1924 National League All-Star Team

P-Dazzy Vance, BRO

P-Eppa Rixey, CIN

P-Jesse Barnes, BSN

P-Carl Mays, CIN

P-Bill Doak, STL/BRO

P-Johnny Cooney, BSN

P-Emil Yde, PIT

P-Virgil Barnes, NYG

P-Ray Kremer, PIT

P-Vic Aldridge, CHC

C-Gabby Hartnett, CHC

C-Bubbles Hargrave, CIN

1B-Jack Fournier, BRO

1B-High Pockets Kelly, NYG

2B-Rogers Hornsby, STL

2B-Frankie Frisch, NYG

2B-Andy High, BRO

2B-George Grantham, CHC

3B-Heinie Groh, NYG

SS-Glenn Wright, PIT

LF-Zack Wheat, BRO

LF-Kiki Cuyler, PIT

CF-Cy Williams, PHI

CF-Max Carey, PIT

RF-Ross Youngs, NYG

 

vance2

P-Dazzy Vance, Brooklyn Robins, 33 Years Old

1923

28-6, 2.16 ERA, 262 K, .151, 2 HR, 11 RBI

MVP Rank: 1

WAR Rank: 2

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

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

 

Led in:

 

1924 NL Pitching Triple Crown

1924 NL MVP

1924 NL Pitching Title

WAR for Pitchers-10.4

Earned Run Average-2.16

Wins-28

Walks & Hits per IP-1.022

Hits per 9 IP-6.947

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.648 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts-262 (3rd Time)

Complete Games-30

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.403

Adjusted ERA+-174

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.64

Adj. Pitching Runs-56

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.1

2nd Time All-Star-It’s incredible how good the Vance was considering his rookie season was in 1922 at the age of 31. Now at the age of 33, he struck out 262 batters, the most since Walter Johnson whiffed 303 foes in 1912. He won the National League MVP award, which is certainly understandable since he won the pitching Triple Crown by leading the league in wins, ERA, and Ks. I gave it to Rogers Hornsby, but I’m not crying about Vance being chosen.

Brooklyn, managed by Wilbert Robinson, moved up from sixth to second place, finishing with a 92-62 record, one-and-a-half games behind the crosstown Giants. On August 9, the Robins were 13 games back with a 56-50 record and then went on a tear, going 25-4 and were only half-a-game behind John McGraw’s squad on September 6. As of September 22, they were tied, but went 2-2 in their last four games and just missed the pennant.

According to Wikipedia, “He set the then-National League record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game when he fanned 15 Chicago Cubs in a game on August 23, 1924.

“On September 24, 1924, Vance struck out three batters on nine pitches in the second inning of a 6–5 win over the Chicago Cubs. Vance became the fifth National League pitcher and the seventh pitcher in MLB history to accomplish the nine-strike/three-strikeout half-inning. He finished the season with 262 strikeouts, more than any two National League pitchers combined (Burleigh Grimes with 135 and Dolf Luque with 86 were second and third respectively). That season, Vance had one out of every 13 strikeouts in the entire National League.”

rixey7

P-Eppa Rixey, Cincinnati Reds, 33 Years Old

1912 1916 1917 1921 1922 1923

15-14, 2.76 ERA, 57 K, .214, 1 HR, 7 RBI

MVP Rank: 22

WAR Rank: 9

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1963)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1923)

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-4

7th Time All-Star-The two best pitchers in the National League (arguably) were both 33 years old. The difference between Dazzy Vance and Rixey was Dazzy didn’t even pitch his rookie year until he was 31, while Rixey had a good early career, a mediocre middle section, and now is in an outstanding stretch of pitching now that he’s in his 30s. My prediction is he will one day make the ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame in which just one player is inducted annually.

This season, Rixey finished ninth in WAR (5.2); third in WAR for Pitchers (5.0), behind Vance (10.4) and Boston’s Jesse Barnes (5.3); third in ERA (2.76), trailing Vance (2.16) and the Giants’ Hugh McQuillan (2.69); seventh in innings pitched (238 1/3); third in Adjusted ERA+ (136), again behind Vance (174) and McQuillan (137); and first in shutouts with four.

Jack Hendricks took over managing the Reds this season and led them to a fourth place finish with an 83-70 record, 10 games behind the Giants. Their former skipper, Pat Moran, died in spring training of Bright’s disease, a kidney ailment. He was always a heavy drinker.

SABR says, “Rixey settled down and on October 29, 1924, married Dorothy Meyers in St. Thomas Church in Terrace Park, a suburb of Cincinnati. They had two children, Eppa III and Ann. The Rixeys lived in the Cincinnati area, where Eppa worked during the winter in the insurance agency his father-in-law, Charles Meyers, had founded in 1888. Grandson Eppa Rixey IV was the chief operating officer of the Eppa Rixey Insurance Agency, whose motto was ‘Hall of Fame Performance for Your Insurance Needs’ until 2003, when the company was acquired by Mark E. Berry and merged into the Berry Insurance Group.”

barnesj

P-Jesse Barnes, Boston Braves, 31 Years Old

15-20, 3.23 ERA, 49 K, .222, 0 HR, 9 RBI

WAR Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-4

Losses-20 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as P-1.000 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Jesse Lawrence “Nubby” Barnes was born on August 26, 1892 in Perkins, OK. The six-foot, 170 pound lefty-hitting, righty pitcher actually was a good pitcher for a long time, just not an All-Star pitcher. He started with Boston in 1915, the year after the Braves won the World Series. After the 1917 season, the first year he led the National League in losses, he was traded by the Boston Braves with Larry Doyle to the New York Giants for Buck Herzog. Barnes won two championships with the Giants in 1921 and 1922, winning two games in 1921, allowing three runs in 16-and-a-third innings. In mid-1923, he was traded by the New York Giants with Earl Smith to the Boston Braves for Hank Gowdy and Mule Watson.

