1921 National League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-Roger Bresnahan

P-Burleigh Grimes, BRO

P-Pete Alexander, CHC

P-Wilbur Cooper, PIT

P-Joe Oeschger, BOS

P-Dolf Luque, CIN

P-Whitey Glazner, PIT

P-Eppa Rixey, CIN

P-Clarence Mitchell, BRO

P-Babe Adams, PIT

P-Johnny Morrison, PIT

C-Earl Smith, NYG

C-Frank Snyder, NYG

1B-Jack Fournier, STL

1B-High Pockets Kelly, NYG

2B-Rogers Hornsby, STL

3B-Frankie Frisch, NYG

3B-Jimmy Johnston, BRO

SS-Dave Bancroft, NYG

SS-Rabbit Maranville, PIT

LF-Austin McHenry, STL

LF-Walton Cruise, BSN

CF-Max Carey, PIT

CF-Edd Roush, CIN

CF-Cy Williams, PHI

RF-Ross Youngs, NYG

 

1921 ONEHOF Inductee

bresnahan10

C-Roger Bresnahan

.279, 26 HR, 530 RBI, 41.7 Career WAR

1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1910 1911 1914

 

In Bresnahan’s 1914 blurb, I wrote how Bill James objected to the catcher being in the Hall of Fame. Well, too bad, Bill, because now he’s made all three, my Hall of Fame in 1911, the ONEHOF here in 1921, and Cooperstown in 1945. I totally agree with this pick because the only reason his stats aren’t as shiny as others is because he moved from the outfield to catcher and as a catcher, he was the best there was for his time. A reminder, the ONEHOF is the One-a-Year Hall of Fame where just only player is admitted a year. The full list can be seen here.

In 1922, the nominees for the ONEHOF are Hardy Richardson, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Johnny Evers, Sherry Magee, Larry Doyle, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Art Fletcher, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, Joe McGinnity, Ed Walsh, Nap Rucker, Ed Konetchy, and Larry Gardner. There is a big bunch up of good players right now which made this the right time to induct Bresnahan.

According to SABR, “At age 65 Bresnahan suffered a heart attack and died at his Toledo home on December 4, 1944. He never achieved one of his greatest ambitions-to give Toledo an American Association pennant-but the city mourned the passing of a man whose heart always lay in his hometown. Survived by his wife, Gertrude, and sister, Margaret Henige, Bresnahan was laid to rest in Toledo’s Calvary Cemetery. The following year he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.”

grimes3

P-Burleigh Grimes, Brooklyn Robins, 27 Years Old

1918 1920

22-13, 2.83 ERA, 136 K, .237, 1 HR, 11 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1964)

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-7.8

Wins-22

Strikeouts per 9 IP-4.048

Strikeouts-136

Complete Games-30

Adj. Pitching Runs-34

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.6

Range Factor/Game as P-2.86

3rd Time All-Star-After helping guide the Robins to a World Series in 1920, Grimes continued to pitch well as possibly the National League’s best pitcher. He had his best season ever, finishing second in WAR (8.0), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (10.8); first in WAR for Pitchers (7.8); fifth in ERA (2.83); third in innings pitched (302 1/3), trailing Pittsburgh’s Wilbur Cooper (327) and Cincinnati’s Dolf Luque (304); third in Adjusted ERA+ (139), behind Pittsburgh’s Babe Adams (145) and St. Louis’ Bill Doak (140); and was the NL’s strikeout king (136).

Brooklyn, managed by Wilbert Robinson, dropped from first to fifth with a 77-75 record, 16-and-a-half games behind the Giants. Its problem was poor hitting as they had the league’s lowest OPS+ (84). Thanks to Grimes, the Robins had good pitching, finishing second in ERA+ (107). Robinson would be with Brooklyn through 1931, but never win another pennant.

Wikipedia says, “According to Baseball Digest, the Phillies were able to hit him because they knew when he was throwing the spitter. The Dodgers were mystified about this; first they thought the relative newcomer of a catcher, Hank DeBerry, was unwittingly giving away his signals to the pitcher, so they substituted veteran Zack Taylor, to no avail. They suggested that a spy with binoculars was concealed in the scoreboard in old Baker Bowl in Philadelphia, reading the signals from a distance, but the Phils hit Grimes just as well in Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. A batboy solved the mystery by pointing out that Burleigh’s cap was too tight. It sounded silly, but he was right. The tighter cap would wiggle when Grimes flexed his facial muscles to prepare the spitter. He got a cap a half-size larger and the Phillies were on their own after that.”

alexander10

P-Pete Alexander, Chicago Cubs, 34 Years Old

1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1919 1920

15-13, 3.39 ERA, 77 K, .305, 1 HR, 14 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1920)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1938)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1913)

Led in:

 

Shutouts-3 (7th Time)

10th Time All-Star-In the ‘70s, there was a comedian named Foster Brooks who would play a lovable drunk and was very funny. However, the drunkenness of Ol’ Pete wasn’t humorous at all at his affected him and those around him all the time. Miraculously, it didn’t seem to affect his pitching as he continued to be one of the National League’s best. He finished fifth in WAR (5.4); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (4.7); 10th in innings pitched (252); 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (113), and led the league with three shutouts. It was a much different league from when Alexander led the league with 16 shutouts in 1916.

