1919 National League All-Star Team

P-Pete Alexander, CHC

P-Babe Adams, PIT

P-Hippo Vaughn, CHC

P-Leon Cadore, BRO

P-Wilbur Cooper, PIT

P-Jeff Pfeffer, BRO

P-Dutch Ruether, CIN

P-Dick Rudolph, BSN

P-Art Nehf, BSN/NYG

P-Lee Meadows, STL/PHI

C-Verne Clemons, STL

C-Bill Killefer, CHC

1B-Ed Konetchy, BRO

2B-Milt Stock, STL

2B-Larry Doyle, NYG

2B-Morrie Rath, CIN

3B-Rogers Hornsby, STL

3B-Heinie Groh, CIN

SS-Art Fletcher, NYG

SS-Charlie Hollocher, CHC

SS-Rabbit Maranville, BSN

LF-George J. Burns, NYG

CF-Edd Roush, CIN

CF-Hi Myers, BRO

RF-Ross Youngs, NYG

 

alexander8

P-Pete Alexander, Chicago Cubs, 32 Years Old, 4th MVP

1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917

16-11, 1.72 ERA, 121 K, .171, 0 HR, 4 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1938)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

 

Led in:

 

1919 NL Pitching Title (4th Time)

Wins Above Replacement-7.5 (5th Time)

Earned Run Average-1.72 (3rd Time)

Hits per 9 IP-6.894 (3rd Time)

Shutouts-9 (6th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-166 (3rd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.11 (4th Time)

Fielding % as P-1.000 (2nd Time)

8th Time All-Star-There are certain years which stand out in baseball lore, the kind of years when heard bring to mind certain aspects about the game. I think of 1927, 1941, 1961, or 1968, for instance. Yet the year that stokes the most emotion is this one here, 1919, the year that almost ruined the game. More on that, much more, later, when I write up the American League. For now, let’s talk about Pete Alexander, back on the All-Star team after missing it in 1918.

SABR says, “With the war raging in Europe and the United States having entered the fray the previous April, the Philadelphia front office carried off one of the most cynical acts in baseball history. Gambling that Alexander would be drafted into the army, on December 11, 1917, they sent Alex and catcher Bill Killefer to Chicago for Mike Prendergast and Pickles Dillhoefer and $55,000.

“Adapting to Chicago nicely, a $5,000 bonus from Charles Weeghman helping the process, Alex won two of his three decisions in 1918, all complete games, with a 1.73 ERA when the army came calling. Philadelphia’s gamble paid off. Ironically, the Cubs won the pennant anyway behind the Triple Crown pitching of southpaw Jim Vaughn.

“A human wreck, Alexander returned to the Cubs on May 11, 1919. Working his way back into pitching shape, he dropped his first five decisions. Once he got turned around, Alex finished 16-11 for a distantly third-place team and led the league with 9 shutouts and a sparkling 1.72 ERA. His ERA remains the lowest for a Cub pitcher since the team began playing in Wrigley Field.”

Chicago, managed by Fred Mitchell, dropped from first to third with a 75-65 record.

adams4

P-Babe Adams, Pittsburgh Pirates, 37 Years Old

1911 1913 1914

17-10, 1.98 ERA, 92 K, .185, 0 HR, 4 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-7.4 (2nd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-0.896 (3rd Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.786

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-4.000

Fielding % as P-1.000 (4th Time)

4th Time All-Star-Adams was 32 years old since he last made an All-Star team. Since then, he struggled in 1915 and 1916 for the Pirates and then was released. He didn’t pitch in the Majors in 1917, before being loaned to the Pirates by Kansas City of the American Association in 1918. He would stay with Pittsburgh until 1926 and play until he was 44.

This season, Adams finished second in WAR (7.5), behind Pete Alexander (7.5); first in WAR for Pitchers (7.4); fifth in ERA (1.98); seventh in innings pitched (263 1/3); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (153).

Pittsburgh, still managed by Hugo Bezdek, stayed in fourth place, finishing 71-68. It was Bezdek’s third and last season helming the Pirates. He finished his Major League managing career with a 166-187 record.

According to SABR, it was World War I that got Adams back into the Majors. It says, “When his shoulder gained strength over the winter, Adams reported to St. Joseph and put together a stellar 1917 season, going 20-13 with a 1.75 ERA and just 34 walks in 308 innings. The team moved to Hutchinson, Kansas, in mid-season. Hutchinson transferred Babe’s contract to Kansas City of the American Association for the 1918 campaign, but players like Adams who were exempt from the military draft because they were over age 35 suddenly became attractive to major league clubs. Babe re-joined the Pirates and made three late-season appearances.” Marginal players became valuable during World War II also, but it’s rare when a war pickup ends up staying nine more years in the Majors.

vaughn5P-Hippo Vaughn, Chicago Cubs, 31 Years Old

1910 1916 1917 1918

21-14, 1.79 ERA, 141 K, .173, 0 HR, 2 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Innings Pitched-306 2/3 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-141 (2nd Time)

Games Started-37 (2nd Time)

Batters Faced-1,224

Adj. Pitching Runs-34 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.1 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as P-9 (4th Time)

5th Time All-Star-After a stretch from 1911-15 where he didn’t make the All-Star team, Vaughn has made four straight and next year will be five straight. He’s still going to fall short of making my Hall of Fame, but that shouldn’t take away from how good he was from 1916-20. This season, Vaughn finished third in WAR (7.3), behind two pitchers, teammate Pete Alexander (7.5) and Pittsburgh’s Babe Adams (7.5); third in WAR for Pitchers (7.2), trailing Adams (7.4) and Alexander (7.3); second in ERA (1.79), with only Old Pete (1.72) ahead; first in innings pitched (306 2/3); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (160), behind his Hall of Fame teammate Grover Alexander (166).

