the good second basemen, no doubt Nap Lajoie comes to mind and he should. He’s phenomenal. But in a lower category, as the National League’s best second sacker is Larry Doyle. I’m thinking he’s for sure got one more All-Star team left, so he’ll make my Hall sometime in 1919 or possibly before depending on the talent at second base in the upcoming years.

This year, Doyle finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.5); second in Offensive WAR (5.6), behind Gavvy Cravath (6.4); first in batting (.320); eighth in on-base percentage (.358); fifth in slugging (.442); fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (145); and was a miserable 22-for-40 stealing.

Wikipedia says, “ In 1914 he slipped to a .260 average, but was fourth in the league in runs. On July 17, he hit a home run in the top of the 21st inning to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3–1.

“He enjoyed renewed success in 1915, however, winning the batting crown with a .320 average; it was the first title won by an NL second baseman since Barnes in 1876. He also led the league in hits (189) for the second time, and in doubles with 40 – a Giants franchise record until George Kelly hit 42 in 1921. Doyle was also second in the NL in runs (86) and fifth in slugging (.442).“


3B-Heinie Groh, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

.290, 3 HR, 50 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Games Played-160

Double Plays Turned as 3B-34

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.39

1st Time All-Star-Henry Knight “Heinie” Groh was born on September 18, 1889 in Rochester, NY. The five-foot-eight, 158 pound third baseman started with the Giants in 1912. After playing four games with New York in 1913, Groh was  traded by the New York Giants with Red AmesJosh Devore and $20,000 to the Cincinnati Reds for Art Fromme. Over the next few years, he’s going to be one of the game’s best third basemen. This year, Groh finished eighth in WAR (5.6); third in WAR Position Players (5.6), behind Philadelphia’s Gavvy Cravath (7.0) and Fred Luderus (5.7); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.6); and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.7). He would continue to display a good balance of offense and defense over his career.

Wikipedia says “He improved to .288 in 1914 and led the league in times hit by pitch, but also led the league in errors at second base, and manager Buck Herzog – who had played both second and third base himself – shifted Groh to third base permanently in 1915.

“The move was spectacularly successful, as Groh not only hit .290 with 32 doubles and 170 hits, but set a new league record with 34 double plays, breaking Lave Cross‘ 1899 mark of 32; he also finished within a fraction of a point of Bobby Byrne for the lead in fielding average at .969. On July 5, he hit for the cycle against the Chicago Cubs, becoming the only player to do so between 1913 and 1917; no Red would do so again until 1940.”


3B-Red Smith, Boston Braves, 25 Years Old

1913 1914

.264, 2 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Def. Games as 3B-157 (3rd Time)

Putouts as 3B-170 (2nd Time)

Assists as 3B-292 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as 3B-26

3rd Time All-Star-Red continued to be one of the National League’s best third basemen and would be for a few more years. This season, Smith finished ninth in Offensive WAR (4.2) while slashing .264/.345/.352 for an OPS+ of 113. It should be remembered the Braves started playing in cavernous Braves Field this year, so it’s tough for hitters on Boston to have impressive stats.

SABR says, “A mediocre fielder at third base, Red Smith was a good enough hitter to hold down third base for the Brooklyn Dodgers, until he clashed with his new manager, Wilbert Robinson. Robbie regarded Smith as a troublemaker, and Smith was summarily shipped to the Boston Braves – in time to make an important contribution as the Braves won the National League pennant, and then spend five more years with the team.

“Red was a good, solid hitter throughout his major-league career. He recovered fully from his broken ankle and played five more years for the Braves. In 1915 he slugged the first grand slam hit at the new Braves Field.”