Chicago, managed by Johnny Evers (41-55) and Bill Killefer (23-34), finished in seventh place with a 64-89 record, 30 games behind the Giants. Despite having Alexander on the team, its pitching staff had the second worst ERA and the worst ERA+ in the NL.

SABR says, “From 1921 on, Alexander was a different pitcher, depending on finesse and pinpoint control, never striking out a hundred batters again, walking very few, having ERAs over three for the first time in his career, but still winning more than he lost. Alcohol was taking over his life, as he drank to relive the past, forget the present, and forestall the future.”

What isn’t noted is how much the game was changing. From 1914-20, the NL averaged less than four runs a game. Starting in 1921, the league would average over four runs a game until 1942. So even though Alexander had ERAs over three, he still was one of the game’s best pitchers.

cooper6

P-Wilbur Cooper, Pittsburgh Pirates, 29 Years Old

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920

22-14, 3.25 ERA, 134 K, .254, 0 HR, 9 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

Led in:

 

Wins-22

Innings Pitched-327

Games Started-38

Hits Allowed-341

Earned Runs-118 (2nd Time)

Batters Faced-1,377

6th Time All-Star-After his sixth straight season of great pitching, finishing in the top 10 in WAR every year, Cooper enters my Hall of Fame, the 28th pitcher inducted. The full list is here. As always, he was a workhorse and Pittsburgh’s best pitcher. Cooper finished seventh in WAR (5.0); sixth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5); eighth in ERA (3.25); first in innings pitched (327); eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (118); and led the National League in wins. This was a typical season for him. Cooper would win 17 or more games eight straight years. I have no problem putting him in my Hall.

Pittsburgh, managed by George Gibson, finished second in the NL with a 90-63 record, four games behind the Giants. As late as Aug. 23, the Pirates were up by seven-and-a-half, but went 14-22 the rest of the season and fell short. The team struggled hitting, though thanks to Coop, it had the best pitching in the league, leading the NL in ERA (3.17).

In an article from Bleacher Report entitled “The Best Pitchers Not in the Hall of Fame,” it ranks Cooper 13th (of those not inducted) and says, “Cooper may be the best pitcher in Pirates history.  He was perhaps the best lefty in NL history to that date, however, not winning quite as many games as Eppa Rixey.  He was as good as Rixey and Stan Coveleski, both in the HOF, and better than Marquard, Grimes, Pennock, and Hoyt—all from the same period.

“The best reason I can come up with for Cooper being overlooked for the HOF is that he pitched in Pittsburgh, out of the spotlight of the sportswriters of the day.”

oeschger2

P-Joe Oeschger, Boston Braves, 29 Years Old

1920

20-14, 3.52 ERA, 68 K, .255, 0 HR, 11 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-3

Bases on Balls-97

Hit By Pitch-15

2nd Time All-Star-You might remember Oeschger as the pitcher who pitched 26 innings in a game in 1920 and ended up pitching 299 innings overall. He would pitch 299 innings this season also, but start falling apart starting in 1922. This year, Oeschger had his best season ever, finishing ninth in WAR (4.9); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (4.6); fifth in innings pitched (299); and first in shutouts (3). Shutouts were down at this time, not because pitchers weren’t completing games, as is the case nowadays, but because runs were being scored in droves.

Boston, managed by Fred Mitchell, finished fourth with a 79-74 record, 15 games behind the Giants. It was Mitchell’s first year managing Boston after four years of coaching the Cubs. The Braves had good hitting, led by leftfielder Walton Cruise, but despite the year Oeschger had, their pitching was weak.

Wikipedia says, “On September 8, 1921, Oeschger struck out three batters on nine pitches in the fourth inning of an 8–6 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Oeschger became the fourth National League pitcher and the fifth pitcher in Major League history to throw an immaculate inning. He had his only 20-win season that year, which finished third in the National League. He also had a lack of control, leading the league in walks with 97, and hit by pitches with 10.

“Oeschger later retired to San Francisco, where he taught physical education for the San Francisco Board of Education for 27 years. He was invited to throw out the first pitch of game one of the 1983 World Series that pitted the Philadelphia Phillies against the Baltimore Orioles. He died in Rohnert Park, California at age 94.”

luque2

P-Dolf Luque, Cincinnati Reds, 30 Years Old

1920

17-19, 3.38 ERA, 102 K, .270, 0 HR, 8 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 40 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-3

2nd Time All-Star-Long before the Reds picked up the Cuban Missile, Aroldis Chapman, they had the first famous Cuban pitcher, Luque. This season, he finished eighth in WAR (4.9); seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.3); second in innings pitched (304), behind Pittsburgh’s Wilbur Cooper (327); and tied for first with three shutouts. As the scoring era came to the sport, shutouts weren’t as common and a total of seven pitchers tied for most shutouts with three.

After winning the World Series just two years before, the Reds, managed by Pat Moran, dropped to sixth with a 70-83 record, 24 games out of first.

Wikipedia says, “As a blue-eyed, fair-skinned, white Cuban, he was one of several white Cubans to make it in Major League Baseball at a time when non-whites were excluded. Between 1911 and 1929 alone, seventeen Cuban-born Caucasian players played in the Major Leagues. Many of them, including Luque, also played Negro League baseball with integrated teams from Cuba. Luque played for Cuban Stars in 1912 and the Long Branch Cubans in 1913 before signing with organized baseball (Riley, 498).