SABR agrees Vaughn’s just shy of what it takes to make the Hall of Fame, saying, “Hubbell, Spahn, Koufax, and Steve Carlton are the four greatest southpaws in National League history and are enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Vaughn just didn’t pitch as long as Hubbell, Spahn, and Carlton; he wasn’t as overpowering as Koufax was during his five-year reign or Carlton was during his big seasons. He’s not in Cooperstown and isn’t likely to be, having never received a vote, but he’s not very far behind them. Nor is it clear who stands between Vaughn and the titans. Tom Glavine is a possibility, but he is still active and may eventually establish himself in the highest echelon. Jim Vaughn’s case shows that in baseball the difference between excellence and greatness is often the smallest matter of degree.”

cadore2

P-Leon Cadore, Brooklyn Robins, 27 Years Old

1917

14-12, 2.37 ERA, 94 K, .161, 0 HR, 7 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as P-15

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1917, Cadore only pitched two games in 1918. According to SABR, “The draft caught up with Cadore soon after the season ended. The Army sent him to officer training school at Camp Gordon, Georgia. He rejoined the Dodgers temporarily in June 1918 while in Brooklyn on furlough. On June 5 he shut out the Cardinals on four hits. Four days later he held Pittsburgh to two hits and one run in eight innings before he left the game with no decision. He spent some time with his buddy Stengel, and Cadore’s stories of Army life may have persuaded Stengel to enlist in the Navy.

“Lieutenant Cadore was one of the white officers assigned to command a ‘colored’ unit, the 369thInfantry Regiment. After landing in France, the regiment saw hard combat in the final weeks of the war. The 369th, nicknamed ‘the Harlem Hellfighters,’ captured a reported 1,000 German troops the day before the November 11 armistice ended the fighting. The French government awarded the unit the Croix de Guerre for its service in defense of the nation.”

Brooklyn stayed in fifth, finishing with a 69-71 record. Wilbert Robinson continued to manage, which is why the team was still called the Robins.

As for Cadore, he had his best season ever, finishing fifth in WAR (5.5); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.9); and eighth in innings pitched (250 2/3).

He also pitched a famous game, but you’ll have to wait till next year to hear about it.

cooper4

P-Wilbur Cooper, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

1916 1917 1918

19-13, 2.67 ERA, 106 K, .287, 0 HR, 7 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Complete Games-27

Home Runs Allowed-10

Earned Runs-85

Hit By Pitch-15

4th Time All-Star-I’m not exactly sure what’s kept Cooper out of the Hall of Fame, except for the fact his teams never won a pennant. Still, along with Pete Alexander, he was one of the National League’s best pitchers during this time. This year, he finished eighth in WAR (5.2); sixth in WAR for Pitchers (4.3); and third in innings pitched (286 2/3), behind Chicago’s Hippo Vaughn (306 2/3) and the Giants’ Jesse Barnes (295 2/3). That’s the thing about Coop, he was always a workhorse.

SABR says, “As Cooper developed, he increasingly relied on pinpoint control: from 1917 to 1924 he finished in the NL’s Top 10 five times in fewest walks per nine innings. A fast worker, he was often in mid-windup when he received the signal from Walter Schmidt, his catcher for eight years. When Wilbur and fellow quick-pitcher Pete Alexander once hooked up for a game in Forbes Field, the contest was over in 59 minutes. As the Pirates slowly built themselves back into contenders, they leaned heavily on Cooper to consume innings and protect their otherwise-mediocre staff. From 1918 to 1922 he finished no worse than third in the NL in innings pitched every season, leading the league in 1921. During that span he led the NL in complete games twice while finishing in the Top Five in ERA three times. In three of those five seasons Cooper was a 20-game winner, and in the other two he finished with 19 victories. In 1919 the New York Giants offered $75,000 for him; the Pirates turned them down.”

pfeffer5

P-Jeff Pfeffer, Brooklyn Robins, 31 Years Old

1914 1915 1916 1917

17-13, 2.66 ERA, 92 K, .206, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/Game as P-3.07

5th Time All-Star-Slowly but surely, the National League has built up quite a stable of good pitchers, along with the great Pete Alexander, of course. It featured Hippo Vaughn, Wilbur Cooper, and this man, all of who consistently made this list. Pfeffer didn’t make the All-Star team in 1918, as due to his service in World War I, he pitched only one game. Pitching this full season, Pfeffer finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (4.4) and sixth in innings pitched (267).

There’s a blog called 6-4-2—an angels/dodgers double play blog that, according to its subhead, is “A blog mostly about the Dodgers, Angels, baseball in general, and other minutiae as it may happen.” That’s a lot to cover, but it brings up a point often bandied around in the area I live, which is if a person can be both a Dodgers and Angels fan. Well, obviously he can, but should he or she. My wife and I are Angel fans (though the Reds come first in my heart) and we dislike the Dodgers. Her dad likes both and yearns to see a Dodgers-Angels World Series. I personally think it’s uncouth to root for two teams in the same area of the country.