This season was Barnes’ best as he finished eighth in WAR (5.2); second in WAR for Pitchers (5.3), behind Brooklyn’s Dazzy Vance (10.4); fourth in innings pitched (267 2/3); and first in shutouts with four.

Dave Bancroft took over the reins of the Braves, but didn’t do any better than the previous year as Boston finished last with a 53-100 record, 40 games out of first.

SABR says, “Barnes’ work in 1924 wasn’t completely obscured by his team’s claim on the cellar. Burt Whitman, sportswriter for the Boston Herald and The Sporting News, regarded the veteran as still being ‘one of the very best pitchers in either league.’

“Slowed in his later years by heart disease and an arthritic hip, the end for Barnes came on September 9, 1961, in the Guadalupe County Hospital in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. He had been stricken in a motel room by a final heart attack, this one massive enough to claim his life.”

mays6

P-Carl Mays, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

1916 1917 1919 1920 1921

20-9, 3.15 ERA, 63 K, .289, 1 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1924)

 

Led in:

 

Assists as P-94 (4th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-4.26 (5th Time)

6th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1921 with the Yankees, he didn’t make it in either 1922 or 1923. He pitched an eight-inning loss in the 1922 World Series and didn’t pitch in 1923 Series. After that season, in which Mays went 5-2 with a 6.20 ERA, he was purchased by the Reds from the Yankees and was back to his old self this season. He finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (3.2); ninth in ERA (3.15); and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (119), along with being a good hitter and fielder.

Sub also entered my Hall of Fame this year, despite not making Cooperstown. The full list is here. He was a great pitcher and it’s possible the only reason he’s not in Cooperstown is because he killed Ray Chapman with a pitch in 1920. He only received Hall of Fame votes once, garnering 2.3 percent of them in 1958.

As for why he’s called Sub, SABR says, “Throwing with a submarine motion so pronounced that he sometimes scraped his knuckles on the ground while delivering the ball, Mays looked ‘like a cross between an octopus and a bowler,’ Baseball Magazine observed in 1918. ‘He shoots the ball in at the batter at such unexpected angles that his delivery is hard to find, generally, until along about 5 o’clock, when the hitters get accustomed to it — and when the game is about over.’” Mays wasn’t liked in his time, which might also explain why he’s not in the real Hall of Fame.

doak4

P-Bill Doak, St. Louis Cardinals/Brooklyn Robins, 33 Years Old

1914 1915 1920

13-6, 3.10 ERA, 39 K, .180, 1 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1920, Doak led the National League in ERA in 1921 with a 2.59 mark, but his innings pitched per year were starting to drop. He had a miserable 5.54 ERA in 1922 as his innings dipped below 200 and would never be that high again. This season, he was 2-1 for the Cardinals with a 3.27 ERA when he was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Brooklyn Robins for Leo Dickerman. Altogether this season, Doak was fourth in WAR for Pitchers (3.7); eighth in ERA (3.10); and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (122).

The Cardinals, managed by Branch Rickey, dropped from fifth to sixth with a 65-89 record, 28-and-a-half games behind the Giants. They could score runs, thanks to Rogers Hornsby, but could stop them from scoring.

SABR says, “On September 6, 1924, he pitched his second two-hit shutout in four days, giving the Robins their 15th straight win and putting them in first place, if only for a few hours. Bill later claimed that it was his greatest thrill as a ballplayer. After spending 1925 and 1926 out of baseball, selling real estate during the Florida land boom, Doak came out of retirement and went 11-8 for the 1927 Robins. He ended his playing career back with the Cardinals in 1929.

“The Bill Doak model glove, which had a profound impact on fielding, was a best seller for years, earning Bill as much as $25,000 in royalties in a year. It was still in the Rawlings line when Bill died in Bradenton on November 26, 1954.”

cooneyj

P-Johnny Cooney, Boston Braves, 23 Years Old

8-9, 3.18 ERA, 67 K, .254, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-John Walter “Johnny” Coomey was born on March 18, 1901 in Cranston, RI. The five-foot-10, 165 pound righty hitting, lefty throwing pitcher and outfielder had an interesting career which I’m going to try to wrap up in 250 or so words. He started as a pitcher for the Braves in 1921, but starting in 1923, he started getting some opportunities out in the field because of his decent bat. This season was his best ever as he finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (3.6), finishing with a 3.18 ERA or 119 ERA+.

After 1930, Cooney went to the field permanently and would have a solid career through 1944, when he then retired at the age of 43.

Wikipedia says, “According to Hank Greenberg‘s biographer, before Greenberg’s very first spring training exhibition game in 1930 when his Detroit Tigers were set to play the Braves, Cooney felt sympathy towards the 19-year-old then known as Henry, took him aside before the game and promised, ‘Kid, I’m going to give you one you can hit.’ He did, and Greenberg did, as the future Hall of Fame slugger launched an impressive homer over the fence.

“In his second stint in the Majors, after 1935, Cooney concentrated on playing outfield and first base. His two homers were hit in consecutive games in September 1939, when he again played for Boston and was already 38 years old. His best averages as a regular came with the Bees, .318 in 1940 and .319 in 1941. He was listed as a playing coach for Boston’s National Leaguers from 1940–42.