“Luque was known to have a temper. While with the Brooklyn Dodgers, a heckler in the stands hollered ‘Lucky Luque! Lucky Luque!’ repeatedly. Luque went over to the dugout and told manager Wilbert Robinson, ‘I tell you, Robbie, if this guy don’t shut up, I’m gonna shut him up.’ ‘Aw, come on, Dolf’, said the manager. ‘He paid his way in–let him boo.’ Just then the heckler spotted the rotund Robinson and yelled, ‘Hey, fat belly!’ Robinson said, ‘OK, Dolf–go ahead and clobber the jerk.’ Luque obliged his manager’s request.”

glazner

P-Whitey Glazner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

14-5, 2.77 ERA, 88 K, .132, 0 HR, 1 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 42 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.737

Hits per 9 IP-8.231

1st Time All-Star-Charles Franklin “Whitey” Glazner was born on September 17, 1893 in Sycamore, AL. The five-foot-nine, 165 pound righty started by pitching two games for Pittsburgh in 1920. This season was his best ever as Glazner finished 10th in WAR (4.6); second in WAR for Pitchers (5.1), behind Brooklyn’s Burleigh Grimes (7.8); third in ERA (2.77), trailing St. Louis’ Bill Doak (2.59) and teammate Babe Adams (2.64); fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (138); and first in winning percentage (.737). He also won his first five decisions as a starter, which wasn’t matched by any Pittsburgh pitcher until Zach Duke did it in 2005. I’m sure after a year like this, the Pirates must have thought their pitching future was bright indeed, what with Wilbur Cooper, Adams, and now Glazner all on fire. Well, it was, but Glazner’s wasn’t.

After this season, Whitey fell apart, as he pitched just three more seasons for Pittsburgh and the Phillies, as he ERA rocketed over four for the remainder of his career.

You might be wondering why Glazner is second in WAR for Pitchers and only 10th in overall WAR. It’s because among a whole league of weak-hitting pitchers, Whitey was one of the worst. He hit just .132 (10-for-76) with a double and two triples. Compared to the National League, which was now scoring runs in droves, it made his bad hitting stand out even more.

Glazner would live a long life, dying on June 6, 1989 at the age of 96 in Orlando, FL.

rixey4

P-Eppa Rixey, Cincinnati Reds, 30 Years Old

1912 1916 1917

19-18, 2.78 ERA, 76 K, .129, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.030

Assists as P-97

4th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team two consecutive years in 1916 and 1917, Rixey didn’t play in the Majors in 1918 due to serving in the military. He then had two off seasons in 1919 and 1920 and then was traded by the Philadelphia Phillies to the Cincinnati Reds for Greasy Neale and Jimmy Ring. It ended up being a good trade for the Reds.

This season, Rixey finished third in WAR for Pitchers (4.8), behind Brooklyn’s Burleigh Grimes (7.8) and Pittsburgh’s Whitey Glazner (5.1); fourth in ERA (2.78); fourth in innings pitched (301); sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (128); and, in a year homers were flying, gave up only one.

Rixey’s Hall of Fame page tells us he was a sore loser. Well, that’s not the words its uses. The page quotes Clyde Sukeforth, who said, “He was a fierce competitor and a hard loser. When he pitched, you didn’t have to ask who won the game, all you had to do was look at the clubhouse later. If he’d lost, the place would look like a tornado had gone through it. Chairs would be broken up, tables knocked over, equipment thrown around.”

                SABR says, “Rixey and Cincinnati were meant for each other, and he would pitch there for 13 seasons, finishing up in 1933 at the age of 42. He blossomed into an outstanding pitcher, winning a hundred games in his first five seasons and winning consistently for eight years.” On a franchise known for its hitting not its pitching, Rixey was one of the best Reds pitchers of all time.

mitchellc

P-Clarence Mitchell, Brooklyn Robins, 30 Years Old

11-9, 2.89 ERA, 39 K, .264, 0 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-3

1st Time All-Star-Clarence Elmer Mitchell was born on February 22, 1891 in Franklin, NE. The five-foot-11, 190 pound lefty had an interesting career before he made his first All-Star team. He started by pitching five games with Detroit in 1911 at the age of 20 and then didn’t pitch in the Majors again until 1916. Mitchell pitched two seasons with Cincinnati and then was put on waivers and picked up by Brooklyn. In 1918 for the Robins, he pitched only one game, but did play in rightfield five games. He was always a decent hitting pitcher. Mitchell pitched in one game of the 1920 World Series against the Indians, allowing one unearned run in four-and-two-thirds innings and going one-for-three.

This season, Mitchell finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (3.7); sixth in ERA (2.89); fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (136); and tied for first in shutouts with three.