Anyway, this blog rates Pfeffer as the 40th greatest Dodger of all time, saying, “Not a Hall of Famer nor even an All Star (which they wouldn’t have until 1933 anyway), Pfeffer had five phenominal seasons in a Brooklyn uniform, emerging as the ace of the Robins’ staff from 1914 through 1919.”

ruether

P-Dutch Ruether, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

19-6, 1.82 ERA, 78 K, .261, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.760

1st Time All-Star-Walter Henry “Dutch” Ruether was born on September 13, 1893 in Alameda, CA. The six-foot-one, 180 pound lefty started with Chicago in 1917, before he was selected off waivers by the Reds that same season. This season, Ruether finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.0); third in ERA (1.82), behind Chicago’s Pete Alexander (1.72) and Hippo Vaughn (1.79); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (154), trailing Alexander (166) and Vaughn (160).

This particular version of the Reds, which is also the modern-day Reds, didn’t start in 1869 as they like to proclaim. This team started in 1882 with the American Association and finished first. It never finished first again until this season, when Pat Moran led the Reds to their first National League pennant and then led them to a highly tainted World Series victory, as they defeated the Black Sox, five games to three.

In that Series, Ruether started two games and pitched 14 innings, going 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in 14 innings. Also, according to SABR, “Ruether was incensed at the citing of his opening game triple against Eddie Cicotte as evidence that the Sox weren’t on the level. [H]e said, ‘I was a pretty good hitting pitcher. I was often called upon to pinch-hit and every once in a while there was talk of me becoming a first baseman when my arm gave out. I hit a double off Dickey Kerr later in the Series, and everybody knows Dickey was straight as a string. . . . . Miller Huggins used me as a pinch-hitter seven years later in a World Series with the Yankees.’ Actually Ruether hit two triples in Game One – one off Cicotte in the fourth inning and one off Grover Lowdermilk in the seventh.”

rudolph5

P-Dick Rudolph, Boston Braves, 31 Years Old

1913 1914 1915 1916

13-18, 2.17 ERA, 76 K, .193, 1 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits Allowed-282 (2nd Time)

Wild Pitches-11

Putouts as P-15

5th Time All-Star-In an organization which would one day feature the three-headed monster of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz, Rudolph was one of the Braves’ first great pitchers. Of course, we can’t just ignore the 1870s and 1880s, because this team has been around a long time. Al Spalding, who pitched for the Boston Red Stockings, the predecessor to this team, is in my One-A-Year Hall of Fame. He was arguably the best pitcher in the old National Association, which led to the National League. Then there was Tommy Bond, who pitched from 1877-1881 for Boston and is also in the ONEHOF. Jim Whitney pitched for Boston from 1881-to-1885 and would make six All-Star teams. There are many others, but when Boston declined, so did its pitching, until Rudolph came along.

Boston moved up from seventh to sixth this season, finishing 57-82 under manager George Stallings.

SABR says, “Though he bounced back with one more workhorse season in 1919, he pitched in only 25 games over the next eight years, when he was more of a coach than a pitcher. Rudolph left the Braves after the 1927 season, retiring with a career record of 121-108 and a 2.66 ERA.

“The following year Rudolph and the Braves’ traveling secretary bought the Waterbury, Connecticut, club in the Eastern League. They lasted but one losing season. Dick then joined his brother in a Nyack, New York, undertaking business for a few years. Eventually he returned to baseball, this time as the supervisor for Stevens Brothers Concessionaires at Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds. Closing the circle of his baseball career, he returned to Fordham as a volunteer freshman baseball coach. Dick Rudolph died of a heart attack in the Bronx on October 20, 1949, at the age of 62, and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.”

nehf2

P-Art Nehf, Boston Braves/New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1918

17-11, 2.49 ERA, 77 K, .214, 1 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-After his first All-Star season in 1918, Nehf wasn’t doing well for Boston, going 8-9 with a 91 ERA+. So on August 1, he was traded by the Boston Braves to the New York Giants for Red CauseyJohnny JonesMickey O’NeilJoe Oeschger and $55,000. Then he started lighting it up, finishing 9-2 with a 189 ERA+ for the Giants. Altogether, Nehf finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.3) and fifth in innings pitched (270 2/3).

New York finished in second place, with manager John McGraw leading them to an 87-53 record, nine games behind Cincinnati. Surprisingly, the team was just out of first place when they acquired Nehf and then started faltering despite his good pitching.

Wikipedia says, “Nehf was traded to the Giants for four players and cash on August 15, 1919. He won a career-high 21 games in 1920, his first full year with the Giants. Nehf pitched in four consecutive World Series with the Giants: 192119221923 and 1924. He was the last man to win back to back clinching games in the World Series in 1921 and 1922. In 1924, he defeated Walter Johnson in 12 innings in the WS opener, but the Giants lost to the Washington Senators that year. The Giants won in 1921 and 1922 with the help of Nehf, who had an all-time World Series record of 4–4 with an ERA of 2.16 in twelve games, and nine starts, with six complete games. He had 28 strikeouts all-time in the World Series. Nehf also participated in the 1929 World Series with the Cubs in his last year, as the Cubs lost to the Philadelphia Athletics.

