1921 American League All-Star Team

P-Red Faber, CHW

P-Urban Shocker, SLB

P-Sad Sam Jones, BOS

P-Carl Mays, NYY

P-George Mogridge, WSH

P-Stan Coveleski, CLE

P-Bullet Joe Bush, BOS

P-Waite Hoyt, NYY

P-Walter Johnson, WSH

P-Eddie Rommel, PHA

C-Wally Schang, NYY

C-Patsy Gharrity, WSH

1B-George Sisler, SLB

2B-Eddie Collins, CHW

3B-Larry Gardner, CLE

SS-Joe Sewell, CLE

LF-Babe Ruth, NYY

LF-Bobby Veach, DET

LF-Ken Williams, SLB

CF-Ty Cobb, DET

CF-Tris Speaker, CLE

CF-Sam Rice, WSH

CF-Baby Doll Jacobson, SLB

RF-Harry Heilmann, DET

RF-Bob Meusel, NYY

 

faber2

P-Red Faber, Chicago White Sox, 32 Years Old

1920

25-15, 2.48 ERA, 124 K, .148, 0 HR, 4 RBI

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1964)

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

 

Led in:

 

1921 AL Pitching Title

WAR for Pitchers-11.3

Earned Run Average-2.48

Walks & Hits per IP-1.149

Hits per 9 IP-7.975

Complete Games-32

Adjusted ERA+-170

Adj. Pitching Runs-66

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.7

2nd Time All-Star-From 1914-to-1919, Faber never pitched over 300 innings (though he did pitch 299 2/3 in 1915) and then from 1920-to-1922, he never pitched less than 319. After that, from 1923-to-1933, he never pitched above 238 and many times was below 200. In my time covering these early years of baseball, I don’t remember seeing a player whose career WAR was above 60 who garnered most of that in such a condensed stretch of years like Faber did from 1920 to 1922. That’s why he’s not making my Hall, even though I have no problem with him being in Cooperstown.

Along with leading in the above categories, Faber also finished second in innings pitched (330 2/3), behind New York’s Carl Mays (336 2/3).

Chicago, managed by Kid Gleason, crumbled once the eight Black Sox were kicked out of the sport, falling to a 62-92 seventh place finish, 36-and-a-half games out of first. Its hitting was weak and its pitching was the worst in the league.

Wikipedia says, “Faber enjoyed the greatest success of his career in the early 1920s. The live-ball era was beginning, but he was among the pitchers who made the most successful transition. The spitball was phased out after the 1920 season, with Faber one of the 17 pitchers permitted to use it for the remainder of their careers. He took advantage of Comiskey Park‘s spacious dimensions, surrendering only 91 home runs—barely one homer per month—from 1920 to 1931. He was one of only six pitchers to win 100 or more games in both the “dead ball” (through 1920) and live ball eras. Faber finished the 1920 season with 23 wins and led the league in games started.”

shocker3

P-Urban Shocker, St. Louis Browns, 30 Years Old

1919 1920

27-12, 3.55 ERA, 132 K, .260, 0 HR, 9 RBI

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-27

Home Runs Allowed-21

Batters Faced-1,401

3rd Time All-Star-Shocker made his third consecutive All-Star team and has a few more left in his arm. This season, he finished third in WAR (8.5), behind New York leftfielder Babe Ruth (12.5) and Chicago pitcher Red Faber (11.0); second in WAR for Pitchers (7.8), trailing Faber (11.3); ninth in ERA (3.55); third in innings pitched (326 2/3), behind New York’s Carl Mays (336 2/3) and Faber (330 2/3); seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (127); first in wins (27); and gave up the most homers in the American League (21), the most home runs give up in a season since Happy Jack Stivitts of the Boston Beaneaters gave up 27 in 1894, another year known for its hitting.

St. Louis, managed by Lee Fohl, the former Indians skipper, rose from fourth to third with an 81-73 record, 17-and-a-half games out of first. Despite having Shocker, the Browns’ pitching was poor.

SABR says, “Shocker provided a glimpse as to what he tried to achieve when he was pitching in order to be successful: ‘The secret of Ty Cobb’s success as a batter is the fact that he always establishes a mental hazard. He was always on the offensive and you never knew exactly what he would do. Sometimes he would choke up on the bat and punch a hit through the infield. Sometimes he would slug. Sometimes he would bunt. Sometimes he would wait them out. But you never could tell what he was going to do or how he was going to do it.’

“’To my mind, the successful pitcher does the same thing. He also establishes a mental hazard. He has the batter guessing, and to the extent that he has the batter guessing, he has him at a disadvantage for he can give the batter any kind of ball he chooses. The batter has to take what comes and if you can contrive to give him something he isn’t looking for, you have him.’”

joness

P-Sad Sam Jones, Boston Red Sox, 28 Years Old

23-16, 3.22 ERA, 98 K, .240, 2 HR, 14 RBI

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-5

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.33

1st Time All-Star-Samuel Pond “Sad Sam” Jones was born on July 26, 1892 in Woodsfield, OH. The six-foot, 170 pound righty started with Cleveland in 1914 and 1915. He was then traded by the Cleveland Indians with Fred Thomas and $55,000 to the Boston Red Sox for Tris Speaker. He pitched for Boston in the 1918 World Series, hurling a complete game loss, giving up seven hits and three runs. This season, Jones’ best ever, he finished fourth in WAR (7.3); fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.7); fifth in ERA (3.22); sixth in innings pitched (298 2/3); fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (132); and first in shutouts (5).