SABR says, “A major-league pitcher for 18 years, Clarence Mitchell is best remembered not for a pitch he threw from the mound, but for one he hit while standing in the batter’s box. It was Sunday, October 10, 1920, the fifth game of the World Series between Cleveland and Brooklyn. So there were two men on base and nobody out when Clarence Mitchell, who had entered the game in relief of Grimes, stepped up to the plate. He hit a line shot up the middle, just to the second baseman’s right, a rising liner that looked like a sure base hit. But second baseman Bill Wambsganss was off with the crack of the bat, running toward second and making a tremendously high leap to spear the ball. One out. Wamby’s motion carried him toward second, and he tagged the bag to double up Kilduff who was still running toward third. Two out. Then Wamby noticed Miller, who had come down from first base, was standing a few feet away, so he tagged him for the third out.”

adams6

P-Babe Adams, Pittsburgh Pirates, 39 Years Old

1911 1913 1914 1919 1920

14-5, 2.64 ERA, 55 K, .254, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.737

Walks & Hits per IP-1.081 (5th Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.013 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.056 (3rd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-145

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.08 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as P-1.000 (5th Time)

6th Time All-Star-On the day before I wrote this blurb, Mariano Rivera was elected into the Hall of Fame and not only elected, but voted in unanimously. I am not looking forward to writing about the modern day because relief pitchers aren’t going to make too many All-Star teams. Now Rivera is a great pitcher, but he pitched a total of 1,283 2/3 innings over his 19 years. Babe Adams fell five innings short of 3,000. Which of these pitchers is going to add more value over his career? According to WAR, it’s Rivera with 56.2. Adams total WAR is 51.9. The reason Adams made my Hall of Fame this year and Rivera probably won’t (spoiler alert!) is Adams is among the top 10 pitchers in the league numerous times, while Rivera, because of his lack of innings, will only do that a couple of times. Oh, well, I have years and years before I have to wade into that mess, so let’s move on.

Pittsburgh has a long history, yet their two best pitchers, according to bWAR are Wilbur Cooper (52.4 for the Pirates) and Babe Adams (52.3 for the Pirates). It just hasn’t had a lot of great pitchers.

Adams is 39 years old this year and still has five seasons left. He also has, most likely, one All-Star team left. He’s not going to pitch all that well after next year, but he still has one World Series appearance left in 1925 at the age of 43.

morrison

P-Johnny Morrison, Pittsburgh Pirates, 25 Years Old

9-7, 2.88 ERA, 52 K, .119, 0 HR, 0 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-3

1st Time All-Star-John Dewey “Jughandle Johnny” Morrison was born on October 22, 1895 in Pellville, KY. The five-foot-11, 188 pound righty started with Pittsburgh in 1920 and here in 1921 is the fourth Pirate pitcher to make this All-Star team. He finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (3.8) and tied for first with three shutouts.

With four pitchers making this prestigious list, I would think Pittsburgh would dominate in the pitching categories in the National League and it did, leading the league in ERA+, FIP, and WHIP. Too bad it didn’t have the hitting to back up all of those good arms.

SABR says, “Morrison reported to the Pirates in the spring of 1921, but soon contracted a serious case of influenza and missed the first seven weeks of the season. He finally returned on June 4 and made two relief appearances before the club sent him back to Birmingham on 48-hour recall notice. Summoned two weeks later, he joined the team in St. Louis and made ‘the Cardinals look like rummies’ by tossing six scoreless innings of three-hit relief in the second game of a twin bill on June 23. Three straight complete-game victories followed in a span of 10 days. Capped off by a 13-inning distance-going affair against the Redbirds in Pittsburgh on July 6, Morrison scattered 13 hits and two runs (one earned) and improved the surprising Pirates’ record to 50-25, four games in front of the eventual pennant-winning New York Giants. Morrison ‘looks the part of a star,’ cooed sportswriter Charles J. Doyle of the Pittsburgh Gazette Times. ‘Few pitchers who have graced Fogarty Knoll this year have come away with such a glowing victory.’ [Fogarty Knoll was the moniker of the pitching mound at Forbes Field].”

smithe

C-Earl Smith, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

.336, 10 HR, 51 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Earl Sutton “Oil” Smith was born on Valentine’s Day, 1897 in Sheriden, AR. The five-foot-10, 180 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing catcher started with New York in 1919 and this year hit the cover off the ball, slashing at .336/.409/.537 with 10 homers in just 229 at bats. In the World Series, Smith didn’t fare so well, going oh-for-seven with one walk.

Oh, I’m sorry, did I mention the great John McGraw led the Giants back to the Fall Classic. His team finished 94-59, four games ahead of the Pirates. As late as Aug. 23, New York was seven-and-a-half games out of first, but then went 24-9 the rest of the year to take the title. In the first ever Subway Series, the Giants defeated the Yankees, five games to three. Irish Meusel hit .345 with a homer and seven RBI to lead the team to victory.

After this season, Smith would again play in the Series in 1922 for the Giants, 1925 and 1927 for Pittsburgh, and in 1928 for St. Louis. While always a decent hitter, Oil never hit as well as he did this year.

SABR says, “’He probably was involved in as many fights as any player in the game and was regarded as one of the most colorful players in the golden era of sports,’ the Associated Press wrote of Smith when he died in 1963. Columnist Westbrook Pegler gave Smith the nickname ‘Oil,’ based on the way Brooklyn fans pronounced Earl Smith’s first name.”

snyderf2

C-Frank Snyder, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1915

.320, 8 HR, 45 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Caught Stealing %-65.6

2nd Time All-Star-It’s always tough to tell when catchers are going to make the All-Star team and I gave Snyder a career write-up in 1915, so I’m done. Good night, everyone! Just kidding, of course there’s plenty more to say about Snyder. First of all, both of the Giants’ main catchers made the All-Star team. The last time two catchers from the same team made this list is when Art Wilson and William Fischer made it for the 1915 Federal League Chicago Whales.