Another Red Smith, the sportswriter, once said, “Writing is easy. You just open up a vein and bleed.” He’s right, it is very easy for me because the good folks at SABR and Wikipedia do a majority of the work. If this was the old days and I had to go into library tombs swatting away cobwebs while opening dusty tomes to find out information about these old players, this would be a grueling chore indeed.

wagner15SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 41 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912

.274, 6 HR, 78 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1906)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1901)


Led in:


Fielding % as SS-.948 (4th Time)

15th Time All-Star-After not making the All-Star team the last two seasons, it would have been understandable to think Wagner’s glory days were done. After all, he came into the 1915 season at the age of 41, he’s had a good career, maybe the best of all time, so ride off into the sunset, Flying Dutchman, and enjoy your retirement. Yet here he is. And he didn’t just make it on a fluke. He finished ninth in WAR (5.6); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.6); third in Offensive WAR (5.2), behind Gavvy Cravath (6.4) and Larry Doyle (5.6); sixth in Defensive WAR (1.6); eighth in slugging (.422); and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (127).

He also has made more All-Star teams at shortstop than anyone. Here’s the full list at all the positions:

P-Cy Young, 17

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Nap Lajoie, 11

3B-Jimmy Collins, 8

SS-Honus Wagner, 13

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Crawford, 9

He’s also, in my opinion, the second greatest player of all-time as of 1915. That list:

  1. Cy Young
  2. Honus Wagner
  3. Cap Anson
  4. Nap Lajoie
  5. Kid Nichols
  6. Ty Cobb
  7. Christy Mathewson
  8. Roger Connor
  9. Eddie Plank
  10. Tim Keefe

Wikipedia says, “Wagner lived the remainder of his life in Pittsburgh, where he was well known as a friendly figure around town. He died on December 6, 1955 at the age of 81, and he is buried at Jefferson Memorial Cemetery in the South Hills area of Pittsburgh.”


SS-Buck Herzog, Cincinnati Reds, 29 Years Old

1911 1914

.264, 1 HR, 42 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Defensive WAR-3.2

Def. Games as SS-153

Putouts as SS-391

Double Plays Turned as SS-90

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.26

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.91

3rd Time All-Star-It was his defense which carried Herzog to his third All-Star team this season. He finished 10th in WAR (5.2); fifth in WAR Position Players (5.2); first in Defensive WAR (3.2); first in many defensive categories as seen above; and stole a decent 35 out of 51 attempts on the base paths.

For the second straight season, Herzog also managed the Reds, as the rose from eighth to seventh with a 71-83 record. Their hitting was weak as they scored the least amount of runs in the National League.

SABR says, ”In Cincinnati Herzog was named manager and played shortstop; his Reds finished last, but the Giants suffered without him. In 1915 Buck brought his team in seventh, ahead of only McGraw’s. Herzog’s tenure as Cincinnati manager was rocky. He battled with the front office, followed the McGraw tradition of terrorizing umpires and earning suspensions, and became frustrated by the failure of his players to match his overachieving style.”

And more from SABR on the John McGraw-Herzog rocky relationship: “Something Herzog once said about McGraw could serve as his own epitaph: ‘The old man and I had our arguments, I guess because we both liked to win so well. But, when he got into a pinch and needed someone to put fire into his team, I am glad to remember he always was calling back Buck Herzog.’” Read his previous blurbs for more on the two battlers. The problem with Herzog is he was too much like McGraw.


SS-Dave Bancroft, Philadelphia Phillies, 24 Years Old

.254, 7 HR, 30 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1971)

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


Led in:


Caught Stealing-27

Def. Games as SS-153

1st Time All-Star-David James “Dave” or “Beauty” Bancroft was born on April 20, 1891 in Sioux City, IA. The five-foot-nine, 160 pound switch-hitter had a good rookie year, finishing 10th in WAR Position Players (4.2) and fourth in Defensive WAR (2.2), but was a terrible 15-for-42 stealing. He also made his first of four World Series, hitting .294 (five-for-17) with two walks as Philadelphia lost to the Red Sox, four games to one.

As you can see above, he’s got a 99 percent chance at making my Hall of Fame. Bancroft would have to have one fluke All-Star season, but if he does, he’s in Ron’s Hall of Fame. He’s already part of Cooperstown.