Boston, managed by Hugh Duffy, who replaced Ed Barrow, finished fifth with a 75-79 record, 23-and-a-half games out of first. It had the worst hitting in the league, though the team’s pitching was above average.

Wikipedia has this quote from Ed Walton, at Baseball Library: “Bill McGeehan of the New York Herald-Tribune dubbed him Sad Sam because, to him, Jones looked downcast on the field. Jones told Lawrence Ritter that the reason he looked downcast was because, ‘I would always wear my cap down real low over my eyes. And the sportswriters were more used to fellows like Waite Hoyt, who’d always wear their caps way up so they wouldn’t miss any pretty girls.’”

Also, according to Wikipedia, “His most productive season came in 1921, when he posted career-highs in wins (23), strikeouts (98) and innings (298.2), and led the league in shutouts (5).”

mays5

P-Carl Mays, New York Yankees, 29 Years Old

1916 1917 1919 1920

27-9, 3.05 ERA, 70 K, .343, 2 HR, 22 RBI

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-27

Win-Loss %-.750

Games Pitched-49

Saves-7 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-336 2/3

Def. Games as P-49

5th Time All-Star-In 1903, the Baltimore Orioles disbanded in the American League and the New York Highlanders took their place. Over the next 18 years, they usually finished in the bottom half of the AL, though they did finish in second place three times. The closest New York ever got to first was in 1904 when they finished one-and-a-half games behind Boston. In 1913, the squad officially became the Yankees, well, as officially as those things happened back then.

Of course, once the team picked up Miller Huggins as a manager and Babe Ruth as an outfielder, it caught on fire and has been a winner ever since. This year, the Yankees won their first pennant, beating Cleveland by four-and-a-half games. They finished the year 9-2 to clinch the title with a 98-55 record. They then lost the World Series to the Giants, five games to three.

As for Carl Mays, he had his best season ever, finishing fifth in WAR (7.2); sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.8); third in ERA (3.05), behind Chicago’s Red Faber (2.48) and Washington’s George Mogridge (3.00); first in innings pitched (336 2/3); second in Adjusted ERA+ (138), trailing Faber (170); and first in wins (27) and saves (seven).

In the World Series, Mays did great, though it wasn’t reflected in his record. He went 1-2 with a 1.73 ERA, pitching three complete games and giving up just six runs (five earned) in those contests. He’s not done making All-Star teams and he’ll be in my Hall of Fame soon.

mogridge2

P-George Mogridge, Washington Senators, 32 Years Old

1918

18-14, 3.00 ERA, 101 K, .153, 0 HR, 4 RBI

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team with the Yankees in 1918, Mogridge’s innings went down though he still pitched well in 1919 and 1920. Then, before this season, he was traded by the New York Yankees with Duffy Lewis to the Washington Senators for Braggo Roth. He then had his best season ever, finishing ninth in WAR (6.3); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.9); second in ERA (3.00), behind Chicago’s Red Faber (2.48); seventh in innings pitched (288); third in Adjusted ERA+ (137), trailing Faber (170) and New York’s Carl Mays (138); and was the ace on a staff that included Walter Johnson.

Washington, managed by George McBride, moved up from sixth in 1920 to fourth this year, going 80-73, 18 games out of first. It was middle of the road in both hitting and pitching. It was McBride’s only year managing. According to Wikipedia, “At the end of the 1921 season, he was hit in the face with a ball during batting practice, paralyzing one side of his face. He was forced to retire from the Senators, but later joined the Detroit Tigers.”

After this season, according to his Wikipedia page, “He helped the Senators win the 1924 World Series…In 15 seasons he had a 132–131 win–loss record, 138 complete games, 20 shutouts, 20 saves, 678 strikeouts and a 3.21 ERA…He died in his hometown at the age of 73 years and 14 days old on March 4, 1962 and was buried in the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery (Rochester, New York).”

coveleski5

P-Stan Coveleski, Cleveland Indians, 31 Years Old

1917 1918 1919 1920

23-13, 3.37 ERA, 99 K, .155, 0 HR, 16 RBI

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1969)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

Led in:

 

Games Started-40

Putouts as P-23

Assists as P-108

Range Factor/Game as P-3.05

5th Time All-Star-If you gave me a list of names and asked me if they were in the Baseball Hall of Fame, I would probably get a good percentage of them right. However, if you gave me the name Stan Coveleski, I would have probably guessed “no” if I didn’t have his stats in front of me. But, boy, could Covey pitch! He made his fifth consecutive All-Star team this season and also was inducted into my Hall of Fame cleverly called “Ron’s Hall of Fame” because my name is, you know, Ron.

This season, Coveleski finished 10th in WAR (6.3); third in WAR for Pitchers (7.0), behind Chicago’s Red Faber (11.3) and St. Louis’ Urban Shocker (7.8); sixth in ERA (3.37); fourth in innings pitched (315); sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (127); and first in games started (40). All of those starts are going to eventually catch up with him, as he’ll never toss 300 innings again, but he’s still going to be effective for a few more seasons.