Snyder also made his first World Series this year and was one of the stars of the Giants’ 5-3 victory over the Yankees. He hit .364 (eight-for-22) with a double and a homer. With the Giants down two games to zero, Snyder started Game 3 and ripped four singles, driving in one run. Then in Game 6, with the Giants down three games to two and the Yankees leading 3-2 in the second inning, Snyder hit the Giants second homer of the inning to leftfield to tie the game up. In the fourth inning, the Yankees led 5-3 when Snyder singled and eventually came home on a Dave Bancroft single that again knotted the contest. The Giants eventually won, 8-5. He was the hero of Game 7 when he hit a double to the leftfield gap to score Johnny Rawlings and give the Giants a 2-1 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Snyder would be part of the next three World Series, but never have another as good as this one.

fournier3

1B-Jack Fournier, St. Louis Cardinals, 31 Years Old

1915 1920

.343, 16 HR, 86 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 60 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-8 (3rd Time)

Caught Stealing-22

Power-Speed #-17.8

3rd Time All-Star-With the live ball era in full effect, Fournier took advantage, slugging 16 homers. Altogether this season, he finished fifth in WAR Position Players (4.3); fourth in Offensive WAR (4.9); fifth in batting (.343); fourth in on-base percentage (.409); fifth in slugging (.505); and went a miserable 20-for-42 stealing, leading the league in getting nabbed on the bases.

St. Louis, managed by Branch Rickey, finished third in the National League with an 87-66 record, 10 games behind the Giants. This team could hit, thanks to Rogers Hornsby, but its middling pitching doomed the squad.

Writers of his day disparaged Fournier’s fielding. SABR says, “In his day, Jack’s difficulties with a glove were well chronicled. Perhaps no single story, however, more accurately conveyed the dichotomy of his skills than one that appeared in the Los Angeles Times on April 12, 1916. While assessing the coming season, sportswriter Harry A. Williams wrote of the Chicago White Sox, Fournier’s team at the time, that ‘with Fournier at first, Collins at second and Jackson in the outfield, the Sox start the season with more hitting than ever before.’ That was more often than not the kind of offensive synopsis a team could expect when Fournier was in the lineup. But later in the article, Williams presented the other side of the coin, when he cautioned that ‘[t]he only weak defensive point in the infield is at first base,’ where ‘Fournier will again try his hand at playing that position. For every run that he lets in,’ suggested Williams, ‘he will drive in another, making it a so-so proposition.’”

kellyh

1B-High Pockets Kelly, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

.308, 23 HR, 122 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1973)

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-23

AB per HR-25.5

Putouts-1,552 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,552 (2nd Time)

Assists as 1B-115 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 1B-132 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-George Lange “High Pockets” Kelly was born on September 10, 1895 in San Francisco, CA. The six-foot-four, 190 pound righty first baseman started with the Giants in 1915-17, then went to Pittsburgh for a little bit in 1917, before coming back to New York the same year. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1918, came back to the Giants in 1919 and was helped immensely by the live ball era. This year, Kelly finished ninth in WAR Position Players (3.8); third in slugging (.528), behind St. Louis players, second baseman Rogers Hornsby (.639) and leftfielder Austin McHenry (.531); seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (130); and led the National League in homers (23).

In the World Series against the Yankees, Kelly hit .233 (seven-for-30) with a double and four RBI. The Giants won the Series, 5-3.

Wikipedia says, “Kelly was a two-time World Series champion (1921 and 1922). He led the National League in home runs once (1921) and runs batted in twice (1920and 1924), and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973. However, his selection is regarded as controversial, as many believe he was undeserving of the recognition and was only elected by the Veterans Committee because it consisted of his former teammates.

“Baseball historian Bill James, while ranking Kelly as the 65th greatest first baseman of all time, also cites Kelly as ‘the worst player in the Hall of Fame.’” There are a lot of Kelly’s teammates in the Hall and some are deserving, but many are not.

hornsby6

2B-Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals, 25 Years Old, 1st Time MVP

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920

.297, 21 HR, 126 RBI

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1942)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

 

Led in:

 

1921 NL Batting Title (2nd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-10.8 (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-10.8 (5th Time)

Offensive WAR-9.9 (5th Time)

Batting Average-.397 (2nd Time)

On-Base %-.458 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.639 (3rd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.097 (3rd Time)

Games Played-154

Runs Scored-131

Hits-235 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-378 (3rd Time)

Doubles-44 (2nd Time)

Triples-18 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-126 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-191 (4th Time)

Runs Created-167 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-78 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-7.5 (4th Time)

Extra Base Hits-83 (2nd Time)

Times on Bases-302 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.845 (4th Time)

6th Time All-Star-This era in time was known as the Roaring ‘20s. In 1920, Prohibition had been declared in the country and the Industrial Revolution was going full-bore. It was the era of flappers and speak-easys. Baseball was going through its own revolution, as the spitball and other quirky pitches were outlawed and a man named Babe Ruth brought power hitting into the game. The sport was moving away from singles and sacrifices and the stats of this time were incredible. Just look at Hornsby’s stats above, in this MVP season (as picked by me), he was just two homers away from leading the National League in every extra base category. He now has one MVP and has made six All-Star teams and he just turned 25.