“Nehf died of cancer in his home in Phoenix, Arizona in 1960.”

meadows

P-Lee Meadows, St. Louis Cardinals/Philadelphia Phillies, 24 Years Old

12-20, 2.59 ERA, 116 K, .113, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. 30 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Losses-20 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Henry Lee “Specs” Meadows was born on July 12, 1894 in Oxford, NC. The six-foot, 190 pound right-handed throwing, lefty batting pitcher started with St. Louis in 1915. After going 4-10 with St. Louis this season, he was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals with Gene Paulette to the Philadelphia Phillies for Doug BairdElmer Jacobs and Frank Woodward. That’s what ended up putting him on this All-Star team, because Philly needed a representative and Meadows was the best it had.

Branch Rickey managed the Cardinals to a seventh place 54-83 record while the Phillies, managed by Jack Coombs (18-44) and Gavvy Cravath (29-46), finished last with a 47-90 record.

SABR says, “Meadows was involved in an automobile accident a week before the season opened in 1919.  Apparently feeling the effects of crashing into a trolley car in St. Louis, Meadows struggled for first-year skipper Branch Rickey (who also served as GM), losing his first six decisions, and was ultimately relegated to the bullpen in July. On July 14 the Redbirds sent Meadows and utilityman Gene Paulette to the Philadelphia Phillies for hurlers Elmer Jacobs and Frank Woodward and utiltyman Doug Baird. Based on statistics alone, the trade seems like a rare mistake by Rickey. Jacobs and Woodward won a combined 10 games and lost 19 in their short tenure with St. Louis, and Baird suited up for just 202 games. Meadows, on the other hand, regained his form and completed 15 of his 17 starts with the Phillies in 2½ months.”

clemons

C-Verne Clemons, St. Louis Cardinals, 27 Years Old

.264, 2 HR, 22 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 41 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Verne James “Stinger” or “Tubby” Clemons was born on September 8, 1891 in Clemons, IA. The five-foot-nine, 190 pound righty catcher started with the St. Louis Browns in 1916. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1917 or 1918 and then had a good rookie year in 1919. He slashed .264/.336/.360 for an OPS+ of 114.

Baseball Reference says, “Verne Clemons played catcher in the major leagues for seven years, all with St. Louis teams. He broke in with the St. Louis Browns in 1916 for four games, but spent the rest of his major league career with the 19191924 St. Louis Cardinals in the days of Rogers Hornsby.

“Clemons was a decent enough hitter, usually hitting higher than the team average. He was in the navy in 1918, and played baseball for the Great Lakes Naval Training Station that year. Clemons is remembered in the book ‘Stand and Deliver’ A History of Pinch-Hitting’, as a solid pinch-hitter who went 15-for-54.

“He often caught pitcher Bill Doak.”

Clemons would continue being the regular St. Louis catcher in 1920 and 1921 and then be its backup catcher from 1922-24. While he did .281 in 1920 and .320 in 1921, his hitting was actually better in 1919 when compared to the rest of the league. Still, he had a good bat for a catcher and did well in a league with very few good backstops at the time.

The catcher lived to the age of 67, dying on May 5, 1959 in Bay Pines, FL.

clemons

C-Bill Killefer, Chicago Cubs, 31 Years Old

.286, 0 HR, 22 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 83 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-100 (4th Time)

Putouts as C-478 (3rd Time)

Assists as C-124 (3rd Time)

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-91 (3rd Time)

Caught Stealing as C-76 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as C-6.02 (6th Time)

Fielding % as C-.987 (4th Time)

1st Time All-Star-William “Reindeer Bill” Killefer was born on October 10, 1887 in Bloomington, MI. The five-foot-10, 170 pound righty catcher started with the St. Louis Browns in 1909 and 1910. He then came to the Phillies in 1911 and then after the 1917 season, he was traded by the Philadelphia Phillies with Pete Alexander to the Chicago Cubs for Pickles DillhoeferMike Prendergast and $55,000. He had always been a good defensive catcher, finishing in the top 10 in Defensive WAR in 1912, 1913, 1916, and 1917, but never had enough bat to make this list. He finally put it together this year, slashing .286/.322/.330 for an OPS+ of 96, below league average, but good for a backstop.

Killefer didn’t hit well in the 1918 Series for the Cubs, going two-for-17 (.118) with a double and two walks.

The SABR article on Killefer is written by Charlie Weatherby, who actually knew the backstop. I suggest you read the whole thing, but I’ll admit it’s long. Here’s a bit of it: “Bill Killefer began his 48-year career in Organized Baseball in 1907 as an unlikely professional, weighing only 125 pounds when he played with Jackson of the Southern Michigan League. According to his brother Wade, ‘the bats he used were almost as big as he was.’ It would be years before he grew to be 5’10 1/2″ and 170 pounds, but along the way the skinny blonde youngster became one of the greatest defensive catchers of all time, playing over 1,000 games for the Browns, Phillies and Cubs. Pitcher Stan Baumgartner called him ‘smooth as silk with a natural intuition for calling for the pitch that the batter was not expecting.’ He was death to ambitious base runners and, according to writer Frank Pollock, ‘possessed unerring hands and an arm so accurate it threw bulls-eyes.’ Poised and clever behind the plate, Killefer was peerless as a field general and had the knack of getting the most out of his pitchers.”