Wikipedia says, “After spending the offseason hunting with Smoky Joe Wood, Coveleski returned to the Indians in 1921, and throughout the season, the Indians battled the Yankees for first in the American League. On September 26, the two teams faced off, but Coveleski failed to make it past the third inning; the Yankees won 8–7 to ensure they won the pennant. Coveleski pitched 315 innings in 1921, matching his career high from the year before, and had a 23–13 record and a 3.37 ERA.”

bushb2

P-Bullet Joe Bush, Boston Red Sox, 28 Years Old

1916

16-9, 3.50 ERA, 96 K, .325, 0 HR, 17 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 43 percent chance)

 

2nd Time All-Star-When Bush last made the All-Star team in 1916, he was pitching for the horrible Athletics. He stayed with them in 1917 and then was traded by the Philadelphia Athletics with Wally Schang and Amos Strunk to the Boston Red Sox for Vean GreggMerlin KoppPinch Thomas and $60,000. In the Red Sox World Series against the Cubs in 1918, Bush pitched two games, losing one and pitching a total of nine innings with seven hits and three runs allowed for a 3.00 ERA. The problem so many years with Bush is he walked so many batters, but every once in a while he came up with a gem of a year.

This year, Bush finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.8), seventh in ERA (3.50), eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (121), and walked almost as many batters (93) as he struck out (96). The other thing about Bush is, for a pitcher, he was a heck of a hitter. You can see above he hit .325 this season and he would have better years.

SABR says, “The nickname ‘Bullet Joe’ took hold in Missoula. The club president, Hughie Campbell, began to call him Joe Bush after a former local bronco buster. Later, the local media began to call him Joe Bullet, because of the speed of his fastball. Bush credits the nickname – Bullet Joe – to later Philadelphia teammate Eddie Collins, who applied the label after observing a letter in the clubhouse that was addressed to ‘Joe Bullet’ Bush. The nickname stuck for the rest of his baseball career.”

               

hoyt

P-Waite Hoyt, New York Yankees, 21 Years Old

19-13, 3.09 ERA, 102 K, .222, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1969)

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Waite Charles “Schoolboy” Hoyt was born on September 9, 1899 in Brooklyn, NY. He started with the Giants in 1918 and then was traded by the New York Giants with Bill Kelly (minors), Jack OgdenJose RodriguezJoe Wilhoit and cash to Rochester (International) for Earl Smith. After the 1919 season, he was sent from New Orleans (Southern Association) to the Boston Red Sox in an unknown transaction. After the 1920 season on the Red Sox, Hoyt was traded by the Boston Red Sox with Harry HarperMike McNally and Wally Schang to the New York Yankees for Del PrattMuddy RuelHank Thormahlen and Sammy Vick. Boston is famous for trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees, but the truth is during this era, they unloaded quite a bit of talent to their rivals.

This season, Hoyt finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.6), fourth in ERA (3.09), ninth in innings pitched (282 1/3), fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (136), and pitched in the first of seven World Series in which he’d appear. He went 2-1 with a 0.00 ERA against the Giants, giving up two unearned runs in his loss. SABR says, “Though the Yankees lost five games to three in the third of three best-of-nine fall classics, Hoyt was lauded by the New York Times as the ‘individual star’and by The Sporting News as the ‘most sensational of all the hurlers’ in the series. In Game Two, Hoyt tossed a sparkling two-hitter, striking out five and walking five. Hoyt ‘had at his disposal almost every variety of pitching known to the profession,’ gushed the New York Times.”

johnson13

P-Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, 33 Years Old

1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919

17-14, 3.51 ERA, 143 K, .270, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1916)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1909)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-4.875 (6th Time)

Strikeouts-143 (10th Time)

13th Time All-Star-When the great Johnson missed the All-Star team last season when he went only 8-10 with a 3.13 ERA, it was the first time since 1908 he missed making this list. It was sad not to write him up. Ty Cobb didn’t make the list either, I wasn’t sad about that. I was happy not to have to look up what morbid activity in which he’d been involved. Johnson is back this season, finishing ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.8); eighth in ERA (3.51); ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (117); and, for the 10th time, the Big Train led the American League in strikeouts (143).

Johnson, through 1921, is also among the top 10 players of all-time. Here’s that list in my humble opinion:

  1. Cy Young, P
  2. Johnson, P
  3. Cobb, CF
  4. Honus Wagner, SS
  5. Tris Speaker, CF
  6. Eddie Collins, 2B
  7. Cap Anson, 1B
  8. Nap Lajoie, 2B
  9. Kid Nichols, P
  10. Christy Mathewson, P

This season, Johnson became the all-time leader in strikeouts, passing Young. Cyclone finished with 2,803 Ks; Johnson after this season was up to 2,835. He’d be the all-time leader in Ks all the way to

1983 when it was broken by Steve Carlton, whose record was then broken by Nolan Ryan the very next year. During this time of great hitting, pitching strikeouts weren’t too high and Johnson would lead three times in the ‘20s with marks less than 200. The next time he led in this category was 1924 at 36 years old.

rommel2

P-Eddie Rommel, Philadelphia Athletics, 23 Years Old

1920

16-23, 3.94 ERA, 71 K, .191, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs Allowed-21

Losses-23

Errors Committed as P-7

2nd Time All-Star-In a time when good pitchers were judged on their won-loss record, it couldn’t have been easy pitching on a bad team like the Athletics. Rommel was a really good pitcher on a really bad team, it’s just not reflected in his record. This season, he finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.5); eighth in innings pitched (285 1/3); and first in giving up dingers (21).