“Cooney died in Sarasota, Florida at age 85.”

Fun fact-Cooney’s father, Jimmy, made my All-Star team for the National League in 1890.

yde

P-Emil Yde, Pittsburgh Pirates, 24 Years Old

16-3, 2.83 ERA, 53 K, .239, 1 HR, 9 RBI

MVP Rank: 21

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 69 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.842

Shutouts-4

Errors Committed as P-6

1st Time All-Star-Emil Ogden Yde (pronounced EE-dee) was born on January 28, 1900 in Great Lakes, IL. The five-foot-11, 165 pound switch-hitting, lefty throwing pitcher started out with this great rookie year. He finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (3.3), fifth in ERA (2.83), fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (136), to go with his great 16-3 record. It looked like Pittsburgh would have a great pitcher for many years. They wouldn’t.

Pittsburgh, managed by Bill McKechnie, stayed in third place with a 90-63 record, three games behind the Giants. As late as September 6, the Pirates were just one game out of first, but went 12-11 the rest of the way and couldn’t catch New York.

SABR says, “Sportswriter Charles J. Doyle of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described southpaw Emil Yde as a ‘cyclonic sensation’ when he debuted for the Pirates in 1924. In his second start, Yde tossed a shutout, the first of eight consecutive winning decisions to commence his big-league career, en route to a 16-3 slate. He went 17-9 the next season, including a National League-best nine-game winning streak, as the Bucs captured the NL pennant and then overcame a three-games-to-one deficit to beat the Washington Senators in the World Series. Yde’s meteoric rise was followed by an equally precipitous and mysterious plummet despite excellent health. He won only 16 more games in three seasons and was out of the majors by the age of 29.

“Emil Yde died at the age of 68 on December 4, 1968, at the Leesburg Convalescent Center after a battle with prostate cancer, and was subsequently cremated.”

barnesv

P-Virgil Barnes, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

16-10, 3.06 ERA, 59 K, .182, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 52 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Virgil Jennings “Zeke” Barnes was born on March 5, 1897 in Ontario, KS. The six-foot, 165 pound righty started his career pitching one game for the Giants in both 1919 and 1920. He came back to the Majors in 1922 as a relief pitcher, but this year was given the chance to start and had his best season ever. He is the brother of Jesse Barnes, who also made this list. Virgil finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (3.4); seventh in ERA (3.06); 10th in innings pitched (229 1/3); and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (120).

John McGraw and Hughie Jennings managed the Giants in 1924. According to Bleacher Report, “[Jenning’s] friend John McGraw saw a need for him. He coached third base for the Giants in 1924 and 1925 and since McGraw didn’t have the best health during those years, sometimes managed.” According to Baseball Reference, McGraw was 61-48 and Jennings was 32-12. New York lost the World Series to the Washington Senators, four games-to-three.

Barnes lost Game 7 of the Series as SABR reports, “The eighth started well enough with a foul pop out to the catcher, but then Barnes’ control faltered, and he pitched himself into a jam. He gave up a double, then a single, then a walk. With the bases loaded, the second out of the inning was recorded with a fly ball to left field, thankfully too short for the Nats to score a run. Next up was Bucky Harris. When Barnes saw the ball leaving Harris’ bat, his instinctive reaction must have been one of relief, for it looked to be a common, everyday grounder to the third baseman—an easy out to end a tough inning. Instead of obeying expectations, though, the ball took a wildly unexpected bounce off a pebble, stone, or clump of dirt, and sailed over rookie Freddie Lindstrom’s head into left field. It was scored a hit, and it tied the game at 3-3. Sportswriter Frederick Lieb called it ‘the luckiest break which ever came…to what looked to be a beaten world’s series team.’”

kremer

P-Ray Kremer, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

18-10, 3.19 ERA, 64 K, .151, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-41

Shutouts-4

Def. Games as P-41

1st Time All-Star-Remy Peter “Ray”or “Not Cosmo” Kremer (pronounced KRAY-mer) was born on March 23, 1893 in Oakland, CA. The six-foot-one, 190 pound righty started this season and Pittsburgh must have thought it’d hit the jackpot with both Emil Yde and Kremer having sensational rookie years. Kremer finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (3.4); fifth in innings pitched (259 1/3); ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (120); and first in shutouts with four.

SABR says, “In a seamless transition to the big leagues, Kremer began his career by pitching five consecutive complete games. Joining a Pirates staff led by Wilbur Cooper, he debuted on April 18 at Redland Field in Cincinnati, where he gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth to lose, 3-2. He followed the loss with four consecutive wins, including two shutouts. The latter was one of his two career two-hitters, a dominating 2-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Forbes Field that took just 1:20 to play. With 30 starts among his league-high 41 appearances, Kremer was durable, capable of starting on short rest and being called on for intermittent relief outings. He had winning streaks of six and five games, but won only once after August 23, and struggled in September when the Pirates overcame an 11½-game deficit to come within one game of the pennant-winning Giants. Along with teammate and fellow rookie Emil Yde (16-3), Kremer was praised as a ‘life-saver’ by The Sporting News. He finished with 18 wins and 259 innings pitched (both fifth best in the league), and tied for the league lead with four shutouts for the third-place Pirates. As of 2013 the 18 wins were still a Pirates record for rookies.”

aldridge2

P-Vic Aldridge, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1922

15-12, 3.50 ERA, 74 K, .176, 0 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team in 1922, Aldridge had another good year in 1923, going 16-9 with a 3.48 ERA. This year, he finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (2.9) and sixth in innings pitched (244 1/3). After the season, he was traded by the Chicago Cubs with George Grantham and Al Niehaus to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Wilbur CooperCharlie Grimm and Rabbit Maranville. He then was part of two World Series for the Pirates. In 1925, Aldridge went 2-0 with a 4.42 ERA while in 1927 he was 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA. Before the 1928 season, he was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the New York Giants for Burleigh Grimes and pitched one season in the Polo Grounds before retiring.