He died on July 3, 1960 at the age of 72.

konetchy7

1B-Ed Konetchy, Brooklyn Robins, 33 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1915 1917

.298, 1 HR, 47 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1919)

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 1B-.994 (8th Time)

7th Time All-Star-In order for Big Ed Konetchy to make my Hall of Fame, he would have had to have a couple fluke seasons where he was the best first baseman in the National League because of a lack of talent at that position. And guess what? He did it! Welcome to my Hall of Fame, Big Ed! He joins first basemen Cap Anson, Jake Beckley, Dan Brouthers, Roger Connor, and Harry Stovey. As a reminder, my Hall of Fame is based all on numbers. I take the number of All-Star teams made and multiply it by the player’s Career WAR and if the number is 300 or over, he’s in.

On July 30, 2018, Bill James wrote an article called “The Ten Best Players in Each Decade Who are not in the Hall of Fame.” Just for fun, I thought I’d look at the 1910s and see if those players are in my Hall. Sherry Magee is in mine; Larry Doyle, yes; Clyde Milan, no; Konetchy, yes; George J. Burns, not yet and probably won’t be; Larry Gardner, no (could make it); Heinie Groh, no but possible; Hippo Vaughn, no; Babe Adams, not yet, but he will be; and Slim Sallee, no.

Look, I understand my Hall of Fame vote means nothing. It might mean less than that. However, it’s interesting to be able to study players like Konetchy, who isn’t a household name, but who, during the hardest time in baseball history to hit (along with the 1960s), hit the ball well and stood out at his position.

stock

2B-Milt Stock, St. Louis Cardinals, 25 Years Old

.307, 0 HR, 52 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Milton Joseph “Milt” Stock was born on July 11, 1893 in Chicago, IL. The five-foot-eight, 154 pound righty second baseman actually played at third for Philadelphia for a majority of his career up to this point. He started with New York in 1913-14, before he was traded by the New York Giants with Bert Adams and Al Demaree to the Philadelphia Phillies for Hans Lobert. After the 1918 season, Stock was traded by the Philadelphia Phillies with Dixie Davis and Pickles Dillhoefer to the St. Louis Cardinals for Doug BairdGene Packard and Stuffy Stewart. St. Louis moved him to second base and he had his best season ever, finishing sixth in WAR Position Players (4.8); sixth in Offensive WAR (3.9); eighth in Defensive WAR (1.4); fifth in batting (.307);  and sixth in on-base percentage (.371).

SABR says, “St. Louis finished last in the NL in 1918, and soon into the 1919 season, the team purchased shortstop Doc Lavan. Cardinals manager Branch Rickey moved his existing shortstop — budding superstar Rogers Hornsby — to third, and planted Stock at second. The Cardinals infield played well, but behind weak starting pitching the team finished seventh. Stock earned high praise from St. Louis sportswriters and fans for his unflagging efforts. Usually batting behind Hornsby in the fifth spot of the order, he hit .307, and achieved a career-high OPS+ of 124. Splitting his time between second and third, he was a plus defensive player.”

Stock hit well in the 1920s, but so did everyone else, but I think he’s got a possibility of making one more All-Star team.

doyle8

2B-Larry Doyle, New York Giants, 32 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1915 1916

.289, 7 HR, 52 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

 

8th Time All-Star-When Doyle last made the All-Star team in 1916, he had been traded to the Cubs for the last part of the season. Now he’s back on the Giants because after the 1917 season, Doyle was traded by the Chicago Cubs with Art Wilson and $15,000 to the Boston Braves for Lefty Tyler. That was on January 4, 1818. Four days later, he was traded by the Boston Braves with Jesse Barnes to the New York Giants for Buck Herzog and he was back in the Big Apple.

This season, Doyle finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.1); ninth in Offensive WAR (3.3); eighth in on-base percentage (.350); second in slugging (.433), behind Brooklyn centerfielder Hi Myers (.436); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (135).

Wikipedia says, “Doyle ended his career with a .290 batting average, putting him behind only Nap Lajoie (.338), Eddie Collins (then at .329) and Cupid Childs (.306) among players with 1000 games at second base. His 74 home runs placed him third at his position behind Fred Pfeffer (94) and Lajoie (83). He also had 960 runs and 793 RBI in 1766 games, as well as 300 stolen bases including 17 steals of home plate; he held the Giants club record for career steals from 1918 to 1919, when teammate George Burnspassed him. Baseball Magazine selected Doyle as the second baseman on their NL All-America Team in 1911 and 1915.

“Doyle contracted tuberculosis in 1942, and entered the Trudeau Sanitorium in Saranac Lake, New York. When the institution closed in 1954 due to the development of an effective antibiotic treatment, he was the last resident to leave; Life Magazinephotographers covered his last meal and his departure, on foot, from the grounds. He stayed on in Saranac Lake, and died there twenty years later, at age 87.”

rath

2B-Morrie Rath, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

.264, 1 HR, 29 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 28 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 2B-345

Assists as 2B-452

Double Plays Turned as 2B-62

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-5.74

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.78

1st Time All-Star-Morris Charles “Morrie” Rath was born on Christmas, 1886 in Mobeetie, TX. The five-foot-eight, 160 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing second baseman started in 1909 with the Athletics as a shortstop. The next season he moved to third base and also moved to Cleveland after he was traded by the Philadelphia Athletics with a player to be named later to the Cleveland Naps for Bris Lord. The Philadelphia Athletics sent Shoeless Joe Jackson (July 30, 1910) to the Cleveland Naps to complete the trade.