Philadelphia, managed by Connie Mack, finished last for the seventh consecutive year. They went 53-100, 45 games out first. Good news for Athletics fans from those of us who can tell the future, they’re going to get better after this season. So is Rommel.

Mack still managed old school and had his best pitcher pitching frequently. Along with starting 32 games, he also pitched relief 14 games and ended up with three saves. By the time he’s 29, Rommel won’t have any seasons over 200 innings and one can’t help wondering if his arm was overused in his youth. Of course, he was a knuckleballer, so he could pitch more than others without the arm strain. By the way, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet in terms of games pitched by Rommel.

I’m trying to think of another sports comparison for the knuckle ball, a pitch deliberately thrown slow, which goes against the very nature of the game. It’s one of the joys of baseball that people without great athletic ability still can have value in the games through their wits and wiliness.

schang6

C-Wally Schang, New York Yankees, 31 Years Old

1913 1914 1917 1919 1920

.316, 6 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

6th Time All-Star-For being the best catcher of his time, Schang bounces around a lot and not coincidentally, the teams to which he’s traded tend to win. Before this season, he was traded by the Boston Red Sox with Harry HarperWaite Hoyt and Mike McNally to the New York Yankees for Del PrattMuddy RuelHank Thormahlen and Sammy Vick. New York must have had some kind of blackmail in those days on Boston, because they keep gobbling up their best players.

This season, Schang finished ninth in Offensive WAR (4.3) and sixth in on-base percentage (.428). In the Yankees’ World Series loss to the Giants, Schang hit .286 (six-for-21) with a double and a triple, along with five walks. It was his fourth of six World Series, because he’d also make it the next two seasons with New York. In 1922, he’d hit .188 and in 1923, he hit .318. He’d end up slashing .287/.362/.404 for his World Series career.

Wikipedia says of the remainder of his career, “In a 19-season career, Schang hit a .284 batting average with 59 home runs and 710 RBI in 1,842 games played. In 32 World Series games, he hit .287 (27-for-94) with one home run and eight RBI’s.

“Following his major league career, Schang played for several seasons with Western Association and Canadian clubs, and then turned to managing in minor leagues. In 1945, he retired to a farm he operated at Dixon, Missouri, in the Ozark Mountains.

“Schang died in St Louis at age 75.”

 

gharrity

C-Patsy Gharrity, Washington Senators, 29 Years Old

.310, 7 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 47 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Caught Stealing %-63.4

1st Time All-Star-Edward Patrick “Patsy” Gharrity was born on March 13, 1892 in Parnell, IA, 21 years before my mom’s first husband, a good family friend who died just eight years ago. Gharrity started with Washington in 1916 and 1917 as a first baseman, then only played four games in 1918. In 1919, he was moved to catcher and this season, had his best year ever, finishing ninth in Defensive WAR (0.8), while gunning out the highest percentage of runners in the American League.

He had a great game, according to SABR, which says, “The highlight came on June 23, 1919, in Boston. In a battle between two second-division teams, Gharrity went 5-for-5 with a single, two doubles, and his first two major-league home runs. His total of 13 bases set an American League record that was broken by Ty Cobb in 1925.”

After his career, SABR says, “He returned to Beloit. He worked in factories, including being a naval inspector at the Fairbanks-Morse plant during World War II. He left the factories and worked as a salesman and as a station manager for the Tidewater Oil Company. He served on the Beloit City Council for four years and was president of the Baseball Old-Timers Association. Always on the go, he even worked as an ice-cream salesman for the Wright and Wagner Dairy well into his 60s. He was elected a charter member of the Beloit Elks Club Athletic Hall of Fame.

“Gharrity collapsed on the streets of Beloit on October 10, 1966. He was pronounced dead from a heart attack. His funeral was held at St. Thomas Catholic Church and he was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Beloit. At his death there were 24 grandchildren. Margaret joined him in Calvary Cemetery in 1972.”

sisler6

1B-George Sisler, St. Louis Browns, 29 Years Old

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920

.371, 12 HR, 104 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

Led in:

 

Triples-18

Stolen Bases-35 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-With his sixth All-Star team multiplied by his lifetime WAR of 56.3, Sisler hits the magic number of 300 and is now part of my Hall of Fame, joining first basemen Cap Anson, Jake Beckley, Dan Brouthers, Roger Connor, Ed Konetchy, and Harry Stovey. This season, he finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.7); seventh in Offensive WAR (5.2); fourth in batting (.371); fifth in slugging (.560); sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (140); and went a great 35-for-46 stealing, leading the league in thefts.

SABR says, “Just four days after banging six hits against the Washington Senators, St. Louis Browns first baseman George Sisler produced a 5-for-5 game against the Detroit Tigers, hitting for the cycle for the second time in his Hall of Fame career. In front of ‘a good-sized half holiday crowd’ at Detroit’s Navin Field, the Browns and Tigers were completing a two-game series before traveling to St. Louis for a three-game set at Sportsman’s Park against Detroit. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, ‘a crowd of about 8000 attended.’ Both the Browns and Tigers had no hopes of postseason play. St. Louis came into the game at 52-54, 14 games behind the Cleveland Indians. Detroit was 51-58, 16½ games back.