Wikipedia says, “The beginning of the live-ball era led to a spike in hitting productivity throughout the majors, which helped Hornsby to hit with increased power during the 1921 season. He hit .397 in 1921, and his 21 home runs were second in the league, more than twice his total in any previous season. He also led the league in on-base percentage (.458), slugging percentage (.639), runs scored (131), RBIs (126), doubles (44), and triples (18). The Cardinals held a special day in Hornsby’s honor on September 30 before a home game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and they presented Hornsby with multiple awards before the game, including a baseball autographed by President of the United States Warren G. Harding. The Cardinals beat the Pirates 12–4 that day as Hornsby hit a home run and had two doubles.”

frisch

3B-Frankie Frisch, New York Giants, 23 Years Old

.341, 8 HR, 100 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

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

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-49

1st Time All-Star-Frank Francis “The Fordham Flash” Frisch was born on September 9, 1897 in Bronx, NY. The switch-hitting, right-handed throwing third baseman started with the Giants in 1919 as a second baseman and would move to third base in 1920. He would bounce back and forth between the two positions for his whole career but play more at second than third. This season, Frisch finished fourth in WAR (6.9); third in WAR Position Players (6.9), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (10.8) and teammate, shortstop Dave Bancroft (7.4); second in Offensive WAR (5.8), trailing Hornsby (9.9); fourth in Defensive WAR (1.6); seventh in batting (.341); ninth in slugging (.485); ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (128); and first in steals (49) while getting pegged only 13 times.

In his first World Series game, against the Yankees, Frisch went four-for-four with a triple. In Game 3, the Fordham Flash went two-for-two with three walks and three runs scored. He also had two singles in Game 5. Altogether, Frisch hit .300 (nine-for 30) with five runs scored, four walks, and three steals with no caught stealings.

SABR says, “His breakthrough season came in 1921, when he had 211 hits, hit .341, and stole a league-leading 49 bases while splitting the year between second and third  He became a Giants stalwart as McGraw’s club won the first of four consecutive pennants. As Bob Broeg described his play: ‘Frisch was tremendous, a whirling dervish of the diamond, knocking down hot smashes with his chest, diving for others that seemed out of reach, ranging far and wide for pop flies, pawing at the dirt to get a long lead and then stealing bases.’ Frisch gave a solid performance as the Giants beat the Yankees in the 1921 World Series.”

johnstonj

3B-Jimmy Johnston, Brooklyn Robins, 31 Years Old

.325, 5 HR, 56 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 3B-312

Errors Committed as 3B-33

Double Plays Turned as 3B-34

1st Time All-Star-James Harle “Jimmy” Johnston was born on December 10, 1889 in Cleveland, TN. The righty third baseman started with the White Sox in 1911, then didn’t play in the Majors until 1914 for the Cubs. Then he didn’t play in the Majors in 1915 and then came to Brooklyn in 1916. In the World Series of 1916, he played three games, going three-for-10 with a triple. In the World Series of 1920, he played four games and hit .214 (three-for-14).  He led the National League in Games Played with 155 in 1920. This season, Johnston finished seventh in Offensive WAR (4.2); 10th in batting (.325); went 28-for-44 stealing; and led the National League in assists at third base.

Wikipedia says, “During his major league career, Johnston played 448 games at third base, 354 in the outfield, 243 at second, 178 at shortstop, and 49 at first base. He had a .294 lifetime batting average, hitting in the .270 to .280 range near the end of the dead-ball era and going over .300 once the live-ball erastarted. He stole 169 bases in his major league career, mostly from 1916 to 1923. He had little power, except in 1921 when he had 41 doubles and 14 triples. All of his managers became Hall of FamersHugh Duffy with the White Sox, Hank O’Day with the Cubs, Wilbert Robinson with Brooklyn, Dave Bancroft with the Braves, and John McGraw with the Giants.”

That last bit is incredible. He certainly had some good managers in his career.

bancroft3

SS-Dave Bancroft, New York Giants, 30 Years Old

1915 1920

.318, 6 HR, 67 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1971)

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-3.2

Assists-546 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as SS-153 (3rd Time)

Putouts as SS-396 (3rd Time)

Assists as SS-546 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-105 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.16 (5th Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Beauty Bancroft made his second consecutive All-Star team as the live-ball era is going to help out the previously weak hitter. He had his best season ever, finishing third in WAR (7.4), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (10.8) and Brooklyn pitcher Burleigh Grimes (8.0); second in WAR Position Players (7.4), trailing Hornsby (10.8); third in Offensive WAR (5.2), behind Rajah (9.9) and Frankie Frisch (5.8); first in Defensive WAR (3.2); and ninth in on-base percentage (.389).

In the World Series, Bancroft hit .152 (five-for-33) with a double as the Giants went on to beat the Yankees, five games to three.

SABR says, “When Bancroft took the field in his first game as a Giant, catcher Frank Snyder called him to a conference on the mound and offered to explain the team’s signs. ‘Why, have they changed?’ asked Bancroft. ‘If not, I know them already.’ On June 28, 1920, less than three weeks after his acquisition, the new Giants collected six hits in six at-bats. Bancroft became one of only two National Leaguers to score 100 runs that season, and although the Giants failed to capture the 1920 flag, they won the next three pennants with ‘Beauty’ as their captain. No shortstop turned 100 double plays in a season before Bancroft set the mark in 1921, and the following year he set the major-league record for most chances handled in a season by a shortstop (1046). Sportswriter Frank Graham called him ‘the greatest shortstop the Giants ever had and one of the greatest that ever lived.’”

maranville5SS-Rabbit Maranville, Pittsburgh Pirates, 29 Years Old

1914 1916 1917 1919

.294, 1 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1954)

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as SS-153 (3rd Time)

5th Time All-Star-After playing nine seasons with Boston, Maranville was on the move. He was traded by the Boston Braves to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Walter BarbareFred NicholsonBilly Southworth and $15,000. It was a good pickup for Pittsburgh as Maranville finished second in Defensive WAR (2.6), behind New York shortstop Dave Bancroft (3.2), went a decent 25-for-37 stealing, and played more games at short than anyone else.