As for the Cubs, they dropped from fourth to fifth with an 81-72 record. Bill Killifer managed Chicago for the fourth year.

Wikipedia wraps up his life, stating, “After his playing career ended, Aldridge attended law school at the Voorhees School of Law and served in the Indiana State Senate from 1937 to 1948. He was first elected on November 4, 1936, as a Democrat. He served as a schoolmaster full-time before his baseball career, hence his nickname ‘The Hoosier Schoolmaster’

“Aldridge died in Terre Haute at age 79, and is buried in the New Trinity Springs Cemetery of Trinity Springs, Indiana. He was inducted into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame on January 19, 2007, as its 131st member; his granddaughter, Mary Turner, and grandson, Vic Aldridge III, accepted the award on his behalf.”

hartnett

C-Gabby Hartnett, Chicago Cubs, 23 Years Old

.299, 16 HR, 67 RBI

MVP Rank: 15

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1955)

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as C-18

Passed Balls-12

1st Time All-Star-Charles Leo “Gabby” or “Old Tomato Face” Hartnett was born on December 20, 1900 in Woonsocket, RI. The six-foot-one, 195 pound righty catcher started in 1922 for the Cubs, but this season was the first people realized he was something special. It’s not easy to be an offensive force when your main position is catcher, but Hartnett wielded a mighty stick. This season, Hartnett finished 10th in Offensive WAR (3.7); seventh in slugging (.523); eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (138); and first in errors as a backstop (18) and passed balls (12).

From Wikipedia: “Hartnett joined the Cubs in 1922, serving as a backup catcher to Bob O’Farrell. He was given his ironic nickname of ‘Gabby’ as a rookie due to his shy, reticent nature. On July 22, O’Farrell suffered a fractured skull during a game against the Boston Braves and Hartnett took over as the Cubs starting catcher, posting a .299 batting average along with 16 home runs and 67 runs batted in. After the retirement of catcher Bill Killefer, Hartnett became the favorite catcher of Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander and caught Alexander’s 300th career win on September 20, 1924.]Hartnett played well enough during O’Farrell’s absence that the Cubs decided to keep him as their starting catcher, trading O’Farrell to the St. Louis Cardinals in May 1925.”

I haven’t been able to write up too many great catchers up to this point in baseball history, but that’s changing with Hartnett. He’s certainly making my Hall of Fame and has a great chance at making the ONEHOF, the one player inducted a year Hall of Fame.

hargrave2

C-Bubbles Hargrave, Cincinnati Reds, 31 Years Old

1923

.301, 3 HR, 33 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Hargrave made the All-Star team for the second consecutive year, though his season wasn’t as good as his previous one. Still, for a catcher, it was good year as he slashed .301/.370/.455 for an OPS+ of 121. He and Gabby Hartnett would be among the National League’s best catchers for a few years, though Hartnett’s career was much better.

SABR says, “Over the next several seasons Cincinnati improved, often in contention but never good enough to take the pennant. Hargrave was a major part of the upturn. Beginning in 1922, Hargrave batted over .300 six consecutive seasons. A look back at his career from today’s 2017 vantage point must consider the prism of time. Hargrave’s batting and slugging marks for catchers during this era ranked near the top. His hitting ability did not lend itself to home runs, but rather line drives that produced doubles and triples. Regardless of measuring in average, slugging, or on-base percentage—metrics used nowadays to measure a player’s worth—Hargrave’s career numbers were on a par with later Cincinnati catcher (and Hall of Famer) Ernie Lombardi.

“While renowned for his offensive skills, Hargrave had defensive capabilities that were less well defined. From a perspective of nearly 80 years from the end of his career, the rating of his defensive skills based on then-existing data is, at best, a murky endeavor. Although no less an authority than Bill James rates Hargrave as ‘just a fair defensive catcher,’ contemporary accounts reflected a better-than-satisfactory assessment of his abilities. He had a powerful throwing arm and he was savvy in his handling of pitchers. No less a personage than John McGraw described him in 1926 as ‘the greatest catcher in the game.’”

fournier5

1B-Jack Fournier, Brooklyn Robins, 34 Years Old

1915 1920 1921 1923

.334, 27 HR, 116 RBI

MVP Rank: 9

WAR Rank: 5

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-154

Home Runs-27

AB per HR-20.9 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 1B-153

Assists as 1B-99

5th Time All-Star-Back in Fournier’s day, the sportswriters and observers of the game didn’t have anything like Baseball Reference’s Defensive WAR or any of the other modern day defensive metrics yet labeled the Brooklyn first baseman as a liability in the field. Yet, according to dWAR, those old-timers were exactly right as the iron-gloved Fournier was always in the negative column and ended up with a career -9.7 mark. Fortunately he could hit and this year, he had his best season ever.