With a triple, homer, and double already to his credit, “Sisler came up and again delivered, this time a single for his fifth hit. This meant that he had hit for the cycle for the second time in his career. Sisler became the first batter in the history of the American League to hit for the cycle twice.” Read the whole thing.

collins13

2B-Eddie Collins, Chicago White Sox, 34 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920

.337, 2 HR, 58 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1917)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1939)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.29 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.968 (7th Time)

13th Time All-Star-Collins is now 34 years old and he continues to be the best second baseman in the American League. As seen in Walter Johnson’s blurb, he is the sixth greatest player of all-time at this point in baseball history. He’s also the leader in All-Star teams made at his position. Here’s the whole list:

P-Cy Young, 17 All-Star teams made

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Collins, 13

3B-Home Run Baker, 9

SS-Honus Wagner, 13

LF-Fred Clarke, 10

CF-Tris Speaker, 13

RF-Sam Crawford, 9

Age will eventually catch up with Cocky Collins, but he’s still got a few of these lists left. He was now one of the few stars left on Chicago now that eight of his teammates were now banned from baseball due to their roles in throwing the 1919 World Series.

I hate to keep hashing on the Black Sox, but there’s an article from the Sacramento Union of July 29, 1921 that has a story about a court case in which “Eddie Collins. Ray Schalk. Dick Kerr, Roy Wilkinson and Manager William Gleason of the White Sox testified at a night session of court that the seven former players on trial were at Redland Field, Cincinnati, practicing from 10 to 12 o’clock on the day before the first 1919 world series game. (sic)

“Eddie Collins, Roy Wilkinson, and Dick Kerr, were sure all present and Collins said he and Weaver left the park together and went to the races that afternoon.” I just saw the movie Eight Men Out again and, if that movie is even a little accurate, the guilt of the eight is never clear.

gardner7

3B-Larry Gardner, Cleveland Indians, 35 Years Old

1911 1912 1916 1917 1918 1920

.319, 3 HR, 120 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1921)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 3B-335 (4th Time)

Errors Committed as 3B-27 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-Gardner never received one Hall of Fame vote, but, by making his 7th All-Star team, he is now going to be part of my Hall of Fame. He joins fellow third basemen Home Run Baker, Jimmy Collins, and Deacon White in Ron’s Hall of Fame, though White actually made more All-Star teams as a catcher, but played more games at the hot corner. Throughout baseball history, there aren’t a lot of great third sackers.

This season, Gardner finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.6); sixth in Defensive WAR (0.9); and led the American League in assists. He was always a good fielder.

SABR says, “Larry Gardner received numerous accolades as the years went on…Still, the ultimate honor – induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame – eluded him.

“’I remember when Harry Hooper was being considered for the honor and Dad talked with me after I raised the question about him being eligible for it,’ said Larry Jr. ‘Generally speaking, Dad was very quiet, soft-spoken, reticent about his baseball career when talking with me, but at that one time he got very talkative – very adamant – and told me, “If you boys ever get involved with the campaigning, the politics of getting me into the Hall of Fame, I’ll be upset and angry.”’

“William Lawrence Gardner died two months short of his 90th birthday on March 11, 1976, at Larry Jr.’s home in St. George, Vermont. He left his body to UVM’s Department of Anatomy, and his ashes were spread at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Burlington. Though he never was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he continued to receive honors even after his death. In 1986 the UVM baseball team wore commemorative patches on their sleeves in honor of his 100th birthday. And when a regional chapter of SABR was founded in the Green Mountains in 1993, its members elected to call it the Larry Gardner Chapter. It was another fitting tribute to a Vermont baseball legend.”

sewell

SS-Joe Sewell, Cleveland Indians, 22 Years Old

.318, 4 HR, 93 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1977)

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as SS-154

1st Time All-Star-Joseph Wheeler “Joe” Sewell was born on October 9, 1898 in Titus, AL. The five-foot-six, 155 pound lefty throwing, righty hitting third baseball started with Cleveland in 1920 and by this season, was a fulltime player. In the 1920 World Series, he hit .174 (four-for-23) and wouldn’t play in another postseason until 1932. This season, Sewell finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.9); fifth in Offensive WAR (5.3); and 10th in on-base percentage (.412); while playing every game. That durability would be one of his trademarks throughout his career. Well, that and his lack of strikeouts. He struck out only 17 times in 572 at-bats this year.

Wikipedia says, “Sewell made his major league debut mid-season in 1920 with the World Series champion Cleveland Indians shortly after shortstop Ray Chapman was killed by a pitch from the Yankees’ Carl Mays in August and became the team’s full-time shortstop the following year. An emerging star, Sewell batted .318 with 101 runs, 93 RBIs and a .412 on-base percentage in 1921.”