The Deadball Era says, “Walter ‘Rabbit’ Maranville was a 5’5″ baseball clown with a goblin face full of laugh lines.  One of the most animated players in history his humor was antic and visible to the fans.  Nick-named ‘Rabbit’ because of his large ears and fast running style, he left a geact [sic] of wild nights and zany stunts.

“He was a photographers dream!  He would pull the bill of his cap over one ear – baseball’s oldest comic gesture – and jump into the arms of his biggest teammate.  He would an umpire a pair of glasses, mock slow pitchers and ponderous batters in pantomime.  He was an after-hours main-stay who loved to have a good time.  After a few drinks to help get up his nerve, he would pull stunts like walking hotel ledges, swallow goldfish, and toss firecrackers.  Even when he wasn’t out partying, he would enjoy himself by pulling stunts!

“Once when he was in New York, he arranged for pitcher Jack Scott to chase him through Times Square shouting ‘Stop Thief!’ Another time his teammates heard wild noises coming from within his locked hotel room; screams, gunfire, breaking glass…..the Rabbit moaning ‘Eddie, your killing me!’  It sounded like a murder in progress!  When the door was finally broken down, the Rabbit and two accomplices paraded right by his shocked teammates as if nothing happened, with the Rabbit greeting them with a ‘Hiya fellas!’”

mchenry

LF-Austin McHenry, St. Louis Cardinals, 25 Years Old

.350, 17 HR, 102 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as LF-365

Errors Committed as LF-13

Def. Games as OF-152

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.58

1st Time All-Star-Austin Bush “Mac” McHenry was born on September 22, 1895 in Wrightsville, OH. The five-foot-11, 152 pound leftfielder had a short career and a tragic end. This was his best season as he finished sixth in WAR (5.0); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.0); fifth in Offensive WAR (4.5); third in batting (.350), behind teammate, second baseman Rogers Hornsby (.397) and Cincinnati centerfielder Edd Roush (.352); eighth in on-base percentage (.393); second in slugging (.531), trailing Hornsby (.639); third in Adjusted OPS+ (145), behind Rajah (191) and Boston leftfielder Walton Cruise (152); and went a dismal 10-for-30 stealing.

With such an outstanding season, one can only say, “What could have been.” However, Wikipedia says, “By June 1922, McHenry’s play had declined noticeably, and he complained of visual problems. He began to have difficulty judging and catching fly balls in the outfield, and his batting statistics also suffered. Cardinals general manager Branch Rickey was concerned enough to send McHenry home to Ohio to rest and to consult with McHenry’s father, who was a physician. About a month later, McHenry returned to the team briefly, but he was still in poor condition. Sent home again, McHenry sought medical care in Cincinnati, where doctors detected a brain tumor.

“McHenry underwent brain surgery, but his tumor could not be entirely removed.

“On November 22, 1922, newspaper reports indicated that McHenry had been released from the hospital. His physicians had determined that there was no hope for McHenry’s survival, and they thought he should spent his last days at home with family members. He died at his home in Ohio a few days later.” He was 27.

cruise

LF-Walton Cruise, Boston Braves, 31 Years Old

.346, 8 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Walton Edwin Cruise was born on May 6, 1890 in Childersburg, AL. The six-foot, 175 pound lefty hitting, righty outfielder started with the Cardinals in 1914, then he didn’t play in the Majors in 1915. He was back with St. Louis in 1916, then in 1919, he was purchased by the Braves. This was his best season ever as he finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.0); fourth in batting (.346); second in on-base percentage (.429), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (.458); sixth in slugging (.503); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (152), trailing Hornsby (191). All of this was in 108 games and 344 at bats.

A book called The Boston Braves, 1871-1953 written by Harold Kaese, says, “This was the season the ball was hopped up for Babe Ruth. The Braves finished with a .290 batting average, as Cruise hit .346, Boeckel .313, and Southworth .308. Powell hit twelve homers to lead the team, but the most notable homer was the one Walton Cruise hit into the jury box at Braves Field, August 16. It was only the second homer hit into that bleacher since the park was built in 1915. Cruise had also hit the first one while playing for the Cardinals two years earlier. No one had yet driven a ball over the left-field fence at Braves Field, but on August 25, Austin McHenry of the Cardinals became the first batter to hit the fence on the fly. The lively ball was making a bandbox of Gaffney’s Acres.”

carey5

CF-Max Carey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

1912 1916 1917 1918

.309, 7 HR, 56 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted In 1961)

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as CF-431 (4th Time)

Errors Committed as CF=20 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as CF-6 (4th Time)

Putouts as OF-431 (6th Time)

Errors Committed as OF-20 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as OF-6 (5th Time)

Range Factor/Game as CF-3.21 (4th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-3.17 (5th Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-3.21 (4th Time)

5th Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team in 1918, Carey played only 66 games in 1919 and then had an off hitting year in 1920. This year, he’s back, finishing seventh in WAR Position Players (4.2); 10th in Offensive WAR (3.7); seventh in on-base percentage (.395); and stole 37 bases in 49 attempts. He’s still got some good years left.