Fournier finished fifth in WAR (6.3); fourth in WAR Position Players (6.3); second in Offensive WAR (6.6), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (11.5); seventh in batting (.334); third in on-base percentage (.428), trailing Hornsby (.507) and New York rightfielder Ross Youngs (.441); fifth in slugging (.536); third in Adjusted OPS+ (160), behind Rajah (222) and teammate Zack Wheat (163); and, for the only time in his career, first in homers (27).

Fournier wasn’t a choirboy off the field. SABR says, “While Fournier gained renown during those years as a slugger at the plate, he also displayed an alarming propensity to slug with his fists. Several times he found trouble with authority. In January 1924, found guilty of assaulting a stranger who claimed Fournier hit him on the jaw while the man waited to retrieve a coat from a checkout counter, Jack was fined $25 in Criminal Court in St. Louis. Several years later, in March 1927, Jack, who by then was in his final season, with the Boston Braves, was accused in Sarasota, Florida, of striking a deputy sheriff who was attempting to serve him with papers related to a civil suit. In that case, Braves’ manager Dave Bancroft posted $1,000 bond and guaranteed Jack’s appearance before the court.”

kellyh31B-High Pockets Kelly, New York Giants, 28 Years Old

1921 1922

.324, 21 HR, 136 RBI

MVP Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1973)

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Batted In-136 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Kelly didn’t make the All-Star team in 1923 but the Giants did make the World Series and lost to the Yankees. In that Series, High Pockets hit .182 (four-for-22) with just one RBI. This season, Kelly’s best ever, he finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.8); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.7); sixth in slugging (.531); seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (141); and first in RBI (136). In the 1924 Series, Kelly did much better than the previous year, going nine-for-31 (.290) with a double and a homer. However, the Giants still lost to the Senators, four games to three.

Kelly’s Hall of Fame page says, “Kelly returned to the World Series against the Yankees again in 1923 and then against the Washington Senators in 1924, but the Giants fell in six games to the Yankees and in seven to the Senators. Kelly’s 1924 season was arguably his most productive one, as he drove in 136 runs to capture his second RBI crown and finish sixth in MVP voting. With a three-homer game against the Reds in June, Kelly became the first player to hit three home runs in a game multiple times.

“’To Frankie Frisch, he was one of the finest first baseman who ever lived,’ the AP wrote upon his induction to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee in 1973. ‘To Waite Hoyt, he was a dangerous man in the clutch. And to the people who vote for such things, he is a perfect choice for the Baseball Hall of Fame.’”

He died on October 13, 1984 in Burlingame, CA.

hornsby9

2B-Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals, 28 Years Old, 1924 ONEHOF Inductee, 3rd Time MVP

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923

.424, 25 HR, 94 RBI

MVP Rank: 2

WAR Rank: 1

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted in 1924)

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1942)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1918)

Led in:

 

1924 NL Batting Title (5th Time)

Wins Above Replacement-12.1 (4th Time)

WAR Position Players-12.1 (7th Time)

Offensive WAR-11.5 (8th Time)

Batting Average-.424 (5th Time)

On-Base %-.507 (5th Time)

Slugging %-.696 (6th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.203 (6th Time)

Runs Scored-121 (3rd Time)

Hits-227 (4th Time)

Total Bases-373 (5th Time)

Doubles-43 (4th Time)

Bases on Balls-89

Adjusted OPS+-222 (7th Time)

Runs Created-183 (5th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-98 (7th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-9.4 (7th Time)

Extra Base Hits-82 (4th Time)

Times on Base-318 (4th Time)

Offensive Win %-.895 (7th Time)

9th Time All-Star-What a great year for Rajah to be inducted to the ONEHOF, the One-Inductee-a-Year Hall of Fame of my making. Next year’s nominees are Hardy RichardsonJimmy CollinsElmer FlickJohnny EversSherry MageeLarry DoyleArt FletcherWilbur Cooper, Max Carey, Charley JonesFred DunlapGeorge GoreNed WilliamsonBid McPheeSam ThompsonJack ClementsAmos RusieCupid ChildsClark GriffithJesse BurkettJoe McGinnityEd WalshNap RuckerEd KonetchyLarry GardnerJake DaubertBabe AdamsBobby VeachGeorge Sisler, Heinie Groh, and Eppa Rixey.

Back to Hornsby’s incredible year, in which I honored him with his third Most Valuable Player award, it is often referred to as the highest modern batting average (.424). That is true, if you define modern-times from 1902 on. However, once the pitching mound was moved back to 60 feet, six inches, Hugh Duffy hit .440 in 1894 and, in an obviously watered-down initial American League season of 1901, Nap Lajoie hit .426.

So how did Hornsby not win the MVP? Wikipedia says, “That year, the NL reintroduced its Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. Although Hornsby was expected to win the award, it went to Dazzy Vance instead. Cincinnati voter Jack Ryder left Hornsby’s name off his ballot altogether because he believed Hornsby was an MVP on the stat sheet, but was not a team player. In 1962, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America presented Hornsby with an award retroactively recognizing him as the 1924 MVP.” Even in 1924, people were having the argument about valuable versus “best player.” In my mind, they’re the same.

frisch4

2B-Frankie Frisch, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1921 1922 1923

.328, 7 HR, 69 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

WAR Rank: 3

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1947)

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-121

Putouts as 2B-391

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.79

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.49

4th Time All-Star-It’s no coincidence that since Frisch started making All-Star teams, the Giants have won pennants. The Fordham Flash knew how to win and he did with his outstanding play on the field. This season, Frisch finished third in WAR (7.1), behind St. Louis second baseman Rogers Hornsby (12.1) and Brooklyn pitcher Dazzy Vance (10.2); second in WAR Position Players (7.5), trailing Hornsby (12.1); fifth in Offensive WAR (5.5); third in Defensive WAR (2.6), behind two Pittsburgh players, shortstop Glenn Wright (4.0) and second baseman Rabbit Maranville (2.9); eighth in batting (.328); 10th in on-base percentage (.387); and went 22-for-31 stealing.