More on Chapman’s death from SABR, which says, “When Ray Chapman was killed by Carl Mays’ errant pitch, and after replacement shortstop Lunte pulled a muscle in his left thigh, the Indians had little choice but to purchase Sewell’s contract from the Pelicans. Joe had hit a respectable .289 in Class A and had committed only twenty-seven errors in 435 chances, but Cleveland claimed him only because they were out of alternatives. ‘I’ve often wondered what my life would have been like if a ball hadn’t gotten away from Carl Mays,’ Sewell said decades later. ‘…Because the moment that ball left Carl Mays’ hand, my life began to change.’”

ruth6LF-Babe Ruth, New York Yankees, 26 Years Old, 4th MVP

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920

.378, 59 HR, 168 RBI, 2-0, 9.00 ERA, 2 K

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fame:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (inducted in 1917)

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-12.5 (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-12.9 (3rd Time)

Offensive WAR-12.2 (3rd Time)

On-Base %-.512 (3rd Time)

Slugging %-.846 (4th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.359 (4th Time)

Runs Scored-177 (3rd Time)

Total Bases-457 (2nd Time)

Home Runs-59 (4th Time)

Runs Batted In-168 (3rd Time)

Bases on Balls-145 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-238 (3rd Time)

Runs Created-229 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-120 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-10.9 (3rd Time)

Extra Base Hits-119 (4th Time)

Times On Base-353 (3rd Time)

Offensive Win %-.905 (3rd Time)

Power-Speed #-26.4

AB per HR-9.2 (4th Time)

6th Time All-Star-After helping guide Boston to three World Series’ victories in 1915, 1916, and 1918, Ruth now made his first World Series as a Yankee. It would be the first of seven as the Yankees we now know today came into existence. While the Bambino is definitely the leader of this team, it should be noted New York had five All-Stars, not just one. The 1921 Series was the first Ruth would participate in as an outfielder instead of a pitcher. He hit .313 (five for 16) with a homer and four RBI, while stealing two bases and walking five times. The Yankees lost the Series, five games to three. Ruth missed two games due to a badly scraped elbow.

Wikipedia says of this, his fourth MVP season as determined by yours truly, “Ruth hit home runs early and often in the 1921 season, during which he broke Roger Connor‘s mark for home runs in a career, 138. Each of the almost 600 home runs Ruth hit in his career after that extended his own record. After a slow start, the Yankees were soon locked in a tight pennant race with Cleveland, winners of the 1920 World Series. On September 15, Ruth hit his 55th home run, shattering his year-old single season record. In late September, the Yankees visited Cleveland and won three out of four games, giving them the upper hand in the race, and clinched their first pennant a few days later. Ruth finished the regular season with 59 home runs, batting .378 and with a slugging percentage of .846.”

veach6

LF-Bobby Veach, Detroit Tigers, 33 Years Old

1915 1916 1917 1919 1920

.338, 16 HR, 128 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as LF-149 (6th Time)

Putouts as LF-384 (6th Time)

Putouts as OF-384

Range Factor/Game as LF-2.72 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as LF-.974 (3rd Time)

6th Time All-Star-If Veach would have been in his prime during the Twenties, who knows the numbers he would have put up, but as it is, he’s still having great seasons even in his 30s. This season, he finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.4); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.6); ninth in batting (.338); eighth in slugging (.529); seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (133); along with all of those defensive stats listed above as his glove was starting to come around.

I feel bad for Veach having Ty Cobb as a manager. Wikipedia says, “In 1921, Veach was the subject of a motivational tactic by new player-manager Cobb. Cobb believed that Veach, who came to bat with a smile and engaged in friendly conversation with umpires and opposing pitchers, was too easygoing. Tigers historian Fred Lieb described Veach as a ‘happy-go-lucky guy, not too brilliant above the ears’, who ‘was as friendly as a Newfoundland pup with opponents as well as teammates’. (Fred Lieb, ‘The Detroit Tigers’) Hoping to light a fire in Veach, Cobb persuaded Harry Heilmann, who followed Veach in the batting order, to taunt Veach from the on-deck circle. ‘I want you to make him mad. Real mad. . . . [W]hile you’re waiting, call him a yellow belly, a quitter and a dog. … Take that smile off his face’. The tactic may have worked, as Veach had career-highs in RBIs (126) and home runs (16), and his batting average jumped from .308 to .338. Cobb had promised to tell Veach about the scheme when the season was over, but never did. When Heilmann tried to explain, Veach reportedly snarled, ‘Don’t come sucking around me with that phony line’. Veach never forgave Heilmann.”

williamsk

LF-Ken Williams, St. Louis Browns, 31 Years Old

.347, 24 HR, 117 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

Assists as LF-24

 

Errors Committed as LF-26

Double Plays Turned as LF-5 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as OF-26

1st Time All-Star-Kenneth Roy “Ken” Williams was born on June 28, 1890 in Grants Pass, OR. The six-foot, 170 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing leftfielder started with Cincinnati in 1915-16. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1917 and then in 1918, came to the Browns. Then, to Williams’ delight, came better baseballs, higher scoring, a lack of spitters, Babe Ruth, or whatever you want to credit for the increased offense, because his career took off at the age of 31. This season, he finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.4); sixth in Offensive WAR (5.2); eighth in batting (.347); fifth in on-base percentage (.429); fourth in slugging (.561); fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (145); and went a mediocre 20-for-37 stealing.