He didn’t play in the Majors in 1911 and then before the 1912 season, he was drafted by the Chicago White Sox from Baltimore (Eastern) in the 1911 rule 5 draft. He played two seasons at Chicago at second base and then was out of the Majors from 1914-18. He came back this season and his glove put him on the team as he finished second in Defensive WAR (2.2), behind New York shortstop Art Fletcher (3.9).

He didn’t hit much in the World Series victory over the White Sox either, batting .226 (seven-for-31) with a double and two steals.

Wikipedia says, “In 1918, Rath joined the U.S. Navy and missed the 1918 baseball season. In 1919, he was back in the major leagues, given a chance to start by the Cincinnati Reds. In his comeback season he hit for a .264 batting average, drew 64 walks, and was the leadoff hitter for the pennant-winning Reds. He led all National League second basemen that year in assists, putouts and double plays. In the 1919 World Series, Rath was hit by a pitch to start the series, which was later found out to be a signal used by White Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte that the fix of the World Series was on.”

hornsby4

3B-Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals, 23 Years Old

1916 1917 1918

.318, 8 HR, 71 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1942)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-6.7 (3rd Time)

Offensive WAR-5.8 (3rd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-150 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-32 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-3.5 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.738 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-So far Hornsby has made four All-Star teams, two at third base and two at shortstop. Next year, he will finally move to second base and the real Rajah will be displayed. Not that he’s any slouch now. This year, Hornsby finished fourth in WAR (6.7); first in WAR Position Players (6.7); first in Offensive WAR (5.8); sixth in Defensive WAR (1.5); second in batting (.318), behind Cincinnati centerfielder Edd Roush (.321); third in on-base percentage (.384), trailing New York leftfielder George J. Burns (.396) and Cincinnati third baseman Heinie Groh (.392); fifth in slugging (.430); and first in Adjusted OPS+ (150).

SABR says, “The Cardinals board of directors did not bring [Jack] Hendricks back for 1919 but instead persuaded Branch Rickey to manage as well as serve as team president. The team could only improve to seventh place, thanks in large measure to the woeful Phillies (47 victories), but Hornsby fared much better under Rickey’s leadership. He batted .318, second only to Edd Roush’s .321, and was among the league leaders in most categories.

“Hornsby’s play in the field continued to be indifferent. According to teammate Bill Doak, Hornsby wouldn’t think of working on his fielding and cared only about his batting average. Doak even suggested that manager Rickey switch Hornsby from third base to second because Milt Stock could play third and ‘Hornsby couldn’t be any worse at second base than he is at third.’ Even so, Hornsby managed to reduce his error total to 34 for the year, playing 72 games at third base, 37 at shortstop, 25 at second base, and five games at first.”

groh5

3B-Heinie Groh, Cincinnati Reds, 29 Years Old

1915 1916 1917 1918

.310, 5 HR, 63 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base Plus Slugging-.823

Offensive Win %-.738

Putouts as 3B-171 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 3B-23 (5th Time)

5th Time All-Star-If a team’s going to make the World Series, it’s going to need its superstars to step up and that was certainly the case with Groh and the Cincinnati Reds this season. Groh finished sixth in WAR (5.4); second in WAR Position Players (5.4), behind St. Louis third baseman Rogers Hornsby (6.7); second in Offensive WAR (5.2), trailing Hornsby (5.8); fourth in batting (.310); second in on-base percentage (.392), with only George J. Burns (.396) getting on more; third in slugging (.431), being outslugged by Brooklyn centerfielder Hi Myers (.436) and New York second baseman Larry Doyle (.433); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (149), with Hornsby (150) topping him.

Unfortunately for Groh, he didn’t have the same success in the postseason, even while facing a team not putting in a full effort. He hit .172 (five-for-29) with two doubles and a team leading six walks. Still, the Reds went on to “win” the Series, five games to three over the Black Sox. (Hey, maybe there were gamblers that got to Groh to throw the Series on the Reds’ side. A double conspiracy! Mind! Blown!)

Wikipedia says, “The Reds went on to defeat the favored Chicago White Sox in the scandal-tainted World Series; after the Chicago players were discredited as having fixed the Series, Groh was famously quoted as saying ‘I think we’d have beaten them either way.’”

And that’s the trouble with a fixed World Series, there’s no way of knowing what the Redlegs would have done in a straight up contest.

fletcher7

SS-Art Fletcher, New York Giants, 34 Years Old

1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918

.277, 3 HR, 54 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1919)

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-3.9 (4th Time)

Assists-521 (4th Time)

Assists as SS-521 (4th Time)

7th Time All-Star-With the admission of the slick fielding Fletcher to my Hall of Fame, you might be saying I’m putting all kinds of mediocre into my esteemed museum. I would argue a.) Fletcher is certainly not mediocre and b.) that’s what my Hall of Fame is for. I have two Halls, the ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame that inducts one player a year. It should feature only the elite. My second Hall of Fame, cleverly named Ron’s Hall of Fame, inducts players based on the formula All-Star teams made times Career WAR. If the number is 300 or over, the player is in. That Hall of Fame is supposed to be the catch all. In the middle is probably Cooperstown, which inducts more than the ONEHOF and less than mine. Fletcher had a Career WAR of 47.0 and has now made seven All-Star teams. That puts him at 329 and he’s in. He joins fellow shortstops Bill Dahlen, George Davis, Jack Glasscock, Joe Tinker, Honus Wagner, Bobby Wallace, and John Ward, the latter making more All-Star teams as a pitcher, but playing more games at short.