Frisch also had another outstanding World Series, hitting .333 (10-for-30) with four doubles and a triple, but it didn’t help the Giants defeat Washington as his team lost four games-to-three.

Be A Better Hitter says that on September 10, 1924, “[T]he indomitable Fordham Flash knocked out a career high 6 hits in a Giants victory over the Braves, by the healthy score of 22-1. Frisch’s line that day was 6 for 7 with 3 runs scored, 4 RBI.

“The switch hitting, hard-nosed competitor Frisch faced lefty part-time Center fielder and Pitcher Johnny Cooney, righties Tim McNamara, and Joe Muich. McNamara’s career lasted five years, as he won 14 lost 29 and had a healthy ERA of 4.78. Muich’s big league career lasted just three games all in month of September, 1924. It just was not a fair fight. In the 4th inning against McNamara he hit his home run left handed. His additional five singles were from both sides of the plate in facing Cooney and Muich.”

high

2B-Andy High, Brooklyn Robins, 26 Years Old

.328, 6 HR, 61 RBI

MVP Rank: 12

WAR Rank: 10

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 24 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Andrew Aird “Handy Andy” or “Knee” High was born on November 21, 1897 in Ava, IL. The five-foot-six, 155 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing infielder started with Brooklyn in 1922 as a third baseman and then moved to second this season and had his best year ever. He finished 10th in WAR (4.9); seventh in WAR Position Players (4.9); sixth in Offensive WAR (5.0); ninth in batting (.328); and seventh in on-base percentage (.390). After this season, he ended up playing three World Series with the Cardinals, hitting .294 (10-for-34) with two doubles. High was part of St. Louis’ championship team in 1931.

SABR says, “After retirement from baseball, Handy Andy enjoyed visits with family, attending reunions with former teammates in and around St. Louis, and being interviewed by sportswriters. According to grand-daughter Kimberly High, he also spent time “tinkering with things electrical,” utilizing the skills he had learned in the navy and as a licensed electrician.  Also an active gardener, he specialized in the cultivation of roses and tomatoes. And the birds flying around the property weren’t to be denied; Andy faithfully kept their feeders filled.

“In 1980 Andy suffered a stroke, and went to live at his son’s home in Toledo. The little man with the big heart, who came up even larger in the game he loved, passed away in 1981 at age 83. The date of death was February 22, also the birthday of George Washington, the father of the country Andrew Aird High proudly served in two world wars. He was laid to rest at Evergreen Cemetery in Ava, Illinois, his birthplace, alongside his wife, Mildred, who died in 1974.”

grantham

2B-George Grantham, Chicago Cubs, 24 Years Old

.316, 12 HR, 60 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. 6 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-63

Power-Speed #-15.3

Errors Committed as 2B-44 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-George Fairley “Boots” Grantham was born on May 20, 1900 in Galena, KS. The five-foot-10, 170 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing second baseman started with Chicago in 1922 and became fulltime in 1923. He had his best season this year, finishing 10th in WAR Position Players (4.1), eighth in on-base percentage (.390), and went a mediocre 21-for-42 stealing. Grantham also led the National League in whiffs for a second straight season.

It’s incredible there was time when the strikeout leader in a league K’d just 63 times. The first time anyone struck out 100 times was Sam Wise (Sean Astin?) who whiffed 104 times in 1884. Harry Lumley broke that record in 1904 with 106. Then from 1904-14, at least one player reached the century mark in Ks eight of those 11 seasons. From 1915-through-1931, no one struck out 100 times, not even the free-swinging Babe Ruth.

Fast forward to the 2010s and from 2015-through-2018, at least one player has struck out 200 times. From 2008-to-2018, there was only one season – 2014 – in which no player reached the two century mark. Every baseball era has its style of play and nowadays in baseball, it’s more important to swing for the fences and players don’t worry if the final result is a walk to the bench.

Still, Grantham’s 63 strikeouts for a National League leader were low even for his time. Dode Paskert and Ross Youngs led the NL with 49 Ks in 1918, but that was a shortened season. The last time before that anyone led the league with less than 63 whiffs was Ducky Holmes in 1899 with 58.

groh7

3B-Heinie Groh, New York Giants, 34 Years Old

1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920

.281, 2 HR, 46 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1924)

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-11 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 3B-145

Fielding % as 3B-.983

7th Time All-Star-When Groh last made the All-Star team back in 1920, I wrote he’d have to fluke onto an All-Star team in order to make my Hall of Fame. Well he did and he did. He did fluke onto this team due to a lack of good players at the hot corner and he did make my Hall of Fame due to making his seventh All-Star team which when multiplied by his Career WAR of 48.2 puts him over 300 and into my very prestigious Hall of Fame. He joins fellow third basemen Home Run Baker, Jimmy Collins, Larry Gardner, and Deacon White. Groh never got a lot of interest from Cooperstown.

Since Groh last made the All-Star team, he has played in three World Series, though in the 1924 Series, he had just one at-bat in which he singled. He had a great 1922 Series for the Giants, hitting .474 with a triple, but a tough one for New York in 1923, hitting just .182.