Wikipedia says, “Williams was drafted into the United States Army in April 1918, and appeared in only two games for the Browns that season. He returned to the Browns in 1919 and hit .300 with 6 home runs in 65 games. In 1920, Major League Baseball outlawed specialty pitches such as the spitball and experienced a subsequent jump in the league batting averages as well as home runs. In Williams’s first full season as a regular player in 1920, he posted a .307 batting average along with 10 home runs and 72 runs batted in. He continued to improve in 1921 with a .347 batting average with 24 home runs, 117 runs batted in and a career-high .429 on-base percentage.” Despite his age, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet, as he’ll have a monster season in 1922.

cobb14CF-Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 34 Year Old

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919

.389, 12 HR, 101 RBI

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1915)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1936)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1908)

Led in:

Assists as CF-27

14th Time All-Star-Shockingly, Cobb didn’t make the All-Star Team in 1920 as he played in only 112 of Detroit’s 154 games. He’s back this year as a great hitter and now, Detroit’s skipper. Cobb finished seventh in WAR (6.7); third in WAR Position Players (6.7), behind New York leftfielder Babe Ruth (12.9) and teammate, rightfielder Harry Heilmann (6.8); third in Offensive WAR (6.6), trailing Ruth (12.2) and Heilmann (7.3); second in batting (.389), with only Heilmann (.394) hitting better; second in on-base percentage (.452), trailing the Bambino (.512); third in slugging percentage (.596), with only The Sultan of Swat (.846) and Heilmann (.606) ahead of him; third in Adjusted OPS+ (166), behind The Colossus of Clout (238) and Heilmann (167); and finished a meh 22-for-37 stealing.

Wikipedia says of Cobb taking over the club, “Tiger owner Frank Navin tapped Cobb to take over for Hughie Jennings as manager for the 1921 season, a deal he signed on his 34th birthday for $32,500 (equivalent to approximately $456,516 in today’s funds). The signing surprised the baseball world. Although Cobb was a legendary player, he was disliked throughout the baseball community, even by his own teammates; and he expected as much from his players since he set a standard most players couldn’t meet.”

Of Ruth, Wikipedia mentions, “As Ruth’s popularity grew, Cobb became increasingly hostile toward him. He saw the Babe not only as a threat to his style of play, but also to his style of life. While Cobb preached ascetic self-denial, Ruth gorged on hot dogs, beer and women. Perhaps what angered him the most about Ruth was that despite Babe’s total disregard for his physical condition and traditional baseball, he was still an overwhelming success and brought fans to the ballparks in record numbers to see him challenge his own slugging records.”

speaker13

CF-Tris Speaker, Cleveland Indians, 33 Years Old

1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920

.362, 3 HR, 75 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1937)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1911)

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-52 (6th Time)

Fielding % as CF-.984 (5th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-2.91 (8th Time)

Fielding % as OF-.984

13th Time All-Star-I forgot to mention in Ty Cobb’s blurb he is among my 10 greatest players of all-time (up to this point in baseball history). You can see the full list at Walter Johnson’s write-up. You’ll also see Speaker’s name on that list. Then when you click on Eddie Collins’ link, you’ll see Speaker has made more All-Star teams at centerfielder than anyone else, including Ty Cobb (again up to this point).

For the season, Speaker finished eighth in WAR (6.5); fourth in WAR Position Players (6.5); fourth in Offensive WAR (5.4); fifth in batting (.362); fourth in on-base percentage (.439); seventh in slugging (.538); fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (146); and first in doubles (52). At this point, Speaker has 497 doubles, the active leader, and is still a few seasons from catching the all-time leader, Nap Lajoie, who has 657.

After guiding Cleveland to a World Series championship in 1920, Speaker’s Indians dropped to second place this year with a 94-60 record, four-and-a-half games behind the Yankees. As of Sept. 24, they were tied for first, but then lost five of the last six to fall out of the lead.

Of his managing, SABR says, “Bill James has written that Speaker instituted the “first extensive platooning” in 1920. James also noted that there was little discussion about the practice at the time. Yet one person did comment on it—with harsh criticism. In 1921, John B. Sheridan, the respected columnist of The Sporting News, wrote.

“’The specialist in baseball is no good and won’t go very far. . . . The whole effect of the system will be to make the players affected half men. . . . It is farewell, a long farewell to all that player’s chance of greatness. . . . It destroys young ball players by destroying their most precious quality— confidence in their ability to hit any pitcher, left or right, alive, dead, or waiting to be born.’” Sheridan wouldn’t recognize the game today.

rice3

CF-Sam Rice, Washington Senators, 31 Years Old

1919 1920

.330, 4 HR, 79 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as CF-15 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.83 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.82 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Rice made his third straight All-Star team and has yet to finish in the top 10 in any WAR category. That’s why he now has a very good chance to make my Hall of Fame, because he’s most likely going to make this list at least three more times. This season, Rice stole 26 of 38 attempts and also committed the most errors in the outfield.

From the book Sam Rice: A Biography of the Washington Senators Hall of Famer: “Though Rice’s 1921 season was another success at the plate, he did see a huge dropoff in one part of his game – stolen bases. After leading the American League with sixty-three steals in 1920, Rice stole just twenty-six bases the following season, fourth in the league. George Sisler actually led the American League with just thirty-five stolen bases—in 1917, Rice’s first season as a full-time outfielder, six American Leaguers had stolen at least that many.

“Juiced ball or not, the game was definitely changing.

“Base-stealing had been losing popularity even before the live-ball era made it a graver risk for a manager to risk outs on the bases. In 1911, the New York Giants had stolen 347 bases as a team. By 1920, the Giants total was down to 131. The drastic drop was similarly realized by almost every team in both major leagues. Only the Pittsburgh Pirates ran more than they did at the beginning of the previous decade, an anomaly caused by the facts that the team was one of baseball’s slowest in 1911 and the team had added Max Carey in the time since.”

jacobson2

CF-Baby Doll Jacobson, St. Louis Browns, 30 Years Old

1920

.352, 5 HR, 90 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as CF-142

Putouts as CF-386

2nd Time All-Star-Jacobson could have had a much better career if he would have started playing well sooner, but he’s already 30 and he’s just made two All-Star teams. He’s probably going to make just one more. This season, Jacobson finished sixth in batting (.352), while making more catches in centerfielder than anyone.