Wikipedia says, “Before the 1915 season, the Philadelphia Phillies purchased Bancroft from Portland for $5,000 ($120,954 in current dollar terms). Portland’s manager was quoted as saying he did not expect Bancroft would last with the Phillies. In his rookie season, Bancroft finished second in the National League (NL) to teammate Gavvy Cravath in walks (77), third in runs scored (85), and tied Fred Luderus for sixth in home runs (7). For his ability to hit with power from both sides of the plate, The Pittsburgh Press declared he was developing into ‘a second Honus Wagner’. The Phillies won their first NL pennant in 1915, but lost the 1915 World Series to the Boston Red Sox. Bancroft’s offense contributed to the Phillies’ victory in Game 1, as he had an infield hit leading to the Phillies’ winning run. Though the Phillies batted .182 as a team in the series, Bancroft batted .294.”


SS-Art Fletcher, New York Giants, 30 Years Old

1913 1914

.254, 3 HR, 74 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:



Assists as SS-544

3rd Time All-Star-There’s a saying nowadays about the free-swinging Dominican players that you don’t walk off the island, meaning they got to the Majors by their hitting not their walking. The same could be said of Fletcher, though the island in his saying is Manhattan, and he wasn’t trying to get off of it. He only had six walks in 602 plate appearances, which made this a mediocre offensive season for him. No matter, he’s still on the All-Star team because of his glove. Fletch finished second in Defensive WAR (3.2), behind only Buck Herzog (3.2).

I like this story from SABR on how he ended up on the Giants. It says, “That very spring, the New York Giants played a series of exhibition games against Dallas. Fletcher refused to act awed by the major leaguers (including their pugnacious manager, John McGraw), and sassed them back as roughly as they sassed him. He slid into them, spikes high, and when their pitchers threw at him he continued to crowd the plate and socked the ball even harder. Fletcher’s fearless attitude and play so impressed McGraw that he bought an option on his contract for $1,500. Years later Art admitted, ‘I was a pretty fresh busher.’ McGraw reportedly said of him, ‘That’s my kind of ball player.’ After batting .273 with 35 stolen bases in 147 games as the Dallas shortstop, the 24-year-old Fletcher joined the Giants as part of an influx of rookies in the spring of 1909, serving as utility infielder during his first two years with the club. He was so self-conscious about his jutting chin that he had a collar sewn on his uniform that he wore turned up.”

magee8CF-Sherry Magee, Boston Braves, 30 Years Old

1905 1906 1907 1908 1910 1913 1914

.280, 2 HR, 87 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)


Led in:


Range Factor/Games as CF-2.72

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.70

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.68

8th Time All-Star-Some people just can’t catch the breaks. The Boston Braves won the National League pennant and the World Series in 1914. Between 1914 and 1915, Magee was traded by the Philadelphia Phillies to the Boston Braves for players to be named later and cash. The Boston Braves sent Oscar Dugey (February 10, 1915) and Possum Whitted (February 14, 1915) to the Philadelphia Phillies to complete the trade. After 11 years on the Phillies, Magee was finally on a different team and, of course, Philadelphia won the National League crown.

Magee played more games at centerfield than in leftfield for the only time ever in his career and he still produced. He finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.8) and 10th in Offensive WAR (3.8). Part of the problem is Magee moved from the hitter friendly Baker Bowl to the much pitcher friendlier (for its time) Fenway Park and Braves Field.

Also, according to SABR, “Reporting to spring training in Macon, Georgia, Magee was in a Braves uniform no more than 15 minutes when he stepped in a hole while shagging a flyball. He fell and injured his shoulder. Weeks later, when it failed to improve, he finally saw a doctor and learned that his collarbone was broken. Magee was only 30 years old but never again was the same player. He had batted over .300 three years in succession and had hit 15 homers in 1914, but in 1915 he batted just .280 with only two homers. Sherry was worse the following year, batting a meager .241.”