Wikipedia states, “Groh appeared in a limited role for the Giants in each of the next two years, and ended his career with the Pirates in 1927. His final major league appearance was as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of Game 3 of the 1927 World Series against the Yankees, in which the Pirates were swept; he popped up to pitcher Herb Pennock. Groh retired with a .292 batting average, 1774 hits, 918 runs, 566 RBI, 26 home runs, 308 doubles, 696 walks and 180 stolen bases in 1676 games. His career fielding average was later topped by Kamm, and remained an NL record until Ken Reitz surpassed it in 1979; Traynor broke his record for career double plays in 1933. Groh’s 1299 games at third base trailed only Harry Steinfeldt (1386) and Milt Stock(1349) in NL history.

“Groh was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1963, and died at age 78 in Cincinnati; he is interred in Spring Grove Cemetery there.”

wrightg

SS-Glenn Wright, Pittsburgh Pirates, 23 Years Old

.287, 7 HR, 111 RBI

MVP Rank: 11

WAR Rank: 7

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-4.0

At Bats-616

Assists-601

Def. Games as SS-153

Assists as SS-601

Double Plays Turned as SS-102

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.95

1st Time All-Star-Forest Glenn “Buckshot” Wright was born on February 6, 1901 in Archie, MO. The five-foot-11, 170 pound righty shortstop had a sensational rookie year, mainly with the glove, leading the National League in Defensive WAR (4.0). He would always be good at defense, finishing in the top 10 in Defensive WAR seven times, but his bat was just okay. That being said, just like this, his rookie season, Wright would always be good at driving in runs. For this season, he finished seventh in WAR (5.7); sixth in WAR Position Players (5.7); and third in RBI (111).

SABR says, “After a season in Class D ball, Wright joined Kansas City, at the highest minor league level, in 1922. He batted .299 with 10 home runs, and his defense was even more impressive. His powerful arm earned him the nickname ‘Buckshot,’ but it was not entirely complimentary. ‘I could throw hard but no one could tell where,’ he said. The next year he hit 15 homers and batted .313 as the Blues won the American Association pennant and defeated the International League powerhouse Baltimore Orioles in the Little World Series.

“Wright was an instant star. After a month he moved into the number-three spot in the batting order, and by midseason he was hitting cleanup. He led the team with 111 RBIs and put up a batting line of .287/.318/.425. Playing every inning of every game, he set a major league record with 601 assists, a mark that lasted more than half a century. (Ozzie Smith broke the record in 1980, playing five more games than Wright.) A poll of players chose Wright as the all-star shortstop for both leagues.”

wheat5

LF-Zack Wheat, Brooklyn Robins, 36 Years Old

1914 1916 1920 1922

.375, 14 HR, 97 RBI

MVP Rank: 3

WAR Rank: 4

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1959)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1924)

 

Led in:

 

Singles-149

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

Putouts as LF-289 (7th Time)

Double Plays Turned as LF-4 (3rd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Wheat hit .375 in 1923, but only played in 98 games so he didn’t make the All-Star team, but he’s back. Notice above he’s only made All-Star teams in even-numbered years. But not only did he make the All-Star team this season, but also made my Hall of Fame, joining fellow leftfielders Jesse Burkett, Fred Clarke, Ed Delahanty, Sherry Magee, Jim O’Rourke, and Bobby Veach. He’s not going to make the ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame, but his long career definitely deserves applause.

This year, Wheat had his best season ever, finishing fourth in WAR (6.7); third in WAR Position Players (6.7), behind two second basemen, St. Louis’ Rogers Hornsby (12.1) and New York’s Frankie Frisch (7.5); third in Offensive WAR (6.4), trailing Hornsby (11.5) and teammate, first baseman Jack Fournier (6.6); second in batting (.375), behind Rajah (.424); fourth in on-base percentage (.428); third in slugging (.549), behind you-know-who (.696) and Philadelphia centerfielder Cy Williams (.552); second in Adjusted OPS+ (163), trailing the unbelievable R-Horn (now I’m just making up nicknames) (222); and first in singles (149).

From the Baseball Hall of Fame page: “But the memories of his 19-years in left field that had since faded were about to come flooding back. With one phone call from J.G. Taylor Spink on Feb. 1, 1959, Wheat went from being remembered as a beloved Dodgers great to being immortalized in Cooperstown as one of best baseball players of all time. In the 20th anniversary year of the Hall of Fame’s first induction ceremony, Zack Wheat would get his due.”

cuyler

LF-Kiki Cuyler, Pittsburgh Pirates, 25 Years Old

.354, 9 HR, 85 RBI

MVP Rank: 8

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown : Yes (Inducted in 1968)

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 92 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as LF-12

Errors Committed as OF-16

1st Time All-Star-Hazen Shirley “Kiki” Cuyler (pronounced KAI-kai KAI-lur) was born on August 30, 1898 in Harrisville, MI. The five-foot-10, 180 pound righty outfielder started with Pittsburgh in 1921, but didn’t have enough at-bats to qualify as a rookie until this season. Kiki was good from the beginning, finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (4.7); ninth in Offensive WAR (4.4); fourth in batting (.354); sixth in on-base percentage (.402); fourth in slugging (.539); fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (148); and went an impressive 32-for-43 stealing.

Wikipedia says, “Cuyler started his professional baseball career with the Bay City Wolves in 1920. He appeared briefly in the major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates over the next three seasons, but still spent the majority of each season in the minor leagues. He hit .340 in 1923 for the Nashville Vols of the Southern Association. He was promoted to the Pirates for his first full major league season in 1924.