Wikipedia says, “In 1921, Jacobson continued his torrid hitting. For the third consecutive year, he finished among the American League leaders with a .352 average. He was among the league leaders in batting average (6th) and with 211 hits (4th), 38 doubles (7th), and 14 triples (7th). He also led the league’s center fielders with 386 putouts and had the second highest fielding percentage (.982) among all of the league’s outfielders.”

SABR says of his beginnings, “Cable is even in the early 21st century an unincorporated community in western Illinois about 20 to 25 miles south of Davenport, Iowa. Bill Jacobson attended what he described as a ‘country school’ there for eight years, and then moved and went to high school in Geneseo for 3¾ years. Perhaps the demands of farming prevented him from fully completing high school. It may also have been the opportunity to begin his first year in professional baseball, a few months before he turned 19. The first team to hire him was the Rock Island Islanders of the Class B Three-I League. In 1909 he appeared in 43 games, batting .185 with six extra-base hits but no home runs. His first work was as both an outfielder and a catcher, the latter position one where hitting for average was not as important.”

heilmann2

RF-Harry Heilmann, Detroit Tigers, 26 Years Old

1919

.394, 19 HR, 139 RBI

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1952)

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

 

Led in:

 

1921 AL Batting Title

Batting Average-.394

Hits-237

2nd Time All-Star-When Heilmann last made the All-Star team in 1919, he was a first baseman. He’s now been moved to the outfield permanently and he’s going to have quite a career. After having an off season in 1920, he came back this year, finishing sixth in WAR (6.8); second in WAR Position Players (6.8), behind New York leftfielder Babe Ruth (12.9); second in Offensive WAR (7.3), trailing only Ruth (12.2); first in batting (.394); third in on-base percentage (.444), behind The Babe (.512) and Detroit centerfielder and teammate Ty Cobb (.452); second in slugging (.606), trailing the Bambino (.846); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (167), only behind the Sultan of Swat (238).

Wikipedia says, “Heilmann’s batting average in 1921 was 85 points higher than his 1920 average and 101 points higher than his career average prior to 1921. Some attributed Heilmann’s dramatic improvement to the tutelage of Ty Cobb, who took over as the Tigers’ manager in 1921. Others attributed Heilmann’s improvement to the “live-ball era” that started in 1920 and forced outfielders to spread out and play deeper, allowing more of Heilmann’s line drives to fall into the wider gaps. However, Frank G. Menke attributed his improvement to having learned the game, noting that the ‘lively ball’ failed to account for the fact that those who outhit Heilmann from 1914 to 1920 were no longer outhitting him.

“On July 8, 1921, Heilmann hit a home run off “Bullet Joe” Bush that traveled over the center field fence in Detroit and “actually made the patrons gasp in astonishment.” Heilmann’s home run was widely reported to have traveled 610 feet, eclipsing Babe Ruth‘s longest home run of 465 feet.” Yeah, no way it went 610 feet.

meusel

RF-Bob Meusel, New York Yankees, 24 Years Old

.318, 24 HR, 138 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-88

Errors Committed as RF-18

Double Plays Turned as RF-9

Assists as OF-28

Double Plays Turned as OF-9

1st Time All-Star-Robert William “Long Bob” or “Languid” or “Silent Bob” Meusel was born on July 19, 1896 in San Jose, CA. The six-foot-three, 190 pound righty outfielder started with the Yankees in 1920, mainly at third base. This season was his best ever as he finished sixth in slugging (.559); eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (128); first in strikeouts (88); and stole a great 17-of-23 bases. In the World Series, which the Yankees lost to the Giants, he hit .200 (six-for-30) with two doubles. He would participate in five more World Series over his career.

Wikipedia wraps up this season, saying, “In the 1921 season, Meusel started in 149 out of 154 games, primarily playing right field. He batted .318, finishing second in the league in home runs with 24 and third in the league with 136 runs batted in. He hit for the cycle in a win against the Washington Senators on May 7. In the second game of a September 5 doubleheader, he tied a major league record for outfielders (previously accomplished by nine others) by recording four assists. He broke a club record and tied Jack Tobin of the St. Louis Browns for the league lead in outfield assists with 28; he was considered to be one of the league’s best all-around players. Meusel’s brother, Irish, was acquired by the New York Giants from the Philadelphia Phillies mid-season, and helped lead the Giants to the pennant. The two brothers played against each other in the 1921 World Series, where the Giants faced their tenants (the Yankees played their home games in the Polo Grounds, the ball park owned by the Giants). Bob Meusel stole home in Game 3 of the Series. He doubled in Babe Ruth for the winning run in Game 5 for a one-game lead, but the Yankees lost the next three games and the Series (the last best-of-nine in World Series history). His batting average in those eight games was a mere .200.

“Meusel lived in California following his playing career, residing first in Redondo Beach, California and then in Downey, California. He died in Bellflower, California in 1977, and was buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.”

               

One thought on “1921 American League All-Star Team

  1. Urban Shocker never gets enough good press. To me he is a Hall of Famer and I’m glad to see you think he’ll make yours. Good job as always.
    v

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