RF-Gavvy Cravath, Philadelphia Phillies, 34 Years Old

1913 1914

.285, 24 HR, 115 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


WAR Position Players-7.0 (2nd Time)

Offensive WAR-6.4 (2nd Time)

On-Base %-.393

Slugging %-.510 (2nd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.902 (3rd Time)

Runs Scored-89

Total Bases-266 (2nd Time)

Home  Runs-24 (3rd Time)

Runs Batted In-115 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls-86

Adjusted OPS+-170 (3rd Time)

Runs Created-101 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-47 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-5.4 (3rd Time)

Extra Bases Hits-62 (2nd Time)

Times On Base-241 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.799 (2nd Time)

AB per HR-21.8 (4th Time)

Assists as RF-28 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as RF-15

Assists as OF-28 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Baker Bowl in Philadelphia had a 341-foot leftfield, a 408-foot centerfield, a 300-foot right center field, and a 280-foot rightfield. No wonder, even during this Deadball Era, balls flew out of this stadium. It’s a big reason Cravath won his third straight home run title. Still, he had a great season, his best ever. He faltered in the World Series loss to the Red Sox, hitting .125 (two-for-16), though both hits were for extra bases – a double and a triple.

Wikipedia says, “1915 saw his best season as he hit 24 home runs ( only 5 home runs away from tiny Baker Bowl ), leading the Phillies to their first pennant; he had a 3-run home run in the pennant-clinching game on September 29. He also led the league in runs (89), RBI (115, leading the NL by 28), total bases (266), walks (86), on-base percentage (.393), and slugging (.510, leading the NL by 53 points), and led the NL in assists for the third time. His 24 home runs were the most in the major leagues since Buck Freeman hit 25 for the 1899 Washington Senators; he also broke Sam Thompson‘s Phillies franchise record of 20, set in 1889. He later broke Thompson’s career franchise record; Cravath’s single-season club mark was surpassed by Cy Williams in 1922, and his career record was broken by Williams in 1924. In the low-scoring 1915 World Series against the Red Sox he hit only .125 (2-16), though he drove in the winning run on a ground out in Game 1, the only Phillies victory.”


RF-Bill Hinchman, Pittsburgh Pirates, 32 Years Old

.307, 5 HR, 77 RBI

Hall of Fames:


Cooperstown: No

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


Led in:


Putouts as RF-248

Double Plays Turned as RF-4

Double Plays Turned as OF-5

Fielding % as RF-.971

1st Time All-Star-William White “Bill” Hinchman was born on April 4, 1883 in Philadelphia, PA. The five-foot-11, 190 pound outfielder started with Cincinnati in 1905-06, then moved to Cleveland from 1907-09. He didn’t play in the Majors again until this year when he came to the Pirates. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.6); seventh in Offensive WAR (4.6); fourth in batting (.307); seventh in on-base percentage (.368); sixth in slugging (.438); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (146), behind Gavvy Cravath (170) and Fred Luderus (149). It was his best season ever.

Where was Hinchman from 1910-14? SABR says, “Hinchman would spend the next five seasons playing for the [Columbus] Senators and perfecting his slugging style at the plate. Most importantly, he learned patience and waited for his pitch. Columbus finished third for three years under the leadership of Bill Friel. Hinchman was named manager in 1913 and led the team to two fourth-place finishes. Hinchman’s average rose from .258 in 1910 to .366 in 1914. He was second in the league in slugging in 1910, but then led the regulars each year after as his percentage went from .365 to .569. In 1914 his .366 led all full-time batters in Double-A and Class A ball. He also scored a career-high 139 times.

Fred Clarke, manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, had seen his team limp to a seventh-place finish in 1914. Max Carey was his leading bat in the outfield with a lowly .243 average. An outfield talent upgrade was a must. The team had youthful Zip Collins on the roster, but needed more offense. The Pirates took a chance on the 32-year old-Hinchman. They had no idea what a bargain he would be.”

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