Fletcher this season finished seventh in WAR (5.3); third in WAR Position Players (5.3), behind third basemen, St. Louis’ Rogers Hornsby (6.7) and Cincy’s Heinie Groh (5.4); and first in Defensive WAR (3.9). As always with Fletch, his glove leads the way. What’s astounding is the incredible season Fletcher had at the age of 34 and he’s not done making All-Star teams yet.

hollocher2

SS-Charlie Hollocher, Chicago Cubs, 23 Years Old

1918

.270, 3 HR, 26 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Hollocher, the tiny Cubs shortstop, made his second straight All-Star team, but probably won’t make another one for a few years. This season, he finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.3); third in Defensive WAR (2.1), behind New York shortstop Art Fletcher (3.9) and Cincy second baseman Morrie Rath (2.2); and ninth in on-base percentage (.347).

SABR says, “In the meantime, Charlie had received ‘greetings from Uncle Sam.’ Scheduled to enter the Army, he was attacked by the influenza epidemic then ravaging the Western hemisphere. By the time he recovered the Armistice had been signed, and as a result he was not drafted.

“Perhaps weakened by the flu, Hollocher fell to .270 in 1919 as the Cubs slipped to third place. On September 12 he took part in the first of two triple plays he would participate in during his career. In the sixth inning the Dodgers had Hy Myers on second base and Zack Wheat on first when Ed Konetchy came to the plate. He drove a sharp liner to Hollocher, who stepped on second to double Myers, then fired to first base to retire Wheat.”

I suppose it’s possible the flu made his 1919 season less valuable than 1918. However, I think it’s because World War I made 1918 a watered-down league and so Hollocher did better then. Also, his 1918 season was one of the better rookie seasons ever and that’s hard to match. Holly still has an All-Star team or two to make in his short career.

maranville4

SS-Rabbit Maranville, Boston Braves, 27 Years Old

1914 1916 1917

.267, 5 HR, 43 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1954)

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed-53 (2nd Time)

Putouts as SS-361 (5th Time)

Errors Committed as SS-53 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-79 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.53 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.48 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1917, Maranville was off to war. SABR says, “Maranville remained a fixture in the Braves infield for another six years, though he missed nearly all of 1918 when he enlisted in the Navy and served as a gunner aboard the USS Pennsylvania. On November 10, 1918, Rabbit told his shipmates that they would get big news the next day. ‘Everyone kept asking me what the big news was going to be,’ he remembered. ‘I said, “Wait until tomorrow; I will tell you then.” At 6:30 the next morning we got word that the armistice had been signed. That afternoon I was called in to the captain’s quarters. The captain said to me, “How is it you knew the armistice was going to be signed today? Who gave you that information?” I said, “I didn’t know anything about the armistice being signed. The reason I said the big day is tomorrow and they would hear great news is that today is my birthday.”’”

This season, Maranville finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.2); seventh in Offensive WAR (3.7); and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.6). This would be the last season Maranville’s OPS+ was above 100 (114), so he’s going to have to rely on his defense to make these teams in the future.

Baseball is going to change after this season. For seven consecutive seasons, from 1914 to 1920, the National League averaged less than four runs a game. Starting in 1921, it won’t be under four until 1933. We’re going to see an increase in hitting stats starting in 1920.

burnsg4

LF-George J. Burns, New York Giants, 29 Years Old

1914 1917 1918

.303, 2 HR, 46 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.396

Runs Scored-86 (4th Time)

Bases on Balls-82 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases-40 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-86

Adj. Batting Runs-32

Adj. Batting Wins-3.5

Times on Base-244 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as LF-139 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as OF-139 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as LF-.990

Fielding % as OF-.990

4th Time All-Star-As the leadoff hitter for the New York Giants, Burns was good at scoring runs, leading the league in runs scored for the fourth time. Next season will be his fifth and last. Unfortunately for him, after this season, his hitting is going to get worse which is what is going to keep him out of my Hall of Fame. Not that he was bad. You can see from the above stats he was consistent on offense and defense. Burns would be that way for many years, just not enough to make Cooperstown or my Hall of Fame.

Baseball History Comes Alive interviewed a relative of Burns who said of him, “’I used to hear my grandparents talking about him when I was a kid. I figured they were just exaggerating on a relative who was probably just a good local softball player. It wasn’t until 1989 when I was on my way to college in Utica that I decided to stop in Cooperstown to see what I could find. I realized then he was ‘the real deal.’ To my surprise, not only were my grandparents not exaggerating, they were actually understating how good he actually was. From that moment on, I was hooked on the legend of George Burns. Shortly after that I first watched Field of Dreams. I was blown away with the ending as I imagined it as me having a catch with Uncle George Burns. That movie still gets to me. I’ve spent the last 27 years feverishly researching and documenting his career and life.’”

roush3

CF-Edd Roush, Cincinnati Reds, 26 Years Old

1917 1918

.321, 4 HR, 71 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

1919 NL Batting Title (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.321 (2nd Time)

Assists as CF-22

Double Plays Turned as CF-6

Fielding % as CF-.989

3rd Time All-Star-For a good stretch of time in the late 1910s and early 1920s, there wasn’t a better National League centerfielder than Edd Roush. This season, his productivity helped lead the Reds to their first World Series. He finished 10th in WAR (5.1); fifth in WAR Position Players (5.1); third in Offensive WAR (4.5), behind St. Louis third baseman Rogers Hornsby (5.8) and teammate Heinie Groh (5.2); first in batting (.321); fifth in on-base percentage (.380); fourth in slugging (.431); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (146), trailing Hornsby (150) and Groh (149).