“Two explanations have been given for the origin of Cuyler’s nickname, ‘Kiki’. In the first version, he had been known as ‘Cuy’ for a long time. When a fly ball was hit to the Nashville outfield and it was judged to be Cuyler’s play, the shortstop would call out ‘Cuy’ and this call would be echoed by the second baseman. The echoed name caught on with Nashville’s fans. In the second explanation, ‘Kiki Cuyler’ came from the player’s stuttering problem and the way it sounded when Cuyler said his own last name.” I hope it’s the first, it’s kinder.

williamsc4CF-Cy Williams, Philadelphia Phillies, 36 Years Old

1916 1920 1921

.328, 24 HR, 93 RBI

MVP Rank: 22

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-I am a tough critic. Williams hit a career-high 26 homers in 1922 and didn’t make my All-Star team. In 1923, he belted 41 homers, one shy of the National League record established by Rogers Hornsby the year before, and he still didn’t make my All-Star team. There are a variety of reasons for this, but the main one is Williams’ home park was the bandbox Baker Bowl. In 1922, 17 of his 26 homers were at home while in 1923, 26 of his 41 dingers were at the Baker Bowl.

As for his team, Art Fletcher managed Philadelphia to a seventh place finish with a 55-96 record, 37 games out of first. When adjusted for their home park, the Phillies couldn’t hit and their pitching staff gave up the most runs in the NL.

SABR says, “National League managers recognized that the best defense was to play him extremely deep and around toward right field—the first ‘Williams shift,’ more than 20 years before Lou Boudreau developed a similar plan to defense Ted Williams.

“Retiring from the majors after the 1930 season, Williams spent one year in the Eastern League as the player-manager for Richmond, Virginia, then returned to his several-hundred acre dairy farm in Wisconsin where he worked as an architect and started a construction business… In his free time Cy liked to hunt and fish, often engaging in those pursuits with his fellow left-handed slugger Ted Williams…Cy Williams died at age 86 on April 23, 1974, in Eagle River, Wisconsin.”

carey8CF-Max Carey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 34 Years Old

1912 1916 1917 1918 1921 1922 1923

.297, 8 HR, 55 RBI

MVP Rank: 18

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1961)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1922)

 

Led in:

 

Plate Appearances-683 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases-49 (9th Time)

Def. Games as CF-149 (4th Time)

Putouts as CF-428 (7th Time)

Errors Committed as CF-16 (5th Time)

Def. Games as OF-149 (3rd Time)

Putouts as OF-428 (9th Time)

Errors Committed as OF-16 (3rd Time)

8th Time All-Star-For a player relying on speed like Carey, his value should’ve started to drop as he aged. But the 34-year-old Scoops kept running and kept making All-Star teams. He’s got a shot at the ONEHOF, the Hall of Fame of my making that inducts one player a year. He’s certainly going to make one more All-Star team. This year, Carey finished 49 for 62 stealing, again showing a proficiency at swiping bags many in his era didn’t have.

Carey would end up playing for the Pirates for 17 years, so you might ask where he ranks among the all-time Pittsburgh greats. If based on bWAR, he’s the eighth greatest Pirate ever. He’s behind the incomparable shortstop Honus Wagner, the rifle-armed rightfielder Roberto Clemente, Paul Waner, Arky Vaughan, Willie Stargell, Babe Adams, and Wilbur Cooper. In ninth place is the great Barry Bonds. So of the eight greats, only two are modern-day players.

Among base stealers for the Pirates, he’s number one with 688, 49 more than Wagner. Omar Moreno (412), Patsy Donovan (312), and Tommy Leach (271) complete the top five.

Carey is also the Pirates all-time leader in sacrifices (257).

It’s quite a career for a man who was a decent hitter, but certainly not great. His career OPS+ is only 108, which is better than average, but only just so. My guess is he is certainly going to make the ONEHOF and he could make it as early as next season. I think Carey is one of the underrated greats.

youngs6

RF-Ross Youngs, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1919 1920 1921 1922 1923

.356, 10 HR, 74 RBI

MVP Rank: 5

WAR Rank: 6

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1972)

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as RF-236 (2nd Time)

Assists as RF-17 (5th Time)

Errors Committed as RF-12 (4th Time)

6th Time All-Star-This season is likely Ross Youngs’ last All-Star team and it shouldn’t be disregarded how great of stretch he had from 1919-24. He wasn’t Babe Ruth, to which some compared him, but he was a great player who made the Hall of Fame. What kind of stats would have Youngs put up if…

From SABR: “Youngs, who turned 28 in April, continued to feel below par during spring training and for much of the 1925 season, struggling to a .264 average, the first time in his career he had hit below .300. His decline surely had something to do with the Giants sliding to second place, 8 ½ games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates, thus ending their consecutive National League pennant run at four.

“Youngs returned to San Antonio in October [1926] and in December was admitted to the Physicians and Surgeons Hospital there with what was termed the flu. He remained there until April when he improved enough to go home. He even expressed optimism about being able to rejoin the Giants. But he was unable to leave San Antonio and returned to the hospital in early October before passing away on October 22 from Bright’s Disease, or nephritis, a then-fatal kidney ailment.

“John McGraw biographer Charles Alexander interviewed Dr. Jesse H. DeLee of San Antonio, who had thoroughly investigated Youngs’s medical history. According to Dr. DeLee, a streptococcal throat condition (strep throat) migrated into his kidneys and resulted in a severe urinary tract infection. Before the advent of antibiotics, there was no effective treatment.” What a tragic story.

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