SABR says, “Concerned over the possibility of her son sustaining a sliding injury, Carey’s mother sewed him a sliding pad that he soon patented. (It was still in use many years after his career ended.) According to a letter from his wife in his Hall of Fame file, Max Carey was the first player to use flip-down sunglasses in the outfield, supposedly adding this to his repertoire several years before Harry Hooper was known to do so.”

It is amazing how quickly the game of baseball changed. In 1919, National League teams averaged 3.65 runs, 0.19 homers, and 1.04 steals per game; in 1920, they averaged 3.97 runs, 0.21 homers; and 0.79 steals; and then in 1921, they averaged 4.59 runs; 0.38 homers; and 0.65 steals. The game in which Carey played became more about the big clout and less about bunts and steals. Yet Carey over the next few years would continue to steal large numbers of bases and do it very efficiently. When you’re a good player like Carey, it doesn’t matter what era in which you play, you’ll add value to your team. Wait until you see his stolen bases from next year!

CF-Edd Roush, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1917 1918 1919 1920

.352, 4 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1962)

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

 

Led in:

 

AB per SO-52.3 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as CF-.980 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-At only 28 years old, Roush has made five consecutive All-Star team. From 1917-to-1927, he would never hit under .300 and only one was under .321. He was much helped by the new live ball era, but that also might be what keeps him from my Hall, as everybody is hitting during this time. This year, Roush finished ninth in Offensive WAR (3.8); second in batting (.352), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (.397); sixth in on-base percentage (.403); seventh in slugging (.502); fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (143); and went a mediocre 19-for-36 stealing. He played in only 112 games.

SABR says, “During the 1920-1921 off-seaons Edd was injured when his brother Fred accidentally plunked Edd with birdshot, one hit each to the lip, cheek and thumb. That December Baseball Magazine stated that Roush was the greatest outfielder in the National League: ‘in ground covering, he has no superiors and few approximate equals, while he was a fine a base runner as ever and hit for the grand average of .352.’

“And indeed Roush had an intense dislike for pitchers throwing at him. As he often related he would take it out on the infielders, spiking them when given the opportunity. Soon the infielders would convince the pitchers not to throw at Roush. Many years after retiring Roush met up with an opponent and asked if the player remembered him. The player replied, ‘sure I do’ and pulled up his pants leg and showed him a spike scar.”

williamsc3

CF-Cy Williams, Philadelphia Phillies, 33 Years Old

1916 1920

.320, 18 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as CF-29

Assists as OF-29

3rd Time All-Star-If there was any one player who benefited from the run crazy Twenties, it was Cy Williams. Before his career is over, he’ll have two seasons of 30 or more homers and one of over 40. This season, he “only” hit 18. Williams was the Phillies’ best player, finishing eighth in slugging (.488) and gunning out 29 runners from his centerfield position.

It must have been tough to live in Philadelphia in these days, as its two teams both stank. The Athletics had been horrible for years, but their National League city mates were just as bad. The Phillies finished in last with a 51-103 record, 43-and-a-half games out of first.  Bill Donovan (25-62) and Kaiser Wilhelm (26-41) both managed the team. It was Donovan’s last year managing. As you might expect, this team couldn’t hit and they couldn’t pitch.

About those 29 assists, it seemed to be a fluke. According to SABR, “’Williams was about the best fly catcher in the league and a fairly good batsman, but he had a fatal weakness: He possessed a poor throwing arm,’ wrote the Chicago correspondent to The Sporting News after the trade. ‘A great throwing outfield is one of the pet hobbies of Mitchell and it was a source of regret on his part that he couldn’t boast such a combination last season.’”

Sometimes those who lead the league in assists do so not because of a good arm, but because runners are willing to take a chance at extra bases.

youngs3RF-Ross Youngs, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

1919 1920

.327, 3 HR, 102 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1972)

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-New York had quite a team this year, as this is their sixth All-Star player, not one of them a pitcher. Youngs made his third consecutive All-Star team, finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (3.8); ninth in batting (.327); third in on-base percentage (.411), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (.458) and Boston leftfielder Walton Cruise (.429); eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (128); and finished a meh 21-for-38 stealing.

In the World Series, with the Giants down two games to none, Youngs had a great third contest, going two-for-three, with a double, a triple, and four RBI. Altogether, he hit .280 (seven-for-25) with two steals and seven walks as the Giants went on to win the Series, five games-to-three.

Baseball Almanac says, “’He was the greatest outfielder I ever saw,’ said McGraw last Spring when Youngs became so ill that it was apparent his baseball days were over. ‘He was the greatest fighter I ever saw on a baseball field. The game was never over with Young until the last man was out. He could do everything a baseball player should do and do it better than most players. As an outfielder, he had no superiors. And he was the easiest man I ever knew to handle. In all his years with the Giants he never caused on minute’s trouble for myself or the club. And a gamer player than Youngs never played ball.’”

He’s still got a few more All-Star teams left, so there will be more on his early death later.

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