In Game Two of the World Series, Roush went one-for-two with an RBI and two walks as the Reds beat the White Sox, 4-2. Then in Game Five, he went one-for-four with a triple, two runs scored, and two RBI as Cincy thumped Chicago, 5-0. It was in the eighth and final game, Roush let it rip, going three-for-five with two runs scored, four RBI, and two doubles as the Reds went on to a 10-5 victory and won the Series, five games to three. Altogether, Roush went six-for-28 (.214) with two doubles and a triple.

SABR says, “The 1919 World Series is forever tainted by the Black Sox scandal. In 1920 word came out that eight members of the White Sox had thrown the series, purposely losing games after being paid by gamblers. Roush became vehement when questioned throughout his life about the series, consistently stating that the Reds were the better team. He was quoted as saying that after the first two games the Sox played it straight as the gamblers had not paid them off properly.”

myers

CF-Hi Myers, Brooklyn Robins, 30 Years Old

.307, 5 HR, 73 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 34 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Slugging-.436

Total Bases-223

Triples-14

Runs Batted In-73

Putouts as CF-358 (2nd Time)

Putouts as OF-358 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.83

1st Time All-Star-Henry Harrison “Hi” Myers was born on April 27, 1889 in East Liverpool, OH. The five-foot-nine, 175 pound righty centerfielder started with Brooklyn in 1909. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1910 and then game back to Brooklyn in 1911. He then again had a break from the Major Leagues in 1912 and 1913, before coming back as Brooklyn’s centerfielder in 1914. In the 1916 World Series, Myers hit .182 (four-for-22) with a homer as the Robins lost to the Red Sox, four games to one. This year, Myers finished 10th in Offensive WAR (3.3); sixth in batting (.307); first in slugging (.436); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (130).

I like this story from SABR: “After the 1916 season, Myers went home to his farm near Kensington, Ohio. It wasn’t much of a farm: a horse and a few chickens. He thought he had earned a substantial raise for the next season and decided to bluff [Brooklyn owner] Charlie Ebbets. According to sportswriter Frank Graham, Myers had a letterhead printed, ‘MYERS’S STOCK FARM,’ and wrote the following letter:

“’Dear Mr. Ebbets:

“’I am returning my contract unsigned. At the terms you offer me, I cannot possibly afford to play baseball any more. As you will see from this letterhead, I am now running a stock farm and I am doing so well that, in justice to my family, I must remain here. I have enjoyed playing in Brooklyn and will miss you and all the boys and the fans. Please remember me to the boys.’

“Ebbets had a group of holdouts to contend with that season. He decided that visiting them at their homes might be the best way to talk them into signing. When Myers learned that Ebbets was on his way, he quickly made the rounds of his more prosperous neighbors’ farms and borrowed enough cattle and horses to fill his pastures. Ebbets took one look at the spread and gave Myers what he wanted.”

youngs

RF-Ross Youngs, New York Giants, 22 Years Old

.311, 2 HR, 43 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1972)

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

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-31

Def. Games as RF-130

Putouts as RF-235

Assists as RF-23

Errors Committed as RF-16

Double Plays Turned as RF-7

Assists as OF-23

Double Plays Turned as OF-7

1st Time All-Star-Royce Middlebrook “Ross” or “Pep” Youngs was born on April 10, 1897 in Shiner, TX. The five-foot-eight, 162 pound lefty throwing, righty batting rightfielder started with the Giants in 1917. This year, Youngs finished 10th in WAR Position Players (3.9); eighth in Offensive WAR (3.7); third in batting (.311), behind Cincy centerfielder Edd Roush (.321) and St. Louis third baseman Rogers Hornsby (.318); fourth in on-base percentage (.384); seventh in slugging (.415); ninth in steals (24); and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (140).

Youngs would tragically die at the age of 30, I imagine I’ll have more on that down the road. Because of his short, productive career, the Veteran’s Committee in 1972 voted him into the Hall of Fame. I don’t think he deserves it, though I think he was a heck of a ballplayer.

SABR says, “The Giants trained in Gainesville, Florida, in 1919. There McGraw convinced Youngs, who had always been a switch hitter, to bat only from the left side to take better advantage of his great speed. The team got off to another fast start, winning 24 of their first 32 games. Youngs, who was now batting second in the line-up behind George Burns, was also blistering hot out of the gate, and on May 31 was batting .407 after reaching .488 ten games into the season. His all-around play began drawing comparisons with Ty Cobb at a similar age, and he was even called ‘Ty Cobb Junior.’” He cooled down later, but it was still a good year, the first of many All-Star teams.

One thought on “1919 National League All-Star Team

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